2012 Mets Draft Scouting Reports: Rounds 26-30

Continuing where we left off:

The Mets' 26th-round pick, Chris Shaw, is a lefty-swinging, righty-throwing two-way player from a Massachusetts high school. On the mound, he throws in the mid-to-high 80s, but it's his bat that will most likely land him in the big leagues. He shows plus power in batting practice, thanks to long limbs and his natural strength, but it doesn't always play in games. He has a tendency to shorten up against good fastballs, which can be commendable, but you'd like to see a young power hitter try to hit for power. Otherwise, his swing can get pretty long, and the pitch recognition isn't quite there yet. Shaw is also a hockey player, and there's hope that he'll improve once he gives up hockey. In the field, he has the arm for third but might not have the quickness, so he may be limited to first, though right is a possibility as well. He's expected to attend Boston College.

The Mets took prep catcher Zach Arnold, a Kentucky commit. Arnold has the tools to become an outstanding defensive catcher. He has quick feet, good energy behind the plate, a great arm, and a good head for the game. He is still a little raw, however, as his footwork still needs some work, but I'm confident that he'll learn. I'm not nearly as sanguine about his bat. The swing can look downright ugly: he loads his hands too high, he leaks his weight early and rotates his hips well before he actually swings his arms. If he gets everything in sync and shortens his swing some, he could hit enough to be at least a semiregular catcher, someone who hits .270 with doubles power. Like Shaw, he's not expected to join the team.

Canadian righty Jake Marks doesn't have a lot of size--he's 6 feet, 1 inch--but he's so slight that it's reasonable to see some projection here. And he'll need it, because righties who throw 86-88 don't exactly have a strong track record. As it is, I'm not sure how much he'll actually add. Yes, he has room to add muscle, and, yes, Canadian players often take longer to develop than warm-weather kids, but his delivery is pretty clean and efficient. I really don't see any way to add velocity mechanically. On the brighter side, his fastball does have some nice life to it. He also throws a breaking ball and a changeup, but both pitches are very much works in progress., and I am worried about elbow stress due to a mechanical flaw. Marks is assuredly going to attend the University of Maine instead of becoming a Met.

While the three players already mentioned are tough signs, they're nothing compared to 29th-rounder Austin Barr, who is committed to Stanford. Stanford commits never sign pro contracts unless a boat-load of money is offered; the education is too valuable, and I cry a little each time it happens--Stanford is dreadful baseball program for a talented young hitter to attend. The coaching staff tends to force a contact-oriented, singles-hitting approach onto every hitter it finds, regardless of how much power he might have or how keen his batting eye (see Kenny Diekroeger). And Barr is a good hitter with natural strength thanks to very quick wrists which allow him to drive the bat through the zone and turn on inside fastballs well. He still needs to improve his hand load and utilize his lower half better or else he'll never learn to hit for power to all fields. More recent video I've seen has been more encouraging in this regard. Defensively, he doesn't have Arnold's upside, but he has a good chance of sticking behind the plate. His feet are quick, the arm is strong enough, and he has a nice frame for the position. His throwing mechanics still need some work, and he'll have three years at Stanford to work on it.

30th-round righty Dustin Cook is a Texas high schooler who is all about projection. He stands six-five and weighs 210, so there's still plenty of room to fill out. Right now, he brushes 91 with the heater and his hard curve has some promise, though it's inconsistent. Mechanically, he has a clean arm action and the velocity he has comes easy, but he has a bizarre lack of a follow-through which might be preventing his arm from decelerating properly. In a possibly related note, he missed his junior season due to Tommy John surgery. I think he's interesting, but he's more than likely headed to Houston for college.

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