FanPost

Top 100 prospects countdown

For whatever reason, comments in my other Fanpost got closed, so I'll continue my writeups countdown here. If anyone has a better idea how to proceed, please let me know.

Original post with rankings and writeups in comments, here:

https://www.coveringthecorner.com/2022/12/21/23520902/guardians-2023-top-100-prospects

56 LHP Rodney Boone (22.8yo, ranked 62nd in 2022)

Rodney Boone is good, really good. That's what I thought pre-draft 2021 and why he was one of my favorite day 2 targets. He was widely seen as a 5-7 rd talent, so I was elated CLEFO somehow got him late in round 8. Boone was one of 5 Big West Conference selections from that draft (4 pitchers and CF Kokx), which is obviously a conference they like.

The 6'1 Boone went to UCSB, which is Shane Bieber's alma mater. He had a stellar career there, with both performance and durability. So why did he drop to round 8 again? For one, it was the first draft after the shortend 2020, so the mid round college talent pool got almost doubled since the prior draft only lasted 5 rounds. And, of course: Boone was pitchability over velocity. No velo, no love. We know by now that this is exactly the talent pool CLEFO is fishing in on day 2 and 3 of the draft.

So how was his first pro year? Boone simply dominated class A. He was top 5 or top 10 (out of 350+ P) in every imaginable stat, which is incredible. From K/BB to WHIP (on a 313 BABIP!), ERA etc. He was 3rd in FIP, behind only STL top prospect Tink Hence and fellow teammate Jack Leftwich and even 3rd best in SwStr%, so both pitchability and stuff.

So after only 10 starts, Boone was promoted to A+ Lake County. There, he struggled for the first time in his career, mixing good with very bad starts in his first 7 starts. But then, he quickly adjusted and finished dominating there too. In his last 6 starts, covering 33 innings, Boone delivered a 3.00 ERA with an insane 44/4 K/BB.

Scouts still don't like him, because he sits 86mph (according to FG), but they also acknowledge that he has a bunch of good secondaries, especially his changeup. Boone was 87-91 in college, so his reported 86 avg seems suspect. Maybe he didn't throw harder because he got great results anyway?

It's noteworthy that Boone allowed many more HR after the promotion (11 to 2), so that suggests better hitters will crush him going up the ladder. But otoh, Boone has everything else but FB velocity and he's a SP prospect in a system known for generating upticks. If Boone can get in the 88-92 range, it might be enough to elevate him from interesting depth prospect to viable ML rotation candidate. Boone's profile reminds me of Joey Cantillo's, who saw a significant velo uptick in this system. We've seen this before, we're seeing this sort of development every year in this org. So why not another Big West arm in Rodney Boone, he's really good.


57 CF Guy Lipscomb Jr. (21.9yo, 2022 5th rd pick}

Gotta love a guy named Guy. CLEFO certainly did and picked their Guy, Lipscomb, in round 5 of the last draft out of Belmont university, making him the highest picked player out of Belmont since 1975. Lipscomb (along with 4th rd Furman) was one of my favorite college bats in the draft. He was widely ranked as a mid to late 2nd day pick (rd 6-9), so CLE secured him sooner and got him to sign below slot.

Lipscomb was a true Sophomore and played only 2 years in the OVC conference. After a meh and part time FR season, he exploded in 2022 with a 406/484/548 line and 42/48 in stolen bases. Oh, and of course he barely struck out and walked more (29/18 BB/K). So your typical CLE college bat target.

Lipscomb's profile is very similar to the other college day 2 CF they've drafted and successfully developed lately (Kwan, Brennan, Kokx). Contact and speed but no power. Guy jr has easy plus plus speed as his best tool. With no wooden bats summer league track record and only one successful college season, CLE is taking a risk on how real Lipscomb's contact ability really is. He's 6'2/195, so he's got the frame to add more power to his game and his speed gives him a leg up to remain in CF.

All in all, Lipscomb represents a rare piece of developmental clay for a college draftee. From his small school background, to age/class, frame and athleticism. Everything about this profile hints at hidden upside. With that comes risk of course and probably a slower path through the minors. Considering the sudden OF depth throughout the Guardians system, Lipscomb will most probably start his pro career in class A Lynchburg.

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