Draft : : State Preview
State Preview: Florida
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed
overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well
as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths,
weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing
mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
Florida State-by-State List
Strong Prep Crop, Elite JC Prospects Headline Solid Florida 2011 Draft Class
Florida has been
ranked a consistent No. 2 behind California as a producer of baseball talent
since the draft was incorporated in 1965. It has enjoyed another bountiful
spring harvest in scouts’ minds, but the theme is becoming increasingly familiar
insofar as where the premium talent is coming from.
high-school ranks are both talented on the top end and deep in the middle; they
could produce three or four first-round picks in this year’s draft. The junior
colleges continue to produce more high-end talent than any state in the country,
Texas and California included, and boast the nation’s two best talents.
though, Florida’s four-year colleges will be only marginally represented, at
least by comparison. It will be a stretch for a first-round pick to come from a
Florida college this year.
high-school talent is as deep and varied as ever this year, and benefits
immensely from the presence of three players who moved to the state in their
early high-school years from traditional Latin American hotbeds. Shortstops
Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez moved to Florida from Puerto Rico, while
righthander Jose Fernandez defected from Cuba. They rank 1-2-3 on the list of
prospects for this year’s draft from Florida, and all are projected to safely be
taken in the first round, with Lindor a candidate for the first 10 picks.
The strength of
the 2011 Florida prep class is position prospects, especially power bats. While
Lindor (Montverde Academy) and Baez (Arlington Country Day), and especially
Lindor, are viewed as multi-tooled talents, both are two of the most prominent
offensive players. Not only do they share a common Puerto Rican heritage, but
they matched up against each other in an early-season game that became a
scouting bonanza. In what might have been the most-heavily scouted game of the
spring nationally, an estimated 150 scouts ringed the field for the Feb. 18
There are no
shortage of premium hitters elsewhere at the prep level, notably 6-foot-1,
240-pound Bishop Verot High first baseman Dan Vogelbach and Orangewood Academy
third baseman Dante Bichette, who were teammates during the summer and fall on
the FTB Mizuno travel team. They have firmly established themselves as two of
the top power hitters in the country this spring by blasting a combined 26 home
runs between them through early May.
Two Florida prep
outfielders that have pushed their way this spring to the brink of the first
round are Palmetto High’s Granden Goetzman, one of the best power/speed packages
in the state, and Port St. Joe speedster Roman Quinn.
But the deepest
positions of all at the Florida prep level are on the mound and at the plate.
Rodriguez, along with West Boca righthander Michael Kelly and Vogelbach’s Bishop
Verot teammate Hudson Boyd, also a righthander, are all in the mix to
potentially slip into the back end of the first round. There are so many quality
arms this year in Florida, though, that area scouts have actually complained
that there are too many to chase down and truly evaluate accurately.
accompanying list of players that have a fair shot of being drafted in the top
10 rounds includes five prep catchers. There is no clear consensus on who will
go off the board first because all have significant commitments to Florida
colleges. The top talents, though, appear to be either Florida recruit Mario
Amaral or Central Florida recruit Tyler Marlette. Both possess significant arm
strength and power potential.
Just as the
high-school ranks have been propped up this spring by the infusion of talent
from abroard, Florida’s rich junior-college program has benefitted significantly
from a number of transfers from northern schools. In fact, the top three JC
prospects transferred in from four-year colleges as rising sophomores.
Goodwin attended college at North Carolina as a freshman, before transferring in
January to Miami-Dade, while Indian River State infielder Cory Spangenberg
transferred after his freshman year at Virginia Military Institute. Goodwin, a
potential five-tool talent, and Spangenberg, the state junior-college player of
the year and one of the elite hitting prospects in the entire draft class, are
ranked 1-2 nationally among junior-college prospects. Goodwin recovered from a
slow start to hit .367-8-32 with 13 stolen bases, while Spangenberg stung the
ball at a .477-5-32 clip while stealing 33 bases.
prominent player that was new to the Florida JC scene this spring is 6-foot-5
Seminole State righthander Mike Clevinger, who transferred in January from The
Citadel. He played a two-way role for his new team but stood out most as a
closer. With a fastball that consistently reached the mid-90s, he fanned 52 in
31 innings—the best strikeout-to-innings ratio in the state.
Goodwin’s and Clevinger’s teammates at Miami-Dade and Seminole State should also
factor somewhat prominently into the early to mid rounds. Neither of those
teams, though, so much as qualified for the eight-team state tournament—a clear
indicator of the breadth and depth of talent in the Florida junior colleges.
Additionally, long-standing Florida JC power St. Petersburg could produce as
many as three picks in the first 10 rounds, even though it lost several players
in the fall in the wake of recruiting irregularities that led to the dismissal
of veteran coach Dave Pano. St. Pete was banned from the state tournament as
part of its punishment.
The 2010 draft
actually provided some relief at the top for Florida’s somewhat
under-appreciated, if not under-achieving four-year college ranks as two native
Floridians, Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal (Reds) and Florida Gulf Coast
lefthander Chris Sale (White Sox) went back-to-back with the 12th and
13th picks, respectively. Sale gained even more notoriety by becoming
the first player from last year’s draft class to reach the big leagues. The
White called him up in early August and he firmly established himself in
rise did disguise the fact, though, that only five Florida college players were
drafted in the first four rounds in 2010, including two from Division II Florida
Southern pitchers Daniel Tillman and Max Russell.
This year it
appears unlikely that any Florida college player will be picked in the first
round and there are only a half dozen or so players that are strong
possibilities to go in the first four or five rounds. The first college pick
should come from the trio of Florida State lefthander Sean Gilmartin, Florida
lefthander Nick Maronde and Bethune-Cookman catcher Peter O’Brien.
Of the three,
Gilmartin is the one that has made the greatest strides this spring. Before the
season, Miami third baseman Harold Martinez projected to be the first college
player picked, possibly in the first round, but his season-long struggles with
the bat and in the field have eliminated any chance of that happening.
The University of
Florida’s immensely-talented sophomore class has been a focus of national
attention all spring, and could well change the state’s image in 2012. Catcher
Michael Zunino, lefthander Brian Johnson and first baseman/righthander Austin
Maddox are all likely to garner first-round consideration, with another three or
four Gators likely to go in the top 4-6 rounds. Maronde is the school’s best bet
for the draft this year. Though he has been clocked in the mid-90s from the left
side, he has been used mostly in a set-up role on a deep Gators pitching staff.
Florida has had a
long tradition of producing top prospects with significant big-league
connections, and that is certainly the case again this year.
.647 average ranks second among the state’s top high-school hitters, is the son
of Dante Bichette, the former Colorado Rockies slugger. Other prospects with a
big-league lineage include American Heritage High outfielder Dominic Jose (son
of outfielder Felix Jose), St. Petersburg CC infielder Sean Buckley (son of Reds
scouting director Chris Buckley), Deltona High shortstop Jack Lopez (son of Reds
major-league bullpen catcher Juan Lopez), Seminole State CC righthander Dejai
Oliver (son of catcher Joe Oliver), Monsignor Pace righthander/outfielder Dereck
Rodriguez (son of catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez), Pendleton School lefthander
Brandon Bonilla (son of outfielder Bobby Bonilla) and University of Tampa
shortstop Taylor Wrenn (son of long-time area scout Luke Wrenn).
discussion topic this spring among scouts on the sidelines at Florida games has
been all the speculation on which local high-school talent the Tampa Bay Rays
might be strongly considering with the abundance of early draft picks they have.
In all, the Rays have 10 of the first 60 selections. Although there is no
certainty that the Rays might spend their wealth of extra picks on in-state
talent, there is a prevailing thought that they might be in position to get a
“home-town” discount by drafting local talent.
Florida in a Nutshell:
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM: Florida.
BEST JUNIOR COLLEGE TEAM:
Northwest Florida State.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Flanagan HS,
PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Grandon Goetzman,
of, Palmetto HS. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Goetzman is playing out of position
this spring at shortstop, but is projected to become a Drew Stubbs-type center
fielder in the future, with power and speed. The bat tool has the furthest to
PROSPECT ON THE DECLINE:
Harold Martinez, 3b, University of Miami. Martinez was considered a potential
first-round pick coming off a 21 home-run season as a sophomore, but showed
nothing close to that type of power this spring with just three homers.
WILD CARD: Dan Vogelbach, 1b, Bishop
Verot HS, Fort Myers. Vogelbach is essentially a one-tool player and profiles as
an American League-type draft pick, but the one tool, his massive raw power, is
huge. Vogelbach could go anywhere from the compensation round all the way down
to the fifth round.
BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Florida
Austin Wood, rhp, Southern California (attended Niceville High and St.
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: Lance McCullers, rhp/ss,
Tampa Jesuit HS.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT:
rhp, University of Florida.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Chipper Jones, ss, The
Bolles School, Jacksonville (1990, Braves/1st round, 1st
pick); Alex Rodriguez, ss, Westminster Christian HS, Miami (1993, Mariners/1st
round, 1st pick); Paul Wilson, rhp, Florida State U. (1994, Mets/1st
round, 1st pick); Pat Burrell, 1b, U. of Miami (Phillies, 1998/1st
round, 1st pick).
Chris Marrero, 3b,
Monsignor Pace HS, Hialeah (Nationals/1st round, 15th
Matt LaPorta, 1b, U. of
Florida (Brewers/1st round, 7th pick).
Eric Hosmer, 1b, American
Heritage HS, Plantation (Royals/1st round, 3rd pick).
Bobby Borchering, 3b,
Bishop Verot HS, Ft. Myers (Diamondbacks/1st. round, 16th
Manny Machado, ss, Miami
Brito Private HS (Orioles/1st round, 3rd pick).
Javier Baez, ss/3b,
Arlington Country Day HS, Jacksonville.
Dan Vogelbach, 1b, Bishop
Verot HS, North Fort Myers.
Roman Quinn, of/ss, Port
St. Joe HS.
Fransicso Lindor, ss,
Montverde Academy, Clermont.
Jose Fernandez, rhp,
Alonso HS, Tampa.
Best Breaking Stuff:
lhp, Florida State.
GROUPS ONE and TWO
Draft / Rounds 1-3)
LINDOR, ss, Montverde Academy, Clermont
nationally, switch-hitter with surprising pop, + defensive tools, smooth and
quick, loves to play.
FERNANDEZ, rhp, Alonso High School, Tampa
++ present stuff, FB to 97 mph, sharp SL, good CH, mature pitchability, 10-1,
3. JAVIER BAEZ,
ss/3b, Arlington Country Day HS, Jacksonville
native, + offensive potential, RH hitter with power, flashy defensive
tools/skills, position TBD.
4. BRIAN GOODWIN,
of, Miami-Dade JC (So.)
first-round tools, LH bat, + power/speed combo, .367-8-32/13 SB, CF ability but
SPANGENBERG, 3b/2b, Indian River State JC (So.)
offensive machine, LH bat with ++ swing/bat speed, .477-5-32/33 SB, profiles as
6. MICHAEL KELLY,
rhp, West Boca HS, Boynton Beach
6-5/190; easy delivery, fast/loose arm, heavy FB to 95, + life down, big CU,
8-4, 1.93 in 69 IP.
GILMARTIN, lhp, Florida State University (Jr.)
HS draft as OF;
excelled on mound (8-1, 2.36, 86 IP/15 BB/98 SO), ++ command of 92 FB,
8. HUDSON BOYD,
rhp, Bishop Verot HS, North Fort Myers
XXL build; top
performer (10-0, 0.37, 57 IP/100 K), dominates with heavy 91-94 FB, power CU,
GOETZMAN, ss-of, Palmetto HS, Palmetto
Stock way up as
SR for 6-4/195 athlete; ++ power/speed package with loose, fast swing, has
future CF tools.
O’BRIEN, c, Bethune-Cookman University (Jr.)
Best B-C draft in
28 years has 2 ++ tools (power/arm), but offensive output fell (.380, 20 HR to
.290, 12 HR).
11. NICK MARONDE,
lhp, University of Florida (Jr.)
6-3/200 LHP with
quick arm, runs FB up to 96 with command; set-up man, needs to develop other
12. ROMAN QUINN,
of/ss, Port St. Joe HS
excellent defensive tools/instincts, ++ runner (6.35/60), switch hits, sprays
ball to all fields.
VOGELBACH, 1b, Bishop Verot HS, North Fort Myers
Prince Fielder comparison; best power in HS class, .474-16-48, lives to hit,
probable AL draft.
BICHETTE, 3b, Orangewood Academy, Orlando
Son of ex-MLB
star, same tools, ++ strong/aggressive hitter, crushes balls inner half
(.637-10-37), fair at 3B.
15. MARIO AMARAL,
c, Reagan HS, Hialeah
frame (6-1/205); skills developing, but 90 off mound, big, easy power, runs OK,
DeSCLAFANI, rhp, University of Florida (Jr.)
Used mainly as
closer by Gators (4-2, 4.08, 3 SV); uncanny ability to throws strikes with FB
that peaks at 95.
MARLETTE, c, Hagerty HS, Oviedo
strong; ++ arm (1.7-1.8 pop times), quick actions, surprising pull power, very
18. ANDY SUAREZ,
lhp, Southwest HS, Miami
summer with sore elbow; quick clean arm, FB 90-93, mid/upper 70’s slurve,
19. KYLE SMITH,
rhp, Santaluces HS, West Palm Beach
Roy Oswalt comp
at 6-0/180, very athletic/+ competitor; 89-93 FB/++ CU, 1 ER in 45 IP, 0.15/82
K’s as SR.
20. TYLER GREENE,
ss, West Boca HS, Boca Raton
tools, 6.5 runner, +arm, +agility, raw bat speed/power, hitting
approach/instincts are issues.
(Projected HIGH-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)
TUCKER, 1b/of, University of Florida (Jr.)
hitter is middle-of-order run producer (.332-10-44); 1B only option; bat needs
to carry him.
22. DOMINIC JOSE,
of, American Heritage HS, Lake Worth
Son of ex-OF
Junior Felix; + projectable athlete with 5-tool potential, switch-hitter
(.339-4-25), ++ student.
CLEVINGER, rhp/ss, Seminole State JC (So.)
transfer played 2-way role, but impressed scouts with mid-90s FB as closer;
fanned 52 in 31 IP.
MARTINEZ, 3b, University of Miami (Jr.)
evaporated with power outage (21 HR in 2010, 3 in 2011); + arm, but struggled in
25. DEREK LAW,
rhp, Miami-Dade JC (So.)
product had ++ season (7-4, 1.75, 77 IP/11 BB/105 SO); 4 pitches, commands 92-93
FB, + SL.
SEDELL, c, American Heritage HS, Cooper City
mature hitter (.500-10-39) with ++ bat speed/raw power, fair catching tools,
RICHARDSON, of, U. of Central Florida (So.)
has + combination of speed, power, arm; produced just OK numbers (.320-0-22, 11
28. JON MATTHEWS,
of, St. Petersburg Col. (So.)
Southern transfer has big arm, speed (6.5 in 60), big upside; overcame slow
start to hit .356-6-40.
29. SEAN BUCKLEY,
3b/1b, St. Petersburg JC (So.)
Son of Reds
scouting director/South Florida transfer has explosive power, runs 60 in 6.8;
QUACKENBUSH, rhp, University of South Florida (Sr.)
6-5 RHP blossomed
(11 SV, 28 IP/9 H/6 BB/39 SO) under ex-MLB pitch coach Chuck Hernandez, FB at
31. JACK LOPEZ,
ss, Deltona HS
Son of Reds
bullpen coach (Juan); very slick fielder, + hands/actions, only 5-10/175, but
32. RYAN HARRIS,
rhp/of, Jupiter HS, West Palm Beach
so wild-card draft; legit 2-way talent, FB up to 94 mph/power CU, intriguing
power at plate.
33. NICK RICKLES,
c, Stetson University (Jr.)
O’Brien (No. 10)
has better raw power/arm, but 6-3/210 Rickles (.373-8-51, 6 SO) a more complete
34. NICK GOODY,
rhp, State College of Florida JC (So.)
First crack at
full-time pitcher produced 6-1, 1.17 record, led state with 107 SO; FB at
88-91/T-93, 80-81 SL.
MELENDRES, of, University of Miami (Jr.)
Tops UM in
batting (.343), best hitter for average on team, runs bases (18 SB); most
obvious tool is 80 arm.
36. SEAN TRENT,
c/3b, Bishop Moore HS, Maitland
(6-0/200), aggressive line-drive swing, ++ arm strength, 6.9 runner, may project
best as catcher.
37. BRETT LEE,
lhp, St. Petersburg Col. (So.)
JC transfer had easily best St. Pete arm; commands 90-91 mph, new-found SL at
38. DEJAI OLIVER,
rhp, Seminole State JC (So.)
Son of ex-MLB
catcher Joe Oliver; went 7-2, 3.23, 78 IP/91 SO with 88-92 mph FB, + SL, feel
RODRIGUEZ, rhp, Barry University (Jr.)
Ex-3B made big
strides in second year on mound (5-3, 2.38, 95 IP/111 SO); FB in mid-90s, also
40. MASON McVAY,
lhp, Florida International University (So.)
6-5 LHP may be
tough sign as SO eligible, TJ surgery in 2010, but 31 SO/24 IP with FB up to
94-95, + CU.
41. JOE KREHBIEL,
rhp/ss, Seminole (FL) HS
First year as
full-time pitcher, caught fire in fall; 93 FB from low arm slot, gets +
run/sink, has sweeping CU.
GARCIA, c, Pines Charter HS, Pembroke Pines
(6-4/200) has made + strides in developing + power potential, correcting funky
43. ZEKE DEVOSS,
of, University of Miami (So.)
Best athlete on
Canes roster, one of fastest players in college (6.3 in 60); hit .305, led team
in SB (28), BB.
44. GARRETT NUSS,
rhp, Mount Dora HS, Sorrento
workhorse (FB at 92 mph, CU with downer shape, nice CH), projects command from
45. CHRIS LEE,
lhp, Santa Fe JC
lefty with very live arm, FB to 94 mph, flashes CU/CH potential, trouble
46. PAUL DAVIS,
rhp, Florida Atlantic (Jr.)
developed command of 90-94 FB, feel for CU to go with SL/CH; went 8-1, 2.55, 78
47. COREY STUMP,
lhp, Lakeland Christian Academy
Chris Sale comp
at 6-5/195; upper-80s FB/tops at 91-92, big sweeping CU, good off-speed feel;
WINKLER, rhp, University of Central Florida (Jr.)
transfer produced modest 3-4, 5.22 record, but impressed scouts with sinking FB
to 93, solid SL.
SKOGLUND, lhp, Sarasota (FL) HS
Loose 6-6 lefty,
FB touches 90, + downhill angle, CU has good spin at times; broke thumb and not
50. MIKE McGEE,
of-rhp, Florida State (Sr.)
for pro ball, but solid 2-way talent; tops FSU in HR (9), SV (5), + oppo power,
FB up to 92.
51. ALEX SANTANA,
3b/rhp, Mariner HS, Cape Coral
2-way potential; loose actions, projects power, hit .402-4-29, + arm strength,
90 mph FB.
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