2014 MLB Draft profiles: 1B/OF Braxton Davidson & LHP Foster Griffin

Braxton Davidson screencapThis is the final in my profile series of 2014 MLB Draft prospects. Due to time constraints (the draft is tomorrow), I’m looking at Braxton Davidson (above) and Foster Griffin (below).

Previous entries
Derek Hill
Jacob Gatewood
Spencer Adams
Touki Toussaint
Kodi Medeiros
Erick Fedde
Sean Reid-Foley
Luis Ortiz

Braxton Davidson

Vitals
6’3, 215 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
DOB: June 18, 1996

Location
Ashville, N.C.
T.C. Roberson High School

Rankings

Baseball America: 36
ESPN: 16
MLB.com: 36
MLB Draft Insider: 25
Perfect Game: 28
Scouting Baseball: 27

Slot recommended bonus (No. 22): $1,980,500

Editor’s note: All information of draft prospects compiled from internet sources, scouting reports and video.

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In a draft filled with high-ceiling arms — especially at the high school level — the really good high school bats tend to stand out. Braxton Davidson, despite his potential position limitation, has the bat that could make him a first-rounder in a deep draft.

Davidson is a big kid from North Carolina and has legitimate plus-power potential. He starts with a wide base. Because of this, he doesn’t have a stride. Instead, he twists his front leg toward the plate to generate the torque and power in his swing. He has a little hitch in his swing, but his quick hands nullify the negative impact that might have. He’s quiet at the plate, as there isn’t a ton of pre-pitch movement.

His swing is smooth and fluid all the way through the ball. He’s adept at driving the ball with authority to the left-center field gap, which bodes well for his future as a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. Davidson has a nice finish to his swing, but he’s also a little more straight up-and-down than most hitters. Despite some swing-and-miss, he has good strike zone judgment and isn’t afraid to take a walk. He looks the part of a hitter

He’s a below-average runner, so he’ll end up in a corner outfield spot or, more likely, at first base. His arm is fringy for left field, so he looks like a 1B/LF profile. As long as he hits, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Video

As a kid from Ashville, he’s naturally committed to play at the University of North Carolina. I haven’t heard anything about signability concerns for him. He’s expected to go in the Top 40 picks, which means a $1 million-plus payday. I don’t think he’ll be passing that up. He’s No. 6 on my Big Board (due out later today), and with the lack of impact bats in the draft, I’d be perfectly OK if he were the pick at No. 22.

Foster Griffin

Foster Griffin screencap

Vitals
6’5, 190 pounds
Bats: Right (!)
Throws: Left
DOB: July 27, 1995

Location
Orlando, Fla.
First Academy High School

Rankings

Baseball America: 27
ESPN: 32
MLB.com: 28
MLB Draft Insider: 32
Perfect Game: 35
Scouting Baseball: 30

Slot recommended bonus (No. 22): $1,980,500

Editor’s note: All information of draft prospects compiled from internet sources, scouting reports and video.

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Griffin is your typical tall, projectable left-handed pitcher. He’s the left-handed version of what Logan White looks for in a right-handed prep pitching prospect. The only other prep lefty I’ve profiled is Kodi Medeiros, and the two are nothing alike. Some have compared Griffin for Orioles’ lefty Brian Matusz.

Griffin has an 88-92 MPH fastball that has touched 94 MPH. He gets a little glove-side run to the pitch, which he has good feel for already. He won’t (yet) blow away many hitters with it based on velocity, but he knows what he wants to do with the pitch. It plays up a bit because of the extension Griffin gets in his lanky frame.

His curveball is a work in progress and has flashed average potential in the past. It’s a 73-75 MPH pitch that has some shape to it. If he works on it, it could be a 55 pitch in the future. He’s also toyed with a slider, but he might have to put that pitch on the shelf to focus on sharpening his curveball.

Griffin’s changeup is his best off-speed pitch. It’s a low-80s pitch that features fade and good movement, especially against right-handers. It has plus-potential. He needs to improve his arm speed with the pitch, though. Sometimes, there is a noticeable difference when he throws the changeup, compared to the fastball.

Above all, he throws strikes with all his pitches and makes hitters beat him. He’s advanced for any draft-eligible pitcher, not just for a high schooler. His delivery is decent, but could be cleaned up in a few areas. It almost looks like his upper-half is moving slower than his bottom half, causing him to get out of sync at times. But the delivery is quiet and repeatable. He finishes it really bent over, which is uncommon when looking at a tall pitcher.

Video

Griffin is from the “rich” part of Orlando, so it doesn’t appear money is that much of an issue for him. Still, a nearly $2 million payday would be hard to pass up. He’s committed to Ole Miss, which could have a really strong team in the SEC next season. But Griffin is likely to sign if he’s a Top 35-40 pick. He’s ranked No. 10 on my Big Board and would be my least favorite (obviously) of the options for the Dodgers at 22.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.