Here's the second installment of my Draft Stock Update series, this time focusing on prep outfielders.
Mike Trout, Millville HS (NJ) - Trout's taken to his draft year with a certain enthusiasm that scouts seem to love. He's gone out of his way to keep scouts informed with his practice and game schedule, as bad weather and a late start make playing in New Jersey quite unpredictable. As a result, scouts are always at his events, and they love what they see. He's jumped up boards with a solid toolset, and it seems to me that he's going to be some team's consolation prize for not getting Donavan Tate. He'll be less refined when entering pro ball, but he's a natural gift to play.
Everett Williams, McCallum HS (TX) - Williams has used a solid reputation coming into the Spring to launch himself into a new stratosphere. Despite being just 5'10'', Williams has amazing power that immediately draws spectators. There's been some doubt about his signability, as he's signed on to play in Austin for the Longhorns, but there's now a good chance he's going to go in the first round. I'd say he's probably earned himself an extra $250K with his performance this Spring, and although I wonder if he's got the projection to stay a power hitter, I think his tools will play in pro ball.
LeVon Washington, Gainesville HS (FL) - After having rotator cuff surgery, and playing with an arm that BA says could be below a 20 on the 20-80 scouting scale, I thought I might be placing Washington in the other column. However, with a solid bat and otherworldly speed, Washington seems to have moved up boards quickly. A University of Florida recruit, I'd be surprised if he makes it there this fall, as he looks like a second round talent.
Reymond Fuentes, Fernando Callejo HS (PR) - Talk about helium. Fuentes, best known in most baseball circles as the nephew of Carlos Beltran, has jumped up draft boards lately, and Keith Law speculated he won't last past Texas at #44 overall. That's a large jump for someone I considered a 5th-7th round type of guy coming into the Spring. He's similar to his uncle in his skillset, or at least how his uncle was at his age. He's very fast, makes good contact, has good range in center field, but lacks Beltran's arm. However, Fuentes is obviously the best Puerto Rican draft prospect this year, and he's possibly the best in quite awhile.
Todd Glaesmann, Midway HS (TX) - Glaesmann was a huge disappointment to me last summer, when he was sub-par in showcases. I didn't expect him to rebound, as it seemed to me the pressure got to him a little. However, Glaesmann's proved me wrong. Despite having come off Fall thumb surgery as a result of football, Glaesmann has performed remarkably well, moving himself possibly as high as the second round. At 6'4'', 205 lbs., he's exactly what scouts dream of when thinking about prototypical pro outfielders, and his approach at the plate this Spring has shown a more balanced player.
Jacob Stewart, Rocky Mountain HS (CO) - Stewart entered the Spring as easily the best prep player in the state of Colorado, but that's not saying much. I've speculated in the past that he's someone I would take in the fourth round, as it might take some overnight negotiations between the first and second day of the draft to get him to sign away from Stanford. However, Stewart's possibly moved into the first day, quite possibly into the early second round. He has a huge toolset, having been a star football and basketball player, and he's dominated everything he's come against. He's very, very raw, but he's an intriguing player.
Slade Heathcott, Texas HS (TX) - Okay, maybe his stock hasn't fallen that much, but Heathcott's combination of injuries and signability questions makes him a falling star. Heathcott tore his ACL playing football in the Fall (notice a football injury theme?), hurt his shoulder in the outfield early on in the season, and he's been DHing almost ever since. The reason I think his stock has fallen is that he hasn't gotten up on the mound, where he was a legitimate prospect, as well. He's cut his options in half, and the injuries have almost certainly cost him tens of thousands of dollars. He's got time to rebound, but no one wants an injury-prone prep bat with signability questions on the first day.
Brian Goodwin, Rocky Mount HS (NC) - One of the worst things a draft prospect can do is combine a mediocre draft season with a signature on the dotted line of a Boras Corp. contract. That's exactly what Goodwin has done this Spring. He already had signability questions, having signed on with UNC before the season started. Scouts don't really doubt Goodwin's toolset, but they wonder if he's just an athlete playing baseball rather than a baseball player. He's a decent hitter, though he lacks much power projection, and I think he'd be well-served going to school and making himself into a true first rounder for 2012.
Trayce Thompson, Santa Margarita HS (CA) - You know what I said about Goodwin being more of an athlete than a baseball player? Copy that and paste it here, then magnify it by ten times. Thompson's got huge tools, and he has more power projection than Goodwin could dream of having. At 6'4'', 200 lbs., Thompson also has the prototypical pro body and an excellent arm to boot. However, he looks kinda funny on the field, and I've seen a couple accounts of him being as refined as I was during my first year of player pitch ball in Little League. He's committed to UCLA, and his family has money (his dad played in the NBA), so I wonder if he's going to go to school.
Reggie Williams Jr., Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate HS (FL) - Williams was included in BA's Draft Tracker Chart for a time, meaning they thought he might be getting consideration for the first round. However, Williams has made little headway in turning his toolset into skills this Spring. A pure blazer, Williams has speed to match any prospect in this entire draft class, but his bat lags so far behind. His dad was a Major Leaguer, but I think it will be awhile before we see his son make the bigs. He's committed to Miami, and that's probably the best route for him now, as I think he's hit himself out of the first day altogether.
Ruben Sierra, Jr., Programa Alcance HS (PR) - Let's stay with the bloodlines flavor today. Although his stock hasn't dipped a lot, I still get the feeling that Sierra's being doubted by a number of scouts. It even goes to the point that David Rawnsley of PGCrosschecker.com speculates that Sierra's pull-off at the plate is a result of being afraid of the ball. That's a pretty harsh speculation, as that kind of fear can ruin a career. On the bright side, Sierra's been a workout star, showing off good tools. Those tools haven't translated into games so much, and there's always some doubt about the competition Puerto Rican prospects face. That will drop him into the second day.
Donavan Tate, Cartersville HS (GA) - This is just for fun, as I'm sure most people still love Tate as much as ever. There's some speculation that Tate will go #3 overall to the Padres, but I'm going to insert a new scenario to think about. Tate's possibly asking for money in the $6 million range, with Scott Boras as his adviser, and he holds a commitment to UNC, as well. Once you get into the teams that don't pay premium money, I can easily see Tate slipping so far down that he's a late first rounder. That's big slippage for a kid who was in consideration for the #2 overall slot before the Spring began. Just something to think about.
The usual disclaimer: writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG unless otherwise noted. Go to their sites for draft coverage. They're awesome.
Who are your risers for the Spring?