The state of the shortstops
April, 26, 2010
By Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com
We talked earlier this season about Cal State Fullerton's Christian Colon and Alabama's Josh Rutledge and where they might end up in this year's draft.
Colon could be a first-round pick and Rutledge a late-first-day or early-second-day selection. That was nearly two months ago and each of them has played more than 30 games since.
Prep shortstops Manny Machado (who may get some Alex Rodriguez comparisons, Keith Law notes here) and Marcus Littlewood (who has amazing hands) are both likely to get consideration for the first round. Machado has a shot to be taken in the top 5, but because high school players are much more of a risk and are three to five years away from The Show, Colon is the best bet in the class to sign and reach the big leagues quickly. Rutledge, one area scout recently opined, "could be a steal for someone outside the first couple rounds."
Colon is hitting .338/.441/.649 with 12 home runs and a 20-10 BB/K ratio in 36 games while Rutledge is at .362/.401/.503 with four home runs and 10 stolen bases.
"Josh is an aggressive hitter and will swing early," said the scout about the Crimson Tide infielder, "but he can play short and he does make contact. I could see a little more power coming down the road, but he's going to be a line-drive type bat."
Colon has shown good power and most scouts believe that despite a lack of the foot speed typical of a middle infielder, he can play the position long-term.
"It's instincts," said an area scout who has been evaluating Colon for more than three years. "Playing short is just a natural thing for him. He's not going to blow you away with tools, he's not a quick-twitch guy, but he makes the plays consistently and can hit."
Other college shortstops being considered include Derek Dietrich of Georgia Tech and Rice's Rick Hague, but neither is likely to play the position as a pro, and Hague was recently moved off the position. West Virginia's Jedd Gyorko is another college shortstop who will find a job at the next level at another position, and his bat could lead him into a first-day selection.
On the Diamond
- Cal right-hander Dixon Anderson couldn't get out of the first inning Sunday, recording two outs and being pulled after throwing just half of his 36 pitches for strikes. He yielded five earned runs on three hits, a walk, two hit batters and a wild pitch.
- Bryce Brentz returned to the field Sunday for both ends of a doubleheader, but didn't have much luck at the plate. He did draw two walks in eight plate appearances, but the fact that he's back in right field is the big news.