#37. Zach Cone, JR, CF, Georgia 6.2/205
86. Zach Cone, of Georgia
"Cone looks like a big leaguer but hasn't played like one this season. After hitting .363 as a sophomore, he was batting .283/.343/.382 as a junior, and scouts were saying more than just the new bats were at play. He appears to lack trust in his hitting ability, swinging early in counts and getting out on his front foot too often. Scouts question his pitch recognition, and he has drawn just 33 walks in three seasons. Cone's other tools range from good to outstanding. He's a plus runner with above-average range in center field. He has understandably played with less abandon after an early-season collision in the outfield that left teammate Jonathan Taylor in the hospital and partially paralyzed with a neck injury. He gets good enough jumps and reads in center field to profile as an above-average defender there. His arm has gone backward, playing fringe-average this spring after it was plus in the fall. Cone has solid raw power and strength, and ranks as one of the college ranks' best athletes, with physical ability comparable to fellow college outfielders such as Mikie Mahtook and George Springer. Even area scouts who see all his flaws expect Cone, who was a third-round pick out of high school in 2008, to improve on that by a round or so in 2011."
Perfect Game capsule:
97. ZACH CONE, of, University of Georgia (Jr.)
Superior athlete with 5-tool potential; 6.45 in 60, excellent OF, + raw bat speed, but very undisciplined hitter.
"Cone looks as good in the uniform as any college position player in this year's draft but the tools have never translated into on-field performance. He has bat speed and upper-body strength, but doesn't keep his head steady and has long had trouble recognizing off-speed stuff. He's an above-average runner who should be fine in left or right field in pro ball but needs to work on his reads. His spring was also affected after he collided with another Georgia outfielder, Jonathan Taylor, who was left partially paralyzed by the accident."
@keithlaw: I was on the phone with a scout when Cone was picked. And he started laughing.
"Athletic outfielder Cone falls into Rangers' lap"
Taylor/Cone Collision (h/t Jason Cole)
"This year was a little bit down for him and that's why he got down to where we picked him," Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said. "I think if this guy had gone out and had a big year we probably wouldn't even be talking about him. We believe in our developmental staff here and we think this guy makes a couple of tweaks and it's off to the races with him."