Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Draft Preview: The Youngin's Part 1

Everyone loves youth.  Tony La Russa may disagree with that statement, but he's part of a small minority.  The younger the player, the more time he has to grow and to develop.  It means a higher ceiling, well at least a higher perceived ceiling.  Ultimately, a player is going to be drafted based on several factors other than the date on his birth certificate.  Still, when it comes to the draft, youth is never going to be looked at as a fault. 

In the 2012 draft class, seven prep players stand out as being both a top draft prospect and extremely young.  That list consists of Carlos Correa, C.J Hinojosa, Carson Kelly, Rhett Wiseman, Cody Poteet, Daniel Starwalt, and Anthony Alford.  Carlos Correa was part of my first mock draft and was also profiled earlier here.  C.J. Hinojosa and Carson Kelly (along with Correa) will be included in my mock draft 2.0.  That leaves Wiseman, Poteet, Starwalt, and Alford to profile.  Up first, Starwalt and Alford.

Daniel Starwalt - Daniel Starwalt is the youngest player in Baseball America's top 100 draft prospects that came out on the first of February.  Starwalt, who Baseball America ranks 81st, won't turn 18 until February 7th of 2013! The right-handed pitcher, who currently attends Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California is an excellent prospect.  That's clear by his commitment to Stanford which should make him a hard player to sign, especially with the new CBA.  Starwalt might be good enough that some team will try, however.  He currently stands at an impressive 6'3, 210 lbs and throws two intriguing pitches.  The first is a fastball that already touches 95 mph and the second is a curveball that flashes a sharp break and late bite, while coming in on hitters in the 78-80 mph range. 

Anthony Alford - Anthony Alford is also young, hence why he's profiled in this article.  He'll turn 18 about a month after the draft on July 20th.  Alford is both an excellent baseball prospect and a coveted high school quarterback.  Baseball American ranks him 89th on their list and ESPNU ranks him as the 95th best player in the class of 2012 in football. From Petal, Mississippi, Alford is committed to play both football and baseball for his homestate Southern Mississippi.  The Golden Eagles will have to hope he ends up on campus and not in fall instructionals for a baseball team next year, because make no mistake, that's a strong possibility.  Alford is a tremendous athlete who should be able to play centerfield with ample arm for the position.  While Alford is very raw and is more of an athlete than a baseball player at this point, he does have a quick swing backed by plenty of raw power than will be intriguing to some team come June.