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Pipeline Inbox Kumar Rocker’s unsure future

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After surviving the futures game and draft at the same time, everything else seems like a no-brainer. Having the Trade Deadline and Draft signing deadline on the same weekend was no joke, though, although the MLB Pipeline crew has been commended for getting it through amazingly well. The back end people aren’t getting the credit they deserve, but trust me when I tell you they keep making us look good because they are able to make updates and changes quickly, especially important when it comes to the Trade deadline frenzy.

This week’s inbox is all about Deadline Apalooza and more focused on the draft, although there has obviously been a lot of interest in traded prospects on Twitter in the past few days.

Without Adley … where would you place Henry Davis among other attractive prospects? – @ballsandgutters

We covered that in this week’s Pipeline podcast in our weekly Mailbag segment. First of all, I love that Adley Rutschman, the top catch candidate, now has just one name. My first instinct was to put Davis, the # 1 overall draft 2021 selection, in 3rd place, behind Adley and Joey Bart, who are currently # 1 and # 2 on this list of the top 10 prospects. Then Jim Callis rightly pointed out that we will be reorganizing all the lists (from the week of August 16!) And that we should reconsider. What he made up, and I agreed, was something like this:

1. Adele
2. Francisco Álvarez
3. Beard
4. Davis
5. Tyler Soderstrom

Davis, Soderstrom, and Luis Campusano have similar skills, so you could probably list them 4-6 in any order. Davis, for his part, doubled up and homered in his first game in the Florida Complex League, which put pressure on early on.

If Kumar Rocker doesn’t get signed by the Mets and gets back into the MLB draft next year, where would you place him? [Draft] Prospects for the next year [Draft]? – @ StevieDAles97

Where does Kumar Rocker play from today with next year [Draft] Class ranking? – @CaoChadTTV

I know it’s hard to believe, but there were MANY questions about Kumar Rocker. A lot of them asked for inside information about his potential injuries (I don’t have any), but instead I focused on this question: where will Rocker fit into the 2022 class after he doesn’t sign.

The big caveats, of course, are these health-related issues and how even a perceived risk of injury can affect a player’s stock. We also don’t know at this point where Rocker will serve in the spring, and how he goes out and throws, whether it’s back in Vanderbilt or for an Indy Ball team, will also matter. After all that has been said, I’ll try.

Looking back at the way too early Top 20 Pick Mock Draft I created shortly after completing this year’s draft, you’ll find a college weapons shortage. That can and will change by next summer of course, but the fact that there is only one college pitcher, Florida-based Hunter Barco, in this top 20 helps rockers. Assuming he’s healthy and doing his best, Rocker is better than Barco, whom I put at 16. Rocker will be a year older at 22, which might put some teams off, but due to his sheer talent I think I’ll be back in the top 10 next year, though all that uncertainty makes it extremely difficult to predict.

Rays spent 83% of their budget on hitters and only 17% on pitchers. Was that a hitting talent? [Draft] overall at the top? – @Mat_Germain_

There is no question that the Rays were all in on the rackets in 2021. I don’t think this necessarily means the class was more hitter-heavy overall, just that the Rays’ philosophy was to use the best available hitter more often than not. And it was the hit tool above all else for many of their selections on Day 1 and 2.

Cooper Kinney (Competitive Balance Round A) and Kyle Manzardo (Round 2) both got 55 hits for their hit tool in our reports, but there were teams – the Rays among them – who thought they had 60 bats on the 20- bis 80 scouting scale when all is said and done. Four-rounder Dru Baker is another 55 hitter. And while Carson Williams, her first-round pick, was a 50, there are advantages to believing he’ll be better. Williams can really defend, but Kinney, Manzardo and Baker are the guys whose thugs get them into the big leagues.

Could the Rays have investigated this draft class and determined that was its forte? It is certainly possible. A quick look at the last three drafts before this one shows that the Rays spent around 69 percent (2020), 62 percent (2019) and 63 percent (2018) on pitching in the top 10 rounds. I’m not saying that the Rays made an arbitrary decision to offset the pitching heavy drafts with a hitting heavy. I refer to the past three years to suggest that while the Rays’ philosophy in 2021 may have been to focus on bats, it is not necessarily something they always do, but focused on how the draft class looked like in their opinion and how it has evolved.

Between the Cubs and the Nationals, which team is the winner in the Farm System Power Ranking with all its new top perspectives? – @CedLikan

The Nationals and Cubs ranked 1st and 3rd in my recent history when I looked at the best trade deadline prospectuses, with the twins between the two. Taken together, the two clubs added 16 new members to their respective top 30, 10 from the Nats and six from the Cubs. Washington has the benefit of adding two top 100 prospects with its deals, though it has also given up more as Trea Turner has control for another year while the other big leagues are all two-month rentals, the free agents in the . will be the end of the season.

We’ll take a close look at how this affects the ranking of the farm system and we’ll have a new 1-30 list when we re-rank all team lists and the top 100 in a few weeks’ time. Before the season started, the Cubs were # 22 and the Nationals were # 30, so both farm systems were in the bottom third. The trades will of course help if we look at both elite level talent and depth, but I don’t know if either will make such a big leap. Without doing a deep dive, I could potentially see both of them jumping into the 11-20 area, more likely at the far end of the second third of the teams.


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