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The opinions below are all extremely preliminary and completely off the cuff, but, hey, isn’t that what the days directly following a draft are all about? I’m not sure how many rounds I’ll be able to get to because these take way longer than I had initially hoped, but I’m happy to keep them up if well received. Figuring out interesting post-draft content completely vexes me, so any and all ideas for draft recap stuff are welcomed. Me, I’d rather get started on the 2011 MLB Draft than anything else, but I realize how silly it is now to work all year towards covering every draft angle only to drop it the minute after draft day. There’s no closure that way. Help me help you get some closure!
Five (5) Favorite Value Picks (all rankings are in order of selection; personal ranking for each category listed in parentheses)
2.51 Washington Nationals – San Diego LHP Sammy Solis (2)
2.54 Kansas City Royals – Arkansas OF/RHP Brett Eibner (3…4 if he plays the outfield instead of pitches)
2.57 Boston Red Sox – Texas RHP Brandon Workman (1)
2.76 Colorado Rockies – Texas Tech RHP Chad Bettis (5)
2.82 New York Yankees – Torrance HS (CA) OF Angelo Gumbs (4…3 if Eibner’s definitely playing the OF)
I feel like I’ve spent much of the past few weeks writing about college pitching, so I’ll leave the first four names on the list alone for now. Gumbs makes the list because he’s a toolsy prep position player who can, hang on to your hats, actually hit. Amazing how often something so seemingly inconsequential like making consistent hard contact with the bat can be. I also like Gumbs for his advanced plate discipline for a high school prospect and, as mentioned, five average at worst tools. If you didn’t like the Cito Culver first round pick for the Yankees, I’m here to say that Gumbs in the second more than makes up for it. Quality player.
Four (4) Questionable Picks
2.55 Cleveland Indians – Chipola JC (FL) CF LeVon Washington (4)
2.56 Arizona Diamondbacks – Nitro HS (WV) RHP JR Bradley (2)
2.64 Milwaukee Brewers – Alabama JR RHP Jimmy Nelson (1)
2.70 Atlanta Braves – Western Oklahoma State FR SS Andrelton Simmons (3)
Washington isn’t here because he’s a bad player by any means, but simply because he’s an overdraft at the early part of the second round. Bradley’s arm strength and plus control should help him through the low minors, but his secondary stuff needs a complete overhaul. Nelson’s upside isn’t on par with many of the prospects drafted around him. Simmons remains a big glove, little bat player who would be best served making the inevitable switch to the mound sooner rather than later. In other words, he’s Mychal Givens 2.0.
Three (3) Closest to the Show Picks
2.68 Detroit Tigers – Arkansas SO LHP Drew Smyly (2)
2.81 Los Angeles Angels – Florida Southern JR RHP Daniel Tillman (1)
RHPs Jacob Petricka, Bettis, Jordan Swagerty, and Perci Garner all should be quick movers as relief prospects often tend to speed through the minors, but, and I acknowledge the possibility I’m going overboard here, each pitcher has shown just enough of a third pitch in college to at least warrant a crack at starting out in the rotation. Their new teams may not agree with that assessment, but I’m stubborn enough that I’m going to believe in each guy as a potential big league starter despite mounting against my case. Other candidates for first to the big leagues include potential fourth outfielders Ryan LaMarre and Todd Cunningham, as well as 2B Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko’s advanced bat could help him speed through the low minors, but, anecdotal evidence alert, many of the players he has been compared to (Dan Uggla is the first that pops into my head) were slow to develop, one level at a time prospects. If you don’t buy that, then perhaps Gyorko’s iffy glove, or more specifically the numerous minor league ground balls he’ll have to take to get his glove ready for the majors, will be what keeps him down in the minors longer than expected.
Solis has the stuff and pitchability to advance in a hurry, but Washington may want to allow him some extra time to make up for college innings lost to injury. I went with Smyly over the more highly rated lefthanded pitching prospect Rob Rasmussen because of Detroit’s tendency to push young pitching. Call it an educated hunch. Tillman is the only college reliever taken in the round without any shot at starting professionally. The very quick pre-draft scouting report on Daniel Tillman, my 39th highest rated college righthanded pitching prospect:
Florida Southern JR RHP Daniel Tillman: 91-94 sinking FB, peaking 95-96; hard plus SL; 6-1, 185 pounds; dominant K numbers out of bullpen (56 K’s in 39.2 IP) ***
Two (2) High Risk Signability Picks
2.58 Houston Astros – Garey HS (CA) RHP Vincent Velasquez (2)
2.80 Toronto Blue Jays – University HS (FL) LHP Justin Nicolino (1)
The earlier the round, the more difficult it is to find players who aren’t likely to sign. Velasquez has a moderately strong commitment to Cal State Fullerton while Nicolino’s scholarship to Virginia ought to take a legitimately overslot deal to get his name on the dotted line. Both should sign without much of a problem, but that’s coming from a guy who thinks all of the names taken in round two will get deals done before too long.
One (1) Player You’d Bet Your Internet Reputation On Pick
2.57 Boston Red Sox – Texas RHP Brandon Workman
Workman over Solis by a fairly slim margin. Both profile as above-average, middle of the rotation or better big league starters. Excellent value for a second round pick, I think. Brandon Workman’s quick scouting report:
Texas JR RHP Brandon Workman: low-90s FB with serious sink, peak 95-97; plus high-70s CB; sinking CU with legit promise; usable low-80s SL; two biggest issues out of high school (mechanics and poor control) both ironed out after three years in Austin; 6-5, 225 pounds (4.30 FIP; 9.43 K/9; 1.89 BB/9)
That last part is what makes me happiest. Well, not the last last part (his park/schedule adjusted stats) or even the one before that (his size), but the one before that. How can you not root for a player who legitimately improved after three years of college? Look, I love college baseball. Countless interesting names to watch per major college team, heated rivalries, and the ultimate marriage of meaningful regular season play and dramatic postseason format all with the beautiful soundtrack of ping after ping in the background. How can you beat that? I love college baseball, but I can still admit that I hate the way certain college coaches worry more about winning one game than the long-term health and well being of their players. I know college athletics is big business, but I’m still of the belief the main purpose of college is to best prepare the youth of the country for life after college. If that’s the goal, then maybe having your prized starter throw 140+ pitches or start twice in a four day span or come out of the bullpen 48 hours after pitching a complete game or any number of the countless questionable decision isn’t the best way to prepare said prized starter for a successful career after graduation. Nothing frustrates me more to see a young arm abused before even getting the chance to play professional baseball. HOWEVER, it’s very rare that college coaching staffs receive any credit for player development. The perfect example of this was on the MLB Network telecast of the first round two nights ago. The talking heads couldn’t get over how many college players had gone undrafted out of high school. They credited big league scouting staffs for finding such players later rather than sooner. Right. How about giving some credit to the college coaching staffs that helped bring along these diamonds in the rough? Workman was an excellent prospect coming out of high school. He’s a better prospect now. Some of that should be attributed to his natural developmental growth curve, some should be given to the hard work and smarts of the player itself, and some is totally unknown, if we’re really being honest. But to only highlight college coaches when something bad happens and not acknowledge the many ways they help certain players grow is just plain silly. Workman improved for a lot of reasons; for me, there’s no doubt the Texas coaching staff has certainly been a major contributing factor in his improvement.
Data good through May 20th. Weekend homework will be completing a few more college position lists (3B, OF, RHP, LHP) and starting back in with the high schoolers. For now, in an effort to buy me some more time to work on big stuff like that, I present the finest publicly available GO% in all the land…
North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey: 64%
Tennessee JR LHP Bryan Morgado: 51%
Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis: 70% (!)
Texas JR RHP Brandon Workman: 56%
LSU JR RHP Austin Ross: 39%
Miami JR LHP Chris Hernandez: 63%
South Carolina JR RHP Sam Dyson: 68%
Florida State JR LHP John Gast: 69%
Virginia Tech JR RHP Jesse Hahn: 73% (10/0 GO/AO ratio in return from injury)
Texas SO RHP Taylor Jungmann: 65%
Virginia SO LHP Danny Hultzen: 50%
Kentucky SO RHP Alex Meyer: 53%
Rice SO LHP Taylor Wall: 58%
UCLA SO RHP Trevor Bauer: 44%
Vanderbilt SO RHP Jack Armstrong: 57%
Gonzaga SO LHP Ryan Carpenter: 56%
Kentucky JR LHP Logan Darnell: 57%
Again, just a random sampling of a few of the best, worst, and perfectly neutral groundball inducing 2010 MLB draft-eligible pitchers. If there’s anybody not included that you want to see, feel free to ask in the comments or via email. If you’ve asked about a specific pitcher recently (Cole Cook, for example), hang in there – I have the data updated, but I want to double-check it one last time before publishing it.
Also, I’ve got a really good Anthony Ranaudo comp that I want to share, but, before I do, I’m curious – anybody else out there have a comp on him they are comfortable with? I’m on record of loving player comparisons because I think they help fans get a general idea of the kind of player the previous unknown amateur prospect could be someday, but I know not everybody is on board. Data time!
70% – Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis
70% – Virginia Tech JR RHP Jesse Hahn
69% – South Carolina JR RHP Sam Dyson
68% – California SO RHP Dixon Anderson
68% – Florida State JR LHP John Gast
66% – North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey
65% – Miami JR LHP Chris Hernandez
62% – Florida Gulf Coast JR LHP Chris Sale
50% – Louisville JR RHP Thomas Royse
50% – Ohio State JR RHP Alex Wimmers
35% – Louisiana State JR RHP Anthony Ranaudo
32% – San Diego SR RHP AJ Griffin
First, a special thank you to everybody who reads the gibberish I churn out on a semi-daily basis around here. April was the best month from a traffic standpoint in the history of the site, besting the previous high watermark set last June. We’re up over 200,000 visitors and climbing. Thank you.
Second, another thank you for anybody who has commented or emailed over the past few weeks. I’ve read everything readers have sent in and learned a whole lot in the process. No one man can cover the draft by himself, so the help I receive in the comments or via email goes a long way in getting the best quality draft coverage out in the open. Thank you. Responses will finally be coming this week, so be on the look out for that.
Third, here’s a quick idea of what I’ve got on the agenda for the next week or so, in no particular order:
- Mystery Draft – High School Outfielders
- College Position Ranking – Shortstops and/or Catchers
- Alternate Reality Mock Draft – All Players Must Go to College (all members of 2007 prep class draft-eligible)
- 2010 MLB Mock Draft! Finally!
Anything else? I’m always open for suggestions.
Fourth, data! Top dozen groundballers in my admittedly not 100% comprehensive database:
- Vanderbilt SO RHP Sonny Gray: 2.73 GO/AO
- Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis: 2.33 GO/AO
- Virginia Tech JR RHP Jesse Hahn: 2.33 GO/AO
- South Carolina JR RHP Sam Dyson: 2.13 GO/AO
- California SO RHP Dixon Anderson: 2.13 GO/AO
- Florida State JR LHP John Gast: 2.11 GO/AO
- Stanford SO LHP Brett Mooneyham: 2.09 GO/AO
- Texas SO Taylor Jungmann: 2.00 GO/AO
- North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey: 1.89 GO/AO
- Miami JR LHP Chris Hernandez: 1.86 GO/AO
- Florida Gulf Coast JR LHP Chris Sale: 1.69 GO/AO
- Notre Dame JR RHP Brian Dupra: 1.67 GO/AO
Now for the top half dozen…airballers?…in the same database:
- San Diego SR RHP AJ Griffin: 0.44 GO/AO
- LSU JR RHP Anthony Ranaudo: 0.57 GO/AO
- LSU JR Austin Ross: 0.60 GO/AO
- Cal State Fullerton SO RHP Tyler Pill: 0.62 GO/AO
- UCLA SO RHP Trevor Bauer: 0.73 GO/AO
- Georgia JR RHP Justin Grimm: 0.84 GO/AO
Random sampling of some of the players I’ve kept track of so far this year…
School – Year – Pitcher – % of batted ball outs classified as “ground balls”
San Diego SR RHP AJ Griffin – 31%
Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis – 71%
Texas JR RHP Brandon Workman – 55%
Louisiana State JR RHP Austin Ross – 38%
South Carolina JR RHP Sam Dyson – 64%
San Diego JR RHP Kyle Blair – 50%
San Diego JR LHP Sammy Solis – 56%
California JR RHP Dixon Anderson – 67%
Virginia Tech JR RHP Jesse Hahn – 70%
Arkansas JR RHP Brett Eibner – 43%
Florida State JR LHP John Gast – 67%
Stanford SO LHP Brett Mooneyham – 66%
UCLA SO RHP Trevor Bauer – 43%
Vanderbilt SO RHP Jack Armstrong – 61%
Yesterday we looked at some of the flyballiest of college baseball’s most flyballing flyball pitchers. Today, the opposite. I limited it to potential first round candidates only, but now feel guilty about leaving out other strong groundball pitchers like Miami’s Chris Hernandez (68%), Cal’s Dixon Anderson (67%), and Florida State’s John Gast (70%). With that out of the way and my guilt finally assuaged, here are five potential first round starting pitchers with groundball percentages greater than 50%…
North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey – 78%
Florida Gulf Coast JR LHP Chris Sale – 67%
Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis – 75%
Texas JR RHP Brandon Workman – 62%
Virginia Tech JR RHP Jesse Hahn – 71%
And a pair of top-five 2011 prospects because it’s Friday…
Texas SO RHP Taylor Jungmann – 75%
Vanderbilt SO RHP Sonny Gray – 71%
The week ahead is wide open, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see. I’m currently working on a couple of high school position rankings, more college stuff (mostly position lists by conference), an updated big board, and a brand spanking new mock draft. With so much half-finished content staring me in the face, I’m happy to put something on hold to do something new and exciting as a change of pace, so if there is anything new and exciting you want to see, please let me know and I’ll make it happen.
Because I hate posts that don’t have much to do with baseball, how about a little content? The title says it all, except for the brief and wondrous snippets of 2011 draft-eligible players included (both 2011s would be second on their lists, by the way). The data I have doesn’t include every pitcher in college baseball, but rather a sampling of some of the biggest names…I’m only one man, after all. Like last time, if you have a player you are curious about, let me know.
Highest Percentage of Groundball Outs
1) North Carolina JR RHP Matt Harvey
2) Texas Tech JR RHP Chad Bettis
3) Florida Gulf Coast JR LHP Chris Sale
HM) 2011 draft-eligible Texas SO RHP Taylor Jungmann
Lowest Percentage of Groundball Outs
1) San Diego SR RHP AJ Griffin
2) San Diego JR RHP Kyle Blair
3) LSU JR RHP Austin Ross
HM) Cal State Fullerton SO RHP Tyler Pill
A few side projects that have been holding up things on the site should be wrapped up over the weekend, so expect a return to site normalcy before too long.
As for today’s post, well, it’s exactly what the title says. I’ve been keeping track of as many of the big 2010 names as I can, so if there is anybody you’re curious about, let me know and I’ll check to see if I have the data. I also have some of the biggest names of 2011 and 2012 tracked, so, again, if there is anybody you want to know about, let me know. Some of the names and numbers that caught my eye so far:
North Carolina RHP Matt Harvey – 82%
Florida Gulf Coast LHP Chris Sale – 71%
Texas Tech RHP Chad Bettis – 91%
Texas RHP Brandon Workman – 62%
Mississippi LHP Drew Pomeranz – 61%
Georgia RHP Justin Grimm – 57%
LSU RHP Anthony Ranaudo – 38% (note: all of these are small samples, but Ranaudo’s is especially small — one start — due to his injury)
Ohio State RHP Alex Wimmers – 53%
Georgia Tech RHP Deck McGuire – 43%
South Carolina RHP Sam Dyson – 59%
San Diego RHP Kyle Blair – 36%
San Diego LHP Sammy Solis – 52%
Cal RHP Dixon Anderson – 71%
Virginia Tech RHP Jesse Hahn – 75%
So much pitching to recap, so little time…
- Relievers, relievers, and more relievers
Jake Morgan, redshirt sophomore from the University of Mississippi, gets a special mention for his complete wipeout of Alabama: (2 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K)
Long, lanky Matt Miller (6-6, 215) of Michigan’s great outing (3 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K) pushed his K/IP total to 16/12.2 on the season. It’ll interesting to see if he is in the mix for a starting spot for the Wolverines next spring.
Preston Claiborne has been a consistent strikeout per inning got out of the bullpen at Tulane since arriving on campus. His latest outing is a continuation of his success: 2.2 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 4 K
Steve Kalush is a less well known name than Claiborne, but has had similar success as a collegiate pitcher. The Santa Clara is another strikeout per inning guy. His weekend outing: 2 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 4 K
I love the adjective “hulking” when it describes a pitcher. Luke Demko is 6-6 and pushing three bills, but as nondescript college relievers go, he’s a good one. Demko could be a nice late round senior sign flier of a pick. His weekend: 2 IP 0 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K (7th save)
Taylor Hill, a Vanderbilt sophomore talented enough to start for a lot of teams but forced to relieve for the pitching-rich Commodores, put up the following line: 4 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K. I’m thinking Vandy would be a good candidate for the next college profile piece…they are completely stacked with prospects, both hitting and pitching.
- Non-prospect performance of the week
Alex Rivers, teammate of Kalush’s at Santa Clara, put up this beauty of a line against Dartmouth: 7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 11 K. Yeah, it was against Dartmouth, and, yeah, Rivers is a short righty without much of a pro future, but this strong outing is worthy of praise. Here’s to you, Alex Rivers!
- Starting pitching prospects, now and in the future
Chris Rusin (Kentucky, 2009) – 9 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 11 K against Vanderbilt. What I like best about Rusin is the steady increase in performance each year he has been in school.
Matt Harvey (North Carolina, 2010): 2 IP 7 H 7 ER 2 BB 1 K
Kyle Winkler (Texas Christian, 2011): 0.1 IP 5 H 6 ER 3 BB 0 K
Two really rough outings for two really good young pitchers. Winkler is a huge personal favorite – consider my love for him as a prospect partially due to my reverse short righthanded pitching bias.
Justin Grimm (Georgia, 2010): 5.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 9 K
Gerrit Cole (UCLA, 2011): 5 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K, 101 pitches
Grimm is well known in scouting circles, but I consider him a 2010 sleeper anyway because even though he’s expected to go high in his draft year, I think he’ll go even higher – love his 30/7 K/BB ratio in just 25.1 innings. The odds-on favorite to go number two overall in 2011 keeps on doing his thing for the Bruins…
DJ Mauldin (Cal Poly, 2009): 8 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K, 12/4/1 (GO/AO/LO)…another short righty with a big game.
- Strong outings, but heavy workloads…
Tyler Blandford (Oklahoma State, 2009): 8 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 11 K, 117 pitches
Chad Bettis (Texas Tech, 2010): 8 IP 8 H 3 ER 3 BB 8 K (11/5 groundball to flyball ratio), 129 pitches