Players On The Move

Prospects whose stock is increasing or decreasing significantly two months before the June 5-6 draft:

Ethan Martin, rhp/3b, Stephens County HS, Toccoa, Ga. Considered a power-hitting third baseman coming into the season, he showed that his future will be on the mound when he struck out slugger Eric Hosmer in a head-to-head meeting. Few high school pitchers have been as impressive as Martin this spring.

Joshua Fields, rhp, Georgia. After leading the Bulldogs to the College World Series and dominating in the Cape Cod League in 2006, he slipped a notch last year, fell to the second round and didn’t sign with the Braves. Now he’s back to blowing away hitters with a mid-90s fastball and a power breaking ball, with a 0.00 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 15 innings. He once again looks like the first-rounder he initially projected as a year ago.

Brett Wallace, 3b/1b, Arizona State. No one doubted his hitting ability coming into the year, but his power was in question. With nine homers in 31 games, he looks like he can be more than a Mark Grace. He also has moved to third base for the Sun Devils and hasn’t looked bad, though he’ll almost certainly be a first baseman again when he reaches the majors.

David Cooper, 1b, California. Just what this draft needed—another slugging first baseman. With a .370 average and 13 homers in 23 games, Cooper has become another first baseman who could hit his way into the first round.

Zach Collier, of, Chino Hills (Calif.) HS. Outfielders aren’t the strong suit of this draft, and many of the best outfield prospects aren’t off to strong starts. Thus the emergence of Collier, who wasn’t on the showcase circuit last summer, has been a welcome development. He gave a glimpse of the potential in his bat by going 4-for-4 with a double and a homer off likely first-rounder Aaron Hicks.

Jay Austin, of, North Atlanta HS. Another prep outfielder making a case for the first or sandwich round, he’s a speedy center fielder with a promising bat.

College relievers in Texas. Texas Tech’s Zach Stewart, Texas Christian’s Andrew Cashner and Rice’s Bryan Price all have looked overpowering at times this spring and could go early in the draft to teams looking for a quick return. Stewart (North Central Texas CC) and Cashner (Angelina JC) have had no trouble jumping to Division I after spending last season at Texas junior colleges.

Harold Martinez, 3b, Braddock HS, Miami. Our third-rated high school position player and a projected mid-first-rounder coming into the season, he’s plummeting because he simply hasn’t hit. Martinez hasn’t resembled the player who looked so good on the showcase circuit last summer.

Luke Burnett, rhp, Louisiana Tech. Burnett showcased one of the most impressive arms as a reliever in the Cape League last summer, but he has struggled mightily as a starter (0-2, 9.33, 20-17 K-BB ratio in 27 IP) this spring. His velocity and arm speed were way down, though perhaps a return to the bullpen will get him going.

Brandon Crawford, ss, UCLA. Though Crawford hit just .189 with wood bats on the Cape last summer, he still had a good chance to go in the first round in a draft lacking in middle infielders. But he hasn’t resolved questions about his bat by hitting .311 with metal and showing little pop (two homers, eight extra-base hits) or plate discipline (eight walks, 27 strikeouts). He’s a good athlete and solid defender, but he’s going to have to show more at the plate.

Scott Green, rhp, Kentucky. He turned down $800,000 from the Red Sox at the end of the Cape League season last summer, aiming for mid-first-round money in 2008. But Green has looked stiff and bulky this spring, and his stuff hasn’t progressed as expected. He has Tommy John surgery in his past and has been hit hard in his last few outings, making him a puzzle scouts have yet to figure out.