MLB Draft 2012: Scouting the Stanford Hitting Prospects
I scouted the 2012 Stanford draft prospects four times this season, once against Rice, twice against USC, and then again Friday night against Fresno State. I have written about the Stanford pitching prospects, Mark Appel and Brett Mooneyham, a few times already.
Let's take a look at the four Stanford hitting prospects who will be drafted next week: Stephen Piscotty, Kenny Diekroeger, Jake Stewart and Tyler Gaffney.
(All statistics are courtesy of the Stanford University website.)
3B-LF Stephen Piscotty
Piscotty, Baseball America's 26th-rated prospect, is a tall hitter who stands right on top of the plate, making him susceptible to fastballs in on the hands. He's a gap-to-gap, line-drive hitter who uses the whole field very well. He has shown mostly doubles power, but scouts think he will develop more home-run power in professional ball.
Defensively, he showed below-average range at third base when I saw him earlier in the season. Stanford moved him to left field later in the season, which is where he likely will end up. But whichever team drafts him should see if he can handle the defensively challenging position of third base.
He has a good arm and average speed on the bases.
2012: .320/.405/.463, 5 HR, 27/21 W/K, 231 AB.
2011: .364/.423/.471, 3 HR, 17/27 W/K, 225 AB.
2010: .326/.387/.454, 4 HR, 15/18 W/K, 227 AB.
SS-2B Kenny Diekroeger
Diekroeger, the 2009 second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays and Baseball America's 118th-ranked prospect, has gotten worse each season since being named the Freshman of the Year in 2010.
Offensively, he's been a mess at the plate this season, struggling to get to pitches on the outer half, often lunging at the ball and making weak contact. He's hit with very little power and struck out too often.
Diekroeger will likely end up at second base. However, like Piscotty, the team that drafts him would be well-served to see if he can stick at the more challenging end of the defensive spectrum before shifting him to second permanently.
2012: .273/.338/.373, 2 HR, 18/47 W/K, 209 AB.
2011: .293/.356/.364, 2 HR, 19/36 W/K, 225 AB.
2010: .356/.391/.491, 5 HR, 12/44 W/K. 216 AB.
CF Jake Stewart
Stewart, Baseball America's 271st-ranked prospect, was injured earlier in the season, but he returned to lead the Cardinal draft prospects in slugging percentage and home runs out of the leadoff spot.
He's a very aggressive hitter who won't walk much. He swung at the first pitch each time up when I saw him Friday night against Fresno State. He's a solid defensive outfielder with above-average speed on the bases.
2012: .292/.337/.489, 7 HR, 11/37 W/K, 178 AB.
2011: .287/.339/.385, 0 HR, 15/54 W/K, 174 AB.
2010: .209/.267/.302, 2 HR, 12/43 W/K, 172 AB.
CF-LF Tyler Gaffney
Gaffney, a running back on the Stanford football team and Baseball America's 350th-ranked prospect, is the best athlete of the Stanford draft prospects. He's also their most patient hitter. He works the count and is willing to take a walk.
Like Diekroeger, Gaffney's production took a major tumble this season after excellent performances during his first two years at Stanford. He could be a steal in the later rounds given his patience, athleticism, speed and prior offensive success.
2012: .240/.389/.337, 2 HR, 28/28 W/K, 175 AB.
2011: .327/.422/.472, 3 HR, 29/32 W/K, 199 AB.
2010: .328/.406/.470, 3 HR, 15/30 W/K, 198 AB.