We are less than a week away from June 4th, and that means that the first round, compensitory round, and competitive balance round-A of the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft is just days away! You'll be able to watch the first 43 selections live on The MLB Network.
The St. Louis Cardinals will be selecting 19th overall and 43rd overall. There are seemingly thousands and thousands of names that are draft eligible. It's exhausting. What I've decided to do is comb through the countless mock drafts, as well as some of the names that I've heard through the very limited connections I've made. We will go over these names one by one over the next week. These evaluations will be the "brass tacks" (credit to C70) type. Very concise. Very much to the "bottom line."
I'm only going to touch on the potential targets for the 19th overall pick with this primer. Later on, I'll give you some of the players that I'd like to see the Cardinals target at 43rd overall and beyond in the draft.
This comes with a caution: THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DRAFT IS THE CLOSEST THING THAT YOU'LL FIND IN SPORTS TO A FERAL ANIMAL. I believe that it's the most unpredictable draft in all of professional sports. Hell, it's probably the most unpredictable and malleable "thing" in all of sports. Because of the draft pool, teams often jockey their allotted cash so that they can afford to give larger bonuses to players later in the draft. Sometimes that means not drafting the best available player with their pick. Sometimes that means having to draft over slot. What I'm saying is, the MLB draft is a game of roulette, and one in which the wheel never stops spinning and the ball never stops rolling until all 40 rounds are complete.
Let's get to it! Here's our fourth potential draftee write up:
Santiago High School. Corona, California
Age on draft day: 18
It's been an unexpected 2018 for the stock of Brice Turang. I remember reading a great deal about this young man after the 2017 draft. At that point, most mock drafts had Turang as one of the best high school players in the country and a sure-fire top 10 selection in the 2018 draft. Unfortunately, 2018 didn't go the way that Mr. Turang would have hoped.
Now, I say that, but the truth is that Turang was fine during his 2018 season. His problem was that so many evaluators had set such lofty goals for him that there was no way that he could have lived up to those goals. Many had Turang going first overall because it was assumed that he'd hit the next level in his development, especially in regards to the development of power. When that didn't happen and Brice barely added to his status quo, the vultures feasted on him. Of course, they couldn't have feast on him that much because he is still a first rounder, more than likely.
The best way that I can describe Turang to a Cardinals' fan is that he's half Pete Kozma and half Delvin Perez.
Now, before you lose your mind saying "that's a bust" or "no way would I draft that with the 19th overall pick", let me remind you that Pete Kozma is still in the majors and Delvin Perez is still as promising (and as frustrating, unfortunately) as he has always been. What I'm trying to do by bringing Ole' Petey and Delvin into this conversation is tell you that he is a mega-athlete with a ceiling similar to where Delvin's was in 2016. While, at the same time, as sure of a short stop as Pete Kozma was when the Cardinals drafted him in 1947 or whenever (it was 2007. Pete was the 18th overall selection in that draft). That would be a very well spent first round pick.
But I jumped the gun a little, so let's regroup. What Turang does extremely well is play defense. While I never felt 100% comfortable saying that Perez would stick at the position, I feel as close to 100% as I can feel that Turang will. There is a lot of video out there of Turang. It's actually easier to find video of Turang than it is Stetson-stud Logan Gilbert. What you see before anything else is lightning quick agility and side-to-side quickness to match it. I'm not sure how he gets such good reads off of the bat, but he does:
I don't feel like I have as good of a grasp on where his arm is, but most reports indicate that it is, at least, average. When I watch him throw it seems solid enough for the level, but the it's the only thing that will keep him from sticking at short in the long run. Right now, it isn't something to worry about but keep it in the back of your head.
The 6'1" left-handed swinger's bat is the biggest riddle in his game. I'm not going to lie, I watch him swing and I see his mechanics and I truly believe that he has more power potential than many other evaluators do. It just seems to me like he doesn't care about hitting home runs. That probably isn't a fair assessment to make about him (and it's an idea that I'm doing a terrible job of articulating), but it just seems like all that he cares about in-game is hitting the ball hard and getting on base. Take a look at this swing and tell me what you think:
Now, I don't think that he has 20 or 25+ perennial home run power, but that swing and those mechanics look like a solid base for a kid that could hit 10-15 home runs regularly.
We've gone long enough now without talking about Turang's biggest asset: his speed. You won't find a scout or a scouting service or a blog or some jackass (me) that would grade it out as anything lower than a 60 on the 20/80 scale.
He has a motor. I'd kill to see Turang and Jordyn Adams in a foot race. As you'll see here, he goes from home to third QUICKLY and he seems to reach maximum speed right between first and second:
I have yet to see video of Turang "dogging-it" in any capacity on the field. He is a pure-110% baseball player. If there's one thing that I've learned from a life time of being a Cardinals fan it's that the Cardinals' fan base will root fro a kid that hustles over a kid that's "toolsy" or "naturally talented" any day of the week. Luckily, Turang is a naturally gifted hustler. He has what I would consider to be an undefined ceiling.
It doesn't always matter, but Turang comes from a family of athletes and you should read this piece from Baseball America on him and his family. I do think that there is a little merit in adding value to a player with his kind of makeup. I just don't know how much. It's going to be fun to watch him develop even if it isn't the Cardinals organization. Turang is yet another player that the Cardinals would be lucky to select at 19th overall.
Special thanks to Prospect Pipeline, Baseball America, and rkyosh007 for the video above.