2015 MLB draft day 1: Six from Pac-12 selected
The Pac-12 Conference showed well on day 1 of the MLB first-year player draft Monday, with five players going in the first two rounds and one going in Competitive Balance Round B.
The New York Yankees made right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian the first player selected from the Pac-12 when they took the UCLA product with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round. Kaprielian went 10-4 with a 2.03 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) for the Bruins this past season as a junior. Listed at 6-4, 200 pounds, Kaprielian is considered one of the most polished pitchers in this draft class. He doesn’t possess an overpowering fastball, but is expected to quickly rise through the minor leagues with his four pitches and exceptional control.
“I see him as a future No. 3 starter, and I think he’ll get there pretty quickly” said MLB analyst Jim Callis on MLB Network’s draft show.
Kaprielian was a reliever on the 2013 UCLA team that won the College World Series before converting to a starting role the past two seasons, leading the Pac-12 in strikeouts both years. He earned all-Pac-12 honors in 2014 and was a first-team selection in 2015 on a Bruins team that won the Pac-12 and went 45-16 but lost to Maryland on June 1 in the NCAA regional finals (game 2) at Jackie Robinson Field.
Pittsburgh Pirates Pick No. 19 (First Round)
In a draft stockpiled with shortstops, Arizona's Kevin Newman managed to separate himself with one incredible stat: Newman is the only player in Cape Cod League history to win two batting titles. Newman hit .375 in 2013 and .385 in 2014. It was an elite accomplishment, considering the Cape Cod league is played with wood bats and is meant for the elite members of college baseball. It regularly churns out MLB talent.
There’s no question the Pirates took Newman, a 6-1, 180-pounder from Poway, Calif., with the No. 19 pick because of his offensive potential. MLB.com dubbed him “one of the best pure hitters in the 2015 college class, with a mastery of the strike zone and a penchant for spraying line drives all over the field.”
Newman was one of eight shortstops selected in the first round after three were taken with the first three picks for the first time ever.
Miami Marlins Pick No. 50 (Second Round)
Arizona State left-handed pitcher Brett Lilek was the No. 50 overall pick in the second round Monday by the Miami Marlins after an up-and-down junior season due to command issues. An All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection, Lilek still went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) after he was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick in 2014.
Lilek, who has a fastball that’s clocked at 93-94, according to MLB.com also has a change-up and curveball that project well at the pro level. MLB analyst Harold Reynolds compared him to two-time All-Star and Angels starter C.J. Wilson, a fellow southpaw.
Pittsburgh Pirates No. 62 pick (Second Round)
UCLA had its second player selected when the Pirates nabbed Bruins middle infielder Kevin Kramer at No. 62. The left-handed hitter missed the entire 2014 season with a shoulder injury before a breakout redshirt junior year, when he batted .323 and tied for the team lead with seven homers in 61 games. He projects as either a shortstop or second baseman at the pro level, depending on how his shoulder continues to recover.
Seattle Mariners No. 72 pick (Competitive Balance Round B)
The Mariners took right-hander Andrew Moore out of Oregon State with their second pick of the draft, No. 72 overall, in the Competitive Balance Round B stage. Moore was 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 16 games (all of them starts) last season as a junior with the Beavers.