Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Luken Baker; Sean Hjelle

Luken Baker, 1B/DH, College(TCU).   B-R, T-R.  6'3", 265 lbs.

2016:  .379/.483/.577, 11 HR, 30 BB, 32 K, 248 AB.
2017:  .317/.454/.528, 8 HR, 40 BB, 36 K, 161 AB.
2018:  .355/.474/.613, 6 BB, 7 K, 31 AB.

I could swear I already profiled Baker, but I can't seem to find the post, so here goes, possibly again.  Baker, whose parents were obviously Waylon Jennings fans, was a highly ranked 2-way prospect out of HS who chose to go to college.  He pitched and hit well his freshman season but suffered an arm injury and focused exclusively on hitting.  He sophomore season was cut short by a leg injury, but he seems healthy this year.  He's a disciplined hitter with power.  He's severely limited defensively to 1B or DH so would be a better fit in an AL organization.  I would project him as a 2'nd or 3'rd round draft pick by an AL team that really believes in the bat.


Sean Hjelle, RHP, College(Kentucky).  6'11", 215 lbs.

2017:  11-4, 3.59, 108.2 IP, 33 BB, 102 K.
2018:  3-0, 0.97, 19.2 IP, 3 BB, 18 K.

Hjelle is a super tall, skinny RHP who can pound the strike zone with a low-mid 90's FB and a knuckle curve that seems to drop from the sky.  He has excellent command for a kid that tall.  His frame can carry more weight, but he'll probably always be thin.  My comp for him is Doug Fister, another tall pitcher who uses his height to keep the ball on the ground.  Late first round or second round talent.


I am going to change the way I report my draft board as continuing to add each new player profiled to the board is proving to be just too much work and a barrier to future profiles.  Instead, I will keep it to my top tier.  Today, I shake up my board with some major changes which I will discuss below:

1.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
4.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
5.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
6.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(Univ. of South Alabama).
7.  Mason Denaberg, RHP, HS.
8.  Logan Gilbert, RHP, College(Stetson).

Ethan Hankins drops off the board due to a sore shoulder.  The odds are against HS pitchers enough if they are fully healthy.  Sore shoulders make the risk prohibitive.  He'll be off my board until he proves he is healthy again.

Instead of rebounding to his freshman goodness, Seth Beer is off to a slow start to the 2018 college season.  He's was only so-so last year and has not performed well in wood bat leagues.  Add in his limited defensive profile and I don't think the bat is proving to be good enough to overcome that.

I've never been in love with Brady Singer's delivery. While he has pitched OK this season, he has not been nearly as dominating as at the end of last year.

Liberatore is a big, strong lefty with tons of projection who is reportedly hitting the high 90's.  Could the Giants see another Madison Bumgarner in him?

Shane McClanahan is quieting doubters with premium stuff and dominating pitching lines in the college boxscores.  He does not have classic MLB pitcher size.

Many analyists seem to think that Nick Madrigal is the top college position player, but he seems like a severely undersized 2B to me.  Swaggerty is climbing the rankings and appears to be this year's version of Andrew Benintendi.

Mason Denaberg is a 2-way HS player who profiles as a pitcher, has great size and is throwing hard.  I loved him when I profiled him and now he is climbing many boards.

Logan Gilbert continues to impress, but I worry about the strength of his college competition.


  1. Yes, you did profile Baker. YOu even made the same Waylon Jennings comment. :) No, you haven't lost your mind.

  2. Dig it, thanks for the updates Doc.

  3. "I could swear I already profiled Baker, but I can't seem to find the post, so here goes, possibly again. Baker, whose parents were obviously Waylon Jennings fans..."

    Doc, you did. Must be the Russians hacking :)
    Living now in the Lone Star State, I firmly remember the "Luchenbach, TX" reference. Texas-sized hat tip to you sir!

    On a serious note, I wanted to thank you (and your other posters: OGC, MosesZ, LG, etc.) for the commentary on the ST games and the prospects.

    Excited for the Draft (#2 pick!).

    "Doug Sister"? Unfamiliar with this lad (unless typo for Merced's Doug Fister).

    Keep up the fire!


  4. This is probably a better way to follow, since we got the #2 pick overall. I'm dreaming about a SP, someone to transition to as Bumgarner goes into his 30's, but the history of them in the Top 5 picks overall seems to be pretty spotty, so I don't know. Thanks, this is all very interesting.

    1. The Giants have had their success with drafting pitchers in the first round, but I think the consensus still is that hitters are a safer bet, especially in the first 5 rounds.

  5. Yes, I am looking forward to a strong infusion of pitching in this draft, a return to the heyday when the Giants developed and kept strong pitching and traded off pitching prospects in exchange for other needs. Hankins has been my number one choice all along, but pitchers are inherently more fragile, and shoulders are especially scary. I agree with your new assessment of de Sedas (my second favorite draft prospect) as #1, but I could easily see the Tigers springing for him. In that case I would be ok with the Giants taking a player you don't have listed above- Nolan Gorman. He reportedly has a good hit tool to go along with light tower power, a combination that his fellow Arizonian Giants draft pick Tommy Joseph lacked. Gorman also has enough athleticism to stay at the hot corner and be a defensive asset, with soft hands and a cannon arm. This draft is deep enough that the Giants could invest in hitting in Round 1 and still get talented arms in rounds 2 and 3.

  6. Wednesday, January 24, 2018