Five Sleepers for the 2012 Draft
Here are five players that I like as sleepers in the draft this year. I don't expect we'll hear these names today, but we should starting tomorrow. For various reasons I think these guys could be bargains, and they are all at least interesting.
Travis Bellew, RHP, Texas State University: He's got great stats (11-4, 2.73 ERA, 119/29 K/BB in 102 innings). He can hit 94 MPH, has a great slider, and is mixing in a changeup. So why haven't you heard of this guy? He's just 6-foot, 160 pounds and scouts see him as a reliever, but the arm strength and command needed for success are here.
Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Street HS, Whitby, Ontario, Canada: This 6-5, 220 pound Canadian has an upper-80s fastball that projects faster as he matures. His curveball and changeup are advanced for his age, he throws strikes, and has high-level amateur experience playing for the Canadian junior national team. He hasn't received a lot of pre-draft attention, but he is the best prospect from Canada this year and someone is likely to pick him on the second day to keep him away from college at Arizona State.
Ben Klimesh, RHP, Trinity University (Texas): Another strong statistical performer (13-3, 1.71, 154/40 K/BB in 111 innings, just 77 hits allowed), Klimesh is a senior, has a 6-3, 200 pound pitcher body, works at 90-95 MPH, and has a decent curve and changeup. He could use sharper command and the level of competition is a factor, but he's affordable and has a live arm. Someone should grab him before the 10th round given the new rules in place.
Bruce Maxwell, 1B, Birmingham Southern University: Maxwell is one of the best statistical performers in the college ranks this year, hitting a robust .471/.619/.928 with 25 doubles, 15 homers, 59 walks, and just 11 strikeouts in 153 at-bats. He's a big guy at 6-2, 230 pounds, but isn't just a masher, showing legitimate hitting skills as well as a strong throwing arm. Division III stars face an uphill battle on draft day, but Maxwell has a good track record in summer ball. Given the lack of college hitting talent in the draft this year, he bears close watching.
Jamodrick McGruder, 2B, Texas Tech: Although undersized at 5-7, 170, McGruder drew positive notice from scouts in to see teammate and likely first-day pick Barrett Barnes. A left-handed hitter, McGruder has above-average speed, good plate discipline, a strong arm, and can put a charge in the ball, hitting .358/.500/.503 on the year with 45 walks and 39 steals in 45 attempts. He has good range too, but needs to get more reliable on routine plays. Again, the paucity of college hitting talent should move him up boards.