1. Florida ('10 Record 47-17) - The young Gators reached Omaha a year earlier than expected and that bodes well for my top ranked team. Sophomores Austin Maddox 3B (.333 17 HR 72 RBI), Nolan Fontana SS (.287 3 HR 23 RBI 11 SB), Brian Johnson 1B/LHP (.405 4HR 21 RBI 6-4 4.03 ERA), and Mike Zunino C (.267 9 HR 41 RBI) were all Freshman All Americans. Florida returned their entire weekend rotation led by Johnson and Junior Alex Panteliodis (11-3 3.51) but newcomer and unsigned 1st round pick Karsten Whitson (9th Overall - SD) may oust someone. Worst case he becomes the best midweek starter in the nation.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Aroldis Chapman - LHP - Cincinnati Reds. 6'4" 185. DOB: 2.28.88. Signed: Cuba 6 Year $30.25MM.
Scouted: Louisville Bats @ Columbus Clippers 6.1.10 (In Person)
I got my first look at Aroldis Chapman on TV during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. While pitching for the Cuban National Team, Chapman elevated his international prospect status with a 4IP 3H 1ER 1BB 7K performance against Australia. The following outing against Japan however, Chapman struggled with his control. He often had trouble with his release point and when things were not going well, he stomped and pouted on the mound. He took the loss against the eventual champions and left with a line of 2.1IP 3H 3ER 3BB 1K. After defecting in 2010, Chapman shocked baseball pundits by signing with the low budget Reds.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Yonder Alonso - 1B - Cincinnati Reds. Bats: L Throws: R 6'2" 210. DOB: 1.8.87. College: Miami (FL) Drafted: 1st Round (7th Overall) 2008.
Scouted: Louisville Bats @ Columbus Clippers 6.1.10 (In Person)
The Twins selected Alonso as a catcher in the 16th round of the 2005 draft, but he opted to go to Miami where he had a prolific college career as a first baseman. After leading the Canes to Omaha as a junior, the Reds used the 7th overall pick on Alonso and signed him to big league contract at the deadline.
Stuck behind NL MVP Joey Votto at first base, the Reds experimented with Alonso in left field in both AA and AAA last season to the tune of 30 total games. Alonso made one error and had an impressive 4 assists as an outfielder, but he's just not fast enough to play out there at the MLB level.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The sophomore year is perhaps the most important evaluation period for a college prospect. While some super studs like Matt Purke and Anthony Rendon before him truly shine as freshman, the sophomore year usually separates the men from the boys. While I did rank the players below, I wouldn't pay particularly close attention to where each player falls on the list. The ranking below was an attempted balance between high profile recruits and lower profile performers. They all deserve my attention as I prepare coverage of future MLB drafts and projecting the performance of college baseball's best teams. If there are guys that I've missed, and undoubtedly there are, don't hesitate to let me know so I can follow their performance throughout 2011.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Desmond Jennings - CF - Tampa Bay Rays. Bats: R Throws: R 6'2" 180. DOB: 10.30.86. College: Itawamba CC (MS) Drafted: 10th Round 2006
Scouted: Durham Bulls @ Columbus Clippers 5.14.10 (In Person)
The Devil Rays changed the course of their brief history in 2006 when they used the 3rd overall pick on Evan Longoria, but 9 rounds later they selected another player with star ability. A decorated wide receiver at Itawamba CC, Jennings' athletic ability is apparent to all observers. Jennings' speed/plate discipline combination captured my attention years ago and I was so high on him last season that he came in at #3 on my top 100 prospects list. While 2010 was a success, Jennings didn't duplicate his impressive 2009 campaign and will enter 2011 as my #3 outfielder. Jennings had some trouble staying healthy early in his professional career but the past two seasons have been generally incident free.
Monday, January 17, 2011
**Update: Final Mock Draft from 6.5.11 posted here.*
Let's face it, it's far too early to do a mock draft. Yet here I am. Completely and ridiculously inaccurate. This mock gives zero weight to signability and team need and way too much weight to hunches on how good I think these players are.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates - Anthony Rendon - 3B - Rice. 6'0" 190. The best amateur player in the country.
1. Aroldis Chapman - LHP - CIN - 6'4" 185 - 2.28.88. Signed: Cuba 2009. Who throws 105 mph? Aroldis Chapman and Sidd Finch, that's who!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
1. Julio Teheran - RHP - ATL - 6'2" 150 - 1.27.91. Signed: Columbia 2007. Teheran has everything you look for in a pitcher. A live arm that consistently produces mid 90's fastballs, good secondary stuff and command of all pitches.
Monday, January 10, 2011
1. Bryce Harper - Bats: L Throws: R - 6'3" 225 - WAS - 10.16.92. When Tom Verdicci wrote his legendary "Chosen One" article, he opened it with the proclamation, "His name is Bryce Harper. You don't know him, but every big league scouting director does." Oh Verdicci you underestimate the prospect community! We were well aware of Harper, who had just been named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year as a sophomore. Harper's story is truly remarkable and will go down in baseball history regardless of whether he pans out. My prediction for 2011 is that we're going to see a high K%. Very high. The K's will cause a low batting average and he'll begin to press which will lead to more K's. Some people not quite as smart as my readers will start calling him a bust prematurely. His true test will be dealing with adversity for the first time in his life. Regardless of the numbers he will produce in 2011, Harper will likely be #1 on this list again in 2012. He's just that talented.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
1. Mike Moustakas - Bats: L Throws: R - 5'11" 230 - KC - 9.11.88. As a high school senior in 2007, Moustakas smacked a California record 24 HR on his way to earning Baseball America's High School Player of the Year. That power has translated into the professional game as Moustakas has accumulated 74 HR in three minor league seasons. Though he was a shortstop in high school, I questioned his ability to stay in the infield but he's shown some improvement and was even voted as the top defensive third baseman by the Texas League managers.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
|Manny Machado||Photo by Ren Dittfield|
The position of shortstop in professional baseball has become a virtual melting pot and this list captures a sample of that international diversity. We have five players born in the continental United States, one from Puerto Rico, one from Japan, a Venezuelan, a Cuban and another from Curacao.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
|Dustin Ackley||Photo from a blog post by Matt Pittman|
I figured that compiling my second basemen rankings would be difficult, as it's traditionally not a very deep position in the minor leagues. As it turns out it was difficult to compile this list for another reason. In the end had about 16 guys I wanted to get into my top 10 and if you would have told me that Royals prospect Johnny Giavotella and his 35 doubles, and .91 BB/K % wouldn't make my list, I'd have said "no way Jose." Yet, you won't find Giavotella on this list. You also won't find former college baseball star and current Mariners farm hand Kyle Seager and his 14 HR, 13 SB, and .345/.419/.503 line either.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
1. Freddie Freeman - Bats: L Throws: R - 6'5" 220 - ATL - 9.12.89. I don't think I've ever truly understood how good Freddie Freeman has actually been. Maybe it's the fact that he was a second round pick of the same Braves draft class that produced Jason Heyward that I viewed Freeman as somewhat of an afterthought. While I still don't think he's as good as Heyward, very few humans are, so I shouldn't hold him responsible. Freeman has been one of the youngest players at each level he's played at as a professional and has still produced each step of the way. When a 20 year old posts an .898 OPS in AAA I guess it gets my attention. Congrats kid, you're my number #1 first baseman. Your parents must be proud.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
|Jesus Montero||Photo from a blog post by Mike McCann|
The 2011 catching class isn't as talented as it was in 2010 with the prospect graduation of Buster Posey and Carlos Santana, but last year's MLB draft brought in some fresh meat. I limited this list to just 10 (down from 15 last year) in the hopes that I may actually finish ranking all positions this year. An unanticipated consequence of this decision is that I'm leaving off a lot of good players and possibly pissing off Blue Jays fans for dissing both J.P. Arencibia and Travis d'Arnaud. It's important to note that these rankings are a snapshot in time and are subject to change. They are however an accurate representation of how I feel right now, so that's something.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
2011 MLB Draft Prospect: Alex Dickerson - OF - Indiana. Bats: L Throws: L. 6'3" 225. DOB: 5.26.90
Indiana @ Ohio State - April 9, 2010 (in person)
A prep star in California, Dickerson has been hitting since arriving in Bloomington in 2009. A freshman on a deep Indiana team that included 2009 first rounder Eric Arnett (MIL) and supplemental first rounders Josh Phegley (CHW) and Matt Bashore (MIN), it was clear that Dickerson was the most feared Hoosiers hitter by season's end earning an All Big 10 Tournament Team selection while leading Indiana to the NCAA tournament. Dickerson earned Conference Freshman of the Year honors and was named Second Team All Conference as a DH.
A new year is upon us and that means we're one step closer to baseball season. I spent New Year's Eve much like the rest of you; watching the Twilight Zone Marathon, drinking some smoked porter that my buddy made in his basement and working on my Preseason Collegiate All-American teams. Well here is the end result of that wacky crazy night. Keep in mind that most of these kids I've only seen on TV while others I haven't seen at all. It should also be noted that I tend to favor higher ceiling guys than strictly numbers guys although I tried to find a balance between those guys that have already produced gargantuan numbers and those who I feel are capable of doing so. Well enough of this palaver, let's get this show on the road.