Things have been quiet around here lately, but for good reason…it’s report card season! Yes, I do have a day job that may keep me updating from time to time, and, yes, filling out report card after report card takes priority over draft coverage – sad, but true. However, with all that grading in the books, it’s time to move on. What better way to celebrate than by doing some more grading!
In case you’ve been busy like me and haven’t kept up with some of the top college prospects, below the jump is a look back at our earlier College Big Board 1.0 (just the top 25 this time) with grades based on their performance through the first three weeks of the college baseball season.
Important things to note before we do this. The list below is just a reprint of the original big board. It hasn’t been updated yet. Also keep in mind that the players are judged on a pretty harsh curve – more is expected of the players near the top of the list because they have set the bar higher heading into the season.
It’s also almost all performance based with less emphasis on early season scouting reports than normal. Agree, disagree, think I’m an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is incredibly inconsistent with his grading…let me know.
1. Stephen Strasburg – RHSP – San Diego State – What more can anyone say about this guy right now?… A+
2. Alex White – RHSP – North Carolina – Hittable, but still striking out over a batter an inning… B-
3. Grant Green – SS – Southern California – Early season struggles (.229/.341/.371) aren’t a huge concern, but Green’s high strikeout numbers (86 in his first two seasons, a team leading 9 so far this year) might be… F
4. Dustin Ackley – OF – North Carolina – At what point does the lack of power begin to become a bigger worry?…C
5. Kyle Gibson (RHSP – Missouri) – Putting up crazy strikeout numbers on a Missouri staff that has disappointed thus far… A
6. Mike Minor – LHSP – Vanderbilt – Doing exactly what was expected of him, all crafty college lefty style… B+
7. Tanner Scheppers – RHSP – Fresno State/St. Paul Saints
8. Aaron Crow – RHSP – Missouri/Forth Worth Cats
No news is good news for this duo, I think. They’ve already established much of their value going forward so they don’t lose out too much with the delayed start of their season. Crow and Scheppers can kick back and see if this year’s class of college juniors can do what they’ve already done in school… INC
9. Andrew Oliver – LHSP – Oklahoma State – With Tyler Lyons as a sidekick, the Cowboys have one heck of a 1-2 punch atop their rotation. All of the weirdness that surrounded Oliver heading into the year has vanished and, what is sure to be a good sign for big league scouting staffs, he hasn’t let the eligibility circus get in the way of pitching effectively… B-
10. Josh Phegley – C – Indiana – Well off last year’s monstrous pace at the plate, Phegley will have to get his bat in gear to combat the increasingly loud noise that his defense behind the plate won’t cut it as a pro… B-
11. Mike Leake – RHSP – Arizona State – One of the easiest grades to assign, Leake’s been phenomenal through three starts so far… A+
12. James Jones – LHSP – Long Island – Two dismal starts (16 ER in 8.1 IP) featuring awful control and inconsistent stuff, all while facing non-scary college lineups… F
13. Kendal Volz – RHSP – Baylor – Pitching to contact has actually led to a reduction in both his hit-rate and his K-rate, but his walk-rate has gone up… C-
14. Mike Nesseth – RHSP – Nebraska – Conversion to the full-time starting really could not have gone better thus far (26 K/21 IP)… A
15. Sean Black – RHSP – Seton Hall – Numbers are better than James Jones’s, but not by enough to be excited in any way (more walks than strikeouts)… D
16. Jake Locker – OF – Washington – And so begins Locker’s inevitable fall down the draft board. Inactivity isn’t a bad thing for a pitcher coming off a dominant junior season (remember the Scheppers/Crow combo?), but it doesn’t quite work for an outfielder in need of at bats against quality competition… INC
17. Kentrail Davis – OF – Tennessee – I was cool on Davis to start the season, but it’s hard not to adore 15 walks in 34 official at bats. It doesn’t give the full answer about Davis’s plate discipline — is he just being pitched around? How can we be sure he isn’t simply being pitched around? — but it’s a good start… B+
18. Robbie Shields – SS – Florida Southern – The player with the largest body of work to talk about of the group, Shields is hitting .333/.461/.590 through 21 games… B
19. Jared Mitchell – OF – Louisiana State – Slugging a mere .909 SLG% with 10 walks and 3 strikeouts, but only in 22 at bats. The five-tool athlete is also 10-10 in stolen base attempts…B+, would be higher if not for lack of at bats
20. Kyle Seager – 2B – North Carolina – Outhitting his higher ranked Tar Heel teammate and beginning to get the feel of a sleeper signability supplemental first round candidate… A
21. Rich Poythress – 1B – Georgia – In a weak college hitting crop, Poythress has a chance, albeit a slim chance, of becoming this year’s Brett Wallace. His excellent start is a good way of putting himself on the map… A
22. Sam Dyson – RHSP – South Carolina – Three dynamite starts in the books and he is getting physically stronger and healthier after every start… A
23. Chris Dominguez – 3B – Louisville – The Mike Minor of college hitters in that, at this point in his career, you know what you are going to get out of him. Special power, lots of strikeouts, questionable defense, and surprising athleticism/speed on the basepaths… B-
24. Ryan Ortiz – C – Oregon State – Ortiz came into the year profiling best as a big league backup catcher capable of playing a few other positions in a pinch and his performance thus far (.222/.404/.278 with hot and cold defense) reinforces the idea… D+
25. DJ LeMahieu – SS – Louisiana State – The top college hitter in the country is putting up a crazy .526/.620/.895 line through 12 games. What do we have here? A shortstop that many believe will have to switch positions as a pro playing in the SEC who is just hitting, hitting, and hitting his way up the draft board…has that ever happened before?… A+