Home » 2011 MLB Draft » 2011 MLB Draft: Fearless Prediction #2

2011 MLB Draft: Fearless Prediction #2

  • For the first time since the 1995 MLB Draft (Darin Erstad, Jose Cruz, and Geoff Jenkins), there will be three “college” OFs taken in the first dozen picks.

Let’s call it “college” and college to allow for the inclusion of junior colleges in addition to the more traditional definition of college, four-year universities. From a purely prospecting perspective, the abolition of the draft-and-follow rule all but renders the difference between four-year universities and junior colleges moot, levels of competition excepted. Just wanted to nip this potential loophole in the bud before getting called out for it.

That 1995 draft was pretty great, by the way. All sorts of big names with extended periods of success at the big league level like Erstad, Cruz, Kerry Wood, Todd Helton, Jenkins, Matt Morris, Roy Halladay, and, if you’re feeling generous, Mark Redman went in the top 17 that year. For what it’s worth — almost assuredly nothing — all but Wood and Halladay were college prospects. We’re not talking future Hall of Famers here, but Erstad, Cruz, Helton, Jenkins, Morris, and, yes, even Redman make up a great group of first round college talent. Apologies for the tangent, back to the prediction. See it all, after the jump…

I don’t enjoy writing about “news,” so I don’t do it. Simple enough, right? So when a few weeks ago it was reported former North Carolina OF Brian Goodwin was a near lock to transfer to a junior college, I didn’t feel the need to post about it. It did get me thinking, however, about Goodwin as a prospect and how he’d fit within the larger 2011 draft landscape. Once that ball started roll around in my head, I knew another reckless prediction would be the only way of stopping it.

The original “too hot for TV” outfield-related prediction was a doozy. I wanted to fire up the laptop and light up the page with my world altering prediction that Brian Goodwin would be the first outfielder taken in the 2011 MLB Draft. Wild and crazy stuff, I know. Unfortunately, my lack of gumption did me in yet again and I wimped out (or came to my senses, depending on where you’re sitting). Sneaky devil that I am, however, I now have that almost-prediction in print. I realize that probably means nothing to you or you or you (that’s right, I literally only have three readers), and, quite honestly, I’m not totally sure it means much to me either, but it does provide some wiggle room going forward. To that end, I do declare as a matter of public record that I reserve the right to go back and amend the overarching idea (Goodwin will be the best pro of the ’11 OF class) behind my aborted original prediction in the coming months. While I’m too chicken to guess whether or not a big league team will select Goodwin before any other outfield prospect, I believe he has a chance to be the best of the three big name college outfield prospects. Then again, in the process of writing this I think I convinced myself to flip flop back towards slotting Goodwin third behind George Springer and Jackie Bradley. Guess this entire paragraph was for nothing, sorry. At least it serves to show the competition between these elite college outfielders is fierce, so let’s break it down player by player…

Connecticut JR OF George Springer brings the best present power/speed combination in the entire 2011 draft class. For a supposed tools gamble with too many holes in his swing, his 2010 production (.366/.514/.704 – 61 BB/69 K – 33/35 SB) was nothing short of amazing. He’s got an ideal pro body (6-3, 200), above-average arm, great athleticism, and electric bat speed, all in addition to the aforementioned above-average raw power and speed. You know you’re a potential top five pick when two of the bigger negatives to your game really aren’t so bad at all. Springer’s biggest issue has been his tendency to get too aggressiveness at the plate. That’s one, but it’s one with a large caveat. Without to numbers to actually back this up I feel silly sharing it, but the reports on Springer as the year went on all indicate a heightened awareness on the necessity of working deeper counts and not giving away quick at bats. The other “negative” is his defense. If you’re envisioning Springer as a sure-fire lockdown defender in center field, you may be disappointed. If you view his future more like a player with the chance to improve and become above-average in center, then you’ll be much happier, especially if he proves to be incapable of playing up the middle professionally. Of course, and this is part of what makes this “negative” so amusing, he sure as heck looks like a potential plus defender in right field if need be. To recap: crazy production, four well above-average tools (power, speed, arm, and corner outfield defense), and a chance of playing an above-average center field, only mitigated by concerns surrounding a too aggressive approach, a swing path that could get exposed against professional pitchers, and less than stellar high school and college competition.

Miami-Dade Community College SO OF Brian Goodwin (2012) is coming off as great a freshman season (.317/.439/.564 – 49 BB/45 K – 8/10 SB) as you’ll hope to see. Again, to do that as a freshman playing every single game in the ACC is something that deserves even more credit than it probably got last season. Here’s what I wrote about him in mid-March of last year:

You can’t see me right now, but I’m literally sitting here with my mouth open, hands on my head, and a stupider than usual look on my face. I would have bet good money I don’t have that Brian Goodwin, outstanding prospect that he clearly was and is, would struggle his first few weeks as he transitioned to playing big-time collegiate baseball. His .345/.458/.638 line so far is stunning, not just for his excellent power production (sooner than I thought), but also for his unreal early season pitch selectivity (12 BB to 8 K).

I’m not a humble man, so I’ll just come out and say it – re-reading that intro for the first time in ten months got a literal LOL out of me. In all honestly, that quote is interesting to me because it reveals how little I expected of Goodwin heading into last season. For reasons I can’t recall, I actually had him pegged as a “good, not great” (I think he was in the 80′s on one of the big boards, but I’m too lazy to check) prospect coming out of high school in 2009. It had to be because of questions surround his hit tool and his power upside because there weren’t any doubts he could run, throw, and catch anything and everything hit to him in center. Despite his big 2010 season there is still debate about his ultimate upside with the bat, but, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m buying what he’s selling. His uick wrists and a wiry strong frame have me thinking the power that surprised many last year is still coming. Two comps that I think are interesting, for better or worse: Jeffrey Hammonds and a faster Austin Kearns.

Even if he South Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley deserves mention as a potential first rounder for his special defensive tools alone. Throw in the usual superlatives (above-average speed and arm, advanced approach, and present gap power that projects as average professionally) and you’ve got a player who profiles similarly to Franklin Gutierrez.

Let’s revisit that prediction from the start…

  • For the first time since the 1995 MLB Draft (Darin Erstad, Jose Cruz, and Geoff Jenkins), there will be three “college” OFs taken in the first dozen picks.

Springer, Bradley, and Goodwin are in position to join Erstad, Cruz, and Jenkins as top twelve overall draftees. If it happened, it would be the first time since the 2005 MLB Draft (Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce) that there will be three OFs (college or high school) taken in the first dozen picks. In a somewhat weird twist, that draft can now boast six of the top twelve as current big league outfielders; Justin Upton (SS), Alex Gordon (3B), and Ryan Braun (3B) all now roam the outfield for their respective clubs. Just for fun, here are the other drafts in the past twenty years that had at least three outfielders (again, college or high school) selected in the first twelve picks:

2003: Delmon Young, Chris Lubanski, Ryan Harvey, Nick Markakis, Lastings Milledge

2000: Rocco Baldelli, Dave Krynzel, Joe Borchard

1998: Corey Patterson, JD Drew, Austin Kearns

1995: Darin Erstad, Jose Cruz, Jaime Jones, Geoff Jenkins (all but Jones drafted out of college)

1992: Jeffrey Hammonds, Chad Mottola, Calvin Murray, Kenny Felder (all drafted out of college)

1991: Mike Kelly, Joe Vitiello, Mark Smith, Doug Glanville (all drafted out of college…and all varying degrees of awful)

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1 Comment

  1. Terry says:

    A quiet #4 reader of your content.

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