04 May 2011

Collegiate Diamonds by the Numbers: Pac10, Big 12, Conference USA, and Big East

Here are links to the first two columns:
Introduction and ACC

This post will roll through four different conferences as very few players met this criteria.  The Pac10 in fact are not represented.  This is not to say there are no prospects in the Pac10.  It says that merely following the criteria is set forth would not identify anyone in this grouping.  I want to remind you that I am using adjusted numbers from College Baseball Splits and not raw numbers.  This post will highlight players who match these criteria in the SEC.

Plate Discipline - Walk Rate (>15%) and BB:K ratio (>1.50)
Contact Rate - Batting Average (>.300)
Power - ISO (>.180)

Big 12

Just a Freshman

Erich Weiss, 2B/3B, Texas
397/529/616; 20.2% walk rate, 1.68 BB:K, .219 ISO

It does not appear Erich Weiss was drafted last year, but he has broken out as a freshman for the Longhorns.  In high school, Weiss saw time at SS, 2B, and C.  In college, he has been handed the job at the hot corner.  So far he has performed well as a freshman and will have a couple more years before he is draft eligible (2013).  At 6'3" and 180, Weiss is athletic, but I can imagine him adding on another 15-20 pounds as he matures.

Conference USA

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
364/570/573; 32%, 3.01 BB:K, .209 ISO
Diamond Scape Scouting: Best 3B, Best Overall

I'll let Nick Faleris tell you about him (click here for a full scouting report):
The story this spring has been a sore shoulder for the five-tool third baseman, which has kept him in the DH role for most of the season.  Perhaps stemming from the sore shoulder, Rendon's power numbers have fallen off drastically, with his isolated power dropping from a whopping .407 to a merely impressive .178.  Barring troublesome medical reports come draft time, there is little concern that this will have a long term effect on Rendon's game.  Provide the shoulder checks-out, he is easily the top position player in the draft class, arguably the top player overall, and on par with the likes of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in terms of future potential and draft time skill set.  Rendon is the rare five-tool talent with game changing ability in each category (he was clocked at 4.2 seconds home-to-first a number of times last year, during the USA CNT Trials and twice this spring), and an intricate feel for the game on defense, in the batters box and on the basepaths.  He has a chance to move quickly once he signs and could be a perennial All-Star at the Major League level. 

Big East

Joe Panik, MIF, St. John's
397/513/609; 17% walk rate, 2.29 BB:K, .212 ISO
Diamond Scape Scouting: 3rd 2B, 2nd SS, 44th overall (pre-season)

Panik was largely overlooked by most of the national talent writers with Faleris being the only one to put him in a top 50.  However, he is not an unknown.  Scouting the Sally reviewed Panik last month and wrote:
  • Compact build; Looked closer to 6-foot than the 6-2 he is listed as
  • Well developed through hips and shoulders; Room for additional growth?
  • Above average speed; Pulled multiple 4.15 times from home-to-first
  • Short, compact stroke; Drops bat head on the baseball
  • Gap hitter; Present swing mechanics tailor-made for spraying line drives
  • Patient hitter; Took a number of borderline pitches
  • Questionable power projection; Should push double-digits, but not much more
It would be highly doubtful that Panik is available when the Orioles pick in the second round.

Close, but not quite

David Chester, 1B, Pittsburgh
293/422/527; 16.2% walk rate, 1.61 BB:K, .234 ISO
Not ranked by DSS, Keith Law, or Baseball America

Although not ranked by Nick Faleris, Chester was on Nick's Big East Second Team ratings before the season began.  He was .007 points shy of batting average to qualify for this list.  For a big guy (6'5" 270 lbs), he does a good job making contact with power and earning walks.  Large batters anecdotally seem like a risk as the larger the batter, the larger the strike zone he must work with.  As a Senior, Chester does not have any leverage.  He will likely be taken as an easy slot or below slot signing after past the first five rounds.

Passing Thoughts

The members of this club I have put together are relatively few, but the criteria I have set forth does appear to be hitting on certain ball players who are widely accepted as good college prospects.  This criteria does not replace eyes and stop watches, but it is remarkable how it is finding players who are known and others that are on the fringe.

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