Fifty "Very Luhnow" Prospects Part 1, Take 2: The Position Players

USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Boyer re-visits some of the less-obvious college position players who might be good fits for the Houston Astros in the 2014 MLB draft.

Not long ago, I posted a list of "Very Luhnow" college prospects. Based on the comments to that article, I went back to the drawing board and re-tooled my evaluation process. This time around, I feel better about the results. I included evaluations of conference, position, age, handedness, plate appearances and/or innings pitched, and even size and velocity - in addition to K%, BB%, ISO, and BB/K relative to the conference average.

Remember, though, this is still largely a thought exercise. Despite the provocative title, I'm not saying that these are players that the Houston Astros will or even should draft. But if I worked for the front office, these are players to whom I would be paying extra-special attention.

While I was re-configuring this idea, CRPerry13 had some incredible ideas about how to approach it. Had I followed his advice, it would have elevated this series to an art form. Sadly, because of time constraints - my own personal ones, and the beginning of the college baseball season looming - I've had to shelve his ideas for the time being. But I did want to give him credit here for being smarter than I, and I hope to implement his ideas either in-season or next year.

One other change: All players listed below are players from four-year, NCAA Division-I programs.

1. Mike Papi, 1B/OF, Virginia (ACC)

Player Page

Height: 6'3" Weight: 210 lbs. High School: Tunkhannock Area High School (Tunkhannock, Pa.)
Bats/Throws: L/R
Date of Birth: 9/19/92 (21.71 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2011 - 30th Round (915th overall) - Los Angeles Angels

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Virginia (ACC) 130 .283 .395 .387 13.08% 11.54% 1 5
2012 Keene (NECBL) 89 .271 .427 .429 11.24% 21.35% 3 0
2013 Virginia (ACC) 238 .381 .513 .619 10.50% 18.91% 7 6
2013 Lakeshore (NWL) 169 .312 .476 .414 14.20% 21.30% 2 5

There were a lot of systems in place to keep a guy like Mike Papi out of the top spot of this board, but he and Bo Thompson (see below) both blew past all of the gates I installed, thanks to their ability to flat-out hit. Papi does everything but play a premium defensive position: He strikes out just 10.5% of the time, he walks more than 18% of the time, he gets a lot of extra-base hits, and he even steals a couple of bases.

For all the attention surrounding Kris Bryant toward the end of the 2013 draft cycle, a case could definitely be made for Papi being a superior hitter. He strikes out at a much more reasonable rate, and he's done it against better competition - the yellow flag being his 2013 offseason in the Northwoods League, where the strikeouts crept upward.

2. Bo Thompson, 1B, The Citadel (Southern).

Player Page

Height: 5'10" Weight: 255 lbs. High School: JL Mann Academy (Greenville, So. Car.)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Date of Birth: 5/27/93 (21.02 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Citadel (SoCon) 165 .261 .372 .345 13.93% 13.43% 3 1
2013 Citadel (SoCon) 271 .299 .472 .567 10.49% 20.22% 14 1

If Mike Papi isn't supposed to be on this list, Bo Thompson is really not supposed to be on this list. At 5'10", 255 lbs., he doesn't look like a baseball player. He's also confined to first base, and hit a tick under .300 as a sophomore in a less-than-stellar conference. But there's a catch: He may be even better as a hitter than Papi. With a better walk rate, strikeout rate, home run total, and ISO than Papi, the only real question is the competition against whom he's played. The Southern Conference isn't the ACC - though it is among the top half of NCAA Division I conferences.

3. Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State (ACC).

Player Page

Height: 6'1" Weight: 171 lbs. High Schools: Park Vista High School (Boynton Beach, Fla.)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Date of Birth: 6/30/93 (20.93 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2011 - 20th Round (602nd overall) - Pittsburgh Pirates

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 NC State (ACC) 315 .336 .432 .459 12.06% 13.02% 5 57
2013 NC State (ACC) 276 .368 .455 .553 11.23% 13.77% 7 30

If Mike Papi and Bo Thompson are the best hitters in this college class, Trea Turner is the most versatile player. With a .351/.443/.503 slash line over two years in a major conference, a premium defensive position, 87 stolen bases, and twelve home runs - not to mention positive trends pretty much across the board - it's hard not to like the potent combination of skills that he brings to the table. One of the best position player candidates to come out of the college ranks of the draft in quite a while.

Photo credit: Melina Vastola - USA TODAY Sports

4. Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana (Big Ten).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 240 lbs. High School: Middletown High School (Middletown, Oh.)
Bats/Throws: L/R
Date of Birth: 3/5/93 (21.25 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Indiana (B10) 270 .300 .390 .513 8.89% 11.11% 8 9
2012 Wareham (CCL) 199 .343 .432 .564 15.08% 12.06% 8 4
2013 Indiana (B10) 281 .366 .456 .647 13.17% 14.95% 18 4
2013 Wareham (CCL) 40 .432 .475 .541 15.00% 7.50% 1 2

Indiana made a deep run in the NCAA postseason in 2013, and they're poised to repeat - or even better - their performance this year, thanks to a complement of very good players headlined by Schwarber. In a very crowded class of college catchers (including a lot of very good Big Ten catchers), Schwarber stands out - and it's only partially because of the .281 ISO. Of all the players at the top of this list, Schwarber is the one with the most questionable contact tool, but when he runs into a ball, it goes a long, long way.

Years ago, after my very first varsity football start - which took place against the Middletown Middies - as our team bus was leaving, it was pelted by rocks thrown by small children. One of the rocks shattered a safety-glass window. Looking back, I wouldn't be surprised if Kyle Schwarber was the kid who threw that rock... though he was only somewhere near six months old at the time.

5. Mark Zagunis, C, Virginia Tech (ACC).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 212 lbs. High School: Holy Cross High School (Delran, N.J.)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Date of Birth: 2/5/93 (21.33 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Va Tech (ACC) 222 .344 .430 .513 11.26% 9.46% 5 17
2012 Baltimore (CRL) 107 .360 .438 .483 15.89% 9.35% 2 7
2013 Va Tech (ACC) 277 .341 .433 .543 10.47% 11.55% 9 19
2013 Harwich (CCL) 54 .273 .389 .364 18.52% 14.81% 0 4

Kyle Schwarber and Mark Zagunis may both be college catchers and first-round candidates, but the comparisons more or less end there. Where Schwarber is considered a bat-first player who's likely to end up on the corner of the infield, Zagunis is an athletic catcher who can hit, but who can also play some defense (though some believe he'll end up in the outfield as a professional, similar to Brian Holberton in 2013), run the bases well, and control the strikeout. In so doing, he still doesn't give up a ton of offense to his Hoosier counterpart. The two should be staring one another down on the Johnny Bench Award watchlist this season, and it will be interesting to see which one pulls away on draft day.

6. Ty McFarland, 2B/3B, James Madison (Colonial).

Player Page

Height: 6'2" Weight: 195 lbs. High School: Turner Ashby High School (Bridgewater, Va.)
Bats/Throws: L/R
Date of Birth: 10/13/91 (22.65 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 JMU (Colonial) 242 .278 .343 .382 17.77% 7.85% 2 5
2011 Harrison (VL) 79 .286 .423 .413 15.19% 17.72% 2 0
2012 JMU (Colonial) 138 .330 .449 .422 10.14% 14.49% 0 2
2012 Wareham (CCL) 95 .309 .387 .383 16.84% 10.53% 1 1
2013 JMU (Colonial) 273 .339 .458 .459 6.96% 16.48% 4 2

Sometimes, the coach's son is the best one on the team. In the case of James Madison University, that's certainly the case. Senior infielder Ty McFarland is the son of head coach Spanky McFarland - and there can be little doubt that the youngster soaked up everything his dad had to teach him. The younger McFarland boasts a single-digit strikeout rate and an impressive 16.48% walk rate - good enough for a 2.37 BB/K, among the best on this list.

7. Branden Cogswell, SS, Virginia (ACC).

Player Page

Height: 6'2" Weight: 180 lbs. High School: Shenendehowa High School (Clifton Park, N.Y.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 1/12/93 (21.39 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Virginia (ACC) 134 .260 .419 .360 12.69% 11.94% 0 2
2012 Wisconsin (NWL) 52 .233 .353 .326 21.15% 11.54% 1 6
2013 Virginia (ACC) 232 .346 .448 .451 8.19% 16.38% 0 12
2013 Harwich (CCL) 139 .231 .324 .240 15.11% 10.79% 0 6

You have to feel for Cogswell a little bit. In almost any other year, he'd easily be the best shortstop prospect in the college ranks. Because of Trea Turner, however, it's debatable whether he's even the best in his own conference in 2014. Cogswell lacks Turner's elite power and speed, but he makes up for it with a single-digit strikeout rate and one of the best walk rates in the ACC. 2014 will be a big season for him, in which he looks to make up for a poor showing in the Cape Cod League, but he's shown great improvement over the course of his two college seasons, and optimism is high entering his junior campaign - and you can't help but root for a guy when his Twitter handle is SeargentCogs.

Trivia: Cogswell is on the Virginia depth chart ahead of the Astros' 20th-round pick in 2014, Daniel Pinero.

8. Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State (Missouri Valley).

Player Page

Height: 6'4" Weight: 238 lbs. High School: Millard North High School (Omaha, Neb.)
Bats/Throws: Switch/Left
Date of Birth: 1/25/93 (21.36 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 WichSt (MVC) 254 .274 .378 .442 16.93% 13.39% 8 1
2012 Eau Claire (NWL) 280 .332 .432 .536 14.29% 14.29% 12 2
2013 WichSt (MVC) 302 .299 .447 .517 11.59% 20.53% 11 5
2013 Falmouth (CCL) 189 .321 .402 .521 20.63% 11.64% 8 4

When comparing Gillaspie to the top two first basemen on this list - Bo Thompson and Mike Papi - it becomes pretty obvious why he's so much farther down. He's not in quite the same league as a hitter - but that's not to say that he isn't very, very good, because he is. A .299/.447/.517 slash line helps offset his slightly-elevated strikeout rate, as does his superior walk rate, though that owes itself in part to being one of the few fearsome hitters in the Missouri Valley Conference, allowing opposing teams to pitch around him. His hit tool will be challenged in professional ball, and while the .321 average in the small-sample Cape Cod League this summer bodes well, striking out in more than a fifth of his plate appearances does not. He's definitely one to watch.

9. Stephen Vranka, CF, Pittsburgh (The American).

Player Page

Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 lbs. High School: Gateway High School (Monroeville, Penn.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 7/31/91 (22.85 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 Pitt (Big East) 44 .088 .244 .088 22.73% 11.36% 0 4
2012 Pitt (Big East) 250 .275 .333 .392 15.60% 7.20% 1 9
2013 Pitt (Big East) 283 .318 .413 .525 12.01% 12.72% 7 16

Vranka had an inauspicious debut as a freshman in a small sample in 2011, and followed it up with an underwhelming sophomore campaign. As a junior in 2013, he flipped a switch, with a .318/.413/.525 line, more walks than strikeouts, and even some unexpected power and higher stolen base totals. He's always brought good defense to the table, and if he can continue trending upward offensively as a senior, he makes for an intriguing mid-to-late-round pick.

Photo credit: Rob Kinnan - USA TODAY Sports

10. Joey Pankake, SS, South Carolina (SEC).

Player Page

Height: 6'1" Weight: 200 lbs. High School: Easley High School (Easley, So. Car.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 11/23/92 (21.53 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2011 - 42nd Round (1,284th overall) - Texas Rangers

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 SoCar (SEC) 285 .264 .355 .377 14.04% 10.88% 2 3
2013 SoCar (SEC) 276 .311 .388 .496 10.51% 10.87% 11 7

Pankake exploded onto the national scene with a good showing in the 2012 College World Series, where he helped lead the Gamecocks to the championship game, where they lost to Arizona. This offseason, it was suggested that Pankake may play all over the field this season for the Gamecocks - third base, shortstop, outfield, closer. That's a questionable move for raising his stock, as he has the tools to shine as a shortstop - a very strong arm, great bat speed, and outstanding plate discipline. I've heard him compared to Nolan Fontana, though even that may be selling Pankake short as a prospect.

11. Charlie White, CF, Maryland (ACC).

Player Page

Height: 5'10" Weight: 165 lbs. High School: Naperville North High School (Naperville, Ill.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Date of Birth: 11/13/91 (22.56 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2013 - 29th Round (884th overall) - New York Yankees

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 Maryland (ACC) 202 .304 .396 .368 15.35% 8.42% 0 17
2012 Maryland (ACC) 75 .203 .356 .254 8.00% 10.67% 0 5
2012 Newport (NECBL) 88 .365 .535 .540 10.23% 21.59% 2 6
2013 Maryland (ACC) 269 .350 .449 .411 6.32% 10.41% 0 39
2013 Eau Claire (NWL) 197 .304 .433 .342 8.63% 12.69% 0 25

In 2013, White set a single-season record at Maryland by stealing 39 bases, and he followed it up with 25 more steals with Eau Claire in the Northwoods League. The Yankees' 29th-round pick in 2013, White chose to return to Maryland, rather than sign, with the hopes of going higher in the draft. He's got his work cut out for him, but with his combination of plate discipline, base-stealing prowess, and defense, he stands a chance of succeeding.

12. Adam Forrer, 2B, Richmond (Atlantic 10).

Player Page

Height: 5'7" Weight: 200 lbs. High School: Williams High School (Alexandria, Va.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 7/18/92 (21.88 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 Richmond (A10) 45 .250 .333 .375 17.78% 8.89% 1 0
2012 Richmond (A10) 230 .264 .405 .401 10.43% 17.39% 4 8
2012 Alexandria (CRL) 144 .268 .427 .393 13.89% 18.75% 1 10
2013 Richmond (A10) 213 .277 .420 .470 14.08% 18.31% 7 8
2013 College Park (FCL) 120 .225 .345 .358 16.08% 13.29% 3 4

"Oh, great," I hear you saying. "Our first undersized second baseman!" Forrer is an interesting draft candidate. He's yet to hit above .277 at any level (despite being in a mid-major conference), though he's consistently posted stellar walk rates to help offset things. In both 2012 and 2013, he actually walked a great deal more than he struck out during his college campaigns. He's a guy who's good at a lot of things, though not elite at any. Still, he's a guy who can have a lot of value in the middle-to-later rounds of a draft.

13. Frankie Ratcliff, SS, Houston (The American).

Player Page

Height: 5'9" Weight: 185 lbs. High School: Key West High School (Key West, Fla.)
Bats/Throws: Both/Right
Date of Birth: 4/4/91 (23.17 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2013 - 40th round (1200th overall) - Arizona Diamondbacks

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2010 Miami (ACC) 235 .276 .374 .467 17.45% 13.19% 6 13
2011 DNP
2012 Pensacola JC (Region 8) 119 .391 .521 .717 * 21.85% 6 29
2013 Houston (C-USA) 256 .300 .398 .467 14.06% 14.45% 2 11

* strikeout numbers not available for NJCAA programs in 2012

Ratcliff is a guy who's had a hard time settling in. In 2010, he played second base for the University of Miami team that reached the Regional finals, then transferred to Pensacola Junior College for the 2012 season. Then, in 2013, he became the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year by playing shortstop in all 58 games for the Cougars. All this adds up to some pretty enormous age issues, but the young man still brings a lot to the table - notably, a .300/.395/.467 slash line, along with a 14.45% walk rate (compared to the conference-average 9.15%), a 14.06% strikeout rate (compared to conference-average 15.73%), and double-digit stolen bases, not to mention nice doubles power.

14. Jake Thomas, LF, Binghamton (America East).

Player Page

Height: 5'10" Weight: 185 lbs. High School: Calhoun High School (Merrick, N.Y.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 7/21/93 (20.87 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Binghamton (Am East) 165 .296 .424 .407 17.58% 17.58% 3 1
2012 Herndon (CRL) 111 .330 .455 .489 21.62% 18.02% 2 1
2013 Binghamton (Am East) 238 .371 .517 .522 9.24% 18.91% 5 6
2013 Sanford (NECBL) 91 .286 .389 .416 17.58% 12.09% 2 9

When a guy sets a school record for walks, as Thomas did in 2013 for Binghamton, a special red light goes off in the Luhnow Cave. Thomas - a former America's Future Prospects player and Newsay's Long Island Player of the Year in 2011 - led or was near the top of his conference in nearly every relevant statistical category: Batting average (1st), walks (1st), slugging percentage (1st), on-base percentage (1st), runs (t-2nd), RBIs (t-3rd), and home runs (t-3rd) - not to mention a single-digit walk rate and more than twice as many walks as whiffs. The only catch is that, though he was recruited as a catcher, but moved to the outfield full-time for his sophomore campaign. Simply put, if there's any defensive versatility left, he's a serious high-round sleeper candidate.

15. Luke Tendler, SS, North Carolina A&T (MEAC).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 195 lbs. High School: Laney High School (Wilmington, N.C.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 8/25/91 (22.78)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 NCAT (MEAC) 228 .380 .404 .606 6.58% 4.82% 6 7
2012 NCAT (MEAC) 236 .303 .340 .484 13.56% 4.24% 6 2
2012 Asheboro (CPL) 187 .265 .311 .400 13.37% 6.42% 4 5
2013 NCAT (MEAC) 227 .369 .433 .615 7.49% 8.81% 5 17
2013 Asheboro (CPL) 191 .351 .398 .557 9.42% 6.81% 8 13

Luke Tender was a full-time starter as a freshman, playing in 55 games for North Carolina A&T and batting .380/.404/.606 - a ridiculous line for a D-I hitter, no matter the conference. His numbers, predictably, dipped across the board in his sophomore season, but they were still quite good. The catch was his 13.56% strikeout rate. After a summer in the Coastal Plain League, he came back to A&T as a junior and devoured MEAC hitters, going .369/.433/.615, with seventeen stolen bases. Another solid summer in the CPL has him poised to climb draft boards this season with a strong senior season. A shortstop who gives you this kind of power, and who steals double-digit base totals, is something special indeed. If he can continue to keep the strikeouts under control in 2014, he could be in very good shape in June.

Photo credit: Melina Vastola - USA TODAY Sports

16. Sam Travis, 1B, Indiana (Big Ten).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 210 lbs. High School: Providence Catholic High School (New Lenox, Ill.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 8/27/93 (20.77 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2011 - 40th round (1,225th overall) - Cincinnati Reds

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Indiana (B10) 268 .319 .397 .509 13.06% 10.82% 9 4
2012 Yarmouth-Dennis (CCL) 196 .339 .415 .482 14.29% 10.20% 4 5
2013 Indiana (B10) 302 .316 .419 .545 10.93% 12.91% 10 4

I've made little secret of the fact that Sam Travis is my personal-favorite prospect in the Big Ten. He doesn't grab the headlines that his teammate, Kyle Schwarber, gets. But in many ways, he's a more-polished hitter. His 10.51% strikeout rate in 2013 is fairly exceptional in the Big Ten (where the league average is 14.78%), and he coupled it with a walk rate four percentage points above the league average. The only real problem with Travis is that he's limited defensively. Unfortunately, that's a significant problem that's hard to overlook. Still, the bat plays. If he can continue to limit his strikeouts while slashing in the 3/4/5 range as a junior in the Big Ten, he'll be impossible to overlook.

17. Griff Gordon, RF, Jacksonville State (OVC).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 210 lbs. High School: Alexander City High School (Alexander City, Ala.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Date of Birth: 2/15/92 (22.30 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 Southern Union JC (Region 22) 161 .403 .447 .472 N/A* 8.07% 1 6
2012 Southern Union JC (Region 22) 16** .467 .500 .467 N/A* 6.25% 0 0
2013 Jacksonville State (OVC) 265 .341 .434 .441 4.53% 13.58% 2 4
2013 St. Joseph (MINK) 116 .374 .405 .439 6.90% 5.17% 0 2

* strikeout data not available for NJCAA programs
** 2012 data is incomplete

Junior College transfers are difficult to judge under the best conditions. Add in the fact that 2012's data only includes five games for Southern Union, and you basically have to throw out Gordon's entire JC career (though we know from his Jacksonville State player page that he hit .415 as a sophomore and was named All-Region) and judge him on 2013. In 2013, he looked on paper like a very good player, with an exceptional walk rate and an even more exceptional strikeout rate. In fact, his 3-to-1 BB/K rate is tops among all players on or near this list. A number of factors hinder his chances, though - a corner outfielder from a middle-of-the-pack conference who played summer ball in the Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas Collegiate League, and who saw his walk rate shrivel while he was there... he's someone to keep an eye on. If the 2013 JVSU version of him is the real deal, he's an excellent mid-round candidate with a chance to excel in the minors.

18. Blake Sipe, CF/RF, Radford (Big South).

Player Page

Height: 5'9" Weight: 170 lbs. High School: Fort Defiance High School (Grottoes, Va.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Left
Date of Birth: 9/6/92 (21.74 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 Radford (Big South) 105 .227 .313 .227 16.19% 8.57% 0 3
2011 Staunton (VL) 91 .225 .319 .250 10.99% 9.89% 0 11
2012 Radford (Big South) 88 .191 .309 .250 5.68% 10.23% 0 2
2012 Staunton (VL) 189 .396 .516 .483 3.70% 13.76% 0 20
2013 Radford (Big South) 200 .259 .380 .342 5.50% 12.00% 0 1
2013 Staunton (VL) 187 .267 .413 .301 9.09% 13.37% 0 26

Here's a scouting report from the 2012 Valley League:

Hit just .191-0-11 in 68 ABs as Radford SO, but took full advantage of opportunity to play every day on summer; hit .396-0-26 (26 BB/7 SO), led league with 20 SBs; excels in leadoff role with speed, ability to make consistent contact, spray balls to all fields, run the bases, though power limited in 5-10/175 frame; excellent defender in CF, capable of chasing down balls in all directions.

That sums up a great deal of Sipe's performance, and what's so exciting about him. He's failed to dominate at Radford, largely thanks to a lack of opportunities, but in 2013, he took a step forward, despite only hitting .259. His elite BB/K won him a lot of points on my formula, and his summers in the Valley League are almost an entirely-different player, who steals 20+ bases, despite how few he gets at Radford, which hints at a team policy of conservativeness on the basepaths. His defense certainly plays in center field, though, and if 2014 can show us who he really is at the plate, he's a good sleeper prospect in this draft.

19. Ryan Roberson, 1B, North Florida (Atlantic Sun).

Player Page

Height: 5'9" Weight: 215 lbs. High School: Palm Beach Central High School (Wellington, Fla.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 9/6/90 (23.75 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2010 North Florida (A-Sun) 61 .400 .459 .527 9.84% 8.20% 1 0
2011 Redshirt
2012 North Florida (A-Sun) 175 .320 .374 .471 8.00% 6.29% 5 1
2012 Covington ((VL) 88 .400 .448 .737 10.23% 6.82% 7 1
2013 North Florida (A-Sun) 216 .342 .414 .497 5.56% 10.19% 6 0


The Roberson brothers present quite a trio. Older brother Troy played for the University of Miami, and younger brother Brady plays for the University of Florida. Ryan may be the one who was "relegated" to the Atlantic Sun league, but make no mistake - he's a heck of a hitter. A broad-bodied guy with right-handed thump, a high age relative to league and a first base profile, it's going to be difficult for him to get drafted, much less to become a productive major leaguer. But he's a guy I like quite a bit, despite all that. A 5.56% strikeout rate will certainly help with that, as will a .342/.412/.497 slash line. He's a guy who could put himself into or take himself out of draft contention with his senior season.

20. Brad Elwood, 2B, UNC Charlotte (Atlantic 10).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 180 lbs. High School: Piedmont High School (Monroe, N.C.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 12/29/92 (21.43 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 UNCC (A10) 121 .269 .333 .394 8.26% 9.09% 0 3
2013 UNCC (A10) 264 .343 .402 .459 3.79% 8.33% 3 5
2013 Florence (CPL) 156 .318 .425 .395 4.49% 14.74% 0 5

At 6'0" with a little bit of room left to grow, Brad Elwood isn't a prototypical second-baseman. In fact, in high school, he played more in the outfield, and there's a decent chance he'd return there as a pro. He plays well there, too. In 2012, he became just the third Charlotte outfielder in the history of the Atlantic 10 to record multiple outfield assists in a single game. With his arm strength and size, it's hard to imagine that he won't be tried out in the outfield, or at least at third base, in the pros. Though he doesn't carry an elite walk rate, his 8.33% as a sophomore is still very good (Nolan Fontana had an 8.79% as a junior at Florida), and his 3.79% strikeout rate more than makes up for it. Add to that a developing power stroke (19 extra-base hits in 2013), and you're looking at a sneaky-good Division-I hitter.

Photo credit: Rob Foldy - US PRESSWIRE

21. Casey Turgeon, 2B/SS, Florida (SEC).

Player Page

Height: 5'10" Weight: 165 lbs. High School: Dunedin High School (Dunedin, Fla.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 9/28/92 (21.68 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: 2011 - 22nd round (672nd overall) - New York Mets

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2012 Florida (SEC) 270 .281 .368 .407 9.63% 10.00% 4 10
2012 Falmouth (CCL) 127 .261 .339 .387 21.26% 7.87% 3 1
2013 Florida (SEC) 273 .268 .367 .360 9.52% 11.36% 5 9

If Casey Turgeon could hit for even a little bit of power, he'd be a guy that everyone talks about. As it stands, he's an SEC middle infielder who walks a lot, strikes out not very much, and steals a couple of bases. Sounds like Nolan Fontana, doesn't it? The comparisons are there to be made, certainly. Turgeon was one of three guys to play in every game for Florida this season, and he alternated between the top three spots in the order, spending most of his time in the leadoff spot. He also went back and forth from second to short, though he played primarily second. A classic example of a guy who you may not know exists until he goes in the first three or four rounds.

22. Brandon Murray, LF, College of Charleston (Southern).

Player Page

Height: 6'0" Weight: 210 lbs. High School: Trinity Christian High School (Nassau, Bahamas)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Date of Birth: 7/31/92 (21.85 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 COC (SoCon) 35 .290 .343 .484 28.57% 8.57% 1 0
2012 COC (SoCon) 239 .330 .423 .570 21.34% 12.97% 12 4
2012 Waynesboro (VL) 183 .344 .410 .631 21.31% 7.65% 13 3
2013 COC (SoCon) 260 .303 .427 .515 12.31% 16.15% 9 3

Brandon Murray played high school ball in the Bahamas - since landing in the States, he's trended very favorably as a hitter - watch his rising walk rate and declining strikeout rate through his college career, while hovering around double-digit home runs. The next step for him will be to start converting doubles to home runs, since added power is only going to make him a more enticing prospect, but he's another guy to keep an eye on.

23. Conner Brown, 1B/3B, James Madison (Colonial).

Player Page

Height: 6'1" Weight: 200 lbs. High School: Mills Godwin High School (Richmond, Va.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 8/1/91 (22.84 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 JMU (CAA) 195 .266 .386 .357 17.95% 12.82% 2 12
2012 JMU (CAA) 172 .338 .406 .493 15.70% 8.14% 3 2
2013 JMU (CAA) 229 .341 .465 .592 12.66% 13.10% 9 3

Conner Brown is an exceptionally-promising corner infield prospect. With a K% and BB% trending in the right direction, double-digit home run potential, and a career .909 OPS as a full-time starter for three years (and counting) at the college level, there's a lot to like. Of course, given that corner infield profile, you'd ideally like to see a little more power... and in a perfect world, those 12 stolen bases as a freshman would return, but you don't expect that to happen.

24. Kyle Ruchim, CF/2B, Northwestern (Big Ten).

Player Page

Height: 5'10" Weight: 195 lbs. High School: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: 1/1/92 (22.43 on draft day)
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 N'western (B10) 211 .229 .278 .328 12.32% 6.16% 2 4
2012 N'western (B10) 241 .289 .373 .412 9.54% 9.13% 3 10
2012 Falmouth (CCL) 20 .235 .350 .353 30.00% 10.00% 0 0
2013 N'western (B10) 229 .341 .463 .592 12.66% 16.15% 2 10
2013 Falmouth (CCL) 5 .200 .200 .200 20.00% 0.00% 0 1
2013 Madison (NWL) 59 .288 .356 .442 13.56% 10.17% 0 1

Here's a riddle: Would you rather have A) an up-the-middle defender with a .974 OPS in a top college conference, who steals bases, draws walks, doesn't strike out, and has an OPS over 1.000; or B) a relief pitcher with a career 1.23 WHIP in a top college conference, with a double-digit strikeout rate, and a reasonable-if-a-bit-high walk rate? With Ruchim, you have both. The former Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year has performed well as a two-way player for three years in college, and his senior campaign should put him in position to go pro with a biological sciences degree from Northwestern. Not bad.

25. Cameron Cecil, CF/3B, Delaware State (MEAC).

Player Page

Height: 5'9" Weight: 180 lbs. High School: Gloucester High School (Gloucester, Va.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Date of Birth: Unknown
Previously Drafted: N/A

Year Team PA AVG OBP SLG K% BB% HR SB
2011 DelSt (MEAC) 196 .290 .361 .426 18.88% 8.67% 4 4
2011 Peninsula (CPL) 54 .267 .370 .378 25.93% 9.26% 0 2
2012 DelSt (MEAC) 255 .327 .456 .417 10.98% 10.98% 2 9
2013 DelSt (MEAC) 218 .356 .476 .462 7.34% 13.30% 0 17
2013 HP-Thomasville (CPL) 113 .256 .420 .372 15.04% 17.70% 2 6

Cecil is another guy who falls under the prime-defensive-position/doesn't strike out/walks quite a bit profile, with seventeen stolen bases and a .327/.476/.462 slash line in 2013. Once again, he's also a guy who has trended in the right direction in the important categories, and with a good senior season, he should be in position to get drafted... and if he is, there's a good chance it will be a team like the Astros who are a good fit for his skillset.

Five Bonus Players

26. Kurt Wertz, RF, Towson (Colonial)

27. Riley Moore, C, Arizona (Pac-12)

28. Alex Tomasovich, SS, Charleston Southern (Big South)

29. Treyson Vavra, 1B, Florida Southern*
Vavra played for Eastern Illinois in 2013

30. Grayson Greiner, C, South Carolina (SEC)

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