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Top 200 2011 MLB Draft Position Player Prospects

Draft day is finally here. Position players are done in the nick of time. Follow the links for much more explanation on every player listed below (and others) and stay tuned for the pitchers coming later today.

I should also mention that I’ll be live blogging the draft starting tonight around 6ish. Should be fun…

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Shortstop

Outfield

  1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon
  2. OF Bubba Starling (Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kansas)
  3. C Blake Swihart (Cleveland HS, New Mexico)
  4. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)
  5. OF Josh Bell (Jesuit College Prep School, Texas)
  6. Oregon State SO C Andrew Susac
  7. OF Brandon Nimmo (Cheyenne East HS, Wyoming)
  8. Connecticut JR OF George Springer
  9. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)
  10. 3B Javier Baez (Arlington County Day HS, Florida)
  11. Utah JR 1B CJ Cron
  12. 1B Travis Harrison (Tustin HS, California)
  13. 3B Matt Dean (The Colony HS, Texas)
  14. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong
  15. OF Granden Goetzman (Palmetto HS, Florida)
  16. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael
  17. 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)
  18. 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)
  19. 3B Tyler Goeddel (St. Francis HS, California)
  20. Miami-Dade CC SO OF Brian Goodwin
  21. OF Senquez Golson (Pascaagoula HS, Mississippi)
  22. Louisiana State JR OF Mikie Mahtook
  23. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)
  24. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole
  25. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito
  26. OF Carl Thomore (East Brunswick HS, New Jersey)
  27. C Eric Haase (Divine Child HS, Michigan)
  28. C Riley Moore (San Marcos HS, California)
  29. 1B Jacob Anderson (Chino HS, California)
  30. 1B Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)
  31. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller
  32. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)
  33. OF Roman Quinn (Port St. Joe HS, Florida)
  34. OF Derek Fisher (Cedar Crest HS, Pennsylvania)
  35. 3B Jake Hager (Sierra Vista HS, Nevada)
  36. 3B Chris McFarland (Lufkin HS, Texas)
  37. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed
  38. Alabama JR OF Taylor Dugas
  39. South Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley
  40. North Carolina State JR C Pratt Maynard
  41. C Elvin Soto (Xaverian HS, New York)
  42. Vanderbilt SR C Curt Casali
  43. Bethune-Cookman JR C Peter O’Brien
  44. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth
  45. C Garrett Boulware (TL Hanna HS, South Carolina)
  46. C Cameron Gallagher (Manheim Township HS, Pennsylvania)
  47. C Austin Hedges (JSerra HS, California)
  48. C Nicky Delmonico (Farragut HS, Tennessee)
  49. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns
  50. Valparaiso JR OF Kyle Gaedele
  51. 2B Trent Gilbert (Torrance HS, California)
  52. OF Williams Jerez (Grand Street HS, New York)
  53. OF Ben Roberts (Missoula Sentinel HS, Montana)
  54. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)
  55. 1B Dante Bichette (Orangewood Christian HS, Florida)
  56. Florida JR 1B Preston Tucker
  57. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez
  58. Texas Christian JR OF Jason Coats
  59. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter
  60. Indiana JR OF Alex Dickerson
  61. 1B Kevin Cron (Mountain Pointe HS, Arizona)
  62. OF Dwight Smith (McIntosh HS, Georgia)
  63. OF Larry Greene (Berrien HS, Georgia)
  64. OF Mason Robbins (George County HS, Mississippi)
  65. OF Billy Flamion (Central Catholic HS, California)
  66. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy
  67. Vanderbilt SR 1B Aaron Westlake
  68. Miami SO OF Zeke DeVoss
  69. Indian River State College SO 2B Corey Spangenberg
  70. St. John’s JR 2B Joe Panik
  71. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright
  72. Santa Fe CC FR OF Trey Griffin
  73. Central Arizona CC SO OF Keenyn Walker
  74. 3B Taylor Sparks (St. John Bosco HS, California)
  75. 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)
  76. 2B Christian Lopes (Edison HS, California)
  77. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)
  78. OF James Harris (Oakland Technical HS, California)
  79. 1B Rookie Davis (Dixon HS, North Carolina)
  80. 1B Wallace Gonzalez (Bishop Amat HS, California)
  81. Southern California JR 1B Ricky Oropesa
  82. Rice JR OF Jeremy Rathjen
  83. San Diego JR C Zach Kometani
  84. C Tyler Marlette (Hagerty HS, Florida)
  85. North Carolina JR C Jacob Stallings
  86. Western Kentucky SO OF Kes Carter
  87. Central Florida SO OF Ronnie Richardson
  88. Kansas State JR OF Nick Martini
  89. Arizona State JR OF Johnny Ruettiger
  90. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche
  91. Oklahoma JR C Tyler Ogle
  92. OF Josh Tobias (Southeast Guilford HS, North Carolina)
  93. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy La Stella
  94. C Grayson Greiner (Blythewood HS, South Carolina)
  95. Washington State JR 1B Taylor Ard
  96. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson
  97. 3B Matt Papi (Tunkhannock HS, Pennsylvania)
  98. OF Sean Trent (Bishop Moore Catholic HS, Florida)
  99. Clemson JR OF Will Lamb
  100. Texas SO OF Cohl Walla
  101. Wichita State SO 1B Johnny Coy
  102. Pittsburgh SR C Kevan Smith
  103. Arkansas JR C James McCann
  104. Georgia JR OF Zach Cone
  105. Virginia JR C John Hicks
  106. James Madison JR C Jake Lowery
  107. 3B Nicholas Howard (St. John’s College HS, Washington DC)
  108. OF Shawon Dunston (Valley Christian HS, California)
  109. OF Charles Tilson (New Trier HS, Illinois)
  110. 2B Dante Flores (St. John Bosco HS, California)
  111. 2B TJ Costen (First Colonial HS, Virginia)
  112. Clemson SR OF Jeff Schaus
  113. Arizona JR C Jett Bandy
  114. C Greg Bird (Grandview HS, Colorado)
  115. C Brandon Sedell (American Heritage HS, Florida)
  116. 3B Austin Slater (The Bolles School, Florida)
  117. 1B Ryan Krill (Portage Central HS, Michigan)
  118. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson
  119. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza
  120. OF Tyler Gibson (Stratford Academy, Georgia)
  121. OF John Norwood (Seton Hall Prep HS, New Jersey)
  122. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston
  123. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B Nick Ramirez
  124. North Carolina State JR 1B Harold Riggins
  125. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte
  126. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia
  127. OF Gabriel Rosa (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  128. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee
  129. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)
  130. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)
  131. 3B Patrick Leonard (St. Thomas HS, Texas)
  132. 3B Hunter Cole (Moore HS, South Carolina)
  133. Florida International JR OF Pablo Bermudez
  134. 1B Elliot Richoux (The Woodlands HS, Texas)
  135. 1B Rouric Bridgewater (Diamond Ranch HS, California):
  136. Stetson JR C Nick Rickles
  137. Tulane JR C Jeremy Schaffer
  138. College of Charleston JR C Rob Kral
  139. C BreShon Kimbell (Mesquite HS, Texas)
  140. C Brett Austin (Providence HS, North Carolina)
  141. C AJ Murray (Westfield HS, New Jersey)
  142. OF Michael Reed (Leander HS, Texas)
  143. 3B Alex Santana (Mariner HS, Florida)
  144. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen
  145. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)
  146. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)
  147. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)
  148. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes
  149. LSU JR SS Austin Nola
  150. OF Jo-El Bennett (Houston Academy, Alabama)
  151. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez
  152. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward
  153. 2B Kevin Kramer (Turlock HS, California)
  154. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw
  155. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith
  156. OF Dakota Smith (Lansing HS, Kansas)
  157. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton
  158. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini
  159. 2B Vicente Conde (Orangewood Christian Academy, Florida)
  160. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)
  161. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley
  162. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis
  163. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis
  164. Walters State SO 1B Cody Stubbs
  165. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele
  166. Oral Roberts JR OF Brandon King
  167. St. Mary’s JR 1B Troy Channing
  168. Central Florida SO 1B DJ Hicks
  169. Oklahoma JR 1B Cameron Seitzer
  170. LSU-Eunice FR 1B Hommy Rosado
  171. Western Kentucky SR C Matt Rice
  172. C Daniel Mengden (Westside HS, Texas)
  173. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia
  174. Wright State JR OF Tristan Moore
  175. Cal State Fullerton SO 1B Carlos Lopez
  176. 1B Skyler Ewing (Arlington HS, Texas)
  177. Florida State SR OF Mike McGee
  178. Connecticut SR 1B Mike Nemeth
  179. Georgia JR 1B Chase Davidson
  180. East Tennessee State SR 1B Paul Hoilman
  181. California JR C Chadd Krist
  182. Kent State SR OF Ben Klafczynski
  183. Samford JR C Brandon Miller
  184. Central Florida JR C Beau Taylor
  185. C Taylor Nichols (Faith Academy, Alabama)
  186. C Hunter Lockwood (LD Bell HS, Texas)
  187. C Aramis Garcia (Pines Charter HS, Florida)
  188. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther
  189. Minnesota JR 1B Nick O’Shea
  190. Northwestern JR 1B Paul Snieder
  191. C Dylan Delso (Broken Arrow HS, Oklahoma)
  192. 3B Austin Davidson (Oxnard HS, California)
  193. Auburn SR C Tony Caldwell
  194. Chipola JC SO C Geno Escalante
  195. Kentucky JR C Mike Williams
  196. Florida JR C Ben McMahan
  197. Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy
  198. C Bryce Mosier (Valhalla HS, California)
  199. Franklin Pierce JR C Mike Dowd
  200. 3B Ahmad Christian (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)

2011 MLB Draft Outfielder Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top fifty college and top thirty high school 2011 outfield prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Outfielder Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Outfielder Rankings

…and for a combined top fifty list of all 2011 draft-eligible outfield prospects, go get ’em while they’re hot…

1. OF Bubba Starling (Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kansas)

2. OF Josh Bell (Jesuit College Prep School, Texas)

3. OF Brandon Nimmo (Cheyenne East HS, Wyoming)

4. Connecticut JR OF George Springer

5. OF Granden Goetzman (Palmetto HS, Florida)

6. Miami-Dade CC SO OF Brian Goodwin

7. OF Senquez Golson (Pascaagoula HS, Mississippi)

8. Louisiana State JR OF Mikie Mahtook

9. OF Carl Thomore (East Brunswick HS, New Jersey)

10. OF Roman Quinn (Port St. Joe HS, Florida)

11. OF Derek Fisher (Cedar Crest HS, Pennsylvania)

12. Alabama JR OF Taylor Dugas

13. South Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley

14. Valparaiso JR OF Kyle Gaedele

15. OF Williams Jerez (Grand Street HS, New York)

16. OF Ben Roberts (Missoula Sentinel HS, Montana)

17. Texas Christian JR OF Jason Coats

18. Indiana JR OF Alex Dickerson

19. OF Dwight Smith (McIntosh HS, Georgia)

20. OF Larry Greene (Berrien HS, Georgia)

21. OF Mason Robbins (George County HS, Mississippi)

22. OF Billy Flamion (Central Catholic HS, California)

23. Miami SO OF Zeke DeVoss

24. Santa Fe CC FR OF Trey Griffin

25. Central Arizona CC SO OF Keenyn Walker

26. OF James Harris (Oakland Technical HS, California)

27. Rice JR OF Jeremy Rathjen

28. Western Kentucky SO OF Kes Carter

29. Central Florida SO OF Ronnie Richardson

30. Kansas State JR OF Nick Martini

31. Arizona State JR OF Johnny Ruettiger

32. OF Josh Tobias (Southeast Guilford HS, North Carolina)

33. OF Sean Trent (Bishop Moore Catholic HS, Florida)

34. Clemson JR OF Will Lamb

35. Texas SO OF Cohl Walla

36. Georgia JR OF Zach Cone

37. OF Shawon Dunston (Valley Christian HS, California)

38. OF Charles Tilson (New Trier HS, Illinois)

39. Clemson SR OF Jeff Schaus

40. OF Tyler Gibson (Stratford Academy, Georgia)

41. OF John Norwood (Seton Hall Prep HS, New Jersey)

42. OF Gabriel Rosa (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)

43. Florida International JR OF Pablo Bermudez

44. OF Michael Reed (Leander HS, Texas)

45. OF Jo-El Bennett (Houston Academy, Alabama)

46. OF Dakota Smith (Lansing HS, Kansas)

47. Oral Roberts JR OF Brandon King

48. Wright State JR OF Tristan Moore

49. Florida State SR OF Mike McGee

50. Kent State SR OF Ben Klafczynski

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Outfielder Rankings

1. OF Bubba Starling (Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kansas)

[plus speed; really good bat speed; patient approach; plus raw power; 88-93 FB; very good 73-76 CB that could be plus in time; 6-4, 180; plus CF range; hit tool is legit; everything you’d look for in a prep player, including rapid improvement in last year]

2. OF Josh Bell (Jesuit College Prep School, Texas)

[two most common comps: Dom Brown and Cliff Floyd; good arm for center, but not a prototypical RF arm; good range in CF but probably won’t stick; really mature approach; swing is short and sweet, but has physical strength to hit for big power; born to swing the bat; 6-3, 195]

3. OF Brandon Nimmo (Cheyenne East HS, Wyoming)

[good athlete; above-average arm well suited for RF; above-average speed would work in CF; good approach; gifted natural hitter; gap power; 6-3, 185]

4. OF Granden Goetzman (Palmetto HS, Florida)

[plus speed; plus raw power; arm enough for 3B or RF; raw; lots of range in CF; bat is raw, but quick; huge upside gamble; 6-3, 200]

5. OF Senquez Golson (Pascaagoula HS, Mississippi)

[great athlete; plus-plus speed; plus defensive upside in CF; strong arm; Jared Mitchell comp; quick bat; above-average raw power; 6-0, 180]

6. OF Carl Thomore (East Brunswick HS, New Jersey)

[above-average speed; shows all five tools; above-average power; plus bat speed; above-average arm; personal favorite]

7. OF Roman Quinn (Port St. Joe HS, Florida)

[crazy plus-plus (80) speed; quick bat; strong arm; gap power; like him a lot; tremendous range in CF; 5-10, 165]

8. OF Derek Fisher (Cedar Crest HS, Pennsylvania)

[plus speed; solid arm; good athlete; good bat; RF arm; huge raw power; too much swing and miss; too aggressive; 6-3, 210]

9. OF Williams Jerez (Grand Street HS, New York)

[plus athlete; good speed, but might not have instincts for CF; plus arm; extremely raw; average raw power; 6-4, 190]

10. OF Ben Roberts (Missoula Sentinel HS, Montana)

[plus speed; plus arm; CF defense; 6-4, 200 pounds]

11. OF Dwight Smith (McIntosh HS, Georgia)

[very quick bat; natural hitter; good approach; above-average speed; below-average arm; seen as a bat only prospect by most; 5-9]

12. OF Larry Greene (Berrien HS, Georgia)

[really good raw power; good athlete; strong defender, but arm limits him to LF]

13. OF Mason Robbins (George County HS, Mississippi)

[well-rounded five-tool player with no standout tool; underrated  arm; average speed; interesting gap power that has plus upside; fantastic approach; likely LF in pros; better athlete than given credit]

14. OF Billy Flamion (Central Catholic HS, California)

[plus bat speed; special sound; plus lefthanded pull power; above-average arm; average speed; average range in corner, likely LF; good athlete; lots of swing and miss]

15. OF James Harris (Oakland Technical HS, California)

[plus-plus range in CF; plus runner; plus athlete; limited raw power; bat has a long way to go; iffy arm; classic leadoff hitter approach]

16. OF Josh Tobias (Southeast Guilford HS, North Carolina)

[above-average to plus-plus speed; very strong; plus raw power; leadoff profile; ability to stick in CF will make or break him]

17. OF Sean Trent (Bishop Moore Catholic HS, Florida)

[strong to plus arm ready for RF; natural hitter; could be tried anywhere defensively including C and 3B; good enough speed for outfield corner]

18. OF Shawon Dunston (Valley Christian HS, California)

[plus athlete; plus speed; plus range; iffy arm; limited power, but has shown more pop to gaps this spring; super raw]

19. OF Charles Tilson (New Trier HS, Illinois)

[plus-plus speed, but that may be overstated; good range; strong hit tool; good arm; 6-0, 175]

20. OF Tyler Gibson (Stratford Academy, Georgia)

[plus raw power; could be stuck in LF; solid speed; pro body; pretty swing]

21. OF John Norwood (Seton Hall Prep HS, New Jersey)

[plus speed; good bat speed; potential plus defender; not a lot of power; average bat; strong arm; great athlete; 6-2, 190]

22. OF Gabriel Rosa (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)

[good raw power; good speed; average arm; swing is a mess; may or may not stick in CF as converted SS]

23. OF Michael Reed (Leander HS, Texas)

[strong; plus arm; average speed; raw bat; shows all five tools]

24. OF Jo-El Bennett (Houston Academy, Alabama)

[plus range in corner, solid in CF; good arm; plus athlete; good speed; plus bat speed; plus-plus first name]

25. OF Dakota Smith (Lansing HS, Kansas)

[good athlete; plus runner; low-90s FB; plus arm; good power; 5-11, 175]

26. OF Aaron Brown (Chatsworth HS, California)

[good speed; good athlete; some power upside; big arm; average in corner spot; 6-1, 205]

27. OF Eric Snyder (Edison HS, California)

[leadoff man profile; very good defensively; strong UCLA commit; good on the bases; very intriguing hit tool; 5-11, 155]

28. OF Richard Prigatano (St. Francis HS, California)

[above-average hit tool; above-average raw power; average speed; good arm; average range in corner]

29. OF Michael Conforto (Redmond HS, Washington)

[bat and power will carry him because no other tool is above-average]

30. OF Nigel Nootbaar (El Segundo HS, California):

[good speed; plus arm; 88 FB; 74 CB; 81 CU; 6-3, 190]

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Outfielder Rankings

Time is at a premium, so we’re moving from real life written paragraphs to quick reformatted edits of my notes…

1. Connecticut JR OF George Springer

[lethal power/speed combo; electric bat speed; above-average to plus arm; above-average to plus speed; great athlete; should be plus defender in RF, chance to be above-average in CF; above-average raw power; biggest issue is aggressiveness at the plate, but worked deeper counts and produced better at bats as year went on; for a supposed “tools gamble with holes in swing” his 2010 production was outstanding; plus-plus speed?; 6-3, 200; DOB 9/19/89]

Good pro coaching will do wonders for him, though it will be really interesting to see how much tinkering his future employer will really want to do after investing a hefty bonus in the college version of Springer’s swing. He looks a little bow-legged in the photo above, but it isn’t a great representation of his swing setup because it captures him just as he started his stride. I had great video of him swinging the bat, but it disappeared into the ether during a file conversion. As for Springer’s swing, again, I’m not a scout, but I was really impressed with his balance at the plate, both in his approach and follow through. I didn’t like his collapsed back elbow, but found many of his flaws to be those decidedly under the “Coach Him Up and He’ll Be Alright” umbrella. This may be a cop-out, but the rise of so many other prospects could really be a boon for Springer’s career. Taking him in the top ten scares the heck out of me, but if he slips closer to the middle or end of the round, watch out. Lowered expectations + more stable pro organization, especially at the big league level (less need to rush him) = transformation from overrated to underrated almost overnight.

Another quick note I’ll pass along without much comment: George Springer cares. I realize this is a dangerous game to play because, really, how can we ever know such a thing, but George Springer (his name just sounds better when you use the first and the last) cares, or, at worst, is one heck of an actor. I’d never get on a player for not reacting to a strikeout with anger (and, by extension, showing that they care) because, as a quiet guy myself, I know demonstrative displays of emotion shouldn’t be the standard by which we judge effort and dedication. But the way Springer reacted to an early strikeout — pacing back and forth in front of the bench seemingly in search of a tunnel to pop into and blow off some steam (soon enough, George) until finally settling to the far end of the dugout, just off to the side, where he took a knee, closed his eyes, and started pantomiming his swing — really stood out to me. Probably nothing, but there you go.

None of that changes my view of George Springer the prospect, by the way. Just thought it was a relatively interesting tidbit worth passing along. I have to admit that I do kind of love the idea of a player with a wOBA approaching .500 getting that worked up over a bad at bat. Or maybe I love the way a player who is is clearly pressing at the plate has still somehow managed to put up a league/park adjusted triple slash of .386/.482/.667 (as of mid-April).

Two pro comparisons for Springer came immediately to mind. The first is 100% physical and in no way any kind of projection of future pro value. Something about Springer’s body, swing, and overall on-field demeanor reminded me a great deal of Florida’s Mike Stanton. Again, the two are very different players, but the physical similarities were interesting. A comp like that is probably why most people don’t like comps, but they’ll live.

The second comparison is much, much better, I think. Springer’s upside and overall tools package remind me so much of Minnesota minor leaguer Joe Benson that it’s scary. File that one away…

2. Miami-Dade CC SO OF Brian Goodwin

[well-rounded with average at worst tools across board; average present power with plus-plus upside; above-average to plus-plus (70) speed; strong arm; fantastic athlete; update: plus athlete; very explosive; some question his swing; 10-20 homer upside as pro; above-average (55) runner; average arm for CF; raw fielder, but all the tools are there; 6-1, 190; DOB 11/2/90]

3. Louisiana State JR OF Mikie Mahtook

[above-average to plus speed; good defender; above-average to plus arm; big power potential, but swing holds him back; excellent athlete; good approach; great athlete; 6-1, 195 pounds]

4. Alabama JR OF Taylor Dugas

[advanced idea of strike zone; above-average speed; good athlete; gap power; good friends with Mikie Mahtook; by no means a tools guy, but ultimate grinder; plus hit tool for me; 5-7]

5. South Carolina JR OF Jackie Bradley

[special defensive tools in CF, plus to plus-plus ability; interesting hit tool; above-average to plus speed, closer to plus; good athlete; above-average to plus arm; legit pro power potential with average upside; gap power for now; very quick bat; gifted across the board; mature approach; fully recovered from broken hamate bone; 20/20 upside; 5-10, 175; DOB 4/19/90]

6. Valparaiso JR OF Kyle Gaedele

[above-average to plus runner…now called just average; hacker; above-average to plus (70) power potential, but currently average; above-average to plus arm; plus defensive tools in RF; above-average speed; very quick bat; Jeff Francoeur-like athleticism; has had success with wood; 6-4, 225 pounds; swing needs tweaking]

7. Texas Christian JR OF Jason Coats

[plus athlete; very strong; special bat speed; decent to average speed; average arm; plus raw power; corner outfielder with good range; pitch recognition could make or break him; 6-2, 195 pounds]

8. Indiana JR OF Alex Dickerson

[advanced hit tool; good raw power; below-average speed; below-average arm; between below-average and solid defensively in LF, tends to be overlooked due to lack of athleticism; really struggles against lefties; 6-3, 210]

9. Miami SO OF Zeke DeVoss

[plus to plus-plus speed; plus range; average at best arm; very raw with bat; 5-9, 170]

10. Santa Fe CC FR OF Trey Griffin

11. Central Arizona CC SO OF Keenyn Walker

12. Rice JR OF Jeremy Rathjen

[above-average speed, raw power, and arm; too aggressive at plate; good defensive feel; average range in corner; gap power at present that could turn into HRs in time; 6-6, 200 pounds]

13. Western Kentucky SO OF Kes Carter

[91 peak FB; plus arm; capable CF; little power at present, but raw power is there; above-average speed; 6-1, 190 pounds]

14. Central Florida SO OF Ronnie Richardson

[plus athlete; plus arm; plus-plus runner; potential for some pop; plus defensive tools; 5-7, 175]

15. Kansas State JR OF Nick Martini

[very strong pure hit tool; solid speed; average defender; above-average arm; RF professionally; gap power; good approach; 5-10, 180 pounds]

16. Arizona State JR OF Johnny Ruettiger

[plus athlete; big hit tool; line drive machine; gap power at best; leadoff man profile; good patience; average to plus speed; good defender; iffy arm, more accurate than powerful; strong experience with wood; love the way he plays within himself; great athlete, great body; 6-2, 175 pounds]

17. Clemson JR OF Will Lamb

[plus arm strength; above-average speed; power projection; He’s big and strong enough to drive balls out without necessarily having to try (always a good thing to look for in a young hitter), he has elite range and first step quickness in the outfield, and his arm is a legitimate weapon in center. The word is that the majority of scouts have told him they prefer his upside on the mound (6-5 projectable lefties with low-90s velocity and two present average secondary pitches), but I still like his upside as a position player. 89-92 FB; good CB; decent CU; 6-5, 190]

18. Texas SO OF Cohl Walla

[plus power potential; plus speed; strong arm that has hit 92-93 on mound; should stick in CF; Drew Stubbs comps defensively, Jarrett Parker comps offensively; plus athlete; absolutely must add strength; 6-3, 165]

19. Georgia JR OF Zach Cone

[good line drive swing; good athlete; good speed; plus arm; approach needs work; above-average raw power; plus speed; excellent defender; 6-2, 204 pounds]

20. Clemson SR OF Jeff Schaus

[pretty swing; good natural hitter; average power; average speed, more quick than fast; inconsistent arm strength, but flashes plus; top ten round possibility last year who fell due to bonus demands]

21. Florida International JR OF Pablo Bermudez

[could play CF as pro; very raw; power/speed combo; too aggressive; above-average speed; strong arm; plus bat speed; 5-11, 185 pounds]

22. Oral Roberts JR OF Brandon King

[16th round pick last year; great with wood; plus plate discipline; questionable defender]

23. Wright State JR OF Tristan Moore

[leadoff man profile; strong hit tool; above-average speed; very strong arm; RF professionally; questionable power potential; very raw but very; talented; really like the hit tool; really good athlete; 6-2, 195 pounds]

24. Florida State SR OF Mike McGee

[great approach; average speed; 88-90 FB, 92-93 peak; very good upper-70s SL; CU; drafted as a pitcher last year; good CB]

25. Kent State SR OF Ben Klafczynski

[big power; really good athlete; really refined approach junior season; more raw talent than most; average speed; good arm]

26. Louisville JR OF Stewart Ijames

[great bat speed; big power potential; good approach; decent speed; average or better range in corner; good arm; 6-1, 205 pounds]

27. Arizona State JR OF Zach Wilson

[very talented natural hitter; average power; average runner; no real defensive home]

28. Florida International SR OF Yoandy Barroso

[plus bat speed; above-average speed; above-average to plus arm, I buy the plus; potential above-average defender in RF; raw and inconsistent talent; big power to gaps that is turning into HR power; good present strength; very heavily recruited out of junior college; 6-2, 215]

29. Texas Christian JR OF Brance Rivera

[good range in corner; best tool is speed; good arm; solid power upside; great athlete; great body; could be tried up the middle once again; loads of upside]

30. Miami JR OF Nate Melendres

[serious tools, but very raw; potential plus defender in CF; hacker; plus speed; above-average to plus arm; 5-11, 185 pounds]

31, Minnesota JR CF Justin Gominsky

[good arm; very good defender; plus athlete; good speed; interesting hit tool; 6-4, 185]

32. Marshall SO OF Isaac Ballou

[leadoff hitter profile; good approach; above-average speed; above-average range; iffy arm that has also been called plus; little power; quick bat; great athlete; needs to add strength; lots of untapped talent; 6-2, 180]

33. North Carolina JR OF A&T Xavier Macklin

[great athlete; big jump in plate discipline freshman to sophomore season; CF speed; raw, but plus makeup]

34. Wake Forest SR OF Steven Brooks

[plus speed, solid defender in CF; good raw power potential but average in-game ability]

35. College of Charleston SR OF Cole Rakar

[plus speed; very good defender in center; gap power]

36. Michigan State SR OF Jeff Holm

[great approach; above-average to plus speed; gap power; average arm; average range in corner; has played 1B, but enough foot speed for corner]

37. Coastal Carolina JR OF Daniel Bowman

[impressive plus raw power, but it may be his only real tool; strong enough arm for RF; decent speed; hacker; too many K’s; underrated athlete; 6-1, 210 pounds]

38. Georgia State SR OF Mark Micowski

[Vermont transfer; above-average speed; above-average arm; like Duffy, I like these Vermont guys; average in center, above-average in corner; good athlete]

39. Mississippi SR OF Matt Smith

[big raw power]

40. Fresno State JR OF Dusty Robinson

[plus-plus raw power]

41. Stephen F. Austin State JR OF Bryson Myles

[plus athlete; good speed; interesting upside with bat]

42. Oregon State SO OF Garrett Nash

[plus-plus speed; little power; good arm; CF range; all about development with bat]

43. Northern Colorado JR OF Jarod Berggren

[plus speed; above-average arm; good to plus raw power; 6-3, 205]

44. Manhattan SR OF Mike McCann

[good strike zone judgment; average speed; average arm; 5-10, 175 pounds; could be good RF]

45. Illinois JR OF Willie Argo

[great athlete; very strong; impressive power/speed combo; plus bat speed; good range in CF; weak arm, but accurate; recovering from broken hamate; untapped talent]

46. UNC Wilmington JR 1B/OF Andrew Cain

[plus speed; real raw power; 6-6, 220]

47. Florida State JR OF James Ramsey

[His arm is currently average at best and his range in the outfield is below-average. In addition, he’s a decent runner who picks his spots on the bases well. College players limited to leftfield need to be able to hit a ton to make it in pro ball, and I’m not sure Ramsey has the power to profile as a regular in a corner.]

48. Rutgers SR OF Michael Lang

[plus speed; should stick in CF; plus arm; good athlete; walk-on who was very close to attending Rowan; reports on makeup are sky high, great family]

49. Cal Poly JR OF Bobby Crocker

[good whole field approach at plate; poor arm limits him to LF; plus raw speed but closer to average in-game; too many K’s; arm has also been called solid; great body; great athlete; plus defender in corner, average or better in CF; plus bat speed; swing has come a long way, but still needs refining; real curious about arm…could be difference between RF and LF; 6-3, 210 pounds]

50. West Virginia SR OF Grant Buckner

[above-average arm; above-average raw power]

2011 MLB Draft Third Base Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top twenty-five college and top sixteen high school 2011 third base prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Third Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Third Base Rankings

…and for a combined top thirty-five list of all 2011 draft-eligible third base prospects, take a deep breath and dive in below…

1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon

2. 3B Javier Baez (Arlington County Day HS, Florida)

3. 3B Matt Dean (The Colony HS, Texas)

4. 3B Tyler Goeddel (St. Francis HS, California)

5. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole

6. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito

7. 3B Jake Hager (Sierra Vista HS, Nevada)

8. 3B Chris McFarland (Lufkin HS, Texas)

9. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth

10. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns

11. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez

12. 3B Taylor Sparks (St. John Bosco HS, California)

13. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche

14. 3B Matt Papi (Tunkhannock HS, Pennsylvania)

15. 3B Nicholas Howard (St. John’s College HS, Washington DC)

16. 3B Austin Slater (The Bolles School, Florida)

17. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson

18. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza

19. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte

20. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia

21. 3B Patrick Leonard (St. Thomas HS, Texas)

22. 3B Hunter Cole (Moore HS, South Carolina)

23. 3B Alex Santana (Mariner HS, Florida)

24. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez

25. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward

26. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw

27. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith

28. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis

29. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele

30. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia

31. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther

32. 3B Austin Davidson (Oxnard HS, California)

33. Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy

34. 3B Ahmad Christian (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)

35. 3B Max Kuhn (Zionsville HS, Indiana)

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Third Base Rankings

1. 3B Javier Baez (Arlington County Day HS, Florida)

From watching Baez a good bit this spring, scouts are pretty confident that can run, throw, and hit for power. Much of his projection revolves around his defensive upside. Considering many think he has the requisite footwork and quick release to catch and perhaps the agility and range for shortstop, I have to believe he’ll be just fine at third base as a pro. A pretty cool outside the box comp I’ve heard on Baez is current Rangers infielder Michael Young.

2. 3B Matt Dean (The Colony HS, Texas)

I’m trying to imagine the Texas Longhorns squad adding both Josh Bell and Matt Dean to their already stacked core of young talent, but there’s just no way that both stud prep stars wind up in Austin, right? For the sake of the rest of the Big 12, I hope not. Dean’s commitment to Texas is reportedly quite strong, but I don’t think it’ll scare off pro clubs looking for the next big thing. The kind of plus power and special defensive tools that Dean brings to the table ought to get him paid this year.

3. 3B Tyler Goeddel (St. Francis HS, California)

Fast rising Tyler Goeddel has emerged as one of the finest prep players in California this spring. He’s shown all five tools in game action, including a really strong hit tool. His arm, speed, and power are all average or better, and his pro frame gives him room to mature physically.

4. 3B Jake Hager (Sierra Vista HS, Nevada)

Hager is a shortstop on many team’s draft boards, but I prefer him as a potential defensive star at third base. His arm and reaction time are both perfectly suited for the hot corner. The only downside with moving him off short is the acknowledgement that his bat, specifically his power, profiles better as a middle infielder that at a corner. His approach to hitting and history of hitting with wood assuage some of those worries, but I understand the concern. I’ve heard a Daric Barton comp on his bat that I like.

5. 3B Chris McFarland (Lufkin HS, Texas)

The 2014 draft class might wind up loaded with premium third base prospects if all of the supposed difficult signs wind up at their respective universities. McFarland’s down senior year has many thinking he’ll wind up at Rice this fall. That’d be great news for college baseball, but a bummer for the fans of whatever team drafts him. They’d be missing out on an excellent athlete with five-tool upside at third. McFarland’s lightning quick bat is his best tool, followed closely behind by his well above-average raw power and aided by his discerning eye at the plate. His speed, size, and arm are all exactly what you’d want out of a potential big league regular.

6. 3B Taylor Sparks (St. John Bosco HS, California)

Taylor Sparks, the former American Idol finalist (probably), is one of the most fascinating draft prospects in this year’s class. There are polished prospects who may be short on tools, but have high floors and a relatively clear path up the minor league ladder. There are raw prospects who have tremendous physical gifts, but need a lot of professional work to reach their admittedly difficult to hit ceilings. Then we have a guy like Sparks, a rare prospect with upside who is undeniably raw yet somehow not super toolsy. There are a lot of 50s in his scouting report (average arm, average power, average speed, average defense), but also something about his game that leaves you wanting more, in a good way. Part of that could be the rapid improvement he showed in certain areas — namely power and speed — this spring. If he can improve in those two areas, who is to say he can’t keep getting better after he signs on the dotted line?

7. 3B Matt Papi (Tunkhannock HS, Pennsylvania)

Another player with a better than average shot at winding up in class this fall, Matt Papi’s solid across the board tool set could get him drafted early enough to keep him away from enrolling at Virginia. His best tool is an electric right arm, a true plus tool that helps the still raw defender compensate for his occasional defensive shortcomings.

8. 3B Nicholas Howard (St. John’s College HS, Washington DC)

Howard is a similar player to Matt Papi, at least in the way both players have standout throwing arms and less than stellar defensive reputations. I obviously think both prospects will work out at the hot corner — they wouldn’t be on this list otherwise — but their respective defensive progress will be something to monitor as they enter pro ball. Howard’s power and athleticism make him a really interesting option after some of the elite prep bats are off the board.

9. 3B Austin Slater (The Bolles School, Florida)

I don’t often account for signability in these rankings unless something obvious is up. That’s exactly the case with Slater, a player who would be ranked higher on merit (really like the bat) but dinged for being a 99% slam dunk to attend Stanford (their new strategy targeting top prep stars named Austin has now worked two years in a row) after hobbling through an injury plagued senior season of high school. He could reemerge in three years as a premium pick once again.

10. 3B Patrick Leonard (St. Thomas HS, Texas)

Leonard has a fun mix that includes an above-average hit tool, impressive power upside, good athleticism, and above-average arm strength. Questions about his defensive future keep him lower than his bat warrants, at least for now.

11. 3B Hunter Cole (Moore HS, South Carolina)

Cole is another really tough sign (strong Georgia commit) with loads of raw power and good defensive tools. His bat is currently way more advanced than his glove, so maybe part of the idea of heading to Athens is to polish up his overall game and help him pop up as a first rounder in 2014.

12. 3B Alex Santana (Mariner HS, Florida)

As a plus athlete with above-average speed, Santana is a bit of an anomaly in this year’s high school class. Some question his power upside, but there is a long way to go before his body (6-4, 190) fills out.

13. 3B Austin Davidson (Oxnard HS, California)

Davidson’s down senior season will probably cost him some cash in the short-term, but his solid blend of tools will still get him noticed on draft day. I think he has the chops to be a good defender at third base, but his lack of power upside may keep him from ever holding down an everyday spot. It is tough to project a utility player on a high school prospect, but Davidson’s skill set — average arm, average speed, cerebral player — seems well suited for spot duty.

14. 3B Ahmad Christian (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)

It sure doesn’t seem like Christian will sign a pro contract this year, but his crazy athleticism, great range, and plus glove are all too good to leave him off this list. In the likely event he’ll wind up at South Carolina, it’ll be interesting to track his development as a dual-sport (the other being football) prospect. Like Hunter Cole before him, going off to school could be a blessing in disguise for his long-term outlook. There are still many concerns about Christian’s offensive ability and three years in the SEC will provide a clearer picture of his skills.

15. 3B Max Kuhn (Zionsville HS, Indiana)

Three reasons why I like Max Kuhn: 1) his upside with the bat, 2) any early round prep prospect from Indiana is fun, and 3) baseball could use another quality Max. One of my first — and as it turns out, only — autographs came from Max Patkin, the Clown Prince of Baseball, at a shoe store when I was six.

16. 3B Dustin Houle (Langley SS, British Columbia)

Houle probably fits best behind the plate, but I’m sticking with him as a third baseman for now. He is a talented player who will need a lot of minor league reps. That shouldn’t be a problem for him because , as one of the youngest draft-eligible players this year, youth is on his side.

17. 3B Brian Anderson (Deer Creek HS, Oklahoma)

18. 3B Justin Atkinson (St Aloysius Gonzaga SS, Ontario)

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Third Base Rankings

1. Rice JR 3B Anthony Rendon

*** 2010: .407/.544/.832 – 68 BB/21 K – 226 AB
*** 2011: .337/.536/.550 – 82 BB/30 K – 202 AB

There are a lot of amazing young arms in this year’s draft class, but Rendon is still the top prospect in 2011. There is not a single legitimate concern about his on-field performance. Despite his lack of size and some nagging injuries that held back his numbers some this year, there is little doubt that his power upside is substantial. His defensive tools are outstanding. The hit tool is well above-average and his approach to hitting is special. The two most popular comps thrown his way are Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria. I like the Zimmerman comp a lot, but I’ll toss another two names out there as well. Rendon’s play reminds me of a mix of a less physical, righthanded version of peak years Eric Chavez and current Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis, minus the unorthodox swing setup. Can’t blame the Pirates for going with the rare commodity that is a potential ace with the first overall pick, but if I was in charge — and thank goodness for Pittsburgh or every other franchise I’m not — then Rendon would be the pick without thinking twice.

2. Georgia Tech JR 3B Matt Skole

*** 2010: .343/.448/.708 – 45 BB/34 K – 233 AB
*** 2011: .362/.457/.570 – 43 BB/31 K – 221 AB

It took me a while to warm up to Skole, but I’d rather be late to the party than too stubborn to change my mind. The plus power bat should play wherever you put him (first base is a safe fall back option, catcher is the riskier but more appealing choice), though it would obviously be preferable if he can continue to work to turn his surprisingly strong defensive tools (good arm, decent foot speed, quality athleticism) into at least league average caliber third base defense.

3. Vanderbilt JR 3B Jason Esposito

*** 2010: .397/.492/.660 – 37 BB/33 K – 262 AB
*** 2011: .357/.425/.552 – 16 BB/36 K – 230 AB

Esposito’s defense is big league ready, and his hit tool, raw power, and speed all grade out as average future tools at the next level. I swear I was ready to mention Matt Dominguez as a potential comp before reading Baseball America beat me to the punch, but it is a good enough comp that I don’t mind repeating it.

4. Southern Mississippi JR 3B BA Vollmuth

*** 2010: .380/.495/.733 – 44 BB/50 K – 236 AB
*** 2011: .304/.417/.546 – 38 BB/55 K – 207 AB

Some people believe in it, some don’t. Either way, I figured I’d pass along something two different people said to me with respect to BA Vollmuth. Two words were used to describe the Southern Mississippi shortstop: “star quality.” He has the requisite athleticism, arm, and above-average raw power to play third base in the big leagues down the line, but his loopy swing might need a tune-up

5. Arizona JR 3B Andy Burns

*** 2010: .282/.358/.565 – 20 BB/41 K – 177 AB

The only thing I don’t like about Andy Burns is the fact he had to sit out in 2011 after the former Colorado prep star transferred from Kentucky to Arizona. Every thing else is positive including his very good defensive tools (like the two guys sandwiched around him on this list, Burns is a former shortstop), plus arm, above-average speed, quick bat, and good raw power. He also has what could be a great separator if he hopes to crack this draft’s top five rounds: the proven ability to hit with wood. On top of all those legitimate reasons why I like Burns, I also have a strong instinctual feel for him. That’s almost certainly worth nothing to 99.9% of the readers out there, but I know my Mom likes it when I share stuff like that.

6. Miami JR 3B Harold Martinez

*** 2010: .328/.403/.672 – 33 BB/50 K – 241 AB
*** 2011: .328/.416/.424 – 29 BB/38 K – 198 AB

Had a weird moment when I was just about to start writing about Harold Martinez at the same time he came to the plate in the 4th inning against Florida during Regional play. Then I stepped away for a bit only to return to the still unfinished entry on Martinez exactly as he stepped up to bat in the 7th. Now that I see it typed out I realize it probably isn’t all that weird, but after writing about draft prospects almost non-stop over the past week and a half, I may be beginning to lose my mind.

As a prospect, Martinez does more than just time his television appearances well. He typifies what this uninspiring college third base class is all about: heavy duty of the word “but.” His defensive tools are solid and he certainly looks the part of a player capable of manning the hot corner, BUT his inconsistency making the routine play and erratic arm keep him from claiming third base as a sure fire long-term defensive home. He’s already plenty strong with the frame to get even bigger, BUT his above-average raw power fell off big time in 2011, in no small part because his long swing was geared towards the aluminum. He was a highly touted prep player who has played well over three years of competitive ACC ball, BUT he hasn’t dominated the competition in quite the way many had hoped. He’s a solid, potential top five round selection, BUT not a player you can pencil in as a long-term answer at third unless some of questions about his game are answered professionally.

7. Nebraska JR 3B Cody Asche

*** 2010: .335/.393/.565 – 18 BB/45 K – 209 AB
*** 2011: .337/.437/.668 – 36 BB/39 K – 208 AB

“Really like his approach, but have been underwhelmed by his overall package thus far” – that’s what I had in my notes re: Asche coming into the year. I’m happy to say that I’m no longer underwhelmed and now considered myself appropriately whelmed by his performance. I wasn’t alone in worrying that he wouldn’t stick at third coming into the year, but am now ready to go out on a limb and say I think his athleticism and instincts make him underrated at the position. Despite his very powerful throwing arm he’ll never be a good defender at third, but if his plus raw power would look really good if he can at least play at or around average defense as a pro.

8. Clemson JR 3B John Hinson

*** 2010: .370/.433/.635 – 27 BB/40 K – 230 AB
*** 2011: .333/.389/.504 – 22 BB/28 K – 228 AB

A plus hit tool combined with above-average speed and power will get you far professionally, but people smarter than myself have told me some teams question Hinson’s ability to play any one particular spot in the infield with the consistency needed of a regular. Based on my limited looks of him, I can’t say that I necessarily agree with that assessment, but his defensive skillset (good athlete, iffy arm) may make him better suited for second base than third. At either spot, he’s got the bat to make him a potential regular with a couple breaks along the way. He’s got a relatively high floor (easy to see him as a big league utility guy with pop) with the upside of a league average third baseman.

9. Texas State JR 3B Kyle Kubitza

*** 2010: .332/.433/.563 – 38 BB/41 K – 229 AB
*** 2011: .305/.445/.527 – 52 BB/46 K – 220 AB

Kubitza has many of the key attributes you’d want in a third base prospect – good raw power, solid arm strength, and a patient approach at the plate. The biggest question he’ll have to answer is on the defensive side, but I’m on board with the idea that good pro coaching can help him through some of his concentration lapses in the field.

10. TCU SO 3B Jantzen Witte

*** 2010: .415/.455/.592 – 9 BB/17 K – 147 AB
*** 2011: .365/.431/.515 – 28 BB/31 K – 241 AB

I do love a good draft-eligible sophomore, and Witte qualifies as one of the best in 2011. His defensive tools at third base are outstanding, worthy of consideration as top five (with Rendon, Esposito, maybe Burns…) in the college third base class. His swing and approach is geared towards hitting line drives and getting on base, but there’s still enough pop in his bat to keep pitchers honest.

11. Virginia JR 3B Steven Proscia

*** 2010: .325/.377/.548 – 22 BB/41 K – 252 AB
*** 2011: .354/.399/.527 – 17 BB/30 K – 237 AB

Most people love coffee. Every few months I’ll try a little sip, but it just doesn’t work for me. So many people enjoy it every day that I’m smart enough to know that it isn’t “bad” per se, but rather a specific taste that I just don’t enjoy as much as others. Proscia is a little bit like coffee for me. His defense at third is very good, he’ll show you a nice potential power/speed combo most days, and his athleticism is well above-average for the position. He’s a good prospect by any measure. Yet somehow after taking everything I’ve heard about him and having seen him play a few times myself, I remain unmoved by his upside. Solid player, no doubt; he wouldn’t be on this list otherwise. I just see him as much more likely to wind up a potential four-corners utility player than a starting third baseman.

12. Arizona State JR 3B Riccio Torrez

*** 2010: .386/.482/.627 – 20 BB/37 K – 228 AB – 21/25 SB
*** 2011: .309/.371/.466 – 15 BB/23 K – 204 AB

Torrez seems to finally have found a defensive home at third base. A team could draft him as a true third base prospect now and hope his bat grows into the role, or, and I think this is the more likely outcome, a team could draft him with the idea that he could develop into a versatile utility player. His only standout tool is his raw power, but even that is mitigated somewhat by a swing that currently lacks the proper loft needed to consistently drive balls up and out.

13. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Scott Woodward

*** 2010: .343/.512/.486 – 49 BB/48 K – 210 AB – 58/66 SB
*** 2011: .368/.500/.538 – 32 BB/54 K – 182 AB – 30/34 SB

It’s very easy to envision Scott Woodward playing in the big leagues someday. He’s got an outstanding approach to hitting, a discerning batting eye, and a really good idea of his fundamental strengths and weaknesses at the plate. Woodward ably uses his plus-plus speed to leg out infield hits, turn balls driven to the gaps into triples, and steal bases at a great success rate. Home runs will likely never be a big part of his game, but his is a game based more on speed and plate discipline anyway. He could have the type of career many once projected for former Dodgers prospect Joe Thurston. Another comp that I like a lot is Phillies minor leaguer Tyson Gillies, a comparison made more interesting due to the fact both players are hearing impaired, but one not at all dependent on that fact as the basis of the comp. When I first thought of it a few weeks ago the connection didn’t even occur to me, but the two players share enough distinct offensive similarities to make it work.

14. Kent State JR 3B Travis Shaw

*** 2010: .330/.453/.622 – 49 BB/41 K – 230 AB
*** 2011: .311/.408/.570 – 39 BB/36 K – 228 AB

Lacking lateral quickness and agility, Shaw’s future at third base is a major question as he enters pro ball. If he can stay at third base — good pre-pitch positioning and quicker than you’d expect reactions give him his best shot — then his big power, great approach, and strong track record with wood would make him a fast riser on draft boards. Most of the industry leaders are already moving him off of third, however, so perhaps I’m being unrealistic in thinking he could someday grow into an average-ish fielder there. Probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: if he is a first baseman at the next level, his value takes a big hit.

15. Texas A&M JR 3B Adam Smith

*** 2010: .263/.357/.495 – 20 BB/53 K – 194 AB
*** 2011: .225/.294/.387 – 12 BB/50 K – 142 AB

At some point, he has to do it on the field, right? Adam Smith is such a force of nature from a tools standpoint that you have to believe someday he’ll put it all together and show why so many have touted his ability for so long. He has the plus arm and plus defensive tools you’d expect from a former pitcher/shortstop, and his pro frame (6-3, 200) generates plenty of raw power on its own. What he doesn’t have is a good idea of the strike zone or a consistent at bat to at bat swing that can help him put said raw power to use. I’d love for my favorite team to take a chance on him after round ten (tools!), but probably couldn’t justify popping him much sooner than that (production…). One thing that would make gambling on Smith the third baseman a little less risky: if he doesn’t work out as a hitter, his plus arm could be put to good use back on the mound.

16. Mercer JR 3B Jacob Tanis

*** 2010: .354/.417/.668 – 21 BB/51 K – 268 AB
*** 2011: .321/.422/.565 – 35 BB/30 K – 237 AB

Tanis is an under the radar prospect who is capable of doing some good things at the next level if given the chance. His defense is good at third, his bat speed is more than adequate, and his athleticism gives him a chance to play a couple different positions in the field going forward.

17. Oklahoma JR 3B Garrett Buechele

*** 2010: .376/.460/.653 – 21 BB/41 K – 242 AB
*** 2011: .293/.354/.423 – 13 BB/31 K – 239 AB

Here’s what I wrote about Buechele last year at this time: “And so begins a stretch of players with starting caliber upside, but high bust potential. Buechele has one of the stronger pure hit tools of this college third base class, and his quickly emerging power make him one to watch. His defense is plenty good enough to stick at third, so the only thing that realistically stands in the way of Buechele succeeding professionally (you know, besides all of the other things that can get in the way for any player drafted) will be high strikeout totals. He’s not as talented as Zack Cox, so don’t take this as a direct comparison, but it seems that Buechele would be best served returning to school to work on honing his pitch recognition skills like the top player on this list managed to do in his sophomore season.”

I’d say most of that holds up today. His defense at third remains fine, but new questions about his power — was the emergence last year real or more of a juiced bat phenomenon? — keep his draft stock from being any higher. Others seem to like him a lot more than I do, for what it’s worth.

18. Texas-Pan American JR 3B Vincent Mejia

*** 2010: .385/.484/.582 – 41 BB/24 K – 208 AB
*** 2011: .337/.455/.479 – 38 BB/36 K – 190 AB

Mejia doesn’t get a lot of nationally recognized prospect love, but I think the guy can play at the next level. He doesn’t have a clear plus tool and may not have the range to play third base, but his approach is sound and his present power is intriguing. I’ve heard from one source that he is a sure fire senior sign candidate in 2012 (i.e. don’t hold your breath waiting for him to get drafted this year). I wonder if a pro team might look to him as a potential catcher, assuming they believe his arm will play behind the plate.

19. Oklahoma State JR 3B Mark Ginther

*** 2010: .311/.364/.547 – 18 BB/38 K – 225 AB
*** 2011: .306/.351/.541 – 16 BB/31 K – 229 AB

I came into the year thinking Ginther was a better player than he has shown, and I still feel that way after another good but not great college season. His athleticism is up there with any college third baseman in the class and his arm strength is an asset defensively, but his hit tool hasn’t shown much progress in his three years with the Cowboys. Ginther certainly looks the part of a potential big league third baseman with three well above-average tools (defense, arm, power) and special athleticism, but it’ll take much more contact and a less loopy swing if he wants to make it as a regular.

20. Tennessee SR 3B Matt Duffy

*** 2010: .304/.385/.444 – 20 BB/36 K – 207 AB
*** 2011: .302/.423/.481 – 29 BB/25 K – 189 AB

Duffy was a deep sleeper top five rounds candidate of mine heading into the 2010 season, so you know I’ve been irrationally high on his talent for a long time now. The Vermont transfer and current Tennesee standout has all of the defensive tools to play a decent shortstop professionally, but profiles better as a potential plus defender at the hot corner. For Duffy, a Jack Hannahan (with more raw power) or Andy LaRoche (with less raw power) type of career is possible.

21. UC Irvine SR 3B Brian Hernandez

*** 2010: .356/.421/.513 – 21 BB/26 K – 236 AB
*** 2011:  .358/.416/.419 – 19 BB/26 K – 229 AB

Last year I wrote: “he’s your typical ‘whole is greater than the sum of his parts’ kind of prospect, with the upside of a big league bench bat if everything breaks right.” I stand by that today (some pop, some speed, some plate discipline), with one additional comment I’ll present straight from my notes: “PLUS fielder.” All caps means you know I’m serious. Hernandez can really pick it at third.

22. Stetson JR 3B Ben Carhart

*** 2011: .349/.395/.500 – 17 BB/17 K – 232 AB

I liked Carhart more on the mound heading into the year, but now think his plus arm, gap power, and improved approach at the plate could play at third.

23. Penn State JR 3B Jordan Steranka

*** 2010: .309/.352/.483 – 10 BB/45 K – 236 AB
*** 2011: .327/.395/.548 – 25 BB/34 K – 217 AB

Steranka gives just about what you’d expect from a player this far down the ranking: a strong arm and some power upside. He also has the advantage of being a steady glove at third, though there are some rumblings that he could be tried behind the plate as a pro.

24. Louisiana Tech JR 3B Matt Threlkeld

*** 2010: .322/.382/.540 – 22 BB/44 K – 239 AB
*** 2011: .287/.383/.478 – 31 BB/46 K – 230 AB

Threlkeld gives just about what you’d expect from a player this far down the ranking: huge raw power and a strong arm. The reason Steranka gets the one spot edge over him is because of Threlkeld’s questionable defensive ability.

25. College of Charleston JR 3B Matt Leeds

*** 2010: .335/.442/.715 – 30 BB/46 K – 241 AB
*** 2011: .353/.454/.681 – 39 BB/60 K – 232 AB

Leeds has big power and a strong track record of showing it, but his average on his best day defense and just good enough arm temper some of the enthusiasm that he’ll play third base regularly as a pro. If his knees check out, he could have a future as a bat-first four corners backup.

26. Southern Mississippi JR 3B Ashley Graeter

*** 2011: .325/.393/.453 – 14 BB/22 K – 117 AB

27. Winthrop JR 3B Chas Crane

*** 2010: .356/.452/.673 – 39 BB/53 K – 208 AB
*** 2011: .280/.415/.338 – 45 BB/46 K – 207 AB

28. Texas A&M JR 3B Matt Juengel

*** 2010: .359/.424/.629 – 13 BB/30 K – 167 AB
*** 2011: .295/.376/.446 – 19 BB/34 K – 224 AB

29. Baylor SO 3B Cal Towey

*** 2010: .305/.434/.505 – 21 BB/31 K – 105 AB
*** 2011: .250/.424/.422 – 29 BB/43 K – 116 AB

30. Oklahoma City SR 3B Kirk Walker

2011 MLB Draft Middle Infield Rankings Resource Page

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Second Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Second Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Shortstop Rankings

…and for a combined top fifty list of all 2011 draft-eligible middle infield prospects, observe and discuss below…

1. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)

2. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)

3. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong

4. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael

5. 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)

6. 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)

7. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)

8. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

9. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)

10. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

11. 2B Trent Gilbert (Torrance HS, California)

12. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)

13. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

14. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

15. Indian River State College SO 2B Corey Spangenberg

16. St. John’s JR 2B Joe Panik

17. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright

18. 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)

19. 2B Christian Lopes (Edison HS, California)

20. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)

21. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy La Stella

22. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson

23. 2B Dante Flores (St. John Bosco HS, California)

24. 2B TJ Costen (First Colonial HS, Virginia)

25. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

26. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee

27. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)

28. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)

29. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

30. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)

31. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)

32. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)

33. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

34. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

35. 2B Kevin Kramer (Turlock HS, California)

36. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton

37. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini

38. 2B Vicente Conde (Orangewood Christian Academy, Florida)

39. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)

40. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

41. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

42. North Carolina A&T JR 2B Marquis Riley

43. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Joe Terry

44. SS Tommy Williams (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida)

45. Missouri State JR 2B Kevin Medrano

46. SS Jack Lopez (Deltona HS, Florida)

47. Tennessee JR 2B Khayyan Norfork

48. 2B Mason Snyder (Marquette HS, Illinois)

49. SS Zac LaNeve (Pine Richland HS, Pennsylvania)

50. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson

2011 MLB Draft Shortstop Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top twenty-five college and top fifteen high school 2011 shortstop prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Shortstop Rankings

…and for a combined top twenty-five list of all 2011 draft-eligible shortstop prospects, hang on tight and go for a ride with me below…

1. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)

2. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)

3. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)

4. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

5. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)

6. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

7. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)

8. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

9. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

10. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)

11. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

12. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)

13. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)

14. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

15. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)

16. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)

17. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)

18. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

19. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

20. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)

21. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

22. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

23. SS Tommy Williams (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida)

24. SS Jack Lopez (Deltona HS, Florida)

25. SS Zac LaNeve (Pine Richland HS, Pennsylvania)

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Shortstop Rankings

1. SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)

So much has already been written about Lindor that I think I’ll cut right to the chase and explain what excites me about him and what worries me about him. First, and most obvious, is the glove. There are many factors that lead to attrition when it comes to amateur shortstops hoping to stick at the position professionally, but Lindor is as safe a bet as any prep player to stay at short that I can remember. He has the range, the hands, the instincts, the athleticism, and the arm to not only stick up to middle, but to excel there. With that out of the way, we can focus on his bat. At the plate, Lindor has one big thing going for him: his age. At only 17 years of age, Lindor is one of the 2011 draft’s youngest prospects. For a guy with as many questions with the bat as Lindor has, it is a very good thing that he has time on his side. His swing really works from the right side, generating surprisingly easy pull power. From the left side, there is much work to be done. There is something about his lefty stroke that seems to limit his power (can’t put my finger on what exactly), but you have to imagine good coaching and hard work give that a solid chance to improve. The iffy swing is mitigated some by his impressive bat speed, but it is still a worry. On balance, however, I have to say I do like his raw power upside as much as any of his offensive tools (hit tool is average for me and I don’t think he’ll be a big basestealing threat as a pro) and can envision a future where he hits upwards of fifteen homers annually. This may be an example of me forcing a comp when there really isn’t one there, but I’ve come around to the idea that Lindor shares many similarities to current Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (Lindor’s power advantage and Andrus’ plus speed make this one a stretch, but I could see vaguely similar batting lines despite the differences). Rather than a ceiling comp, however, I’d say that Andrus qualifies as Lindor’s big league floor. If we’re talking upside, Lindor compares favorably with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

2. SS Trevor Story (Irving HS, Texas)

Trevor Story is about 90% of Francisco Lindor with only about 10% of the hype. His biggest tool is the draft’s best infield arm, a literal rocket launcher (note: arm may not be literally a rocket launcher) affixed to his upper body capable of producing consistent mid-90s heat. His range at short is more good than great, but his crazy arm strength actually helps in this regard as it enables him to play back far enough in the hole. Unlike Lindor, I think more of his hit tool than his raw power – his swing is at its best when geared towards making solid contact, and he actually hurts himself when he overswings to create more power.

3. SS Tyler Greene (West Boca Raton HS, Florida)

Greene has two clear plus tools — raw power and speed — and the defensive tools to stay up the middle. His unusually quick hands at the plate allow him to hit to all fields, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword – those same quick hands seem to have given him the belief that he can hit anything throw within six inches of the plate, a good plan if you are Vlad Guerrero but maybe not the best plan of attack for a young hitter. A little more plate discipline and some polish in the field would go a long way in making the elite shortstop prospect his other tools dictate.

4. SS Brandon Martin (Santiago HS, California)

What stands out to me about Martin’s game is his approach to hitting. His speed is good, his arm is good, and the likelihood he sticks at shortstop is, well, good, but it is his potential plus hit tool and professional approach at the plate that separates him from the pack. Regular readers of the site probably realize that certain hitting-related buzzwords — approach, patience, maturity — get my attention more than others — aggressive being the first that comes to mind — and many of my favorites just so happen to be words that scouts often use to describe Martin.

5. SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia):

There are about a dozen prep shortstops who can realistically lay claim to “potential big league shortstop,” a statement that is more about their defensive futures than any kind of upside at the plate. When projecting shortstops long-term, defense is king. If there is one thing we are sure Gaines can do, it’s defense. How the bat develops is a whole other story, but his range and hands at short are so good that his hit tool is almost an afterthought. Almost.

6. SS Connor Barron (Sumrall HS, Mississippi)

It is easy to see why Barron has been on of the draft’s fastest risers this spring. He has great speed, a strong arm, and a big league frame that makes projecting his bat a easy relative to many of his draft class peers. The Reid Brignac comps are popular, and with good reason.

7. SS Drake Roberts (Brenham HS, Texas)

My thought on Roberts at the onset of the season was that he was probably good enough to stick at shortstop as a professional, but not a candidate to ever win himself a Gold Glove along the way. Things have since changed. Now I’m not necessarily ready to predict that he’ll win any hardware down the line, but, man, has his defense progressed nicely since last summer. We’re talking excellent hands, smooth actions, good first step quickness, above-average range to his left, and an average arm that plays up because of its accuracy.

8. SS Mikal Hill (Mallard Creek HS, North Carolina)

Heard a Delino DeShields comp on Hill that I find pretty interesting, but I like to compare his upside to early career (i.e. pre-power spike) Chuck Knoblauch. His plus range and plus-plus speed ensure he’ll be able to contribute even if the bat doesn’t come around. That’s not to say that his tools at the plate are bad – he has a long history of hitting high velocity pitching and a hit tool that grades out as average down the line. I am less sure of his ultimate ceiling with the bat (mainly the power…again, I don’t expect him, or almost any amateur middle infielder, to ever be a power hitter, but showing even the threat of a little bit of pop as opposed to no pop goes a long way because of how professional pitchers attack certain types of hitters) when compared to fellow defense first prospects Julius Gaines and Drake Roberts, thus explaining his spot below each guy on this list.

9. SS Chris Mariscal (Clovis North HS, California)

Broken record alert: Mariscal has really good defensive tools at short, a plus arm, above-average speed, a solid hit tool, and not a whole lot of power. In other words, he is pretty much exactly what you’d expect out of a non-first round high school shortstop prospect. Sorting out these players is something I do for fun here in this low-stakes couple thousands hits a day website; I can’t imagine how difficult it is to do it with literally millions of dollars of future player value at stake.

10. SS Nico Slater (Jupiter HS, Florida)

Slater is another quick rising prospect who showed a much improved bat in the latter half of the spring. If that progress is real, then his newfound combination of that average or better hit tool and his already good enough to stick up the middle defense (and plus arm strength) make him a viable option for a team looking for a long-term starting option once the elite talents are off the board.

11. SS Mitchell Walding (St. Mary’s HS, California)

Tools, tools, tools. Based solely on his intriguing blend of future power, arm strength, and defensive upside, Walding could be ranked just outside the top five on this list. As it stands, however, he falls a bit later because the gap between what he currently is and what he could be some day is substantial. The power upside is dependent on his pro frame (6-4, 185) filling out and his swing getting tweaked, the arm strength upside will rely on his weird arm action being adjusted, and the defensive upside will only be reached after thousands of groundballs off the fungo. If nothing else, I appreciate his high boom/high bust style of prospectdom, a fun departure from the series of “yes glove, maybe bat, no power” players that often make up the second wave of prep shortstop prospects. As an added bonus, if it all works out, he has the bat and power potential to start in the big leagues even if he has to move off short.

12. SS Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS, Nevada)

My first draft originally had Harrison with the second base prospects, but a quick word from a smart guy suggested I was underselling his defensive upside. I believe a sampling of that quick word included the phrase “unbelievably light on his feet, like he is fielding on a cloud” or something weirdly poetic like that. There isn’t a whole lot there with the bat just yet, but after being told he had a “criminally underrated pure hit tool” I reconsidered and relented. Still not sold on the power ever coming around, but if he can combine an above-average hit tool with solid defense and a good arm, then we’ve got ourselves a nice looking prospect. There is an outside shot Harrison could go undrafted if teams are as convinced as my smart guy seems to be about his commitment to Hawaii.

13. SS Tommy Williams (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida): quick bat; legit shortstop; strong arm

Williams has a quick bat, strong arm, and, most importantly, a very good chance to stay at shortstop now and forever. He gets a little lost in the shuffle in what is a very good year for Florida high school middle infielders, but he’s a good one.

14. SS Jack Lopez (Deltona HS, Florida)

Plus defensive tools will keep Lopez at short until the day he retires from the game to go sell life insurance (or whatever it is ex-ballplayers do these days).

15. SS Zac LaNeve (Pine Richland HS, Pennsylvania)

Pretty sure I have not correctly spelled the first name of a prospect who goes by Zack/Zach/Zac on my first try in the three years this site has been alive and breathing. I’m hoping I nailed it here with Zac, but my confidence level isn’t as high as it should be. My confidence in LaNeve as a solid mid-round sleeper option, however, is right on target. His tools won’t jump at you, but he can field the position and run a little bit. At this point on the list, those things are big.

2011 MLB Draft Second Base Rankings Resource Page

For more on the top twenty-six college and top thirteen high school 2011 second base prospects…

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Second Base Rankings

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Second Base Rankings

…and for a combined top twenty-five list of all 2011 draft-eligible second base prospects, peep the list below…

1. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong

2. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael

3. 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)

4. 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)

5. 2B Trent Gilbert (Torrance HS, California)

6. Indian River State College SO 2B Corey Spangenberg

7. St. John’s JR 2B Joe Panik

8. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright

9. 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)

10. 2B Christian Lopes (Edison HS, California)

11. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy La Stella

12. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson

13. 2B Dante Flores (St. John Bosco HS, California)

14. 2B TJ Costen (First Colonial HS, Virginia)

15. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee

16. 2B Kevin Kramer (Turlock HS, California)

17. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton

18. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini

19. 2B Vicente Conde (Orangewood Christian Academy, Florida)

20. North Carolina A&T JR 2B Marquis Riley

21. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Joe Terry

22. Missouri State JR 2B Kevin Medrano

23. Tennessee JR 2B Khayyan Norfork

24. 2B Mason Snyder (Marquette HS, Illinois)

25. Western Carolina JR 2B Ross Heffley

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Second Base Rankings

1. Hawaii JR 2B Kolten Wong

*** 2010: .438/.507/.647 – 37 BB/19 K – 249 AB – 20/27 SB
*** 2011: .432/.548/.630 – 40 BB/19 K – 192 AB – 22/28 SB

Have to love the consistency shown by Wong from his sophomore year to his junior year, don’t you? Those are some freakishly similar numbers. Wong has above-average or better future grades with three tools (bat, arm, glove) and enough power to the gaps and speed on the bases to keep both pitchers and catchers honest. I’ve gone back and forth deciding whether or not I like him or Levi Michael better, but ultimately think Wong’s higher floor gives him a teeny tiny advantage. I try not to force comps, but something about Kolten Wong’s overall body of work, statistical profile, and scouting outlook remind me of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. I’ve heard the Brandon Phillips and Brian Roberts comps, but I keep coming back to Ruiz. I realize that Wong hits lefthanded and has significantly more speed, but I could see him putting up a few 2010 Carlos Ruiz seasons (.302/.400/.447) at his peak.

2. North Carolina JR 2B Levi Michael

*** 2010: .374/.509/.621 – 48 BB/24 K – 214 AB
*** 2011: .321/.475/.480 – 48 BB/30 K – 196 AB – 15/16 SB

I’ve mentioned it before, but it is so incredible to me that it bears repeating: Levi Michael graduated high school early to enroll at UNC mid-year, and then went on to tear it up as a freshman playing as a starter in the ACC. Occasionally we’ll see pitchers do this, and last year we had the whole Bryce Harper skipping his senior year to go destroy wood ball junior college ball thing, but it is still pretty rare to see a hitter do what Michael did in the manner he did (repeat: he smashed the ball all over the place back in 2009 as an 18-year-old) that it is worth pointing out over and over again. Michael has plenty of bat speed, double-digit homer upside, and the footwork and instincts to potentially stick at his junior season college position of shortstop.

3. Indian River State College SO 2B Corey Spangenberg

*** 2010: .345/.391/.553 – 14 BB/46 K – 235 AB – 24/29 SB (at VMI)
*** 2011: .477/.553/.659 – 29 BB – 176 AB – 33/37 SB

If you’re one of the die-hards who have been tracking the 2011 draft for the past few years and not the past few days (not that there is anything wrong with that…), it should come as no shock that I find the rise of Corey Spangenberg from Indian River (Florida) to be one of the most interesting potential draft day subplots. In his most recent mock draft, Jim Callis mentioned Spangenberg as a possibility for San Diego at pick number ten, Florida at fourteen, Oakland at eighteen, and Cincinnati at twenty-seven. Not bad for a player I compared to former Miami 2B Scott Lawson, now a member of the Tampa Bay organization after getting selected in the 29th round last year. Spangenberg was ranked 30th on my preseason listing of college second basemen. So, a comparison to a guy taken in the 29th round last year and a preseason ranking behind a pair of potentially undrafted infielders like Matt Puhl and Ryan Holland for a guy now expected my the leading draft expert to go 14th overall to the Marlins. Whoops.

To be fair, even with the benefit of hindsight, I feel pretty good about at least tacking Spangenberg on to the end of my preseason list of draft-eligible 2B prospects, and am now quite pleased to see the way his draft stock has skyrocketed this spring. I would have guessed his good, but not great overall tool set — his only plus tool is his bat, though I acknowledge that’s the plus tool you want if you’re only blessed with one — would have him off to Miami in time for the 2012 season. So, in a way I was right all along…I just thought Spangenberg would wind up with the Hurricanes, not the Marlins. Others like his speed more than I do, but I’m higher on his defensive upside at second base than most. The total package is made up of average to slightly above-average speed, good base running instincts, gap power, an aggressive approach that he has worked hard to improve, and, as mentioned, a true plus hit tool with the added bonus of having a strong track record with wood bats. Haven’t heard this comp yet, but it just makes too much sense to me right now and I can’t get it out of my head: Corey Spangenberg is the next generation Lonnie Chisenhall.

4. St. John’s JR 2B Joe Panik

*** 2010: .339/.448/.564 – 38 BB/17 K – 227 AB – 6/9 SB
*** 2011: .380/.492/.610 – 38 BB/19 K – 200 AB – 17/21 SB

I do my best not to let a quick look influence my opinion on a player too much, partly because I know I’m just an amateur when it comes to “scouting” players and partly because I trust the second-hand notes and observations that paint a much richer picture of what a player can and can’t do (i.e. data spanning multiple years) over what I may or may not see in one game, three games, or ten games. Without getting anybody I trust to definitively tell me, “yes, Panik is a shortstop in pro ball” and based on a couple firsthand views over the years, I made the decision to slide Panik over to the 2B rankings. With that out of the way, we can see he’s a pretty interesting 2B prospect. Many of my defensive misgivings — iffy first step quickness, good but not great arm, questionable range to his left — go by the wayside if he is moved to second. Looking at his defensive tools through this different light, we see now that his defensive actions are mostly good (hands work, quick transfer, decent “catch up” burst), his arm is plenty strong, and he won’t be asked to cover quite as much ground. The bat is obviously a strength – average or slightly above-average hit tool, arguably the most raw power in the college second base class, and above-average speed (helped by good base running instincts). The total package leaves you with a legit five-tool player, and a player with a chance to contribute, though maybe not excel, in all phases of the game.

5. Louisville JR 2B Ryan Wright

*** 2010: .370/.418/.642 – 21 BB/25 K – 254 AB – 10/11 SB
*** 2011: .338/.426/.583 – 32 BB/30 K – 216 AB – 16/18 SB

Wright’s case is a unique one because, even though his numbers dipped slightly from 2010 to 2011, his stock improved. The smarter people I talked to all came away more impressed with his 2011 approach to the new bats than they were with his “sell out for power” approach with the old aluminum. That sounds like a good sign as he makes the transition to wood. I mentioned Joe Panik, Wright’s Big East buddy, as having arguably the most raw power for a college second baseman, but you could probably flip a coin and be happy with either him or Wright at the top of that list. The difference there is that Panik has tapped into his power and shown pretty much all he can do in that area of his game; Wright, on the other hand, still has just enough untapped raw power that I sometimes wonder if the right organization could help him unlock the key (I use that phrase a lot — “unlock the key” — even though it makes no sense and isn’t listed as a real idiom anywhere. Sounds cool to me, though…) to a 20 homer season down the road. Even if his present gap power is all that we see at the next level, Wright’s solid glove, average foot speed, and promising hit tool will keep getting him chances.

6. Coastal Carolina JR 2B Tommy La Stella

*** 2010: .388/.471/.659 – 34 BB/14 K – 246 AB – 6/6 SB
*** 2011: .417/.496/.686 – 28 BB/16 K – 204 AB – 7/11 SB

The number one knock I heard on La Stella heading into the season was his tendency to get too anxious at the plate and swing at pitcher’s pitches too often. This clearly wasn’t reflected in the numbers — notice the awesome batting averages and BB/K ratios — but it was a concern from smart people who had seen him often. When I receive scouting tips that contradict what the numbers reflect, I get dizzy. Trust the reports from people who are paid to this, banking on the idea that sometimes a scouting observation shows up before a dip in on-field production? Or acknowledge that sometimes even the best see things that sometimes aren’t really there? In La Stella’s case, I’m inclined to go with the latter. La Stella’s pure hit tool is on par with darn near any college prospect in this year’s draft.

7. McNeese State JR 2B Jace Peterson

*** 2010: 345/448/478 – 41 BB/35 K – 232 AB – 35/38 SB
*** 2011: .335/.451/.473 – 44 BB/27 K – 224 AB – 31/41 SB

Funny anecdote on Peterson, courtesy of two of my better sources in the game. The first guy texted me during warmups of a McNeese State game to say something along the lines of, “No clue if he can play, but, wow, what an athlete!” I heard from the second guy later in the season when he said something like, “Here’s a grinder with a great feel for hitting.” The former football star’s athletic ability can’t be questioned and his speed is potentially a game changing tool. The current baseball star has shown a better than expected approach, greatly improved hands at the plate, and enough pop to garner early round consideration.

8. Arizona State JR 2B Zack MacPhee

*** 2010: .380/.483/.647 – 42 BB/36 K – 221 AB – 20/24 SB
*** 2011: .263/.410/.340 – 44 BB/18 K – 194 AB – 22/29 SB

This isn’t quite Jett Bandy bad — notice the still strong BB/K numbers — but the degradation of MacPhee’s once promising prospect stock is still disappointing to see. On the bright side, he still has near plus speed, impressive bat speed, and excellent defensive tools up the middle. I’d love to know whether or not his batting average collapse had something to do with a BABIP-fueled string of bad luck or if he just isn’t making the kind of hard contact he did in 2010. Reports on him struggling to square up on balls this spring have me afraid it is the latter, but that great 2010 season should be enough to have a handful of teams buying into him as a potential utility player.

9. Florida International JR 2B Jeremy Patton

*** 2010: 364/455/567 – 36 BB/23 K – 231 AB – 8/10 SB
*** 2011: .357/.462/.502 – 39 BB/22 K – 213 AB – 6/7 SB

Patton can really, really hit. I don’t know if his other tools will play at the next level, but when judged solely as a hitter it is easy to see him going far. An argument can be made for a couple different offense-first second base prospects ranked below him here, but I like his hit tool as much as I like any one player’s hit tool that comes next.

10. Siena JR 2B Dan Paolini

*** 2010: .373/.441/.821 – 21 BB/28 K – 212 AB – 12/15 SB
*** 2011: .362/.451/.694 – 29 BB/35 K – 196 AB – 13/15 SB

Paolini has more present power than any college middle infielder. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not his long swing will lead to enough hits to make that power useful at the next level. If he doesn’t hit, he’s in trouble – only his power rates as above-average at this point, with the potential for an average hit tool down the road his only other tool of note. There’s a little sleeper Dan Uggla upside here, if everything breaks right. Of course, think about the original Uggla before getting too excited – how many things had to break exactly right for him to become the Dan Uggla we know and love (even as a long-time fan of a rival division team I have to admit his uppercut corkscrew swing is fun to watch) today? Paolini will probably start out around the same place as Uggla, a former 11th round pick.

11. North Carolina A&T JR 2B Marquis Riley

*** 2010: .335/.412/.495 – 22 BB/5 K – 212 AB – 10/12 SB
*** 2011: .324/.405/.493 – 29 BB/4 K – 207 AB – 13/15 SB

For a plate discipline junkie like me, that 29 BB/4 K ratio is a thing of beauty. Reports on his defense are all over the place — “above-average,” “passable,” “erratic” — and there is a ton of upside at the plate, but the combination of that plate discipline and just enough pop to keep the bat from being knocked out of his hands gives me hope.

12. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Joe Terry

*** 2011: .260/.309/.384 – 4 BB/13 K – 73 AB – 5/8 SB

The much-hyped (by me) hitting machine who last year made hard contact in just about every at bat failed to live up to his Bill Hall (my comp for him last year) billing in 2011. I still like the rest of his skills — good enough speed, loads of arm strength, unconventional fielding motions but underrated at second — and I’m willing to bet that bat wakes up next year. Whether the bat rises and shines in pro ball or back at Fullerton for a senior season remains to be seen.

13. Missouri State JR 2B Kevin Medrano

*** 2010: .443/.512/.614 – 31 BB/24 K – 210 AB – 17/19 SB
*** 2011: .332/.383/.379 – 19 BB/14 K – 190 AB – 13/14 SB

Medrano’s beastly 2010 season was a year to be celebrated, but it seems his 2011 performance is much more in line with the kind of player he is and will be going forward. You might not know it from the numbers above, but his best singular tool is his plus speed. He’s also a steady defender at second with good range, though a below-average throwing arm (50/50 shot on whether it will hang on the left side of the infield) limits his upside as a utility infielder. There isn’t a whole lot of power here — note his 2011 slugging percentage — but that isn’t his game anyway. Medrano is a gifted natural hitter with plus bat speed who does a great job of getting the barrel of the bat on the ball with consistency. His lack of arm strength may be his professional undoing, but his bat and speed will at least give him a chance initially.

14. Tennessee JR 2B Khayyan Norfork: plus speed; 5-10, 170;

*** 2010: .267/.392/.367 – 32 BB/35 K – 180 AB – 15/18 SB
*** 2011: .317/.420/.463 – 29 BB/34 K – 205 AB – 30/34 SB

I wanted so badly to include Norfork on my preseason list, but chickened out at the last minute for reasons still unknown to me. He’s got the prerequisite leadoff man skill set — plus speed, great jumps from first, good bunting skills, some patience, some hit tool — and the defensive versatility to play around the infield. I don’t think he has the bat to ever log consistent starter’s at bats, but unlike a few of the guys chained to 2B now and forever, Norfork should be able to move around the infield in a backup’s role with success.

15. Western Carolina JR 2B Ross Heffley

*** 2010: .345/.405/.429 – 22 BB/30 K – 238 AB – 2/3 SB
*** 2011: .398/.468/.621 – 29 BB/19 K – 211 AB – 3/5 SB

My notes on Heffley always come back to two simple words: good hitter. Ask anybody about Heffley and those will be the first two words out of their mouths. His other tools may not compare to the bat, and there are some unanswered questions about his ability to play anywhere but second base, but many think he’ll continue to be a good hitter, at least through the low minors.

16. Bowling Green JR 2B Jon Berti

*** 2010: .391/.453/.541 – 15 BB/33 K – 220 AB – 29/35 SB
*** 2011: .320/.419/.459 – 22 BB/24 K – 172 AB – 18/23 SB

Berti may not have the bat to prosper as a pro, but his speed, range, arm, and pop all rate as average or better (especially his speed) tools.

17. JR 2B Jon Schwind (Marist): good arm; good defender; above-average speed; some pop; versatile defender

*** 2010: .369/.442/.535 – 16 BB/23 K – 217 AB – 10/11 SB
*** 2011: .322/.422/.505 – 27 BB/24 K – 202 AB – 4/6 SB

Schwind profiles very similarly to Jon Berti, in that both players have underrated tools (above-average speed, some pop, good arm and defense) that are only mitigated by a bat that lacks projection. Schwind’s defensive versatility will help.

18. Auburn SR 2B Dan Gamache

*** 2010: .381/.461/.619 – 26 BB/31 K – 189 AB – 7/9 SB
*** 2011:.314/.432/.485 – 32 BB/31 K – 194 AB – 2/2 SB

The Auburn third baseman works best as a 2B in pro ball where his athleticism could shine. I’m a big fan of his swing and power upside.

19. Florida SR 2B Josh Adams

*** 2010: .239/.333/.416 – 31 BB/47 K – 226 AB – 5/8 SB
*** 2011: .365/.407/.505 – 16 BB/25 K – 200 AB – 1/4 SB

Adams is a long time personal who struggled as one of the veteran anchors of a young Gators lineup last year, but has rebounded a bit in 2011. His scouting reports remain largely favorable, despite his inconsistent performances. Adams will be helped by his positional versatility as he tries to make it in the pros as a utility guy.

20. Cal Poly JR 2B Matt Jensen

*** 2010: .277/.382/.460 – 23 BB/23 K – 137 AB – 3/3 SB
*** 2011: .189/.297/.211 – 13 BB/16 K – 95 AB – 1/2 SB

I really wish I could explain what happened to Jensen this year, but I’ve got nothing. Still really like his bat speed and power upside, and he has apparently made strides as a defender. A big senior season, either back at second or on the mound, could get him drafted in the top ten rounds like his talent probably warrants.

That’s the top twenty, but we’ll add six more for good measure. No commentary on these prospects for now, but I’m happy to add some on request.

21. Michigan State SO 2B Ryan Jones

*** 2010: 283/367/504 – 26 BB/41 K – 226 AB – 19/20 SB
*** 2011: .350/.451/.458 – 32 BB/12 K – 203 AB – 11/19 SB

22. Florida State JR 2B Sherman Johnson

*** 2010: .349/.463/.550 – 47 BB/35 K – 238 AB – 7/10 SB
*** 2011: .271/.429/.369 – 54 BB/42 K – 203 AB – 10/12 SB

23. Florida International JR 2B Garrett Wittels

*** 2010: .413/.465/.541 – 23 BB/18 K – 242 AB – 4/5 SB
*** 2011: .347/.400/.440 – 15 BB/24 K – 225 AB – 11/15 SB

24. Fresno State SR 2B Danny Muno

*** 2010: .329/.444/.500 – 48 BB/33 K – 246 AB – 10/13 SB
*** 2011: .339/.472/.462 – 43 BB/25 K – 186 AB – 12/18 SB

24. UT-San Antonio SR 2B Ryan Hutson

*** 2010: .337/.428/.609 – 24 BB/45 K – 3/5 SB – 184 AB
*** 2011: .316/.404/.572 – 22 BB/25 K – 152 AB – 4/7 SB

26. Virginia JR 2B Keith Werman

*** 2010: .436/.509/.523 – 19 BB/8 K – 149 AB – 11/16 SB
*** 2011: .233/.365/.258 – 25 BB/20 K – 163 AB – 5/8 SB

Final 2011 MLB Draft High School Second Base Rankings

1. 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)

It isn’t easy finding high school middle infielders who project to second baseman in the pros who are also worthy of first round consideration, but this year’s class has a couple players that fit the bill. With three plus future tools (defense, arm, raw power), Phillip Evans is one of those guys. In addition to those three projected plus tools, Evans can also run and hit a bit. His speed is average at best, but great instincts and exceptional first step quickness help him both in the field and on the bases. I love his approach at the plate, especially with two strikes. I also love his ability to hit for power to all fields. If you’re counting at home, that’s now five tools that Evans possesses with the potential to be around average (speed), above-average (bat), and plus (defense, arm, power).

The advantage that Evans holds over Johnny Eierman, a similarly talented prospect in many ways and the prospect ranked just below him on this very list, is in present defensive value. Evans is already an outstanding middle infielder while Eierman merely looks the part. Eierman’s edge over Evans is probably in present power. It is expected that both players should close the respective gaps — i.e. Eierman turning his intriguing defensive tools into more useful skills, and Evans learning to more consistently give his line drive approach loft to generate more in-game power — but I think Evans is the safer play to do so. Eierman may have more long range upside, but Evans has a significantly higher floor.

2. 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)

Like Phillip Evans, Johnny Eierman’s a future professional second baseman with a chance of going in the first round. Also like Evans, Eierman has plus raw power, a plus arm, and plus defensive tools. His bat speed rivals that of any player in the class, college or pro, and his athleticism makes him an option at almost any position on the field. He’s an undeniably raw prospect with a complicated swing setup in need of some good old fashioned pro coaching, but if it all clicks for him he has easy big league All-Star upside.

3. 2B Trent Gilbert (Torrance HS, California)

Gilbert swings the bat the exact way I would if a magic genie would finally grant my wish to have a picture perfect lefthanded stroke. I’m darn sure the hit tool will play at the next level, but there are some that think too much of his value is tied up in his bat. That makes some sense to me — there is some power here and a pretty strong arm, but his speed is below-average and his defense is a question mark going forward — but, boy, do I like that hit tool. Many of those defensive questions, by the way, may or may not be Gilbert’s fault. He’s currently in the tricky position of almost being too versatile defensively – I’ve heard some teams like him at 2B, some at 3B, and others still prefer him either at C or CF. Of course, I don’t mean to imply he’ll ever be a world beater at any of those spots, but the opportunity to hear a pro coach tell him, “here’s your new defensive home, practice and play here every day” ought to do him some good.

4. 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)

Carson is an easy player to write about because his strengths and weaknesses are so clearly delineated at this point. Obvious strengths include his plus-plus speed, absurd athleticism, and football star strong. His biggest weakness is most often cited as his inability to play baseball all that well, also known as a cute way of saying he is a very raw prospect with a long way to go. If those are his easily recognized pros and cons, I’d like to throw in one additional strength to his game that I feel often goes unnoticed: Shon Carson understands what kind of player he is. Sounds almost silly to say that, but Carson plays within himself in a way that is mature beyond his years. He doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, will happily take a walk when the situation calls for it (probably doesn’t hurt to know that a walk is as good as a triple with the way he steals bags), and makes every attempt to utilize his potentially game changing speed.

5. SS Christian Lopes (Edison HS, California)

Lopes is a darn fine ballplayer who has suffered from classic “been on the scouting radar too long” syndrome this season. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, as I now prefer Lopes as a prospect much more than I did a year ago at this time. He’ll give you natural middle infielder hands, a strong enough arm, and surprising punch from the right side while also clocking in as an above-average runner. He’s a little less polished than I expected, but the overall tools are exciting and it looks to me that his bat will play.

6. 2B Dante Flores (St. John Bosco HS, California)

On the offensive side of things, evaluators are typically looking for three main things: hit tool/approach, power, and speed. That’s probably a touch simplistic, but there isn’t much more to look for than that, at least from an output perspective. Will he get on base? Will he hit for power? Will he be able to cause a positive impact on the bases? Get a clear yes on one of those three, and we’re cooking. Get two of three, and watch out. When you’re lucky enough to land a hitter who can do all three, hold him close and never let him go. All that is to say that Dante Flores definitely does one of those three things well. Like many on the list ahead of him, his hit tool is far more advanced than your typical high school prospect. Let’s look at that one more time: “Like many ahead of him, he is more advanced than a typical prospect.” If we needed another data point in favor of this being a stronger than usual draft class, there it is. I’d bet three of the top five listed 2B on this list someday start in the big leagues.

Flores can definitely swing the bat, but his power upside is limited and he is an average at best runner. He’s a steady defender at second, capable of making plays on balls hit at or near him but lacking the athleticism and instincts to ever wow you at the spot. Prospects who lack positional safety nets — i.e. a spot on the diamond they can play if they can’t hack it at their original spot — make me really nervous. Flores is probably a second baseman or bust, so there is a lot riding on that hit tool.

7. 2B TJ Costen (First Colonial HS, Virginia)

This list so far has been all about the hit tool, so it is time to change things up. Costen has very good defensive tools, a strong arm, and plus speed. Potential plus defenders who can run have great value, and Costen is no exception, but the development of his bat will determine whether he’ll be viewed as a good prospect (as I view him now) or as a great one down the line.

8. 2B Kevin Kramer (Turlock HS, California)

Strength, both at the plate and jammed into his throwing arm, describes Kramer’s biggest current asset. I also like his bat a lot — feel like I’ve said that about a half dozen players already, but it’s true — and have a strong intuitive feel on him.

9. 2B Vicente Conde (Orangewood Christian Academy, Florida)

Conde’s scouting reports make it sound like he is a power hitting catcher or third baseman (strong arm, physical build, and, yes, big raw power), but here he is on our second baseman list. There is some risk with him eventually outgrowing the position, but the Vanderbilt commit (warning: tough sign!) currently has enough athleticism to play up the middle.

10. 2B Mason Snyder (Marquette HS, Illinois)

Snyder is a potential plus bat who may or may stick up the middle defensively. Recent labrum surgery will probably send him off to Louisville, where he could be the successor to the Cardinals’ slugging 2B Ryan Wright.

11. 2B Ty Washington (Plano East HS, Texas)

Washington is a very signable prospect best known for his excellent defensive tools and good speed. He had a reputation coming into the year as a guy who too often attempted to do too much at the plate, but patience has been a virtue for him so far this season.

12. 2B Connor Castellano (Evangel Christian Academy, Louisiana)

Castellano’s gap power and average speed could be of interest to a team that thinks he can handle 2B as a pro.

13. 2B Erik Forgione (WF West HS, Washington)

One of my favorite sleepers from the Pacific Northwest, Forgione is a plus runner with great range and athleticism.

Final 2011 MLB Draft College Shortstop Rankings

I haven’t offered too much commentary on the position player groups as a whole, but, man, the college shortstop group is weak this year. Miller and Ahmed are the clear top two for me, but both could be moved off the position in pro ball (Miller in CF or 2B, Ahmed in CF or 3B). I’ve liked Motter for a long time, and Brandon Loy has grown on me with every viewing, but I’d only put money on one sure fire (or as close as one can get to “sure fire” when it comes to the draft) long-term starter (Miller).

With some luck, college 2B should be up later today. After that, I’ll be working on high school middle infield prospects. Then on to 3B and OF before finally getting to the most exciting part of this year’s draft, the pitching. All that will be left after that will be a complete big board and then the excitement of draft day.

1. Clemson JR SS Brad Miller

*** 2010: .407/.510/.641 – 53 BB/37 K – 231 AB – 10/12 SB
*** 2011: .439/.546/.614 – 40 BB/28 K – 171 AB – 22/26 SB

Miller goes coast to coast as this season’s top collegiate shortstop prospect, beginning the year at the top spot and very deservedly finishing at number one as well. I’ve long held the position that the current Clemson shortstop has what it takes to stick at the position, an opinion tied far more closely to his defensive tools — most notably the speed and athleticism that give him well above-average range up the middle — than his present, sometimes erratic, ability. At the plate, he’s done everything expected of him and more. I’m admittedly more bullish on his power upside than most and can see him further tapping into said upside to the tune of 15+ homers annually. Even if the power doesn’t quite reach those levels, Miller’s consistent hard contact and good approach should help keep his batting average and on-base percentage at more than acceptable numbers for a starting middle infielder. It may be a popular comp for a lot of players, but I think a comparison between Brad Miller and former ACC star and current Oriole Brian Roberts is apt.

2. Connecticut JR SS Nick Ahmed

*** 2010: .326/.390/.404 – 29 BB/31 K – 267 AB – 34/42 SB
*** 2011: .355/.448/.487 – 22 BB/14 K – 152 AB – 20/26 SB

I try not to let a quick look at a player influence my opinion on him too much, but Nick Ahmed gave off that somewhat silly yet undeniable big league look when I see him play earlier this year. He’s got an easy plus arm, strong defensive tools and athleticism that should play at multiple spots, and enough bat speed to drive good fastballs to the gaps. My only “concern,” if you even want to call it that, is that he’ll outgrow shortstop. The reason why I’m not ready to call that a legitimate concern just yet is because, based on his current tall and lanky frame, I would hope any physical growth he experiences professionally would be accompanied by additional strength, especially in his upper body, to help his eventual power output. In other words, if he gets too big for shortstop then at least he’ll then have the chance of having the power bat needed to play elsewhere.

3. Coastal Carolina JR SS Taylor Motter

*** 2010: .355/.457/.654 – 39 BB/35 K – 214 AB – 11/15 SB
*** 2011: .281/.412/.422 – 43 BB/37 K – 192 AB – 18/20 SB

I can’t even begin to guess where Motter will actually go on draft day, but I’m willing to stick my neck out and say that whatever team winds up with him will get one of the draft’s underrated gems. Like Brandon Loy ranked just below him, Motter’s biggest strengths are his plus glove and plus throwing arm. Any above-average tool besides those two are gravy, though it certainly doesn’t hurt that Motter has an average hit tool and good speed. A couple of really nice things I heard about Motter after talking to people in the know included a description of the  “he simply does not waste at bats” and a glowing report on “his professional knowledge of the strike zone.” Motter obviously doesn’t profile as a Troy Tulowitzki type of power hitter, but with his defense, speed, and command of the strike zone, he won’t have to hit the ball out of the ballpark to someday get a chance as a starting big league shortstop.

4. Texas JR SS Brandon Loy

*** 2010: .294/.399/.383 – 36 BB/37 K – 214 AB – 12/20 SB
*** 2011: .353/.431/.471 – 28 BB/20 K – 221 AB – 12/16 SB

Loy is a standout defensive player who makes up for his average foot speed with tremendous instincts and a plus arm that helps him execute all of the necessary throws from deep in the hole at short. He’s also a great athlete with awesome hand-eye coordination; that coordination is never more apparent than when he is called on to bunt, something he already does as well as the best big leaguer. I was slow to come around to Loy as a top prospect heading into the year, but the improvements with the bat have me thinking of him in a new light. Like Taylor Motter ranked one spot above him, Loy’s awesome defense should be his ticket to the big leagues, perhaps as a Paul Janish type down the road.

5. TCU JR SS Taylor Featherston

*** 2010: .380/.454/.630 – 19 BB/36 K – 216 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .386/.456/.520 – 16 BB/28 K – 223 AB – 6/11 SB

In much the same way I now link Motter and Loy together in my head, Nick Ahmed and Taylor Featherston stick together as similar prospects in many respects. Like Ahmed, Featherston has good size, above-average athleticism, average speed, and gap power. Featherston also faces similar questions about his eventual defensive landing spot. For now, I like Featherston to stick at shortstop. The defensive strides he has made from his freshman season to today give me reason to believe he has only scratched the surface on what he can do at shortstop. He doesn’t profile as ever having an above-average glove at short as he still has the tendency to do too much in the field at times, but I’d rather see a player going all out to make plays than have a steady, error-free performer who won’t get to nearly as many balls. If his most realistic outcome is as an offensive-minded backup infielder, so bet it.

6. Minnesota JR SS AJ Pettersen

*** 2010: .324/.404/.418 – 26 BB/42 K – 256 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .377/.428/.466 – 15 BB/17 K – 191 AB – 8/13 SB

In a year when very few college shortstops performed at or near their previous level of play, Pettersen improved across the board. He also improved in the eyes of scouts, turning what was considered an average at best hit tool at the start of the year into something most consider above-average at this point. Like many on the list he could wind up either at 2B or CF in pro ball, but I haven’t seen anything in his defensive game that makes me think he can’t at least start off as a shortstop. Like most players from now to the end of the list, his most likely ceiling is that of a quality big league utility guy.

7. Wichita State JR SS Tyler Grimes

*** 2010: .269/.439/.368 – 37 BB/47 K  – 193 AB – 7/14 SB
*** 2011: .299/.462/.419 – 52 BB/59 K – 234 AB – 25/29 SB

Grimes is another beneficiary of the weak college shortstop class, and is now regarded as one of the most advanced shortstop prospects around. His on-base skills are impressive, as is his defensive skill set, but the hit tool lags behind and his long, all or nothing swing doesn’t make a lot of sense for a player with limited power. I can see the appeal, but not to the point where I’d go around claiming he’ll be a big league regular any time soon.

8. LSU JR SS Austin Nola

*** 2010: .332/.400/.471 – 30 BB/37 K – 259 AB – 1/1 SB
*** 2011: .301/.385/.418 – 29 BB/34 K – 196 AB – 4/7 SB

Nola is a very good defender with just enough bat to give his drafting team hope that he’ll someday hit his way into a starting big league job. No above-average offensive tools (bat, power, speed) make it hard for me to project him as an everyday guy down the line, so I’ll go the broken record route and say, yet again, his most likely outcome is that of a utility infielder.

9. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Kenton Parmley

*** 2010: .363/.412/.553 – 19 BB/21 K – 237 AB – 12/17 SB
*** 2011: .279/.349/.433 – 22 BB/27 K – 208 AB – 8/10 SB

There are a lot of similarities in the upside between Parmley and Austin Nola – both are very good defensive players, average runners, and slightly below-average hitters. While I prefer Nola’s hit tool by a hair, the easiest difference to spot between the two prospects comes down to arm strength; Nola has plenty for shortstop while Parmley has plenty for a right fielder.

10. Michigan SO SS Derek Dennis

*** 2010: .278/.355/.375 – 14 BB/49 K – 176 AB – 7/9 SB
*** 2011: .236/.347/.270 – 20 BB/38 K – 148 AB – 5/6 SB

The 2009 unsigned tenth rounder entered school with the expectation that he’d continue to transform himself into a five-tool shortstop — heard a Danny Espinosa comp on him at one point — capable of doing enough of everything (50s and 55s across the board) to become a good big league starter. So far, not so much. The sum of Dennis’ tools simply do not yet add up to a good ballplayer. That’s alright for now because of the two remaining years of college eligibility Dennis has ahead of him. A team might take a chance on the tools despite his subpar college production, but you’d have to imagine Dennis wouldn’t jump to the pros with his value so low. In other words, if he is offered less than what he turned down in 2009, he’s staying in Ann Arbor at least another year.

11. Texas Tech JR SS Kelby Tomlinson

*** 2011: .304/.418/.364 – 41 BB/33 K – 214 AB – 22/30 SB

Tomlinson was identified as a sleeper heading into the year and, for the most part, he did not disappoint. The book on him was that he had plus speed, a very good arm, great athleticism, and the tools to be an excellent defensive shortstop. My only concern is his lack of power going forward – not so much in that I’m worried he won’t be a power hitter as a pro (it’s pretty much a given that he won’t be), but more so that he’ll have the bat knocked out of his hands at the next level.

12. James Madison SR SS David Herbek

*** 2010: 315/425/525 – 22 BB/32 K – 181 AB – 13/16 SB
*** 2011: .338/.425/.647 – 21 BB/28 K – 201 AB – 12/16 SB

Last year I wrote: “Herbek is a certifiable draft sleeper. He currently has gap power to all fields, but his beautifully level line drive stroke (reminiscent of Bill Mueller’s righthanded swing) has me thinking there is double digit home run potential if he can add some strength in the coming years.”

I didn’t anticipate that double digit home run totals to come in just over 200 senior year at bats, but there you go. His bat ranks up there with almost any other college shortstop in his class, but the relatively low ranking can be owed to his occasionally spotty defense. As an offense-first infielder off the bench he’ll do just fine.

13. Virginia Military Institute SR SS Sam Roberts

*** 2010: .313/.426/.531 – 42 BB/36 K – 211 AB – 9/16 SB
*** 2011: .342/.441/.500 – 35 BB/29 K – 202 AB – 13/17 SB

Roberts is a do-it-all utility player for VMI that leads off, plays short, and takes the hill every weekend as a starting pitcher. As a college player, there’s little he doesn’t do well and he’s been producing at a big time clip since first stepping on campus. He’s got just enough speed and power to be interesting on offense, and plenty of arm strength to play either spot on the left side of the infield.

14. Lake Erie College JR SS Ryan Rua

*** 2011: .400/.437/.594 – 9 BB/13 K – 170 AB – 19/23 SB

Rua faces the typical level of competition questions that come with playing Division II ball at Lake Erie College, but a strong junior year may have quieted some of the doubters. Some have him ticketed for CF as a pro, but I think his strong arm and above-average range should keep him in the middle infield to start his pro career. His bat isn’t quite as strong as his numbers suggest, though he profiles as an average to slightly below-average, slash and dash hitter down the road.

15. Florida Atlantic SR SS Nick DelGuidice

*** 2010: 294/341/498 – 19 BB/31 K – 245 AB – 3/4 SB
*** 2011: .324/.352/.484 – 11 BB/15 K – 213 AB – 3/5 SB

Never been all that high on DelGuidice’s bat, but his glove continues to impress. I think the leather should be enough to get him drafted, though I’m not sure if his limited ceiling will ever get him listed on Baseball America’s organizational top 30.

16. UCLA JR SS Tyler Rahmatulla

*** 2010: .336/.447/.530 – 42 BB/36 K –  232 AB – 14/21 SB
*** 2011: .250/.354/.294 – 7 BB/15 K – 68 AB – 5/6 SB

Jett Bandy, Ricky Oropesa, Zack MacPhee, and now Tyler Rahmatulla…that’s 4/5th of our Pac-10 all down year draft-eligible prospect team. Rahmatulla has injuries to explain away some of his slippage, but any year when your slugging percentage almost drops by half from the one before it isn’t a good one. A return engagement for a senior year could help him bring his stock back up to his pre-2011 level.

17. Troy SR SS Adam Bryant

*** 2010: .364/.439/.764 – 27 BB/37 K – 250 AB – 4/4 SB
*** 2011: .332/.395/.556 – 23 BB/25 K – 250 AB – 8/11 SB

Bryant is now fully recovered from last season’s labrum surgery and it shows. His defense has always been solid, and there is a surprising amount of power in his bat. He isn’t a top level prospect by any means, but he certainly qualifies as an intriguing senior sign.

18. California JR SS Marcus Semien

*** 2010: .359/.432/.533 – 26 BB/35 K – 195 AB – 5/7 SB
*** 2011: .266/.366/.391 – 26 BB/29 K – 184 AB – 7/11 SB

Semien is considered a draft sleeper by many, but I don’t see it. He probably has the range and arm to stay at short, so that’s a plus, but without much in the way of a hit tool, power, or speed, there isn’t enough there to project him as a big leaguer at this point.

19. South Carolina JR SS Peter Mooney

*** 2011: .271/.380/.383 – 35 BB/25 K – 214 AB – 3/6 SB

Mooney plays a mean shortstop for the defending champs, at times drawing the rare and beautiful “plus-plus” distinction for his glovework. Heard an amusing — probably because I’m a Phillies fan — Freddy Galvis comp on him that got me wondering about where the many age appropriate Latin American prospects who have already been in pro ball for years would be drafted if eligible in 2011. After about 20 minutes of trying to incorporate them into some kind of Alternate Reality Mock Draft, I gave up and came back to Mooney. The Gamecocks shortstop isn’t big (5-7, 150) or toolsy (besides his defense and a strong arm), but he could make it as a defense-first eight- or nine-hole hitter somewhere, someday.

20. UC Irvine JR SS DJ Crumlich

*** 2010: 310/421/422 – 19 BB/14 K – 116 AB – 2/4 SB
*** 2011: .299/.402/.403 – 29 BB/26 K – 201 AB – 4/7 SB

Crumlich has been very consistent since enrolling at UC Irvine. That consistency has been both a blessing — who doesn’t like a steady performer? — and a curse (consistently average or worse tools won’t draw anybody but an area scout down to see you). My guess is that Crumlich gets the chance to display that consistency for one more college season.

21. Oregon JR SS KC Serna

*** 2010: .365/.437/.498 – 23 BB/22 K – 233 AB – 14/22 SB
*** 2011: .234/.347/.299 – 25 BB/28 K – 167 AB – 12/12 SB

Rahmatulla, Semien, and now Serna – three Pac-10 shortstop prospects who underperformed greatly in 2011. Serna’s struggles are more damning, for no other reason than his spotty track record of staying out of trouble away from the diamond. Scouts will overlook character concerns as best they can if you can really, really play; if you can’t, you’ll be labeled as a player that will cause more headaches than you’re worth.

22. Army SR SS Clint Moore

*** 2010: .305/.410/.550 – 20 BB/27 K – 151 AB – 4/7 SB
*** 2011: .274/.367/.571 – 22 BB/45 K – 168 AB – 4/5 SB

Moore has better than you’d think range at short and a third base caliber arm, plus above-average power for a middle infielder. Like many on the list, he profiles best as a — wait for it — offensive-oriented utility guy. Unlike many on the list, he attends a university that requires a commitment beyond just four years of service. While admirable in a way that I can’t adequately describe, it certainly complicates his situation going forward.

23. Long Beach State JR SS Kirk Singer

*** 2010: .356/.435/.541 – 18 BB/26 K – 146 AB – 5/11 SB
*** 2011: .258/.343/.323 – 20 BB/44 K – 155 AB – 3/8 SB

I want to like Kirk Singer because of that sweet, sweet Long Beach State tradition of shortstops, but can’t fully buy in to a player with such an inconsistent bat. Defensively, he is exactly what you’d expect from a Dirtbag – plus arm, above-average lateral quickness, and 100% effort at all times. Maybe I’ve found a way to contradict myself in the space of a short paragraph, but, come to think of it, if I’m picking late and Singer is still out there and signable, his Long Beach pedigree would make him awfully tempting.

24. Southeastern Louisiana JR SS Justin Boudreaux

*** 2010: .309/.418/.543 – 36 BB/41 K – 230 AB – 17/21 SB
*** 2011: .314/.384/.505 – 23 BB/43 K – 220 AB – 14/17 SB

Boudreaux has a strong arm, above-average range, and steady hands. All in all, his defense works. That said, his best tool could be his wonderfully appropriate name; have to love a Boudreaux playing for Southeastern Louisiana.

25. LSU JR SS Tyler Hanover

*** 2010: .344/.421/.445 – 27 BB/26 K – 247 AB – 5/9 SB
*** 2011: .316/.414/.342 – 33 BB/16 K – 193 AB – 5/9 SB

Because I  stupidly forgot my laptop battery at work and won’t be able to plug back in until tomorrow, here are my unedited notes on Hanover instead of the brilliantly crafted paragraph you are all familiar with:

above-average speed, but more impressive as an instinctual base runner; very good defender – arguably his best present tool; competition for best tool includes a shocking plus-plus arm from his smaller frame; just enough pop to keep a pitcher honest, but mostly to the gaps; size gets him in trouble (attempts to do much), but this is inarguably a good college player; little bit of Jimmy Rollins to his game in that he is a little man with a big swing – again, this often gets him in more trouble than it should, as he is far, far less talented than Rollins on his worst day; great range to his right; definite utility future due to experience on left side; can get too jumpy at plate and swing at pithes outside the zone, but generally a patient hitter; 5-6, 155

Final 2011 MLB Draft College First Base Rankings

1. Utah JR 1B CJ Cron

*** 2010: .467/.518/.873 – 17 BB/23 K – 147 AB
*** 2011: .460/.536/.845 – 29 BB/20 K – 187 AB

I’d put the over/under on college first basemen from this class who get more than 500 PA in a single big league season at 2.5. Cron’s well above-average hit tool and present power make him a safe bet to become a starting first baseman and middle of the lineup bat, so now the challenge (assuming we’re being positive and looking for the over) is finding two more college first basemen with big league starter upside. This won’t be easy…

2. Florida JR 1B Preston Tucker

*** 2010: .360/.471/.602 – 47 BB/25 K – 236 AB
*** 2011: .350/.421/.574 – 23 BB/23 K – 223 AB

The case for Florida JR 1B Preston Tucker’s bat is strong; as a hitter, he is as close to big league ready as any player in the 2011 MLB Draft with plus present power and impeccable plate discipline. He’s also been praised for his crazy high baseball IQ and tremendous strength in his forearms, wrists, and hands. Of course, no scouting report on Tucker can be written without mentioning his body. Tucker won’t help whatever team drafts him “sell any jeans,” but he could help them win some ballgames, bad body and all.

In fairness to Tucker, his “bad body” is more about a height deficiency (generous listed at 6-0) than a weight surplus, so the typical concerns that follow less than ideally fit prospects aren’t warranted. In any case, I don’t care much about the “bad body,” especially when weighed against the practical plusses that come with his awesome wrist and hand strength. The unconventional swing mechanics also don’t bother me. If it works, and if it is projected to work going forward, stick with it. Plus power and plate discipline are an easy recipe for a high prospect ranking on this site, but I keep coming back to my general aversion to first base prospects. To be an above-average first baseman in the bigs, you either need to have a special bat, outrageously good defense, or a well above-average mixture of the two. Not sure Tucker falls into any of those three categories, but that doesn’t make him a non-prospect. There is some precedent for a player of Tucker’s skill set and body type going in the first round, believe it or not. In 2008, both Brett Wallace and David Cooper rode the wave of undeniably great college production and plus lefthanded power to become first rounders despite less than ideal body types. Tucker’s shot at the first round has seemingly come and gone, but I’d still pop the advanced college bat as early as the fifth or sixth round.

3. Vanderbilt SR 1B Aaron Westlake

*** 2010: 338/.434/.586 – 34 BB/44 K – 260 AB
*** 2011: .360/.484/.620 – 42 BB/44 K – 200 AB

Westlake is going to hit as a professional, I’m sure of that much. Will he hit enough to hold down an everyday job at first? That’s the million dollar  question, I suppose. He should be able to hit well enough against righthanded pitchers to at least work his way into a platoon role down the line. It could also be possible that his drafting team gets creativity with him, and tries him at a few different spots (corner OF, maybe a little third, perhaps some time behind the plate) a la Baltimore’s Jake Fox.

4. Southern California JR 1B Ricky Oropesa

*** 2010: .391/.471/.787 – 35 BB/48 K -235 AB
*** 2011: .355/.444/.527 – 30 BB/39 K – 186 AB

There’s still too much swing and miss in his approach than I’d like, but the fact Oropesa fits the classic slugging first baseman mold better than, say, Preston Tucker could help him become the first college 1B (catching convert CJ Cron excepted) off the board. Scouts want the best players, obviously, but they do have their biases. I think said bias could help Oropesa this June.

5. Washington State JR 1B Taylor Ard

*** 2011: .311/.379/.519 – 15 BB/21 K – 183 AB

I feel as though my notes on Ard sum up his game pretty well: plus-plus raw power; average at best hit tool; good athlete; wrist injury kept him down in 2010; solid defender; strong track record hitting with wood; some question about ability to hit with funky swing, but just as likely an adjustment will help him tap into his raw power even more. Yeah, that sounds about right.

6. Wichita State SO 1B Johnny Coy

*** 2010: .353/.414/.619 – 11 BB/26 K – 139 AB
*** 2011: .282/.353/.424 – 25 BB/47 K – 238 AB

All of Coy’s raw tools grade out as average or better – 55 speed, 60 arm, 65-70 raw power, average hit tool, and above-average upside at first. I’ve long been a big believer in the big (6-8, 210 pound) righthanded sophomore. His true talent level makes him a target between rounds ten and fifteen, but the unpolished stone that is Johnny Coy’s game could use some extended time in a rock tumbler. Or something like that. He’s raw, is what I’m saying. Big gap between the potential big league regular he could be and the relatively inexperienced former high school hoops star that he is now.

7. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B Nick Ramirez

*** 2010: .350/.401/.654 – 20 BB/47 K – 260 AB
*** 2011: .290/.388/.495 – 28 BB/38 K – 186 AB

Ramirez has a well deserved reputation as a power hitting first baseman with a plus throwing arm, but what I think I enjoy most about his game is his quality defense. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no matter what becomes of Ramirez as a pro, he’ll go down as one of my favorite college players to watch.

8. North Carolina State JR 1B Harold Riggins

*** 2010: .319/.431/.602 – 22 BB/42 K – 166 AB
*** 2011: .317/.448/.448 – 37 BB/57 K – 183 AB

Riggins has done a great job of getting his body into better shape over the years, but you have to wonder whether or not the loss of bulk had some impact on the decrease of his power numbers. It could also just be the switch in bats, but you never know. Like Ramirez one spot above, I think I like Riggins’ surprisingly effective defense at first just as much as his above-average raw power.

9. Walters State SO 1B Cody Stubbs

*** 2010: .241/.369/.352 – 20 BB/16 K – 108 AB

Due to a similar positional reclassification (OF to 1B), Stubbs’ prospect stock gets the same artificial boost as fellow first baseman Jacob Anderson’s. Easy to like Stubbs’ power to all fields and above-average athleticism for a big man (6-4, 225). I remember thinking he could be a top five round prospect after three years at Tennessee. Things obviously didn’t work out for Stubbs as a Volunteer, but the talent that led me to that original conclusion hasn’t evaporated. If he slips past round five, as I think he will, you could wind up with a player with high round ability at the cost of a low round pick.

10. St. Mary’s JR 1B Troy Channing

*** 2010: .315/.473/.609 – 43 BB/47 K – 184 AB
*** 2011: .274/.365/.440 – 20 BB/44 K – 175 AB

Both the power and approach suffered in 2011 to the point that I expect Channing back for a senior season. A team might roll the dice on a return to glory at the pro level instead.

11. Central Florida SO 1B DJ Hicks

*** 2010: .111/.182/.167 – 2 BB/2 K – 18 AB
*** 2011: .358/.443/.618 – 34 BB/42 K – 204 AB

If any player on the list can be classified as a big 2011 draft riser, it’s this guy. With arguably the most raw power of any draft-eligible college first baseman, Hicks is a certifiable sleeping giant in the prospect world.

12. Oklahoma JR 1B Cameron Seitzer

*** 2010: .305/.425/.586 – 28 BB/44 K – 210 AB
*** 2011: .316/.417/.454 – 27 BB/28 K – 196 AB

Power and bloodlines will help get Seitzer through the door, but it could be the development of his already much improved two-strike approach that makes or breaks him as a pro.

13. LSU-Eunice FR 1B Hommy Rosado

Can’t help but be enamored with Rosado’s power upside and bat speed, even as the questions about his defensive ability and contact issues remain unanswered. He did enough out of high school to get drafted in the 11th round by Colorado last year. It will be interesting to see what a solid but not spectacular year at LSU-Eunice does to his stock, especially in a much deeper draft class.

14. Cal State Fullerton SO 1B Carlos Lopez

*** 2010: .359/.414/.540 – 23 BB/22 K – 237 AB
*** 2011: .338/.390/.478 – 12 BB/9 K – 136 AB

All he does is hit, hit, hit no matter what. Lopez has a professional approach at the plate, really quick wrists, and gap power. I can’t speak to his defensive ability, but have heard he has the athleticism to potentially play a utility role at the next level.

15. Connecticut SR 1B Mike Nemeth

*** 2011:  .368/.475/.458 – 41 BB/17 K – 212 AB

Nemeth’s name kept coming up in discussions with people in the know leading up to the publication of this list. He was admittedly off my radar heading into the year, but those 2011 plate discipline numbers are eye popping. After having seen him myself a few times this year, I can say he looked to me like a guy with good power to the gaps with the chance to be an average hitter and above-average defender down the line.

16. Georgia JR 1B Chase Davidson

*** 2010: .211/.304/.289 – 12 BB/40 K – 90 AB
*** 2011: .295/.360/.576 – 12 BB/41 K – 132 AB

Davidson falling right after Nemeth on the list is funny in a way – Nemeth has a great approach but limited power while Davidson is all power all the time but with a hack at all costs attitude. Been a long time (three years to be exact) since we heard those Jim Thome comparisons…

17. East Tennessee State SR 1B Paul Hoilman

*** 2010: .353/.471/.723 – 51 BB/41 K – 235 AB
*** 2011: .285/.421/.671 – 44 BB/66 K – 207 AB

Hoilman’s raw power is undeniable, but that’s about all he brings to the table. Over half of his senior year plate appearances ended in either a strikeout, walk, or homer. That’s fun.

18. Minnesota JR 1B Nick O’Shea

*** 2011: .336/.378/.550 – 11 BB/15 K – 140 AB

O’Shea does a little bit of everything quite well, but nothing exceptionally well besides perhaps his defense. Still think there is some untapped upside here with the bat and I intuitively just like him as a prospect.

19. Northwestern JR 1B Paul Snieder

*** 2010: .349/.435/.533 – 31 BB/32 K – 212 AB
*** 2011: .330/.417/.500 – 26 BB/36 K – 176 AB

Snieder is another Big 10 prospect that I have a strong intuitively positive feel on. Part of that is probably because I love when a prospect answers questions about his game from year to year. Despite all the positive reports on Snieder’s raw power, I had only graded it out as average at best. This year, despite a slight dip statistically, Snieder has show more of a home run producing stroke and increased physical strength. I still have a hard time believing he’ll leave Northwestern for anything other than an oddly high bonus for whatever middle round he winds up going in.

20. Mississippi JR 1B Matt Snyder

*** 2010: .333/.473/.633 – 28 BB/36 – 147 AB
*** 2011: .301/.428/.534 – 29 BB/38 K – 176 AB

Merely a fun coincidence that the two Snieder’s/Snyder’s are back to back, of course. Positive reports on Snyder’s bat this spring had me give him a slight boost, but his defense, speed, and arm are all really weak. I’ve heard through the grapevine that he is likely to be back for his senior season.

21. Central Florida SR 1B Jonathan Griffin

*** 2011: .347/.398/.653 – 22 BB/45 K – 225 AB

Griffin is the prototypical hulking (6-5, 230) first base slugger with ridiculous raw power and nothing else. You can be one-dimensional when that one dimension is as strong as Griffin’s power tool is, but his battle is still an uphill one.

22. Southern Illinois JR 1B Chris Serritella

*** 2010: .351/.438/.604 – 33 BB/52 K – 222 AB

An unfortunate wrist injury has knocked Serritella out of action. Luckily, he retains two full years of  draft eligibility to help rebuild his depressed stock. I still might take a chance on him this year because of his phenomenal track record against righthanded pitching.

23. Belmont SR 1B Nate Woods

*** 2011: .379/.465/.641 – 22 BB/27 K – 195 AB

Woods have overcome a series of injuries to become one of college baseball’s best senior hitters. He’s got pro size, plenty of power, and a really sound approach to hitting.

24. Barry SR 1B Dean Green

*** 2010: .259/.340/.446 – 16 BB/23 K – 166 AB

Green has shown he can hit with wood, and now boasts a shiny trophy after being announced All-Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year.

25. Washington SR 1B Troy Scott

*** 2011: .279/.365/.397 – 23 BB/28 K – 179 AB

Even when I loved Scott as a prospect — and make no mistake about it, I truly loved his pro upside at one time — it appeared it would be his bat and bat only that would keep him advancing in pro ball. He’s not fast, he’s not a good defender, he can’t really throw. On the right day, however, his swing looks so easy and free, like the very best natural born hitters you can think of. Unfortunately, those days seem behind him. I have no clue where (or if) he’ll be picked anymore, but I’m secretly rooting for my favorite team to grab him in the fiftieth and final round.