by Mike Rogers
Here’s the final part in my three-part breakdown on the Padres 2008 draft in which we looked at the college bats that San Diego drafted last June. So far in Part 1, we broke down the first five and then did the same for the next five in Part 2. Here in part 3, we’ve got the final 3 bats that they took from the college ranks that are in my college hitters study; Robert Lara of Central Florida, Aaron Murphree of Arkansas, and Dan Robertson of Oregon State, right after the jump…
C, Central Florida
As you can see, the table has changed a bit as I’ve now got an Adjusted wOBA and IsoP number – these are the park adjusted numbers then adjusted for the level of competition faced. So, I can now compare a Robert Lara from Conference USA to, say, an Beamer Weems from Baylor of the Big 12.
As for Lara, he spent 2007 at LSU before moving to Central Florida for the 2008 campaign. As with a lot of late round draft picks (19th round, 585th overall), there’s a dearth of information floating around on the major draft-breakdown sites. I have found nothing on his talents behind the plate, so I have nothing to bring you on the scouting side. What we can infer from the data is that given the opportunity in 2008 (just 198 PA’s compared to his 2007 campaign which had just 116 PA’s), he really progressed. He struck out less times than he walked and he did a fair amount of both. The great walk totals buoyed his wOBA but he doesn’t exactly spray the baseball around in an imposing manner. Lara did have a great showing in the AZL after signing, posting a .437 wOBA in the rookie-ball league. That said, his numbers are inflated by a .410 BABIP on just a 16% line drive rate – so that’ll regress as will his numbers. So, he may be a guy who can walk a lot (tough to tell since I’ve got just a 314 PA total for him over the last two years), strikeout a lot, and not hit for a lot of power. Lara ranks as a below-average player on my speed score which means his defense needs to be good behind the dish or we’re looking at a minor league lifer – if he’s lucky.
Murphree’s score is not indicative of a 27th round draft pick (825th overall). In my searching for things on Murphree, I came across this chat over at Baseball America in which there was a question on him and the Razorbacks.
David from Orlando asks:
Arkansas’ offense has gone bonkers — is Aaron Murphree someone who could do this with wood? Could Andy Wilkins be a potential first-rounder in 2010?
Aaron Fitt: Murphree went absolutely bonkers last week, smashing eight home runs and driving in 15 during five games. He’s now homered in six straight games and has 12 on the year. I’m not completely sold on him as a pro prospect, but he’s certainly put himself on the map with scouts, and he’s already a great college hitter. As for Wilkins, not only does he have big-time power, but he’s got an advanced approach for a freshman and great strike-zone awareness, stuff that’s hard to teach. He could be a special one.
That was from March 10th, 2008. He spent most of 2007 as a backup – playing in just 16 games, hence why I don’t have numbers for him as he didn’t meet my 75 plate appearance cut-off. That said, his 2008 was very good, in a good conference in a hitters park. That said, Arkansas played the 3rd easiest schedule in the SEC, which depresses his numbers a bit. However, in ranking the 2008 numbers in the SEC by my newly found Adjusted wOBA, I found that Murphree’s 2008 was actually better than fellow Pad’s pick Logan Forsythe who posted an Adjusted wOBA of .450 and an Adjusted IsoP of .372 – some twenty points lower than Murphree. Just keep in mind that Murphree did this over just 152 PA’s while Forsythe’s was over 239 PA’s. Murphree’s got a big frame at 6’5, 235-pounds, but he rated well with a speed score 9.4 in 2008 which puts him just below my above-average section. Like that chat shows, scouts weren’t convinced that Murphree’s numbers will hold up in pro-ball, and that very well may be true, but for such a late-round draft pick who seemingly isn’t a stiff in the field athletically, he could have some very good value.
OF, Oregon State
Robertson came to Corvallis, OR by way of Concordia and the JuCo ranks. He played just one season with the Beavers and showed solid patience and contact skills. After signing he went to the Northwest League and tore it up en route to being the League MVP posting a .376/.437/.497 line which came to a .934 OPS and produced a .406 wOBA in the short-season ball (343 plate appearances). You can see his IsoP’s at Oregon State last year show that he, too, is not a power savant. He did only score a 4.2 rating in my speed score which is a shade under average for the Pac 10 – not exactly what you want when you’re looking a collegiate hitter with little power and plays the outfield. Being a college hitter, I’m guessing that Robertson will open the 2009 campaign in Low-A Fort Wayne. His contact skills will have to be elite in conjunction with continuing his solid plate discipline to get to the majors.