A month into the college season some things have changed a bit -- most of which we'll go over in the next edition of the Future 50 -- but early impressions may have changed the outlook on some top prospects.
• Montverde Academy (Fla.) shortstop Francisco Lindor has dazzled scouts all season, and may have played his stock to within the top five or six talents in the class. The 17-year-old has shown range, arm strength and accuracy, and the ability to hit from both sides of the plate. What's more, Lindor is hitting for some power from both sides while maintaining high contact rates.
"The only thing I have yet to see is the costume," said a long-time scout. "He's one of those stat sheet stuffers: steals, defense, throws, doubles, homers, triples ... in a lot of years that is the No. 1 pick."
• Prep right-hander Taylor Guerrieri from Spring Valley High School in South Carolina started the year as a potential first-round pick with some questions attached, particularly regarding his mechanics and secondary stuff. He's flashed a plus breaking ball and cleaner arm action early this season, however, and if the draft were today there's a chance he'd be taken off the board in the first half of the first round.
"I think he's opened some eyes, sure," said an area scout. "I didn't expect to see a potential (number) one (starter), but that's been the show both times for me."
• After a slow start, Miami-Dade's Brian Goodwin has turned it around and is up to .382 with a .477 on-base percentage. He's also swiped six bases and has shown more than gap power with five doubles and five homers in 22 games. "There may be some (Curtis) Granderson in his game, but I'm not a big fan of the swing," opined an area scout of an NL club. "He can do a lot of things, though, and he's still just 20."
Goodwin's ability in center field is key to his future, as he doesn't project to hit for enough power to profile anywhere else, but he lacks present ability on that side of the ball. "He shows some instincts," the scout continued, "but he'll need some work. All the physical tools are there at his disposal, though, so we'll have to see. He's a good one to dream on."
• The stock of Josh Bell of Dallas Jesuit High School hasn't necessarily improved as much as it's been verified, confirmed and solidified. Keith Law scouted the outfielder last month and came away impressed with his approach at the plate, strong hands and quick swing. Law wrote that Bell "loads his body more than his hands, leaving them high and deep as he begins his stride, but right before swinging he'll shift his hands into a more typical position and then unleashes the bat with excellent hip rotation and plenty of loft. He showed he could drive the ball out toward center but was also trying too hard to jack the ball out in two of the at bats, although his other game swings were fine with good loft in his finish."
Bell could be among the first prep position players selected in June.
• Connecticut outfielder George Springer appears to be living off his tools and lacks the necessary polish to his approach at the plate that could keep him in the top three or four picks in the draft. Law's report from earlier this month included some flaws in Springer's mechanics that have contributed to his early-season swoon.
He's hitting just .265 with strikeouts in over 18 percent of his plate appearances, and has managed a mere seven extra-base hits. There are two reasons to give Springer a break, however, besides the fact that the season is just four weeks in, including the level of competition the Huskies have faced -- including California, Oregon State and San Diego. He also played his first five games in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
It's far too early to suggest that Springer is out of the top few talents in the draft, but for now, his stock has certainly dropped a small margin.
• TCU left-hander Matt Purke fought off a blister two weeks ago and pitched well, but struggled again this past weekend, lasting just 3 2/3 innings and issuing three bases on balls. He may still be battling the blister problem, and his place here is based solely on his lack of work during the first month of the spring season.
• Gonzaga's Ryan Carpenter drew a 45 grade from an area scout after last weekend's performance, suggesting he's a back-end starter with some upside. "I like the physical profile, but he's been all over the place twice of the three times I have seen him now. He's been better, but consistency is a big factor, and these kinds of outings don't tell me he's anything better than a No. 4 starter."
• Miami Hurricanes third baseman Harold Martinez started the season with a chance at being a first-day selection, and while neither I nor Keith have seen the right-handed hitter yet in 2011, performance means something, even with the new bat regulations in play. Martinez is hitting .245/.344/.340 with just three extra-base hits after hitting 21 homers a year ago.
He did suffer a shin injury toward the end of last season that required surgery, and it's difficult to wonder if that isn't giving him problems this season. He did, however, look strong defensively during the first two series of the year, recalls an area scout. "He didn't hit much, but he looked pretty good with the glove and showed a good arm and quick hands on several plays."
• Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Armstrong, who has shown frontline abilities in the past, returned from a back injury Tuesday to strike out the side in his one inning of work. He did issue two walks, but reportedly sat 92-93 mph with his fastball. The testimony on his breaking ball suggests rust, but that is to be expected. Armstrong figures to be brought back slowly.
• Armstrong's teammate, infielder Jason Esposito, had three hits Tuesday, including his first home run of the season. His slow start to the season may tick up soon, as he's moved back to third base -- perhaps permanently. As a pro, he may have a shot to play second base.
• Despite being ejected one out prior to finishing a shutout, Broken Arrow High School (Okla.) right-hander Archie Bradley fanned 12 against two walks and a hit batter. He yielded just three hits.
• Dillon Maples, a projectable right-hander from Pinecrest High School in North Carolina, struck out 13 in five innings of a 10-0 shutout win that ended via the mercy rule.