With the 1910 amateur draft coming to a close, teams once again begin evaluating their haul and begin to establish a their new “wish list” for the next draft. The 1911 draft crop appears to be loaded with top talent backstops, but lacking in elite bats. As the college season is set to begin shortly and High School to follow, many players stock can rise (or fall) with their performances this fall.
The draft order will not be determined until the MLB season has concluded. However, we can dive in the preseason top ten draft prospects for 1911:
The top prospect in the 1911 draft is Bushnell, Illinois native Earl Sheely. The hulking first baseman is a complete player. Sheely hits for average and power, is willing to take a walk all the while providing solid defense with an adequate arm. There should be no doubts this high school prodigies star potential. Teams interested in selecting Sheely will have to show a willingness to think long term as he need low minors development time.
The top pitching prospect in the 1911 draft is slender 5’11, 175 pound Wilber Cooper. Cooper possesses a fluid delivery and excellent control of three pitches. Working in the low 90’s with his fastball, the change of speeds with his curveball and change up allow that fast ball to play well about its velocity. Scouts have shown some concerns about his work ethic as he has yet to have any significant competition to challenge him. However, those close to the Bearsville, West Virginian would argue that being the oldest of seven siblings he has the mental aptitude to withstand anything thrown at him on a ballfield.
A two way star athlete, Sam Rice dominates on the mound as well as the batters box. Born in a small town in Indiana, Rice carries the weight of a small city on his stout back. The 5’9, 150 pounder plays above his small stature. This Teams need be wary that this University of Indiana star comes with hefty bonus demands that may scare off potential teams. The bonus issue and questions about his future spot on the diamond are enough to drop him below Cooper and Sheely on this prospect list. However, regardless of the position he settles into, the talent is emmence. The purest hitter in this group of prospects with excellent gap power, enough homerun pop to keep pitchers honest and exceptional defense.
The top catching prospect in a draft class full of them is George Wilson. While the origins of his nickname, Squanto, remain a mystery, his batting prowess is not. Wilson is a true five tool player possessing an exceptional ability to make contact, above average power, exceptional speed, a great arm and defensive range. Scouts have some concern with his rawness, especially for a college product. Any team willing to take a chance on Squanto will need to be patient, but bats like this are few and far between.
The flame thrower of the 1911 draft class is Bob Shawkey. The Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania native boosts a mid 90’s fastball and sharp slider. Scouts have concern that his developing change up and lack of command could hinder his development as a front of the rotation starter. The Pennsylvania State ace will not stay on the draft board long and could provide immediate help in a major league pen.
With a nickname like Bubbles, you had better be able to hit a major league fastball if you want to become a professional. Eugene Hargrave is a professional hitter. The New Haven, Indiana native is well regarded as a intellectual leader for the pitching staff and draws raves from scouts for his game calling ability. Hargrave will make his mark at the professional level with his bat. Exceptional contact ability with power to all fields. Disciplined as a hitter with great knowledge of the strike zone. Hargrave is very, very raw and will need significant development time.
Phil Douglass is often referred to as Walter Johnson lite. Those are some lofty expectations to place an a youngster entering pro ball. Douglass looks the part of staff ace with significant size, 6”3 and is expected to fill out as he matures. A true work horse frame and already possesses and electric fastball. His secondary pitches need some refining, but he controls all his pitches well. This Cedartown, Georgia product won’t last long on the draft board.
The next catcher on the list filled with backstops is Ray Schalk. Born in Harvel, Illinois, the sturdy Schalk is intimidating behind the plate. Schalk’s calling card is his exceptional defense behind the dish along with his ability to general a team to victory. Schalk is a pesky hitter with solid pop and a great batting eye. While he is not in the pure hitting class of Wilson or Hargrave, Schalk’s value lies in his true leadership abilities.
Walter Maranville is often critiqued due to his stature, standing at 5’5 and 130 pounds soaking wet, the scrappy Rabbit continues to defy odds. Maranville is a surgeon in the field scooping up groundballs left and right. His defense is major league caliber already and he could step right to help a major league club on defense. His offense will take a little more time to develop. Any team willing to take a shot on this undersized Springfield, Massachusetts native will get a truly gritty ballplayer with a chip on his shoulder.
Scouts are unclear if Buddy Napier can develop enough stamina to become an effective major league starter. However as a starter or reliever Napier possesses three quality pitches. An above average fastball working in the low 90’s, a devastating breaking ball and an average changeup. Napier will move through the minors quickly and be ready to help the major league club shortly.
Draft Sleepers to keep an eye on: P George Le Clair, P Arnie Stone, C Yam Yaryan, 1B Eddie Onslow, 3B Russ Wrightstone, LF Austin Walsh, CF Denney Wilie, CF Benny Kauff, RF Buck Thrasher