The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Phil Ervin | OF
Ervin was a three-sport athlete who played for state championship football and baseball teams at Leroy High School in rural Alabama, about an hour north of Mobile. He went undrafted in 2010 because he tore a knee ligament his senior year and didn’t play much, which landed him at Samford. Ervin has hit .339/.456/.637 with eleven homers and 13 stolen bases this spring after putting up a .347/.421/.518 line with 14 homers and 23 steals during his first two years on campus.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 lbs., Ervin is more of a safe college bat than a toolsy upside type. He has a real quick and compact right-handed swing that allows him to get the fat part of the bat on the ball and make hard contact consistently. Some excess pre-swing movement has hindered his ability to catch up to good fastballs. Ervin is just an okay runner who is likely to wind up moving to corner outfield spot down the line. He does some pitching for the Bulldogs and has a strong arm, and he fared well against high-end pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer. There are some more videos on YouTube.
Baseball America (subs. req’d) and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Ervin as the 19th and 50th best draft prospect in their latest rankings, respectively, so there’s a definite split of opinions. Kiley McDaniel recently reported the Yankees are “heavy” on Ervin late in the first round, when they have three picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd). Premium college performance guys are always highly valued but there isn’t a ton of upside here. Ervin is a righty hitting corner outfielder without any projection left in his small frame, and frankly that does not jibe with what Damon Oppenheimer has done with his early draft picks over the years.