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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

MLB Draft - Day Two - Phillies

3rd round : Gabriel Rincones Jr - OF - Florida Atlantic - 21 years old

The Scoop :

“Rincones’ father, Gabriel Sr., pitched briefly in the Mariners organization. His son is a pure hitter who played for H.B. Plant, the Tampa school that produced Wade Boggs and Kyle Tucker, among others. Rincones went from high school to starring at St. Petersburg Junior College in 2020, then posted a 36-game hitting streak in 2021 and was a first-team All-American. He was drafted in the 19th round by the Padres, then moved on to Florida Atlantic in 2022, earning Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors by hitting 19 homers with a 1.110 OPS.

It’s Rincones’ left-handed bat that has scouts interested. He’s always been able to hit with an advanced approach at the plate, something that continued with high walk and low strikeout rates after the move to Division I baseball. The power started really showing up this season, especially to his pull side, but he can drive the ball to all fields. He punishes fastballs with pitchers only finding success in getting him out with offspeed stuff.

Rincones is going to have to hit to become a big leaguer because he is limited defensively. He has a below-average arm and doesn’t run well, meaning he’s likely either a left fielder or a first baseman. He likely has shown enough on the offensive side for teams that like college performers to consider him on Day 2 of the Draft.” - MLB Draft Data Base

“Rincones set a St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC program record in 2021 when he managed a 36-game hitting streak during a season when he hit .415 with six home runs. The Padres drafted him in the 19th round, but instead of signing the 6-foot-4, 225-pound outfielder went to Florida Atlantic for the 2022 season. The move has proved to be a wise one, as Rincones continued to hit at a high level in Conference USA, with some of the best exit velocity data in the country. Rincones hit .346/.451/.658 with 19 home runs, 17 doubles and 42 walks (14.6 BB%) to 51 strikeouts (17.7 K%). Despite future raw power grades that check in at plus and even plus-plus, Rincones is a hitter first who sees the ball well and controls the zone. He hits fastballs well and performed against 93-plus mph velocity, with the power to clear the fence to all fields. Rincones had more swings and misses against secondaries, but scouts still believe he has a chance for an above-average bat. He’ll need to hit, as his defensive profile is limited. He played right field for Florida Atlantic this spring but is a well below-average runner who might be a better fit for first base, where his tall frame could serve him nicely.” - Baseball America

4th round : Alex McFarlane - RHP - University of Miami - 21 years old

The Scoop :  from Baseball America

“McFarlane ranked as the No. 186 prospect in the 2019 class out of high school as an upside projection righthander who hailed from the US Virgin Islands. The Cardinals drafted him in the 25th round but instead of signing, he went to Miami, where he has mostly pitched out of the bullpen.

Now listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, McFarlane has shown impressive natural arm talent and ‘wow’ stuff, but his performance has never quite matched what scouts have seen coming out of his hand. He was used as a starter early this spring but moved back into a reliever role after allowing five runs in 2.1 innings against Clemson in March. On the season, McFarlane posted a 4.00 ERA over 45 innings, with 68 strikeouts (34.3 K%) and 20 walks (10.1 BB%).

His high-spin fastball sits 95-96 mph and has been up to 99, and he has also flashed a wipeout slider and swing-and-miss changeup—both in the mid 80s with plus grades when they are on. McFarlane’s command can waver and his career walk rate at Miami is below-average, but for a team that thinks it can help him get more consistent in that area, his stuff is explosive.”

5th round : Orion Kerkering -  RHP -University of South Florida -  21 years old

The Scoop : from MLB Draft data base

“A bit of a late bloomer, Kerkering didn’t make his Venice High School varsity team until his junior year but then helped the Florida power win back-to-back state championships as a starter. He began his career at South Florida as a reliever, scuffling a bit initially in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, then thriving as the Bulls’ closer in 2021.

He moved into the Friday night starter role and opened a lot of eyes early, but after struggling, he has largely been back in a reliver role since late April.

Always pitching from the stretch, Kerkering does have three pitches in his arsenal. The 6-foot-2 right-hander tops out at 97 mph with his fastball, especially in shorter stints, and has averaged around 93 mph. He hasn’t always commanded it well and it’s been squared up more than it should.

His best pitch is his slider, a sharp 83-85 mph breaker that flashes plus and can be a nasty strikeout pitch at times. His mid-80s changeup isn’t as good, but it does offer some fade away from left-handed hitters.

Kerkering does a nice job of hiding the ball and creating some deception with his delivery. And while his overall command needs to improve, he’s done a better job of finding the strike zone than he did in 2021. A team taking him at some point on Day 2 of the Draft might want to give him a chance to start, but there’s a pretty good chance he lands in a bullpen, where that slider could really play.”

6th round : Mavis Graves - LHP - Eastside High School, South Carolina - 18 years old

The Scoop : Baseball America

“Lefthander Mavis Graves is a good athlete with plenty of upside. His fastball gets up to 92 mph now and he pairs it with a biting breaking ball.”

7th round : Caleb Ricketts - C - University of San Diego - 22 years old

The Scoop : Baseball America

“Ricketts is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound catcher who makes plenty of contact and showed a massive uptick in game power this spring. After hitting just two home runs during his first three seasons with San Diego, Ricketts clobbered 16 this spring, while slashing .373/.423/.658 and was named the West Coast Conference player of the year.

Most of his power came to the pull side this season, but he did manage solid average exit velocity numbers. Defensively, Ricketts will need to work on his mobility and flexibility to get down well on balls in the dirt and his size could always be a challenge in that regard. He has a below-average arm but has done a nice job improving his transfer and release to throw out 45.7% of baserunners this season. Ricketts will need to work to become a fringe-average catcher, but his production this season and positional value should get him selected at some point.”

8th round : Alex Rao - RHP - Notre Dame University - 22 years old

The Scoop : Baseball America

“After making four starts for Notre Dame during the 2020 coronavirus-shortened season, Rao has spent the last two years as a key member of the Irish’s bullpen. He’s looking to be a quality senior sign this year as a reliever with a plus 93-96 mph fastball that will touch 98. Rao’s four-seamer has excellent life up in the zone.

He also throws a plus mid-80s split-change that pairs excellently with his fastball. If he keeps it down in the zone, it’s nearly impossible to lift. Rao doesn’t throw enough strikes and his slider is below-average, but Rao has two plus pitches that are effective to both lefties and righties because he works with a north-south approach. He should get a shot to show it can work in a pro bullpen.”

9th round : Chad Castillo - OF - California Baptist - 22 years old

The Scoop  : College profile page

“A native of Santa Ana, California, Castillo earned a starting spot his true freshman season in 2019, batting over .300 in each of his four seasons at California Baptist, including this past season in which he recorded a career high .386 batting average, a .635 slugging percentage along with 11 home runs.”

10th round : Gustavo Sosa - C - South Mountain JC ( AZ ) - 21 years old

The Scoop : College profile page

“Earned Second Team All-ACCAC honors ... appeared in 54 games and batted .337 with 63 hits and 33 runs in 187 at-bats ... finished with 13 doubles, a team-high nine home runs, a triple, 37 RBIs, 24 walks and seven stolen bases ... produced a .415 on-base percentage and a .561 slugging percentage ... posted 18 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games ... finished with a season-high three runs, four hits and four RBIs in a win at Gateway CC ... also scored three times in a win at Scottsdale CC ... had a home run in nine games ... had a pair of doubles against the Benedictine University JV team ... tripled against Chandler-Gilbert CC ... had three RBIs and a home run against Mesa CC ... posted a .969 fielding percentage in 223 chances ... caught four runners trying to steal a base.”

Played in MLB Draft League for the Trenton Thunder - .339 BA, .356 OBP in 59 PA’s - 3 HR, 12 RBIs

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