Here’s the third installment of my Draft Stock Update series, this time focusing on college middle infielders.
Jeff Kobernus, 2B, California – It’s tough to find collegiate middle infielders that really rose up the boards this spring, but Kobernus is definitely one of them. Cal’s second baseman, Kobernus might be moved to a corner eventually, but he shows good skills at second. As with most college middle infielders, he lacks the premium tools that a team desires, but his approach and experience will probably lead to him being drafted as high as the end of the second round. That’s quite a ways up from where he started on the year.
Derek McCallum, 2B, Minnesota – Notice there’s no true shortstop I can find that really moved up boards? Well, McCallum’s been a huge surprise for me this spring, as he’s hit the cover off the ball after two years of obscurity. He outhit Indiana’s Josh Phegley in the Big Ten with a line of .401/.479/.721 with 17 homers in just 222 at-bats. This also vastly outperformed his more heralded teammate Eric Decker. As it stands, McCallum’s a true second baseman with a solid bat, and he could go either late in the third or as late as the fifth or sixth round. That’s up from the mid-round status he brought into the year.
Ryan Schimpf, 2B, LSU – This is a bit of a stretch, as Schimpf had to move off of second part-way through the way to accomodate D.J. LeMehieu’s move from short on the Tiger infield. However, this is where he’ll likely play as a pro, so I’m inclined to keep him here. At just 5’9” and 181 pounds, Schimpf reminds Baseball America of Dustin Pedroia, though that’s a huge stretch. His line currently sits at .326/.441/.621, the slugging percentage leading the LSU team. I don’t think he’ll carry that power into the pros, but solid pop and a decent glove will get him drafted likely early on the second day.
Scott Lawson, 2B, Miami – Lawson replaced Jemile Weeks as the second baseman at Miami after being drafted a year ago in the 40th round out of Grayson County CC. With a line of .327/.441/.482, Lawson filled in for Weeks admirably, and Lawson’s great control of the strike zone was a welcome addition to a free-swinging Hurricane lineup. I think that his approach and solid defense have really rocketed him up draft boards this spring, and the final verdict on Lawson is probably an early second day selection, and my prediction is the fifth round.
Grant Green, SS, USC – As you can see, it was tough to find risers for this writeup, but there’s no shortage of falling stars here. Green was easily the second-best prospect in the entire draft class entering the spring, and even though some wrote off his slow start, he’s continued to disappoint. The power that scouts thought was coming after a great showing on the Cape last summer was nonexistant, and Green’s line of .374/.435/.569 was well under expectations. As a result, he’s fallen from being a likely #2 pick to possibly the middle of the first round, with Scott Boras being a factor in his draft position. Expect something in the middle there, but also remember how far he’s fallen.
Ryan Jackson, SS, Miami – While his double play partner was rising up draft boards, Jackson was busy sinking. Thought of as a defensive wizard with a little bit of a bat, Jackson’s spring has convinced scouts that he’s a defensive wizard without any bat at all. His line of .259/.361/.381 wouldn’t be acceptable in A-ball, but that was produced with a metal bat in college baseball. That horrible showing has dropped Jackson from a possible first round candidate to the third round or lower.
Robbie Shields, SS, Florida Southern – Shields was supposed to set the world on fire this spring, but he seemingly played down to his competition at Florida Southern, a huge disappointment after a nice cameo on the Cape last summer. He’s still got a little pop, but scouts are now completely convinced shortstop is not even in his future. A possible first rounder like Jackson following last summer, Shields is now a late first day candidate.
D.J. LeMaheiu, 2B, LSU – Yes, I listed both LeMahieu and Schimpf as second basemen, but both did handle the position this spring for the Tigers. LeMahieu’s star has fallen as much as any listed here. A draft-eligible sophomore, LeMahieu tore up the Cape Cod league last summer, but really disappointed with a lack of power and athleticism this spring. Moved to second base due to range and arm issues, LeMahieu doesn’t even really fit there, either, as he’s just not quick. The result has been a drop from first round consideration to late first day consideration, and possibly farther if his sophomore status leads teams to believe he’s not signable.
The usual disclaimer: writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG unless otherwise noted. Go to their sites for draft coverage. They’re awesome.
Who are your risers for the Spring?