2011 Draft Chat: Sept. 17

Conor Glassey: Happy Friday, everybody! Let’s get started a few minutes early. We’re triple-teaming this thing today, so here goes. . .

    alexei (St J Vt): Do you think that Bubba Starling can be regarded in the top 10 or even top 5, first round? I think that with his power, speed, arm combo that he is and wonder if the
    Orioles who may slide down to five would nab him?

Conor Glassey: Top 5 might be a little rich, but that’s
mostly because there’s so many premium college guys at the top. On talent and potential, Starling is absolutely a top half of the first round kind of guy. It will all come down to signability and whether or not he wants to play baseball or football.

    Paul (St. Pete): Is Trevor Bauer eligible for next year's draft? What's your early assessment of him?

John Manuel: I’m just going to be here a few minutes, not feeling my best this p.m., and I’m confident Aaron & Conor can handle things anyway. Also want to congratulate Nathan Rode (@bahighschool) on his nuptials this weekend.
Bauer is eligible, he’ll be a junior; he skipped his HS senior year, but
it’s his third year in college. I’m a fan of his long-toss regimen and his stuff, he’s got a great changeup to go with his fastball and curve. Teams that shied away from Tim Lincecum may shy away from him as well, they do a lot of things similarly but Lincecum’s stuff is much more electric. He’d be higher on my board than most teams’ boards, put it that way. I’m a believer but I’m not sure he’s a consensus first-rounder. He didn’t pitch this summer, spent the summer in Houston training and working on his mechanics; I expect a monster 2011 season from him.

    Toby (Bronx): Are there any potential #1 starters in this crop?

Aaron Fitt: Toby, there are a few college arms with a legit chance. Gerrit Cole’s stuff is as loud as anybody’s in the big leagues — it’s in the Strasburg neighborhood. Now, the reason Strasburg
is special is because he has impeccable command to go with the stuff, and Cole isn’t there yet. But his command and feel for pitching has come
a long way, and there’s no question he has No. 1 starter upside, if he continues to develop at this rate. I’m also very high on TCU’s Matt Purke and Texas’ Taylor Jungmann—I’d feel pretty comfortable projecting
both those guys as No. 2 starters in the big leagues, with a chance to develop into No. 1s if everything breaks right.

    Tom (San Francisco, CA): I'm rather enamored with Ricky Oropesa (from a baseball standpoint, mind you). Since the long-term first base situation seems to be in question for my Jays at the moment, I'm hoping he's somewhat on their radar. Is his one of the most thunderous college bats in next years' draft? Thanks.

John Manuel: Tom, I also like Oropesa, and he does have
a thunderous bat when it’s metal, with 33 HRs in two years at USC on bad teams. He also hit for power with wood in the Cape Cod League this summer, and ranked as our No. 27 prospect there. He led the league in HR
but also strikeouts. I didn’t report that league, Jim Callis did, so he
has more info there, but he strikes me as a better talent than several players ranked ahead of him. I think he’s got a shot to be a first-rounder because he’s not a slug (though he’s more a 1B or LF than a
3B) and he has hard-to-find righthanded power. I’d take him over, say, Bryce Brentz, who was a supp pick in 2010.

    JAYPERS (IL): Excluding Rendon, if the draft were held today, who would go off the board #1 overall?

Aaron Fitt: After a second straight dominant summer with Team USA, I think Gerrit Cole has edged past Purke and Jungmann as the top pitcher on the board, heading into the fall. UConn’s George Springer also is starting to generate some darkhorse No. 1 pick buzz…

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): What type of future power grade would you put on Francisco Lindor? The ball certainly jumps off his bat, and he won the AFLAC HR Derby, but is essentially more of a
    gap guy given his stature?

Conor Glassey: Aflac HR Derby aside, I don’t think Lindor profiles as a big power guy. He’s just not that big and doesn’t have that kind of swing. He does have bat speed and can certainly put a charge into the ball, but I’d guess he’d be more in the 8-12 HR range as
a pro.

    Matt (Clinton): Is George Springer the best hitter in the draft not named Rendon? Does he have 5 tool potential?

John Manuel: He may be the best position-player prospect, but he’s not the best hitter, not in terms of a present grade.
Springer was a lot of fun to watch with Team USA and has true 5-tool potential but his hit tool is pretty far from what it will need to be in
the big leagues. The guy struck out 70 times in the Big East this year.
The Big East was better than usual, but how often would he have struck out in, say, the SEC? Just an awful lot of swing and miss there, with 16
more K’s in 52 Cape at-bats. That said, you could see him make in-game adjustments with Team USA, and he probably has more bat speed than his competition. He’s as fun a player as there is to watch in college baseball in terms of tools; wish there were more guys like George Springer every year.

    Garrett (Virginia): I've been hearing a lot of good things about LHP/OF Jake Cave. Is he the top prep prospect in the state of Virginia? Also, where do you see him going in the upcoming draft?

Conor Glassey: I think he is, and he’s a legit two-way guy. He’ll have some competition from RHP Deshorn Lake, but I like Cave better. Also keep an eye on First Colonial HS SS T.J. Costen from Virginia Beach.

    Scott (Oxford, MS): Will B.A. Vollmuth be a high draft pick? Can he stay at SS despite making error after error this year? Thanks guys!

Aaron Fitt: Even after a brutal summer in the Cape League, I suspect Vollmuth will go in the top two or three rounds. His bat is his best tool—he’s got some easy power potential, but he needs to be more selective, and his swing has some mechanical issues he needs to address. He’s always been a work in progress at shortstop—he has the
arm strength for it and he’s a good athlete, but he remains very inconsistent defensively, and the consensus is that his future is at third base as he matures physically.

    Greg (LA): Wonder where the Yankees would be if Gerritt Cole was their #5 starter instead of Javy Vasquez?

John Manuel: Kind of a silly hypothetical, since the Yanks are already owners of the second-best record in the majors. But it’s a fun what-if, because fellow ’08 Yanks draft picks such as D.J. Mitchell (10th round) and David Phelps (14th) already reached Triple-A. Cole was a HS guy vs. those college picks, but he obviously had the stuff to move quickly. He’ll get more money in 2011 after turning them down though, a lot more, as long as he stays healthy at UCLA. I’d take him as the top college pitcher personally, though I would guess the consensus has Matt Purke a bit higher. I love Cole’s curve and physicality, plus his improved maturity.

    Gary (Oakland): Can you rank Cole, Gray, Purke, and Jungmann?

John Manuel: I’ll go Cole, Purke, Jungmann and Gray. Nothing against Sonny, who’d rank first here if we’re measuring broken-down cars or Twitter accounts, but he’s 4-6 inches shorter than the rest of those guys.
Aaron Fitt just IM’d me that he has the same order, which I don’t think we planned, but we have discussed these things, so I’m not shocked we’re
on the same page.

    Trevor (Atlanta GA): Is Travis Harrison anything more than a power bat? What other tools of his grade well?

Conor Glassey: Yeah, a team that’s going to draft Harrison is going to be doing it for the bat only. He ran a 7.09 60 at Area Codes, so he’s a 40 runner. He’ll probably start out at 3B, but is likely to wind up in LF or 1B. But he’s big and strong and has some of the best raw power in this year’s high school class.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): A 2012 Draft question for Conor: thoughts on Fernelys Sanchez?

Conor Glassey: I haven’t seen Sanchez, since I wasn’t out at Area Codes. It’s legit 80+ speed (6.35 60 at Area Codes), but it sounds like the bat has a long ways to go. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see him down in Jupiter in October.

    Adam (Miami): Not saying they are similar in talent level, but is Christian Montgomery's body type similar to Sabathia's at the same age?

Conor Glassey: They’re both real big, but no, not really. Sabathia was 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. Montgomery is 6-foot-1, 240 pounds.

    Noah (Boone, NC): Cecil Tanner and Chase Davidson turned down 6 figures to go to UGA but both were among the worst players in the NCAA, production-wise, last year. Do they have any
    chance of regaining their former status?
    If Jason Neighborgall could get 500k, surely Tanner could get 200k, right?

Aaron Fitt: Tanner has a huge arm, and even this summer
while he was taking his lumps in the Cape, he still showed a mid-90s fastball and a promising breaking ball. Like with Neighborgall, Tanner’s
issues are more mental than physical, but there’s no question a club will be willing to open the checkbook for his potential, even if he struggles again in the spring. Davidson has been one of the nation’s biggest disappointments the last two years, and his prospect stock has tumbled. He was a key piece of that highly ranked Georgia recruiting class two years ago, and he has just gone backwards. He reminds me of Auburn’s Kevin Patterson: both were big-time recruits on the strength of
their raw lefthanded power potential, and both struggled mightily with their approaches in college. Patterson’s first two years weren’t much better than Davidson’s, but he rebounded to hit 16 home runs in a part-time role this spring—and he still slipped to the 23rd round of the draft. Davidson is in that same boat now—he’s got a ton to prove.

    Tim (Rock Hill, SC): Is Clemson two-way guy, Will Lamb, a better prospect as a pitcher or hitter? How high do you see him getting drafted?

Aaron Fitt: I like him better as a pitcher, because I’m
just not sure he’ll ever hit enough in pro ball. He’s a great athlete with premium speed, but athleticism plays well on the mound, too. He’s a
tall, projectable lefty, and I could see him taking off as a pitcher after a year or two in pro ball. I bet he gets drafted in the top 4 rounds, and maybe higher if his secondary stuff takes a jump this spring.

    renauldo (mass.): dumb question, probably not answearable, but here goes. how does a number 100 prospect (for example)
    in the cape cod league compare to say a top 10 prospect in the lesser summer leagues?

    also what is the usuall precentage of high school player to college player in the top 10-15 or so rounds of each draft?

    thanks, i do appreciate your time.

John Manuel: I focused on the first one, a great summer
college question . . . We probably could go 100 deep in the Cape with prospects. I mean, a Cape press release states that 234 Cape League alumni were drafted in 2009. For comparison’s sake, the Northwoods League had 162 alums drafted in 2010, and 15 of those were taken in the top 5 rounds. That’s why we expanded our Northwoods League list to 20 this summer. A decent number of players go to the Northwoods League as freshmen and then to the Cape as sophomores, though some stay with the Northwoods, too. To me, the Northwoods is clearly the second-most-talented summer college league. After that, though, it depends on the year. Some years, the No. 100 guy in the Cape would be No. 1 or No. 2 in some of those leagues, but in other years, the Valley League has Yonder Alonso and several other top guys. Or like this year, the Calif. Collegiate League may have ranked third in talent in all of summer ball. The first two are now constants, the Cape and then the Northwoods. The rest vary year to year.

    Chris (Fredericksburg, VA): Thoughts on Bubba Starling? Specifically where he projects as a player and what his projected draft slot would be right now? Any concerns about him signing with Nebraska (where he's already commited) and playing football and baseball with the Big Red?

Conor Glassey: He’s an incredibly gifted athlete. He’s a
legit five-tool prospect in baseball that, if everything breaks right, could hit in the middle of the order and play center field. He could pitch if he wants to, although I like him much, much better as a position player. I’m sure he’d be a great option-style quarterback, if he wound up at Nebraska and he could also play D-I basketball if he were
so inclined. He’s just a freakishly good athlete. Google him and read about what he does on a football field. It’s incredible. As a QB, he AVERAGED 11 yards per carry last year. Subscribers, of course, can also read a great feature about him that we just posted yesterday. And if you
want a glimpse of him, check out Baseball America’s video of him from Tournament of Stars this summer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvPULXKU2k8

    Aaron Bailey (Kansas City, Mo): I heared that Matthew Purke will be sophomore-elible; since he spruned the draft after
    high school, is he likely to sign as a sophomore?

John Manuel: He is eligible, you heared right, and he is very likely to sign. Look, he wanted to sign out of high school, but the Rangers’ financial situation didn’t really allow it to happen, that’s a kind way of putting it. It worked out so far for Purke, he had an amazing freshman season, went to Omaha and he’s stayed healthy so far. He’s a prime candidate to go in the first 5 picks in 2011. As an LHP, I could see him going No. 1 to the Pirates if he has a big spring.

    Ken (NY, NY): Virginia lost a lot of talent in last year's draft - what do their draft prospects look like this year? Hultzen, Proscia, Hicks etc..

Aaron Fitt: That’s an awfully good junior class (and Virginia has some very talented underclassmen, too—those guys are going
to surprise people with how good they are this year). I expect Hultzen will go in the top half of the first round, and quite possibly in the top 10 — think Mike Minor with him. Both are polished three-pitch lefties with loose arms, plus changeups, and low-90s fastballs. Proscia had a miserable summer in the Cape, but he’s been a favorite of mine since his high school days in New Jersey. I love his athleticism, power potential and grinder makeup—but he needs to take a step forward at the
plate this year. Hicks is also a fine athlete who could leap up draft boards if he takes over behind the plate full-time this spring and proves to scouts he can catch in pro ball. That’s an exciting group.

    Jake Larsen (Chicago, IL): With the exits of Rafael Soriano, Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, the Rays could have a possible 6 picks before the 2nd round even starts. Combined with the talent level of this draft class, could the Rays really make out like gangbusters in this draft?

John Manuel: They certainly could have a lot of extra picks. Personally, I’m hoping they spend what it takes to keep Crawford or Soriano, though both seem highly unlikely. This would seem to be a good draft to go ahead and stock up in the draft, especially if the CBA changes result in a changed draft. Go ahead and spend in the draft while
you can, before hard slots potentially come in in 2012.

    John (Southington Ct.): Are Springer and Barnes from Uconn top 10 picks in this upcoming draft?

John Manuel: Both are, and another Nutmegger who could go in the first round is Vanderbilt 3B Jason Esposito, a Connecticut prep product. Big year in the Nutmeg State for baseball.

    Greg (Detroit): Is the 2011 draft thought of as loaded talent wise?

    I hear nothing but good things about the upside of it

John Manuel: I would not say loaded. I would say it’s a
solid draft class. Loaded drafts are those that have lots of college bats that clubs like, and that really can’t be said of this draft class,
which has some good college bats at the top but not a ton of depth. The
’05 draft was so good, considered so at the time and turned out to be so good, because of all the college hitters that were available. Not coincidentally, that draft was soon after the slotting system started, and more good players were winding up in college.

    ken (detroit): any legitmate prospects coming out of the big ten in 2011 ?

Aaron Fitt: The obvious big name is Indiana slugger Alex Dickerson, who was very impressive in the Cape this summer but not as impressive with Team USA. There is a wide variance of opinion on Dickerson: there are scouts who think he’s a first-rounder and one of the best college hitters in this class, but there are other scouts who say he has no position and question his hitting mechanics. All the guy has done at Indiana is mash for two years, and I suspect he’ll mash again this spring, and somebody will take him in the first round or two because of his production and his power potential. Other names to keep in mind: Michigan shortstop Derek Dennis has all kinds of tools, and I suspect a huge leap in production from him as a draft-eligible sophomore
next spring. Minnesota righty T.J. Oakes is another eligible-sophomore with some significant upside, and his feel for pitching is advanced for his age. And a sleeper might be Illinois shortstop Josh Parr, a good athlete and excellent defender who could boost his draft stock if he builds on his strong offensive summer in the Northwoods League.

    Derek (Houston): Where do you see Phillip Pfeifer going in the 2011 draft? If he is considered a top of the first
    round type of pitcher, or will the fact that he has commited to Vandy diminish the odds of being drafted high due to possible signability issues? Does he project as a future top end of the rotation guy or more as a number 3/4 starter? He pitched exceptionally well in 2010 and had a
    very solid USA baseball tournament over the summer. Finally as a long time Pirates fan (yes i know 18 years and counting) what is your opinion
    of what the Pirates should do if they do indeed end up with the number 1
    pick in the draft? Thanks for the time

Conor Glassey: Pfeifer is an interesting one because he’s not the conventional pro prospect. He’s a little undersized, a little funky, but just really knows how to pitch. He’s almost like a lefthanded version of Drew Cisco in terms of his poise and confidence and ability to mix/spot pitches and drive HS hitters crazy. The Vandy commitment always makes a guy a tough sign and…gun to my head…I’d say he winds up there. Because he’s probably more of a mid single digit guy out of HS, but the kind of pitcher that could be a first rounder after three years at Vandy.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): What is the current thought on Sonny Gray and where he ends up? The previous couple of seasons the prevailing thought was that he would end up in the bullpen due to his size, but has that changed at all?

Aaron Fitt: I think he is starting to convince some people that he has a chance to start. The fact is he’s undersized, and some scouts will always look at a 5-foot-11 righthander who throws 95 and say, “He’s a bullpen guy.” But Gray is very strong, and he holds his
velocity deep into games. He also is making progress with his changeup,
as well as his command and feel for pitching. I chatted with Sonny this
summer for our Summer POY feature, and he bristles a bit when people say he won’t be a starter—he thinks he can succeed in either role. I think I agree with him, but my sense is that at least a slight majority of scouts still see him in the ‘pen down the road.

    Ron (Queens): How good can Jackie Bradley Jr be?

Aaron Fitt: He’s a legit five-tool talent. Now, it might be average or slightly better tools across the board, but he could
be a 70 defender in center field. Scouts rave about his instincts, which really play in all facets of his game. I think he can be an everyday center fielder in the big leagues, with 15-20 homers a year, 15-20 steals, a .270-.300 average and gold glove defense. That’s a nice package.

    JimY (Ohio): With Rendon's injury history, how much of a consensus 1st pick is he?ii is he still a no brainer?

Conor Glassey: He’s still the top guy, but I wouldn’t say he’s head and shoulders above everyone like Strasburg & Harper were.

    Bill (Philadelphia): Is Ryan Zimmerman a fair comp for Anthony Rendon?

Aaron Fitt: Zimmerman’s a little bigger than Rendon, but yes, I think that’s the kind of player he can be. Premium defender who can hit for average and power—a cornerstone player.

    Maggie (Pasadena, CA): How good is Daniel Norris?

Conor Glassey: Very, very good. Physical LHP sits 90-93, touches 94, filthy CB, flashes a CH. Pretty comparable to Purke at the same stage, actually.

    Alex (Boston): Joe Panik was quite impressive on the Cape this summer. Great glove. Where is he likely to go in the draft?

Aaron Fitt: I think he showed people this summer that he is one of the top shortstops in the college draft class for next year. I love his mature approach at the plate, his easy lefthanded swing, and I think he’s got a chance to stick at shortstop in pro ball. There aren’t a lot of players in this class who can say that. I bet Panik goes in the top 2-3 rounds.

    Dan C. (Chandler Az): who do you see the D-Backs taking at 4 and 7?

Conor Glassey: Way too far out to start linking teams to individual players, but that’s certainly a great position for them to be in.

    Greg (Fort Worth): Besides Matt Purke what other draft prospects does TCU have?

Aaron Fitt: Jason Coats is very exciting, a physical, athletic outfielder who can run and has some power. Kyle Winkler also is
a prospect, though he profiles best as a reliever in pro ball. And Taylor Featherston is an excellent baseball player who has gotten a lot better at shortstop, though he probably projects as a second baseman at the next level. I think he’s got a real chance to hit, though.

    Doug (Lancaster): Levi Michael had a very good year for UNC in 2010, but I don't hear much about him being ranked highly for the 2011 draft. Is he a first rounder?

Aaron Fitt: Last question for me today… Michael is in
that group of potential top shortstops in the college class, along with
Joe Panik and Deven Marrero of Arizona State. He’s a switch-hitter with
a compact swing, solid speed and more pop than you’d expect for his build. Maybe he’s got a chance to be a first-rounder if he proves he can
play shortstop well this spring, but I see him more as a second-round type. He’s very intriguing. OK, that’s it for me—thanks for stopping by
with so many great questions, everyone!

    Frank Dimas (Lancaster, PA): What's the buzz around a couple of PA HS prospects for next year; Derek Fisher and Cam Gallagher. Any other HS guys in the PA/MD/VA/NJ/DE area of interest for 2011 that may be flying under the radar?

Conor Glassey: Fisher really opened some eyes at the East Coast Pro Showcase. He has the rare power/speed combo, good size, swings from the left side of the plate….there’s a lot to like there, for sure. Gallagher has another impressive body with a lot of strength. He needs some work behind the plate, though. As far as other guys, keep an eye on NJ OF John Norwood (Seton Hall Prep), MD SS Nicholas Howard (St. John Collegiate HS) & PA OF Mike Papi (Tunkhannock Area HS) for
position guys, and NJ RHP Kevin Comer (Seneca HS).

    Carlos (San Diego, CA): Would you dare predict a
    top 5 or top 10 projection for the 2011 draft? Would you dare? Just because it's Friday in September.

Conor Glassey: A nice way to end the chat. I’ll put this out there with the caveat that this is my personal list and it’s early. Here goes…

Anthony Rendon, 3b, Rice

Gerrit Cole, rhp, UCLA

Matt Purke, lhp, Texas Christian

Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Texas

George Springer, of, Connecticut

Daniel Norris, lhp, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.

Blake Swihart, c, Rio Rancho HS, Albuquerque, N.M.

Bubba Starling, of/rhp, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan.

Matt Barnes, rhp, Connecticut

Sonny Gray, rhp, Vanderbilt

Conor Glassey: Thanks everybody. Have a great weekend & follow all the BA guys on Twitter! @johnmanuelba @aaronfitt @conorglassey @willingo @jimcallisBA @BenBadler @jjcoop36 @eddymk @joshlev44 @bahighschool @jimshonerdba