Thursday, February 23, 2012

Keith Law's Top 50 and his thoughts on potential Twins Draft picks...

Keith Law of ESPN Scouts Inc. came out with the first edition of his Top 50 (Insider required) draft prospects, and had an interesting take that differed from just about every other site I have seen. The top player on his board was Georgia High School OF Byron Buxton, who I reviewed here, saying he has the “potential for five above-average or plus tools” and also echoing the comparisons to the Upton brothers I have heard elsewhere. Buxton does defiantly fit the Twins preferred draft mold as an athletic, toolsy high school OF and I think he is very  in the mix for them when they draft #2 if he were available.

More after the jump

Another surprise was Law ranking High School RHP Lucas Giolito at #2 above Stanford righty Mark Appel saying Giolito has, “size, velocity, an out-pitch breaking ball, and a repeatable delivery”. Earlier this week, Law posted he thought Giolito could potentially be the first high school RHP ever taken 1st in the MLB draft, and was obviously impressed with him after watching him make his first start of 2012. He noted that, in that start, Giolito showed better fastball control and more aggressiveness attacking hitters than Law had seen from him previously. He also praised Giolito’s mechanics and compared him to Jameson Taillon, another big high school RHP who was drafted by the Pirates in 2010. He thinks Taillon has the edge on pure stuff with Giolito showing more polish with better mechanics, and think they would be a “toss-up” as to who the better prospect is (Taillon was #16 on Law’s Top 100 prospects).
Appel, who made his first start last weekend as well, showed big velocity early on (up to 97) but tired in the later innings. He thought Appel’s slider was “inconsistent, but when he threw it in the 82-84 range it had some tilt and could project as an above-average pitch”.  Appel also showed a solid change up, but Law thought he fell in love with it for a part of the game writing Appel was to the point where he was pitching backwards (throwing off-speed stuff first to set up the fastball) something strange for a power pitcher to do. Law’s biggest concerns with Appel are the continuing lack of K’s his major stuff produces (only 5 in 7 inn. against a young Vanderbilt lineup) and the ability of college hitters to consistently square up his fastball. If the slider doesn’t become more consistent and really turn into a plus bat missing pitch, Appel could struggle in the pros despite his big fastball.
This was the first week for all these guys so there is a lot of time for players to raise or lower their stock in the coming months and I look forward to tracking each.
A couple of other interesting notes from Law:
*Missing from his top 50, and who was rated fairly highly everywhere else, is lefty Andrew Heaney from Oklahoma State and who I wrote about here.
*Law was also a lot higher on Zach Eflin, who I pegged as a solid option for the Twins at #63, ranking him #23 overall so it will be interesting to follow his progress this spring as well.
I plan to try to have regular updates of the prospective draft pick’s I’ve covered on this blog, and others that appear to be on the Twins radar, as we go through the spring and up to draft day.

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