Analyzing Amateur Baseball Talent as it pertains to the MLB Draft

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College Notes 4-19-09

Welcome to a notes-driven version of this week's college notes update. I'm entering crunch time both with my day job and at home (my wife and I are expecting baby number two to be delivered later this week), so the amount of time I can devote to baseball has been limited, and will continue to be limited in the weeks to come in the event that I disappear.

That said, I had the chance to catch some really good pitching matchups from both last weekend and this past one. I still have to catch up on North Carolina vs. Miami, saving that game for last hoping to get a better look at Dustin Ackley as profiled last week.

UCLA at Stanford

Charles Brewer (UCLA RHP): Good, not great FB. BB has some break, not a huge bender, not a wipeout pitch. Good strength in frame, big leg kick. FB looks almost as though it has rising life to it. Looks to throw across his body a little. Body, uniform colors and number (25) reminiscent of Daniel Bard, but that note is only meant to help draw a mental picture of his physicality, as his arm is nowhere near as live. Good overall command. FB is straight, and he is hittable. Showed a great CB in the 6th. Needs to throw more of these.

Brendan Lafferty (UCLA LHP): Good size, low 3/4 delivery. Slings the ball a little, lands a little upright. Good proportions. Slider is a little loopy. Upper 80s to low-90s FB. Works up in zone. Struggling with control. Has a chance as a pro, but needs to throw more strikes, slider needs to be more consistent with better break and he needs to work dow in zone, not up.

Eric Goeddel (UCLA RHP): Still has really good CB (one of the better prep curves as an Aflac All-American during the summer of 2006). First batter he faced, Brent Milleville, hit a solo shot over LF fence. Pitch was a straight FB right down the pipe. Good CH as well. Good proportions, long and rangy strong limbs. Lower half has good strength. Upper body has room for more strength. Can take a little off CB for slower, bigger breaker. Normal CB has some zip and sharper, but not as dramatic, break.

Brett Mooneyham (Stanford LHP): Evidently cocky on mound. Big guy strong upper body, broad shoulders. Started off game with pair of walks but got into rhythm after that. Good arm speed. FB velocity. Command is a little wild, but he has power stuff to make it effective. FB has running life away from RH batters. Two runs he allowed came on 2-run HR in the 3rd. Mostly FBs. Big sweeping/breaking slow curveball. Doesn’t throw too many, could be sharpened up. Showed a few tighter ones, but still is clearly his second best pitch. Kevin Stocker (announcer) noted that his FB was 93-95 in the 6th, but I’m not sure I buy that. CB has the potential to be a great second pitch, didn’t see any changeups. Scott Boras advisee if I remember correctly, and is going to be a huge draft prospect for the 2011 draft. Really glad I got to see him pitch -- he’ll be the team’s Friday starter the next two years.

Drew Storen (Stanford RHP): Great looking athlete. I’ve seen Storen before, as I remember really liking his sinking fastball-slider combo. Throws across his body, all arm, falls off to the 1B side and lands a little upright. Slings the ball, some deception to delivery. Breaking ball looked more like a CB than a SL on this day. First one thrown wasn’t a huge breaker. Second one had more bite, looked more like a slider. Almost acts like a splitter. Somewhat of a slurve with sharp, downward movement. Threw a more BBs as his outing continues over three innings and the pitch definitely got better the more he threw it. A little concerned with is arm, but if he stays in short relief that shouldn’t be as big of a concern.

Stanford at Arizona State

Josh Spence (ASU LHP): Skinny but projectable. Doesn’t appear to throw very hard. Throws two nice breaking pitches, a big breaking CB and another pitch that he takes a little off of (changeup/cutter). Drops his arm side-arm from time to time against LH hitters. CB is his best and favorite pitch. Needs to throw more FBs at next level. Good pickoff move. Has a slow, deliberate move and a much faster snap throw -- uses the two together nicely to help lull runners to sleep. Difficult to run off of. He can change speed and arm angles with pretty much all of his pitches which makes it seem no two pitches are the same.

Carlos Ramirez (ASU C): Soft through the middle. Needs to watch conditioning -- looks a little bigger through middle, thighs and backside than I remember. Doesn’t look to have a gut though, as much of it is part of how he is built. Very good patience. Good bat speed. Leading Pac-10 in homers, and had another good day at the plate. One of the best hitters in the NWL last summer as well, so success isn’t a surprsie.

Jason Kipnis (ASU CF): Good, not great athlete with good, not great tools. A little smaller but well put together. Easy swing, goes with pitches. Good eye and bat speed. Single up the middle to left in 1st, bases clearing double in 2nd (yanked down RF line), both off of Inman.

Jeff Inman (Stanford RHP): Continues to be an enigma. Throws easy and is so cool on the mound. He’s always around the strike zone. He either just misses or gets hard when he’s on target. As always, stuff looks good, body and arm action also look good but he gets roughed up early, recording only four outs. He is a better pitcher than the results and I could see him doing better as a pro facing batters with wood bats given how often he is in and around the strike zone. His confidence has to be somewhat shattered this spring despite Stanford’s recent hot streak (although they did get swept by conference leading ASU).

Baylor at Oklahoma State

Tyler Lyons (OSU LHP): Doesn’t throw particularly hard (threw harder in relief last summer for TUSA)). Good CB. Pretty good CH as well. When CB is on it is a really good pitch, particularly for a LHP. Needs to throw more FBs. Works away from RH batters. Slows down pace with runners on. Tries to lull batters to sleep and induce weak contact. Could be a 5th starter, but I would like to see him tried as a reliever, where he could enjoy a long and successful career, especially if he’s able to throw harder more consistently. Threw FB more in 5th and 6th, going upstairs with his FB to get weak swings. Kind of a Doug Davis approach, working away, away, away and then climbing the ladder for a K.

Aaron Miller (Baylor LHP/OF, starting P and DH in this game): Hitting: Similar build and stance as Dustin Dickerson. Resembles Jordan Danks in stance (upright), facially and somewhat in size. Good looking athlete. Pitching recently with team as well with good results. Short to ball, natural uppercut, good bat speed. Yanked 3-run HR in 3rd off of Lyons to deep RCF. Did a good job to pull hands in on inside CB, not an easy pitch to hit. Hit a 2B to RF in 5th on somewhat of an excuse me swing. Average runner. Good athlete with narrow face resembles Cliff Lee. Tools are similar to Paul O’Neil as a hitter.

Pitching: Nice FB velocity and command. SL looks to be thrown with same arm angle and arm speed. Not a huge breaking pitch, more like a late sinking FB. Built more like a hitter with sloped shoulders and balanced proportions. Easy arm strength. Mostly FBs early. Threw a pretty nasty slurve with 2 outs in first. Seems to be a chase pitch more than one he throws for strikes at this point. Previous breaking pitches weren’t doing much. Looks to be throwing in low-90s with good command, a nice combination for a LHP. Really hits outside corner against RH batters really, really well. Two runs off of him came in the 4th on a weakly hit grounder that found a hole on the right side of the IF (this is definitely a pitch that would not have been a hit with a wood bat, it still would have scored a run, but the batter would have been out). Promising CH as well. Not where it needs to be right now, but shows the ability to throw three pitches, all working off of his FB. The last out he recorded was on a good slider that broke down and away from a LH hitter.

Dustin Dickerson (Baylor 1B): Good size, well-built athlete. Skinnier than I remember (better conditioning?), good stance, good swing, good not great bat speed. LH hitter. Started career at 3B, now at 1B and swinging the bat really well this spring. Has a 23 game hit streak. I could see his bat taking off at the pro level, as he has a good approach and overall mechanics to help make the transition to wood even if he hasn’t hit as well as expected in college.

Shawn Tolleson (Baylor RHP): Good build. Looks like a pitcher. Strong base, good lower half. High waist. Strong upper half as well. Build like Cody Scarpetta. A lot of FBs; good velo/command. Pretty nifty CB/SL as well. Late, sharp break on pitch. Polished pitcher. Really mixes FB and CB well together. A little bit of head snap in delivery, already has had TJ surgery in his career. Didn’t allow a hit, run or walk in 2 IP (2 K).

Dandy Dozen

SP
Tyler Matzek Polished lefty with power arsenal
SP
Alex White Second best college RHP to Strasburg
SP
Zack Wheeler Rising draft boards with impressive FB/CB
UT
Brooks Raley Smooth lefty leads A&M in ERA, BA
C
Luke Bailey Baseball rat with compact build, swing
1B
Jonathan Singleton Powerful prep slugger with big LH bat
IF
Ryan Jackson Slick defender with questions about bat
3B
Jiovanni Mier True SS with exciting tools
SS
Robbie Shields 2B/3B type with promising bat
OF
Tim Wheeler Exciting blend of power & speed
OF
LeVon Washington Blazing fast with exciting leadoff tools
OF
Everett Williams Great athlete with tools galore

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