Interesting Mid-Round Prospects from the 2011 Draft (Rounds Four through Nine)
Several readers have asked me for a look at sleepers from the later rounds of the 2011 draft. I looked at some players from rounds 10 through 20 on Thursday, and rounds 21+ yesterday.
Here are some additional players to pay attention to, in the middle rounds.
**Many of these guys are pretty well known, so they aren't really "sleepers" in the sense of people that no one has heard of. This is more of a "pay some extra attention to this guy" approach.
**I am avoiding guys who signed for large overslot bonuses or players who were expected to go in the first couple of rounds but fell slightly. I'm looking at players who signed for somewhere close to slot money.
**This is not intended to be a comprehensive look, so if your favorite sleeper isn't mentioned, don't be offended. Indeed, feel free to bring up such players in the comments section, which makes for great discussion.
Brian Flynn, LHP, Detroit Tigers: Drafted in the sixth round from Wichita State and signed for $125,000, Flynn is a huge lefty (6-8, 240) with a low-90s fastball. His secondary stuff was shaky in college but his slider improved in pro ball and he posted a 3.46 ERA with a 57/23 K/BB in 68 innings in his pro debut in the full-season Midwest League. He's got work to do, but southpaws with size and arm strength tend to stand out.
Mason Hope, RHP, Florida Marlins: Drafted in the fifth round from high school in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Hope signed for $250,000, overslot but not a huge bonus for a high school guy who was committed to a good college baseball program with the Oklahoma Sooners. Hope was overshadowed by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in the OK prep ranks last spring but is a good prospect in his own right, with a low 90s fastball and a very good curve. He has some mechanical issues but also posted a 31/7 K/BB in his first 27 pro innings in the Gulf Coast League.
Nick Mutz, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: Drafted in the ninth round and signed for $100,000, Mutz came to the attention of the Angels due to a pre-draft workout, not having pitched elsewhere in the spring. He was mediocre in college for Dakota State in 2010 (5.01 ERA, 65/32 K/BB in 50 innings) due to command problems, but in pro ball he was excellent, posting a 2.31 ERA with a 25/5 K/BB in 23 innings in the Pioneer League. He hits 95 MPH and has a good cutter, and he could move fast if he maintains his command.
Bryson Myles, OF, Cleveland Indians: A sixth-round pick from Stephen F. Austin State in Texas, Myles was a terrific hitter in college and showed sound OBP and leadoff skills in the New York-Penn League, hitting .302/.394/.401 with 20 steals. Scouts aren't sure his swing will work at higher levels, and he has an unusual (although fairly athletic) 5-11, 230 pound body, but he's quite interesting for a middle round pick who signed for cheap ($112,500) and has some hitting potential.
Matt Summers, RHP, Minnesota Twins: Drafted in the fourth round from UC Irvine and signed for $171,900, Summers was a successful starter last spring and carried this forward to the bullpen pro ball, posting a 0.87 ERA with a 36/5 K/BB in 21 innings in the Appy League. We need to see him at higher levels, but he picks up a lot of grounders with his 90-94 MPH sinker and throws strikes. He was literally unhittable for left-handed hitters, who batted .000 against him.
Austin Wright, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies: The last pick in the eighth round, Wright signed for $125,000 from the University of Mississippi. He was a top high school prospect in Illinois back in 2008, but drifted to the junior college ranks and didn't start putting things together until last spring. He was very effective in pro ball, posting a 3.03 ERA with an 85/22 K/BB in just 68 innings between short-season A and Low-A, showing a low-90s fastball and a solid curve. If his changeup comes along he could be a fourth starter. As with Brian Flynn, lefties with size (6-3, 235) and arm strength should be tracked.