2012 Draft Preview the Ocho: Persons of Interest

May 15, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals first base coach Chris Maloney (37) celebrates after left fielder Matt Holliday (7) hit a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. St. Louis defeated Chicago 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

I'm writing this Tuesday afternoon, while watching our dear Cardinals struggle to fend off the continued advances of the Chicago Cubs, who have just tied up the game again. Booo, says I. Boo.

Anyhow, writing this from the past, I have no foreknowledge of things that will be by the time you read this, dear friends. I imagine the world of tomorrow is full of sassy robots and food in pill form -- or, perhaps, suppository form. I'm hoping for pills, myself, but I suppose we'll have to deal either way.

Actually, come to think of it, if the food is all in suppository form, and you're really upset about it, go ahead and email me here in the past, and I'll see if I can't do something about it. Sort of a Twelve Monkeys kind of thing, only with suppositories instead of a killer virus. You know, I think I would totally go see that movie. Maybe not. Hmm. I'm not really sure. I would have to see what the previews look like first. I'm thinking Michael Bay should direct it. At least if he were directing a three-hour epic about ass pills he wouldn't have time to rape any more of my childhood with a film about gigantic, ravenous hippopotami whose enormous appetites threaten the future of humanity.

Today we have five scouting reports instead of three; great value for you, the reader! These players are most likely not first rounders, either, but players that I, for one reason or another, find intriguing. So, they get the thumbnail report treatment. Enjoy!

Oh, and can I tell you how much it's going to piss me off if the Cardinals manage to go winless on this whole effing homestand? Grr.

Skye Bolt, OF, Holy Innocents High School (Georgia)

6'2", 175 lbs

Bats: Both

Throws: Right

So, what's so great about this guy?

Well, first off, if you need me to tell you what's so great about a guy whose name is Skye Bolt, then I really don't know if we're ever going to be able to communicate. He's named after a Magic: the Gathering card, for god's sake! Also the main character from my awesome Eureka 7 fanfiction.

Anyhow, beyond the greatest name in this year's draft (seriously, can you imagine drafting both Stryker Trahan and Skye Bolt?), what Bolt brings to the table is tools. Tools galore, in fact. He has speed, he has power (of the raw variety), he has a big time arm in the outfield, and he's a switch-hitter. Name an athletic trait you would like to see in a player, and chances are Skye Bolt possesses it. Remember those dinosaur sponges from when you were little, where all you had to do was add water? Skye Bolt is like an instant Carlos Beltran! Except that instead of water, you have to add time. And luck. And some plate discipline. And a mole.

The downside with Bolt is really much the same as it is with any high school hitter. He's raw. His approach at the plate leaves much to be desired, he doesn't hit breaking balls well, and his swing looks a little stiff to me, especially from the right side.

The upside of Skye Bolt is very high, but he's also very much a project. Any organisation selecting him in the draft will need to be willing to be patient and put in the time to develop him. There are certainly more polished players in the draft, even amongst the ranks of high school hitters, but there aren't many whose ceilings are markedly higher than Bolt. He is committed to play college ball at North Carolina, which isn't the easiest commitment to sign a kid away from, so signability could be a concern as well.

Austin Maddox, RHP, University of Florida

6'3", 235 lbs

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

So, what's so great about this guy?

Coming out of high school, Maddox was a big-bodied, slugging catcher whose chief concern was whether he would outgrow the backstop position and be forced over to first base. Now, three years later, time has told a different tale, and Maddox will be seeking his fortune throwing pitches rather than receiving them. The nice thing here is if the Cardinals were to draft him somewhere along the line it would really save them the time of trying to convert him to a reliever down the road after he fails as a hitter. Efficiency for the win!

On the mound, Maddox throws hard, sitting in the 93 range and running his fastball up to 95 at times. The pitch has good movement, as well, allowing him to generate plenty of empty swings just with his heater. He also has the kind of aggressive, attacking approach to pitching you like to see in a short reliever. Plus fastball, big frame, bulldog mentality. Those are the good things.

The bad things are his other pitches. He throws a slurvy breaking ball that's closer to a curve than a slider, but it isn't consistently either one. Personally, I would probably try to get him to tighten it into a slider, but that's just my opinion. His changeup is strictly a show-me pitch at this point and will likely be scrapped entirely at the higher levels of pro ball.

Maddox has the makeup and the gas to work in short relief in the pros. He doesn't have a reliable secondary pitch yet, though, and developing one will be his first order of business once he gets into some team's farm system. Still, a big college arm like this -- not to mention what should be a fairly affordable sign -- could definitely appeal to plenty of teams out there.

Mason Melotakis, LHP, Northwestern State University

6'3", 190 lbs

Bats: Right

Throws: Left

So, what's so great about this guy?

The second college relief arm to be profiled here today, Melotakis (also a member of the cool name fraternity), is a lefty with a big arm, and that's usually enough to get a kid drafted.

Melotakis has one big asset working in his favour, and it's the same one Austin Maddox has: velocity. Melotakis consistently works in the 94-96 range with his fastball, and it isn't straight, either. His fastball alone is enough to overmatch most hitters at the college level, and has allowed him to have plenty of success in the closer's role.

Beyond the fastball, there isn't a whole lot to like about Melotakis at the moment. He throws a curveball, but it isn't much of one. The way professional baseball is these days, I would expect any team drafting him to immediately scrap the curve and try to teach him a slider, in order to make him look more like we expect a future LOOGY to look. Really, though, it doesn't matter what secondary pitch a team wants him to learn, just so long as he learns one. Curve, slider, cutter, changeup, splitter, whatever. His fastball is good enough that any secondary pitch of even average quality should make him a force to be reckoned with.

Melotakis has an odd delivery; he throws with an extreme short-arm kind of delivery that looks terribly unhealthy to me, though having seen nothing but full-speed video I really have no strong opinion at this point. Unhealthy or not, it looks like it would be very difficult to pick the ball up off of him, which adds another dimension to his fastball's effectiveness. It doesn't take a ton of squinting to look at Melotakis and see your very own Johnny Venters clone, although he will need some kind of breaking ball before we get to that point. He looks like about a third round pick to me, though I say that without really knowing how, and how much, the new draft rules will affect the way teams value players.

Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford

6'5", 230 lbs

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

So, what's so great about this guy?

Mooneyham is a little reminiscent of the Cardinals' supplemental round pick from 2007, Clayton Mortensen. Like Mortensen, Mooneyham is a rather rare commodity: a college senior who is actually a real prospect as well. Most college seniors are going to be depth guys; you occasionally come up with a relief arm or the like, but it's rare that a player who stays in college past his junior year is really going to turn into something at the next level.

Author's Note: the Cardinals seem to have a special exemption to this rule, based on the presence of Matt Carpenter (who actually played five! seasons at TCU), David Freese, and Allen Craig all on the roster at the same time. Ergo, I'm thinking Mooneyham may be right up their alley.

In Mooneyham's case, the biggest culprit in his slow development was a finger injury which cost him him entire junior season. If it weren't for that injury and the resulting surgery, Mooneyham would likely already be in professional ball by now.

As it is, being 22 already puts Mooneyham in a position of lower leverage, which could actually make him more attractive to a team seeking to cut costs on a pick. That's not to say he isn't worth drafting on his own merits, mind you; only that he'll be another player I'm interested in watching to see where he goes under the new cap rules.

The repertoire for Mooneyham is certainly pro calibre: he works at 92-93 with his fastball and throws a curveball that consistently rates a plus -- and occasionally even better than that. His changeup is solid, though it still needs some work, giving him a very usable three-pitch mix which should serve him well at the next level. Add it all up and you've got a mid-rotation starter out of a major college program who should also be much more affordable than his talent would seem to indicate. I like it.

Tony Renda, 2B, University of California

5'8", 180 lbs

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

So, what's so great about this guy?

Renda is this year's Dustin Pedroia; an undersized middle infielder who still manages to hit much bigger than his stature.

Renda swings hard, and he hits the ball surprisingly hard. He can pepper line drives from foul line to foul line, and is capable of extra-base power from center to left field. An advanced, intelligent approach at the plate means he hits plenty of those line drives and chases very few bad pitches.

In the field, Renda is a solid defender, with more than enough arm for the second base position and solid range to boot. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the kind of range you need from a shortstop, and so is likely relegated to the right side of the infield both now and in the future.

There are two words you hear thrown around constantly when scouts talk about Renda: 'baseball player'. He's one of those guys whose instincts and grit just naturally call out to the old schooler in all of us; for everyone who enjoyed watching David Eckstein wind up to make his throws across the diamond, there is Tony Renda. That's not to say Renda isn't a solid player. He is. He barrels the ball consistently, he plays above average defense at the keystone position, and he has significantly more power than you would expect from his 5'8" frame. In short, he has some real tools, and you could certainly do worse than picking up a player like Renda for your farm system.

On the other hand, his upside is still fairly limited, enough so that I personally wouldn't choose him early on. He has a good bat, but it isn't on the level of, say, Kolten Wong. Limited positional flexibility, limited offensive upside. He wouldn't be my choice. But he also wouldn't be a disaster by any means, and could represent solid value if he's around in the third or fourth rounds.

That's another batch in the books, folks. I shall see you all again next Wednesday.

The Baron's Playlist for the 16th of May, 2012 (click for 8tracks or below for embedded player)

The Baron's Playlist for the 16th of May 2012 from aeschafer on 8tracks.

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