I think that it's time againg for some in-depth draft analysis from somebody that actually has the best interests of the Giants at heart. Isn't everbody sick and tired of all the "expert" mock drafters predicting that the Giants will be going with a criminal justice system flavored draft (picking krooks or judges in the first round!), because they're "local products"?
The bad news abput this year's draft is that it's very thin at the top and has very little depth in college prospects (the mainstays of a typical John Barr draft). The good news is that, despite picking near the end of each round and having no comp picks, the Giants will have some very good prospects still on the board when they pick in rounds 1, 2 and 3 (especially in 1 and 2) - and they should still be able to find some hidden gems in rounds 4 through about 15 if their scouts have done a good job of beating the bushes.
My themes for this year's draft board are Versatility, Athleticism & Upside. I especially tried to target prospects with the versatility and athleticism that would allow them to have fallback options in case their initial paths to the major leagues didn't pan out. That means finding guys that project as both pitchers and hitters, or position players that can play multiple positions, or even just pitchers that appear to be viable as both starters and relievers.
I have my full draft board finished, but I've decided to break up my typically large and almost undigestable huge fanpost into 3 smaller ones for the sake of readability. Since this year's draft will start with only rounds 1 and 2 (including supplmentals and competitive lottery picks) today (followed by 3-10 on Friday and 11-40 on Saturday), this first post will only cover my ideas and prospects for rounds 1 and 2. I'll post a separate post for Friday's and Saturday's portion of the draft when the previous days picks have been finished and digested.
Now on to the meat and potatoes for day 1. Acknowledging the subpar nature of this year's draft class, IMO, the strength of this year's draft lies in (from strongest to weakest category):
1. High school pitchers
2. High school hitters
3. College pitchers
4. College hitters
I believe that the Giants will use this draft to try to address their lack of starting pitching quality and depth in the farm system - especially in terms of power arms. I expect we will see them draft pitching early and often this year. However, my advice to the braintrust would be to lean heavily towards picking a position player with the first round pick (#25 overall) unless a truly fantastic college pitcher should unexpectedly fall down the board all the way to #25. That's because I think there will almost assuredly still be some athletic, toolsy and high-upside position players with relatively high floors still available at #25 overall, but there's not very likely to be any such position players left when the Giants pick in the 2nd round at #64 overall. In addition, I believe that there should still be at least several high school pitchers and a few college pitchers still on the board when the Giants pick at #64 who will be just as good, or almost as good, a prospect as any pitcher that the Giants are likely to be able to draft at #25. This is most especially true with the high school pitching crop. I believe that the Giants will be able to pick an underappreciated and relatively inexperienced gem at #64 overall this year, similar to how the plucked up Kyle Crick at #49 overall in the 2011 draft.
As I mentioned above, the one caveat to my strategy is if a college pitcher that the Giants really covet falls into their laps at #25. Examples would likely include Sean Manaea (widely considered a top 5 pick less than 3 months ago but quickly sliding now), Chris Anderson, Alex Gonzales and Jonathan Crawford. In a case like that then I'll defer to Dick Tidrow's superior knowledge and judgment. One final caveat that I want to mention is that I have no idea what the specific high school prospects on my lists are hinting and whispering to the Giants concerning how likely they are to sign with the Giants in a specific round for a specific number. Therefore, some or all of the high school kids on my lists could actually be unsignable in the minds of the the Giants draft room.
Without further delay, here's what my draft board looks like for the Giants for this year's first 2 rounds (bear in mind that I'm not including the prospects that I think will be long gone before the Giants get their first pick):
ROUND 1 (#25 overall)
1. Hunter Renfroe: RF, RHH, Mississippi St. Univ. (6'1", 215) DOB=1/28/92 (#11 in BA's final ranking)
2. Mike Lorenzen: CF, RHH, CS-Fullerton (6’2", 185) DOB=1/4/92 (#52 in BA's final ranking)
3. Hunter Dozier: SS/2B/3B, RHH, Stephen F Austin Univ., Texas (6'4", 220) DOB=8/22/91 (#39 in BA's final ranking)
4. Ryon Healy: 3B/1B, RHH, Univ. Oregon (6'4", 210) DOB=1/10/92 (#86 in BA's final ranking)
5. Nick Ciuffo: C, LHH, Lexington HS, Columbia, SC (6'1", 195) DOB=3/7/95 (#22 in BA's final ranking)
6. Cord Sandberg: RF, LHH, Manatee HS, Bradenton, Fla. (6'3", 207) DOB=1/2/95 (#40 in BA's final ranking)
7. Phil Ervin, Jr.: OF, RHH, Samford Univ., Alabama (5’10", 195) DOB=7/15/92 (#23 in BA's final ranking)
ROUND 2 (#64 overall)
8. Chris Anderson: RHP, Univ. of Jacksonville, Fla. (6'4", 225) DOB=7/29/92 (#45 in BA's final ranking)
9. A.J. Puk: LHP, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (6’6", 215) DOB=4/25/95 (#85 in BA's final ranking)
10. Chandler Eden: RHP, Yuba City HS, Yuba City, Calif. (6'1", 165) DOB=8/27/95 (#70 in BA's final ranking)
11. Jacob Brentz: LHP/RF (bats LH), Parkway South HS, Manchester, MO (6’2", 190) DOB=9/14/94 (#80 in BA's final ranking)
12. Carlos Salazar: RHP, Kerman HS, Kerman, Cal. (6’2", 205) DOB=11/?/94 (#93 in BA's final ranking)
13. Trey Masek: RHP, Texas Tech Univ. (6’1", 190) DOB=1/9/92 (#49 in BA's final ranking)
14. Kyle Crockett: LHP, Univ. Virginia (6'2", 170) DOB=12/15/92 (#103 in BA's final ranking)
15. Tyler Danish: RHP/3B, Durant HS, Valrico, Fla. (6’, 170) DOB=9/12/94 (Ranked #96 in BA's final ranking)
16. Brett Morales: RHP, King HS, Tampa, Fla. (6'2", 195) DOB=1/?/95 (#118 in BA's final ranking)
Now follows my in-depth look at each of the 16 prospects listed above. They're listed in the order that they appear on my draft board. To clarify what you'll see below, when you see a stat line labeled as "Mid" it's referring to the stats that the college prospect had put up 2 weekends after the midway point of the 2013 college season. I wanted to include this info this year so we could all see how consistent each college prospect was between the first and second half of the season.
1. Dustin "Hunter" Renfroe: RF, RHH, Mississippi State Univ. (6'1", 215) DOB=1/28/92
If you believe all the final prospect rankings and the mock drafts then Renfroe should be gone at least 10 picks before the 25th pick, but I believe that there's a slim, slim chance that he may slip down the board due to his rather noticeable offensive slump of the last 4 weeks. If he's available then the Giants should jump on him right away. He's one of the few true 5-tool talents in the entire draft, and he's finally made the mechanical adjustments to his swing to bring his plus power and hitting abilities out in the open. He should be a major league star and he even has the versatility to be and above average defender in CF if the Giants want to go that route. I'll admit that I wasn't impressed with Renfroe as a prospect heading into this season. He didn't impress me during the 3 games that I saw him play on TV in 2012 (as Chris Stratton's teammate). Sure, I liked his plus arm in the OF, his ++ power potential (read: raw power), his fringe-plus speed and defense, and his athletic build, but I found his swing problematic, his approach at the plate to be quite muddled and inefficient and his strike zone judgment to be below-average. The statistical results that he posted at the end of the 2012 college season certainly seemed to back up what I saw while watching him play, as Renfroe ended up barely hitting above .250, with an ugly .122 ISOp rate for a guy with his power, and a K-rate of just under 20% (versus a BB-rate of only 8%). Yes, he did post eye-popping stats in the Cal Ripken League last summer (using wood bats), but the level of competition he was facing last summer was below-average at best. It wasn't until Renfroe started the first 8 weeks of the 2013 college season putting up monster stats and until I was finally able to see him play a few games on TV that I started to change my mind on him. First off, I saw right away that there was a valid explanation behind his new offensive success - besides just normal maturation and growth. Renfroe made a huge mechanical adjustment at the plate this year as compared to last year. Last year he hit from a typical stance that was slightly closed. This year he has employed a radically open stance. his back foot is as close to home plate as he can get it without being outside the batter's box and his front foot is all the way on the opposite side of the box and pointing towards third base. This makes his chest point out at the pitcher and allows him to see the ball equally well well with both of his eyes. He does bring his front foot back toward the plate and closes his stance back towards neutral after the pitcher releases the ball. His new mechanics remind me a lot of how Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria sets up and swings. The new stance allows him to get a better view of the ball (helping his pitch recognition and zone judgment) and also makes it easier for him to extend his arms and clear his hips during the swing. I noticed right away that he had much more power even hitting outside pitches to RF with the new mechanics. After watching him play several games, I came to the conclusion that the new mechanics were almost certainly the reason for his marked increased performance and that we weren't just seeing a SSS statistical anomaly in his long-term mediocre offensive stats. It looks to me like he's finally figured out how to unleash his full potential during games against even the highest level of colllege competition. Drafted out of HS in the 31st round of the 2010 draft by Boston. Through the first 5 weeks of the 2013 season, Renfoe kept his K-rate below 13% while posting a slash of: .418/.468/.836/1.304 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 6 HRs and an ISOp=.418 in 67 ABs He only played in 18 games, because he sat out 5 straight games during the end of February due to a small fracture of a bone in his right hand after being hit by a pitch. Most impressively, in a 3-game series against LSU's elite pitching staff this past weekend, he went 4-12, with a double, a HR, 4 BBs and 2 SBs vs. only 2 Ks. Renfroe hit his HR against LSU's sophomore sensation, Aaron Nola, one of the top 5 college pitchers in the nation.
'12: .252/.328/.374/.702, ISOp=.122, AB=230, 2B=16, 3B=0, HR=4, BB=21 (8.0%), K=51 (19.3%), SB=7/8 (88%)
'12 (Cal Ripken Summer League): .366/.476/.866/.1.342, ISOp=.500, AB=134, 2B=11, 3B=4, HR=16, BB=26 (15.5%), K=28 (16.7%), SB=7/9 (78%)
Mid: .429/.494/.865/1.359, wOBA=.565, ISOp=.436, AB=126, 2B=12, 3B=2, HR=13, BB=17 (11%), K=19 (12.3%), SB=8/11 (73%)
'13: .345/.433/.632/1.067, wOBA=.458, ISOp=.287, AB=223, 2B=15, 3B=2, HR=15, BB=34 (12.6%), K=39 (14.5%), SB=9/12 (67%)
VID1: BP + KLaw scouting comments - May 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxYxXpIy_yg
VID2: Jon Mayo's scouting comments - http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=26018927
VID3: live game - MSU @ Texas A&M (4/13/13) - Renfroe is #34 in red - IF single @ 0:20, HR @ 1:30, awesome catch @ 3:10 , single @ 3:18 - http://www.hailstate.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?id=2178105
2. Mike Lorenzen: RHH, CF, CS-Fullerton (6’2", 185) DOB=1/4/92
I've liked this kid ever since his senior year in high school (I was jumping up and down on the table for the Giants to draft him in the 4th round, or later, of the 2010 draft). He's a current 4 tool talent with a ++ arm, + defense in CF, + speed and above average power (with the likelihood of developing fringe-plus power in the future). Add to that his ability to throw a fastball that consistently touches 98-99 mph and an above average curve ball as the closer for his team and you have a unique talent that can make it to the majors in CF or on the pitching mound. His 2 main drawbacks are his inconsistent contact rate as a hitter and his inexperience as a pitcher. A few mechanical tweaks at the plate (Move his hands down and back to shorten his swing and have him get his front foot down much sooner) should help him make more consistently hard contact with the bat and unleash more of his raw power in game situations. If for some reason his bat just never comes around, his defense in CF is still more than good enough to secure him a 4th or 5th OF spot on most major league rosters. Better yet, his upside as a pitcher is so high that he should easily be able to convert to a top closer or setup man with a season or 2 of minor league pitching under his belt. Lorenzen is so athletically gifted on the baseball diamond that I believe he could even become an above average defensive shortstop in the pros if he was given a few years to get acclimated to the position again (he played there in high school).
'12: .297/.353/.435/.788, wOBA=.349, AB=232, ISOp=.138, 2B=20, 3B=3, HR=2, BB=14 (1.6%), K=42 (16.3%), SB=14/19 (74%)
'12 (Cape): .161/.212/.258/.470, AB=31, ISOp=.097, 2B=0, 3B=0, HR=1, BB=1 (3%), K=7 (21.2%), SB=2/2 (100%)
Mid: .353/.434/.603/1.037, wOBA=.448, ISOp=.250, AB=136, 2B=7, 3B=3, HR=7, BB=11 (6.9%), K=24 (15%), SB=7/10 (70%)
'13: .335/.415/.523/.938, wOBA=.415, ISOp=.188, AB=218, 2B=12, 3B=4, HR=7, BB=19 (7.3%), K=38 (14.6%), SB=12/18 67(%)
'13: G=22, IP=22.2, K=20 (K/9=7.9), BB=4 (BB/9=1.6), K/BB=5, H=17 (H/9=6.8), WHIP=.93, BAA=.217, BABIP=.292
VID1: Live games - 2013 college season - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JurFj8ZHH3U
VID2: slow-mo swing mechanics - Feb. 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eNVhhYiRxY
VID3: Live game - March 2013 - pitching vs. Oregon - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJwssbewMQo
3. Hunter Dozier: 3B/2B/SS, RHH, Stephen F Austin Univ., Texas (6'4", 220) DOB=8/22/91
Dozier quietly had probably the best all-around year at the plate of any college hitter not named Kris Bryant (although DJ Peterson fans might make an argument). Dozier ended up 5th in the nation in HRs (with 17 - only 1 behind 3rd place) and doubles (with 25); and third (behind only Bryant and Peterson) in OPS (at 1.237), slugging (at .755) and wOBA (at .517). Unlike Bryant and Peterson, Dozier played the premium defensive position of SS, so his offensive numbers wer even more valuable. Most evaluators appear to believe that Dozier will not be able to stay at SS if he makes it to the majors, but all agree that he easily has the arm and range to be at least an above average 3B in the pros, and most agree that he has the quickness and athleticism to make the transition to 2B. I believe that has a slim chance to stick at SS, although he's unlikely to be more than an average defensive SS, with his lack of above average range being my major concern. IMO, Dozier has the athleticism, talent and versatility to play at least average defense at any position in the field except for catcher and CF. Dozier has always been a good hitter - especially for a guy that plays SS. He has also shown himself to be driven to succeed and willing to put in the long hours to get there. I've been really impressed with how he's been able to drastically improve his patience at the plate over his 3 college seasons (he ended the season with an excellent 13.5% BB-rate for 2013) while also cutting down his strikeouts to the acceptable 14% range. He's also been able to increase his power output dramatically in his college career. I do think that he can be at least an average defender at 2B (where his bat would be well above average) and that he profiles as an above-average defender at 3B with an above-average arm. If he fulfills his potential with the bat then he should easily hit enough to become one of the better 3B in the majors. One blemish on Dozier's record is the mediocre stats he compiled in the Northwoods Summer League last year while hitting with wooden bats (see stats below). Despite his struggles to hit for average and power last summer, he did show that he could maintain a double-digit BB-rate and keep his K-rate down at 14% even while struggling to get hits.
'12: .357/.431/.595/1.025, ISOp=.238, AB=227, 2B=22, 3B=1, HR=10, BB=29 (11.2%), K=42 (16.2%), SB=8/14 (57%)
'12 (Northwoods): .257/.337/.380/.717, ISOp=.123, AB=237, 2B=11, 3B=0, HR=6, BB=29 (10.7%), K=38 (14.1%), SB=10/11 (91%)
Mid: .405/.503/.752/1.255, wOBA=.525, ISOp=.347, AB=121, 2B=15, 3B=0, HR=9, BB=24 (16.3%), K=21 (14.3%), SB=10/14 (71%)
'13: .396/.482/.755/1.237, wOBA=.517, ISOp=.359, AB=212, 2B=25, 3B=0, HR=17, BB=34 (13.5%), K=35 (13.9%), SB=12/17 (71%)
VID1: Live game - June 2012 - NOrthwoods Summer League - Dozier hits HR at the 0:40 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR74S62iLCQ
4. Ryon Healy: 1B/3B, RHH, Univ. Oregon (6'4", 210) DOB=1/10/92
For a guy that played in a horrible hitter's home ballpark (especially in terms of suppressing power numbers) and on a team that gave him almost no protection in the lineup all year long, Healy put up some great offensive stats this season. He also played plus defense at 1B and even did some damage on the basepaths with his deceptive speed for a big man. The player that Healy most reminds me of at the same point in their careers is Mike Olt, the top prospect that the Rangers drafted out of Connecticut back in 2010. They have simialar builds and body types, though Healy has a much better hit tool than Olt did (or does) while Olt was a better defender at 3B than Healy is right now. Seeing how Healy fields grounders at 1B this season (with great range and soft hands), I have little doubt that he can make the transition back to 3B over the next few seasons with only minor growing pains. His arm isn't a cannon, but it is strong enough for him to make all the throws needed at 3B. Healy is a blue-collar, hard-working baseball rat that is likely to have a successful pro career due to his hit tool and his work ethic. Here's the most positive, and most complete, scouting report (with video clips) that you'll likely read on Healy between now and the draft. It's written by Jon Klima of Baseball Prospect Report (a website that I highly recommend):
'12: .312/.378/.419/.797, wOBA=.358, ISOp=.107, AB=253, 2B=13, 3B=1, HR=4, BB=23 (8%), K=45 (15.7%), SB=3/5 (60%)
'12 (Cape): .310/.344/.526/.870, ISOp=.216, AB=116, 2B=9, 3B=2, HR=4, BB=4 (3.2%), K=26 (20.6%), SB=1/1 (100%)
Mid: .352/.401/.570/.972, wOBA=.420, ISOp=.218, AB=142, 2B=13, 3B=0, HR=6, BB=11 (7%), K=17 (10.8%), SB=2/4 (50%)
'13: .333/.406/.569/.975, wOBA=.420, ISOp=.236, AB=225, 2B=20, 3B=0, HR=11, BB=27 (10.5%), K=24 (9.4%), SB=5/8 (63%)
VID1: IF + BP + live game - March 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOr2m2Pn82g
VID2: Live game - April 27, 2013 - 2 HRs vs. Stanford - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVYF2YCf0Do
5. Nick Ciuffo: C, LHH, Lexington HS, Charleston, SC (6’1", 210) DOB=3/7/95
Pronounced CHEW-foh. I loved his bat and his baseball IQ when I watched the telecast of him playing in the National High School Invitational Tournament in Cary, NC back in March. One of the few high school position players that I think the Giants could be considering with their first round pick, and one of the few that I would be happy for them to draft. Odds seem likely that he'll go off the board somewhere in the 19-27 range of the first round. He definitely has the arm, hands and feet to stay at catcher all the way to the majors and profiles as a well above average defensive catcher with hard work and more experience. His raw power is also a plus right now, so if he is able to learn how to make enough consistent contact (admittedly a big "if" at this point) he should also be and above average hitter in the pros. He's a local boy that's committed to a strong USC program, but the $1.866M that the Giants have allotted for the #25 slot should be more than enough to entice him away to an immediate pro career. Of course, I don't hold out much hope that John Barr and the Giants would actually pick Ciuffo should he still be on the board at #25, because the only high school prospect that Barr has ever drafted in the first round was Zack Wheeler - and that was at #6 overall way back in 2009. Univ. of South Carolina commit.
VID1: Live game + Keith Law scouting report - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_M4s14Xr1Q
VID2: Jon Mayo's scouting comments - http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=25489405
6. Cord Sandberg: RF, LHH, Manatee HS, Bradenton, Fla. (6'3", 207) DOB=1/2/95
I would have placed Sandberg a few spots higher than this if I wasn't so worried that he may be unsignable for the amount of money that the Giants are allowed to pay him at the 25th slot. Even if the Giants go well over the $2M mark to try and sign him it might not be enough to entice him away from his full ride scholarship to play quaterback in the SEC for Mississippi State. Football his still king down here in the south and Sandberg has a truly legit chance to be an impact QB on the national scene in the mold of what Johnny Manziel did at Texas A&M last year. Sandberg is that athletically gifted. That being said, his family is not exactly rolling in dough and close to $2M guaranteed should be a lot for him to turn down at this point in his life what with the vagaries and injury risks associated with college football. Sandberg already has a pro body - with some projection still left in it. Sandberg has plus raw power from left-center to the RF line, fringe-plus speed (6.6 sec. in 60), and has the actions and instincts to be a fringe-plus defender in RF. In addition, he's got above average arm strength. He's still relatively raw at the plate due in part to how much time he's lost to playing football over the last 6 years, but he has a quick, strong swing that's relaxed, balanced, short to the ball and shows much promise. This kid is also smart (4.0 GPA) and dedicated (had enough credits to graduate HS 6 months early).
Vid1: BP + OF + HR Derby - Summer 2012 - PG All-American - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xTFL4lttUM
Vid2: BP + drills - June 2012 - PG Showcase (Minn.) - http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/Playerprofile.aspx?ID=301007#boxd3
7. Phil Ervin, Jr.: OF, RHH, Samford Univ., Alabama (5’10", 195) DOB=7/15/92
Ervin is probably the guy that the Giants have their eye on if they choose to go with a college position player at #25. Not only is he a safe pick, with a fairly high floor, but he also performed well in the Cape Cod League last summer - which is another trademark of a John Barr top round pick - and should be a quick and easy sign at slot. I knocked Ervin down here to #7, because I think that his ceiling is lower than all of the 6 guys above him. I'm a bit troubled that he had prolonged slump in the 2nd half of both his 2012 Cape Cod League and his 2013 college seasons after getting off to fantastic starts. Does he get worn down easily, or do the opposing pitchers just figure him out after seeing him play for 6-8 weeks? Ervin had a breakout campaign on the Cape in 2012 that opened a lot of eyes on his potential to go off the board in the 2nd-half of the 1st-round of the 2013 draft. His compact swing and surprising power, when added to his previously acknowledged above average athleticism and speed made the Southern Conference and Birmingham, Alabama a must-see stop for pro scouts this spring. He projects to be at least an above-average defender in RF, with an arm better suited for LF or CF.
'12: .327/.406/.519/.925, wOBA=.406, AB=260, ISOp=.192, 2B=18, 3B=1, HR=10, BB=23 (7.7%), K=39 (13.1%), SB=16/21 (76%)
'12 (Cape): .323/.429/.631/1.060, AB=130, ISOp=.308, 2B=5, 3B=1, HR=11, BB=17 (11%), K=29 (18.8%), SB=10/12 (70%)
Mid: .371/.497/.724/1.221, wOBA=.511, ISOp=.353, AB=116, 2B=7, 3B=2, HR=10, BB=25 (17%), K=19 (12.9%), SB=10/11 (91%)
'13: .337/.459/.597/1.056, wOBA=.455, ISOp=.260, AB=196, 2B=14, 3B=2, HR=11, BB=39 (16.1%), K=25 (10.3%), SB=21/23 (91%)
VID1: Live game - June 2012 - CCL - HR on low pitch - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ag8zXWXQuc
VID2: BP + live ABs - June 2012 - CCL - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAwL_pKdb44
VID3: Live game - June 2012 - CCL - Triple to RCF - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1qxtu4oZFU
VID4: Live game - June 2012 - CCL - single & double - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crq-Tsijh-Q
8. Chris Anderson: RHP, Univ. of Jacksonville, Fla. (6'4", 225) DOB=7/29/92
Anderson is very unlikely to still be on the board at #64 if we are to believe the media reports, and I do tend to agree with their conclusions. I put him here, though, because I think many teams could have been scared off from taking him in the top 60 by his poor performances during the last 6 weeks of the season and the fact that he wasn't even rated as a top 150 prospect coming into this college season. If he is still around at #64 then I hope the Giants like him as much as I do. I think that his metamorphosis this spring is not a flash in the pan and that the poor performances are due almost solely to him being worn down from overuse and having to shoulder the load for a poor team. Anderson has the build and stuff to be a future #2/#3 workhorse starter if everything falls in place for him over the next 2-3 years. Anderson has the size, strength and athleticism that teams like to see in a power-armed pitching prospect. He was named the Minnesota HS Baseball Player of the Year by both Gatorade and Louisville Slugger as a senior and was a 2 year starter at QB on his HS football team. Anderson has played numerous games at DH and 1B when not pitching during his first 2 seasons at Jacksonville. he has seen significant increase in his consistency, control, and poise over the past 12 months. He's also been able to hold his velocity deeper into games and has done a better job of mixing in all 4 of his pitches so far this season. Besides the much-improved command and control, Anderson's most significant change has been the development of a fringe-plus slider that he first learned just prior to the 2012 college season. His changeup has also developed into a reliable above-average pitch with late downward movement. Anderson's FB has been clocked at up to 97 mph in games this spring, although he normally sits in the 91-93 range. Drafted out of HS by the Cubs in the 35th round of the 2010 draft.
'12: G=16, GS=14, IP=88.1, K=69, K/9=7, BB=40, BB/9=4.1, K/BB=1.7, H=94, H/9=9.6, WHIP=1.52, BAA=.280, BABIP=.337
'12 (Cape): G=8, GS=7, IP=32.2, K=42, K/9=11.6, BB=12, BB/9=3.3, K/BB=3.5, H=43, H/9=11.8, WHIP=1.68, ERA=6.34
Mid: GS=9, IP=64, K=78 (K/9=11), BB=12 (BB/9=1.7), K/BB=5.3, H=57 (H/9=8), WHIP=1.08, BAA=.229, BABIP=.317
'13: GS=14, IP=104.2, K=101 (K/9=8.7), BB=27 (BB/9=2.3), K/BB=3.7, H=90 (H/9=7.7), WHIP=1.12, BAA=.231, BABIP=.299
VID1: warmups + KLaw scouting comments - May 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqMChKT_7Ww
VID2: Live game - Aug. 2012 - Cape Cod League - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyhymYdZ3rI
VID3: Live game - Aug. 2012 - Cape Cod League - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNhzYxIg7QY
9. A.J. Puk: LHP, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (6’7", 215) DOB=4/25/95
Puk's (still-growing) body, his athletic frame, his easy throwing motion and live arm, and his excellent baseball instincts make his upside truly great. He's still raw and inexperienced as a pitcher and he's still getting used to the 3 inches that he's grown in the last 16 months. OTOH, he's got very low mileage on his arm and he doesn't have a lot of ingrained bad mechanical habits that a team would have to wean him off of. To top it all off, Puk is an outstanding hitter with the bat in his hand and he plays excellent defense at 1B. If for some reason the pitching doesn't work out for him, he should still be considered a top prospect as a power-hitting, sweet-swinging 1B prospect. The $872K allotted to the Giants for the #64 slot should be plenty to entice Puk away from his Univ. of Florida scholarship offer. His frame is highly projectable - long and lean with out-sized limbs. Most noticeably, he has really long legs and a very high waist, which should benefit him very much in the coming years. Univ. of Florida commit.
VID1: Jon Mayo's scouting comments - http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=25489091
VID2: Live game - April 2013 - PG Spring Top Showcase - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bf8JA_wnxc
Vid3: live game - PG All-American Classic (Aug. 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfKsgGh8n9k
Vid4: Warmups - PG All-American Classic (Aug. 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f9oczNR6yM
10. Chandler Eden: RHP, Yuba City HS, Yuba City, Calif. (6'1", 165) DOB=8/27/95
Eden is another great athlete with a projectable frame and plenty of room for growth. He's also one of the youngest prospects in the entire draft, which bodes well for his future growth. Call me crazy, but I think that of the 2 highly rated high school pitching prospects from the Bay Area I prefer Eden over Matt Krook any day of the week. I think that Eden's best days on the mound are still ahead of him and that he's got more velocity to come, while Krook has likely already reached his top velocity and he doesn't have the projectability or excellent mechanics that Eden does. Of course, it helps that Eden is more than 10 months younger than Krook. I've read one article stating that Eden will be difficult to sign away from his Oregon State commitment, but I believe that they were projecting to be picked in the mid-3rd round or later. If Eden's local team (who are well known for their ability to develop pitchers) drafts him in the 2nd round and offers him aroun $900K to sign then I can't see him turning it down. Ranked #99 in BA's preseason ranking of HS seniors, so you can see how much he climbed up the charts this spring. He's undersized now, but he's grown an inch or 2 in the last 14 months and he'll likely add another inch or 2 and put on another 15-25 pounds before he's finished. He only gets spotty competition playing in his small school league, but he did show well during the Area Code Games down in Southern Cal last summer - where the competition was top-notch. I also give Eden extra points for being very young for his draft class - he's the 3rd youngest guy (behind only Jake Bauers & Terry McClure) in BA's final top 250 prospect rankings. He was a FB/CB pitcher last spring and summer, with a live fastball that he threw between 88-92 mph and a well-shaped and sharp-breaking overhand curve ball. BA rated his fastball as the 3rd best in the nation among all the high school pitching prospects (behind Kohl Stewart & Phil Bickford).
"Eden ... threw a no-hitter to win a Sac-Joaquin section title [at the end of May]. ... Eden struck out 14 in the game and didn’t have a ball leave the infield, holding his 92-93 mph velocity from start to finish [7 innings]."
Oregon State Univ. commit.
VID1: Live game - no-hitter wins Sectional Championship - May 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boYSqzW5_ds
VID2: Postgame Q & A after throwing no-hitter - May 2013 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_avWD8dZIk
VID3: local news segment announcing college scholarship - http://mysytv.com/eden.html
11. Jacob Brentz: LHP/RF (bats LH), Parkway South HS, Manchester, MO (6’2", 190) DOB=9/14/94
Brentz is even more raw on the mound and has even fewer innings on his arm than AJ Puk (his fellow PG Iowa Spring League alum) does. While Brentz isn't as good of a hitter as Puk, he's still very athletic and was a good enough outfielder and hitter to receive a scholarship offer form the Univ. of Missouri before they found out what a plus arm he had on the mound. One big thing that Brentz has over Puk is that his FB currently sits in the 91-93 range and has touched as high as 97 mph on several separate occasions (Puk sits 89-91 and has topped out at 93). Of course, Brentz is more than 7 months older than Puk so we'll have to wait and see how fast he's throwing in November to make a fair comparison. Brentz control of his FB and curveball has been extremely erratic in the 2 clips that I've seen of him pitching in Iowa during April, so he's got a long way to go just to be able to be counted on to get through 1 or 2 innings of work right now. On the plus side, the team that ends up with him will have a true blank slate to work with. He's a high-risk pick in the 2nd round, but a lefty with a strong pitche's body and who already touches 97 mph is hard to pass on. Previously known as a star rightfielder and very good hitter, this all-around athlete burst onto the national radar (pun intended) in October by hitting 96 mph with his FB and striking out the only batter that he faced during the WWBC. Brentz has always had plus arm strength (he’s been clocked in the 90s on throws from RF), but he pitches very few innings for his HS (less than 5 innings during the 2012 HS season and only 14 total innings in his entire HS career) and summer league teams. Prior to October, his FB typically sat in the high-80s to low-90s, so the jump in velocity he displayed in October took everybody (including Brentz) by surprise. Brentz then really solidified his October buzz by having a strong showing off the mound at the 2013 PG Pitcher/Catcher Indoor Showcase, held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Feb. 9th. Brentz sat 91-92 mph with his FB, touched 94 several times and didn't throw any FB below 91 during his 1 inning of work. He reminds me a lot of what happened with Kyle Crick, only Crick at least was a starting pitcher on his summer league team following his junior year in high school. Univ. of Missouri commit.
VID1: Jon Mayo's scouting comments - http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=26722147
VID2: Live game - April 2013 - PG Spring Top Showcase - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4iNkmcYdbI
VID3: Local news segment - bullpen session - http://www.ksdk.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2029140207001
VID4: Indoor live AB session - PG Indoor Showcase, Feb. 2013 - http://www.baseballwebtv.com/mobile/Video.aspx?videoID=78429#ooid=l1MG44OTrNHJonDKnr8rVrENS8FtX2EZ
VID5: Indoor live AB session - PG Indoor Showcase, Feb. 2013 - http://www.baseballwebtv.com/Video.aspx?videoID=79179
VID6: Indoor live AB session - PG Indoor Showcase, Feb. 2013 - http://www.baseballwebtv.com/Video.aspx?videoID=78432
12. Carlos Salazar: RHP, Kerman HS, Kerman, Cal. (6’2", 205) DOB=11/?/94
Another high school pitcher that has touched 97 mph several times between October 2012 and May 2013, Salazar is more polished than Puk or Brentz and his delivery is much more repeatable right now. He's physically strong and he has plus arm strength and arm speed with a promising breaking ball. The Giants should have no trouble signing him away from his Fresno State commitment at this early round. Salazar came out of the dark to impress scouts with his mid-90s velocity during the WWBC back in October. He throws from a overhand arm slot, but still gets good late arm-side run on his FB. He has trouble repeating his mechanics and it shows in his below average control. He has a hesitation right before he starts his forward motion, which provides a measure of deception. He doesn’t stride much with his legs, but manages to generate very good power with a strong and quick push off his back leg and excellent hip rotation timing. In short, he’s a raw work in progress that shows excellent arm strength and a sturdy and powerful frame. Here's what one PerfectGame scout tweeted after watching Salazar pitch at the showcase in October:
"2013 RHP Carlos Salazar (Kerman, CA) goes 4 up/4 down showcase IP. Worked 94-95, touched 96, cutter @ 90-92. Changeup 84-87, CB up to 79."
Fresno State Univ. commit.
VID1: Jon Mayo's scouting comments - http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=25996905
Vid2: Live game – WWBC, Fla (Oct. 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qBT7vaCeLPY
VID3: Warmups + Live game - WWBC, Fla (Oct. 2012) - http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/Playerprofile.aspx?ID=297789
VID4: Live game - Fall 2012 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATWaexRQnpc
13. Trey Masek: RHP, Texas Tech Univ. (6’1", 190) DOB=1/9/92
It’s pronounced “MAH-sihck”. Masek had one of the best first 2 months of the college season of any pitcher in the nation and he probably was headed for a top 30 draft pick. He got sidetracked a bit when he developed some minor tendonitis in his bicep and had to miss 4 consecutive starts during the middle of the season. He did manage to make it back for his final 5 starts of the season, but he wasn't quite the same pitcher after the long layoff. His velocity was close to what it had been before the layoff, but his breaking ball wasn't near as crisp and he didn't have as good command and control of his pitches as he did before. As long as there's no long-term effect from the tendonitis then Masek would be a steal at #64 overall. He's continually underated because of his height and stature, but when he's healthy his stuff is top-shelf and his command and control are well above average. I like the idea of the Giants exploiting the bias against shorter RHPs to steal away a promising pitcher or 2. Masek was undrafted out of his Texas high school, despite showing above-average arm strength and touching low-90s velocity as a senior, probably because of his sub-6 foot heights and very slim build at the time. He's added a few inches in height, about 20 pounds of weight, and about 3 mph in velocity over the last 3 years to finally demand the notice of all the major leaggue teams heading into the June draft. Masek also pitched well on the Cape this past summer. Masek has a hard curve/slider with nice shape, depth and bite (named the 2nd best slider in the CCL - behind only Sean Manaea - by PG.com). Masek is no dumb jock, either, he had a 4.0 GPA as a Civil Engineering major in 2011-12.
'12: G=18, GS=6, IP=53, K=46, K/9=7.8, BB=20, BB/9=3.4, K/BB=2.3, H=47, H/9=8, WHIP=1.26, BAA=.244, BABIP=.320
'12 (Cape): G=7, IP=39.2, K=47, K/9=10.7, BB=15, BB/9=3.4, K/BB=3.1, H=37, H/9=8.4, WHIP=1.31, ERA=3.18
Mid: GS=6, IP=43, K=42 (K/9=8.8), BB=11 (BB/9=2.3), K/BB=3.8, H=27 (H/9=5.7), WHIP=0.88, BAA=.184, BABIP=.257
'13: GS=11, IP=79, K=69 (K/9=7.9), BB=22 (BB/9=2.5), K/BB=3.1, H=58 (H/9=6.6), WHIP=.99, BAA=.206, BABIP=.276
Vid1: bullpen + live game (July 2012), CCL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dd7t6Jilt4
14. Kyle Crockett: LHP, Univ. Virginia (6'2", 170) DOB=12/15/92
Most usually wouldn't recommend drafting a college closer this high and I would agree. However, Crockett was only made a closer by default at the beginning of this college season. His coach had nobody else he could trust in the critical role and Crockett's stuff and control were so excellent that he took to the role like a duck to water. Even though he has the repertoire and stamina to be a starter, he was too valuable to the team as a closer to be allowed to do what would be best for his draft status. One huge plus for Crockett is that he is by far the youngest college prospect in the draft (not counting JuCo players). He won't even turn 21 until this coming December. Crockett is Very slender and gangly-looking. He generates power and arm speed with a long stride and solid, repeatable mechanics. He has + command and control and has steadily improved all of his stats in each of his 3 seasons (pitching almost entirely out of the pen) at UVA - working his way up from middle relief to setup man to multi-inning closer. Crockett was originally scheduled to take the #1 or #2 spot in the starting rotation this year, but he tweaked his back in the preseason and had to stop pitching for a few weeks. By the time he was ready to start pitching again the season was starting and he had so few innings of work in that his coach decided to start him out in the pen. It was only supposed to be a temporary role until he regained his stamina, but Crockett performed so well as a reliever that he became the irreplaceable closer for the young pitching staff. He has a FB/SL/CH repertoire that would seem to be a good candidate to try converting to a starting rotation in the pros, but he is quite skinny for his height and may not hold up to the season-long grind of pitching 5+ innings every 5th day. OTOH, he has shown an ability to work multiple innings out of the pen and to pitch on back-to-back-to-back nights. Here's how his coach described him at the midway point in the season:
"His stuff is a lot better than you will have seen [from him] the last two years. He’s pretty much 90-92, will touch 93. He has a really good slider, a good changeup, and his command is so good. The guy’s got one walk on the year and it’s an intentional walk."
"Kyle Crockett (4-1, 1.81, 10 SV), is a lanky lefty with a 90-92 fastball, good slider and pinpoint command."
Mid: G=17, IP=26.1, K=34 (K/9=11.6), BB=1 (BB/9=0.3), K/BB=34, H=18 (H/9=6.2), WHIP=0.72, BAA=.194, BABIP=.305
'13: G=28, IP=53.2, K=68 (K/9=11.4), BB=6 (BB/9=1.0), K/BB=11.3, H=39 (H/9=6.5), WHIP=.84, BAA=.202, BABIP=.312
15. Tyler Danish: RHP/3B, Durant HS, Valrico, Fla. (6’, 170) DOB=9/12/94
He's a bit undersized and seems to have very little projection left in his frame, but it's hard to argue with his athleticism, his 3 pitch repertoire and his performance on the field this spring. Danish did not allow a single earned run during his senior year in high school, despite being the workhorse #1 starter for a Florida team that played at the highest level of competition in the state and made it all the way to the state championship game this spring. In terms of his stuff, Danish throws a FB that sits in the 88-91 mph range and touched 94 mph this spring. He throws from a low sidearm slot and his FB has a lot of movement on it to go with the above average velocity. To top it all off, he has excellent command and control of all 3 of his pitches. Danish loves to pitch and compete, so I don't think the Giants will have any trouble signing him away from his Univ. of Florida commitment at around the $900K mark. He was throwing up to the low-90s this past summer and fall, with excellent pitchability and a very good feel for his offspeed pitches. His FB sat in the 89-92 mph range (touched 94) all the way into the 5th inning of a start at the WWBC in October. Danish has been a dominant and durable pitcher during the big national tournaments and the Florida state HS playoffs over the past 2 years. Danish had an outstanding fall baseball season, pitching his travel team (Chet Lemon’s Juice) to the finals of the World Wood Bat Championships title game and being named the MVP of the tournament. In 4 games, he threw 13.1 innings, gave up only 6 hits and 3 earned runs, with 20 Ks and 4 BBs. The tournament was chock full of almost every one of the top 100 high school draft prospects for 2013. Univ. of Florida commit.
VID1: Compilation of clips - dissecting Danish's unique delivery - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nd-VcP9eW8
16. Brett Morales: RHP, King HS, Tampa, Fla. (6'2", 195) DOB=1/?/95
Morales is more of a physical specimen than Danish and he throws with more consistent velocity than him. He doesn't have Danish's command and control, though, and he had an inconsistent high school season this spring. That being said, Morales is a fairly new convert (from SS) to pitching (only been pitching full time since the summer of 2012), so he has low miles on his arm and plenty of room for future growth as he gains experience on the mound. Morales is also committed to the Univ. of Florida, and should also be an easy sign at around the $900K mark. Ranked #21 in BA's Nov. 2012 ranking of HS seniors, so you can see that BA has downgraded him a lot for his last 4 months of work. Despite his relative lack of pitching experience, Morales displayed an advanced feel for pitching, repeatable mechanics, and a good 3-pitch mix (FB/CU/CH) during the summer and fall showcase circuit in 2012. He's athletic and solidly built, but he still has some projection on his frame. Here's what one PG.com scout wrote about Morales after seeing him at the PG National Showcase back in June 2012:
"Tall well proportioned athletic build, projects physically. Slow paced delivery, good balance and direction, fast loose arm action, high 3/4's slot, really works downhill well, repeats delivery. Low 90's fastball, topped out at 93 mph, good sinking life with plus angle to the plate. Hard spin on mid 70's curveball, nice bite and depth, very good change up, maintains arm speed well despite big velocity gap, lots of sink, hitters didn't pick up off speed stuff. Showed plus pitchability and ability to sequence pitches. Former infielder relatively new to full time pitching. Very impressive prospect who still projects."
Think of Morales in the Kyle Crick mold, but with more pitchability and a deeper repertoire at the same age. Univ. of Florida commit.
VID1: Mound warmups - PG National Showcase (June 2012) - http://www.perfectgame.org/Players/Playerprofile.aspx?ID=291958