Draft : : Top Prospects
Top Prospect Reports: 201-250
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Contributing: David Rawnsley, Patrick Ebert, Ben Collman, Todd Gold
201. AUSTIN SCHOTTS, ss, Centennial HS, Frisco
Schotts is a late riser on numerous prospect lists, and teams were still trying to get a firm grip on his talents in late April. But with a documented time of 6.3 seconds in the 60, it is readily evident that the 5-foot-11, 180-pound shortstop has top-of-the-scale running speed. Schotts has committed to Oklahoma State to play baseball, though is a football player of some note and was a starting safety last fall on Centennial High’s 12-1 football team. Speed is obviously Schotts’ major weapon and it impacts most phases of his game. He has been clocked down the line in 3.88 seconds, but has also shown increased power this spring and actually projects as a potential above-average offensive threat for a middle infielder. His lack of raw arm strength will probably force him to move to second base at the next level.
202. PATRICK KIVLEHAN, 3b, Rutgers University (Jr.)
Kivlehan’s rise to prominence as a baseball talent this spring may rank as the most-unlikely success story in this year’s draft. He was a noted slugger at New Jersey’s St. Joseph’s High and hit 13 home runs his senior year, but entered Rutgers in 2008 to play football only, and ended up playing 43 games in four years at defensive back and on special teams. For him to leave baseball for that long and return to the game with his skills seemingly intact is almost unheard of in baseball circles, but Kivlehan made an easy, seamless transition this spring, hitting .392-14-50 with 20 walks and 24 stolen bases while playing passable defense at third base. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Kivlehan has a rare combination of explosive strength from the right side of the plate and plus running speed. For a power hitter, he also makes surprisingly good contact, though he struggled with quality breaking balls. With slightly-below average actions and arm strength at third base, Kivlehan profiles more as a center fielder at the professional level, which has prompted area scouts to compare him to former Villanova football/baseball standout Matt Szczur, a fifth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2010 who was awarded a $1.5 million contract to dissuade him from pursuing a possible NFL career. Kivlehan has more raw power than Szczur, but not as much pure speed.
203. JOEY DeMICHELE, 2b, Arizona State University (Jr.).
DeMichele is a hitting machine, and one of the best pure lefthanded bats in the country. He topped Arizona State in hitting and home runs as a sophomore, while batting .368-9-51 overall, and leads the Sun Devils in batting (.348) and RBIs (37) this season, through games of mid-April. He has a sound overall approach to hitting with good swing mechanics and pull-side power, and is adept at handling lefthanded pitching. The trick for DeMichele has always been in finding a position to let his bat play on an everyday basis. He has seen his share of time in a DH role in college and summer ball after struggling on both infield corners, but seemed to find a home at second base for the Sun Devils this season. He may lack ideal range and natural actions in the field, but his feet and hands worked adequately at his new position, and he handled most every ball cleanly.
204. DALTON FRIEND, lhp, Jefferson CC (RS-So.)
While 6-foot-6 lefthander Dane Gronewald gained most of the attention from scouts a year ago at Jefferson College, and subsequently became a late-round pick of the Atlanta Braves (one of only two Missouri junior-college draft picks), Friend had an injury that sidelined him after four appearances. Healthy again this spring, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound southpaw has past Gronewald as a prospect, and should be one of the first lefthanders drafted in the junior-college ranks, possibly as early as the fourth or fifth rounds. Friend has a strong, durable frame with a quick arm and good overall mechanics, and excelled as both a starter and reliever for a 48-9 Jefferson team, going 9-0, 2.06 with 17 walks and 58 strikeouts in 39 innings. He has dominated in either role with overpowering stuff, including a fastball up to 95 mph and an excellent overhand breaking ball.
205. JAKE LAMB, 3b, University of Washington (Jr.)
Lamb shared the third-base job last summer at Yarmouth-Dennis of the Cape Cod League with two other significant members of the 2012 college draft class: Stanford’s Stephen Piscotty (.349), the league batting champion, and Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds (.322), who split his summer between Y-D and USA Baseball’s college-national team. As a hitter, Lamb (.253-0-10) came out third-best, as it was apparent that he needed to refine his approach. He has shored up some of his deficiencies this spring while also flashing significant lefthanded power, though it is mostly in BP sessions. A physically-projectable third baseman with superior arm strength, Lamb more than holds his own defensively, though may still need a quicker first step to improve his lateral mobility.
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