State Report: Texas
As usual, plenty of talent in the Lone Star State
|THIS YEAR'S CROP
||One for the books
||Solid, not spectacular
||Not up to par
||Nothing to see here
|Rating compares this year's group to what a state typically produces, not to other states
Though its two best prospects have had injury-plagued springs, Texas still will produce its usual share of talent. Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is still the top position player in the draft and a potential No. 1 overall pick even though a shoulder strain has hampered his swing and kept him at DH for much of the season. Texas Christian lefthander Matt Purke missed a month with shoulder bursitis before returning in the final week of the regular season, and his draft status remains murky heading into the postseason.
While Rendon and Purke haven't been at their best, plenty of other Lone Star State prospects have. Taylor Jungmann (Texas) and John Stilson (Texas A&M) have been two of the most dominant pitchers in college baseball, while Dallas Jesuit HS outfielder Josh Bell is one of the most dangerous prep bats available. They all should go in the first round, with three more prepsters—Irving HS shortstop Trevor Story, Sherman HS righthander Kyle Crick and The Colony HS third baseman Matt Dean—not far behind. TCU righthander Kyle Winkler could move past his teammate Purke as well.
Several junior college righthanders piqued early-round interest from scouts in the fall but didn't live up to expectations this spring. Angelina's Ian Gardeck got a first-round grade from the Major League Scouting Bureau and still ranks at the top of the Texas juco class, though he pitched his way out of the rotation and probably out of the top three rounds. Howard's Damien Magnifico and Derrick Bleeker, Panola's Andrew Del Colle and Navarro's Drew Verhagen took even bigger steps backward.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Anthony Rendon, 3b, Rice (National Rank: 1)
2. Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Texas (National Rank: 8)
3. Josh Bell, of, Dallas Jesuit HS (National Rank: 15)
4. John Stilson, rhp, Texas A&M (National Rank: 23)
5. Matt Purke, lhp, Texas Christian (National Rank: 32)
6. Trevor Story, ss, Irving HS (National Rank: 40)
7. Kyle Winkler, rhp, Texas Christian (National Rank: 43)
8. Kyle Crick, rhp, Sherman HS (National Rank: 47)
9. Matt Dean, 3b, The Colony HS (National Rank: 54)
10. Bryan Brickhouse, rhp, The Woodlands HS (National Rank: 74)
11. Brandon Loy, ss, Texas (National Rank: 95)
12. Logan Verrett, rhp, Baylor (National Rank: 100)
13. Brooks Pinckard, rhp, Baylor (National Rank: 114)
14. John Curtiss, rhp, Carroll HS, Southlake (National Rank: 132)
15. Taylor Featherston, ss, Texas Christian (National Rank: 142)
16. Bryson Miles, of, Stephen F. Austin State (National Rank: 143)
17. Jason Coats, of, Texas Christian (National Rank: 146)
18. Carson Smith, rhp, Texas State (National Rank: 158)
19. Michael Reed, of, Leander HS (National Rank: 160)
20. Cole Green, rhp, Texas (National Rank: 161)
21. Ian Gardeck, rhp, Angelina JC (National Rank: 171)
22. Ricky Jacquez, rhp, Franklin HS, El Paso (National Rank: 190)
23. Tony Cingrani, lhp, Rice
24. Ross Stripling, rhp, Texas A&M
25. Gandy Stubblefield, rhp, Lufkin HS
26. Sam Stafford, lhp, Texas
27. Hunter Lockwood, c, Bell HS, Hurst
28. Kyle Kubitza, 3b, Texas State
29. Matthew Reckling, rhp, Rice
30. Connor Sadzeck, rhp, Howard JC
31. C.J. McElroy, of, Clear Creek HS, League City
32. Parker French, rhp, Dripping Springs HS
33. Tyler Mapes, rhp, Navarro JC
34. Miguel Pena, lhp, San Jacinto JC
35. Kelby Tomlinson, ss, Texas Tech
36. Jeremy Rathjen, of, Rice
37. Adam Choplick, lhp, Ryan HS, Denton
38. Colten Brewer, rhp, Canton HS
39. Mark Blackmar, rhp, Temple JC
40. Jason Krizan, of, Dallas Baptist
41. Adam Smith, 3b, Texas A&M
42. Jordan Stephens, rhp, Alvin HS
43. Jeff McVaney, of, Texas State
44. Nick Fleece, rhp, Texas A&M
45. Derrick Bleeker, rhp/of, Howard JC
46. BreShon Kimbrell, c, Mesquite HS
47. Abel Baker, c, Grayson County CC
48. Chris McFarland, 3b, Lufkin HS
49. Steven Maxwell, rhp, Texas Christian
50. Casey Kalenkosky, 1b, Texas State
51. Jantzen Witte, 3b, Texas Christian
52. Zach Good, lhp, Grayson County CC
53. Ryan Turner, rhp, Tarleton State
54. Brance Rivera, of, Texas Christian
55. Tyler Collins, of, Howard JC
56. David Rollins, lhp, San Jacinto JC
57. Tyler Nurdin, rhp, Temple JC
58. Cohl Walla, of, Texas
59. Luis DeJesus, rhp, Angelina JC
60. Tommy Collier, rhp, San Jacinto JC
61. Nick Sawyer, rhp, Howard JC
62. Daniel Mengden, rhp/c, Westside HS, Houston
63. Drew Verhagen, rhp, Navarro JC
64. Nathan Burns, of, Howard JC
65. Ryan Hornback, c, San Jacinto JC
66. Damien Magnifico, rhp, Howard JC
67. Braden Mattson, c, Clark HS, San Antonio
68. Tyler Sibley, 2b, Texas State
69. Chris Haney, rhp, Dallas Baptist
70. Caleb Ramsey, of, Houston
71. Evan Frazar, ss, Galveston JC
72. Brad Marquez, ss, Odessa HS
73. Steven Okert, lhp, Grayson County CC
74. Jeremy Gabryszski, rhp, Crosby HS
75. Corey Ray, rhp, Klein HS
76. Cody Glenn, lhp, Westbury Christian HS, Houston
77. Tant Shepherd, 1b, Texas
78. Joseph Dvorsky, rhp, Texas State
79. Patrick Leonard, of, St. Thomas HS, Houston
80. Chris Andreas, of, Sam Houston State
81. Derek Loera, rhp, Odessa JC
82. Mark Hudson, of, Sam Houston State
83. Kyle Barbeck, lhp, Northeast Texas CC
84. Collin Shaw, of, Westlake HS, Austin
85. Matt Shelton, rhp, Sam Houston State
86. Aaron Garza, rhp, Ball HS, Galveston
87. Ashford Fulmer, of, Cypress Ranch HS, Cypress
88. Dustin Kellogg, rhp, Caney Creek HS, Houston
89. Brandon Parrent, rhp, Texas A&M
90. Chase Wier, rhp, Stephen F. Austin State
91. Dillon Thomas, 1b, Westbury Christian HS, Houston
92. Jean Ramirez, c, Boswell HS, Fort Worth
93. Skyler Ewing, c, Arlington HS
94. Nico Taylor, of, Northwood
95. Jason Jester, rhp, Tyler JC
96. Andrew Del Colle, rhp, Panola JC
97. Ryan Mooney, 2b, Sam Houston State
98. Greg Herbst, rhp, St. Mary's
99. Casey Selsor, lhp, Texas-San Antonio
100. Erik Miller, rhp, Texas Christian
101. Travis Brewster, of, Grayson County CC
102. Nick DeSantiago, c, Blinn JC
103. Jerome Pena, 2b, Texas Christian
104. Nick Lee, lhp, Weatherford JC
105. Ty Washington, 2b, Plano East HS
106. Zechariah Lemond, rhp, Waltrip HS, Houston
107. Wayne Taylor, c, Memorial HS, Houston
108. Brent Powers, lhp, Sam Houston State
109. Jordan Lewis, lhp, Houston
110. Derek Vaughn, rhp, Texas Wesleyan
111. Blake Ford, rhp, Lamar
112. Jordan Foley, rhp, The Colony HS
113. Austin Stone, rhp, Port Neches-Groves HS, Port Neches
114. Fernando Pena, rhp, Morton Ranch HS, Katy
115. Jose Trevino, c, John Paul II HS, Corpus Christi
116. Stephen Hagen, 1b/3b, Texas Tech
117. Richard Bohlken, of, Lubbock Christian
118. John Cannon, c, Houston
119. Chad Comer, c, Texas-Arlington
120. Jarrett Higgins, of, San Jacinto JC
121. Colton Farrar, rhp, Texas Wesleyan
122. Craig Manuel, c, Rice
123. Garrett Autrey, of, Navarro JC
124. Matt Hernandez, rhp, Blinn JC
125. Trey Hernandez, 1b, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Anthony Rendon, 3b
Rendon entered the season as the draft's top-rated prospect and still sits atop our rankings, but his season hasn't gone as planned. After hitting a combined .391/.497/.750 with 46 homers as BA's Freshman of the Year in 2009 and College Player of the Year in 2010, Rendon hit .323/.526/.516 with five homers in the regular season this spring. He strained his throwing shoulder in the second week of the season and has played little in the field. Rendon hadn't given teams any medical information as of mid-May, leaving them in the dark about the severity of the injury. Though it has affected his swing and bat speed, he's still the best all-around hitter in the draft. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has tremendous strength in his hands and wrists, uncanny hand-eye coordination and exceptional strike-zone discipline. Teams have pitched around him all season, and he was the runaway NCAA Division I leader with 66 walks. His bat speed and ability to barrel balls give Rendon more usable power than any player in the draft, with scouts projecting the righthanded hitter to bat .300 with 25-30 homers a year in the major leagues. When healthy, Rendon is a gifted third baseman with above-average range and arm strength. He has drawn comparisons to Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, though he bears a closer physical resemblance to David Wright. Rendon tore ligaments in his right ankle in the 2009 NCAA regionals and broke the same ankle on a slide with Team USA last summer, but he has been running and moving as well as ever this spring. He has average speed and runs the bases well. Both ankle injuries came on fluke plays, so scouts don't consider him injury-prone. As frustrating as his season has been, Rendon remains a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall. If Pittsburgh goes in another direction, it's unlikely the Mariners would pass on him at No. 2.
Taylor Jungmann, rhp
As a freshman in 2009, Jungmann won 11 games and pitched a complete-game five-hitter against Louisiana State in the College World Series finals. As a sophomore, he was the ace of a Texas staff that led NCAA Division I with a 2.45 ERA. Jungmann has taken another step this spring, leading all D-I pitchers with 12 victories and three shutouts and ranking second with a 0.95 ERA at the end of the regular season. He pitches at 91-93 mph and tops out at 95 with his fastball, and he has done a better job of using his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame to command his heater down in the strike zone. He has improved the sharpness and command of his slider as well. His changeup is average at times but more of a work in progress, though he can get lefthanders out with the sink and life on his fastball. Jungmann excels under pressure—he's 6-0 in NCAA tournament play—and has demonstrated the ability to win without his best stuff. He has some effort and a short stride in his delivery, but he has cleaned it up since high school and it doesn't impede his ability to throw strikes.
Josh Bell, of
Dallas Jesuit HS
Bell has the most usable power among high school players in the 2011 draft, and he provides it from both sides of the plate. He has been switch-hitting since he was 5 years old, and he's equally effective from both sides of the plate. Armed with quick hands, strength and an advanced approach, the 6-foot-3, 206-pounder projects as a plus hitter for both average and power. A cracked left kneecap prevented him from proving himself on the showcase circuit last summer, but he recovered to star at the World Wood Bat Championship in October. Bell's other tools aren't as dynamic as his bat, and he'll have to move from center field once he turns pro, but he profiles nicely as a corner outfielder. He's an average runner who may have enough arm strength to play right field. Bell is a good student whose mother is a college professor and who will be advised by the Boras Corp., so it may cost a team dearly to pry him away from a Texas scholarship. His offensive upside still will draw plenty of suitors in the middle of the first round.
John Stilson, rhp
Stilson set a Texarkana (Texas) JC record by winning 12 games as a freshman in 2009, then led NCAA Division I in ERA (0.80) and ranked second in strikeout per nine innings (13.5) in his first season at Texas A&M last spring. He has made another successful transition this year, moving from the bullpen back into the rotation and serving as the Aggies' ace. His fastball ranges from 91-94 mph, and it touched 96 when he worked as a reliever. He has incredible feel for a dynamite changeup that outranks his heater as his best pitch. He throws a hard breaking ball, and he has the ability to vary the angle and shape of the pitch to make it a slider or a curveball. Six-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Stilson is a quality athlete who also starred in football and basketball in high school and played shortstop at Texarkana. He's an intense competitor who relishes the responsibility that comes with being a Friday starter or a closer. Stilson's delivery is the only reason he isn't mentioned with the top tier of college pitching prospects. He catapults off the mound and throws with some effort, but that doesn't prevent him from filling the strike zone. If the team that drafts him puts him back in the bullpen, he could be the first player from the 2011 draft to reach the majors. But Stilson has legitimate value as a No. 2 or 3 starter, and he'll probably get an initial opportunity to thrive in that role in pro ball.
Matt Purke, lhp
Purke opened the year ranked right behind Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but where he'll go in the draft is now wide open. He left an April 16 start against San Diego State after his fastball dropped to 82 mph in the fifth inning, and was diagnosed with shoulder bursitis four days later by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Purke didn't pitch again until he threw three shutout innings against New Mexico on May 19. The 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he agreed to a $6 million deal with the Rangers, but Major League Baseball (which controlled the club's finances at the time) wouldn't approve the deal because of the team's financial problems. So Purke joined the Horned Frogs and led them to their first-ever College World Series berth in 2010, leading NCAA Division I in wins while going 16-0, 3.02 and winning Baseball America's Freshman of the Year award. He took the summer and fall off and was hampered this season by back and blister issues. Some scouts believe his shoulder problems came because he didn't build up enough arm strength. Others blame his delivery, as the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder slings the ball from a low three-quarters arm slot. His mechanics deteriorated this spring, as he worked from an even lower angle and threw across his body more than usual, causing his stuff to flatten out. When he's healthy, Purke pitches off a lively 91-94 mph fastball that reaches 96 and backs it up with an above-average slider. His changeup has the potential to become a solid third pitch, and he has average command. He exhibited his competitiveness by gutting through nine starts and going 5-1, 1.44. With concerns about his health and signability—he possesses added leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore—it's unclear where Purke might go. He may have to re-establish his value in summer ball, as Anthony Ranaudo did a year ago after a disappointing spring at Louisiana State. He rebounded in the Cape Cod League and got a $2.55 million bonus from the Red Sox as the 39th pick.
Trevor Story, ss
Story is one of the few quality, surefire shortstops in the 2011 draft, with a better chance to stick at the position than Javier Baez and Levi Michael. Scouts who believe in Story's bat see him as close to a five-tool shortstop, so he could sneak into the end of the first round. He has smooth actions along with plus range and arm strength. He has shown a 90-92 mph fastball while occasionally closing games for Irving. Story has good pop for a middle infielder, though the 6-foot, 175-pounder generates his power by collapsing on his backside and using an uppercut. His quick hands generate plenty of bat speed and allow him to barrel balls, though he may need to tone down his swing against professional pitchers. He has above-average speed and runs the bases well. Though he has committed to Louisiana State, he's expected to turn pro if he gets selected before the start of the second round.
Kyle Winkler, rhp
With Matt Purke ailing, Winkler has replaced him as Texas Christian's ace. Hitters have a tough time squaring Winkler's pitches up, especially his 91-95 mph fastball with heavy sink. He has added velocity this spring, not only to his heater but also to his slider, which reaches the mid-80s. His breaking ball is more effective when he throws in the low 80s, and some scouts would like to see him break out the hard curveball he used in high school. His improved changeup gives him a solid third pitch that he should throw more often, and his command also has taken a step forward. If Winkler had ideal pitcher size rather than checking in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, he'd be a mid-first-rounder. His delivery isn't the smoothest, but it's also deceptive and doesn't feature a terrible amount of effort. Scouts have noted his competitive streak for years, going back to when he led the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the 2006 Pan American Youth Championships with a 1.15 ERA.
Kyle Crick, rhp
Crick played mostly first base for Sherman as a junior a year ago, but began to realize his future was on the mound when he hit 94 mph with his fastball on the showcase circuit during the summer. He since has emerged as the top pitching prospect in the Texas high school ranks this spring. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, he consistently has dealt in the low 90s, peaking at 97 mph and featuring late life on his heater. His mid-70s curveball is a plus pitch at times, though it lacks command and consistency because he overthrows it. Crick also will flash an above-average slider and fiddles around with a splitter and a changeup, but he's essentially still in the early stages of learning to pitch. He's mainly an arm-strength guy right now, but it's impressive arm strength. There's effort in the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder's delivery, and he'd do a better job of living in the strike zone if he took a more direct line toward the plate. He has committed to Texas Christian.
Matt Dean, 3b
The Colony HS
Dean wasn't at his best on the showcase circuit last summer, but he redeemed himself with a strong spring and established himself as the best prep third-base prospect in the draft. Few high school players can match his batting-practice fireworks. With his bat speed, the loft in his righthanded swing and the room to add strength to his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame, he projects to have plus power while hitting for a solid average. Dean has average speed but figures to lose a step as he fills out. He gets the job done at shortstop and has an above-average arm, but he'll move to the hot corner after he either turns pro or attends Texas. As with most coaches' sons—he plays for his father Martin at The Colony HS—Dean earns praise for his work ethic and competitiveness. His strong commitment to the Longhorns may make him difficult to sign.
Bryan Brickhouse, rhp
The Woodlands HS
Brickhouse is the latest strong-armed pitcher to come out of The Woodlands, which also spawned first-rounders Kyle Drabek (2006) and Jameson Taillon (2010). He won't go quite as high in the draft, and the Tar Heel State native may not be signable away from a North Carolina scholarship if he doesn't. Brickhouse will show good stuff at times, but he doesn't always maintain it past a few innings or throw strikes with it. He has two plus pitches in a 90-93 mph fastball that peaks at 95 and a spike curveball with 11-5 break. The curve sometimes morphs into a slider, and he has the beginnings of a changeup. Six-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he's not particularly big or athletic. He has effort in his delivery and doesn't always stay on top of his pitches. If he can develop consistency, Brickhouse might be a No. 3 starter. He also profiles well as a late-inning reliever who could focus on attacking hitters with his fastball and breaking ball. He helped his cause with a strong performance in the Texas 5-A state playoffs, striking out 11, 12 and 13 batters in his three starts.
Brandon Loy, ss
One of the top defensive shortstops in the draft, Loy has enhanced his draft status with improved performance at the plate. His calling card is still his defense, which includes quick feet, solid range, sure hands and a strong arm. He makes all the routine plays as well as spectacular ones and rarely commits errors. In his first two years at Texas, the righthanded hitter batted .271 and was most notable at the plate for his bunting prowess. Loy led NCAA Division I with 25 sacrifices in 2009 and ranked fourth with 17 last year. He has been asked to bunt less this year, when he hit .327 in the regular season with 20 extra-base hits, nearly matching his previous career total of 21. The 6-foot, 170-pounder projects to have well below-average power with wood bats. He controls the strike zone well but sometimes tries to pull and lift pitches, which isn't his game. Loy has average speed and runs the bases well, though he won't be a big basestealing threat. He might be relegated to the bottom of a big league lineup, but his defensive prowess could make him a major league regular.
Logan Verrett, rhp
Verrett positioned himself as a possible first-round pick with a strong performance in the Cape Cod League last summer. He hasn't quite pitched up to that standard this spring, though he did finish the regular season on a roll, not allowing an earned run in his final 21 innings. Verrett doesn't have an out pitch, but he has three solid offerings and mixes speeds and plans well. His best pitch is his slider, which generates some swings as misses. He has an average fastball, pitching at 88-92 mph and topping out at 94, though it lacks life. He gets more sink on his changeup. A 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, Verrett repeats his sound delivery well and throws strikes. Scouts also like the way he competes. Though he's athletic, he struggles to control the running game. While he showed a 93-95 mph fastball when he worked out of the bullpen as a freshman, Verrett has a future as a No. 3 starter.
Brooks Pinckard, rhp
Pinckard is one of the fastest runners in college baseball and has used his plus-plus speed to steal 60 bases in 66 attempts over three seasons. He ended the 2011 regular season tied for sixth in NCAA Division I with 31 swipes in 33 tries. He also plays a solid center field, though scouts see him as a slap hitter and are much more interested in what he can do on the mound. Pinckard has a consistent 92-96 mph fastball with life, and he didn't lose velocity when he moved into the rotation in the last month of the season. After relying on his heater as a reliever, he has made strides with his slider and now throws it at 82-84 mph, though it lacks consistency. He also has a changeup but hasn't used it often. A quality athlete at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Pinckard could take off once he focuses on pitching. He redshirted in 2008 because he wasn't ready for Big 12 Conference competition and has pitched just 106 innings in three seasons, so he's still raw as a pitcher. He doesn't have much feel, so he struggles with walks and doesn't miss as many bats as someone with a mid-90s fastball should. His delivery doesn't help his command, as he has a short arm angle and slings the body from a low slot, and his future likely will be back in the bullpen. He declined to sign with the Cubs as a draft-eligible sophomore taken in the 18th round last year, and he should get picked about 15 rounds higher this June.
John Curtiss, rhp
Carroll HS, Southlake
Best known as a football power that has produced a half-dozen NFL players, Carroll High also has had four pitchers drafted in the previous four years. Curtiss will likely be the fifth in five drafts, though scouts think he's headed to college, as are most of the top high school pitchers in the Lone Star State this year. A top student who has committed to Texas, Curtiss is a projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pounder with a quick arm. He works from 89-93 mph and touches 95 with his fastball, which features good sink. He also flashes a plus slider and an effective changeup. Scouts praise his intelligence and competitiveness. The only real knock against Curtiss is that he throws across his body, but his motion adds deception without compromising his ability to throw strikes. If he becomes a Longhorn as expected, he could blossom into a first-rounder in 2014.
Taylor Featherston, ss
Featherston was one of the heroes in Texas Christian's run to its first College World Series appearance last year, batting .389 with 16 RBIs in 11 NCAA tournament games. He led the Horned Frogs in hitting (.347), on-base percentage (.425) and runs (48) during the 2011 regular season and has a better bat than most middle infielders. A 6-foot-1, 185-pound righthanded hitter, he makes consistent contact and has enough pop to hit 10 homers in a big league season if he gets a little stronger and uses his legs better in his swing. He has average speed and good instincts on the bases. The question with Featherston is whether he can stay at shortstop. He has a strong arm and enough range but two different area scouts used the exact same phrase to describe his defense: "He plays shortstop like his hair is on fire." Featherston had 24 errors in 55 games, most coming when he rushed himself or tried to make an impossible play. He profiles well enough as an offensive second baseman but could sneak into the first three rounds to a team that believes he can settle down at short.
Bryson Miles, of
Stephen F. Austin State
Miles has put up some of the gaudiest numbers in college baseball this spring, leading NCAA Division I with 50 stolen bases and drawing Kirby Puckett comparisons while batting .413 and setting Stephen F. Austin State records for hits (92) and steals in a season and career. Built like a barrel at 6 feet and 225 pounds, Miles originally intended to play linebacker at Texas Christian but wound up spending the first two years of his college career in Weatherford (Texas) JC's baseball program. A righthanded hitter, he has quick hands and plenty of strength, but he employs an all-or-nothing swing that more advanced pitchers may be able to exploit. Despite his steal totals, Miles isn't a blazer. He has plus speed and good instincts on the bases, though he has been caught 13 times this spring. He's a fringy defender whose below-average arm relegates him to left field, so his bat and baserunning will have to carry him. Teams have passed him over in the draft for three straight years, but that won't happen again in 2011.
Jason Coats, of
Coats had a banner 2010, setting a Texas Christian record with 99 hits, helping the Horned Frogs reach the College World Series for the first time and starring in the Cape Cod League. A strong encore might have carried him into the first round, but he has had a lackluster spring, leading scouts to wonder whether he has a true plus tool. After hitting .314 with wood bats on the Cape, he batted .324 with metal this season. His swing looked longer and his pitch recognition looked less sharp than it did a year ago. Six-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Coats has a sound approach and provides average raw power from the right side of the plate. His speed, arm strength and defense are fringy to average, so he fits best in left field. A team that envisions Coats becoming the .280/20-homer hitter he looked like a year ago could grab him in the second or third round, but he no longer figures to go higher than that.
Carson Smith, rhp
After having little success as a freshman at Grayson County (Texas) CC in 2009, Smith has been the Southland Conference pitcher of the year in each of his two seasons at Texas State. He ended the regular season with 12 straight quality starts, lowering his ERA to 1.98 with 114 strikeouts in 95 innings. Though he has three pitches and has had success as a starter, scouts project Smith as a reliever because of his delivery. He slings the ball with a lot of effort while keeping his elbow low and close to his side, and doesn't appear suited to durability or command. Smith came down with shoulder tendinitis in the offseason and has pitched through shoulder issues this spring. He also has a high leg kick that provides deception. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder has been clocked at 97 mph coming out of the bullpen last year, compared to 90-93 mph early in games and 88-92 mph later in 2010. His low arm angle does add sink to his fastball and his changeup, and his slider can be a swing-and-miss pitch at times.
Michael Reed, of
Reed has created mixed opinions among Texas area scouts this spring. Those who buy into his strong 6-foot, 210-pound body and tools think he could fit in the second or third rounds, while others who worry about his lack of polish see him as more of a sixth- to 10th-rounder. His proponents think he profiles nicely as a right fielder who swings the bat with authority from the right side of the plate and backs up his raw power with plus speed and arm strength. Others think he has a mature, maxed-out frame and does everything with a lot of effort, and that he's a fringe to average runner. Reed also pitches, reaching 90 mph with his fastball, and he'll see action as a two-way player if he attends Mississippi. It may take second-round money to sign him away from Ole Miss, for whom his father Benton played football en route to a brief NFL career.
Cole Green, rhp
The Tigers drafted Green in the fourth round last year after he won Big 12 Conference pitcher of the year honors, but he opted to return to Texas after turning down a reported $400,000. After shaking off a surprising shelling by Maryland in his first start of 2011, he has been just as effective this spring. The 6-foot, 210-pounder doesn't have a classic pro body or sexy stuff, but he competes and throws strikes every time he takes the mound. He pitches off his sinker, which sits at 88-92 mph and occasionally peaks at 94. His changeup grades out as his best offering and keeps lefthanders at bay, and he uses a late-breaking slider that runs from 79-82 mph. Green commands his pitches well, working in the bottom of the strike zone and generating groundballs. On pure stuff, he may project as no more than a middle reliever, but his feel for pitching may allow him to become a back-of-the-rotation starter. In part because he'll come at a discount as a college senior without much leverage, he should go around the fourth round again in 2011.
Ian Gardeck, rhp
In 2005, an unheralded pitcher transferred from an NCAA Division I program to Angelina JC and quickly blossomed into a top prospect. Gardeck has taken a similar path, and while he won't duplicate Clay Buchholz's rise and become a supplemental first-rounder, he has some of the best sheer arm strength in this draft. Gardeck didn't start pitching until his junior year at Crystal Lake (Ill.) South HS, and he occasionally touched 94 mph as a senior in 2009 and as a reliever at Dayton in 2010. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder's velocity spiked when he pitched in the New England Collegiate League last summer, and he opened more eyes when he hit 98 mph in the fall after moving to Angelina. Because he's so new to pitching, Gardeck is still raw. Scouts don't like his arm action, which hampers his ability to throw strikes, as does his inability to maintain his arm slot. He pitched his way out of Angelina's rotation and into its bullpen this spring. He consistently pitches at 94-96 mph as a reliever. He'll show a mid-80s slider that's a wipeout pitch at times, but he struggles to harness it. With two pitches that grade at 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale at times but command that rates a 35, Gardeck's pro future also is in the bullpen. He'll attend Alabama next year if he doesn't turn pro.
Ricky Jacquez, rhp
Franklin HS, El Paso
Inch for inch, Jacquez is the hardest thrower in the 2011 draft. Though he's just 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Jacquez is a gifted athlete with a quick arm capable of producing 92-94 mph fastballs and touching 97. He also has a hammer curveball, and the combination allowed him to post a 20-strikeout game in March. A dual citizen who grew up playing Little League baseball in Mexico, Jacquez also has proven himself against better competition with Team USA. He was part of the 16-and-under team that took the gold medal at the 2009 World Youth Championship, winning two starts as a pitcher and also playing regularly at first base. There's effort in his delivery, but it's not excessive. He could stand to add life to his fastball and pitch down in the strike zone more often. As intriguing as Jacquez's arm is, he may be difficult to sign away from his commitment to Texas. The Longhorns recruited him primarily as a pitcher but also could give him some playing time in the middle infield.
Changes Work For Cingrani
broke former big leaguer Tim Byrdak's single-season and career strikeout records at South Suburban (Ill.) JC, then followed Byrdak's path and transferred to Rice. After he posted an 8.59 ERA in six starts as a junior, the Owls overhauled Cingrani's delivery and moved him to the bullpen, and his transformation has been dramatic. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound lefthander has quickened his arm action and is staying more compact and on top of his pitches, and he's working at 92-94 mph and touching 97 with his fastball. He finished the regular season with a 1.92 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 52 innings. He pitches mostly off his heater, though the hope is that his below-average slider will improve once he gets more consistent innings in pro ball. He's one of the more attractive senior signs in the draft.
Cingrani's teammate at Rice, righthander Matthew Reckling
, has made a similar leap forward but won't be as easy to sign away from the Owls. He's a top student with one year of eligibility remaining, and the team's stadium is named after his grandparents, Tommy (a former Rice player) and Isla, the facility's lead donors. Reckling pitched just 16 innings in 2010, when he battled command issues and posted a 6.32 ERA, but emerged as the Owls' Saturday starter this spring. His stuff improved after Rice eliminated recoil in his delivery, and the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder now pitches with a low-90s fastball and a hard curveball. Reckling didn't begin pitching until his senior year of high school, and his command still needs work.
Righthander Ross Stripling
was more of a football and basketball player at Carroll HS in Southlake until he broke his left leg as a senior. He got bored during his rehab and began fooling around on the mound with a cast on his leg. He went 14-0 in his first season as a pitcher, earned an academic scholarship to Texas A&M and joined the Aggies as a walk-on. He opened 2011 as their closer but since has become the best Sunday starter in college baseball, finishing the 2011 regular season tied with Texas' Taylor Jungmann for the NCAA Division I lead in wins at 12-2, 1.89. An athletic 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Stripling throws an 88-92 mph fastball from an over-the-top delivery. He spins his curveball for strikes and has a decent changeup. His stuff plays up when he comes out of the bullpen—he touches 94 mph and has a sharper curve—so that could be his destination in pro ball.
Lefthander Sam Stafford
hasn't been able to nail down a spot in Texas' weekend rotation, though not because he lacks stuff. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder hit 96 mph while winning pitcher-of-the-year honors in the California Collegiate League last summer, but he has to dial his fastball down to 90-91 mph to try to find the strike zone. He has good shape to his curveball and doesn't always locate that pitch where he wants, either. Stafford can be unhittable at times. If he can't improve his command he'll be ticketed for the bullpen as a pro.
His brother Austin was a seventh-round pick by the Pirates last year, and Kyle Kubitza
should go in the same range this June. (Austin decided to attend Rice, where he has been the Owls' best pitcher as a freshman, and projects a possible first-rounder in 2013.) As a 6-foot-4, 190-pound lefthanded hitter with strength and athleticism, Kyle profiles well at third base. He offers power and patience at the plate, but scouts would like to see him maintain a consistent set-up rather than tinkering with his hitting mechanics. Likewise, they'd like to see more reliable defense at third base, where he made 22 errors in 55 regular-season games. He has the hands, arm and agility to play the hot corner if he can maintain his concentration.
Texas State matched a school record when it had four players drafted in 2009, and the Bobcats could have as many as a half-dozen picks this spring. After Carson Smith and Kubitza, their next-best prospects are outfielder Jeff McVaney
and first baseman Casey Kalenkosky
. Like Jason Martinson, a Nationals fifth-round pick last year, McVaney came to Texas State to play football. A former fullback, he's a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder with a solid righthanded swing and power potential. He has the arm strength and speed to play right field, as he doubles as the Bobcats' closer. A lefthanded pitcher, McVaney has an upper-80s fastball and an effective curveball.
Kalenkosky hit 20 homers in two seasons at Cisco (Texas) JC and nearly matched that total during the regular season, tying the Texas State record with 18. The 6-foot, 195-pound righthanded hitter's power will have to carry him, however. He lacks the pitch recognition to hit for a high average and is a below-average runner and defender. He does have arm strength and has seen brief action as a catcher.
Shortstop Kelby Tomlinson
starred for two years at Seward County (Kan.) CC and then in the Jayhawk League last summer, where he rated as the top position prospect and led Liberal to the National Baseball Congress World Series championship. His speed is his only plus tool, but he's a steady defender at short and has a patient approach at the plate. A 6-foot-3, 175-pound righthanded hitter, he'll never have much pop and will need to get stronger so pitchers won't pound him inside in pro ball.
One of the reasons pitchers have refused to challenge Rice star Anthony Rendon this spring is that the Owls lost their cleanup hitter, Jeremy Rathjen
, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in mid-March. He projected as a top-five-rounds pick before he got hurt, and the injury should make him all but unsignable. Rice was able to redshirt him, so he'll still have negotiating leverage as a fourth-year junior in 2012. An athletic 6-foot-6, 205-pounder, Rathjen had gotten stronger and was making more consistent contact before he went down. He still has room to fill out more and develop more power. A plus runner, he plays a fine center field and has a decent arm.
Outfielder Jason Krizan's
pure tools may not be spectacular, but his performance this spring has been. He set an NCAA Division I record with 37 doubles (breaking a mark shared by big leaguer Brad Hawpe, among others) and set a new Dallas Baptist standard with a 39-game hitting streak. At the end of the regular season, Krizan ranked first in D-I in hits (97) and doubles, second in OPS (1.255) and third in RBIs (76) and total bases (166). The 6-foot, 186-pounder makes consistent hard contact from the left side of the plate. He doesn't run well enough to play center field and may not have enough power to profile as a big league regular in right field, but he could provide nice value as a senior sign in the eighth to 10th round.
Texas A&M's Adam Smith
and Texas' Cohl Walla
have been the two biggest enigmas in the state this spring. Smith looks the part of a big league third baseman with his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, raw righthanded power and arm strength. But he just hasn't hit consistently, batting .267 during his first two years and slumping to .209 this spring after missing the start of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. If he doesn't figure out how to make more consistent contact, he eventually could wind up on the mound in pro ball.
Walla is an impressive athlete, a former Texas all-state wide receiver in high school with a 6-foot-3 build, plus speed and arm strength. He isn't physically ready for pro ball and is virtually unsignable as a draft-eligible sophomore who hit .239/.328/.308 in the regular season. He missed significant time after fouling a ball off his left knee in late March. He has a long, loopy swing and doesn't hit with authority. He won't have much pop until he adds strength to his 165-pound frame.
Righthander Nick Fleece
spent his first year at Texas A&M as a reserve outfielder before finding a niche in the bullpen. He flashed arm strength in the past and the Mariners drafted him in the 27th round last June, but coaches and scouts questioned his work ethic because he carried close to 250 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame. He has looked like a different guy this spring, dropping to 215 pounds and operating at 90-92 mph with his fastball, peaking at 95. He works off his fastball, which has good sinking life, and picks up deception from his funky arm action. He always has filled the strike zone, and his slider has improved, though it still gets slurvy at times. As a senior sign, he'll come at a discount.
Texas Christian's entire weekend rotation will get drafted, with righthander Steven Maxwell
following Matt Purke and Kyle Winkler. A fifth-year senior who turned down the Twins as a 12th-round pick after winning Mountain West Conference pitcher of the year honors in 2010, Maxwell succeeds by throwing strikes with a 90-91 mph sinker that maxes out at 93, and a solid slider. The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder had Tommy John surgery and missed a month this spring with biceps soreness.
Third baseman Janzen Witte
and outfielder Brance Rivera
are two more Horned Frogs who should help Texas Christian surpass its record of seven players selected in a single draft. Witte's college career got off to a slow start, as he redshirted in 2009 and missed the first 10 games in 2010 with a broken wrist. A 6-foot-1, 195-pound righthanded hitter, he has a line-drive stroke and gap power. A star tennis player as a youth, he's agile and has decent arm strength at the hot corner.
Texas Christian recruited Rivera as a shortstop, but Taylor Featherston pushed him to right field. His tools are solid across the board, though none qualifies as a true plus. Six-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he has a long righthanded swing with his hands far back in his set-up, leading some scouts to question how much contact he'll make against pro pitching.
Righthander Ryan Turner
already has been drafted three times, twice by the Rays—in the 22nd round out of high school in 2007 and in the 30th round out of Midland (Texas) JC in 2008—and by the Braves in the 49th round out of McLennan (Texas) CC last year. He missed all of 2009 recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, but is back to throwing 88-92 mph with his fastball and complementing it with a good slider. He uses his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame to throw the ball downhill. He's the grandson of Gerald Turner, who scouts for the Braves and is one of the winningest coaches in Texas high school baseball history.
Several college pitchers expected to rank among the state's top prospects instead lost most or all of the season to arm problems: Texas Christian's Kaleb Merck (out with Tommy John surgery), Houston's Jared Ray (recovery from shoulder surgery), Texas' Austin Dicharry (diminished command after coming back from shoulder tendinitis) and Texas A&M's Ross Hales (lost his mechanics while rehabbing a shoulder injury). Merck hit 96 mph in the Cape Cod League last summer, albeit with a max-effort delivery.
Stubblefield Surpasses McFarland
was supposed to be the main attraction at Lufkin HS this spring, but scouts came away more impressed with Gandy Stubblefield
. He also upstaged Bryan Brickhouse, who entered the year as the state's top-rated pitching prospect, beating him with an 11-strikeout three-hitter in a mid-April matchup. Stubblefield is projectable at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, and he worked at 88-92 mph with a peak of 94 this spring. He also has promising velocity on his curveball, though it's inconsistent. A Texas A&M recruit, he still needs a lot of polish.
It's usually difficult to lure Rice recruits away from college, and it's unlikely a team will buy McFarland away from the Owls after a lackluster spring. He's a 6-foot-1, 195-pound righthanded hitter with solid tools across the board. He makes contact and projects to have gap power, and he's an average runner with a fringy arm who'll have to move from shortstop to second or third base.
There are several offensive-minded catchers in the Texas high school ranks, and the two best are Hunter Lockwood
and BreShon Kimbell
. An Oklahoma recruit, Lockwood led all Dallas-area players (including projected first-rounder Josh Bell) with 16 homers through late May. The 5-foot-11, 189-pounder has a lot of strength and bat speed from the right side of the plate. He has average arm strength but a slow release, and he'll have to improve significantly as a receiver to remain behind the plate.
Kimbell has a big league body at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, and though he only has been catching for a year, he has a little more arm strength and is a little more advanced than Lockwood. That said, Kimbell still has a lot of work to do behind the plate. A righthanded hitter with intriguing power potential, he has committed to Louisiana Tech.
The son of longtime big league reliever Chuck McElroy, outfielder C.J. McElroy
draws comparisons to Michael Bourn. His plus-plus speed stands out both on the diamond and on the gridiron. A running back who ran for 1,523 yards and accounted for 28 touchdowns last fall, he signed a football scholarship to play wide receiver at Houston. He also finished seventh at the Texas 5-A track meet in the long jump. At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, McElroy won't have much power, but he has a solid righthanded stroke, good pitch-recognition skills and the ability to handle velocity. He's a big-time stolen base threat and covers a lot of ground in center field. His arm is below-average.
Righthander Parker French
has a promising three-pitch repertoire, but scouts say he's the most unsignable pitcher in the state and a virtual lock to attend Texas. Six-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he has a loose arm and delivers 89-93 mph sinkers from a high three-quarters arm slot. His changeup is advanced for a high school pitcher, and while his breaking ball is inconsistent, he shows aptitude for spinning the ball. He throws strikes and has a strong mound presence.
Lefthander Adam Choplick
is a 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward who made the Texas 4-A all-star team after averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game as a senior. He missed the 2010 baseball season after having Tommy John surgery and didn't return to the mound until this April. In his third start back, he needed just 71 pitches to throw a 16-strikeout perfect game. Choplick's fastball has sat at 89-91 mph this spring, and he should add velocity as he gets more experience and puts his elbow reconstruction further behind him. He throws with a high three-quarters delivery, so his heater arrives on a steep downward plane, though it also lacks life. His feel for his curveball is rudimentary, and he doesn't have much of a changeup. Unlike many big pitchers, Choplick has good body control and a fairly solid delivery. He has committed to Oklahoma, and has the raw athletic ability to develop into a premium draft pick in 2014 if he doesn't sign this summer.
Righthander Colten Brewer
made a late push up draft boards. He usually works at 87-91 mph and touches 93 with his sinker, and he should add velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. Committed to Weatherford (Texas) JC, Brewer is a one-pitch guy at the moment who would have been a perfect draft-and-follow if that rule still existed.
Righthander Jordan Stephens
saved the best outing of his senior season for his last, striking out 13 in a state 5-A bi-district playoff win over nationally ranked Clements HS (Fort Bend). He works from 88-94 mph with his fastball, though the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder throws with some effort and doesn't maintain his velocity deep into games. He also throws across his body, which puts more stress on his arm but adds life to his pitches. His hard breaking ball is an effective second pitch. Stephens is committed to Rice and unlikely to turn pro.
Sadzeck Stands Out At Howard
Texas' two best junior college prospects are both products of Illinois high schools. Unlike Angelina's Ian Gardeck, who spent a year at Dayton before transferring to Angelina JC, righthander Connor Sadzeck
came to Howard straight out of high school. Teammates Derrick Bleeker
and Damien Magnifico
had more hype coming into 2011, but disappointed scouts this spring. Sadzeck consistently threw in the low 90s and topped out at 95 mph with good armside run on his fastball. Though he's 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, he sacrifices downhill plane by using a drop-and-drive delivery. Of greater concern is his lack of command, as he has an easier time throwing strikes with his slider than his fastball. Projected as a reliever in pro ball, he'll head to Texas as a sophomore if he doesn't sign this summer.
Bleeker got only 15 at-bats and didn't pitch as a freshman in Arkansas in 2010, then opened eyes by touching 97 mph during fall practice at Howard. He prefers hitting and playing the outfield to pitching, however, and was hard to see this spring because he worked just 13 innings, when his fastball sat at 92-93 mph. The 6-foot-5, 220 pounder throws strikes and flashes a hard slider, but he doesn't miss many bats because he doesn't get much angle on his pitches. Scouts question his competitive fire and think he'll attend North Carolina rather than turn pro.
A fifth-round pick by the Mets in 2009, Magnifico missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his elbow that required the insertion of screws to fix. He returned to the mound this spring as a redshirt freshman, though scouts had a difficult time seeing him because he pitched just 21 innings. He showed a quick arm and touched 95 mph in the spring and fall of 2009 and pitched mostly at 88-92 this year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder's command and secondary pitches are well below-average, so he's more likely to transfer to Oklahoma than to turn pro at this point.
Howard could have more players drafted this year than any Texas junior college. Among the Hawks' other candidates are outfielders Tyler Collins
and Nathan Burns
, plus righthander Nick Sawyer
. Collins, who started his college career at Baylor and is committed to Texas Christian for 2011, is a lefthanded hitter with plenty of bat speed and a knock for barreling the ball. Burns, a Florida International recruit, is a former wide receiver with plus speed and raw power. Sawyer is just 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he has a lightning-quick arm that produces 94-96 mph fastballs. He has committed to Oklahoma for his sophomore season.
With a roster that includes 13 players with NCAA Division I commitments for 2012, Navarro reached the Junior College World Series for the first time in 53 years. The Bulldogs' best prospect is righthander Tyler Mapes
, who pitched at Navy in 2010. A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, he throws an 89-93 mph fastball, a good changeup and a slurvy breaking ball. He has committed to Tulane for 2012.
Righthander Drew Verhagen
was supposed to be Navarro's top prospect, but he missed a month with biceps tendinitis and wasn't as electric as he had been in the Cape Cod League or fall practice last year. He did return in time to start and win the final game of the regional tournament that sent the Bulldogs to the Juco World Series. Six-foot-6 and 235 pounds, he throws a 91-94 mph fastball and has a hard 12-to-6 curveball when he's at his best. After having Tommy John surgery and not pitching as a high school senior, Verhagen spent 2010 at Oklahoma. He's committed to Vanderbilt for next season.
The state's other Juco World Series participant is Grayson County, whose top prospect is catcher Abel Baker
. His bases-loaded triple broke open the regional championship game against Howard. Baker, who spent 2010 at Baylor, offers lefthanded power and decent catch-and-throw skills. His brother Aaron is a first baseman in the Pirates system, and their grandfather Jerry Mays played in two Super Bowls and was an all-American Football League performer as an offensive and defensive lineman.
Grayson County's best pitching prospect, lefthander Zach Good
, threw eight shutout innings to beat McLennan 1-0 in the second round of the regionals. Long and lean at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, he has bounced back from Tommy John surgery in high school to show a 90-91 mph fastball and feel for a curveball. His command is still a work in progress.
Lefthander Miguel Pena
is essentially the same pitcher he was when the Nationals made him a surprise fifth-round pick out of high school two years ago. He's still 6-foot-2 and 160 pounds, and he still has an 88-91 mph fastball, a sharp curveball and a solid changeup. He repeats his clean delivery well, allowing him to throw strikes with ease. He won 25 games in two years at San Jacinto, though getting sent home from the Cape Cod League last summer for disciplinary reasons hurts his cause. A 13th-round pick of the Padres in 2010, he should go in roughly the same area of the 2011 draft. If he doesn't sign, he'll attend Lubbock Christian.
San Jacinto third-year sophomores David Rollins
and Tommy Collier
made nice comebacks after being plagued by injuries in 2010. Rollins, a lefthander who endured two surgeries on his non-throwing shoulder, has a better three-pitch mix than Pena but not as much command. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has an 88-91 mph sinker, a slider with bite and a good changeup. He has been drafted in each of the last three years, by the Dodgers in the 19th round in 2008 and by the Mariners in the 23rd round in 2009 and the 46th round last year. Like Pena, Rollins has signed with Lubbock Christian for 2012.
Collier was the leading winner on San Jacinto's 2009 College World Series team but had Tommy John surgery last year. The Gators eased him back in a relief role, and the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder showed a low-90s sinker and signs of a plus changeup. His hard slider used to be his bread and butter—and throwing too many may have led to his torn elbow ligament—but he babied his breaking ball this spring. Drafted twice previously (29th round by the Brewers in 2008, 49th round by the Blue Jays in 2009), Collier is expected to sign rather than follow through on a commitment to Houston.
Righthander Buddy Lamothe, a Franklin Pierce (N.H.) transfer, was attracting attention at San Jacinto when he touched 93 mph and spun hard breaking balls. But he sustained serious neck and spinal cord injuries in a May 1 diving accident, and he has been hospitalized since.
Temple featured two of the best juco pitching prospects in the state in freshmen Mark Blackmar
and Tyler Nurdin
. The son of PGA senior golfer Phil Blackmar, Mark is an athletic 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander with a nice three-pitch mix. His cutter/slider is his best pitch, and he also fills the strike zone with a lively 87-91 mph fastball and a developing changeup. Nurdin is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound lefthander with more arm strength (his fastball touches 93 mph) but less feel and command.