2010 Draft: College Targets

Approaching and exceeding 100 pitches
Derek's Odd Start

Yesterday we looked at some high school players that could interest the Yankees, so let’s switch it up and go with college players today. In his five drafts as scouting director, Damon Oppenheimer has selected 192 college players and just 58 high schoolers, so a little more than three-fourths have come from the college ranks. Those 192 college players are broken down into 153 from a four-year schools and 39 from two-year junior colleges. Clearly, Oppenheimer favors guys who a little further along in their development.

Personal fave Brandon Workman has seen his stock take a hit not because he hasn’t performed (2.89 ERA, 56-12 K/BB ratio in 62.1 IP), but because he hasn’t sustained the mid-90’s velocity and knockout breaking ball he flashed last season and in the Cape Cod League. He’s still considered a top 50 draft prospect, but now he’s more towards the back of that list. Here’s four other players to keep an eye on…

Photo Credit: UT-Arlington

Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington
One of those always fun late bloomers, Choice started the year as a 3rd-5th round kind of player, but he’s slugging his way into first round consideration. He’s hitting an absurd .395-.563-.758 with 12 homers and a 31-47 K/BB ratio in 124 at-bats, and he’s running down everything in centerfield.

Choice has the tools to back up the performance, but he’s already big at 6-foot-0, 215 lbs, so a move to a corner outfield spot is probably in the cards. He’s big but athletic, so it’s not like he’s going to become a detriment defensively. Choice definitely takes advantage of the metal bat, which is what he should do, but with wood he’s more likely to be a doubles machine than a homerun hitter. The Yankees are unlikely to have a chance to land him because Choice is a great candidate for the Tony Sanchez Plan; a high probability college player that could go early because he’ll sign quickly for at-or-below slot money.

Bryan Morgado, LHP, Tennessee
The name might sound familiar, and that’s because Morgado was a highly touted prospect for last year’s draft that the White Sox were unable to sign in the third round. The draft eligible sophomore returned to Tennessee and has continued to same trend that has plagued him throughout his career: less than stellar stats (5.88 ERA, 60-28 K/BB ratio in 52 IP) but premium stuff.

Morgado’s fastball sits in the low-90’s but he’s run it up as high as 97 in the past, and his power slider is a put-away pitch at times. In a way, he’s very similar to Caleb Cotham, the Yanks’ fifth rounder last season. Like Cotham, Morgado has a chance to start long-term, but more than likely he’ll end up in the bullpen. A lefthander with that kind of stuff is more than a specialist, though not a first round pick. If he falls into the third round again, then you’ve got yourself good value.

Photo Credit: Flickr user dbadair

LeVon Washington, OF, Chipola JC (Fl.)
Like Morgado, the Washington was a highly touted prospect in last year’s draft, but the Rays were unable to sign him out of high school as the 30th overall pick. By attending perennial junior college power Chipola, he’s again eligible for this year’s draft.

Washington has dealt with a wrist injury this season after a labrum issue in 2008 that basically sapped all of his arm strength. He’s athletic enough to play centerfield on an every day basis, but we’re talking about a Johnny Damon/Bernie Williams kind of arm. His swing is good and the ball comes off his bat well, so Washington can definitely hit, and his foot speed gives him the potential to be an exciting power-speed guy down the road. He’s still pretty raw, so whoever drafts him is going to have to be patient.

Again like Morgado, he’s unlikely to be a first round pick. The second or third round is much more likely, though he’d be wise to sign since his stock has dropped slightly since last year because of the injury troubles. Tampa Bay’s scouting and player development program is as good as it gets, so if they were willing to take Washington in the first round, that tells us there’s some serious potential here.

Austin Wates, 1B/OF, Virginia Tech
Wates is one of the most intriguing players in this entire draft class. He’s hitting .412-.500-.632 with 12 doubles and 13 steals in 14 attempts, but what makes him so interesting is that he’s athletic enough to handle centerfield, which he’s done on the Cape. For now, his coach has him playing first because he claims Wates is the team’s best defensive player at the position. That doesn’t make one bit of sense, but it is what it is.

More of a gap-to-gap line drive hitter, Wates’ game offers a lot of patience and a lot of speed. He’s one of the best baserunners in the class, and he’s got more than enough bat to keep pitchers honest. Whoever drafts Wates will (should) immediately stick him in center, but even if he can’t hack it there he should be able to handle right, which is still a more valuable position than first base. If he was playing center everyday, he’d be a surefire first round pick, but because he’s stuck at first he’s sliding down draft boards. The talent is there, it’s just not being showcased properly.

Approaching and exceeding 100 pitches
Derek's Odd Start
  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    And here I am hoping that somehow, some way, Josh Sale will fall to the Yankees. That or we could just sign him as FA in 2020. I want!

  • Concerned

    “Morgado has a chance to start long-term, but more than likely he’ll end up in the bullpen”, this implies that he is not starting on a regular basis and he is the official Friday night starter. If you read most of the articles written about Bryan Morgado, or have been to any of his games, it is clear to see that 95% of his performances have been rated as “STELLAR, SUPER, SUPERIOR, EXCELLENT” and it has been his team who has not been able to pull off the win. At this point, even pitching a no-hitter, Bryan would not be able to pull it off all by himself. His team needs to start hitting or otherwise his pitching is in vain. He is definitely first or second round material, absolutely NOT third. Not only is he an excellent and determined player, Bryan Morgado is the kind of person who would be an asset to any team. He is a mentor, he volunteers (no pun intended), he has studied hard, he is focused, he is a great kid. I hope that he gets drafted in the first two rounds because no one has worked harder or has deserved it more than this kid.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Obviously you have some sort of bias, which is fine. However, — and correct me if I’m wrong, Mike — it would appear that there is no implication that his current rotation status has anything to do with his long-term starting potential. Instead, it would seem that his prior issues of control and his less-than-splendid results are the larger contributing factor that he may not be best suited to a starting position down the road. No one here has denigrated Morgado, so perhaps your obvious anger is misguided. Beyond that, I’d hesitate to take you on your word that you’re in a position to determine who is a 1st/2nd/3rd round player, unless of course you have some information/credentials that we do not.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      His current status in the Vols’ rotation has nothing to do with his future. He’s likely to end up in the bullpen because he’s a two pitch guy with sketchy command.

    • A.D.

      it is clear to see that 95% of his performances have been rated as “STELLAR, SUPER, SUPERIOR, EXCELLENT

      Then why does he have an ERA nearing 6? I get that its the SEC, but still.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Oh Mike, it seems you have forgotten to include some Hurricanes. I’ll forgive you.

  • SleepyKarl

    Choice is a beast. I’ve seen a few of his games and that kids an athlete.
    Mike, I’m curious if you have heard of Ryan Enos, CF at Dallas Baptist. He is hitting .390/.467/.717 with 12 HRs and I was wondering what you thought of him as a 8-12 round pick (last year he beat out Medchill for the all regional team last year).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I haven’t heard of him, but with a performance like that, he’s on the radar.

      • SleepyKarl

        I’m in Dallas and I watched the Choice vs Enos battle to start the year. They are decently comparable, but Enos is smaller at 5’10” 180 lbs and LH. Enos was a preseason 2nd team All-American, I’m just confused because he is now a senior and has never been drafted.

  • Anon

    Heard buzz around the internet today that a PED suspension is coming down on a NY player maybe tomorrow. Rumor was that it already went through appeals and was going to be announced soon. Also heard some conflicting reports that it wasn’t a NY player. Anyone else hear anything about this today?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Go to the off-topic thread for this. It’s up on the main menu bar.

      • Anon

        My bad – thanks for the direction

    • SleepyKarl

      “I have learned that the PED suspension is NOT a New York player. WFAN is reporting otherwise. They should go to journalism school.”


  • A.D.

    Personal fave Brandon Workman

    Workman as a pitcher, gotta love it.

  • cj

    Wates sounds kind of like Dustin Ackley.

  • A.D.

    From this bunch, Wates looks the most exciting.

  • paul

    I had a chance to coach Levon Washington in high school at GHS in Florida. The kid has superior talent…It all comes down to being coachable. His arm is okay. Speed is off the charts. Great hitter…One name I would put down as a college choice is Tyler Holt Look him up. Plays for FSU. CF-arm, speed, hitting-all off the charts.

  • Wilcymoore27

    All this talk about possible Yankee draft targets is depressing. By the time the Yankees make their second draft pick, at #82, the Rays will have already had four picks, the Red Sox four picks, the Angels six selections, and the Blue Jays SEVEN!

    I hope the Yanks are planning to invest heavily in non-U.S. talent before there’s an international draft, because the draft is gonna help the competition.

  • Concerned

    With 7-12 strikeouts per game, the lack of defense doesnt help his ERA at all. Last year Morgado got the short of end the stick with the coaching staff at UT. And for anyone who knows how he was treated, he has come a long way to do as well as he has with a team that doesnt back him up.

    Had the Del Monaco remained the coach, I strongly believe that Bryan would be doing much better. At least this year he has Beverlin bringing him back to his full potential.

    But people, with Raleigh as a coach, its no wonder the team has a losing season all around.