So, I’ve got a 33-page Word document going with every notable college team listed (including junior colleges and D-II/D-III teams) that is now up over 11,000 words. I don’t say it to brag — I mean, come on, how big a dork would I have to be proud of something like that? — but rather to set up the next couple of days of posting. Since my current Word doc has real quick notes on a ton of college players, I thought it would be a good idea to share out some of the more interesting findings so far. I won’t have complete player profiles done on the major guys for a while, and I doubt I’ll ever have complete profiles written on some of the lesser names, so this gives me a chance to shine the spotlight on some lesser known guys who happen to feature a truly standout tool or two.
SR C Jayson Hernandez (2010) and his jaw-dropping throwing arm. The guy may have little to no power to speak of, and he may be considered one of the weaker hitters currently playing major college ball, but, man oh man, can this guy throw. If he can wake up the bat even a teeny, tiny bit, he could find himself drafted with the chance of someday being a shutdown all-defense big league backup.
JR C Eric Sim (2010) and his almost as good as Hernandez’s plus-plus but not quite all the way there yet arm. Overall, Hernandez is the better defender; he is closer to a finished product defensively (his ability to block balls and his footwork are both currently ahead) and, as mentioned, has a slightly more impressive arm. Sim’s bat is more of a question mark at this point. I’ll be honest and say I’m not really sure how it’ll play in the Big East this spring. What I do know is that some scouts have already given up on Sim as a catcher and are instead dreaming of what kind of heat his arm could generate when getting reps throwing off the mound.
SO RHP/SS Adam Smith (2011) and the bazooka launcher attached to the right side of his body. If you’ve been following the draft over the past few years the name Adam Smith should sound familiar. No, not the Wealth of Nations guy. The highly sought after 2008 recruit who wound up in College Station playing for the Aggies. Smith has always had a crazy strong arm, but only recently has he had the chance to showcase it regularly on the mound. I still believe he can play a capable SS/3B and hit enough to be productive at either spot, but I couldn’t fault a team that instead saw him as a potential closer-type throwing easy 97 mph fastballs off the bump.
FR OF Matt Moynihan (2012) doing his very best Usain Bolt impression with legit plus-plus speed. A future piece here is definitely going to be about players who fit the ideal “leadoff man profile.” I must have wrote that phrase about 50 times when during the quick reports of college guys this year. Maybe I’m misremembering previous year’s talent bases, but it seems that 2010-2012 has a disproportionate amount of players with the potential for really good big league careers as lineup table setters and up the middle plus defenders. Moynihan has that potential, though he is obviously a few years off from getting there. He combines that plus-plus speed with good discipline along with superior range and an arm that fits well in CF to make himself an enticing prospect to watch.
JR LHP Kyle Hald (2010) and his dominating split-fingered changeup. Hald doesn’t throw hard (sitting mid-80s), but he does everything else you could possibly want a pitcher to do well. The secondary stuff is solid (hard SL and decent show-me CB), he is an outstanding fielder, his pickoff move is a legit weapon, and his mechanics are clean, consistent, and repeatable. That alone would make him a potential mid-round get, even when factoring in the below-average fastball. It’s the inclusion of his unique split-fingered change that makes him a sleeper to watch in 2010. I may be wildly overrating him based on one great pitch, but it’s a pitch that impressed me so much I’m willing to stick my neck out for it.
SR RHP Alex Jones (2010) and his surgically repaired elbow’s nasty slider. Jones is coming off from Tommy John surgery and, unfortunately, is feeling the impact hard. His fastball that once topped out in the low-90s was only able to get up over 86 this past summer. Thankfully the procedure and subsequent time off had no negative consequences on his plus-plus slider, a pitch that may be the best of its kind in all of college baseball. If Jones can pick up some of that lost velocity, he’ll find himself as another potential mid-round college reliever sleeper. He’s got the pro body (6-6, 190 pounds) and financial advantage (he’d be a senior sign) that many similarly talented pitchers in the mid-rounds seem to lack.
Alex Jones’ fastball was back up over 90 in JSU fall ball last month. He made his first pitching comback in summer ball and was still not 100%. He is now. His slider is as nasty as ever and his arm feels great. He also weighs a bit over 200 lbs now. Thanks for the mention.
Excellent information, thanks a ton. Comments like that are why I still get excited to dig deeper and gain a deeper appreciation for some less heralded college/high school players. I saw Alex’s slider on video over the summer and was blown away by the shape and movement of it. I decided he was worth putting on my follow list right then and there. Anyway, thanks again for the update…I really appreciate it.
You can see his previous stats (prior to his surgery) at baseballcube.com under Alexander Edward Jones. His pitching in the Valley League this summer was his first after his surgery. It was more rehab than pitching. He was 1st team reliever in the Ohio Valley Conference year before last and 2nd team reliever his sophomore year. They only select one for the whole conference for each team. He told me yesterday that he touched 92 once and threw 90-91 for his fastball during the fall. You can read more on his bio at his roster page on the Jacksonville State baseball web page. He really wants a shot at pro ball and I sincerely think he has “the mind of a closer”. Very cool under intense pressure. Again, thanks for mentioning him on your web page.
I’ve been going to the cape cod league baseball games for 20yrs. I had heard some things about Jesse Hahn so I went to see him pitch at chatham and he did not let me down. this kid can pitch. the game was moving along even some what boring. until the bases got loaded with no outs and they brought in Hahn.The place all of a sudden got electric. scouts all came out of nowhere with radar guns the fans all got on their feet even the other team were all standing. 3 straight outs no runs no hits. his fastball sat at 96-98 his curve was among the best I’ve seen on the cape this summer his change was ok. This kid is good for baseball. If I had the first pick in the draft I know who I would take. Hahn is one of the best pitchers I’ve seen at the cape in the last 20yrs.I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun at a baseball game. After the game I heard coach Schiff call Hahn’s curve the hammer and could even hear the excitment in his voice.
Wow, thanks for that. I love hearing first hand game accounts and it really sounds like you saw something special in Hahn. I’ve been lucky to see a ton of ACC baseball in recent years because of where I live, but have never seen Hahn throw in person like you have. I’m jealous. It’s also really interesting to hear you say the curve was one of the best on the Cape. Now I really can’t wait to see him throw live this season.
I live in NJ and heard about Hernandez back when he was in high school. Since he has been with RU and getting the chance to see him upclose its amazing how someone with his defensive skills behind the plate have flown under the radar for so long. So many college teams rely heavily on their running game. When Hernandez is behind the plate, his presence changes tempo and dynamic of the game because of his arm and his ability to block balls. His pop time contistently places within 1.7-1.8 range. I definitely agree with you ozga. If he could wake up the bat just a bit, there’s no telling how far he could go.
Alex Jones RHP of Jacksonville State University. Pitched his first two innings in an intersquad scrimmage yesterday. He faced 7 batters, struck out 6 and walked one on a 3 and 2 count. Now I imagine his teammates are probably not up to their complete batting potential since it’s early in the year, but that’s still not bad.