The 2011 college baseball season begins on Feb. 18, but this week I want to take a look at a tweet from over a week ago (the backlog of player reviews and whatnot kept moving this around). After the regularly-scheduled segment, I have some reader response questions.
Recently, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweeted:
Had a scouting director who told me yesterday if he could take any college P in this #mlbdraft, he'd take [school and name redacted].
Is this redacted pitcher: A) UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole B) TCU LHP Matt Purke or C) Texas RHP Taylor Jungmann?
Join me after the jump for the answer.
Well, the question is a set-up, as the answer is actually D) none of the above. The unnamed scouting director is talking about Georgia Tech left-handed pitcher Jed Bradley.
Here's further commentary from scouting director:
Scouting director on Jed Bradley: "More of a chance to be a starter, an impact starter than the other guys. He does it with less effort."
So what makes this SD like Bradley so much? On the surface, a look at his numbers tells us that he had a good season in his first season as a member of the rotation:
Bio: Like most freshmen, Bradley worked his way between being the midweek starter and pitching out of the bullpen during the weekends. Last season, he moved into the rotation as the team's Sunday starter, pitching behind Deck McGuire (11th overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010) and Brandon Cumpton.
Coming off a second-team All-ACC appearance, Bradley will assume the Friday spot in the rotation, going up against other teams' aces. Most places list him at 6-foot-3, 203-pounds, but his Tech profile has him as gaining an inch and 21 lbs. entering the 2011 season (school exaggeration or real?).
His Cape Cod League performance is what has put him as one of the top pitching prospects in this draft. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 4 pitching prospect in the league last summer when he tied for the league-lead in strikeouts (44 in 44 innings). And he did that while not pitching after the Cape All-Star Game.
Pitches: a low-90s fastball that can get up to 95, a slider in the 80s, and a changeup that BA terms "effective"
Delivery: 5 Tool Talk reports the following: "His delivery is sound, he commands his fastball extremely well, and the ball explodes out of his hand." Video from a game in the Cape Cod League:
Games to Follow:
Kent St. 2/18/11 - Bradley should oppose lefty Andrew Chafin to start the season.
St. John's 2/25/11 - The Red Storm features a powerful lefty bat in Jeremy Baltz, who clubbed 24 homers last season.
N.C. State 3/18/11 - Third baseman Harold Riggins is the one to follow in this contest.
Miami 3/25/11 - Hurricanes third baseman Harold Martinez returns for his junior season after hitting 21 homers as a sophomore.
Virginia 4/8/11 - Bradley will likely face Cavaliers lefty Danny Hultzen in this contest, a duel of two highly-touted draft-eligible pitchers. Second baseman Keith Werman hit .414 in 2010, and third baseman Steven Proscia will provide a challenge.
Clemson 4/29/11 - Shortstop Brad Miller and third baseman John Hinson (17 homers) are top 100 college prospects, but senior Jeff Schaus will also be a danger (15 homers). Center fielder Chris Epps could be a breakout candidate.
North Carolina 5/13/11 - Levi Michael, the Tar Heels' new shortstop, leads the team's offense. He stole 20 bases and was hit by a pitch 17 times in 2010.
Draft Stock: Bradley is currently the No. 10 player in BA's Top 100 college players and 12th player overall in their top 50 (the latter published more recently), but a dominant season could push him even higher. If he did grow an inch and add 20 pounds, Bradley could easily vault into the competition between Gerrit Cole and Matt Purke for being the first pitcher off the board.
So, this one wasn't really Rockies related, but Bradley had three things going for him: college pitcher, left-handed, and Georgia Tech. Basically, the guy is going to be my favorite prospect to follow. Only thing that would make him better is if he went to Oregon instead of Tech.
As I mention above, the college baseball season kicks off next week on Friday, Feb. 18. Starting next Wednesday, I should have a weekly preview somewhat along the lines of what you would find over at Baseball America. And in the weeks going forward it will also recap what happened the previous week.
But that can get boring week after week, and this leads me to bring everyone in on this. I want to include a player profile like this one in each entry. I would like to take user requests for that in order to get a wider field of players.
And if you are so inclined (you probably aren't), follow my coverage of Mountain West baseball over at SB Nation Denver. (No, really, you don't need to visit there, but there are a couple of players outside of Matt Purke who are interesting follows this spring).