Three important things to keep in mind when perusing this list:
1 – This list took a longer than usual time to put together, so consider it a “preseason” ranking in that it is more focused on an overall scouting and production body of work rather than a quick “Who’s Hot?/Who’s Not?” take. There is value in the latter, but I tend to take the long view when it comes to prospecting. That said, there will absolutely be some player movement between now and June as I weigh the most recent scouting notes and 2011 statistics more heavily. I’m stubborn (Rendon is going first overall, I’d bet my non-existent house on it) and willing to ride with players that I like for years before jumping ship, but not so stubborn that I’ll ignore the most recent takes.
2 – I want to delve more into the why’s and how’s of the list as next week unfolds. I also want to explain my general methodology for ranking prospects again for anybody interested. Be on the lookout for both things. In the meantime, some general points on actual player placement on the list:
- After researching this further, I’d now argue the 2011 college outfield class is not nearly as top heavy as I once believed. Despite his perceived early season struggles, Springer’s raw tools still give him the best chance to be a well above-average regular here, hence the number one ranking. After him, however, there are a lot of players with tools that grade out closer to good than great. I don’t think I’d slap a top 15 overall grade on any other outfielder here in a regular draft year, let alone one as talented as 2011. Staying within the top ten, Zach Cone’s ranking stands out as one that could look too aggressive by June. Blame that on my optimism preseason, back when I bought into him as a player with three non-hitting tools (speed, arm, defense) as above-average with an underrated swing and interesting (.684 park/league adjusted 2010 slugging) power upside. The lack of plate discipline and overarching rawness to his game probably should have been red flags, but I’m willing to wait him out just a little bit longer, despite the fact he doesn’t fit the mold for “my” kind of prospect. For “my” kind of prospect, see the guys sandwiched between Cone on the list…
- There are a lot of similar players lumped in between 20 and 50 overall. To name two completely random (yeah, right…) examples of this, check out Jeff Schaus (22) and Justin Gominsky (49). Schaus is arguably the more well-rounded prospect and a guy who gets extra credit for putting up stellar numbers throughout his college career. I really like his odds of playing big league baseball down the line, but think he will make it as a backup instead of a starting caliber player. Gominsky, on the other hand, has a lesser track record of collegiate success, but offers substantial edges in upside and athleticism. He may have the greater chance of emerging as a big league starting outfielder, but also carries more risk as a prospect and is thus just a tick less likely to actually reach the majors, in my opinion. Guess it boils down to the floor/ceiling debate, at least partially.
- As mentioned, there is very little separation from 20 to 50 on the list. I hate to take the conservative approach — something I believe I’ve only done once before, and that blew up in my face with my ill-fated “wait and see” preseason ranking of Andrew Susac — but that’s the best way I can analyze those 30 or so prospects at this point. In six weeks, after we have a little bit more meaningful data to chew on and a few updated scouting reports, things will be much clearer. Hopefully. To reemphasize this point one last time, most of the legwork in compiling this list was done preseason. The fact that Gominsky’s 2011 numbers match what Schaus has done so far is not lost on me, and, should things continue this way, will be reflected in an updated ranking.
- The top four seem largely agreed upon by many in the business. Five and below is anybody’s guess. Really fun year for college outfielders because of the depth of the class and the wide-ranging skill sets found within. Do you prefer a potential righty mashing platoon player who may struggle in the field? Or would you rather a top 2010 high school prospect trying to make the quick turnaround and improve on his disappointing draft standing of last year? Reserve outfielder upside with a relatively strong chance of reaching it? Or swing for the fences, so to speak, with a power bat or speed demon more likely to contribute a substantial number of big league at bats as a starter but with the cost of flaming out by AA? Like any prospect list, no matter how much logic and reason goes into its creation, sometimes it just comes down to personal preference and good old fashioned intuition. I’m at peace with that.
3 – I’m no authority, just a guy hopelessly devoted to his baseball hobby. Not saying I’m a dummy and the ranking itself is worthless — if that was the case then I wouldn’t waste a month plus trying to get the “perfect order” — but merely saying, as plain as I can, this whole thing below is best used as a starting point. If nothing else, it is an opportunity to learn about a few players you may not have known about yesterday. Hate the rankings? Feel free to use them as a follow list instead, or, as always, feel free to ask questions and/or call me a no-nothing idiot in the comment section or via email. And if I’ve omitted anybody’s personal favorite, please let me know as gently as possible. Chances are it was a copy/paste oversight on my end and not a malicious attempt to tear down everything that you love in life.
EDIT #1: Forgot about Jamal Austin, but addressed his pros and cons in the comment section. He’s been added to the list.
- Connecticut JR OF George Springer
- South Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley
- Miami-Dade CC SO OF Brian Goodwin
- Louisiana State JR OF Mikie Mahtook
- Valparaiso JR OF Kyle Gaedele
- Indiana JR OF Alex Dickerson
- Alabama JR OF Taylor Dugas
- Georgia JR OF Zach Cone
- Kansas State JR OF Nick Martini
- Clemson JR OF Will Lamb
- Texas SO OF Cohl Walla
- Arizona State JR OF Johnny Ruettiger
- Texas Christian JR OF Jason Coats
- Rice JR OF Jeremy Rathjen
- Central Florida SO OF Ronnie Richardson
- Santa Fe CC FR OF Trey Griffin
- Central Arizona CC SO OF Keenyn Walker
- Louisville JR OF Stewart Ijames
- Wright State JR OF Tristan Moore
- Miami SO OF Zeke DeVoss
- Florida International SR OF Yoandy Barroso
- Clemson SR OF Jeff Schaus
- Kent State SR OF Ben Klafczynski
- Texas Christian JR OF Brance Rivera
- College of Charleston SR OF Cole Rakar
- Oregon State SO OF Garrett Nash
- Western Kentucky JR OF Kes Carter
- Georgia JR OF Peter Verdin
- Florida State SR OF Mike McGee
- Arkansas JR OF Collin Kuhn
- Oral Roberts JR OF Brandon King
- Arizona State JR OF Zach Wilson
- Wake Forest SR OF Steven Brooks
- Florida International JR OF Pablo Bermudez
- Rice JR OF Michael Fuda
- McNeese State JR OF Lee Orr
- Northern Colorado JR OF Jarod Berggren
- Pepperdine JR OF Brian Humphries
- Illinois JR OF Willie Argo
- Washington JR OF Caleb Brown
- Florida State JR OF James Ramsey
- Cornell JR OF Brian Billigen
- Baylor JR OF Brooks Pinckard
- Vanderbilt JR OF Joe Loftus
- Arkansas JR OF Jarrod McKinney
- Fresno State JR OF Dusty Robinson
- Tallahassee CC FR OF D’Monte Grissom
- Southern Poly JR OF DeMarcus Tidwell
- Minnesota JR OF Justin Gominsky
- Miami JR OF Nate Melendres
- Louisiana State JR OF Trey Watkins
- Angelo State SO OF Joe Leftridge
- Georgetown JR OF Rand Ravnaas
- North Carolina JR OF A&T Xavier Macklin
- Tennessee Tech SR OF Chad Oberacker
- Mississippi SR OF Matt Smith
- Manhattan SR OF Mike McCann
- Rutgers SR OF Michael Lang
- Michigan State SR OF Jeff Holm
- Missouri JR OF Ryan Gebhart
- Cal Poly JR OF Bobby Crocker
- Georgia State SR OF Mark Micowski
- Duke JR OF Will Piwnica-Worms
- UNC Wilmington JR OF Andrew Cain
- Coastal Carolina JR OF Daniel Bowman
- Texas Christian JR OF Aaron Schultz
- UAB JR OF Jamal Austin
- Mississippi JR OF Zach Kirksey
- Southern JR OF Rodarrick Jones
- Florida State JR OF Taiwan Easterling
- Connecticut SO OF Billy Ferriter
- Gonzaga JR OF Royce Bollinger
- Arizona State JR OF Andy Workman
- Oklahoma JR OF Chris Ellison
- Sam Houston State SR OF Mark Hudson
- Hawaii JR OF Collin Bennett
- Marshall SO OF Isaac Ballou
- Oral Roberts SR OF Nick Baligod
- Kansas JR OF Jason Brunansky
- Washington State JR OF Derek Jones
- Arizona JR OF Steve Selsky
- Walters State SO OF Cody Stubbs
- Azusa Pacific JR OF Brent Warren
- Southern Mississippi JR OF Kameron Brunty
- Lower Columbia Basin JC SO Ben McQuown
- San Diego JR OF Austin Green
- UC Irvine SR OF Drew Hillman
- Connecticut JR OF John Andreoli
- South Carolina JR OF Adam Matthews
- Stephen F. Austin JR OF Bryson Myles
- Maine JR OF Taylor Lewis
- Shippensburg SO OF Cody Kulp
- Auburn SR OF Justin Fradejas
- Maryland JR OF Matt Marquis
- San Diego State JR OF Brandon Meredith
- Memphis JR OF Drew Martinez
- Stetson JR OF Spencer Theisen
- Pittsburgh SR OF John Schultz
- Florida JR OF Tyler Thompson
- Arizona State SR OF Matt Newman
- The Citadel JR OF Nick Orvin
No Jamal Austin from UAB check the stats one of the best centerfielders in Conference USA many beleive the best and from the leadoff spot in the lineup pure trouble can’t beleive you missed this kid
Whoops, my mistake. From the original post: “And if I’ve omitted anybody’s personal favorite, please let me know as gently as possible. Chances are it was a copy/paste oversight on my end and not a malicious attempt to tear down everything that you love in life.”
No Austin is 100% a copy/paste oversight. My fault. I’ve written about him before and have long been a fan of his game. He was 66th on my last rough draft and, after just now moving Aaron Schultz up a few spots, he’s now 67th. Love his speed/defense/approach, but do have some doubts about his almost complete lack of power and questionable arm. He sort of reminds me of a college-aged version of Juan Pierre and I’m not sure how his game will translate to the pros. The higher up you go, the more difficult it is to get away with having little power. Anyway, thanks for pointing out the omission!
Check out Tyler mcneely. Illinois state
Yes I agree many do compare his play to Juan Pierre , but to say he has not power is puzzling to UAB Fans. He’s a line drive hitter that can hit to all parts of the field is that a negitive these days and his arm strength is average . Watch this kid for the last two years play against Alabama were your 7th rank centerfielder is and it was no comparison in skill set yet he’s ranked 67th amazing. I think rankings are based more on schools than the players skill set, This guy is going to make some MLB team seem very smart once he gets in because he can play the game baseball is no longer about Home Runs. Tough job Rob but the fun part is that you defintely give us fans an open forum for debate
First off, have to say I love the passion. I also must admit the comparison to Dugas is actually pretty interesting. I’ll have to reevaluate how close those two actually are and then consider why they are so far apart on the rankings. Good food for thought there, thanks.
I obviously can’t agree that the players’ schools have anything to do with their rankings, though I will admit that I’ll sometimes veer off the scouting side of things and perhaps rely too much on the numbers. I’d argue that is why the two are so far apart in the rankings, and not because of their respective universities. Collegiate performance is not a direct indicator of professional performance by any stretch, but these numbers (park/league adjusted) are hard to ignore:
2010 Dugas: 445/574/592
2010 Austin: 340/389/455
2011 Dugas: 406/540/646
2011 Austin: 347/396/388
The difference in power is most startling, in my opinion. With numbers that drastically different, the difference in tools would have to be super wide to convince me Austin is the better prospect. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree, but I will admit that when we break it down to their respective tools, things do get more interesting…
Hit: Dugas (both above-average, but I think Dugas has a plus bat, or close to it)
Power: Dugas (both line drive machines, so I’ll defer to the numbers here)
Speed: Austin (plus for Austin, above-average for Dugas)
Defense: Austin (big win for Austin, love his range in center)
Arm: Push (still think Austin’s arm is average at best, but I don’t have enough info on Dugas’ arm to really give him the edge)
Dugas gives you more upside with the bat, Austin provides better speed and defense. If both wind up as fourth outfielders who bide their time waiting for the opportunity to start due to extenuating circumstances (injury, mid-year trade, etc.), I wouldn’t be stunned. Dugas is the more well-rounded player with the better chance to hit at the next level, while Austin is better suited for the plus glove/plus speed CF. I know the Pierre comp was mentioned, but maybe Austin profiles closer to Michael Bourn? Can’t think of a worthwhile comp for Dugas off hand, but his plate discipline (his BB:K rate is 3:1 in 2011!) makes him a very exciting, very unique prospect to me.
Probably could have saved us all the trouble and just wrote the following: Really like and probably underrate Austin, but just like Dugas more.
Were are you getting your stats from maybe that’s part of the problem
I will check Dugas later to verify your correct but I don’t think you are
I’m all for debate, but if you aren’t going to bother to read what I write then this kind of pointless, you know? Here’s what was said, with the relevant part in bold: “Collegiate performance is not a direct indicator of professional performance by any stretch, but these numbers (park/league adjusted) are hard to ignore.” College stats can be misleading because of varying degrees of competition and big differences in how different ballparks play. Raw stats from team websites aren’t as useful to me for those reasons. Collegesplits.com has been around now for a few years and is the chief provider of college statistics to big league front offices.
That’s what I used for the initial comparison and that’s where all stats used on this site are from, so, no, that’s not part of the problem. There could conceivably be a case made for Austin over Dugas based solely on their scouting reports, but bringing numbers into play, whether you want to keep using your raw stats or go with my park/league adjusted figures, will only hurt Austin’s case. Still like Austin as a prospect, however.
In my opinion after watching UAB baseball over the past 4 years I agree with UAB Fan on an unbiased level. I can see where he gets his aggressiveness towards austin over dugas. Austin has world class speed and can hit for average like its nobodys business. His defensive skills are top notch with the only thing he needs is a lot more power at the plate. I have noticed over the last year and a half though uab’s right fielder in ryan ussery. He has above average speed and an arm that kills. Not to mention his batspeed/pop is outstanding. I think he has great potential at the next level and was wondering what your opinions are Rob? Also can’t forget Ivan De Jesus, when he gets healthy, can really complete that outfield and team, which has a legitimate chance at a CUSA title with the series win against East Carolina this weekend.
I would check on the Gantt kid from College of Charleston for future outfielder conversations. Many would argue he’s the best, most talented outfielder on that team. He has plus speed, good plate discipline and good baseball IQ. If Rakar is 25th on your top 50 list, then Gantt has to be there too. Not complaining about your list, just adding to the conversation. I think it’s a job well done.
Stats as of April 13
Updated C of C baseball stats as of April 24. Includes stats for draft-eligible Cougars outfielders Cole Rakar, Marty Gantt and Jose Rodriguez.
Thanks. I’ve been meaning to get back to you on this. I’ve done a little digging and I should have something about these outfielders by mid-week.
Hey, sorry for the delay but I had a little technical difficulties. I know I had Rakar over Gantt to start the year, but I think I’d have to flip the two now. The only caveat I’d throw in there is that I don’t really know too much about Gantt’s defense. The bat, however, looks like it’ll play. Obviously not a big power guy, but his approach is second to none and he has at least two pro-ready tools (arm and speed).
Final stats for College of Charleston, including draft-eligible outfielders Cole Rakar, Marty Gantt and Jose Rodriguez. Gantt, a lefty, played the final 29 games of the season at first base but is projected to be back in the outfield next season, replacing Rakar in center.
Interesting take, thanks. Ussery is a good one, but, like Austin, I worry about his lack of in-game power at the next level. I know power isn’t a big part of either players’ game, and that’s alright, but sometimes leadoff-type hitters lose some of their on-base skills if they can’t at least knock around the ball a little bit. That’s more worry. Not saying either guy can’t or won’t make it in pro ball for that reason, but more of a general observation. From a tools standpoint, I like De Jesus a lot. Crazy speed with a lot of bat speed. Also really, really like Woolley: think he’ll be a really good mid-round senior sign with definite pro upside.
Scott McGough and Tyler Anderson both from Oregon…should be on the list.
Really like both prospects, but don’t think they have what it takes to rank amongst the top 100 college outfielders. Both pretty safe bets to rank very highly on the college pitcher list, however…
Where is Minnesota outfield #49 Justin Gominsky projected to go in the draft.
No way NC State CF Brett Williams can be left off this list. Speed, Arm Strength, pure instincts and jump on the ball. Just ask anyone at the Carolina series about the best catch they’ve seen all year. Oh yeah, he did it again for the final out against FSU’s James Ramsey last Sunday.
Good name, thanks. Williams was on the radar as a junior college guy heading into the year, and it’s nice to see him doing well for the Wolfpack. Still think he lacks the standout tool to get himself noticed (though your report on his speed, arm, and defense all indicate I could be wrong on this one), plus there might be a little too much swing and miss in his swing. I’d guess he’s back in Raleigh for a senior year, but what do I know. Interesting to hear more of your thoughts on him, especially on his defense. Do you see him as a legit pro CF?
I put him in the “Fourth outfielder alert! Some teams prefer well-rounded players (around average in all five tools, no real standout abilities) for potential bench roles…” category earlier in the year, for what it’s worth.
Brett Williams, Yes, I think he is very legit. No doubt Sportscenter top play last night will create some additional buzz. I haven’t seen anyone better defensively than he is and his approach at the plate is improving rapidly. He devoted more time to playing Quarterback in high scholl than to baseball and was a state championship MVP. Gotta love the football mentality and overall athleticism.
Hawaii’s Collin Bennett should be nearer the top of the list. He set base hit and doubles records in the 2010 WAC tournament and with Kolten Wong led the Rainbows to the WAC Championship. Hawaii just finished 2011 play as WAC season champions and begin tournament play this week. I think the new bat ‘stumped’ him a bit this year, but with personal diligence – reviewing his own tapes – he has increased his season batting average over 100 points to near .300. He has lead Hawaii during conference play in BA, finishing WAC play batting .417. 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 put him at third base to keep his bat back in the lineup. His arm is formidable, he’s got phenomenal speed, and an outstanding work ethic.
Have you heard anything about Cody Grice, CF, from Grand Valley State University? Division II school but has all of the tools. According to area scouts, teams are looking between rounds 15 – 20. Certain teams have expressed high interest, as Grice has all 5 tools. Speed and arm strength easily translate to the next level, primary concern may be power.
What about Caleb Ramsey of University of Houston? He is a standout outfielder with a powerful arm not to mention his above average speed at the bases. Check out his summer at the Cape. Certain teams have expressed High interest because he is a smart, well rounded player.