Jackie Bradley, Jr. of the South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Interesting College Hitters for the 2011 Draft, Part One
The college hitting class isn't as deep as the college pitching class in high-end terms, but there are a lot of interesting players available, especially guys who could go in the supplemental or second round area. This is a big report so I'm going to break it into three parts. Part Two will come tomorrow, Part Three Thursday.
Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, University of South Carolina
Junior, hits left, 5-10, 175. Hitting .299/.426/.588 so far, 19 walks, 15 strikeouts in 97 at-bats. The batting average might be less than expected but given the sample size it isn't a big deal, and the power/walk combination with strong tools and defense remains intact. Still a lock for the first round, although where exactly remains in question. A strong personal favorite, but some draft watchers have him dropping to the bottom of the first round at this point. That seems excessive to me, and any sort of hot streak will push him back up.
Garrett Buechele, 3B, University of Oklahoma
Junior, hits right, 6-0, 200. Hitting .427/.481/.641 with seven homers, five walks, eight strikeouts in 117 at-bats. Had made good improvements with strike zone judgment this year as well as defense. Scouts remain lukewarm on his tools, but bloodlines and performance could get him into the third round.
Zach Cone, OF, University of Georgia
Junior, hits right, 6-3, 200. Hitting .303/.355/.374 with six walks, 23 strikeouts in 99 at-bats. Seven steals in seven attempts. Stands out for speed and defensive ability, but hasn’t shown much power with the new bat, and strike zone judgment needs work. Could go anywhere in the supplemental round or later due to tools.
C.J. Cron, 1B-C, University of Utah
Junior, hits right, 6-3, 230 pounds. Hitting .476/.536/.780 with nine walks and six strikeouts in 82 at-bats. Has spent most of the year as a first baseman but might have tools to catch, though he’ll need work back there. Right-handed hitter but has good power, will take stuff to opposite field, and has controlled zone well so far. Looked like a third-rounder pre-season, but most recent rumors having him moving up draft boards rapidly, could get into later part of first round.
Alex Dickerson, OF, Indiana University
Junior, hits left, 6-3, 225 pounds. Hitting .368/.434/.538 so far with four homers, 12 walks, nine strikeouts in 106 at-bats. Not particularly toolsy but he’s showing the expected power this year and was viewed as a possible first-rounder pre-season. I don’t see why that’s changed based on his performance, but given the depth in the draft he could slip to the supplemental round very easily.
Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt
Junior, bats right, 6-2, 225. Hitting .309/.391/.400 so far, nine walks, 21 strikeouts in 110 at-bats, nine steals in 15 attempts. Fringe first-rounder pre-season, but hasn’t done enough to move beyond that and strike zone judgment isn’t helping him this year. On the other hand, defense at third base draws very strong reviews and he’s quite athletic. I think he’d go in the supplemental if the draft was held today.
Taylor Featherston, SS, TCU
Junior, bats right, 6-1, 175. Hitting .356/.457/.490 so far, 10 walks, 18 strikeouts in 104 at-bats. Scouting reports indicate solid across-the-board tools, nothing outstanding but no big weaknesses either. Seems to have the arm strength for shortstop but has made too many errors this year, .895 fielding percentage, and could be better off at second base as a pro. Another guy to look for beyond the third round, but middle infielders with solid bats sometimes go earlier than anticipated.
Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
Junior, bats right, 6-1, 195. Hitting .404/.496/.828 this year with 10 homers, 17 walks, 16 strikeouts in 99 at-bats. Has also stolen 16 bases in 20 attempts. Pre-season scouting reports wondered if his power would work with the new bat, but I don’t think that’s a question. Still being talked about as a pick in the 25-30 range, as he was pre-season, but if he remains this hot he could go in the middle of the round, if not sooner.