Here is a look at some college pitchers who could go early in the 2009 draft. This is Part One; there will be nine more in Part Two coming up tomorrow. Then on Monday we will do the first Hit-and-Run post.
This list is alphabetical.
Top College Pitchers for 2009 Draft
Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana
Emerging prospect this spring, going 9-1, 2.49 with a 76/24 K/BB in 76 innings, 58 hits allowed. The contextual ERA in which he's pitched is about 6.00, and all of his component ratios are quite strong. He's big and physical at 6-5, 225, and scouts report his velocity has improved from 90-93 to 93-96 this spring, along with a sharper slider. He looks like a possibility in the second half of the first round, and isn't likely to get past the supplemental round.
Brad Boxberger, RHP, Southern Cal
2.76 ERA with a 84/42 K/BB in 78 inning, 51 hits allowed. Boxberger's K/IP and H/IP ratios are excellent, but his walk rate is rather high. The stuff is here: 90-95 MPH fastball, good slider, curveball, changeup with some potential. Because of the command issue, he could last to the second round. There has been talk of making him a reliever, but given his overall performance this spring he could remain in the rotation as a pro. He would be another option late in the first round or in the supplemental area.
Rex Brouthers, LHP, Lipscomb
Brouthers is moving rapidly up draft lists. He has 3.01 ERA with a 101/35 K/BB in 69 innings this spring, 51 hits allowed, demonstrating an exceptional K/P ratio. He's dominating with excellent stuff, hitting 94-96 MPH with the heater and using a nasty slider. His changeup needs work and his command is still sloppy, but his ceiling is very impressive and he could be the first college lefty drafted.
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri
3.66 ERA with a 107/14 K/BB ratio in 84 innings, 77 hits allowed. While most attention has been focused on Stephen Strasburg, Gibson has also had a terrific season as shown by his lovely K/BB and K/IP ratios. He has a 90-93 MPH fastball, with sinking action, and both is slider and changeup are strong pitches. Combine that with his sharp control and consistent mechanics from a 6-6, 210 pound frame, and you have a possible Top Ten pick.
Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
It is hard to beat Leake's statistical performance this year: 11-1, 1.59, 96/18 K/BB in 91 innings, 53 hits allowed. And Arizona State plays great competition. Leake has exceptional polish, and is rated as a first round talent despite a fastball in the 88-92 range. His slider, curveball, and changeup are all strong, especially the changeup, and his feel for pitching is terrific. Scouts love his competitive instincts and he should move quickly through the minors, even though he doesn't have the ceiling of some of these other guys. He could go anywhere from 20 to 50 on the draft board.
Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
Was getting attention pre-season as a top lefty in the draft, but has likely fallen behind Brouthers. Minor is 4-4, 3.93 with a 79/24 K/BB in 73 innings, 74 hits allowed, very good numbers within the Vanderbilt context, though not exceptional. Listed at 6-4, 195, he has an 88-92 MPH fastball, a curve, slider, and changeup, and seems like a safe pick that could be the second choice for a lot of teams in the second half of the round.
A.J. Morris, RHP, Kansas State
Morris is 10-0, 1.27 with a 74/20 K/BB in 78 innings, this year, with 55 hits allowed. All of his components are excellent for the context, and he has one of the livelier arms among college seniors this year, getting his fastball into the low-90s. His breaking ball and changeup are also solid, and his command has been very steady this spring. He doesn't have as much leverage as other pitchers and could be a nice bargain pick in the second round range.
Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State
Rated as the top college lefty by some sources pre-season, due to his combination of above average stuff with sharp command, Oliver has had a disappointing spring, going 5-4, 4.96 with a 75/28 K/BB in 62 innings, 62 hits allowed. His K/IP and H/IP marks are actually not bad, but he's lacked consistency. His stock is down, but as long as there are no health concerns, someone could still take a shot on him late in the first round. Some theorize that Oliver has been knocked a bit off-kilter emotionally by the circumstances regarding the NCAA lawsuit, and will perform better once in pro ball.