School has kept me away for awhile but I'm back with an update on draft prospects. The amateur baseball season is in full swing. So I thought we'd give an update on how some of the top prospects are doing.
1. Bryce Harper
Harper would normally be enjoying his junior year of High School but instead he's at Southern Nevada Community College and has led them to a #1 ranking among Junior Colleges. He's hitting 420/515/864. I'm sure the level of pitching he faces is uneven but those are very impressive numbers, even more so considering his league uses wooden bats. His power is just crazy for a 17 year old. I've heard he's played the OF some--not sure if that is just to give him a rest from catching or if there are concerns with his defense. Kevin Goldstein recently indicated that Washington was probably going to pass on Harper (I'm not sure if that was just conjecture or if he had some info that indicated that). It will be very interesting if Harper is available when the Royals pick in June. They have been spending on the draft the past couple of years, but this would take that to a new level.
2. Jameson Taillon
Taillon has lived up to the hype so far this year. He has shown his devastating stuff---mid 90s heat, great breaking ball. He recently threw a 7 inning no hitter with 19k's. He not only has great stuff but has a good idea of how to use it. He's another guy that we would have to pony up huge cash to sign. He has a scholarship to Rice but I just can't imagine that he's going to go there seeing the abuse pitchers there get.
3. Chris Sale
Tall, lanky lefty from Florida Gulf Coast. He's got a very good fastball and slider. Not sure if he uses much of a change. This year, he has a 1.73 ERA is 26ip with 40k/4bb. He hasn't exactly faced top competition this season but he was the best pitcher in the Cape Cod League last summer.
4. AJ Cole
I haven't heard any updates on how he's throwing this spring but, assuming he's showing the same stuff he had last summer, he's still high on my list.
5. Anthony Ranaudo
A tough guy to rank right now. He pitched 5 innings for LSU at the beginning of the season but has been shut down since then with elbow pain. He is now scheduled to pitch Sunday. If he comes back and does well, I'll move him back to number three.
6. Drew Pomeranz
Big left hander at Ole Miss. This year he's got a 1.23 ERA in 29 ip with 49k/9bb. One concern is that he has already given up 3 homers. His fastball is low 90s but he uses it well. His curve and change can be inconsistent. I'm not as high on Pomeranz as some because I think his ceiling is limited.
Others of note:
Deck McGuire-RHP--Georgia Tech--not as him on him as some. Limited ceiling
Manny Machado--SS--HS--rising up boards but for some reason I just don't feel like he's a top 5 guy, yet.
Karsten Whitson--RHP--HS--another hard throwing HS pitcher
- I think Harper and Taillon have separated themselves from the pack. I'd put the odds around 50/50 that one of them slips to #4. I've heard the Royals are high on Taillon but haven't heard a peep about what they think of Harper. Ranaudo is the wild card--his health and price tag could affect the whole top of the draft.
- Lavon Washington and Christian Colon have struggled so far this year and their stock is dropping
- If you are looking for a possible player the Royals would give big money to in the later rounds (a la Wil Myers/Tim Melville), perhaps Austin Wilson--a very toolsy outfielder who has a Stanford scholarship. He may slip due to bonus demands and sounds like a player Dayton would like--very toolsy/big upside/kinda raw
- To torture myself, every so often I check in on Jason Esposito--our almost signed 6th round pick from 2 years ago that agreed to a $1.5 million bonus only to change his mind and go to Vandy. Esposito is hitting: 391/462/667 as a sophomore.
- Silver lining to the fact the Royals aren't going to win a lot of games this year: the top of the 2011 draft is loaded. Take, for example, Anthony Rendon--3B--Rice, he's hitting 344/570/813 with 30 walks/9 k's and he's supposed to be very good with the glove.