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2013 MLB Draft Conference Preview: Pac-12

Time for the Pac-12’s time in the sun. From where I’m sitting, the conference looks a little light in position players but plenty strong in arms. There are a few impact, early-round talents to account for in the position player group (Austin Wilson very clearly leading the way, trailed by Brian Ragira and Andrew Knapp) and some nice depth thereafter, but most of the talent in the 2013 draft class will be found on the mound. Mark Appel headlines the pitching talent with over a dozen names in serious competition to be selected second from the group. Should be a fun, competitive year with talent fairly evenly spread throughout the league. The one thing that shocked me when going through the Pac-12 rosters was the lack of interesting talent on what tends to be a traditionally strong Arizona State squad. Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon State look to be the class of the conference, at least in terms of future professional talent. Alright, enough of that…let’s get to some 2013 MLB Draft talk.

Here’s the key for the player lists:

  • Bold = locks to be drafted
  • Italics = definite maybes
  • Underlined = possible risers
  • Plain text = long shots

Here we go…

C

  • California JR C Andrew Knapp
  • Oregon State JR C Jake Rodriguez 
  • Washington State JR C Collin Slaybaugh
  • Arizona State SR C Max Rossiter 
  • Southern California JR C Jake Hernandez
  • Washington JR C Ryan Wiggins
  • Stanford JR C Brant Whiting

Without giving it a ton of thought, I think it is fair to include Andrew Knapp on any short list of best draft-eligible college catching prospects in the country. He made a really nice jump between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and I expect more of the same heading into his junior year. It is probably unfair to peg him as a “breakout” candidate for 2013 — he’s too big a name for that, I think — but a .300/.400/.500 season with improved defense behind the plate doesn’t seem out of the question. Neither Jake Rodriguez nor Collin Slaybaugh profile as everyday catchers, but both guys do enough well at the plate that their defensive versatility (infield for Rodriguez, outfield for Slaybaugh) means something beyond just a novelty. Rodriguez, who probably has the tools to play any spot on the diamond in a pinch, is especially intriguing thanks to his speed, arm, power to the gaps, and better by the day defense behind the plate. Max Rossiter and Jake Hernandez are both really good defenders who can give you a little something at the plate as well; Rossiter in particular looks like a really strong senior sign this year.

1B

  • Oregon JR 1B Ryon Healy
  • Oregon State SR 1B Danny Hayes
  • Washington State rJR 1B Adam Nelubowich
  • California rJR 1B Devon Rodriguez 
  • Arizona JR 1B Brandon Dixon
  • Stanford SR 1B Justin Ringo
  • California JR 1B Jacob Wark
  • UCLA JR 1B Pat Gallagher
  • Oregon JR 1B Jake Jelmini
  • Arizona JR 1B Sam Parris

Healy in a nutshell, from my notes: “loved him out of HS, but now a 1B only [was a 3B in HS] so he’ll have to hit a ton to make it.” I still believe in the bat, but admit to liking Healy a little bit more than your usual 1B prospect thanks to the “break glass in case of emergency” option that is his right arm. His most direct path to the big leagues is via his bat, obviously, though his mid-90s fastball past could give him an alternate route if necessary. Danny Hayes is a legitimately great college hitter. His ability to control the strike zone, hit for power, and do it all while operating at far less than 100% physically makes him one of my favorite 2013 prospects to watch. Still, the road to the upper-levels of professional ball is littered with great college hitters who can’t replicate their success enough to make it once hitting becomes a full-time job. Adam Nelubowich has a lot of fans in the scouting community, but I’m still reticent to go all-in on him as a prospect. For all the beauty of his swing and the clearly evident raw power, he hasn’t had a whole lot of positive outcomes as a college player. I think most of his backers would also argue fairly strongly against his placement on the 1B list, citing his decent foot speed, solid reactions, and overall improved defense at the hot corner. As even a slightly below-average 3B, I’d put him on top of the list of eligible PAC-12 prospects, but, for now, I’ll stick with my perhaps overly conservative approach.

2B

  • Stanford JR 2B Lonnie Kauppila
  • UCLA JR 2B Kevin Williams
  • Arizona State JR 2B Mike Benjamin 
  • Stanford JR 2B Brett Michael Doran
  • Oregon JR 2B Aaron Payne
  • Southern California SR 2B Adam Landecker

Lonnie Kauppila should be listed with the shortstops — he’s very good there — but I like his defense so much at second base, where he has the potential to be at or near the top of whatever league ranking he’s in, that he stays here for now. Ultimately, his value will likely come as a defense-first backup middle infielder, so it won’t really matter what position is his primary spot going forward. Kevin Williams is enough middle infielder with legitimate plus defensive ability and outstanding athleticism in the conference. Mike Benjamin has the most pop out of the group, so consider his a name to follow this spring. Fun line on Brett Michael Doran, from my notes: “walks and talks like a big league veteran.” So, if nothing else, he’s got that going for him.

3B

  • Oregon State JR 3B Jerad Casper
  • UCLA SR 3B Cody Regis
  • Southern California JR 3B Kevin Swick
  • Utah JR 3B Trey Nielsen

Third base is easily the weakest position group in the conference with a strong likelihood that no Pac-12 prospect manning the hot corner will get drafted this June. The steady fielding Jerad Casper has the best chance at the moment, though much remains to be seen in how his bat will translate to major college ball. Cody Regis will likely play little to no 3B this spring for UCLA, but has shown enough there to warrant a switch back if he gets a shot in pro ball. Swick gets high marks for his instincts and intelligence on the diamond, and his power upside remains intriguing, but he’ll have to come a long way with the bat to get noticed in time for the draft this summer. The only thing I have on Nielsen in my notes outside of basic biographical information is that he can spin a good breaking ball. That’s a positive to be sure, but not exactly what you want your calling card to be as a third base prospect.

SS

  • Oregon State SR SS Tyler Smith
  • Oregon SR SS JJ Altobelli
  • Oregon State JR SS Kavin Keyes
  • UCLA JR SS Pat Valaika
  • Southern California JR SS Jimmy Roberts
  • California JR SS Derek Campbell
  • Washington State rSO SS Trace Tam Sing
  • Stanford JR SS Danny Diekroeger
  • Oregon State JR SS Andy Peterson

I’d say it isn’t every season that a team finds itself with three draft-eligible shortstop prospects of note, but Oregon State has managed to pull off the trick in 2013. Tyler Smith is a steady glove with enough range and arm for the left side who is coming off an unexpected power explosion in 2012. Kavin Keyes can play average defense at short, third, and second, but will need to show a little more with the bat in 2013 to get more pro attention. Andy Peterson is coming off of two productive years at Santa Ana JC and comes highly regarded, though he’ll have to do his best to get at bats when he can behind both Smith (SS) and Keyes (2B). JJ Altobelli, Derek Campbell, and Trace Tam Sing can all more than hold their own in the field. I think it is worth mentioning that there were plenty of rumblings out of Stanford last spring that Danny was the better ballplayer than his older brother Kenny. Not necessarily the better prospect — though I’m sure some were willing to go that far — but the better ballplayer. Many casual draft fans get angry at this kind of logic — if he’s better now, how can he not be the better prospect? — but projection is king in the world of prospecting.

OF

  • Stanford JR OF Austin Wilson
  • Stanford JR OF Brian Ragira
  • UCLA SO OF Eric Filia-Snyder
  • Washington State JR OF Jason Monda
  • Arizona JR OF Johnny Field
  • UCLA JR OF Brenton Allen
  • Washington JR OF Will Sparks
  • Oregon SR OF Andrew Mendenhall 
  • Utah JR OF Braden Anderson
  • Oregon JR OF Connor Hofmann
  • Southern California SR OF Greg Zebrack
  • Oregon JR OF Kyle Garlick
  • Washington SR OF Michael Camporeale
  • California SR OF Vince Bruno
  • Oregon JR OF Brett Thomas
  • Southern California JR OF Omar Cotto Lozada
  • Oregon SR OF/RHP Ryan Hambright
  • Oregon State SR OF Ryan Barnes
  • Oregon State SR OF Joey Matthews
  • Utah SR OF Connor Eppard
  • Arizona State JR OF Kasey Coffman
  • Arizona State JR OF James McDonald
  • Arizona State rSO OF Trever Allen
  • Washington SR OF Jayce Ray
  • UCLA JR OF Brian Carroll
  • Oregon JR OF Tyler Baumgartner
  • Stanford JR OF Brian Guymon
  • Washington State rJR OF Brett Jacobs

There are some things to work on with Austin Wilson — a few swing issues that need ironing out, specifically his comically high back elbow that slows the whole operation down, and pitch recognition problems that may or may not be fixable with more at bats — but few amateur players across this country possess his blend of plus-plus power, much of it already present in-game, plus-plus arm strength, and above-average athleticism all wrapped up in a tight end strong 6-5, 250 pound frame.  I do find it interesting — not good, not bad, just interesting — that after two years of college we’ve learned so little about Wilson as a prospect. He’s pretty much the same player he was as a senior in high school that he is now. Here’s what I wrote about him then:

The comps for Wilson range from silly (Dave Winfield) to topical (Andre Dawson) to “man, I feel old comparing high school kids to players I loved when I was 10″ (Juan Gonzalez, Moises Alou) to intriguingly ultra-modern and therefore ultra-hip (Mike Taylor, Mike Stanton) all the way to completely made up by me just now (Shawn Green, Ellis Burks). It goes without saying that Wilson hitting his ceiling would be blessed to have a career like any of the players listed above (minus the minor leaguers, I suppose), but they do provide some context into what has been said about Wilson’s upside as a prospect so far. The two current minor league comps stick out to me as particularly interesting; Mike Stanton is a comp that mixes Wilson’s most immediate “realistic” upside as top minor league prospect with an equally plausible estimation of his tools (power, arm, good enough speed, should be good defenders in the corner), and Mike Taylor’s name serves as a reminder that Stanford commits like Wilson are always a pain in the neck to get signed.

Power, arm, good enough speed (especially for his size), should be good defender in a corner (RF)…I’d say all that holds true today. We still don’t know for sure about his plate discipline, other than what he’s actually done on the field thus far (7 BB/53 K as freshman, 25 BB/42 K as sophomore) and what little has been observed about his inability to pick up and hit good breaking stuff. One comp that I didn’t mention back in his high school days that I think makes a world of sense now, at least in terms of hitting style and build (especially if you don’t love his plate discipline outlook): former National and current Mariner Michael Morse. I think Morse represents a fairly realistic baseline for Wilson, if/when Wilson makes it as a big league regular.

Wilson’s teammate, Brian Ragira, is a hard player to figure defensively. As great as Ragira is at first base, his offensive profile fits much, much nicer in right field. I think he has the athleticism for it, but the emergence of Dominic Smith, first base defensive whiz at the high school level, has me reconsidering my view a bit. See, Smith is such an excellent glove at first that I wouldn’t want to move him off the position even if I thought he could become an average or better glove (I do think this, by the way) in an outfield corner. If Ragira can offer the same defensive upside at first base — and many think his glove at first is on par with Smith’s for best overall in the class — then maybe you keep him there, reap the defensive rewards, and pray that the bat can at least become average or even slightly below-average for the position in time. I’d still roll the dice on him in right field — he was an excellent defender in CF as a high schooler, if memory serves — and wait out his plus raw power, mature approach (which I could see really taking a leap forward in BB/K results this year), and quick bat developing over time.

The two UCLA prospects are exactly that: prospects. If the high ranking seems unusually aggressive, then, well, it probably is. Eric Filia-Snyder has all of 53 college at bats to his name. Brenton Allen has 24 total at bats in two post-high school years. A lot of faith is being put in Filia-Snyder’s advanced hit tool and Allen’s raw speed/power combination, doubly so when you combine the lack of experience with the unfortunate truth that both guys have below-average arms that will likely limit them to LF professionally. Jason Monda remains too aggressive for his own good at the plate, but flashes enough speed, arm, power, and athleticism to remain interesting. Johnny Field is totally different: his physical tools are all underwhelming, but he can roll out of bed ready to hit line drives. If he can play 2B, as some believe, he could be a fast riser this spring.

Where things get really interesting is the next tier down. The Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with plus running athletes up and down the league. With most of these guys you’re trading some degree of refinement and experience for said speed and athleticism, but if you gamble and wind up taking the right one, you’ll be sitting pretty.  Sparks, Mendenhall, Anderson, and Hofmann all have the sheer physical skills to rank third behind only the two Stanford standouts in terms of ceiling.  Sparks showed well in limited chances last year, and has the best raw power of the bunch. Mendenhall remains intriguing because of the relative low price tag the senior sign figures to jump at, not to mention his higher than usual ceiling for a fourth year player. Anderson is the best runner of the group and Hofmann, the rawest of the four, offers the widest range of current tools (arm, speed, hit, range). Then there’s Omar Cotto Lozada, a player described in my notes as “if Usain bolt played baseball.” I think that comparison is probably more true than even Cotto Lozada would like: you love the plus-plus-plus speed he brings, but his current skill level at the plate is closer to what you’d expect from a real deal non-baseball player like Bolt. Greg Zebrack doesn’t fit this speed/athleticism mold — his game is more power, smarts, and approach — but he’s a fun story to watch (started at USC, then went to Penn, where I saw him, and now back at USC for grad school) as a potential late-round senior sign.

SP

  • Stanford JR RHP Mark Appel
  • Oregon rJR LHP Christian Jones
  • UCLA JR RHP Adam Plutko
  • Stanford JR RHP AJ Vanegas
  • UCLA JR RHP Zack Weiss
  • UCLA JR RHP Nick Vander Tuig
  • Arizona State JR RHP Trevor Williams
  • Oregon JR RHP Jimmie Sherfy
  • Oregon State JR RHP Dan Child
  • Oregon rSO RHP Clayton Crum
  • Arizona JR RHP Konner Wade
  • Oregon State SR LHP Matt Boyd
  • Washington SR RHP Josh Fredendall
  • Oregon State JR LHP Ben Wetzler 
  • Oregon State SR RHP Cole Brocker 
  • Oregon State SR RHP Tony Bryant 
  • California JR LHP Mike Theofanopoulos
  • Oregon JR RHP Brando Tessar
  • Utah SR RHP Zach Adams
  • Arizona State SR RHP Alex Blackford
  • California SR LHP Justin Jones
  • Washington State JR RHP JD Leckenby
  • Oregon rJR RHP Jeff Gold
  • Washington rJR RHP Nick Palewicz 
  • Washington JR RHP Austin Voth
  • Oregon State rSR RHP Taylor Starr
  • Arizona SR RHP Tyler Hale
  • Arizona JR RHP James Farris
  • Oregon State JR RHP Scott Schultz
  • Stanford rJR LHP Garrett Hughes
  • California rSO RHP Dylan Nelson
  • UCLA rJR RHP Ryan Deeter
  • Arizona SR RHP Nick Cunningham
  • California rJR RHP Seth Spivack
  • Utah JR RHP Ben Mordini 
  • California JR LHP Kyle Porter
  • Washington JR RHP Tyler Kane
  • Stanford SR RHP Dean McArdle 
  • Southern California JR LHP Kyle Richter
  • Washington JR RHP Trevor Dunlap
  • Oregon State JR RHP Clay Bauer
  • Oregon State rSO LHP Tyler Painton
  • California SR RHP Ryan Wertenberger 
  • Southern California JR RHP James Guillen
  • Arizona State SR LHP Matt Dunbar
  • Washington JR RHP Jeff Brigham
  • Southern California SR RHP Matt Munson
  • Arizona SR LHP Vince Littleman
  • Utah SR RHP Brock Duke
  • Utah SR RHP Joe Pond 
  • California SR RHP Logan Scott
  • Utah SR RHP Chase Rezac
  • Southern California JR LHP Bobby Wheatley
  • Washington State JR RHP Kellen Camus
  • Washington JR RHP Zach Wright
  • Washington State rSO RHP Scott Simon
  • Utah JR LHP Tanner Banks
  • Stanford SR RHP Sahil Bloom

Here’s what we said about Appel last June, no reason to switch it up now (updated only to indicate change in year and height/weight):

Stanford SR RHP Mark Appel: sits 93-97 with four-seamer, hitting 99; holds velocity late: still at 94-95 in ninth innings; all FBs typically between 90-95; 88-92 two-seam FB with excellent sink; excellent FB command, but gets in trouble with too many hitter’s strikes – almost a little bit of a great control vs. good command situation; FB also gets in trouble at higher velocity when it flattens out and comes in too straight, especially when he forgets about two-seamer; sat consistently 96-98 with FB in summer 2011; easiest high velocity arm in class by a wide margin; rarely dips below 92; opening start 2012: 91-95 FB, 97 peak; above-average 82-84 SL that remains inconsistent; low-80s CU; for me, he’s at his best when he is 92-94 with plus sink and throwing lots of SL, sometimes gets too dependent on FB and overthrows it causing him to miss up in the zone; as the spring moved on, his SL improved considerably, though it lacks the sharpness and break of a true SL (it is more of a hybrid-breaking ball at this point) – now it is a more consistent, though still not reliable, 82-85 pitch with plus upside that can reach even higher (86-87 when he rears back); 80-85 circle CU with very good sink is currently an average big league pitch with plus upside – it is currently his best swing and miss pitch and my favorite of his offspeed offerings; can get in trouble showing too much of the ball in his delivery; no denying his raw stuff – taken individually, each pitch grades out as above-average to plus down the line, but the inability to throw all three pitches for strikes on any given day continues to be his downfall; downfall is, of course, relative – he still has the upside to be a frontline starter with the realistic floor of big league innings eater; 6-5, 215 pounds

He’s good. The gap between Appel and the next best pitching prospect in the conference is immense. That’s not to say there aren’t other high upside arms to be found — a quick glance at the UCLA roster disproves this notion in a hurry — but rather demonstrates the wonderful high ceiling/high floor projection that Appel carries with him. The aforementioned UCLA staff is so deep that my favorite pro arm can’t currently crack the weekend rotation. Zack Weiss has had an up and down career for the Bruins thus far, but possesses the three above-average pitches (FB/CB/SL) that could help him take off once given a more consistent opportunity.  Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig, in line to start Friday and Saturday respectively this spring, are no prospect slouches in their own right. Plutko doesn’t blow his fastball by hitters, but the pitch still grades out as a consistent plus offering thanks to pinpoint command and exceptional late movement.  He’ll also flash a plus low-70s curve and work in solid but unspectacular changeups and sliders. I’m pretty sure just reviewing my notes and typing this out has convinced me to swap the two guys on my list. Just goes to show how important the fastball extras (command and movement) can be, especially when joined with beautiful, consistent mechanics. Vanegas, recently shut down due to injury, has back of the bullpen stuff that should help him take a huge step up in 2013, if his health allows it. The previously mentioned Vander Tuig and Trevor Williams feel like kindred spirits from a scouting perspective:  underwhelming performances, but optimism going forward thanks to fastballs with good sink, changeups that flash plus, and occasionally impressive breaking stuff. Lost in this discussion thus far is the man ranked one spot below Appel, Christian Jones. If Jones returns to even 80% of his pre-injury form before draft day, a team would be wise taking a chance on him early on. Jimmy Sherfy will be an interesting draft day case in that his numbers are second to none (14.38 K/9 in 2012) while his stuff is far more good than dominant. Dan Child fits the power-armed relief ace role more easily with a more consistently hot fastball and intimidating size (6-5, 225 pounds to Sherfy’s 6-0, 180), but hasn’t had quite the same kind of oppressive strikeout totals to date.

The overall depth of this year’s group of Pac-12 arms is quite impressive. I’m stuck wanting to talk about just about every name listed. For the sake of brevity I’ll just highlight a few interesting cases. Guys who stand out to me at this moment include Konner Wade (so well-rounded, plus sinking fastball), Matt Boyd (lefty, deep arsenal, good deception, very smart), Josh Fredenhall (everything down in zone, always), Zach Adams (inconsistent velocity, more inconsistent control, but electric when everything is working), JD Leckenby (underwhelming numbers but good stuff and excellent competitor), Taylor Starr (been in school for what seems like a decade, has endured multiple health challenges but shown good stuff when right), and Ben Mordini (one of the few players with an element of his game so bad I’d use the adjective “horrible” [control] but still flashes good stuff and can strike batters out). I feel bad leaving so many deserving pitchers without comments, so feel free to drop me a line via email or in the comments if there’s anything else that you’d like to see unearthed. One last name because I can’t help myself: Austin Voth (think I may be badly underrating him, but he throws strikes and has really good feel for his offspeed stuff, especially the change).

2012 MLB Draft: Pac-12 Pitchers to Know

There are plenty of quality arms to be found in the Pac-12 this year, from the obvious at the top (Stanford’s Friday/Saturday duo, the pair of pitchability starters from The Grand Canyon State) to the slightly more obfuscated due to injury (Jenkins, Starr, Jones, Hershiser) or questions of readiness (Jaffe, Spivack). The Pac-12 also has some good head-to-head prospect ranking battles found on the same roster, most notably the close race for first drafted pitcher from Oregon State. I prefer Boyd (three average or better pitches, loads of deception, really tough on lefties), but could definitely hear arguments for any of the players listed below. Last but not least, the Pac-12 highlights the age old debate centered around starters and relievers. Appel and Mooneyham, one and two on my personal ranking, will both enter pro ball as well-established starting pitching prospects. After that you’re left with an interesting mishmash of potential back of the bullpen relievers (Griggs, Barrett) and potential back of the rotation starters (Heyer, Rodgers). It’ll be enlightening to see where pro teams have them come June. I currently like the relievers over the starters (in the order listed above), but that’s at least in part because I think Griggs might be able to start while both Heyer and Rodgers could be moved to the bullpen in time. Emphasis on could.

Players are listed in a rough order by team. This isn’t an overall ranking. As great as this year’s Stanford team is, I do not think they have the eight best pitching prospects in all the Pac-12 on their roster. I do think they have eight pitchers that could potentially be drafted in June. That’s the difference, and that’s why we call this list “2012 MLB Draft: Pac-12 Pitchers to Know.”

  • Stanford JR RHP Mark Appel
  • Stanford rJR LHP Brett Mooneyham
  • Stanford rSO RHP Chris Jenkins
  • Stanford JR RHP Dean McArdle
  • Stanford rSO LHP Garrett Hughes
  • Stanford SR RHP Brian Busick
  • Stanford JR RHP Sahil Bloom
  • Stanford SR RHP Elliot Byers
  • UCLA JR RHP Scott Griggs
  • UCLA rFR RHP Eric Jaffe
  • UCLA rSO RHP Ryan Deeter
  • UCLA JR RHP Mike Kerman
  • Arizona State JR RHP Jake Barrett
  • Arizona State JR RHP Brady Rodgers
  • Arizona State JR RHP Alex Blackford
  • Arizona State SR RHP Joseph Lopez
  • Arizona JR RHP Kurt Heyer
  • Arizona JR RHP Tyler Hale
  • Arizona JR RHP Nick Cunningham
  • Arizona JR LHP Vince Littleman
  • Oregon State JR LHP Matt Boyd
  • Oregon State JR RHP Tony Bryant
  • Oregon State SO LHP Ben Wetzler
  • Oregon State rSR RHP Taylor Starr
  • Oregon State SR RHP Ryan Gorton
  • Oregon rSO RHP Jeff Gold
  • Oregon JR LHP Christian Jones
  • Oregon rJR RHP Joey Housey
  • Oregon SR RHP Alex Keudell
  • Washington rJR RHP Aaron West
  • Washington rSO RHP Nick Palewicz
  • Washington JR RHP George Asmus
  • Washington JR RHP Adam Cimber
  • California JR LHP Justin Jones
  • California SR RHP Matt Flemer
  • California rSO RHP Seth Spivack
  • California JR RHP Logan Scott
  • Southern California SR RHP Martin Viramontes
  • Southern California rSR RHP Andrew Triggs
  • Southern California SR RHP Ben Mount
  • Southern California SR RHP Brandon Garcia
  • Southern California rSR RHP Jordan Hershiser
  • Utah JR RHP Tyler Wagner
  • Utah JR RHP Zach Adams
  • Utah JR RHP Tony Vocca
  • Utah JR RHP Brock Duke
  • Utah JR RHP Joe Pond
  • Utah SR RHP Kesley Kondo
  • Washington State JR LHP Bret DeRooy

Draft Retrospective: 2009 MLB Draft Top Fifteen High School RHP (6-10)

We started this thing on Monday, so let’s keep it rolling with the next five prospects today. I appreciate the patience — good Wi-Fi seemingly comes and goes with no respect for logic — while I’m on the road doing the whole watching high school players at showcase thing for little to no money. Same basic caveats as last time: Links to the old scouting reports, such as they were, can be found along the way. New commentary is in black, old commentary is in navy blue, and statistics are all current within the last week. Prospects 1-10 are up now, the rest will come shortly.

6. Keyvius Sampson | Ocala Forest HS (FL) | San Diego Padres | 4th Round (2009)

2.95 ERA – 85.1 IP – 98 K/30 BB – 0.72 GO/AO

Not much to add to the line above other than to just reiterate that Sampson is just plain killing it in Low A as a 20 year old. There is still work to be done here — sharpen up fastball command, show more consistency with secondary stuff — but nothing outside the usual when it comes to any talented young hurler.

Sampson is one of the most athletic pitchers in the draft with a sharp curve that has the potential to be a plus pitch. His fastball sits in the low 90s and has peaked at 95 MPH. That 95 MPH is his peak thus far; it would be a big upset if he doesn’t top that over and over again as his wiry frame fills out. Sampson’s plus athleticism leads to a very fluid, repeatable delivery (see for yourself above). He also features a good curve (80-81 MPH). I’m comfortable slapping a first round grade on him at this point.

7. Brooks Pounders | Temecula Valley HS (CA) | Pittsburgh Pirates | 2nd Round (2009)

4.02 ERA – 53.2 IP – 59 K/9 BB – 1.02 GO/AO

Pounders is pitching quite well out of the bullpen for Pittsburgh’s Low A team at just 20 years of age. His size (6’4″, 270 pounds) is a concern going forward, but as long as he keeps from getting any wider, expect to hear the inevitable Bobby Jenks comps before long. I’m traditionally biased against wide-body pitchers — note the absence of Matt Hobgood, the high school righthander who went fifth overall in 2009, from these rankings, though in fairness he did finish the year as my 50th overall draft prospect, 10th highest among prep righthanders — but I think I still like Pounders more than Baseball America apparently does. They left him off of the Pirates preseason top 30 altogether.

The first thing to jumps out about Pounders is his size; he has a gigantic frame (6-5, 220), but, more than just that, he really knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage on the mound. He pitches from a downward plane with a heavy fastball (90-94 MPH) that he can put anywhere he wants.

I also love the prep archetype that Pounders fits to a tee. My favorite story about a young pitcher is the one about the guy who “really knows how to pitch,” but then suddenly sees his velocity jump. It’s tricky to find a young pitcher who can be effective without his best stuff, so the players who learned how to pitch before developing the plus stuff can be extremely valuable properties. Pounders showed that advanced feel for pitching back when he was topping out in the mid-80s; now that he throws in the low- to mid-90s, he can apply the lessons he has learned with his new found ace stuff. In Pounders’ case, true ace stuff equals the aforementioned plus fastball, a true spinning slider with plus potential, a curveball that should at least be an above-average pitch, and an effective sinking changeup.

8. Daniel Tuttle | Randleman HS (NC) | Cincinnati Reds | 5th Round (2009)

4.59 ERA – 80.1 IP – 85 K/30 BB – 1.36 GO/AO

Tuttle seemed to be pitching effectively through 11 starts in Low A. That’s the good news. The bad news is he is currently on the Restricted List for the Reds Rookie League team as he serves his 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a second for testing positive for a second time for a “drug of abuse” on July 19th.

Finally, some real separation. The pitchers from this point on all offer something unique that sets them apart from the rest of the field. Tuttle’s breaking ball, a plus 10-4 slider with tight spin, is the pitch that sets him apart. The slider/sinker combo should serve him in inducing groundballs going forward, and a solid changeup makes for a usable fourth pitch. Prep pitchers with two plus pitches (the slider and a fastball that sits 90-94 MPH) tend to go high on draft day, and Tuttle should be no exception.

9. Mark Appel | Monte Vista HS (CA) 

3.56 FIP – 110.1 IP – 7.42 K/9 – 2.20 BB/9

Mark Appel…for some reason that name rings a bell. Couldn’t be that he is considered the current favorite to land atop Houston’s draft board as the 2012 MLB Draft’s first overall pick, could it? Appel’s plus-plus fastball, plus slider, and emerging changeup, all in addition to a big league frame, repeatable delivery, and great athleticism, help build him a case as the top pitching prospect to come out of this class. I’d have him ahead of a few big names like Wheeler, Sampson, and, yes, Hobgood and at least as high as third best at this point, but would find it very difficult to pass on either Miller or Turner if given the choice between the three.

Appel’s strong verbal commitment to Stanford will drop him down draft boards, but he is a great athlete, with a wiry frame with room to fill out, an impressive hard slider, solid change, and the ability to play around with his fastball (mostly by cutting and sinking it). The Cardinal normally get their man, so Appel’s signability will be something to keep on eye on.

10. Matt Graham | Oak Ridge HS (TX) | San Francisco Giants | 6th Round (2009)

7.34 ERA – 41.2 IP – 23 K/29 BB – 2.13 GO/AO

Graham was, to literally put it as nicely as I can think of, pitching not so well in both Low A and then back down in Short Season ball. His fall from grace reminds me a bit of a more extreme version of what happened to current Royals prospect and fellow one-time draft favorite Tim Melville. On the bright side, there’s still plenty of time for Graham to turn it all around!

Matt Graham holds a special place in my heart as the most difficult player to find a spot for in the rankings. Last year at this time it wasn’t strange to see Graham listed on lists of the top ten amateur players in the country. Fast forward twelve months and it is debatable as to whether or not he is a top ten righthanded high school pitcher. Graham’s slide coincided with the disappearance of his good stuff, most notably a big decline in fastball velocity. He followed the disappointing end to his junior season with a strong rebound on the summer showcase circuit. If his resurgence continues into the spring, expect to hear a lot of buzz surrounding the sturdy Texan with a potential plus fastball, good curve, and a heavy sinker.

5 College Baseball Box Scores of Interest (Weekend of 3/4/11)

Winthrop 4 Notre Dame 2

I can’t really remember what made this particular box score stand out, but I must have copied and pasted it into a Word document for a reason. Could it be the 0-4 leadoff performance of the Mick Doyle, also known as college baseball’s best name to university fit? Perhaps. Or it could have been the good pitching matchup between Cole Johnson and Tyler Mizenko that lived up to the billing. Johnson’s talent (slightly above-average fastball and good slider) has too often surpassed his performance on the field. A big senior season could put him in line to be one of the top mid-round senior signs. Then again, and I realize I’m taking this whole “2011 college class has potential to be historically great” thing too far, this could be a historically great group of college pitching senior signs. Off the top of my head (or a Ctrl + F of “SR” of my 2011 college pitching Word doc), the 2011 group of senior sign pitching includes a whole boat load of potential big league middle relievers like Scott Matyas, Tyler Wilson, Brett Harman, Randy Fontanez, Patrick Johnson, Corey Pappel, Thomas Girdwood, TJ Walz, Steven Maxwell, Taylor Hill, Cole Green, Michael Rocha, James Nygren, Tim Kelley, Ryan Woolley, Rick Anton, Brian Dupra, Elliott Glynn, Kevin Jacob, Nick Fleece…the list goes on and on. Mizenko, on the other hand, is a damn fine junior prospect who has struggled with his stuff in the early going. His fastball velocity has been down and his typically sharp slider hasn’t been, well, sharp. I still like Mizenko’s upside as a potential three-pitch starting pitcher.

Villanova 4 UNC Wilmington 3

Villanova ace JR RHP Kyle McMyne is a personal favorite, so I’m always interested to see how he does against quality lineups. Wilmington’s lineup certainly qualifies, especially leadoff hitter Cameron Cockman and three-hole batter Andrew Cain. McMyne, one of the most consistent high velocity arms in the 2011 draft pool, delivered with a strong 7 inning, 10 strikeout outing good enough to get him the win. I’ll hopefully be seeing a lot of McMyne this spring, so expect a few firsthand accounts if all goes according to plan.

Texas 4 Stanford 3

It was hard to pick one game out of the big Stanford-Texas. Then I figured, since this is college baseball after all, just go with the Friday night game. You know Taylor Jungmann is a good prospect when the biggest, and arguably only, question about his game focuses on his workload rather than his stuff or performance. The difference between Jungmann and Matt Purke is so minute that it really wouldn’t be a surprise to see team’s prefer the fresher arm (Purke) over the arm that has been “Augied.” We’ll see. Also, weird that a pitcher with Mark Appel’s stuff could ever go 7.1 innings pitched with only 2 strikeouts.

Nebraska 2 UCLA 1

Mentioned it earlier, but it bears repeating: Trevor Bauer struck out 17 (!) batters in 10 (!) innings. Despite Bauer’s gem, UCLA still managed a way to lose. I wish I had mentioned this before the season started and the UCLA bats went cold, but the Bruins’ lineup is really underwhelming from a prospect standpoint. At first I thought my concerns about the their offense wouldn’t impact the 2011 team from a performance standpoint; certain college programs can be built on quality college hitters just doing enough to win behind excellent pitching and be quite successful. Now I’m officially worried that the lack of offense could hurt UCLA’s on-field bottom line. Outside of a solid prospect outfield (Keefer, Amaral, Gelalich, and Allen), there isn’t a lot of pro upside there.

Florida 1 Miami 0

59 batters stepped to the plate…only 10 reached base. Ground ball machine Hudson Randall (65% of his non-K outs recorded via the grounder) was particularly great on the mound (7 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K).

 

Friday Night Lights – College Baseball’s Best Pitching Prospect Performances (2/18/11)

1. I am a long way away from actually finalizing my college pitching rankings, but I’m pretty much locked in on who will sit atop the list. As impressive as Texas Christian SO LHP Matt Purke (4 shutout innings) and Texas JR RHP Taylor Jungmann (9 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K, only 95 pitches) performed, UCLA JR RHP Gerrit Cole (9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 11 K) is the man. Better believe they’ll be more on him to come over the next few weeks.

2. Texas A&M JR RHP John Stilson was only omitted from the previous entry because he slipped my mind, but, really, the guy belongs in the top college arm discussion with the likes of Cole, Purke, Jungmann, et al.  Perhaps it is for the best that the least well known major college pitcher gets his own space, so we can fully appreciate his sustained run of dominance. Stilson’s 2010 season (14 K/9) was the stuff of legend, and his transition to starting on Friday nights (6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K) has started with a bang. My favorite part of his Friday line: 18 outs recorded, 9 via strikeout, 9 via groundball, 0 fly balls. He’s a starter all the way for me, despite the sentiment that he is too much of a two-pitch thrower to get through the lineup multiple times. I’ve heard too many positive things about both his changeup and his slider to believe differently.

3. Washington State JR LHP Adam Conley opened some eyes by peaking at 95-96 MPH on Friday. My earliest notes on him have him sitting 86-88 with a peak between 90-92. Amazing what some time working with a great college staff can do for a kid. Credit should also be given to Conley (by all accounts a really hard worker), as well as the natural maturation that comes with growing into a sturdy 6-3, 185 pound frame (up 15 pounds from his freshman year).

4. The Cole Hamels’ clones just keep coming. It isn’t just Conley with the mid-90s heat and a plus changeup. Virginia JR LHP Danny Hultzen (check out his Friday night two-way line: 2-4, BB, 3 RBI and, more importantly, 6.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 10 K) and Georgia Tech JR LHP Jed Bradley (he pitched Saturday, but I’m cheating to make a point…5.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K) both offer outstanding four-pitch arsenals that include that magic mid-90s fastball and plus change combo that I love. Heck, all three of these guys were big favorites before they bumped up their velocity because of the way they reminded me of Vanderbilt’s Mike Minor, one of my favorite draft prospects of the past few years. Here’s what I said about Minor on his draft day, by the way:

LOVE Mike Minor – good enough velocity, plus change, either the curve or the slider will be a plus pitch down the line (I think), great command, very good athlete, smooth delivery, repeatable mechanics, pitched at an outstanding program. This pick will get panned by everybody, but they are wrong – Minor is an absolute keeper. I had him at 18 on my big board, so maybe I’m full of it by saying he was a great pick at 7…but, factoring in signability, it’s a very good, very safe pick.

5. Hultzen may be the best junior two-way player in the land, but Florida SO LHP/1B Brian Johnson has to be tops of the sophomore class. His Friday looked very similar to Hultzen’s: (2-4, 2 2B, RBI, R and 6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K. Bonus fact: Johnson faced the minimum number of batters in his 2011 debut. Hultzen is a pitcher all the way, but Johnson is seen as talented enough to go either way at this point.

6. Really happy to see Notre Dame SR RHP Brian Dupra healthy and pitching well (7 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K) once again. Dupra looked like a top five round lock heading into his junior year, but injury and ineffectiveness forced him into returning for his senior year in an attempt to reestablish his draft stock. I haven’t heard anything about his stuff on Friday, but if it reached pre-injury levels (mid-90s FB, hard cutter, good low-80s SL), then he could position himself as one of the top college power pitching prospects, as well as easily the most desirable college pitching senior sign.

7. Another interesting draft prospect and college senior, Oklahoma SR RHP Michael Rocha, put on a show this Friday: 7 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K. Rocha doesn’t have near the velocity of Dupra at his best, but thrives on his funky breaking stuff, good command, and high pitching IQ. Rocha’s one-hit performance was matched by Alabama JR LHP Adam Morgan, who put up the following line: 5.1 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K. Unlike the power fastball lefties mentioned above, Morgan instead follows in the footsteps of the more typical, pitchability style of crafty college lefties. The lack of a big fastball stings a little less when you have a plus curve, a pitch that I think ranks in the top ten of its type amongst 2011 college draft prospects.

8. The college pitching in Texas this year is Gottfried Leibniz level deep. Jungmann and Stilson may be the headliners, but fellow Lone Star ballers Texas State JR RHP Carson Smith and Baylor JR RHP Logan Verrett could wind up at the tail end of the first round with big springs. Their respective debuts (Smith: 2 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 4 K; Verrett: 3 IP 6 H 4 ER 1 BB 3 K) weren’t as pretty as I’m sure they would have liked, but both continued to show the first round quality stuff they’ve grown famous for. Smith has the frame (6-5, 220) and a fastball to dream on, while Verrett potential for four above-average pitches is tantalizing.

9. Two of my favorite Conference USA prospects put up unique lines that deserve a little love. Check out the Friday line for Southern Miss SR RHP Todd McInnis: 8 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K. Very good line, right? What makes that performance truly exception, assuming there wasn’t a typo on the box score, is the following: he threw 45 pitches! Is that even possible? At least 21 pitches were thrown to get those 7 strikeouts. That leaves 24 pitches to get the 17 remaining outs. Incredible, if true. The line for Central Florida SR LHP Nick Cicio was impressive, if significantly less rare: 3 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K. That’s an example of how a college lefty straight out of central casting (mid-80s fastball, good change, slurvy breaking pitch) can dominate out of the pen.

10. Think we could all agree that a line of [9 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K] would make for a darn fine outing by any starting pitcher. It also works as a pretty great combined line shared by two legit mid- to late-round 2011 draft prospects. In a performance reminiscent of peak years Legion of Doom, or, my sentimental personal favorite, The Natural Disasters, Wichita State SR RHP Tim Kelley (5 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K) and SO LHP Brian Flynn (4 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 2 K) tag teamed to shut down the opposition on Friday night. Both pitchers profile best as middle relievers professionally, with Flynn getting more current buzz due to his readymade WWF size and strength (6-8, 240…so big I had to double check on the website to make sure I didn’t copy it wrong in my notes).

***

Bonus! Stanford SO RHP and potential 2012 top ten pick Mark Appel (5.2 IP 8 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K) didn’t quite light the world on fire with his opening night line, but the velocity pickup in his stuff (FB now peaking in the upper-90s, SL now peaking mid-80s) had everybody taking notice. If he can integrate his changeup (plus potential there) more as the season goes on, he’ll head into 2012 on the short list of candidates to go in the top three. Back in February 2009 I had him as the 9th best prep righthander, sandwiched between Daniel Tuttle and Matt Graham. This was his quick writeup:

Appel’s strong verbal commitment to Stanford will drop him down draft boards, but he is a great athlete, with a wiry frame with room to fill out, an impressive hard slider, solid change, and the ability to play around with his fastball (mostly by cutting and sinking it). The Cardinal normally get their man, so Appel’s signability will be something to keep on eye on.

Looking Forward to the Past

Catchy title, right? There’s not quite enough there to keep it from being pretty much meaningless, but it’s just snappy enough to somehow appear superficially deep. A long time ago, a wise man was heard to remark, “In order to look forward, we must first reconcile what we’ve learned from the past.” Alright, a wise man didn’t actually say that. Unless you consider me a wise man, something I promise you yourselves would be wise not to do. And it wasn’t said a long time ago either. Not unless thirty seconds constitutes a long time, that is. There was a point here, I promise.

There Were Ten Tigers

Photo Credit: There Were Ten Tigers

Oh, right. In lieu of following my own not-so-strict personal content schedule, I thought we’d instead wrap up our look at the ’09 prep righthanders by comparing this year’s class of high school pitching with the 2008 group. We’re looking back at the past to learn a little something about the future. I love it when it all comes full circle like that. No conclusions can really be drawn on data (such as it is) one year out of a draft class’s debut, so this exercise is more about the casual talent comparison of the ’08 prep righties and the ’09 class. One thing it is definitely NOT about is filling time and space with a quick and easy post because other more substantive stuff isn’t quite ready. No sirs and madams, that’s not it all…

2008 Prep Righthanded Pitchers – Personal Top 15 [as of 6/08]

1. Ethan Martin
2. Alex Meyer
3. Gerrit Cole
4. Ross Seaton
5. Jake Odorizzi
6. Zeke Spruill
7. Tim Melville
8. Kyle Wieland
9. Michael Palazzone
10. Jason Knapp
11. Daniel Webb
12. Tyler Sample
13. Sonny Gray
14. Trey Haley
15. Tyler Chatwood

Elite athleticism and evidence of a plus or potential plus breaking ball were big-time considerations in making up this list. The highest pick of the group was Ethan Martin (15th overall). The lowest pick of the group was Sonny Gray (821st overall). There were 2 first rounders, 1 supplemental first rounder, 3 second rounders, 1 supplemental second rounder, 1 third rounder, 1 supplemental third rounder, 2 fourth rounders, 1 twelfth rounder, 1 eighteenth rounder, 1 twentieth rounder, and 1 twenty-seventh rounder.

Martin and Cole were first rounders. Odorizzi was a supplemental first rounder. Chatwood, Haley, and Knapp were second rounders. Spruill was a supplemental second rounder. Sample was a third rounder. Seaton was a supplemental third rounder. Wieland and Melville were 4th rounders. Webb was a 12th rounder. Palazzone was an 18th rounder. Alex Meyer was a 20th rounder, and Sonny Gray was a 27th rounder.

Quick Observations: 9/15 went in the first three rounds, 6/15 fell far further than talent dictated due to signability concerns (Cole, Melville, Webb, Palazzone, Meyer, and Gray – all but Melville went the college/junior college route), and twelfth is a very weird looking word in print…

2008 Prep Righthanded Pitchers Picked in the First Five Rounds (Players Not in My Top 15)

Jordan Lyles
Seth Lintz
Kevin Eichorn
Jonathan Pettibone
Curtis Petersen
Tyler Cline
Trevor May
Maverick Lasker

Lyles went in the supplemental first round. Lintz went in the second round. Eichorn went in the third. Pettibone went in the third round (supplemental). Petersen, Cline, and May went in the fourth round. Lasker went in the fifth.

My Island Players – the players nobody, including many scouting directors, seemed to like nearly as much as I did

Ryan O’Sullivan
Jordan Cooper
Austin Dicharry
Kyle Winkler
Matt Magill

O’Sullivan wasn’t entirely unloved, he was a 10th round pick. Cooper, Winkler, and Magill had various degrees of success on draft day – they went in the 17th, 37th, and 31st rounds, respectively. Dicharry went undrafted and is now a freshman on the Texas pitching staff.

Note: the island player list isn’t the BS list you’ll see in other places. I mean, come on – “I had [consensus top five round talent] as my big sleeper!” isn’t really going out on that big a limb, you know? It’s good to have favorite guys like that, but you need to admit that they aren’t exactly the deepest of sleepers to anybody who regularly follows this stuff. So much of prospecting (the business side of it, that is) is about exploiting casual fans that don’t regularly follow the dregs of baseball (minors and draft) by sensationalizing the idea of “under the radar” players. I promise to stay away from that here, but, if I slip up, please please please call me out on it.

Stacking up the ’09’s with the ’08’s

Here was our top 15 2009’s: Shelby Miller, Jacob Turner, Mychal Givens, Zack Wheeler, Scott Griggs, Keyvius Sampson, Brooks Pounders, Daniel Tuttle, Mark Appel, Matt Graham, Michael Heller, Brody Colvin, Chris Jenkins, Ethan Carter, Jordan Cooper

The top 15 2008’s were listed above. So, if we had to put the lists together and rank them as if they were one great big giant class, who would go where? A very rough guess might look something like this (2009’s in bold):

1. Ethan Martin
2. Alex Meyer
3. Shelby Miller
4. Gerrit Cole
5. Ross Seaton
6. Jake Odorizzi
7. Zeke Spruill
8. Tim Melville
9. Jacob Turner
10. Mychal Givens
11. Zack Wheeler
12. Scott Griggs
13. Keyvius Sampson
14. Brooks Pounders

15. Kyle Wieland
16. Michael Palazzone
17. Jason Knapp
18. Daniel Webb
19. Tyler Sample
20. Sonny Gray

Only 7 of the top 20 from the combined list are 2009’s. This blows my theory that the 2009 class looks stronger (at this point) right on out of the water. I won’t lie – part of the reason I wanted to compare the two classes was to “prove” that the 2009 class was superior. Seeing the list above really brings the following point home: coming to a conclusion and then working backwards to prove it is a bad, bad idea. The list also illuminates the absurdity of ranking high school pitchers so early in the process. One of the reasons I think there are more 2008’s on the list is simple – there’s more data to judge them on, and thus less fear of the unknown. Matt Graham, Chris Jenkins, Ethan Carter…those guys could shoot up the list with big springs, much like some of the guys in 2008 did before them.

2009 MLB Draft: Top High School Righthanded Pitching Cheatsheet

To make organization around these parts a little bit easier, here is a list of 32 high school righthanded pitchers worth knowing so far. Players already covered appear both in bold and in parentheses. Each player’s info is displayed using the following basic format:

Name, height, weight, fastball velocity, other pitches — slider, curveball, changeup, etc., miscelleaneous information

The list of players to watch will surely grow between now and June, but this ought to serve as a decent resource for the time being.

  1. (Mark Appel, 6-4, 185, FB: peak 92, SL, CU)
  2. Jake Barrett, 6-3, 225, FB: peak 91, sits upper-80s, CB, CU, good young power hitter
  3. Justin Bellez, 6-1, 180, FB: peak 92, SL: 10/4, CU, repeatable easy mechanics
  4. Bryan Berglund, 6-3, 175, FB: 89-91, SL: [+] 81-86, CU
  5. (Ethan Carter, 6-5, 205, FB: peak 90-91, SL: mid-70s, CU: low-80s, cut fastball)
  6. (Brody Colvin, 6-4, 190, FB: 90-93, CB: 10/4, CU)
  7. (Jordan Cooper, 6-1, 195, FB: peak 91, CB/SL: [+] potential, injury history)
  8. Michael Dedrick, 6-3, 185, FB: low-90s, CB: [+]
  9. Dylan Floro, 6-1, 175, FB: peak 92, CB, SL, CU, four average or above pitch guy
  10. (Mychal Givens, 6-1, 185, FB: peak 96-98, SL, CU, excellent sinker)
  11. Garrett Gould, 6-4, 195, FB: 88-91, CB: 12/6, 81, spike, CU: 78-80, above average command and pitchability
  12. (Matt Graham, 6-3, 195, FB: peak 94, CB)
  13. (Scott Griggs, 6-2, 185, FB: sits low-90s, peak 95, plus command and makeup)
  14. Brooks Hall, 6-5, 200, FB: 90-92, SL, CU, sound delivery
  15. (Michael Heller, 6-2, 180, FB: sits 90-93, peak 95, CB, CU: 75)
  16. Matt Hobgood, 6-4, 240, FB: sits 91-93, peak 95, good hitter
  17. (Chris Jenkins, 6-7, 235, FB: sits 91-93, peak 94, SL: [+] potential, command issues, high effort delivery)
  18. Matt Koch, 6-3, 185, FB: 88-91, SL, CB, CU, raw mechanics
  19. (Shelby Miller, 6-3, 195, FB: sits 91-93, peak 94, CB: mid-70s, CU: 80, SL, holds velocity late, exceptional balance, heavy fastball)
  20. James Needy, 6-6, 195, FB: low-90s, CB, SL, CU
  21. Keifer Nuncio, 6-2, 195, FB: peak 91, CB, CU
  22. (Brooks Pounders, 6-5, 220, FB: peak 94, CB: [+] potential, plus hitter)
  23. David Renfroe, 6-3, 180, FB: 88-92, CB: 12/6, clean and easy mechanics, plus athlete
  24. Felix Roque, 6-5, 200, FB: 88-91, SL: [+], CU, heavy sinker
  25. (Keyvius Sampson, 6-1, 185,FB: low-90s, peak 95, CB: low-80s, CU: potential [+], clean delivery, plus athlete)
  26. Trent Stevenson, 6-6, 165, FB: 86-90, SL: 73-78,
  27. Chad Thompson, 6-8, 215, FB: sits 90-93, peak 94, CB, CU, SF: potential [+]
  28. (Jacob Turner, 6-4, 205, FB: peak 93/94, CB: [+] pitch in mid-70s, CU: circle change, clean mechanics, good command)
  29. (Daniel Tuttle, 6-2, 185, FB: sits 90-93, peak 94, SL: 10/4 [+] pitch, sinker)
  30. (Zack Wheeler, 6-4, 180, FB: peak 95, SL: potential [+], low-80s, CB, splitter)
  31. Zack Von Rosenberg, 6-5, 200, FB: 88-91, CB: mid-70s, CU: high-70s, good mechanics
  32. Madison Younginer, 6-3, 185, FB: low-90s, peak 94, CU: sinking action, CB

2009 MLB Draft: Top 15 High School Righthanded Pitchers (10-6)

Today we continue with our look at the top 15 draft-eligible high school righthanded pitchers in the country. Yesterday, we met Jordan Cooper, Ethan Carter, Chris Jenkins, Brody Colvin, and Michael Heller. In case you missed it and can’t be bothered to look down the page, here’s what we’ve done so far:

Top 15 High School Righthanded Pitchers (15 thru 11)
Mock Draft 1.0
(or everybody’s favorite feature)
A Method to the Madness
(or what we are all about)

We haven’t done a whole lot just yet, so there’s still time to catch up. Do it! Do it now! I’ll wait…

Anyway, players 10 thru 6 are next up. For a hint at one of the names on the list, check out the video below. Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m good like that. You’re thinking, come on man, this is nothing more than a transparent attempt to try out embedding a video for the first time. Well, congratulations – you’ve got me all figured out. But, honestly, it’s a good video and it does reveal the top name on today’s part of the list…and I know you are just dying to know who it is.

A new batch of names, including the young man featured in the video above, after the jump… (more…)