College Baseball Opening Weekend Notes (Batters)

On Monday, we recapped some highlights from top college pitching prospects who are going to be in the 2012 MLB draft (and potentially, on your favorite baseball-ling team!). A reminder to give @KendallRogersPG and @aaronfitt a follow on Twitter for live updates of top college prospects.

Today, we’ll take a look at the notable batting performances from the past week, ranked approximately by 2012 batting prospect you most need to know about. Each performance is accompanied by a quick scouting report of the batter’s profile, courtesy of FanGraphs’ own Mark Anderson (you can read more of his work at Baseball Prospect Nation as well as his post from yesterday):

C Mike Zunino, Florida (6-2, 215 lbs)
.474/.565/.895 in 23 PAs with 2 HRs
Zunino had a great first week to the season and could be the second college hitter picked in the draft. He has a good catcher’s build and is a plus defender as well. Zunino also credited a shortened stride in his swing that helped him hit two home runs against Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday. And after hitting .371/.442/.674 with 19 home runs last season, he is expecting that teams will pitch him outside of the strike zone more. “I know I’m going to get pitched there most of the year,” Zunino said. “I just got too antsy this weekend and was able to sit back in my stance [Tuesday] and get a couple pitches I can drive.”

OF Victor Roache, Georgia Southern (6-2, 225 lbs)
.308/.526/.769 in 19 PAs with 2 HRs
Roache widened a lot of eyes in 2011 hitting 30 HRs in 230 ABs and is off to a good start this season. However even with plus-plus raw power and plenty of bat speed, he has shown that he doesn’t recognize pitches well and struggles with the breaking ball (especially in the Cape Cod League). He runs at fringe-average level at best and may be limited to left field due to his arm. Although he is a likely 2012 early 1st-round pick, the power will only translate to the pros if he learns to recognize breaking balls better.

3B Stephen Piscotty, Stanford (6-4, 215 lbs)
.300/.333/.800 in 21 PAs with 3 HRs
Piscotty hit 3 HRs this week, which already ties his home run total in 2011. Despite the home runs, he projects to have fringe-average power. Otherwise, he’s a good hitter with a good approach, and could end up as an outfield corner because of his arm if he can’t stick at third.

1B Richie Shaffer, Clemson (6-3, 205 lbs)
.200/.333/.600 in 12 PAs
Not a great first week for Shaffer, but the potential for plus-plus power is there. His swing gets long at times and he’ll have some swing and miss, but should draw some walks. Played third base in the past, but will move to first long-term, and will need to hit for a lot of power to get teams’ attentions as a right-handed first baseman.

OF Brandon Thomas, Georgia Tech (6-3, 183 lbs)
.263/.391/.421 in 23 PAs
Thomas is a plus-plus athlete and a plus-plus runner. He had a breakout game last night against Georgia Southern, going 3-for-4 with a home run. He has a lot of swing and miss though, and his contact issues could hold him back. He can stick in center field and has average power potential.

2B Tony Renda, California (5-11, 170 lbs)
.750/.833/.875 in 12 PAs with 4 SB and 1 CS
Renda gets comped a lot to undersized second basemen, which may be unfair. He had a fantastic weekend with the bat and on the base paths. He has a good sound swing with solid-average bat speed, making a lot of contact. A solid runner and defender, because little in his game stands out, he could be a fringe big leaguer at 2B.

3B Cameron Perkins, Purdue (6-5, 200 lbs)
.231/.333/.462 in 15 PAs
Perkins is a massive kid with a really aggressive approach that could get him in trouble against better pitching. He projects for average power, but will need to show that he can make contact at the higher levels. He’s likely destined for an outfield corner, but could improve at third.

OF James Ramsey, Florida State (6-0, 190 lbs)
.545/.737/.909 in 19 PAs with 11 runs scored
Ramsey had a very productive week. He looks like a fourth outfielder long term, doesn’t run well enough to play center. A good hitter who uses the whole field, he’ll hit doubles more so than home runs.

OF Torsten Boss, Michigan State (6-1, 200 lbs)
.429/.429/.714 in 14 PAs
Boss had one of the highlights of the weekend, hitting an opposite-field home run off a 95 mph fastball from Kyle Hansen. He’s a good athlete who does a lot of things well and has a feel for the game. He recently converted to an outfielder.

Stats were collected by the author.

Albert Lyu (@thinkbluecrew, LinkedIn) is a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but will always root for his beloved Northwestern Wildcats. Feel free to email him with any comments or suggestions.

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