Super Regional Scouting

The NCAA baseball tournament keeps gaining in popularity, owing in part to the adoption in 1999 of a 64-team field and a three-level postseason. First come 16 four-team regionals, and those winners are paired off into eight two-team super regionals. The winners of these best-of-three series go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

This year, super regionals fall on the last weekend before the 2009 draft, which starts June 9. It’s a weekend tailor-made for Baseball America. It’s two great tastes that go great together. In that spirit, here are the top 10 prospects eligible for the 2009 draft who are playing in super regionals.


1. Dustin Ackley, 1b, North Carolina

Super Regional: East Carolina at North Carolina, Saturday through Monday

Ackley has gotten hot, even by his standards, hitting .508 (33-for-65) in the month of May. He hit eight homers in 15 games to bring his season total to 21, and is up to .417 for the season, his third straight .400-plus season. He’s the best hitter in college baseball, bar none.

2. Alex White, rhp, North Carolina

Super Regional: East Carolina at North Carolina, Saturday through Monday

White’s going in the other direction. A power righty with a fastball, slider and split-finger fastball, he struggled with a hamstring pull and blister last weekend, when he didn’t make it through five innings in a game against Coastal Carolina. White’s velocity has been fine but he’s lost the feel for his slider and relies too much on his split-finger fastball. He still projects to go out in the first half of the first round.

3. Mike Leake, rhp, Arizona State

Super Regional: Clemson at Arizona State, Saturday through Monday

Not even Stephen Strasburg can match Leake in some categories. While the draft’s No. 1 prospect led the nation in strikeouts, Leake leads in victories (14) and ERA (1.23) and ranks second to Strasburg in K’s (143, 10.32 per nine innings). He also leads the country in hits allowed (just 5.12 per nine), and scouts and opposing coaches love his moxie and makeup. If only he were 6-foot-4. Instead, he’s a lithe, athletic 6-foot, 180-pounder who is the first two-time Pac-10 pitcher of the year since Tim Lincecum did it in 2004 and 2006.

4. Jared Mitchell, of, LSU

Super Regional: Rice at LSU, Friday through Sunday

The best college athlete in the draft, Mitchell is a wide receiver for LSU’s football team who also was drafted out of high school in baseball. He’s far from polished at the plate, but he has patience (his 50 walks and .478 on-base percentage rank third in the SEC), elite speed (his 34 steals rank second in the conference) and the defensive tools for center field.


5. Chris Dwyer, lhp, Clemson

Super Regional: Clemson at Arizona State, Saturday through Monday

Dwyer is the very rare draft-eligible freshman; he just turned 21 in April. He was held back a year in elementary school and got an extra year when he enrolled in a Connecticut prep school before coming to Clemson. He’s shown a mature repertoire, running his fastball into the 90-94 mph range with a power, above-average curveball while at times showing a freshman’s immaturity, running into problems with big innings.

6. Jason Kipnis, of, Arizona State

Super Regional: Clemson at Arizona State, Saturday through Monday

A fourth-year junior who missed a year and transferred from Kentucky to Arizona State, Kipnis was a fourth-round pick last year but didn’t sign with the Padres. Kipnis doesn’t have a physical tool that stands out, but he punishes mistakes and has a superior track record of success. Some scouts project him as no more than a fourth outfielder; despite that, he’ll be one of the first college hitters drafted.


7. Billy Bullock, rhp, Florida

Super Regional: Southern Mississippi at Florida, Saturday through Monday

Bullock has helium. He continues to turn it on in the second half, showing better velocity in the closer’s role for the Gators and showing he can hit the mid-90s (touching 97) with his fastball even when used on back-to-back days. The bullpen role also has helped his slider improve, giving him a second plus pitch. In a soft year for college closers, Bullock may have pitched his way into the first round.

8. D.J. LeMahieu, 2b, LSU

Super Regional: Rice at LSU, Friday through Sunday

LeMahieu has backed up this season as he’s moved down the defensive spectrum from shortstop to second base. An eligible sophomore, LeMahieu is a bit of a tweener for some scouts, as he’s not offensive enough for second base and doesn’t handle shortstop defensively. His inside-out swing helps him hit for a high average, though, and he has solid athleticism and size. With a tweak to his swing, LeMahieu could have the power to become an offensive second baseman, or to move to third base.

9. Justin Marks, lhp, Louisville

Super Regional: Louisville at Cal State Fullerton, Friday through Sunday

Louisville has emerged as a national power in baseball under coach Dan McDonnell, who led the Cardinals to the College World Series in 2007, his first year as coach. Marks has been a key to the team’s run to prominence, as he’s 29-6 over the last three seasons. He’s a four-pitch lefthander with polish and an improved ability to put hitters away thanks to an improved curveball, and profiles as a No. 4 starter.

10. Matt den Dekker, of, Florida

Super Regional: Southern Mississippi at Florida, Saturday through Monday

The Gators’ center fielder, den Dekker’s stock was slipping as the draft approached. He just hasn’t put it together offensively, falling to .297 with just five home runs. Scouts love his defense, throwing arm and plus speed (16 stolen bases in 17 tries), and still like his swing. Yet den Dekker hasn’t produced this spring, which has been par for the course for a host of college bats (Southern California’s Grant Green, California’s Brett Jackson and others) that the pro ranks have found disappointing.

Draft | #2009 #Draft Preview

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