1. It’s funny to me that two schools with a pretty well established athletic rivalry would go to such great lengths to differentiate themselves from each other by coming up with two distinct hitting philosophies. That is what’s going on with Miami and Florida State, right? The two teams decided to employ completely different approaches to scoring runs in an effort to finally determine which offensive style leads to the most runs scored. In some seriousness, the current lineups at Miami and Florida State couldn’t be more different. Mike Martin’s Florida State squads are always at or near the top of the conference when it comes to displaying professional quality plate discipline. This year’s Miami team, a good hitting squad with the chance of having a half dozen position players drafted, sets out to hit any and all pitches that don’t actually hit themselves first. Not a single draftable Hurricanes hitter has a BB/K ratio close to 1:1. Of course, and this is hardly a scientific statement so don’t hold it against me later, it seems that many college prospects — legit prospects who are widely considered draftable by all the big boys in the industry — with poor plate discipline tend to be the toolsiest of the toolsy. A quick scan of my notes on Miami position players reveals this to be mostly true: plus raw power, plus-plus speed, plus range, plus athleticism, “serious tools, but very raw,” potential plus defender, above-average to plus arm, great range, plus arm, “big power, but very raw”…and it goes on like that. I realize the last three high profile Hurricane draft picks (Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, and Jemile Weeks) don’t exactly fit the mold, but…alright, fine, I’m not sure how to finish this thought. Just thought the raw, toolsy, free swinging Hurricane subplot was worth pursuing…
2. A drawback or difficulty that is not readily evident. Something unspecified whose name is either forgotten or not known. Any clever maneuver. All definitions of the word gimmick, all definitions that make me wonder if I’ve been using the word incorrectly all my life. See, I wanted to use this space to talk about one of my favorite draft-related gimmicks, the “All [Fill-in-the-class/adjective/conference/whatever] Prospect Team” or “All Prospect [Fill-in-the-position-group].” In this particular instance, I was ready to marvel at Miami’s “All Prospect Outfield” of SR OF Chris Pelaez, JR OF Nate Melendres, and SO OF Zeke DeVoss. I was even going to remark on how cool it was that every member of Miami’s “All Prospect Outfield” comes from a different graduating class. I typically love gimmicks like this because, quite honestly, I hate writing and will look for any excuse to make the experience more bearable, for me and the unlucky saps who skim through these too long paragraphs until they get to the rankings. Now I have to reassess whether or not this is even a gimmick at all. It certainly doesn’t fit either of the first two definitions, and there is very little about prospecting that I’d ever call clever. Anyway, how about that “All Prospect Outfield” the Hurricanes will be trotting out in 2011? Pelaez (what makes him stand out: OF defense) should be a late round senior sign, Melendres (OF defense, arm, speed) will be a little bit more than that, and DeVoss (crazy speed, fantastic range) could vault his way up to the top few rounds with a big spring.
3. Ignoring the advice of wizened baseball men all over the planet, I just can’t seem to quit player comps. Love two recent JR 3B Harold Martinez comps I’ve heard/completely pulled out of thin air over the past few weeks. First, I’ve heard Martinez’s upside compared to former Pirate Al Martin’s. Like that one if only for a reason to have Al Martin back in my life once again. The one I’ve come up with is a better, slightly more patient Jose Lopez. If we remix the two comps, we could be looking a player capable of putting up a line of .250/.335/.450 with league average defense at third base. A quick look of the state of third basemen around MLB shows that a player like that would be a pretty darn valuable asset. I’ve also heard — very quietly, I might add — some that believe Martinez has what it takes to catch at the next level. An OPS of .800ish as a catcher would work.
Early 2011 Draft Guesses
Martinez and DeVoss are both easy top five round candidates, with Martinez possessing an outside chance of slipping into the late first with a big spring. Melendres and Pelaez are both solidly in the mid-round range. JR C David Villasuso has the power teams often consider gambling on, but his defensive limitations keep him from being a definite draft selection for me. Same goes for JR INF Rony Rodriguez, a potential sleeper with raw power second only to Martinez, who can’t really get a high grade without a position. On the pitching side, I only see JR LHPs Daniel Miranda and Sam Robinson as candidates to get taken. Miranda’s three-pitch mix and excellent 2010 numbers (12.17 K/9; 2.09 BB/9; 3.68 FIP; 47.1 IP) get him on the radar. Robinson’s numbers aren’t quite as dominant ((8.26 K/9; 1.91 BB/9; 3.53 FIP; 28.1 IP), but his reputation as a lefty killer could get him some looks as a potential professional LOOGY. At this point I’ll say Miranda gets taken while Robinson has to wait it out until 2012 as a potential senior sign.
So, to recap, my personal ranking of potential Miami draft picks: Martinez, DeVoss, (big gap), Melendres, Pelaez, Miranda, and Villasuso. Rodriguez and Robinson, two players I think will be on the outside looking in come June, round out the list.