Well, this is the first time I've had the Internet all day, as we had a power outage due to a storm here in Atlanta last night. The power had been back on within an hour, but the damage was done to the Internet hookup. Now that I'm back online, here's a few more thoughts as I write reports:
-I'm planning on sending out the final reports for my top 100 players early in the week to the buyers of the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook as an exclusive preview. The profiles will be in alphabetical order, but the reports should be in their final form. I suspect that those 100 reports will cover every single player picked on the first day of the draft a week later, but we shall see. As I said awhile ago, as readers of the blog, you'll get the final reports on all the first day picks for free, but you have to buy the $9.99 product to get the other 725 profiles. You can purchase on the left side of the main page, where the PayPal logo is.
-I'm not as bullish on Peter Tago as others seem to be, and I'm not sure why. To me, he smacks of an old school projection pick, the type of pitcher that used to bust so often, which led to the revolt against high school arms by a lot of the educated public. He works with a 90-93 mph fastball and a potential plus curve that he spins well, but his command of that curve is below-average, and he lacks a changeup. I don't believe throwing a large number of changeups is necessary to be a good high school prospect, but I'd like to know he at least has somewhat of a feel for it before I project him as anything more than a number three starter, which is my projection for him. I gave him a 1C2 grade, meaning I think he'll go in the top three rounds, has a ceiling as a mid-rotation pitcher, and he has a 20 percent chance of reaching that ceiling. That may seem like a bad grade, but that's fairly normal for the type of pitcher that Tago is.
-The rise of Jacob Petricka intrigues me, but he's also a player I'm being more conservative about grading, as he's such a pop-up prospect with only a single definitely above-average pitch. He's also going to be 22 when he's drafted, so I don't believe he's got more coming in the way of secondary stuff. My reports have him sitting 92-94, touching 97, and while he has solid command, his curveball is only on the cusp between solid-average and above-average, meaning pro hitters will sit on that heater until he proves he command the deuce. His changeup is rudimentary, and he has an injury history, having had Tommy John surgery three and a half years ago, so I gave him a 1C3 grade, which was generous due to his fastball velocity. He could settle in as a late-inning reliever if he doesn't develop well as a starter.
-After seeing Kyle Parker a number of weeks ago, I immediately thought of him as a mistake hitter. He just didn't do much of anything against quality pitches. It seems my thought in a one-game view of him is actually the label that some scouts have given him. He doesn't have the elite tools some think he has, as well, only carrying an average arm, fringe-average range, average speed, and an average hit tool. His only above-average to plus tool is his power, which relies on hitting mistakes. His plate discipline is nice, but he borders on being passive at times, and with his signability questions, I gave him a 1C2 grade, pegging him as a league-average left fielder with a little more promise than some corner outfielders in the college game, but not enough for me to move off that grade.
-I've received enough positive reports on Matt Lipka that he's going to move up into my next top 100. I guess I never fully understood how much he was overshadowed by teammate Zach Lee. Solid-average hitter, average raw power, plus-plus runner, fringe-average shortstop with above-average arm, but he could be an above-average defender in center field. With those tools up the middle, he could be a potential all star player, and I wonder why he's a little underrated. Once he's fully concentrated on baseball over football, he could become a big name prospect. I gave him a 1B1 grade, and while that high ceiling is possible, just remember that every prospect is subject to the game of attrition in the minor leagues.
-Though this is about a well-known prospect, I think he needs some love he hasn't really gotten on the national stage enough. Ohio State's Alex Wimmers has been pegged as the perennial "safe arm" in this class, and I think that's a bit unfair considering his track record and stuff. Sometimes players get put in that mold due to lacking a plus fastball, and that seems to be the case here. His fastball is above-average, though, sitting 90-92, touching 94, and with good life and command, and that's easily good enough to pitch off of against pro hitters. That's better than the famous Mike Leake last year. In addition, he throws what have been called two plus pitches, a curveball and changeup, and they've come a long way in three years. He has a long track record of success, having been an excellent player from Moeller High in Cincinnati before Ohio State, and I gave him a 1B2 grade, meaning I think he could be a number two starter. The ingredients are there, and even though someone like Deck McGuire offers more pitches and a more traditional frame, Wimmers could be a better long-term pitcher.
I'll be sharing more thoughts like these as I go along, so stick around.