College BB Preview - Top 25 Players
Wieters and Price lead the list of MLB-ready prospects
Posted: Thursday February 15, 2007 5:45PM; Updated: Friday February 16, 2007 12:25PM
With the college baseball season now underway, the scouting season for the 2007 draft is in full swinng, and the nation's top players just four months to prove themselves first-round worthy. The junior season is the absolute key for college players, but all teams already have scouting reports on most players. Entering the season, below are my top 25 collegiate prospects eligible for the 2007 draft.
1. Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
If Wieters had scouts convinced he was a catcher, the Yellow Jacket would be the consensus top player on draft boards entering 2007. Instead, Wieters is merely the best slugger in college baseball since Alex Gordon. Doubling as the school's closer, Wieters has the arm for catcher, though many organizations could believe it best suited at third base or an outfield corner.
2. David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt
Price is atop a draft full of very good left-handed pitching, and in February, is the favorite to head to Tampa this June. Price is coming off a fantastic summer with Team USA, where his success was a bit surprising, as he had look a little worn down in the final weeks of Vanderbilt's 2006 season. Price has some similar faults as Andrew Miller did a year ago, but his top-of-the-rotation potential excuses most of them.
3. Andrew Brackman, RHP, NC State
Throw out the numbers from Brackman's first two seasons in college -- the stats will have no bearing on Brackman's draft slot. Instead, teams will be focusing on a "what have you done for me lately" approach with Brackman, pitching without college basketball lurking in the distance for the first time. However, even mediocre numbers would still leave Brackman rich, as his 6-foot-10 power frame is worth seven figures to a lot of teams.
4. Julio Borbon, CF, Tennessee
Borbon fits the mold of the much-desired "traditional" leadoff man perfectly; combining plus speed with just 15 strikeouts in 235 at-bats as a sophomore. Borbon's season has already been shortened by injury, so he must thrive during a tough April SEC stretch to maintain his high ranking. He also must begin to walk at a higher rate to draw interest from across the board, rather than just the traditionalists.
5. Jake Arrieta, RHP, Texas Christian
My personal favorite pitcher in the 2007 draft class is Arrieta, a player who jumped on the scene with 18 wins between his summer and sophomore season. Arrieta has fantastic size - his 6-4, 225-pound frame lends easy projections of annual 200-inning seasons down the road. He throws in the low 90s on this downward plane, capable of touching 94 mph, and finishes hitters off with a mix of a plus slider and solid confidence in a change.
6. Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia
Amidst the new trend of first round college closers is one oddity: closers drafted with the best stuff have paled in comparison to their "smart, aggressive" counterparts. While Huston Street and Chad Cordero are racking up big league saves, Craig Hansen and Ryan Wagner struggled in the Majors and minors in 2006. Fields fits into the latter group, but with an exploding fastball and Division I's best slider, the group's lack of success won't keep Fields out of the first round.
7. J.P. Arencibia, C/1B, Tennessee
One of three players on this list for top-heavy Tennessee, Arencibia is the backbone of his college team. Borbon is the injured place-setter, Adkins is the phenom, but the Volunteers will go as far as Arencibia takes him. The purest bat in the draft, Arencibia was Team USA's best offensive bet for two consecutive summers. Like Wieters, if he can prove even average defensively at catcher, he's good enough to be drafted in the top ten.
8. Joe Savery, LHP, Rice
As divisive as Brackman, Savery has shown oodles of potential in his two years at Rice, but only when healthy enough to take the mound. However, the latter part is condemning, as teams do not want to spend millions of dollars on the next Rice Owl to need arm surgery. On the short list of players who could top the draft, Savery will need to improve upon his success as a freshman. His ability to do so has significant draft, and College World Series, implications.
9. Matt Mangini, 3B, Oklahoma State
After playing a small part in just 19 games as a freshman in 2005, Mangini earned the starting spot at the hot corner for NC State last season and never looked back. No player in college baseball started the season hotter, hitting .680/.730/1.080 in his first 50 at-bats. After proving offensive potential with wood in the Cape Cod League, Mangini moves to Stillwater with a chance to be the second collegiate position player drafted.
10. Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson
As Jonathan Papelbon and Adam Wainwright make the Major League move from high-profile closers to starting pitchers in 2007, the baseball community will learn much about the relative stress of different roles on pitcher's arms. Perhaps this will justify the urge some organizations have to convert Moskos to a starting pitcher in 2008, but his maximum effort delivery makes it doubtful. Take Moskos for what he is: a damn good left-handed relief prospect.
11. Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State
All projection at this point, Detwiler is the quintessential example of a scout selection. Currently, Detwiler shows poor command, sits in the low 90s, and strikes hitters out with an average breaking ball. But through projections based on his lanky 6-4 frame, scouts see added fastball velocity with time in the weight room and improvements in delivery and breaking ball consistency with enhanced pitching instruction.
12. Cole St. Clair, LHP, Rice
Conversely, St. Clair is a left-handed closer who showed in 2006 the versatility to sustain a future move to the rotation. Rice's shut-down closer was used in a variety of roles by coach Wayne Graham, looking effective in four-inning outings even in June. While St. Clair might have a higher ceiling than Moskos, neither his fastball or breaking ball is quite as electric. Versatility will be the southpaw's best selling point come draft time.
13. Todd Frazier, 3B/RF, Rutgers
It's hard to blame Rutgers for playing Frazier at shortstop -- they might as well utilize their best player ever at the game's most important position. In pro ball, however, Frazier will not spend a single day up the middle. Listed at 6-4, 215, Frazier might be bigger, and he hits fastballs far enough to justify his future corner position. Look for a huge statistical junior season and a draft day reach on the future right fielder.