Putting together our Top 200 prospects list for the draft is a sometimes-fun, often excruciating process. It used to be a one-man show (Allan Simpson, inventor of draft coverage, was still doing it all as recently as 1999), then it was a two-man show (Jim Callis or Dave Rawnsley would assist Allan). As the draft has grown, our coverage has grown, and now that Top 200 meeting is a big production, as seven of us wrote up players for the Top 200.
With that many players involved and that many cooks trying to reach a Top 200 consensus, the list will be one giant compromise. Every year we miss a late riser due to timing, or we just miss on a player because we forget to ask about him or don't get good enough information early on in our reporting process. Nolan Reimold always sticks out in my mind as a player who just missed our 2005 Top 200, and he heated up right after the went to press. We had him as a third-to-fifth rounder coming into the year, then started hearing he was falling, and then he tore up the Mid-American Conference right after we took him off the Top 200.
This year, doing Georgia, the state was go good that new names kept popping up, or names that I had early information on proved to be outdated a month later. So if Jake Skole or Jordan Akins go out in the first 100-150 picks, don't be surprised or think they were over-drafted just because they weren't on our Top 200.
Both have Division I football scholarships, Skole to Georgia Tech, Akins to Central Florida. Both have athleticism that sticks out, even in a loaded year for athletes in Georgia. And both have shown enough with the bat to merit Top 200 inclusion. Skole has shaken off an early-season ankle injury and cemented his spot in the first three rounds with a pair of hits in a matchup with Georgia's top prep player, Kaleb Cowart. That was almost a disappointment for Skole, who had homered six times in his first six playoff games. That's the definition of late helium.
Akins, who earns physical comparisons to Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, has shown he can hit velocity, turning around 90-plus mph fastballs and showing well-above-average tools across the board. He's similar to Niko Goodrum, who is No. 154 on our list, in many ways, but some scouts believe he has more upside offensively than Goodrum.
Their football commitments may cloud their signability, but they also may make them easier signees in that clubs can spread their money out over five years as two-sport athletes. But their talent is definitely Top 200 worthy.