Scouting the College World Series

June 25, 2009

I'll admit it. I'm still in draft and college baseball mode. I've spent the last 10+ days taking in as much College World Series as I can. I've meticulously reviewed many of this year's games. Members of our community have provided thoughts on players in our forums.

The reports below are meant to highlight potential top 75 picks in 2010 and 2011. You'll be able to find reports on 2009 draft picks, like Dustin Ackley and Mike Leake, in our scouting report archive.

Be advised that the reports below are largely based on first impressions. While I was rewinding, watching in slow motion, and rewinding again, I want to see all of these guys at least a few more times before I take too firm of a stance on them.


2010 potential top 75 picks

Matt Harvey, RHP UNC: Harvey already has an average changeup that complements his average fastball. Both pitches have plus potential. His breaking ball lags behind his other offerings but has just as much potential -- just lacks polish. Coming from a 3/4 arm slot, Harvey threw (on June 18, 2009) his fastball in the 88-91 MPH range and touched 92 -- he was 88-89 from the stretch. His changeup sits in the 78-81 range, creating a 10 MPH difference from his fastball. His breaking ball sits in the upper seventies. He rarely threw it during this outing.

Harvey's athletic and his mechanics looked clean to me. He doesn't finish in a good fielding position, as he falls toward the first base side of the diamond. He works quickly from the stretch, but has enough of a leg kick that fast runners will steal off of him. His fastball command was questionable during his College World Series outing, though he wasn't shy about pitching inside. Harvey walked five batters, threw four wild pitches, and hit two batters -- note that this was his first start in a while.

He's going to have to make some significant improvements in order to become a consensus top 10 overall draft talent in 2010. The talent is there, though. North Carolina has brought him along carefully. His polished changeup puts him ahead of a lot of college pitchers. If he enters 2010 with a little better fastball command and a more consistent breaking ball, he could have a monster season.

Brandon Workman, RHP Texas: More people should be talking about Workman right now. From a pure stuff perspective, he belongs in the conversation for top college arm in the 2010 draft class. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder's fastball sits in the 90-93 MPH range and touches 95. When he's up around 94-95, he has questionable command -- frequently missed up in the zone during his June 24, 2009 outing. His two-seam fastball, which sits in the 87-90 range, breaks slightly into righties. He doesn't throw the pitch down in the zone well.

On top of having a fastball that's a potential plus pitch, Workman possesses a 76-79 MPH knee-buckling curveball -- he gave D.J. LeMahieu jelly legs with it. He also commands his curve well. Workman's changeup sits in the low-80s. He didn't throw it much on June 24th, but when he did, he commanded the pitch well and it had good movement.

Workman throws from a high 3/4 arm slot. He finishes in a pretty balanced fielding position, which is surprising given how hard he throws. His pickoff move is slow and a little sloppy. The Longhorns are stacked with young pitching and Workman, who has the stuff to be a Friday starter, may have to pitch his way into a rotation spot in 2010. But keep a close watch on him, as he could be a huge breakout pitcher next season.

Anthony Ranaudo, RHP LSU: A two-pitch pitcher who, at times, can only throw his fastball for strikes, Ranaudo is a raw talent who still could be selected in the first round of the 2010 Draft.

Ranaudo's four-seam fastball can touch 93-94 MPH -- sits 88-92 -- but like his two-seamer, the pitch has very little movement. His fastball control, let alone command, could be vastly improved. That said, Ranaudo's curveball has definitely improved -- tightened up -- during his time at LSU. Sitting in the 76-78 range, his curveball has hard, tight, late movement and is a potential plus pitch. He did not throw it for strikes consistently on June 24, 2009. Ranaudo basically doesn't have a changeup at this stage of his development -- throws it less than 2% of the time.

Athletic and surprisingly agile, Ranaudo pitches from an over-the-top arm slot. He has very little deception in his delivery. Believe that the 6-foot-7, 231-pounder is projectable all you want, but the truth is: His fastball sits in the same 88-92 range that it did in high school. He could break out in 2010, but he may not have the command or secondary to be a big-league starter.

"Ranaudo was 88-92 with the fastball and his curve is pretty nasty. I couldn't really tell what type of movement he had on the fastball. That being said, his control was terrible and he had trouble throwing strikes." - NCRay

"The reports I had of Ranaudo earlier in the year were that he threw low-90s and touched 95-96. That's what was so impressive. He clearly had inferior velocity but he located the FB well and had pretty good feel for the curve. In the innings I saw, the curve wasn't quite as sharp, but the highlights from the earlier innings showed him throwing it for first pitch strikes and bouncing it to elicit swinging strikes. What's scary is that he's still a little gangly looking up close. There's probably more projection there." - Mas Macho

Chance Ruffin, RHP Texas: Ruffin is very polished for a college pitcher. He attacks hitters with an 89-92 MPH four-seam fastball that can touch 93 and an 85-87 two-seam fastball. His fastball doesn't have much movement, but he does an excellent jump keeping it down in the strike zone. Coming from a very low 3/4 arm slot, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder also throws a changeup, and two breaking balls.

His change sits in the 78-82 range. It doesn't have a ton of movement, but it has some tight, late, dropping break to it. In his June 22, 2009 outing, Ruffin threw a pitch in the 80-82 range that I would call a slider. He had another breaking ball that sat in the 72-75 range that was a much better pitch than the 80-82 offering. The 72-75 offering was a solid-average pitch that he could locate well.

Ruffin may not have the sexy ceiling that some of his peer possess, but he has plenty of polish -- from commanding a variety of pitches to essentially being able to extinguish the running game.

Christian Colon, SS CSUF: Colon has a lot of power for a middle infielder. He has great bat speed and ripped forearms. While he's going to need to walk more than the 7.8% clip he put together in 2009, Colon is a breakout candidate entering 2010. He's a solid contact hitter who has made substantial power improvements since his high school days.

Phil Gosselin, 2B/LF UVA: Gosselin is a good line-drive hitter who has a sound plate approach and some speed. He looks good hitting to the opposite field but will chase outside breaking balls. With a 12.0% walk rate, 14.0% strikeout rate, and .165 isolated power as a sophomore, Gosselin has built a solid foundation of a college career. Another year like that and he won't likely be a top 100 pick, but he's a guy who could hit himself into top 50 pick consideration.

Austin Ross, RHP LSU: With a straight 88-92 MPH fastball and a 79-82 slider that is a potential plus pitch -- sharp, late break -- Ross has plenty of professional intrigue. He pitches from a high 3/4 arm slot and his pickoff move is nothing special. I only saw him briefly in his June 23, 2009 outing.


2011 potential top 75 picks

Taylor Jungmann, RHP Texas: Pronounced like "Youngman", Jungmann is one of the most exciting pitchers in college baseball. He'll wow onlookers with a fastball that can touch 95 MPH, his 6-foot-6, 195 pound frame, and unorthodox mechanics. But I think he has the potential to be extremely overhyped.

When Jungmann's fastball is 93-95 he doesn't command it well at all -- it's basically a show-me pitch. He works in the 87-91 range with a two-seam fastball that tails away from lefties. About half of the pitches Jungmann threw on June 23, 2009 were fastballs. His next most utilized pitch is his 74-77 curveball, which he'll use to get swing-throughs. He also throws an 81-85 changeup. His command is raw with all of his pitches.

While Jungmann's mechanics don't look pretty, Lincoln told me that he's not too worried with them. I believe Jungmann will have trouble commanding the strike zone with his current mechanics.

Levi Michael, 2B UNC: He has a much more muscular body than most 17-year-olds. A switch-hitter who bats in a relaxed, upright stance, Michael is an impressive athlete with outstanding power. He was completely overmatched by Josh Spence's plus breaking ball on June 18, 2009. Michael walked in 8.3% of his 2009 plate appearances while striking out 18.1% of the time and putting together a .237 isolated power. With decent growth over the next two seasons, Michael could find himself in the mix to be a top 10 overall pick come 2011.

Danny Hultzen, LHP UVA: Hultzen locates a 88-91 fastball well. He also has good command of two breaking balls, but neither has much movement -- they're in the 73-76 range. Hultzen features a 78-80 changeup with some sink on it. On June 17, 2009, he frequently threw his fastball inside to lefties and outside to righties.

He gets in a bit of a crouch before he be winds up. Coming from a low 3/4 arm slot, Hultzen finishes in an athletic fielding position. His pickoff move is nothing special. Overall, he does a good job of staying down in the zone. When he pitches up, he becomes pretty hittable.

Zack Cox, 3B Arkansas: I have seen very little of Cox, but right off the bat his bat speed and patience stood out to me. He also pitched a little this season -- FB can touch 92 and he has a solid curveball; utilizes multiple arm angles. He wasn't too impressive on the mound, and I believe his future will be as a hitter. He's very coordinated.

Matty Ott, RHP LSU: If you have only seen Ott as numbers on a piece of paper, you probably wouldn't think that his fastball only sits in the 87-88 MPH range -- at least it did on June 19, 2009. The pitch has good movement away from righties. Ott also throws a slider in the 78-81 range that's decent. He pitches from a very low 3/4 arm slot -- near sidearm.


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