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With the collegiate baseball regular season approaching the halfway point and the draft just a little over three-and-a-half-months away, it’s time to start looking at players who have been improving and hurting their respective draft stocks. First up, a trio of players that have stumbled a bit for one reason or another coming out of the gate.
Trea Tuner, SS, JR, N.C. State
Easily the top shortstop prospect in the collegiate ranks, thanks both due to plus-speed and a sagging offensive draft class, Turner was coming off of an impressive sophomore campaign where he hit .368/.455/.553 and posted a park and schedule adjusted .451 wOBA.
This season, however, his numbers have taken a bit of a nosedive through roughly 40% of the schedule. In 19 games (89 plate appearances), Turner’s hitting .316/.386/.382 as his burgeoning power from 2013 has seemingly evaporated.
The 6-foot-1 speedster has yet to answer some nagging doubts about how his bat will play in the professional ranks, particularly when it comes to the power department. And until he does turn it around, which he may never, Turner’s going to have a difficult time developing into anything more than a nice utility player at the next level.
Branden Cogswell, 2B, JR, Virginia
Part of one of the nation’s most prolific lineups, Cogswell, like Turner, has taken a step backward after an impressive sophomore season. After posting a .346/.464/.451 triple-slash line in 2013, the native New Yorker has seen a precipitous drop across the board: .258/.388/.303 with just three extra-base hits (all doubles) as he slid over to the right side of second base.
Despite the struggles this season, however, Cogswell has more offensive upside than Turner thanks to solid-average or better pop and strong on-base skills. And Virginia’s middle infielder, who certainly seemed like a potential first round pick, may likely be hearing his name called anywhere from the supplemental to third rounds.
Bo Thompson, 1B, JR, The Citadel
One of my favorite bats coming into the year, Thompson, who posted a ridiculous 54-to-28 walk-to-strikeout ratio with promising power as a sophomore, is just the latest to stumble out of the gates in 2014.
Short, stocky, and built like a brick shithouse, the 5-foot-10, 255-pound first baseman is still sporting an OBP above .400, but his average (.265), overall power output (.456 SLG %), and BB/K ratio (11/9) have pushed his draft stock down noticeably, perhaps landing outside of the first 10 to 15 rounds.
Thompson has, however, been plunked eight times so far.
Photo of Trea Turner Courtesy of Karl B DeBlaker via News-Record.com.