|2009 MLB Draft Board|
|1||Stephen Strasburg||RHP||37.4 K% 4.53 BB%, 100 mph FB, SL maybe be best pitch, injury concerns only red flag||20.6||SDSU|
|2||Dustin Ackley||CF||High average, and walk hitter with speed for CF, dominated last year (.477 wOBA*)||20.9||UNC|
|3||Grant Green||SS||Athletic true shortstop w/ power (.254 IsoP), 35/15 K/BB must improve, likely will||21.4||USC|
|4||Andrew Oliver||LHP||Plus velocity and command of fastball with rapidly developing breaking ball (25% K)||21.2||OKST|
|5||Donavan Tate||CF||True 5-tool talent, two sport star has strong commitment to UNC, upside rivals Stras||18.4||HS|
|6||Tyler Matzek||LHP||Projectable California lefty with plus velocity, deep repitroire and clean mechanics||18.3||HS|
|7||Josh Phegley||C||Numbers tell the story, .522 wOBA*, .308 IsoP, 12.4% BB, 8% K, should stay at C||21.0||IU|
|8||Matt Davidson||3B||David Wright starter kit, beautiful right handed stroke should hit for power and AVG||17.9||HS|
|9||Alex White||RHP||Great velocity and sink on FB, plus SL, 2.7/1 K:BB, mechanical concerns lower rating||20.4||UNC|
|10||Matt Purke||LHP||Top Texas hurler, 6'3" hit 94 mph w/ sink in showcases, plus SL and solid change||18.6||HS|
|11||Zach Wheeler||RHP||FB hit 95 mph w/ sink in AFLAC game, plus curve and control, smooth mechanics||n/a||HS|
|12||Tanner Scheppers||RHP||Elite '08 prospect before injury, mid 90's FB and plus slider, 40.1% K and 12.8% BB||22.1||St. Paul|
|13||Austin Maddox||C||Massive catcher, 6'4" 220 lbs, tremendous raw power, advanced approach at plate||17.7||HS|
|14||Jason Stoffel||RHP||Arizona had two 1st round picks in their bullpen but Stoffel was closer, 14.8 K/9||20.4||ARIZ|
|15||Ben Tootle||RHP||Broke out in Cape Cod League, FB hits 98 w/ good SL and command, closer potential||21.1||JSU|
|16||Jacob Turner||RHP||Advanced and polished Missouri righty with low 90's FB, good curve and change||17.7||HS|
|17||Kentrail Davis||OF||Short but strong & athletic, .477 wOBA*, .253 IsoP, 9.76 BB%, must improve 22.76 K%||20.6||TENN|
|18||Kendal Volz||RHP||FB 92-94 w/ +sink, plus SL, 27.8 K% 9.2 BB%, good athlete, mechanics lower ranking||21.2||BAY|
|19||Aaron Crow||RHP||Unsigned 9th overall pick in 2008, potential #1/2 starter, really bad mechanics||22.2||FW Cats|
|20||Mychal Givens||RHP/SS||Talented 2-way player, hits 96 mph from mound, defensive whiz at SS, likely pitcher||18.7||HS|
|21||Jake Marisnick||OF||Toolsy Cali outfielder with plus power and the speed for center and arm for right||17.9||HS|
|22||Brad Boxberger||RHP||Closer turned starter, mid 90's FB and plus cutter, 25.5% K and 12.7% BB in 2008||20.7||USC|
|23||AJ Pollock||CF/2B||Speedster, nearly impossible to strike out (4% K), not toolsy but very well rounded||21.2||ND|
|24||Jiovanni Mier||SS||Plus defensive shortstop with loads of range, showed improved bat in showcases||18.5||HS|
|25||Matt den Dekker||CF||High School All-American w/ plus speed (20-20 SB), walked (29) more than K (24)||21.5||UF|
|26||Rich Poythress||3B||Slugger dominated SEC in '08, .509 wOBA* w/ power (.252 IsoP) & keen eye (14% BB)||21.5||UGA|
|27||Bobby Borchering||3B||Advanced switch hitter w/ power from both sides, 6'4" 190 lbs may outgrow 3B||18.3||HS|
|28||Scott Bittle||RHP||Unsigned 2nd round pick (NYY), closer with plus-plus cutter, 52.6% K and 1.34 FIP||22.4||MISS|
|29||Max Stassi||C||Polished defensive C with strong arm, good approach at plate, power potential||17.9||HS|
|30||Ryan Oritz||C||Offensive first catcher, .480 wOBA*, as many walks and strikeouts last year (13.06%)||n/a||OSU|
|HM: Jason Kipnis OF USC, Kevius Sampson RHP/OF HS, Chad Thompson RHP HS, Mike Minor LHP Vanderbilt|
|<<< Discuss these rankings|
I love lists as much as anyone but at this early point of the draft process it’s better to think of these rankings in tiers.
The first tier is Stephen Strasburg and there’s a significant drop off between Strasburg and the No. 2 slot.
The second tier goes from Dustin Ackley to Zack Wheeler. There are as many as 10 guys vying for the second overall selection in this draft. There’s an argument to be made about arranging this group in any order, but all these players represent the best combination of polish and upside other than Strasburg.
The third tier goes from slots number 12 to 17, everyone in the group -- Scheppers thru Davis -- has sizable upside but need good springs to solidify their standings as elite prospects. Tanner Scheppers must prove healthy, Ben Tootle must maintain the progress he showed in the Cape Cod league, Kentrail Davis must make better contact, the high school players need to show a little more consistency, Stoffel needs to show improvement in his changeup .
The fourth tier is two guys who are probably ranked higher other places, Kendal Volz and Aaron Crow. Both Big 12 college pitchers have good stuff and a solid track record of success. Unfortunately both pitchers have long arm action and hyperabduct their elbows as they get into an inverted W position. Both fail to get their arms in the vertical, high cocked position before their shoulders start to rotate. Consequently, I believe both pitchers will have a hard time staying healthy and may end up in the bullpen. The fifth tier, from 21 to 30, represents players who would normally get supplemental first round to early second round grades. The weakness and lack of depth of this draft class will result in teams in the last third of the first round not getting full value for their picks. These players are a grab bag of relievers -- Boxberger and Bittle -- all hit no defense guys -- Poythress, Borchering and Ortiz -- guys with questionable upside -- Pollock, den Dekker, and Stassi -- and athletic, raw high schoolers -- Marisnick and Mier. Each of these groups has value but is also missing something.
These rankings will change much over the next few months. Orders will shift and new names will appear and disappear. Keep track of the changes all year long at Project Prospect and in our College and Draft Talk Forum.
Lincoln Hamilton can be reached at email@example.com.