NAIA Baseball 2019 MLB Draft Preview 1.0

Another year, another draft preview that NAIA Ball and Robby have compiled and put together a very comprehensive piece on the best of the best in NAIA Baseball. Please, take a moment and follow those two, they are the best in the industry.

In addition to the home stretch of taking stock in the NAIA’s 2019 finest, TTFB presented a new ranking to the college world, the JSI. The JSI wasn’t far off this year, six of the top ten that made the NAIA World Series were in the top ten on the last JSI. Subtract automatic home bid Lewis Clark, and Cinderella Bellevue, we were six out of eight. Then we had one at 11. Ah, so close. We will look to improve next year.

Anyways, this list was compiled from Scouts and Head Coaches throughout the NAIA world. Again, thanks to Robby for the write ups! Follow him!

MLB Draft List

Aaron Shackleford- The Master’s (CA) Shackleford was a monster this year, he hit .415 with 36 HR, and 99 RBI. He ended the season just two shy of the NAIA all-time record. Shackleford’s ability to hit for power and video game numbers will certainly get him some looks as draft day approaches. Prediction: Day 2

Anthony Lepre- The Master’s (CA) Lepre and Shackleford combined for 64 of their team’s 89 HR. Lepre hit .438 this year for the Mustangs and averaged over one RBI per game. Lepre can be a free swinger at times and it seemed to work out well for him. The Master’s is losing a huge chunk of its offense in Lepre and Shackleford, but they have no shortage of talent move up to the next level. Look for both Lepre and Shackleford’s names to get called. Prediction: Day 3

Jackie Urbaez- STU (FL) Urbaez numbers are down this year compared to some monster stats he threw up last season. I don’t think that stops him from getting his name called next week! Urbaez is an all-around talented player. He can hit to all fields and is great defensively with a plus arm from second base. He’s a .339 career hitter at the NAIA level, with over 100 RBI and 17 HR in his two-year run at STU. He does the little things right, I believe his overall performance gets him picked up. Prediction: Day 3

Dan Valerio- SEU (FL) Valerio is that rare guy who has found success at every level he’s played at. In four years, Valerio has been to four World Series between JUCO and the NAIA levels. While Valerio hasn’t put up the same caliber power and offensive numbers he did last season, he’s still north of .350. Speed, power, and ability to hit to all fields are accounted for. 45 stolen bags, 28 long balls, and 163 hits in just two years at SEU. Prediction: Day 3

Marcus Ragan- Faulkner (AL) Ragan a transfer from D1 UALR was an offensive staple for the Eagles this year. Hitting .364 with 40 RBI, while swiping 31 bags in 47 starts. The Vicksburg, Mississippi native will likely find a new home in professional baseball soon, Faulkner has had plenty of players drafted the last few years. Ragan is also a former 15th round selection by the Red Sox. Prediction: Day 3

Antonio Frias- Faulkner (AL) Frias was good for Faulkner. Really good. Posting a 2.95 ERA in 82.1 IP, Frias struck out 109 while only walking 37. He also held opponents to a team best .172 opponent average. Frias has a three pitch mix and will sit 88-92 MPH. Prediction: Day 2

Jacob Hulcher- Faulkner (AL) Despite the 5+ ERA for Hulcher, he still went 6-0 this season in 48.1 innings pitched. It will be the velocity that has peaked teams interest, Hulcher works a fastball/ slider mix that sits between 90-93mph. Prediction: Day 3

Zach Cornell – Middle Georgia State Cornell was the catalyst for the Knights this year. Cornell may only be a JR but he’s draft eligible and has upped his game in every season. In 2017, Cornell only hit one HR and this past season, he hit 12 long balls with 61 RBIs. I believe Cornell garners some attention this season, If he doesn’t go this year then I fully expect him to be called next season. Prediction: Day 3.

Eddy Tavarez Cabrera – Peru State (NE) After last season Eddy, reached out to me and asked, what I believed his chances were of being drafted. At the time I didn’t think he would go (2018), but his persistence and hard work will pay off in 2019.  This season, he threw up some high velocity numbers that ran well into the mid 90’s. In 67.1 innings pitched, Cabrera sat down 118 opposing hitters, allowing just 33 hitters to reach base. Prediction: Day 2

Ray Diaz- Marymount (CA) Diaz was the ace of Marymount this season, doing some major damage in limited innings, compared to some of the other starters on this list. Diaz had a 1.26 ERA in just eight starts, punching out 87 hitters in just 57.1 innings pitched. Diaz shows great control allowing just 15 walks and holding opponents to a .184 average. Prediction: Day 3

Orlando Rodriguez -STU (FL) Rodriguez has been a workhorse for Jorge Perez and the Bobcats, totaling over 200 innings pitched in three years. Rodriguez has been a 100+ strikeout guy the last two seasons for STU, with a career ERA sitting just north of 2.80. Velocity isn’t a problem for Rodriguez who can sit in the low 90’s to upper 80’s on a consistent basis. Prediction: Day 2

Greg Elder Jr- Truett-McConnel Elder Jr., the 5’11 LHP from Albany, GA has turned plenty of heads this season with a nasty velo well into the 90’s. Elder Jr. has punched out 365 batters in over four years with a back to back 105 strikeout season. Control will be an issue, as Elder Jr. has walked 200+ batters in his NAIA Baseball career, but with a velocity sitting in the mid 90’s from the left side there will be a team wanting to work with Elder Jr. Prediction: Day 2

Brody WoffordGGC Wofford is no stranger to the draft, he was a 2017 14th round selection by the Reds. Wofford attended LSU straight out of high school, but found plenty of success in 2017 at Chipola where he won a NJCAA national title. This year, Wofford hit .333 with 11 HR and 61 RBI for the Grizzlies. Prediction: Day 3

Niall Windeler- UBC Standing at 6’4, the LHP Niall Windeler from British Columbia, has had a great year as the ace for the thunder birds. Windeler led his team with 94.1 innings pitched, 105 strikeouts, and held opponents to an average of .187. Pitching was the high mark for UBC this season, and Windeler was the staple of it all. Prediction: Day 3

Austin Sojka- OKWU Sojka has been special this year, he was a top 40 finalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and he was one of three non NCAA D1 players on that list. The Golden Spikes Award is given to the best amateur baseball player across all levels from HS to D1. Sojka hit .447 with 14 HR, and 53 RBI this season for OKWU. 34 of his 89 hits this season went for extra bases. Prediction: Day 3

Bailey Reid- Westmont- Reid doesn’t carry the workload that a lot of pitchers on this list have thrown. But relievers are people too, and Reid was outstanding despite just 12.2 innings pitched, as he allowed just three hits and zero runs. Reid has been clocked up to the mid 90’s this season and it’s a huge bounce back from last season when he posted a 7.94 ERA. The drawback has been just 38 innings of work over the last three seasons, but the velocity is there. Prediction: Day 3

Cole Bellair- Tennessee Wesleyan- Bellair has been incredible the last two years for TWU, with a record of 19-3. This season, Bellair has a 1.59 ERA in 96.1 innings pitched on a TWU team that does just about everything right. The Lockport, IL native will run the velocity into the low 90’s and will mix the off speed well. Prediction: Day 3

Houston Glad- Texas Wesleyan- The Creighton transfer found plenty of success in his one season at Texas Wesleyan, throwing 88.1 innings pitched striking out 93. Glad will sit 89-92 MPH and throw a mix of: fastball, slider, changeup, and split finger. Glad has been described as a guy with the ability to keep himself composed in the big situations, leading the Rams in wins this season with 10. Prediction: Day 3

Lake Burris- Bryan- 62 times in his career at Bryan, Lake Burris has rounded the bases. 2019 was Burris’s big season to show off the power, hitting 29 HR this year for the Lions. Burris is a career .315 hitter, he’s tallied over 200 hits in his career and drove in 193 runs. Burris has struggled to control the strikes outs over the last three years but the emphasis on power and his ability to drive the ball will get him plenty of looks. Prediction: Day 3

Colton Williams- USAO- Williams has been nothing short of lights out for the Drovers, who have likely the best pitching staff in the nation (STU with a close 2nd). The Galveston College transfer holds a 1.23 ERA with a 16-0 in 15 starts this season. In 102.2 innings pitched, the 6’5 LHP has sat down 132 batters and walked just 25. Opponents struggle with Williams, hitting just .177 opponent average off of him. Williams can throw easily into 90’s and despite being a JR, he’s shown dominance in my opinion as one of the best pitchers in college baseball. When it comes time, Williams will be my front runner for the NAIA Ball Podcast pitcher of the year. Prediction: Day 2

Glen McClain- Indiana Tech- Originally signing to Xavier out of HS, McClain made quite the career for himself at Indiana Tech. Probably one of the most impressive things about him is in 830 at-bats he’s struck out just 63 times. 343 career hits including a 100+ hit sophomore season, 40 homers, 215 runs batted in, and a career average of .413. McClain has done it all at the NAIA level, and shown improvement in power each year. Prediction: Day 3

Matt Burleton- Marian- Burleton was a monster in his first 100+ innings pitched this season, posting an ERA of 1.37 and striking out 87. In his 4 years at Marian, Burleton has a 2.52 ERA in 318.1 innings, he’s walked just 88 in his four year career and thrown chairs to 280 on the punch out. Burleton ranks top 10 in the NAIA for ERA (4th), total innings pitched (5th), and total runs allowed – 18 (7th). Prediction – Day 3

Players to watch for draft / UDFA signings

  • Justin Friedman- HIU
  • Gavin Sonnier- LSUA
  • Jason Munsch- CUNE
  • Brad Bero- Doane
  • Max Guzman- Faulkner
  • Sergio Lopez- STU
  • Felix Dieguez- SEU
  • Bryce Fraser- SEU
  • Matthew Swain- GGC
  • Pedro Gracia- GGC
  • Cam Coursey- GGC
  • Drenis Ozuna- OKWU
  • Cameron Vige- Texas Wesleyan
  • Austen Swift- WJU
  • Tyler Reichenborn- TN WES
  • Braden Mosley- TN WES
  • Blaine Milheim- CUAA
  • Cal Koga- WJU
  • Daryl Myers- Benedictine (KS)
  • Michael Slaton- Benedictine (KS)
  • Trenton Nash- MGA
  • Blake Jackson- MGA
  • Bryan Benz- University of the Cumberlands
  • Raudy Martinez- University of the Cumberlands
  • Victor Del Carmen- SCU (JR)
  • Manny Lopez- SCU
  • Shane McNeely- HIU
  • Gage O’Brien- Campbellsville
  • Jesse Davis- Campbellsville
  • Zak Spivy – WIU
  • Marcus Begg – WIU
  • Willie Carter – WIU
  • Malcolm Grady- Campbellsville
  • Anthony Arias- Campbellsville
  • Jesse Spangler- Presentation (SD)
  • Victor Hughes- Montreat
  • Bryce Milligan- Okla. City
  • Tyler Williams- Okla. City
  • Zach Harvey- Rio Grande
  • Ivan Nunez – SEU
  • JT Patterson – Bellevue
  • Travis Tanaka – Bellevue

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