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2010 Draft: Other Noteworthy Players

I put my list of the top 25 prospects in this draft out for public consumption yesterday. Here are some other names worth writing a few blurbs about. I decided to lump them together by position:

  • Michael Kvasnicka, Minnesota - Kvasnicka has been rising up draft boards. He splits time in the outfield and behind the plate, but his future is likely at catcher if he makes it as a pro. I like his athleticism and compact stroke, but I think his bat is a little fringy for an everyday player, and he was too raw as a catcher to garner strong consideration for a first-round pick if I were in charge of a team's draft. However, he is certainly worth a first day pick.
  • Robert Brantly, UC-Riverside - Solid improvement at the plate, and if some power comes, he could be a solid backstop.
  • Blake Forsythe, Tennessee - Power is unquestioned, but ability to make contact has been very inconsistent. A guy worth taking a chance on (but a little later in the draft), even after a disappointing junior season
  • Paul Hoilman, East Tennessee State - .421/.526/.860 line, with 25 home runs. Production like that is hard to ignore.
  • Jordan Ribera, Fresno State - Flashed power as a freshman and sophomore, but seems to have become a more complete hitter this year, allowing for him to flourish at the plate. Will need to develop more plate discipline to allow power to show as a pro
  • A.J. Kirby-Jones, Tennessee Tech - Huge home run and walk totals, both indicating intimidating power. Contact rate isn't too hot though, and the level of competition not the highest, but he intrigues me. I would definitely take a chance on him
  • Zack Cox, Arkansas - I am uneasy leaving Cox off my top 25 list. Most think he is one of the best hitters available in this draft. He has shown power and average in his college career, but at different times. He has been inconsistent, but constantly productive. One thing that is for sure is that Cox's defense is iffy, so his value is tied to his bat. I think it will be solid one way or another, but he has to put it all together to be an impact player, and he hasn't yet in college.
  • Phil Gosselin, Virginia - Seems to get overlooked despite good production in the ACC. I think his bat is plenty good enough for second base, though I'd like to see him shorten his stroke a bit and go ahead and accentuate his speed.
  • Jedd Gyorko, West Virginia - One of the more productive college hitters in the country, and he could go as high as the end of the first round. I'm not sure why. I love the production at the plate, but I don't love his swing, limited speed, and limited defensive ability. His bat probably has to make up for other deficiencies, and I don't see a bat necessarily special enough to do that. Jedd looks overrated to me at this point.
  • LeVon Washington, Chipola JC - Washington was drafted in the first round by the Rays last year, but didn't sign. I don't see why he is hyped as much as he is. His arm is weak, and defensive upside questionable at best. Washington's bat has to carry him, and I don't see enough out of it to fall in love with him, especially with some questions about his energy for the game. Some team will draft him earlier than I would.
  • Davis Duren, Oklahoma State - I haven't seen anyone talking about Duren, and that surprises me a little bit. He has good speed, and a developing bat that doesn't show much power, but a knack for contact. That's a skillset that plays well in the middle infield.
  • Marcus Littlewood, Pine View HS (UT) - Littlewood is a name being strongly connected with the Mariners at pick 43. He is a switch-hitter, and his body has matured considerably in the past year. Many think he will be too big to stick at shortstop, but that's said of virtually every high school shortstop (and true more often than not). Few doubt his ability to be a good defender somewhere though, with soft hands. The little bit I saw of him on tape didn't do much to excite or discourage me, so I don't have much more to add on him. I would certainly support a grabbing a guy like him at pick 43, especially if a guy with Z's reputation thinks he can hit.
  • Josh Rutledge, Alabama - Most like Rutledge's defense, so if he hits at all, he has some value. I don't see much power, but he did post a solid contact rate despite swinging at too much. I doubt he will ever be a good hitter, but there is some stuff to work with there, especially if he provides good defense.
  • Rick Hague, Rice - Most think Hague is good enough defensively to stick at shortstop, which is a big plus. He also has some power, but his contact has been highly inconsistent. Rick has the talent to be a good shortstop, and so some team will draft him early. However, I question how likely it is that he reaches his "best-case scenario." I don't think it is wise to draft players purely on their ceilings, though it becomes a better and better idea the deeper into the draft a team goes.
  • Andrelton Simmons, Western Oklahoma State College - Simmons is a 19-year-old from Curacao, and has flashed some intriguing tools in summer leagues and junior college. His best tool is his arm, which makes him a potentially good defender at shortstop, and also an intriguing pitching prospect. In fact, many like him more as a late-inning reliever, and I am tempted to side with them too. However, Simmons also has good speed, and he has shown some signs of life at the plate. With how young and raw Simmons is, I feel like the bullpen will be an option for him a couple years down the road. I would like to see if he can become a great defensive shortstop, with enough hitting ability to both take advantage of his speed on the basepaths, and not kill his potential defensive value.
  • Phil Wunderlich, Louisville - Wunderlich was one of the final cuts from my top 25 list. His production has been excellent in an underrated baseball program. His meager 15 strikeouts with 20 home runs in 241 at-bats are particularly impressive. I think there should be more buzz around him than there is.
  • Yordy Cabrera, Lakeland HS (FL) - There is a good chance Cabrera goes in the first round, and there are tools to like. He can hit for power, and he is athletic enough to play shortstop for now. I worry about Yordy's ability to hit for consistent contact as he fills out his 6'4" frame, but he was still another one of the final cuts from my top 25 list. He ended up being just a little too tall with a little too long of a stroke for me to love his hitting potential - but don't get me wrong, I like it.
  • Kaleb Cowart, Cook County HS (GA) - I am curious to see where Cowart goes. The popular opinion is that Kaleb wants to be a hitter, but scouts want him to be a pitcher. He has done both in high school, and the fact that he could be a prospect as either says something about his talent. Personally, I definitely see him as a pitcher, mostly because I think his swing is pretty raw. His head moves a bunch, and that's not good for making consistent contact. If I were a team, I probably wouldn't draft him at all. What might be best for him would be to go to college and see what he wants to be three years from now.
  • Derek Dietrich, Georgia Tech - Dietrich might be a victim of his fairly lofty status as a prep star. He hasn't become what many thought he would be, but he is still a good prospect. I think he will be an adequate third baseman defensively, with solid power, contact, and baserunning from the left side of the plate.
  • Michael Choice, Texas-Arlington - Choice is probably going to be a top 10 pick, and I am a little uneasy leaving him out of my top 25. He has some power, and an absurd number of walks this year underscore his intimidating presence in the batter's box. However, he has also struck out a ton. I wonder if he is pressing at the plate, but he offers limited defensive value, and his production at the plate hasn't been eye-popping against mid-major competition. I'm not a huge fan of his stroke either, and his skillset profiles as one that decays in a hurry. Certainly, Choice could prove to be a quality slugger, but anything less diminishes his value in a hurry.
  • Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State - I thought Brentz was going to be near the top of my draft board heading into this season, but a subpar junior campaign sunk him all the way out of my top 25. However, like Choice, he is likely to go early in the 2010 draft. Brentz battled an ankle injury, and there is a chance I lowered him way too much based on that. However, even once he got healthier, his numbers did not rebound as much as I was hoping for. Brentz provides more defensive ability than Choice, and I think he may be a better hitter too, even though there is a good chance he goes after him. I would still draft Brentz pretty early, but not as early as he is probably going to go.
  • Tyler Holt, Florida State - Holt has great speed, good defense, and a very good idea what he is doing at the plate. His skillset is built to be a good leadoff hitter. What downgraded him in my eyes was a lower contact rate this year than I expected, despite great plate discipline.
  • Kyle Parker, Clemson - Parker is also the starting quarterback at Clemson, but I think his future is clearly brighter in baseball. The power is undeniable, as well as the athletic ability. Parker whiffs quite a bit though, and that between questions over which sport he will choose kept him off of my top 25 board.
  • Josh Sale, Bishop Blanchett HS (WA) - Sale is the most noteworthy local prep product since Travis Snider. He is generally considered the best prep power bat available in this draft, and there are rumors swirling around him in the middle of the first round. I worry that his only real noteworthy tool is his power though. It looks to me like he has a skillset that can be found in a college bat, and college bats are safer bets to pan out. With that said, this is my first attempt to look at prep players, so I could be underrating how good his power is.
  • Austin Wates, Virginia Tech - Wates is a solid athlete with good hitting and baserunning ability. His athleticism suggests he could become a good defender, but he is yet to tap into that yet, which concerns me some. I don't think his bat is good enough on its own to get him to the majors.
  • Todd Cunningham, Jacksonville State - Cunningham looks great playing the game, and he performed well in the Cape Cod league last summer. However, his production did not stand out in a mid-major conference this past year, and it never has really. I think he got some good luck in the Cape Cod league over the summer, though I would still consider him in the second half of the first day.
  • Jarrett Parker, Virginia - Few, if any, match Parker's power/speed combination in this draft. The raw tools are tempting. However, he strikes out a ton, and that's not too surprising watching his long, loopy swing. He looks to me like a guy that will always tempt people with his obvious talent, but I never see him becoming a great hitter. His best bet to maximize his talent is to become very patient.
  • Mel Rojas Jr., Wabash Valley CC - The son of former MLB closer Mel Rojas Sr., the apple falls a little farther from the tree than you might think. The junior Rojas has tremendous speed, and knows how to use it. He is one of the better leadoff prospects in this draft, and his speed should also translate to good outfield defense. At only 20 years old, he is also a little younger than most college prospects.
  • Cameron Bedrosian, East Coweta HS (GA) - The toughest cut of my top 25 list. Bedrosian throws in the upper 90s, and has a couple breaking balls that he can throw for strikes. He also seems to pitch downhill pretty well, despite being rather short (6 feet tall). I love his aggressive mentality on the mound too.
  • Anthony Ranaudo, LSU - Ranaudo was supposed to be the best college pitcher in this draft, but some have come to their senses. The stuff is there, but the production and command are not. Somebody is going to draft this guy way too high. Sure, there is a chance he finds it, but I would rather take a big, projectable 18-year-old arm than a big, projectable, 21-year-old one.
  • Stetson Allie, St. Edward HS (OH) - Here is your big, projectable, 18-year-old flamethrower. Inconsistent command and mechanics, but if he irons it all out, watch out
  • Brett Eibner, Arkansas - I'm not nearly as high on this guy as most. He reminds me of Micah Owings - great hitter for a pitcher, or a great pitcher for a hitter. It's impressive, but I'm not sure it makes him a great pro player.
  • Dan Klein, UCLA - He has come back from a major arm injury quite well in relief. However, he was promising as a starter pre-injury, and still has a repertoire that could work well as a starter
  • Jordan Swagerty, Arizona State - Got some nasty stuff with good production out of the bullpen this year
  • James Paxton, Grand Prairie (Independent) - Paxton was drafted last year, but didn't sign, and long story short worries over NCAA eligibility led Kentucky to tell him they couldn't accept him back for his senior season. It was a weird situation, but here he is, a year later. He's big and has thrown well into the 90s. The arm is great, but he got hit a bit harder than I would like to see at Kentucky. Still, he improved in college, and the pure stuff is enticing, especially from the left side.
  • Drew Smyly, Arkansas - Smyly is one of the better pitchers in the SEC this year, and he has shown great improvement. Both provide promise for success at the next level.
  • Kevin Chapman, Florida - Power arm with powerful numbers out of the bullpen. Definitely worth a high pick if he is another Arthur Rhodes
  • Cody Wheeler, Coastal Carolina - I like Wheeler, but not as much as most. His numbers just don't quite match the level of the top tier in this draft, even though he played against a little lesser competition than many of them. I think he is likely to go a bit higher than I would take him.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it gives a reason to pay attention beyond the first round. I will try to re-load the list of noteworthy players each day. Again, I am not as down on this draft as many are. The impact players appear to be lacking, but there is talent to be had.