RE: 2012 baseball recruiting
Since the focus is on this week's Regional, I'll add this here (rather than start a new draft thread). Here are BA's comments on current players & recruits in advance of next week's MLB draft (I've also added the recommended signing bonus - for any pick after #338, anything below $100,000 does not count against signing bonus allotment):
J.T. Chargois, RHP, Rice (national rank: 77; slot money: $659,800)
In his first two seasons at Rice, Chargois pitched a total of 34 innings and saw most of his action at first base, where he became a regular as a sophomore. The Cape Cod League's Brewster Whitecaps recruited him primarily as a hitter but wound up needing him on the mound and he blossomed as a closer, saving seven games and allowing one earned run in 17 appearances. Chargois is serving the Owls in both roles this spring but will give up hitting as a pro. His fastball usually operates from 93-95 mph and reaches 98 with some armside run and sink, though it dips to 90-92 when he works on consecutive days. His hard curveball creeps into the low 80s and grades as a plus pitch at times. Despite demonstrating some feel for a changeup in bullpen sessions, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder profiles strictly as a reliever. Scouts don't like his arm action or the effort in his delivery, which limits him to average command and fringy control. He should develop more consistency once he focuses on pitching, and a team looking for a fast-track reliever could consider him in the sandwich round.
Matthew Reckling, RHP, Rice (natl rank: 179; $222,400)
Rice produced the first college senior drafted last year in lefthander Tony Cingrani, who went in the third round to the Reds. Reckling should be one of the first seniors to go this year, after turning down the Indians as a 22nd-round pick last summer. Scouts knew he'd be a tough sign because he's a good student and he comes from a wealthy family--Rice's stadium is named after his grandparents. Reckling didn't start pitching until his final year of high school and wasn't effective in college until the Owls eliminated the recoil in his delivery last year. He has won more games this year (eighth through mid-May) than he totaled in his first three seasons (seven) while averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder sits at 88-92 mph with his fastball as a starter, and he has jumped as high as 97 mph as a reliever. His spike curveball shows flashes of being a plus pitch, and most scouts think he profiles best as a two-pitch reliever. Reckling's control and command have improved but don't project to be better than average, and his changeup is a mediocre third offering. Scouts don't believe his low-elbow delivery is conducive to starting in the long term.
Jeremy Rathjen, OF, Rice (natl rank: 229; $147,000)
Rathjen might have gone in the first five rounds last year had he not torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in mid-March. After redshirting and turning down the Yankees as a 41st-round pick, he has returned to show an all-around tools package similar to what he had before the injury. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound Rathjen does a nice job of making contact for someone with such long arms and a lengthy swing. That's a tribute to his bat speed and hand-eye coordination, which give him average power. Rathjen's speed hasn't come quite all the way back, as its more solid than plus. He has moved from center to right field this season, more to accommodate teammate Michael Fuda's well above-average speed and subpar arm. Rathjen has a chance to play center field in pro ball, and his average arm will work in right field. Scouts praise his makeup and believe he'll be signable around the fifth round because he graduated in May.
Michael Ratterree, OF, Rice (natl rank: 354; >$100,000)
Ratterree's season-long slump has dropped him from a possible third-round pick, and scouts are divided on whether he's a potential steal or just a senior sign for the 2013 draft at this point. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound righthanded hitter showed more promise at the plate in high school than he has this year, when he batted .243/.377/.422 during the regular season. He does have bat speed, raw power and patience, but he'd have a much easier time living up to the offensive expectations at second base than he will in left field. Ratterree spent his first two seasons in Rice's infield but struggled with his throwing accuracy--he made 20 errors in 2011--and moved to left this year. He has solid arm strength and fringy speed, and he's rough defensively in the outfield as well.
Tyler Duffey, RHP, Rice (natl rank: 388; >$100,000)
J.T. Chargois is Rice's main closer and projects as a top-two-rounds selection, but it's Duffey who's having a better season in the Owls' bullpen. Entering the Conference USA tournament, Duffey had a superior ERA (1.84 to 2.27), strikeout rate (11.7 per nine innings to 8.8) and opponent average (.172 to .214). He doesn't have Chargois' pure stuff, but Duffey has an 88-92 mph fastball that touches 94 and backs it up with an average slider. He has the makings of a changeup and a durable 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, so a pro team could give him a chance to start. Scouts also love the way he competes.
Kevin McCanna, RHP, The Woodlands (Texas) HS (natl rank: 407; >$100,000)
Though McCanna can make a case for being the most polished high school pitcher in Texas, his smaller frame and strong commitment to Rice may mean that he won't even get drafted. He has advanced feel for three pitches: an 87-91 mph fastball that touches 92 and a slider and changeup that both have the potential to be big league average offerings. He should pitch right away for the Owls and also will contribute as a lefthanded hitter as well.
(This post was last modified: 05-29-2012 02:52 PM by CoatzaOwl.)