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2010 MLB Draft: Top 30 College Shortstop Prospects

1. Cal State Fullerton JR SS Christian Colon
2. Kansas State JR SS Carter Jurica
3. Duke JR SS Jake Lemmerman
4. Long Beach State JR SS Devin Lohman
5. Alabama JR SS Josh Rutledge
6. Virginia Tech JR SS Tim Smalling
7. Rice JR SS Rick Hague
8. James Madison JR SS David Herbek
9. Virginia SR SS Tyler Cannon
10. Arizona State SO SS Drew Maggi
11. Fresno State JR SS Danny Muno
12. East Carolina JR SS Dustin Harrington
13. Francis Marion SR SS Barrett Kleinknecht
14. Old Dominion SR SS Jake McAloose
15. Central Arizona FR SS Sam Lind
16. Virginia Military Institute JR SS Sam Roberts
17. San Francisco SR Derek Poppert
18. Creighton JR SS Elliot Soto
19. Kennesaw State SR SS Tyler Stubblefield
20. Florida Atlantic JR SS Nick DelGuidice
21. North Carolina SR SS Ryan Graepel
22. UT-San Antonio JR SS Ryan Hutson
23. Florida State SR SS Stephen Cardullo
24. Texas Tech SR SS Joey Kenworthy
25. Kansas JR SS Brandon Macias
26. Michigan State JR SS Jonathan Roof
27. Texas A&M JR SS Kenny Jackson
28. Washington State JR SS Shea Vucinich
29. Minnesota SO SS AJ Pettersen
30. San Diego JR SS Zach Walters

Reports on the 30 players listed above with a few extra prospects who didn’t make the list for good measure, after the jump. Stat lines are as of mid-May 2010 and are park/schedule adjusted. They include BA/OBP/SLG, BB/K, and SB/Attempts…

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2010 MLB Draft: Big 12 Shortstops

I’m digging these quick looks at different 2010 MLB Draft position groups, so let’s keep it going with a look at the handful of Big 12 draft-eligible shortstops of note. I think this group is actually a touch better on the whole than the ACC quartet, but I’m probably splitting hairs with that assessment considering the most probable career path of the eight players listed so far would be considered under the umbrella category of “utility player of varying value.” Speaking of the ACC list from yesterday, a comp for one of the players on the list came to mind last night: Tim Smalling as the college version of Tampa’s Reid Brignac. Bit of a stretch, perhaps, but there are some similar tool-based similarities between the two. Just a thought.

Texas A&M JR SS Kenny Jackson
Height, Weight: 6-4, 195
Birth Date: 7/2/89 (Age-20 season)

JR – .421/.511/.447 (7 BB/4 K; 1-1 SB)

The former Alvin College shortstop reminds me of current Cardinals starter Brendan Ryan. Both players are smooth defenders, possess strong arms, bigger than usual shortstop frames, and enough offensive skills and defensive consistency to provide value as a starter. Jackson hasn’t put up big power numbers in 2010, but showed off enough pop prior to joining the Aggies to have some observers (myself included) buy in to his double digit home run potential as a professional. Like the vast majority of the college shortstops on this list, Jackson’s clearest path to the big leagues will be as a utility player with a strong glove. Unlike so many of the others, however, Jackson has clear starter upside at the position if he continue to tap into his above-average tools.

Kansas State JR SS Carter Jurica
Height, Weight: 5-11, 185
Birth Date: 9/23/88 (Age-21 season)

FR – .240/.329/.360 (15 BB/23 K; 9-14 SB)
SO – .353/.437/.492 (26 BB/45 K; 23-32 SB)
JR – .432/.495/.662 (11 BB/9 K; 10-13 SB)

In a weak college shortstop class, Carter Jurica should see his stock soar this spring. He has always had the right tools to succeed (plus speed, enough pop, good athlete), but has put everything together in a big way so far this season. The raw tools are there for Jurica to succeed professionally, but it’ll take a team buying in to his long-range projection if he wants to sneak up into the top ten rounds this June.

Kansas JR SS Brandon Macias
Height, Weight: 5-10, 183
Birth Date: 10/10/88 (Age-21 season)

JR – .213/.261/.262 (3 BB/10 K; 0-0 SB)

There is certainly an argument that could be made for Macias to sit atop this particular shortstop list, what with his excellent defensive tools and true plus arm strength and accuracy, but the early season struggles of the former Arizona State enrollee and South Mountain CC shortstop give me pause. Macias has received universal praise for his outstanding work ethic and love of the game, and his big first year playing for South Mountain (in a wood bat league, no less) had scouts thinking they were watching a future everyday shortstop in the making. A disappointing sophomore season chock full of struggles due in large part to a nagging hamstring injury took him off the radar to some degree, but, despite the down year, Macias showed off enough evidence that he’s a player with all five tools (in addition to the aforementioned defensive gifts, Macias has above-average speed and good gap power) present in his game. Kansas has a surprisingly rich recent history of shortstops drafted into the professional ranks, a factor that can only help Macias this June. Many talent evaluators look for programs that have coaching staffs with reputations coaching up certain positions or player types; in this way, Kansas’ strong track record developing up the middle types could be Macias’ gain this June.

Texas Tech SR SS Joey Kenworthy
Height, Weight: 5-5, 160
Birth Date: 6/6/88 (Age-22 season)

FR – .182/.262/.255 (4 BB/6 K; 1-1 SB)
SO – .313/.431/.411 (39 BB/20 K; 5-6 SB)
JR – .335/.363/.417 (12 BB/24 K; 5-7 SB)
SR – .303/.444/.461 (14 BB/8 K; 3-6 SB)

No, Kenworthy isn’t the water boy, scorekeeper, or equipment manager, thanks so much for asking. Opposing fans do a double take when the 5-5, 160 pound Kenworthy steps up to the plate for the first time, but his solid defense and not completely worthless bat (how’s that for a ringing endorsement?) typically give him the last laugh. I wonder if Kenworthy’s draft stock would have been higher if he was a senior coming out of school at the height of post-World Series Angels victory induced David Eckstein craze of a few years ago. As it stands, his draft prospects are touch and go, but a continuation of his improved senior year numbers might be enough to sneak him into the last few rounds this year.

Quick College Look Ahead – UConn, LSU, and Kansas

Not sure what direction to take now that I’m finally staring at almost four months without “meaningful” baseball. Right now the plan is to go back and respond to any comments I’ve missed over the past few weeks, continue plugging away with college/high school draft scouting reports, and sharing out any interesting tidbits that I happen to run across – probably doing that last bit on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. I’m open to providing just about any kind of content (college team profiles, closer look at high school player groups, top ten positional rankings, whatever), so if there is anything in particular that anybody wants to see, drop me a comment or an email. It’s a loooooooooong offseason and this normally a pretty dead period for any kind of draft news, but reading and writing about faraway prospects may help the next couple of frigid months go a little quicker. For now, here are a couple notes about some interesting college teams and players to watch heading into 2010.

Connecticut

The Huskies feature one of the nation’s most intriguing pair of two-way talents in SO RHP/SS Nick Ahmed (2011) and SO RHP/3B Kevin Vance (2011). Ahmed turned some serious heads in summer league play with a fastball sitting in the low-90s, a low-70s curve with promise, and a presently league average change. Ahmed may have been the hotter name over the summer, but Vance’s stuff is currently a touch better. He has similar velocity to Ahmed (normally sitting 90-92 with the FB), but a better overall breaking ball and plus command give him the overall edge. Both players figure to see plenty of time on the mound in 2010, though neither should be limited to just pitching. Ahmed and Vance will each fight for time on the left side of the infield, an area that Connecticut has well covered between the two two-way guys and returning star Mike Olt. If Ahmed locks down either the 3B or SS spot on a semi-regular basis (with Olt manning the other spot), don’t be surprised to see Vance get a shot working behind the plate.

LSU

The defending champs bring back an absolutely loaded squad. There are some questions on the pitching side that will need to be sorted out, but the Tigers outfield depth is just silly. SO OF Mike Mahtook (2011), JR OF Leon Landry (2010), and SO Johnny Dishon (2011) would have been my guesses as the starting outfielders heading into the spring, but the return of SR OF Blake Dean (2010) and the arrival of SO OF Trey Watkins (2011) give LSU five legit pro prospects in the outfield. Mahtook is a definite five-tool talent who just looks like a future first rounder, Landry will draw plenty of Jared Mitchell comps due to his football playing background and impressive raw physical tools, and Dishon profiles similarly to Mahtook but may be just a little bit short in each tool category when directly compared to his outfield mate. Dean is slowly rounding back into baseball shape after a run of bad luck offseason medical work. Meanwhile, all early buzz on Trey Watkins has been nothing but positive. Reports of his plus-plus speed have not been exaggerated as Watkins really is a joy to watch run, especially when he is doing the running after having driven a ball into the gap for a triple.

Kansas

The folks in Lawrence figure to be pretty occupied by a different kind of bball through early April, but the left side of the Jayhawks infield deserves an early mention before getting buried in the avalanche that is KU basketball. JR 3B Tony Thompson (2010) has special potential with the bat and a cannon for an arm at third. His 6-5, 220 pound frame, power potential, and questionable future at third base (even with the big arm he may have to slide across the diamond as a pro) garner late career Troy Glaus comps. The man to his left will be JR SS Brandon Macias (2010), another Kansas infielder with plus arm strength. Macias has very good defensive tools that should play up with as he gains experience playing at the highest level of collegiate ball. He has enough pop in his bat to go along with above-average speed to make him an interesting five-tool player to watch this spring.

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