2009-06-05 / Sports
Pro scout assesses area's top baseball prospects
The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft begins Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m.
MLB Network will broadcast the Day 1 action from its studios at Secaucus, N.J.
As usual, there are several area players expected to be selected in the early rounds of the three-day draft. Baseball America, in fact, lists four current or former Marmonte League standouts in its top 200 list.
This week, the Simi Valley Acorn spoke with Baseball America scouting correspondent Dave Perkin, an expert for Southern California's draft prospects.
Before joining Baseball America's staff two years ago, Perkin spent four seasons scouting for the New York Mets.
Of particular interest locally were former Agoura High stars Jason Stoffel (No. 62 ranking) and Robert Stock (No. 118), as well as Royal senior Bryan Berglund (No. 93) and Simi Valley's Jonathan Meyer (No. 177).
Since Stoffel, a flame-throwing right-hander who's already set the career saves record at the University of Arizona, has played outside the region for some time, Perkin said he didn't have an up-to-date scouting report on the junior pitcher.
Perkin is, however, very familiar with Stock, Berglund and Meyer, and he gave us his draft assessments of each player.
Stock, 19, a national player of the year in 2005, left Agoura following his junior season to enroll at USC. If he would've stayed at Agoura for his senior campaign, Perkin said Stock may have been a top 10 choice out of high school.
"He's one of the most unusual draft stories I've ever come across," Perkin said.
"When he was 15 or 16, he was throwing in the lowtomid90s when he pitched, and he had tremendous power from the left side of the plate."
In college, Stock struggled with his consistency in the batter's box, hitting .253 as a freshman in 2007, .299 as a sophomore and just .226 this season.
"For me, he's taken steps backward as a hitter," Perkin said. "He's very lift-and-pull orientated, and he has trouble making contact. He has trouble with offspeed pitches and balls on the outside corner.
"He'll show you flashes of tremendous power; he just doesn't show it to you often enough to make you think he can be a position player on a consistent basis."
From the mound, Stock can still hit the mid-90s with his fastball. He was one of USC's top pitchers this year with a 5-4 record, 2.90 ERA and four saves.
Stock struck out 86 batters in 77 2/3 innings as a junior.
"He has a lot of talent in a lot of different areas," Perkin said. "The problem is no one seems to be able to say he's definitely this or definitely that. . . . He's one of these guys that's going to get a very wide range of opinions."
If Stock doesn't get drafted in the round he prefers, he can return to USC for his senior season. The problem with that, Perkin said, is that he'll lose much of his contract negotiating ability as a college senior.
Perkin said Stock could be selected anywhere from the second to sixth rounds, depending on his price tag.
Berglund, a dual citizen of Sweden and the United States, projects exclusively as a pitcher.
At 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Royal's right-hander possesses a low-90s fastball, quality changeup and an outstanding slider. He has already committed to Loyola Marymount University.
"We normally don't see secondary pitches—that is pitches other than the fastball—that are as refined or developed in a highschooler as he has," Perkin said. "That sort of sets him apart."
Berglund said the decision between going pro or heading to college will be a difficult one to make.
"Professional baseball is exactly what I want to do," he said. "But it will be tough telling the college coaches that I'm going to sign, if that's what I end up doing."
Berglund could go as early as Round 3, according to Perkin.
shortstop, Simi Valley
Meyer, a senior, may have a position change in his future.
As a shortstop, Meyer helped lead the Pioneers to the CIFSouthern Section Division I baseball championship in 2008.
Perkin, however, believes Meyer, who's listed at 6-foot-1, is more suited for third base, catcher or even pitcher. The scout also said Meyer may need to drop his switch-hitting approach and bat exclusively from the right side, his natural batting stance.
"I'd written about him earlier in the year that when he takes batting practice he reaches the warning track lefthanded and the parking lot right-handed," Perkin said.
Meyer could end up attending Cal State Fullerton. Perkin projects Meyer as a possible fourth-to-sixth-round choice.
Others in the mix
Those are the big names on the board, but others, including Ben Orloff (UC Irvine/Simi Valley), Richard Stock (Agoura) and Jack Marder (Newbury Park) could possibly have their names called by a professional ballclub.