Scouting Report: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, March 18-20, 2011
I concentrated on players who are eligible for the 2011 draft, and paid more attention to the pitchers than the hitters.
Oklahoma won the first game 1-0, a pitcher's duel in 50-degree weather with a 30 MPH wind blowing in the hitter's faces. Texas A&M won the second and third games, 11-1 and 5-2, in warmer and more comfortable weather.
College baseball has adopted a new metal bat this year with performance that is similar to wood. A scout I spoke with says this is making his job much easier this year, that there are many fewer cheap hits than in the past, and that hitting success has more meaning than it previously did.
TEXAS A&M: Ranked 11th in the country before the weekend.
Jacob House, 1B: Hitting .329/.369/.468 so far, 5/9 BB/K in 79 at-bats. 6-3, 190 pound lefty hitter and thrower. Junior, a transfer from Arkansas. His tools didn't stand out to me, looks like a typical college first baseman with a decent swing and some power, but not a terrific pro prospect. He's draftable, I'd say in the 10-15 round range.
Kenny Jackson, SS: Hitting .323/.411/.452 so far, 8/7 BB/K in 62 at-bats. 6-4, 195 pound shortstop, oversized for the position. A senior. I thought his arm and range were marginal for shortstop and I'm not sure what position he would play as a pro. His arm looks a bit short for third base. He has experience at first base and second base as well. His bat looked pretty solid, with good command of the strike zone in particular. Good makeup reportedly. Like House, I'd put him in the 10-15 round range as an intriguing senior sign.
Matt Juengel, 3B: Hitting .316/.378/.506 so far, 4/17 BB/K in 79 at-bats. Tall and scrawny, listed 6-3, 175. A junior. Normal position is third base but he has mostly been a DH this year. I thought he had more raw power than the other guys, but he also has weaker plate discipline, vulnerable to pitches outside when he tries to pull too much. Like the other draft-eligible Aggie hitters, he didn't strike me as an especially good prospect but is someone who could go off the board in the 10-15 round range.
Tyler Naquin, OF: Hitting .392/.412/.608 so far. Sophomore outfielder, NOT draft eligible this year but someone to watch for 2012. Good athlete, fast and strong, quick bat from the left side, overaggressive but young enough to improve.
Ross Stripling, RHP: Game three starter. 0.96 ERA so far with 31/4 K/BB in 28 innings, 15 hits allowed. Junior, 6-3, 190 pounds. Tall and lean, looks taller than his listed height. Fastball 89-92 MPH, breaking ball 78-82. The breaking ball looks like a hard curve or slider and is a good pitch when it is working but he'll bounce it sometimes. Over-the-top delivery that looks like it might stress his shoulder somewhat if you watch him pitch from certain angles. Strong fastball command. I like him, and he looks like a fit somewhere in the 5-8 round range to me.
John Stilson, RHP: Game one starter and potential first round pick. 1.30 ERA so far, 39/8 K/BB in 35 innings, 26 hits. Converted reliever, a junior, listed 6-3, 195, looks like a fine athlete. Fastball started off 89-92 MPH which I thought was disappointing given reports of 99 MPH in the past, but the fastball increased to 92-94 as game progressed. Lots of movement with the fastball and he had some location issues early, though Oklahoma didn't take advantage. Secondary pitches include a nasty slider at 82-84 MPH, a curve at 79-80, and what looked like a changeup at 80 MPH. All of his pitches have movement. Uses an over-the-top delivery and his mechanics flew open a few times, though this got better as the game progressed. He works very fast, which I like, and keeps the game tempo up. He's not a perfect but I can see him as a first round pick.
Mike Wacha, RHP: Game two starter. 0.75 ERA, 37/4 K/BB in 36 innings, 25 hits so far. Sophomore, NOT draft-eligible but definitely needs to be watched for 2012. Huge at 6-6, 195 but mechanics are consistent. Delivery is slower and more deliberate than Stilson's. Fastball 90-94 MPH and he commands it well though it doesn't have as much life as Stilson's. Secondary pitches include a slider and an 83 MPH pitch with screwball action that he used against right-handed hitters.
OKLAHOMA: Ranked second before the weekend.
Garrett Buechele, 3B: Junior, Steve Buechele's son, hitting .432/.490/.636 with 4/7 BB/K in 88 at-bats so far. Not a great athlete, but is very polished, makes contact, and appears fundamentally sound in most respects. He has power and the switch over to the new bats should ease some skepticism about him. He reminds me of his dad in many ways and I can see him becoming a similar player, not a star but useful. I see him in the 4-8 round range, and it will be interesting to see who gets drafted first, him or Cameron Seitzer.
Caleb Bushyhead, SS: Junior, hustle-type, crowd favorite, just getting his season started after an injury, is 5-for-20 so far with four walks. Was overmatched by Stilson's fastball but looked better in second and third games. He'll get drafted but I think his tools are short for a high slot.
Chris Ellison, OF: Junior outfielder, hitting .347/.450/.449 so far, 9/14 BB/KK in 49 at-bats, seven steals. Best attributes are speed and patience, but not a lot of power from the left side. I'd see him 10th round or later.
Evan Mistich, DH: Junior infielder but DH all three games. Not a hot prospect pre-season but is playing like one, hitting .390/.493/.593 so far with 9/7 BB/K in 59 at-bats. Looks like a decent athlete though I wish I could have seen him field. Good command of the zone, some bat speed, and looks like he has gap power. Transfer from Panola Junior College. Oklahoma sources are extremely pleased with his emergence and it will be interesting to see where his draft stock ends up.
Tyler Ogle, C: 5-10, 190 pound catcher, arm looks average. Hitting .349/.481/.571 so far this year with 12/16 BB/K in 63 at-bats. Good strike zone judgment and has some pop in his bat, though this might not translate to higher levels. He doesn't look like a terrific prospect to me, but given the scarcity of catchers who might hit, he could go earlier than expected in the draft.
Cody Reine, OF: Junior outfielder, listed 5-11, 225, looks even bigger than that, very thick in the legs and waist, slow. Hitting .250/.338/.406 so far though capable of better; has raw power and was hitting cleanup. The thing I noticed about him was that he was one of the few Oklahoma hitters who could pull Stilson's fastball. Poor athleticism will keep him from being a high pick.
Michael Rocha, RHP: Game one starter, struck out 13. 5-11, 210 pound senior, 0.93 ERA so far, 37/4 K/BB in 39 innings, 19 hits. Short right-hander, stocky, fastball at 87-90 MPH, mixed in a curveball in the 78-80 range and a changeup at 76-77. Feel for pitching is excellent. Has a slingly, max-effort delivery. Not a great pro prospect but given his performance and command, I'd take a late-round flyer on him.
Cameron Seitzer, 1B: Junior, Kevin Seizer's son, 6-4, 225, hitting .329/.437/.507 this year, 12/10 BB/K in 73 at-bats. Very polished approach, controls zone well, unafraid to hit with two strikes, and doesn't try to pull everything. Opinion seems mixed, some see him as a nice solid pick in the 4-6 round range, others look at him later due to perceived lack of tools I suppose. He's a big guy but isn't a slug and looks like a smooth fielder, or at least one who is alert and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. I like him and can see him as high as the third round if he really puts things together.
Burch Smith, RHP: Game three starter, high-profile transfer from Howard JC, junior, listed 6-3, 190, was drafted by the Indians in the 20th round last year but didn't sign (obviously). 4.05 ERA so far, 24/5 K/BB in 27 innings, 31 hits. Fastball varied between 87 and 94 MPH. Slider was at 84-85, curve at 76-78. Good build, looks athletic, uses 3/4 delivery. He lost the touch with his command in the second inning and started elevating pitches, got knocked out of the game early. There is good potential here and I can see him as a third round pick.