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Casing the States: Texas, Part Two

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Yesterday, I started the second part of my new series, Casing the States, with the state of Texas.

Due to the large number of draft prospects in Texas, I'm breaking it into parts. I have 60 total Texas prospects that are top ten round names, and there are a number that could sneak in that aren't in this list.

Follow the jump to read the second part of Casing the State of Texas, with draft profiles on 15 more Texas prospects.

Ryan Ford, 1B, Plano West HS, Plano
Ford was one of the few prep first basemen in this class to get any sort of scouting attention entering the year, and though he was fairly close to Christian Yelich's equal entering the spring, they've essentially gone in opposite directions. Yelich has been answering questions that scouts had, while Ford has just created more. At the plate, Ford continues to offer solid upside with plus raw power and a solid approach, though he has enough of a long bat path in his swing to be susceptible to quality velocity up and in. He's a below-average runner, but he's a solid defender at first base, profiling to be average there in the long run, even if he bulks up more on top of his currently well-built physique. The questions he's created are related to his academics and makeup. He was recently suspended for six games during a crucial part of the season for his team, returning just a couple days ago. The suspension is rumored to be based on academic issues, and Ford doesn't have a four year or two year college scholarship. He's floated downwards as a result, and it seems likely he'll end up at a junior college this fall. Projected Draft Range: 10th Round - Undrafted

Craig Fritsch, RHP, Baylor
Fritsch returned to Baylor last fall after not signing with the Tigers as an 8th round draft pick. Now a 22 year old junior, Fritsch has done little to improve upon that draft slot, having pitched almost exclusively in long relief rather than starting. However, he has taken a step forward with his command, and his slider, which he lost all control of a year ago, has somewhat returned to form. He's slowly moving up boards currently, and he seems to be improving little-by-little with every appearance. His calling card is a plus fastball that can sit 92-94 in shorter relief, though it sits 90-93, touching 94, when he's used in the longer relief spot this spring. His slider flashed plus on the Cape in the summer of 2008, and even though his feel never really returned for it, it can be an above-average pitch. His changeup hasn't made a lot of progress, which means that his likely position in pro ball is as a short reliever, though he has the quality stuff to succeed in late-inning roles. He's an interesting name to watch for his last few months as a college pitcher, as he could build on recent success. Projected Draft Range: 7th-12th Round

Michael Fuda, OF, Rice
Fuda is an athletic sophomore-eligible outfielder that is a former football player for the Owls. In addition to that intriguing background, Fuda also has a brother that's a prospect for this draft, Joey, who plays at Navarro JC. Michael's clearly the better prospect at this point, but Joey's no slouch either. Michael ran into some bad luck last summer after his first year as a full-time baseball player for Rice, tearing ligaments in his ankle while playing in the MINK league. There were some concerns that he'd lose his most valuable asset, plus speed, but he's returned to form this spring, and he seems to be playing at 100%. In addition, after being a fairly raw hitter at the plate due to his part-time baseball background, he's matured at the plate, and his considerable potential is starting to be realized. He doesn't have anything better than an average hit tool, but when combined with above-average raw power and plus speed, he looks like a good offensive threat for the pros. In addition, though he's a part-time left fielder for the Owls now, he was looking like a pro second baseman in the MINK league, and he might get a return chance there, though his range is plus in left field, and he has a solid-average arm. He's bypassed teammate Rick Hague to become the top draft-eligible Rice player this spring. Projected Draft Range: 3rd-6th Round

Dallas Gallant, RHP, Sam Houston State
Gallant is a frustrating pitcher to watch at times, as he can dominate in one outing, then be knocked out of the game in the second inning in the next outing. Gallant worked in a variety of roles during his first two years at Sam Houston State, but went on to be an excellent reliever on the Cape last summer. Despite that success in relief, his team needed him to anchor the rotation this year, and after some early success, his control melted down, and he was hit hard. After starting the year as the Friday starter, he found himself in the bullpen for a couple weeks in order to regain his natural power stuff that includes a 92-94 mph fastball in relief, though it's more of an 89-92 mph pitch as a starter. His slider is a second plus pitch, though he lost the feel for it when he was struggling. He's regained that feel in recent weeks, having been reinserted into the rotation as the Saturday starter, and he first start back was a complete game shutout. He's lost a lot of draft stock this year, but there's plenty of time to regain it if his transition back to starting is successful. Projected Draft Range: 4th-8th Round

Michael Goodnight, RHP, Houston
Goodnight is draft-eligible as a true sophomore this year, and he'll turn 21 the day after the draft wraps up its final day. As a result of his lack of college experience, Goodnight isn't as strong in the polish category as some of his fellow college pitchers, but he offers intriguing upside compared to most in the class. Using a strong, durable 6'4'', 225 pound frame, Goodnight offers four solid pitches, though he hasn't been able to harness them effectively enough over entire outings. He started out the year as the Friday starter for Houston, and even though he's remained exclusively in the rotation all spring, he's been moved around between Saturday and Sunday starts multiple times. That lack of consistent work may be contributing to his erratic starts, and his natural stuff comes out in the numbers, despite other component numbers that show a need for better command. He's struck out 57 in 52.2 innings so far, and he's allowing less than a hit an inning, but he's also walked 32 and allowed 18 extra-base hits, as he often misses up in the zone. However, with a fastball that sits 89-92, an above-average slider and changeup, and a usable curveball, he's going to be given plenty of chances as a starter in pro ball, though there are the usual questions about his signability as a sophomore-eligible. Projected Draft Range: 3rd-7th Round

Cole Green, RHP, Texas
Green has been a critical part of the pitching staff at Texas for the last two years, and he's taken another step forward this year as the Longhorns' Saturday starter. Though Green isn't blessed with prototypical starter's size, he's shown this year that he can be relied upon to provide quality innings, even if he doesn't miss as many bats as his more well-known rotation mates Taylor Jungmann and Brandon Workman. Using a 90-92 mph fastball, an above-average curveball, and a fringe-average changeup, he has shut down opposing offenses, pitching to contact and getting outs on both the ground and in the air. He can be a little prone to the long ball, but he generally gets weak contact using more offspeed pitches than is normal for pro pitching. Green has definitely improved his draft stock by pitching deeper into games this year, but he still remains short on big-time stuff and projection, so how he finishes the season will play a big factor in his draft stock. Projected Draft Range: 4th-7th Round

Tyler Green, RHP, Brazoswood HS, Clute
This Green, of no relation to Cole, possesses one of the fastest arms in the draft, and he's an athletic two-way player to boot. A shortstop prospect as well, scouts are generally more interested in his arm on the mound. Though he stands at a relatively short 6'1'', he does still project some for strength, and that would add on to an already plus fastball. He already is throwing 90-93 mph pitches, touching 95, and with any projection for more, he could become a premier power arm as a prospect. He adds in a potentially plus curveball that gets tons of swings and misses, and the fact that he already has an excellent feel for it means that scouts trust he'll able to get a feel for a changeup, which he uses rarely due to his excellent two-pitch mix. The reason Green isn't ranked higher is that his delivery, combined with his body, isn't smooth and his overall mechanics are in question. He might not need an entire mechanical re-work, but some teams feel more comfortable looking at him as a possible reliever rather than a starter. However, when it comes down to it, he's gaining some steam due to his excellent natural stuff, and scouts now have to figure out how precious his TCU scholarship is to him. Projected Draft Range: 3rd-6th Round

Brodie Greene, OF, Texas A&M
Greene was a solid prospect a year ago, when as a junior he made himself into one of the better college second basemen available for the draft. However, he had a strong desire to return to school, and he ended up falling to the 37th round, where the Phillies took him as a late-round flier. He moved back to his more natural position, center field, this spring, but he had to move back to the infield out of necessity for his team, though he's been installed at shortstop instead of second base. A solid hitter with fringe-average power and plus speed, he's a good offensive threat, though some teams doubt his power more than others. He also doesn't really work the count as much as he should, and he's never going to walk enough to be a top of the order hitter. Defensively, he's not going to be a long-term shortstop, and even though he's more natural in center field, he might fit best moving back across the bag to second base. He has solid tools there, featuring above-average range and an average arm, and with repetitions, he could be an above-average defender there. His time at shortstop is only helping reinforce that feeling. Greene has really surprised some people this spring with his versatility, and he's been moving up draft boards consistently. Projected Draft Range: 6th-12th Round

Rick Hague, SS, Rice
The bad news came down yesterday that Hague is moving off shortstop for the Owls. That is just one more nail in the coffin for Hague, who has had one of the worst draft years for a potential first round pick in recent history that hasn't involved an injury. Hague has been a well-known prospect for a number of years, and he was a late-round pick of the Brewers coming out of high school in suburban Houston, though he could have gone much higher if he was signable. He started immediately at Rice, and after an excellent freshman campaign, he had a bit of a sophomore slump, and aside from an excellent stint with Team USA last summer, he's never really showed the potential that scouts have always believed he has. He has average raw power, and he flashed an above-average hit tool with wood, but he struggles mightily to control the strike zone, and he's one of the worst breaking ball hitters at the top of the class. In addition, his speed, which was once considered average, has fallen to below-average, and his range at shortstop deteriorated to become fringe-average from above-average early in his career. His above-average arm is still intact, but more rumblings about moving him to third base have been occurring. He still stands a chance to regain his draft stock, but it's looking more and more like he'll drop so low that he'll return to Rice for his senior year. Projected Draft Range: 4th-12th Round

Shane Henderson, RHP, Flower Mound HS, Flower Mound
Henderson is a big, hulking right-handed pitcher that hasn't had the best spring. Contrary to what you would think from seeing him, he's not a power pitcher quite yet. Instead, he works on an 87-90 mph fastball, combined with an average slider and a fringy changeup. However, Henderson's value is all about projection, as his 6'7'' frame is attractive, since some scouts believe they can teach him how to pitch downhill. He has a little more room to fill out, and if he does learn how to pitch with more consistent mechanics and command, he can be a dominant groundball pitcher. One of the things that concerns scouts is his lack of a school commitment, though he'll likely end up at a junior college if his stock continues to fall due to questions about his mechanics and raw stuff. Projected Draft Range: 10th-25th Round

Bryan Holaday, C, TCU
Holaday has made himself into one of the top senior catchers in this draft. A former junior college catcher at North Central Texas JC, Holaday transferred in to TCU for his sophomore campaign, and he's gone undrafted three times leading up to the 2010 draft, once out of high school, once after his freshman year in junior college, and then again after his junior year at TCU. However, Holaday has improved greatly year-to-year, and he's one of the top defensive catchers in the draft. At the plate, he relies more on gap-to-gap coverage, and he's a fringe-average hitter with below-average power. He doesn't walk much or work the count, but he barrels the ball well. He's a below-average runner, but his mobility is one of his strong suits behind the plate. He works the entire package as a catcher, featuring above-average pop times as the result of solid footwork and an above-average arm. On the whole, Holaday projects best as a defense-first backup catcher, and he's improved his bat enough to be a real Major League prospect. Projected Draft Range: 8th-15th Round

Greg Holle, RHP, TCU
Holle is another huge right-handed pitcher on this list, standing easily at 6'8'' and 225 pounds. He's built more like a basketball player than a baseball player, and he was an excellent basketball player during his high school career. He was also a well-known baseball prospect coming out of a high school in New York, and he would have been a high-round pick if he hadn't been hurt at the beginning of his senior year with a non-pitching arm injury. The Yankees took a late-round flier on him, but he headed to TCU. After experiencing growing success during his first two years in college, he's fallen apart in his junior year, as his velocity is down and he's leaving all his pitches over the fat part of the plate. He started out as the mid-week starter as a result of TCU's pitching depth, but has been demoted farther to become a mop-up reliever, and he's been hit around in all but a single outing this year. He throws too many strikes with an average fastball and fringe-average offspeed stuff, and despite his size, he doesn't get much of any downhill plane on his delivery. He does strike out a fair number of hitters, but he is too prone to the long ball for teams to look at him as anything more than a middle reliever at this point. He's a prime candidate to return to school next year. Projected Draft Range: 10th Round - Undrafted

Mark Hudson, OF, Sam Houston State
Hudson came to Sam Houston State from Alvin CC in the same state for his junior year, and he's turned out to be one of the better junior college transfers in all of Texas. He was a solid player at Alvin, but he was passed over in the draft last June completely. He proceeded to tear up the Texas Collegiate League, becoming the MVP, all while showing tools that scouts found attractive. A right-handed hitter, but left-handed thrower, Hudson has solid tools all around and doesn't have a single tool that gets graded below fringe-average. An above-average runner and above-average hitter, he profiles best as a solid number two hitter at the next level. Only a fringe-average power grade brings his offensive projection down. In the field, he displays a solid-average arm and average range in center field, though he looks like someone who might need to move to right field in the future if he bulks up any more. He hasn't played since an undisclosed injury about 10 days ago, so that will have to be monitored in the coming weeks. Projected Draft Range: 7th-12th Round

Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson HS, Henderson
Jenkins has quickly become one of my favorite prep pitchers in this class. Featuring plus athleticism that includes a scholarship to play football at Baylor, Jenkins could even be a solid prospect as a hitter. However, when he steps on the mound, scouts start dreaming about what he could become. He features a fastball that already gets plus grades, sitting 91-94, touching 96, and he's learning how to pitch with it. In addition, he throws both a slider and a curveball, and he has a solid feel for both. The curveball is the better future option for his main secondary pitch, and it's a future plus pitch to pair with his plus fastball. The slider gets fringe-average grades, though it could be average with time. He doesn't currently feature much of a changeup, and that might be the biggest hurdle for him to face as he matures. However, he's still extremely projectable, standing at a tall, wiry 6'4'', and he could easily add 25 pounds of muscle with weight training. This entire package makes scouts think he may have true #1 upside if it all comes together. There's more risk in picking Jenkins early than with the elite prep arms, which is why he's a tier down, but he's quickly moving into first round consideration with an excellent spring. Projected Draft Range: Late 1st Round-Late 2nd Round

Jay Johnson, LHP, Texas Tech
Johnson is originally a Canadian prospect, and he spent the last two years playing for Lethbridge CC in Alberta. The Orioles took him in the 25th round of the draft last year after his sophomore year of junior college, and they fully intended to sign him. However, due to Johnson's injury history and reportedly a failed physical, he went unsigned and landed on campus at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders initially tried Johnson at the closer spot so that they could use Chad Bettis as their Friday starter, but after bouts of ineffectiveness on both sides of the pitching staff, he's moved into the Sunday starter role. As a reliever, Johnson could sit in the 92-94 range, but he has little control of where it's going. He throws from a low three-quarters to true sidearm slot, and though it adds to his deception, he can sometimes get inconsistent release points. His best pitch, even with a solid fastball, is a potentially plus slider that sweeps across the plate. He also struggles to control that pitch, but he gets most of his swings and misses with it. If Johnson has some success in the final weeks of the season in the starting rotation, he could climb up boards as he has been so far this spring, though most teams see him as a power left-handed reliever that could potentially be effective against both righties and lefties. Johnson's proved the most by simply staying healthy this year, so scouts are definitely watching. Projected Draft Range: 6th-10th Round

 

30 reports down, 30 to go for the state of Texas. Come back tomorrow for more of Casing the States.