Top 100 College Prospects Chat
Aaron Fitt will answer your questions about college prospects for the 2013 draft beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
Hello folks, sorry I'm a few minutes late getting started — had to take a phone call from a coach. Let's get going!
Mick (Chicago): You have to scroll down to 54 to find a shortstop, and it's Brandon Trinkwon...wow!?!
Great observation, Mick — that is the
biggest reason scouts are not terribly excited about this draft class:
there is a real lack of impact up-the-middle guys. Most of the top
college shortstops are more in the steady grinder mold (think Matt
Reida, Jack Reinheimer at ECU, Adam Frazier, Kyle Farmer at Georgia,
etc). That's why a guy like Hunter Dozier is interesting — he's got
real impact tools, and has a chance to shoot up this list in the fall.
Scouts really liked what they saw from Trinkwon in the Cape — he's got
an innate feel to hit that stands out in this group of shortstops, and
he's a good athlete. Good all-around player.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Aaron, who are you seing as some of the biggest risers on this list? Also, who seems to be falling? Thanks!
A few guys in the top 10 have really helped
their stock a ton in the last six months or so: Jonathon Crawford, Phil
Ervin and of course Cape sensation Sean Manaea. Dillon Overton is one
name we moved way up our list based on some feedback from scouts. Jason
Hursh looked great in the Cal Collegiate League — he's got premium arm
strength (upper-90s heat) and could go in the top half of the first
round with a good spring. He's well removed from Tommy John now and
should be ready to shoulder a significant load in the spring. Some guys
who fell based on feedback we heard from scouts: Dominic Ficociello,
Jonathan Fist (Denver): What puts Marco Gonzales just ahead of Ryan Eades? That he's left-handed?
He's lefthanded and has special feel for
pitching and command. I see a lot of Mike Minor in Gonzales — it's good
command of an average fastball, plus-plus changeup and solid breaking
ball, and he just really knows how to use it all. Eades has much more
electric raw stuff, but his command and overall feel is still something
of a question mark. That said, several scouting directors suggested
Eades has a chance to go higher than this with a good spring. The raw
stuff is very exciting.
Joel (KCK): Would Carlos Rodon top this list if
he were eligible? If so, what is it that he has over the rest of the
pitchers on this list? Thanks!
I think he would. It's his entire package:
he's a big, physical lefthander with an explosive fastball and
devastating secondary stuff, and he's fearless. He's got David Price
upside, and his command is a lot more advanced than Price's was at the
Ernie (North Highlands, CA): Which pitchers would you predict to have a better starting pitching career than Kevin Gausman?
I'm a big Gausman fan — I liked him even
more than Appel last year (though I was in the minority on that point
among our staff), and I would put Gausman No. 1 on this list if here
were eligible this year.
Morrie (NJ): If the draft was held today, could you see Karsten Whitson in the 1st round, or has his stock dropped?
If the draft were held today... maybe the
sandwich round. No question, his stock has dropped. Everyone knows how
talented he is, and what kind of stuff he has when he's healthy and
confident, but he's got a lot to prove this spring — he's really one of
the biggest X-factors in this draft. If he has a big year, he could go
in the top five picks. If durability and command questions continue to
plague him, teams might be scared off on him, considering this is a guy
who has already turned down first-round money once, so you can't expect
him to sign cheap.
Frank (Grand Junction): Jason Monda was once favorably compared to Jacoby Ellsbury by his Wazzu coach. Agree?
I don't see that comparison — Monda is a
corner guy all the way, not nearly as quick-twitch and fast as Ellsbury.
Not that Monda is a bad athlete, but he's more of a longer-levered,
physical guy with power projection.
John (Orlando): What justifies Colin Moran's very high rank and do you think he'll have more of an impact MLB bat than Richie Shaffer?
Moran is the best pure hitter in this draft
class, and I don't think it's close. He's also got power and he's
improving at third base. I think his feel for hitting is better than
Shaffer's, but he has less raw power and he's less athletic. I'm higher
on Shaffer than some people, but I think they are comparable prospects. I
think the consensus probably has Moran a little ahead of Shaffer.
Ben (Leland Grove): If you had to assign a grade on the 20-80 scouting scale for this list of 100, what would it receive?
You know I'm a sucker for the 20-80 scale
— love this question! I'll give it a 45 — just a fringy draft. You've
got enough depth of power arms to keep it from being below-average, and
there are some intriguing corner bats, but the lack of up-the-middle
talent is jarring.
Ryan A. (Chicago): Guys I'm really surprised
our B10 guys are so far down the list, especially UM Michael O'Neill.
Isn't O'Neill a 1st round type guy? Windle as well...
O'Neill does have first-round-caliber raw
tools, but he needs to prove those tools translate consistently. He
needs to stay healthy and perform this spring, and if he does I could
definitely see him jumping up, because he can fly and he's got pop.
We've got Windle on the cusp of the first-round round now, and he
certainly could go mid-first round next June — that wouldn't be much of
a leap from where we've got him ranked.
John (California): What did you see in
Stanford's SS Kauppila that made you include him over returning All PAC
12 SS Tyler Smith from Oregon State?
Kauppila's more athletic and quick-twitch,
has smoother infield actions and a better chance to play short in pro
ball. Smith is a nice player, and I was a bit surprised he went
undrafted as a junior this past year, but the input we got from scouts
in the Northwest last spring did not even land him in our BA 500, so
he's a long way from being a Top 100-caliber prospect.
Dan (Ft. Collins): A hitting future is out for Marco Gonzales?
He obviously can hit, and if he didn't
pitch then he would probably still have a pro future as a hitter. But
he's just a much better prospect off the mound, to the point that I'd be
shocked if any team would prefer him as a hitter. Lefthanders with his
kind of polish, athleticism, moxie and stuff are coveted.
JR (Iowa): How many on the top 100 do you think are 1st round draft picks?
If there are 30 players in the first round, you can expect 13-18 of them to be college players from this list.
Brad miller (Fort Worth): Any chance Andrew Mitchell goes in the first round?
Sure, it could happen if a team wants a guy
who could move quickly as a power reliever. That's how most people see
MItchell's future — he's well suited for the bullpen but lacks the
third pitch and the fine command to start. That limits his upside
somewhat, but he certainly has power stuff — he's not that different
from Colby Suggs, really. Both guys will show you mid-90s heat and real
power hammer curveballs, but Suggs helped himself a bunch in the Cape,
whereas MItchell is coming off a somewhat disappointing sophomore
David (LA): Colton Plaia returns to Loyola
Marymount for his senior season. Do you think he can help lead Loyola
to a regional in 2013. They had some young pitching last year that
developed towards the end of the year. Your thought on Colton and then
where you think the team will finish in the WCC?
I like Plaia — solid receiver with arm
strength and some pop in his bat. College teams love having senior
catchers with his skill set, and I think he'll be a real asset for an
LMU team that should contend for a regional spot this year. I'm bullish
on those young arms — Megill and Welmon are legit, I think.
Brian (Springfield, MO): Top college bats in 2014? Fisher, Turner, Chapman, Cron, Jose?
That's a nice group. Others I'd throw into
the mix: Mason Robbins, Alex Blandino, Richard Prigatano, Brett Austin
(still believe in this guy — think he's due for a breakout sophomore
year). This is an informal, top-of-my-head list, mind you.
David (Indiana): I was surprised to only see
one catcher listed all the way down at #90. Is it a weak college class
of catchers this year? Who else can we look for to make an impact?
Like I said at the top — just a very poor
group of up-the-middle prospects. There were a few other guys in the mix
for our top 100, like Mitchell Garver at New Mexico and Ty Ross at LSU,
maybe Spencer Navin at Vandy, but it's an extremely disappointing group
of catchers overall. Just look at Team USA's catching situation last
year — they were nice college players, but none of the catchers on that
team ranked among the top 20 prospects on the roster. One of them was
Brett Hambright, who isn't even playing baseball anymore. That gives you
a pretty good indication how weak this catching crop is.
Greg (Ohio): How does Kris Bryant compare to Richie Schaffer from 2012 draft?
There are some real similarities. Both guys
have premium righthanded power and plus (or better) arms. Both are more
athletic than you think, but both have some stiffness at third base.
Shaffer has a better chance to stick at third — it sounds like Bryant
will play right field this year at USD, and there is a sense that he
fits best out there. I could see him as a long-striding right fielder
with a cannon arm and a powerful bat — that's still a very nice
profile. Or both guys could wind up at first base some day — defensive
value is TBD with these guys.
John (Madison, WI): How would you compare Appel/Manaea/Stanek with Zimmer/Gausman/Appel and Cole/Bauer/Hultzen?
I like the Cole/Bauer/Hultzen group the
best because I prefer Cole to Appel, Bauer over the other two righties
and Hultzen over Manaea. It comes down to polish, I think. I'd probably
rank last year's group second, and this year's group third, but this
year's group is good too — there's a lot of upside with these three
guys, just less track record and less polish.
Jody (Chicago): Thanks for taking questions
today, Aaron. After the big three at the top are there any other
frontline ceilings on this list? Obviously there could be some pop-ups
between now and draft day but would you throw that tag on anyone else?
I'll tell you what, Jody: there are plenty
of scouts who prefer Crawford over Stanek, so I really think he belongs
in that elite tier as well. He impressed people a ton with Team USA, and
there was really a split camp this summer between those two guys when I
was making calls for our Team USA prospects list. Wahl is a tick behind
those guys, but I think he's got front-line ceiling too, as does Eades.
Vanegas is one of those wild cards: he was showing really, really
premium stuff this fall, generating a lot of buzz from scouts. But I
want to see him really perform consistently before I elevate him into
the elite group. And keep an eye on Alex Balog — he could be this
year's Zimmer at USF. At his best last year, he was 93-97 with a wipeout
slider and a wipeout changeup, though he doesn't show that kind of
stuff consistently. But I'm excited about him.
Kelly (college): Aaron Judge has hit for no power with a metal bat, why is he still so high on this list?
Because it's in there, it really is. If the
performance matched the tools, he would be top five on this list, but
you're right that his lack of power production in two years at Fresno is
a concern. But he has flashed massive raw power in BP and in summers,
to the point that one scouting director compared him to Giancarlo
Stanton in our Cape League top 30 this summer. This is one of those
instances where there is a disconnect between stats and scouting — and I
think this is where scouting becomes really valuable. Sometimes it just
takes longer for raw tools to translate into production, but if it
happens, you've got a superstar on your hands.
DJ (texas): Could you tell us more about Dillon Overton?
Overton is a lefty with big-time arm
strength — he'll pitch in the low 90s and show you 94-95, and he's got
swing-and-miss secondary stuff. His command took a big jump during his
sophomore year, too. Lot to like in that package.
Mike (MD): Hey Aaron, thanks for the chat. If
Aaron Judge comes out this spring and hits 8-12 home runs and shows he
has usable, in-game power, does he get popped in the front half of the
first round in your opinion?
Yes, I think so.
Bull (Richmond, Va): Where do you see Renfroe-MSU going in the draft and how close was Tony Kemp from Vanderbilt to making the list.
Renfroe is one of those big-time wild cards
for the draft. Not many players in this draft class have better raw
tools — we're talking plus-plus raw power, plus-plus arm strength and
plus speed. He's found a home in the outfield, too. It all comes down to
his bat; he needs to prove he's got feel for hitting this spring, and
if he does, he could be a first-round pick. His numbers through two
years at MSU are very pedestrian, but he has put up monstrous numbers
against weaker competition in the Cal Ripken League. But we always knew
he was a long-term project who would need some time to put it all
together, and I do think he's gradually figuring it out. Kemp was not
far off the back of the top 100 — he can obviously hit and has premium
speed, and if he has a good year at second base, I could see him as a
top-five-rounds guy despite his small size. He's just a really good
player, and it's not like he doesn't have tools.
Jim (Vermont): How does Manaea compare to previous top college lefties like Hultzen, Pomeranz or Minor?
From a stuff standpoint, he reminds me of
Chris Sale. Both guys showed you mid-to-upper-90s velocity, both showed
plus changeups, both needed to improve their sliders (but both pitches
were promising), and both used lower slots. Their body types are
different — Manaea is more physical — but from a stuff standpoint, I
think they're fairly similar.
Craig (Las Vegas): Marshall's Aaron Blair came from off the radar to #38 on your Top 100. What does he need to do to move up even higher?
We like Blair because he has a solid
three-pitch mix, a good build and a nice performance track record in the
Cape. We'd like to see a bit more overpowering stuff out of him — he
looks like he should be a power guy, but he's a bit more of a finesse
pitcher, really, with an 89-92 fastball and secondary stuff that is
solid but not devastating.
Joe (Nashville): Which are your three top teams for 2013?
C'mon, Joe, I can't give that away! But if
you're asking about your hometown team, it's safe to assume they will be
strongly in the mix.
John (N.C.): What kind of big league ceilings
do you see for Carolina's Colin Moran and Kent Emmanuel? Any chance of
seeing both go in the first round?
Yeah, I could see it. Emanuel is one of
those slightly polarizing guys — in our early version of this list,
some scouts thought we had him too high, and others thought he was too
low. He certainly has an innate feel to pitch, and if his breaking ball
and/or fastball velocity takes another step forward, I could certainly
see him joining Moran in the first round. I see Moran as a future
everyday big leaguer.
scott green (kentucky): What do you think about the prospects at the university of Kentucky?
Big fan of Corey Littrell, obviously — a
lefthander with stuff and projection, though he needs to continue to
refine his command this spring. I'm hearing Jerad Grundy is dramatically
improved this fall — better command, better slider. Keep an eye on him
— he was a big name out of high school, and he might have finally put
it all together. Another sleeper: J.T. Riddle, an athletic second
baseman who can swing it from the left side. He's a breakout candidate.
Tom (Albuquerque, NM): DJ Peterson had an
unbelieveable year last year and then led Team USA in HR and RBI this
summer. You see him as a sure fire 1st rounder and best power bat in the
He does look like a very strong bet to go
in the first round because of that power bat. He's right there with
Bryant for best power bat in this college draft class. I really like him
— it was a pleasure to watch him hit in the regional at UCLA this
Tony Ciuffo (Charleston SC): Who are your top college prospects in South Carolina?
Amazing that there are no Clemson or South
Carolina players on this list, isn't it? We've got Coastal Carolina's
Jacob May as the top guy in the state — a very athletic table-setter
type. But Clemson's Steve Wilkerson was in the mix for our top 100 also.
Les (So Cal): If the draft were today, where do
you see Andrew Thurman from UCI going? He appears to have grown a ton
from freshman to sophomore. What's keeping him from being a high round
He was not far outside our Top 100. He's
got good feel for a solid three-pitch mix, and I saw his velocity play
up a bit in relief in a fall scrimmage a week or two ago — sitting
easily at 91-92. But as a starter it's more 87-91, and he doesn't really
have a knockout offspeed pitch. It's good stuff, just not great stuff.
Kevin (Scottsdale): Which position player do you see going first in the draft? Colin Moran or Austin Meadows?
Meadows has more upside — he's got to be the guy, I think.
Danny (Seattle): I there a Mike Zunino in this years crop?
Not even close!
Jay (Branson, MO): Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo sounds interesting, what is his upside?
His lefthanded power potential is his
calling card, and he's got arm strength at third base, but he needs to
smooth out his defense there to really maximize his value. Regardless,
his bat gives him a chance to be a big leaguer. If it all comes
together, he could be an impact guy.
Josh (NY): Anyone coming off injury who could jump with a productive and healthy spring?
I mentioned Jason Hursh earlier — that
name leaps out. I'll throw Tulane's Randy LeBlanc into that mix too —
he's also got front-line upside, and is also coming off Tommy John
TitansBB (Huntington Beach): If Lorenzen can get his hitting together, first round pick?
Yes. He's a premium athlete who plays a
great center field, has a huge asset in his bazooka arm, and still
figures to grow into some power. Scouts just want to see more consistent
Katie (San Francisco): There was a trend this
past summer that bats were much stronger in summer leagues than usual
(Cape Cod League homerun record was broken for example). It appears that
this is not a strong hitting class however. How do you think this
hitting trend will translate over the 2013 season and will it impact the
I don't think it will translate to this
spring — I really believe, like many, many college coaches and scouts
do, that the balls were juiced across summer ball this year, and that
was the biggest reason for the offensive surge. I expect offense will
return to normal this spring.
OK folks, that's all I've got time for
today. Thanks so much for a truly fantastic bunch of questions. I'm
thankful to have such an intelligent, insightful group of readers, and I
really enjoy talking baseball with you guys and gals! Have a great