MLB Top 100 draft prospects

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

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.

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Ty Kelly making a name for the O's

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

In 2004 when Bay Area World Series (BAWS) was born, there were some very talented players who stood out and some who quickly made a name for themselves in college eventually in pro ball.  There was Bryan Shaw of Livermore HS (2nd round, D-Backs, current MLB reliever), Brett Jackson of Miramonte HS (1st round, Cubs, current MLB outfielder), Jared Lansford (2nd round, A's) and Matt Long (current Angels prospect) of St. Francis HS, and Tayler Creswell of Deer Valley HS (Giants draft pick).  Those players were pretty obviously among the most talented kids at the inaugural BAWS. 

However, they weren't the ONLY talented players there.  It is fairly easy to spot the players who are the most talented.  Kids who have some tools, who have physically matured a little faster than others, they tend to stick out among their peers.  However, at a high school event with kids who have just completed their sophomore year, haven't even played a varsity game, identifying the "prospects" gets a little more difficult.

That is why I get great enjoyment when I get an email from a player or parent who participated a long time ago, updating me about how a player is faring, either in pro ball or college ball.  Honestly, as much as I love running my event, as much as I love being involved with player and their families and doing anything I can to assist them with their goal of college baseball, I think I get the greatest enjoyment when I get the out of the blue email about a player having success.  I got one of those emails the other day, from the father of Ty Kelly.

Who is Ty Kelly?  Kelly was a player at BAWS I.  He was an infielder, a switch-hitter from St. Mary's HS (Stockton) and he had yet to play varsity baseball when he was invited to BAWS.  I can't take credit for scouting him out either.  His father got in touch with me about his son and other good players from St. Mary's as I was signing players for BAWS.  He convinced me to offer his son a spot, so I did.  Did Kelly stand out at BAWS I?  I dare say no, he didn't.  Was he competitive, was he holding his own even as he was clearly not physically ready yet?  Yes.  So he came back to BAWS II the next year and all of a sudden he looked like a college prospect.  He ended up with a scholarship to UC Davis and has a real nice college career. 

Did I ever think he was going to be a significant professional prospect?  I liked his swing, I liked his game instincts, but no, I didn't think he was a prospect, not based on big tools or anything like that.  What I did know is that Kelly was/is a hard working, no nonsense type of kid.  He was quietly intense, he was a grinder, he was like the classic analogy of a the appearance of a duck... quiet and calm on the top of the water and paddling like crazy underneath the water, which no one can see. 

Kelly was drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 draft, yes, a draft I was part of with the Braves.  I did turn Kelly in as a prospect, but simply as an organizational type of player, a player who could fill a utility role and maybe play a few years.  Kudos to former Orioles area scout James Keller for having a much better feel for Kelly and for getting him a little earlier than I think most of the other area scouts would have wanted him.  Perhaps that is why Keller is now a pro scout for the Birds, he knows the big league game.

It isn't as though Kelly is ready to send Manny Machado to the pine or make J.J. Hardy expendable for the Orioles.  He might not even be a threat to Robert Andino at 2nd base.  However, he is making waves in the organization and he seems likely to finally get to the big leagues in 2013, as a utility player.  He is a switch-hitter, he can play a few defensive positions, he is going to be good in the clubhouse, intense, quiet, a worker, a grinder.  He could even end up similar to a player like Daniel Descalso and eventually earn a bigger role with performance dictating his opportunities.

In 2012 Kelly played at three different levels... here is the blurb about his 2012, that was included in that email I got from his dad the other day, about the Orioles Organizational All-Stars (which included Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy, two of the most recognizable prospect names in all the game)...

Utility -- Ty Kelly, Frederick (76 games), Bowie (46 games), Norfolk (11 games): Kelly ended 2011 with Class A Delmarva. Fast forward 12 months and he blitzed his way through three levels to reach Triple-A Norfolk. The 2009 13th-round pick out of Cal-Davis batted .327 with 11 homers and 70 RBIs in 133 games. He walked more often (79) than he struck out (72) and posted an .892 OPS. His 220 total bases led the system while his average was the highest among all Orioles playing full-time in full-season leagues. Kelly batted .346 at Frederick and would have won the Carolina League batting title if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Defensively, Kelly saw time at second base, third base and left field.

Congrats Ty!  Hard work pays off, grinding away at a very tough game pays off, keeping your head down and staying the path pays off.  

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Players w/local ties on MLB rosters

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

I have the White Sox/Indians game on and as Indians' 2B Cord Phelps came to the plate, it got me thinking about how many players with local (defined as from the Northern California scouting territory) ties are on current MLB rosters.  Since we are in September, the rosters are expanded, which has allowed more players to dip their toes into the big league waters.  Oh, if you weren't aware, Phelps went to Stanford, though he is originally from Santa Barbara.

Let's just go team by team, alphabetically (by team city)... I'm going to miss some, so feel free to update me on Twitter @BayAreaWS ... Before you click to read the list, make a guess and see if you are high or low.

Which university has more, Cal or Stanford?  Or is it possibly Nevada-Reno or Fresno State?  Which two high schools have multiple alumni in the bigs?  Which THREE junior colleges have two former players in the show?

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BA 2013 draft preview, local perspective

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Baseball America has posted a listing of their top 50 prospects for the 2013 MLB Draft.  Of course that is a long way off and a list like that will be quite fluid, with additions and subtractions, based on performance, injuries, newly discovered players, etc. 

We know that Stanford was well represented in the 2012 draft and guess what, it appears that the Cardinal will again be well represented in 2013.  Last year RHP Mark Appel and 3B/OF Stephen Piscotty were selected in the 1st round, Piscotty signed and Appel did not. LHP Brett Mooneyham was a 3rd rounder, SS Kenny Diekroeger was a 4th rounder,OF Jake Stewart was a 9th rounder, C Eric Smith was an 18th rounder, and OF Tyler Gaffney was a 24th rounder.  That is seven Stanford player drafted last year.

The Baseball America top 50 for 2013 has four Stanford players listed.  Appel is listed at #1, OF Austin Wilson at #13, RHP A.J. Vanegas at #30, and 1B Brian Ragira at #38.  Those rankings suggest Appel, Wilson, and Vanegas all will be 1st round selections and Ragira a supplemental 1st round selection. 

Other local/regional players in that ranking includ Fresno State OF Aaron Judge at #12 and Elk Grove HS 1B Ryan Tellez at #19.  

There are some other very talented local/regional players that could sneak into that group.  Someone from this group of high school players certainly could emerge; Tracy HS LHP Jonah Wesley, James Logan HS OF Amalani Fukofuka, Kerman HS RHP Carlos Salazar, Franklin HS 1B Tyler Blake, Davis HS RHP Trevin Haseltine, Head-Royce RHP Steven Farinaro, and Serra HS OF Jordan Parouback .  Some of those names might not be known very well or might be a surprise name, but all those players are very talented.

From the college ranks (there are other colleges/universities here other than Stanford).  Last year seven Cal Bears were drafted, with 2B Tony Renda going highest, in the 2nd round.  I don't have the sense that any Cal Bears will be top 50 players, but it wouldn't surprise me if C Andrew Knapp developed into that type of pick, he can really hit and as a switch-hitting catcher, his profile is highly valued.  USF has become a hotbed for upper round pitching and RHP Alex Balog is one of the most talented pitchers in the West.  He will steadily rise up those rankings.

In looking over the rosters of all the D1 programs in the region, there aren't any other players I feel that strongly about to suggest they could rocket up into high round draft consideration.  MAYBE USF LHP Jordan Haseltine, who has a great arm, big body, and of course, USF has produced some major LHP talent over the years.

 

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Northern Calif. players in 2012 MLB Draft, Day 3

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Not all of these players I will list are from the Northern California scouting region (such as Eric Smith) and some are at schools outside of the region (like Abe Ruiz).  Many of our high school players leave the region to attend college somewhere else while other players come from high schools out of the region to attend the outstanding college programs in Northern California. If a player is from the region his high school will be listed.

Day 3 - Rounds 16-40

Round (overall), Team, Position/Player, School(s), College Commitment

(Bold = BAWS/RNWS participant during my time with each event)

16 (501) - White Sox - 1B Abe Ruiz, Arizona State (Pacific Grove HS) - signed

17 (521) - Mariners - RF Isaiah Yates, Clovis East HS - signed

17 (522) - Orioles - RHP Nick Grim, Cal Poly (Salinas HS) - signed

18 (550) - Twins - RHP Will LaMarche, Chabot College (Amador Valley HS)

18 (566) - Dodgers - C Eric Smith, Stanford - signed

18 (571) - Red Sox - OF Shaq Thompson, Grant HS-Sacramento - signed

19 (586) - Pirates - RHP Michael Peterson, St. Francis HS

20 (615) - Padres - RHP Cameron Stewart, Valley Christian HS (Fresno State) - signed

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Northern Calif. players in 2012 MLB Draft, Day 2

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Not all of these players I will list are from the Northern California scouting region (such as Dylan Baker) and some are at schools outside of the region (like Andrew Aplin).  Many of our high school players leave the region to attend college somewhere else while other players come from high schools out of the region to attend the outstanding college programs in Northern California. If a player is from the region his high school will be listed.

Day 2 - Rounds 2-15

Round (overall), Team, Position/Player, School(s), College Commitment

(Bold = BAWS/RNWS participant during my time with each event)

2 (80) - Nationals - 2B Tony Renda, Cal (Serra HS) - signed

2 (84) - Giants - RHP Martin Agosta, Saint Mary's (Jesuit HS) - signed ($613,000)

3 (111) - Nationals - LHP Brett Mooneyham, Stanford (Buhach Colony HS) - signed ($429,000)

3 (125) - Phillies - SS/3B Zach Green, Jesuit HS (Oregon State) - signed

4 (130) - Twins - RHP Zach Jones, San Jose State (Santa Teresa HS) - signed

4 (133) - Royals - SS Kenny Diekroeger, Stanford (Menlo School) - signed

4 (139) - Athletics - CF B.J. Boyd, Palo Alto HS - signed

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Northern Calif. players in 2012 MLB draft, 1st round

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Not all of these players I will list over the next three days are from the Northern California scouting region (such as Kyle Zimmer) and some are at schools outside of the region.  Many of our high school players leave the region to attend college somewhere else while other players come from high schools out of the region to attend the outstanding college programs in Northern California. If a player is from the region his high school will be listedFor that matter, Appel is actually from the Houston area though he moved here when he was 12 years old.

Round (overall), Team, Position/Player, School(s), College Commitment

(Bold = BAWS/RNWS participant during my time with each event)

1 (5) - Royals - RHP Kyle Zimmer, USF - signed ($3,000,000)

1 (8) - Pirates - RHP Mark Appel, Stanford (Monte Vista HS)

1s (36) - Cardinals - 3B Stephen Piscotty, Stanford (Amador Valley HS) - signed ($1,430,400)

1s (38) - Brewers - OF Mitch Haniger, Cal Poly (Archbishop Mitty HS) - signed ($1,200,00)

1s (52) - Cardinals - 3B Patrick Wisdom, Saint Mary's - signed ($678,790)

1s (56) - Cubs - RHP Paul Blackburn, Heritage HS (Arizona State) - signed ($911,700) 

60 total picks on day one which means 10% of the day one picks came from schools in Northern California. 

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Locals in BA 500 draft prospects

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Baseball America has some value when it comes to scouting and rankings for the draft.  I don't consider their evaluations as the end-all be-all for information because much (most) of what they get comes from second and third hand information.  When you read stuff on Baseball America is also important to know that when they do talk to scouts and scouting directors and agents (named as "an AL scout" or a "NL scouting director") they are getting information those sources WANT to put out and a lot of it actually misinformation or propaganda, depending on the source.  But they do the work to compile lists and try their best, with the info they have, to guess a draft order.  

Of the 500 players listed in this draft preview (you need to be a subscriber), there are 42 players listed from this area.  Either they are FROM the area or they go to a college in the area.  I will have to comb the list a big more to see if there are kids from the area at colleges outside of the West.  They are listed in the order they appear, with their overall rank.  Enjoy!  Long live Northern California, one of the hottest of all baseball prospect hotbeds!

3. RHP Kyle Zimmer, USF

4. RHP Mark Appel, Stanford (Monte Vista HS)

26. 3B/OF Stephen Piscotty, Stanford (Amador Valley HS)

42. OF Mitch Haniger, Cal Poly (Archbishop Mitty HS)

56. RHP Freddy Avis, Menlo School (signed w/Stanford)

57. RHP Paul Blackburn, Heritage HS (signed w/ASU)

74. RHP Derick Velasquez, Merced College

82. RHP Dylan Baker, Western Nevada College

97. 2B Tony Renda, Cal (Serra HS)

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J.R. Graham doing well in Braves system

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Former Livermore HS and Santa Clara SS/P J.R. Graham is doing well in the Braves system.  The former Bay Area World Series standout (BAWS IV, 2007) was taken in the 4th round of the 2011 draft and the Braves have pushed him this year.  Here is a recent blurb about him in a piece about bullpen pitchers to keep an eye on for each MLB team...

ATLANTA BRAVES: Arodys Vizcaino would be the easy choice here had he not had Tommy John surgery this spring, but his injury plus the trade of J.J. Hoover leaves second-year righty J.R. Graham as perhaps the best choice. The Braves pushed the 2011 fourth-rounder to high Class A Lynchburg, where his mid-90s heat and developing slider have led to few baserunners (1.00 WHIP), few long hits and a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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Baseball America Top 100 draft prospects

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Baseball America has published a Top 100 prospects list for the 2012 MLB draft. There are two local college pitchers ranked in the top four prospects. You might be surprised to see who is ranked higher, USF's Kyle Zimmer or Stanford's Mark Appel. Here is a link to the BA Top 100 list.

I had been hearing buzz all spring that even though Appel was ranked much higher coming into the season, that it was Zimmer the scouts preferred.  I suppose we will really find out when the draft is actually here in June and the Astros are officially on the clock.

On that list there are 10 players from the Northern California scouting region, which includes Northern Nevada.  Actually there are only nine because as I recall, there are very few, if any Northern CA scouts who have Cal Poly in their territory. 

The territories are not defined the same for every club, which makes is confusing sometimes.  For instance, some clubs have a Central California scout who covers Fresno, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, etc and some clubs have the Northern CA guy do Fresno and even down to Visalia (that was my territory).  But I will include the Cal Poly player because he is from the Bay Area and I turned him in as a legitimate prospect out of high school.

Here they are...

#3 Kyle Zimmer (RHP), USF

#4 Mark Appel (RHP), Stanford (Monte Vista HS)

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