2011 Baseball Draft Notes: Five Interesting Middle Infielders
Here is some commentary on five middle infielders who have caught my eye for one reason or another: prep products Connor Barron, Jake Hager, and Trevor Story, and college infielders Kelby Tomlinson and Ryan Wright.
Connor Barron, SS, Sumrall HS, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Young infielder showed rapid improvement this spring, due to physical maturity. Current feeling is that he should hit for average and has a chance to develop more power than many shortstops. Runs well, has a good arm, and many scouts think he can stay at shortstop. Was seen as a third-round or later guy pre-season, but he now has a good chance to go in the supplemental round. It is possible that someone who really likes him could pick him in the back end of the regular first round. 6-3, 190, hits left, committed to Southern Mississippi but should sign if drafted early enough.
Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas, Nevada
Arizona State recruit, but at this point I don't think he gets to school. People who like him rate him as a late first-round or supplemental pick, pointing to strong athleticism, great high school performance, speed, power, and a good chance to stick at shortstop. Others say that while his mix of skills is broad, his actual physical tools are just average, and see him as more of a third round guy. My take is that, given the paucity of draftees who can stick at shortstop and provide some offense, one of the optimistic teams will pick him in the supplemental round. Listed at 6-1, 180, hits right.
Trevor Story, SS, Irving HS, Irving Texas
While Story draws commentary from draft experts and is seen as a high-level pick, all of the focus on the rich pitching crop means that I don't think he's received as much attention as he deserves. An LSU recruit, Story has plus bat speed and considerable power potential, though some say his uppercut swing mechanics will need adjustment. He has very good range and excellent arm strength, and should be able to stick at shortstop. In a normal year, a guy with a shortstop glove and a power bat would be a certain first-rounder, and while most think he'll slip to the supplemental, I'm not convinced of that. He seems like the type of player that would interest the Twins and Rays and maybe his home-state Rangers at the end of the first round. 6-2, 175, hits right.
Kelby Tomlinson, SS, Texas Tech
Tall and thin at 6-3, 175, hits right. Has been a reliable defensive shortstop at the college level (.970 fielding percentage this year) and has the range and arm to stick there in the pros. Lack of distance power keeps him from the first two or three rounds, but he could go any time after that. He runs well (21 steals) and draws walks, and looks like a sleeper to me. He had a great summer last year in the Jayhawk League.
Ryan Wright, 2B, University of Louisville
Scouts aren't wild about Wright's tools, rating his speed, raw power, range, and arm strength all average or worse on a physical basis. But he's a polished and very successful player, hitting .341/.422/.587 this year with 11 homers, 31 walks, and 16 steals, having no problems with the transition to the new bats. Listed at 6-1, 195, the right-handed hitter could go as early as the latter part of the second round, which tells you how much scouts respect his performance and instincts despite his lack of terrific physicality. His best position is second base, though he has experience everywhere but center field and catcher.