In between work and school, I’ve been slowly going through every college roster in an attempt to sort out a great big giant master list in anticipation of the start of season. Two general thoughts followed by a more specific ramble coming right up…
*** The 2012 college class is even weaker than I feared. Part of this may be because of the relative strength of last year’s class and the absence of a standout prospect at the top like Cole and Rendon in 2011, Harper in 2010, Strasburg in 2009, and, predating this site, Price and Wieters in 2007. Even an optimist would admit that those reasons only partly explain why 2012 looks weak. Trying to talk myself into Deven Marrero as a top five pick, for example, isn’t going well…
*** The 2012 high school class looks pretty damn strong to me, especially when it comes to up-the-middle players and, as always, pitching. Of course, much of this strength could be attributed to the persistent preference of many — guilty, as charged — to value distant, low-percentage upside over steady, high-percentage floor. These guys haven’t yet had the chance to fail quite like the college players have, so it is far easier to dream on their futures when put up against prospects who have been picked apart for years. Even still, this is at least an average class with the potential to be more than that assuming good health and typical development this spring.
*** I hesitate doing this because I’m a little bit OCD when it comes to completism and I haven’t yet finished going through every college roster (over halfway done!), but there’s one team (well, one of many…but one worth pointing out at this precise moment in time) that stands out as an early “sleeper” from both a college ball standpoint and in terms of 2012 draft prospects. Sleeper may be a poor choice of words for a program as strong as Missouri State — a university that has produced current big leaguers Ryan Howard, Shaun Marcum, and Brad Ziegler, and routinely sits near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference standings — but, until a more apt word exists, we’re going with sleeper. They have many of the key elements needed of a college contender including a strong group of versatile, sure-handed middle infielders adept at setting the table, legit Friday night starter, a pair of thumpers in the middle of the lineup, and a deep bullpen full of guys capable of notching big strikeout totals.
As far as 2012 pitching prospects go, JR RHP Pierce Johnson’s velocity jump and four-pitch mix (including a nasty CB) should get him early round consideration while SO RHP Nick Petree’s two greatest strengths (FB movement and overall command) figure to improve even more another year removed from Tommy John.
The aforementioned middle infield trio of SR 2B Brent Seifert, SR 2B Kevin Medrano, and SR SS Travis McComack all have draft-worthy tools. Medrano offers the best hit tool, Seifert is the most well-rounded and possesses the most in-game power, and McComack has the best chance to stick at shortstop going forward. Joining those three in the lineup are SR 1B Brock Chaffin and JR C Luke Voit. Both Chaffin and Voit are big boys with interesting power upside. Chaffin may be the better college player, but Voit’s upside, especially if he can stick behind the plate, is very intriguing. He has the size, athleticism, raw power, and mature approach to bust out in a big, big way in 2012. In a weak year for college bats, Voit could wind up with a much earlier draft grade — I’d love to make a guess here, but I’m not sure I can without a little more homework — than many currently anticipate.
Wake Forest has some interesting pro prospects in the line up this year that no one is talking much about yet on the college blogs and baseball web pages.I saw 30 (thirty) scouts in the stands for a practice game last week and almost every practice has at least 5 scouts present! Pro Scouts were scarce in past seasons at Wake practices and games.
There are several position plyers with good size and power and a few LHPs
that should draw more attention as the season progreses. Look for the baseball Daecons to
do well in the ACC this year and several of its players to get some significant attention.
I went to the Mo Bears Tuesday game in Springfield MO. That Brent Seifert is one heck of a stead slugger. I see he got Missouri Valley confrerence player of the week and Mo Ste Coors player of the week. He is one to watch, I saw him play in Colorado in 2010 and beat Bryce Harpers team bad.