It's early in the season but it's time to update how some of the high end talent is doing.
Anthony Rendon, who most believe will be the 1st overall pick, is hitting .343/.495/.600 with 3 HR's in 70 AB's. It has been a bit of a slow start for Rendon, but nothing has changed in him and it still looks like he will be the top pick in the draft.
Gerritt Cole is also in the conversation for the 1.1 pick. Cole has K'd 37 in 30 1/3 IP while walking only 5. I think his draft stock is as high right now as it will get. The question is if he can keep it up. His stuff is unquestioned. He sits in the mid 90's and has run it up to triple digits in the past. He has 3 above average MLB pitches right now. The Pirates are fortunate to be in the position they are.
George Springer has the tools to be a 30-30 player in the majors in a perfect world, but he can't get going this spring. Considering he plays for UConn, he should get a free month, or at least a couple weeks, compared to his southern counterparts due to the cold weather. His .265/.400/.531 with 5 steals and just 2 home runs is definitely less than most would expect out of a top 5 overall talent, but give him time. The strike outs will always be a concern, and he has 12 so far in just 49 AB's.
Matt Purke has started just 3 games and only thrown 13 2/3 innings but he has K'd 13 and walked 5 and allowed just 5 hits. His stuff has been down a little but they are easing him in and he has had some blister issues. It's too early in the season to worry about his durability but considering he will likely sign very late in the season due to his leverage and agent, the innings he throws for TCU this season will likely be the only innings he throws this season. That could affect his 2012 season because you don't want his innings to jump more than 50-60 innings.
Danny Hultzen his improved his stock as much as anyone this spring. He has thrown 34 1/3 IP and struck out 62 and only walked 4. He has allowed just 19 hits and is dominating early on in the season. He may be the best pitcher so far in this young season.
Jed Bradley is also pitching well with 38 K's and 10 walks in 24 1/3 innings. He has allowed just 12 hits in his 4 starts.
Trevor Bauer has raised eyebrows with pitch counts well above 100, even as high as 129 in one 10 inning shutout recently. This doesn't concern me with Bauer as it would with others because of his training regimen. He is all about long toss and it builds stamina and arm strength. My concern with high pitch counts only extends to pitchers who have velocity drops or mechanical issues as they get tired, Bauer doesn't have either.
Mikie Mahtook started off on a tear but has eased off some. He has 6 HR's and is hitting .328/.466/.759 in 58 AB's. He has also added 9 SB's showing the tools are translating to game situations.
While Jackie Bradley doesn't have the tools that George Springer or Mikie Mahtook have, but man, can he play baseball. He is hitting .345/.433/.709 with 9 walks and just 7 k's in 55 at bats. Bradley is just a baseball player and a very good one at that. Any team that gets him should have an above average MLB center fielder by mid 2013.
John Stilson is keeping his draft stock up. John Sickels just saw him today. Here are his impressions.
Taylor Jungmann is pitching well. He has K'd 31 and walked only 3 in 34 2/3 IP. This years draft is looking really deep in college pitching. This is even more exaggerated with the new bats this spring, but the talent is exceptional.
Sonny Gray is also keeping his stock up with 36 K's in 26 1/3 innings. He has walked 9 and allowed 12 hits. He needs to keep dominating because he is a short righty, but he is one of the safest picks out of all of these pitchers in my opinion.
This is a draft in which the top 10 players picked could be college pitchers and very few people would question it. The bats are another story. Once you get passed Rendon and Bradley, I'm not sold on anyone.
Jason Esposito is back to 3B. This puts his stock to mid to late 1st round instead of a possible top 10 talent if he could stay at SS. Alex Dickerson is hitting .350 but has just 2 HR's in 60 AB's. He will need to do better than that to stay high in the 1st round but it's still cold in the midwest so he has time to get going.
Brian Goodwin is playing well at Miami-Dade but scouts still don't like his swing any more than they have in the past. I think he's a 2nd round or later talent, but I am the exception rather than the rule.
C.J. Cron for Utah may be moving into 1st round consideration even though he has moved from behind the dish to 1st base due to a shoulder injury. He is hitting .477/.547/.864 and may be the best hitter in the draft after Rendon.
Andrew Susac has moved to the front of the catching class ahead of a slow start by Peter O'Brien. Susac is hitting .449/.561/.776 for Oregon State. To go along with 13 walks and 11 k's in 49 AB's. The K's are on the high side but he has decent plate discipline.
Henry Owens is already 3-0 on the season and struck out 11 in his last outing. He is a very projectable lefty who is 6’5 and sits 88-91 with his fastball and has a slow 68-72 mph curve. He is a near lock for the 1st round and could go in the top half.
Archie Bradley struck out 12 in his last win but the rumor is that he got booted from the game for arguing balls and strikes. Bradley’s gridiron mentality must have carried over to the baseball field. That’s not a bad sign to me. It just shows he is intense. A 90-94 MPH fastball and a plus breaking ball and a ton of athleticism will help people overlook this little incident.
Within the same conference in Oklahoma, Dylan Bundy has had a great start to the season. He has thrown a no-hitter already and has been in the mid 90’s and has as good of a breaking ball as Bradley or even better.
Phillip Pfeifer from Farragut HS in Tennessee threw a two hit shutout striking out 11. He has a low 90’s fastball from the left side. His stuff isn’t eye popping but he has a solid breaking ball. Teammate Nick Delmonico has started the season off hot as well and is a top 10 round pick. He is a better prospect than his older brother Tony Delmonico who is in the Dodgers system.
Daniel Norris threw 6 2/3 IP and struck out 15 while not giving up a hit. He is the best left handed high school pitcher available in this years’ draft. He throws in the mid 90’s with a great breaking ball though his mechanics need some polishing.
Javier Baez has been getting a lot of buzz this spring because he’s looking like he can stick at SS. I don’t see it long term, but I haven’t seen him a lot. I see him as more of an offensive 2B down the line, but if a team thinks he can stick at SS, he could be a late 1st round pick. He has a very good bat, can run and has a good arm. He could even be able to handle 3B.
Taylor Guerrieri has been jumping up draft boards with the 97 mph radar gun readings this spring. He was in the 87-90 mph range last season, so his stock is really rising. He has struck out 27 in 17 innings and could be making his way into the middle of the 1st round as one of the first high school pitchers taken.
Jose Fernandez threw in front of about a dozen scouts at his last game. He was showing a 90+ fastball. K’d 7 in 6+ innings. He had a pitch count of 100 so he was pulled in 7th. Gave up a run in the 1st but that was all.
For more draft info head over to my draft blog on SB Nation: MLB Bonus Baby