|Names to Know in the Amateur Draft|
|Written by Rob Leibowitz|
|Tuesday, 22 May 2012 21:34|
We are under two weeks away from this year’s Rule-4 draft and I already have a my eye on more than a few players for my keeper and dynasty leagues.
Mike Zunnio, a catcher out of the University of Florida, has a solid all-around game that will allow him to stay behind the plate and be a productive offensive force. I don’t think he has the ceiling to be a star. Despite plenty of bat speed, opinions are divided long term whether Zunnio will be a teens per season home run hitter or more a 20-plus guy. For now, as a right handed hitter, I just want to be sure he translates his contact making skills to professional ball before rendering a full opinion, but he does look like an everyday starter.
Michael Wacha out of Texas A&M is probably considered the “safest” of picks as far as starting pitchers goes. That is a fairly loaded term given the amount of innings college hurlers rack up, but we are talking about a polished right hander with above average command and a good fastball/changeup combo. So that is a very nice foundation. There are some questions out there regarding Wacha’s ability to spin the ball (curve and change), so I also wonder if this is a potential Mike Pelfrey situation. Though to be fair, Pelfrey was drafted with the idea that he could spin the ball and it simply wasn’t ever true.
Mark Appel is the higher end pick with a power fastball/slider combo and workable change. This Stanford righty could easily be a top five pick. However, he is riskier than Wacha as his command has been questioned and his 4-seamer has been called “too straight” by multiple sources while his two-seamer receives better reviews. It will be interesting to see how quickly Appel will make it to the Majors, but it is fairly clear that he has some work to do.
Kyle Zimmer may be the best overall package as far as college pitchers go heading into the amateur draft. He combines Wacha’s strike-throwing ability with stuff that more closely approaches Appel’s level and the overall combination could make him a potential #2 or better MLB starter.
Byron Buxton is probably the highest ceiling player in this year’s draft. The right-handed hitting outfielder is already blessed with abundant speed and has a 6’2” frame that he can grow into and gain power, and already excellent bat speed. Essentially Buxton is in the same situation as Bubba Starling - tons of talent, but how will that talent translate to professional ball and especially as a right-hander hitter, will he have the plate discipline to truly harness that talent? Time will tell. High risk, high reward can be found here, but it will far from surprising to see him go first overall.
Marcus Stroman is an interesting potential first round selection. He pitches for Duke and stands well under the ideal height for a pitcher at a generous 5’9”. That aside, the righty has all the qualities you look for in a first round college pitcher. Plus command and a deep repertoire with multiple pitch potential that includes weapons to combat lefties and righties alike. The question will be how deceptive he is and how well/how quickly pro hitters see and recognize his pitches given his stature. Right now I am optimistic and think he can make it as least a back end of the rotation pitcher. I also believe he could be one of the faster movers through the minors.
We need to talk about a middle infielder and Deven Marrero is worth talking about. Despite possible work ethic issues, Herrera is a true shortstop and will stay at the position long term. He strikes me as something of a Mark Grudzielanek type perhaps with the ability to hit for average, perhaps get double digits in steals and homeruns, but also is an aggressive hitter who will not impress in the OBP department.
I’ll have more to report on the amateur draft as we approach and review it in the coming weeks.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 08:56|