State Report: California
Even in an average year, talent in the Golden State is overwhelming
See also: Baseball America's Complete 2010 Draft Map
See also: California Scouting Reports, Part II
|THIS YEAR'S CROP
||One for the books
||Solid, not spectacular
||Not up to par
||Nothing to see here
California's college crop comes up a bit short in 2010 aside from Cal State Fullerton's titanic duo of Christian Colon and Gary Brown. Area scouts prefer Brown's package of tools, but national scouts and scouting directors have seen Colon perform for years and last summer with USA Baseball and value his savvy and profile more. The other shortcoming for California was among lefthanded pitchers, who are short all around the country but shockingly so in the West.
California does have its usual amazing depth, particularly with high school pitching (which is the strength of the overall draft). However, the top-ranked pitcher prep pitching in the state, Dylan Covey, was backing up as the draft approached, while others who throw harder, such as Peter Tago, Taijuan Walker, Robby Rowland and Scott Frazier, were on the rise.
No organization uses only one scout for the nation's most populous, most productive state for baseball prospects, and neither did Baseball America. In addition to our usual correspondent in Southern California, Dave Perkin, we have Blaine Clemmons covering Northern California this year. Each has scouted for major league clubs in the past, but both also discussed their rankings with area scouts and other sources as BA does across the rest of the country.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Christian Colon, ss, Cal State Fullerton (National Rank: 9)
2. Gary Brown, of, Cal State Fullerton (National Rank: 14)
3. Dylan Covey, rhp, Marantha HS, Pasadena (National Rank: 18)
4. Austin Wilson, of, Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles (National Rank: 27)
5. Peter Tago, rhp, Dana Hills HS, Dana Point (National Rank: 36)
6. A.J. Vanegas, rhp, Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo (National Rank: 46)
7. Sammy Solis, lhp, San Diego (National Rank: 48)
8. Christian Yelich, 1b, Westlake HS, Westlake Village (National Rank: 52)
9. Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Barstow HS (National Rank: 59)
10. Griffin Murphy, lhp, Redlands East Valley HS (National Rank: 62)
11. Taijuan Walker, rhp, Yucaipa HS (National Rank: 70)
12. Robby Rowland, rhp, Cloverdale HS (National Rank: 71)
13. Tony Wolters, ss, Buena Vista HS, Vista (National Rank: 75)
14. Dominic Ficociello, 3b, Fullerton Union HS (National Rank: 77)
15. Addison Reed, rhp, San Diego State (National Rank: 83)
16. Kyle Blair, rhp, San Diego (National Rank: 84)
17. Scott Frazier, rhp, Upland HS (National Rank: 85)
18. Eric Jaffe, rhp, Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland (National Rank: 91)
19. Stefan Sabol, c/of, Aliso Niguel HS, Aliso Viejo (National Rank: 95)
20. Angelo Gumbs, of, Torrance HS (National Rank: 102)
21. Devin Lohman, ss, Long Beach State (National Rank: 103)
22. Rob Rasmussen, lhp, UCLA (National Rank: 108)
23. Chad Lewis, 3b, Marina HS, Huntington Beach (National Rank: 115)
24. Dan Klein, rhp, UCLA (National Rank: 119)
25. Will Swanner, c, La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad (National Rank: 125)
26. Rob Brantly, c, UC Riverside (National Rank: 127)
27. Adam Plutko, rhp, Glendora HS (National Rank: 131)
28. Zach Weiss, rhp, Northwood HS, Irvine (National Rank: 132)
29. Gabriel Encinas, rhp, St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs (National Rank: 133)
30. Michael Lorenzen, of, Fullerton Union HS (National Rank: 140)
31. Mark Canha, 1b, California (National Rank: 147)
32. Joc Pederson, of, Palo Alto HS (National Rank: 154)
33. Brian Guinn, 2b, California (National Rank: 156)
34. Cody Buckel, rhp, Royal HS, Simi Valley (National Rank: 157)
35. Cole Cook, rhp, Pepperdine (National Rank: 160)
36. Jake Thompson, rhp, Long Beach State (National Rank: 161)
37. Tyler Kuresa, 1b, Oakmont HS, Roseville (National Rank: 163)
38. Dixon Anderson, rhp, California (National Rank: 177)
39. Scott Alexander, lhp, Sonoma State (National Rank: 179)
40. Andrew Knapp, c, Granite Bay HS (National Rank: 184)
41. Nick Longmire, of, Pacific (National Rank: 194)
42. Martin Viramontes, rhp, Loyola Marymount
43. Andrew Triggs, rhp, Southern California
44. Matt Bywater, lhp, Pepperdine
45. Jake Hernandez, c, Los Osos HS
46. Wynston Sawyer, c, Scripps Ranch HS, San Diego
47. Vincent Velasquez, rhp/ss, Garey HS
48. Jesus Valdez, rhp, Hueneme HS, Oxnard
49. Joey Terdoslavich, 3b, Long Beach State
50. Mario Hollands, lhp, UC Santa Barbara
51. Hunter Jones, 3b, Lakewood HS
52. Matt Vedo, rhp, Yuba JC
53. Daniel Bibona, lhp, UC Irvine
54. Cory Vaughn, of, San Diego State
55. Aaron Siliga, of, Oceanside HS
56. Aaron Jones, c, San Clemente HS
57. Brian Diemer, rhp, California
58. Joe Terry, 2b, Cerritos JC
59. Ryon Healy, rhp, Crespi HS, Encino
60. Stephen Yarrow, 1b, San Francisco
61. Jake Rodriguez, c, Elk Grove HS
62. Tommy Medica, of/c, Santa Clara
63. Ryan Pineda, 2b, Cal State Northridge
64. Jesse Meaux, rhp, UC Santa Barbara
65. Daniel Child rhp, Jesuit HS, Carmichael
66. Louie Lechich, rhp/inf, St. Mary's HS, Stockton
67. Bradley Salgado ss, Great Oak HS, Temecula
68. Daniel Renken, rhp, Cal State Fullerton
69. Matt Lewis, rhp, UC Davis
70. Austin Reed, rhp, Rancho Cucamonga HS
71. Nick Vander Tuig, rhp, Oakdale HS
72. Brenton Allen, of, Gahr HS, Cerritos
73. Sam Tuivailala, ss/rhp, Aragon HS, San Mateo
74. Andrew Thurman, rhp, Lutheran HS, Orange
75. A.J. Berglund, rhp, St. Francis HS, Mountain View
76. Kyle Petter, lhp/of, El Camino JC
77. Aaron Judge, rhp, Linden HS
78. Conor Hofmann, of, St. Augustine HS, San Diego
79. Chris Willson, 1b, St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs
80. Bobby Geren, 3b, San Ramon Valley HS, Danville
81. David Armendariz, rhp, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks
82. Nick Quezada, rhp, Cerritos JC
83. Pat Valaika, ss, Hart HS, Newhall
84. Erik Goeddel, rhp, UCLA
85. R.J. Hively, rhp, Santa Ana JC
86. Danny Muno, ss/2b, Fresno State
87. Zach Walters, ss, San Diego
88. Bobby Coyle, of, Fresno State
89. Jordan Tripp, of, Golden West JC
90. Doug Murray, rhp, San Francisco
91. Nathan Garcia, rhp, Santa Clara
92. A.J. Griffin, rhp, San Diego
93. Abel Medina, 3b/1b, Cal State Dominguez Hills
94. Will Anderson, rhp, Foothill HS, Pleasanton
95. Nathan Gonzalez, rhp, Merced JC
96. Brett Thomas, of, Poway HS
97. Brando Tessar, of, Chaminade HS, Canoga Park
98. Jimmy Sherfy, rhp, Newbury Park HS, Thousand Oaks
99. Matt Thomson, rhp, San Diego
100. Tony Amezcua, rhp, Bellflower HS
101. Sean Bonesteele, rhp, Fresno State
102. Victor Sanchez. 3b/1b, San Diego
103. Matt Lujan, lhp, San Francisco
104. Roberto Padilla, lhp, Ohlone JC
105. Brandon Berl, rhp, St. Mary's
106. J.B. Brown, 2b, Pacific
107. Pete Lavin, of, San Francisco
108. Garrett Claypool, rhp, UCLA
109. Kevin Gelinas, lhp, UC Santa Barbara
110. James Roberts, ss/rhp, Archbishop Mitty HS, San Jose
111. Kevin Pillar, of, Cal State Dominguez Hills
112. Brett Krill, of, UCLA
113. Cole Wells, rhp, Heritage HS, Brentwood
114. Matt Grace, lhp, UCLA
115. Derek Poppert, ss, San Francisco
116. Dimitri DeLaFuente, 3b/ss, Cypress JC
117. Jordan Ribera, 1b, Fresno State
118. Trent Zaks, ss, Cypress HS
119. Jeff Yamaguchi, 2b, Lakewood HS
120. Hunter Greenwood, rhp, Franklin HS, Elk Grove
121. Blake McFarland, rhp, San Jose State
122. Travis Garrett, rhp, Cypress JC
123. James Meador, of, San Diego
124. Ryan Keller, rhp, West Ranch HS, Stevenson Ranch
125. Geoff Klein, c, Santa Clara
126. Mike Walker, 3b, Pacific
127. Ruddy Acosta, rhp, Mount Miguel HS, El Cajon
128. Kellen Kiilsgaard, of, Stanford
129. Chase Johnson rhp, Fallbrook HS
130. Ryan Lipkin, c, San Francisco
131. Alex Schmarzo, rhp, St. Mary's
132. Erik Hempe, of, Cypress JC
133. Cal Vogelsang, of/ss, JC of the Canyons
134. Paul Jinkens, rhp, Cal State East Bay
135. Alex Pracher, rhp, Stanford
136. Garrett Weber, ss/2b, Fresno State
137. Bobby Wheatley, lhp, Lutheran HS, Orange
138. Dayton Alexander, of, Feather River JC
139. Ben Griset, lhp, Gustine HS
140. Tillman Pugh, of, Sonoma State
141. Matt Avery, of, Cypress JC
142. Jordan Haseltine, lhp, Wood HS, Vacaville
143. David Rohm, 1b, Fresno CC
144. Brandon Williams, of, Deer Valley HS, Antioch
145. Matt Koch, c, Loyola Marymount
146. Justin Haley, rhp, Sierra JC
147. Daniel Johnson, of, Canada JC
148. Justin Parker, lhp, Cosumnes River JC
149. Vince Roberts, rhp, Modesto JC
150. Michael Quesada, c, Sierra JC
151. Tony Cooper, 2b, Canada JC
152. Thomas Hoenshell, rhp Cypress JC
153. Jason Martin, of, San Jose State
154. Mike Ferraro, of, San Diego
155. Chris Devenski, ss/rhp, Golden West JC
156. Mark Haddow, of, UC Santa Barbara
157. Trevor Williams, rhp, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego
158. Carl Robinson, lhp, Valencia HS, Placentia
159. Josh Thompson, of, El Camino JC
160. Bijan Rademacher, of, Canyon HS, Anaheim
161. Cody Lewis, of, Canyon HS, Anaheim
162. Danny Leon, 3b, Thousand Oaks HS
163. Maxwell MacNabb, lhp, La Costa Canyon
164. Josh Frye, rhp, Millikan HS, Long Beach
165. Javan Williams, of, Contra Costa JC
166. Vance Albitz, ss, UC San Diego
167. Cody Harris, 3b, Wilson HS, Long Beach
168. Michael Schaub, rhp, Loara HS, Anaheim
169. Francis Larson, c, UC Irvine
170. Tyler Linehan, lhp, Sheldon HS, Sacramento
171. Eric Pettis, rhp, UC Irvine
172. Humberto Tovalin, 2b, Otay Ranch HS, Chula Vista
173. Cole Swanson, lhp, Torrey Pines HS, San Diego
174. Aaron Deguire, c, El Camino JC
175. Bryce Cherry, 1b, Atascadero HS
176. Bradley Haynal, c, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego
177. Jake Jelmini, 1b, Mira Costa HS, Manhattan Beach
178. Graham Wiest, rhp, Serra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano
179. Brian Hernandez, 3b, UC Irvine
180. Stephen Wallace, 1b, Charter Oak HS, Covina
181. Cesar Aguilar, rhp, Miller HS, Fontana
182. Justin Schafer, inf, UC Davis
183. Scott Zeman, rhp, Buena HS, Ventura
184. Josh Mason, rhp, Crespi HS, Encino
185. LeJon Baker, of, Crenshaw HS, Los Angeles
186. Alfredo Gomez, ss, Compton JC
187. Mykal Stokes, of, Orange Coast JC
188. Michael Lopez, rhp, Marin CC
189. Abel Gonzalez, of, Marin CC
190. Colton Keough, of, Tesoro HS, Las Flores
Christian Colon, ss
Cal State Fullerton
As a junior at Anaheim's Canyon High, Colon played second base and formed a double-play combo with Grant Green, the 13th overall selection in last year 's draft by the Athletics out of Southern California. Colon was a 10th-round pick of the Padres 2007. Disappointed that he was not chosen earlier, he went off to play at Cal State Fullerton, where the 6-foot, 200-pounder has emerged as one of the nation's premier middle infielders. Colon was enjoying a brilliant summer in 2009 when he broke his leg when sliding in a game against Canada. Chosen as Team USA's captain, Colon still earned Summer College Player of the Year honors, but the injury seemed to contribute to a slow start to his 2010 season. A three-homer game against Washington in late March seemed to revive his bat, though, and his numbers were back in familiar territory. One of the nation's better hitters, Colon uses a distinct upper-cut in his swing, looking to lift and drive the ball. That approach is not typical for a smaller middle infielder, but Colon shows terrific bat speed as his barrel connects with the ball. He also is patient and makes consistent contact; despite his power approach, he's one of the toughest players to strike out in Division I thanks to excellent barrel awareness. He's a skilled hitter who hits behind runners, bunts and executes the hit-and-runs effectively. Defensively, Colon's range is limited, and his speed and arm are below-average for a shortstop. He does exhibit fluid and quick fielding actions and his playmaking ability is outstanding. His frame offers little room for projection, and offensively he can be streaky. For scouts who focus on what he can do, his tremendous hands and footwork, as well as his bat control, make him a future big league regular, best suited as an offensive second baseman.
Gary Brown, of
Cal State Fullerton
Grades and stats can be dry and don't tell the full story about Brown, one of the most electrifying players seen in Southern California in years. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is one of the fastest players in the nation at any level of amateur play. An early-season game found him blazing down the line from the right side in 3.69 seconds on a bunt attempt. On two separate infield grounders, Brown got down to first base in 3.91 and 3.94 seconds, giving him 80 speed on the 20-80 scale. The rap on Brown since he failed to sign with the Athletics as a 12th-round pick out of high school in 2007 has been his hitting ability, or perceived lack thereof. After slow but steady improvement in his first two seasons, he has exploded as a junior, ranking among the national leaders with a .449 average in mid-May. Brown has shown interesting pop with a slugging percentage well over .700 as well, and he projects as an above-average hitter as a pro. Brown owes his turnaround to a better stance. He keeps his feet planted to maintain his foundation at the plate, then simply lets his exceptionally quick hands work to attack the ball. An aggressive hitter, the only drawback in Brown's offensive game is his miniscule number of walks and below-average home run power. In the field, Brown has found a home in center field after playing the outfield corners, second and third base in previous seasons. He sports an average arm, and his combination of speed and fly-chasing skills permit Brown to project as a plus defensive center fielder.
Dylan Covey, rhp
Maranatha HS, Pasadena
Covey first grabbed the attention of California scouts at a San Gabriel Valley underclassman showcase in Alhambra in the summer of 2008. A sophomore at the time, Covey unleashed a series of throws from right field that exhibited his terrific arm strength. Not surprisingly, several scouts asked Covey if he was a pitcher and asked when he would be throwing next. Since then, Covey has matured, grown into his frame and improved his conditioning. The results have been sensational. Covey made all the standard showcase appearances in the past year, with uniformly outstanding performances. Covey, solidly built at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, hammers the strike zone with a 93-94 mph fastball that can touch 96. He adds a wicked 81-82 mph slider and has steadily developed his curve and changeup. Covey's arm works smoothly and his has solid mechanics, though he will need to fight a tendency to pull his lead shoulder open when tired. Resembling a younger, lighter version of Giants righthander Matt Cain, Covey profiles as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter with four average to plus offerings. A San Diego signee, Covey ranks a notch above the rest in a deep Southern California prep pitching class and figures to take a shorter path to the majors than his peers.
Austin Wilson, of
Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City
In the summer after his freshman year at Harvard-Westlake, Wilson was invited to the Southern California preliminary Area Code tryouts at Orange Coast JC. At that tender age Wilson carried a bit of baby fat, and while he did not make the final roster (freshmen rarely do) he displayed a provocative arm and 7.15-second speed in the 60-yard dash. Since then, Wilson has developed into the finest right-field prospect the Southern California region has seen since 2007, when Mike Stanton, the current Marlins phenom, came out of another Sherman Oaks private school (Notre Dame). Sporting a chiseled pro corner outfielder's frame, Wilson displays a throwing arm that conservatively grades out to a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has lowered his 60 times to around 6.78 seconds, outstanding for a player of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound size. A stress fracture in his lower back, since healed, prevented him from touring the showcase circuit last fall. Before that setback, Wilson put on some of the more impressive wood-bat batting-practice sessions local scouts have seen in years. As one example, in the fall of 2008 at JC of the Canyons in Valencia, Wilson blasted about 20 balls out of the yard, leaving jaws dropping all over the ballpark. The main on-field reservation scouts have regarding Wilson is how his bat will play in games. He struggles with pitch recognition, needs to be more patient, has difficulty with balls down in the zone and will need to avoid committing his front side too soon. Much has been made of Wilson's background. Both of his parents hold advanced degrees from prestigious universities, and he has a Stanford commitment. He is perhaps the draft's most fascinating wild card. He has no adviser heading into the draft and scouts were having difficulty gauging his signability.
Peter Tago, rhp
Dana Hills HS, Dana Point
Tago epitomizes Southern California cool. Oblivious to outside distractions, he calmly ambles off the team bus decked out in a hooded sweatshirt and wraparound shades with his iPod earphones firmly in place. He also worries little about high school hitters, whom he routinely dominates. His lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame is ideally projectable, and Tago delivers the ball with an easy, relaxed throwing motion that is almost poetic. Tago, who switched his college commitment from UCLA to Cal State Fullerton in May, fires a 91-93 mph fastball, and his arm action and build indicate more velocity in the future. His curve exhibits nice shape and two-plane movement, but Tago will need to tighten the spin on that pitch. He can better incorporate his lower half into his delivery and clean up his arm stroke as well. He'll also need to develop a third pitch, such as a changeup. An Aflac and Area Codes alumnus, Tago provides a near perfect model of a prep righthander with a huge upside: projectable frame, easy arm action, calm demeanor and electric stuff.
A.J. Vanegas, rhp
Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo
Among a solid crop of Northern California high school righthanders, Vanegas is the top talent and the most pro-ready. Listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Vanegas has the type of build that can hold up immediately in pro ball while allowing him to pitch with his best stuff more often than not. With his clean arm action, good arm speed and stout frame, he's expected to get stronger and continue to add velocity. Vanegas pitches at 90-92 mph and can dial his fastball up to 94, with good life through the strike zone. He pitches with a high three-quarters arm slot, with smooth, short backside arm action. When his delivery is on, Vanegas spots the fastball to all quadrants of the zone and finishes his pitches well. His best secondary pitch is a mid-70s curveball that has tight spin, good bite and tilt. He also has a changeup. Vanegas was scouted heavily in the summer and fall ball because his high school team did not face very good competition. He has committed to Stanford, which will force teams to do their homework when gauging his signability.
Sammy Solis, lhp
During the majority of his tenure at USD, Solis was overshadowed by the likes of Brian Matusz and Kyle Blair. His coming-out party in 2009 never materialized due to a herniated disc in his back, which prompted him to take a medical redshirt. However, Solis, an unsigned 18th-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2007, has bounced back to go 8-1, 2.49 in 2010. Most observers expect a pitcher of his 6-foot-5, 228-pound size to be a flamethrower, but Solis is instead a canny command, movement and control pitcher. His fastball varies from 88-92 mph and has good life up in the zone. He adds a fine changeup that dives down and away from righthanded hitters; it's his best pitch. Solis can add or subtract speed with his curveball, varying it from 72-78 mph, and at times it too is an out pitch. As Solis leaves his back injury behind, he could gain velocity and durability due to improved conditioning. A devout Catholic with a penchant for public service, Solis' family owns an AIDS orphanage in South Africa. A healthy Solis profiles solidly in the middle of a big league rotation.
Christian Yelich, 1b
Westlake HS, Westlake Village
Yelich first gained widespread scouting attention in the summer of 2008, when he put on an eye-opening batting practice display with wood bats at a Major League Scouting Bureau showcase at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. Bryce Harper overshadowed Yelich that evening, driving several balls off the batter's eye or into the parking lot, but Yelics held his own and has produced other highlights since then, such as the long, opposite-field homer he hit in 2009 off Tyler Skaggs, an Angels supplemental first-rounder last year. Tall (6-foot-3), angular and projectable and possessing a sweet lefthanded swing, Yelich is far more athletic than the usual lumbering first-base prospect, with above-average speed. He consistently runs a 6.75-second 60-yard dash in showcase events, and shows both range and a nifty glove around the bag. That kind of athleticism usually signals a position change, but Yelich has a below-average throwing arm that limits him to first. A Miami recruit, Yelich does not project to have the profile power organizations prefer in a first baseman, but he should develop into an above-average hitter with fringe-average power, along the lines of a James Loney or Casey Kotchman.
Aaron Sanchez, rhp
Sanchez has lured scouts to Barstow, stuck in the middle of the
California desert halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Only one
player—Royals righty Matt Mitchell, a 2007 14th-round pick—has been
drafted out of Barstow in the last 20 years. Sanchez, an angular and
projectable Oregon recruit, should change that. He first drew the
attention of scouts (and comparisons to Orel Hershiser) during last
summer's showcase season, when he starred in the Area Code Games and
the Aflac game. Utilizing an easy, mid-three-quarters arm action,
Sanchez flashes a 91-93 mph fastball and adds a crisp curve.
Mechanically advanced, Sanchez uses his legs well in his pitching
delivery, avoids flying his front shoulder open and finishes strongly
while creating a decent downward plane. As he progresses, the 6-foot-3,
175-pounder will need to develop more movement on his fastball, which
is now too straight. His command is negatively affected by variances in
his arm slot, and Sanchez will need to add at least a pitch and
potentially two to his current arsenal. Sanchez profiles as a No. 3
starter. He may take some time to reach the majors, but his tantalizing
upside is difficult for any organization to ignore.
Griffin Murphy, lhp
Redlands East Valley HS, Redlands
As the 2010 spring season opened, Murphy quickly established himself as the premier lefthander in the Southern California prep ranks, and he joins Dylan Covey in San Diego's recruiting class. Strong and durable, in both frame and pitching style Murphy resembles Angels lefty Joe Saunders. While not a flamethrower, Murphy likes to establish his 89-92 mph fastball early in a game and work his other pitches off of it. He shows an uncanny knack for manipulating his fastball—he can run it in, run it away, sink it or turn it over. Few lefties can succeed without a quality curveball, and Murphy has one. His sweeping, 75 mph bender exhibits fine shape and two-plane movement, but he needs to work the curve down in the strike zone more consistently. Mechanically solid, Murphy loads up well on his back hip and does a fine job of accelerating his arm at release. A fast worker, he may benefit from slowing his motion down a shade and by improving his leg drive. Murphy's size (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), stuff and pitching smarts could easily push him up into the first two rounds.
Taijuan Walker, rhp
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Walker doubles as an elite basketball player, averaging 21 points and 15 rebounds per game as a forward last season. He has great leaping ability, and his dunks on the court have made him into a local folk hero. As a junior, Walker pitched little but did play shortstop next to Diamondbacks supplemental first-rounder Matt Davidson, a third baseman. Obviously uncomfortable and ill-suited for the infield, Walker has since concentrated on pitching. Walker was terrific in a stint for the Angels Elite scout team in the fall of 2009, but since then he has been more erratic. His outings in the early part of this season were rocky, probably due to the transition from basketball to baseball. In later starts, Walker would start strongly and then struggle as a game went on. When right, Walker fires a 91-93 mph fastball that can touch 95, and adds a slider and curve. His whippy three-quarters arm action can be free and easy on some occasions, restricted and stiff on others. Scouts agree that Walker, who hasn't committed to a college yet, is a long-range project as a pitcher, but his combination of sparkling athletic ability, raw stuff and imposing build may make Walker a gamble worth taking.
Robby Rowland, rhp
When scouts use the term "projection righthander," Rowland is exactly the type of pitcher they're talking about with his body type, athleticism and bloodlines. At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Rowland looks the part of a young Josh Johnson. He is one of the top basketball players in California and could have accepted scholarships to small Division I programs as a shooting guard. Rowland's father Rich is a former big league catcher (Tigers and Red Sox from 1990-1995), and his older brother is a college catcher. As for his actual abilities, Rowland pitches with an 87-90 mph fastball and touches 92. He uses a split-finger fastball as his primary out pitch, with an inconsistent overhand curveball, a changeup and recently developed cutter/slider. Rowland has a loose, easy, quick arm stroke from an overhand slot. When he takes his time to get out over his front leg, he gets good tilt and late run and his curveball then shows as future average pitch. He has signed with Oregon.
Tony Wolters, ss
Rancho Buena Vista HS, Vista
Wolters, a San Diego recruit, was the MVP of the 2009 Aflac All-American game at Petco Park in San Diego, an impressive accomplishment considering the field was filled with elite prospects such as Jameson Taillon and Bryce Harper. Undersized (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) for any position on the field except the middle infield, Wolters almost certainly will shift to second base as a pro. He is a sensational defensive player, displaying remarkable playmaking ability, fluid actions and quick hands. Wolters has enough arm for shortstop, but his below-average speed and range make him a better fit on the right side of the infield. He's smart with strong leadership qualities and baseball instincts. Wolters' batting stance and hitting style are unique. He begins with the bat in a straight up and down posture, his hands placed near his right hip. His wide, spread-out stance in his lower half gives Wolters a bit of a Gateway Arch look. As a pitch approaches, Wolters moves his hands into a launch position and then lets the bat fly, using a pronounced sweeping upper-cut. At times, he appears to release his top hand off the bat a fraction too quickly, in effect swinging with one hand. While his swing and set-up are not traditional, it is hard to quibble with the results. He is a patient and savvy hitter, showing a knack for extending pitch counts as he waits for the ball he wants to attack. Wolters projects as an average to slightly above-average hitter with slightly below-average power.
Dominic Ficociello, 3b
Fullerton Union HS
Ficociello got off to a slow start to the showcase circuit last summer before breaking out with a five-hit performance during the Area Code Games in Long Beach. He drew more attention with a long, wood-bat home run off a 90 mph Cody Buckel fastball in the Jesse Flores Memorial All-Star game in November at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. A switch-hitter, Ficociello has a level swing from the right side, producing more of a line-drive effect, and a sweeping uppercut from the left, producing more fly-ball power. He does an excellent job of accelerating the bat head at contact, giving him unusual power for a 6-foot-3, 170-pounder. Ficociello has experienced an uneven 2010 season overall, though. He began in blazing fashion, belting four homers in his club's first six games before being suspended for venturing too far out of his dugout to celebrate a teammate's home run. He slumped badly afterward but rebounded in April with an enormous home run during a Lions Tournament game. He has intriguing raw power and offensive potential, which comes in handy considering his below-average speed (7.2 seconds over 60 yards) will prompt a move to third base as a pro. Defensively, Ficociello has an average arm and admirable fielding skills. He frustrates scouts with his lack of concentration in the field, which causes him to make silly errors that could be easily eliminated. However, they may be willing to put up with it because Ficociello's bat has the potential of becoming extraordinary. One observer noted his 400-foot smash at the Flores game and wondered, "When he is 25 years old and 20 pounds heavier, where would that ball have gone?"
Addison Reed, rhp
San Diego State
As San Diego State's closer last year, Reed led the nation with 20 saves. He often entered games after a fellow named Strasburg had finished his work for the day. Hitters who were overjoyed to see Strasburg leave—and who thought they would have a party when Reed came in—were severely disappointed. In 2010, Reed has made a seamless transition as the Aztecs' Friday starter, going 8-1, 2.07 with 77 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 65 innings. Opponents were hitting .197 off the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Reed, who delivers a 91-92 mph fastball that can peak at 93-94. Reed does an excellent job of moving the pitch around the strike zone—in, out, up, down. He adds an effective two-plane curveball, which he can use to saw off either edge of the plate. One scout said of Reed, "He doesn't have the best stuff in the world, but he's having a good year and knows how to get guys out." As a pro, Reed will get a chance to start, but his bullpen experience will serve him well if he fails in that role.
Kyle Blair, rhp
Blair was one of the top high school pitching prospects for the 2007 draft, and the Dodgers took him in the fifth round but did not sign him. His first two seasons at San Diego included bursts of brilliance, nagging injuries (shoulder inflammation in 2009 caused him to miss six weeks) and some struggles. In 2010, Blair has finally delivered on his promise. Earlier in his college career, Blair fought a tendency to overthrow, which caused his front side to pull down and open, lessening his velocity and command. Having improved his mechanics, Blair has also rediscovered his power slider. No longer hesitant to challenge hitters inside, Blair pounds the strike zone with a low to mid-90s fastball, complemented by a slider with depth. He has also added an overhand curve and firm changeup. Blair delivered a sensational one-hit, 15-strikeout masterpiece against Portland in his first May start and was finishing strong. He has matured and improved his fastball control, though he's still lacking in command. A free spirit who has traveled the world and worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Honduras, Blair could still be a No. 3 starter.
Scott Frazier, rhp
Scant attention was paid to Frazier until a scout game at Southern California last November. One of the last pitchers to throw that day, Frazier sent scouts scrambling to restart radar guns that had already been packed. He began the 2010 spring campaign with a flourish, firing an 18-strikeout no-hitter. Frazier's next outing drew 50 scouts, and he breezed through an impressive first inning by striking out the side. After that, the wheels came off and he was knocked out of the game. Frazier's inconsistency can be traced to his mechanics, which are decidedly funky. He uses a high leg kick, drops his arm down, around and behind his body before delivering the ball by jumping at the hitter. It's hard to repeat, and all the energy causes him to quickly run out of petrol. Still, there is a great deal to like about Frazier, whose build resembles Stephen Strasburg's. At his best, Frazier delivers a 93-94 mph fastball and adds a sharp curveball and promising changeup. While his mechanics will need to be cleaned up, Frazier has an ideal, projectable pitcher's frame at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. He has a Pepperdine commitment.
Eric Jaffe, rhp
Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland
Jaffe stands out as the most likely Northern California high school player to be drafted and signed in the upper rounds. His size and present stuff immediately get attention. For the sake of comparison, it can be said that he is similar to Matt Hobgood, a first-round pick of the Orioles last year. Like Hobgood, Jaffe is a big-bodied righthander (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) with two plus present pitches. Also like Hobgood, Jaffe is an accomplished high school hitter with plus raw power, not to mention soft hands around the first-base bag. He likes to swing the bat and that could complicate his signability, because Jaffe likely will get the chance to hit if he attends California. However, it is his combination of a fastball that reaches up to 95 and a wipeout power curveball that has scouts preferring him on the mound. He has also added a split-finger fastball. Jaffe has displayed some command issues in the past but is a good athlete, and the more time he spends on the mound, the better the command will be.
Stefan Sabol, c
Aliso Niguel HS, Aliso Viejo
Sabol is the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro safety Troy Polamalu. One of the finest prep athletes in the nation, Sabol finished first in the SPARQ testing (which includes several tests that measure athleticism) at last summer's Area Code Games, with a 36.2-inch vertical leap and a 6.28-second time over 60 yards. Some scouts doubt the 60 time, though Sabol has well-above-average speed. Scouts also say that Sabol will not remain a catcher as a pro. While his arm is adequate behind the plate, his receiving skills are substandard. His tools fit comfortably as a corner outfielder. As a hitter, Sabol rarely has been productive with a wood bat. The switch from metal to wood may be a difficult transition for him, though he has the skills to succeed as a hitter. He flashes both bat speed and quickness despite a few problems in his hitting mechanics. His stride is too long, and he has a tendency to pull his head and front shoulder off the pitch. An Oregon signee, Sabol is the most athletic prep receiver available, but he does not figure to catch if he signs a pro contract in 2010. Instead, he profiles as a potential five-tool outfielder.
Angelo Gumbs, of
Gumbs wears No. 21 in tribute to his idol, Roberto Clemente, and plays with the same energy and abandon, slashing at the ball, diving into bags, cutting loose with powerful throws and making spectacular plays in the field. Gumbs also hails from a school with a strong baseball legacy, and its major league alumni include the father-son tandem of Fred and Jason Kendall. Gumbs has spent most of his high school career at shortstop, but the 6-foot, 200-pounder's future is in the outfield. His tools are impressive but not overwhelming. His 60-yard dash times were in the 6.75-6.85-second range in showcases last summer, and he zips down the line in about 4.15 seconds from the right side of the plate. His windmill delivery produces strong throws, and he has often made breathtaking catches on the scout ball and showcase circuit. At bat, Gumbs has improved immensely over the past year, working under the tutelage of professional coaches at MLB's Urban Youth Academy in Compton, and he has terrific bat speed. He got off to a blazing start this spring, only to be slowed in late April by a sore right elbow and flu symptoms, which reduced him to DH duty. He has struggled with offspeed stuff and breaking pitches, and battles a tendency to pull off the ball. Gumbs has the ability to be an electrifying outfielder with five average to plus tools. He's just 17, and the club that drafts him will need to be patient as he develops, but Gumbs could provide an enormous payoff.
Devin Lohman, ss
Long Beach State
Following a Dirtbags shortstop lineage that has included Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria and Danny Espinosa, Lohman is an intriguing talent if not quite in that league. Blessed with above-average speed, Lohman, 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, is an excellent athlete who could easily transition to less demanding defensive positions. His arm grades out to solid-average. He has worked hard to improve his defense and has a chance to stay at shortstop, though second base is his more likely home. At bat, Lohman has altered his approach in 2010 to use the whole field and focus on hitting line drives. His earlier attempts to be a lift and pull power hitter were ill-suited to his natural inclinations. The changes had paid off and Lohman was batting .415 at the end of the regular season, a difficult feat considering that Blair Field is possibly the best pitcher's park in college baseball. He blends an average arm and glove with above-average speed, and his advancement at bat should boost his draft stock in a year that's thin in college position players, particularly on the infield.
Rob Rasmussen, lhp
In his first collegiate start against UC Santa Barbara in 2008, Rasmussen got hit on the foot by a crackling line drive through the box. He continued to pitch, but later came out and discovered the foot was broken. That is the type of competitiveness scouts love in Rasmussen, a 5-foot-11, 170-pounder who was the only junior in UCLA's weekend rotation this year, behind sophomore flamethrowers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. Taken by the Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2007 draft, Rasmussen's draft stock for 2010 received an enormous boost with his 2009 summer performance, when he went 4-0, 1.80 in the Cape Cod League. He stumbled out of the gate in 2010 but rebounded to average 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a nearly 4-1 strikeout-walk ratio. Rasmussen's arsenal consists of four pitches: a 91-93 mph fastball, a slider, a changeup, and an old-fashioned, over-the-top, two-plane low-70s curve. His command difficulties can be traced to inconsistent mechanics and a tendency to rush his delivery. Despite his smaller frame, Rasmussen comfortably profiles as a back of the rotation starter or situational lefthander, where his breaking balls would be deadly.
Chad Lewis, 3b
Marina HS, Huntington Beach
Lewis would never fool panelists in a "What's My Line?" contest. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, with California blond hair and a prototypical third baseman's build, Lewis is an obvious athlete, and is the premier hot corner prospect in Southern California in 2010. A fixture on the showcase scene, Lewis' best offseason performance came at a showcase in Jupiter, Fla., last October. On a humid and windy day, he blasted a long, wood-bat home run into an unforgiving crosswind. Pro third basemen must hit, and Lewis shows promise with the bat. He has a fluid swing and exciting bat speed, but still needs to correct some technical issues. Lewis struggles with breaking balls and offspeed pitches and needs to improve his pitch recognition. Defensively, Lewis shows playmaking ability and easy fielding actions. His arm is strong and accurate, though his range is a tad short. Like many young players, Lewis loses his concentration in the field and will make errors he shouldn't. Time and experience should solve that problem. Below-average speed is Lewis' only glaring weakness. He profiles as a textbook third baseman with an above-average glove and arm, and average power and hitting ability.
Dan Klein, rhp
An outstanding quarterback at Anaheim's famed Servite High, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Klein turned down numerous college football scholarship offers to play baseball at UCLA. Selected by the Orioles in the 24th round of the 2007 draft, Klein struggled in his first season at UCLA in 2008 and then took a medical redshirt in 2009 due to shoulder problems, so he is a draft-eligible sophomore. Pitching exclusively as a closer in 2010, Klein has found his niche and was having a terrific season at 5-0, 2.23 with nine saves, with 46 strikeouts and seven walks in 40 innings. While Klein may not project as a closer in pro ball, he is perfectly suited to work as a set-up man. He relies on three effective pitches: a 91-93 mph fastball which he uses to run in on a hitters' hands; a changeup and a downer curveball, which hitters find difficult to read and time.
Will Swanner, c
La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad
A promising hitter with the potential to hit for average and power, Swanner has significantly improved at the plate in the past year by working with Deron Johnson, son of the National League's 1965 RBI king. He has good bat speed and a good approach to utilizing the entire field, though he has stretches when he flips his head and front side off the ball and collapses his back side. Swanner has great makeup and is mature enough that his coach lets him call his own game behind the plate. An athletic receiver, Swanner is projectable but does not have the classic squat catcher's build at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. He's relaxed and comfortable behind the plate, and his flexibility enables him to present a low target. He does an outstanding job of framing pitches. He will need to make some defensive adjustments, however, and his pop times are slowed significantly by his habit of pausing at the top of his delivery and then flipping the ball to second base. He also struggles with catching pitches to his left or right. Committed to Pepperdine along with his brother Michael, who's a righthander, Swanner is considered a tough sign. He offers enough upside behind the plate that a club may take an early gamble on him.
Rob Brantly, c
A draft-eligible sophomore, Brantly has a strong profile as a consistent backstop and patient lefthanded hitter. He enjoyed a breakout summer season in 2009 playing in the Northwoods League, batting .346/.411/.516 to earn top prospect recognition. Steady but not spectacular, Brantly is an exceptionally patient hitter. He does not have outstanding power, but he has the ability to drive the ball into the gaps and use the entire field. He employs a balanced and spread stance and may need to reduce the length of his stride. Drafted by the Nationals out of high school in the 46th round in 2008, Brantly is a good athlete for a catcher, and he runs well and has a mature backstop's frame. Defensively, Brantly has a strong, accurate throwing arm and quick release, with pop times that hover around 1.92 seconds, earning an above-average grade. He receives the ball well, is relaxed and comfortable behind the plate, and displays a knack for handling any pitch in any location without difficulty. Brantly's only below-average tool is power, which likely will relegate him to the bottom third of a big league order.
Adam Plutko, rhp
Since his emergence as a top prospect two years ago, Plutko had bedeviled scouts with his inconsistent performances. He wavers from terrific to downright pedestrian, with a mid-80s fastball and bland secondary stuff. His best performance may have been at last year's Area Code Games, where he touched 93 mph and snapped off a fiendish curveball. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Plutko has been effective but not overwhelming this spring, and his fastball has ranged from 87-91 mph, with a curve, changeup and slider. His secondary offerings are decent, but will require a substantial amount of refinement to reach major league average. His fastball is straight and strays up in the strike zone too often, and he'll need more movement to be effective against advanced hitters. On his best days, Plutko flashes the stuff of a premium pick, but those days don't happen quite often enough. He is committed to UCLA, and if he doesn't sign a pro contract, Plutko should become a weekend starter immediately and could move into the top two rounds in 2013.
Zach Weiss, rhp
Northwood HS, Irvine
Weiss has a mature body at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds but is still working on his mechanics. He has a power arm, firing a fastball that touches 93 mph and sits 90-92 in the early portion of a game. His curveball has fine shape and sharp downward two-plane drop, but it finds the dirt more often than the strike zone. His changeup is the weak link in his arsenal and will need refinement. Weiss' command is affected by his inability to repeat his mechanics. He cuts himself off in his delivery and will throw around or across his body. While he does a fine job of finishing out over his front leg, Weiss' arm action needs to be looser and easier. His velocity tails off significantly as a game wears on. Right now he profiles as a short reliever or back-of-the-rotation starter, but he could improve his outlook significantly if he honors his commitment to UCLA. With the glut of righthanded pitching in this year's draft, he may head to school and wait for 2013, when he could easily move into the top two rounds.
Gabriel Encinas, rhp
St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs
Between showcase events last summer and fall and the spring season, Encinas boosted his stock significantly by improving his conditioning and mechanics. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he now looks the part of the classic lanky and projectable high school righthander. His stuff didn't significantly improve, but he can maintain it deep into starts now. Encinas delivers a fastball that sits comfortably in the 90-92 mph range, and he shows a nice feel for mixing in a crisp curveball and changeup, which is probably the best changeup among Southern California prepsters. With smooth mechanics and an advanced feel for pitching, Encinas does an excellent job of mixing pitches, speeds and locations, and altering pitch sequences from at-bat at-bat. The large flock of scouts who started following Encinas this spring—particularly in games against top prospects Angelo Gumbs and Austin Wilson—did not seem to faze him. He profiles as a mid-rotation starter, and a future bump in velocity could even improve that outlook. He's committed to Loyola Marymount.
Michael Lorenzen, of
Fullerton Union HS
Lorenzen is a potential five-tool talent, and his 6-foot-3, 190-pound build and skills draw comparisons to Jake Marisnick, a third-round pick of the Blue Jays last year out of nearby Riverside Poly High. Tall and projectable, Lorenzen has a howitzer arm. Clocked at 93 off of the mound, his throws from right field approached 100 mph at a showcase last fall, albeit with a running start. A fine defender who fits at any of the three outfield spots, he routinely ran 60 yards in the 6.7-second range at showcase events. The primary concern regarding Lorenzen is his bat. Scouts have reservations about his quickness at the plate, and he has rarely impressed in games or BP when using a wood bat and facing tougher pitching. At this stage, Lorenzen is a mistake hitter, able to hammer pitches left out over the plate but unable to handle much of anything else with metal or wood. He shows enough promise, however, that he will get every opportunity to succeed as an outfielder in pro ball. If he emerges as a hitter, he has the other tools to be a big league star. Given Lorenzen's tremendous all-around talent, a switch to the mound would occur only as a last resort.
Mark Canha, 1b
Canha has long been known to scouts in Northern California based not only on his talent but also his ability to produce, first emerging as a sophomore at Bellarmine College Prep, the alma mater of Pat Burrell, when he led the West Catholic Athletic League in home runs. That's no small feat as the WCAL is the top conference in Northern California and one of the top conferences in California. He is a strapping 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and has a good combination of athleticism, strength, skill, and tools. That combination, along with his history of performance, makes Canha one of the safest picks in this draft. He can drive the ball out of the ballpark from pole to pole, and his power to right field really stands out. He's a good bet to hit for average and run production, with a realistic expectation to produce average power. He throws and runs slightly above-average and can man either outfield corner spot, as well as first base, drawing comparisons to Michael Cuddyer.
Joc Pederson, of
Palo Alto HS
A young athlete with professional bloodlines, present tools and a football approach to the game, Pederson is a favorite among Northern California scouts. See him on the right day and you are seeing a borderline five-tool high school prospect, though the ceiling is basically average across the board. Pederson hits and throws lefthanded, has an average arm, above-average range, runs a bit above-average down the line, has plenty of bat speed, and at times shows projectable average raw power. He tends to tinker a lot with his swing and approach, which gets in the way of him just going out and trusting his tools. Pederson was a talented high school football player and brings that type of toughness to the ball field, and if he were from the Midwest or Northeast he might be even higher on draft lists because as a multi-sport athlete he would be seen as having tremendous baseball upside. Just because he lives in California doesn't mean the same projection shouldn't apply. He has committed to Southern California, where his father Stu also played before moving onto the professional level.
Brian Guinn, 2b
Based on pure athleticism, Guinn rates as one of the top two or three players in Northern California this year. He was a 10th-round pick of the White Sox out of high school and almost certainly has improved his draft position three years later. Northern California scouts knew about Guinn even before he was in high school, as his father, Brian Sr., is a former professional player and local youth baseball coach. A switch-hitter with plus-plus speed and fluid, graceful actions, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound Guinn can make the game look easy at times. He started out at shortstop but moved to second base this season and looks like a natural there. If a team believes his bat will play, he could go earlier than expected. Guinn is a contact, line-drive hitter with occasional extra-base pop and has cut down on his strikeout percentage this year, which will stand out to scouts that like him. Those who believe in his bat can envision a Delino DeShields comparison.
Cody Buckel, rhp
Royal HS, Simi Valley
Residing close to Hollywood, Buckel relishes a good dramatic flourish. He begins his pregame warm-up by standing on the grass between the mound and second base with the ball in his hand. He races up the backside of the mound, down the front, and fires the ball plateward. A fledgling singer and actor when he isn't striking out hitters, Buckel is undersized for a righthander at 6 feet, 170 pounds. He does flash a big man's fastball at 92-94 mph. Buckel mixes in an excellent array of secondary pitches, with a curveball, changeup and cutter. His pitching idol is Tim Lincecum, and while his stuff is not as electric as the Giants ace's, he still displays the potential for four average to plus deliveries. The primary concern is durability, as he usually loses 3-4 mph on his fastball as a game progresses. Committed to Pepperdine, Buckel projects as either a back-of-the-rotation starter or set-up man in professional baseball.
Cole Cook, rhp
Cook's father (known by his stage name Peter MacKenzie) is an actor who has appeared in dozens of Hollywood productions, including the movies "Major League: Back to the Minors" and "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep. A high school teammate of Twins prospect David Bromberg, Cook was a 36th-round pick of the Mariners in 2007 but did not sign. He missed his freshman season at Pepperdine in 2008 after a freak accident when he broke his wrist while helping to roll up the field tarp on a rainy day. After Pepperdine ace Brett Hunter signed with the A's in 2008, Cook assumed the Friday starter's role in 2009 and 2010 and has performed well, moving to Saturdays of late after the emergence of lefty Matt Bywater. Cook's rangy 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame and low three-quarters delivery are reminiscent of the Weaver brothers. He fires a 91-93 mph fastball, with a changeup and a slurvy 77-78 mph breaking ball. His change is a decent pitch, and scouts agree that his weakness is his curve. It shows sharp break at times, but Cook has trouble controlling it, due in part to his low arm slot. A rare college pitcher with significant projectability, Cook will need to sharpen his mechanics, command and secondary pitches to succeed in pro ball. If he does that, he fits comfortably as a mid- to back-of-the-rotation starter.
Jake Thompson, rhp
Long Beach State
Due to California high school transfer rules, Thompson did not pitch varsity baseball in his junior season at Wilson High, which is directly across the street from Blair Field, Long Beach State's home field. He graduated from Wilson a semester early to play for the Dirtbags. Thompson's college career has been a mixed bag, with bursts of brilliance interspersed with wildness and control problems. Relying heavily on his fastball, Thompson is an aggressive hurler who resembles, in frame and style, former big leaguer Troy Percival. His 92-94 mph fastball peaks at 95, and Thompson adds an excellent changeup which he mixes in sparingly. Thompson's primary weakness is his curveball, a pitch he short-arms and doesn't finish off cleanly. Scouts think that Thompson's results don't match his talent because of his unusual arm stroke, which will need to be cleaned up, and a weak delivery finish in which he circles away from the plate. He has the arm and raw stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, but he will more likely end up in the bullpen.
Tyler Kuresa, 1b
Oakmont HS, Roseville
Elite first basemen affect big league games with power bats as well as strong glovework, while players like James Loney and Casey Kotchman are impact defensive players but average offensive players because they do not provide the power expected in the first-base profile. Kuresa falls into the Loney/Kotchman category, or perhaps an Ike Davis type if he adds power. At 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, Kuresa is a lanky, athletically built player with plenty of projection left. He has a smooth lefthanded stroke and can occasionally drive the ball to the pull side, but does not project to have plus future power. Defensively he moves around the bag well, has soft hands and plays with passion in the field. His arm is an asset at the position as well. If all goes well, look for him to develop into a player similar to Loney or Kotchman, or at least Travis Ishikawa of the Giants. Kuresa has committed to Oregon.
Dixon Anderson, rhp
Dixon Anderson's attributes are quite obvious. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Anderson looks like what scouts and scouting directors want to see on the mound. He is not only the right size, but his build is also streamlined and well proportioned, and he has the stuff as well. Anderson can get his fastball into the mid-90s and does it with pretty easy effort. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Anderson got into 20 games and scouts noticed him. He then went out in summer ball and threw the ball well, with 56 strikeouts in 56 innings, while showing the same good fastball, and established himself as a prospect to be considered for the upper rounds of the draft. Anderson also has a curveball and a split-finger fastball but both are inconsistent at this point. He was a projection righthander out of high school and was not heavily recruited, so scouts don't have a long track record with him. It's likely that Anderson is still just scraping the surface of his potential, so a drafting team will need patience, even though he is a Pac-10 weekend starter.
Scott Alexander, lhp
Graded on stuff and talent alone, Alexander would be a lock for the top three rounds of this draft. But a bumpy college track record with an uneven history of performance clouds his resume. The younger brother of former Marlins pitching prospect Stuart Alexander, he was a highly scouted pitcher out of high school in Santa Rosa, Calif. He started his college career at Pepperdine but left after his sophomore year and enrolled at Division II power Sonoma State. Despite a fastball that gets up to 93 mph and a decent changeup, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Alexander struggled early on for the Seawolves. He improved as the year went along but still finished with a 3-6, 4.50 record. Alexander's command improved as the year went along, due in part to lowering his slot a bit and getting more movement on his pitches. He continues to need to work on his breaking ball, which is a slider.
Andrew Knapp, c
Granite Bay HS
Switch-hitting high school catchers who profile as high-average hitters and above-average defensive players—not to mention having baseball bloodlines—are not very common. Andrew Knapp, whose father Mike caught professionally for 11 years, fits that description. He has a pure stroke on both sides of the plate and his set-up and mannerisms resemble Chipper Jones. He shows more raw power on the right side. Knapp is 6 feet, 175 pounds with wiry strength, and he physically should resemble Jason Kendall. He hits the ball hard to all fields and does so with flashes of extra-base power. Defensively he flashes the tools of an above-average catching prospect but also has plenty of room for improvement. His arm grades out near average, but if you watch him enough you see a plus arm on his snap throws behind runners. Knapp's receiving skills are presently fair due to occasional trouble on the glove side, but he projects above average. His arm stroke and footwork too often do not work together on his throws to second base, but like his receiving he has the ability to develop better skills. Knapp has committed to California.
Nick Longmire, of
He hasn't had the best statistical year among Northern California's college players, but there is no doubt that Longmire has the best package of tools. He had a great freshman year, struggled a bit as a sophomore, but has had a solid junior season. Longmire was considered a fringe prospect coming out of high school in San Diego and many Division I programs passed on him because they had concerns about his swing, which is how he came to be at Pacific. He was one of the state's home run leaders his senior year in high school and currently grades out as having plus raw power. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Longmire not only passes the tools test, but also the eye test. He can be graded out above-average across the board, except for his ability to hit for average. His body type is not quite the same, but he could be compared to Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young in terms of what scouts can envision him doing at the major league level.
>>>Continue on to Part II of the California Scouting Reports