118. 3B Isaac Paredes; 20 years-old
Isaac Paredes, who was acquired in 2017 (as part of the return in the trade that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs) performed exceptionally well in 2018, slugging 15 HRs in just over 500 PAs between A+ and AA. His bat improved significantly over the course of the season. In 347 A+ PAs, Paredes put up a solid, albeit unspectacular .259 AVG, but upon a promotion to AA, he raised his AVG to .321 (in 155 PAs) and reached base at an extremely high clip (.406), exhibiting top-class plate discipline as a 19-year-old (significantly younger than his peers)…
- A+: 9.2% BB rate; 15.6% K rate
- AA: 12.3% BB rate; 14.2% K rate
His defense, however, remains a question mark, as conveyed by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs…
He’s been drawing trade interest since the moment he set foot on the Cubs complex in 2016 due to his very mature feel to hit, which belies his age. Despite this, there are concerns about Paredes. He already has a catcherly build as a teenager and though he has spent the bulk of his pro innings at shortstop, he’s not going to stay there and probably won’t end up on the middle infield at all. He may eventually have to try to catch (which would slow his development, or the grind may dilute his offensive production) or move to first base, where he saw some reps in the Mexican League this offseason. The instability on defense is concerning even though everyone loves Paredes’ bat.
107. CF Daz Cameron; 22 years-old
Son of former big league CF Mike Cameron, Daz made great progress in 2018. He stole 24 bags and hit 8 big flies in 534 PA between A+, AA, and AAA. Cameron demonstrated exemplary patience at the plate, walking over 10% of the time at A+ and AA. In 226 AA PAs, he hit for a .285 AVG. His propensity to swing and miss frequently remains a concern, but it appears he has made some strides…
- A+: 28% K rate
- AA: 23.5% K rate
Cameron played his final 15 games for the Toledo Mudhens, hitting for a mere .211 AVG (and .246 OBP), but that can presumably be attributed to late season fatigue.
Here’s what Eric Longenhangen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs had to say:
The questions then are still largely the questions now: he’s a plus runner who can play a solid center field with average raw power, but scouts question how much offensive impact there will be. Cameron has already surpassed the expectations that pessimistic scouts had for him as an amateur, but even scouts that like him now say he’s a potential low-end regular, possibly in the Keon Broxton mold, or even a poor man’s version of his father. He just turned 22 and will likely spend 2019 in the upper levels with an eye toward sticking in the big leagues in 2020.
96. RHP Matt Manning; 20 years-old
Matt Manning’s lethal two pitch mix (FB + slider) enabled him to generate a ton of swings and misses in 2018…
- A: 12.29 K/9
- A+: 11.4 K/9
- AA (only 2 starts): 10.97 K/9
His walk rate remained on the high side, but he certainly demonstrated improvements in that regard…
- A: 4.53 BB/9; 55.2 IP
- A+: 3.33 BB/9; 51.1 IP
- AA: 3.38 BB/9; 10.2 IP
Manning’s overall ERA stood in the mid-to-low 3s and advanced pitching metrics suggested he may have even been unlucky…
- A: 3.07 FIP; 3.09 xFIP
- A+: 3.13 FIP; 2.91 xFIP
- AA: 2.30 FIP; 2.92 xFIP
He rarely conceded HRs (around 0.5 HR/9) and hits were hard to come by for those tasked with opposing Manning (90 in 117.2 IP). If he can make a couple of adjustments, Manning’s chances of becoming a No. 2 or 3 starter are that much higher…
He has two easy plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but his changeup is almost always below average, and his command comes and goes. His fastball plays up due to his excellent extension, but he gets so much extension that he overstrides and it reduces the amount of feel he has, both in his changeup and command. If Manning can dial down the aggression in his delivery a bit, the starter traits should come to the forefront and give the Tigers a No. 2 or 3 starter.Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs
30. RHP Casey Mize; 21 years-old
Drafted 1st overall in 2018 out of the University of Auburn, Mize has very high upside (some compare him to Aaron Nola), and he isn’t too far away from reaching the majors. Having pitched only 13.2 innings of professional ball, we will take a look at his college numbers…
- IP: 114.2
- H: 84
- BB: 16
- K: 156
- WP: 5
- ERA: 3.30
Those numbers are excellent, especially when you consider he played at the highest regarded college division (SEC). Some concerns, as posed by FanGraphs’ prospect experts Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel, include his “violent delivery” and shoulder issues he battled in high school…
After pitching for Team USA the summer before the draft, Mize got a PRP injection in his pitching elbow. Some teams had mild concerns about his shoulder in high school, and he also missed time a sophomore at Auburn with forearm tightness.
Mize has some violence to his delivery and isn’t the prototypical projectable plus athlete you normally see at the top of the draft. There’s also some anecdotal evidence suggesting heavy cutter usage leads to diminished velocity. These are all things to make you wonder how Mize projects, but right now he may be able to pitch in the big leagues, with some mentioning Aaron Nola as the type of pitcher he could become. He doesn’t really fit Detroit’s timeline for contention, and may not be as good in his sixth year of control as he’ll be in his second, so many have openly wondered if Mize becomes a trade chip once he succeeds in the big leagues. That’s a good problem to have for a big league club in need of top shelf talent; Mize may give them that as soon as 2019.