College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2013 college baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
Number 87 on our Top 100 Countdown is Auburn’s Ryan Tella. The 6’0 outfielder from Fremont, California was a 34th-round draft pick by the Twins in 2011 out of junior college at Ohlone College.
During his time at Ohlone, Tella was a standout, batting .430 with an impressive .700 slugging percentage. Tella also went 27 for 29 in stolen bases at Ohlone. His clearly evident success earned him a variety of awards in 2011 including First Team California JUCO All-State, 2011 California JUCO Player of the year and 2011 ABCA/Rawlings Player of the Year for the Pacific Association Division.
Tella proved his talent in the ever-competitive SEC during the 2012 season when he transferred to Auburn, batting a team-high .360 in his first season with the team. In addition to .360 leading the team in batting average, it was also the fourth-highest batting average in the entire SEC. Along with his success at the plate, Tella also proved strong defensively, starting every game for the Tigers at centerfield and posting a .973 fielding percentage. His success during the 2012 season earned him more honors including being named Second Team All-SEC, SEBaseball.com All-SEC, and ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region Second Team.
A draft-eligible sophomore after the 2012 season, Tella was also an 11th-round selection by the San Francisco Giants in the MLB Draft. Tella’s decision to return to Auburn for the 2013 season makes him one of the top returning players in the nation from the 2012 draft.
As his success in college and rising draft stock show, from a scouting perspective, Tella has a lot to talk about. In terms of a center fielder, Tella is a bit below average in size, however size hasn’t had a negative impact on his defense—In fact, Tella is fantastic defensively. With a strong arm, great instinct and fantastic athleticism, Tella is able to make great reads in center and he really sets the tone for his outfield. While he’s a bit of an unconventional number three hitter, Tella manages to fill the role excellently. His speed is great, and that paired with his fantastic instinct gives him an excellent ability to both judge the timing of throws and to steal bases. His approach at the plate is also excellent and his quick, short swing allows him to make excellent contact. Tella isn’t truly a power hitter but his ability to constantly get on base makes him a wonderful three-spot hitter in the Tigers lineup and one of the top players to watch for nationally during the 2013 season.