This is the second installment of a look at the 2012 Cape Cod League and some of its implications on the 2013 MLB Draft. I previously looked at some of the more interesting arms. Today I’m profiling some of the standout position players. The CCBL is filled with some of the best talents in college baseball, including the vast majority of early college picks in the June Rule 4 MLB entry draft. Besides the strong level of competition, the Cape also gives scouts a wooden-bat based look at prospects who normally play with metal. The league plays in mostly pitcher friendly parks and offense isn’t easy to come by generally, but this season saw an explosion of runs. It appears the balls were slightly juiced, though players are also more comfortable playing with wood these days since they regularly use BBCOR bats. This year’s Cape League lacked the consensus top names of last year (Appel, Gausman, Zunino) but featured a surprisingly deep and interesting group of players.
Three Position Players You Already Know
Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford – The uber toosly Wilson has been on the draft map for years now, turning down an offer of a big pay day from the Cardinals in 2010 to attend Stanford (interesting side note – Wilson attended Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, the same school as 2012 1st round picks Lucas Giolito and Max Fried). Wilson can do a lot of exciting things on a baseball field. He’s a plus runner. His speed plays in the outfield. He might have had the best arm on the Cape. Despite the usual Stanford swing (that he tinkered with some this summer) issues, Wilson has raw power for days… and he’s quite capable of muscling balls he didn’t get all of out to the opposite field. When he learns to look for pitches to drive and pull the ball pitchers better watch out. For all that, Wilson can be maddeningly inconsistent from AB to AB and even from pitch to pitch. His approach at the plate is sorely lacking at times and there’s some sentiment he’s a bit soft in the way he plays the game. Wilson won’t last long on draft day with his premium arsenal of tools and the ability to be the best player on the field… but all the same don’t be shocked if some org’s look in other directions early.
Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina – Moran actually impressed me more playing for Bourne in 2011 and I thought he looked more athletic last year, too. The big question mark with Moran is the glove… he’s no better than fringe average with his hot corner defensive tools. Moran lacks the lateral quickness, first step and arm strength you’d like to see in your big league 3B… but he’s not awful over there, either and lean towards him staying at the position. Two big reasons I think he can stick there are a) he doesn’t have a very exciting pro profile anywhere else (he lacks the foot-speed for an outfield corner) and b) I think any team that picks him early will probably be satisfied with his glove at third base. I wouldn’t say Moran has plus raw power, but there’s some thunder in the bat. Moran will hit for a good amount of extra bases because of his natural strength, bat speed and ability to square up the ball. I see Moran’s hit tool praised fairly often and he does have great bat along with very good bat control and barrel awareness. He’s also capable of hitting any pitch hard. Despite all that, I think there’s more swing and miss here than others have been reporting. Pitch recognition is still a work in progress. Moran can often get pull happy and leaves himself very vulnerable to off-speed and breaking pitches, too. There’s definitely a lot of potential here as a very good pure hitter and help fairly soon college bat.
JaCoby Jones, OF, Louisiana State – I don’t really see Jones getting publicized as a real premium pick type. More often he’s projected as more back of the first round, but I love this kid’s game. An electric athlete, Jones can make spectacular plays to each side when playing CF and some teams will consider giving him a chance to stick in the infield. He has excellent bat speed and makes loud contact to all fields. While he’s yet to consistently translate it to games, Jones regularly shows big time power during batting practice. Strikeouts are a major issue here and pitch recognition has a ways to go. Jones sometimes sells out with big, long swings and collapses his back side. Still, I have faith in this bat developing and Jones has a ceiling that ranks with pretty much anyone’s in the draft. He’s raw for a college player, but I’d be delighted to get this potential impact 5 tool player in the middle of the first. If the bat develops, Jones can change a game in multiple ways.
Three Position Players You Might Not Know, but Should
Coty Blanchard, OF, Jacksonville State – Blanchard’s athleticism stands out. He’s a football player as well… and a pretty good one at that. He won Alabama’s High School Football Player of the year as Senior in High School and plays Quarterback for Jacksonville State still. The upside here is that the raw tools are pretty enticing. Blanchard runs well and has some bat speed. His athletic ability plays in the field and on the basepaths. The downside is that the tools will have to show well this Spring because he didn’t really hit much on the Cape. His swing looked stiff and mechanical at times and he’s still lacking much in the way of pro level baseball skills. The talent is there and you can see it emerging, though. A team might also think improvement will come more rapidly once he focuses on baseball only.
Jacob May, OF, Coastal Carolina – May is a bit undersized at 5’10″, 175 lbs., but he plays much bigger than that. May has a pro body with a very developed musculature. He runs well, is a good baserunner and hustles around the diamond. He shows a mature feel for hitting and uses his bat speed to lace line drives to all fields. The lack of size and power limit May’s profile for some, but I think he’s just a ballplayer. With his strong tools and solid all around game a strong Spring for Coastal might put May in consideration for as high as the 2nd round.
Carlos Asuaje, IF, Nova Southeastern – Asuaje is an athletic infielder from a smaller school who turned heads with his strong play for Yarmouth-Dennis. He’s a good runner and can steal the occasional base. Asuaje has straight ahead speed, foot speed and a strong arm but saw most of his time at 2B and 3B. I’d probably play him at 2B as a pro but I think he’s capable at third (though the bat doesn’t profile well there) and his tools could play in the outfield, too. Asuaje shows above average bat speed and a clean swing. He expands his strike zone in certain counts but has quick enough hands and wrists that he can still cover the plate fairly well. He’s not a hacker at the plate, but he’s more inclined to put the ball in play than take a walk. He actually shows surprising power when he gets into a pitch he likes, but home runs aren’t going to be a big part of his game.