Stock Watch: Dickerson up, Bradley down

Granted, nothing will be settled until the picks are made in June, but there seems to be an awful lot of uncertainty as we get within six weeks of the draft. Not only are we not sure who the No. 1 overall pick will be -- contrary to the past two years -- but at least four dozen players are being mentioned as potential first-round selections. Since only 33 players will earn such distinction this year, we'll continue to keep tabs on whose stock is rising and whose stock is not.

Stock Up

Alex Dickerson, OF, Indiana

After starting the season slowly, Dickerson has gradually regained some confidence from area scouts as he's performed well over the past four weeks, squaring up fastballs and showing patience and power. He'll have to continue to hit and may need to show more consistent power if he wants a chance to be taken at the end of the first round.

"I think he's going to end up at first base, too," one scout said. "I assumed that all along, but to be fair, I have seen worse outfielders. If he hits, he may fit in left field."

Dickerson is still behind fellow college power bats such as Rice's Anthony Rendon and Connecticut's George Springer, but he could be the third best hitter in the class, depending on much clubs are buying into LSU centerfielder Mikie Mahtook's power numbers.

Charlie Lowell, LHP, Wichita State

Lowell has flashed a fastball touching as high as 94 mph this season and has shown he can sustain velocities in the 89-92 range. He's actually hit 95-plus in the past, but to throw strikes regularly the toned down version of his fastball is more effective and gives a better glimpse of what to expect from him as a pro. His slider and changeup are his key offerings but he's commanded his four-seamer better this season and has given himself a chance to start in pro ball.

Coming into the year, scouts were split on his future role. "I still think I'd bet on relief," said one scouting supervisor. "But there are positive signs that bode well. He's big, strong and has progressed."

Lowell, who stands 6-foot-4, has made 11 starts, striking out 85 batters in 65 2/3 innings while issuing 24 bases on balls. He's yielded just one home run among the 49 hits against him.

Austin Hedges, C, Jserra Catholic High School (Calif.)

There are still scouts who aren't a big fan of Hedges at the plate but he's putting up numbers and possesses the physical skills to hit for both average and power. Hedges can catch and throw, and shows intelligence beyond his age, which is always a welcome combination for a catching prospect.

For clubs who believe in the bat, Hedges could be a consideration late in the first round or early in the supplemental round. Otherwise, a late first-day to second-round range appears to fit, unless he chooses to follow through with his commitment to UCLA.

Stock Down

Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, South Carolina

Bradley was not receiving positive reviews before a wrist injury that may end his season. The belief among a small group of senior talent evaluators I have spoken to this spring is that Bradley can play center field everyday and has upside at the plate but isn't likely to be a quick study in pro ball.

"He reminds me of Brett Jackson a little bit," said one assistant scouting director. "He has the bat speed to hit for power, runs well, covers ground in center. It's a premium athletic package. The fact that he hasn't put it all together yet isn't damning. It's concerning, but it won't define his future."

Bradley started the season with a chance at the first round, and still could squeak his way into the top 30 or so, but his performance and the wrist injury, which will keep him out a minimum of three weeks, aren't helping his case.


Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA

Cole has surrendered 11 earned runs on 18 hits in his past 14 1/3 innings, but at this stage there's no real concern about what he is -- a potential No. 1 starter with ace-level stuff and enough command to support it.

Cole's stuff has been flat, likely caused by a temporary mechanical flaw. He appears to be healthy, still touching the 95-97 mph range with his four-seam fastball. His changeup hasn't been the plus offering it has been for most of the spring, but we're calling this a simply bump in the road for the top pitcher in the class.

Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State

Chafin has struggled with his fastball command and the consistency of his secondary stuff of late, but hasn't likely fallen far. One area scout for an NL East club suggests that Chafin "is just going to need his second wind." The left-hander sat out last season after having Tommy John surgery but had popped up a bit earlier this spring.

"He'll be fine," the scout added. "The kid knows how to pitch and has good stuff. His slider needs work. I'd say it's average right now, but could be more of a go-to pitch in the future."