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2011 MLB Draft Middle Infield Rankings Resource Page

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Second Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Second Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Shortstop Rankings

…and for a combined top fifty list of all 2011 draft-eligible middle infield prospects, observe and discuss below…

1. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)

2. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)

3. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong

4. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael

5. 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)

6. 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)

7. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)

8. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

9. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)

10. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

11. 2B Trent Gilbert (Torrance HS, California)

12. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)

13. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

14. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

15. Indian River State College SO 2B Corey Spangenberg

16. St. John’s JR 2B Joe Panik

17. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright

18. 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)

19. 2B Christian Lopes (Edison HS, California)

20. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)

21. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy La Stella

22. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson

23. 2B Dante Flores (St. John Bosco HS, California)

24. 2B TJ Costen (First Colonial HS, Virginia)

25. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

26. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee

27. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)

28. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)

29. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

30. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)

31. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)

32. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)

33. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

34. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

35. 2B Kevin Kramer (Turlock HS, California)

36. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton

37. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini

38. 2B Vicente Conde (Orangewood Christian Academy, Florida)

39. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)

40. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

41. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

42. North Carolina A&T JR 2B Marquis Riley

43. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Joe Terry

44. SS Tommy Williams (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida)

45. Missouri State JR 2B Kevin Medrano

46. SS Jack Lopez (Deltona HS, Florida)

47. Tennessee JR 2B Khayyan Norfork

48. 2B Mason Snyder (Marquette HS, Illinois)

49. SS Zac LaNeve (Pine Richland HS, Pennsylvania)

50. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson

2011 MLB Draft Shortstop Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top twenty-five college and top fifteen high school 2011 shortstop prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Shortstop Rankings

…and for a combined top twenty-five list of all 2011 draft-eligible shortstop prospects, hang on tight and go for a ride with me below…

1. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)

2. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)

3. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)

4. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

5. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)

6. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

7. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)

8. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

9. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

10. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)

11. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

12. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)

13. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)

14. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

15. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)

16. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)

17. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)

18. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

19. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

20. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)

21. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

22. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

23. SS Tommy Williams (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida)

24. SS Jack Lopez (Deltona HS, Florida)

25. SS Zac LaNeve (Pine Richland HS, Pennsylvania)

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

I haven’t offered too much commentary on the position player groups as a whole, but, man, the college shortstop group is weak this year. Miller and Ahmed are the clear top two for me, but both could be moved off the position in pro ball (Miller in CF or 2B, Ahmed in CF or 3B). I’ve liked Motter for a long time, and Brandon Loy has grown on me with every viewing, but I’d only put money on one sure fire (or as close as one can get to “sure fire” when it comes to the draft) long-term starter (Miller).

With some luck, college 2B should be up later today. After that, I’ll be working on high school middle infield prospects. Then on to 3B and OF before finally getting to the most exciting part of this year’s draft, the pitching. All that will be left after that will be a complete big board and then the excitement of draft day.

1. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

*** 2010: .407/.510/.641 – 53 BB/37 K – 231 AB – 10/12 SB
*** 2011: .439/.546/.614 – 40 BB/28 K – 171 AB – 22/26 SB

Miller goes coast to coast as this season’s top collegiate shortstop prospect, beginning the year at the top spot and very deservedly finishing at number one as well. I’ve long held the position that the current Clemson shortstop has what it takes to stick at the position, an opinion tied far more closely to his defensive tools — most notably the speed and athleticism that give him well above-average range up the middle — than his present, sometimes erratic, ability. At the plate, he’s done everything expected of him and more. I’m admittedly more bullish on his power upside than most and can see him further tapping into said upside to the tune of 15+ homers annually. Even if the power doesn’t quite reach those levels, Miller’s consistent hard contact and good approach should help keep his batting average and on-base percentage at more than acceptable numbers for a starting middle infielder. It may be a popular comp for a lot of players, but I think a comparison between Brad Miller and former ACC star and current Oriole Brian Roberts is apt.

2. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

*** 2010: .326/.390/.404 – 29 BB/31 K – 267 AB – 34/42 SB
*** 2011: .355/.448/.487 – 22 BB/14 K – 152 AB – 20/26 SB

I try not to let a quick look at a player influence my opinion on him too much, but Nick Ahmed gave off that somewhat silly yet undeniable big league look when I see him play earlier this year. He’s got an easy plus arm, strong defensive tools and athleticism that should play at multiple spots, and enough bat speed to drive good fastballs to the gaps. My only “concern,” if you even want to call it that, is that he’ll outgrow shortstop. The reason why I’m not ready to call that a legitimate concern just yet is because, based on his current tall and lanky frame, I would hope any physical growth he experiences professionally would be accompanied by additional strength, especially in his upper body, to help his eventual power output. In other words, if he gets too big for shortstop then at least he’ll then have the chance of having the power bat needed to play elsewhere.

3. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

*** 2010: .355/.457/.654 – 39 BB/35 K – 214 AB – 11/15 SB
*** 2011: .281/.412/.422 – 43 BB/37 K – 192 AB – 18/20 SB

I can’t even begin to guess where Motter will actually go on draft day, but I’m willing to stick my neck out and say that whatever team winds up with him will get one of the draft’s underrated gems. Like Brandon Loy ranked just below him, Motter’s biggest strengths are his plus glove and plus throwing arm. Any above-average tool besides those two are gravy, though it certainly doesn’t hurt that Motter has an average hit tool and good speed. A couple of really nice things I heard about Motter after talking to people in the know included a description of the  “he simply does not waste at bats” and a glowing report on “his professional knowledge of the strike zone.” Motter obviously doesn’t profile as a Troy Tulowitzki type of power hitter, but with his defense, speed, and command of the strike zone, he won’t have to hit the ball out of the ballpark to someday get a chance as a starting big league shortstop.

4. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

*** 2010: .294/.399/.383 – 36 BB/37 K – 214 AB – 12/20 SB
*** 2011: .353/.431/.471 – 28 BB/20 K – 221 AB – 12/16 SB

Loy is a standout defensive player who makes up for his average foot speed with tremendous instincts and a plus arm that helps him execute all of the necessary throws from deep in the hole at short. He’s also a great athlete with awesome hand-eye coordination; that coordination is never more apparent than when he is called on to bunt, something he already does as well as the best big leaguer. I was slow to come around to Loy as a top prospect heading into the year, but the improvements with the bat have me thinking of him in a new light. Like Taylor Motter ranked one spot above him, Loy’s awesome defense should be his ticket to the big leagues, perhaps as a Paul Janish type down the road.

5. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

*** 2010: .380/.454/.630 – 19 BB/36 K – 216 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .386/.456/.520 – 16 BB/28 K – 223 AB – 6/11 SB

In much the same way I now link Motter and Loy together in my head, Nick Ahmed and Taylor Featherston stick together as similar prospects in many respects. Like Ahmed, Featherston has good size, above-average athleticism, average speed, and gap power. Featherston also faces similar questions about his eventual defensive landing spot. For now, I like Featherston to stick at shortstop. The defensive strides he has made from his freshman season to today give me reason to believe he has only scratched the surface on what he can do at shortstop. He doesn’t profile as ever having an above-average glove at short as he still has the tendency to do too much in the field at times, but I’d rather see a player going all out to make plays than have a steady, error-free performer who won’t get to nearly as many balls. If his most realistic outcome is as an offensive-minded backup infielder, so bet it.

6. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

*** 2010: .324/.404/.418 – 26 BB/42 K – 256 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .377/.428/.466 – 15 BB/17 K – 191 AB – 8/13 SB

In a year when very few college shortstops performed at or near their previous level of play, Pettersen improved across the board. He also improved in the eyes of scouts, turning what was considered an average at best hit tool at the start of the year into something most consider above-average at this point. Like many on the list he could wind up either at 2B or CF in pro ball, but I haven’t seen anything in his defensive game that makes me think he can’t at least start off as a shortstop. Like most players from now to the end of the list, his most likely ceiling is that of a quality big league utility guy.

7. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

*** 2010: .269/.439/.368 – 37 BB/47 K  – 193 AB – 7/14 SB
*** 2011: .299/.462/.419 – 52 BB/59 K – 234 AB – 25/29 SB

Grimes is another beneficiary of the weak college shortstop class, and is now regarded as one of the most advanced shortstop prospects around. His on-base skills are impressive, as is his defensive skill set, but the hit tool lags behind and his long, all or nothing swing doesn’t make a lot of sense for a player with limited power. I can see the appeal, but not to the point where I’d go around claiming he’ll be a big league regular any time soon.

8. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

*** 2010: .332/.400/.471 – 30 BB/37 K – 259 AB – 1/1 SB
*** 2011: .301/.385/.418 – 29 BB/34 K – 196 AB – 4/7 SB

Nola is a very good defender with just enough bat to give his drafting team hope that he’ll someday hit his way into a starting big league job. No above-average offensive tools (bat, power, speed) make it hard for me to project him as an everyday guy down the line, so I’ll go the broken record route and say, yet again, his most likely outcome is that of a utility infielder.

9. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

*** 2010: .363/.412/.553 – 19 BB/21 K – 237 AB – 12/17 SB
*** 2011: .279/.349/.433 – 22 BB/27 K – 208 AB – 8/10 SB

There are a lot of similarities in the upside between Parmley and Austin Nola – both are very good defensive players, average runners, and slightly below-average hitters. While I prefer Nola’s hit tool by a hair, the easiest difference to spot between the two prospects comes down to arm strength; Nola has plenty for shortstop while Parmley has plenty for a right fielder.

10. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

*** 2010: .278/.355/.375 – 14 BB/49 K – 176 AB – 7/9 SB
*** 2011: .236/.347/.270 – 20 BB/38 K – 148 AB – 5/6 SB

The 2009 unsigned tenth rounder entered school with the expectation that he’d continue to transform himself into a five-tool shortstop — heard a Danny Espinosa comp on him at one point — capable of doing enough of everything (50s and 55s across the board) to become a good big league starter. So far, not so much. The sum of Dennis’ tools simply do not yet add up to a good ballplayer. That’s alright for now because of the two remaining years of college eligibility Dennis has ahead of him. A team might take a chance on the tools despite his subpar college production, but you’d have to imagine Dennis wouldn’t jump to the pros with his value so low. In other words, if he is offered less than what he turned down in 2009, he’s staying in Ann Arbor at least another year.

11. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson

*** 2011: .304/.418/.364 – 41 BB/33 K – 214 AB – 22/30 SB

Tomlinson was identified as a sleeper heading into the year and, for the most part, he did not disappoint. The book on him was that he had plus speed, a very good arm, great athleticism, and the tools to be an excellent defensive shortstop. My only concern is his lack of power going forward – not so much in that I’m worried he won’t be a power hitter as a pro (it’s pretty much a given that he won’t be), but more so that he’ll have the bat knocked out of his hands at the next level.

12. James Madison SR SS David Herbek

*** 2010: 315/425/525 – 22 BB/32 K – 181 AB – 13/16 SB
*** 2011: .338/.425/.647 – 21 BB/28 K – 201 AB – 12/16 SB

Last year I wrote: “Herbek is a certifiable draft sleeper. He currently has gap power to all fields, but his beautifully level line drive stroke (reminiscent of Bill Mueller’s righthanded swing) has me thinking there is double digit home run potential if he can add some strength in the coming years.”

I didn’t anticipate that double digit home run totals to come in just over 200 senior year at bats, but there you go. His bat ranks up there with almost any other college shortstop in his class, but the relatively low ranking can be owed to his occasionally spotty defense. As an offense-first infielder off the bench he’ll do just fine.

13. Virginia Military Institute SR SS Sam Roberts

*** 2010: .313/.426/.531 – 42 BB/36 K – 211 AB – 9/16 SB
*** 2011: .342/.441/.500 – 35 BB/29 K – 202 AB – 13/17 SB

Roberts is a do-it-all utility player for VMI that leads off, plays short, and takes the hill every weekend as a starting pitcher. As a college player, there’s little he doesn’t do well and he’s been producing at a big time clip since first stepping on campus. He’s got just enough speed and power to be interesting on offense, and plenty of arm strength to play either spot on the left side of the infield.

14. Lake Erie College JR SS Ryan Rua

*** 2011: .400/.437/.594 – 9 BB/13 K – 170 AB – 19/23 SB

Rua faces the typical level of competition questions that come with playing Division II ball at Lake Erie College, but a strong junior year may have quieted some of the doubters. Some have him ticketed for CF as a pro, but I think his strong arm and above-average range should keep him in the middle infield to start his pro career. His bat isn’t quite as strong as his numbers suggest, though he profiles as an average to slightly below-average, slash and dash hitter down the road.

15. Florida Atlantic SR SS Nick DelGuidice

*** 2010: 294/341/498 – 19 BB/31 K – 245 AB – 3/4 SB
*** 2011: .324/.352/.484 – 11 BB/15 K – 213 AB – 3/5 SB

Never been all that high on DelGuidice’s bat, but his glove continues to impress. I think the leather should be enough to get him drafted, though I’m not sure if his limited ceiling will ever get him listed on Baseball America’s organizational top 30.

16. UCLA JR SS Tyler Rahmatulla

*** 2010: .336/.447/.530 – 42 BB/36 K –  232 AB – 14/21 SB
*** 2011: .250/.354/.294 – 7 BB/15 K – 68 AB – 5/6 SB

Jett Bandy, Ricky Oropesa, Zack MacPhee, and now Tyler Rahmatulla…that’s 4/5th of our Pac-10 all down year draft-eligible prospect team. Rahmatulla has injuries to explain away some of his slippage, but any year when your slugging percentage almost drops by half from the one before it isn’t a good one. A return engagement for a senior year could help him bring his stock back up to his pre-2011 level.

17. Troy SR SS Adam Bryant

*** 2010: .364/.439/.764 – 27 BB/37 K – 250 AB – 4/4 SB
*** 2011: .332/.395/.556 – 23 BB/25 K – 250 AB – 8/11 SB

Bryant is now fully recovered from last season’s labrum surgery and it shows. His defense has always been solid, and there is a surprising amount of power in his bat. He isn’t a top level prospect by any means, but he certainly qualifies as an intriguing senior sign.

18. California JR SS Marcus Semien

*** 2010: .359/.432/.533 – 26 BB/35 K – 195 AB – 5/7 SB
*** 2011: .266/.366/.391 – 26 BB/29 K – 184 AB – 7/11 SB

Semien is considered a draft sleeper by many, but I don’t see it. He probably has the range and arm to stay at short, so that’s a plus, but without much in the way of a hit tool, power, or speed, there isn’t enough there to project him as a big leaguer at this point.

19. South Carolina JR SS Peter Mooney

*** 2011: .271/.380/.383 – 35 BB/25 K – 214 AB – 3/6 SB

Mooney plays a mean shortstop for the defending champs, at times drawing the rare and beautiful “plus-plus” distinction for his glovework. Heard an amusing — probably because I’m a Phillies fan — Freddy Galvis comp on him that got me wondering about where the many age appropriate Latin American prospects who have already been in pro ball for years would be drafted if eligible in 2011. After about 20 minutes of trying to incorporate them into some kind of Alternate Reality Mock Draft, I gave up and came back to Mooney. The Gamecocks shortstop isn’t big (5-7, 150) or toolsy (besides his defense and a strong arm), but he could make it as a defense-first eight- or nine-hole hitter somewhere, someday.

20. UC Irvine JR SS DJ Crumlich

*** 2010: 310/421/422 – 19 BB/14 K – 116 AB – 2/4 SB
*** 2011: .299/.402/.403 – 29 BB/26 K – 201 AB – 4/7 SB

Crumlich has been very consistent since enrolling at UC Irvine. That consistency has been both a blessing — who doesn’t like a steady performer? — and a curse (consistently average or worse tools won’t draw anybody but an area scout down to see you). My guess is that Crumlich gets the chance to display that consistency for one more college season.

21. Oregon JR SS KC Serna

*** 2010: .365/.437/.498 – 23 BB/22 K – 233 AB – 14/22 SB
*** 2011: .234/.347/.299 – 25 BB/28 K – 167 AB – 12/12 SB

Rahmatulla, Semien, and now Serna – three Pac-10 shortstop prospects who underperformed greatly in 2011. Serna’s struggles are more damning, for no other reason than his spotty track record of staying out of trouble away from the diamond. Scouts will overlook character concerns as best they can if you can really, really play; if you can’t, you’ll be labeled as a player that will cause more headaches than you’re worth.

22. Army SR SS Clint Moore

*** 2010: .305/.410/.550 – 20 BB/27 K – 151 AB – 4/7 SB
*** 2011: .274/.367/.571 – 22 BB/45 K – 168 AB – 4/5 SB

Moore has better than you’d think range at short and a third base caliber arm, plus above-average power for a middle infielder. Like many on the list, he profiles best as a — wait for it — offensive-oriented utility guy. Unlike many on the list, he attends a university that requires a commitment beyond just four years of service. While admirable in a way that I can’t adequately describe, it certainly complicates his situation going forward.

23. Long Beach State JR SS Kirk Singer

*** 2010: .356/.435/.541 – 18 BB/26 K – 146 AB – 5/11 SB
*** 2011: .258/.343/.323 – 20 BB/44 K – 155 AB – 3/8 SB

I want to like Kirk Singer because of that sweet, sweet Long Beach State tradition of shortstops, but can’t fully buy in to a player with such an inconsistent bat. Defensively, he is exactly what you’d expect from a Dirtbag – plus arm, above-average lateral quickness, and 100% effort at all times. Maybe I’ve found a way to contradict myself in the space of a short paragraph, but, come to think of it, if I’m picking late and Singer is still out there and signable, his Long Beach pedigree would make him awfully tempting.

24. Southeastern Louisiana JR SS Justin Boudreaux

*** 2010: .309/.418/.543 – 36 BB/41 K – 230 AB – 17/21 SB
*** 2011: .314/.384/.505 – 23 BB/43 K – 220 AB – 14/17 SB

Boudreaux has a strong arm, above-average range, and steady hands. All in all, his defense works. That said, his best tool could be his wonderfully appropriate name; have to love a Boudreaux playing for Southeastern Louisiana.

25. LSU JR SS Tyler Hanover

*** 2010: .344/.421/.445 – 27 BB/26 K – 247 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .316/.414/.342 – 33 BB/16 K – 193 AB – 5/9 SB

Because I  stupidly forgot my laptop battery at work and won’t be able to plug back in until tomorrow, here are my unedited notes on Hanover instead of the brilliantly crafted paragraph you are all familiar with:

above-average speed, but more impressive as an instinctual base runner; very good defender – arguably his best present tool; competition for best tool includes a shocking plus-plus arm from his smaller frame; just enough pop to keep a pitcher honest, but mostly to the gaps; size gets him in trouble (attempts to do much), but this is inarguably a good college player; little bit of Jimmy Rollins to his game in that he is a little man with a big swing – again, this often gets him in more trouble than it should, as he is far, far less talented than Rollins on his worst day; great range to his right; definite utility future due to experience on left side; can get too jumpy at plate and swing at pithes outside the zone, but generally a patient hitter; 5-6, 155

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 Middle Infield Prospects

Just like last Monday’s combined list of corner infielders, expect this time we do it up the middle. If I had to ballpark it, I’d say there could be about one dozen or so future big league starters and then a whole lot of potential utility guys. Here’s the plan for the week ahead:

Monday: Top 50 College MIF Ranking
Tuesday: Top 30 College C Follow List (Honorable Mentions)
Wednesday: Top 30 College C Follow List
Thursday: Top 30 College C Follow List Commentary
Friday: Wide open, but I was leaning towards cobbling together some kind of quick college baseball preview…

After all that is done, I’ll finally tackle college OFs, RHPs, and LHPs. I know things have gotten very list heavy around here of late, but we’re almost through. Until then, another list!

  1. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael
  2. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong
  3. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller
  4. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee
  5. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter
  6. St. John’s JR SS Joe Panik
  7. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed
  8. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Joe Terry
  9. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy LaStella
  10. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright
  11. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis
  12. Missouri State JR 2B Kevin Medrano
  13. UCLA JR SS Tyler Rahmatulla
  14. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston
  15. Oregon JR SS KC Serna
  16. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson
  17. Virginia Military Institute SR SS Sam Roberts
  18. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson
  19. Long Beach State JR SS Kirk Singer
  20. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley
  21. Cal Poly JR 2B Matt Jensen
  22. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton
  23. Florida State JR 2B Sherman Johnson
  24. Virginia JR 2B Keith Werman
  25. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini
  26. Lake Erie College SS Ryan Rua
  27. Florida International JR 2B Garrett Wittels
  28. California JR SS Marcus Semien
  29. Vanderbilt SO SS Sam Lind
  30. Fresno State SR 2B Danny Muno
  31. Troy SR SS Adam Bryant
  32. Army SR SS Clint Moore
  33. South Carolina JR SS Peter Mooney
  34. Georgia Tech JR 2B Connor Winn
  35. Bowling Green JR 2B Jon Berti
  36. Tampa JR SS Taylor Wrenn
  37. James Madison SR SS David Herbek
  38. Marist JR 2B Jon Schwind
  39. Southeastern Louisiana JR SS Justin Boudreaux
  40. North Carolina A&T JR 2B Marquis Riley
  41. Auburn SR 3B Dan Gamache
  42. Virginia Tech JR SS Ronnie Shaban
  43. LSU JR SS Austin Nola
  44. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy
  45. LSU JR SS Tyler Hanover
  46. Southern SR 2B Curtis Wilson
  47. Towson SR 2B Chris Wychock
  48. Virginia Tech SR SS Tim Smalling
  49. TCU SR 2B Jerome Pena
  50. Oklahoma JR SS Caleb Bushyhead

2011 MLB Draft – College SS Commentary

Brad Miller and Joe Panik ranking in the top three is completely unoriginal. As a man who ate a delicious PB&J every day from second to sixth grade knows, believe me when I say sometimes boring works. Of course, even a simple-minded PB&J fan like me knows you have to mix it up every now and then. I’m not talking a fluffernutter level of radical change here; think more along the lines of adding potato chips for that extra salty crunch. This list’s chips comes in the form of one Taylor Motter. Motter’s defense is outstanding and his knowledge of the strike zone rivals that of any of his peers. I think his 2011 season and subsequent draft standing will remind many of what Kansas State’s Carter Jurica did in 2010.

Nick Ahmed (who I actually prefer on the mound, believe it or not) and Derek Dennis are both tools gambles at this point. Either player is capable of a Christian Colon rise up the board this spring, though it seems unlikely a team will reach on either quite the way the Royals did on Colon. I prefer the bats of Featherston and Serna over those of Ahmed and Dennis, but the much greater possibility of the latter pair playing an above-average shortstop professionally ultimately gave them the edge.

You could also lump Sam Roberts in with the aforementioned Featherston/Serna group. The VMI star has produced every year and shows no signs of stopping heading into 2011. He has many of the archetypal utility player attributes, including an arm strong enough for third, the athleticism to play up the middle, and more than sufficient power to the gaps. He’s not the only senior mid-round shortstop candidate; Adam Bryant (finally 100% healthy and showing above-average raw power), Clint Moore (very good defender with the makeup you’d expect from an Army man), and David Herbek (poor man’s Bill Mueller upside) all have the talent to find a home on a big league bench if everything breaks right.

Kelby Tomlinson, Sam Lind, and Peter Mooney are all very much on the scouting radar despite not having a single major college at bat among them. Tomlinson and Mooney, he of the potential plus-plus glove, both look like starters from day one. Austin Nola, Brandon Loy, and Tyler Hanover all could have been back end of the top ten prospects in a different year.

It wouldn’t be a college shortstop list without the requisite Long Beach State prospect. This year it’s Kirk Singer’s turn in the spotlight. He possesses many of the same talents of last year’s third rounder, Devin Lohman, right down to the strong arm, above-average hands, and questions about the bat.

2011 MLB Draft – Top 30 College SS Follow List

The difference between Miller, Motter, and Panik is slight enough that ranking them was nothing more than a flip of my very rare, three-sided coin. I feel much more strongly that Miller, Motter, and Panik are in fact the top three college shortstop prospects. All three players have the defensive tools to stick at short (Miller is probably the most questionable, but count me as a believer), and, at minimum, all profile as average big league players capable of playing anywhere in the infield as a pro. After that, things are wide open. Shortstop and catcher are both really tricky positions to judge as an outsider because many pro teams have very specific types of players they target at those spots. In this case, I tried to err on the side of defense, athleticism, and likelihood of staying at the position professionally, but a few prospects with more bat than glove (e.g. Featherston and Serna) offered skill sets too intriguing to ignore. I’m hoping tomorrow’s expanded commentary on this list will shed some light on the thought process behind many of the picks, but I’m happy to answer any questions in the meantime. Until then, here’s what I’ve got…

  1. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller
  2. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter
  3. St. John’s JR SS Joe Panik
  4. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed
  5. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis
  6. UCLA JR SS Tyler Rahmatulla
  7. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston
  8. Oregon JR SS KC Serna
  9. Virginia Military Institute SR SS Sam Roberts
  10. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson
  11. Long Beach State JR SS Kirk Singer
  12. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley
  13. Lake Erie College SS Ryan Rua
  14. California JR SS Marcus Semien
  15. Vanderbilt SO SS Sam Lind
  16. Troy SR SS Adam Bryant
  17. Army SR SS Clint Moore
  18. South Carolina JR SS Peter Mooney
  19. LSU JR SS Austin Nola
  20. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy
  21. LSU JR SS Tyler Hanover
  22. Tampa JR SS Taylor Wrenn
  23. James Madison SR SS David Herbek
  24. Southeastern Louisiana JR SS Justin Boudreaux
  25. Virginia Tech JR SS Ronnie Shaban
  26. Virginia Tech SR SS Tim Smalling
  27. Oklahoma JR SS Caleb Bushyhead
  28. South Florida JR SS Sam Mende
  29. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen
  30. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

2011 MLB Draft – Top 30 College SS Follow List (Honorable Mentions)

I realize I say something similar to the following every time a new list is published, but this time it is true: compiling the 2011 list of top college shortstop prospects took me longer than any other position so far. Here are a few players that didn’t make the cut, but are still interesting enough to follow during the 2011 season. I’d bet that only the seniors on this particular list will get serious draft consideration this June (and even then, we’re talking late round interest at best) while the juniors get their time in the sun in June of 2012. Despite the lack of potential pro talent, there are some excellent college players here that deserve notice.

Illinois JR SS Josh Parr
Missouri State JR SS Travis McComack
Florida Atlantic SR SS Nick DelGuidice
Bethune-Cookman JR SS Alejandro Sanchez
Liberty JR SS Matt Williams
Dartmouth JR SS Joe Sclafani
Wagner SR SS Brian Martutartus
Tennessee JR SS Zach Osborne
Maryland JR SS Alfredo Rodriguez
Cal State Fullerton SO SS Matt Orloff
UC Irvine JR SS DJ Crumlich
Ball State SR SS TJ Baumet
Kansas SR SS Brandon Macias
Radford JR SS Jeff Kemp
Utah SR SS Michael Beltran
Oregon State JR SS Carter Bell
UNLV SR SS Richie Jimenez
Kent State JR SS Jimmy Rider
BYU JR SS Austin Hall
Jacksonville State SR SS Blake Seguin
Western Kentucky JR SS Logan Robbins
Arkansas JR SS Tim Carver
UC Riverside SR SS Trevor Hairgrove
Sonoma State SR SS Alex Todd

Three names that pained me more than others to leave off the top thirty list: Parr, McComack, and Sclafani. Parr is a really good athlete with plus defensive tools, but his inability to control the strike zone presents a concern going forward. There is enough rawness in his hitting approach to think he is due for that big sophomore to junior year breakout at the plate. He definitely has the potential to make me look stupid for not finding a spot for him earlier. McComack is another good defender with a plus arm. He has a lot of the required skills (arm for third, range for short, instincts at second) needed to thrive as a defensive-first utility infielder if everything breaks right. Sclafani has the potential to emerge as a premium 2012 senior sign after he graduates from Dartmouth.

Underclassmen OsborneRodriguez, Orloff, and Crumlich all are well above-average with the leather, but find themselves in similar positions as 2010 juniors DelGuidice and Macias; if they follow the same pattern, we’ll be talking about that quartet once again in 2012.

Baumet and Bell are both talented players without long-term professional defensive homes. Baumet’s outstanding arm may eventually get him tried on the mound, but Bell seems like he could be out of luck professionally.

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