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Scouting Comparison: Anthony Rendon vs. Nolan Arenado

About eight years ago Major League baseball saw the influx of a host of high quality third baseman. The arrival started with the debut of players like Kevin Youkilis and David Wright in 2004 and continued with Ryan Zimmerman in 2005. The string of hot corner studs slowed after this stretch and was capped by the arrival of Evan Longoria in 2008.

Baseball is a cyclical game and the development of young third baseman has stagnated over the last several years. That trend may be shifting as the minor leagues play host to several players that have impact potential. The Nationals’ Anthony Rendon and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado are two of the top hot corner prospects in the game, and they are joined by players like Miguel Sano, Nick Castellanos and Mike Olt, among others. These players appear poised to ascend upon the Major Leagues and become the next wave of great third baseman.

Focusing on Rendon and Arenado offers an opportunity to compare two extremely talented players. Heading into the 2011 college season Rendon was considered by scouts to be the top position player in the draft class and was arguably the top player available overall. After injuring his ankle the prior year, Rendon battled shoulder issues last spring, an injury that ultimately kept him from playing the field for much of the season. Concerns over his injury history and the overwhelming emergence of pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, combined with his Scott Boras affiliation sent him sliding in the draft. The Nationals popped him with the sixth overall pick and signed him to a Major League deal worth north of $7 million. Read the rest of this entry »

Scouting Comparison: Andrelton Simmons vs. Tyler Pastornicky

With a glaring hole at shortstop, the Atlanta Braves are poised to hand the position over to an untested rookie who has consistently exceeded scouts’ expectations. Tyler Pastornicky worked his way up through the Braves’ system, peaking with a .314/.359/.414 line across two levels in 2011. But while Pastornicky looks like the man for 2012, he has a top-flight prospect right on his heels as Andrelton Simmons enters his third professional season and could be ready for the big leagues next year.

Simmons was the Braves second-round pick in the 2010 draft while Pastornicky was a fifth-rounder for the Blue Jays in 2008. The Braves got Pastornicky as part of the Yunel Escobar trade in 2010. Despite being drafted two years apart, both Pastornicky and Simmons will play the entire 2012 season at 23-years old.

The physical differences between the two players is noticeable. Pastornicky is slightly undersized at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds and he mirrors the description of a scrappy middle infielder. While Simmons is also on the thin side, his 6-foot-2 frame offers a little more projection and the added physicality that scouts prefer. Read the rest of this entry »

Scouting Comparison: Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon

This will be the first in a series of articles that compares prospects by walking, step-by-step, through their scouting reports, culminating in my personal recommendation about which prospect is the better bet to reach their ceiling and help your team in the big leagues.

In this first installment I will tackle two Pittsburgh Pirates prospects who many within the industry consider number one and number one “a”  in the club’s system. Right-handers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are the Pirates two most recent first round draft picks, having been selected in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Cole made his way to the Pirates after spurning the Yankees as a first round pick in 2008 while Taillon chose to sign straight out of high school nearly two years ago. The Pirates’ cumulative investment in their top two prospects is a whopping $14.5 million.

Both Cole and Taillon offer exceptional size that is the foundation for their profile as top prospects. Taillon’s body (6-6, 225) is extremely mature for his age and he has an advanced feel for controlling his body in space, giving him surprisingly repeatable mechanics for a player of his age and size. Cole has thickened his frame (6-4, 220) since high school while also cleaning up his delivery and becoming more consistent mechanically.

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