In the run up to the Reader Top 30 Poll, I’m going to start a couple conversations about similar players who appear in clusters on my personal, (and still not settled) Top 50. I hope this will help get everyone geared up for voting in the first full week of January.
In the next couple weeks, I’ll take a look at some recent college draftees who’ve stayed as starting pitchers, a couple upper-level outfielders, and lower-level infielders and starting pitchers. But first up: low-level outfielders. Carlos Tocci, Larry Greene Jr., and Dylan Cozens.
On my list, Tocci sits at 9, Cozens at 14 and Greene at 15. Tocci has the edge over the other two fairly easily, based mostly on scouting. His current lack of power, (and a questionable potential thereof, according to some scouts), is a concern.
Aside from that, however, Tocci’s the kind of CF prospect you want to have in your system. He played himself into national mention in 2012, impressing scouts with his game while being one of the youngest stateside players in any league. He’s thus far looking like a capable line-drive hitter (19% in his 109 PA in 2012), with elite defense, and he has all kinds of time to fill out his body into something that can make those line-drives find the gaps and corners. If he shows a touch of HR potential in the next couple years, he could be a top-tier prospect in baseball as he nears the big leagues.
The other two are very similar players with similar profiles. Power to dream on and body/positional issues to worry about. Neither struck out too much for a power hitter, though Greene came closer to that dubious distinction, (23.5% DC, 25.7% LGj – I get squeamish at around 28%). Both walked a good amount, (11.4% DC, 13.5% LGj). Since they were in similar age/league situations, that’s kind of a push to me.
So to differentiate the two, I note that Cozens clearly hit for more power, (5HR to 2 for LGj, and an ISO .185 vs LGj’s .109). Greene had more batted ball luck with little difference in LD%, and Cozens stole 9 bases to Greene’s 1. With a body as big as his, you have to wonder if Cozens’ speed is for real, or just a symptom of the poor arms trying to throw him out and young pitchers not yet refined at holding runners on. Either way, it’s still nice to see some athleticism, even if that fades as he gets bigger and stronger.
I like the idea of Larry Greene Jr. He shows prodigious power in batting practice, and his plate discipline looks good. He’s got the tools to move through the system, and if he brings the power to game situations with any regularity, he could have a breakout year at any point. But after a really nice first campaign with few warning signs, Dylan Cozens has moved ahead of Larry Greene Jr. on my list.
So, what are your thoughts? Anyone not have Tocci at the top of this short group? Is there another teenaged outfielder anyone really likes in thier top 20 or so, (Giandido Tromp, anyone?) Anyone sad to be discussing a couple real power hitting OFs from the last couple drafts instead of a handful of “toolsy” OFs?