Archive for Prospect Profiles
Corey Black | RHP
A Southern California kid from San Diego, Black played both baseball and football at Mission Bay High School. He was a four-year varsity player on the diamond, though he missed most of his junior season due to Tommy John surgery. Black was primarily a shortstop as a prepster, and he wasn’t much of a pro prospect despite hitting .431 with seven homers as a senior. He went undrafted in 2009 and followed through on his commitment to San Diego State.
Black was a two-way player under head coach Tony Gwynn (yes, that Tony Gwynn) as a freshman, going just 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts as a utility infielder while pitching to a 7.04 ERA in 47.1 innings. He struck out 50 and walked 27 in his seven starts and seven relief appearances. Black saw much more time on the mound as a sophomore, posting a 3.56 ERA with 78 strikeouts and 42 walks in 73.1 innings. He made eleven starts and eight relief appearances while also going 1-for-6 at the plate.
Gary Sanchez | C
Raised in Santo Domingo, the largest city and capital of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez signed with the Yankees for $3M on the first day of the 2009 international signing period. He was 16 years old at the time, and it remains the largest signing bonus New York has ever given to an internationally signed amateur. Thanks to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sanchez figures to hold the record for the foreseeable future.
The Yankees skipped Sanchez over the Dominican Summer League and brought him stateside for his pro debut in 2010. He hit .353/.419/.597 (188 wRC) with six homers in 136 plate appearances with the rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate after a stint in Extended Spring Training, earning him top prospect honors in the circuit according to Baseball America. The Yankees bumped him up to Short Season Staten Island very briefly at the end of the season, and he played 30 of 47 total games at catcher. Both Baseball America (#30) and Keith Law (#68) ranked Sanchez as one of the 100 best prospects in baseball the next spring.
Austin Aune | SS
A Texas kid from the suburbs of Dallas, Aune was a two-sport star at Argyle High School. He led the Eagles to the Texas 3-A football championship game last fall spring by throwing for nearly 3,500 yards with 42 total touchdowns. On the diamond, Aune led the team in batting average (.447) and homers (eight) while also doing some pitching. He was named the district co-MVP in football and district MVP in baseball as a senior.
Aune was a strong quarterback prospect and committed to Texas Christian University, which was going to allow him to play both sports. Baseball America ranked him as the 15th best prospect in Texas and 128th best prospect overall prior to the 2012 draft, though there were plenty of concerns about his signability. The Yankees rolled the dice with their second round pick, taking Aune with the 89th overall selection. It was the compensation pick they received for failing to sign second rounder Sam Stafford in 2011. The Yankees had an agreement in place with Aune before the end of the draft, and he officially signed less than two weeks later. He received a $1M bonus that was nearly double the $548,400 slot recommendation.
Nick Goody | RHP
A Florida kid from Orlando, Goody both pitched and played shortstop at University High School. He wasn’t much of a pro prospect as a prep player and subsequently went undrafted in 2009. Goody pitched for the State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota in 2010 and allowed eight runs in 19.2 innings with a 22/7 K/BB as a freshman reliever. Since he was attending a two-year school, Goody was draft-eligible in 2010, though MLB teams against passed and he went undrafted.
After a stint in the Florida Collegiate Summer League, Goody dominated as a sophomore starter with the Manatees. He led the team in innings (84), strikeouts (114), and ERA (1.29) while allowing 47 hits and walking 33 batters. The performance earned him Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year and JuCo All-American honors. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Goody as the 64th best prospect in Florida prior to the 2001 draft, and the Yankees selected him in the 22nd round (689th overall) that year. He did not sign and instead transferred to Louisiana State for his junior season.
Taylor Dugas | OF
A Louisiana kid from Lafayette, Dugas was a two-way star at Teurling Catholic High School. He hit .518 with 19 homers and 51 doubles during his four years with the Rebels while also going 31-6 with 195 career strikeouts on the mound. Dugas hit .640 with ten homers and 34 steals (in 35 attempts) as a senior, earning him the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Player of the Year award as well as numerous other honors. He was also a standout quarterback on the football team and thrice earned Academic Honor Roll status.
Despite his high school accomplishments, Dugas wasn’t considered much of a pro prospect because of his small frame. Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank him as one of the top 40 draft prospects in Louisiana in 2008 and no team rolled the dice in the draft. Dugas followed through on his commitment to Alabama after going undrafted, and he stepped right into the lineup to hit .352/.412/.479 with a team-leading 83 hits and 13 steals (in attempts) in 56 games as a freshman. The performance earned him freshman All-America honors.
Rafael DePaula | RHP
Hailing from La Victoria, Dominican Republic, the 21-year-old right-hander originally presented himself to teams as Rafael DePaula Figueroa with an April 1st, 1992 birthday in 2008. He didn’t garner much attention as a prospect that summer, but his velocity spiked later in the year and he was in line for a seven-figure bonus. MLB suspended him for one year in January 2009 for problems with his documentation.
Following the suspension, DePaula came forward with a new name (Jose Rafael DePaula) and new date of birth (March 24th, 1991). MLB approved his free agency, and he eventually agreed to a contract worth $500k with the Yankees in November 2010. It took 16 months for the U.S. Consulate to approve his visa. DePaula’s visa was finally approved this past March, and his contract became official when he passed a physical a few days later. In the meantime, he worked out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic but could not pitch in official games.
Ty Hensley | RHP
Raised in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, Hensley was a two-sport star at Sante Fe High School before giving up his quarterback gig to focus on baseball as a senior. He pitched to a 1.52 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 55.1 innings with the Wolves this spring, earning him Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year honors and several other awards. His father Mike was a second round pick who was a long-time college pitching coach after injuries derailed his playing career.
Phil Wetherell | RHP
A graduate of Stewardson-Strasburg High School outside of Champaign, Illinois, Wetherell starred as both a pitcher and position player for the Comets. He lettered all four years and was thrice named to the All-Conference Team, plus he played basketball and made the honor roll all four years. Wetherell wasn’t much of a pro prospect however, so he went undrafted in 2008 and ended up at Kaskaskia College, a two-year school. He threw 55.2 IP and led the Hilltoppers to the Great Rivers Athletic Conference Championship, posting a 4.04 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 18 walks. After again going undrafted, he transferred to Western Kentucky.
Zach Nuding | RHP
A Texas kid from Haltom City — just outside of Dallas — Nuding wasn’t much of a pro prospect coming out of high school. He went undrafted after graduating in 2008, then joining the upstart baseball program at Weatherford College, a two-year school. Nuding served as the Coyotes closer as a freshman, then played in the Texas Collegiate League during the summer. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 37th round of the 2009 draft, but did not sign and returned to school for another year.
As a sophomore in 2010, Nuding established himself as the best pro prospect on the staff. He moved into the rotation and appeared in 16 games, striking out 65 with 35 walks in 78 IP. He led all starters with a 2.19 ERA, then again pitched in the Texas Collegiate League after the season. Baseball America (subs. req’d) considered Nuding the 37th best prospect in Texas prior to the 2010 draft, and the Yankees made him their 30th round pick, the 925th overall selection. He signed relatively late for $265k — after the Yankees got a longer look at him in summer ball — foregoing his commitment to Texas Tech.
Jose Campos | RHP
The cousin of former big leaguer Kelvim Escobar and current big leaguer Alcides Escobar, Campos grew up in the Venezuelan port town of La Guaira. The Cardinals tried to sign him in late-2008/early-2009, but his parents refused to sign the contract. When the Mariners stepped in and offered a slightly larger bonus — $115k — he joined Seattle in January of ’09.