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Categorizing Potential Mid-Round College Outfield Draft Targets

Ugly personal confession time! I write something for the site with the intent of posting every weekday. A quick look back through my archives reveals that there have been many weekdays without posts. What gives? You may not know it by some of the so-so stuff that does get posted here, but I am a major league perfectionist.

Regular readers of the site know that I’ve been working on putting together a 2011 college outfielder prospect list. It was one of those projects that seemed like a good idea at the time, but has ultimately left me unsatisfied. Rankings tend to get people really worked up. I can’t deny that my perfectionist streak goes into overdrive as a little bit of paranoia sets in when I think about checking and rechecking whether or not leaving Player X off the list makes sense or if ranking Player Y twenty spots lower than the norm can be justified. Maintaining a website you’d like to update regularly with (hopefully) well reasoned opinions while battling a nasty streak of perfectionism bordering on OCD can be a pain the butt sometimes.

Consider this post a bit of catharsis on my end. Thank you for humoring me, I feel much better now. My “preseason” college outfield rankings are 99% complete, but, and this should come as no shock, I want to give them one last edit before I can publish them. If I don’t publish something soon, however, I know I’ll never get around to it; the rankings will always have one player in the wrong spot that needs to be fixed until eventually I get over it and just hit “publish.” So, this is me just hitting “publish,”  for not other reason than me wanting to share some of the information I’ve compiled on the 2011 college outfield class.

Some qualifiers for this list before we begin. First, I only included “lesser known” prospects. Every player listed falls somewhere outside of my personal top 25 college outfielder ranking. Second, the players are not aligned within a group in any particular way, though there could be some patterns — I think I may have inputted most of the names in descending order, for example — that reveal my preferences if you look hard enough. Third, and I can’t stress this one enough, these categories are imperfect. This is all just a quick and easy way of generalizing what kind of scouting profiles the mid-round college outfield class offers. Different teams like different skill sets when they look for reserve outfielders/organizational filler late round picks, and this list is meant to illustrate the strengths of some unappreciated (relatively speaking) draft prospects.

Looking for potential leadoff hitter who can also play, at worst, a capable CF?

Xavier John McCambridge

Marshall Isaac Ballou

Virginia John Barr

Kansas Jason Brunansky

UAB Jamal Austin

Memphis Drew Martinez

Hawaii Collin Bennett

Pacific Brian Humphries

Oregon State Garrett Nash

Western Kentucky Kes Carter

LSU Trey Watkins

Wake Forest Steven Brooks

How about a potential leadoff hitter better suited for an outfield corner?

Stetson Spencer Theisen

If versatility is your thing, one of these prospects could be of interest…

West Virginia Grant Buckner (3B/SS)

Rutgers Brandon Boykin (2B)

UC Irvine Drew Hillman (3B)

San Diego Austin Green (C)

Michigan State Jeff Holm (1B)

Florida State Mike McGee (RHP)

Rice Michael Fuda (2B)

Bats. Plain and simple. Bats. The value of these prospects is tied up almost entirely with the hit tool…

Arizona Steve Selsky

Washington State Derek Jones

Arizona State Andy Workman

Florida State James Ramsey

Connecticut Billy Ferriter

Arizona State Zach Wilson

Arizona State Matt Newman

Stats. For those who are statistically inclined — myself included — these OBP kings will intrigue…

Oral Roberts Nick Baligod

North Carolina State John Gianis

Spencer Theisen

Southern Mississippi Kameron Brunty

Drew Martinez

James Ramsey

Pittsburgh John Schultz

Jeff Holm

Manhattan Mike McCann

Georgia State Mark Micowski

Oral Roberts Brandon King

Mike McGee

Steven Brooks

Fourth outfielder alert! Some teams prefer well-rounded players (around average in all five tools, no real standout abilities) for potential bench roles…

Grant Buckner

John McCambridge

Auburn Justin Fradejas

North Carolina State Brett Williams

South Carolina Adam Matthews

Connecticut John Andreoli

Duke Will Piwnica-Worms

Cornell Brian Billigen

Rutgers Michael Lang

Jeff Holm

Georgetown Rand Ravnaas

For entertainment value, you really can’t beat high upside/high bust potential prospects…

Isaac Ballou

Austin Green

Jason Brunansky

Miami Chris Pelaez

Maryland Matt Marquis

Angelo State Joe Leftridge

Florida State Taiwan Easterling

Southern Rodarrick Jones

Miami Nate Melendres

Minnesota Justin Gominsky

Maine Taylor Lewis

Stephen F. Austin State Bryson Myles

Arkansas Jarrod McKinney

Brian Humphries

Northern Colorado Jarod Berggren

Garrett Nash

Kes Carter

Vanderbilt Joe Loftus

Illinois Willie Argo

Washington Caleb Brown

Missouri Ryan Gebhart

Florida International Pablo Bermudez

Just give these guys a few reps with good minor league coaching and they’ll be plus CF gloves in no time…

John Barr

Texas Christian Aaron Schultz

Jamal Austin

Drew Martinez

Nate Melendres

Garrett Nash

Trey Watkins

Arguably the easiest tool to judge: speed. These players have it…

John Barr

Brandon Boykin

Justin Fradejas

Jason Brunansky

Aaron Schultz

Jamal Austin

Florida Tyler Thompson

Drew Martinez

Rodarrick Jones

Oklahoma Chris Ellison

Nate Melendres

Billy Ferriter

Garrett Nash

Trey Watkins

Willie Argo

Caleb Brown

Cal Poly Bobby Crocker

UNC Wilmington Andrew Cain

Steven Brooks

Michael Fuda

Adam Matthews

Above-average raw power upside is one of the rarer commodities in college ball, but these players are all big time college thumpers…

Mississippi Matt Smith

Mississippi Zach Kirksey

Shippensburg Cody Kulp

Sam Houston State Mark Hudson

Gonzaga Royce Bollinger

Coastal Carolina Daniel Bowman

Fresno State Dusty Robinson

Andrew Cain

McNeese State Lee Orr



  1. PalmettoBBFan says:

    You need to add S.C.’s Adam Matthews to your speed category. He ran a 6.45 60 coming out of HS and I think he’s faster than that now. You’re not going to find many kids that get down the line faster than he does. Not as good an outfielder as his teammate Jackie Bradley, but Matthews is considerably faster.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Noooooooooo! I mean, yes, you’re right, but noooooo because I’m mad I deleted him from the plus speed category when making final edits. Thanks for spotting it, I’ll be sure to add his name to the list. Why I cut him from the first place I’m not really sure. I think it was probably because I assumed that nobody with the first name Adam could be that fast. Just sounds like a slow name to me, but that’s probably because the most unathletic kid I knew growing up was named Adam. Anyway, here are my admittedly sparse notes on Matthews:

      South Carolina JR LF Adam Matthews (2011): plus speed; great athlete; good defender in corner; (2010: 324/413/536 – 26 BB/37 K – 5/7 SB – 179 AB)

  2. Anthony says:

    I suppose an obvious ommission will be in the top 25, if not, lots of HW still to do!

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Ha, guess I’ll just have to quit my job to spend more time doing my HW! Out of curiosity, what player are you thinking of? If he’s a borderline top 20ish guy, there’s a decent chance he slipped my mind. It’s also possible he fell somewhere between 20ish-90ish and I didn’t mention him because, after looking this list over, I didn’t include every single prospect…just 98% or so.

  3. Kevin says:

    Under senior prospects, versitility, and 4th outfielder, how about Grant Buckner of WVU? Last year he was overshadowed by Jedd Gyorko, rightfully so,but he hit 363 with 8 HR and 17 doubles. In addition he hit 412 in conference games only and was at the top of most off categories in Bigeast games only. In 56 career Bigeast game he has hit 374 with 24 doubles and 11 hr. Also, with his move to shortstop this year he will be playing his 4th position in 4 years. LF,RF,3b and ss.He is 6:2 and 225 lbs strong arm. He was National Hitter of the week last season. Has led Forest City of the the Coastal Plains league to the last 2 summer championships.In 13 platoff games he hit 347.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Grant Buckner, huh? Can’t say I know a ton about him, but he’s definitely an intriguing name to add to the list. The age factor definitely works against him — hard enough for seniors to make it in pro ball, but fifth year seniors are really up against the clock — but he has pro size, good numbers, and above-average raw power and arm strength. I’m just a random guy with a website, but Buckner seems like a great late round senior sign candidate (and maybe that is me underselling him) due to his reported excellent makeup and outstanding defensive versatility. Sounds like exactly the type of player you’d want in the lower levels of your farm system. Really good find! I’m adding him to the categories you recommended, thanks.

      • Kevin says:

        Thanks for replying. You are right about the age thing although it looks like he just turned 23. I know Matt Carpenter who is moving quickly up the Cards farm system is a 5th year guy. Also Luke Scott and David Freese are both 5th year guys so it’s not impossible, I think you are right some organizations want versitile college guys in the system especially at the lower levels. Also another excellent prospect is Taran Senay Sophomore OF from N. C. State. I think he has been hurt this season because he hasn’t had a lot of at bats. I saw him play last summer in Coastal Plains. Good size and smooth left handed bat. Good prospect out of Pittsburgh area high school.

      • Rob Ozga says:

        All really good examples, especially the recent example of Carpenter who completely slipped my mind. Saw Senay play when he was in high school, remember really liking his easy raw power. My only early worry with him is the possibility that he’ll be seen as a LF only professionally. Those guys have to hit a ton to make it in pro ball, and, while I won’t say that Senay can’t be that type of hitter going forward, he’ll need to pick it up quickly this year. One to watch for 2012, no doubt…

  4. PopFlyGuy says:

    Very good rundown Rob. What I like is that you thought to think about players in a variety of ways, which is the way scouts and clubs look at them. Everybody likes a hitter or well-rounded player but the truth of the matter is that many times teams look at how a player can work in their organization. How whatever weakness he has can be cleaned up with better coaching and instruction toward getting what they might need from the kid. Sometimes players don’t do as well in college as in the minors for loads of reasons. The scouts most times see through these blemishes no matter how glaring they are as a stat. It’s the blemishes that creates the variety of categories you put here. I think that’s a good thing as I think scouts do it about that way once you get passed these big time players. Your categories for players is excellent, speaking to strenths and greater possibilities and not just what’s happening or not happening right now for them in the game.

    People can learn a lot from this objective post of yours about players. In many cases what players don’t do well they can be instructed to do better in a higher environment by more focused coaching looking for possible diamonds in the rough. Speed is always a tremendous indicator of ability. All coaches and teams don’t get the best out of their players due to various dynamics but that doesn’t mean the abilities are not there and not capable of being harvested by a better hand on them. Scouts know this and so all sorts of opportunities and chances are given beneath the top picks.

    Again, very good rundown and quick analysis here. Keep up the good work. I enjoy your views and regularly include them in my overall perspectives as I look through the many top websites that do these sorts of reviews on players and the game.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Not much for me to add here, except to say this was all very well put. I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Jeanie P says:

    I have been a gopher fan for quite a while now and have been able to watch Justin Gominsky play since he started as a true freshman. What are your thoughts of him as a player? Will we be able to keep him for next year or do you think he will go in the draft? Also did his knee injury last year hurt him this year for the draft? He was a freshman all-american his true freshman season and a lot of scouts have been interested in him this year. What are your thoughts Rob?

  6. Kevin Nielsen says:


    I can definitely relate to your post. The kid has so many tools especially with his speed, defensive ability and arm. You don’t see many guys who are 6’4 200lbs and can run. I feel the knee injury he suffered last year has hurt his chances to be seen. Like you said, he was a freshman all-american and he was suppose to go play summer ball for Brewster in the cape last year. He also tore up the northwoods league his freshman summer hitting somewhere in the mid 300s. Rob, where are scouts projecting Gominsky to go?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      My notes are Gominsky probably don’t include anything you guys don’t already know, but here’s what I’ve got…

      Minnesota SO OF Justin Gominsky (2011): good arm; very good defender; plus athlete; good speed; interesting hit tool; 6-4, 195

      Honestly, I haven’t heard anything specific about Gominsky’s draft stock lately. I have heard from some smart people who are pretty much universal in praising his physical tools (speed and arm, mostly) and he gets a consistent average or better grade on his pro hit tool, but, and this is just my opinion, he could be seen as a bit of a tweener in the sense he hasn’t shown much in-game power (yet) nor the plate discipline of a potential top of the lineup hitter. I don’t think the knee injury will hold him back unless it is limiting him in ways I haven’t heard about here in 2011, though it could make some teams more anxious about drafting him early because of the fact he’ll have added leverage on draft day as a redshirt sophomore.

      Seems like you’ve both seen him more than I have, so let me turn the tables on you. Two of my biggest questions center (no pun intended) around his ability to stay in center professionally and his ultimate power upside. Both questions are sort of contingent on his body, in a way. If he fills out any more, I worry he won’t be able to play CF, but, on the flip side, the added bulk could turn some of the balls he hits into the gaps into home runs. I’d love to hear any impressions either of you guys have…and sorry I couldn’t be more of a help in giving a concrete answer on his draft stock.

      • Kevin Nielsen says:

        Gominsky in my mind is one of the best diamond in the roughs for this draft. I’ve been able to see Gominsky play all 3 years at the big ten/big east challenge, including when they faced conneticut his sophomore and junior year. His sophomore year he absolutely tore up that tournament, and when comparing him to Springer I saw only one thing Gominsky didn’t have that Springer did, that was like you said power. I did feel Gominsky had a better arm and better range in the OF, I was able to watch him run down a ball in the gap, dive and make an incredible throw to first base to double out the kid at first. When I went and watched both this year they both struggled at the plate, I expected a slow start out of Gominsky after his knee surgery from the past year. One thing I really like about Gominsky is he can help you in all phases of the game. He hits for average, steals bases, runs down balls in the gaps with great closing speed, throws kids out at bases, and like Jeanie said he’s really fun to watch. As for his body, I’d say he has a very similiar built to Springer, except Gominsky is 6’4 and Springer is 6’2 I believe. Both are physical specimens, and this year baseball America referred to Gominsky as being a “moose.” I truly believe that I will see Gominsky someday in the majors because he is that spark plug that you love to watch on a baseball field. Rob, is it safe to say he will go in the top 10 rounds?

  7. Jeanie P says:

    Well my take is he will stay at center at the next level. I think he weighed somewhere from 165 to 175 his freshman year and now he’s listed at 200 and he still runs as fast as he did when he was a freshman. One thing I know that most people wouldn’t know is that he is going to gain more weight as he progresses because his dad is a big guy and Gominsky’s body still has some growing into to do. I feel as he gets older the power will come, i’ve watched him hit BP and on his last round he was putting the balls over the fence at Siebert Field pretty easily. What hinders his power numbers more than anything is his opposite field approach, if he didn’t have that and opened up and pulled some balls i feel like he could hit more balls out of the park. One thing that I can tell you Rob is i’ve been a gopher baseball fan for a while now and i’ve seen the greats come out of here like (Quinny, Hannahan, Kvasnicka, McCallum) but none of them made me as excited to watch as Gominsky. No, Gominsky won’t hit the ball over the fence more then 4 or 5 times this year but he is so fun to watch with his speed, arm and defensive ability and ability to hit when it counts. He is a dynamite player and whenever he goes, the gophers go with him. I’m going to be upset i won’t be able to watch him next year if he gets drafted and signs because he makes it worth every second while i’m at a gopher game. On top of that he is one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Catching up on the comments today, but wanted to spend a little more time seeing if I could find anything more on Gominsky before replying for real. Just wanted to let you know I haven’t forgotten about this and thank you both for getting back to me. Really good stuff here.

      • Jeanie P says:

        That’s all I have to say about him as a player. I was able to watch the gophers open up their big ten series against Purdue this past weekend at Target Field 🙂 The gophers looked good, guess who put the team on his back… Gominsky 🙂 Kid can play. Basically, I’m intrigued to hear what you have found out about him in the past week or so. I’m excited what you have to post on him for real. Also my gophers looked real good this past weekend. Do you have anything on how you think they will do this year? I really appreciate all your hard work Rob, Your doing a fantastic job!

      • Rob Ozga says:

        Alright, here we go. First, thanks for all the firsthand information on Gominsky. That’s exactly the kind of reader feedback that makes maintaining this site so rewarding for me. Apologies for taking so long getting back on this, but I’ve been stalling as I’ve tried to get as much info on him from outside sources as possible. I worry that I’m not really going to tell you guys anything you don’t already know, but here’s what I’ve got. Talked to three different people (two unpaid associate scouts and one for real regional — but not based in Minnesota — scout) in the know and these were the responses:

        1: “Down year for college hitting, so Gominsky has a chance to go pretty good. Don’t think he goes in the top five, but anytime after that makes sense. Stacks up pretty well with any college outfielder after the first day players go off the board.”

        2: “As an outsider, I’d say his power, or lack of, holds him back. Many who see him more often than I have say there is more pull-side power coming, so maybe I worry for nothing. Either way, I do like the profile: good hit tool, speed, range enough for center. He gets extra credit from me for being a cold weather guy and for the time lost for injury – still time for him to smooth his raw edges. He’s not my territory [ed. note: I thought this guy had seen him regularly, whoops], but I’d guess he is a 10-25 round prospect depending on signability.”

        3: “If my team won’t take him this year, I hope he goes back to school because he really has a chance to be a high draft in 2012. He’s a classic grinder who always plays with his hair on fire. There are lots of players like that across the country, but not every one has legit first round tools like Gominsky. I’ve seen both him and (South Carolina OF) Jackie Bradley, and I prefer Gominsky long-term.”

        So there you have it. I’ve come away from all of this with a definite appreciation for Gominsky’s game. He’ll be much higher on my personal board than I think he’ll be almost anywhere else. As for his draft standing, I think he goes anywhere from round 5 to round 15, though it is probably more likely he’ll fall closer to 15 than rise up to 5. I really wonder how teams will view his signability, especially if he goes later than he thinks he should; this has all the makings of a situation where a player will have a round/dollar amount in mind and teams will have to make the decision on him.

      • Kevin Nielsen says:

        Gophers had a strong weekend taking 2 of 3 from Purdue. I’m not as fortunate as Jeanie to be able to see Gominsky play every weekend because I live on the east coast, but I’m a huge gopher/gominsky fan so I follow him on the gopher blog, and this whole weekend they had I heard nothing but praise about Gominsky. Cool to see Jeanie’s perspective because she was able to attend the actual games. They were saying in the blog that Gominsky is a projectable 5 tool player and he showed all his tools this weekend. Rob what’s Have you been able to research on gominskys draft stock/ projected rounds?

  8. Marty Berson says:

    Just wondering if you have heard of Nico Taylor of Northwood U. He is a power and speed guy. Where does he figure in the draft?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Nothing in my notes and, even after a few days of digging, nothing after asking around. Sorry. The Northwood baseball website doesn’t have any stats listed for him in 2011. If you know anything more about him, maybe I can see if I can send that along and see if I can uncover anything else.

  9. bigfly says:

    I don’t know if you checked on Grant Buckner lately. He is climbing after a medium slow start. Is on a 16 game hitting streak where he has hit at 387 with 2HR and 7 2B. He has always started slow but heats up in conference play. He is 2nd in Bigeast conference games at .407.Also, have you noticed that some guys who put up huge HR numbers last year have really struggled this year. Alex Dickerson Indiana, Jeremy Baltz St Johns, George Springer, Anthony Rendon to name a few. Players who reached their previous years numbers may seem better than previosly thought. Do you think these draft eligible guys draft stayus will be greatly affected? Also, pitchers sure seem better this year. Just saying.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Buckner is looking pretty good, currently putting up a .337/.419/.508 park and schedule adjusted line. I’ve been keeping tabs on him since you tipped me off…thanks again for that. Definitely agree that this is the year of the pitcher, partly because of the new bats knocking down offensive numbers to a more realistic level and partly because the depth of college pitching this year’s draft class is ridiculous.

  10. bombs says:

    I feel like you really did a good job on your report but i have been waching Pablo Bermudez of FIU play and I wanted to get your opinion on him.


    • Rob Ozga says:

      Big fan of Bermudez based on what I’ve read/heard and the few times I’ve seen him play. Here’s what I had in my notes:

      Florida International JR OF Pablo Bermudez (2011): could play CF as pro; very raw; intriguing power/speed combo; too aggressive; above-average speed; strong arm; plus bat speed; 5-11, 185 pounds; (2010: .332/.412/.516 – 34 BB/61 K – 22/28 SB – 256 AB)

      Definite improvement in his plate discipline (45 BB/38 K) and power production (21 extra base hits) so far in 2011. I thought ranking him 34th out of all the draft-eligible outfielders coming into the year was pretty bold, but I may have undersold him a bit. I like that he’s not your typical polished college hitter – still lots of untapped upside here.

  11. David says:

    Glad to see Hawaii’s Collin Bennett in your first category. He set records in 2010 in the WAC tournament and with Kolten Wong led the Rainbows to the WAC Championship. I think the new bat ‘stumped’ him, but with personal diligence – reviewing his own tapes – he has increased his season batting average 100 points after his slump and has lead Hawaii during conference play in BA. He’s a low strike out, high contact batter. I’ve watched him – he’s willing to ‘lay it out’ to make an outfield catch. When the ‘Bows’ left side of the infield faltered, the coach brought him in to play third base – mostly to get his bat back into the lineup. His arm is formidable, he’s got phenomenal speed, and an outstanding work ethic.

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