March 6, 2013
Scouting the Draft
Baseball Prospectus At the Coca Cola Classic
From February 28th through March 3rd, the Rangers’ and Royals’ spring training facility in Surprise, AZ hosted the Coca-Cola Classic. It’s a round-robin event featuring four college programs—University of Arkansas, Arizona State, Gonzaga, and University of the Pacific—and several interesting draft-eligible talents. Dozens of decision makers were in attendance, both at Surprise Stadium and at games on the back fields to get early-season looks at top draft arms Ryne Stanek (Arkansas), Marco Gonzalez (Gonzaga), Trevor Williams (Arizona State), Colby Suggs (Arkansas) and Barrett Astin (Arkansas), as well as some interesting positional talent, including Razorbacks second baseman Dominic Ficociello.
Arizona State finished the weekend a perfect 4-0, while Arkansas, who entered the weekend ranked in the top five in multiple collegiate polls, dropped all four of their contests (two against ASU, and one each against Gonzaga and Pacific). Below, we highlight three performances of particular import for draft evaluators, and provide further scouting notes on various other draft talents, both present and future.
Marco Gonzales | LHP/1B | Gonzaga Univ.
Notes: Gonzales had all three pitches for strikes at his disposal on Saturday. The mixture of pitchability with a 4+ fastball (playing up due to deception), 6 changeup, and 5 curveball was too much for the Arkansas bats to handle. One scout in attendance likened his game to Angels lefty Jason Vargas––it’s not sexy, and it’s not a top-end arm, but it’s safe (as far as young pitchers go) and solid. The lack of overpowering stuff and projection (he’s 6’ 1” with a mature frame) won’t make him an attractive option to every team in the late-first or supplemental rounds, but he’ll likely find a home in that vicinity.
Gonzales found success against Arkansas by locating and mixing his three-pitch arsenal effectively throughout the game. He’s a good athlete who repeats his delivery and hints at a plus command profile. While his fastball wasn’t above-average––sitting between 88-90 mph and touching 91––he maintained the velocity into the late innings with some late arm-side life and deception.