We take a look at some of the more polished college players from this year's MLB draft, some of which could debut in the majors in short order.
Mark Appel, Pit, RHP: He has the look of a frontline starter (6-foot-5, 215 pounds), and the arsenal to go along with it (mid-90s fastball, hard slider, developing changeup). The stats just haven't always been there for him, as he's shown a lack of dominance in the college ranks through his career. In falling to the Pirates, he'll now be competing with the likes of Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole for top-of-the-rotation bragging rights.
Mike Zunino, Sea, C: His calling card to the majors will be his unique blend of defensive prowess and offensive upside behind the plate, which should help him move quickly and stick at catcher. His hit tool and power are above average, and he draws rave reviews from scouts for his feel for the position and intangibles. He'll eventually push Jesus Montero into a permanent designated hitter role in Seattle.
Kevin Gausman, Bal, RHP: Scouts love his upper-90s fastball and low-90s two seamer, and also his mid-80s changeup that profiles as plus. His breaking stuff is still inconsistent and very much a work in progress. He offers a combination of high upside and polish that should allow him to move quickly through the minor leagues. His set-up in Baltimore isn't ideal. But when you have dominant stuff, it doesn't matter.
Kyle Zimmer, KC, RHP: My personal favorite arm in the draft, he's new to pitching, but shows an explosive upper-90s fastball along with a hammer curve. He's developing his change, but it also flashes plus potential and should progress as he gains more experience and a better feel on the mound. The dip in velocity at the end of the year worried some, but the Royals should be thrilled to get a pitcher with his upside.
Richie Shaffer, TB, 3B: His plus power has impressed scouts, as has his selectiveness at the plate, as he's walked more than he's struck out this season. Shaffer is a complete hitter who sprays the ball all over the field, and has the tools to stick at third base long term. Expect a shift to first base in Tampa Bay with Evan Longoria blocking his way, but his bat should play there also.
Andrew Heaney, Mia, LHP: The best college lefty in the draft, Heaney sits in the low-90s with his fastball and can touch 95. He isn't afraid to attack hitters and is comfortable working both sides of the plate thanks to great trust in his stuff. The Marlins are getting a great arm in the Oklahoma State southpaw and will provide him a great pitching environment.
Michael Wacha. StL, RHP: While not one of the "Big 3" college arms in this draft (Appel, Gausman, Zimmer), Wacha isn't far behind. He lacks a plus breaking ball, but mixes in a curveball and slider, giving him a deep arsenal to go along with his low-90s fastball and plus change. If the breaking ball progresses, he could be one of the steals of this class. With the success the Cardinals have in developing pitchers, this is a fantasy owner's dream scenario.
Deven Marrero, Bos, SS: Was considered a possible first overall pick before the season started, but a lackluster offensive campaign and lack of competitive fire have tarnished his luster. He has the tools to stay at short, but will his motor allow him to fulfill his lofty potential? The hit tool is there, and while he may never be a big power guy, he has the offensive upside to be a valuable fantasy asset. The Red Sox already have a defense-first shortstop in Jose Iglesias and hope Marrero gives them an offensive option to push him.
Marcus Stroman, Tor, RHP: Many feel he has the best arm in the draft, but his short stature (5-foot-9) is a concern for teams who don't think he can stick as a starter. That's rubbish, as he's shown the ability to hold his velocity through games and should be given the chance to start. His four-pitch arsenal features an upper-90s fastball, hard slider, change and cutter. If the bullpen is his ultimate destination, we'll see him in the majors in very short order.
Rob Steingall is a syndicated fantasy analyst. Follow him on Twitter
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