MLB Draft Preview: Jose Fernandez and Dillon Howard | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

MLB Draft Preview: Jose Fernandez and Dillon Howard

The back of the first round this year features a couple of high-upside prep righties in 6-foot-5, 235-pound Jose Fernandez (Alonso HS, FL) and Searcy HS’s (AR) Dillon Howard.

I had the opportunity to see Howard throw last summer for the Midland Redskins, and he was quite dominant.  Howard flashed mid-90s a few times and consistently worked in the 91-93 mph range with an easy, athletic delivery and good sink.  He showed a quality 12-6 curveball that featured plenty of tilt to get right-handed hitters out.  He did not really feature a usable third pitch, but his athleticism suggests that he should pick one up with time.  Howard is 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds and projects well physically.  Considering there is at least a chance he slips into the supplementary round, I would not be surprised if he comes associated with a great deal of signability risk headed into June.  He is committed to Arkansas and has a chance to open the spring as their Friday-nighter.

Fernandez is a far easier sign with quite a bit more upside due to his raw size and strength.  Scouts have seen him up to 97 mph this spring with a quality curveball and a promising slider.  His changeup is good enough to get lefties out as well, but has room to grow.  Considering Fernandez’s background, however, there is a very realistic chance he will take slot money come June.  His family came to the States two years ago from Cuba, and I’m guessing $1-2 million will get him signed.

It might take upwards of $3 million to sign Howard away from Arkansas due to his stellar and well-publicized amateur career in school, club, and showcase ball.  My guess is that Fernandez lands in the 20-25 pick range while Howard lands in the 30-35 area.

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