I don’t need to give you a summary of the success the Goldpanners have had at sending players on to professional baseball. From Rick Monday, the very first draft pick ever — first draft, first round, first selection — to Chris Schwinden, the 200th Panner to break into the bigs, the team’s reputation speaks for itself. You can take it for granted that every June there will be several former Goldpanners drafted, and a few of those will be drafted early. This season is no exception, so let’s cut to the chase and I’ll give you a rundown of some prospects I’ll be watching for closely.
One of the most highly-touted prospects of this crop has to be Stanford outfielder Jake Stewart. He’s an aggressive player with a solid glove, though he’s a bit of a free-swinger. When he came up in 2010, Perfect Game ranked him the #2 prospect in the ABL, just behind fellow Stanford product Stephen Piscotty. Now, Baseball America rates him #271 on their draft board, and MLB Bonus Baby rates him #29 on their Top 100 College Draft Prospects.
Another top draft prospect out of the Panners crew is J.T. Chargois, seen here in this MLB.com scouting video. MLB.com’s draft coverage says he has a ”plus fastball and his curveball is good at times, but he can be inconsistent.” BleacherReport says that he is one of the top 10 closing pitchers in the draft, and Rice’s best draft prospect. He’s still developing and working all the kinks out as a pitcher as he is a converted first baseman. He did not hit especially well in Alaska but he was effective as a pitcher, so I imagine that he will remain on the mound, where he performed as an all-star in the Cape in 2011.
I’m curious to see what happens to Derrick Chung this year. When we last saw him, Chung was a prototypical middle infielder: not a big guy, but a player with above-average speed, patient approach at the plate, good athleticism, and a high-average contact swing. Since then Chung has been converted to catcher. I think that this was an interesting move, though I’m not sure what to make of it and what impact it will have on his future as a prospect. In any event, we’ll find out this week.
A few more names to look out for: DJ Crumlich, previously drafted by the Pirates, #18 prospect in 2010 by PG who says he has gold-glove caliber defense; Kevin Roundtree will probably get picked but perhaps not until Day 3; Colton Plaia and Robbie Bullard are likely to get picked as well.
Any info to add? With the draft starting tomorrow, the time for hypothesizing about who will go when is nearly over, but feel free to throw any last-minute info into the Comments section below! I’d love to hear what you have to say about the Goldpanners and the 2012 draft.