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3 FSU Commits Taken in 1st Round of MLB Draft

The MLB Draft started on Thursday night and Florida State has not had any players selected, although they should have a few by the end of the draft. The Seminoles did, however, have three of their commits from the 2016 class selected in the first round. I’ll have a breakdown of each player, scouting reports, and the likelihood of the player attending Florida State.

Joshua Lowe 3B, Pope HS (Marietta, GA.): No. 13 Overall Tampa Bay Rays

MLB.com Draft Profile:

Name: Joshua Lowe
Position: 3B
School: Pope HS, Ga.
Rank on Draft Top 20017
DOB: 2/2/1998
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 190 lbs
College commitment: Florida State


(Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale)
Hit: 
50
Power: 50
Run:  60
Arm: 60
Field: 55
Overall: 55

Stats
Games: 
30
Avg: .400
AB: 80
HR: 9
RBI: 33
SB: 10

Scouting report: The most talented two-way player in the 2016 Draft, Lowe will almost certainly be drafted in the first round as a position player. Nevertheless, there are scouts who think he may be the best high school pitcher to come out of Georgia since Zack Wheeler went sixth overall to the Giants in 2009.

It’s hard to ignore what Lowe brings to the table as a position player. He can be streaky at the plate, but his quick, controlled left-handed swing and the leverage in his long frame produce considerable raw power. The Florida State recruit also has plus speed and arm strength, which should translate into solid defense at third base or in center field.

While there’s more projection involved when evaluating Lowe as a pitcher, it’s easy to dream on an athletic 6-foot-4, 190-pounder with a loose arm and a relatively clean delivery. He works at 91-93 mph and can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, which plays up thanks to its downward plane, run and sink. Lowe’s three-quarters breaking ball lacks consistency, but it has the makings of a solid slider, and he has some feel for a sinking changeup that gets too firm at times.

As the scouting report mentioned Lowe is one of the best two-way players of recent memory. The Rays plan to use him as strictly a position player in part to his athleticism and his hitting ability. There is some question as to where he would be best suited on the field between outfield and third base. He has the arm strength to play either position and I would assume he stays at third for the time being. Lowe has a crisp swing and projects well to build power as he grows and matures.

Chance of Attending FSU?

2%. There is a very small chance that Lowe attends Florida State in the fall. The only chance I see him joining the Seminoles is if the Rays don’t give him the signing bonus he wants. Even then it’s hard to justify a 13th overall pick having to wait three years to get selected again. The Rays have been notorious in recent drafts at trying to select players who do not command such a large signing bonus, but I see no reason why Lowe won’t get his money.

 

Forrest Whitley RHP Alamo Heights HS (TX): No. 17 Overall Houston Astros

MLB.com Draft Profile:

Name: Forrest Whitley
Position: RHP
School: Alamo Heights (Texas) High School .
Rank on Draft Top 200: 12
DOB: 9/15/1997
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 
6′ 7″ Weight: 225 pounds
College commitment: Florida State

Tools
(Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale)
Fastball: 
65
Curveball: 60
Slider: 50
Changeup: 55
Control: 60
Overall: 55

Scouting report
Whitley rocketed from a sub-6-footer with a mid-70s fastball when he entered Alamo Heights High (San Antonio), to 6-foot-7 and low-90s heat by the time he was a sophomore. He has continued to improve, impressing on the showcase circuit and with the U.S. national 18-and-under team last year and pitching better than ever this spring. He could be the second high school right-hander drafted, behind Kansas’ Riley Pint.

Whitley has a complete three-pitch arsenal, starting with a 92-97 mph fastball with some cutting action at the lower end of that range and some running life at the upper end. His power curveball tops out in the low 80s with tight spin and good depth, and he’ll sometimes turn it into a harder slider. He has upgraded his changeup and used it more this spring, and it drops at the plate and shows flashes of becoming a third plus offering.

Scouts also have liked how Whitley has firmed up his large frame, which looked soft at times in 2015. He has good body control for a big kid and does a nice job of repeating a delivery that doesn’t feature much effort. There were some initial concerns about the Florida State recruit’s signability, but he has pushed himself high enough in the Draft to where it shouldn’t be an issue.

Whitley is one of the top prep arms in this draft and there’s little chance he attends Florida State. At 6-foot-7, Whitley stands tall on the mound and uses all three of his pitches to get batters out. His fastball is his best pitch and his curveball is very good as well, both are plus pitches, and his changeup is still inconsistent but he can use it effectively.

Chance of Attending FSU?

1%. This falls under the rule of “never say never” but there’s no way Whitely is coming to Florida State. With pitching injuries as unpredictable as they are coupled with the fact that the Astros have shown desire in recent drafts to load up the farm system, I think it’s safe to say that Whitley will not be on campus in the fall.

 

Cole Ragans LHP North Florida Christian HS (Tallahassee, FL.): No. 30 Overall Txas Rangers

MLB.com Draft Profile:

School: North Florida Christian

HSYear: Senior

Position: LHP

Age: 18

DOB: 12/12/1997

Bats: L  Throws: L

Height: 6’3″  Weight: 190 lb.

Commitment: Florida State

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

Many high school pitchers are raw and projectable. Some are more polished, with more pitchability than pure stuff. Ragans, a lefty from the Florida high school ranks, fits in the latter category.

Ragans looks and throws like a future big league starter. The 6-foot-3 southpaw has a good and clean delivery he repeats consistently, allowing him to throw his three-pitch mix for strikes. All of his offerings are a tick above-average, starting with a fastball he throws 89-93 mph with some angle and outstanding command. His curve is Major League average to a tick above and his changeup could be plus when all is said and done. Still growing into his body, there could be more in the tank.

Ragans threw extremely well in a big matchup against Trinity High School and fellow prospect J.C. Flowers, showing his best stuff of the year with a lot of people on hand to see it. That, combined with his overall feel for pitching, should have him primed to come off the board in the first few round.

Ragans has been the ace for NFC all season and he played along current Florida State RHP Cole Sands. As the scouting report mentions, Ragans is not as projectable as other high school arms but his stuff is filthy. The hope for Ragans is that he gets more consistent with his secondary stuff and at his ceiling he could have three plus pitches in the big leagues.

Chance of Attending FSU:

0%. Cole Ragans has already come out and said that he will not attend Florida State and he will take the slot bonus from the Texas Rangers. The slot value at 30 is a little over $2 million so he will definitely not be on campus for the Seminoles.


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