02 June 2011

2011 Depot Draft Preview: Positional Targets (2:4 - 5:4)

Thus far, we have focused on targets for Baltimore at 1:4, arriving at the following preference list (which we may tweak Monday morning as bonus demands begin to leak):

Anthony Rendon / 3b / Rice Univ.
Gerrit Cole / rhp / UCLA
Bubba Starling / of/rhp / Gardner Edgerton HS (Gardner, Kan.)
Sonny Gray / rhp / Vanderbilt Univ.
Dylan Bundy / rhp / Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.)
Jed Bradley / lhp / Georgia Tech
Taylor Jungmann / rhp / Univ. of Texas
Danny Hultzen / lhp / Univ. of Virginia

Click on the above names for our full scouting reports with video courteosy of DiamondScapeScouting.com

We now shift our focus to Rounds 2 through 5, which we will divvy up into two separate posts. This first post will look at 12 targets on the position player side. Tonight we'll focus on 12 pitchers to target for these same four slots.

Targets for 2:4
Joe Panik (ss, St. John’s Univ.) could easily be off the board in the Supplemental-1st Round, and he is well within the top 60 players on our preference list. But the experts chatting-up the front office folks seems to view him as more of an early-Day 2 talent, which would be terrific for Baltimore. Panik has the smooth hands and footwork to play as an average shortstop at the pro ranks, but could also slide across the bag to second base where his arm may play a little better. He is gap bat without big homerun pop, but the hit tool is one of the best in the draft class.

Baltimore has just one selection in the first 60 picks, while Tampa, Toronto and Boston will be in a position to load up on a deep draft class due to compensation picks in the 1st and Supplemental-1st Round. Accordingly, Baltimore should be looking to grab anything and everything that slips through Day 1 due to signability. The dream scenario has Blake Swihart (Cleveland HS, Rancho Rio, N.M.) falling to Baltimore due to his commitment to Texas and likely sizeable bonus demands. It’s anyone’s guess as to what number “sizeable” ultimate equates. If he’s still around, he’s a huge upside pick that would be equivalent to Baltimore landing two top 10 overall talents.

Number two, and not far behind Swihart, on the 2nd Round wish list is Joshua Bell (of, Jesuit Coll. Prep., Dallas, Texas). Bell has some of the highest offensive upside in the draft, and would be slated to come off the board in the early- to mid-1st Round had he not sent a letter to the MLB Scouting Bureau stating he had a strong desire to attend Texas and does not wish to sign a pro contract. Many see this as a negotiating ploy, perhaps suggested by advisor Scott Boras. If the goal is to push Bell down to hometown Texas in the Supplemental-1st Round, Baltimore won’t get the opportunity to grab him. If Joe Jordan and the Orioles Dallas Area Scout thinks he is signable, they should jump at the opportunity to grab him if he’s still on the board at 64 overall.

Targets for 3:4
Kyle Gaedele (of, Valparaiso Univ.) is another talent that could be off the board before the O’s pick for the third time, particularly if he is high enough on the preference list for Tampa, San Diego and Toronto (as teams with numerous extra picks in the Supplemental-1st). Gaedele has huge raw power, plus speed and potentially enough arm strength for right field, though it would be a bit of a stretch. His instincts in the outfield may limit him to corner, but the pick here is for power.

B.A. Vollmuth (3b, Univ. of Southern Mississippi), like Gaedele, is a play at a big power bat. Vollmuth is going to swing and miss, but the potential is there for a legit 25 – 30 homerun corner infielder. As a collegiate shortstop, Vollmuth has the arm for the left side. His range will limit him to third as a pro, but he should be able to stick there. Like many of the names we are listing, he could be off the board early if another team is particularly high on the stick, but he fits well on our preference list in early-3rd Round.

A soggy spring prevented extended looks at Derek Fisher (of, Cedar Crest HS, Lebanon, Penn.), who stood out both at the East Coast Pro showcase last August and the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Florida last October. Fisher is a potential five-tool talent that could potentially play center but likely fits better in right. He has some of the better power upside in the prep ranks, and could be a great “get” if he slips this far due to his strong commitment to the University of Virginia.

Targets for 4:4
Cody Asche (3b/1b, Univ. of Nebraska) is a big corner infielder likely to end-up at first base at the Major League level. He comes with a track record of performance in the prestigious summer wood bat Northwoods League, and a strong 2011 with the new BBCOR bats. There is still a lot of swing-and-miss here, but Asche handles the barrel well enough that he could grow into a future #5 hitter with 25 homerun upside (perhaps more with an improved contact rate). A solid gamble at this stage in the draft – particularly if Baltimore has yet to add “power” to their draft portfolio -- Asche would fill an organizational need on two fronts (first base and power).

Dan Vogelbach (1b, Bishop Verot Cath. HS, Ft. Myers, Fla.) is the other side of the “fisrt base/power” coin, as an all-bat prep talent with plus-plus raw power and a nice feel for the craft of hitting. He has showcased his power pre-game, in showcase settings and in homerun derbies, but also shows current ability to square-up good prep pitching in-game. Despite working hard to slim down to around 240 pounds (standing just 6-foot-1), his body type is always going to come with concerns as to his ability to keep the weight in check. He isn’t as advanced as Prince Fielder at the same time, and his upside is a step behind. But Vogelbach could be an interesting roll of the dice at this point in the draft if he hasn’t already been scooped.

With backstops always in demand, Brett Austin (c, Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.) may come off the board as early as the sandwich round. We have him valued as a 2nd or 3rd Rounder, but hold out hope that he could slip due to his commitment to N.C. State. Austin shows a solid approach from both sides of the plate, profiling as a gap-to-gap hitter that could provide good offensive output for the position. There are enough questions with his receiving (he is a little stiff and his actions generally do not scream “athleticism”) that he could just as easily dip into the later rounds if the right organizational fit doesn’t line-up.

Targets for 5:4
Jason Coats (of, Texas Christian Univ.) looked to be lined-up potential top 50 selection after a strong summer on the Cape, but the production has not repeated this Spring. Coats has good pop from the right side, and when he squares it the ball really jumps. His value is hurt some due to his arm and foot speed limiting him to left field. It’s a “buy low” thought that could pay off with the right adjustments.

Kevin Cron (1b, Mountain Point HS, Phoenix, Ariz.), brother of potential 1st Rounder C.J. Cron (1b, Univ. of Utah) has a big swing and legit “70” raw power. He set single-season and career records for the State of Arizona and has parlayed his monstrous high school career into a scholarship to play at TCU. As you can tell, we are focusing heavily on potential power prospects, and Cron is yet another name Baltimore should consider if available.

Rookie Davis (1b/rhp, Dixon HS, Sneads Ferry, N.C.) is a two-way talent, sitting 89-92 on the mound with a very heavy fastball, and providing good power from the right side at the plate. Davis showed well in Under Armour All-America workouts, and again in Jupiter last October. While he received mixed grades from evaluators this spring, the return on investment at this point in the draft is well worth the investment. He is committed to play at ECU, but is generally considered signable if he goes high enough in the draft.

Next Up
Tonight's post will look at three potential pitching targets for each of the above rounds. Tomorrow we'll cover Rounds 6 through 10.

No comments: