SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Outfielder Alex McKenna and catcher Nick Meyer earned rankings in D1Baseball.com's predictions for the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. Both Cal Poly baseball players will be juniors in the spring.
McKenna was listed No. 11 among eligible outfielders for the draft while Meyer was the No. 8 selection among catchers.
D1Baseball.com said about McKenna:
"Few players in the Cape Cod League played as consistently as Alex McKenna did this summer for Y-D (Yarmouth-Dennis). His game is not necessarily flashy, but he consistently got the job done. McKenna is an above-average runner, but not an all-out burner on the base paths.
"He has excellent instincts on the bases, and the same can be said for his play in the outfield. His arm plays about average in game action, but he is also accurate and consistent with it. This is not a player that will steamroll competition with huge raw tools, but he also has no distinct weaknesses.
"He shows flashes of power in batting practice, and will likely tap into that a little more eventually. His hit tool is extremely advanced, and his above-average bat speed and flat line drive swing path have made him a dangerous gap to gap threat. And he's an outstanding athlete that appears to be getting better with each repetition on the field."
And D1Baseball/com's comments on Meyer:
"The 6-foot, 195 pound backstop has some work to do on the offensive side of things, but his continued strong play behind the dish will keep him squarely in the early draft picture in 2018.
"He generates pop times consistently around 1.95, shows above-average receiving actions and is the type of athlete that scouts are looking for at the next level. His bat will need development, as he's not a power threat right now, but he has shown signs of having quality barrel control.
Meyer played on USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team last summer and Meyer is No. 23 among the players on the squad eligible for the draft next June.
More on Meyer from D1Baseball.com:
"Meyer hit a modest .255/.316/.330 as a sophomore last spring at Cal Poly, but he made Team USA for his defense behind the plate. He's a high-end defensive backstop who excels at receiving, blocking, game-calling and throwing. His arm rates as above-average to plus, and he can throw from various angles with a quick release.
"Meyer is a good athlete with excellent agility, allowing him to pounce on bunts and dribblers in front of the plate. Quality defensive catchers are always in demand, so Meyer should be a pretty solid draft, but his bat has a long way to go.
"He hit just .188/.182/.225 in 40 at-bats for Team USA, struggling to drive the ball with any authority. He does show a decent line-drive swing path in batting practice, but he needs to get stronger. His swing is unsophisticated, with no hand trigger and an ambush, pull-happy approach, and it can get choppy. If he can develop into a serviceable contact hitter, Meyer's defense could carry him to the big leagues as a backup."
Team USA finished up a very successful summer with a 15-5 record, including a 10-4 mark in international play. The Americans won all three of their international series — against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan. Scouts weren't dazzled by the overall level of talent on the team, largely agreeing that the crop was average at best. The high-end arms stood out more than the bats.
Recently, Baseball America unveiled the Top 25 recruiting classes in the country and 10 more that just missed the cut. Baseball America notes, however, that with 298 Division I college baseball programs, there were plenty of other notable recruiting classes beyond the top echelon, including Cal Poly.
"The Mustangs brought in some exciting position players and a large group of pitchers, which will add needed depth to their staff," Baseball America said. "Right-hander/first baseman Darren Nelson stands out for his 6-foot-8, 255-pound frame, and he has a powerful arm and bat. He throws from a steep downhill angle, filling up the strike zone with a fastball that gets up to 91 mph. While his future is likely on the mound, he will continue to hit and will add power to the lineup.
"Outfielders Cole Cabrera and Blake Wagenseller both have intriguing toolsets. Cabrera may be the fastest player on the team and has a chance to be Cal Poly's center fielder of the future. Wagenseller is more physical and has a good combination of speed and power.
"On the mound, right-handers Taylor Dollard and Jack Zigan both have a long track record of strike throwing that should allow them to quickly help the Mustangs. Dollard throws his fastball in the upper 80s and mixes in a good slider, and is coming off an excellent summer in the West Coast League. Zigan, a Minnesota native, has a projectable frame and some deception in his delivery."
Cal Poly opened fall practice last Friday and will continue with drills on the field until mid-November. The 2018 season begins Feb. 16.