2011 MLB Draft Watch: Whose Stock Is Rising, Whose Is Falling?
We're now two weeks into the college baseball season, which means scouts and organizations have had two whole weeks to evaluate some of the top talent available in the 2011 draft pool.
And while some players have struggled mightily to keep their draft stock high (Matt Purke), there have been several bright spots (Taylor Jungmann), as well as a few players who have burst onto the scene in a big way (Mikie Mahtook), earning some serious draft consideration as the month of February comes to a close.
The draft is only a little more than three months away, and because there's no MLB Draft Combine like the NFL has, the only thing that matters for these collegiate players are the games that they play.
So, let's check out who's boosting their stock for the 2011 MLB Draft, and who's slipping down the boards.
Stock Up: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
2011 stats: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 18 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 18 K, 1 BB, .148 avg against, 2 CG, 2 ShO
The 6'6" 220-pound right-hander has been dominant in each of his first two starts of the 2011 season. He has yet to surrender a run and has two complete-game shutouts to his name so far.
And while his first shutout came against overmatched Maryland, in a game he needed only 95 pitches to strike out nine hitters, this most recent effort came against Hawaii, who has a potential first-rounder in their own lineup (Kolten Wong).
Against the Warriors, Jungmann threw a few more pitches (110) but showed solid control (zero walks) and his usual low-to-mid 90s velocity.
Jungmann had more questions about him heading into the 2011 season than any other top collegiate pitcher. His mechanics are somewhat shaky and his control can be all over the place sometimes, but so far he's looked like a potential top-10 pick.
Stock Up: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
2011 stats: .393, 9 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 2 K
All eyes were on Rendon, the probable number-one pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, the first two weeks of the season. After offseason ankle surgery, everyone wanted to make sure that he still looked as good in the field and at the plate as he did the two previous seasons.
After a sluggish start, it looks like Rendon is back on track. He leads Rice in almost every offensive category and has an impressive 7-to-2 walk-to-strikeout ratio going through eight games.
And on defense, Rendon has looked great, making nine plays without error.
Stock Up: Preston Tucker, 1B, Florida
2011 stats: .448, 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Tucker is one of this collegiate crop's best pure hitters, but will most likely slide on draft day due to his defensive liabilities.
Still, that hasn't hurt Tucker at the plate so far in 2011. He's been a beast for the Gators, pacing the squad in doubles, homers and RBI through seven games. A below-average runner, he even swiped a base.
Tucker has been a primary factor in the Gators' perfect 7-0 start and their No. 1 ranking.
Stock Up: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
2011 stats: 2-0, 1.32 ERA, 13.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 25 K, 1 BB, .136 average against
2011 stats: .333, 4 R, 3 2B, 10 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Hultzen kicked off his 2011 season with a great performance against UAB, striking out 10 batters in 6.2 innings of three-hit ball. As hard as it is to imagine, he was even better this past Friday, striking out a career-high 15 batters in only seven innings of work. Again, he allowed only three hits and one run, earning his second win of the year.
As one of college baseball's best two-way players, Hultzen has made a huge impact at the plate as well as on the mound.
In 27 at-bats, he's rapped three doubles and leads the Cavaliers (6-1, No. 13 in the nation) with 10 RBI.
Hultzen lacks the velocity of fellow top prospects Gerrit Cole and Taylor Jungmann, so if he's going to be a top-10 pick, he's going to have to put up eye-popping numbers, and I'd say he's off to a great start.
Stock Up: Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU
2011 stats: .348, 12 R, 2 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
One of the biggest factors for the college draft crop this season is going to be how well the hitters perform with the new bats that are supposed to sap a lot of power away from all but the elite power hitters.
After the first two weeks, I guess you would have to include Mahtook in that elite group. He has five homers in LSU's first seven games, including a two-homer game against Wake Forest in the Tigers' season debut.
He leads the team in home runs and walks and is tied for the team lead in RBI.
Mahtook was a potential second-to-third round talent before the season, but if he keeps hitting well with the new bats, he could elevate himself into first-round consideration.
Stock Up: John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M
2011 stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 15.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 18 K, 1 BB, .143 average against
If you're looking for a prospect who might rise up draft boards as we inch closer to draft day, look no further than Texas A&M's John Stilson.
Many view Stilson as a reliever, but he's fit perfectly this season as A&M's Friday-night starter. He has yet to allow an earned run and has 18 strikeouts in 15 innings. He's only issued one walk.
He was at his best during last Friday's tilt with Gonzaga. Pitted against fellow draft prospect Ryan Carpenter, Stilson was incredibly effective, going nine innings, striking out nine batters and allowing only four hits. Unfortunately, Carpenter also kept his opponent off the scoreboard and the game went 11 innings before A&M pulled out a 1-0 victory.
Stock Up: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
2011 stats: 1-0, 0.71 ERA, 12.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 20 K, 5 BB, .098 average against
Bradley had a solid debut, but it was his second start of the year that is getting loads of attention.
Against an overmatched St. John's squad, Bradley tossed seven no-hit innings, striking out 10 and walking three. His pitch count reached 103 at the end of the seventh, preventing him from continuing his no-hit effort.
Still, the performance lowered his ERA to 0.71, and he now has 20 strikeouts in only 12.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .098 against him, lower than any pitcher on this list.
Bradley is a lanky left-hander who could be one of the draft's fastest risers if he continues to impress. His command and control set him apart among the other college pitchers, and the fact that he's a lefty only sweetens the deal.
Stock Down: Matt Purke, LHP, Texas Christian
2011 stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, .083 average against
Arguably the top left-hander available in the 2011 draft, Purke wasn't available to pitch this past weekend due to a blister on his finger.
In his only other start, in which TCU limited him to only four innings, he struck out three batters and allowed only one hit.
Purke is a top-10 talent, even in this year's deep draft, but if the blister is an issue that drags on for a few more weeks, he could start to hear increased volume by those who have doubts about him.
Stock Down: Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford
2011 stats: None
Mooneyham was a wild card entering the 2011 college baseball season.
He had all the physical tools and the stuff to turn himself into a day-one pick in the draft and all he needed was one consistent, solid season to garner some serious consideration.
Unfortunately, he won't get the chance to pitch at all in 2011, after suffering a cut on his left middle finger which required surgery and will force him to miss the entire season.
Not only does the injury cost Stanford a lot, but it also leaves Mooneyham in a terrible spot, having to decide whether to declare for the draft and hope someone takes a chance on him, or heading back to Stanford for another season.
Stock Down: George Springer, OF, Connecticut
2011 stats: .136, 1 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 SB
Springer was the darling of the summer circuit, boosting his stock so high that there were those proclaiming he was a sleeper to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
It's only been six games, but so far, Springer has done little at the plate to get anyone excited. He only has three hits, and while one of those was a home run, he's hitting .136 on the season, with only one extra-base hit.
He has shown with his two steals that when he gets on base, you really have to keep an eye on him, but until he boosts his average a bit, he's not going to get many chances to show off his 30-plus steal speed.
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