Thoughts on the 2011 High School Draft Class: Pitchers
Here are my thoughts on the 2011 High School Draft Class, as things look in mid-April.
This is harder to get a handle on compared to the college players. Statistical analysis doesn't mean much (anything) at the high school level, and what numbers do exist can be hard to come by. There is video for most of these guys, and we can get scouting reports, rumors and opinions about everyone important, but at this point there is still a lot of speculation and guesswork once you get past the very top candidates.
Look at this as just an introduction. You can find a lot of good draft information at MLBBonusbaby.com, part of the SB Nation network.
This is the list of top pitchers. Top hitters will follow tomorrow.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: 6-4, 210, University of Oklahoma recruit. Rated a likely first-rounder pre-season and still does. Has football leverage since he's a great quarterback, too. Athletic, mid-90s fastball, good breaking ball, reasonable level of polish for a young power pitcher, competitive makeup. Would be a top ten guy in a thinner class and might still get there. VIDEO
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso, Oklahoma: 6-1, 200, University of Texas recruit. Mid-90s fastball with sinking action, also a plus curveball. An Oklahoma-based observer raved about the breaking ball to me. Shorter and stockier than Bradley, but just as strong, and has more present polish. Like Bradley, he would be a lock for the top ten or even top five most years, but might go a bit lower this year, though whoever picks him will still have to cough up some money.
Nick Burdi, RHP, Downers Grove, Illinois: 6-5, 215, University of Louisville recruit. Hasn't gotten quite as much press as the two Oklahomans, but he's another lock for day one if all goes well and could get into the first round. Can hit 98 MPH, has a plus slider, some whippy action with the delivery. VIDEO:
Jose Fernandez, RHP, Tampa, Florida: 6-3, 215, University of South Florida recruit. Cuban, 19 years old. Clocked as high as 98 MPH, also has a strong curveball. Some scouts wonder about his delivery and there's been talk that he's a reliever at higher levels, though one who could advance very quickly. He has one of the best arms in the draft, won't get past the supplemental round, and could go earlier than currently expected. VIDEO:
Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Augusta, Georgia: 6-3, 180, University of South Carolina recruit. Another high school guy working in the mid-90s, sometimes higher, with a good curveball. Some scouts like him better than the Oklahoma guys and he's been moving up draft boards, approaching the top ten. Command can be inconsistent but another high ceiling. VIDEO:
Dillon Howard, RHP Searcy, Arkansas: 6-3, 210, University of Arkansas recruit. Certain first round pick in most drafts, but might go a bit lower this year given the depth in power arms. 92-94 MPH fastball, good slider and an excellent changeup, smooth delivery when it is going well but there are reports of some mechanical inconsistency. Won't last past supplemental round.
Michael Kelly, RHP, Boca Raton, Florida: 6-5, 195, University of Florida recruit. Athletic, projectable, velocity reports range from 92-94 up to 96, curveball has lots of potential too. Some observers really like his mechanics, but I'm not sure I do, at least what I can see in this video. It looks a little funky to me, which can be a good thing or bad thing. Another late first round target. VIDEO:
Daniel Norris, LHP, Johnson City, Tennessee: 6-3, 180 pounds, Clemson recruit. Glowing scouting reports this spring, was already a certain first-rounder and his stock has only risen. Mid-90s heat, has shown better consistency with plus curveball, changeup, and command this spring. Can't see him lasting past 20 and could be in top ten.VIDEO:
Henry Owens, LHP, Huntington Beach, California: 6-5, 195, University of Miami recruit. Projectable physically but has a great feel for pitching, doesn't throw as hard as Norris but still gets into the 90s, changes speeds well with strong curveball and decent changeup. Late first round or supplemental round candidate. VIDEO:
Joe Ross, RHP, Oakland, California: 6-2, 180, UCLA recruit. Younger brother of Tyson Ross in the Oakland system. Similar stuff, 90-94 MPH power sinker, lots of movement on all of his pitches, but also past issues with command. Mixed reports on his polish. Rumors that he can get into the first round, should go early enough to avoid college. VIDEO:
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Martinez, California: 6-3, 180, Washington recruit. Stock rising this spring thanks to 95-97 MPH radar readings. Athletic, has a curveball and changeup, has shown improved polish this spring although still somewhat raw compared to some of the other high school arms. Supplemental pick at worst. VIDEO: