Draft Tracker: May 19
In keeping with our latest trend of themed Draft Trackers, here are six scouting reports on players from around the country that we just have a good "gut feeling" are going to make it. . .
Kevin Chapman, lhp, Florida
College closers have risen up draft boards in recent years. Drew Storen—just promoted to the major leagues—was the 10th overall pick last year. Four college relievers went in the first round in 2008, including Tigers big leaguer Ryan Perry. And the '07 draft had two closers (Daniel Moskos and Casey Weathers) in the first 10 picks.
The college closer crop for the 2010 draft doesn't have a first-round lock, with Texas Tech's Chad Bettis the best bet to go high. Chapman, a fourth-year junior who already has been drafted twice, isn't far behind him. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty has impressed scouts with three pitches—a fastball that has touched 95, a plus slider and a changeup that he rarely uses but that flashes average potential.
Chapman's only negative is his medical history—he had Tommy John surgery back in 2008. He's looked fully recovered this season and has shown the ability to pitch well when used on consecutive days, striking out five over two games when used back-to-back against Alabama two weekends ago.
Cito Culver, ss, Irondequoit HS, Rochester, N.Y.
Hidden away in upstate New York—hardly a baseball hotbed—Culver sticks out like a sore thumb. He is the rare Northeast prep product with a legitimate chance to play shortstop in the major leagues.
"He's a good player—a really good player," an American League area scout said. "It's hard to imagine a kid with as good of actions and baseball feel as he's got being from Rochester, New York. It just doesn't fit; you think this kid should be in Florida. I don't see many guys like that in my part of the country."
Culver's best tool is his arm, which rates as a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale—some scouts report seeing him up to 94 off the mound, but he has no interest in pitching. The game comes easily to Culver, whose actions, instincts and range are all plus at times, though he has a long way to go to become a consistent defender, and there are scouts who believe he profiles as a utility player down the road. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Culver is a solid-average runner and a switch-hitter with a loose, whippy swing from both sides of the plate. He projects to have below-average power and is mostly a slap hitter currently, but he does generate good bat speed, and he could be an average hitter as he gets stronger.
Culver is an excellent athlete who plays basketball in the winter, and he could take off once he concentrates solely on baseball. He could be drafted in the fourth-to-sixth-round range, but he is considered a difficult sign away from his Maryland commitment.
Cole Green, rhp, Texas
Green can't match the stuff of the other members of Texas' weekend rotation (projected first-round picks Taylor Jungmann and Brandon Workman), but he has outpitched them both this spring. In mid-May, he ranked fourth in NCAA Division I in wins and was 10-0, 1.81 with a 59-21 K-BB ratio and .189 opponent average in 89 innings.
He doesn't have a classic pro build at 6 feet and 210 pounds, and he can't overpower hitters, but he pitches so well and competes so hard that he should go in the first five rounds. Green sits at 89-91 mph and peaks at 93 mph with his sinker, living in the bottom of the strike zone and generating plenty of groundouts. His changeup is a quality offering and he also has a late-breaking slider. He throws strikes with all three pitches and keeps his pitch counts down, allowing him to work deep into games.
Some scouts project him as no more than a solid middle reliever in the big leagues, but his feel for pitching and his makeup may allow him to make it as a starter.
Angelo Gumbs, of, Torrance (Calif.) HS
The 6-foot, 200-pound Gumbs wears uniform number 21 in tribute to his idol, Roberto Clemente. He plays with the same energy and abandon as the great Pirate star: slashing at the ball, careening around the bases, diving into bags, cutting loose with powerful throws and making spectacular plays in the field.
Gumbs hails from a school which has a strong baseball legacy. Major leaguers Steve Kealey, Bart Johnson and the father-son tandem of Fred and Jason Kendall are all Torrance alumni. In the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Gumbs played shortstop for his high school squad but his future is undoubtedly in the outfield.
His tools are impressive but not phenomenal. Showcase clockings register his speed in the 6.75 to 6.85 range, and he zips down the line in about 4.15 seconds from the right side of the plate. Gumbs windmill delivery produces strong throws, and his arm is easily suitable for any of the three outfield spots. His primary tool is his glove, for 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. He possesses terrific bat speed, and Gumbs accelerates the bat head at contact with lightning quickness.
In the spring of 2010, Gumbs got off to a blazing start, 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 off-speed stuff and breaking pitches, and has also been battling a tendency to pull off the ball. When healthy, Gumbs has the ability to be an electrifying outfielder with five average to plus tools. His exciting "all-out" style of play is a throwback to an earlier time. Considered signable, Gumbs is still only 17—he won't turn 18 until October 13.
The club that drafts him will need to be patient as he develops, but Gumbs could eventually provide an enormous payoff.
Bobby Wahl, rhp, West Springfield HS, Springfield, Va.
After the showcase circuit in 2009 and coming into the 2010 season, Bobby Wahl was a righthanded prospect with the potential to go in the first four rounds. But he's had an inconsistent spring and his stock has taken a little bit of a hit. He came out of the gates a little slow, but started to pick up his velocity and throw well.
Then he got hit just above his pitching elbow by a line drive. The injury wasn't serious—just a bruise—but he took some extra time off as a precaution. When he came back he didn't seem quite the same. He hasn't regained the form he had last summer and will probably honor his Ole Miss commitment. When he's right, Wahl has a driving delivery with good extension. At USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars last summer, several scouts compared his delivery to a taller Roy Oswalt.
Wahl is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. His fastball sits 90-92 mph and touches 93 when he's healthy. He has confidence in his slider, which is a good pitch with hard break. He also shows a changeup and curveball, but both pitches need work. Wahl simply had an inconsistent season. He would show low 90s for a few innings and then lose it. On some days he was 84-89 with a slowed delivery. While his stock has dropped, Wahl has the ingredients to take a big step forward after three years at Ole Miss.
Kevin Walter, rhp, Legacy HS, Broomfield, Colo.
While Kevin Gausman came into the year as the more highly-touted prospect from Colorado, some scouts believe Walter will actually end up being the better of the two.
He's a giant at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. Although he sometimes has some timing problems in his delivery, he's a good athlete with clean mechanics for the most part. He hasn't shown the same velocity as Gausman—Walter has been mostly 88-90 mph with some sink and touches 92—but scouts believe it's in there.
The separator between the two is Walter's ability to spin two different breaking balls. He throws a power curveball and a hard slider. They're distinctly different pitches and both show the potential to be above-average. He doesn't throw many changeups at this point, but that's not uncommon. Walter is committed to Boston College, but may not get there, as he's getting fourth to sixth round buzz.
Contributing: Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, Conor Glassey, John Manuel, Dave Perkin & Nathan Rode