The 2014 Draft has now been in the system for a year and has been surrounded by controversy from the beginning for reasons I'd still rather not discuss. For that reason, it's been considered a weaker draft due to the fact that the Astros did not get their top pick or a high upside fifth rounder.Despite that, the Astros actually landed two prospects from that draft on John Sickels Mid-Season Top 75 Prospects. Derek Fisher and A.J. Reed were comp round and 2nd round picks respectively but have done very well in the pros and several are taking notice.What are your thoughts on the 2014 draft? Do you consider it weak? Who else do you think is notable from that class and could help fill the void of losing that number one pick (outside of the compensation pick in 2015)?
No one can compensate for what Brady Aiken was supposed to be: the possible next Kershaw. Plus, it's still way too early to judge the draft. With that stated: Derek Fisher seems to be a free mid-first-rounder, A.J. Reed definitely has impressed, and the late-round picks such as Nick Tanielu, Jamie Ritchie, Mott Hyde, and Keegan Yuhl have definitely been pleasant surprises. This draft never seemed to be about high-ceiling outside of the three high-school pitchers, but the college players who have been drafted make up key parts of first-place minor-league teams. It's not a weak draft by any means, and I believe this draft could have as many as 11 major-leaguers (not taking about the three high-school pitchers), and at least two should be above-average players. Again, in five years, there will be more correct opinions on this draft for obvious reasons, but right now, it was still a solid draft in the absence of a first-round pick.
Let's not forget Daniel Mengden, who could have gone much higher if not for injury and signability concerns (and who has been healthy and is already one level away from AA). Bryan Radziewski has shown some promise. Dean Deetz has pretty solid stuff and has thrown a lot of shutout innings for Tri-City this season. Derick Velasquez could be an excellent late-inning reliever if he returns from TJ surgery okay. Joshua James, the 34th-round pick, has been pitching about as well as anyone else for Quad-Cities. Connor Goedert is obliterating the Appy League right now.
The mess with Aiken, Nix and Marshall, in my eyes, turned what would have been one of the best draft classes ever into simply a good class. I don't view this as a weak draft class. We may well get 3-4 Major Leaguers out of it, and yes, that's a good return for any class.
I have to ask who you see as having ML futures. 11 major leaguer's is a huge number for reaching the majors.
If you mean actual, sustained success as part of a MLB rotation or as a starter, I think Fisher and Mengden stand the best shots at it.But the number of guys who realistically could bounce around inside of the majors and put together lengthy careers as backups, spot starters, lower-division starters, bullpen pieces, etc. is obviously higher. I wouldn't be surprised to see A.J. Reed have a decent, productive little career, for instance. The guys like Bottger, Tanielu, Hyde, and Yuhl are certainly wildcards; even Brock Dyxhoorn and Aaron Greenwood could turn out to be something. Eleven seems awfully agressive, even in the best-case scenario, but there's certainly potential value littered throughout.
When I say reach the majors, I don't mean people who reach the majors and stay there. Reed and Fisher are the only players I expect to have an above-average future in the major leagues, but I think Mengden, Davis, Dykxhoorn, Velazquez, Radziewski, Bottger, Ritchie, Tanielu, Hyde, James, and Yuhl could all reach the majors.
I will say that the likelihood of two second baseman who were drafted by the same team in the same year - Hyde and Tanielu - both becoming major leaguers is really slim.To answer the initial question, for me, 2014 is a fairly weak class, but there's some promise left in its tank. Fisher is the class of the class, and Reed and Mengden certainly have the chance to have good careers. But neither of those guys has real superstar potential unless A.J. Reed suddenly develops a superpower like invisibility, flight, or hitting to the opposite field.It thins out pretty quickly, with the bulk of it made up by guys with low ceilings and decent, if unspectacular, floors. There isn't a Carlos Correa in the bunch. Heck, there isn't even a Nolan Fontana in the bunch. The top three are all college guys who, Fisher excepted, were more or less finished products.