It’s November 3, free-agency is starting to become part of normal office dialog, so let’s talk about the MLB Draft. Last year I tried to do one huge blog post of Northwest prospects, this year I’m just going to bring them up as I have the desire to write about them.
One specifically that has sparked my fancy is that Dylan LaVelle.
The Northwest is always a pretty good bet to have at least or two special guys that going into the draft are going to be taken somewhere in the upper half. LaVelle started out as top-150 draft prospect and is steadily working himself up the ladder. Dylan Davis, while I liked him, was very much was a fringe Top-50 guy and more of a back-of-the-100 guy as the season started last year. The now Oregon State Beaver is starting classes as he wasn’t even drafted last year.
While LaVelle could very well end up in that role, the more I read about him and the more I talk about him I get the feeling he could end up very much in the same vain as Blake Snell did last year, a guy that doesn’t make a ton of waves and doesn’t make a lot of lists but is somehow taken in the sandwich round unexpectedly. Only for me it won’t be unexpected.
I’ll have to admit first and foremost I haven’t seen him play defense so while that’s a very important part of the game I’m relying upon firsthand accounts of others. While there is always skepticism that comes with that you can take into account two things. He is consistently lauded for his athleticism, he is a black belt in karate and has been since he was 12, and sticks between shortstop and third when not on the mound. The mound thing is interesting because while there is hardly any information about his “stuff” I see consistent reports that say “+arm” or “solid arm strength at short” or “has cannon at third”. The fact that he is pitching is more out of respect for the fact he can barrel the ball to the plate rather than he is an actual pitching prospect.
He currently plays third base and I suspect while he may get some reps at shortstop, he’ll primarily play third base as he heads to Corvallis and the Oregon State Beavers baseball team in 2013. Though, he says that he still has a interest in playing pro ball and to be honest he’s a kid that I could see foregoing the college experience to be a major leaguer.
What I have seen of him is at the plate is from Youtube videos put together form his grandfather. So obviously there is a slight bias to them, but at the same time it shows you what he is capable of. The previously talked about athleticism plays out really plays out. He’s very loose at the plate, but in a good way, much like he just belongs there, with a strong but balanced swing.
Watching the video over and over I’m sure there are times he gets a bit pull happy and he starts swinging a bit “too heavy” or “long” but it didn’t show in any of the videos I saw. He has plenty of power and shown that off specifically in multiple area code games (2010 and 2011). He hasn’t shown an issue with above average velocity and I wouldn’t be worried about it with his bat speed.
If you are going to be out and around Lake Stevens in spring 2012, I highly suggest you catch a local high school game. You could see a future major league ball player out there.