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2011 MLB Draft – Top 30 College 3B Follow List

Whatever the term “franchise player” means to you, consider that the upside of Anthony Rendon. Will teams still think this highly of Andy Burns even after he sits out 2011 after transferring in from Kentucky? Adam Smith is a tools gamble much liked highly ranked Oregon State C Andrew Susac; both were highly touted preps who have had up-and-down collegiate careers, but remain highly regarded by most talent evaluators. There are some really good names lower on this list than I anticipated (Hinson, Buechele, Ginther, Asche, Proscia, and Bream, to name a few), but this year’s draft class is just that strong.

  1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon
  2. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth
  3. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito
  4. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole
  5. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez
  6. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns
  7. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez
  8. Wichita State JR 3B Johnny Coy
  9. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith
  10. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw
  11. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson
  12. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza
  13. Winthrop JR 3B Chas Crane
  14. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward
  15. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele
  16. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte
  17. Texas JR 3B Kevin Lusson
  18. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia
  19. San Francisco SR 3B Steven Yarrow
  20. Tarleton State SR 3B Chris Casazza
  21. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther
  22. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche
  23. Texas A&M JR 3B Matt Juengel
  24. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia
  25. Louisiana Tech JR 3B Matt Threlkeld
  26. College of Charleston JR 3B Matt Leeds
  27. Oklahoma City SR 3B Kirk Walker
  28. Baylor SO 3B Cal Towey
  29. Liberty JR 3B Tyler Bream
  30. East Carolina JR 3B Corey Thompson

2011 MLB Draft: Fearless Prediction #1

  • Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon will be the first overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft.

Not exactly the boldest of statements, I know. This first prediction of 2011 is a tad lame at face value, so, if nothing else, consider it my personal attempt at curtailing some of this “the top of the 2011 draft is wide open” talk that I’ve read over the past few months. To me, this is a prediction that doesn’t really need to be made because Rendon going to Pittsburgh is as much of a lock as any projected pick can be six months out. However, this isn’t the universally accepted truth that I expected it to be by this point. Rendon is the best prospect in this year’s draft by a wide enough margin that I have to believe that there are only three realistic reasons why somebody would question it at this point…

1. Desire to be different in an effort to stand apart from the pack and draw traffic (a tactic I pass no judgment on, by the way)

2. Lack of faith in Pittsburgh’s front office to make the “right” choice

3. General restlessness after incredibly predictable first overall picks in 2009 and 2010

As mentioned, the first reason is cool with me. For some, it gets pretty darn boring when one prospect stands so far above the rest. When that’s the case, it is only natural to shake things up and claim another prospect superior. As an added bonus, and perhaps the real reason some consistently love to take the contrary point, if you’re right about an off the wall prediction, then you look like a genius. If you’re wrong, well, at least you went down in a blaze of glory.

***

There are some interesting, and hopefully less cynical, reasons why somebody might think Rendon would slip. In the interest of fairness, here they are…

1. Rendon’s recovery from injury (practices have reportedly gone quite well, but some choose to wait until the games start to pass final judgment…)

2. Genuine appreciation of his draft competition, most notably the two high profile college pitching prospects UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole and TCU LHP Matt Purke

3. Any baseball talk in winter is a good thing, manufactured or not

***

All legitimate reasons in my view, but nothing there is evidence enough that he’ll go anywhere but first overall. The second reason is the most intriguing because both Cole and Purke are outstanding prospects who deserve to at least be in the conversation at this point, but, really, it ends there. They deserve to be in the conversation and nothing more. There are some really strong prep pitchers who might otherwise make a run for the top spot, but none of the big names — you’ll see which names in due time, I promise — really stack up to Cole and Purke, let alone Rendon. Same thing goes for the strong group of college position players this year. The idea floated by some that George Springer is in the mix to go first overall boggles my mind. Really nice prospect, no doubt, but comparing the two players, both statistically and from a scouting perspective, isn’t fair. The quick notes I have on Rendon, all taken prior to the 2010 season:

SO 3B Anthony Rendon (2011): special power, could be plus-plus in-game by graduation; can be inconsistent with glove, but truly excellent defensive tools (great hands, above-average mobility); weakest tool is speed, which is merely average; plus arm; rare discipline at plate, approaches every at bat like a professional; very popular Ryan Zimmerman comp, but has also been compared to Evan Longoria and Gordon Beckham

And then he went out and did this (slash lines are park/league adjusted): .407/.544/.832 with 68/21 BB/K and 15/19 SB

Most amazingly, Rendon did his best Joe Dimaggio impression by putting up the following (these aren’t park/league adjusted, just raw totals): 26 HR/22 K

  • Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon will be the first overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft.

Extremely Preliminary 2011 MLB Draft Top 18 College 3B

I think this might be my favorite part of the draft cycle. The annual winter lull. Major showcases are out of the way, summer is but a distant memory, and we’re still a good three months away from meaningful amateur baseball. Now is the time to sit back, review some notes, and, in a word, learn. I realize this sounds super corny, but that last part, the learning, is what makes this my favorite time of year. I never know as much about this stuff as I think I do, so compiling my initial position rankings always winds up being much harder than anticipated. Not knowing as much as I think I do = the fun part. For example, today I learned that the 2011 draft is incredibly deep at a position that I hadn’t realized: college third basemen. In absolutely no order, check out a list of potential early round college 3B prospects:

  • Steven Proscia (Virginia)
  • Levi Michael (North Carolina)
  • Matt Skole (Georgia Tech)
  • Harold Martinez (Miami)
  • John Hinson (Clemson)
  • Jason Stolz (Clemson)
  • Phil Wunderlich (Louisville)
  • Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt)
  • Cody Asche (Nebraska)
  • Mark Ginther (Oklahoma State)
  • Andy Burns (Arizona)
  • Riccio Torrez (Arizona State)
  • Ricky Oropesa (Southern California)
  • Anthony Rendon (Rice)
  • BA Vollmuth (Southern Mississippi)
  • Johnny Coy (Wichita State)
  • Travis Shaw (Kent State)
  • Tyler Bream (Liberty)

I stopped at 18 because it’s the 18th of November. If I was the type to ignore cheap gimmicks with my rankings, I might include Kyle Kubitza (Texas State) and Troy Channing (St. Mary’s) to round out the top 20. Kubitza, Channing, Wunderlich, Torrez, Oropesa, Coy, and Shaw are far from locks to stay at the hot corner in pro ball, but I’m confident enough in each player showing enough at the glove to stick, at least initially. There are also a few middle infielders that I consider likely to shift to third professionally sprinkled in with the natural third basemen. Those two considerations may have made the above list a bit of a best case scenario deal, but that’s the nature of these super early guesses.

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