You know what I don't want to talk about? Last night's game. Just an awful performance, one I can only hope won't end up haunting the team down the stretch somewhere. Any time you can get to Dan Haren the way the Cardinals did, the pitching has to find a way to-
Ah, see, I said I didn't want to talk about last night's game, and here I am doing just that. But no more. I'm just going to chalk it up to one of those nights when things just don't go your way, and that's that. I'm going to do my little draft preview here and be glad we have Chris Carpenter on the mound tonight to hopefully take the rubber game of the series. (Although I'm a little bummed it isn't Garcia, as I have a haiku already composed in my head for a Jaime start.)
A couple tidbits before we jump:
- Andy Seiler has a new draft site as part of the SB Nation network, MLB Bonus Baby. Seiler's work is outstanding; and I'm frankly thrilled to have him on the network.
- From the same blog, and a note I forgot to include last week: Seiler's most recent mock draft had the Cardinals taking Matt Harvey, the college right-hander out of the University of North Carolina. I would be frankly thrilled if they ended up snagging that kind of premium arm in the first round.
- Baseball Beginnings has released a flurry of new material the last couple days, with a fair amount of precious, precious video. They're updating scouting reports and the like as we get in closer to the draft.
More after the jump.
Jedd Gyorko, SS, University of West Virginia
5'11", 185 lbs
DOB: 23rd September, 1988
So, what's so great about this guy?
The people who like Gyorko are going to tell you about Dan Uggla. They're going to tell you Gyorko is a thick-bodied middle infielder with good power potential and the ability to make it as an offense-first second baseman in the big leagues. They may pull out a couple Kevin Youkilis comparisons as well, as both hit from slightly odd-looking stances, feature excellent plate discipline, and have thick, unathletic builds. (Personally, I don't like the Youk comps; Gyorko is nowhere near as big as Youkilis and won't hit for that kind of power.)
Those who don't like Gyorko will point to his lack of athleticism and speed and tell you this is a player who can't make it at either middle infield position and will have to move to a corner spot. They'll tell you his swing is all arms, tailored for metal bats, and his power won't ever translate to more than, say, 10-12 home runs a year.
I fall somewhere in the middle of those two. I've said it before 'round these parts, and I'll say it again: I like Gyorko, but I don't love him.
Here's the skinny on his bat: I think Gyorko is going to hit. I do. I think he's going to hit his way to whatever level he needs to. He's got a quick bat, with strong wrists, and he's capable of using the whole field. His swing is a little long for my tastes, but I don't think it's going to hold him back. I think his bat speed and leverage will be sufficient to allow him to hit anywhere from 15-20 home runs at his peak, with maybe even a couple seasons better than that. Even better than his raw hittability, Gyorko sports solid plate discipline, as he walked more than he struck out in 2009 (32 to 25), and posted a .492 OBP. Like I said, he's going to hit.
Now here's the bad news: I'm not entirely sold on the idea he can play second base. I think he'll make it at second, but I'm not sure he will. What little game footage I've seen of Gyorko says to me he has good hands and enough arm to play anywhere on the infield, but his range is another matter entirely. He could certainly play third, as his reactions and hands are just fine, but he simply doesn't cover much ground, period. He's slow-footed on the basepaths as well. You'll see scouting reports say he isn't a baseclogger, which is code for, "He's really slow, but not quite slow enough to be an honorary Molina." He could probably play left field as well, in the way just about anyone can play left field if their bat is good enough, but left is sort of taken for the foreseeable future here in St. Louis.
I like Gyorko, but I don't love him. I'm not going to be all that upset if the Cardinals pop him in the first round, as I do think he should be able to play second long-term and I definitely believe in his bat. He wouldn't be my first choice, though, by any means. I think he would make an outstanding supplemental pick, but I'm not sure he'll last that long. He reminds me a bit of another current Cardinal farmhand, Aaron Luna, though Gyorko has better contact skills and less power.
Gary Brown, OF, Cal State Fullerton
6'0", 185 lbs
DOB: 27th August, 1988
I can tell you what's so great about Gary Brown, and I can do it in just one word. The word is fast. In fact, Brown is so fast that I have to write fast in italics, and I'm considering putting an extra 'S' or two in there just to help get the message across. I'd like to add speed lines to the word, honestly, but my keyboard doesn't seem to have that function.
Brown is a definite helium guy this spring, as he has gotten off to a good start at the plate and showcased plenty of that raw athleticism and speed that have long been his calling card. Brown's wheels make him not only a skilled basestealer, but more importantly a premium defender in center field. He has outstanding instincts in the field, gets good jumps, and can flat-out run down just about anything hit from gap to gap. I've seen reports his arm is a tick below average, but I've liked what I've seen of his throwing. He isn't Ankiel, or Rasmus, or Edmonds out there, necessarily, but he's accurate and gets the ball in to the cutoff man quickly. Trust me, he may not have a cannon, but he isn't Johnny Damon out there, either.
What is less encouraging about Brown are his skills at the plate. He's not a bad hitter, really, and has had a very nice season for Cal-State Fullerton, but there are some definite shortcomings in his offensive game. He isn't particularly strong and doesn't offer much in the way of power. Worse, his plate discipline isn't great either, although his contact ability is very good. I don't like his swing, as he sort of hooks the bat and adds length to his swing. I honestly don't know if that's the type of thing which would specifically hurt a player trying to convert to a wood bat, but I'm telling you what I see, and I'm not all that fond of it.
I love Brown's athleticism and defense, and could easily see him having solid value as a big leaguer in the mold of Franklin Gutierrez. I don't know if he's quite that good, mind you, but he's cut from similar cloth. It's also possible Brown could make an offensive adjustment or two and improve his offensive performance. On the other hand, he could be nothing more than a more highly touted version of Jim Rapaport. (I don't think so, but hey, you never know.)
Zach Alvord, SS, South Forsyth High School (Georgia)
6'1", 180 lbs
DOB: 12th November 1992
So, what's so great about this guy?
See, I had a whole theme thing going for this week's edition, thinking I was going to do three offensive-minded middle infield types who would likely move to other positions, but finally decided one of the three players I had chosen was nowhere near worthy of a first-round pick. (I'd rather not say who, just in case someone related to him is reading and gets insulted. I'll stick him in a persons of interest post down the line, most likely.) Thus, Gary Brown was hastily inserted (That's what she said?), and my theme really sort of went to crap. Oh, well.
Zach Alvord is basically a high school version of Jedd Gyorko. He's a bit more athletic on the whole, but has a similar lack of range and footspeed which will almost assuredly prevent him from playing shortstop as a professional but should still allow him to play either second or third quite adequately while taking advantage of a plus bat.
Of course, as a high schooler, Alvord isn't nearly as polished as Gyorko, but I actually think he has better power potential down the road. He has a very good arm in the field, more than enough to play second base, but the reports on his hands are varied. I think it's fair to say Alvord will need a fair amount of work on his defense if he's going to move up in a major league organisation. He reminds me a bit of Niko Vasquez, in that he's a prep middle infielder who is limited by his lack of foot speed but has all the other tools to make it in pro ball.
Middle infielders with the kind of offensive potential Alvord shows aren't exactly a dime a dozen, so I fully expect him to go off the board fairly early. He would definitely be a reach in the first round, I believe, but again like Gyorko could make a very attractive option in the supplemental round. If he were still sitting there in the second round, I think he would be a steal, so that's about where I peg his value. He's better than the end of the second round, good enough for a supplemental, and a reach at the end of the first.
That's it for this week, folks. I really need to delve further into the ginormous crop of pitchers which will dominate the early going in this year's draft, and I'll try to get on that soon. Trying to pick through them all is proving to be a daunting task, though.
The Baron's Playlist for the 21st of April, 2010: Fidelity is for Losers
"For Kate I Wait" - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
"Gold Star for Robot Boy" - Guided by Voices
"Look Good in Leather" - Cody ChestnuTT
"Satan Gave Me a Taco" - Beck
"Casper the Friendly Ghost" - Daniel Johnston w/ Jad Fair
"Fortune Cookie Prize" - Beat Happening