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Analyzing Amateur Baseball Talent as it pertains to the MLB Draft

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Dandy Dozen 11-14-10

It’s difficult to go too deep into my coverage of the talent available for next year’s draft without covering a handful of pitchers at once. That’s why this edition of the Dandy Dozen will feature entirely on arms, with an incredible amount of depth available at both the high school and college levels. In addition, as you will discover when reading the profiles below, there are quite a few prospects that have the potential to dramatically increase their already lofty draft status between now and next June.

SP

Matt Barnes

  • Connecticut
  • 6’4”, 205 R/R

Barnes made the most of pitching both on the Cape and for Team USA last summer, and has put his name squarely in the mix for the top 10 overall picks for next June’s draft. He has a prototypically projectable and strong pitching frame, with tall, angular proportions. He throws on a downward plane, with a little bit of late movement on his fastball. He pitches comfortably in the 92-94 range, maintains that velocity deep into ballgames, and has the ability to touch 95-97. His arm action is free and easy, although he does have some other mechanical issues to iron out to become more consistent. His secondary pitches also lack consistency, but he does have the ability to add and subtract off of his breaking pitch between a curveball and a slider, and can also throw a changeup. When all four pitches are working for him, he’s extremely tough to hit, and he has continued to get better since arriving at UConn. If things really come together for him next spring, he could be considered among the top three to five overall picks.

SP

Dylan Bundy

  • Owasso HS (OK)
  • 6’1”, 200, B/R

Bundy has made it clear that he intends to pursue a career in baseball, but he also was a talent football player and gifted all around athlete. He works hard in the weight room to sculpt his body, and it is quick to recognize his tightly wound, compact and sturdy frame. He doesn’t have prototypical height, and there is some effort to his delivery, but nothing that is considered too serious. He is a fierce competitor that excels both as a pitcher and as a switch-hitting infielder. He plays third base for Owasso, and shows a strong arm and power bat, but his future lies on the mound. He easily pumps his fastball in the low-90s with the ability to routinely reach and surpass the mid-90s. His slider is also a plus pitch, with nasty two-plane break giving him two legitimate strikeout offerings. He also throws a good changeup and can take a little off of his breaking ball to drop in more of a true curveball. He has committed to play for Texas, and gives the Tulsa, Oklahoma area two potential top 10 overall picks along with Broken Arrow’s Archie Bradley.

SP

Michael Kelly

  • West Boca HS (FL)
  • 6’5”, 195, R/R

The sky is the limit with Kelly, who reminded me of Rick Porcello the first time I saw him pitch due to his tall, projectable, athletic frame. Kelly also possesses a pretty polished three-pitch repertoire that could allow him to soar through the lower levels of the minor leagues and/or college should he pursue his commitment to play for the Florida Gators. He has a smooth and repeatable delivery that seemingly effortlessly produces low-to-mid-90s fastballs. Given his size, he very well may be pitching regularly in the mid-90s while touching the upper-90s before long, and he also has the ability to ad some sinking movement to his heater. He shows both a nice slow curveball and a polished changeup that he can pull the string on. He’s at his best when he is getting both his two-seamer and change over for strikes, inducing weakly hit ground balls and getting outs early in the count.

SP

Jed Bradley

  • Georgia Tech
  • 6’4”, 220 L/L

Bradley was leading the Cape in strikeouts before he decided to end his summer a few weeks before the end of the league. He was extremely impressive last summer following up a good, not great sophomore year at Georgia Tech in which he followed Deck McGuire in the weekend rotation. He has a tall, sturdy workhorse frame that allows him to maintain his velocity deep into games while also pitching long innings over the course of a full season. His fastball sits in the upper-80s to low-90s with the ability to reach a few ticks higher than that. His delivery is sound, he commands his fastball extremely well, and the ball explodes out of his hand. He also effectively mixes in a slider and a changeup, both of which he’s able to throw in just about any count. Bradley is one of the more polished pitchers available for next year’s draft and he will get the opportunity to continue to improve his draft status as the Yellow Jackets Friday starter next spring.

SP

Austin Wood

  • USC
  • 6'4", 220 R/R

Wood was drafted by the Rays in the fourth round of last year’s draft, but went unsigned and has since transferred to USC. He has a big, strong body and one of the more lively arms in the nation. He throws easily in the mid-90s and has approached triple digits on occasion. At times he has shown some late movement on his fastball, but at this point in time he’s at his best blowing batters away and can be effectively wild. Despite an easy arm and velocity, there is a little effort to his overall delivery. His changeup, while improving, remains inconsistent as are both the command and break on his breaking ball, which causes some concern about his future role. His size and raw stuff make him one of the more interesting prospects to watch next spring, and transferring to USC will allow him to face tough opponents week after week. That combination makes him one of the most notable, potential helium prospects to follow next spring.

SP

Danny Hultzen

  • Virginia
  • 6’3”, 200, L/L

Hultzen excelled immediately upon stepping onto Virginia’s campus, being named the ACC freshman of the year for both his effectiveness as both a pitcher and as a hitter as the Cavaliers marched towards Omaha. While he has a disciplined eye at the plate and a smooth lefty swing, his upside is greater on the mound. He followed up his successful freshman year with an even better year, being named the ACC’s pitcher of the year serving as the team’s Friday ace. In two years he is 20-2, and shows very good command of a polished four-pitch repertoire. He hits his spots and changes speeds very well, much like a finesse lefty, consistently sitting in the upper-80s to low-90s with the ability to touch 94 in the early innings.  That mix makes him not only difficult to hit, but difficult to hit hard. His big, slow curveball, slider and change are above average to plus pitches, although there isn’t a huge break his slider, and all three make his fastball that much more effective. He is competitive and poised on the mound, and doesn’t seem to get rattled on the mound. Heavy workloads after both his freshman and sophomore years led to him not participating in summer ball the last two years.

SP

Nick Burdi

  • Downers Grove South HS (IL)
  • 6'3”, 210, R/R

Burdi is another pitcher who really improved his draft status over the course of last summer and into the fall. He participated in the Under Armour game at Wrigley Field, and was arguably the most impressive pitcher in attendance. He continued to impress at the Perfect Game/WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, where he was one of the hardest throwers in attendance, hitting 96 on the gun. He also touch 91 with his nasty slider at that event, but typically sits in the low-80s with this pitch. He shows the ability to add some sink to his fastball, and his slider has two-plane break, and is one of the better breaking balls from the prep class. Despite his larger, sturdy stature, he throws from a low three-quarters delivery, although that arm angle definitely complements his slider. He can also throw a changeup, but hasn’t needed it much given the success of his fastball-breaking ball. He has committed to play for Louisville.

SP

Jose Fernandez

  • Alonso HS (FL)
  • 6'4”, 215, R/R

Built tall and strong with a strong, if not large, lower half, Fernandez really helped himself recently at the Perfect Game/WWBA World Championship in Jupiter by throwing 92-95 and touching 97 with his fastball. He has always been able to throw hard, but doing so effortlessly and not dropping below 90 at this event was particularly impressive. He also looked a little better physically, as he has the type of build that he will always need to be diligent to maintain his conditioning. He also throws a hard low-80s curveball, giving him a second plus strikeout pitch. He can throw a changeup, but hasn’t needed it much, and will have to work on it more to give him a solid, third pitch. A Cuban defector, he was ruled ineligible for the coming season since he has already played the maximum number of seasons as a high school player. Fernandez has committed to play for South Florida, but some suspect that being ruled ineligible to play this spring may cause him to try and do something creative next spring that would allow him to play regularly, such as enroll in a junior college.

SP

Trevor Bauer

  • UCLA
  • 6'1”, 175, R/R

Bauer has some Tim Lincecum in him in that he rocks his back and employs an exaggerated delivery. Bauer’s arm isn’t quite as extreme as Lincecum’s in that Bauer doesn’t drop it straight down and bring it straight over the top, and he also isn’t quite as small, but the similarities are there. His fastball also isn’t quite as explosive, but his breaking stuff is. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t throw hard, as he has the ability to sit 92-93 and touch 94, although in some games he pitches at 88-92, and has the ability to throw a two-seamer as well. His breaking ball is special, with the ability to add and subtract of of his curveball between a true slow curve with 12-to-6 break and a low-80s slurve that explodes down and away from right-handed batters. He can struggle with control, but also can be effectively wild, and he attacks hitters with an aggressive approach. Visibly confident on the mound with a reputation for some odd pre-game preparations, Bauer was more effective down the stretch last spring, and at one point in time leap-frogged teammate Gerrit Cole in the postseason.

SP

Ryan Carpenter

  • Gonzaga
  • 6’5”, 225 L/L

Carpenter offers a combination of size and stuff that you don’t find often from a lefty. He is built tall and strong, with a loose delivery and the ability to sustain long innings and hold his velocity through those contests. He also boasts a power arsenal that includes a fastball that sits in the 88-92 range, a slider and a changeup.  He has fared much better in his two stints in summer ball, including the Cape this past year and the Alaska League the year before, than he has during his two years for the Bulldogs.  Most pitchers fare better facing batters using a wood bat, but Carpenter’s splits (5.46 ERA, 121 strikeouts, 58 walks, 138 hits allowed in 125.1 innings in two years with Gonzaga -- 1.60 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 22 walks, 51 hits allowed in 78.2 innings combined the past two summers) may suggest that his aggressive pitching style may lead to him getting hit around more than most since most collegiate arms are taught to pitch away from contact. He already is considered a first-round talent, but has some potential to climb draft boards should things come easier for him this coming spring, and compares favorably to Sammy Solis.

SP

Tyler Beede

  • Lawrence Academy (MA)
  • 6'4", 200 R/R

Beede reminds me a lot of Kevin Gausman from a year ago in that he may very well be the most projectable pitching prospect eligible for the 2011 draft. Built tall and lean yet muscular, there is a lot of room for Beede to add strength as he matures over the next three to five years. His arm works well and he maintains easy velocity on his fastball. He sits in the upper-80s to low-90s with the ability to approach the mid-90s on occasion. He was throwing in the 86-90 range a year ago, so given his build many expect his average fastball range to sit in the low-to-mid-90s. He has the ability to take a little off of his fastball for added movement, and he also throws a sharp curveball in the 75-77 range. He also throws a changeup that shows promise, but like many pitchers his age, needs work to find effective consistency. A commitment to Vanderbilt may make him a tougher sign than most, even if scouts firmly believe this young man could be throwing 93-95 regularly in the next two to three years.

SP

Henry Owens

  • Edison HS (CA)
  • 6'6”, 195, L/L

Owens appears as though he was born to pitch, with a feel for his craft unexpected for both a player his age, but also of his stature. He is a tall and lanky lefty, oozing with projectability and room for added strength. He is incredibly consistent from one start and/or event to another, routinely pitching in the 88-91 range with some movement on his fastball and incredible command. He spots the pitch virtually wherever he wants, and sets up one pitch to another beautifully with his three-pitch arsenal. Both his curveball and changeup are also refined pitches, and he’s able to throw both for strikes, using them effectively to lull batters asleep with soft stuff down and away before busting them up and in with his heat. He also shows a very competitive and aggressive nature on the mound in which he exudes confidence and doesn’t back down. Despite his stature, I’m not sure how much more velocity he’ll gain, if any, as he continues to mature, and the way he changes speeds and hits his spots, he doesn’t really have to. He should enjoy immediate success in the lower levels of the minor leagues or at Miami should he honor his college commitment.

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Dandy Dozen

SP
Andrew Gagnon Well rounded RHP w/ good size, repertoire
SP
Erik Johnson Big bodied RHP with good FB/CB combo
SP
Deshorn Lake Live-armed RHP with sharp breaking ball
CL
Nick Maronde Lived-armed LHP tough to catch up to
C
Nick Delmonico May not be C long-term, big body, LH bat
1B
Zach Wilson Aggressive hitter can put sting in ball
IF
Sean Trent Well built hitter with pop, speed, arm
3B
Dante Bichette, Jr. Clone of father with big build, power
SS
Austin Nola Steady D' at shortstop, improving strength
OF
Nick Martini Good all around player with patient eye
OF
Shon Carson Shorter, well built 2-sport speedster
OF
Granden Goetzman Fast riser w/ exciting power/speed combo

more

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