The 2016 Major League Baseball draft… obviously, we don’t know which HBCU ball players will get drafted or even how many will get drafted. However, we can make a prediction as to which ones we think will come to the forefront. With 40 rounds of the draft coming up this week, Black College Nines figured it’s as good of a time as any to look at a few potential HBCU draftees and our guestimation of where they may land during the three-day event.
The 2016 draft class is expected to be stacked with top HBCU pitching prospects and good hitting position players. Here is a list of six possible selections.
New York Yankees
Matt Outman. He’s athletic, has a plus breaking ball and a durable 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame, plus he has a strong college pitching track record against top Division I opponents. In a tough draft for college starters, Outman fits well in the middle of the 5th round.
St. Louis Cardinals
If Dillon Cooper is available, St. Louis should take him. He fits St. Louis’ profile with his hitting track record and good defense in the outfield, though he still needs some additional defensive work. Nonetheless, Cooper has tremendous hitting and power potential. Look for him somewhere around the 21st round.
The Cubs have surprised the last couple of drafts, taking hitters over pitchers. The 2016 club is full of good hitters, but industry chatter is that they will go for arms this year. Hard-throwing RHP Curtis Johnson of West Virginia State was a two-year starter before head coach, Sean Loyd turned him into a closer. Could blossom as a set-up pitcher leading to a closer role. Middle round draft pick.
The Astros have a huge home grown talent in outfielder Javion Randle of Jarvis Christian College. Houston has seen him a lot, especially when he was starting to rank among the best hitters in collegiate baseball this year. A four-year starter who led the nation in batting average in 2016. My guesstimate – a No. 8 or No. 10 round draft pick.
Some sources continue to wonder if the Braves are focused on a future starter. I believe they will take Alabama State’s RHP Joseph Camacho. If a college pitcher stepped forward and finished with a 26-4 career record, like Camacho did, any major league team would pounce. The bottom line is that the Braves need pitching. A possible 4th round draft pick.
The Indians track record has been tied to prep arms and prep outfielders, but none has stood out enough to work out. If they can shake that, look for Cleveland to go for a college bat, and the best on the board happens to be a Florida guy. Bethune-Cookman OF Nathan Bond has the speed and a plus arm in the outfield to go along with a steady bat.