The draft is drawing ever closer and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo published his updated Top 100 prospects list for the 2013 MLB draft. There are lots of lists, lots of draft experts, lots of blah blah blah and to call anyone an expert regarding how the draft will go is silly. Mayo is an office, he has a phone, he calls GMs, crosscheckers, scouts, agents, etc. He is contacted by agents who want to push up their own clients, etc. He has video he can watch and the more anyone watches something, the better they can be at analyzing it.
I say all of that because as a former scout, I always giggle when I watch TV and see guys from Baseball America and MLB.com and wherever else, presented as experts, as though they were the ones out there driving around, finding and evaluating the players, breaking down the tools, getting the signability, getting to know the make-up of the players, etc. They get the results of all the work scouts do and by the time they are on TV talking about it or on the web writing, the thousands upon thousands of players scouts sift through are funnelled to a couple hundred the draft talking heads write and talk about. It's pretty easy by that point.
Anyway, because I don't have my own prospect list (unless you are interested in Petaluma American Little League's AA division of 7-9 year olds), I too read what guys like Mayo write. I used to write and do my own rankings with Team One and Perfect Game USA, so I do enjoy seeing lists because they are at the very least, interesting. Especially so for those of us who live in fertile prospect areas like Northern California.
On Mayo's Top 100 list are 13 players who are within the typical territory for a scout who covers Northern California. That territory generally goes north to the Oregon border, south down to Monterey, over toward Coalinga and Fresno, some go as far south as Visalia, then north and east to cover Northern Nevada. A few might still cover Bakersfield as well and some might sneak down into San Luis Obispo.
So, who are those players in this area? Here you go..
#1 Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford - Appel is a former participant in my event and I also had the pleasure of having him on one of my Braves scout teams. Great kid, great talent, hope he goes #1 overall.
#13 Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada - Shipley had a great sophomore year for a Nevada team that really overachieved, well, that's what I thought. Then I realized that Shipley was not only a good college pitcher, but also a high end prospect with a good fastball (reported to be up to 98 mph).
#24 Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State - I liked Judge when I was still scouting, but at that time I hadn't seen much of him as a position player, but rather as a pitcher. Well, he's put the pitching aside and is a highly regarded prospect due to his tools, size, speed, power, etc. Tall hitters are tricky though, there are lots of moving parts and generally I'd call tall and toolsy hitters a boom or bust type of prospect. Think Michael Taylor and John Mayberry... rather than Dave Winfield. Mayberry is a solid MLB contributor, Taylor seems to be a AAA player and of course, Winfield is an all-time great.