- Keith Law, ESPN Insider
I've revised my original Top 100 draft board to reflect recent scouting looks, new information on players and feedback on the initial list. Here's a rundown of some of the major changes to the rankings:
• Scott Bittle of Ole Miss was at No. 79 but is off the list after a shoulder injury ended his college career and put his short-term pitching future in doubt, to say nothing of his long-term future. Bittle projected as a reliever in the majors anyway, but the bum shoulder kills his value.
• Several players moved down after I saw more recent film or talked to scouts about their limitations. Clemson first baseman Ben Paulsen is more of a third- or fourth-round talent because of his lack of power and his defensive skills that one scout called "a disaster." Left-hander James Paxton slides from No. 3 to No. 8 after his final start of the year, when his velocity dipped to 88-92 mph (his last fastball the week before had been clocked at 94) and he was hit around in a game Kentucky needed to win. I had high school righty Keyvius Sampson too high on the first list, given his probable future as a big league reliever.
• Vanderbilt lefty Mike Minor moves up from 53 to 37 after his performance at the SEC tournament, showing a much-improved curveball (one crosschecker told me it was "back" after he went several weeks without using it earlier in the year) and better command. LSU outfielder Jared Mitchell moves down 11 spots after Minor abused him and he had trouble the next day against a mediocre right-hander. The tools are there, but the pitch recognition is not.
• There are only two major moves up from the last ranking to this one. Puerto Rican outfielder Reymond Fuentes, a player I re-evaluated after seeing some video and talking to two scouts who have seen him recently, goes from 85 (which was clearly too low, in hindsight) to 33. The consensus seems to be that he has substantial upside as a hitter, at least for average, and the potential to be a plus defender in center like his uncle, Carlos Beltran. The other big move up is Indiana right-hander Eric Arnett, from 69 to 49; he's been showing more velocity deep into games, with one report having him sitting around 95 and touching 97 repeatedly in the Big Ten tournament this week. Both Fuentes and Arnett could sneak into the back end of the first round; Fuentes won't last to the end of the sandwich round, and Arnett won't get past the middle of the second.
This list is not a projection of where these players will be taken, nor does it factor in signability -- that is, the expected price tag on each player. The rankings are drawn from my own firsthand evaluations of players, evaluations from video of players, and conversations with scouts and executives who have been seeing these players for the past 11 months. I'll add more scouting reports and video and update the rankings on a regular basis between now and the June 9 start of the draft.
Keith Law's Top 100, featuring scouting reports and video, is for ESPN Insiders. So is our daily MLB Draft Blog.
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