More Interesting College HItters for 2009 Draft

Jared Mitchell, OF, LSU
    Another very toolsy outfielder with football background but a spotty baseball performance record, Mitchell got off to a fast start this year but has slumped lately. He's currently hitting .319/.477/.597 with 26 steals in 30 attempts, and has drawn 34 walks. But his strikeout rate (41 in 119 at-bats) is high, and questions persist about how his bat is going to play at higher levels, at least in terms of batting average and contact. Depending on his bonus demands, he could go anywhere in the first or second round, or fall much farther if teams decide he is unaffordable or believe he will return to football.

Josh Phegley, C, Indiana University
     Hitting .371/.475/.657 with 10 homers for Indiana, Phegley isn't the toolsiest guy around and draws mixed reviews for his defense. His season this year is less impressive than last year, when he hit .438 with 15 homers and was second in the Division I batting hunt, but is still solid overall for the context in which he's playing. Phegley could go late in the first round as a possible bargain pick, but is more probably a second or third round selection by one of the clubs that puts emphasis on performance over projection.

A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame
     Hitting .352/441/.528 with 15 steals in 19 attempts, Pollock is a good athlete with enough speed and arm strength to play center field. He also had good strike zone judgment (21 walks, 15 strikeouts in 142 at-bats). He doesn't have terrific power, but should provide enough pop to stay in the lineup. Pollock would fit in the latter half of the first round or in the supplemental round for a team looking for a relatively safe, polished investment.

Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia
    One of the best power hitters in college ball this year, Poythress is hitting .411/.511/.861 with 20 homer, 30 walks, and 24 strikeouts in 158 at-bats for the Bulldogs. He rates behind Ackley as a prospect because Ackley can run well enough to play the outfield. Although not quite in the Justin Smoak category, Poythress has a legitimate bat with power and strike zone judgment, and is another "safe" choice for several clubs.

Josh Prince, SS, Tulane
    Hitting .363/.481/.534 with 30 steals in 35 attempts, Prince has overcome injuries and a subpar 2008 to re-emerge as an interesting prospect this year. He was very successful as a freshman at the University of Texas in '07, before transferring to Tulane. Very reliable defensively, he has been projected as a pick in the fourth to sixth round range, but if his bonus demands are reasonable he could go higher than expected due to his speed, defense, and decent strike zone judgment.

Carlos Ramirez, C, Arizona State University
     Leading Arizona State with 13 homers and hitting .307/.431/.677 overall, Ramirez has made a successful transfer from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. A short, stocky type at 5-11, 210, Ramirez was MVP of the Northwoods League in 2008, where he hit .315 and lead the league with 10 homers. He has good power and was projected as a pick in the fourth-seventh round area pre-season. Like Prince, he's had a good spring and I think he could go as high as the second round. He is well-regarded defensively.

Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
   Having a breakthrough spring, Sanchez is hitting .366/.459/.686 with 12 homers for Boston College. He is getting buzz as the top college catching prospect in the draft, pushing past Trevor Coleman of Missouri who has had a rough spring, and is clearly a candidate for the first round on the basis of his power and defense.

Angelo Songco, OF, Loyola Marymount
     Scouts are always on the lookout for left-handed power, and that's Songco's bread-and-butter. Hitting .373/.500/.715 with 12 homers, he has decent strike zone judgment and one of the best college bats available. Although not quite in the same class as Mitchell or Davis athletically, he offers more current polish. He would fit at the bottom of the first round or in the supplemental round.

Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento State
     Hitting .383/.491/.780 with 12 homers and 14 steals in 16 attempts, Wheeler was noted as a speed demon type pre-season, but scouts doubted his pop. He's shown good punch this year, however, and if teams buy into that improvement as being real, he could go in the first round. A left-handed hitter with a wiry body, he has enough range and arm strength to play center field in the majors.

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