The unusual depth in the 2011 draft is most-commonly attributed to the extraordinary quality of the college class. But in fairness, that seems to have obscured what may be a slightly above-average group of top-level high-school prospects.
With growing uncertainly at the very top of the draft concerning the health status of Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and the inconsistent performance of UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole, the top two spots may suddenly be up for grabs. It had been considered a given that Rendon and Cole were the marquee talents in this draft, and would go off the board 1-2.
With the door now slightly ajar, it has brought the status of Oklahoma high-school righthander Dylan Bundy and Kansas prep outfielder Derek “Bubba” Starling more to the forefront. They are regarded as the two premium prospects in this year’s high-school class.
Beyond those two high-ceiling prospects, Florida shortstop Francisco Lindor, South Carolina righthander Taylor Guerrieri, Oklahoma righthander Archie Bradley and Texas outfielder Josh Bell are all very worthy of selection in the top 10 slots, even in a talent-filled draft.
Those half-dozen players occupy the top six spots in the list of the Top 100 High-School Prospects for the 2011 draft, as compiled by PG’s Allan Simpson and David Rawnsley. The list ranks players strictly on the basis of talent, with no regard to signability.
The most noteworthy aspect of the 2011 high-school class lies in the number of prominent position players that could go in the top 2-3 rounds. The top of most high-school prospect lists is usually top-heavy with pitchers, but 28 of the top 50 players this year are position prospects. That’s in contrast to Perfect Game’s list of the top college prospects, which is heavily slanted towards pitchers.
With any draft involving high-school players, signability will play an overriding role in where players are drafted, and which ones ultimately choose college over professional baseball. Historically, about half of the players that comprise a Top 100 list in any year wind up in college.
There is an added wrinkle for high-school players to consider this year, though, as players who choose to forego signing in favor of college could re-enter the draft in the future under completely different rules that could significantly impact signing bonuses. Specifically, a new slotted bonus system is reportedly in the works that would mandate specific bonus amounts to draft slots in descending order.
That may lead to a sense of urgency in this draft on the part of both major-league clubs and players. Not only might a new, mandated bonus-slotting system impact the bargaining leverage of players in the future, but clubs may also look at the 2011 draft as the last real opportunity to draft players in rounds beyond where their talent warrants, and sign them for amounts that are significantly in excess of slot money. That practice has occurred on an increasing basis in recent years, and this draft could shatter all existing records for bonus amounts paid.
This is the third and final installment in Perfect Game’s series of identifying the top 100 prospects in each of the college, junior-college and high-school classes for this year’s draft. Please click here to access lists of the Top 100 College Prospects and Top 100 Junior-College Prospects.
This is Insider Level content. You must be a subscriber to read the rest. Want to read more???Click here for subscription info!