2012 Draft: Duane Underwood

5/21-5/23 Series Preview: Kansas City Royals
Scouting Tyler Austin

The 2012 amateur draft is exactly two weeks away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.

Duane Underwood | RHP

Hailing from Marietta, Georgia and Pope High School, Underwood is committed to the University of Georgia and would get a chance to contribute both as a pitcher and position player for the Bulldogs. He’s been dogged by inconsistency this spring, putting his draft stock in a state of flux.

Scouting Report
Standing 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., Underwood has shown first round potential with a big fastball that has touched 97-98 but usually sits 92-94. His mid-70s curveball is a work in progress but he’s shown a feel for making the ball spin, so it’s just a matter of refinement. A fading low-80s changeup is his best secondary offering and is quite advanced for a high school arm. Underwood’s command can come and go because he throws across his body a bit and tends to rush his delivery, but the athleticism is there for him for repeat his motion. He’s drawn praise for his competitiveness and baseball aptitude as well, which is always a plus. It’s worth noting that Underwood will graduate at 17 and is young for his draft class.

As expected with the inconsistent spring, the consensus is very split on Underwood. MLB.com ranks him as the 34th best prospect in the draft, Keith Law ranks him 52nd, and Baseball America ranks him 104th. Depending on when you see him, you could see a first round arm for a third or fourth round type. Talent is talent though, and Underwood clearly has plenty of it. I like him best for either of New York’s two second rounders (#89 and #94 overall) but he might not last that long. The Yankees have drafted just two high school pitchers in the first (not sandwich) round in the last 20 years — Phil Hughes and Gerrit Cole — and they were instances of players who were expected to go top 15 but fell into their laps. Not guys who were inconsistent and fringe first rounders. Underwood does offer the size, power stuff, and makeup the Yankees like though, so they could buck the trend.

5/21-5/23 Series Preview: Kansas City Royals
Scouting Tyler Austin
  • Brian S.

    He isn’t injured enough for Cashman to draft him.


  • Reggie C.

    Reminds me of Tajuan Walker, who BA listed in the top 25 before the start of the MiL season. Walker too had that unrefined pitching label attached to him before the draft, but the Mariners seem to have tweaked the mechanics without costing Walker any arm speed. Athleticism goes a long way towards curing inconsistency.

    Underwood’s not a bad choice at all as a 1st round selection.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    That’s not Duane Underwood. It’s Melvin Croussett in an Astros jersey.

    • jsbrendog

      but seriously…wtf happened to melvin??


      he hasn’t pitched since 2010…..

      • jsbrendog

        I want a full RABvestigation. i am not joking one bit.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          So you won’t take “Melvin is smiling next to you in silent lucidity” as a valid response, eh?

  • CS Yankee

    Put him in spikes, feed him some steak and who knows, maybe he’ll be in the high-90’s

    Seems like a 2nd round wise, 1st round gamble though.

  • Chris

    after the last two drafts its really hard to predict who Cash and Co will take with their first round pick but he sounds like a quality pick. I wonder if he would still for their next pick

  • Fernando

    Speaking of injured guys. Doubt Giolito drops anywhere near the Yankees 1st pick, but what are the thoughts on OF Victor Roache? He seems to be going lower in mock drafts and he was rated as a top 10 pick before his injury.

    And Trey Williams seems to be going much later than antipated in drafts, could he be worth a pick in round #1? He’s rated as having excellent power and is a standout on defense.

    For later picks…
    Does the team go local again and tab someone like Fernelys Sanchez out of George Washington HS. He’s projected around the 4th round, but is a SH OF with some pop and excellent speed. He did fracture his fibula earlier this season.

  • Wayne

    How about Chris stratton from Mississippi state as our 1st round pick and we are not taking a high schooler as a second rounder because of the new rules and from as a second rounder and another catching prospect. However if there was a definite we could sign a high schooler in second round I would take fernelys Sanchez or another catching prospect cause believe it or not we still need more depth at catching. Doesn’t seem like we’ll be drafting any high school pitchers this year and won’t be for a while it looks like and the college class of pitchers is weak.we should definitely go for position players in this draft. Catching and outfield especially. In a crazy sort of way I hope we finish very weak this year cause next years class of college pitchers is going to be strong
    in 2013. Kyle richter I put at the top of that list along with jimmy sherfy, bobby wahl etc.