Draft : : State Preview
Thursday, May 17, 2012

State Preview: Oregon

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

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: David Rawnsley

Oregon State-by-State List
2011 Oregon Overview

Oregon Overview:
Oregon, Oregon State Monopolize In-State Draft Talent

Considering that Oregon State won consecutive College World Series championships in 2006 and 2007, and Oregon didn’t even have an intercollegiate baseball program at the time, the Ducks have made huge strides in closing the gap on their arch, in-state rival since re-establishing baseball effective with the 2009 season.

Discounting a predictably rough start-up season, Oregon has matched, and even exceeded Oregon State’s success, both on the field and in the draft, over the last three years. Entering the final weekend of Pacific-12 Conference play, Oregon is 111-64 over the last two-plus years, including 43-38 in conference play. The Beavers are 103-58 overall and 42-36 over a corresponding period.

Both the Ducks and Beavers had eight players apiece drafted in 2011, and are expected to fight tooth and nail to produce the larger tally this time around. It’s probable, though, that Oregon will produce the highest pick among the two schools for the third time in four years. Initially, the Ducks’ top projected selection was expected to be junior lefthander Christian Jones, but he was lost for the season before it even started when he underwent Tommy John surgery in February. But in the true spirit of keeping up with the Joneses, Oregon’s candidate now to go off the draft board first is its sophomore-eligible catcher/outfielder Aaron Jones.

Ducks lefthander Tyler Anderson was the first player from Oregon drafted in 2011, going 20th
 overall to the Colorado Rockies. Jones (Aaron, that is) won't go that high, and is more likely to go in the third to fifth rounds. While this year appears to lack a high-end college talent, both of the next two years promise to be very lucrative as both Oregon and Oregon State are deep in promising underclassmen.

Without a premium college talent this year, the first in-state selection will come from the high-school ranks. Westview High third baseman/righthander Carson Kelly is a near-lock to be the top pick, likely as early as the sandwich round, but possibly late in the first round. Scouts, however, are pretty much split on whether to draft Kelly as a pitcher or position player. Coincidentally, scouts are equally undecided on the future position of the state’s No. 2-ranked prep prospect, Roseburg High catcher/righthander Josh Graham. Both Kelly and Graham are Oregon recruits.

Oregon in a nutshell:

Premium high-school talent.
WEAKNESS: High-end college prospects.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3.


PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Aaron Jones, c/of, University of Oregon.
Despite his two-year role as a backup for the Ducks, the sophomore-eligible Jones (normally the team’s right fielder) is in growing demand as a catcher in this year’s draft. In spot duty behind the plate, Jones has displayed sound athletic actions and above-average arm strength, and would be an offensive-oriented catcher with his combination of speed and raw power.

WILD CARD: Christian Jones, lhp, University of Oregon.
Jones had designs on being drafted as early as the first round this year, but before the season even started a diagnosis in early February to get to the bottom of elbow pain stemming back to last fall revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament, necessitating Tommy John surgery. A team could still take a run at him in an early-to-mid round.

Tyler Spencer, rhp, Community College of Western Nevada (Attended high school in Grants Pass).
Top 2013 Prospect: Ben Wetzler, lhp, Oregon State.
Top 2014 Prospect: Jace Fry, lhp, Oregon State.


Draft History:
Dave Roberts, 3b, University of Oregon (1972, Padres/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Dallas Buck, rhp, Oregon State University (Diamondbacks/3rd round).
2007 Draft: Eddie Kunz, rhp, Oregon State University (Mets/1st round, 42nd pick).
2008 Draft: Ty Morrison, of, Tigard HS (Rays/4th round).
2009 Draft: Erik Stavert, rhp, University of Oregon (Rockies/7th round).
2010 Draft: Tyler Waldron, rhp, Oregon State University (Pirates/5th round).
2011 Draft: Tyler Anderson, lhp, University of Oregon (Rockies/1st round, 20th pick).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 3/0.


Best Athlete:
Aaron Jones, c/of, University of Oregon.
Best Hitter: Carson Kelly, 3b/rhp, Westview HS, Portland.
Best Power: Aaron Jones, c/of, University of Oregon.
Best Speed: Vernell Warren, of, University of Oregon.
Best Defender: J.J. Altobelli, ss, University of Oregon.
Best Velocity: Christian Jones, lhp, University of Oregon.
Best Breaking Stuff: Matt Boyd, lhp, Oregon State University.
Best Pitchability: Alex Keudell, rhp, University of Oregon.


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

1. CARSON KELLY, 3b/rhp, Westview HS, Portland
Kelly might be the most “pure” two-way prospect in the 2012 draft as he has legitimate early-round draft interest as both a hard-hitting third baseman and power-armed righthanded pitcher. As a high-school junior, he hit .473-14-51 and went 9-1, 1.64 on the mound. He also played a prominent two-way role last fall for USA Baseball’s gold-medal-winning junior-national team, hitting .286-0-4 when playing third base and compiling a 2-0, 1.29 record in 14 innings on the mound. Kelly is more than capable of playing both positions in college at Oregon. Scouts, on the other hand, are not unanimous in their assessment of the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder’s future role, but generally prefer him as an everyday player—the role he prefers. Kelly’s bat is his best tool. He is a rhythm hitter with good load and coil in his set-up, and nice flow through the ball. He generates solid bat speed and can drive balls to the alleys as well as he pulls them with a pronounced lift in his swing. He also has shown early signs that he can command the strike zone at the plate. On the defensive side of the ball, Kelly has played mostly shortstop this spring, but is an outstanding third base prospect with quick and agile feet, and an above-average throwing arm. As a pitching prospect, Kelly doesn’t attract attention just because he throws hard. While very consistent in the 90-92 mph range, he comes from a low-effort, athletic delivery that enables him to pound the strike zone with all his pitches, with good movement. His best secondary pitch is an 80-mph slider with good break and two-plane shape, and he also throws a changeup.

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