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Kolbrin Vitek: This Year's Tony Sanchez?

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Courtesy: BSU Photo Services
Courtesy: BSU Photo Services

One of the most exciting parts about listening to day one of the draft each year is seeing which players are drafted before they were projected by most to be taken. There are memorable over-drafts each year, with the most recent being Tony Sanchez being taken fourth overall to the Pirates. Baseball America's Jim Callis tweeted a week and a half ago that the Padres, who have the ninth selection this year, are very high on Ball State second baseman/third baseman Kolbrin Vitek -- high enough that they could be willing to take him with their first pick. With just under a month away until the draft, a lot of pieces still have to fall in place in order for this to happen. Instead of talking about the possibility of this happening, follow the jump to read why the Padres are interested in Vitek.

Before I get into a scouting report on Vitek, there is something I would like to address regarding players from smaller schools. A lot of times, these players don't see the same level of competition that players in the SEC and ACC face day in and day out. While there certainly is no denying that, I think one thing that is overlooked with position players is the lack of protection that hitters of the caliber like Vitek get in a line-up. I covered Indiana University baseball this spring, and I asked Coach Tracy Smith what their approach was going to be against him. Obviously, he said they weren't going to give him anything good to hit. Sure enough, Vitek ended up going 2-5 with a double and a home run.


Kolbrin Vitek   Position: 2B/RHP  School: Ball State University   State: IN   

Year: Jr.   Height: 6’3’’   Weight: 200


Undrafted out of high school, Kolbrin Vitek burst onto the scene last year as a sophomore at Ball State University, hitting .389/.465/.736 and swiping 17 bases. He also showed promise as a pitcher, where he utilized a low-90's fastball on the mound. It is, however, his bat that will propel him to being selected in the first couple of rounds in 2010. In a draft class light on college bats, Vitek stands out with an intriguing power/speed combination. Vitek has a lean, athletic frame with good body control and flexibility. The biggest thing that stands out about him are his hands. Not only are they lightning quick, but he also understands how they work and uses them to his advantage. Vitek shows excellent balance through contact and rotates his hips well with a strong front side. His swing plane is fairly level, but he does get good lateral tilt and uses the entire field for easy plus power potential. Vitek has plenty of bat speed and extends well through the zone. Last summer at the Great Lakes League All-Star Game, Vitek ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash. In 2009, he was 17 for 26 on the base paths, but has improved to 13 for 16 so far this year. Defensively, I think the consensus is that he profiles best at third base. He's got the arm strength, but he will need the repetitions to improve footwork and understanding of the position. As a second baseman this year, Vitek has shown he has the hands and agility to make plays to both sides of him. As good of an athlete as he is, he shouldn't have trouble developing into a serviceable to above average third baseman.