Draft : : State Preview
State Preview: Alabama
Friday, May 13, 2011
Alabama State-by-State List
Golden Opportunity For
Alabama Prep Prospects To Make their Mark
At the outset of
the 2011 season, Wetumpka High outfielder Jamal Golden was Alabama’s top-rated
high-school baseball talent. A year ago, his uncle Reggie Golden held the same
designation and subsequently went on to become a second-round pick of the
Chicago Cubs in the 2010 draft.
Like his uncle
and former teammate, Jamal Golden is a significant two-sport talent. But ever
since he was tabbed as Alabama’s Mr. Football last fall, Golden seems to be less
inclined to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and pursue a career in baseball.
Instead, he appears more determined to pursue a career in football, as a
defensive back at Georgia Tech.
As interest in
Golden has waned this spring among area scouts, two other high-school players,
in particular, have more than made up for his absence and become Alabama’s
most-draftable prep seniors. One of the players is Golden’s Wetumpka High
teammate, third baseman Brad Roney, whose explosive raw power and above-average
arm strength at the hot corner have made him a solid candidate to go in the
first three or four rounds.
high-school talent on the eve of the 2011 draft, though, has become 6-foot-5
Slocomb High righthander Clayton Holmes, a player who barely registered as a
prospect as late as last summer.
combination of a big, athletic frame, fastball in the 90-93 mph range (touching
95-96), spike curveball with significant 12-to-6 shape and surprising feel for
pitching for a previously-unknown high-school arm, Holmes took the state by
storm this spring. He even stands an excellent chance of becoming the first
player drafted in the state overall, possibly as early as the second or third
round. But scouts are also wary that he is a top student, and could command a
significant price not to attend college at Auburn.
competition for the honor of going first overall will in all probability be
University of Alabama lefthander Adam Morgan, the state’s best college prospect.
The Crimson Tide, in fact, should produce the first two college draft picks in
Alabama, Morgan and diminutive outfielder Taylor Dugas. Morgan is seen as a
legitimate candidate to go as early as the third round, while Dugas should go
3-4 rounds later.
Even with the
state’s two best college prospects, Alabama (30-20 overall, 12-12 in
Southeastern Conference play) may have its work cut out just to advance to NCAA
post-season play. Auburn, the state’s other Southeastern Conference power, has
an even taller task.
Auburn, and every college team in the state, have been upstaged this spring by
the inspired play of Troy University, which is 35-14 overall and leads the Sun
Belt Conference with a 17-7 record. Like the Crimson Tide, the Trojans have two
impact players of their own in junior righthander Tyler Ray (11-0, 1.75) and
senior shortstop Adam Bryant (.344-6-48). Neither player, though, is expected to
be drafted in the same range as Alabama’s two best college talents.
For all his
success this season, Ray is viewed mainly as just a solid college pitcher. His
fastball velocity has been mostly in the 86-88 mph range, though has pushed as
high as 90-91 on occasion late in the spring. He commands all his pitches well,
but simply lacks overpowering stuff. Morgan, by comparison, has a fastball in
the 90-93 mph range, along with an 80-82 mph slider and solid changeup. With
better command of his stuff this spring, Morgan has solidified his lofty draft
Bryant had a big
2010 season for Troy, hitting a robust .365-23-65 while committing just three
errors at shortstop. But it was very telling that the 5-foot-11, 180-pound
infielder wasn’t even drafted a year ago. Bryant has enjoyed another solid
season for Troy (.344-6-48), leading the team in a number of offensive
categories, but his overall tools are marginal by pro standards and the new bats
in play this spring in the college game have marginalized his power. Bryant
should at least be a solid senior sign this year.
Auburn’s own undersized shortstop Casey McElroy (.360-6-46) is the top offensive
threat in his team’s lineup and should be that team’s best draft. He is also
seen as just a marginal talent, though, as scouts aren’t convinced he can be an
everyday shortstop at the next level.
5-foot-7 center fielder, meanwhile, is the poster boy in this draft for the
cause that size does not matter. He has been relatively unaffected by the new
bat standards. Even with his extra-small frame, Dugas has been a force at the
top of the Crimson Tide lineup and actually leads his team with five homers. He
also tops the Tide in runs scored, walks and stolen bases, and is an
accomplished defender in center field.
Dugas as a pure baseball player with a gritty approach and game-changing speed.
He has mainly a contact-oriented stroke and his tools should translate easily to
the professional ranks.
obvious impact that Alabama’s two best prospects will make on the draft, and to
a lesser degree the talent that Auburn and Troy will contribute, the college
team that could make the biggest splash of all is Samford, which has three
players that are making a serious run at going in the top 10 rounds.
Two of Samford’s
three best prospects are righthanded relievers who were passed over in the draft
a year ago. But 6-foot-4 senior Andrew Jones and 6-foot-5 red-shirt junior Grant
Sides have grabbed the attention of scouts this spring.
Jones (1-3, 1.86,
11 SV), the most-decorated closer in Samford history, has made strides with a
fastball that peaks at 93 mph. Scouts, however, may be more intrigued with the
upside of Sides (0-0, 2.25 in 17 G), whose fastball sits at 93-95 mph, and has
peaked at 97. He has been used cautiously all season, mostly in one-inning
stints, after he missed most of last season with an elbow injury and
subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery.
Catcher/outfielder Brandon Miller is the third Samford player that could squeeze
into the early rounds. Miller, a junior-college transfer who began his college
career at Georgia Tech, has blasted 15 home runs this season for the Trojans and
his raw power ranks among the best in the state. Though Miller has spent most of
the 2011 season in the outfield, rather than behind the plate, he is still
projected to be a catcher at the pro level. His arm has been clocked at 92-93
mph from the outfield, and is considered an asset behind the plate.
Most of the best
junior-college talent in the state, meanwhile, was concentrated again at
Chattahoochee Valley, a young team that otherwise benefitted from the transfer
of two significant offensive players from Georgia colleges, outfielder Bryce
Dial (.344-18-65, 18 SB), who spent the 2010 season at Georgia Southern, and
first baseman Robert Shipman (.306-16-63), a transfer from Georgia.
230-pound Dial has speed (6.5 in the 60), power and arm strength, and is
considered the best potential JC draft in the state. The powerful Shipman is
seen as more of a one-tool talent, and should slide as a result. A third
Chattahoochee Valley prospect, freshman righthander Zach Helewski (7-4, 3.42),
was clocked up to 94 mph and could also factor in the middle rounds.
A potential wild
card in the Alabama junior-college ranks is freshman two-way player Cooper
Moseley, a former Alabama high-school player of some note who transferred to
Central Alabama in January after a semester at Georgia. Despite his modest
5-foot-11, 170-pound frame, Moseley excelled in both the outfield (.423-7-47)
and on the mound (3-3, 2.19, 5 SV, 49 IP/64 SO) this spring. He has more upside
as a pitcher with an impressive two-pitch mix that includes a fastball in the
low- to mid-90s and hard slider.
Alabama in a Nutshell:
Depth of college talent.
(1-to-5 scale): 3.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM:
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM:
PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Clayton Holmes, rhp/3b, Slocomb HS.
Holmes was a virtual unknown to scouts last summer, but the athletic 6-foot-5,
210-pound righthander made huge strides this spring with the improvement in his
raw stuff, including a fastball at 90-93 mph, topping at 96. In 54 innings, he
went 6-2, 2.06 and struck out 84. He also played third base for his high-school
team, and hit .351-4-32. Holmes may not be a slam-dunk to sign, though, as he is
a 4.0 student with a commitment to Auburn.
PROSPECTS ON THE DECLINE:
Andrew Morris, rhp, Auburn/Bradley Hendrix, rhp, Auburn. Morris, a 16th-round
pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 after two strong seasons at Gulf Coast
(Fla.) JC, was supposed to be Auburn’s No. 1 starter and best draft pick.
Hendrix, a senior, was also expected to be a significant factor in the draft and
Tigers rotation after pumping his fastball up to 96 mph in the fall. But both
pitchers performed poorly as starters, stemming mostly from a loss of velocity,
and were banished to the bullpen. Their draft stock has tumbled accordingly.
Morris is just 2-3, 6.68 on the season, while Hendrix is 2-1, 5.13.
WILD CARD: Jamal Golden, of, Wetumpka HS. Reggie Golden was
Alabama’s top high-school draft pick a year ago, and his nephew Jamal could
follow in those footsteps. Both players are highly athletic and have similar
tools. But scouts have become increasingly wary of the younger Golden’s
intentions to play football at Georgia Tech, and he could slide in the draft if
they can’t get a read on his signability.
BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Alabama Connection: Jed Bradley, lhp,
Georgia Tech (Attended high school in Huntsville).
Top 2012 Prospect:
Lex Rutledge, lhp, Samford University.
Top 2013 Prospect:
Kevin Davis, rhp, T.R. Miller HS, Brewton.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Gregg Olson, rhp, Auburn U. (1988, Orioles/1st round, 4th
Kasey Kiker, lhp, Russell County HS, Phenix City (Rangers/1st round,
Josh Donaldson, c, Auburn U. (Cubs/1st round, 48th pick).
Destin Hood, of, St. Paul’s Episcopal HS, Mobile (Nationals/2nd
Ben Tootle, rhp, Jacksonville State U. (Twins/3rd round).
Todd Cunningham, of, Jacksonville State U. (Braves/2nd round).
Taylor Dugas, of, Alabama.
Brad Roney, 3b, Wetumpka HS.
Taylor Dugas, of, Alabama.
Taylor Dugas, of, Alabama.
Grant Sides, rhp, Samford.
Best Breaking Stuff:
Clayton Holmes, rhp, Slocomb HS.
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO
(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)
1. CLAYTON HOLMES, rhp, Slocomb HS
6-5/210 frame, very athletic, fast arm, FB tops 95-96 mph, 12/6 spike CU,
improving command; + student.
2. ADAM MORGAN, lhp, University of Alabama (Jr.)
Solidified 3rd-round status with command of 90-93 FB, 80-82 SL, solid
CH; 5-4, 3.84, 75 IP/19 BB/60 SO.
(Projected HIGH-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)
3. BRAD RONEY, 3b, Wetumpka HS
Solid tools at plate/in field; pull/power approach, + bat speed ( .393-4-19, 22
SB); ++ arm, quick feet at 3B.
4. TAYLOR DUGAS, of, University of Alabama (Jr.)
Little frame belies impressive tools; can hit (.335-5-23; .395 in 2010) with
occasional pop, + CF, base runner.
5. JO-EL BENNETT, of/rhp, Houston Academy, Midland City
Projectable 6-2/180 athlete; 6.7 speed, + underway, polished hitter, quick,
line-drive swing, + OF instincts.
6. GRANT SIDES, rhp, Samford University (Jr.)
year off TJ surgery, FB already sits 93-95, peaks at 97; struggles with command,
needs a secondary pitch.
7. CASEY McELROY, ss, Auburn University (Jr.)
Short LH swing, ball jumps off bat , makes Auburn offense go (.360-6-46);
projects utility role at pro level.
8. JAMAL GOLDEN, of, Wetumpka HS
Nephew of Reggie Golden (Cubs ‘10/2nd round); + athlete/instincts,
6.9 speed, line-drive bat (.403-2-20).
9. BRANDON MILLER, c, Samford University (Jr.)
Impressive raw power/arm strength are selling points; has to prove he can catch;
streaky hitter (.289-15-40).
10. ANDREW JONES, rhp, Samford University (Sr.)
Lanky 6-4 RHP found home as SR as closer (1.86 ERA, 11 SV); has arm strength
(91-93), + CH from ¾ slot.
11. BRYCE DIAL, of, Chattahoochee Valley CC (So.)
Georgia Southern transfer flashed impressive power/speed package (.344-18-65, 18
SB), 5-tool potential.
12. ROCKY McCORD, rhp, Spanish Fort HS
Auburn-bound 2-way player can pitch (8-1, 1.11), hit (8 HR, 45 RBIs); made big
strides with his command.
13. COOPER MOSELEY, rhp/of, Central Alabama CC (So.)
Versatile player can do it all on field, size limits pro appeal; future on
mound, has + FB/SL, but max effort.
14. TYLER RAY, rhp, Troy University (Jr.)
Solid college pitcher (11-0, 1.75, 88 IP, 10 BB); excels with command of 3
pitches, lacks overwhelming stuff.
15. JUSTIN KAMPLAIN, lhp, Walker HS, Jasper
Smallish LHP exploded on scene this spring; 5-10/165 frame limits him, but he
commands 86-91 FB/CU/CH.
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