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2016 MLB Draft – American Athletic Conference

If you’re one of the small handful of daily readers, you can go ahead and skip this post. You’ve already seen it. Not that you needed my permission or anything, but you’re free to pass all the same. The intent here is to get all of the college content in one place, so below you’ll find everything I’ve written about the 2016 class of MLB Draft prospects currently playing in the AAC. Then I’ll have a college baseball master list post that will centralize everything I’ve written about the 2016 MLB Draft college class all in one place. It’s a rare bit of inspired organizational posting around here, so I’m trying to strike while motivated… 

American Athletic Conference Overview
Central Florida
Cincinnati
East Carolina
Houston
Memphis
South Florida
Tulane

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2016 MLB Draft Prospects – South Florida

JR RHP Brandon Lawson (2016)
rJR RHP Brad Labozzetta (2016)
rSO RHP Peter Strzelecki (2016)
SR RHP/OF Ryan Valdes (2016)
JR OF/RHP Daniel Portales (2016)
SR C/3B Levi Borders (2016)
rSO SS Clay Simmons (2016)
JR OF/C Luke Borders (2016)
SO OF/1B Duke Stunkel (2016)
SR OF Luke Maglich (2016)
JR 2B Andres Leal (2016)
SO RHP Joe Cavallaro (2017)
SO INF/OF Kevin Merrell (2017)
FR LHP Shane McClanahan (2018)
FR LHP Garrett Bye (2018)
FR LHP Andrew Perez (2018)
FR OF Garrett Zech (2018)
FR OF Chris Chatfield (2018)
FR C/1B Joe Genord (2018)
FR SS Robert Montes (2018)
FR OF Cam Montgomery (2018)

The freshman class at South Florida has a chance to lead to fantastic things. OFs Garrett Zech and Chris Chatfield have definite early round talent. C/1B Joe Genord has big-time raw power. SS Robert Montes could be the type of two-way infielder that helps change the fortune of a program. And LHP Shane McClanahan could be a future Friday night guy. That’s the good news. Now let’s talk about 2016…

Since I hopefully cushioned the blow some for any USF fans who might stumble upon this, I don’t feel so bad in calling rSO RHP Peter Strzelecki, set to miss the season after Tommy John surgery, the most promising pitcher in the 2016 class. He’s flashed impressive stuff when healthy, so hopefully he returns at full strength next season.

Offensively, look for one or both of the Borders brothers to draw interest from the Phillies this spring. Their father, Pat, is a manager in the organization and is thought of very highly (like, future MLB manager somewhere highly) by some important people in the front office. I prefer the bat of JR OF/C Luke Borders to that of SR C/3B Levi Borders, but the position adjustment bump Levi gets as a true catcher makes it a really tight race. Both look like really solid org guys to me more than serious professional prospects, but each guy has flashed enough as a hitter to warrant a closer look.

rSO SS Clay Simmons could make a move this spring as he returns to 100% health. He’s a good athlete with a strong arm and some pop. SR OF Luke Maglich joins the Border brothers as the trio make up one of the most prolific group of swing and missers in the college game. A strikeout is mostly just an out that feels worse than it deserves (though it has some predictive power in non-MLBers), so it’s not a judgment but look at these totals: 66 for Levi, 51 for Luke, and 66 for Maglich. Impressive. Curiously (or not), the only notes I have on Maglich make mention of his low-80s fastball.

American Athletic Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Houston JR C Ian Rice
Central Florida SR 1B James Vasquez
Cincinnati JR 2B Ian Happ
Central Florida SR SS Tommy Williams
Connecticut JR 3B Brian Daniello
Houston JR OF Kyle Survance
Houston rJR OF Ashford Fulmer
Memphis JR OF Jake Little

Houston JR RHP Jacob Lemoine
Houston JR RHP Patrick Weigel
South Florida JR RHP Jimmy Herget
Connecticut rJR RHP Devin Over
Tulane JR RHP Ian Gibaut

I can’t speak for everybody in the college game, but I for one am very pleasantly surprised about the continued strength of the AAC. The conference is like a mutated version of a few different conferences, and the end results were better than anybody – well, at least I – could have hoped. Happ and Lemoine give the AAC two potential first round picks, Rice and Max McDowell stack up against any conference’s 1-2 catching punch, solid senior signs like Vasquez, Williams, Dylan Moore, Kyle Teaf, and Carson Cross lend surprising depth to an increasingly deep talent pool, and talented high upside wild cards like Ashford Fulmer, Weigel, and Over keep things interesting.

That’s the short version for the AAC this year. The much, much longer version (once you add everything up) can be found just a few clicks away. I wrote team profiles for all of the linked schools below. The two missing schools get their belated time in the sun below. Connecticut was one of the very last teams to post rosters online. Tulane had their roster up with time to spare, but I missed it in my first pass through the conference because I’m dumb. I might turn their team profiles into separate posts at some point, but until then I just copy/pasted what I had for you to read at your leisure.

Central Florida
Cincinnati 
Connecticut
East Carolina
Houston
Memphis
South Florida
Tulane

*****

Connecticut

I should really stop being surprised when I look up Connecticut’s talent. Every year I mentally subtract the players that they lost and every year I expect to see the cupboard too bare to care from a draft standpoint. Yet every darn year I find myself being in the same mental place, somehow unready to process the half-dozen or so honest to goodness prospects scattered across the team’s roster. This year’s club features a low-mileage pitcher with plus arm strength (rJR RHP Devin Over), a college ace returning from Tommy John surgery capable of throwing three average or better pitches for strikes (rSR RHP Carson Cross), and a changeup specialist with enough size and fastball (88-92ish) to get some late round consideration this June (rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman). Over in particular is a fascinating prospect due to his mid-90s fastball (97 peak) and impressive athleticism. The results have never matched his stuff (in terms of K/9), so scouts will have to really hone on him this spring to see why a guy with an arm like his has been unable to consistently miss bats. That might not be a particularly fair criticism considering his limited track record to date (30ish lifetime innings), but prospect evaluation ain’t always fair.

Offensively, two hitters stand out as particularly promising. SR 1B/OF Blake Davey and JR 1B Bobby Melley both have shown they possess the type of above-average raw power and measured approach to hitting that pro teams prioritize on draft day. Working against them, of course, is the likelihood that both players wind up as first basemen professionally. It’s a steep climb from nice college hitting prospect to legitimate potential big league first baseman. Two guys with lesser bats but greater positional value that could get drafted are JR OF Jack Sundberg and JR C Max McDowell. Sundberg is held back by a lack of any kind of meaningful pop, but he can run, throw, and defend well enough in center that a team might put up with some growing pains with the stick. He profiles better as a 2016 senior sign to me. McDowell, on the other hand, appears to be one of the nation’s most underappreciated catching prospects. He does the things you’d expect out of any real catching prospect (solid glove, interesting power upside) while also doing the extras (really nice runner for the position, more athletic than most backstops) that make him a legitimate top ten round sleeper. Houston’s Ian Rice is unabashedly one of my favorites in all of college baseball, so, naturally, taking his throne as top catching prospect in the AAC was never really going to happen for McDowell. Still, I like him so much that there really wasn’t much internal debate as to who would fill in the second spot, where McDowell sits ahead of the more famous and preferred option by many, Luke Lowery of East Carolina. JR 3B Brian Daniello might just be the top third base prospect in the conference, though that says at least as much about the dearth of talented third basemen in the AAC than anything about Daniello’s maybe/maybe not pro future. In any event, he’s a really solid college player who I’m happy to give a little recognition.

*****

Tulane

The practical logistics of moving a pitcher from the college bullpen (or an expected pro bullpen role) to a professional rotation is a hot topic every year at draft time. Everybody has a different opinion about what makes a starter a starter and a reliever a reliever. Some focus on one specific aspect of a pitcher’s game and use that as the determining factor when deciding on a future role. Too often this is a simple question of size — Is he 6’0″ or less? Stick him in the pen then! — which is obviously an unfortunate bout of reducing a complex (by baseball standards) decision into a binary yes/no that lacks the necessary nuance and ratiocination required. Thankfully there are others, more sensibly in my view, who take a holistic approach as they debate the merits of a pitcher’s depth of repertoire, ease of mechanical repeatability, physical stature (size is a factor, but not the factor) and conditioning, and ability to maintain high-quality stuff deep into outings as the pitch count climbs and fatigue sets in. Creating a dichotomy using short and tall as determining factors is bad process that occasionally will lead to positive results

Forgive me if I copy/paste that paragraph whenever Dillon Tate, Carson Fulmer, and Tyler Jay are brought up this spring. For now, the logic presented above applies to JR RHP Ian Gibaut, who has excelled as a college reliever since first stepping foot on campus at Tulane in 2013. There’s no reason to believe that Gibaut’s success as an amateur reliever would slow down in any way as he transitions to pro ball this summer. Still, I’d be tempted to stretch him out and see how his stuff holds up as a starter. My desire to see him work in a starter’s role isn’t so great that I’d kill a team for thinking he’ll be best in the bullpen as a professional; if anything, it’s more of a selfish curiosity to see what a college reliever with the build, arm action (in my amateur view), and diverse enough set of pitches (above-average 75-78 CB, upper-70s CU that flashes plus [others like it less and I’ll at least acknowledge it’s an inconsistent pitch at present], and hard mid-80s SL) could do in a more taxing role. I’ve heard but not seen firsthand that Gibaut’s velocity is the type that plays up in short bursts, so keeping him in the bullpen would seem to be a perfectly reasonable course of action. If that winds up being how it plays out, then don’t be surprised when Gibaut winds up as one of this year’s draft fastest moving college relief prospects.

I’ve always preferred JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel as a hitter to a pitcher, but the evidence is now stacked up too high against my original position to ignore. The light has never really gone on for Yandel as a hitter, but he’s emerged as a solid college arm with a chance to find work as a middle reliever type in the pros thanks to his plus 78-83 slider. rJR RHP Alex Massey has shown he can miss bats in his swingman role over his two plus years at Tulane. Given time in the bullpen exclusively should help his already solid fastball (88-92, 94-95 peak) play up a tick, all the better to complement his existing above-average slider. If you’re scoring at home, that’s three potential relievers that could come out of this year’s Tulane staff.

There’s less to love offensively, but it isn’t as though Tulane has no hitters worth keeping an eye on. SR 2B Garret Deschamp has flashed some power to the gaps and can field his position. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson’s bat, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see what he can do with more than the 26 AB he received last season. JR OF Richard Carthon can run, but it remains to be seen if he’ll hit.

Tulane’s sophomore class is where it’s at. SO SS Stephen Alemais is a legit defensive shortstop with a big arm and serious wheels. He didn’t light the world on fire as a freshman, but he held his own. Same could be said for SO RHP JP France (but with standout peripherals), an undersized athletic fireballing righthander in the mold of Lance McCullers. C Jake Rogers, 3B Hunter Hope, OF Grant Brown, and RHP Corey Merrill are all also sophomores talented enough to finish as high picks.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Cincinnati JR 2B/OF Ian Happ
  2. Houston JR C Ian Rice
  3. Central Florida SR 1B/OF James Vasquez
  4. Central Florida SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore
  5. Houston JR OF Kyle Survance
  6. South Florida SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf
  7. Houston rJR OF Ashford Fulmer
  8. Central Florida SR SS/3B Tommy Williams
  9. Connecticut JR 1B Bobby Melley
  10. Connecticut SR 1B/OF Blake Davey
  11. Houston JR 2B Josh Vidales
  12. Houston JR 1B Chris Iriart
  13. Memphis SR 1B/3B Tucker Tubbs
  14. South Florida SR OF Austin Lueck
  15. Memphis JR OF/1B Jake Little
  16. Connecticut JR C Max McDowell
  17. Memphis SR C/1B Carter White
  18. East Carolina JR C/1B Luke Lowery
  19. Memphis rJR SS Jake Overbey
  20. Central Florida SR OF Erik Barber
  21. South Florida rJR OF Buddy Putnam
  22. Tulane JR OF Richard Carthon
  23. Tulane SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson
  24. Tulane SR 2B Garret Deschamp

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Houston JR RHP Jacob Lemoine
  2. Houston JR RHP Patrick Weigel
  3. South Florida JR RHP Jimmy Herget
  4. Connecticut rJR RHP Devin Over
  5. Tulane JR RHP Ian Gibaut
  6. Central Florida rJR RHP Mitchell Tripp
  7. Connecticut rSR RHP Carson Cross
  8. Tulane JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel
  9. Tulane rJR RHP Alex Massey
  10. Central Florida SR RHP Zach Rodgers
  11. South Florida rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland
  12. Central Florida rSR RHP Spencer Davis
  13. Connecticut rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman
  14. Cincinnati JR RHP Mitch Patishall
  15. East Carolina rJR RHP David Lucroy
  16. Houston SR RHP Jared Robinson
  17. Memphis rJR RHP Craig Caufield
  18. Houston SR RHP Aaron Garza
  19. East Carolina SR LHP/OF Reid Love
  20. Central Florida rJR RHP Ryan Meyer
  21. Houston JR RHP Bubba Maxwell
  22. Memphis SR RHP Dylan Toscano
  23. Central Florida SR RHP Tanner Olson
  24. Memphis JR LHP Colin Lee
  25. Memphis SR LHP Caleb Wallingford

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – American Athletic Follow List

Central Florida

SR 1B/OF James Vasquez (2015)
SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore (2015)
SR OF Derrick Salberg (2015)
SR SS/3B Tommy Williams (2015)
SR OF Erik Barber (2015)
SR OF Sam Tolleson (2015)
SR OF/LHP JoMarcos Woods (2015)
rSR RHP Spencer Davis (2015)
SR RHP Zach Rodgers (2015)
rJR RHP Ryan Meyer (2015)
rJR RHP Mitchell Tripp (2015)
SR RHP Tanner Olson (2015)
SO RHP Trent Thompson (2016)
SO RHP Robby Howell (2016)
SO C Matt Diorio (2016)
SO OF Eugene Vazquez (2016)
SO OF Dalton Duty (2016)
SO 3B/SS Kam Gellinger (2016)
FR RHP Cre Finfrock (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Marsh (2017)
FR RHP Pat Stephens (2017)
FR RHP Brad Rowley (2017)

Cincinnati

JR 2B/OF Ian Happ (2015)
JR C Woody Wallace (2015)
JR 1B Devin Wenzel (2015)
JR 2B Forrest Perron (2015)
JR RHP Mitch Patishall (2015)
rJR RHP Bryan Chenoweth (2015)
SR RHP Ryan Atkinson (2015)
rSO LHP Colton Cleary (2015)
SO RHP Andrew Zellner (2016)
SO INF Connor McVey (2016)
FR LHP Dalton Lehnen (2017)
FR 1B/OF Ryan Noda (2017)
FR 2B Kyle Mottice (2017)

Connecticut

rJR RHP Devin Over (2015):
rSR RHP Carson Cross (2015)
rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman (2015)
rSO RHP Ryan Radue (2015)
rJR RHP Max Slade (2015)
rSO RHP Callahan Brown (2015)
SR 1B/OF Blake Davey (2015)
JR 1B Bobby Melley (2015)
SR OF Eric Yavarone (2015)
SR OF Jon Testani (2015)
SR C Connor David (2015)
JR OF Jack Sundberg (2015)
JR 3B Vinny Siena (2015)
JR 3B Brian Daniello (2015)
JR C Max McDowell (2015)
JR 1B/OF Nico Darras (2015)
SO SS/2B Aaron Hill (2016)
SO LHP Anthony Kay (2016)
SO RHP Andrew Zapata (2016)
SO RHP Pat Ruotolo (2016)

East Carolina

JR C/1B Luke Lowery (2015)
JR OF Garrett Brooks (2015)
JR OF Jeff Nelson (2015)
SR SS/2B Hunter Allen (2015)
rJR RHP David Lucroy (2015)
SR LHP/OF Reid Love (2015)
JR RHP/OF Jimmy Boyd (2015)
SO 1B/LHP Bryce Harman (2016)
SO RHP/INF Davis Kirkpatrick (2016)
SO LHP Jacob Wolfe (2016)
SO SS Kirk Morgan (2016)
SO 2B/SS Charlie Yorgen (2016)
SO C Eric Tyler (2016)
SO LHP Luke Bolka (2016)
SO LHP Evan Kruczynski (2016)

Houston

JR OF Kyle Survance (2015)
rJR OF Ashford Fulmer (2015)
SR OF Michael Pyeatt (2015)
JR 3B/1B Justin Montemayor (2015)
JR 2B Josh Vidales (2015)
JR C Ian Rice (2015)
JR 1B Chris Iriart (2015)
JR RHP Patrick Weigel (2015)
SR RHP Aaron Garza (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Lemoine (2015)
SR RHP David Longville (2015)
SR RHP Jared Robinson (2015)
SR LHP Matt Locus (2015)
JR RHP Bubba Maxwell (2015)
SO 3B Connor Hollis (2016)
SO RHP Andrew Lantrip (2016)
SO RHP Marshall Kasowski (2016)
SO 3B Jordan Strading (2016)
FR SS Connor Wong (2017)
FR LHP Seth Romero (2017)

Memphis

JR OF/1B Jake Little (2015)
SR C/1B Carter White (2015)
SR 1B/3B Tucker Tubbs (2015)
rSR OF Kane Barrow (2015)
SR C Nate Rupiper (2015)
rJR SS Jake Overbey (2015)
SR RHP Dylan Toscano (2015)
rJR RHP Craig Caufield (2015)
JR LHP Colin Lee (2015)
SR LHP Caleb Wallingford (2015)
SO RHP Trevor Sutton (2016)
SO RHP Nolan Blackwood (2016)
SO OF Darien Tubbs (2016)
FR RHP Colton Hathcock (2017)

South Florida

JR RHP Jimmy Herget (2015)
SR RHP Jordan Strittmatter (2015)
rSO RHP Tommy Peterson (2015)
rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland (2015)
rJR OF Buddy Putnam (2015)
SR OF Austin Lueck (2015)
SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf (2015)
JR C/3B Levi Borders (2015)
rJR SS/2B Nik Alfonso (2015)
JR OF Luke Maglich (2015)
SO OF Luke Borders (2016)
SO 2B Andres Leal (2016)
SO OF/RHP Daniel Portales (2016)
SO RHP Brandon Lawson (2016)
SO RHP Michael Farley (2016)
SO SS Clay Simmons (2016)

Tulane

JR RHP Ian Gibaut (2015)
rJR RHP Alex Massey (2015)
rSO RHP Daniel Rankin (2015)
JR RHP Emerson Gibbs (2015)
JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel (2015)
SR 2B Garret Deschamp (2015)
SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson (2015)
JR OF Richard Carthon (2015)
SO SS Stephen Alemais (2016)
SO C Jake Rogers (2016)
SO RHP JP France (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Zamjahn (2016)
SO RHP Zach Flowers (2016)
SO 3B Hunter Hope (2016)
SO 1B/OF Lex Kaplan (2016)
SO OF Grant Brown (2016)
SO RHP Corey Merrill (2016)
SO RHP Patrick Duester (2016)
FR LHP Jackson Johnson (2017)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – South Florida

JR RHP Jimmy Herget (2015)
SR RHP Jordan Strittmatter (2015)
rSO RHP Tommy Peterson (2015)
rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland (2015)
rJR OF Buddy Putnam (2015)
SR OF Austin Lueck (2015)
SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf (2015)
JR C/3B Levi Borders (2015)
rJR SS/2B Nik Alfonso (2015)
JR OF Luke Maglich (2015)
SO OF Luke Borders (2016)
SO 2B Andres Leal (2016)
SO OF/RHP Daniel Portales (2016)
SO RHP Brandon Lawson (2016)
SO RHP Michael Farley (2016)

This year’s South Florida team is littered with players that I consider “eight-year seniors,” a term that began (I believe) when Stewart Mandel (then of Sports Illustrated, now at Fox) observed how certain football players seem to hang around the college game forever. Names like rJR OF Buddy Putnam, SR OF Austin Lueck, SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf, and rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland all qualify for me, but sticking with school could pay off for a few of them come June. Putnam’s tools (power and arm, little bit of speed) are impressive but the production just hasn’t been there. Lueck has similar tools (better speed, less power) and a similar (but better) spotty track record. I like Teaf most of all, as I think he could wind up a useful utility infielder with the right combination of defensive polish, patience, and smarts. The well-traveled Mulholland and JR RHP Jimmy Herget head up the pitching staff. Mulholland has been good when healthy, especially when he can his above-average low-80s split-change over for strikes. Herget is coming off an outstanding 2014 (7.55 K/9 and 2.26 BB/9 with a 1.26 ERA in 107.1 IP) and is talented enough (88-93 FB, good SL, funky delivery) to get consideration as a serious follow this spring.

Where The College Talent Is

I’m not well informed enough to make a controversial stance and say that the following universities have the “best” rosters (with regard to potential pro talent, not necessarily winning college talent), so I’ll totally wimp out and, for now anyway, call these rosters some of the most intriguing that I’ve seen so far. I’ve stuck to the big name conferences, but I’ll expand this list to some of the little guys as the offseason rolls along.

ACC – Virginia
Big East – South Florida
SEC – LSU/Georgia/Vanderbilt (even when being spineless, I can’t pick a favorite…)
Big 12 – Texas
Pac-10 – Oregon State
Big West – UC Riverside
West Coast – Gonzaga
Conference USA – Rice
Mountain West – Texas Christian

Random College Plus-Plus Tools

So, I’ve got a 33-page Word document going with every notable college team listed (including junior colleges and D-II/D-III teams) that is now up over 11,000 words. I don’t say it to brag — I mean, come on, how big a dork would I have to be proud of something like that? — but rather to set up the next couple of days of posting. Since my current Word doc has real quick notes on a ton of college players, I thought it would be a good idea to share out some of the more interesting findings so far. I won’t have complete player profiles done on the major guys for a while, and I doubt I’ll ever have complete profiles written on some of the lesser names, so this gives me a chance to shine the spotlight on some lesser known guys who happen to feature a truly standout tool or two.

Plus-Plus Tools

Rutgers

SR C Jayson Hernandez (2010) and his jaw-dropping throwing arm. The guy may have little to no power to speak of, and he may be considered one of the weaker hitters currently playing major college ball, but, man oh man, can this guy throw. If he can wake up the bat even a teeny, tiny bit, he could find himself drafted with the chance of someday being a shutdown all-defense big league backup.

South Florida

JR C Eric Sim (2010) and his almost as good as Hernandez’s plus-plus but not quite all the way there yet arm. Overall, Hernandez is the better defender; he is closer to a finished product defensively (his ability to block balls and his footwork are both currently ahead) and, as mentioned, has a slightly more impressive arm. Sim’s bat is more of a question mark at this point. I’ll be honest and say I’m not really sure how it’ll play in the Big East this spring. What I do know is that some scouts have already given up on Sim as a catcher and are instead dreaming of what kind of heat his arm could generate when getting reps throwing off the mound.

Texas A&M

SO RHP/SS Adam Smith (2011) and the bazooka launcher attached to the right side of his body. If you’ve been following the draft over the past few years the name Adam Smith should sound familiar. No, not the Wealth of Nations guy. The highly sought after 2008 recruit who wound up in College Station playing for the Aggies. Smith has always had a crazy strong arm, but only recently has he had the chance to showcase it regularly on the mound. I still believe he can play a capable SS/3B and hit enough to be productive at either spot, but I couldn’t fault a team that instead saw him as a potential closer-type throwing easy 97 mph fastballs off the bump.

San Diego

FR OF Matt Moynihan (2012) doing his very best Usain Bolt impression with legit plus-plus speed. A future piece here is definitely going to be about players who fit the ideal “leadoff man profile.” I must have wrote that phrase about 50 times when during the quick reports of college guys this year. Maybe I’m misremembering previous year’s talent bases, but it seems that 2010-2012 has a disproportionate amount of players with the potential for really good big league careers as lineup table setters and up the middle plus defenders. Moynihan has that potential, though he is obviously a few years off from getting there. He combines that plus-plus speed with good discipline along with superior range and an arm that fits well in CF to make himself an enticing prospect to watch.

Old Dominion

JR LHP Kyle Hald (2010) and his dominating split-fingered changeup. Hald doesn’t throw hard (sitting mid-80s), but he does everything else you could possibly want a pitcher to do well. The secondary stuff is solid (hard SL and decent show-me CB), he is an outstanding fielder, his pickoff move is a legit weapon, and his mechanics are clean, consistent, and repeatable. That alone would make him a potential mid-round get, even when factoring in the below-average fastball. It’s the inclusion of his unique split-fingered change that makes him a sleeper to watch in 2010. I may be wildly overrating him based on one great pitch, but it’s a pitch that impressed me so much I’m willing to stick my neck out for it.

Jacksonville State

SR RHP Alex Jones (2010) and his surgically repaired elbow’s nasty slider. Jones is coming off from Tommy John surgery and, unfortunately, is feeling the impact hard. His fastball that once topped out in the low-90s was only able to get up over 86 this past summer. Thankfully the procedure and subsequent time off had no negative consequences on his plus-plus slider, a pitch that may be the best of its kind in all of college baseball. If Jones can pick up some of that lost velocity, he’ll find himself as another potential mid-round college reliever sleeper. He’s got the pro body (6-6, 190 pounds) and financial advantage (he’d be a senior sign) that many similarly talented pitchers in the mid-rounds seem to lack.