State Reports: Tennessee




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
For the second straight year, the state of Tennessee, and more specifically Vanderbilt, is the home of the No. 1 overall prospect going into the draft. In 2007, lefthander David Price was the consensus top talent and was taken with the No. 1 pick by the Rays. This year is a little different, as third baseman Pedro Alvarez is at the top of the prospect list but will not necessarily be chosen there.

Vanderbilt continues to establish itself as the state's top draft talent producer, with three players in the Top 200, though that still hasn't added up to ultimate success on the field, as the Commodores lost in regional play. Walters State, on the other hand, returned to the Junior College World Series this season and placed six prospects on our list. The high school ranks are strong as well, led by righthander Sonny Gray. Signability is an issue with almost all the Tennessee prep prospects, however.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 1)
2. Sonny Gray, rhp, Smryna HS (National Rank: 52)
3. Seth Lintz, Marshall County HS, Lewisburg (National Rank: 56)
4. Ryan Flaherty, ss, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 68)
5. Brett Jacobson, rhp, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 159)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

6. Corban Joseph, ss, Franklin HS
7. Navery Moore, rhp, Battle Ground Academy, Franklin
8. Will Clinard, rhp, East Robertson HS, Cross Plains
9. Tyler Massey, of, Baylor School, Chattanooga
10. Adam Milligan, of, Walters State
11. Chad Bell, lhp, Walters State
12. Matt Ramsey, c/rhp, Farragut HS, Knoxville
13. Dominic de la Osa, of, Vanderbilt
14. Dylan Pratt, c, Walters State
15. Lance McClain, lhp, Cumberland
16. Cody Hawn, 3b, Walters State
17. Kyle Godfrey, rhp, Hiwassee JC
18. Les Smith, of, Dyersburg HS
19. Shawn Griffin, of, Tennessee
20. Jacob Stallings, c, Brentwood Academy
21. David Francis, rhp, Walters State
22. Caleb Joseph, c, Lipscomb
23. Carlo Testa, lhp, Belmont
24. Yan Gomes, c, Tennessee
25. Stephen Pryor, rhp, Cleveland State CC
26. Nick Fuller, rhp, Walters State
27. David Macias, of, Vanderbilt
28. Rafael Hill, of, Austin Peay State
29. Shea Robin, c, Vanderbilt
30. Ty'Rell Harris, rhp, Tennessee
31. Will Hudgens, rhp, Memphis
32. Nathan Hines, of, Middle Tennessee State
33. Joey Rosas, lhp, Tennessee
34. Josh Hester, rhp, Freed Hardeman
35. Nick Christiani, rhp, Vanderbilt
36. Danny Lima, ss, Tennessee
37. Jonathan White, of, Vanderbilt
38. Will Hogue, of, Austin Peay State
39. Tyler Farrar, 3b, Austin Peay State
40. Matt Yokley, rhp, Memphis
41. Rawley Bishop, 1b, Middle Tennessee State
42. David Vicini, rhp, Austin Peay State
43. Scott McGregor, rhp, Memphis
44. Andy Simunic, 2b, Tennessee
45. Danny Wiltz, rhp, Tennessee
46. Travis Adair, ss, Cleveland State CC
47. Vladimir Frias, ss, Tennessee Wesleyan
48. Josh King, cf, Roane State JC
49. Nick Jiles, cf, Cumberland

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 1)

Alvarez entered the season as the top prospect in this year's draft class, and even after missing the first half of the season with a hamate bone injury, he maintains that status. The New York high school player of the year in 2005, Alvarez was ranked as a top 100 player as a senior and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 14th round that year. He elected to go to Vanderbilt instead, and he hit 22 home runs and drove in 64 runs, earning Freshman of the Year honors from BA. The trend continued into his sophomore year when Alvarez was named a first team All-American after hitting .386 with 18 home runs. He also spent two standout summers with Team USA. Alvarez has been one of the most feared college hitters for all three years he has been in school. Blessed with plus raw power, he is also an advanced hitter with a professional approach. At third base, his defensive skills and footwork have improved since he arrived at Vanderbilt. His arm is plenty for the corner and his athleticism is a plus. He is also known to be a great teammate with strong makeup. His bonus demands and status as a Boras Corp. client could affect his draft stock, however.


2. Sonny Gray, rhp, Smryna HS (National Rank: 52)

Even though he's actually closer to 5-foot-10 than his listed height of 6 feet, Gray has not gone unnoticed by scouting directors. His stuff on the mound won't allow it. Possessing two of the more ready-now pitches in this year's draft class, Gray makes for a tough decision in every draft room. He consistently showed his mid- to upper-90s fastball and an above-average curveball sitting near 84 mph on the showcase circuit last summer. Both pitches have sharp, late life and are commanded in the zone. However, in early April, Gray severely sprained his ankle running out a groundball and has been unable to pitch since; he also suffered an avulsion fracture on the play. That combined with his size and a strong commitment to play at Vanderbilt in the fall will make Gray's signability an issue once drafted. Also, due to his size and max effort delivery, Gray is thought by most to be a closer type in the big leagues. Gray's makeup is a plus and he is known as a winner, leading his high school football (at quarterback) and baseball teams to high school state championships.

3. Seth Lintz, Marshall County HS, Lewisburg (National Rank: 56)

Lintz sprouted to 6-foot-2 after a senior year growth spurt of close to three inches, and his fastball increased from the mid-80s to low-90s. His draft stock has jumped as well. He has been seen up to 94 mph and also possesses a power slider. Coming at hitters from a three-quarters arm slot, Lintz offers a fastball with late arm-side tail and sink. He is projectable and still growing into his strong-framed body. Command issues are a concern with Lintz, but that could be due to his getting acclimated with his new height and arm slot. A good student, graduating second in his high school class, Lintz is committed to Kentucky. He is now considered the second-best high school pitcher in Tennessee behind Sonny Gray but could be the first of the two drafted, due in part to Gray's injury. Lintz is projected as a starter in the big leagues and is thought to have good makeup.

4. Ryan Flaherty, ss, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 68)

As a coach's son, Flaherty earns compliments as a "ballplayer" from opposing coaches and scouts. His father Edward Flaherty is in the ABCA Hall of Fame and has won two national championships as head coach of Division III Southern Maine's baseball team. Flaherty himself has a track record of winning, as following his senior year in high school, his summer team won the American Legion national championship. Flaherty was also named Mr. Baseball in Maine the same season. At Vanderbilt, Flaherty took over the starting shortstop role full-time his sophomore season. However, scouts feel Flaherty's range is not good enough for him to stay at the premium position into the pros, and he will most likely have to make a move to second base, which he played for Team USA last summer. At the plate, Flaherty swings from the left side and will hit for average. He holds the Commodores record for longest hitting streak at 35 games. Flaherty hit six total home runs in his first two years on campus and has close to doubled that total this season. He has showed signs of filling out his lanky 6-foot-3 frame and more strength is projected, but he will most likely never be considered a power hitter. His athleticism and makeup are a plus and should carry him into the major leagues.

5. Brett Jacobson, rhp, Vanderbilt (National Rank: 159)

Jacobsen was the Arizona high school player of the year as a senior and rated by BA as the No. 93 prospect for the 2005 draft. Because of a dip in velocity and a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, however, he slipped to the Diamondbacks in the 11th round. He honored his commitment to the Commodores and made just six appearances—two starts—as a freshman. He split time between starting and relieving as a sophomore, but has seen more time in the pen this season, making only four starts and serving as Vandy's closer. Jacobsen has been a tough guy for scouts to figure out. As a starter he pitches between 88-91 mph, but as a reliever his velocity jumps to the mid-90s. He also throws a slurvy breaking ball and changeup, both with potential to be average. The inability to consistently throw strikes has been Jacobsen's downfall, keeping him out of a starting role, and that's the reason most scouts think he'll be a reliever in the pros as well. Jacobsen is 6-foot-6, 205 pounds and pitches from a three-quarters arm slot. He has effort in his delivery, but can pitch downhill with a steep plane when he's on. He's a high risk, high reward prospect.

Plenty Of Prep Talent

In a competitive field, shortstop Corban Joseph distinguished himself as the top prep position player in the state because he plays a premium position and swings lefthanded. Joseph has plus bat speed and routinely squares balls up, hitting for power and average to all fields with a short swing. Joseph is an average runner, but speed will never be his game. He has a chance to stay at shortstop but will always be known for his offense than his defense. Corban's brother Caleb Joseph is a catcher at Lipscomb and is also eligible for this year's draft. Caleb is also a good hitter with power, as he led Lipscomb in batting (.345), home runs (14) and RBIs (53). Caleb is athletic behind the plate with an average arm and a quick release. At the plate, he's a solid fastball hitter but can have trouble with breaking stuff.

There isn't a more intriguing prep prospect in the state than righthander Navery Moore. Before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007, Moore was regarded as one of the best young arms in the nation, and he had been seen in the mid-90s and consistently in the low 90s as a 16-year-old. Moore was back on the mound this spring but not at full strength, as his fastball was 88-90 mph. Moore is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with room to grow. He also throws a curveball and changeup that have projection but both are unpolished. Moore has a clean delivery and easy arm action and should be able to get back his arm strength. If so, he could vault up draft charts in three years. Committed to Vanderbilt, Moore will be a tough sign.

Will Clinard is another high-ceiling prep righthander with arm strength who's committed to Vanderbilt. He throws his fastball in the upper 80s and touches 90 mph, with a slider that has potential but is currently undeveloped. Clinard is a work in progress as he plays against lower-level competition and has had fewer opportunities to develop his game.

Great makeup is always the first thing people attirbute to outfielder Tyler Massey. Coaches and scouts love the way he plays the game and handles himself on and off the field. He's also athletic and was a multi-sport standout in high school. At the plate, he has raw power and a feel for hitting, with natural strength. He has a short lefthanded stroke with leverage and uses the whole field. Massey is an average runner and could play either corner outfield position or first base. He is committed to Virginia.

Matt Ramsey is a two-way prep prospect who had an impressive summer in 2007 but regressed in 2008. A righthanded pitcher and catcher, Ramsey was seen up to 94 mph last fall but this spring has pitched closer to 90 mph. He also throws a plus hammer curveball and a changeup. At 5-foot-10, Ramsey is undersized and some scouts like him better as a catcher. He has a strong arm and athleticism behind the plate, playing the game hard. The bat is a concern with Ramsey, but he is strong and has raw power. He is committed to Tennessee.

Another top prep catcher, Jacob Stallings, is considered unsignable from his commitment to North Carolina. He is the son of Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings, who is a former assistant of North Carolina coach Roy Williams, so his ties to the school are strong, as is his family's commitment to college. Stallings is a tremendous defensive catcher with plus arm strength and athletic ability, as well as advanced footwork and actions behind the plate. As a hitter, Stallings has bat speed and occasional power but lacks strength. He is 6-foot-5, 200 pounds and has plenty of room to fill out.

Shopping For Senior Bargains

Aside from its Top 200 players, Vanderbilt has several other players who will get a shot at pro ball. Seniors Dominic de la Osa and David Macias have been stalwarts in the outfield during one of the most successful stretches in Commodores history. De la Osa hit 20 home runs in 2007 and was drafted in the 10th round by the Tigers, but this season his batting and power numbers are both down, as he hit .297 with 10 home runs. De la Osa is a free swinger and somewhat streaky, making his bat his main question mark. He's a plus runner with arm strength, athleticism and raw power. He's also an advanced baserunner and uses his speed often, stealing 27 bases this season. De la Osa is a versatile defender and could play either in the outfield or second base.

Macias led the Commodores in batting this season at .356, with nine home runs. At 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, Macias is a switch-hitter and a sparkplug with athleticism and speed. He's an above-average defender. Shea Robin is another Vandy senior who should get drafted. A solid catcher behind the plate, Robin handles pitching staffs well.

Tennessee finished its first season under new coach Todd Raleigh two games under .500. The Volunteers were a young squad, but they still have a group of players with value in this year's draft. Shawn Griffin is a senior outfielder with a good lefthanded swing and plus power. He is an average defender at best and will likely play in left field at the pro level. Griffin hit .314 this season with 12 home runs. Catcher Yan Gomes is a sophomore-eligible with a big body and juice at the plate, but his performance this season was inconsistent and scouts weren't sure what to make of him. Gomes needs polish both defensively and at the plate, but has a lot of projection.

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Carlo Testa is a lefthanded pitcher and outfielder for Belmont, leading the team in both batting (.387) and wins (6). He profiles best as a position player at the next level and will likely end up in right field. With an above-average arm and average speed, Testa is an athletic defender with good instincts. At the plate he is an above-average hitter, making consistent solid contact.

The junior college ranks in Tennessee are typically strong and are led by perennial powerhouse Walters State JC. The Senators' top position prospect is outfielder Adam Milligan. Drafted by the Braves in the 27th round last year, Milligan is athletic and has plus raw power from the left side. An average runner, he has improved his defense and projects as an average left fielder. He is committed to Vanderbilt for next season. Dylan Pratt plays catcher for Walters but will probably move to first base as a pro. He is an offense-first player, and his bat will carry him as far as he goes in pro ball. A fastball hitter, Pratt has above-average raw power, but his approach results in a lot of strikeouts.

Chad Bell is the top juco lefthander in the state and at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds was the Senators' best pitcher this season. A 25th-round pick by the Brewers last year, Bell pitches in the upper 80s and has improved both his velocity and his feel for pitching every year since high school.