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2019 MLB draft prep: My first no-hitter of the year

And other thoughts about the June draft.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Recently, I listened to my first no-hitter of the season. Oklahoma City’s Bryce Milligan blanked Grand View (Iowa) in a seven-inning game, allowing merely a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Milligan is one of the basic types of pitchers that’s worth looking for in lower-rung college ball. He chose to play for the Stars out of high school, and has developed into a draft candidate come June.

A six-foot junior from Blanchard, Oklahoma, Milligan has a three-pitch arsenal, with a fastball that usually resides in the 88-92 range. Toss in a curve and a change-up, and Milligan has the mix needed to get hitters out in the minor leagues. Perhaps. Pitchers like this are perfectly valid draft selections from later in the second round to later in the third, if the numbers hold up as the season progresses.

You aren’t especially expected to get “excited” about these sorts of players, even if drafted. However, anybody with a uniform has a chance to improve. Second-and third-day talents can eventually be dealt in July, as many trades (as with free-agency signings) are about limiting the amount surrendered. Milligan is “on my list,” and I’ll check back with his numbers as June approaches.

His mate Tyler Williams (also a junior) hit a homer to provide insurance in the 2-0 victory, The 6-3 Williams was in right field over the weekend, going five-for-ten with two homers and six RBI. Williams is also on the list.

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Keith Law recently pegged the Cubs as the 29th best system in baseball (ESPN Insider subscription required). You’re welcome to agree or disagree with Law, but the Cubs system is far more “depth” than “upside” currently. Regardless if you liked certain trades or not, it’s a bit of a fondue fork being ranked so low. There are two specific aspects to take into consideration.

For many, having a pipeline that doesn’t have much upside is a non-starter. After all, if pieces are used to add needed pieces, the infatuation with youth might be considered overplayed. Many prospects won’t be long-term assets. Trading those to get veteran can be useful, and has been for many decades.

The other prong is that baseball does seem far more of “cost controlled” interest than used to be the case. If the necessity of development is rising, a team has few realistic opportunities to upgrade. There are waiver-wire additions (when the player has years of control remaining), trades (when prospects are acquired), the draft, and the international scene. While it’s possible to get value from surprises, the easiest chances to add long-range talent is with seven-figure international bonuses, and early draft picks.

How to get useful players with cost control remaining seems the skill test for executives now. The easy cop is to “trust the executives”. However, if “bottom third” for a decent chunk of the future is a likelihood, is the trust still justified? I track the draft because it’s virtually ignored in advance, and essential long-term.

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Two Missouri State pitchers are done for the season, including their Friday night guy, Ty Buckner.

Georgia Tech will be short a reliever.

I finally got “sucked into” a game. You’re watching, and for whatever reasons, you have to see it to its conclusion. On Thursday night, the University of British Columbia was visiting Westmont University, who entered ranked 25th. Westmont led 3-1 after three, and 3-2 to the sixth, when the road dogs splashed for four runs. The best player for Westmont, third baseman Luke Coffey, was overly aggressive early. Don’t always believe what you see.

The home team trailed 6-4 to the bottom of the ninth. A leadoff double brought Coffey to the dish, and he spit on some close pitches, running the count to 3-1. He proceeded to bang an opposite field double to right, with the runner moving to third. Right fielder Isaiah Leach ripped a three-run walk-off for my best game of the year, so far. Coffey was added to the list.

My goal this year is to better account for the first round, and rounds thereafter. I understand the ennui some of you have, and the interest, but lack of time, others have. How can I better service your interests for the June Draft, such as you have any? Mine is a fringe interest, but the cost-controlled talent will come either from the Draft or the June cycle, most likely. I want to de-mystify the draft as much as possible. D-1 games start this coming Friday, February 15.