By popular demand, here's the first installment of Draft Stock Updates. This installment focuses on college pitchers.
Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul Saints - This is a loose definition of rising, as he was supposed to be a first round pick a year ago before injury. However, Scheppers has returned so strong that he's in competition for the #2 overall selection. That's a great accomplishment for someone who took a big risk in not signing a large contract a year ago.
Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State - This can include both recently and for the Spring as a whole. Leake has used dominating offspeed stuff with his moving fastball to create an impressive resume. The Pac-10 isn't the most difficult league out there, but Leake has done nothing to hurt his stock, and there's a chance he pitches his way into the top ten with a strong finish.
Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana - Arnett began the season out of my personal top 50 college player list, so rising to first round consideration is significant. He's slowly picked his fastball up to the low- to mid-90s, with a nice slider added in. He's of prototypical starting pitching size at 6'5'', 225 pounds, so this rise is a result of good production.
Mike Belfiore, LHP, Boston College - There's speculation that BC's closer could turn into a starter in the pro ranks, and I don't doubt that much. As a closer, though, Belfiore has turned himself into one of the top college relievers, making him a possible first day pick after being known more as the Eagles' first baseman. A good fastball, combined with a good slider and changeup make him an intriguing option.
Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City - This is a selection based on the entire body of work from the Spring. Tolliver's a relative unknown to most people, but after transferring out of Arkansas-Little Rock a year ago, he's exploded. He was firing some 96s earlier this year, but was hit around at the end of year. Still, he's probably helped himself into the first day, probably as a third round pick.
James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky - I'm again choosing the entire Spring as the window of evaluation, as one could argue that a few struggles, combined with signing on with the Boras Corp. could hurt his stock. However, Paxton's gone from a mid-round pick to a first rounder this Spring, sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball, flashing 97. He's made himself the most money of anyone in terms of Spring performance.
Andy Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State - Considered a top ten pick entering the Spring, Oliver's performance issues have pushed him to at least the lower half of the round. Most scouts supposedly prefer Paxton now, meaning Oliver might drop even lower, as he's lost the status of being the top college lefty. All in all, Oliver's been a huge disappointment.
Kendal Volz, RHP, Baylor - Volz' velocity has seen a large dip this year, and I think there's a chance he's masking an injury, even if he doesn't know it. His stuff is just simply less sharp than it was on Team USA last summer, and I don't see him going anywhere near the first round and supplemental first. That's a deep fall from where his status was as a possible top ten selection following last Summer.
Jason Stoffel, RHP, Arizona - Stoffel was overworked early in the season, and now it's easy to tell that he's suffering the consequences. He's lost command from time to time, and he's way too hittable to be a shutdown reliever in the pros. His stuff is still largely there, but I'm not sure he's convinced scouts that he's got what it takes to be a late-inning reliever in the Major Leagues.
Ben Tootle, RHP, Jacksonville State - This is a more recent development, as scouts have continually found themselves questioning his secondary stuff. After missing a month due to what is deemed a "stomach virus," Tootle's been a little more weak, but most questions have to do with his ability to be a pro starting pitcher. Most accounts look at Tootle as a reliever now, dropping his stock by as much as two rounds.
Scott Bittle, RHP, Ole Miss - This goes in the calendar year category, as Bittle will go from a second round pick a year ago to a possible fourth or fifth rounder this year. He hasn't pitched recently due to biceps tendinitis, something that crept up after a move to the rotation from the bullpen. He's shown to everyone that he is indeed a bullpen arm, limiting his value.
Ryan Berry, RHP, Rice - Since a blazing start, Berry's been hurt with a strain in his shoulder, leading every scout to wonder if Berry is like every other Rice pitcher in recent years. The overwhelming majority seem to think the Rice curse lives on, meaning Berry will fall far from where he was being considered before the injury. I'm predicting that Berry won't be called until the second day, somewhere in the area of the fifth round.
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.
What do you think? Is this what you wanted?