Inside The Top 50: College Players

Kiley takes us behind the scenes with the scouting tidbits on the college players from the Draft Top 50. A number of college pitchers have taken a step forward in the first few weeks of the season, drastically changing team's draft boards and scouting priorities for the rest of the season.

Also see:

Draft Top 50 Rankings

Inside The Top 50: High School Players

- At the top of the list, Sean Manaea vs. Mark Appel is an interesting head-to-head breakdown for the top spot that will be getting it's own article later this week. Until then take a look at my Appel (report & video) and Manaea (report & video) breakdowns from last week.

- #7 prospect North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran is in a great draft class to maximize his bonus payday. He's not an exciting prospect but has a track record of hitting, a recent hamate injury to make scouts think there may be more power on the way and word from scouts recently is that he looks more nimble at third base, giving himself a better chance to stick at the hot corner long-term. Moran seems like a slam-dunk top 10 pick at this point.

- #13 prospect Florida righty Jonathon Crawford was dominant late in 2012, hitting 99 mph with a plus slider and above average changeup when he threw a no hitter in regionals. He's struggled some this spring, reverting back to his low-90's velocity from high school. It's still early and unseasonably cold in Florida, so scouts are cutting him some slack, but other pitchers are nipping at his heels.

- #14 prospect Jacksonville righty Chris Anderson is one such pitcher gaining on Crawford. I saw him this weekend and will be putting up a report soon, but suffice it to say that Anderson's plus fastball-slider combination is his calling card and he's clearly the best college pitcher in the state right now.

- Another pitcher making a run at the top 10 is #16 prospect UC-Irvine righty Andrew Thurman. As Frankie Piliere detailed on the podcast this week, Thurman was a four-pitch guy on the cape with a smooth delivery and good command. This weekend he hit a bunch of 95s on the radar gun and all of a sudden could be moving into the top 10.

- #20 prospect Oklahoma righty Jonathan Gray hit 100 mph on some guns this weekend and has been working 92-95 hitting 97 or 98 all season. He has the frame and an out pitch slider to profile as a power starter and may also have plenty of upward mobility on my list.

- #22 prospect Notre Dame's Eric Jagielo and #48 prospect Virginia Tech's Chad Pinder are a couple of college third baseman making the most of their early season games both with OPS over 1.000. I've already broken down Jagielo (report & video) and scouts have passed along that Pinder is an athletic guy that can stick at 3B and has some power projection in his frame to profile as average or better both ways.

- #27 prospect TCU righty Andrew Mitchell is relieving for the Horned Frogs but rumor is he could be moving to the rotation soon with his 93-95 mph fastball that hit 97 two weeks ago. I saw Mitchell this weekend and was impressed with his curveball and changeup that even in a one-inning stint in cool weather were plenty to let him project as a starter long-term

- Two college lefties that have been dominating lately are #31 prospect Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales and #35 prospect Vanderbilt's Kevin Ziomek. Gonzales is an athletic, average framed lefty with a plus changeup and plus command while Ziomek has three above average pitches with great command so far this season despite some funk in his delivery.

- Lastly, there are two college arms have emerged from almost nowhere in #47 prospect Tulane's Tony Rizzotti and Nevada's Braden Shipley, who just missed the list. Both have hit 96 and while Rizzotti's secondary stuff and command are a little more advanced, scouts aren't rushing to see him, waiting to see if this velo spike will hold later in the season. Shipley is still raw and has some work to do with his delivery and secondary pitches, but the elements are there for him to project as a start and move into the next top 50.

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