Draft : : Top Prospects
Top Prospect Reports: 51-100
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Contributing: David Rawnsley, Patrick Ebert, Ben Collman, Todd Gold
51. DANIEL ROBERTSON, 3b, Upland HS
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Robertson was selected to play in the Perfect Game All American Classic last August in San Diego, mainly because of his hitting ability. He has done nothing this spring to show that wasn’t a wise decision. A righthanded hitter with a quick, powerful swing, Robertson was hitting .560-5-24 over the first 16 games for Upland High, with 16 extra-base hits and 13 walks. A pure, natural hitter with an almost-arrogant confidence at the plate, Robertson stays inside the ball well and has the raw strength to drive pitches to all fields. Robertson’s tools at third base are playable, and shouldn’t prevent teams from drafting him where his bat warrants. He is only a 7.3 runner in the 60, but has a quick first step and good balance going to the ball. His arm strength is his best defensive tool and grades out as solid-average.
52. BRETT MOONEYHAM, lhp, Stanford University (RS-Jr.)
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Mooneyham clearly had the potential to be a premium draft entering the 2012 season, based on numerous factors, but scouts preferred to take a wait-and-see approach with him after he missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand. He had injured the finger using an old, rusted can opener to open a can of beans for lunch just prior to the start of his junior year. Mooneyham, whose father Bill once played for the Oakland A’s and pitched professionally for nine years, was also beset by control issues in his first two seasons at Stanford, walking 116 in a combined 154 innings, while striking out 171 and posting a 9-10, 4.67 record. That was also a source of concern to scouts, but after a year of reflection, while sitting idly on the sidelines, Mooneyham has resumed his college career this spring with a vengeance, demonstrating much better overall control of his raw stuff. In the process, he has solidified his lofty status for this year’s draft. Through nine starts, he is 5-3, 3.32 with 28 walks and 67 strikeouts in 57 innings. His fastball has been a steady 92-94 mph in the first two innings of most of his outings, though has typically leveled off to the 90-92 range. His 74-77 mph curve and 78-80 mph changeup have been solid complementary pitches, and he’ll often drop in a hard slurve at 78-81 mph. While his control and command continue to come and go, Mooneyham has a documented history of being very difficult to square up because of the deception he generates from his long frame and somewhat unconventional delivery. In particular, he can be very difficult on lefthanded hitters with the angles he creates. Even after not pitching at all in 2011, the Nationals took a flyer on Mooneyham in the 38th round a year ago, but the big lefthander, now married and having recently completed his undergraduate degree, was determined to return to Stanford as a red-shirt junior and end his career on a positive note, and that decision should pay off handsomely for him in June.
53. BRANDEN KLINE, rhp, University of Virginia (Jr.)
With a school record-tying 18 saves in 32 relief appearances, Kline was one of the nation’s elite college closers in 2011. But with Virginia needing to rebuild its rotation this season after losing its entire starting staff, including lefthander Danny Hultzen (12-3, 1.37), the second pick in last year’s draft, the Cavaliers were in need of an experienced arm to lead the way, and Kline was handed that responsibility. He has responded by going 6-3, 3.89 with team-high totals of 37 walks and 84 strikeouts in 81 innings—compared with a 4-1, 1.88 mark, with 22 walks and 56 strikeouts in 43 innings as a sophomore. He got off to a slow start in his new role, but then went through a stretch of 5-6 starts where he was nearly unhittable. Kline's fastball has fluctuated anywhere from 88 to 95 mph, while his slider has been steadier at 83-85 and his curve at 77-78. A changeup that he incorporated into his role as a starter was 82-84 mph initially, and when Kline is on his game, his stuff can be electric and he commands all his pitches. Most scouts would let Kline start out of the chute in pro ball, though acknowledge he’ll need to be more consistent and continue to develop his change to remain in the role. The last time Kline was primarily a starter was at a Frederick, Md., high school, in 2009, when he was on his way to becoming a sixth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox. He unexpectedly passed up an offer to sign at the time and has easily enhanced his standing for this year’s draft with his combination of a projectable, athletic frame, superior stuff and success to date at the college level.
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