The Baseball Draft Report

Home » Posts tagged 'Vanderbilt'

Tag Archives: Vanderbilt

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – SEC Follow List

Louisiana State

JR 2B/SS Alex Bregman (2015)
JR OF Andrew Stevenson (2015)
JR OF Mark Laird (2015)
JR C Chris Chinea (2015)
SR 1B/3B Conner Hale (2015)
SR OF Jared Foster (2015)
SR C Kade Scivicque (2015)
SR OF Chris Sciambra (2015)
SR RHP Brady Domangue (2015)
SR RHP Zac Person (2015)
SR LHP Kyle Bouman (2015)
rSO RHP Hunter Newman (2015)
rSO RHP Russell Reynolds (2015)
JR LHP Hunter Devall (2015)
FR 2B/SS Greg Deichmann (2016)
SO OF Jake Fraley (2016)
SO LHP Jared Poche (2016)
SO RHP Parker Bugg (2016)
SO 2B/3B Danny Zardon (2016)
SO 2B Kramer Robertson (2016)
SO RHP Collin Strall (2016)
SO RHP Alden Cartwright (2016)
rFR RHP Jesse Stallings (2016)
FR RHP Alex Lange (2017)
FR RHP Jake Godfrey (2017)
FR LHP Jake Latz (2017)
FR C Mike Papierski (2017)
FR RHP Austin Bain (2017)
FR SS Grayson Byrd (2017)
FR RHP Doug Norman (2017)
FR OF Beau Jordan (2017)
FR C/1B Bryce Jordan (2017)

Tennessee

JR OF Christin Stewart (2015)
JR OF/LHP Vincent Jackson (2015)
SR OF Jonathan Youngblood (2015)
JR OF Derek Lance (2015)
JR SS AJ Simcox (2015)
SR C Tyler Schultz (2015)
JR C David Houser (2015)
SR 1B/OF Parker Wormsley (2015)
JR 3B/2B Jeff Moberg (2015)
JR OF Chris Hall (2015)
JR OF Derek Lance (2015)
JR RHP/1B Andrew Lee (2015)
JR LHP Drake Owenby (2015)
JR RHP Steven Kane (2015)
SR RHP Bret Marks (2015)
SR RHP Peter Lenstrohm (2015)
SR RHP Eric Martin (2015)
JR LHP Andy Cox (2015)
SO RHP Kyle Serrano (2016)
SO 1B/C Nathaniel Maggio (2016)
SO RHP Hunter Martin (2016)
SO 3B Jordan Rodgers (2016)
SO 2B/3B Nick Senzel (2016)
FR C Benito Santiago (2016)
FR LHP Zach Warren (2017)
FR SS/2B Brett Langhorne (2017)

South Carolina

SR 1B Kyle Martin (2015)
JR C Jared Martin (2015)
JR 1B Collin Steagall (2015)
SR OF/3B Elliot Caldwell (2015)
SR OF/2B Connor Bright (2015)
rSR C/OF Patrick Harrington (2015)
JR 2B Max Schrock (2015)
JR SS Marcus Mooney (2015)
JR 2B/SS DC Arendas (2015)
rSO 1B Weber Pike (2015)
SR LHP Vincent Fiori (2015)
SR RHP Cody Mincey (2015)
JR LHP Jack Wynkoop (2015)
SO OF Gene Cone (2016)
SO RHP Matt Vogel (2016)
SO RHP Wil Crowe (2016)
SO LHP John Parke (2016)
SO 1B/RHP Taylor Widener (2016)
rFR RHP Canaan Cropper (2016)
SO LHP Josh Reagan (2016)
SO RHP Reed Scott (2016)
SO SS/RHP Jordan Gore (2016)
SO C Logan Koch (2016)
FR OF Clark Scolamiero (2017)
FR LHP/OF Alex Destino (2017)
FR C Hunter Taylor (2017)
FR SS/3B Madison Stokes (2017)
FR RHP Brandon Murray (2017)
FR RHP Clarke Schmidt (2017)
FR INF Jared Williams (2017)
FR RHP Tyler Johnson (2017)

Alabama

JR OF Georgie Salem (2015)
JR 2B/SS Mikey White (2015)
SO OF Casey Hughston (2015)
SO C Will Haynie (2015)
JR 2B/RHP Kyle Overstreet (2015)
JR OF Ryan Blanchard (2015)
JR 3B Daniel Cucjen (2015)
rSO RHP Mike Oczypok (2015)
JR 3B/RHP Chance Vincent (2015)
JR RHP Will Carter (2015)
rJR RHP Jake Hubbard (2015)
SR LHP Taylor Guilbeau (2015)
SR LHP Jonathan Keller (2015)
JR RHP Ray Castillo (2015)
rSO LHP/OF Colton Freeman (2015)
JR RHP/C Mitch Greer (2015)
SO RHP Geoffrey Bramblett (2016)
SO RHP Nick Eicholtz (2016)
SO LHP Thomas Burrows (2016)
SO OF William Elliott (2016)
FR OF Jamal Howard (2017)
FR SS Chandler Avant (2017)
FR RHP Andrew Dipiazza (2017)
FR LHP Alex Watkins (2017)

Kentucky

JR RHP Kyle Cody (2015)
rJR LHP Matt Snyder (2015)
JR RHP Dustin Beggs (2015)
SR RHP Andrew Nelson (2015)
rJR RHP Taylor Martin (2015)
rJR RHP Zach Strecker (2015)
JR LHP Dylan Dwyer (2015)
JR LHP Ryne Combs (2015)
SR RHP Spencer Jack (2015)
JR OF Kyle Barrett (2015)
rJR C Greg Fettes (2015)
JR OF Dorian Hairston (2015)
rSO OF Storm Wilson (2015)
rSR 3B/1B Thomas Bernal (2015)
JR OF Ka’ai Tom (2015)
JR C Zach Arnold (2015)
SO 2B/OF JaVon Shelby (2016)
SO SS Connor Heady (2016)
SO OF Marcus Carson (2016)
SO RHP Zack Brown (2016)
SO RHP Robert Ziegler (2016)
SO LHP Logan Salow (2016)
FR RHP Zachary Pop (2017)

Georgia

JR 1B Morgan Bunting (2015)
JR C Zack Bowers (2015)
JR 1B David Nichols (2015)
rSO 3B Trevor Kieboom (2015)
JR SS/2B Nick King (2015)
SR OF/RHP Heath Holder (2015)
rSR C/RHP Brandon Stephens (2015)
SR 1B/LHP Jared Walsh (2015)
JR RHP/OF Sean McLaughlin (2015)
SR RHP Jared Cheek (2015)
rJR RHP Mike Mancuso (2015)
rJR RHP David Sosebee (2015)
JR LHP Ryan Lawlor (2015)
JR RHP David Gonzalez (2015)
rSO RHP Austin Wallace (2015)
SO RHP Robert Tyler (2016)
SO LHP Connor Jones (2016)
SO OF Stephen Wrenn (2016)
SO SS/2B Mike Bell (2016)
SO C/OF Skyler Webb (2016)
FR LHP Ryan Avidano (2017)
FR LHP Bo Tucker (2017)
FR OF Keegan McGovern (2017)
FR OF/3B Mitchell Webb (2017)

Mississippi

rJR LHP Christian Trent (2015)
rSO RHP Brady Bramlett (2015)
rSO RHP Jacob Waguespack (2015)
JR RHP Sean Johnson (2015)
SR RHP Sam Smith (2015)
rSR RHP Scott Weathersby (2015)
JR LHP Matt Denny (2015)
JR 1B Jack Kaiser (2015)
SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis (2015)
SR C Austin Knight (2015)
SO LHP Evan Anderson (2016)
JR OF Connor Cloyd (2015)
JR OF Cameron Dishon (2015)
rFR OF Peyton Attaway (2016)
FR SS/2B Tate Blackman (2016)
SO 3B/1B Colby Bortles (2016)
SO LHP Wyatt Short (2016)
SO SS/2B Errol Robinson (2016)
SO OF JB Woodman (2016)
FR RHP Will Stokes (2017)
FR RHP Calder Mikell (2017)
FR SS/2B Kyle Watson (2017)
FR 1B Joe Wainhouse (2017)
FR SS/2B Will Golsan (2017)
FR C Nic Perkins (2017)
FR RHP John Wesley Ray (2017)

Arkansas

JR RHP Trey Killian (2015)
rSR RHP Jackson Lowery (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Stone (2015)
rJR OF Tyler Spoon (2015)
JR 2B Max Hogan (2015)
rJR SS Brett McAfee (2015)
SR OF Joe Serrano (2015)
rJR 3B Mike Bernal (2015)
SR OF/C Krisjon Wilkerson (2015)
JR 3B Bobby Wernes (2015)
JR C Tucker Pennell (2015)
JR SS Matt Campbell (2015)
JR 2B/SS Rick Nomura (2015)
rFR C Carson Shaddy (2016)
SO INF Clark Eagan (2016)
SO LHP/INF Trent Hill (2016)
SO RHP Zach Jackson (2016)
SO RHP Dominic Taccolini (2016)
SO RHP Cannon Chadwick (2016)
SO RHP James Teague (2016)
SO OF Andrew Benintendi (2016)
FR OF Luke Bonfield (2016)
FR C Nathan Rodriguez (2017)
FR RHP Keaton McKinney (2017)
FR RHP Jonah Patten (2017)
FR 3B Blake Wiggins (2017)
FR C/1B Chad Spanberger (2017)
FR LHP Kyle Pate (2017)
FR OF Keith Grieshaber (2017)
FR LHP Ryan Fant (2017)

Vanderbilt

JR RHP Walker Buehler (2015)
JR RHP Carson Fulmer (2015)
rJR LHP Philip Pfeifer (2015)
SO LHP John Kilichowski (2015)
JR RHP Tyler Ferguson (2015)
JR OF/RHP Kyle Smith (2015)
JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson (2015)
JR OF Rhett Wiseman (2015)
rJR 1B Zander Wiel (2015)
JR 2B/SS Tyler Campbell (2015)
SO OF/1B Bryan Reynolds (2016)
SO C Jason Delay (2016)
SO OF/INF Nolan Rogers (2016)
SO RHP Hayden Stone (2016)
SO LHP Ben Bowden (2016)
rFR RHP Jordan Sheffield (2016)
FR 3B/SS Will Toffey (2016)
SO C Karl Ellison (2016)
SO RHP/LHP Aubrey McCarty (2016)
rFR OF/INF Tyler Green (2016)
rFR OF Drake Parker (2016)
SO OF/2B Ro Coleman (2016)
FR OF Jeren Kendall (2017)
FR RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2017)
FR SS Liam Sabino (2017)
FR RHP Joey Abraham (2017)
FR RHP Matt Ruppenthal (2017)
FR RHP Collin Snider (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Wright (2017)
FR C Tristan Chari (2017)
FR 3B Joey Mundy (2017)

Auburn

JR RHP Trey Wingenter (2015)
SR RHP Rocky McCord (2015)
rJR RHP Justin Camp (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Milliman (2015)
rSO RHP Cole Lipscomb (2015)
JR SS Cody Nulph (2015)
JR OF Sam Gillikin (2015)
JR 3B/SS Alex Polston (2015)
JR 2B/SS Melvin Gray (2015)
JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert (2015)
JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith (2015)
SO OF JJ Shaffer (2016)
SO RHP Kevin Davis (2016)
SO 2B/SS Damon Haecker (2016)
SO RHP/1B Keegan Thompson (2016)
SO OF Anfernee Grier (2016)
SO C Blake Logan (2016)
SO 1B/OF Daniel Robert (2016)
FR OF/INF Hunter Tackett (2016)
FR OF Austin Murphy (2017)

Florida

JR SS/OF Richie Martin (2015)
JR OF Harrison Bader (2015)
SR 3B/2B Josh Tobias (2015)
JR RHP Eric Hanhold (2015)
rSO RHP Mike Vinson (2015)
JR RHP Taylor Lewis (2015)
rJR RHP Aaron Rhodes (2015)
SR LHP Bobby Poyner (2015)
JR LHP Danny Young (2015)
SO RHP Logan Shore (2016)
SO 3B John Sternagel (2016)
rFR LHP Scott Moss (2016)
SO RHP Shaun Anderson (2016)
SO LHP/OF Tyler Deel (2016)
SO OF Ryan Larson (2016)
SO RHP Frank Rubio (2016)
SO LHP Kirby Snead (2016)
SO 1B Pete Alonso (2016)
SO OF Buddy Reed (2016)
SO LHP/1B AJ Puk (2016)
SO RHP Dane Dunning (2016)
SO RHP Brett Morales (2016)
FR C JJ Schwarz (2017)
FR SS Dalton Guthrie (2017)
FR RHP Alex Faedo (2017)
FR C Michael Rivera (2017)
FR OF/LHP Logan Browning (2017)
FR SS Taylor Lane (2017)
FR 1B/OF Jeremy Vasquez (2017)
FR SS/3B Christian Hicks (2017)

Mississippi State

rJR 3B/2B John Holland (2015)
JR 1B Matt Spruill (2015)
SR C Cody Walker (2015)
rSR 1B Wes Rea (2015)
SR SS Matthew Britton (2015)
SR OF Jake Vickerson (2015)
SR SS Seth Heck (2015)
rSO OF Cody Brown (2015)
rSO OF Jacob Robson (2015)
rSR LHP Ross Mitchell (2015)
SR RHP Trevor Fitts (2015)
rJR RHP Preston Brown (2015)
rSO RHP Paul Young (2015)
SR LHP Lucas Laster (2015)
JR RHP Myles Gentry (2015)
SO RHP Austin Sexton (2016)
SO C Gavin Collins (2016)
SO LHP Daniel Brown (2016)
SO RHP Logan Elliott (2016)
SO 3B Luke Reynolds (2016)
rFR OF Joey Swinarski (2016)
SO RHP Dakota Hudson (2016)
SO OF/3B Reid Humphreys (2016)
SO RHP Zac Houston (2016)
rFR RHP Jacob Billingsley (2016)
FR RHP Jesse McCord (2017)
FR RHP Aaron Dominguez (2017)
FR RHP/1B Cole Gordon (2017)
FR INF Ryan Gridley (2017)
FR LHP Andrew Mahoney (2017)
FR LHP Paxton Stover (2017)

Missouri

JR RHP Alec Rash (2015)
rJR RHP John Miles (2015)
SR RHP Jace James (2015)
JR RHP Peter Fairbanks (2015)
JR RHP Breckin Williams (2015)
JR RHP Brandon Mahovlich (2015)
JR RHP Reggie McClain (2015)
JR LHP Austin Tribby (2015)
JR RHP Griffin Goodrich (2015)
JR 3B/1B Josh Lester (2015)
SR 2B/SS Brett Peel (2015)
JR 3B/1B Zach Lavy (2015)
JR 1B/OF Chris Akmon (2015)
SR C/OF Jake Ivory (2015)
SR OF Logan Pearson (2015)
SO OF Jake Ring (2016)
SO C Jack Klages (2016)
SO SS/3B Ryan Howard (2016)
FR RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (2017)
FR 3B/SS Shane Benes (2017)
FR RHP Tanner Houck (2017)
FR RHP/OF Zack Henderson (2017)
FR LHP Lake Dabney (2017)
FR INF/OF Trey Harris (2017)
FR RHP Liam Carter (2017)
FR C Brett Bond (2017)

Texas A&M

JR C/OF Boomer White (2015)
JR 3B/SS Logan Taylor (2015)
JR C Michael Barash (2015)
SR C Mitchell Nau (2015)
SR 2B/SS Blake Allemand (2015)
SR 1B/OF GR Hinsley (2015)
JR OF JB Moss (2015)
JR OF/1B Jonathan Moroney (2015)
SR OF Patrick McLendon (2015)
JR 3B Logan Taylor (2015)
JR 1B/RHP Hunter Melton (2015)
SR 3B/RHP Logan Nottebrok (2015)
JR LHP/OF AJ Minter (2015)
JR LHP Matt Kent (2015)
SO LHP Tyler Stubblefield (2015)
SR RHP Jason Freeman (2015)
JR RHP Grayson Long (2015)
JR RHP/INF Andrew Vinson (2015)
JR LHP Ty Schlottmann (2015)
JR RHP Kyle Simonds (2015)
SO RHP Cody Whiting (2015)
SO OF Nick Banks (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Hendrix (2016)
SO 2B/OF Ryne Birk (2016)
SO 3B/C Ronnie Gideon (2016)
SO RHP Mark Ecker (2016)
SO SS Nick Choruby (2016)
FR RHP Turner Larkins (2017)
FR RHP Brigham Hill (2017)
FR C Cole Bedford (2017)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Vanderbilt

JR RHP Walker Buehler (2015)
JR RHP Carson Fulmer (2015)
rJR LHP Philip Pfeifer (2015)
SO LHP John Kilichowski (2015)
JR RHP Tyler Ferguson (2015)
JR OF/RHP Kyle Smith (2015)
JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson (2015)
JR 3B Xavier Turner (2015)
JR OF Rhett Wiseman (2015)
rJR 1B Zander Wiel (2015)
JR 2B/SS Tyler Campbell (2015)
SO OF/1B Bryan Reynolds (2016)
SO C Jason Delay (2016)
SO OF/INF Nolan Rogers (2016)
SO RHP Hayden Stone (2016)
SO LHP Ben Bowden (2016)
rFR RHP Jordan Sheffield (2016)
SO C Karl Ellison (2016)
SO RHP/LHP Aubrey McCarty (2016)
rFR OF/INF Tyler Green (2016)
rFR OF Drake Parker (2016)
SO OF/2B Ro Coleman (2016)
FR 3B/SS Will Toffey (2016)
FR OF Jeren Kendall (2017)
FR RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2017)
FR SS Liam Sabino (2017)
FR RHP Joey Abraham (2017)
FR RHP Matt Ruppenthal (2017)
FR RHP Collin Snider (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Wright (2017)
FR C Tristan Chari (2017)
FR 3B Joey Mundy (2017)

If JR RHP Walker Buehler, JR RHP Carson Fulmer, JR SS Dansby Swanson, JR RHP Tyler Ferguson, and JR OF Rhett Wiseman were your favorite big league team’s top five prospects heading into the season, I think you’d feel all right. Brewers, Angels, Tigers, Marlins (this year), and Rays fans know all too well what I’m talking about there. Buehler wasn’t in Keith Law”s final top 100 prospects back in 2012 and he ranked 50th on Baseball America’s list. Here, however, Buehler came in at 28th with the following text accompaniment:

28. RHP Walker Buehler (Henry Clay HS, Kentucky): classic case of a plus pitchability arm who one day wakes up to big league quality stuff; his upper-80s FB (91-92 peak) has jumped to a steady 90-94, peaking 95-96; best offsped pitch is an above-average 76-78 CB with plus upside, one of the best of its kind in the class – even more effective when he throws it a little harder (78-82); third pitch is a straight CU with tumble that at times is his best offering; hardly going out on a limb, but Buehler is one of my favorite prep arms in this year’s class: smarts, three big league pitches, and repeatable mechanics all add up to a potential quality big league starter; 6-1, 165 pounds

Since then all Buehler has done is dominate the SEC, add a second plus breaking ball (80-85 SL) and further refined his mechanics, command, and pitchability. The only thing he hasn’t done since his high school days is grow. For some teams this could present a problem, but I don’t see anything in his delivery (to say nothing of his awesome athleticism) to knock him for standing in at his present height and weight of 6-1, 160 pounds. What stands out to me above all else about Buehler’s progression over the years is the first line in the quoted section above. Young pitchers are probably too easily categorized as “pitchers” or “throwers” at an early age. Being a pitcher who is called a pitcher should not be newsworthy, but many use it as a shorthand for praising a guy’s command, smarts, and, at times, offspeed stuff while knocking his velocity. Calling a pitcher a thrower has a more obvious pejorative tone; throwers can do just that (often quite hard), but do so without understanding many of the nuances of what it truly takes to get more advanced hitters out. My favorite pitching prospects are the guys who don’t have the knockout fastballs at an early age, but develop it in their late-teens. Throwing in the mid- to upper-80s is more than enough to get even most good high school hitters out, but short fastballs like that get exposed against bigger programs and on the showcase circuit. When a stacked lineup is staring you in the face, you have to learn to be crafty and think along with the hitters by putting emphasis on the art of changing speeds, pitching backwards (more opportunities to throw offspeed stuff), and relying on refining command. If you just so happen to one day wake up and find your arm is now capable of throwing 91 MPH, then 93 MPH, then finally mid-90s heat, so much the better. The skills that you relied on before won’t disappear; if you use it wisely, you’ve only added another weapon to your arsenal.

Beyond his smarts, pitchability, command, athleticism, and groundball tendencies, Buehler sticks out to me for having two legitimate, distinct above-average to plus breaking balls. They can run into each other at times — I’ve seen an unhealthy amount of baseball in my life and consider myself reasonably bright, but distinguishing between curves, sliders, and even cutters isn’t a personal strength — especially when they are both in the low-80 MPH range, but there’s enough separation between his mostly upper-70s curve (77-83, really) and his “hard CB” from high school (then 78-82) that is now a fully formed 80-85 slider that both get swings and misses. I will say that in my experience viewing him and talking to smarter people who have seen him way more, the two pitches don’t often seem to be in that above-average to plus range within the same game. I’d like to chart a few of his starts to test the validity of this claim, but it’s been said to me that he’ll figure out which breaking ball is working early in the game and then lean on it almost exclusively as his breaker of choice throughout the game. The ability to spin two quality breaking balls on top of an impressive fastball (90-94, 96 peak) and average mid-80s sinking changeup that flashes much better on top of all of Buehler’s previous strengths and two arguable weaknesses (size and inconsistencies with his breaking balls) make him a difficult pitcher to find an instructive comparable player for. Some of the names I’ve tossed out as ceiling comparisons over the past few years include Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, and Julio Teheran. All of those work and don’t work for various reasons, I think. I also think I like Buehler so much as a prospect that I’m cool with dropping the Zack Greinke with a harder curve comp that’s been on my mind with him for a while now. It’s not meant to be a comparison we all get crazy carried away with — Greinke was already in the big leagues at Buehler’s current age, after all — but in terms of the total present prospect package of stuff, pitchability, build, and frame, I think it works very well.

Fulmer has had almost as much success as Buehler through two college seasons with their only significant difference coming in the former’s more common bouts of wildness. It’s not the kind of wildness that raises any kind of red flags, but rather something that falls somewhere between the typical developmental path of an electric young arm and the potential start of a long, fruitful run of being “effectively wild” from now until the day he retires. That aside, the biggest real question about Fulmer will be future big league role. I’d like to think I’ve long shown a willingness to allow players to play themselves from bigger roles (starting, up-the-middle defensive spots, etc.) to smaller roles, so it should be no shock that I’d run Fulmer out as a starter for as long as he shows he is capable of holding down the job in pro ball. A big part of believing in Fulmer as a starter is the fact that his stuff does not appear to appreciably suffer in longer outings. He has the three pitches he’ll need to go through lineups multiple times (mid-90s FB, honest 99 peak; plus low-80s breaking ball; mid-80s changeup with promise) and more than enough deception in his delivery to make him a tough matchup in almost any circumstance. There is some fair cause for concern that his delivery — I’m not expert on on these things and I mostly only care that it’s repeatable, but it’s rough enough that even I can see what the fuss is about — won’t allow him to hold up throwing 200+ innings a season. This isn’t the only reason why Buehler is universally regarded as the better prospect (see the silly amount of fawning I do over him above for more), but it’s a big one. Not all drafts are created equal, but I have a hard time imagining Fulmer falling too far on draft day one year after a very similar pitcher in Grant Holmes went 22nd overall.

Ferguson is sometimes the forgotten man when people discuss Vanderbilt’s awesome pitching. On just about any other staff in the country he’d be the unquestioned Friday night starter. The greater likelihood that he’ll remain in a rotation has me wondering if we’ll all look back on the pre-season draft rankings and wonder how he fell below Fulmer. I’m not sure I’m gutsy enough to make that call right now, but it’s super close. If Ferguson shows a better changeup (currently interesting but undeniably raw) than he has to date, I think the bandwagon will get very full, very quickly. He presently throws gas just like Buehler and Fulmer (90-95, 97 peak) with a pair of above-average breaking balls in his own right (above-average low- to mid-80s cut-SL and a mid- to upper-70s CB). He’s also the most conventionally looking big league starting pitcher of the trio (6-3, 225) with amusingly similar peripherals through two seasons, especially when looked through a park/schedule adjusted prism (7.71 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 in year one; 7.60 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 last year). Big, strong, and consistent with good stuff from a top flight program known for churning out good big league pitchers? What’s not to like? If he misses a few more bats and shows a little something extra with the changeup, he’s an easy first rounder.

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

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

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

Vanderbilt has good players beyond their special top five. rJR 1B Zander Wiel’s success in limited at bats in 2013 had me really excited to see what he could do with steady playing time in 2014. The results were more good than great, but I remain encouraged about his future. Like Wiseman, toolsy JR 3B Xavier Turner has held his own (and more, at times) in two years as a mainstay in the Commodores lineup. His offensive skill set doesn’t necessarily scream professional third baseman (more speed and gap power at present), but that doesn’t mean it won’t play at the next level. Also like Wiseman, I’d stick with Turner this year because it never hurts to bet on athleticism. He’s an elite athlete with the kind of strength and speed blend even a fine physical specimen such as myself can appreciate. It’s awful hard to top a college left side of the infield of Swanson and Turner…hopefully there’s some good news coming regarding the latter’s suspension that will make that infield a reality.

1/20/15 EDIT: SO LHP John Kilichowski is eligible for this year’s draft. FR 3B/SS Will Toffey is eligible for next year’s draft.

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