We are now just under four weeks away from the 2016 MLB Draft, and with a pair of mock drafts released Thursday and Friday we have a couple more players to keep an eye on as possible Dodgers targets in the first round on Thursday, June 9.
The Dodgers have their own pick in the first round, No. 20 overall, plus the 32nd pick as compensation for free agent Zack Greinke signing with Arizona.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his first mock draft on Thursday, and projected Boston College right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn with the 20th pick, and Pittsburgh right-hander T.J. Zeuch at No. 32.
Baseball America has the third version of their mock draft up, with Hudson Belinsky writing the latest on Friday. He predicted Pennsylvania high school shortstop Nolan Jones at No. 20, and Oklahoma right-hander Alec Hansen 32nd overall.
Two of these players we have already seen. Our own David Hood profiled Jones in March, and Baseball America previously linked the Dodgers to Dunn. So here is some information on both Zeuch and Hansen.
Zeuch is a 6'7 right-hander at the University of Pittsburgh, with a 3.66 ERA in 10 starts as a junior, with 68 strikeouts and 20 walks in 66⅓ innings. He pitched on Friday night, allowing four runs in 5⅔ innings in a no-decision on the road at No. 4 Miami, with six strikeouts.
Zeuch's father Tim was his coach for most of his youth, and made sure his son didn't throw breaking pitches until he was physically ready, per the Pitt News:
Knowing the dangers that curveballs and sliders present to young throwing arms, Tim didn’t just wait until Zeuch was a certain age and assume he was ready to throw them. He needed proof.
"I was actually like 15 or 16 years old when I started throwing a real breaking ball. My dad was very careful with that," Zeuch said. "So he really didn’t teach me to throw it until we had actually gone to an orthopedist and got an X-ray."
The X-ray showed that his growth plates were properly sealed, and Tim had assurance that his son was ready to learn the curveball.
Now, "the curveball is probably my best pitch," Zeuch said.
Should the Dodgers take Hansen, he would follow in the footsteps of 2015 picks Walker Buehler (first round) and Phil Pfeifer (third round) of Vanderbilt, as pitchers who were drafted by the club after pitching in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.
Hansen has a 5.06 ERA in 11 games this year as a junior, including seven starts, with 55 strikeouts and 29 walks in 37⅓ innings. He pitched into the seventh inning and stuck out 11 against UCLA at Dodger Stadium on March 5
Hansen went to high school in Fort Collins, and in 2013 was drafted by the hometown Rockies in the 25th round
Belinsky at BA has Hansen going 32nd to the Dodgers, and notes the right-hander has a fastball that reaches 98 mph, also describing Hansen as "with arguably the best package of stuff in this class, and arguably the most inconsistent command in this class."
Hansen answered some questions from Chuck Wassterstrom at MLB Trade Rumors in April and talked about his pitch mix:
[MLBTR] The scouting report is a plus fastball sitting 94-97 and touching 99, plus slider, above average curveball, makings of average changeup. How accurate would you call that report?
[Hansen] "I’d call that accurate. I’ve always thrown hard. My off-speed has always been pretty good. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. I think the more opportunities and experience I get to pitch in game settings, then it will all fall into place."
[MLBTR] You’re 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, and you can reach 99 MPH. How uncomfortable do you want batters to be in the box when they face you?
[Hansen] "I think part of my problem sometimes is that I’m my own biggest competitor. Sometimes, I get so caught up in competing against myself … I don’t worry too much about the batter. I know if I could do what I’m capable of doing, then their chances aren’t very good."