Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Early Look at the 2010 Draft

While Bryce Harper gets all the attention, Texas prepster Jameson Taillon is putting up results

With the signing deadline now passed for the 2009 Draft, it’s time to turn our attention to 2010. Below is our Summer Look at the Top 30 Players available in 2010. The overall class is shaping up to be of similar talent to the 2009 class. There is still a significant dearth of college hitting talent available, and an incredible shortfall of left-handed pitching in general--especially at the prep level. While Bryce Harper is clearly the cream of the crop right now, it appears to be a prep right-handed pitching heavy group. One clear difference between 2010 and the last couple of years is the number of solid prep shortstops that have both offensive talent and enough defense to stay at the position.

1) Bryce Harper, C, Las Vegas – The scouting reports from his showcase performances indicate the toolset is every bit as strong as has been rumored. The questions will surround his performance under the weight of increasingly heavy expectations. His struggles (0 for 5 with 3 whiffs) at the recent AFLAC aIl-star game are a prime example. If he produces on the field in 2010, he will be looking at a Strasburg like deal.
2) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU – May have been the best college pitcher not named Strasburg in 2009, and certainly the star of the 2010 class.
3) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Woodlands, TX – Those who don’t feel the need to discount prep righties will likely place Taillon as a 1A in this draft as he is big (6’7”, 230), projectable, and is already producing with amazing raw ‘stuff’. Everything you would want in a pitching prospect.
4) A.J. Cole, RHP, Winter Springs, FL – Cole has outperformed Taillon at a couple of stops this Spring/Summer. He is long and lanky, with plenty of projectability. In addition to already possessing a mid-90s fastball, Cole is one of the most polished prep pitchers available.
5) Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland, FL – A wide variety of opinions exist on Cabrera, who has looked like a man among boys at times this summer, as he has a pro body and tons of tools, but at times seems to disappear. He’s older than most prep players (will turn 20 next summer), but a big powerful middle infielder will attract a lot of attention come draft day.
6) Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State – May slip under the radar screen due to where he plays, but for our money this is the best college bat available.
7) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Mississippi – Gets a boost from the dearth of left-handed talent available. Pomeranz is solid…much along the lines of the first round college hurlers in 2009.
8) Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley, FL – Son of former major leaguer Ed Whitson, Karsten is James Taillon-lite.
9) Josh Sale, OF, Seattle, WA – Turned in the best offensive performance at the Area Code games. Sale will be a professional hitter and it will be up to the team that drafts him to figure out where on the diamond he will play.
10) Justin O’Connor, SS, Muncie, IN – Perhaps the most intriguing player in the draft, O’Connor won’t make the scouts drool, but is 100% a baseball player that is without weakness in any facet of his game.
11) Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast – Turned in a very good 2009 season and would be getting far more attention if he played at a higher profile school. Sale was the best pitcher on the Cape this summer.
12) Kris Bryant, SS/3B, Las Vegas, NV – A big (6’5”, 205lbs) prep infielder with tremendous power. Bryant is likely to end up at 3B, and therefore opinions on him remain mixed.
13) Kyle Blair, RHP, Univ. of San Diego – One of the top returning college pitchers from 2009, Blair should get plenty of attention all year long. Had a solid summer on the Cape, but struggles with control at times.
14) Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami – An excellent defensive backstop, who has shown the ability to produce offensively from both sides of the plate. Grandal will likely enter the draft as the most Major League ready offensive talent.
15) Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech – McGuire is a ‘heady’ pitcher that posses solid command of a three-pitch repertoire. After posting a 3.50 ERA as a Sophomore, McGuire looks to return in 2010 as arguably the top pitching prospect in the ACC.
16) Christian Colon, SS, Cal State-Fullerton – A player that will get ‘dinged’ by the scouts because he doesn’t possess the quickness usually associated with Major League shortstops. Colon is a well-rounded gamer that is likely to embarrass many teams that pass on him as he turns out to be an above average major league shortstop.
17) James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky – Paxton possessed some of the best raw ‘stuff’ in college in 2009, but couldn’t turn it into results, as he posted a 5.86 ERA. Not able to get a deal done with the Blue Jays, after being selected in the second round in 2009, Paxton will return to the Wildcats, looking to become one of 2010’s top collegiate arms.
18) Manny Machado, SS, Hialeah, FL – Had a breakout performance at the Tournament of the Stars showcase event, where he turned in the best hitting performance—besting players like Justin O’Conner and Brian Ragira. Has the defensive skills of a pure shortstop and will just need to add strength this season to be a top pick.
19) Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas – Was the West starter in the Cape Cod League all-star game after posting a solid campaign there. Workman has good late life on a low-90s fastball and an above average curve. If he can improve upon his change, look for Workman to move up this list.
20) Trey Griffin, OF, Stockbridge, GA – Griffin is an extremely ‘toolsy’ OF with the arm strength to play RF and the speed to perhaps stick in center. We will be watching his production carefully this summer.
21) Stetson Allie, RHP, Olmsted Falls, OH – His ‘stuff’ is big-time, but controlling his secondary offerings will be the key to where he eventually goes.
22) Jarrett Parker, OF, Virginia – Parker struggled in the Cape this summer, but continues to show tremendous potential in the batting cage. If he can get his game production to match, he will be one of the collegiate games biggest offensive threats.
23) Justin Grimm, RHP, Georgia – Grimm has good late movement on a solid mid-90s fastball and a curve that shows potential. Controlling his offerings though is still a challenge at times. Scouts love his 6’4” frame and will be looking at what he can be, more than what he already is, come draft day.
24) Nick Castellanos, 3B, Ft. Lauderdale, FL – How high he goes will depend on whether scouts believe he can stay at third base. At times, Castellanos has shown to be a big time hitter this summer.
25) Drew Cisco, RHP, Mt. Pleasant, SC – Will get ‘dinged’ for lacking overpowering stuff, but Cisco is an extremely polished prep pitcher with tremendous control of ‘good’ stuff.
26) Derek Dietrich, 3B, Georgia Tech – Dietrich created more questions than answers this summer with his performance on the Cape, where he was clearly misplaced at shortstop. He may not hit enough to play 3B at the next level, and now leaves scouts wondering about his eventual defensive destination.
27) Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State – Closed the 2009 season with a string of dominating performances and was solid on the Cape. With one of the nation’s best curveballs, Wimmers should be the best college player in the Midwest this year.
28) Brian Ragira, OF, Arlington, TX – Had a solid summer showing, with his best performance coming at the Area Code Games where he excelled as both a defensive standout and an offensive stud. May move up lists with a solid Senior year.
29) Matt Harvey, RHP, North Carolina – Everyone is still waiting for performance to catch-up with potential, but he will certainly have the spotlight on him this season.
30) Austin Wilson, OF, Los Angeles, CA – Was one of the best players at the Under Armour game in Chicago and had an impressive Area Code Games performance. Looks to have the toolset of a big-time power hitting OF.

Others to Watch -
Zach Alvord, Alpharetta, SS, GA; Cameron Bedrosian, RHP, Coweta, GA; Krey Bratsen, OF, Bryan, TX; Gary Brown, OF, Cal State-Fullerton; Dylan Covey, RHP, Pasadena, CA; Kaleb Cowart, RHP, Adel, GA; Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas; Brian Dupra, RHP, Notre Dame; Blake Forsythe, C, Tennessee; Kevin Gausman, RHP, Aurora, CO; Reggie Golden, OF, Wetumpka, AL; Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech; Chris Hernandez, LHP, Miami; Marcus Littlewood, SS, St. George, UT; Hunter Morris, 1B, Auburn; Daniel Renken, RHP, Cas State-Fullerton; Josh Rutledge, SS, Alabama; Stefan Sabol, C, Aliso Niguel, CA; Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Barstow, CA; Victor Sanchez, 3B, Univ. of San Diego; Austin Southall, OF/1B, Baton Rouge, LA; Nick Tepesch, RHP, Missouri; A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Almeda, CA; Anthony Wolters, SS, Buena Vista, CA

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