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Draft : : State Preview
State Preview: Texas
David Rawnsley        
Published: Monday, May 07, 2012

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 scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.




Contributing: Allan Simpson

Texas State-by-State List
2011 Texas Overview

Texas Overview:
Three Obvious Talents Highlight Texas Crop

Based on its sheer size, as well as an impressive track record for producing talent, Texas is almost certain to have its share of first-round draft candidates each year. It has three such consensus selections for the 2012 draft in Texas A&M righthander Michael Wacha and outfielder Tyler Naquin at the college level, and slugging Corpus Christi outfielder Courtney Hawkins in the high-school ranks.

Three position players—Hawkins, outfielder Nick Williams and shortstop C.J. Hinojosa—were the cream of the prep crop entering the 2012 season, and all three were members of the Perfect Game All-American Classic last August. While Hawkins continues to secure his placement on team's draft boards, Hinojosa suffered a season-ending left shoulder injury, and Williams is an enigmatic yet immensely talented player.

While no one has emerged as a clear-cut favorite from the state’s high-school pitching crop, long a staple of Texas baseball, there are some promising arms to choose from. Righthander Jeremy Kivel looked liked he might be the best arm of the bunch, but saw his season come to a premature end in early March when he injured his knee while playing in the outfield. Two more righthanders, Mitchell Traver and Tyler Gonzales, will now likely vie for the honor of being the first prep pitcher drafted. The 6-foot-7 Traver has flashed considerable potential with his combination of size and velocity, while Gonzales has a devastating fastball/slider combination.

Critical injuries have been prevalent at the college level, particularly those that took down two prominent University of Texas pitchers, lefthander Sam Stafford and righthander Josh Urban, along with Houston Baptist righthander Robbie Buller, prior to the start of the season. All had projected to go in the first 10 rounds, especially Stafford, an unsigned second-round pick of the New York Yankees in the 2011 draft.

Led by Texas A&M and its twin first-round candidates, the college ranks should still fare well in the draft this year. But there has been a noticeable changing of the guard among member teams in the Big 12 Conference. Texas has historically been the state’s best and most-talented college team, but the Longhorns were significantly handicapped without the services of both Stafford and Urban, and have been upstaged by surprising Baylor, which sported an improbable 18-0 record in conference play entering May. First baseman Max Muncy is the Bears’ only probable top-5 round draft candidate, but the team is deep in talented veteran players and should impact the draft in later rounds. The Longhorns also projects to have maybe just a single player, lefthander Hoby Milner, taken in the top 10 rounds.

If there is an area of the draft that has been a bright spot for Texas, and possibly even exceeded expectations, it’s the state’s junior-college pitching crop. As many as eight or nine JC arms could go in the first 10 rounds—the most notable of whom might end up being Howard College righthander Reid Scoggins, who wasn’t even expected to be a premium draft early in the season, but may leapfrog every JC pitcher on the board by the time the draft unfolds on the strength of a fastball that has routinely reached triple digits.

Texas in a nutshell:

STRENGTH:
Variety and depth of college prospects, power arms.
WEAKNESS: High-school pitching.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Texas A&M.
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Howard.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Calallen HS, Corpus Christi.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Reid Scoggins, rhp, Howard JC.
Scoggins was hardly even on the scouting map a month ago, but has been one of the hottest pitching commodities in the country with cross-checkers rushing in to get a look at his 100-mph fastball. The Dallas native missed the 2011 season while recuperating from Tommy John surgery, and the Howard College coaching staff took the opportunity during his rehab to make some major delivery adjustments. The result has been two-fold: a dramatic increase in velocity that has seen Scroggins routinely reach triple digits out of the bullpen, and significantly better command. Scoggins is not a polished arm by any means, but his kind of velocity could lead to his being drafted as high as the supplemental first round.

WILD CARD: Nick Williams, of, Ball HS, Galveston.
Williams’ raw physical tools and overall athletic profile have drawn comparisons to some of the most-talented baseball players of this generation, including Ken Griffey Jr., but his play this spring has rarely reflected his tools. Given his immense talent he still could be taken in the first or second round by a team that has done its homework and isn't willing to let his talent slide past them, but his eventual draft position remains up in the air.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Texas Connection:
Brady Rodgers, rhp, Arizona State University (Attended high school in Rosenberg).
Top 2013 Prospect: Austin Kubitza, rhp, Rice University.
Top 2014 Prospect: John Curtiss, rhp, University of Texas

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
David Clyde, lhp, Westchester HS, Houston (1973, Rangers/1st round, 1st pick); Matt Anderson, rhp, Rice University (1997, Tigers/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Brad Lincoln, rhp, University of Houston (Pirates/1st round, 4th pick).
2007 Draft: Kevin Ahrens, ss, Memorial HS, Houston (Blue Jays/1st round, 16th pick).
2008 Draft: Andrew Cashner, rhp, Texas Christian University (Cubs/1st round, 19th pick).
2009 Draft: Matthew Purke, lhp, Klein HS (Rangers/1st round, 14th pick).
2010 Draft: Jamison Tallion, rhp, The Woodlands HS (Pirates/1st round, 2nd pick).
2011 Draft: Anthony Rendon, 3b, Rice University (Nationals/1st round, 6th pick).

2011 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
65/52.
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 34/17.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 40/15.

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Nick Williams, of, Ball HS, Galveston.
Best Hitter: Tyler Naquin, of, Texas A&M University.
Best Power: Courtney Hawkins, of, Carroll HS, Corpus Christi.
Best Speed: Austin Schotts, ss, Centennial HS, Frisco.
Best Defender: Tyler Naquin, of, Texas A&M University.
Best Velocity: Stephen Johnson, rhp, St. Edwards University; Reid Scoggins, rhp, Howard JC.
Best Breaking Stuff: Matt Reckling, rhp, Rice University.
Best Pitchability: Michael Wacha, rhp, Texas A&M University.

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

GROUP ONE
(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)

1. MICHAEL WACHA, rhp, Texas A&M University (Jr.)
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Wacha has been extraordinarily consistent throughout his college career, and moved into the month of May with a 6-0, 2.22 record as a junior, stretching his three-year won-loss mark to 24-6. In 77 innings this season, he has walked just 14 while striking out 78. There was some talk early in the spring of Wacha getting serious interest at the very top of the draft, specifically from the Minnesota Twins at No. 2, but that talk seems to have subsided and a spot from 8 to 12 seems more likely. Wacha has a heavy, sinking fastball in the 92-94 mph-range, and will reach back for a little extra when he needs it. His most-advanced pitch is a low-80s changeup because he can throw it with relatively the same arm speed and from the same release point as his fastball, and still get the same heavy, sinking life at the plate. He throws both a slider and a curve, but not with any frequency and without distinctive quality. He doesn’t really need either pitch at the college level with a plus fastball/double-plus changeup combination, along with outstanding command, but will need to improve in this area professionally.


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