2011 MLB Draft Results: Ranking All the Biggest Late-Round Steals of Day 3
In every major sport there is a draft, and in every draft there are players that are busts and then there are the guys that are drafted late, overlooked by many, yet become some of the best players in the game.
Baseball has a lot of players to choose from to do this, as the 2011 MLB draft featured 1,530 draft selections from all over the country.
Mike Piazza was one of the more famous draft selections, as everyone knows the story of how he was a pick because he was Tommy Lasorda's god son, then went on to have one of the greatest careers for a catcher in the history of baseball.
This year, there will undoubtedly be a couple of guys drafted on day three that will make impacts in the majors at some point in their career. Here are eight guys that I feel could be key players later on down the road.
First Though, a Very Good Story
On March 6 this season, University of Georgia outfielders Jonathan Taylor and Zach Cone collided with each other. Cone ended up being fine and played the entire season, Taylor on the other hand ended up with partial paralysis that still isn't looking to good for the future.
Zach Cone was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first supplemental round, and I feel that he could definitely help them in the fairly near future.
What they did later on though, made them a team that I will now forever root for as long as they aren't playing my Atlanta Braves.
In the 33rd round and with the 1,014th pick of the draft, the Rangers selected Taylor, in one of the greatest acts of class I have ever seen.
"We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do," said Kip Fagg, the Rangers' director of amateur scouting. "We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach's Draft status. Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player.
I applaud the Rangers organization for what they did, and knew that I had to at least put it in this article.
Ian Tomkins, Catcher from Abilene Christian
Tomkins was the 1,529th selection in the draft, or the second to last pick, by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The senior transfered from Wake Forest to Abilene Christian and put up some good numbers during his time there. He hit .307 with four homers and 50 RBI for the team the past two seasons, showing a pretty solid hit tool for a catcher. He also posted an OBP of .360 this past season.
Tomkins has solid size at 6'3", 205 pounds. If he gets a chance to improve his hit tool and get more work behind the plate, I could see him progressing into some more power and surprise some people at soem point down the line.
Raymond Hernandez, RHP from Cal State Fullerton
The reliever for Cal State Fullerton was drafted with the 1,444th pick in the 48th round of the draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This season for the Titans, Hernandez appeared in 18 games, throwing 26.1 innings, striking out 18 batters with an ERA of 1.37. Not too shabby.
While he may not have dominant stuff, he showed that he could get batters out without giving up runs, though opponents did hit .277 off of him this season.
If he continues this trend at the professional level, then you may have a steal on your hands here.
Justin Shultz, 1B from UC-Riverside
Shultz was selected in the 46th round by the Houston Astros with the 1,390th pick.
Shultz put up pretty good numbers as senior at UC Riverside, hitting .293 with four homers, 26 RBI, an OBP of .412, and a SLG of .424.
The on-base percentage is what I like. That shows that he has a good understanding of the strike zone, knows how to watch pitches, and that could help him become a valuable weapon at the professional level.
While the four homers were a little low for a first baseman, the average makes me think with a little seasoning he may have a solid average hit tool.
Chris Epps, Right Fielder from Clemson
Epps, one of best third day athletes easily, was selected by the Astros in the 45th round with the 1,360 pick.
Epps was very good for the Clemson Tigers this season, hitting .292 with 10 homers and 11 steals, making him one of the most balanced offensive players in the ACC.
He has the tools to succeed at the next level with a little work. I think he could become a solid every day player that is average across the boards.
Seth Simmons, RHP from East Carolina
The 5'9", 166 pound Simmons was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 1,204th pick (40th round).
Despite his diminutive size, Simmons put up monster numbers during his time at East Carolina. He is the school's all time record holder in career saves and appearances. As a senior this past season, Simmons struck out an incredible 50 batters in 35.2 innings and posted an ERA of 2.78.
That's big time production, which can be more important than size or athletic ability. Watch out for this kid in the future.
Ryne Harper, RHP from Austin Peay
Harper was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 37th round with the 1,136th pick in the draft.
Harper wasn't spectacular his senior season, posting an ERA of 4.62, but I like his strikeout rate. Harper struck out 50 batters in 48.2 innings, pretty solid.
I like Harper's chances if he is moved to the bullpen where he can work on a couple of his pitches and take better advantage of strong suit. could make it as a situational pitcher.
Chad Zurcher, SS from the University of Memphis
The 2011 Conference USA Player of the Year was selected by the New York Mets in the 31st round.
The shortstop posted great numbers this season, posting a slash of .443/.547/.557 with 19 doubles and 12 steals. While he didn't hit any home runs, he didn't have to.
The slash makes me think he will be a plus hitter at the next level, with his speed that should give him solid range at shortstop, or anywhere else he may be put.
For sure a sleeper in this year's draft, especially if he can stick at shortstop.
Derek Trent, Catcher from East Tennessee
Derek Trent can mash. the catcher was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the first pick in Day Three.
As a junior in 2010, Trent hit .348 with 17 doubles and 13 homers. As a senior this season, he hit .351 with 14 homers, 12 doubles, posted an OBP of .450 with a SLG of .620.
He's a little raw behind the plate, but the numbers make think he will be a plus hit guy, especially if he sticks behind the plate. I would say he was th best pick of Day Three.