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Analyzing Amateur Baseball Talent as it pertains to the MLB Draft

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College Notes 6-20-10

Here are a few quick observations from a pair of top pitchers eligible for next year’s draft, UCLA’s Trevor Bauer and TCU’s Matt Purke.

Trevor Bauer

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. Bauer’s 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 sat 92-93 and touched 94 several times in his CWS debut against Florida, a team many people (myself included) considered a favorite to win it all. Bauer jumped over Gerrit Cole in the Bruins’ starting rotation, as Cole hasn’t been quite as sharp down the stretch. He also showed the ability to take a little off of his fastball to the 87-89 range for added movement.

Bauer’s breaking ball is special. He is able to add and subtract off of his curveball very well. He throws a true slow curve very well that has excellent 12-to-6 break. He drops this pitch in the zone and down in the dirt very well. He also throws the pitch a little harder for more two-plane, slurvy break. This pitch is wicked thrown in the low-80s, and while not a true curve (or slider) it plays off of his slower, true curve perfectly.

His command isn’t perfect, but there is some effective wildness to his game. He goes right after batters and doesn’t waste much time trying to lull them to sleep with soft stuff away. While he gave up three runs, all came before the fifth inning, and by then he was cruising.

This is the first time I’ve been able to see him pitch and I was really impressed with his style and stuff. He has some quirkiness to him as well, somewhat similar to Matt Purke, and carries a confident presence on the mound.

Matt Purke

I’ve gushed over Purke twice in recent weeks, so I’ll keep it short this time around. Once again he was very good, this time in a start against Florida State in the CWS. He struck out seven Seminoles over seven innings of work, giving up only one run, which came in the first inning of the game. He allowed a single to leadoff hitter Tyler Holt, who scored on an error that also allowed third baseman Sherman Johnson to reach third with no outs. That just seemed to make Purke mad, as he struck out the side to get out of the frame (and the rest of the game) with no further damage.

He was up to 94 early with his usual low-80s sharp slider. His fastball sat mostly at 92 in this game, which is a few ticks higher than what I’ve seen consistently from him this season. Like Bauer above, he throws two varieties of his breaking ball, as he also throws more of a true curveball that is several mph slower than his slider.

I really like the way Purke has stepped up this season, and seems to get better and more focused when there is more riding on the game. He moved to 15-0 on the year with 140 strikeouts in 110 innings of work, astonishing for any pitcher, much less a freshman, no matter how talented and highly touted he is. Once he is drafted and signed, he is going to have a very quick path to the big-leagues.

Sean Gilmartin

As Purke has heated up down the stretch, Gilmartin has slumped. His fastball sat in the upper-80s and a sweeping slow curve and a solid changeup. He wasn’t fooling the TCU hitters in this game and certainly wasn’t missing their bats, giving up six runs in three innings, five of which came in the first.

He pitches a lot like Tom Glavine, going away, away, away before busting hitters inside. He was getting too much of the meat of the plate, and the TCU hitters clearly were prepared to be pitched away. Obviously his upside is somewhat limited since his stuff maxes out in the low-90s, but pitchability pitchers obviously can perform at a high level given their ability to change speeds and command the strike zone. I’ve seen Gilmartin better, and still expect him to be in the conversation for the first round next June.

Jason Coats

Left-fielder Jason Coats reminds me a lot of current big-league left-fielder Jason Bay. Physically they are similar, with a good, athletic frame and a strong, lower half. He runs ok, and he throws ok, but he probably will continue to profile as a left fielder at the next level.

He has decent bat speed and some pop in his bat. Similar to Bay he doesn’t have any one eye-popping tool, but I could see him continuing to perform at a high level, as he exhibits a good eye at the plate and puts a good swing on the ball.

He hit a two-run double in the first inning, driving an outside fastball down the left-field line, and added an RBI single in the eighth. He also walked twice in this game.

Taylor Featherston

I’m not as sold on Featherston’s bat, but he shows some pretty slick actions at shortstop to go along with a very strong throwing arm. He has decent speed and good overall quickness, gliding to balls and showing a smooth and quick transfer out of his glove.

At the plate he has a swing made for contact, as I don’t see him hitting for much power at the next level. Overall I could see him developing into an Adam Everett type of hitter, although I’m not sure his defensive tools are quite as good as Everett’s.

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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

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