Monday, June 8, 2009

Amateur Draft Top 50 - June 8, 2009

Borchering established himself as the Top prep bat with his performance at Sebring

Update (06/08/09) - Tanner Scheppers made his final pre-draft start on Monday night going 5 Innings, walking 3 and fanning 5. More encouraging was that his velocity sat in the mid 90's most of the night and reportedly went as high as 100mph. This may be enough to alleviate some of the concerns about his health and move him up as high as #3 on this list.
Tomorrow’s the day that Major League scouting groups have been laboring over for nearly a year. Sometime later this evening I will post how I think things will unfold in what is likely to be one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory. Beyond the Top Two talents, a smattering of injuries, a deep pool of first-round caliber players, uncertainties due to the very nature of prep pitchers, a dearth of college level hitting talent, unreasonable bonus demands and Scott Boras-heavy top-tier talent should combine to make this one of the most ‘interesting’ first rounds in recent memory. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if a player gets picked in the top 5, that wasn’t on the first round board for many teams—It’s that crazy. So while our Mock Draft this evening will try to sort it all out and provide our best guess as to what we think ‘will’ happen, this is the list of who we believe we would pick in the first 50 slots overall. One final note, the first 15 players listed here have some separation for us. While I believe that first round talent goes nearly 40-45 picks in this draft, for us the first 15 are a notch above the rest and as we compiled this list we probably had 20 different combinations in the 16-30 range over the last 4 days.

1) Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego St – Don’t listen to the nonsense of how top pitchers have failed, there has never been any one even close to what he did in college. Read yesterday’s Division I Performance Evaluation post to get a better understanding of how far above the competition he is. While one can’t ever predict injury possibilities, nothing short of that will prevent him from very quickly stepping into Washington as one of the top 20 pitchers in the League.
2) Dustin Ackley, CF, North Carolina – He’s not the type of player that makes scouts drool because the only skill that is off the charts is his ‘makeup’. But Ackley combines an unbelievable ‘makeup’ with solid all-around skills that should make him a team leader in Seattle for years to come. While I have taken my shots on how the Mariner front office has run things with their draft and Minor League system over the last couple of years, they would be complete fools to pass on him, regardless of his $ demands, as he is the type of player you build/rebuild a team around.
3) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo H.S. – For those who haven’t been paying attention, Matzek has closed the year absolutely ‘lights out’. There is clear separation between him and the others of a very talented prep pitching class. While scouts will ‘ding’ him for not having overpowering size, he is the best prep lefty since Clayton Kershaw in 2006, and the most polished one since longer than that.
4) Grant Green, SS/2B, USC – I just believe that the downside risk with Green is too minimal to pass on him in the top 5. I think he has enough glove to stay at SS for many teams, that he will hit for more power than he has this year, and that even if he has to slide over to 2B he still will be an above league average talent in very short order. This is the extremely sensible pick at this slot.
5) Bobby Borchering, 3B/1B, Bishop Verot H.S. Ft. Myers, FL – After a few ‘safe’ picks, the risk begins. Borchering is heads and shoulders above any other prep position player in this draft. He was a man among boys at Sebring a couple of weeks ago, and even if he has to slide across the diamond to 1B…his bat will play there.
6) Alex White, RHP, North Carolina – I have been extremely disappointed with White all season, not because he has pitched poorly, but because he has pitched inconsistently. In the couple of games of his that I have seen, even when the results weren’t good, the ‘stuff’ was there. He entered the year as the second best college arm in the draft and, based on his upside, I still believe he is.
7) Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Independent – If it weren’t for the previous injury issues, I would have him at #3. So far his Independent league results have been mixed, as his velocity is back but his control is still at issue. That’s not uncommon for an injury return and so I believe it is just a matter of time before he returns to pre-injury form.
8) Donovan Tate, OF, Cartersville H.S., GA – Tate could go as high as #3 in this year’s draft, but there are too many open questions for me to take him there. Will he forgo football? Forgo college? If he becomes baseball only focused, will his tools translate into production? There is too much talent here to let him slip much past this, but it’s still a high reward/high risk pick at this spot.
9) Aaron Crow, RHP, Independent – I’ll admit it…I am an age bigot when it comes to prospects. I look at what Crow did at Missouri and then compare it to both Detweiler in 2007 and Gibson this year…and look at their ages, I can’t get tremendously excited. Don’t get me wrong, I think Crow should and likely will become a solid #2/#3 guy at the big league level and his fastball has many thinking he is a future #1, but I don’t see a lot of projectable further development left with him and therefore I would let him slide this far before tabbing him. Reality tells me someone else won’t.
10) Tim Wheeler, CF, Sacramento State – I have liked him all season long, but even I was surprised when I completed his 2009 Performance Evaluations. This is a true CF profile that is going to hit at the next level. Taking him at #10 may be too low.
11) Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri – For me, he was the safest college pitcher in this draft—not named Strasburg, until his last time out. It could have been worse, but the stress fracture will cause him to drop, as teams may not get to work him out before signing him by August 15. There is now risk where little existed before.
12) Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Academy, St. Louis – While he may not be in Porcello’s class, I have him higher than I did Jarrod Parker in 2007, when he was selected 9th. If he lasts until #12, this is excellent value. No other prep pitcher has the projection curve available that Turner does.
13) Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownswood H.S. TX – While admittedly, it is difficult to separate Turner, Miller, Wheeler and Purke on talent, when you factor in the nearly seven months difference in age between Turner and Miller, the edge has to go to Turner…Others are bound to disagree.
14) Mike Leake , RHP, Arizona St– If he were two inches taller he would be a top 5 pick. As it is he is the safest college RHP—after Strasburg, on the board. All the guy does is find a way to win.
15) Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding High School, Dallas, GA – In many drafts, a guy like Wheeler would be a top 5 talent. With the pitching talent in this draft, he could end up the 5th prep pitcher selected. Take nothing away from Wheeler with this rating—the other guys are just that good.
16) Michael Trout, OF, Millsville H.S., NJ – There is a bit of a drop off here as we get to #16. It is not a drop off in upside as much as it is in certainty. Trout has tremendous upside. He has been one of the fastest movers up the boards over the final two months. For me, I need to see more against better talent to feel safe about Trout, but his upside is certainly worthy of going before #16.
17) Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw St – He entered the year behind Heckathorn in Kennesaw’s rotation, but has clearly out pitched him over the course of the season. He becomes a rather safe/easy sign pick that likely won’t last until #17.
18) Matt Davidson, 3B/1B, Yucaipa H.S., CA – No high school hitter closed the season hotter than Davidson. There are even some scouts who believe he can stick at 3B. If I felt this with more conviction, he would rank higher, as his bat is as good as nearly any prep available.
19) Reymond Fuentes, OF, Fernando Callejo HS, Puerto Rico – The more scouts see of him, the more they love him. While it is always a risk to take a prep from Puerto Rico this high, the upside on him is as high as any prep hitter in the draft.
20) Matt Purke, LHP, Klein, TX – Talent-wise he may deserve to be ranked higher, his rumored bonus demands mean that he will likely be drafted lower. It’s a deep prep pitching draft and for me there are just four high school guys I like better.
21) Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb – While the talent he has faced this year hasn’t been the best, he has dominated his opponents as much as any pitcher not named Strasburg. Throw in the fact that he is a lefty, and you have a solid pitching prospect that could potentially go higher than this.
22) Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita H.S. LaVerne, CA – I like a pure SS that can hit, and Mier is the best that this draft has to offer. It won’t shock me to see him actually drafted in the supplemental round, but I could be sold on taking him with a top 15 pick.
23) Wil Meyers, C/3B, Wesley Academy, NC – I don’t believe he will stay at Catcher, and don’t even evaluate him with that as a possibility. That said, this is a good kid that eats, dinks and sleeps baseball and has a stick that can flat out rate. As a 3Bmen he would rate higher…as a corner OF he would be a tad lower. Given that, this seems about right.
24) A.J. Pollock, CF, Notre Dame – Pollock is a solid talent who posted some great numbers in May. He is one of the best athletes in the draft and possesses one of the best batting eyes among college hitters. He falls, because he is one of those low ceiling guys. I don’t find a lot of difference between him and Jason Kipnis, who most of the scouts see as a second round talent.
25) Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College – There are rumblings that the Pirates could take him at #4. Under the old regime, I might believe it. While I think Sanchez could be solid, I see him more like Jason Castro who should have been taken right about this spot last year.
26) Mike Minor, LHP,Vanderbilt – I will be surprised if Minor lasts this long. While I don’t believe he should go any lower than this, I also believe that his upside doesn’t warrant a selection much higher than this either.
27) Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia – Had Poythress not gone through that cold spell near the end of May, he would likely have been looking at a top 10-15 selection. Now he is just hoping that he is off the board sometime in the first round. One of the few collegiate natural power hitters available in this draft, he is limited to 1B at the next level.
28) Nick Franklin, SS, Lake Brantley HS, FL – Franklin has been on the tail-end of our top 50 list for the last couple of months, but was aided by an outstanding performance in Sebring. He is one of the few middle infielders in this draft that possesses both the defensive skills required to stay at SS and the offensive skills to make it to the Major Leagues. Some teams will rate him higher than Mier.
29) James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky – I have given Paxton a hard time all season. If anyone has ever seen him pitch, his raw ‘stuff’ is dynamite. However his raw numbers on the year were pathetic (5.86 ERA with 11 HRs allowed in 78 IP). It isn’t until you normalize the data to understand that his season wasn’t that bad, as Kentucky played a Top 50 schedule in a park that ranks as one of the 15 most hitting friendly places in Division I. When you add to that the fact that Paxton is one of the 5 youngest, draft eligible, Division I pitchers to throw 70 or more innings, you start to strip away some of the bad feelings left by his 5.86 ERA. This is a big, projectable, lefty with electric stuff. I would be tempted to grab him with a top 10 pick, but I think that he will fall in this draft and be a bargain for some team in the sandwich round.
30) Jason Kipnis, CF/2B, Arizona State – I was sure that no one was higher on Kipnis than I was, until I started to hear rumors that the Indians were considering taking him with the #15 pick and making him a secondbaseman. The scouts have no use for players like Kipnis, because he does nothing exceptional—just all the little things well. He is not the star that you build around, instead he is the quality player that you fill your roster with to win championships.
31) Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco H.S., CA – Hobgood heads off the second tier of prep pitchers, and that is likely to be good enough to be a first round selection. He is a big, beefy, RHP that looks like he could throw all day. There has been a lot of helium surrounding him over the last month, and he could actually be taken 10-15 picks higher than this.
32) Jeff Malm, 1B, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas - I love guys that can flat out rake, and no prep in this draft hits any better than Malm. His defense, even at 1B, is rather ugly though, and that will cause him to likely slide until the second round. Pitching and Defense may win championships, but when it comes to finding prospects, start me with a guy that I don’t have to worry about his bat.
33) Max Stassi, C, Yuba City, CA – This is likely to go down as the most talented group of prep catchers, collectively, available in any draft, and Max Stassi is the leader of the class. Unfortunately, I am a numbers guy and prep catchers just don’t make good bets. Someone will grab him with a Top 25 pick…it just wouldn’t be me.
34) Chad James, LHP, Yukon H.S., OK – Flip a coin between Skaggs and James as the best of the second tier prep lefties. James has a tad more projection available and that makes the difference for me.
35) Marc Krauss, LF, Ohio University – One of the more unheralded college bats available in the draft. He gets ‘dinged’ for projecting as a LF, but he was one of the top hitters on the ‘Cape’ last summer and led the MAC with 22 HRs this Spring. This is a premium college bat.
36) Jared Mitchell, CF, LSU – The conventional wisdom is that Mitchell has all the tools, has had fair production, and has not, as of yet, focused full time on baseball. Once he does, the thinking is that he will advance rapidly. Too many ‘ifs’ in that scenario to suit me, but someone will snatch him in the first round.
37) Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw St – Despite being outpitched by teammate Chad Jenkins, Heckathorn still put together an impressive season. If he played at a ‘name’ school, he’d be a definite first round pick. He still may be, but in either case don’t expect him to get out of the supplemental round.
38) Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana – Arnett was absolutely lights out the last couple of months of the college season. His frame has scouts drooling of a workhorse, 200IP, mid rotation guy. I will be surprised if he lasts this long, but there is a lot of solid talent in front of him.
39) Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma St – After getting through NCAA legal troubles during the off-season, Oliver put together a solid, although inconsistent, Spring campaign. There have been times this season that I have toyed with him as the #2 college lefty available. As we sit today, he is arguably a first round talent who likely will fall to the sandwich round or round 2.
40) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica H.S., CA – Skaggs was hurt by a non-throwing injury that cost him the last month of the season and has been forgotten as the late-risers have come onto the screen. A case could easily be made for him as the second best prep lefty in the draft. I’ll take him more as ‘neck-and-neck’ with Chad James for third.
41) Luke Bailey, C, Troup H.S. LaGrange, GA – Bailey was the best prep Catcher in the best prep catching class in draft history before injury his throwing elbow at the end of April. I believe in his makeup and in modern medicine enough to make sure that he didn’t get past my second round pick. Don’t be surprised if he lasts until round three though.
42) Brett Jackson, OF, California – I have watched Jackson play at least a half of dozen times this year, and while he has a decent bat, for me the strikeouts don’t justify what the swing produces. In a class of weak college bats, he will likely go this high or higher, but he could end up as a washout on the next level.
43) Everett Williams, CF, McCallum H.S. Austin, TX – Your classic ‘toolsy’ CF prep guy that I try to stay away from. He is the best of that lot in this class and I might be comfortable taking him here. The reality is someone will pick him in round one…they always do.
44) Josh Phlegley, C/?, Indiana – I have been up and down on Phlegley for most of the season. As I sit here a little over 24 hours away from the draft kicking off, my take is this…He isn’t likely to stay behind the plate at the next level. But even if he doesn’t, I believe in his bat enough to play somewhere else…and if he can stay behind the plate you get a steal at this spot.
45) Garret Gould, RHP, Maize HS, KS – Gould is likely to go higher than this, as his stock has been on the uptick all Spring. He is a projectable 6’4 RHP who has had a phenomenal Senior year. I’d love to find a higher spot for him, but I just can’t see at whose expense.
46) Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS, Scottsdale, AZ – After Stassi, Wil Meyers, and Luke Bailey you will get plenty of different opinions as to which one of the next group of about five guys is the fourth best prep Catcher. I see Joseph as the same kind of player that I did Mike Napoli when I first saw him in the Midwest League—sure there are questions about whether he can stay behind the plate, but teams will find a way to get that bat into the lineup.
47) Sam Dyson, RHP, South Carolina – Many doubt that this Tommy John recovery pitcher can stay as a starter. I just know that he is a gritty kid, who led the Gamecocks late season run this year that deserves the shot.
48) Deven Marrero, SS, American Heritage HS, Plantation Florida – Excellent baseball bloodlines and a solid performance a few weeks ago at Sebring. I know I have him higher than most, but I like the profile.
49) Randall Grichuk, LF, Lamar Cons HS, Rosenberg, TX – Late rising prep bat, that currently has as much helium as anyone. If there was a position on a team for ‘designated home run hitter’ Grichuk would be your guy. The swing isn’t pretty and there is a lot of ‘pull’ in his movement. All things that are likely to be exploited as he moves up. I have a lot of questions regarding his chances, but someone is going to fall in love with that power long before he gets here.
50) Kent Mattes, OF, Alabama – I saved this spot for someone who isn’t highly regarded by the ‘experts’ but profiles for big league success. Mattes is that guy, ranking 10th on this year’s Division I Performance Evaluations. File the name in the back of your mind, and in a couple of years when you find him doing well, remember where you heard about him first.

Ten who just missed: Brody Colvin, RHP, St. Thomas More HS, LA; Angelo Songco, LF, Loyola-Marymount; Jake Marisnick, OF, Poly HS, Riverside, CA; Brian Goodwin, CF, Rocky Mount HS, NC; Mychal Given, SS/RHP, Plant HS, Tampa; DJ LeMaheiu, 2B, LSU; Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville; David Renfroe, SS/RHP; South Palomar HS, MS; Slade Heathcott, OF, Texas HS; Billy Hamilton, SS, Taylorsville HS, MS.

No comments:

Post a Comment