There will be a lot of change between now and the draft (June 4-6) but it is less than 5 months away now. I thought I’d crib a baker’s dozen of likely suspects and muse a bit on how that pertains to the Giants.
Decided to start with shortstops because it is such a position of need across MLB. There seems to be a broad trend of returning the position to a defense first, deficient bat scenario. There are very few blue chip shortstop prospects, and very few blue chip shortstops playing in MLB. I call the position a wasteland.
(Mistakes are all mine; corrections, omissions and the like are all encouraged.)
Giants currently toiling at SS:
National Attention: Joe Panik, Ehire Adrianza
Others: Nick Noonan, Carter Jurica, Ydwin Villegas, Kelby Tomlinson, Christian Otero, Jean Delgado, and don’t rest on the coolest name of the 2011 draft, Trayvious Relaford
Its worth noting that the Giants drafted 5 shortstops last year and signed all of them: Panik, Delgado, Tomlinson, Otero and Relaford. They may well consider the position taken care of and just draft depth in the later rounds.
With the Giants avoiding Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal and not offering starting jobs to Alex Gonzalez or Clint Barmes, they are committed to Crawford’s defense and suspect bat for the moment. I personally like Crawford more than most around here, and am looking forward to some rangy and smooth defense next year, but he will always struggle at the plate. The hope it seems is for him to get savvy enough to scrape 260/340 with 15 HR pop. That would be at or very close to his ceiling according to most pundits and he’d have to work for it.
So should the Giants first look at the draft be at shortstop? There are a couple of guys that should absolutely get looked at if they drop. It is just too much of a positional advantage if you have a seriously good player there. It is easy to understand why the Rockies locked up Tulo so fast.
Top 3 SS Prospects:
Carlos Correa, Deven Marrero, Gavin Cecchini
And 10 more for a Baker’s Dozen:
(I didn’t spend a lot of time with the ranking order, point is to get a feel for a few of the guys I thought were interesting. Physical measurements could be wrong, cribbed most from BA)
1. Carlos Correa, HS from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Miami/Vanderbilt commit
6’3 190 lbs. R/R 9/22/1994
The Goods: Known for excellent range, soft hands, rocket arm on defense, big and strong, raw hitter, quick hands and bat. 2nd youngest guy on BA top 100. He can run a little too, 6.79/60. Best prospect coming from PR in a long time, if not ever.
The Bad: Might have to move to third if his body fills in, free-swinger and raw.
The Stats: Tore up the PerfectGame showcase and cemented his first round status in January, won the Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year 2011.
The Ranking: BA #17 Mayo #16
The Giants: Should be all over my White Whale #1B. They drafted out of the PR BB academy heavily last year, they know exactly who he is even before the hype. One fact that isn’t straight is where he is committed – several websites including Mayo have him committed to Vanderbilt. BA has him committed to Miami. It’s an important fact to get straight, Vanderbilt has a history of very strong commits. Here is Correa himself: “I look at baseball, apart from having fun, as a job that can allow me to help my family economically. With God’s help, I can one day help my entire family.” If for some bizarre reason he gets down to the lowly #20 pick, would he take 500K overslot, for a total of say, 2MM? I personally think he would. I’m sad to say the chances of having this discussion are slim to none.
2. Deven Marrero, Junior at ASU.
6’1 195 lbs. R/R 08/25/1990
The Goods: Best college SS in the draft, almost consensus top 5 pick. Line-drive gap hitter with arms, hands and range to stick at short. Draws Omar comparisons on defense with a better bat.
The Bad: A slightly long swing? Not much pop.
The Stats: 319/354/444 at ASU 2011. 322/385/441 on Team USA.
The Ranking: BA #4 Mayo #3
The Giants: Not worth worrying about, he’ll be long gone.
3. Gavin Cecchini, HS from Barbe HS, LA, Ole Miss commit
6’2 185 lbs. R/R 12/22/1993
The Goods: Baseball family guy, his brother Garin was drafted by the Bosox. Should stick at SS with good range and strong arm. Quick stroke, gap power, good speed.
The Bad: Not the highest grades on range, might have to move to 2nd/3rd. Has the scrappy label.
The Stats: Team USA U18, PerfectGame and Under-Armour All-American (he was his teams MVP)
The Ranking: BA #16, Mayo #18
The Giants: Cecchini is the other likely high 1st rounder who might drop to the 20 spot. Seems like a smart player who can hustle. His intangibles might make it worth a look, but if he has to move off SS there are bigger fish to fry.
4. CJ Hinojosa, HS from Klein Collins HS, TX, Texas commit
5’11 185 lbs. R/R DOB: 7/15/1994
The Goods: Committed to go to Texas early, then he changed his mind for HS. Very good bat speed, gamer and a rep for toughness. Pull power.
The Bad: Sounds like a maverick. How Texas of him. Not a lock for SS.
The Stats: Area code alum.
The Ranking: BA #36, Mayo N/A
The Giants: Don’t know if teams would take a chance on him in the first round, and definitely don’t see the Giants willing to take a chance on this. Very high profile guy though.
5. Addison Russell. HS from Pace HS, FL, Auburn commit
6’1 205 lbs. R/R DOB: 01/23/1994
The Goods: “Very good bat speed and doesn't get cheated at the plate”. I’m sure with this guy there will be a joke attached to that previous line a lot. That was Mayo’s line. Here is BA’s line: “Russell's swing can sometimes get a long and draws comparisons to Juan Uribe”. Ho ho ho.
The Bad: He looks like he’ll bulk up and move to third.
The Stats: Team USA alum, he socked a grand salami to win the Pan Am championship against Canada. He did PerfectGame and UnderArmour as well as Team USA.
The Ranking: BA #37 Mayo #27
The Giants: I see him being passed over in the first and getting snagged up early in the supplemental. No way he stays on the board for our #2 pick in the low 80s. I like him.
6. Jesmuel Valentin. HS from PR Baseball Academy, LSU commit
5’10 180 lbs, S/R DOB: 5/12/1994
The Goods: So we won’t have much of a shot at Correa most likely. How about the 2nd round, will Valentin still be around? This guy will definitely stick at short. He is a switch hitter, he’s tough, and he is Jose Valentin’s son, I always thought Valentin Sr. was an underrated ballplayer. Jr. is a line drive hitter with some pop who can hustle around with good defense and a good arm.
The Bad: right now he is unranked by BA. Better hitter RH. Not spectacular at anything.
The Stats: Wowed at the Underarmour game, team MVP (same game as Cecchini)
The Ranking: Unranked
The Giants: Rising up the ladder, he might crack the top 50 in the draft. Like Correa, I’m sure they’ve scouted him. If he’s there in the 2nd, I hope they consider it.
7. Kenny Diekroeger Junior from Stanford
6’2 200 lbs, R/R DOB: 11/5/1990
The Goods: Polished college bat, solid defense, above-average ability, apparently a very gifted athlete.
The Bad: Hasn’t played very well lately, regressed at the plate, may not stick at short.
The Stats: 292/351/365 at the Farm, 2011. 324/354/446 at the Cape 2010. Didn’t play summer ball though.
The Ranking: BA #29, Mayo #21
The Giants: This guy will get a look I’m sure. He seems a bit like Joe Panik, but also could turn into a Crawford situation if his stats slide some more. I’d say the Giants will look for him if he drops to the third like Crawford did. A lot riding on this season for Kenny, he could rise up or crash.
8. Tanner Rahier, HS from Palm Desert HS, San Diego commit
6’2 210 lbs, R/R DOB: 10/12/1993
The Goods: This guy is a freak. He’s left his HS team for a wooden bat league to help his development. He has legendary workouts involving tires, pulling objects, etc. Google palm beach, Rahier and workout or something, you’ll see. Plus bat speed, good running speed, good arm at short. His drive really sets him apart. Huge hustler.
The Bad: How many bad news bears jokes can you take? BA goes with the “he’s not the prettiest shortstop” and he seems to play every game like it’s his last. Hello infield rail.
The Stats: Wooden Bat league for the past 2 years.
The Ranking: BA #55, Mayo N/R
The Giants: I can’t see them taking the chance on a HS guy who is committed to his local college, but on the other hand, if he’s this committed to his career he’s been doing wooden bat leagues maybe they should give him a look. Maybe the case where he’s long gone by the 80s, I could see a supplemental pick being worth the risk.
9. Nolan Fontana, Junior from Florida
5’11 190 lbs, L/R DOB:
The Goods: Polished college glove. Should stick at the position. Takes a lot of pitches, good situational hitter. Saber guys dream, over 100 walks in the past 2 years.
The Bad: Not very fast. Not much pop. Left hand injury still hasn’t recovered.
The Stats: 309/426/457 2011 college.
The Ranking: BA #67, Mayo N/R
The Giants: I don’t see this guy as being much better than what we have. And the organization isn’t exactly foaming at the mouth looking for good obp. They most likely aren’t impressed with a 309 BA in college.
10. Chris Taylor, Junior from Virginia
6’0 170 lbs, R/R DOB:
The Goods: ACC! Virginia’s leadoff hitter is a speedy guy, he can play all over the diamond as a backup but won the SS job last year. Good tourney results.
The Bad: Not much power. Looks like a utility guy.
The Stats: 301/378/402 in 2011 NCAA.
The Ranking: BA #78, Mayo N/R
The Giants: Well, BA mentioned the Panik word in their description. If he falls far enough, maybe he’s worth a look. This is a guy Keith Law will definitely spit out the utility IF label on though.
11. Avery Romero, HS from Pedro Menendez HS FL, Florida commit
6’0 195 lbs, R/R DOB: 5/11/1993
The Goods: Back to the HS kids. Top FL prep prospect, good bat speed, hard contact and pitch recognition. Another HS kid with a strong work ethic.
The Bad: Not the fastest guy, might have to move off short.
The Stats: Area Code Guy.
The Ranking: Unranked.
The Giants: Can’t see the Giants looking at this guy too hard. Florida is a pretty awesome program, I bet he goes.
12. Stephen Perez, Junior from Miami U
5'11 175 lbs, S/R DOB: 12/16/1990
The Goods: Very good glove, range, arm. Classic no-hit all glove shortstop. The prototype of the future!
The Bad: Switch hitter, but can’t hit much. Free Swinger. Doesn’t run well.
The Stats: Hit 263 2011 NCAA, 233 2011 Cape Cod
The Ranking: BA N/R, Mayo #47
The Giants: We have a better version of this already, thanks.
13. Chris Duffy, Junior from Long Beach State
6’2 170 lbs, R/R DOB: 1/15/1991
The Goods: Gotta end with a sleeper. He hit 244/245/291 his freshman year. 266/298/290 his sophomore year. Then he went to the cape and put up 346/407/429.
The Bad: Yeah, no power, no walks, Shankbone that is a terrible sleeper.
The Stats: See above. All Star in the Cape.
The Ranking: Unranked
The Giants: I think you should always look at Long Beach State shortstops, always. Good sized frame, he looks like a dirt dog. He’s played all over the diamond, and that Cape performance is worth keeping an eye out. Yeah, deep in the draft. You never know.
Should the Giants even bother looking at any shortstops?
If Correa’s hype dies down enough to drop to 20, do we take him there?
Any thoughts on Gavin Cecchini?
Is sticking at short mandatory for consideration?
And what of Joe Panik’s chances to stick, and how will that evaluation by the Giants effect the upcoming draft?