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  • Draft Preview: "Personal Cheeseballs" (College Pitchers)

    Last week, I took a look at three prep hitters that I hope the Twins seriously consider drafting in next month’s draft. I decided to expand the series and today will take a look at three college arms.

    To be considered a “personal cheeseball”, I set out two rules: be a favorite of mine and don’t be too good.

    Without further adieu, here are my three college pitchers:

    Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Scottsdale CC

    Coming into the 2011 draft, Tarpley was considered a “projectable lefty” and that prompted the Indians to take him in the 8th round. Instead of signing, Tarpley headed to the University of Southern California and had a very good freshman season. This year, Tarpley enrolled in Scottsdale Community College and is eligible for the draft.

    Since graduating high school, Tarpley has grown two inches and gained roughly 25 pounds, but he still is very projectable and is equipped with long levers. He’s also pitching very well for his new team and has helped them reach the NJCAA World Series. If you want to know more about his stats, go here.

    While Tarpley doesn’t show up in Kiley McDaniel’s Top 111, Baseball America’s Top 100 or Keith Law’s Top 100, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Twins strongly consider selecting Tarpley with their 3rd round pick (78th overall).

    Corey Littrell, LHP, Kentucky

    Another player who isn’t appearing on those lists is lefty Corey Littrell. Littrell makes the list not because he’s a favorite of mine as much as I truly believe he fits a mold that the Twins have drafted from more often than not.

    Bear in mind, the Twins took Taylor Rodgers last year, a southpaw from Kentucky and drafted, but didn’t sign Jared Grundy, another lefty from Kentucky. In 2010, the Twins took Logan Darnell, lefty, Kentucky. They also signed a free agent, Andrew Albers (you guessed it) around that same time. The craziest thing the Twins have done is trade for Alex Meyer, another Wildcat, who throws with his right hand. To be completely honest, there literally hasn't been a left-handed pitcher from the University of Kentucky drafted by a team other than the Twins since 2009. That little factoid is crazy.

    Littrell throws a low-90s fastball, but he also features a slider, change-up and curveball that all will be usable professional pitches. Littrell should go off the board sometime between rounds 4-7.

    Scott Firth, RHP, Clemson

    Firth is a name that you won’t see on many prospect lists and rightfully so. He was drafted last year by the Phillies in the 32nd round but elected not to sign. He returned to Clemson for his senior year.

    Firth likely showed up on the Twins radar in 2011 after dominating the Cape Cod League. He didn’t put up Manaean numbers, but he did lead the circuit with an ERA of 1.15. His K/BB ratio (30/23) wasn’t great, but his ability to keep runs off the board was enough for teams to take note.

    He likely hoped to build on his summer when he returned to Clemson, but didn't. Instead of starting, like he did in the Cape, he was shifted to closer where he struck out more than a batter per inning, but didn't see his draft stock improve.

    This year, Firth has pitched 55 innings in 17 games (six as a starter); he hasn't had great success. But, like the Twins have done before, could a permanent role as a starter – especially with a pretty fresh arm – rekindle some of the success he’s had? That’s a tough question to answer, but with senior-signs being relatively cheap and one that throws a mid-90s fastball with a plus slider (inconsistently), it might be one worth finding out.

    Do you have any college pitching “personal cheeseballs”?
    This article was originally published in blog: Draft Preview: "Personal Cheeseballs" (College Pitchers) started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Nice write-up on some lesser known draft prospects.

      I can't say I have any personal cheeseballs, but you sure did give me a hankerin' for some fluffy, crunchy, and delicious cheeseballs.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      From Laws chat today regarding Tarpley

      Where do you see Stephen Tarpley being drafted?
      Klaw (12:23 PM)

      Fourth or fifth rounds. Decent stuff, delivery isn't great, bad makeup.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Not exactly where I wanted to go with post 1K, but:

      I have never heard anything negative about his makeup. In fact, I've heard the opposite. I've heard Tarpley in the third round, but think the Twins view him higher (i.e. gone before they draft in the third).
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Not exactly where I wanted to go with post 1K, but:

      I have never heard anything negative about his makeup. In fact, I've heard the opposite. I've heard Tarpley in the third round, but think the Twins view him higher (i.e. gone before they draft in the third).
      Sorry, didn't mean to derail the article. I was just trying to pass forward information. I personally don't know much Tarpley outside of the fact he is a J.C. LHP with easy arm action and two current major league quality pitches. I have no idea what make up issues Law was referring to.
    1. southron's Avatar
      southron -
      Drake Roberts move to Navarro Jr College could be great move for future Twin MIF's. Had an outstanding year heading to Grand Junction for the Juco World Series. We took him late in 2011 out of high school but he is a much bigger and improved talent. Smooth actions, great hitter and base theif. Get him this year, quick
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