Part of what makes the draft so much fun is the element of the unknown. Very few fans have actually seen these kids play, making it easy to conjure up images of superhuman hitters with menacing stances and 24-inch biceps, or pitchers with lightning quick arms, video game control and breaking pitches that defy gravity. That, of course, is far from reality.
Thanks to the intra-net, regular saps like me are now able to see clips of these kids in action, providing short glimpses into the future. I’ve scoured of the information superhighway for clips of some of the most exciting prospects in this year’s draft class, and am presenting them here for your viewing pleasure.
Let’s start with my personal favorite, prep RHP Gerrit Cole. Here’s a clip of Cole striking out the final batter of his 2 hit, 10 strikeout complete game shutout in Game 1 of the California Interscholarship Federation Southern Section playoffs.
As you can see, the kid has some issues with his delivery to hash out, but the stuff and demeanor are as good as it gets. There’s speculation that he’ll drop in the draft because of bonus demands, but you’re not supposed to get arms like that with the 28th overall pick. I take him there if he available, exorbitant bonus demands or not.
Aside from Cole, the other player I get asked the most questions about is prep 1B Eric Hosmer. RAB homeboy Keith Law provides a clip (make sure you turn your speakers down, let’s just say he makes hard contact):
There’s not much to say about the video, the kid is a beast. Rumor has it that Scott Boras floated a $7M signing bonus, but neither Hosmer nor Boras has confirmed that. He’s a prime candidate to drop, and there’s a pretty decent shot that he’ll end up at Arizona State next year. If he falls to the Yanks, I’d take him, but if both he and Cole are there at 28, I take Cole, because there’s a good chance that Hosmer will still be on the board when the Yanks pick again at #44. There’s no wrong answer to the Cole-Hosmer debate though, I just prefer pitchers.
Next up is USD southpaw Brian Matusz, who’s one of the top 5 prospects in the draft class. There’s very little chance he’ll fall all the way to the Yanks, but I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about Joba Chamberlain in 2006. Brian at The College Baseball Blog hooked it up with a clip of Matusz’s first inning against Pepperdine earlier this month. Pay extra attention to Pepperdine’s 3-hole hitter Eric Thames (no relation to Marcus), not because he sports a killer Fu Manchu mustache, but because the Yanks drafted him in the 39th round last year but weren’t able to sign him:
Just for kicks, here’s Matusz’s teammate, and fellow southpaw, Josh Romanski doing his thing against Pepperdine:
Like I said, Matusz is almost guaranteed to be one of the top 5 picks this year, but Romanski likely won’t hear his name called until the 3rd, 4th or even 5th round. The Yanks system is devoid of lefthanded pitchers, and you could do worse than Romanski.
Another player in that 25-30 range is South Carolina SS Reese Havens. He fits Damon Oppenheimer’s ideal profile because he’s very polished and almost a guaranteed big leaguer.
Reese will have to move off short, likely to second. He’s cut from the Jeff Kent mold, although with merely an above average bat instead of a Hall of Fame bat.
Next up is a kid picking up some late helium, Illinois prepster Jake Odorizzi.
Odorizzi’s calling card is his easy 92-94 mph velocity and clean & repeatable delivery. His secondary pitches all need work, but you can teach someone to spin a ball. You can’t teach them to throw 93 with little effort. Odorizzi recently cracked Law’s list of the top 60 draft prospects, coming in at – where else? – number 28 overall.
That’s all I got regarding draft prospects for now, but let’s close this out with a clip of some Yankee prospect taking a shot to the junk:
(For the record, I don’t believe that’s actually a kid in the organization, I think it’s just some high school kid wearing a pair of shorts with the interlocking NY)