Stephen Strasburg and those other guys



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Matt Wieters wears Stephen Strasburg pajamas to bed.

We've had some fun looking back at past drafts and their historical implications, now let's look at this upcoming draft class, starting with college pitchers. There's this guy named Stephen Strasburg that I hear is pretty good, and there will probably be a few other college pitchers to get drafted as well. Let's talk about it after the jump.

 

Rank Name  School IP  K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 ERA FIP FIP+
1 Stephen Strasburg San Diego St 109 16.1 1.6 10.3 0.3 1.32 0.61 939
2 Kyle Gibson Missouri 106.2 11.1 1.6 6.9 0.6 3.21 2.02 284
3 Alex White North Carolina 89.2 9.7 3.8 2.6 0.9 4.42 3.86 149
4 Mike Leake Arizona State 124.2 10.3 1.4 7.2 0.1 1.23 1.64 349
5 Rex Brothers* Lipscomb 94 12.6 4.1 3.1 0.7 3.26 3.21 179
6 Eric Arnett Indiana 108 9.1 3.25 2.8 0.3 2.50 3.10 185
7 Chad Jenkins Kennesaw St. 92 9.6 1.5 6.5 0.3 2.54 2.17 264
8 Andy Oliver* Oklahoma St 82 9.9 3.5 2.9 0.7 5.32 2.84 202
9 Kyle Heckathorn Kennesaw St. 86.1 10.2 2.8 3.6 0.6 3.44 3.07 187
10 Mike Minor* Vanderbilt 107 9.3 2.9 3.1 0.8 3.79 3.57 161
11 Drew Storen Stanford 42.2 13.9 1.7 8.3 1.3 3.80 3.06 187
12 James Paxton* Kentucky  78.1 13.2 2.3 5.75 1.3 5.86 2.63 218
13 Sam Dyson South Carolina 102 8.29 3.3 2.5 1.6 5.21 5.27 109
14 Victor Black Dallas Baptist 88.2 10.1 4.1 2.5 0.7 4.16 3.05 188
15 Matt Bashore* Indiana 95 10.2 2.8 3.6 0.4 4.07 2.76 208
16 Alex Wilson Texas A&M 89.2 12.1 2.5 4.8 0.4 4.22 1.79 320
17 Chris Dwyer Clemson 73 9.2 3.6 2.6 1.2 5.30 4.21 136
18 Aaron Miller* Baylor 51 11.5 4.6 2.5 1.6 5.13 3.45 166
19 A.J. Morris Kansas St. 116.1 7.7 2.3 3.3 0.3 2.09 2.74 209
20 Jason Stoffel Arizona 54 9.2 4.2 2.2 0.2 4.67 2.81 204
NR Mark Serrano Oral Roberts 86.1 13.8 2.6 5.3 0.6 2.50 2.11 272
83 Justin Marks* Louisville 99.2 11.2 2.9 3.9 0.5 3.43 2.65 216
126 Jerry Sullivan* Oral Roberts 98 10.7 2.5 4.3 0.5 3.12 2.57 223
188 Louis Coleman Louisiana St 106 10.1 1.6 6.3 1.2 2.72 2.85 201
NR Matt Way Wash St 107.1 10.4 2.8 3.8 0.7 2.43 2.96 194
NR Brian Moran North Carolina 63 12.4 1.1 10.9 0.3 2.00 1.39 412

 

*denotes pitcher is left-handed.

You thought I was going to throw out a bunch of scouting reports at you, didn't you? We'll get into some of that. This is Baseball America's top 20 college pitchers, and also some other dudes thrown in there for good measure. The players in the top 20 are expected to go anywhere from the top ten of the first round to somewhere in the 2nd round or perhaps even a bit further down.

The pitchers' FIP numbers have been adjusted for park and strength of schedule.  I'm not here to tell you what sort of predictive quality these numbers have because I don't know, but they are fun to look at. If the FIP+ numbers look absurd, it's because the collective talent of NCAA pitchers is what it is, and aluminum bats probably don't make things easier. We do know that some teams draft more on future potential while others tend to feel a little safer with a player with some track record. Here's a little introduction to some of these pitchers...

  • The one thing that immediately leaps out to me is that Stephen Strasburg will likely win one Cy Young and a couple dozen Stephen Strasburgs over his career. He is the most hyped draft prospect ever, but deserves every bit of it.
  • Mike Leake is the 14th best draft prospect and falls behind several high school pitchers in terms of upside, but has four offerings that grade as average or above average, and he generates a lot of sink on his fastball. The dominance speaks for itself, especially considering the context. Leake pitches in one of the most hitter friendly parks in college baseball. He is expected to be drafted anywhere from 8th to 17th overall. 
  • What I said about Leake you can pretty much say about Mizzou's Kyle Gibson, only Gibson is a better physical specimen and therefore will most likely go higher than Leake, but Leake achieved better results. Neither pitcher throws exceptionally hard, but their fastballs have plenty enough movement to compensate.
  • Alex White entered the season with a lot of hype, but his stock seems to fall with every outing, as he hasn't dominated as everyone expected. He throws a 91-94 MPH fastball that can touch 97, as well as an above average slider and splitter, but he's been all over the map this season. His stock has slipped, he was once considered an easy top 5 pick, but now, who knows?
  • Chad Jenkins will not sell jeans, but he will get gobs of ground balls with his sinker. I think he'll go to my St. Louis Cardinals, who pick 19th, judging by their recent track record of drafting pudgies. He's also rumored to be the Nats "cheap" pick after they break the bank on Strasburg. 
  • Andy Oliver and James Paxton are two lefties with high ERA's, but their peripherals are top shelf. Both pitchers play tough schedules, and Okie State's Allie P. Reynolds Stadium is a very unforgiving place to play. Both pitchers have plenty of projection, so a couple of lucky teams could see these two upside arms fall to them in the back of the first round or even in the supplemental round. Paxton might slip even further, as he's advised by Scott Boras and is said to be looking for a big payday. 
  • Indiana has a pretty impressive 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation, and while Eric Arnett is projected to be a top 25 pick, I think I like Bashore better. His FIP numbers are better, he throws four pitches, his mechanics are believed to be the cleaner of the two and he's a lefty with size.
  • Teams who are willing to gamble on upside and like a project will gamble on Sam Dyson. He has two above average offerings (fastball, curve), but the results have been abysmal. I'd stay away, but I'd expect a team who has picks to spare like the Brewers roll the dice. 
  • Kyle Heckathorn has a true baseball player name and his stuff is said to be almost on par with Strasburg's, but he gets the whole "thrower, not a pitcher" tag and has been compared to none other than Kyle Farnsworth.
  • Chris Dwyer is a draft eligible freshman, which may be why his results are less than spectacular, but has a 90-94 MPH fastball and a good curveball.
  • I might take some flack for this, but reading various scouting reports, I'm not sure there is a vast difference between Mike Minor and Justin Marks, but Minor is expected to go as high as #3 overall and Marks is expected to go in the third round and also has the better peripherals.
  • Alex Wilson has been the victim of a tough schedule and tough park, and also has come back from Tommy John. His stuff hasn't fully returned but I suspect it will with more time.  I don't know if I could classify him as a sleeper, but I have a feeling he could be one of those players who gets drafted lower and then sneaks up on everyone and be one of the top prospects in the minors in short order, a la the Orioles' Jake Arrieta
  • The main knock on senior Louis Coleman is that he throws across his body.
  • For most of the others, I'd refer you to Jonathan Mayo's draft reports at MLB.com. Mayo's got video and plenty of scouting goodness for a the top end talent.
  • Googling around, I found next to nothing on some of these unranked pitchers. It sounds like senior Matt Way gets by on deception.  Mark Serrano has a cool mustache. Brian Moran gets props for big-time results and for this yearbook photo:

Brianmoran_medium

I have no idea what he throws, but I'd draft him.

Hopefully this gives you a clue on a few pitchers whose names you'll see being called on draft day. It's a pretty good year for lefties, who I noted were more productive picks than other pitchers, or at least in the 90's. College hitters were the safest of the picks, and we'll look at them next. Sneak preview: To say it's a down year for college hitters would be an understatement.

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