Full list here; quick and dirty commentary mere centimeters below…
I wanted to focus on players at or beyond the halfway point on the list because, as I’m sure to repeat ad nauseum in the coming months, this year’s college third base class does not lack in star power. Crane and Woodward are two of my favorites despite the fact it is unlikely either will emerge as a viable big league starter. That can make lists like this weird; sometimes high floor prospects that profile better as future utility guys get the upper hand on boom/bust prospects that have the talent to start but not necessarily the required skills to thrive in a backup role…and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, both players are extremely well rounded – solid tools across the board for each, though Crane has more power and Woodward more speed – and both offer really interesting defensive versatility. Woodward’s speed and superior instincts should help him get pro looks all over the field (minimum: 3B, 2B, maybe CF?) while Crane’s history as a prep catcher could entice a team into trying him as a backstop professionally.
I originally had Lusson much, much higher (top ten, I think), but some last minute homework pushed him down; like Crane, he could get tried as a catcher professionally. Lusson’s college neighbor Jantzen Witte (Austin and Forth Worth are like right next door, right? Texas is one cozy state, after all…) is a draft-eligible sophomore with elite defensive tools with the chance to break out with the bat in 2011. Another Texan collegian, Vincent Mejia, is a favorite of mine from a statistical standpoint – love the way he controls the strike zone – but there were enough scouting concerns (raw power is average at best, super slow runner) that kept me from putting him any higher.
The Big 12 third base prospect list would be pretty darn impressive in its own right, with Ginther, Asche, and Juengel coming in the rankings back-to-back-to-back. That trio meets Buechele, Smith, and Lusson in the top twenty three, with Baylor’s Cal Towey ready to join the fun at twenty eight. It is very possible I was too harsh with both Ginther (loads of untapped potential due to his football background) and Asche (underrated defender with a really sound approach at the plate, despite underwhelming numbers). Juengel has the most raw power of the three, but loses out because of his below-average defense. Non-Big 12ers Threlkeld, Leeds, and Bream all have plus raw power, but, like Juengel, have serious questions about their defensive upside.