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2015 MLB Draft – Top 100 D1 College Third Base Prospects

1. Miami JR 3B/1B David Thompson: above-average or better raw power, especially the other way; quick bat; great athlete; strong; once strong arm, hasn’t been the same due to injuries; good defender at 1B; below-average speed; might be wishful thinking to believe in him as a future 3B, but the backup plan of him playing LF is a solid fallback option; 6-2, 210 pounds (

2013: .291/.376/.467 – 21 BB/28 K – 3/5 SB – 182 AB
2014: .278/.368/.352 – 14 BB/17 K – 0/1 SB – 108 AB
2015: .335/.447/.683 – 41 BB/24 K – 1/3 SB – 221 AB

2. Florida International JR 3B/2B Edwin Rios: above-average raw power; average or better arm; steady defender; could work in corner OF; strong; slow; consistently productive hitter who remains overlooked as a prospect; 6-3, 200 pounds

2013: .341/.422/.558 – 27 BB/51 K – 2/4 SB – 217 AB
2014: .296/.341/.400 – 17 BB/34 K – 3/3 SB – 230 AB
2015: .314/.427/.610 – 39 BB/37 K – 3/5 SB – 210 AB

3. Santa Clara JR 3B/OF Jose Vizcaino: shows all five tools; quick bat; good athlete; can also play a passable SS when needed or could wind up an above-average defensive OF; average or better power; 6-2, 215 pounds

2013: .222/.314/.267 – 5 BB/17 K – 1/1 SB – 45 AB
2014: .323/.360/.423 – 9 BB/33 K – 11/18 SB – 201 AB
2015: .335/.406/.588 – 23 BB/39 K – 10/17 SB – 335 AB

4. Georgia State JR 3B/RHP Matt Rose: above-average to plus raw power; really good glove; good arm; below-average speed; good approach; has experience at 1B; young for class; 90-94 FB; good CU; SL with upside; 6-4, 200 pounds

2013: .277/.360/.398 – 18 BB/33 K – 2/3 SB – 166 AB
2014: .312/.358/.535 – 13 BB/37 K – 4/5 SB – 202 AB
2015: .289/.391/.613 – 31 BB/43 K – 4/5 SB – 204 AB

2013: 7.39 K/9 | 4.33 BB/9 | 3.37 FIP | 35.1 IP
2014: 8.57 K/9 – 3.00 BB/9 – 3.86 ERA – 20 IP

5. Arkansas State rJR 3B Zach George: has recovered from two ACL tears; great approach; quick bat; capable defender; FAVORITE; 6-2, 200 pounds

2011: .306/.429/.363 – 35 BB/27 K – 160 AB
2012: .285/.397/.450 – 36 BB/20 K – 3/5 SB – 200 AB
2013: .364/.543/.576 – 11 BB/3 K – 1/2 SB – 33 AB
2014: .382/.532/.500 – 10 BB/5 K – 3/3 SB – 34 AB
2015: .399/.548/.562 – 52 BB/28 K – 9/13 SB – 203 AB

6. Miami JR 3B/OF George Iskenderian: good athlete; impressive raw power; quick bat; good speed; could be good at 2B in time; old Jason Esposito comp; South Carolina transfer; good enough glove that his floor (utility player) is higher than most players on this list; 6-1, 190 pounds

2013: .250/.308/.278 – 3 BB/9 K – 1/1 SB – 36 AB
2015: .379/.471/.489 – 34 BB/37 K – 23/25 SB – 219 AB

7. Michigan JR 3B/SS Travis Maezes: really strong hit tool; average or better power upside; good athlete; above-average to plus arm; average speed; might be best at 2B; could be tried at C; pretty swing; I’m a bigger fan of his bat than most; FAVORITE; 6-0, 190 pounds

2013: .327/.407/.447 – 21 BB/30 K – 16/22 SB – 217 AB
2014: .302/.413/.459 – 33 BB/34 K – 19/24 SB – 222 AB
2015: .293/.390/.380 – 20 BB/24 K – 4/6 SB – 150 AB

8. Florida SR 3B/2B Josh Tobias: above-average speed; good pop; really good glove; can also play OF; tough to quantify or explain, but watching him gives the feeling that you’re watching a future big league bench guy; 5-10, 200 pounds

2012: .281/.351/.348 – 8 BB/24 K – 3/5 SB – 135 AB
2013: .273/.356/.364 – 10 BB/22 K – 6/9 SB – 154 AB
2014: .305/.376/.448 – 9 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 105 AB
2015: .373/.441/.565 – 18 BB/28 K – 10/12 SB – 193 AB

9. Maryland JR 3B Jose Cuas: good athlete; good defender, chance to be plus; plus raw power; above-average arm; big league regular physical tools, so it’ll come down to whether or not he makes enough contact to play every day; 6-2, 190 pounds

2013: .190/.291/.264 – 15 BB/16 K – 2/2 SB – 121 AB
2014: .279/.333/.417 – 14 BB/49 K – 3/5 SB – 204 AB
2015: .246/.337/.458 – 26 BB/47 K – 10/13 SB – 236 AB

10. Oregon JR 3B/1B Mitchell Tolman: plus arm; average speed; steady glove; great approach; can also play 2B; 6-0, 190 pounds

2013: .345/.421/.436 – 19 BB/24 K – 2/7 SB – 165 AB
2014: .315/.438/.470 – 31 BB/54 K – 5/8 SB – 219 AB
2015: .329/.462/.475 – 42 BB/39 K – 10/16 SB – 219 AB

11. Gonzaga SR 3B Mitchell Gunsolus: love his approach; short to ball; may wind up in LF, but I think you can start at least him at third; old Matt Carpenter comp too generous, but I like him; 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .186/.300/.209 – 5 BB/11 K – 0/0 SB – 43 AB) (2013: .278/.386/.368 – 33 BB/32 K – 5/6 SB – 212 AB) (2014: .287/.406/.366 – 43 BB/42 K – 4/11 SB – 202 AB) (2015: .353/.449/.556 – 33 BB/32 K – 4/7 SB – 207 AB)

12. Vanderbilt SO 3B Xavier Turner: great athlete; quick bat; power upside; good speed; good arm; would take a leap of faith after his yearlong suspension and time away from diamond, but top five player at his position in terms of raw talent; 6-2, 220 pounds (2013: .315/.382/.356 – 20 BB/21 K – 23/28 SB – 219 AB) (2014: .284/.355/.368 – 16 BB/32 K – 18/25 SB – 250 AB)

13. Saint Louis JR 3B Braxton Martinez: quick bat; intriguing power upside; average speed; above-average defensive tools; strong arm; FAVORITE; 6-3, 220 pounds (2013: .322/.392/.459 – 27 BB/32 K – 1/2 SB – 242 AB) (2014: .291/.374/.424 – 24 BB/28 K – 2/2 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .314/.391/.469 – 26 BB/29 K – 1/3 SB – 207 AB)

14. Eastern Illinois SR 3B Brant Valach: power upside; lots of contact; 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: .314/.351/.377 – 6 BB/21 K – 1/2 SB – 207 AB) (2013: .337/.406/.503 – 16 BB/21 K – 0/2 SB – 193 AB) (2014: .333/.401/.503 – 10 BB/12 K – 0/1 SB – 147 AB) (2015: .328/.386/.503 – 12 BB/18 K – 0/1 SB – 177 AB)

15. San Diego State JR 3B Ty France: intriguing power; 6-0, 205 pounds (2013: .317/.419/.450 – 26 BB/36 K – 1/6 SB – 218 AB) (2014: .356/.450/.498 – 28 BB/25 K – 3/4 SB – 233 AB) (2015: .346/.435/.481 – 23 BB/36 K – 6/9 SB – 237 AB)

16. Valparaiso SR 3B/SS Spencer Mahoney: good defensive tools; gap power at present, good raw power; strong hit tool; good athlete; FAVORITE; 6-4, 200 pounds (2012: .339/.457/.429 – 22 BB/21 K – 1/3 SB – 112 AB) (2013: .255/.365/.333 – 30 BB/36 K – 7/7 SB – 192 AB) (2014: .256/.381/.310 – 40 BB/35 K – 5/7 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .326/.441/.442 – 44 BB/41 K – 9/14 SB – 224 AB)

17. Jackson State SR 3B Melvin Rodriguez: power upside; strong; quick bat; 5-10, 200 pounds (2014: .307/.430/.427 – 41 BB/26 K – 5/7 SB – 199 AB) (2015: .422/.480/.635 – 32 BB/14 K – 13/15 SB – 230 AB)

18. College of Charleston JR 3B/1B Carl Wise: power upside; strong; too aggressive; below-average speed; best served giving it another shot behind plate in pros; 6-2, 220 pounds (2013: .336/.465/.620 – 23 BB/25 K – 3/3 SB – 137 AB) (2014: .295/.395/.419 – 32 BB/37 K – 2/6 SB – 227 AB) (2015: .316/.386/.560 – 27 BB/37 K – 3/3 SB – 234 AB)

19. LSU SR 3B/1B Conner Hale: steady glove; average speed; average or better raw power; good athlete; can also play 2B; 6-2, 190 pounds (2014: .306/.335/.426 – 10 BB/17 K – 0/0 SB – 209 AB) (2015: .349/.392/.493 – 15 BB/30 K – 0/0 SB – 229 AB)

20. Penn SR 3B/SS Mitch Montaldo: good athlete; long and lean build; power to all fields; 6-4, 200 pounds (2014: .211/.316/.376 – 17 BB/34 K – 3/3 SB – 133 AB) (2015: .288/.377/.621 – 14 BB/30 K – 0/0 SB – 132 AB)

21. Arizona State JR 3B/OF Dalton DiNatale: 6-4, 200 pounds (2013: .294/.395/.389 – 19 BB/29 K – 3/5 SB – 126 AB) (2014: .294/.367/.411 – 22 BB/22 K – 7/11 SB – 197 AB) (2015: .274/.318/.419 – 4 BB/3 K – 1/2 SB – 62 AB)

22. Coastal Carolina JR 3B Zach Remillard: good power; good defensive tools; good approach; too aggressive for his own good; strong arm; may not be athletic enough for 3B, but has improved a good bit; good speed; could be tried at 2B; old BA comp: Gordon Beckham; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .226/.270/.318 – 12 BB/42 K – 3/3 SB – 195 AB) (2014: .259/.318/.368 – 16 BB/39 K – 3/4 SB – 193 AB) (2015: .270/.339/.419 – 18 BB/38 K – 7/11 SB – 215 AB)

23. Louisiana Tech SR 3B/1B Bre’shon Kimbell: quick bat; interesting defensive tools at third; strong; power upside; strong arm; good agility; could also play OF and has played C; 6-2, 225 pounds (2012: .268/.360/.413 – 21 BB/38 K – 4/7 SB – 179 AB) (2013: .253/.342/.365 – 16 BB/38 K – 4/7 SB – 170 AB) (2014: .234/.307/.342 – 18 BB/25 K – 8/11 SB – 158 AB) (2015: .286/.385/.449 – 19 BB/31 K – 8/9 SB – 147 AB)

24. North Carolina JR 3B/2B Landon Lassiter: above-average to plus speed; average glove; can also play SS; 6-1, 180 pounds (2013: .362/.498/.451 – 56 BB/42 K – 8/12 SB – 257 AB) (2014: .305/.415/.359 – 33 BB/38 K – 3/6 SB – 223 AB) (2015: .300/.420/.399 – 36 BB/38 K – 6/9 SB – 203 AB)

25. Georgia Tech JR 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez: quick bat; average arm; above-average speed; average power; good hands; like his defense more than most; 5-11, 200 pounds (2013: .295/.331/.392 – 12 BB/45 K – 11/15 SB – 227 AB) (2014: .314/.358/.416 – 20 BB/55 K – 9/17 SB – 255 AB) (2015: .285/.317/.412 – 13 BB/52 K – 10/14 SB – 221 AB)

26. Illinois State JR 3B/RHP Ryan Koziol: bat with upside; room to grow; 6-3, 185 pounds (2015: 8.10 K/9 – 4.95 BB/9 – 20 IP – 6.75 ERA) (2015: .298/.417/.419 – 42 BB/24 K – 1/2 SB – 191 AB)

27. Arkansas JR 3B Bobby Wernes: good defender; strong arm; 6-3, 200 pounds (2014: .217/.317/.223 – 20 BB/36 K – 1/4 SB – 175 AB) (2015: .291/.393/.462 – 27 BB/31 K – 3/4 SB – 199 AB)

28. Virginia SR 3B Kenny Towns: good glove; strong arm; have heard teams consider him a potential catcher conversion; 5-11, 185 pounds (2012: .333/.424/.431 – 5 BB/10 K – 51 AB – 1/1 SB) (2013: .317/.398/.548 – 19 BB/27 K – 5/6 SB – 186 AB) (2014: .278/.374/.396 – 18 BB/29 K – 6/6 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .308/.376/.475 – 24 BB/29 K – 2/4 SB – 221 AB)

29. Canisius SR 3B Jesse Puscheck: good enough glove; strong; power upside; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .280/.373/.441 – 12 BB/21 K – 4/4 SB – 93 AB) (2014: .295/.398/.435 – 27 BB/26 K – 3/4 SB – 193 AB) (2015: .288/.404/.424 – 37 BB/29 K – 11/14 SB – 236 AB)

30. UNC Wilmington JR 3B/SS Terence Connelly: no big tool, but solid; 6-1, 205 pounds (2013: .306/.469/.344 – 38 BB/23 K – 3/5 SB – 186 AB) (2014: .246/.386/.283 – 26 BB/20 K – 0/1 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .354/.492/.431 – 41 BB/30 K – 6/9 SB – 181 AB)

31. TCU SR 3B/2B Derek Odell: strong arm; good power upside; average at best speed; old Taylor Featherston comp; good athlete; might be good enough to stick at SS, steady at 2B and 3B; 6-1, 185 pounds (2012: .322/.383/.471 – 17 BB/25 K – 6/8 SB – 174 AB) (2013: .280/.333/.324 – 15 BB/24 K – 1/1 SB – 182 AB) (2014: .265/.347/.324 – 30 BB/32 K – 8/10 SB – 253 AB) (2015: .280/.356/.365 – 23 BB/38 K – 7/10 SB – 189 AB)

32. Western Kentucky JR 3B Danny Hudzina: 5-11 (2015: .327/.369/.515 – 14 BB/16 K – 3/5 SB – 202 AB)

33. Columbia SR 3B David Vandercook: power upside; 6-1, 190 pounds (2014: .252/.346/.440 – 15 BB/45 K – 2/3 SB – 159 AB) (2015: .313/.421/.552 – 25 BB/34 K – 2/2 SB – 163 AB)

34. Louisiana-Monroe SR 3B/1B Keelin Rasch: good arm; power upside; 5-11, 200 pounds (2014: .289/.353/.430 – 17 BB/34 K – 0/1 SB – 242 AB) (2015: .359/.395/.571 – 9 BB/17 K – 4/4 SB – 217 AB)

35. UNC Asheville SR 3B/1B Hunter Bryant: power upside; good glove at 1B; 6-4, 230 pounds (2012: .291/.354/.352 – 15 BB/36 K – 1/1 SB – 165 AB) (2013: .225/.290/.275 – 14 BB/40 K – 0/1 SB – 160 AB) (2014: .273/.376/.384 – 33 BB/28 K – 0/1 SB – 198 AB) (2015: .340/.420/.575 – 31 BB/48 K – 0/0 SB – 212 AB)

36. Florida International rSR 3B Josh Anderson: average power; strong to plus arm; good athlete; average defender; 6-0, 220 pounds (2013: .288/.344/.485 – 14 BB/39 K – 5/5 SB – 229 AB) (2014: .300/.364/.427 – 24 BB/25 K – 3/6 SB – 220 AB) (2015: .271/.357/.436 – 21 BB/28 K – 0/1 SB – 181 AB)

37. Savannah State SR 3B Zachary Brigham: 6-0, 220 pounds (2014: .271/.320/.337 – 13 BB/9 K – 1/3 SB – 166 AB) (2015: .353/.431/.476 – 24 BB/15 K – 5/9 SB – 187 AB)

38. Coastal Carolina JR 3B/C Tyler Chadwick: good approach; can play anywhere; average speed; 5-9, 180 pounds (2013: .333/.451/.359 – 8 BB/10 K – 0/1 SB – 39 AB) (2014: .299/.389/.369 – 25 BB/28 K – 4/5 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .302/.419/.459 – 30 BB/41 K – 3/5 SB – 172 AB)

39. Florida Atlantic SR 3B/SS Ricky Santiago: really good defender; strong arm; good speed; sneaky pop; too aggressive for his own good, but improving; 6-0, 190 pounds (2012: .195/.290/.379 – 12 BB/30 K – 0/0 SB – 87 AB) (2013: 278/.331/.405 – 17 BB/60 K – 3/5 SB – 237 AB) (2014: .243/.291/.343 – 17 BB/51 K – 1/2 SB – 210 AB) (2015: .317/.402/.511 – 32 BB/54 K – 3/4 SB – 227 AB)

40. Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin: good speed; 5-10, 185 pounds (2012: .311/.403/.417 – 27 BB/39 K – 6/13 SB – 206 AB) (2013: .290/.399/.395 – 18 BB/39 K – 11/17 SB – 162 AB) (2014: .312/.424/.401 – 34 BB/33 K – 13/17 SB – 202 AB) (2015: .318/.410/.498 – 26 BB/43 K – 5/8 SB – 201 AB)

41. College of Charleston rJR 3B/SS Morgan Phillips: good athlete; strong arm; good defensive tools; gap power, could be more there; above-average speed; untapped upside as a hitter; might be destined for OF; 6-1, 210 pounds (2013: .276/.315/.474 – 6 BB/55 K – 3/6 SB – 152 AB) (2014: .247/.305/.379 – 13 BB/40 K – 4/4 SB – 182 AB) (2015: .324/.364/.488 – 11 BB/34 K – 7/10 SB – 207 AB)

42. Wright State SR 3B/2B Michael Timm: quick bat; big power upside; good athlete; average arm; good at third base; good speed; FAVORITE; 6-4, 200 pounds (2012: .275/.376/.358 – 16 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 120 AB) (2013: .227/.305/.319 – 19 BB/34 K – 1/3 SB – 207 AB) (2014: .325/.432/.467 – 31 BB/37 K – 7/10 SB – 212 AB) (2015: .294/.356/.387 – 15 BB/29 K – 5/8 SB – 238 AB)

43. Missouri State SR 3B/OF Dylan Becker: 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .266/.354/.365 – 29 BB/35 K – 14/17 SB – 222 AB) (2015: .318/.457/.462 – 49 BB/33 K – 3/10 SB – 195 AB)

44. Louisiana SR 3B Tyler Girouard: 5-9, 180 pounds (2014: .324/.433/.458 – 29 BB/26 K – 4/7 SB – 179 AB) (2015: .337/.440/.468 – 39 BB/29 K – 6/7 SB – 205 AB)

45. St. Joseph’s SR 3B Stefan Kancylarz: strong; 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .265/.347/.308 – 26 BB/24 K – 5/7 SB – 211 AB) (2013: .283/.408/.467 – 35 BB/33 K – 5/6 SB – 184 AB) (2014: .349/.436/.529 – 27 BB/24 K – 2/3 SB – 172 AB) (2015: .317/.424/.505 – 32 BB/29 K – 2/4 SB – 186 AB)

46. Wichita State JR 3B/RHP Willie Schwanke: 88-92 FB; good cut-SL; like his approach a lot; has bounced around a lot, so never been able to put it all together; upside play for sure; Arkansas transfer; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .200/.349/.243 – 16 BB/19 K – 0/0 SB – 70 AB) (2014*: .324/.426/.532 – 32 BB/26 K – 1 SB – 173 AB) (2014*: 26 K/24 BB – 52.1 IP – 4.64 ERA) (2015: 6.82 K/9 – 3.00 BB/9 – 33 IP – 3.00 ERA) (2015: .182/.280/.273 – 2 BB/3 K – 0/0 SB – 22 AB)

47. North Florida SR 3B/2B Trent Higginbothem: gap power; good glove; 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .335/.393/.495 – 18 BB/18 K – 0/0 SB – 173 AB) (2015: .305/.365/.439 – 25 BB/26 K – 1/1 SB – 246 AB)

48. Furman SR 3B Chris Ohmstede: power upside; 5-9, 200 pounds (2012: .273/.317/.442 – 8 BB/30 K – 1/3 SB – 154 AB) (2013: .279/.320/.509 – 13 BB/45 K – 3/5 SB – 222 AB) (2014: .318/.383/.511 – 21 BB/35 K – 6/7 SB – 233 AB) (2015: .315/.366/.539 – 15 BB/31 K – 4/4 SB – 241 AB)

49. Fresno State JR 3B/OF Kevin Viers: good athlete; power upside; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .251/.302/.405 – 13 BB/50 K – 5/8 SB – 195 AB) (2014: .222/.304/.320 – 21 BB/55 K – 2/5 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .257/.349/.422 – 25 BB/37 K – 6/9 SB – 187 AB)

50. Evansville JR 3B Jonathan Ramon: power upside; 5-10, 200 pounds (2013: .276/.368/.425 – 16 BB/39 K – 1/1 SB – 127 AB) (2014: .234/.333./312 – 11 BB/41 K – 2/3 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .304/.409/.485 – 24 BB/55 K – 4/4 SB – 194 AB)

51. George Mason JR 3B Kent Blackstone: 5-11, 190 pounds (2015: .256/.380/.446 – 32 BB/23 K – 4/5 SB – 195 AB)

52. Miami (Ohio) rSO 3B Adam Yacek: 6-1, 180 pounds (2015: .340/.402/.579 – 12 BB/25 K – 2/4 SB – 159 AB)

53. Oral Roberts JR 3B Rolando Martinez: power upside; 6-0, 185 pounds (2015: .322/.403/.405 – 16 BB/21 K – 1/2 SB – 121 AB)

54. Utah rSO 3B Dallas Carroll: good athlete; 6-0, 190 pounds (2013: .282/.361/.350 – 11 BB/14 K – 7/9 SB – 103 AB) (2015: .283/.407/.332 – 28 BB/22 K – 16/26 SB – 187 AB)

55. Missouri JR 3B/1B Josh Lester: average speed; 6-2, 210 pounds (2013: .273/.329/.377 – 13 BB/22 K – 1/1 SB – 154 AB) (2014: .237/.298/.278 – 18 BB/25 K – 4/11 SB – 194 AB) (2015: .280/.363/.436 – 30 BB/30 K – 2/6 SB – 211 AB)

56. Texas A&M SR 3B/RHP Logan Nottebrok: power upside; strong arm; can also play OF; good approach; not a great defender; 90-93 FB with sink; good upper-80s SL; 6-3, 225 pounds (2014: .250/.342/.478 – 19 BB/29 K – 0/0 SB – 136 AB) (2015: .220/.310/.440 – 10 BB/23 K – 1/1 SB – 100 AB

57. Arkansas rJR 3B Mike Bernal: good defender; good athlete; Oklahoma State transfer; 5-11, 190 pounds (2014: .250/.357/.317 – 12 BB/41 K – 1/2 SB – 180 AB) (2015: .282/.416/.396 – 25 BB/34 K – 1/5 SB – 149 AB)

58. Georgia rSO 3B Trevor Kieboom: power upside; steady glove; 6-4, 230 pounds (2014*: .325/.437/.414 – 34 BB/30 K – 10/11 SB – 191 AB) (2015: .241/.359/.324 – 19 BB/33 K – 0/0 SB – 108 AB)

59. Nebraska SR 3B/1B Blake Headley: power upside; good glove; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .302/.372/.355 – 19 BB/32 K – 1/2 SB – 169 AB) (2014: .323/.370/.413 – 16 BB/30 K – 2/3 SB – 201 AB) (2015: .271/.345/.425 – 26 BB/39 K – 0/5 SB – 221 AB)

60. Northwestern State SR 3B Chase Daughdrill: 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .324/.410/.401 – 24 BB/37 K – 5/9 SB – 222 AB) (2015: .324/.417/.476 – 28 BB/32 K – 6/9 SB – 210 AB)

61. Oregon JR 3B/SS Matt Eureste: average or better speed; some pop; good glove; can also play OF; 6-1, 190 pounds (2015: .249/.330/.333 – 18 BB/33 K – 7/13 SB – 177 AB)

62. Ohio State JR 3B/1B Jake Bosiokovic: good athlete; average speed; interesting hit tool; too aggressive; good defender; 6-6, 220 pounds (2013: .278/.344/.374 – 16 BB/57 K – 4/5 SB – 198 AB) (2014: .268/.358/.372 – 16 BB/47 K – 1/2 SB – 164 AB
63.
South Alabama SR 3B/RHP Bud Collura: good speed; 92-94 FB; 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: .257/.370/.271 – 37 BB/25 K – 2/3 SB – 214 AB) (2014: .297/.359/.330 – 9 BB/15 K – 0/2 SB – 91 AB) (2015: .303/.368/.353 – 24 BB/29 K – 16/24 SB – 241 AB)

64. Seton Hall SR 3B Kyle Grimm: 5-11, 190 pounds (2012: .329/.409/.364 – 14 BB/15 K – 2/2 SB – 143 AB) (2013: .341/.422/.407 – 12 BB/11 K – 5/5 SB – 91 AB) (2014: .286/.362/.392 – 17 BB/21 K – 4/4 SB) (2015: .297/.382/.365 – 19 BB/13 K – 2/2 SB – 148 AB)

65. Bowling Green rSR 3B Brandon Howard: good defensive tools; good arm; good speed; 6-0, 165 pounds (2012: .226/.271/.252 – 6 BB/39 K – 3/7 SB – 159 AB) (2013: .203/.318/.243 – 22 BB/47 K – 4/7 SB – 148 AB) (2014: .299/.393/.362 – 17 BB/35 K – 23/24 SB – 127 AB) (2015: .296/.429/.374 – 38 BB/49 K – 42/50 SB – 179 AB)

66. San Diego State SR 3B/1B Ryan Muno: steady defender, average across the board defensively; slow; interesting hit tool; 6-1, 210 pounds (2012: .308/.407/.432 – 18 BB/34 K – 5/7 SB – 185 AB) (2013: .318/.419/.488 – 28 BB/38 K – 0/1 SB – 170 AB) (2014: .268/.320/.333 – 9 BB/27 K – 1/1 SB – 138 AB) (2015: .246/.333/.362 – 14 BB/30 K – 1/5 SB – 138 AB)

67. Wichita State JR 3B Chase Rader: interesting bat; good athlete; strong; good speed; 6-0, 210 pounds (2015: .239/.363/.381 – 19 BB/59 K – 13/18 SB – 176 AB)

68. College of Charleston rSR 3B/RHP Brandon Glazer: plus defender; strong arm; good raw power; 85-90 FB, 92 peak; CU; SL; fresh arm; 6-2, 210 pounds (2012: .313/.407/.500 – 17 BB/29 K – 128 AB – 4/4 SB) (2014: .221/.297/.324 – 20 BB/62 K – 7/10 SB – 222 AB) (2015: 5.11 K/9 – 1.00 BB/9 – 80 IP – 2.67 ERA)

69. Maine SR 3B Luke Morrill: 6-4, 215 pounds (2014: .250/.340/.341 – 5 BB/9 K – 0/2 SB – 44 AB) (2015: .367/.438/.503 – 22 BB/25 K – 8/9 SB – 177 AB)

70. Massachusetts-Lowell SR 3B Matthew Sanchez: good glove; 5-9, 180 pounds (2014: .357/.409/.420 – 11 BB/26 K – 14/17 SB – 157 AB) (2015: .327/.428/.431 – 22 BB/25 K – 18/23 SB – 153 AB)

71. Purdue SR 3B/SS Brandon Krieg: good speed; power upside; strong arm; 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .264/.329/.337 – 14 BB/31 K – 12/15 SB – 193 AB) (2015: .279/.322/.396 – 15 BB/48 K – 11/13 SB – 222 AB)

72. Houston SR 3B/1B Justin Montemayor: strong hit tool; average at best arm; approach needs work; 6-3, 225 pounds (2013: .315/.380/.414 – 19 BB/56 K – 3/5 SB – 222 AB) (2014: .298/.345/.371 – 13 BB/47 K – 0/0 SB – 248 AB) (2015: .184/.279/.230 – 25 BB/39 K – 3/3 SB – 196 AB)

73. Mississippi State rJR 3B/2B John Holland: good speed; steady glove; Florida State transfer; 5-11, 185 pounds (2015: .246/.316/.316 – 19 BB/26 K – 1/2 SB – 171 AB)

74. Missouri JR 3B/1B Zach Lavy: power upside; 6-3, 220 pounds (2014: .196/.318/.232 – 10 BB/13 K – 0/2 SB – 56 AB) (2015: .238/.281/.367 – 12 BB/50 K – 11/12 SB – 210 AB)

75. Arkansas-Little Rock SR 3B/RHP Tanner Rockwell: 6-3, 200 pounds (2014: .321/.400/.526 – 26 BB/40 K – 4/4 SB – 209 AB) (2014: 10.96 K/9 – 7.43 BB/9 – 22 IP – 1.57 ERA) (2015: .314/.386/.443 – 20 BB/25 K – 3/5 SB – 185 AB)

76. Rice JR 3B Grayson Lewis: steady glove; 5-11, 185 pounds (2015: .277/.444/.301 – 19 BB/13 K – 2/3 SB – 83 AB)

77. Presbyterian SR 3B Jay Lizanich: 6-1, 185 pounds (2012: .316/.354/.353 – 12 BB/26 K – 5/7 SB – 190 AB) (2013: .272/.320/.320 – 14 BB/18 K – 3/4 SB – 206 AB) (2014: .193/.253/.218 – 12 BB/24 K – 1/2 SB – 197 AB) (2015: .344/.394/.455 – 18 BB/13 K – 4/6 SB – 224 AB)

78. Oral Roberts JR 3B Chase Stafford: 6-0, 185 pounds (2015: .301/.426/.438 – 31 BB/31 K – 8/9 SB – 153 AB)

79. Michigan State rSR 3B Mark Weist: 6-3, 215 pounds (2015: .346/.407/.526 – 17 BB/25 K – 11/15 SB – 228 AB)

80. North Carolina Greensboro JR 3B Collin Woody: 6-1, 200 pounds (2015: .296/.362/.508 – 20 BB/28 K – 1/2 SB – 199 AB)

81. Central Michigan JR 3B/OF Justin Wagler: good athlete; good power; good speed; good defensive tools; 6-2, 170 pounds (2013: .222/.290/.368 – 10 BB/29 K – 1/1 SB – 117 AB) (2014: .234/.330/.349 – 14 BB/32 K – 9/11 SB – 192 AB)

82. Morehead State rSO 3B Alex Stephens: 5-10 (2015: .331/.360/.543 – 6 BB/9 K – 2/2 SB – 127 AB)

83. St. Bonaventure JR 3B/RHP Thad Johnson: 5-9, 170 pounds (2014: 5.81 K/9 – 2.32 BB/9 – 31 IP – 4.35 ERA) (2014: .290/.381/.391 – 18 BB/19 K – 3/7 SB – 169 AB) (2015: .354/.403/.481 – 11 BB/18 K – 1/3 SB – 189 AB)

84. Indiana State JR 3B Andy Young: 5-11, 190 pounds (2015: .296/.378/.498 – 14 BB/33 K – 4/5 SB – 203 AB)

85. Wagner JR 3B/OF Ben Ruta: 6-3, 200 pounds (2013: .322/.409/.373 – 13 BB/15 K – 2/2 SB – 118 AB) (2014: .250/.322/.358 – 15 BB/15 K – 18/21 SB – 204 AB) (2015: .327/.412/.469 – 29 BB/33 K – 10/15 SB – 196 AB)

86. Cal State Fullerton JR 3B Jerrod Bravo: 5-10, 200 pounds (2015: .333/.456/.442 – 17 BB/20 K – 4/5 SB – 120 AB)

87. Winthrop SR 3B/OF Brad Kaczka: 6-1, 200 pounds (2015: .369/.429/.442 – 22 BB/26 K – 12/16 SB – 217 AB)

88. Incarnate Word JR 3B Brance Kahle: quick bat; above-average arm; 6-1, 175 pounds (2015: .266/.340/.379 – 17 BB/28 K – 0/0 SB – 177 AB)

89. Portland SR 3B Cody Lenahan: power upside; average at best arm; improving as defender; 6-4, 200 pounds (2013: .326/.356/.374 – 9 BB/37 K – 4/10 SB – 190 AB) (2014: .203/.244/.266 – 8 BB/33 K – 4/6 SB – 192 AB) (2015: .271/.292/.424 – 6 BB/52 K – 0/3 SB – 210 AB)

90. Pacific JR 3B JJ Wagner: good defender; strong arm; 6-3, 200 pounds (2013: .195/.250/.293 – 6 BB/25 K – 0/0 SB – 123 AB) (2014: .190/.253/.232 – 14 BB/35 K – 4/6 SB – 168 AB) (2015: .250/.300/.307 – 11 BB/40 K – 2/5 SB – 176 AB)

91. Nicholls State JR 3B Kyle Reese: 6-0, 185 pounds (2015: .377/.413/.527 – 13 BB/33 K – 4/5 SB – 207 AB)

92. UAB SR 3B Nathan Vincent: good glove; above-average speed; 5-11, 200 pounds (2014: .216/.285/.296 – 14 BB/54 K – 5/6 SB – 162 AB) (2015: .238/.310/.340 – 16 BB/64 K – 8/10 SB – 206 AB)

93. Stony Brook JR 3B Johnny Caputo: like his bat a lot, but still waiting on it to show up in games; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .249/.289/.333 – 10 BB/63 K – 5/9 SB – 225 AB) (2014: .236/.295/.352 – 10 BB/30 K – 1/1 SB – 165 AB) (2015: .257/.279/.352 – 2 BB/24 K – 3/3 SB – 105 AB)

94. Long Island-Brooklyn SR 3B Bobby Webb: power upside; strong; 6-2, 210 pounds (2014: .369/.407/.466 – 8 BB/16 K – 1/2 SB – 176 AB) (2015: .251/.310/.383 – 12 BB/29 K – 3/4 SB – 175 AB)

95. La Salle SR 3B Cameron Johnson: 5-11, 200 pounds (2014: .308/.337/.473 – 7 BB/37 K – 2/2 SB – 169 AB) (2015: .327/.381/.509 – 15 BB/47 K – 3/5 SB – 220 AB)

96. Washington SR 3B Alex Schmidt: 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: .081/.190/.135 – 5 BB/9 K – 0/1 SB – 37 AB) (2014: .233/.316/.360 – 13 BB/39 K – 0/1 SB – 172 AB) (2015: .283/.364/.449 – 22 BB/39 K – 1/1 SB – 187 AB)

97. Southeast Missouri State SR 3B Andy Lennington: 6-1, 180 pounds (2014: .312/.336/.433 – 11 BB/52 K – 9/15 SB – 231 AB) (2015: .333/.390/.500 – 19 BB/43 K – 4/7 SB – 204 AB)

98. St. Mary’s JR 3B Anthony Villa: 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .291/.356/.362 – 19 BB/30 K – 2/5 SB – 196 AB) (2014: .276/.335/.345 – 20 BB/36 K – 4/8 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .343/.415/.488 – 20 BB/37 K – 1/5 SB – 201 AB)

99. Ball State SR 3B Elbert Devarie: 6-0, 170 pounds (2015: .332/.394/.454 – 19 BB/29 K – 4/7 SB – 229 AB)

100. UC Irvine JR 3B Mitchell Holland: 6-0, 215 pounds (2015: .325/.382/.482 – 13 BB/37 K – 1/3 SB – 197 AB)

*****

101. Fairleigh Dickinson JR 3B Joel Roman: 5-8, 185 pounds (2014: .293/.316/.393 – 4 BB/20 K – 0/0 SB – 150 AB) (2015: .246/.351/.438 – 17 BB/29 K – 1/2 SB – 130 AB)

102. Saint Louis JR 3B/SS Josh Bunselmeyer: 6-0, 180 pounds (2015: .275/.353/.430 – 23 BB/48 K – 2/2 SB – 193 AB)

103. Chicago State SR 3B Matt Schmidt: 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .283/.360/.323 – 10 BB/11 K – 3/3 SB – 99 AB) (2015: .331/.406/.444 – 12 BB/26 K – 1/3 SB – 142 AB)

104. Marshall JR 3B Aaron Bossi: 5-11, 190 pounds (2015: .305/.351/.429 – 7 BB/15 K – 1/6 SB – 105 AB)

105. Fairleigh Dickinson JR 3B/OF Ryan Brennan: 6-2, 180 pounds (2014: .285/.344/.354 – 10 BB/27 K – 2/4 SB – 144 AB) (2015: .261/.318/.449 – 7 BB/26 K – 1/4 SB – 138 AB)

106. Appalachian State SR 3B Noah Holmes: 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .291/.387/.412 – 21 BB/34 K – 0/1 SB – 148 AB)

107. Air Force SR 3B/2B Noah Pierce: 6-1, 190 pounds (2014: .296/.317/.429 – 5 BB/33 K – 2/4 SB – 196 AB) (2015: .274/.338/.447 – 14 BB/38 K – 12/14 SB – 208 AB)

108. Fordham JR 3B Ian Edmiston: 5-11, 180 pounds (2015: .307/.360/.406 – 11 BB/29 K – 6/12 SB – 192 AB)

109. Siena SR 3B Justin Esquerra: 6-1, 210 pounds (2015: .311/.376/.425 – 19 BB/46 K – 0/0 SB – 193 AB)

110. Bradley rJR 3B Paul Solka: 6-3, 200 pounds (2015: .286/.381/.434 – 16 BB/46 K – 0/1 SB – 182 AB)

111. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi JR 3B Cody Clarke: power upside; good speed; 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .194/.269/.235 – 7 BB/18 K – 0/0 SB – 98 AB)

SEC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team – HITTERS

First Team

Louisiana State JR C Chris Chinea
South Carolina SR 1B Kyle Martin
Louisiana State JR 2B Alex Bregman
Vanderbilt JR SS Dansby Swanson
Florida SR 3B Josh Tobias
Florida JR OF Harrison Bader
Louisiana State JR OF Andrew Stevenson
Tennessee JR OF Christin Stewart

Second Team

Georgia JR C Zack Bowers
Vanderbilt rJR 1B Zander Wiel
South Carolina JR 2B Max Schrock
Georgia rSO 3B Trevor Kieboom
Florida SR 3B Josh Tobias
Tennessee JR OF/LHP Vincent Jackson
Vanderbilt JR OF Rhett Wiseman
Arkansas SO OF Andrew Benintendi

There are so many prospects here that I’m going to do my best to touch on as many as possible as we whip around the diamond. There are some quoted bits from previous entries when applicable so this isn’t entirely original content, but it’s over 6,000 words…and that’s before we get to the pitching. Buckle up.

LSU JR C Chris Chinea is a good athlete with a big raw power and a solid defensive reputation. His teammate SR C Kade Scivicque joins him in what has to be one of college ball’s top catching tandems. It would hardly be a surprise to see the talented Scivicque get selected before Chinea with the former’s senior sign status giving him the edge for teams that view them as comparable talents. I look at Texas A&M SR C Mitchell Nau in a similar way to Scivicque: both are solid senior signs that should come relatively cheaply, provide a steadying presence for young arms, and give you a chance at a big league backup catcher down the line.

Alabama SO C Will Haynie has obvious upside in his 6-5, 230 pound frame. Catchers built like that with plus raw power and plus arm strength get chances even when the overall package – Haynie struggled badly last season and has only made modest improvements in 2015 — doesn’t amount to what you’d expect. A team might bet on his tools higher than expected, but I think the most realistic outcome would be a return to Tuscaloosa in 2016. No need to rush Haynie just because he’s a draft-eligible sophomore, though I suppose the question as to whether or not his development would be better served in college or in the pros going forward is one worth asking. I typically side with the pro side on matters like these, but Haynie needs the kind of at bats that playing every day in the SEC would give him. He’s almost too raw a player to take on the pros right now; I’d worry that he’d get lost in the shuffle of pro ball as even the best player development staffs can only take on so many projects at any one time.

Georgia JR C Zack Bowers can’t match Haynie in terms of sheer mass (Bowers is listed at 6-1, 200), but offers a similarly appealing plus raw power/plus arm strength package. His glove remains a work in progress, but the strides he has made as a hitter this year have been encouraging. He’s still going to swing and miss more than you’d like, but there’s a chance with continued work he can get that aspect under enough control to put his big raw power to use. I’ve personally moved away from the arm/power catcher archetype in recent years (I know lean towards athleticism and plate discipline), but the upside of a player like Bowers is undeniable. To an extent, how much you like Bowers (and Haynie, for that matter) comes down to how much confidence you have in your player development staff working with these kinds of players. If you believe that you can coach up defense and approach, then the raw talent of the arm/power catchers supersedes any concerns. I can buy that defense can always be improved – the Cubs sure seem to think so – but changing a guy’s approach at the plate is a gigantic challenge.

If he can convince teams that he can work defensively as a four-corners (1B/3B/LF/RF) prospect, then South Carolina JR 1B Kyle Martin could wind up drafted higher than most other straight college first basemen in his class. He has the athleticism and arm strength to pull off such a move, though it remains to be seen if the primary first baseman can make the transition in pro ball. As a hitter he’s improved every season – especially in the power department – enough to make a case that he could just keep mashing enough to get a shot down the line even if he’s locked into first base only. Of course, we say it every year and it bears repeating yet again: the tremendous offensive demands of the position makes projecting any amateur first basemen as a regular a long shot. Guys who can play multiple spots – like Martin potentially, as well as LSU SR 1B Conner Hale (who has also seen time at 2B and 3B), Georgia JR 1B Morgan Bunting (3B/OF…when he plays), and Auburn JR 1B Dylan Smith (OF…when he plays) – tend to wind up the most interesting prospects on draft day.

I liked Vanderbilt rJR 1B Zander Wiel last season as a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore, so it should be no shock that I like him again as a draft-eligible redshirt junior. Power, strength, and enough patience make him one of college ball’s better first base prospects. When I wonder here about why certain guys don’t get talked about more, I sometimes stop and think, “Well, how much have I publicly praised the player?” Almost always, I haven’t. I’ve thought about him a lot and maybe fired off some behind-the-scenes type things about the guy, but never given him the public recognition he deserves. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad I did this conference previews even if they did monopolize much of my free time over the past few months. There are so many more players that aren’t projected to be top ten picks that baseball fans should know about, and a quality first base prospect at one of the best programs in the country is one of them.

And now for something totally different. Mississippi SR 1B Sikes Orvis is one of college ball’s most famous names. His colorful personality, noteworthy facial hair (since lopped off, sadly), egg-like bod, and near weekly appearances on ESPN’s coverage of the SEC make him a worthy ambassador for the game and one of the most well-known players to casual college baseball/draft fans (if you’re an athlete who my wife recognizes on TV as she flicks by, then you’re famous). On top of all that, he’s also a pretty good college baseball player. He’s a better athlete and defender than his body suggests, and his power bat is nothing to mess with. The profile is a long shot to ever top out as anything but a 4A slugger, but it’ll be a fun ride. Equally entertaining plus-sized Mississippi State rSR 1B Wes Rea is in the same boat. I don’t know how high he’ll climb in the minors, but all eyes will be on the 6-5, 275 pound ATHLETE at every minor league park he sets foot in. That’s more than most mid-round prospects can say, so I’d argue he’s already ahead of the game.

LSU JR 2B/SS Alex Bregman and South Carolina JR 2B Max Schrock have been covered already, so I’ll be brief with each here. On Bregman…DID YOU KNOW that as of 4/3/15, he has more home runs (7) than strikeouts (5)? That’s good, right? His defense has also universally lauded this spring, enough so that some smart people are starting to lead the Bregman as pro shortstop charge once again. Two things about that: 1) I think whatever team drafts him does so with playing him at shortstop for at least the remainder of 2015 and possibly even 2016. I’m not sure what happens after that, but my hunch is that he’ll be given every shot to stay at shortstop despite what haters like me write. I mean, if Corey Seager is still technically a shortstop, then why won’t a team stick with Bregman at the six-spot as long as possible? 2) As a “hater,” I’m encouraged about the positive reports about his defense, but more so because now I’m more sure than ever that he could be a plus glove at second rather than a future pro shortstop. Any way you look at it his improved defense is a good thing even if it does muddle the Bregman narrative up a bit.

That wasn’t particularly brief, so I’ll try again with Schrock. I’ve read in multiple places how Schrock has been a disappointment this year for South Carolina. We’re not talking from a draft perspective, but from a 2015 college production point of view. His batting average is over fifty points lower so far this year, so I guess that has to be why I keep hearing about his struggles this year. It’s certainly not about his OBP because, lower average or not, he’s getting on base at a higher clip this year (.379) than he did last year (.366). You could fairly point to his decrease in power so far this year, but it’s not so far off – especially with the added OBP value – to say he’s having a down year relative to what he’s done in the past. From a draft prospect perspective I was hoping for last year’s numbers plus improvements across the board (I’m selfish like that), but he’s hardly been disappointing through 105 at bats. I know this doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I feel better for getting that off my chest.

Alabama JR 2B/SS Mikey White’s power breakout has had many talking him up as a possible third baseman as a professional. I don’t think the power spike is real – he’s a really good hitter, but not somebody I would have had down for much more than average power going forward – but it’s the scouts he has to convince, not me. I had somebody smart (and, because I know he wouldn’t mind me saying this, also super old) recently compare him to a righthanded Graig Nettles. That feels a little rich for me – Nettles’ raw numbers don’t blow you away, but he’s a borderline HOF third baseman if going off of JAWS – but it’s an interesting comparison to a historically underrated player who once made the transition from second base to third. Lost in this whole conversation is White’s potential to remain at shortstop. Like those who will fight you to the death on Alex Bregman’s future position, there are some college baseball loyalists who will get very mad if you suggest White will have to move out of the six-spot as a pro. Believe it or not, I understand where those fans of White’s game are coming from: he’s as hard working as any prospect you’ll find, a tremendous team leader, and his baseball instincts are off the charts. Do those intangibles make up for average at best foot speed and suboptimal range? Despite the leading question, White has more of a shot to stick a shortstop for a few years than I had thought coming into the year. I still think either second or third makes more sense, and I’m not entirely sold on the bat being good enough to make him an everyday player, but the comparisons to former Alabama star Josh Rutledge…wait, this felt familiar so I searched my site for my last Rutledge reference and turns out I’ve written almost all this before. Turns out writing 10,000 words a week about college baseball for two months on end leaves you with mush for brains. Here’s my section on White from January…

It goes against a lot of what I’ve written previously, most notably in the LSU preview when discussing Alex Bregman, so don’t read too much into my listing of JR 2B/SS Mikey White’s two most likely pro positions in that precise (2B/SS) order. White could very well wind up sticking at short as a professional; in fact, I reserve the right to switch that up a half-dozen times in my mind (and in print!) over the next few months. Working very much for him are his tremendous instincts, which rank among the best I’ve seen at the amateur level. Though impossible for the amateur eye to quantify, he’s one of those players who always seems to be in the middle of the action on the field, almost always doing something positive after finding himself in the right place at the right time. Watch him for a game or even a series and you might chalk it up as a coincidence, but we’ve now got two years of college, plenty of high-level summer ball, and, depending on who you are lucky enough to talk to, a year or more of tracking him in high school to go off of at this point. If his preternatural ability to be at the right place at the right time is just a coincidence, then I no longer understand the meaning of the word.

There’s a perfectly reasonable and logical Josh Rutledge comp out there (can’t recall the origin) for White that I don’t hate, though I think White is a truer traditional middle infielder (better glove, less power) than Rutledge ever was. There’s also been a Nolan Fontana comparison floating around with Baseball America as the source. I think the Fontana comp is a little bit stronger (both players relying as much on smarts and positioning than raw athleticism as defenders), but, like all comps, it’s still imperfect: Fontana always had an elite approach as a hitter as well as, in my personal view, a surer path to remain at shortstop professionally. The best comparison that comes to mind for me is current Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer. Both guys have good size, strong arms, and have been universally praised over the years for having high baseball IQs. All that, and their sophomore year numbers aren’t all that far off…

JM: .299/.359/.481 – 15 BB/28 K – 5/7 SB
MW: .300/.399/.443 – 27 BB/44 K – 3/5 SB

Mercer followed that up with another quality season highlighted by a power spike significant enough to get him popped with the 79th overall pick in 2008. He then experienced a slow and steady climb through the Pirates minor league system before breaking through as a legitimate regular at short for Pittsburgh in 2013. If Mikey White follows the same path then we can pencil him as a third round pick this June with the chance to hit the big leagues by 2020. Doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me, though I think you could at least argue that he’ll be a faster riser but with more of a utility upside. The latter was often said about Mercer throughout the earliest portion of his career, so you never know.

White has blown past what Mercer did his junior season, especially from a power standpoint. I’ve touched on the veracity of the realness of that power before, but without much evidence against it I’m inclined to believe something good is going on with either his swing, strength, or some combination thereof. A third round selection might be a little light based on what White has done so far this year, though I remain skeptical of a heretofore non-power bat hitting for this kind of pop with the kind of plate discipline red flags evident in White’s game.

I’m about as confused on White as I’ve been on a college player so far this season. I’m no scout, but, as a baseball fan, he is exactly the kind of player I feel like I legitimately need to see more of with my own two eyes in order to better understand his strengths and weaknesses. I want to keep putting him into certain restrictive places in my mind – he’s a scrappy utility player with a “true middle infield” glove, he’s an underappreciated (by me!) power hitter who will be best at third, he’s an overrated mirage, he’s an underrated grinder – but he doesn’t seem to fit nicely in any one player archetype. Mikey White has broken me, and I think that’s a good thing. I lean towards him turning into a potential quality utility player with a chance to play regularly at second with continued progress, but will likely go back and forth a few more times between now and June.

I haven’t heard a player get the “he’ll be a better pro than college player” treatment in a long time quite like Tennessee JR SS AJ Simcox. I’m not sure how to take that exactly. It almost sounds like a dig on the Tennessee coaching staff, but I find that hard to believe knowing what I do about the people they have in place there. I think it’s more likely explained by the differences in the pro grind – all baseball, all the time – versus the multitude of various interested parties pulling one’s attention away from the day in college. I don’t know anything specific to Simcox here, for the record. He could be as focused as can be and simply in need of an all-encompassing baseball environment because of personal preference.

It’s just now occurred to me that the SEC shortstops have a pretty clear tier system. It gets even more clearly defined if we include maybe shortstops like Bregman and White. The top tier includes Vanderbilt JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson and Bregman, then there’s Florida JR SS/OF Richie Martin and White, then a big step down to Simcox, Auburn JR SS Cody Nulph, and Mississippi State SR SS Seth Heck, and a final tier of South Carolina JR SS Marcus Mooney, Arkansas rJR SS Brett McAfee, and whomever else I missed.

I’m still holding out on JR 3B Xavier Turner (formerly of Vanderbilt, though technically he’s still enrolled at school there and just not playing ball this year) as the conference’s best third base prospect. That’s as much as because of Turner’s talent (ample athleticism, bat speed in spades, and average or better raw power, speed, and arm strength) as it is the relative void at the position without him. I had Georgia rSO 3B Trevor Kieboom as the next in line, but his transition to the SEC hasn’t been all that it could be so far. He still gives you intriguing power, defensive upside, and size. Since it was a close battle for second pre-season anyway, I don’t’ feel too bad about editing my list a bit and flipping Florida SR 3B/2B Josh Tobias to the two spot for now. Tobias has always flashed talent (above-average speed, more pop than his size suggests, and a steady, versatile glove), so it’s been nice to see him put together a strong senior season. As a senior sign with a possible utility future (the approach keeps him from being a starter for me), he could find his way into the late single-digit rounds. Similar things apply to Texas A&M JR 3B/SS Logan Taylor, another versatile defender (potentially plus at third, average at both short and second) with some pop who could find a role off a big league bench one day.

I want to say that Florida JR OF Harrison Bader can do a little bit of everything, but that would be a lie. Harrison Bader can do a lot of everything. He’s a legitimate five-tool player and I’ll fight anybody who says otherwise. I’d take him over any bat in the conference not named Bregman or Swanson without a second thought. Above-average raw power, above-average to plus speed, and the ability to play center make him a lot like Vanderbilt JR OF Rhett Wiseman to me, but with a markedly better approach at the plate. If he’s there in the second, it’s an easy call. Also, I’m not a scout and smarter people have disagreed with me, but I love his swing. It’s not conventionally pretty, but his lower half and upper half are coordinated really well and there’s just enough of an uppercut (but not too much) to suggest his power surge is real.

LSU JR OF Andrew Stevenson could step into a AA lineup tomorrow (just in time for opening day!) because his defense in center (plus-plus), speed (plus), and hit tool (above-average) are all professional quality right now. He’s one of those players that it would be very hard to imagine not someday carving out a big league role for himself on the basis of his defensive prowess and game-changing speed on the base paths alone. When you add in that hit tool, his emerging pop, and an improved approach at the plate, it’s easy to envision him maturing into a table-setting leadoff hitter guaranteed to give you years of positive defensive and base running value in the bigs. I was high on Stevenson before writing this paragraph, but now I’m more pumped about him than ever.

Tennessee JR OF Christin Stewart just keeps getting better and better and better as a hitter. With an above-average hit tool and honest plus raw power, his breakout season (happening right now!) was only a matter of time. I’ve been hard on him in the past because of my perceived disconnect between his consistently praised approach at the plate and below-average BB/K ratios (1/2 for most of his first two seasons), but I’m starting to buy in. When I hear this is a below-average draft, I think of players like Stewart who have emerged as worthwhile top three round picks – not just in this draft, but in any draft – and smile. If a down draft means a few pitching prospect have gotten injured and no stone cold mortal lock for 1-1 exists, then I guess this draft isn’t very good. If it means that there will be future big league regulars selected out of college as late as the fifth round, then I feel like we’re not on the same page. I try not to cheerlead, but the bad draft stuff is just laziness from paid professionals who really ought to try digging a little deeper.

I’ve written a lot about many SEC prospects already (links to the teams that had rosters in early are found below), but there are a few players I’d like to quickly revisit based on updated information and performance. I didn’t realize it until after the fact that almost every blurb has a BUT in it, so I did my best to sneak one into each.

  • Tennessee JR OF/LHP Vincent Jackson – still love the tools, but where’s the power?
  • Vanderbilt JR OF Rhett Wiseman – status unchanged (solid tools across the board), but approach still holds him back
  • Auburn JR 2B/OF Jordan Ebert – hoping his early season struggles are more attributable to bad BABIP luck, but his BB/K is still strong enough to give me hope that he’ll hit
  • LSU JR OF Mark Laird – now view him as Stevenson without the ceiling, but still a ML player
  • Tennessee SR OF Jonathan Youngblood – tools remain elite, but hasn’t played at all; could see a fan raging about his IDIOT team drafting somebody with such “bad” college numbers without knowing how damn toolsy Youngblood actually is just as easily as he could go undrafted
  • Alabama JR OF Georgie Salem – had a hunch that he was in line for a breakout season, but I’ve been told (haven’t seen him in person this year) he’s actually regressed at the plate and looks lost at times

I didn’t get to a few SEC schools that were late to post rosters, so special mention should be made about outfielders from Arkansas, Kentucky, and Alabama. Here are their quick blurbs, all decidedly BUT free…

  • Arkansas SO OF Andrew Benintendi – well-rounded with above-average speed, solid pop, CF range, and a live bat; somehow leading the nation in homers as of this writing at only 5-10, 175 pounds, which says about his strength and swing
  • Alabama SO OF Casey Hughston – swings and misses too much for my taste, though he’s still one of the draft’s best athletes and power hitters who is having a giant second season
  • Kentucky JR OF Kyle Barrett – reminds me a little bit of Laird as a speedy center fielder with fourth outfielder upside, might be a better all-around player
  • Kentucky JR OF Ka’aI Tom – size and tools don’t blow you away, yet he’s found a way to produce at every stop

LSU

Wherever he lands defensively, Bregman is going to hit. The ability to play one of the middle infield spots and hit while doing it is what makes him as close to a first round lock as there is in this college class. If that sounds like exceedingly simple analysis, well, that’s because it is. He has an easy to identify above-average or better hit tool, average to above-average speed that plays up due to his impressive feel for the game, average raw power with an emphasis on splitting the gaps, plenty of bat speed, and a consistently smart approach at the plate. There aren’t a lot of holes you can poke in his game from an offensive standpoint. One thing I’ve found particularly fascinating about Bregman as a prospect is the response you get when his name comes up within the game. I think I’ve heard more comps on Bregman than literally any player I can remember. Something about his game just evokes that “every man” feeling deep inside talent evaluators, I guess. Take a look at the list I currently have of comps I’ve personally heard for Bregman: Mike Lansing, Mark Ellis (BA has used this), Robby Thompson, Orlando Hudson, Tony Renda, Randy Velarde, Bill Mueller, Jose Vidro, Edgardo Alfonzo, Carlos Baerga, Ray Durham, Jhonny Peralta, and Mark DeRosa. There’s also the increasingly popular Dustin Pedroia comp, which makes sense on the surface but is a scary comparison for anybody due to the unique set of circumstances (or, more plainly, an obsessive/borderline maniacal drive to be great) that has led to Pedroia’s rise in the game. I’ve also heard the cautionary comp of Bobby Crosby, though I’m not sure I buy the two being all the similar at similar points in their respective development. A statistical look comparing Bregman and Crosby makes for an interesting conversation starter (if, you know, you’re friends with other obsessive college baseball/draft fans)…

AB: .344/.408/.504 – 51 BB/46 K – 28/35 SB – 526 AB
BC: .340/.417/.496 – 70 BB/103 K – 40/51 SB – 635 AB

Top is Bregman so far, bottom is Crosby’s career college numbers. It would have worked better if I had left out the BB/K ratios, but that would have been intellectually dishonest and I’m far too morally upstanding to stoop to statistical manipulation to make a point. I’d never dream of doing such a thing. Hey, look at this comparison…

AB: .369/.419/.546 – 25 BB/24 K – 17/18 SB – 282 AB
AH: .329/.391/.550 – 20 BB/20 K – 10/11 SB – 222 AB

The top is Bregman’s first year at LSU, the bottom is Aaron Hill’s first year at LSU. Notice how I didn’t say freshman year: Hill transferred from Southern Illinois to LSU after his freshman season. Since we’ve already gone down this dark and twisted road of statistical manipulation, let’s go even deeper…

AB: .316/.397/.455 – 27 BB/21 K – 12/18 SB – 244 AB
AH: .299/.375/.463 – 15 BB/27 K – 6/7 SB – 134 AB

Those would be Bregman and Hill’s “other” college season; more specifically, you’re looking at Hill’s freshman year at Southern Illinois and Bregman’s more recent season. I’m not sure what could be gained from comparing these two seasons, but, hey, look how similar! Jokes aside — though, seriously, those are some freaky similar numbers — I think the comparison between Alex Bregman and Aaron Hill is probably the most apt comp out there at this point. If the numbers don’t sway you, just check Hill’s playing card from his draft year at Baseball America…

In a draft thin on shortstops, Hill is one of the few with legitimate offensive potential. There are questions as to whether he can handle that position all the way up to the majors, but he’ll get the shot to prove he can’t. His instincts and gritty makeup get the most out of his tools–which aren’t lacking. He has enough arm to make plays from the hole, along with range and quickness. He’s not flashy but gets the job done. At worst, the Southeastern Conference player of the year will be an all-around second baseman. Offensively, he has a beautiful swing, above-average speed and control of the strike zone. He doesn’t have plus home-run power, but he can hit the occasional longball and line balls into the gaps.

I don’t normally post full sections like that, but come on! Replace Hill for Bregman and that’s pretty much spot-on! Well, the bit about this being a draft thin on shortstops might not work that well — if the 2015 draft is strong at any one position player group in the college game, it’s shortstop — but still. Interesting to me that this quick scouting report glossed over Hill’s offensive promise much in the same way I coincidentally (I swear!) did with Bregman above. It’s almost as if it was a foregone conclusion that Hill would hit enough to play somewhere, just like how many, myself included, view Bregman today. I like Bregman to hit a little bit more than Hill, run a little bit better than Hill, and field a little bit better than Hill. Otherwise, I think the comparison is pretty damn good.

Tennessee

Of all the teams profiled so far, none have a 1-2 outfield punch of 2015 draft prospects quite like Tennessee’s duo of JR OFs Christin Stewart and Vincent Jackson. Neither are likely first round prospects, so there are imperfections in their respective games that will be watched closely this spring. Stewart betrayed his patient, pro-ready approach last season in an effort to produce gaudier power numbers. It’s hard to blame him what with power being the most coveted singular tool in baseball these days, but the cost might prove to be greater than what it winds up being worth. On one hand, the change in approach worked as Stewart’s slugging percentage jumped about one hundred points from his freshman season. Unfortunately, the major dip in plate discipline — Stewart’s K/BB almost doubled from his first season to his sophomore year (1.48 to 2.80) — now creates a new question in his game that will need to be answered on the field before June. If all of that sounds overly negative, well, it’s not supposed to. Consider it more of a reality check for a really strong prospect than anything else. I’m still very much a believer in Stewart’s raw power (legitimately plus), hit tool (solidly above-average), and overall approach to hitting, past year production be damned.

The current number two to the top ranked Stewart is Vincent Jackson. Jackson is an outstanding athlete with considerable tools — in particular, his power stacks up quite well with Stewart’s and his plus speed blows him away — who has yet to blow scouts away at Tennessee. Inconsistent performance or not, his size and skill set evoke comparisons to two-time All-Star Alex Rios, a lofty comp at first blush but a little more palatable when you remember Rios’ earliest scouting reports and slow to manifest power as a young professional. Jackson’s blend of size, speed, raw power, athleticism, and defensive upside (above-average arm and range at present) combine to make a pretty enticing prospect. In other words, he’s also pretty good.

Alabama
Georgia
Mississippi
Arkansas
Vanderbilt

Swanson broke out last season in a big, big way. His first real test at the college level was hardly a test at all as he hit .333/.411/.475 with 37 BB and 39 K in 282 AB. He also added 22 steals in 27 attempts for good measure. The numbers obviously speak for themselves, but it’s still nice when the scouting reports back it up. Swanson can really play. I’ll indirectly piggyback a bit on Baseball America’s Trea Turner (with less speed) comp and reuse one of my comps for Turner last year for Swanson. It actually fits a lot better now, so I don’t feel too bad going to the Brett Gardner well in back-to-back drafts. The package of athleticism, speed, defensive upside at a critical up-the-middle spot with an above-average hit tool and average-ish power (little less, probably) works out to a consistently above-average regular with the chance for stardom — certainly flashes of it — within reach.

There’s a bit of a gap between Vanderbilt’s (draft) class of 2015 and Wiseman, but that speaks to the strength of having four likely first round picks more so than any major deficits in Wiseman’s game. I’ve run into two interesting schools of thought about Wiseman while putting this together. The first, and I’ll admit that this was my initial view from the start, is that he’s still more tools than skills right now. The tools are quite strong, but the fact that they haven’t turned into the skills many expected by now gives some pause. Still, those tools that were clear to almost all going back to his high school days are still real and still worth getting excited about. The breakout could come any day now for him and when it does we’ll be looking at a potential first-division regular in the outfield. The opposing view believes that Wiseman’s development has gone as scripted and what we’re seeing right now is more or less what we’re going to get with him. He’s a great athlete and a far more cerebral hitter than given credit, but the tools were overstated across the board at the onset of his amateur career and now we’re seeing expectations for him correcting themselves based on what he really is. There really are no pluses in his game and no carrying tool that will help him rise above his future fourth outfielder station. I’m a believer that it’s always wise to bet on athletes having the light bulb turn on before too long, so count me in as still leaning closer to the former (and my original) position. I do understand the concerns about Wiseman potentially topping out as a “tweener” outfield prospect — he hasn’t shown the power yet to work in a corner, but that’s where he’s clearly best defensively — so going on the first day might be off the table. He’s still an intriguing blend of production (good, not mind-blowing) and tools (same) who could wind up a relative bargain if he slips much later than that. I could see him both being ranked and drafted in the same area that I had him listed (110th overall) out of Buckingham Browne & Nichols.

In any event, I don’t think Wiseman’s viewed by many as quite the prospect he was back in high school and a good part of that was the way many — me included — viewed his rawness, age, and relative inexperience as a New England high school product as positives. We all are guilty of assuming there are concretely meaningful patterns we can expect from prospect development and that all young players will continue to get better with age and experience. Development is not linear and can be wildly unpredictable. Some guys are as good as they are going to get at 17 while others don’t figure it out (unfortunately) until way after their physical peak. This speaks to the heart of what makes assessing and drafting amateurs so much fun. We’re all just trying to gather as much information on as many players as possible and then making the best possible guesses as to what we’ll wind up with.

Auburn

The surest bet in the Auburn lineup is JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert. Ebert doesn’t get enough love as one of the college game’s best pure hitters. That above-average or better hit tool combined with enough pop and speed allow him to potentially profile as an above-average regular offensively. I think his glove will play at any of the spots he’s tried — 2B, 3B, OF — but think his value will likely lie in his ability to play multiple spots — especially those where he can show off his plus arm — well. If you only knew what I just wrote about Ebert, you’d surely think he’s a big-time 2015 draft prospect, but, at least for now, an overly aggressive approach at the plate (31 BB/54 K) holds back his appeal to a degree. I still like him quite a bit; quite simply, guys with hit tools like his are not to be dismissed. If Ebert can settle in to a spot defensively (likely a corner OF spot), flash a touch more power, and clean up his approach a bit, he’ll become a prime candidate to become one of college ball’s fastest risers in 2015. I still think a pro team will try to keep him in the dirt for as long as humanly possible after signing. As an outfielder, he profiles as a high-level backup, especially if he can hang in center a bit. As an infielder, however, he’s a potential everyday contributor.

Missouri

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting

(This was my pre-season list with a few minor tweaks where I could remember to update certain position rankings. Outside of the first five picks or so, it doesn’t really reflect where I’m at roughly three months after putting it together initially. I considered not publishing it at all and waiting until I have time to do a full revision to get it up, but so long as everybody understands it is already a bit dated I figured there’s no harm sharing. Consider it a glorified follow list, if nothing else.)

  1. Vanderbilt JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson
  2. Louisiana State JR 2B/SS Alex Bregman
  3. Florida JR OF Harrison Bader
  4. Louisiana State JR OF Andrew Stevenson
  5. Florida JR SS/OF Richie Martin
  6. Tennessee JR OF Christin Stewart
  7. South Carolina JR 2B Max Schrock
  8. Tennessee JR OF/LHP Vincent Jackson
  9. Alabama JR 2B/SS Mikey White
  10. Vanderbilt JR OF Rhett Wiseman
  11. Arkansas SO OF Andrew Benintendi
  12. Auburn JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert
  13. Louisiana State JR OF Mark Laird
  14. Alabama SO OF Casey Hughston
  15. Tennessee SR OF Jonathan Youngblood
  16. Kentucky JR OF Kyle Barrett
  17. Tennessee JR SS AJ Simcox
  18. South Carolina SR 1B Kyle Martin
  19. Vanderbilt rJR 1B Zander Wiel
  20. Florida SR 3B/2B Josh Tobias
  21. Auburn JR SS Cody Nulph
  22. Alabama JR OF Georgie Salem
  23. Alabama JR 2B/RHP Kyle Overstreet
  24. Louisiana State JR C Chris Chinea
  25. Alabama SO C Will Haynie
  26. Mississippi SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis
  27. Georgia rSO 3B Trevor Kieboom
  28. Kentucky JR OF Ka’ai Tom
  29. Texas A&M JR OF/1B Jonathan Moroney
  30. Arkansas rJR OF Tyler Spoon
  31. South Carolina JR SS Marcus Mooney
  32. South Carolina JR 2B/SS DC Arendas
  33. Georgia JR C Zack Bowers
  34. Louisiana State SR C Kade Scivicque
  35. Arkansas SR OF Joe Serrano
  36. Louisiana State SR 1B/3B Conner Hale
  37. Texas A&M SR 2B/SS Blake Allemand
  38. Texas A&M SR 3B/RHP Logan Nottebrok
  39. Arkansas rJR SS Brett McAfee
  40. Vanderbilt JR OF/RHP Kyle Smith
  41. Auburn JR OF Sam Gillikin
  42. Mississippi State rSR 1B Wes Rea
  43. Texas A&M JR C/OF Boomer White
  44. Georgia JR 1B Morgan Bunting
  45. Kentucky rSO OF Storm Wilson
  46. Auburn JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith
  47. Tennessee JR OF Chris Hall
  48. Mississippi State rSO OF Cody Brown
  49. Alabama JR 3B Daniel Cucjen
  50. Mississippi State SR SS Seth Heck
  51. Texas A&M JR 3B/SS Logan Taylor
  52. Texas A&M JR 1B/RHP Hunter Melton
  53. Texas A&M SR C Mitchell Nau
  54. Kentucky JR C Zach Arnold
  55. Texas A&M JR OF JB Moss
  56. Georgia SR OF/RHP Heath Holder

Washington Nationals 2011 MLB Draft in Review

Nationals 2011 MLB Draft Selections

I admit that I don’t read much post-draft reaction (proof that you can love something like crazy and still get burnt out on it), but the overall enthusiasm for what Washington did on draft day was loud enough that it seeped into the general baseball content that I digested in mid-June. Those first four picks are a thing of beauty, no doubt about it. Each of Washington’s first four picks are flashy names that come with enough of a human interest angle (one-time consensus first overall pick! giant right with giant stuff trying to make giant leap! college star to juco star! former first rounder trying to bounce back from injury!) to hook casual baseball fans – that’s probably why I heard the positive feedback despite avoiding post-draft coverage. Each guy has serious questions, sure, but the talent is clearly evident. Trusting guy that I am, I, well, trusted those who said Washington had a great draft. Outside of their first four picks, however, I’m not sure there is too much to be excited about here. The Nationals signed one and only one high school prospect. The Nationals drafted righthanded college relievers with five straight picks from round six to round ten.

The star quality of Rice 3B Anthony Rendon makes up for a lot of Washington’s lackluster drafting past the third round. This is hardly an original thought, and I know I repeat it more than I should, but it is really tricky finding interesting things to say about the draft’s best prospects. There are only so many ways you can say “yeah, he’s really good at X, Y, and Z, perhaps a bit lacking or flawed in A and B, but, on balance, he should be a really good big league player assuming good health, a typical developmental curve, and the continuation of the existence of mankind after 2012.”

Consider the narrative for Anthony Rendon. If you didn’t know any better you’d think he really “struggled” through a “down” junior season, right? Questions about his long-term health and his power upside with the new bats were quite popular all spring. Fun story, but little about it meshes with reality. After park/schedule adjustments, Anthony Rendon got on base over 53% of the time he came to the plate. The man walked in over a quarter of his overall plate appearances. When he wasn’t patiently waiting out pitchers too afraid/smart to pitch to him, he was putting up a park/schedule adjusted slugging percentage of .537 that, while not mind-blowing, still answers plenty of questions about his ability to hit with the unfortunate combination of a balky wrist and the limp new bats. I’m all for being critical about the prospects at the top, but there is something to be said about not wanting to create weaknesses that just aren’t there. Rendon isn’t a good runner. That’s the biggest negative I can honestly say about his game right now. No prospect is a sure thing, but Rendon is as close of a lock to an above-average big league regular as any player in this draft class. Combine that safety with his legitimate all-star upside, and it is easy to see why Washington was willing to draft Rendon despite the fact he happens to play the same spot as their current best everyday hitter. Speaking of which, I really hope that Washington comes up with some kind of solution that allows Rendon to play third base in the big leagues. He’s just too damn good at the hot corner to move elsewhere. I’m not saying they should move Ryan Zimmerman for Rendon’s sake – if Rendon turns into 3/4th the player Zimmerman has turned out to be, that would be a huge win for all involved. I just want to see some kind of happy solution where all of my selfish needs are met. Not sure I’m being overly demanding in suggesting that having great players playing their best positions is a good thing for the game.

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.

Kentucky RHP Alex Meyer would be a fun prospect to do a crystal ball report on because his future can conceivably go in so many different directions. He could be a top of the rotation arm, a lockdown reliever, or a total washout incapable of getting past AA. I’m a believer because I think the gains he made in 2011 are real based on the introduction of his sinker and more consistent softer stuff. His biggest issues are almost exactly what you’d expect from a 6’9” 220 pound behemoth: repeating his mechanics and release point and the subsequent inconsistencies with both command and control. I’m banking on his better than given credit for athleticism and hoping that a good pro pitching coach will get through to him, but there’s really no way of knowing which way Meyer’s future will turn out. Ah, the joys of prospecting.

Having seen both young starters in person collegiately, I must say that Aaron Fitt’s comp of Meyer to Andrew Brackman really made me think. Despite what those who only deal with the benefit of hindsight say, Brackman was an outstanding looking amateur prospect. He was at least as highly thought of as Meyer and was quite possibly a better long-term prospect. To put it in some context, the Pirates, the team that picked fourth in Brackman’s draft year, had front office higher-ups (e.g. Ed Creech and Dave Littlefield) in regular attendance at every Brackman start I saw that year. I’m on record as loving Meyer’s raw stuff and I believe he’ll be a top of the rotation anchor once he figures it all out, but the story of Brackman’s pro struggles should serve as a cautionary tale.

Kentucky JR RHP Alex Meyer: sitting 93-97 FB, dips closer to 92-94 later in games; inconsistent but plus 84-86 spike CB that works like a SL; 79-86 CU that flashes above-average when he throws it with more velocity; 92-93 two-seamer; all about command and control – if it is on, he’s incredibly tough to hit; FB is plus-plus down in zone, very hittable when left up; mechanical tweaks are likely needed; 6-9, 220

I heard a pretty crazy comp on Miami Dade JC OF Brian Goodwin that I will share knowing full well it is about as “out there” as any comp you’ll hear. It comes from somebody close to Goodwin – not friend/family close, but more like somebody local to him who has tracked him since his high school days – so take it with a block of salt. I’d imagine that Washington fans would be pretty thrilled if Goodwin can even scrape the ceiling of this Bernie Williams comp. I like the old faster Austin Kearns comp I heard back in the day, but anytime we can make comparisons to a potential Hall of Famer is a good time. Goodwin looked much better as the year went on, so I’m hopeful he’ll continue to show all five tools as a pro. His broad set of tools should make him a solid regular in due time.

[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]

Texas Christian LHP Matt Purke ranks as one of this draft’s men of mystery. Injuries are the root cause of much of the uncertainty. Without access to his medical records, there is really no way of making a confident prediction about Purke’s future. At his healthiest he throws three plus (or almost plus) pitches: fastball, change, and slider. When banged up, he simply isn’t very good. There’s not much middle ground here.

TCU SO LHP Matt Purke: originally ranked 8th overall, but injury scare drops him; at his best throws 91-95 FB, 96-97 peak; command of FB needs work; potential plus 77-79 CU; solid CB; has shown plus 76-83 SL, but doesn’t use it anymore; SL was inconsistent, but best in upper-80s; plus makeup; sat 88-92 to start 2011, now down to upper-80s; loses feel for offspeed stuff quickly; 6-4, 180

Santa Barbara CC LHP Kylin Turnbull is a tough nut to crack. On the surface, his skill set paints the picture of a really good potential reliever. Case in point: he has an excellent fastball for a lefty, but struggles with velocity loss as innings pile up. Knife to your throat – I prefer my own grislier imagery to the played out “guy to your head” trope – I’m betting that “good lefty reliever” would be the consensus on Turnbull’s ceiling. A more daring prognosticator – or, simply, one without the fear of death driving the prediction – might look at Turnbull’s pro-caliber size, hard splitter with promise, and a slider that could be kind of sort of maybe decent after tons of reps and believe he could hold his own as a backend starter down the line. I’m hesitant about making such a bold claim (he’s more of a maybe reliever for me), but lefties with size and velocity are always in demand.

Santa Barbara CC SO LHP Kylin Turnbull: 88-92 FB, 94 peak; loses velocity early; above-average low-80s splitter; SL need work; 6-4, 200

Poor Georgia Tech 3B Matt Skole. You are in the wrong organization, my friend. If we’re talking about the possibility of Anthony Rendon moving off third or even picturing a world where a franchise player like Ryan Zimmerman moves on via trade or free agency, then what hope is there that things will work out just so and allow Skole to play third base in Washington. Like Rendon, I hope Skole gets the chance to man the hot corner somewhere, someday. His defensive tools (arm, athleticism, footwork, etc.) are better than his current ability, so one would think, given time and reps, that he could at least become average at the position. Adding the value of average defense at third on top of his existing patient and powerful bat would make him a good bet to become a solid regular down the line.

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.

Vanderbilt RHP Taylor Hill was my seventh favorite senior sign in 2011, but you could make a really strong argument that he’s the senior with the highest ceiling. Hill takes the notion that keeping the ball down is good and turns it up to 11. His sinker/slider combo is deadly when on, and his split-change drops clear out of the strike zone when he has it working. I tend to think of him as more of a groundball specialist reliever (his stuff definitely plays up in short bursts), but continued improvement in pro ball could allow him to start.

Vanderbilt SR RHP Taylor Hill: 88-91 FB with plus sink, 93-94 peak that I’ve seen with my own two eyes, have heard rumors of him hitting 95; 79-85 plus SL; very good 78-83 sinking CU also called a splitter; mechanics need smoothing out; 6-4, 225 pounds

I’ve seen more of Notre Dame RHP Brian Dupra over the years than I’ve seen certain members of my own immediate family. His fastball gets there in a hurry, but it flattens out badly when he either a) overthrows it, or b) gets deep into his pitch count. His slider is a good enough second pitch that he still has a chance to contribute as a relief arm at some point. Also helping his cause is his newfound upper-80s cutter that could become a weapon with continued use. He’s a better shot than many to help a big league pitching staff, but still a long shot.

Notre Dame SR RHP Brian Dupra: 91-95 FB; 88-91 cutter; good 79-81 SL; CU; 6-3, 205 pounds

Alright, now this is just getting ridiculous. I get that Washington spent so big on their first four picks that they had to dip into federal funds to pay everybody off – so that’s why my district keeps closer schools! – but are you really telling me they had to completely ignore the high school ranks and go back-to-back-to-back with college seniors in rounds 6, 7, and 8? One or the other, maybe, but doing both is no way to build up the kind of organizational depth an emerging franchise like Washington needs to keep the big league roster fresh. North Carolina RHP Greg Holt, come on down. Like new UNC reliever Derrick Bleeker (we’ll get to him soon), Holt has been known as much for his raw power at the plate as his pitching prowess. He has the fastball/slider thing down pat, so there is a chance he’ll pop up in a few years as a viable relief option. I’d rank the three seniors in the same order Washington drafted them with a really large gap between Hill and Dupra, and then a slightly smaller gap between Dupra and Holt.

Now Holt is a relief prospect with a fastball that sits 88-91 (93 peak) and a good low-80s slider.

I once had such high draft hopes for California RHP Dixon Anderson. Alexander, a fourth-year junior, was in line for a big 2011 season, but never found the velocity he lost from the previous season. He once showed the power stuff – mid-90s fastball, above-average low-80s breaking ball, and an emerging splitter – needed to excel in a relief role, but may have to reinvent himself as a sinker/slider/cutter guy if his four-seam heat doesn’t return. All in all, Anderson is a worthy gamble at this point in the draft.

California SO RHP Dixon Anderson: 92-94 FB; 96 FB peak; very good low-80s SL; splitter; 6-5, 225 pounds (4.89 FIP; 5.68 K/9; 3.55 BB/9)

Cuban born Barry RHP Manny Rodriguez, yet another older righthanded relief prospect from college (that’s five in a row!), impressed in his first taste of pro ball. His fastball was more consistently hitting his mid-90s peak, and the upside shown with his curve has some thinking it could be an above-average pitch in time. A nascent change gives his supporters hope he can stick in the rotation, but I believe Rodriguez would be best served airing it out in shorter outings. As much as I don’t approve of Washington using five straight early picks on college righthanders likely destined to the pen, getting one (likely), two (maybe), three (probably pushing it, but who knows) cost-controlled big league relievers out of it would help alleviate the temptation to go out and spend big bucks on volatile veteran bullpen pieces. As one of the great philosophical minds of our time once said, “that ain’t not bad!”

I always have admired Houston OF Caleb Ramsey’s (Round 11) approach to hitting, but fear he is too much of a tweener both offensively and defensively to ever rise above a AAA depth ceiling.

Great to see oft-injured Indiana LHP Blake Monar (Round 12) get the chance to give pro ball an honest shot. He’s a soft-tosser known for a big plus curve who has battled back valiantly from injuries.

mid- to upper-80s FB, peak at 87-88; plus CB; SL; injury set back progress in 2010; 6-2, 185 pounds

I can’t wait to see Walters State CC OF Cody Stubbs (Round 14) back on the field playing against major college opposition this spring. Going from Tennessee to Walters State to North Carolina certainly qualifies as the road less traveled, but Stubbs’ nomadic existence is not due to a lack of on-field talent. He has a chance to rise way up draft boards and get early round consideration in a year with little in the way of impact college bats.

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.

Biloxi HS (MS) RHP Hawtin Buchanan (Round 19) is upside personified. He’s big, he throws hard, and, due to the fact that he is big and already throws hard, he could very well throw very hard down the line. The reports on his curve improving as his senior season went on are really encouraging. That kind of aptitude will serve him well as he tries to put everything together and get himself a first round grade in a few years.

RHP Hawtin Buchanan (Biloxi HS, Mississippi): 89-91 FB with room to grow, 93-94 peak; good command; raw CB, but much improved as year went on; strong Mississippi commit; 6-8, 230

Tennessee 2B Khayyan Norfork (Round 23) was a favorite in college, but a long shot to contribute anything at the big league level. Somebody I know in the know dropped a Junior Spivey comp on him. That got a good laugh out of me, but not because it is a silly comp or anything. Who in their right mind would comp a player now or ever to Junior Spivey?

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.

The comment from last year (below) on Arizona State LHP Kyle Ottoson (Round 24) holds true today. He’ll head back for one last year at one of America’s most entertaining campuses to continue to build his junkballing crafty lefty street cred. (EDIT: Ottoson’s senior year will be at Oklahoma State, not Arizona State. Totally forgot about this.)

Ottoson’s strong commitment to Arizona State makes him another difficult sign. He doesn’t have a present above-average pitch, but throws three pitches (85-88 FB; 76-79 KCB; low-70s CU) for strikes.

You have to believe Washington scouts saw local product Georgetown C Erick Fernandez (Round 25) plenty over the years. Fernandez went to Georgetown despite being recruited by schools like NC State and Miami out of high school. He has retained much of the athleticism from his days as a middle infielder and his defense is top notch. All told he isn’t likely to be more than an organizational player, but he could hit his way into a backup role someday, especially if Washington likes how he works with some of their young organizational pitching talent.

He’s more than just a courtesy draft, I swear! South Carolina LHP Bryan Harper (Round 30), older brother of Bryce, has good enough stuff from the left side to hang around pro ball for at least a couple years. His size and mature, if still inconsistent, offspeed stuff are plusses. His upside is obviously limited and he’ll have to keep proving himself for years in the minors, but Harper has more of a shot than other older brothers of more famous top draft picks ever did. Jake Mauer, I’m talking about you.

Harper: 88-92 FB; solid 76-78 CB; emerging CU; 6-5, 190 pounds

If Southeast Guilford HS (NC) SS Josh Tobias (Round 31) can handle the defensive responsibilities at either center field or second base, he’s a potential early round pick in 2014. His raw power is exceptional for a man his size and his speed is at least an average tool (potentially much better than that depending on what day you see him run). I’d almost always err on the side of pro instruction over college, but spending three years working with the brains behind the resurgence of Florida baseball works just fine. Like a few of the other “ones that got away” you’ll read about below, Tobias has first round potential in 2014.

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

San Diego RHP Calvin Drummond (Round 34) has always had better stuff than results, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can put it all together this season for the Toreros.

San Diego SO RHP Calvin Drummond: 91-93 FB, 94 peak; 84-87 cutter/SL; 78-79 CB; 83-84 CU

Howard JC RHP Derrick Bleeker (Round 37) could really turn heads this spring as a late-inning relief option for the Tar Heels. He fits the reliever mold in all your typical ways: he throws hard (mid-90s peak), shows a breaking ball, and has intimidating size (6-5, 220 pounds). Bleeker is also a talented hitter with massive raw power who should get more and more at bats as the season unfolds.

Stanford LHP Brett Mooneyham (Round 38) is a little bit like a less famous Matt Purke. Both guys were big stars in high school that turned down sizable bonuses to play college ball. Both guys saw their stuff drop drastically because of a multiple injuries. And both guys were drafted by Washington in 2011. They are like twins! Purke signed, but Mooneyham will give it one more shot for Stanford this spring. He has the size and offspeed repertoire (love the cutter, like his change and breaking ball) to succeed, but his draft stock and pro future will be determined by his ability to reclaim his once above-average low-90s fastball. In this year’s so-so college class, Mooneyham has top three round stuff if healthy.

Stanford JR LHP Brett Mooneyham: 88-90 FB, 91-92 peak; sits 90-92 now; also seen 87-91; weak FB this summer at 86-88, 90 peak; average 78-80 SL; good 75-78 CB; good CU; 6-5; improved cutter; missed 2011 season due to finger injury

Mississippi 1B Matt Snyder (Round 44) is an all-bat prospect who faces very long odds if he hopes to play in the big leagues. That doesn’t take away from him being an excellent college slugger. Ole Miss is loaded with future talent, so Snyder will get his chances to impress scouts from the first pitch to the last out this season.

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.

Georgia OF Peter Verdin (Round 39) has set himself up to become one heck of a 2012 senior sign. He’s a great athlete with plenty of speed for center field and intriguing raw power. There has been some talk in the past about his defensive skill set working behind the plate. All that is missing is the teeny tiny matter of actually putting those tools to use on the field. Guys are senior signs for a reason, after all. If Verdin can put it all together, he could jump up close to 30 rounds next year.

Dorman HS (SC) 3B Hunter Cole (Round 49) will join Verdin in the Georgia lineup this spring. He could also play alongside Verdin in the Bulldogs outfield if the coaching staff prefers the incoming freshman there instead of at third. If he stays at the hot corner, I think he has the offensive upside and defensive tools to become a first round pick.

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.

Checking the Temperature – 2011 MLB Draft Potential First Round Prospects (High School)

Time to wrap up what seems like my first five post week in forever. Because the new layout only shows one post at a time (not sure I like this quirk, but I’m willing to try it out), here’s a quick review of the week that was:

I’m going to spend the weekend celebrating my momentous week by watching some amateur ball and getting back to all the wonderful readers who have left a whole bunch of comments and emails. Before getting to that, however, how about a real quick list of prep players that I’ve read or heard linked to the first round over the past few weeks? Obviously, we won’t have an all high school first round this year — although a first round composed entirely of college pitching can’t be ruled out — so not every player listed will be a first rounder. It is also possible that they’ll be a first rounder or five from the high school ranks that isn’t even on my list. As the Vikings showed yesterday, predicting the draft is as inexact a science (always wondered why you hear that phrase associated with sports more than almost any other professional field) as you can get…

Quick disclaimer and a request. First, this isn’t a list any kind of ranking or a personal top prospect list. It’s just an aggregation of all kinds of draft info accrued over the past few weeks. If somebody, somewhere said Shon Carson could be drafted “late in the first” or something like that, I took note and added a new name to the list. Simple as that. Here’s the request: if I left anybody off (looking over my list again, I’d guess I’m probably light on the pitching side) that has been linked to the first round elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to yell at me in the comments.  

  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)
  • 1B Nick Delmonico (Farragut HS, Tennessee)
  • 2B Phillip Evans (La Costa Canyon HS, California)
  • 2B Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS, Missouri)
  • 2B Shon Carson (Lake City HS, South Carolina)
  • 3B Travis Harrison (Tustin HS, California)
  • 3B Javier Baez (Arlington County Day HS, Florida)
  • C Austin Hedges (JSerra HS, California)
  • C Blake Swihart (Cleveland HS, New Mexico)
  • SS Francisco Lindor (Montverde Academy, Florida)
  • SS Julius Gaines (Luella HS, Georgia)
  • OF Billy Flamion (Central Catholic HS, California)
  • OF Brandon Nimmo (Cheyenne East HS, Wyoming)
  • OF Charles Tilson (New Trier HS, Illinois)
  • OF Granden Goetzman (Palmetto HS, Florida)
  • OF Derek Fisher (Cedar Crest HS, Pennsylvania)
  • OF Dwight Smith (McIntosh HS, Georgia)
  • OF Josh Bell (Jesuit College Prep School, Texas)
  • OF Shawon Dunston (Valley Christian HS, California)
  • OF Sean Trent (Bishop Moore Catholic HS, Florida)
  • OF Bubba Starling (Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kansas)
  • OF Josh Tobias (Southeast Guilford HS, South Carolina)
  • LHP Daniel Norris (Science Hill HS, Tennessee)
  • LHP Henry Owens (Edison HS, California)
  • LHP Jake Cave (Kecoughtan HS, Virginia)
  • RHP Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow HS, Oklahoma)
  • RHP Dillon Howard (Searcy HS, Arkansas)
  • RHP Dylan Bundy (Owasso HS, Oklahoma)
  • RHP Joe Ross (Bishop O’Dowd HS, California)
  • RHP Jose Fernandez (Alonso HS, Florida)
  • RHP Robert Stephenson (Alhambra HS, California)
  • RHP Taylor Guerrieri (North Augusta HS, South Carolina)
  • RHP Tyler Beede (Lawrence Academy, Massachusetts)