Home » 2011 MLB Draft » 2011 College 3B

Category Archives: 2011 College 3B

2011 MLB Draft Third Base Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top twenty-five college and top sixteen high school 2011 third base prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Third Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Third Base Rankings

…and for a combined top thirty-five list of all 2011 draft-eligible third base prospects, take a deep breath and dive in below…

1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon

2. 3B Javier Baez (Arlington County Day HS, Florida)

3. 3B Matt Dean (The Colony HS, Texas)

4. 3B Tyler Goeddel (St. Francis HS, California)

5. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole

6. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito

7. 3B Jake Hager (Sierra Vista HS, Nevada)

8. 3B Chris McFarland (Lufkin HS, Texas)

9. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth

10. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns

11. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez

12. 3B Taylor Sparks (St. John Bosco HS, California)

13. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche

14. 3B Matt Papi (Tunkhannock HS, Pennsylvania)

15. 3B Nicholas Howard (St. John’s College HS, Washington DC)

16. 3B Austin Slater (The Bolles School, Florida)

17. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson

18. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza

19. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte

20. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia

21. 3B Patrick Leonard (St. Thomas HS, Texas)

22. 3B Hunter Cole (Moore HS, South Carolina)

23. 3B Alex Santana (Mariner HS, Florida)

24. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez

25. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward

26. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw

27. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith

28. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis

29. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele

30. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia

31. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther

32. 3B Austin Davidson (Oxnard HS, California)

33. Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy

34. 3B Ahmad Christian (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)

35. 3B Max Kuhn (Zionsville HS, Indiana)

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Third Base Rankings

1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon

*** 2010: .407/.544/.832 – 68 BB/21 K – 226 AB
*** 2011: .337/.536/.550 – 82 BB/30 K – 202 AB

There are a lot of amazing young arms in this year’s draft class, but Rendon is still the top prospect in 2011. There is not a single legitimate concern about his on-field performance. Despite his lack of size and some nagging injuries that held back his numbers some this year, there is little doubt that his power upside is substantial. His defensive tools are outstanding. The hit tool is well above-average and his approach to hitting is special. The two most popular comps thrown his way are Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria. I like the Zimmerman comp a lot, but I’ll toss another two names out there as well. Rendon’s play reminds me of a mix of a less physical, righthanded version of peak years Eric Chavez and current Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis, minus the unorthodox swing setup. Can’t blame the Pirates for going with the rare commodity that is a potential ace with the first overall pick, but if I was in charge — and thank goodness for Pittsburgh or every other franchise I’m not — then Rendon would be the pick without thinking twice.

2. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole

*** 2010: .343/.448/.708 – 45 BB/34 K – 233 AB
*** 2011: .362/.457/.570 – 43 BB/31 K – 221 AB

It took me a while to warm up to Skole, but I’d rather be late to the party than too stubborn to change my mind. The plus power bat should play wherever you put him (first base is a safe fall back option, catcher is the riskier but more appealing choice), though it would obviously be preferable if he can continue to work to turn his surprisingly strong defensive tools (good arm, decent foot speed, quality athleticism) into at least league average caliber third base defense.

3. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito

*** 2010: .397/.492/.660 – 37 BB/33 K – 262 AB
*** 2011: .357/.425/.552 – 16 BB/36 K – 230 AB

Esposito’s defense is big league ready, and his hit tool, raw power, and speed all grade out as average future tools at the next level. I swear I was ready to mention Matt Dominguez as a potential comp before reading Baseball America beat me to the punch, but it is a good enough comp that I don’t mind repeating it.

4. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth

*** 2010: .380/.495/.733 – 44 BB/50 K – 236 AB
*** 2011: .304/.417/.546 – 38 BB/55 K – 207 AB

Some people believe in it, some don’t. Either way, I figured I’d pass along something two different people said to me with respect to BA Vollmuth. Two words were used to describe the Southern Mississippi shortstop: “star quality.” He has the requisite athleticism, arm, and above-average raw power to play third base in the big leagues down the line, but his loopy swing might need a tune-up

5. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns

*** 2010: .282/.358/.565 – 20 BB/41 K – 177 AB

The only thing I don’t like about Andy Burns is the fact he had to sit out in 2011 after the former Colorado prep star transferred from Kentucky to Arizona. Every thing else is positive including his very good defensive tools (like the two guys sandwiched around him on this list, Burns is a former shortstop), plus arm, above-average speed, quick bat, and good raw power. He also has what could be a great separator if he hopes to crack this draft’s top five rounds: the proven ability to hit with wood. On top of all those legitimate reasons why I like Burns, I also have a strong instinctual feel for him. That’s almost certainly worth nothing to 99.9% of the readers out there, but I know my Mom likes it when I share stuff like that.

6. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez

*** 2010: .328/.403/.672 – 33 BB/50 K – 241 AB
*** 2011: .328/.416/.424 – 29 BB/38 K – 198 AB

Had a weird moment when I was just about to start writing about Harold Martinez at the same time he came to the plate in the 4th inning against Florida during Regional play. Then I stepped away for a bit only to return to the still unfinished entry on Martinez exactly as he stepped up to bat in the 7th. Now that I see it typed out I realize it probably isn’t all that weird, but after writing about draft prospects almost non-stop over the past week and a half, I may be beginning to lose my mind.

As a prospect, Martinez does more than just time his television appearances well. He typifies what this uninspiring college third base class is all about: heavy duty of the word “but.” His defensive tools are solid and he certainly looks the part of a player capable of manning the hot corner, BUT his inconsistency making the routine play and erratic arm keep him from claiming third base as a sure fire long-term defensive home. He’s already plenty strong with the frame to get even bigger, BUT his above-average raw power fell off big time in 2011, in no small part because his long swing was geared towards the aluminum. He was a highly touted prep player who has played well over three years of competitive ACC ball, BUT he hasn’t dominated the competition in quite the way many had hoped. He’s a solid, potential top five round selection, BUT not a player you can pencil in as a long-term answer at third unless some of questions about his game are answered professionally.

7. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche

*** 2010: .335/.393/.565 – 18 BB/45 K – 209 AB
*** 2011: .337/.437/.668 – 36 BB/39 K – 208 AB

“Really like his approach, but have been underwhelmed by his overall package thus far” – that’s what I had in my notes re: Asche coming into the year. I’m happy to say that I’m no longer underwhelmed and now considered myself appropriately whelmed by his performance. I wasn’t alone in worrying that he wouldn’t stick at third coming into the year, but am now ready to go out on a limb and say I think his athleticism and instincts make him underrated at the position. Despite his very powerful throwing arm he’ll never be a good defender at third, but if his plus raw power would look really good if he can at least play at or around average defense as a pro.

8. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson

*** 2010: .370/.433/.635 – 27 BB/40 K – 230 AB
*** 2011: .333/.389/.504 – 22 BB/28 K – 228 AB

A plus hit tool combined with above-average speed and power will get you far professionally, but people smarter than myself have told me some teams question Hinson’s ability to play any one particular spot in the infield with the consistency needed of a regular. Based on my limited looks of him, I can’t say that I necessarily agree with that assessment, but his defensive skillset (good athlete, iffy arm) may make him better suited for second base than third. At either spot, he’s got the bat to make him a potential regular with a couple breaks along the way. He’s got a relatively high floor (easy to see him as a big league utility guy with pop) with the upside of a league average third baseman.

9. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza

*** 2010: .332/.433/.563 – 38 BB/41 K – 229 AB
*** 2011: .305/.445/.527 – 52 BB/46 K – 220 AB

Kubitza has many of the key attributes you’d want in a third base prospect – good raw power, solid arm strength, and a patient approach at the plate. The biggest question he’ll have to answer is on the defensive side, but I’m on board with the idea that good pro coaching can help him through some of his concentration lapses in the field.

10. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte

*** 2010: .415/.455/.592 – 9 BB/17 K – 147 AB
*** 2011: .365/.431/.515 – 28 BB/31 K – 241 AB

I do love a good draft-eligible sophomore, and Witte qualifies as one of the best in 2011. His defensive tools at third base are outstanding, worthy of consideration as top five (with Rendon, Esposito, maybe Burns…) in the college third base class. His swing and approach is geared towards hitting line drives and getting on base, but there’s still enough pop in his bat to keep pitchers honest.

11. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia

*** 2010: .325/.377/.548 – 22 BB/41 K – 252 AB
*** 2011: .354/.399/.527 – 17 BB/30 K – 237 AB

Most people love coffee. Every few months I’ll try a little sip, but it just doesn’t work for me. So many people enjoy it every day that I’m smart enough to know that it isn’t “bad” per se, but rather a specific taste that I just don’t enjoy as much as others. Proscia is a little bit like coffee for me. His defense at third is very good, he’ll show you a nice potential power/speed combo most days, and his athleticism is well above-average for the position. He’s a good prospect by any measure. Yet somehow after taking everything I’ve heard about him and having seen him play a few times myself, I remain unmoved by his upside. Solid player, no doubt; he wouldn’t be on this list otherwise. I just see him as much more likely to wind up a potential four-corners utility player than a starting third baseman.

12. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez

*** 2010: .386/.482/.627 – 20 BB/37 K – 228 AB – 21/25 SB
*** 2011: .309/.371/.466 – 15 BB/23 K – 204 AB

Torrez seems to finally have found a defensive home at third base. A team could draft him as a true third base prospect now and hope his bat grows into the role, or, and I think this is the more likely outcome, a team could draft him with the idea that he could develop into a versatile utility player. His only standout tool is his raw power, but even that is mitigated somewhat by a swing that currently lacks the proper loft needed to consistently drive balls up and out.

13. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward

*** 2010: .343/.512/.486 – 49 BB/48 K – 210 AB – 58/66 SB
*** 2011: .368/.500/.538 – 32 BB/54 K – 182 AB – 30/34 SB

It’s very easy to envision Scott Woodward playing in the big leagues someday. He’s got an outstanding approach to hitting, a discerning batting eye, and a really good idea of his fundamental strengths and weaknesses at the plate. Woodward ably uses his plus-plus speed to leg out infield hits, turn balls driven to the gaps into triples, and steal bases at a great success rate. Home runs will likely never be a big part of his game, but his is a game based more on speed and plate discipline anyway. He could have the type of career many once projected for former Dodgers prospect Joe Thurston. Another comp that I like a lot is Phillies minor leaguer Tyson Gillies, a comparison made more interesting due to the fact both players are hearing impaired, but one not at all dependent on that fact as the basis of the comp. When I first thought of it a few weeks ago the connection didn’t even occur to me, but the two players share enough distinct offensive similarities to make it work.

14. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw

*** 2010: .330/.453/.622 – 49 BB/41 K – 230 AB
*** 2011: .311/.408/.570 – 39 BB/36 K – 228 AB

Lacking lateral quickness and agility, Shaw’s future at third base is a major question as he enters pro ball. If he can stay at third base — good pre-pitch positioning and quicker than you’d expect reactions give him his best shot — then his big power, great approach, and strong track record with wood would make him a fast riser on draft boards. Most of the industry leaders are already moving him off of third, however, so perhaps I’m being unrealistic in thinking he could someday grow into an average-ish fielder there. Probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: if he is a first baseman at the next level, his value takes a big hit.

15. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith

*** 2010: .263/.357/.495 – 20 BB/53 K – 194 AB
*** 2011: .225/.294/.387 – 12 BB/50 K – 142 AB

At some point, he has to do it on the field, right? Adam Smith is such a force of nature from a tools standpoint that you have to believe someday he’ll put it all together and show why so many have touted his ability for so long. He has the plus arm and plus defensive tools you’d expect from a former pitcher/shortstop, and his pro frame (6-3, 200) generates plenty of raw power on its own. What he doesn’t have is a good idea of the strike zone or a consistent at bat to at bat swing that can help him put said raw power to use. I’d love for my favorite team to take a chance on him after round ten (tools!), but probably couldn’t justify popping him much sooner than that (production…). One thing that would make gambling on Smith the third baseman a little less risky: if he doesn’t work out as a hitter, his plus arm could be put to good use back on the mound.

16. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis

*** 2010: .354/.417/.668 – 21 BB/51 K – 268 AB
*** 2011: .321/.422/.565 – 35 BB/30 K – 237 AB

Tanis is an under the radar prospect who is capable of doing some good things at the next level if given the chance. His defense is good at third, his bat speed is more than adequate, and his athleticism gives him a chance to play a couple different positions in the field going forward.

17. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele

*** 2010: .376/.460/.653 – 21 BB/41 K – 242 AB
*** 2011: .293/.354/.423 – 13 BB/31 K – 239 AB

Here’s what I wrote about Buechele last year at this time: “And so begins a stretch of players with starting caliber upside, but high bust potential. Buechele has one of the stronger pure hit tools of this college third base class, and his quickly emerging power make him one to watch. His defense is plenty good enough to stick at third, so the only thing that realistically stands in the way of Buechele succeeding professionally (you know, besides all of the other things that can get in the way for any player drafted) will be high strikeout totals. He’s not as talented as Zack Cox, so don’t take this as a direct comparison, but it seems that Buechele would be best served returning to school to work on honing his pitch recognition skills like the top player on this list managed to do in his sophomore season.”

I’d say most of that holds up today. His defense at third remains fine, but new questions about his power — was the emergence last year real or more of a juiced bat phenomenon? — keep his draft stock from being any higher. Others seem to like him a lot more than I do, for what it’s worth.

18. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia

*** 2010: .385/.484/.582 – 41 BB/24 K – 208 AB
*** 2011: .337/.455/.479 – 38 BB/36 K – 190 AB

Mejia doesn’t get a lot of nationally recognized prospect love, but I think the guy can play at the next level. He doesn’t have a clear plus tool and may not have the range to play third base, but his approach is sound and his present power is intriguing. I’ve heard from one source that he is a sure fire senior sign candidate in 2012 (i.e. don’t hold your breath waiting for him to get drafted this year). I wonder if a pro team might look to him as a potential catcher, assuming they believe his arm will play behind the plate.

19. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther

*** 2010: .311/.364/.547 – 18 BB/38 K – 225 AB
*** 2011: .306/.351/.541 – 16 BB/31 K – 229 AB

I came into the year thinking Ginther was a better player than he has shown, and I still feel that way after another good but not great college season. His athleticism is up there with any college third baseman in the class and his arm strength is an asset defensively, but his hit tool hasn’t shown much progress in his three years with the Cowboys. Ginther certainly looks the part of a potential big league third baseman with three well above-average tools (defense, arm, power) and special athleticism, but it’ll take much more contact and a less loopy swing if he wants to make it as a regular.

20. Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy

*** 2010: .304/.385/.444 – 20 BB/36 K – 207 AB
*** 2011: .302/.423/.481 – 29 BB/25 K – 189 AB

Duffy was a deep sleeper top five rounds candidate of mine heading into the 2010 season, so you know I’ve been irrationally high on his talent for a long time now. The Vermont transfer and current Tennesee standout has all of the defensive tools to play a decent shortstop professionally, but profiles better as a potential plus defender at the hot corner. For Duffy, a Jack Hannahan (with more raw power) or Andy LaRoche (with less raw power) type of career is possible.

21. UC Irvine SR 3B Brian Hernandez

*** 2010: .356/.421/.513 – 21 BB/26 K – 236 AB
*** 2011:  .358/.416/.419 – 19 BB/26 K – 229 AB

Last year I wrote: “he’s your typical ‘whole is greater than the sum of his parts’ kind of prospect, with the upside of a big league bench bat if everything breaks right.” I stand by that today (some pop, some speed, some plate discipline), with one additional comment I’ll present straight from my notes: “PLUS fielder.” All caps means you know I’m serious. Hernandez can really pick it at third.

22. Stetson JR 3B Ben Carhart

*** 2011: .349/.395/.500 – 17 BB/17 K – 232 AB

I liked Carhart more on the mound heading into the year, but now think his plus arm, gap power, and improved approach at the plate could play at third.

23. Penn State JR 3B Jordan Steranka

*** 2010: .309/.352/.483 – 10 BB/45 K – 236 AB
*** 2011: .327/.395/.548 – 25 BB/34 K – 217 AB

Steranka gives just about what you’d expect from a player this far down the ranking: a strong arm and some power upside. He also has the advantage of being a steady glove at third, though there are some rumblings that he could be tried behind the plate as a pro.

24. Louisiana Tech JR 3B Matt Threlkeld

*** 2010: .322/.382/.540 – 22 BB/44 K – 239 AB
*** 2011: .287/.383/.478 – 31 BB/46 K – 230 AB

Threlkeld gives just about what you’d expect from a player this far down the ranking: huge raw power and a strong arm. The reason Steranka gets the one spot edge over him is because of Threlkeld’s questionable defensive ability.

25. College of Charleston JR 3B Matt Leeds

*** 2010: .335/.442/.715 – 30 BB/46 K – 241 AB
*** 2011: .353/.454/.681 – 39 BB/60 K – 232 AB

Leeds has big power and a strong track record of showing it, but his average on his best day defense and just good enough arm temper some of the enthusiasm that he’ll play third base regularly as a pro. If his knees check out, he could have a future as a bat-first four corners backup.

26. Southern Mississippi JR 3B Ashley Graeter

*** 2011: .325/.393/.453 – 14 BB/22 K – 117 AB

27. Winthrop JR 3B Chas Crane

*** 2010: .356/.452/.673 – 39 BB/53 K – 208 AB
*** 2011: .280/.415/.338 – 45 BB/46 K – 207 AB

28. Texas A&M JR 3B Matt Juengel

*** 2010: .359/.424/.629 – 13 BB/30 K – 167 AB
*** 2011: .295/.376/.446 – 19 BB/34 K – 224 AB

29. Baylor SO 3B Cal Towey

*** 2010: .305/.434/.505 – 21 BB/31 K – 105 AB
*** 2011: .250/.424/.422 – 29 BB/43 K – 116 AB

30. Oklahoma City SR 3B Kirk Walker

Best Bats of College Baseball’s Opening Weekend (2/18/11 to 2/20/11)

1. Arguably the biggest story to come out of college baseball’s opening weekend (from a prospect standpoint…and before news of Stanford JR LHP Brett Mooneyham’s season-ending finger injury came to the surface) centered on the decision to have Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito play shortstop. Bigger still, he went out and played it well. Fun question of the day: if Esposito can show to scouts that he can at least play a league average big league shortstop, then he’ll go [fill-in-the-blank] in the 2011 MLB Draft. Top half of the first round, no doubt…right? Top ten? Higher? I know Ryan Zimmerman is the name often thrown around when talking Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon, but I think it is a really natural comparison for Esposito.

2. Other notable position “switches”: LSU 3B FR JaCoby Jones played 2B, Tulane JR C Jeremy Schaffer played 3B (a spot where he has some prior experience), and Washington SR 1B Troy Scott played 3B (ditto). Schaffer and Scott are mid-round guys here in 2011, but Jones has first round upside in 2013. I want to sit down and do preliminary rankings for 2012 and 2013 sometime before this June.  In a vacuum, Jones has top ten potential, but I’ll need to see where he stacks up in what looks to be a strong 2013 draft class.

3. The LSU staff has three years to move JaCoby Jones around the infield, and, as mentioned, Schaffer and Scott are mid-round guys at best. That leaves the position switch with the most immediate and significant draft prospect consequence as the move of Utah JR C CJ Cron playing first base all weekend long. The switch was not entirely unexpected – Cron’s defense behind the plate has never been his strong suit, plus he has played 1B for the Utes in the past – but the buzz surrounding it makes it seem less and less likely that Cron will don the tools of ignorance much at all in 2011.

A few completely random interesting hitting lines of the weekend, complete with equally random commentary…

College of Charleston JR “C” Rob Kral (2011): 667/714/778 (6-9, 2B, RBI, 5 R, 4 BB/0 K)

  • Kral may not be a catcher professionally, but, man, can he hit. Great patience and great power typically leads to great things…

North Carolina State JR C Pratt Maynard (2011): 538/571/692 (7-13, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R)

Mississippi SR C Miles Hamblin (2011): 444/643/778  (4-9, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB/3 K, 3/3 SB)

Oklahoma SO 2B Max White (2012): 467/556/667 (7-15, 3 2B, 6 R, 4 RBI, 3 HBP, 1/1 SB)

  • As great as that line looks, White’s defense at second drew the most praise over the weekend. Pretty amazing considering White is a converted outfield learning the position as he goes.

Tennessee JR 2B Khayyan Norfork (2011): 556/667/1.222 (5-9, HR, 3B, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1/2 SB)

  • I ignored all of the positive buzz coming out of Tennessee’s fall/winter practices and, even though it has only been one weekend, I regret it. I did say this: “Khayyan Norfork might just be the player primed to make the biggest rise up draft boards of the players listed.” Really nice blend of speed, pop, and defense…

Florida SO SS Nolan Fontana (2012): 750/786/833 (9-12, 2B, 5 R, 2 HBP, K, 1/1 SB)

Clemson JR SS Brad Miller (2011): 375/643/375 (3-8, 5 R, 2 RBI, 6 BB/0 K, 4/4 SB)

  • Didn’t have the power numbers of many players on the list, but easy to love that BB/K ratio.

Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson (2011): 583/667/583 (7-12, 6 RBI, 3 R, 5 BB/1 K, 5/6 SB)

Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez (2011): 462/462/1.231 (6-13, 3 HR, 2B, 7 RBI, 4 R, 2-2 SB)

Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele (2011): 625/700/1.188 (10-16, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

Texas A&M JR 3B Matt Juengel (2011): 455/500/1.364 (5-11, 2 HR, 2 3B, 7 RBI, 5 R)

Texas FR 3B Erich Weiss (2013): 818/824/1.273 (9-11, 2 3B, 2B, 7 RBI, 6 R, 5 BB/0 K, 1/1 SB)

Southern Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley (2011): 583/615/1.083 (7-12, HR, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

UAB JR OF Jamal Austin (2011): 462/462/538 (6-13, 2B, RBI, 2 R, 3/4 SB)

Kent State SR OF Ben Klafczynski (2011): 538/571/538 (7-13, RBI, 2 R)

Stanford FR OF Austin Wilson (2013): 500/500/750 (6-12, HR, 4 RBI, R, 1/1 SB)

  • With the first pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees select…

LSU JR OF Mikie Mahtook (2011): 444/545/1.778 (4-9, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

  • I tried to limit the list to one player per college, but leaving fellow Tigers JaCoby Jones and Tyler Hanover off pained me greatly. Mahtook’s decision to only hit home runs could really pay off this year…

Honorable Mention! Virginia SR C Kenny Swab (2011): 000/571/000 (0-6, 5 R, 6 BB, 2 HBP, 2/2 SB)

Honorable Mention 2.0! Any JMU player. Five different players slugged over 1.100 over the weekend: Tenaglia, Herbek, Foltz, Knight, and Lowery. I was most impressed with SO OF Johnny Bladel’s 533/720/733 (6/3 BB/K and 5/5 SB) line. He’s my very early super sneaky 2012 first round possibility.

2011 MLB Draft – Top 50 Corner Infield Prospects

If this list seems like a fairly straightforward combination of two previously published rankings cobbled together to buy some time while other projects are completed, then, well, congratulations because you’re right. In my half-hearted defense, I think there is some value in combining 1B and 3B into one great big “corner infielder” umbrella category due to the high probability that at least a few of the third basemen on the list wind up at first base (Coy and Shaw are two highly ranked names that stand out) sooner rather than later. I also think there is value from a methodological standpoint, at least from a personal ranking philosophy standpoint. One quick observation on said methods: the 1B list is one that looks better when viewed from a college production standpoint (e.g. Troy Channing and Jordan Ribera ranking so highly), while the 3B list skews towards projection and scouting (e.g. the aggressive placement of Andy Burns and Adam Smith). All legitimate rankings in a vacuum, I think, but difficult when attempting to mesh the two lists together. At least the top spot was an easy one to pick…

Working on the college shortstop list. Hoping to get to the revised catching list and then outfielders at some point over the weekend. After wrapping up the position players, we’ll move on to college pitching and, finally, some 2011 high school prospect talk. Once the rankings are all out of the way — my goal this year was to finish them all before the college season, i.e. the unofficial start of “draft season,” and it looks like I’ll get there — then we can get into some of the new, fun ideas that have been kicking around in my head the past few months.

  1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon
  2. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth
  3. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito
  4. Florida JR 1B Preston Tucker
  5. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole
  6. Southern California JR 1B Ricky Oropesa
  7. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez
  8. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns
  9. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez
  10. Wichita State JR 3B Johnny Coy
  11. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith
  12. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw
  13. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson
  14. St. Mary’s JR 1B Troy Channing
  15. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza
  16. Winthrop JR 3B Chas Crane
  17. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward
  18. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele
  19. Fresno State SR 1B Jordan Ribera
  20. Washington State JR 1B Taylor Ard
  21. East Tennessee State SR 1B Paul Hoilman
  22. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B Nick Ramirez
  23. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte
  24. Texas JR 3B Kevin Lusson
  25. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia
  26. San Francisco SR 3B Steven Yarrow
  27. UCLA JR 1B Dean Espy
  28. Vanderbilt JR 1B Aaron Westlake
  29. North Carolina State JR 1B Harold Riggins
  30. Tarleton State SR 3B Chris Casazza
  31. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther
  32. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche
  33. Texas A&M JR 3B Matt Juengel
  34. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia
  35. Louisiana Tech JR 3B Matt Threlkeld
  36. College of Charleston JR 3B Matt Leeds
  37. Mississippi JR 1B Matt Snyder
  38. Oklahoma City SR 3B Kirk Walker
  39. Baylor SO 3B Cal Towey
  40. Liberty JR 3B Tyler Bream
  41. Northwestern JR 1B Paul Snieder
  42. Cal State Fullerton SO 1B Carlos Lopez
  43. Oklahoma JR 1B Cam Seitzer
  44. Southern Illinois JR 1B Chris Serritella
  45. Cal Irvine JR 1B Jordan Leyland
  46. East Carolina JR 3B Corey Thompson
  47. Wake Forest JR 1B Austin Stadler
  48. Washington SR 1B Troy Scott
  49. Georgia JR 1B Chase Davidson
  50. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis

2011 MLB Draft – College 3B Commentary

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.

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 – Top 30 College 3B Follow List (Honorable Mentions)

The unrelenting positivity surrounding the promise of the 2011 draft class is bound to get old after a few months (negativity sells, after all), but, for now, it is a heck of a lot of fun. It was a pain in the neck filling out the last few spots on a few of the position lists last spring. This year, however, trimming down the top 30 third baseman list was an absolute chore. I haven’t been following the draft long enough to make any kind of absurd declaration about the quality of this year’s class, but, damn, this is one amazing amateur crop. Here are a few of the quality names that didn’t make my top 30 3B cut…

Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis
North Carolina State JR 3B Andrew Ciencin
Auburn JR 3B Creede Simpson
UC Irvine SR 3B Brian Hernandez
Jacksonville State JR 3B Sam Eberle
Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy
Southern Mississippi JR 3B Ashley Graeter
Florida State SR 3B Stuart Tapley
Maryland JR 3B Tomo Delp
Michigan JR 3B John Lorenz
Stetson JR 3B Ben Carhart
Clemson JR 3B Jason Stolz
North Carolina Wilmington JR 3B Cameron Cockman
Florida SR 3B Bryson Smith
Penn State JR 3B Jordan Steranka
Georgia JR 3B Colby May

This list gives you a little bit of everything, I think. Before we start I should point out that 34 four-year college third basemen were taken in last year’s draft with 6 more junior college players taken at the position. Tomorrow’s follow list will have 30 third basemen and today’s honorable mention list has 16. That 46 doesn’t include the handful of junior college players that I always seem to overlook. Context!

Hernandez, Duffy, and Smith were all on the Top 30 last year, but got squeezed out of the rankings for one reason or another this year. I called Hernandez a “whole is greater than the sum of his parts” prospect last year, and I think a season similar to the one he had in 2010 (356/421/513) should get him drafted as a late round senior sign if a team buys into his defensive versatility at the next level. Duffy is a big personal favorite who I think could have big league value based on his outstanding glove and nothing more. The comparisons last year were Jack Hannahan and Andy LaRoche, at least in terms of possible career paths. Smith was easily the biggest tumbler from last year’s list. I try not to get into too much of the good old fashioned baseball psychology, but I do wonder if both Smith and fellow 2010 junior Josh Adams struggled last year due to the weight of having to carry a young Gators offense. A return to health after a season of nagging injuries would also help.

Graeter has the chance to shoot way up in the rankings once the season gets started. He’s transferring from Pearl River CC to Southern Mississippi to form one heck of a formidable left side of the infield in Hattiesburg. I liked him more as a pitcher than a position player last year at this time, but solid defensive tools, a plus arm, and intriguing offensive upside make him a legit position player in his own right. Tomo Delp is in a similar situation. His plus bat is now off to Maryland after spending time as Bryce Harper’s junior college teammate.

Stolz and Cockman both have much stronger scouting profiles than their statistical production would lead you to believe. Despite two subpar seasons at Clemson, Stolz’s status as a former prep star has scouts who remember his high school days convinced he’ll turn it around sooner rather than later. Cockman has almost all of the positives you’d want in a prospect (speed, arm, athleticism, and power), but hasn’t had the opportunity to show off his ability at the college level. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jake Tanis is a good defender coming off a sophomore season so impressive (354/417/668) that the Rockies scooped him up in the 2010 draft. He’s been able to translate solid tools into excellent production thus far; a big junior year could get him up into top fifteen round territory.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers