Scouting Report: Indiana State vs. Wichita State, May 15, 2011
I took a quick trip down to Wichita yesterday afternoon to see the Shockers take on the Indiana State Sycamores. I was especially interested in two Wichita State players, catcher Chris O'Brien and shortstop Tyler Grimes. A few other Shockers also caught my eye.
The best pitching prospect on the team is ace starter Charlie Lowell, but he pitched Friday and I wasn't able to make it to that game. Lowell projects as a second or third round pick. Indiana State ace Colin Rea also pitched Friday and will get drafted next month. Other than Rea, their squad is pretty much prospectless for the '11 draft, so I focused mostly on Wichita State.
Weather conditions were sunny, but windy and cool, temperature about 60 degrees. Wichita State won the game 6-1.
Here is what I saw.
Johnny Coy, 1B: Wichita State. Hitting .283/.350/.413, 23 walks, 45 strikeouts in 223 at-bats. A 6-8, 217 pound athlete, redshirt sophomore, but draft-eligible. He moves well for a big guy. I thought his swing looked long, not surprising given his size. There's some power in the bat but not enough to rank as a premium prospect as a first baseman for this draft class.
Micah Green, LF, Wichita State: Outfielder hitting just .265/.333/.363 this year with a poor 9/28 BB/K in 113 at-bats. Redshirt freshman from Aurora, Colorado, will be draft-eligible in 2012. Broad-shouldered, looks strong, stats don't show it yet but there is power in this bat, swing looked short, pulls the ball. Runs well but arm is mediocre. Stats point to poor plate discipline but he needs to be watched very closely for a breakout next year. Drafted in the 44th round by the Rockies in 2009.
Tyler Grimes, SS, Wichita State: Junior, hitting .310/.473/.429, 25 steals in 29 attempts, 48 walks, 54 strikeouts in 210 at-bats. Uses a wide open stance and his swing seems to have a lot of moving parts in it, at least from the angle I had. He's got some bat speed and is patient, works the count, though strikeout rate is quite high and I'm not sure his swing will work great at higher levels. Above-average running speed, good athlete, strong throwing arm from shortstop. His range wasn't challenged in this game. His fielding percentage is just .901 and he likely projects as a second baseman in pro ball, but with enough speed and OBP to be interesting. I'd rate him as a late second round or third round pick.
Kevin Hall, CF, Wichita State: Senior, hitting .266/.383/.365 with 22 steals in 25 attempts, 35 walks, 42 strikeouts in 222 at-bats. Runs well, works the count, but I don't think he'll hit with much authority at higher levels. Possible late-round roster-filler pick, post-20th round, but might not get drafted at all.
Reggie Hochstedler, LHP, Indiana State: This is a reliever with a 3.64 ERA and a 47/9 K/BB in 47 innings. He's a little guy, just 5-8, and he throws just 82 MPH with his fastball. But he's very deceptive, throws strikes, changes speeds, and was much more impressive than Sycamore starter Jason Van Skike. His poor velocity keeps him from being a professional prospect, but he knows how to pitch and was fun to watch. If my Low-A bullpen needed a LOOGY, I'd take a look at this guy as a free agent.
Don Lambert, RF, Wichita State: Junior, transfer from Baylor, hitting .251/.365/.402, 30 walks, 47 strikeouts in 179 at-bats, 17 steals in 20 attempts. 6-4, 190, hits left, looks like a good athlete, runs well, some athleticism, selective at the plate and I like his swing against right-handers. Against lefty Hochstedler he had problems with breaking pitches. Stats aren't great but might be worth a look in the 20th round or later.
Chris O'Brien, C, Wichita State: Junior, hitting .411/496/.626 with 34 walks, just 15 strikeouts in 214 at-bats. Stocky build, big lower half with strong legs, might have to watch weight as he gets older. Stance is a bit open, showed good bat speed when he swung but wasn't given a lot to swing at in this game. Good strike zone judgment. Even with the new bat, his statistics are much improved from previous seasons, with notably better strike zone command. I wasn't able to get a read on his throwing arm in this game, but he appears to move well behind the plate and picked the right times to go out and talk to the pitcher and "demonstrate leadership." Being rated as a possible second round pick by draft experts and I saw nothing in this game that would contradict that. Son of former major league catcher Charlie O'Brien, so he's got the bloodlines.
Josh Smith, LHP, Wichita State: Junior. 3.57 ERA with 46/22 K/BB in 63 innings, 63 hits. Tall lefty, listed at 6-3, 185, but looks more like 6-4, 200. Delivery is a bit stiff but consistent; he repeats it well. Fastball 87-89 MPH according to scoreboard gun, he locates it well. Slider varied between 79 and 84 MPH, also worked in a couple of sloppy slow curves at 74. Looks like he lowers his arm slot a little bit against left-handed hitters. I think he projects as a reliever in pro ball, a possible LOOGY type, coming in to work the slider against lefties. I'd look at him in the 10-15 round range.