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Analyzing Amateur Baseball Talent as it pertains to the MLB Draft

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College Notes 3-1-11

I was able to catch a few more promising draft eligible prospects last weekend that weren’t included in my last update.

Sam Stafford

After watching Jungmann’s dominant performance on Friday, I was pleased to catch Stafford’s start on Sunday against Hawaii. His command wasn’t as sharp as I have seen it in the past, although controlling the strike zone is something he has struggled with during his career. He wasn’t missing by much in this, but was missing enough, usually high, to walk four batters and leading to an early, increased pitch count which led to him being lifted after 5.1 innings of work. He got himself into trouble in the fourth inning giving up a walk and a pair of singles leading to a bases loaded situation with no outs. However, after that you could really see Stafford bear down, striking out the next three batters, freezing the first on a knee-buckling curveball and getting the next two swinging on high fastballs.

I wrote up Stafford last summer, and in that report I mentioned that he lacked the consistency on the bite of his curveball. In this game he was snapping off some really crisp ones, and did a nice job dropping them in the zone. He also threw a few sliders that had more explosive diving movement to it, but didn’t seem to have the same command of the pitch. Several Hawaii hitters swung right through his fastballs, particularly when he elevated them. He throws both a four and a two-seam fastball, as his two-seamer shows nice running and diving life at times.

Hoby Milner

I also profiled Milner in the link provided above for Stafford. I’ll keep the notes on him this time brief. He’s a projectable athlete in that he’s rail thin, particularly in his arms, but has broad shoulders and room for added strength, and velocity. He has a quick arm and three quarters delivery, and snapped off a few big, slow curveballs that reminded me a little of Barry Zito.

Kolton Wong

Wong is a compact sparkplug, built almost exactly the same as former Tennessee Volunteer and current Brewers farmhand Kentrail Davis. Also a left-handed hitter, Wong is quick to the ball, with very good bat speed, and does a good job driving the ball up the middle and the opposite way. While he shows a good eye at the plate and does a nice job working the count, he also can be a little too over-aggressively at times, and can get fooled by breaking stuff. A well put together overall athlete, he is a versatile athlete that played both second and third base in this game, and some have toyed with the idea of him playing behind the plate at the next level. I think that would impede his development, and I like his current actions at second base. At third base he made a great bare handed play charging in on a bunt attempt, throwing the batter out at first base relatively effortlessly. He tried to make a similar play earlier in the game at second base that got past the first baseman, and was charged with another throwing error in the fourth on a poor throw to third base that allowed a runner to score.

Lenny Linsky

Linsky was the main reason I was tuned into this game, and fortunately I was rewarded when he did indeed make it into the game to toss the final inning for the Rainbow Warriors. As I had reported earlier this year, I had received reports of Linsky throwing as hard as 95-97 prior to the season, with a slider that reaches the upper-80s. After the first weekend, I had word that he was 94-96 with the same slider, and phenomenal sink on his fastball, so it was nice to see it for myself.

The life on his fastball is very impressive. The pitch dives out of the strike zone seemingly at the last possible moment and can elicit some pretty weak swings. He hasn’t had a huge K rate during his college career despite light’s out stuff, because opposing batters do put the ball in play against him, although such contact is usually in the form of weak grounders that don’t make it out of the infield. His slider is a nasty strikeout pitch, with similar movement to his sinker, but with more violent break. He does a nice job burying that pitch in the dirt to get even uglier swings.

He looks to be a pretty good athlete that keeps himself in good shape. He’s not overly big, and works out of the stretch at all times. He has a compact delivery in which he tucks his knee into his curled chest and delivers the ball from a low three quarters angle, adding to his sinker/slider profile.

Peter O’Brien

I’m not going to try and pretend that I was able to discern much of O’Brien by watching a performance on television in which he went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. I was surprised by his stature, as he’s a pretty loose looking athlete for someone listed at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. He looked pretty good behind the plate as well, showing soft hands and pretty quick feet blocking a couple of balls in the dirt. At the plate he’s an obvious physical presence, with a strong frame and a big swing.

Kyle Hooper

Hooper is a tall, long-limbed righty, although he isn’t draft eligible until 2012. There appears to be a few pauses to his delivery which creates some deception, as it looks as though that delivery is somewhat of step-by-step process. He doesn’t overpower hitters (the broadcast had him in the mid to upper-80s, which), but there is some run and tail to his fastball. He did a nice job working down in the strike zone, and induced quite a few ground balls. His curveball is a nice pitch, a big slow bender that he can drop both in and out of the strike zone.

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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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