With less than a week to go before this year’s draft, amateur prospect evaluation is cresting. For those interested in really understanding the broad scope of players available this year, there are a few great resources to check out. And there is an update on a draft candidate who will be more closely-watched than any other this summer.
Let’s have a look in at the latest:
- Baseball America has released its top-500 ranking, which includes just about every player of real relevance at this stage (though no doubt we’ll look back in 10 years and wonder how someone eluded mention). You’ll find links there to scouting reports and video.
- ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) remains bullish on University of Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman, who gets the second spot on his list. Indeed, each of the top four players available, in Law’s view, are shortstops, with high schooler Brendan Rogers at the top and Dansby Swanson (Vanderbilt) and Alex Bregman (LSU) following behind Newman.
- Kiley McDaniel and Fangraphs have introduced a “sortable draft board” that allows you to take in the various forms of assessment (e.g., present & future value, ranking, mock draft prediction, likely pick range). Check it out and work the columns to get a better sense of what’s out there. As with the BA list, you can access more detailed reports and video of many players.
- Brady Aiken and his medical status still remains something of an enigma, McDaniel writes. The unsigned first-overall pick of a year ago is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggested yesterday that the Astros had actually found a small tear in Aiken’s elbow, while earlier reports indicated that he had an unusually narrow UCL. As McDaniel notes, others believe that Houston was scared off by structural issues in the elbow. His current draft status will depend in part on just what issues are there, as well as his progress in the UCL replacement. McDaniel says that Aiken’s camp has released medical information, but done so in an unusually constricted way. All said, it’s impossible to get a read on where he’ll land, though his talent is great enough that he’s expected to land a seven-figure bonus regardless.