It’s always Draft season here at North Side Bound. Todd Johnson and Greg Zumach are diving in deep to all things MLB Draft, this time on the latest Q&A. In this hour and a half long episode (Note: we promise we’ll shrink that a bit going forward), the North Side Bound duo tackled topics like second-round options, a preview of the upcoming North Side Bound Mock 2.0, and how to assess the bat-first college hitters near the top of the draft. Make sure to check out the latest rankings, articles, and reports on the MLB Draft from North Side Bound.
Cubs second round options
The selection at 7th overall rightfully dominates the Chicago Cubs draft discussions, but there will be plenty of impact talent available when the Cubs send in their second selection on July 17th. Of the names identified by Greg and Todd, two high school lefthanders stand out as players who are coming on strong this spring.
Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego East (HS), NSB Ranking 19th
Report: Schultz is an ultra-projectable lefthander with a serious feel for spin. The 6’9 lefty comes at hitters with an almost side-arm delivery. That unique angle creates significant problems for hitters, especially those in the left-handed batter’s box. He throws a sweeper slider which generates significant horizontal movement. The report coming into 2022 was that he was more projected velocity (88-91 mph) versus present velocity. This is no longer the case as in his first outing, Schultz sat 94-96 mph according to those in attendance. If he can hold that velocity and remain healthy, Noah Schultz has the ability to be one of the first arms taken in the draft.
Jackson Humphries, LHP, Fuquay-Varina (HS), NSB Ranking 39th
Report: Humphries is a riser to follow this spring with a true four-pitch arsenal. He’s touching 93-94 in outings. His primary offspeed is a strong curveball that flashes plus. He also features a slider that pushes the spin close to 3000 RPMs and a changeup. It’s a great class for HS lefties, but don’t lose sight of Humphries who has the look of a day 1 arm.
Bat-First College Hitters
In evaluations of the 2022 draft class, one of the challenging aspects is how to appropriately value the bat-first college hitters. Players like Jace Jung (Texas Tech), Jacob Berry (LSU), and Chase DeLauter (JMU) are all off to strong offensive starts to the season, but questions arise at where they end up playing at the next level.
With Jacob Berry and Jace Jung, the duo are both sporting OPS’s over 1.100 and playing against upper-tier competition, but each may be destined for first base in professional ball. There have been only two college primary first basemen drafted in the top 10 in the last decade (three if you count Tigers 3B Spencer Torkelson): Andrew Vaughn 3rd overall in 2019 and Pavin Smith 7th overall in 2017.
Greg went on the record that he still believes in Chase DeLauter’s profile, but noted that he’ll hear mixed opinions about the swing. Some like it, some love it, and some aren’t fans. He has played centerfield, but if his ultimate position is in rightfield, teams will need to feel confident in the bat at the next level, which limits his market.
So how do teams value Jung, Berry, and DeLauter? It’s hard to tell right now, but with each passing weekend series, we find more data points
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