RHP Bedell, OF signee Greene selected in MLB draft

After the Cardinals and Mets drafted them, the question becomes whether or not the Tigers’ projected 2021 contributors will sign.

Much of Missouri baseball’s 2021 outlook is now in the hands of 18-year-old outfielder signee Isaiah Greene and junior right-handed pitcher Ian Bedell, as they were selected 69th overall by the New York Mets and 122nd overall by the St. Louis Cardinals, respectively, in Thursday’s MLB draft.

Greene entered the draft ranked 62 on MLB Pipeline’s top draft prospects, while Bedell ranked 88th. Both would fill crucial roles — Greene would be the likely starting center fielder, and Bedell would be the definite number one starting pitcher — for next year’s Tigers.

Despite a shortened 2020 college baseball season, Bedell impressed scouts enough to be considered a near-lock to be taken in one of the five rounds of a drastically shortened draft. In his only year as a starter, he produced a 3.70 ERA and fanned 35 hitters in four starts, including 12.1 innings of four-run ball against two power-five opponents.

Bedell relies on above-average control, a low-90s fastball, and a curveball that produced swings and misses at an impressive rate this season. The right-hander solidified his status as a top-100 prospect when he dominated the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2019, leading the league with an astounding 0.59 ERA and an opponent OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .383. Some scouts and analysts believe a strong — and full — junior year could have vaulted Bedell into the back end of the first round, but they’d be hesitant to take a player with only five college starts under his belt that high. Many will project him as a contributor out of the bullpen at the next level, where he shined in 2019 with a 1.59 ERA.

Greene, hailing from Corona high school in California, possesses a plus bat and plus-plus speed, and projecting as a true center fielder certainly didn’t hurt. His 60-yard dash of 6.48 seconds put him in the 98th percentile for the Class of 2020.

Greene’s enticing tools project him as a fit in the Mets’ organization, where he would join four top-100 prospects who all reside within the infield. There’s a big opening in the Big Apple in the long-term outfield after the Mets traded 2018 first-round pick Jarred Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners.

If Greene signs, and MLB Network analyst Jonathan Mayo believes there’s a good chance that he will, the Tigers would lose a talented recruit who could have been an instant contributor.

Because head coach Steve Bieser prefers second baseman Mark Vierling in the two hole, the leadoff spot was a revolving door for Missouri in 2020, as were all three outfield positions. No outfielder started more than 10 of 16 games played, and multiple players were tested as the Tigers’ leadoff hitter with underwhelming results.

Greene would fix both problems right off the bat, as his solid bat speed and exit velocity make it seem like he could make the jump to the college game without a significant adjustment period. This is crucial for a team with postseason aspirations, and a solid foundation in the lineup led by Vierling, Brandt Belk, Chad McDaniel, and Peter Zimmermann.

Bedell, on the other hand, was drafted lower than expected. While he’ll be staying in the state of Missouri one way or another, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’s “99.9 percent” sure he’ll be signing with the Cardinals.

The slot value for the 69th selection, a compensatory selection for the loss of right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler, is $929,800. The 122nd selection’s value is $469,000. All draftees have until Aug. 1 to sign.

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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