After spending the last week reading all the "draft gurus" - Sickels, Law, Mayo, etc - and some other writers who aren't as well known, I have at least a faint idea of when some Baylor players will be taken in the MLB draft.
For anyone unfamiliar with the amateur draft, teams take players from college, high school, Canada, and Puerto Rico based on a number of factors including performance, projection, signability, and hype. Occasionally teams draft for need, but primarily, teams take the best player available. After all, these prospects never go straight to the majors. Instead, they toil through the minors for several years before they get a shot at major league ball.
I sincerely doubt that my projections will be as accurate this year as they were last year. As we all know, the Bears were something of a disappointment this year. The win streak, Big 12 title, and post season run of 2012 brought of lot of attention to the Bears, and therefore, a lot of extra information as the draft approached. It didn't hurt that Muncy had been on draft radars for years and was expected to go in the first five rounds. Add that to the Big 12's multitude of probable first rounders (Andrew Heaney, Michael Wacha, Tyler Naquin, and Barrett Barnes), and I had a pretty good idea of where everyone would be taken.
This year, I don't expect a single Bear to go in the first ten rounds. That may seem surprising based on Nathan Orf's .377 batting average, but I've got pretty good reasons. Let's get started with the man himself.
My projection: Rounds 12-20
Orf is a pure hitter. His .377 average and .470 on-base percentage show an excellent hit tool and a great eye. These traits will get him drafted, and I'm fairly certain he'll climb the ladder pretty quickly. Why wouldn't he be drafted early? Position. Orf came to Baylor listed as a catcher, but he has played all of zero games behind the plate for the Bears. This year he manned right field exclusively, and while he looked pretty decent in the field to my eyes, he probably won't be considered a plus defender by any means.
The real problem for Orf is the offensive expectations for corner outfielders. Those are primarily power positions, and Orf has no power at all. His slugging percentage was a batting-average-heavy .470 for an ISO slugging of .093. That doesn't play, and at 5-9, 180 the power is as good right now as it's going to get. At catcher, those numbers would probably see him taken in the 5th-15th rounds. As a corner outfielder, he'll probably go 12th-20th rounds. It may be even later, but I think the pure hitting will keep him from dropping any more than that.
My projection: Rounds 15-20
I think Towey could go in a similar spot to Orf. Although Towey never showed the pure hitting ability that Orf has, his .291/.429/.457 slash line is pretty decent for a major college program third baseman. The .166 ISO slugging isn't mind-blowing, but in today's game of light-hitting third basemen, it's not too shabby. Just look around the majors and you'll see that the offensive expectations for a player at the "hot corner" have dropped precipitously, as very few teams have the luxury of an Adrian Beltre or David Wright. That weakness extends into the minors and makes Towey's power look pretty good by comparison.
Add Towey's tremendous on-base ability, and he'll definitely get looks in the mid-rounds. I think some team could get a steal with Towey. He's got good size, and I'm willing to bet that he has more raw power that he could tap into with the added instruction of pro ball.
Max Garner, Crayton Bare:
My Projection: Rounds 15-25
I'm putting these two together, because I think they have pretty similar value in the draft. Even though Garner was a starter this year, and he could get starter innings in the pros, teams are most likely going to see him as a relief prospect. Like many Baylor RHPs, Garner has a light fastball, sitting 86-90. The team that takes him is going to hope that pitching a single inning at a time will allow him to sit in the low 90s and pair that with his nice breaking ball.
Bare, a reliever through college, has two great things working in his favor. 1) He's left handed. 2) He has consistently struck out over a batter per inning during his college career. Lefty relievers with swing-and-miss stuff will always find a spot in the draft, even though college relievers are usually taken in the late rounds. I've read that Bare can get his fastball into the low-90s, but I haven't heard much about his velocity this year.
I think Kolt Browder could be taken in the late rounds, but Browder wasn't used much late this season and had control problems with 12 walks against 9 strikeouts.
Miles Landry and Trae Davis have both been on draft radars for years based on pure arm strength, but for whatever reason, neither of them have been able to put anything together at Baylor. I just don't see it.
Dillon Newman had a nice year, but with his light fastball, I think he'll find himself in the same situation as Max Garner last year. Teams will wait to see what he does as a senior. If I'm right, he'll serve as the anchor of Baylor's staff next year along with Austin Stone.
I also doubt that Lawton Langford gets taken. He was a draft eligible sophomore last year when he put up really nice numbers with the bat, but he went undrafted. I don't see him being taken after an off-year in 2013.
Jake Miller had a nice batting average this year, but if he gets drafted, it will be in the late rounds. He doesn't have much in the way of secondary plate skills (.330 OBP, .362 SLG), and he's never been considered a true shortstop at the next level.
So there you go. Feel free to agree/disagree or add info in the comments. I wish I could be more specific, but this is a down year for Baylor and Big 12 draft prospects. After OU's Jonathan Gray in the top three, the Big 12 probably won't have another player taken until the second round.