I finally finished my Giants' draft board for the first 4 rounds of the 2010 draft - which is less than a week away. I put this together by scouring the web for every free bit of info I could find, and by watching college games on TV and in person - mainly in the southeast.
Let me start with a discussion of the reasoning behind my rankings.
1. This is my draft board for the Giants. If I were drafting for some other team it would most likely look a lot different. The Giants have shown absolutely no aptitude for developing HS position players as MLB hitters in the (hopefully soon to end) Sabean era. They do have a slightly better record with college hitters, but they’ve done the best job with pitchers (both college and HS). Therefore, other things being equal, I believe that we should concentrate on pitchers in these opening rounds, and only go for hitters if a college player is available that is already an almost complete hitter with at least above average power for his position and that can field his position better than average (ref. Buster Posey). We should ignore HS hitters until round 3, unless one that is basically "can’t miss" falls to us by some miracle. If we do go for a HS hitter, it must be one with at least above-average power, who can also play at least above-average D at a definable position, and has no below-average tools. We should stay far away from raw, toolsy CF/SS type that don't have the power tool. I still believe that we can trade our excess SP for a power hitter or 2 in the future.
2. I don't think the concept of drafting the best player available (BPA) is viable in the long-term for the baseball draft, like it is in football and basketball. The history of the draft is such a crap-shoot, where even a large percentage of the guys drafted in the top 5 picks each year have failed to pan out, that I don't believe anybody can consistently define who is the BPA when it's their time to draft. That being said, I also don't think a team should draft wholly based on need either. I think a team should take into account the following when they draft:
(a) A player that they'll have a good chance of signing.
(b) A player that fits into the developmental strengths of their minor league system. For the Giants, that would be pitchers - we've shown absolutely no success at developing young hitters that need a lot of instruction.
(c) A player that fits their home park. For the Giants, that would be RH position players and pitchers that don't allow a lot of fly balls to LF.
(d) A player that plays a position that will strengthen the current roster - if it's a player that you believe will move quickly onto the MLB roster (think Buster Posey).
(e) A player that's probable career trajectory fits into the current makeup of your MLB roster. For example, if your team has no chance to make the playoffs now or in the near future, then go ahead and take more chances on younger, high-ceiling players that will take longer to develop. If you're on the cusp of contending and your team isn't already full of aging vets, then lean toward players that should make it to the majors quicker.
(f) A player that fills a major need on their current Major League and high-Minor League roster.
3. Other things being equal, I prefer guys that have good baseball smarts, love to work hard, sacrifice for the team, and do the little things it takes to win consistently. In hitters, that means guys that work the count, that don't hack away at everything thrown them or strike out a lot, that stay within themselves, and that can execute situational hitting. For pitchers, that means guys that have a feel for pitching, rather than just throwing hard, and guys that have command and control of their pitches. I'd rather have a guy that throws 89-92 mph, has at least 1 other reliable pitch, and knows how to change speeds, location and planes to keep a hitter off balance; over a guy that can consistently throw mid-90s, or more, but has no control over where it goes and doesn't know how to set up a hitter.
4. In light of #1 - 3 above, other things being equal, I will be biasing my picks in the following order:
(a) College pitchers. Somebody that can get to the majors quickly and support Timmy, Cainer, Sanchez and MadBum while we still can afford them. This would also have the added effect of possibly allowing us to trade one of those guys (not Timmy) for a much-needed hitter
(b) RH college hitters. Somebody that can get to the majors quickly and support Timmy, Cainer, Sanchez and MadBum while we still can afford them. These would have to be guys that already have an advanced hitting stroke and concept, someone that our horrible player development system is not likely to screw up (see Buster Posey). Other things being equal, I would target position players in the following order: corner outfielders, corner infielders, shortstops, centerfielders.
(c) LH college hitters. Same comments as in (b) above. If it turns out they are adversely affected by the RF in AT&T, then we can always trade him for a RH hitter.
(d) High school pitchers. I don't care so much about his physical size or max top velocity at this level. Other things being equal, I'm looking for a kid with at least 2 above average pitches (or 1 plus and 1 average), with a mechanically easy and repeatable delivery, and little or no likely injury-inducing mechanical issues. He should have good command and control, and at least show some above-average evidence that he has some grasp on the concept of the art of pitching.
(e) High school hitters. I'll leave the toolsy, high-ceiling/low-floor, high-risk athletes for the later rounds. For these early rounds I'll focus mainly on proven power hitters that have good swing mechanics, make consistent contact, and can play at least average D at a specific position in the field.
Enough with the preamble, let's get to the board. Seeing how the Giants don't draft until the #24 pick in the first round (and then have overall picks #74, #139, and #169 in rounds 2 thru 4), and for the sake of brevity, I've left off a bunch of guys that would have been ranked higher than some of the guys on my list, because I'm sure they'll be long gone when we draft near the end of each round. These are guys that I like and that I believe will likely be available to us when our 4 turns come up. I do expect that all but 1 or 2 of them will be gone by the end of the 4th round.
For ease of consumption, I'll start by just listing the players in order (the last number is their age at the time of the draft). All the gory details of who, what, and why will be given below this short & sweet list:
1. Christian Colon (SS - R/R) 21.0
2. Dylan Covey (RHP) 18.9
3. James Paxton (LHP) 21.7
4. Barret Loux (RHP) 21.1
5. Anthony Ranaudo (RHP) 20.7
6. Cody Buckle (RHP) 17.9
7. Cam Bedrosian (RHP) 18.6
8. Tyler Holt (CF - R/R) 21.2
9. Rob Segedin (3B - R/R) 21.6
10. Mike Olt (3B - R/R) 21.8
11. Hunter Morris (1B - L/R) 21.7
12. Garin Cecchini (OF - L/R) 19.2
13. Mike Foltynewicz (RHP) 18.6
14. Drew Vettleson (OF - L/R) 18.9
15. Mike Lorenzen (CF - R/R) 18.2
16. Jake Skole (OF - R/R) 18
17. Peter Tago (RHP) 17.9
18. Chad Lewis (3B - R/R) 18.4
19. Vince Velazquez (RHP) 18.0
1. Christian Colon: RHH, SS, CSUF (6'0", 185) (BD=5/89)
A proven winner and natural leader. He does all the little things needed to win, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. I compare him to Derek Jeter, because he always seems to shine in the clutch and in big games, and, except for his hitting, he has no tool that stands out as above average. He's already proven that he can hit with wooden bats against elite American and International pitching by leading Team USA in OPS (1.077) last summer. Here's the link to the stats for the entire team:
Next, here's a link to his final regular-season stats for Fullerton this year. Pay special attention to his impressively low K rate (5.8%), high OBP (.436), BB rate (10.9%) and slugging (.606) - and the fact that he only hit into 2 DPs all year even though he only has average speed:
Here's a link to a BP session and fielding practice. Note that he is very balanced at the plate and stays well within himself, while he looks very similar to Jeter when he sets up to field the ball: http://baseballbeginnings.com/2010/05/09/christian-colon-video/#more-5948
Many experts believe that he will have to move to 2B in the pros, but I don't. He certainly is no worse in terms of range and fielding at SS than Jeter or Cal Ripken, Jr. and they seemed to have had okay careers. IMO, he's the most MLB-ready position player in this year's draft. I could easily see him breaking into the Giants lineup as soon as the beginning of the 2012 season, if he signs and plays some this summer at S-K or Augusta. I doubt that he's still there at #24, but he does engender wildly divergent opinions among scouts, with some mock drafts having him going before the 10th pick, and just as many others have him dropping to the mid-20s. In the end I think that he goes somewhere in the teens to a team the wants a high-floor, safe pick - but we can always hold out hope.
2. Dylan Covey: RHP, HS - Calif. (6'2", 200) (BD=7/91)
Covey boasts a plus mid-90s FB that he can maintain even into the late innings of his starts. Add a plus power curve, the best in the draft, and a developing changeup, and you have the stuff for a #1/#2 SP in the majors. Covey's been rated in the top 10 earlier this spring, but has recently slid back down on many boards due to a late-season string of lackluster outings and reduced velocity. Here's a link to one such report: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=2215
I think he just has to tweak his mechanics a bit to regain his form. Covey dominated his peers this year - nobody had better stats:
IP=58, W/L=6-0, ERA=.24, H=24, BB=16, K=112, WHIP= .69, BB/9= 2.5, K/9= 17.4 (!!!), and K/BB= 7
Here's the MLB.com scouting report and video:
Here are links to 2 more videos of Covey:
Here's some links to a scouting report and 4 updates from one scout that has seen Covey pitch many times over the past year, interviewed him, and rates him very highly:
And here's a link to a Q&A from about 2 months ago, so you can get a view of what type of kid he is:
I highly doubt it will happen, but if he falls to us at #24 it will be a steal, because this kid is the real deal. Just keep in mind that he'll cost well above-slot for us to sign him.
3. James Paxton: LHP, Grand Prarie - Independent League (6'4", 215) (BD=9/88)
At the Univ. of Kentucky in 2009, Paxton had a 34% K rate in 2009 - and a BB rate of only 6%! He lasted until the 1st round supplemental only because he inexplicably had an ERA over 5.00 and he was a Boras client. He's still a Boras client, but I'm not too scared of it because I can't see that he has much leverage left. He didn't pitch competitively for a full year due to the fact that he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA to pitch his senior year at Kentucky (thanks again Boras). He just started pitching again in the independent professional American Association (basically on the level of a high A minor league). If he refuses to sign again this summer, he'll be idle again for most of the time until just before the 2011 draft. He might be lucky enough to catch on with a Winter League team, but that's not much leverage. I'm not saying that he won't cost above-slot, I'm just saying that it won't be a major amount over-slot. Paxton has already pitched in 2 games in the past weeks (and should get in at least 1 more before the draft) with the following results (obviously this is a way too SSS to draw any conclusions from):
IP=9, W/L=1-0, ERA=3.00, H=4, BB=5, K=8, WHIP= 1.0, BB/9= 5, K/9= 8, and K/BB=1.6.
Check out this video link, you'll see that his pitching style is very similar to MadBum's. Note the effortless, long-arm windup and 3/4 release. While MadBum's FB is better, Paxton has a much better curve/slurve/slider.
4. Barret Loux: RHP, Texas A&M (6'5", 220) (BD=4/89)
He exploded up the draft boards with an outstanding Junior year in 2010 as the Friday night SP for A&M. His FB sits easily at 91-94 mph and is above average with light sink. He already has a plus changeup (his best pitch), while his curve is just average (it needs to be tightened up). Only his slider (his 4th pitch) is below average at this point. He has excellent command of all 4 pitches, and has excellent mound presence. His delivery is easy, smooth, and repeatable. During the regular season he started 15 games, completing 96 innings, with a record of 10-2 and an ERA of 2.53. His peripheral stats were just as awesome:
WHIP=1.05, K=126, BB=32, K/9=11.8, BB/9=3, K/BB=3.9, HR/9=0.56, BAA=.196.
Here's a link to his final regular-season stats:
Here's a link to a short video and enhanced scouting report on Loux - notice the easy and repeatable delivery, and the advanced mechanics:
5. Anthony Ranaudo: RHP, LSU (6'7", 230) (BD=9/89)
I originally had Ranaudo at #1 on my board, but that was before I saw Colon slipping, and before I concluded that Ranaudo is almost surely to be unsignable for us. He still has the option of going back to LSU for his senior season, and he's a Boras advisee, so negotiations are sure to be drawn out and rancorous. I truly see Boras playing games with any team that drafts this kid and doesn't immediately offer him a $9-10M bonus. He's a guy who was predicted to be a top 3 pick at the beginning of the college season, but he injured his elbow, sat out almost 2 months, and has been wild and utterly hittable the last 6 weeks of the season. His arm appears to be sound since he's been back (his velocity isn't down), but he has lost the command and control of his pitches. He falls behind in the count, and then has to take something off his FB and aim it towards the middle of the plate to avoid walks. Even marginal college hitters can hit a 90 mph FB that's grooved right down the middle. I'm not worried about his arm or his bad results, he just needs some time to readjust and work on his mechanics. He would be a steal for us at #24, but we could only pick him if we're prepared to pay him far above-slot money (I would guess at least $6M, but more likely $7-8M). Here's a link to his final regular-season stats for this year - not very impressive:
Here's what BA's Jim Callis wrote about him in a May 17 chat:
Anthony Ranaudo is the biggest enigma in the draft. He won the final game of the 2009 College World Series and was NCAA Division I's returning leader in wins (12) and strikeouts (159 in 124 innings). Scouts lauded his arsenal of three pitches that all graded as plus at times (91-94 mph fastball, curveball, changeup), as well as his command and size (6-foot-7). But after he came down with a stress reaction in his elbow after his first start in February and missed a month, he hasn't been nearly the same pitcher he was a year ago.
Ranaudo gave up seven runs and didn't make it out of the fifth inning against Kentucky on Friday, dropping his record to 2-2, 9.09. In 33 innings, he has given up 44 hits and 16 walks while striking out 31. He's still pitching in the low 90s, but his delivery has regressed. His arm action has flattened out and he's not staying on top of his pitches, which have lost life and often sit tantalizingly up in the strike zone.
Teams have to figure out if the 2009 Ranaudo is still in there somewhere. They have to determine how much his medical history bothers them, because he also missed two months as a freshman with elbow tendinitis. They also have to wonder what Ranaudo might cost them, because he'll be advised by the Boras Corp.
I believe Ranaudo will be available at No. 13, but I'd be stunned if the White Soxtook him. They usually avoid Boras advisees, and his performance and the questions surrounding Ranaudo would make taking him that early a huge leap of faith. If he doesn't start showing some semblance of his 2009 form, there's no telling how far he might slide in the draft.
I had hoped that he would continue to struggle and fall to us at #24, but his last outing in the SEC tournament against #4 Florida was reportedly much better. Here's a BA report on the game: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/college/?p=3219
6. Cody Buckle: RHP, HS - Calif. (6'1", 175) (BD=6/92)
I believe that I have Buckle rated much higher than anybody else. The more I read about and see of him, the more sure I am that he is the true hidden gem of this HS pitching class. This kid reminds me so much of Tim Lincecum in his mechanics, athleticism, competitiveness, knowledge and attitude that it's eerie. His results have been hard to argue with, including a WHIP and K/BB ratio in the Strasburgian range. Here's his stat line:
IP=65, W/L=10-1, ERA=.54, H=26, BB=14, K=104, WHIP= .61, BB/9= 1.94, K/9= 14.4, and K/BB= 7.4!!!!
Check out the 2 videos that I link to below and the first thing that should stand out is how much he has the exaggerated long stride of Lincecum, and generates great arm-speed.
Buckle is still growing, his father grew 3 inches after the age of 18, so he should get taller and stronger. He already can throw his FB up to 94 mph (and that's a 5 mph increase over 2009). But, and this is why he's so unique, he knows his own limitations well enough that he keeps his FB in the 90-91 mph range. He realizes that his FB flattens out and loses its movement when he tries to throw it at his top speed, but in the low 90s it has a natural late sink. Not only does Buckle have an advanced arsenal of pitches, but, at the tender age of 17, he already has learned the fine art of pitching. He doesn't try to hump every pitch to the plate as hard as he can throw it in order to impress the scouts and their radar guns. Instead, he throws a deceptively easy-looking sinker that eats up bats and keeps the ball in the catcher's glove or in the infield. Check out this Q&A that he had about a week ago and you'll see that he really understands how to maximize his stuff and "pitch" a game: http://baseballbeginnings.com/2010/05/25/cody-buckel-qa/#more-6645
Finally, here are 3 scouting reports/updates from a local SoCal scout that watched him grow up.
Note that this scout starts out last Fall by placing his ceiling as Mike Leake, but ends up raising that to Dan Haren and Orel Hershiserby this Spring. I'm even more optimistic, and put his ceiling as Tim Lincecum - with a power sinker.
7. Cam Bedrosian: RHP, HS - Georgia (6'0", 205) (BD=10/91)
Bedrosian throws with a very easy and repeatable motion. Son of former Giant (and Phillie/Braves) Steve (Bedrock) Bedrosian. Throws 2 fastballs – a straight 4-seamer that touches 96 mph, and a heavy 2-seam cutter that touches 92 and has above average movement. He already has a great touch and feel for pitching at the age of 18. He’s been downgraded due to his atypical height (he's a fully grown 6' tall), but he’s solidly built, and I don't think that his height has any bearing - there have been a lot of great MLB pitchers that were/are 6' or shorter. With his stuff, if he was as tall as his famous father I'm sure he'd be a top 15 pick. He knows how to pitch and he knows how to miss bats.
His 2010 stat line is eye-popping (note that he averaged just below 2 Ks per inning!!):
IP=58, W/L=8-1, ERA=1.44, H=27, BB=22, K=111, WHIP= .84, BB/9= 3.4, K/9= 17.2, and K/BB=5.0.
Here are links to 2 scouting reports, with videos - note the easy, effortless velocity and the polished mechanics:
8. Tyler Holt: RHH, CF, FSU (6'0", 190) (BD=3/89)
Being a local guy, I've seen Holt a lot on TV and in person over the last 3 years. He's the type of player that you have to see every day to fully appreciate how good he is. I put him just behind Christian Colon as the 2nd most MLB-ready position player in the draft. I can easily see him making it to the majors by the end of 2012 as a prototypical leadoff hitter, but with more pop. He has the plus plate discipline, batting eye, speed, and base-stealing ability to play in the majors right now - and his CF defense is also above average. The main question will be how he handles the transition to full-time wooden bats and pitchers that can consistently command and locate breaking balls and off-speed pitches. Holt has statistically been the best all-around CFer in college the past 2 seasons. Check out these 4 links and you'll see the guys at The Hardball Times and CollegeSplits lay out a case on why they think he is so valuable and so underrated:
To summarize, they have him as being worth more than 5 runs above average (RAA) on the basepaths the in each of the last 2 years (he's stolen 27 in 29 attempts this yearalone), and he's averaged almost 5 RAA with his D in CF each of the last 3 years. When you add in his stellar offensive production from the leadoff spot, statistically-speaking, Holt has been worth at least 13 RAA in each of the last 2 years - and that's only over 62 games a year. If you extrapolate that over a 162 game schedule, you're looking at over 30 RAA! In addition, we already have a pretty good clue that Holt can hit with wooden bats. He led the Team USA(the one with Colon, Choice, Grandal, and other college studs on it) in avg (.371) and OBP (.513) over 89 ABs, and 23 games started in CF last summer. He was also 19 of 21 in SB attempts. Here's the link to the stats for the entire team:
Here's another scouting report that is very complimentary of Holt, along with a short video of him batting for Team USA last summer: http://pnrscouting.com/scoutingreports_2010_holtty.html
9. Rob Segedin: RHH, 3B, Tulane (6'3", 220) (BD=11/88)
Segedin is a red-shirt sophomore, so he's draft-eligible. After a very successful Freshman season back in 2008 (.322/.414/.485/.901; 30 BBs & 27 Ks)in which he started 61 of 62 games at 3B, he hurt his back/ribs only a few games into the 2009 season and Tulane successfully petitioned the NCAA to grant him another year of eligibility. His back/ribs rehabbed just fine, and he's had a monster year at Tulane. He's a slow runner, and he only plays average D at 3B, but he does have a near-plus arm (he sometimes pitches in relief for Tulane and his FB touches 95 mph). He'll be able to stay at 3B as a pro. He did very well with wooden bats in limited playing time for Team USA last summer: in 5 gameshe had 17 ABs and hit for a slash of .412/.474/.765/1.240
Here's his final stat sheet for the 2010 college season:
As you can see, he just flat out knows how to hit - for average and power (OPS = 1.304!!!). He makes consistent contact (K rate = 8.2%), and can work a walk (BB rate = 13.5%) as exemplified by his .516 OBP and .545 wOBA. When he does make contact, the ball usually goes a long way - he slugged at a .788pace and almost half of his hits (49%) are doubles, triples or HRs (he's hit 14 HRs)!
Here's a link to an article that shows he's extremely intelligent, tirelessly works to improve his game, and already has an advanced approach to hitting: http://www.nola.com/tulane/index.ssf/2010/05/tulanes_rob_segedin_plays_base.html
10. Mike Olt: RHH, 3B, UConn (6'2", 210) (BD=8/88)
Olt reminds me a lot of former Giant great Matt Williamsin his build and similar setup at the plate. They were both converted SS (albeit Matty didn't move until he had already been in the majors). Olt has above-average power (even with wood bats), an above-average arm, and above-average range and D at 3B. He doesn't make consistent contact and Ks a bit too much (2010 K rate = 18%), but he does compensate with big power numbers, above-average OBP (.397) and a nice BB rate of 11.1%. He's only an average runner, but he's smart on the basepaths and can even steal a base or 2. His slash line of .313/.397/.643/1.039, with 21 HRs and a wOBA of .437, is good for a power hitter. Here's a link to his up-to-date stats: http://www.collegesplits.com/cgi-bin/csPlayer.cgi?pl=olt--mi42
Please take note of how much his numbers are skewed up for "Park Adjustment" (.337/.417/.694/1.112). That appears to be mainly due to the fact that UConn plays a lot of games in extreme pitcher's parks. Also, playing a lot of games in the Northeast during the early spring, where it is still often relatively frigid, hitters are at a distinct disadvantage. Olt did prove that his power does follow him when he switches to wood bats, by performing well in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Here's the MLB.com scouting report, along with a video of him during BP. Note the good bat speed, short stride, and strong front side - although I'd like to see his head remain much more still.
Here's a scouting report from a scout that saw him play in Cape Cod last year. He's more optimistic than I am.
Here are 2 more updates from the same scout as the 2010 season wore on - the more he saw the more he liked:
Here's 3videos of Olt hitting and fielding during the past year. I can see that he made strides in correcting some bad hitting mechanics that I had noted above - most especially he's stopped moving his head so much.
Finally, here's a brief Q & A from last year, with a bit more back-history, where you can get a sense of Olt's attitude:
And here's a 2nd Q & A from just last week, where he explains the improvements that he made this year:
11. Hunter Morris: LHH, 1B, Auburn (6'2", 210) (BD=10/88)
Morris was drafted in the 2nd round out of HS by the BoSox, but had the confidence to turn them down and head off to Auburn. After a monster Freshman year, had a nagging hand and back injuries that caused a disappointing Sophomore year. He applied himself in the off-season and arrived on campus 30 pounds lighter and more muscular. This springboarded him to another monster offensive output this Spring against top-of-the-line SEC pitching. He has plus power to all fields, with above average D and range at 1B. His arm is only average, but should still be good enough for LF if his team needs him there. He's sneaky fast, with better than average speed which gives him enough range to cover LF if needed. Besides his power, one of the things that I like best about him is that he hasn't been satisfied to rest on his laurels. He's worked hard to better his D, hitting, and his physique since his freshman year - and the effort has certainly paid off. So far this year he's had a slash of:
.392/.462/.752/1.214 (wOBA =.509) through 59 games and 250 ABs. His K rate of 17.1% is troubling, but it's not unexpected for somebody slugging .752 - including 21 HRs, 5 3Bs, and 17 2Bs. Besides, he does have a BB rate did improve to 8.8% and he has yet to hit into any DPs. Here's a link to his full stats: http://www.collegesplits.com/cgi-bin/csPlayer.cgi?pl=morrihu42
Here's what one regional scout that covers the the Southeast says about Morris:
A man. Power to all fields. Sits on a curveball really well. Gets his hands inside everything. Kind of hitter who is talented enough to foul a pitch back to get the guy to throw it again, and then kill that pitch the next time he gets it. A major league characteristic. Pure hitter. Very legit.
Here's the MLB.com scouting report with a short video of him at BP and fielding drills. Notice the short stride and excellent bat speed. http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?topic_id=8080130&content_id=7461545
Here's a Q & A conducted last summer while he was in the Cape Cod League, and with more background details: http://baseballbeginnings.com/2010/04/25/hunter-morris-qa/
12. Garin Cecchini: LHH, 3B, HS - Luisiana (6'3", 195) (BD=3/91)
I have to give credit to gobroks for alerting me to this guy. Cecchini certainly would be higher-rated on most boards if he hadn't partially torn a ligament in his knee while playing this spring. Because of that he didn't play many games and so he's fallen down the board for many teams. Before the injury on March 13th, BA had him ranked as the #14 prospect in the country for the 2010 draft.
Here's a short video of him fielding and hitting. Unfortunately, the first 58 seconds of this video are almost worthless, but the part at the end, when he's hitting, is instructive.
You can see he has a very sound, and fluid swing, and he generates good bat-speed. You can also see how very quickly he gets out of the box and down the 1st-base line. The book on him is that he is a true 5 tool prospect. He has plus speed and a plus arm, is a plus hitter with above average power, and he has excellent D at SS - so he should have no problem handling 3B as he progresses and grows. As a HS junior, Cecchini hit .402 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 38 games played, and stole 53 out of 55 bases(!!) as he helped lead his team to the Louisiana 5A state semifinals. Cecchini has also showcased his talents on the national stage. Selected to play on the USA 18U team last summer, Cecchini batted .333 (8 for 24) with six doubles and a home run for a team that went 8-0 and won the Pan American title. As you can see from reading this article, he has a great attitude and an excellent baseball base, due to the fact that his dad has been a HS baseball coach for 24 years:
He had an awesome season going before he got injured this year. His stats through 8 games were:
AB=33, AVG=.545, SLG=.939, 1B=9, 2B=7, 3B=0, HR=2, RBI=14, SB=23 (almost 3 per game!!!)
According to this report, he had the knee surgery on March 19th and should be able to start running again at the end of this month (June): http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=2031.
So, he could still be back on the diamond by the end of July if he signs quickly. He does have a baseball scholarship to LSU, so it'll cost more than a little above-slot to buy him out.
13. Mike Foltynewicz: RHP, HS - Illinois (6'4", 190) (BD=10/91)
Folty reminds me of former Marlins/Dodgers/Yankee pitcher Kevin Brown, due to his mid-90 mph power sinker. He consistently throws a low to mid-90s FB with awesome sink, and already has a very good changeup! He’s 6’4", 190 – so he should get stronger and gain some velo. He’s flown a bit under the radar until recently, because he’s from a very small rural community (pop = 4K) about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. If he was from one of the baseball hotbeds in the south and west USA, and/or he had even just an average breaking ball (slider, curve, or slurve) he would probably ranked in the top 15 of all prospects.
Here's MLB.com's scouting report and video - note the late movement on his FB and the weakness of his slurve: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?topic_id=8080130&content_id=7604017
14. Drew Vettleson: LHH, OF, HS - Wash. (6'1", 185) (BD=7/91)
He reminds many of Andre Ethier (though some compare him to J.D. Drew), due to their similar sweet, smooth, yet powerful swings. Vettleson is not quite as athletic as Ethier at this point, but he still has room to grow and improve. Should be able to hit for average and power to the gaps. He has room to grow, but probably will never hit more than 25 HRs in a given year. He’s a two-way player, and a freak of nature – he can pitch with either arm (his RH fastball = 93 mph, LH fastball = 85 mph)! While he has an above average arm, he's never going to be an above average defender in RF or LF. Also, and he has only slightly above average foot speed, but he's never going to steal many bases. His hitting stats this year were off-the-charts:
AB=51, AVG=.490, SLG=1.137 (!!!), 1B=10, 2B=4, 3B=4, HR=7, RBI=29, SB=3
Here's the MLB.com scouting report on him, along with a video of him pitching (both LH and RH) and hitting. Notice how much his setup and swing look like Ethier's. They both have great extension and leverage in their swings to generate speed and keep the bat head in the swing-zone for a long time.
Here's a scouting report from early this year from a scout that saw him play in 4 games:
Here's a link to an updated report from the same scout, and a video of him hitting in BP and pitching in a game:
15. Mike Lorenzen: RHH, OF, HS - Calif. (6'2", 180) (BD=2/92)
Lorenzen grew some over the winter and surprised a lot of scouts with his new-found power and toolsy skills at a showcase in early Feb. He continued to impress during league play this spring. Reminds some of a young Ryan Braun, with a bit less power. He's developed above average power, but not to all fields. He has a sweet power hitter’s swing and has consistently been a good hitter for average throughout his HS career. Has plus arm, plus speed, with above average D in CF, so he can easily slide over to RF and be a plus defender there. His D and speed are so good that he has the distinct possibility of sticking in his current position of CF. He tends to get HR happy and try to pull everything over the LF fence, and he has an up-tilt in his swing. What you get by drafting him now is a solid 4 tool player (plus arm, plus speed, above average power, above average D in RF), with the distinct probability that he continues to grow and fill out - yielding more power and more refined tools. His hitting stats this year were great:
AB=89, AVG=.461, SLG=.899 (!!!), 1B=18, 2B=13, 3B=4, HR=6, RBI=29, SB=13
Here's the MLB.com scouting report, along with a video of him throwing from the OF and hitting:
Here's a basic report from a scout that's seen him play a lot in the past 16 months:
And here are 2 in-depth updates from specific games from the same scout:
Here's a longer video of him hitting:
Finally, here's a link to a Q & A where he reveals his feisty attitude:
16. Jake Skole: RHH, OF, HS - Georgia (6'2", 200) (BD=?/92)
Skole's a sleeper. He sprained his ankle earlier this spring and sat out most of the HS season rehabbing it. He just recently returned to action about 3 weeks ago, and preceded to hit 6 HRs and 21 RBI in 6 state AA playoff games at the end of May. He also got 2 hits in 3 ABs against Kaleb Cowart - a highly rated RHP that's projected to go off the board in the mid-, to late-1st round. He's flying under the radar due to his lack of playing time, but he's a legit 5 tool prospect. He can bunt for a base-hit in one AB and come back and slam a 420 foot HR in the next. He's got plus speed (4.48 sec. 40 yard & 3.79 sec. home-to-first), plus raw power, he hits for a high average, has plus D in the OF, and has an above average arm. He's an all-around athlete that has a full ride football scholarship to Georgia Tech as a WR/Safety (but he recently told a reporter his dream is to play MLB), and he's a near-scratch golfer. Here's a link to an article describing his play in the state playoffs last month:
17. Peter Tago: RHP, HS - Calif. (6'1", 160) (BD=7/92)
Tago is a young (still only 17) and a physically projectable work-in-progress. He is part Somoan, and he exhibits the real bulldog mentality of his Samoan ancestry on the mound. He wants to finish every game he starts, and he battles through even when he doesn't have his best stuff. He also has the humbleness and team-first attitude that should stand him in good stead as he struggles to make it through the minors in the early part of his career.
He has a smooth and effortless 3/4 delivery, that allows his FB to sit at 91-93 mph with good movement, and touch 96. Despite the skinny build, he has already exhibited the strength to keep his velocity deep into his starts.
Tago is still learning how to pitch, as you can tell from his stats:
IP=66, W/L=7-3, ERA=2.88, H=61, BB=15, K=65, WHIP=1.15, BB/9= 2.0, K/9= 8.9, and K/BB= 4.3
Here's a video and scouting report on him. Note the plus movement on his FB and the long, effortless delivery.
Here's a report on him from a BA reporter that saw him back in April:
Here's links to 6 scouting reports/updates from a scout that has seen him pitch many games over the past year - and he really likes him:
Q & A:
18. Chad Lewis: RHH, 3B, HS - Calif. (6'3", 195) (BD=12/91)
Lewis looks like Evan Longoria to me, he has a similar build, fields 3B in a similar fashion, and has the same plus power to all fields (even with wood bats). He already has a man's body at the age of 18 – with room to grow. If you see him playing in a HS game he looks out of place due to his mature build compared to all the HS kids he plays against. He’s a converted SS, so he’s got the range and arm to stick at 3B. Needs to work on making consistent contact with the bat to keep his average up and allow his raw power to come into play. He has played in a lot of HS All-Star games the past 14 months and always seems to hit the ball hard and get big hits versus the elite competition. He's worked hard on his D in the past year. The effort has born fruit. He has softer hands and a better footwork at 3B this spring, and made himself into an above-average defender - with room to improve even more.
He's got below-average speed, but doesn't embarrass himself on the basebaths.
His hitting stats this year were nice, but disappointing in terms of power:
AB=86, AVG=.395, SLG=.605, 1B=24, 2B=6, 3B=0, HR=4, RBI=24, SB=5
Here's the MLB.com scouting report, along with a video of him hitting in game situations and conducting fielding drills. Notice that his swing definitely needs to be tightened up and shortened a bit - but not a lot - and he needs to work on his balance, but the hands are quick and the power is there.
Here's a scouting report from a scout that's seen him play in multiple games over the past year, followed by an in-depth analysis of his play in one specific game:
Here are 2 more videos, mainly of him hitting:
19. Vince Velazquez: RHP/SWH SS, HS - Calif. (6'3", 185) (BD=6/92)
Velazquez is a smooth-fielding SS with good range and a plus arm, but he needs to work on his hitting. He is much more highly regarded as a RHP, although he hasn't pitched much this year due to a sore elbow, and a desire to play the field. However, I would draft him with the understanding that his real future is in toeing-the-rubber. He didn't pitch at all in the 2009 season due to a stress facture that he sustained in his elbow, but he was healthy in 2010. He wowed the scouts at the California Invitational Showcase at the Urban Youth Academy back in Feb. when he took the mound and proceeded to strike out all 4 highly regarded SoCal hitting prospects that he facedwith an assortment of FBs, changeups, and curves. He showed excellent command and control of all 3 pitches even though he hadn't pitched competitively in such a long time. His FB sits at 90-93 mph, with an easy and smooth motion, and has plenty of life and late movement. He also already has a plus change, even though he has pitched so few innings, and an average curve. Here's the MLB.com scouting report, along with a video of him (mostly) pitching. I like his easy motion, but not how he plants his lead foot toward 3rd base and throws across his body.
Here's another scouting report and video of him, but this one concentrates on his hitting and fielding. You can see he's a smooth and instinctive athlete.