State Report: Arizona
Juco prospect moves to the top of the list
|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
While Arizona junior colleges are always loaded with talent, it's not often that the top player in the state comes from a two-year school. The last time the first player off the board in Arizona was a juco product was in 1995, when the Tigers picked righthander Rosario Ortiz in the fifth round out of Arizona Western JC.
As for four-year schools, it's a testament to Arizona State's coaching and depth that the Sun Devils were 39-16 (and went 17-10 in the Pacific-10 Conference) heading into regionals, when their three most noted draft-eligible players coming into the season (outfielder Johnny Ruettiger, first baseman Zach Wilson and second baseman Zack MacPhee) had disappointing seasons. Most of Arizona's talent is concentrated in its sophomore class, but the Wildcats had several players move into consideration for the top five rounds and were rounding into form as regional play started.
Scouts complained that it was another down year for high school talent in the state, and next year is looking even worse.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Keenyn Walker, of, Central Arizona JC (National Rank: 92)
2. Bryce Bandilla, lhp, Arizona (National Rank: 117)
3. Kevin Cron, 1b, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix (National Rank: 133)
4. Johnny Ruettiger, of, Arizona State (National Rank: 181)
5. Kyle Simon, rhp, Arizona (National Rank: 183)
6. Tayler Scott, rhp, Notre Dame Prep HS, Scottsdale (National Rank: 193)
7. Stephen Tarpley, lhp, Gilbert HS
8. Kenny Giles, rhp, Yavapai JC
9. Andy Burns, ss, Arizona
10. Riccio Torrez, 3b, Arizona State
11. Brandon Magee, of, Arizona State
12. Nick Valenza, lhp, Horizon HS, Scottsdale
13. Zach Davies, rhp, Mesquite HS, Gilbert
14. Tyler Parmenter, ss/rhp, Cibola HS, Yuma
15. Trey Ford, ss, South Mountain CC
16. Max Rossiter, c, Central Arizona JC
17. Zach Dando, rhp, Central Arizona JC
18. Scott Squier, lhp, Greenway HS, Phoenix
19. Austin Barnes, c, Arizona State
20. Nathaniel Causey, c, Gilbert HS
21. Jorge Flores, ss, Central Arizona
22. Michael Howard, lhp, Prescott HS
23. Matt Chaffee, lhp, Arizona
24. Zack MacPhee, 2b, Arizona State
25. Jett Bandy, c, Arizona
26. Alan Garcia, rhp, Eastern Arizona JC
27. Jordan Dunatov, of, Horizon HS, Scottsdale
28. Zach Wilson, 1b, Arizona State
29. Joe Serrano, ss, Salpointe Catholic HS, Tucson
30. Cole Frenzel, 1b, Arizona
31. Travis Lane, c, Central Arizona
32. Alex Real, c, Pinnacle HS, Phoenix
33. Eric Wooten, lhp, Central Arizona JC
34. Tyler Wallace, rhp, South Mountain CC
35. Drew Stankiewicz, ss, Gilbert HS
36. Jonathan Rodriguez, of, Yavapai JC
37. Mitchell Lambson, lhp, Arizona State
38. David Wydeven, rhp, Grand Canyon
39. Kirby Pellant, 2b, Chandler-Gilbert CC
40. Xorge Carrillo, c, Arizona State
41. Nolan Clark, c, Yavapai JC
42. Scott Hoffman, rhp, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa
43. Andy Workman, of, Arizona State
44. Matt Newman, of, Arizona State
45. Ethan Springston, of, Seton Catholic HS, Chandler
46. Zak Miller, rhp, Yavapai JC
47. Andrew Walter, rhp, Yavapai JC
48. Ryne Dean, c, Red Mountain HS, Mesa
49. Nevin Wilson, lhp, Chaparral HS, Scottsdale
50. Steve Selsky, of, Arizona
Keenyn Walker, of
Central Arizona JC
Walker was drafted in the 16th round out of high school in Utah in 2009 and last year at Central Arizona, in the 38th round. Scouts have always been intrigued by the 6-foot-3 switch-hitter with standout tools and impressive athleticism. The raw tools don't always translate on the baseball field, however, and he didn't even start regularly last year. This year is a different story. Walker has performed well with wood and he should get more than the $250,000 he reportedly turned down out of high school. Walker has more power from the right side, but his lefthanded swing is more pure. He's mostly a gap hitter with above-average speed, so he profiles as a good defensive center fielder. He has the speed to hit at the top of the order, but needs to cut down on his strikeouts. If he doesn't sign, Walker will head to Utah.
Bryce Bandilla, lhp
Bandilla has a lot of qualities scouts like: He's a beast at 6-foot-4, 237 pounds and can get his fastball up to 97 mph from the left side. He hasn't been consistent this year, however, and while he has the most electric stuff in Arizona's bullpen, he has pitched mostly in the middle innings and hasn't been trusted to close. When his stuff is on, it's undeniable. His fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range, and his best secondary offering is an above-average changeup that he has a good feel for. He throws a slurvy breaking ball in the bullpen but rarely uses it in games. He needs work on his fastball command and has some effort in his delivery as he flies open a little bit. Still, he could get a chance to start as a pro because his velocity from the left side is so rare.
Kevin Cron, 1b
Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix
Utah's C.J. Cron isn't the only Cron in this draft with a huge bat. His younger brother shattered the Arizona high school career home run record this year, finishing with 59, including 27 this season as he helped his team win a state title. Cron is almost a clone of his older brother. He has a softer body at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, but it's all about the hitting and power tools for those two. Kevin has some arm strength but will be limited to first base because of his lack of athleticism and below-average speed. High school first basemen that hit from the right side of the plate aren't usually premium picks, but Cron's bat is that intriguing. He has good bat speed and well above-average raw power. Rumors had him looking for a seven-figure signing bonus, and if he doesn't get an offer to his liking he'd be happy to honor his commitment to Texas Christian.
Johnny Ruettiger, of
The nephew of Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger, the Notre Dame football player who inspired the movie, Johnny Ruettiger has had a disappointing spring. He came into his junior season as a .354/.474/.509 career hitter, and he led the Cape Cod League in batting last summer at .369 and ranked as the league's No. 12 prospect. He has pressed this year for the Sun Devils, however, and was trying to show more power, which isn't a part of his game. He hit .329/.415/.388 with no home runs this year. Ruettiger's approach at the plate should focus more on putting the ball in play and finding the gaps instead of trying to launch home runs. His speed grades out at 60 or sometimes 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has mostly been used in left field for the Sun Devils, so scouts haven't been able to see him in center, where he projects best. He also needs to polish his basestealing, as he had stolen 21 bases this year but had been caught 11 times.
Kyle Simon, rhp
While he's a lot bigger than Oregon State's Sam Gaviglio at 6-foot-5 and 219 pounds, Simon has similar stuff, as a righthander with a lot of sink on his fastball and a good feel for pitching. Simon peaks at 93 mph, though he usually works between 86-89. He doesn't have a put-away pitch as Gaviglio does, and it shows up when comparing their strikeout totals. Simon's secondary offerings consist of a cutter at 84-87 mph and a changeup. Simon is big and sturdy with a lot of deception in his delivery. He could go to the bullpen and show more of those 93s, or he could stay in the rotation and get a bunch of groundouts as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Tayler Scott, rhp
Notre Dame Prep HS, Scottsdale
Scott, who moved to the United States from South Africa three years ago, did not pitch at any major showcase events last summer, but he's popping up this spring in another down year for Arizona high school talent. He's a good athlete who is also a standout soccer player for Notre Dame Prep. Scott has a projectable 6-foot-2 frame and is committed to Arizona. His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range, topping out at 93. He flashes an above-average breaking ball at times and he can throw the pitch for strikes, though it's mostly below-average now. Like most high school pitchers, Scott doesn't throw a changeup. He got roughed up during a couple of starts late in the year, but scouts still like his athleticism and projection.
Disappointing Devils, Wildcat Wild Cards
Third baseman Riccio Torrez
leapfrogged a couple of his more touted Arizona State teammates and will likely be drafted in the first 10 rounds, though he doesn't have standout tools. He won over scouts because he can do a little bit of everything and has a long track record of performance. Torrez has a line drive swing, with the chance for more power down the road. He profiles best at third base, or could wind up being a utility player because he's agile enough to play second base or shortstop in a pinch. Some scouts would like to try him out behind the plate. Torrez is a grinder who practices as hard as he plays and will be a favorite of managers in the pro ranks.
The Sun Devil scouts were most intrigued by coming into the season—outfielder Brandon Magee
—has spent most of the year on the bench. Most of scouts' looks have come during batting practice, where he routinely launches balls out of the park from the left side of the plate. Arizona State coaches and scouts agree that Magee has some of the best raw power in the country. He's an above-average runner under way, and despite his muscle-bound frame his swing is not tight or restricted. He has a compact, chiseled physique at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds. He's also a linebacker and was second on the Sun Devils football team with 73 tackles last fall. He has a better pro future on the baseball diamond and indications are that he wants to play. With 29 total collegiate at-bats, Magee is raw and will require patience and instruction at the next level, but he should go off the board between the eighth and 12th round.
Second baseman Zack MacPhee
was the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year last year after batting .389/.486/.664, the first year he started switch-hitting. He hit just .232/.377/.283 in conference games this year with college baseball's less-potent bats, though he still showed a patient approach. He took his walks and didn't strike out a lot, but put a lot of pressure on himself after his huge sophomore season. MacPhee has a tight, uphill swing from both sides of the plate. He doesn't have the arm strength to play anywhere but second base and is a fringy runner. He's a good defender at second base, but at 5-foot-8 and 172 pounds he needs either big tools or big numbers, and he had neither this year.
is a natural middle infielder who converted to catching two years ago and shows good athleticism behind the plate. He's undersized at 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, and scouts have doubts about his bat. His uncle is Mike Gallego, who played in the big leagues for 13 years and is now the third-base coach for Oakland.
First baseman Zach Wilson
has power but is unexceptional as a righthanded corner bat with an all-or-nothing approach. Lefthander Mitchell Lambson
can spot his fastball and has an above-average changeup, but he's underwhelming with velocity in the 85-86 mph range.
Arizona's best position player prospect didn't play this year. Shortstop Andy Burns
transferred from the Wildcats of Kentucky to the Wildcats of Arizona after last season, so he had to sit out this season. He was one of the top high school prospects in Colorado in 2008, but he fell to the Rockies in the 25th round because of his strong commitment to Kentucky. Burns has been working out for teams this spring and has expressed interest in signing. He'll get a chance to remain at shortstop as a pro, though he may eventually move to third base. He's an above-average runner and has the footwork to remain in the middle of the diamond. He has smooth actions, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame and well above-average arm strength. There are more questions about his bat than his defense, and he batted .279 in his two seasons at Kentucky. He will likely play in the Cape Cod League this summer to try and boost his stock.
Lefthander Matt Chaffee
worked hard to overcome a torn labrum and has been impressive late in the year as the Wildcats' closer. His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and has a three-pitch mix with a curveball he can throw for strikes and a changeup. There's no denying Chaffee's stuff, so it's just a matter of how much teams worry about his medical history.
Catcher Jett Bandy
is a good receiver but has fringy arm strength and a questionable bat.
Big Tools At Junior College Level
Coming into the season, Yavapai JC righthander Kenny Giles
was a one-trick pony. Giles, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, did not pitch as a high school senior because of elbow tendinitis and threw just 11 innings for New Mexico JC last year. He entered the year as just a thrower, having shown arm strength but little control or secondary pitches in the past. He turned a corner this spring, though, sitting 92-96 mph and touching 99. His fastball can get straight, but he has commanded it well and worked to improve his tempo on the mound. Giles also developed a splitter and has shown an 87-88 mph slider in bullpens and competitive batting practice sessions. Teams know he's raw, but his arm strength could land him as high as the third round. He is committed to Arizona, though scouts expect him to sign.
Central Arizona JC was loaded with talent this year, reaching the Junior College World Series with a record of 52-13. After Keenyn Walker, the team's best draft prospects are catcher Max Rossiter
, righthander Zach Dando
and shortstop Jorge Flores
. Rossiter, who is committed to Arizona State, has average arm strength and power, and the toughness to remain at catcher. Dando is raw and surprised scouts late in the year by touching 93 mph with his fastball. He shows potential with his slider as well, and is committed to Southern California. Flores did exactly what his believers thought he would do out of high school: played excellent defense and hit well. He's a singles hitter without a lot of strength, and at 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds it's hard to project much more.
South Mountain shortstop Trey Ford
has an athletic, 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He's a bit of a tweener because he doesn't have the range to stay at shortstop or the power to profile at third base, but he shows above-average speed and arm strength and plays hard.
Eastern Arizona righthander Alan Garcia
, a native of Hermosillo, Mexico, has a 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and drew scouts by touching 95 mph with his fastball early in the season. He was inconsistent and mostly pitched in the 87-91 mph range, however, and had an appendectomy that also slowed him down. A team may give him a shot later in the draft, hoping that the 95 mph fastball returns. If he doesn't sign, he will pitch for Azusa Pacific next year.
Another Down Year For High School Talent
Lefthander Stephen Tarpley
has been impressive this spring, sitting in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball and touching 93, with a hard curveball. He gets around the pitch at times, but it shows hard, downer action when he stays on top of it. Tarpley also mixes in a changeup and can throw all of his pitches for strikes thanks to his athletic, 6-foot, 175-pound frame. Scouts like him, but there are rumors he wants seven figures to forgo his commitment to Southern California. If he goes to school, some think he could be a first-round pick in three years.
Tarpley's catcher, Nathaniel Causey
, also has intriguing tools. He's passable behind the plate and shows good power as a lefthanded hitter, though the swing is a little stiff and he's pull-conscious right now. Scouts backed off this year because of his strong commitment to Arizona State.
Another Arizona State commit is righthander Zach Davies
, who got multiple Mike Leake comparisons from scouts and college recruiters. Like Leake, Davies has a medium build at 6 feet and 165 pounds and shows good athleticism. When he's not pitching, he plays shortstop. Davies doesn't have huge stuff but knows how to pitch and has four pitches that should be at least average: fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He doesn't have Leake's fastball movement, but the similarities with his athleticism and feel for pitching are obvious.
Most of Arizona's high school talent is concentrated in and around Phoenix, but a player popped up in Yuma: shortstop/righthander Tyler Parmenter
. He has a 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame and his best tool is his arm, which some scouts give a 70 on the 20-80 scale. He has touched 92 on the mound, and would play both ways if he gets to Arizona. He has power potential at the plate, but he's a bit raw and there are questions about whether he has the footwork and instincts to remain at shortstop.
Lefthander Nick Valenza
is undersized at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, but he has a lightning-quick arm and has touched 93 mph this spring. He also throws a quality changeup and a power breaking ball, though he needs to improve his control. He's committed to Nevada.
Control and consistency have also been an issue for lefthander Scott Squier
. He has been up to 94 mph and is committed to Hawaii. Squier has projection in his 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame, and his cutter and curveball show promise.
Lefthander Michael Howard
generated buzz over the summer by touching 92 mph at the Area Code Games. He was inconsistent this spring, and most scouts felt he would be better off going to Baylor and polishing his arsenal and command.
Outfielder Jordan Dunatov
was a wild card after missing most of the year with a back injury. Scouts like his body and athleticism—he's a 6-foot-5, 200-pound specimen with above-average speed—but have questions about his bat. He'll likely head to Oregon State as part of a strong Beavers recruiting class.