Eight Cowboys heard their names called among the 1217 high school and college baseball players that were drafted in the MLB First Year Player Draft. Yesterday, we looked at Logan Gragg, Peyton Battenfield, Brady Basso, and Trevor Boone. There were four other Cowboys that got drafted as well, and I’ll do my best to put together some scouting reports for them:
After missing the majority of the previous two seasons, Jensen Elliott came back was the Friday starter for Oklahoma State all season long. He was an All-Big 12 pitcher and one of the most consistent pitchers on the staff. He worked a 3.33 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 94.1 innings. He also had two complete games this season, so he was definitely a workhorse.
Jensen is a tall righty, standing 6’6 he’s able to get great tilt on a hard sinker that works as his fastball. He also throws a slider and a changeup, both fringy-plus pitches. After missing most of his sophomore and junior seasons because of Tommy John Surgery, he came back throwing harder than before. His sinker mostly works 90-93 and occasionally gets up to 95. While pitching mostly to contact, he does a great job of inducing weak contact and foul balls. His best trait is keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and forcing bad swings, but this can also cause him to nibble the zone too much and put himself in bad counts. If he can work for strikeouts a little bit more, he can take that next step as a pitcher.
Elliott moves into an organization that has the tools in place to become one of the better player development organizations in baseball (former Astros front office folks are running it now). I imagine he will start but I could see some bullpen time as well. His skillset as a pitcher makes him versatile.
Ceiling: Swingman Reliver
In his first season as a Cowboy, Navigato solidified a left side of the infield that had some question marks coming into the season. His bat became a mainstay at the top of the lineup for Oklahoma State, slashing .296/.373/.529/.902. He also hit 12 home runs and drove in 42.
Navigato has pretty solid bat-to-ball skills, though there is enough swing and miss that his barrel control is not great. At 5’11 188, he has some sneaky pop for his size, though it remains to be seen if that will translate to a wood bat should he go pro. He will need to improve his glove as he moves to the next level. He committed 14 errors at shortstop this season, and dubiously led the team in that statistic. He has enough range to play the position, but committing that many errors at a premium position on the diamond is a concern. He has the athleticism to move around the infield, and a move to second base might be his primary position.
Ceiling: Role Player/Utility Infielder
A few rounds after Jensen Elliott got a call from Baltimore, Jake Lyons got his call by the Orioles as well. In his first season as a Cowboy after transferring from Weatherford JC, he proved to be a reliable bullpen arm. He struck out 50 in 47.1 innings, only walking 16.
Lyons carries a big 6’5, 280 lb frame onto the mound, which allows him to get great tilt and movement on his fastball, which sits in the low 90’s. He also throws a breaking ball and a splitter, both are average pitches but have the ability to grade better moving forward. His ability to not pound the strike zone and throw quality strikes is a great combination for any pitching prospects, but especially in the later rounds. His versatility out of the bullpen is important as well, with the ability to pitch one inning in a high leverage situation, or stretch out to three innings or more. The Orioles might have found a diamond in the rough on Day 3.
Ceiling: Middle Reliever
The last Cowboy to hear his name called was Colin Simpson, taken in the 29th round by the Rockies. Tank has been a mainstay in the middle of the Cowboy lineup for the past three years. He had a solid year this season, slashing .256/.351/.505/.856, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 52.
Simpson’s power is his best tool, he swings aggressively from the left side with loft that will play at the next level. He may never be a high-average hitter, but his power could carry him through a system. His plate discipline is a tool he can continue to improve, and he’ll likely be a three true outcomes hitter (much like Trevor Boone, also drafted by Colorado). He is a solid catcher, and has played some left field as well. Likely, he’ll be a catcher/DH moving forward. He is an intriguing prospect because the offensive bar for catchers is so low that he could rise through a system quickly because of his power. That being said, most catchers are defense first and don’t worry much about their bat, the opposite is the case for Simpson.
Ceiling: Role Player/Backup catcher