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College Team Profiles: Stanford Cardinal
One of the most popular (fine, the only) question I’ve been emailed since starting this site up goes a little something like this: I’m going to see ____ University/College/State play this weekend and I was wondering if there was anybody with a professional future that would be worth watching. The College Team Profiles are designed to preemptively answer any and all questions about the prospects from a particular college team…or maybe just open up a whole new debate full of new, even more confusing questions. We’ll see. The next three draft classes for one particular school are featured, with the players ranked in order (from greatest to least greatest) within each class.
As always, whether you agree, disagree, or think I’m a dope who should leave this sort of stuff to the experts (thanks, Mom)…let’s hear it via email (you can use either robozga at gmail dot com or thebaseballdraftreport at gmail dot com) or in the comments section.
JR OF Kellen Kiilsgaard (2010) is another high upside, high risk collegiate outfielder that could put himself in position to be a top-three round pick with a big junior season. He’s a plus athlete with plus raw power and plus speed. Plus (sorry, I couldn’t resist), he’s got the tools to be an above-average defensive outfielder, although his slingshot throwing motion may limit him to leftfield professionally. The tools haven’t manifested themselves in the same way they have in other players in his class (for all his speed and athleticism he only swiped one bag last season), but Kiilsgaard, a football player compared to Jake Locker coming out of high school, deserves the benefit of the doubt due to his limited experience on the diamond. His future draft position will most likely be somewhere between round five and ten, but, as mentioned, the talent level is high enough to push him up to the end of round three.
JR 2B Colin Walsh (2010) reminds me a little bit of present day Luis Castillo, also known as Luis Castillo after losing his wheels. He’s got a pretty swing that has scouts projecting more power in his future than he has shown thus far. Hopefully that little bit of pop begins to show up in 2010 because another year of slugging .376 won’t cut it. He has an outstanding glove at second that may actually be good enough to work at shortstop, giving hope that he can be a utility infielder in the mold of Marco Scutaro someday. If even just a little bit more power shows up this year, he could find himself off the board within the first 7 or 8 rounds this June.
JR 1B Jonathan Kaskow (2010) is exactly the kind of player that makes the College Team Profiles worthwhile. If you were to just scan the Stanford roster, check out the statistics from the past few years, and maybe take a glance at one of the giants of the industry’s (namely BA or PG) top 100/200/300 list of draft-eligible players, you’d totally miss out on a prospect like Jonathan Kaskow. I’m not knocking those methods of learning about prospects, by the way; for years that was almost exactly what I would do before watching a college/high school game, and, quite honestly, those are still my go-to moves in a pinch today. The exclusion of Kaskow from any top prospect list at this point is warranted, but if prospecting is all about being ahead of the curve, then I’m happy to help get Kaskow’s name out there now before he blows up in his junior season at Stanford. Plus raw power from both sides of the plate, smooth defense at first, big league ready size (6-4, 225), and a mature approach to hitting all help make Kaskow a sleeper to rise way up the draft charts this spring. In a down year for college hitting, a big bat like this can make up a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
JR RHP Michael Marshall (2010) is a big (6-3, 240) rubber armed Texan highly skilled in both throwing low-90s fastballs by hitters and turning around on low-90s fastballs at the plate. He also throws a quality breaking ball and a decent change, pitches good enough to make some wonder if he could someday start. Truthfully, he had me at big rubber armed Texan. Marshall might be one of those “who?” type of players that wind up having more success working consistent innings with professional coaching than they ever could have at the college level.
JR RHP Alex Pracher (2010) sits in the high-80s with a fastball that will touch the low-90s when he needs it. He rounds out his arsenal with two solid secondary offerings, a slider and a changeup, plus a curve that probably should be scrapped. Projection is the big word when it comes to Pracher, as scouts see his 6-3, 175 pound frame and envision a day when the fastball sits in the low-90s deep into games. I’m not sold on that day ever coming, and actually think Pracher works best in relief, three solid pitches be damned. I’m actively trying to be more pessimistic in this scouting blurbs (not everybody is a top ten round pick, after all), and Pracher gives me the opportunity to break from convention and wonder why a particular player is as highly regarded by the consensus as he is. I normally see three average or better pitches and think, “well, at worse he has the upside as a big league starter…and that’s pretty darn good,” but I can’t get on board the Pracher bandwagon for some reason.
SR RHP Kyle Thompson (2010) is a deep, deep, deep sleeper, not unlike a hungover hibernating bear. How did the bear get so drunk in the first place? I’ll never tell. College relievers with 12.1 innings pitched through three healthy seasons don’t typically warrant more than a quick dismissal of their pro prospects, but any player who learned under the watchful eye of Mark Gubicza is alright by me. I know Thompson has been used only out of the bullpen for the Cardinal, but his stuff (low-90s fastball, above-average change, and usable breaking ball) would play better as a starter. Late round senior signs don’t normally have the upside of a middle reliever, let alone a fifth starter, but that’s what I see in Thompson. It’ll take a good pitching coach to help him unlock the potential of his stuff, but there is enough already there to make him a worthy late round (40+) pickup.
JR SS Jake Schlander (2010) can really pick it at shortstop, but his inability to make consistent contact, hit for power, and get on base regularly put a damper on his pro prospects. He’s started since day one at Stanford, putting up lines of .232/.307/.256 and .232/.285/.324 his first two seasons. Those are stunningly bad numbers. However, as mentioned, Schlander can really pick it at shortstop. I mean, he can really pick it. Plus range, flawless hands, strong arm, he has it all. He’s like the John McDonald of the college game. John McDonald is a career .238/.276/.317 hitter in the bigs. John McDonald hit .261/.321/.329 in the minors. John McDonald just signed a two year contract that will guarantee him three million dollars. I won’t say that Schlander will ever be a big leaguer making coin like that, but I do feel comfortable predicting that he’ll be on draft boards either this summer or next. He’ll get a chance to show off his defensive versatility this season as Kenny Diekroeger swipes the starting shortstop job away, a blessing in disguise for Schlander’s pro prospects. Expect a forward thinking front office, maybe Seattle or Boston, to pop Schlander late (round 35+) against all offensive odds before he graduates.
JR C Zach Jones (2010) is a bit of an enigma – a potential above-average defender behind the plate who doubles as an outstanding athlete and fantastic baserunner. I like guys who break the mold, and players who can legitimately catch AND steal double digit bases are a rarity. I also like guys who can hit, something Jones hasn’t proven he can do. His defense may be enough to get him drafted, but it won’t be until very late…and it may not be until his senior year.
SR INF Min (Brian) Moon (2010) can play any infield position, but has been slowed his entire career with Stanford with one nagging injury after another. The inconsistent playing time has prevented him from showing off his above-average defense and intriguing raw power, but he may not get the needed at bats to get noticed in time for the draft this June.
JR OF Dave Giuliani (2010) ought to be in the running for some playing time in Stanford’s wide open outfield. A big junior year could get him noticed as a potential above-average big league backup outfielder option down the line. Giuliani does a lot right on defense (average in center, above-average on the corners, plus a very strong arm) and on the base paths (55 speed), but has a lot to prove with the bat. His lack of playing time his first two seasons at Stanford make him a good bet to stick around campus through his senior year.
SR RHP Cory Bannister (2010) may have impressive bloodlines (he’s Brian’s brother and Floyd’s son), but he isn’t a pro prospect. Short, fringy stuff, poor numbers, and coming off of Tommy John surgery? Not going to cut it. Name recognition might be his only shot at a professional career.
SR INF Adam Gaylord (2010) would need a minor miracle to even get on a big league club’s draft radar this June. Scrappy college middle infielders normally receive more than their fair share of love from scouts, but no amount of grit can make a 10-54 BB to K ratio with absolutely no power (18 extra base hits in 287 at bats) appealing. Come to think of it, a minor miracle probably still won’t be enough for Gaylord to play pro ball after graduation, but he’ll always have the degree from Stanford to fall back on.
JR RHP Andrew Clauson (2010) hasn’t pitched in live game action since 2007. He isn’t a pro prospect, despite a fastball that has been clocked as high as 92 in the past.
JR C Ben Clowe (2010) offers up solid defensive tools, but doesn’t bring much else to the table. He has been leapfrogged on the depth chart by Zach Jones, a pretty damning sign for any player hoping to someday get paid to play. Clowe isn’t a bad college ballplayer, especially if he is your backup backstop, but that puts pretty far off any scouting director’s radar.
JR RHP Danny Sandbrink (2010) just doesn’t miss enough bats with his fastball, curveball, and changeup combo to justify a spot in the draft this June. His disastrous 2009 season (ERA over 7.00 with a 22/16 strikeout to walk ratio in 33 innings) puts him behind a slew of more talented arms in the Stanford pitching staff pecking order.
JR OF Kellen McColl (2010) would be a potential first round prospect if only for a few alterations to his last name. Kellen McColl doesn’t have much of a chance of getting drafted at all. Kellen McCool, however, now that’s a player a smart scouting director would jump at the chance to pay millions of dollars. McColl doesn’t have a starting job heading into 2010 (though his above-average speed and solid defense could get him some time in left now that Toby Gerhart will spend the spring prepping for the NFL Draft) and should probably just go ahead now and make plans for June 7-9 that don’t revolve around following the draft online.
SR OF/HB Toby Gerhart (2010) will spend the spring working out in preparation for the NFL Draft this June. Followers of the site know I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to drafts in any of the major sports, so when I’m not writing something for this site, I tend to be scouring the internet for any kind of useful information re: the NFL Draft. As an aside, nice a prospect as Gerhart may be on the gridiron, I’d rather my favorite team take one of the other two high profile baseballers in this year’s draft. Give me Chad Jones in the second/third round area, and Riley Cooper late, but thanks but no thanks on Gerhart, assuming he goes as high as many outlets are projecting. I’m not hating on the player per se, but rather currently thinking his value isn’t in line with where he’ll probably wind up going on draft day. Anyway, he’s at the bottom of the 2010 rankings because he chose football over baseball, truly an unforgivable sin.
SO OF Jack Mosbacher (2011) is officially listed as a sophomore despite not playing for the Cardinal as a freshman. Typically players who don’t get into any actual games get the redshirt tag, whether or not it was a planned redshirt season or not. Mosbacher could be listed as a redshirt freshman, but is instead referred to as a sophomore. His draft year remains the same either way, so there really isn’t any point talking about this, but these are the things you need to ramble on about to fill space in a paragraph that is supposed to be about a guy named Mosbacher. To his credit, Mosbacher actually sounds like a fascinating person (involved in multiple theater productions, interested in a career in public service, and has parents who were both tremendous athletes) and a prospect with some upside (above-average speed and arm, enough defensive tools to play centerfield, leadoff hitter profile). We’ll see.
SO INF Justin Schwartz (2011) has enough speed to be a pretty useful college infielder, especially in a backup role. Without any kind of college data or meaningful scouting reports or ever having him seen in person (sadly I’ve never been able to visit Beverly Hills HS, where Schwartz attended), I really don’t have anything more to add here. Paragraphs like this should serve as a reminder why you, the reader, will never have to pay a dime to read this site.
FR SS Kenny Diekroeger (2012) will be linked to 2010 draft prospect LeVon Washington because they were the first two (unsigned) picks of the Rays, but Washington’s upside doesn’t begin to scrape the bottom of Diekroeger’s. Washington is considered a top half of the 2010 first round pick by some; I don’t like him quite that much, but he’s a legit high round prospect all the same. If Diekroeger is significantly better, like I believe he is, then what’s his ultimate draft position upside? His plus-plus athleticism and speed, big league ready frame, and high likelihood he sticks up the middle defensively gives him a place in the top ten of my hypothetical 2012 MLB Mock Draft. He is a little raw both at the plate and in the field, but, wow, that athleticism. You’re always gambling on tools-oriented guys like this, but that athleticism is special enough to outweigh much of the risk. He just looks like a player that will figure it all out before too long.
FR 1B/OF Justin Ringo (2012) is one of the top incoming first base/corner outfield/big bat prospects in the nation. He has plus lefthanded power, ridiculous bat speed, and a compact yet thunderous swing. His early rise to fame has helped him develop a very patient approach to the plate, a trait he has been forced to concentrate on dating back to the frequent pitch-arounds of his sophomore season. All college players were excellent high school players, but it isn’t everyday that a player gets that kind of respect that early in his prep career. Ringo rarely swings at a bad ball and strikes out way less than your typical power hitting prospect. That’s partially because of the aforementioned experience watching garbage pitches go by, but also explained by the fact Ringo isn’t a typical power hitting prospect; he’s a great hitter who just so happens to have great power. He could join Diekroeger in the 2012 first round.
FR INF Eric Smith (2012) may be a name that gets lost amidst the huge names of the consensus top three 2010 Stanford recruiting class, but that would be a mistake. Smith played two years of high school baseball at shortstop after starting out by playing one at third base, but could shift over to the hot corner as he fills out. His plus arm and quick reaction time should play well there. Few players across the country put up high school numbers quite like Smith’s, a testament to his uncanny ability to make consistent hard contact at the plate. I know high school numbers rank absurdly low on the great big list of things that make prospects appealing, but numbers as ridiculous as Smith’s were can get a largely unrecognized player on a scout/recruiting coordinator watch list, for curiosity’s sake if nothing else. Once on the watch list, positive scouting reports (e.g. consistent hard contact) can paint a slightly more meaningful picture of what kind of player we’re talking about. I won’t pretend to know any more about Smith than what has already been said (intriguing defensive tools, plus arm, consistent hard contact), but it’s a start.