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Draft : : State Preview
MLB Draft Preview: Alabama
Allan Simpson        
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.


Alabama State-by-State List

Alabama should produce a first-rounder (Samford outfielder Philip Ervin) and its representative share of prospects for the 2013 draft, but overall it has been a disappointing spring for the state as injuries and unfulfilled promise have conspired to take the luster off an otherwise promising draft class.

Roughly half the prospects who were projected to go in the top 10-12 rounds at the outset of the season have fallen out of that range—notably University of Alabama catcher Wade Wass (injured) at the college level and Central Alabama CC righthander Jamie Patterson at the junior-college level. Moreover, all three high-school prospects with aspirations of going in the top 2-3 rounds may slide precipitously, as well, especially Cullman High right-hander Keegan Thompson, who may warrant going early in the draft based on ability but is considered a major signability risk.


STRENGTH:
Depth of college talent; two-way players
WEAKNESS: Signable high-school talent
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
South Alabama
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Faulkner State
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Russell County, Seale

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Evan Smith, lhp, Mary G. Montgomery HS, Semmes.
With a fastball that topped in the high-80s last summer, Smith did not rank among Alabama’s 10 best high-school prospects in the 2013 draft class entering his senior year, but the 6-foot-5 lefthander has added 4-5 mph in velocity while almost every one of the state’s top-ranked prep players has regressed to some degree—for any number of reasons. If enough clubs are scared off by right-hander Keegan Thompson’s stated desire to attend college at Auburn, Smith could conceivably surface as the first pick from the state’s high-school ranks.

WILD CARD: Wade Wass, c, University of Alabama.
Wass was considered the premium college catching prospect in Alabama coming into the season after hitting .425-23-67 a year ago at Meridian (Miss.) CC and being taken in the 13th round of the 2012 draft by the Orioles. But injuries—a broken ankle that sidelined him for 20 games, and a fractured hand incurred in his first game back—conspired to ruin his 2013 season. Though his season is over and he’s in the process of taking a red-shirt and returning to Alabama as a junior in 2014, it’s not inconceivable that a club will take a run at Wass with a pick after the 10th round, though Joseph Odom of Division III Huntingdon College and Blake Austin of Auburn are two college catchers that probably will be drafted before him.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Alabama Connection:
Tim Anderson, ss/of, East Central (Miss.) CC (attended high school in Tuscaloosa)
Top 2014 Prospect: Spencer Turnbull, rhp, University of Alabama
Top 2015 Prospect: Mikey White, ss, University of Alabama

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Gregg Olson, rhp, Auburn University (1988, Orioles/1st round, 4th pick)
2008 Draft: Destin Hood, of, St. Paul’s Episcopal HS, Mobile (Nationals/2nd round)
2009 Draft: Ben Tootle, rhp, Jacksonville State University (Twins/3rd round)
2010 Draft: Todd Cunningham, of, Jacksonville State University (Braves/2nd round)
2011 Draft: Adam Morgan, lhp, University of Alabama (Phillies/3rd round)
2012 Draft: David Dahl, of, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham (Rockies/1st round, 10th pick

2012 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
20/19
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 11/5

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Coty Blanchard, of, Jacksonville State University
Best Hitter: Jordan Patterson, 1b, University of South Alabama
Best Power: Danny Collins, of, Troy University
Best Speed: Philip Ervin, of, Samford University
Best Defender: Colin Bray, of, Faulkner State CC
Best Velocity: C.K. Irby, rhp, Samford University
Best Breaking Stuff: C.K. Irby, rhp, Samford University
Best Pitchability: Keegan Thompson, rhp, Cullman HS


TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS 1 and 2

GROUP 1 
(rounds 1-3)

1. PHILIP ERVIN, of, Samford University
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Ervin established himself as a first-rounder last summer in his first 15 games in the Cape Cod League, when he went deep eight times on his way to earning league MVP honors. He has continued to sting the ball at a steady clip this spring for Samford, hitting .364 with a team-high 10 homers, even as he has been pitched around extensively while not being afforded protection in the Bulldogs batting order from the likes of Brandon Miller, who led the NCAA Division I ranks in homers a year ago. Ervin’s play of late, though, has been compromised to a degree after he rolled his ankle, which caused him to miss several games and relegated him to a DH role in others. Though he isn’t overly physical in his sub 6-foot frame, Ervin generates excellent bat speed with his lightning-quick hands and flashes raw power to all fields. More than just a power threat, Ervin has a solid all-around approach to hitting with good bat control and a patient approach, and stays inside the ball well while emphasizing going the other way. His speed and ability to run down balls in center field are also significant assets, and he has been clocked up to 93 mph off the mound in occasional stints as a pitcher.  Click here for Ervin's detailed Draft Focus report.


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