Friday, May 22, 2009

Amateur Draft Top 50 - May 22, 2009

Jacob Turner is the epitome of the projectable prep pitcher

With the draft less than three weeks away, this will be the last ‘Top 50’ that is done in this format. Next Friday we will rank the Top 50 players, by how we would choose them if we were making all of the picks. Then on June 5th, we will post our mock draft of the first two rounds. There hasn’t been a lot that has changed over the last week, as there isn’t a single player on this week’s list that hasn’t been in consideration for the list the previous two weeks, just a little shuffling within the ranks. On the downside, Baylor’s Kendal Volz is dropping like a rock. Volz was at one time a candidate to go in the top 10 picks. Now he is fighting to go on day one.

College Right-Handed Pitchers –

1) Stephen Strasburg, San Diego St – The city of Washington D.C. breathed a sigh of relief this week when word came out that Strasburg’s departure after 7 2/3 shutout innings was nothing more than minor back spasms. He is now 13-0 with a 1.24ERA and a 180:19 K:BB ratio in 102 IP.
2) Kyle Gibson, Missouri – Each of the next four guys on this list all have their backers--It’s really just a matter of taste. Gibson is the workman-like one of the group that just always seems to get the job done.
3) Tanner Scheppers, Independent – Scheppers likely has the best ‘stuff’ of the four, but still is an injury concern.
4) Aaron Crowe, Independent – Crowe has the fastball and is the most proven. He’s pitching well in the Northern League.
5) Alex White, North Carolina – White is the preference for those who favor upside. He has three pitches that could all be plus pitches.
6) Mike Leake , Arizona State – Doesn’t have the upside of the previous five, but all that Leake does is keep on winning. A complete game shutout with 12Ks and no walks in his last outing.
7) Kyle Heckathorn, Kennesaw State – Heckathorn will go in the first round off of his raw ‘stuff’ more than his performance this year.
8) Chad Jenkins, Kennesaw State – Has outpitched Heckathorn this year, but doesn’t have the same projectability.
9) Sam Dyson, South Carolina – Dyson has been on fire lately. There are concerns that he profiles as a RP or else he would be higher on this list.

High School Right-Handed Pitchers –

1) Jacob Turner, Westminster Academy, St. Louis – Turner turned 18yo last week and celebrated by fanning 32 batters over two games. He is the most projectable prep pitcher in the draft.
2) Shelby Miller, Brownswood H.S. TX – In front of a ton of scouts Monday, Miller tossed a gem, a 7 inning shutout, while allowing 4 hits, walking 1 and fanning 14.
3) Zack Wheeler, East Paulding High School, Dallas, GA – Wheeler is the most polished high school arm available…It will be an upset if he gets past the Braves at #7.
4) Matt Hobgood, Norco H.S., CA – Hobgood has a 19-0 record over the last two seasons and has given up only 3ERs in 55IP on the year.
5) Brody Colvin, RHP, St. Thomas More, LA – Colvin is 6’4” and throws a low-90s fastball. His secondary offerings are a work in progress, but this is a highly projectable right-hander.
6) Madison Younginer, Maudlin HS, SC - A big-time fastball and three pitches with plus potential make Younginer highly sought after.

College Left-Handed Pitchers –

1) Rex Brothers, Lipscomb – Only Strasburg has fanned more batters than Brothers this year.
2) Mike Minor, Vanderbilt – After being just so-so for most of the season Minor has been heating up lately. Minor had his best outing of the season Wednesday night in front of a ton of scouts.
3) Andrew Oliver, Oklahoma State – Overcame early distractions to pitch well recently. I am higher on him than most.
4) James Paxton, Kentucky – I find more to not like than I do to like, but Paxton has the best raw stuff of any college LHP…he just can’t get anyone out.

High School Left-Handed Pitchers –

1) Tyler Matzek, Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo H.S. – The most complete package of any prep pitcher, Matzek finished the regular season with a 1.23 ERA and 84 Ks in 64IP.
2) Matt Purke, Klein, TX – My predicition is that Purke is this year’s version of Tim Melville whose rumored bonus demands allowed him to fall to the fourth round. As a LHP, he won’t get quite that far, but could slide out of round one if the rumors are true.
3) Tyler Skaggs, Santa Monica H.S., CA – Looks to be in the second tier of prep pitchers along with James, Hobgood, Colvin and Youginer.
4) Chad James, Yukon H.S., OK – As a LHP with 4 potentially plus pitches, including a low 90s fastball, James could sneak into the first round.

College Catchers –

1) Tony Sanchez, Boston College – Could be an overdraft this year, similar to Castro last season, due to the lack of college catchers.

High School Catchers –

1) Wil Myers, Wesley Academy, NC – May not stay behind the plate, but I really like his bat no matter where he plays. He is the equivalent to a basketball gym rat—only on the baseball diamond.
2) Max Stassi, Yuba City, CA – A rarity among prep players is a Catcher that is likely to remain there and a bat that should be at least adequate.
3) Luke Bailey, Troup H.S. LaGrange, GA – Was the top prep receiver and a possible top 10 pick in a very strong class before undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of April. Now it will be interesting to see who is willing to take a gamble.
4) Tommy Joseph, Horizon HS, AZ – Joseph has big-time power and has 15HR in 77 ABs on the year.
5) J.R. Murphy, Pendleton School, Bradenton, FL – A solid bat, but has positional questions.

College Outfielders –

1) Dustin Ackley, North Carolina – Continues to solidify his position as the #2 player available with a strong May performance.
2) Tim Wheeler, Sacramento State – A true CF, Wheeler has a 1.259 OPS and 18HRs on the season.
3) A.J. Pollock, Notre Dame – Best all around outfielder in draft, Pollock continues his torrid May pace. .365/.444/.604 with great plate discipline for the season.
4) Jared Mitchell, LSU – Hitting .341/.479/.587 with 30 SBs on the season. What scouts really drool over though, is what he is likely to become.
5) Brett Jackson, California – Striking out once every 4 PAs is perhaps more of a negative than his power is a plus.
6) Jason Kipnis, Arizona State – Scouts see him as little more than a good college player…I believe in the results he has produced.
7) Angelo Songco, Loyola-Marymount – Songco has cooled a bit over the last couple of weeks and is in danger of a draft day slide.

High School Outfielders –

1) Donovan Tate, Cartersville H.S., GA – Son of former college FB standout Lars Tate. Phenomenal athlete. Could go Top 5, possibly #3, if signability concerns are taken care of.
2) Michael Trout, Millsville H.S., NJ – In a draft short on offensive talent, Trout has 5-tool potential and has vaulted up draft boards this Spring.
3) Everett Williams, McCallum H.S. Austin, TX – A pure CF who will have to overcome size concerns, but will be drafted on his tools.
4) Jake Marisnick, Poly H.S. Riverside, CA – May be the most athletic prepster in the draft and has some production to go with it.
5) Brian Goodwin, Rocky Mount, NC, HS – This looks a typical Phillies pick to me…great athlete whose best tools are speed and defense but is a gamble with the bat.

College Corner Infielders –

1) Rich Poythress, Georgia – Poythress has been ice cold as of late—especially against top tier pitching, but is still likely to go in the first round because the crop of available hitters is so weak.
2) Ben Paulsen, Clemson – Not real toolsy, but the bat is extremely solid. .374/.435/.676 in the ACC.

High School Corner Infielders –
1) Bobby Borchering, Bishop Verot H.S. Ft. Myers, FL – Hitting a HR every 7 ABs this season and doing it from both sides of the plate. Would rate even higher if the consensus was that he’ll stay at 3B.
2) Matt Davidson, Yucaipa, H.S. CA – The best prep power hitter has closed the season strong. .566/.693/1.184 with a 24:6 BB:K ratio.

College Middle Infielders –

1) Grant Green, USC – Grant is expected to go anywhere from #3 to #16. Much has been made of his ‘poor’ Junior season. The reality is that a great Sophomore season, followed by arguably the best offensive performance on the Cape last summer, created unrealistic expectations and comparisons to players like Longoria and Tulowitzki. He posted a 1.082 OPS in 2008. On March 21st the Trojans began their conference schedule against UCLA. In 36 games from that point on, the Trojans have faced one of the 10 toughest schedules in the nation. Green has posted a .402/.452/.620 (a 1.072 OPS) with better strikezone control than he showed in 2008. If I am drafting, he is one of the first three players off the board. If he falls out of the top 10 picks he will be the steal of the draft.

High School Middle Infielders –

1) Jiovanni Mier, Bonita H.S. LaVerne, CA – Best combination of offense/defense among middle infielders. I really like Mier and expect teams to let him slide more than they should on Draft Day.
2) Deven Marrero, American Heritage HS, Plantation, FL – The younger brother of Chris (Nationals) and Christian (White Sox) and from the same high school that produced Eric Hosmer and won a mythical national championship in 2008, Marrero is a hard-nosed player that will perform higher than his draft position.
3) Mychal Given, Plant HS, Tampa, FL – There is significant controversy as to whether to draft him for his arm or his bat, but the consensus seems to be that it will be the bat. The type of player that may develop better when no longer focusing on both.
4) Nick Franklin, Lake Brantley HS, FL – Franklin’s parents built him a batting cage at home when he was 3yo. He’s used it to slug his way to a .538 AVG and a school record 10HRs this season. Could be the second prep middle infielder selected.

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