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Orioles, Dalles, and Cowan

I normally try to avoid the two things I’m about to do. I don’t like linking to somebody’s work if I can’t provide my own interesting take and, seeing I rarely have any interesting to say myself, I shy away from this popular (and easy to produce!) blog tactic. I don’t know, it just feels cheap to me to just throw up a link without adding to the conversation. I also really don’t like quoting myself because it feels tacky to me. Of course, now that I’m stumped on any ideas for new content, I’m more than happy to go all cheap and tacky if it’ll make my life easier. There’s a lesson in all this somewhere, I bet.

Enough with the boring introduction, onto the main course. I love these insider-y takes on scouting, the draft, and player valuation. The more first hand accounts detailing young mostly unknown players’ skill sets, the better.  Check it out, I’ll wait.

I enjoyed reading this piece entirely on its own merit, but once I realized it mentioned a couple of my favorite somewhat below the radar prospects from 2009 I knew that I had to squeeze a post out of it. The first name that caught my eye was Justin Dalles, catcher from South Carolina. I wrote this about him back in the day:

Dalles is exactly the kind of sneaky high upside, low risk that warrants taking a chance on once the top prep players on your wishlist are all long gone.

I waffled on his draft position before settling on him being taken in the 7/8 round range. He eventually went to Baltimore in the sixth. Baltimore scouting director Joe Jordan claims Dalles is an average defender with a slightly above-average arm, good enough athleticism, and a chance to have a bat worthy of starting in the bigs. Interesting.

I also loved Jake Cowan, ranking him as high as 13th overall among college righthanders and 1st overall out of the entire junior college ranks. Here’s what I said about him almost a year ago:

1. Jake Cowan (RHP – San Jacinto CC – Texas): Cowan combines a plus 95 MPH fastball with two above-average secondary offerings. A fastball like that coupled with strong secondary stuff makes Cowan stand out above his junior college peers. There are players below that have great fastballs, there are players below that have decent secondary offerings, but no player below combines the two quite like Cowan. To use an all too often repeated scouting cliche, Cowan is as much a pitcher as he is a thrower and that’s a very good thing going forward.

According to Jordan, Cowan was sitting 92-93 with the fastball, showing good sink on the pitch, in addition to a good slider and a decent changeup. It’s funny how you can see the vague scouting report from last February was inflated a smidge or two, but Cowan is no less of a prospect just because he didn’t hit 95 this summer or show as impressive a changeup as expected. The Orioles claim he was a third round talent that fell to them in the tenth. Not a bad gamble that late in the draft.

Now if only they didn’t take Matt Hobgood, future bust, with their first rounder. Alright, maybe I don’t really believe he’ll be a bust, but I certainly wasn’t enamored with the pick at the time. Anyway, that’s my conclusion. Impressed how I tied everything together there at the end? No? Don’t care, time for the weekend!

2009 MLB Draft Grades – Philadelphia Phillies

I don’t have a plan of attack in how I want to approach draft grades, so I just made up some categories and started writing. If anybody out there has a better idea on how to do this, I’m all ears. For now, my quick look at what each big league team did in the 2009 MLB Draft…

Three (3) Picks I Liked A Lot

Am I a byproduct of a the instant-gratification, “what have you done for me lately” generation? Do I place too high a value on a singular event that doesn’t have quite the real life importance explaining the way a team operates the way it does that I’ve assigned to it? Or am I just a typical Negadelphian who is only ever happy when there is something, real or imagined, to complain about? Yes, yes, and yes. I’m not happy that the Phillies, just one year removed from providing me with some of the very best moments of my young life, have now put themselves in the position where their 2009 draft class, a draft class that serves as a proxy to their true commitment to putting a winning product on the field, will be considered a success or failure based almost entirely on the whims of a 7th round high school righthanded pitcher from Louisiana. Brody Colvin (7th Round – HS RHP) is easily the most talented player taken by the Phillies in 2009, but whether or not he signs is a 50/50 proposition at best. No matter what happens, it’s hard not to like the pick itself, especially when looked at from an actual cost/potential benefit perspective. I’m finally buying into the Kelly Dugan (2nd Round – HS OF) selection, even though I’m not sure what to make of his ultimate upside. His is a weird skillset to wrap the head around as it isn’t every day a high school first baseman is converted instantly to centerfield as a professional. Lance Berkman is the pie in the sky optimist comp being bandied about, but even 80% of Berkman would work just fine over the long haul. Jonathan Singleton (8th Round – HS 1B) should be what Michael Durant could have been.

Three (3) Picks I Didn’t Like At All

Kyrell Hudson (3rd Round – HS OF) may in fact be a worthy high upside gamble in the third round (he looks great in a uniform, I’m told), but high school players with well below-average hit tools just plain don’t excite me personally. This seems like a research project worth looking into, though it may be difficult to objectively pin down the parameters to make it worthwhile. The Adam Buschini (4th Round – COL 2B) pick is a frustrating one because it brings back terrible memories of an inexplicably cheap Phillies ownership group overdrafting signable no-leverage college players for no clear reason.

Three (3) Best Bets to Play Major League Ball

Kelly Dugan and Brody Colvin are the two easiest names because each player has the upside needed to be above-average at their position while also coming ready made with useful enough tools that should play within the confines of a carefully carved out big league role if things don’t all come together and stardom isn’t achieved. The wild card of this group is Washington State LHP Matt Way, a fifth round pick. Brian Gump (26th Round – COL OF) could be a fifth outfielder somewhere, someday based on his plus speed tool alone, but now I’m just getting cute with this category. Part of my appreciation of Gump here is my coy way of mentioning that two of his many nicknames include “Hot Pants” and “Shiggles.” Shiggles Gump. For real.

California Condor Award (Longest Incubation Period aka Longest Expected Time in Minors)

Plenty of one promotion at a time high school guys in this particular class – lots of 2014 ETA’s. Hudson is probably the biggest name among the group that would take the longest time to reach the bigs…if that makes sense.

Highest Upside

Hudson is almost all projection at this point, so he would appear to be a favorite for this category. On paper, it does make some sense – Hudson is Eddie Murphy raw with tons of potential growth to his game. Then again, your mileage might vary on how high his actual upside really is. It’s great that he can run really fast and even better that his physical frame belies potential plus power down the road, but if a player can’t hit high school pitching with any kind of regularity then his upside is ultimately going to be quite limited. It’s too early to say Hudson — or any high school player for that matter — will never hit as a professional, so I won’t come out and say it, but…it’s generally not too wise to invest too much hope in players who haven’t shown the ability to make consistent contact against what should be overmatched competition. My real answer would be Colvin, a pitcher with true top of the rotation quality stuff and the drive to get there.

Tina Small Biggest Potential Bust Award (Google Her, It’ll Make Sense – NSFW)

Has to be Hudson at this point, right? He could conceivably never make it past AA. If you are counting on underslot top five round college signees to become above-average big league contributors, then you could also throw either Buschini or Way in the mix. I personally would be surprised to see Buschini get a big league at bat. That would make his selection a “bust,” right? I guess it depends on how we want to define “bust.” For now, I’m just looking at high round players (top five, generally) that have a long ways away from being big league quality players. Hudson fits that definition almost too perfectly.

Highest Floor

Way could be a back of the rotation crafty lefty starter if things break the way he and the Phillies hope, but his most likely landing spot is as a LOOGY. Austin Hyatt (15th Round – COL RHP) is another player that may not quite have the upside as a legit big league starter, but has just enough stuff and more than enough guile to outwork those around him and win a bullpen job someday.

Three (3) Unsignable (Probably) Players To Remember

I’m too much of an optimist to put Colvin here, so I won’t. I’d actually bet on him signing a pro contract in the next month or so over him heading down to LSU. If the category was really best non-top five round high school player, then Colvin, Singleton, and Andrew Susac (16th Round – HS C) would make for an easy top three. If we restrict the category to players picked in rounds 10 or later, the best bets to emerge as legit prospects in 2012 include Jake Stewart (Round 14 – HS OF), Susac, and Jeff Gelalich (Round 41 – HS OF).

Final Grade

As it stands now, this draft is one of the weaker ones from top to bottom. However, like many drafts around the league at this point, that potentially negative grade comes with plenty of caveats. Attempting to grade the Phillies prep bunch is tricky because it raises the question of talent vs. signability. Do you grade the high school players on talent or on the likelihood of whether or not each player signs? If it’s the former we’re ignoring the realities of the draft, but if it’s the latter then we’ve just wasted time analyzing picks that shouldn’t really be discussed until after the August signing deadline. I guess a balance is the way to go, let’s try that approach and see what sticks.

Dugan could be an above-average regular outfielder, but was still an undeniable overdraft and not great relative value. Hudson is an all or nothing pick, no other way of putting it. Singleton could be the high schooler than makes or breaks this particular subset (high school bats) because his power potential, bat speed, and age all point to big things to come. Aaron Altherr (Round 9 – HS OF) is Kyrell Hudson with better makeup, thus making him an excellent gamble at this point in the draft. An incredibly raw high school outfielder with a questionable hit tool in the third? Bad idea. Similar player in the ninth round? Let’s roll the dice and see if we can get lucky. Speaking of toolsy outfielders, Stewart and Gelalich both qualify as worthy shots in the dark past round ten. Stewart could part of the insurance policy the Phillies took out in case Colvin doesn’t sign. Susac and the already signed Marlon Mitchell (Round 27 – HS C) are both quality defensive catchers that could develop into starting caliber players.

Colvin is naturally the star of the prep pitching group. His basic scouting report (mid-90s fastball, near plus curveball, above-average athlete and hitter, sometimes sloppy mechanics) sounds a lot like former Phillies first round pick Kyle Drabek’s coming out of high school to me. Steven Inch (Round 6 – HS RHP) has a great frame and that fantastic blend of untapped potential mixed with present polish that make him a personal favorite. Colin Kleven (Round 33 – HS RHP), like Inch a Canadian, grades out as having a tad less upside and a great deal less polish, but he could be a possibility as an early August sign simply because he is one of the very few projectable arms drafted by the Phils here in 2009.

One or more out of Way, Nick Hernandez (12 Round – COL LHP), Hyatt, or still unsigned AJ Griffin (34th Round – COL RHP) should reach the bigs in some capacity – I’m personally a huge Griffin fan, though the lack of a signature on a pro contract by now seems to indicate the ship has all but sailed on him signing and he’ll head back to San Diego for his senior year. The quartet make up four of my favorite under the radar college arms from this year’s class, so at least they have that going for them. There are almost literally no college bats that profile as Major Leaguers, with the only exceptions being longshots like Buschini (who I’m on record as not liking), Darin Ruf (20th Round – COL 1B), and unsigned Texas A&M Aggie Brodie Greene (37th Round – COL 2B). I’m doubtful that any of the three get more than a handful of big league at bats, but Ruf was still a solid selection as a late round senior sign and Greene was a worthy gamble (though it is doubtful he signs) as an offensive second baseman in the 37th round.

Overall, it’s a draft heavy on high school bats and college arms. Based on what I know and what I think I know, they’ll sign two of the four toolsy outfielders (Hudson and Altherr), none or both of the prep righties (I think both Colvin and Inch sign), and then one of the two remaining potential impact bats (either Singleton or Susac, with Singleton being the more likely of the two). A haul of Colvin, Dugan, Singleton, Inch, (Susac), (Stewart), (Gelalich), Hudson, Altherr, Hernandez, Mitchell, Way, Ruf, Buschini, and Hyatt wouldn’t match the potentially historic 2008 draft class for overall value, but it still stacks up as an above-average group with plenty of impact upside.

C+

TEXAS v LSU – 2009 College World Series Championship Game One Live Blog

Let’s kick things off with one of the finest moves a second rate website like this can make – the shameless traffic grab, of course. Hundreds of years of research shows that there is no better way to wake up Google than plastering up a picture of a popular, pretty girl. Erin Andrews is doing the sideline reporting for ESPN, so this isn’t quite as gratuitous as it could be…but, yeah, it’s still undeniably transparent.

Erin Andrews

FIRST INNING

Heat Index – 107 degrees

I like LSU to sweep, by the way.

LSU Lineup: LeMahieu, Schimpf, Dean, Gibbs, Mahtook, Mitchell, Ochinko, Helenihi, Nola

LeMahieu, Schimpf, Dean, Mitchell, and Ochinko were all drafted in the 2009 MLB Draft.

Texas starter tonight is RHP Chance Ruffin. Fastball has been in the low-90s so far. Best secondary offering has probably been the backup high-70s slider.

Ryan Schimpf (Blue Jays draftee, round 5) blasted a high, straight fastball deep to right to get the Tigers on the board

Texas Lineup: Torres, Tucker, Belt, Moldenhauer, Rupp, Keyes, Loy, Clark, Rowe

SECOND INNING

Mikie Mahtook is white. I don’t know why that surprises me, but it does. It really does. I’m not proud of this fact.

Still can’t get over that Cameron Rupp homer that tied the game against Arizona State on Friday. I haven’t heard the measured distance on it yet, but it was an absolute rocket to dead center. Had to have been over 430 feet.

Louis Coleman (5th rounder by Kansas City) has only thrown fastballs so far (as far as I can tell). I don’t have all of his readings, but the ones I’ve caught are: 92, 88, 85, 89, 90, 88, 91, 88, 89. No sooner do I type that does he end the inning with a strikeout on a 79 MPH offspeed pitch.

THIRD INNING

Sampling of Ruffin’s work so far:

FB: 92, 92, 87, 93, 87, 91, 85, 91, 90, 91, 92, 86
SL: 78, 79, 77, 79, 79, 81, 80, 82
CU: 72, 74, 76, 76

I could be wrong about those changeups…I miss having a DVR.

You know who Coleman reminds me of? Mechanically, anyway. His delivery reminds me a lot of Alex White’s low arm slot. Still looks like a future reliever, but worth trying as a starter so long as the results are there.

FOURTH INNING

I legitimately forgot I wrote about Preston Clark earlier in the year. I knew I liked him, but I couldn’t remember if I thought about writing about him or if I actually followed through (a rare occurance, I know). Anyway, here’s what I wrote:

Preston Clark is one of the most talented players on the list and his incremental production from year to year at Texas is a nice sign going forward. He’ll never hit for a high average, but his plate discipline (29 BB in 179 AB last season) is good and he has just enough juice in his bat to keep pitchers honest. His health is a major question mark, but a spring that sees Clark in the lineup (and behind the plate) on a consistent basis should solidify him as prospect with a better than average shot of someday developing into a strong big league backup backstop. Even if he doesn’t catch all that often — sophomore Cameron Rupp is in line to get plenty of reps behind the dish as well — Clark’s defensive versatility (he’s capable of playing third and the outfield, in addition to catching) is an added bonus to his game.

I was wrong.

I really like Robin Ventura. He has two things that really work to his advantage from where I’m sitting – a) he’s quiet, and b) he has a sneaky sense of humor. I like Orel Hershiser just fine, but the way Ventura needles him is very amusing to me.

I didn’t really know about the LSU open stance thing before tonight. Quirks like that are one of the reasons I think college baseball is so much fun to follow – different programs preaching different things. From certain teams pushing certain pitches to the LSU open stance thing (I need a more clever name for it, but I’ve got nothing) to the infamous “Stanford swing,” college baseball is loaded with character if you just know where to look.

Who had odds on Travis Tucker hitting a homerun tonight? Travis Tucker’s mom, maybe, but that has to be about it. Baseball = funny game. Here’s what I said about Tucker earlier:

not a prospect worth going on about. He had a decent junior year (good on-base skills, tiny bit of pop, above-average baserunner), but his inability to play shortstop well will keep him as an organizational type at best.

Now Russell Moldenhauer, that homerun makes a little more sense. Well, it makes sense when you watch him hit. If you only saw his 2009 numbers, it’s an even bigger shock than Tucker’s. Moldenhauer came to Omaha with a whopping zero homeruns to his credit on the season. I’m a relatively big Moldenhauer fan, if such a thing outside of Texas exists:

Moldenhauer may yet rediscover the stroke that made him a third round pick once upon a time, but he is going to have to do so in a hurry if he wants to make it as a pro.

FIFTH INNING

I forgot to mention Kevin Keyes’s homer in the fourth. Now there’s a homerun that can’t really be classified as a surprise. Keyes has first round potential heading into 2010, but has been more projection than production as a collegiate player so far. He’s a very different player than Jared Mitchell (power is his game, not speed) and he doesn’t have football as a reason for stalled development like LSU’s 2009 first rounder, but I think he is in a similar spot at respective points in their development.

Ruffin is cruising through five. His command is starting to waver a tiny bit, but his mechanics have stayed surprisingly consistent despite the conditions. I’m way more impressed with him than I thought I’d be coming in.

Connor Rowe is a lot of fun to watch in centerfield. Not so much fun at the plate right now, however.

SIXTH INNING

Can Mikie Mahtook hit a breaking ball? Or take an accurate route to a flyball? His potential is vast, but there is no denying that you are watching a freshman, and a raw one at that, when you watch him play.

Jared Mitchell, what can you really say? Usain Bolt is probably faster than him, but that may be the extent of the list.

Only players with last names beginning with “M” matter, apparently. Mahtook, Mitchell, and now Moldenhauer. Russ Moldenhauer with two homers tonight. Both hits were “no doubt about it” homeruns that came on gorgeous swings. He’s now a guy to put on the early watch list for 2010 senior signs.

Laptop is dying, time to call it an early evening. Great game so far, should be fun to see how these last three innings play out…

Signings Update and College World Series Championship Live Blog

How are things? Just swell, I trust. Alright, enough about you. Let’s talk about me. Here’s what I’ve been up to when not traveling too far to go to rained out rookie league games…

First, I updated the signings page. I did it quickly — really, can you blame me? It’s important info, no doubt, but boring to write/talk about, I think — so feel free to jump in and offer any corrections or changes you see fit. I’m making up the slot/above slot/under slot distinctions as I go because, quite truthfully, I’m not really sure how I stand on the issue of MLB’s suggestion that bonuses be reduced by 10% across the board. I mean, it wasn’t a formal request, right? I know for a fact that some teams just laughed it off, so can we really claim that it’s the new standard for this year’s “slot” bonuses?

I can’t decide on what standard I should follow, and, like I alluded to earlier, I find the whole slot/above slot/under slot aspect of the draft to be the most tiring draft quirk to follow. What I’m trying to say is, I won’t lose too much sleep if I’m off on some of my big bold colored claims I’ve been making. If a correction needs to be made, call me out on it and I’ll happily oblige.

I’ve also spent time contemplating on which of the immediate post-2009 draft projects (team grades, round-by-round discussion, or a 2010 mock) I want to get to first. Decisions, decisions.

Lastly, I made the executive decision to sit on the couch and watch baseball tonight. There’s a pretty important college game going on, so I’m going to use the occasion as an excuse to watch entertaining baseball under the guise of doing the “work” of updating this too long dormant site of mine (I hate going a day without something up here, let alone almost a week). Check back later tonight for live updates and draft-related commentary about Game 1 of the College World Series.

MLB Draft 2009 – A Closer Look at Round 41

Now that the 2009 MLB Draft has come and gone (and, alas, so has the crazy traffic of early June), it’s time to get down to business in breaking down the best and the brightest from the ’09 draft class. After much thought, I’ve decided that the best way to get me back engaged with the 2009 MLB Draft was to randomly pull out a couple of rounds here and there in an effort to take a closer look at some of the most interesting prospects. I’m not sure how extensive this feature will be (there are still team by team report cards to do, as well as that 2010 mock draft and a slew of other summer-time goodies), so consider this more of a free-flowing sampling of what I’m hoping to accomplish rather than a rigid model. In the future we may want to look at multiple late rounds in a group because, well, if we keep up the hearty pace of profiling one round every weekday then this thing will drag on until the end of summer…and we’re far too busy with other exciting content for that, right?

3 Names to Remember or: Have Fun at School, See Ya in 2012

41.122 – Washington Nationals selection OF Dane Opel (Edwardsville HS, Illinois) – plenty to like about Opel including his potential plus defense in the outfield and a definite plus throwing arm; bat tool is still a little underdeveloped, but he’s got time to put it all together at a good school like Missouri; Opel has shot up in both height and weight since breaking onto the scene as a sophomore at Edwardsville, so it’ll be interesting to see if he keeps packing on the muscle if/when he grows another few inches while at school; Missouri commit

41.1234 – Texas Rangers selection LHP Forrest Garrett (Norcross HS, Georgia) – Garrett is a gigantic sleeper who has definite early round potential in 2012; his projectable frame should allow him to bump his already above-average fastball a few notches (sitting high-80s to low-90s), but his real money maker will be a potential plus changeup; throw in a curve with above-average potential and you’ve got yourself a three-pitch lefty with present solid command and a very bright future ahead; LSU commit

41.1247 – Philadelphia Phillies selection OF Jeff Gelalich (Bonita HS, California) – the tools-laden outfielder brings  a solid all-around mix to the field including a sweet lefthanded stroke, good speed, and a strong, accurate outfield arm; UCLA commit

Closest to the Major Leagues

41.1225 Pittsburgh Pirates selection UTIL Tyler Cannon (Virginia) reminds me of a better version of Missouri’s Greg Folgia, a player picked a round higher by the Indians. Cannon is solid in all phases of the game, but lacks fluidity on defense at any position. Between his lack of a defensive home and his steady, but unspectacular bat, Cannon has many believing his professional role will be that of a super-sub capable of playing literally every position on the diamond, including catcher. His college counting stats (through his first two seasons) match up with Eric Bruntlett’s in almost an eerie way, but, as you can see, the comparison falls apart when you see what each player’s rate stats look like:

Tyler Cannon College .265 .337 .350 687 121 452 83 120 24 4 2 64 22 7 43 91 0.02 0.20 0.69 0.53 0.18
Eric Bruntlett College .330 .438 .441 879 130 449 112 148 34 2 4 72 22 7 75 65 0.03 0.26 0.86 0.55 0.17

Anyway, I’d say that the Bruntlett comp may actually be a tad optimistic at this point. Cannon’s collegiate track record isn’t quite as strong as Bruntlett’s and he lacks Bruntlett’s tremendous Civil War reenactor style beard, but I’d bet on enough marginal improvements as he progresses into his mid-20s to see him getting a chance as a AAAA utility guy good enough to position himself as a potential callup when injuries to the more talented players occur.

41.1223 – Seattle Mariners selection RHP Kyle Witten (Cal State Fullerton) could benefit from scrapping a few of his iffy secondary offerings and re-inventing himself as a professional in the mould of agroundballing reliever who throws sinkers, sliders, and splitters. Velocity isn’t a problem for the big righty (he has touched 94 with frequency), but his performance this year for an excellent Fullerton team didn’t exactly light the world on fire. The raw power stuff is undeniable, but harnessing it has been an issue. This year marks the third time Witten has been drafted; could he return to school one more season with the hopes that a big senior year makes his fourth go-around with the draft a charm?

41.1227 – San Francisco Giants selection RHP Gary Moran (Sonoma State) has dominant enough numbers to warrant at least a mention here in the 41st round. Also worth a mention, Moran is a giant. Check out the line that the 6-8, 265 pound righthanded pitcher put up this year for the season:

Player                 ERA   W-L   APP  GS  CG SHO/CBO SV    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  2B  3B  HR   AB B/Avg   WP HBP  BK  SFA SHA
38 MORAN, Gary......  1.37   7-2    13  13   0   0/2    0  78.2  57  16  12  10  71   8   2   0  281  .203    4   8   0    3   7

Moran won’t blow you away with radar gun readings, but he throws a heavy fastball that bores in on righthanders to get plenty of groundball outs. He also has an above-average curve and, as supported by his numbers, sparkling control. Moran isn’t the usual late round college flier (he’s been drafted twice before), so don’t be shocked to see late round success story Gary Moran pitching out of a big league bullpen near you someday.

Highest Upside

Garrett is a personal favorite of mine (something about those plus changeups just gets to me), but an argument could easily be made for Opel, a guy who should see plenty of at bats right from the start at Missouri.

Potpourri

41.1226 – RHP Mason Magleby (picked by Baltimore out of Del Oro HS, California) has already come out and said that he is heading to the University of Nevada to play football. Baltimore’s loss is the Wolfpack’s gain, I guess.

41.1244 – 1B Travis Ozga (picked by the New York Mets out of Florida Atlantic) has easily the best last name in all the draft. As far as I know, we aren’t related…unless Travis goes on to light it up as a professional, of course. In that case, my long lost brother better look me up…

MLB Draft 2009 – A Closer Look at Round 40

Now that the 2009 MLB Draft has come and gone (and, alas, so has the crazy traffic of early June), it’s time to get down to business in breaking down the best and the brightest from the ’09 draft class. After much thought, I’ve decided that the best way to get me back engaged with the 2009 MLB Draft was to randomly pull out a couple of rounds here and there in an effort to take a closer look at some of the most interesting prospects. I’m not sure how extensive this feature will be (there are still team by team report cards to do, as well as that 2010 mock draft and a slew of other summer-time goodies), so consider this more of a free-flowing sampling of what I’m hoping to accomplish rather than a rigid model. In the future we may want to look at multiple late rounds in a group because, well, if we keep up the hearty pace of profiling one round every weekday then this thing will drag on until the end of summer…and we’re far too busy with other exciting content for that, right?

3 Names to Remember or: Have Fun at School, See Ya in 2012

40.1216 – Milwaukee Brewers selection RHP Kyle Hansen (St. Dominic HS, New York) – tremendous potential with a massive but loose frame (6-7, 200) and a fastball that has touched the mid-90s; St. John’s commit with a big future ahead of him

40.1195 – Pittsburgh Pirates selection LHP Brett Lee (West Florida HS, Florida) – fastball sits in the upper 80s, but I’ve heard he can dial it up to the low-90s (as high as 92) with little effort; curve has potential to an above-average pitch; the exciting aspect of Lee’s game is his great frame that has scouts dreaming on his upside once he fills out; Florida State commit

40.1220 – Chicago Cubs selection RHP Eric Whaley (Cardinal Gibbons HS, Florida) – what Whaley lacks in projection he makes up for in usable present stuff; his fastball in the high-80s has good movement, but may not get a whole lot also throws an above-average (C+ now, could be a solid B before long) change and a decent (C- now, could be C+) curve

Closest to the Major Leagues…Yes, Closest is a Relative Term

40.1205 – Cleveland Indians select UTIL Greg Folgia (Missouri) – Folgia wins this one by default, as my quick count only shows 10 four-year college players drafted in the round. He’s a little too much of a hacker for my personal taste, but there is no denying that he brings a interesting blend of talents to the table . This prediction may be null and void (or at least delayed an entire year) if the rumors of Folgia returning to Missouri for his senior year are as legitimate as they sound…

Highest Upside (aka What Would Be My Favorite Pick If Every Player Was Actually Signable)

Hansen over Lee in a surprisingly tight contest. Hansen has the total package to be a first round pick in 2012, while Lee’s upside may be as more of a second or third rounder.

Bryce Harper

That draft in 2009? Old news. Stephen Strasburg? Forget about him. We have seen the suddenly surprisingly near future – all Bryce Harper, all the time.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

I’m not a fan of writing about straight “news” pieces (there are literally thousands of better websites to go to for that), but I’ve publicly ignored Bryce Harper long enough. The big story that broke over the weekend is that, yes, Nevada high school catcher Bryce Harper has taken the first steps towards locking up his place atop 2010 draft boards everywhere by registering for classes at the College of Southern Nevada. Harper has stated his desire to begin courses at CSN in August, earn his GED in the fall, play for the CSN baseball squad in the spring of 2010, and then, assuming everything goes according to plan, get picked number one overall by the Washington Nationals (thus earning more money in his signing bonus than my overpriced college educated behind will make in a lifetime, by the way) next June. Consider that last bit a sneak preview at the upcoming first edition of the 2010 mock…

One little thing from all the articles re: Harper that have broke over the past few days has left me a bit confused. I’m not quite sure how he plans to attend junior college classes beginning in August before trying to get his GED sometime in the fall. That’s the timeline presented in everything I’ve read about Harper’s story, but it doesn’t seem to add up. What am I missing here? Can you really attend junior college classes before getting a high school diploma (or equivalency)?

[UPDATE – After deciding to be proactive for once, I did about two minutes of Googling in an attempt to answer my own questions. It appears that in many states you can enroll at junior colleges (or in some cases four-year colleges) without first obtaining a high school degree. Interesting. It’s true what they say, you really do learn something new every day.]

Photo Credit: Palm Goon

Photo Credit: Palm Goon

Day Three 2009 MLB Draft Thoughts

I was keeping tabs of a handful of players heading into the third day of the draft because, well, that’s what I do. Then it occurred to me in a flash – hey! Why don’t I actually publish some of my thoughts and put them up on that website I run? Clever, right? A quick recap of day three for those of you who made it that far…

RHSP Scott Griggs – The prep arm from California went in the 34th round to Seattle. If you can believe it, I actually had Griggs ranked as the number five overall high school righthander coming into the year, so this is one heck of a fall. The reasons I liked Griggs coming into the eyar (three above-average pitches and potential plus command) are why I think he could re-emerge as a first rounder out of UCLA in 2012.

C Austin Maddox – It’s possible that Maddox could be insurance if the Rays can’t sign 4th rounder Luke Bailey, but it seems almost a certainty that he won’t be needed as a backup plan and will be free to head to Gainesville for three years with the Gators. I’m not sure if it’s been speculating on one way or another yet, but I’ll go ahead and wonder it aloud: any possiblity Maddox, a player with good present skills but little projection left in his body, opts to go the junior college route and re-enter the draft in 2010?

RHSP Scott Swinson – The University of Maryland junior was a deep sleeper coming into the year who must have forgotten to set his alarm clock this spring. The finesse righty will head back to college next year in hopes of improving his draft position (46th rounder of Baltimore).

C Jack Murphy – I thought he had done enough in his first two years at Princeton to warrant a 7/8th round grade, but big league clubs did not agree. Perhaps he made his intentions to return to Princeton known and teams were scared off because of it. Or maybe his subpar junior year against subpar competition was enough to turn teams off. His quick scouting report can be found here, but I included a relevant snippet for those who don’t click through on the links (mostly because I never do):

Murphy is a below the radar 2009 draft prospect who interests me greatly because he seems to have the formula for this year’s draft-eligible college hitters down pat: a couple of above-average tools with some semblance of a track record of success, but no overwhelming physical attributes that would carry him if all other aspects of his game failed, noticeable blips in performance that cause concerns about future production, and an overall lack of polish…

…Final verdict on Jack Murphy – worth a flier in round ten or later because he has the upside of a good big league offensive-minded backup catcher

Murphy could be re-establish himself as a top ten round pick with a big senior year, assuming he heads back to Jersey to grab that Ivy League school diploma.

RHSP Chris Jenkins and RHSP Ethan Carter – Unless I’m missing something, both Jenkins and Carter went undrafted. I find this stunning for many reasons, but I won’t jump to crazy conclusions because I’m sure there is a logical explanation (signability, probably) that explains it all away. I’d love to hear it. I had these two players back-to-back (13th and 14th, I believe) in my preseason rankings and noted their how similar they were at the time:

Carter

Eerily similar stuff Jenkins, but his classic big-bodied pitcher’s frame (6-5, 205) gives him the edge in projectability. Truth be told, his stuff is probably a tick better across the board than [Jordan] Cooper’s (Ed. Note: Cooper was a 17th round pick of the Pirates and ranked just behind Carter on my preseason list) – slightly better present fastball heat, more advanced and varied breaking stuff, and a real changeup. Carter has a chance to fly up this list with a good spring, something that is easy to envision this big righty with sterling makeup doing.

Jenkins

There is plenty to like about Chris Jenkins, namely a heavy fastball that touches 94 MPH and sits in the low 90s, a potential low 80s MPH power slider, a gigantic frame (6-7, 235), and interest from schools like Stanford and Duke. There is also plenty to dislike about Chris Jenkins, namely his spotty command, and high effort delivery. Jenkins’ raw potential is undeniable, but he is a long way away from unlocking it. I know I previously compared Ethan Carter to Jordan Cooper, but perhaps the better comparison is between the two big righties, Carter and Jenkins. Carter has a touch more polish at present, but very few pitchers, Carter included, stack up with Jenkins when it comes to upside.

Was I totally off the mark? Or is something far more nefarious at play? What say you, Google? It appears that Carter is a strong enough commit to South Carolina that he is already enrolled in Summer II classes. Jenkins is going to Stanford, a fact that teams knew about heading into the draft and a perfect explanation why teams would stay away. That explains that. Thanks, Google!

LHSP Chris Manno – The junior from Duke went in the 38th round to Washington. Underrated collegiate performer with good enough stuff to get out big league hitters. I think he could go back to school and turn himself into a top 10 round pick in 2010.

OF Tarran Senay (Pennsylvania) – Like Manno, another 38th round pick. Unlike Manno, Senay is a high school player who is rumored to be about a 50/50 shot to sign. If he doesn’t, he’ll take his high-contact lefthanded approach to NC State.

C Miles Hamblin – How in the world did Miles Hamblin (Howard JC) go undrafted?

RHRP Kyle Thebeau  – Another shocker. The Texas A&M senior was a 9th round pick as a junior, but somehow failed to get drafted at all in 2009. For a player with good enough stuff, improved fastball command, ample big game experience, and a strong finish to the year (as noted by Bryan Smith) to not get drafted at all, well, that’s just weird. Is he hurt?

2009 MLB Draft Signing Thread

Thread to be updated as signings roll in.

1.4 Pittsburgh Pirates – C Tony Sanchez —> $2.5 million (ABOVE SLOT – BARELY)
1.10 Washington Nationals – RHRP/RHSP Drew Storen —> $1.6 million (BELOW SLOT)
1.26 Milwaukee Brewers – RHSP Eric Arnett —> $1.197 million (SLOT)

Day Two 2009 MLB Draft “Live” Blog

4:26 PM

It’s not actually live, but it’s live to me as I’ve just now gotten home to check in all of the picks so far. I’m going to pretend like it’s live for the sake of my shadow drafting (wouldn’t want to be tempted to skip ahead and see who falls where so I could adjust my picks) and, well, because I’m a dork and I’ve been looking forward to this all day/week/month/year.

4:33 PM

James Jones to Seattle with the second pick of the second day is a darn good one. Drafting him as a hitter rather than a pitcher, well, that part I question. Back in February I had Jones listed as the top collegiate lefthanded starter and 12th best college player overall. Whoops. That was a mistake, clearly, as he tumbled down draft boards with a seemingly endless string of ineffective starts all spring long, but his raw talent (mid-90s fastball) and plus athleticism haven’t disappeared. This isn’t a great comparison, but Jones reminds me a college version of 2008 Phillies draft pick Anthony Gose. Interesting that both two-way players were drafted as outfielders and not pitchers.

Mark Fleury in the fourth round? Good for him. Here’s the quick report on him from March:

  • Above-average power, strong throwing arm, and a solid defensive reputation make Fleury an easy top ten collegiate catching prospect; plenty of experience catching hard throwing future professionals a nice perk; finally given a shot at catching full-time for UNC, Fleury is in prime position to vault up draft boards in the coming months

I didn’t think he’d rise quite this high and it may be an overdraft by two rounds or so, but he has enough ability to be a part-time catcher at the big league level.

5:00 PM

Colorado’s already fantastic draft gets even better with the addition of one of the best old guys in this year’s draft, Kent Matthes. The Rockies get themselves a four year college player who is has better tools than most senior signs. Another perk: Matthes is a sure-fire sign as a college senior, so there’s one less contract negotiation headache (and potentially a few saved bucks) to deal with when it gets down to signing Matzek.

5:05 PM

My big board is getting pounded all of a sudden – Matthes, Dwyer, Stassi, Doyle all go off the board in a row. I’ve got one minute to figure out who I want for the Indians shadow pick. Hold on…

5:06 PM (SHADOW DRAFT PICK)

RHSP Sam Dyson – that’s my pick for Cleveland at 4.125. First round caliber arm, third round quality performances (at times), but my love of velocity wins out in the end.

5:10 PM

Some team/player fits just feel right. Scott Bittle to the Yankees? Nope, doesn’t work. Bittle to the Cardinals? Now we’re talking. The Ole Miss bullpen ace/sometime starter with the devastating cutter didn’t sign with New York last year, but will join the Cardinals organization in the coming days/weeks.

5:30 PM

How can you not love a player from a nearby school getting picked by the local team? The Twins pick of Golden Gophers star middle infielder Derek McCallum is the perfect fit in a lot of ways – the obvious geographic connection, the gigantic organizational need for the Twins, and a style of player that ought to thrive playing within the constraints of Minnesota’s small ball approach. I’m a little mad I didn’t grab McCallum with my last shadow draft pick, I’m hurting for middle infielders right about now.

Very surprised to see Warren go this high. Even more surprised to see him going to the Yankees. I’m going to opening night in the NYPL this year (Staten Island v Brooklyn), so maybe I’ll get a chance to see Adam Warren make his first professional start. Quick scouting report from mid-March:

Pitchability is his calling card but Warren features a playable fastball as well; better K numbers every year indicate the incremental improvements in his stuff that could make him more than just a good senior sign; conservatively a safe bet to go in the top ten rounds, but could sneak closer to the sixth or seventh with a good senior season

5:35 PM

Tampa seems like they have this whole draft thing figured out sometimes, don’t they? I know, I know – the only reason they got good was because they were so bad for so long and stocked up on really high picks. It’s a great story…too bad it isn’t true. Using your high first rounders on impact guys certainly helps speed up the rebuilding process, but picks like this one (Luke Bailey in the fourth) separate the great drafting teams from the good.

Not sure if that’s a fully developed point or not, but it’s getting harder and harder to say “great gamble of a pick – this player who fell for (fill in the blank reason) has the stuff to be a big league starter if he puts it all together” in creative ways. It’s also hard to pan picks because at this point we’re getting close to personal preference territory. I may not like a guy, but in the later rounds it’s easier to see the other side of a team’s drafting argument.

5:40 PM

I had Miami’s Jason Hagerty as a 10+ Round sleeper (meaning he’d go round 10 or later), but the Padres snap him up here in the fifth. Even though I had him as a later round sleeper, I can’t fault the Padres for identifying their guy and taking him when they knew they could get him. Hagerty will be an excellent backup catcher for a big league team some day. He’s my kind of backup catcher, too – big power, good patience, low average, switch-hitting, and versatile (to some extent) on defense.

Austin Wood throwing 439 pitches without being properly stretched out to do so in that one game was not good for his arm. I hope even those most dismissive of protective pitch counts can at least agree on that. However, I can’t help but wonder how amazingly good that game was for his draft stock. I may not be giving big league front offices enough credit here, but after he threw those 439 pitches (just an estimate, by the way – I lost track after 425) the name Austin Wood became one of the most talked about in the entire draft practically overnight. Could a big league front office really be that easily swayed? I can easily envision a handful of teams moving Wood up a couple pegs on their draft board after that relief appearance. Here’s what I said about him a few weeks back:

  • 2009: Austin Wood (SR) – LHRP

A rubber-armed closer capable of pitching multi-inning games (Ed. Note: Ha!), Wood has a tremendous work ethic and plenty of big game experience. He doesn’t throw particularly hard and he doesn’t have have a shutdown breaking ball, but he throws from a modified sidearm slot that lefthanded batters have a very tough time dealing with. It’s easy to typecast Wood as a LOOGY and nothing more going forward, but his success as both a multi-inning closer and starting pitcher during his career at Texas should afford him the opportunity to at least get a chance in middle relief as a pro. He’s another mid-round candidate that will be drafted more for organizational depth than anything, but he has a shot at a big league career if drafted by the right team.

5:50 PM

Shadow draft pick for the Indians is prep 1B Jeff Malm at pick 155. I’m at the point where I have a list of guys I want, but the ones I think will fall are the ones I don’t think I could realistically take if they do…if that makes sense. The longer a player falls down the board, the greater the likelihood that he decides to forgo the pros and try his hand at college. I think Malm is signable in the fifth, so I’ll take the plunge.

If you had Ryan Jackson to the Cardinals in a pre-season first round mock draft, raise your hand. Come on, I know somebody out there must have had the Cards grabbing the slick fielding Miami product that early. They took him at pick 159 just now (well, not just now…hours ago, but again this isn’t a “live” live blog, remember?), a spot in the draft that more properly aligns with his talent level. For the record, I’m not a fan of Jackson’s game in the least. I’m darn near positive he’ll never hit enough to start, and his much hyped defense has been far too frequently hot and cold for my liking. To me he’s a poor hitting, inconsistent fielding shortstop. I know I’m in the minority re: Jackson’s D, but that’s what I’ve seen and heard from people I trust. We’ll see.

Again, players and teams sometimes just align too perfectly. All 5-9, 180 of Ryan Schimpf was born to be a Blue Jay. I can’t quite explain why, but it works for me.

6:00 PM

I’ve been lax on my Phillies shadow draft updates because they are very closely aligning with my Indians picks. Here’s what I have so far with the Phils:

2.75 – C Wil Myers
3.106 – RHSP Brody Colvin
4.137 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.167 1B Jeff Malm

Is D’Vontrey Richardson signable at this point? If so, very appealing pick by Milwaukee. When do the other two football players (Jake Locker and Riley Cooper) go off the board?

6:05 PM

Pittsburgh, I take it all back. Well, not all of it…but most of it. The Pirates front office has done a masterful job of waiting on some seriously talented prep arms who have fallen right into their laps. Brooks Pounders was one of my favorite Day One picks when you factor in talent/pick selected; Zack Von Rosenberg falls into the same category here in the fifth. A deal has already been worked out with Sanchez, so now it’s time for the Pirates to go warp speed ahead with their negotiations with these two.

6:10 PM

At one point way back, one could have made the argument that Matt Graham should have been in the running to go to the Giants with the sixth overall pick. Baseball is a funny game, but the draft is funniest of all – the Giants gladly grab the ultra-talented righthanded pitcher with the 177th overall selection.

Oh no, Daniel Fields is off the board. Now I just have to hope the last high round middle infielder I want falls to me in a few picks…

6:15 PM (Shadow Draft Update)

At pick 6.185, I’m taking SS Scooter Gennett. He’s one of “my guys,” even though his stock has taken a beating over the past few weeks. I think he’ll be a starter in the big leagues (probably at second, maybe at third) and a good one at that.

Interesting that the Hurricanes have had their top two catchers taken in back-to-back rounds here in the 5th and 6th.

6:17 PM

The Pirates do it again at the top of the seventh round. Trent Stevenson is a fantastic value at this point. If they sign Pounders, Von Rosenberg, and Stevenson, that would be one incredible influx of young pitching talent.

6:20 PM (Shadow Draft Update)

My 7th round selection for the Indians is RHSP Madison Younginer. I think he’s the last player that I can realistically take this late and still get away with him signed. I’m unintentionally loading up on righthanded pitching (4 out of 7 picks are RHSPs), but you have to stay true to the board.

6:22 PM

Brody Colvin to the Phillies! The first real life pick by the team that I can say I love, without reservations. Their is tons of talk about him being close to a done deal at LSU, but that’s nothing an overslot bonus can’t overcome. Get it done, boys.

6:25 PM (Shadow Draft Update)

The 8th round brings OF Cohl Walla to the organization. Another potentially difficult sign, but I’ll roll the dice yet again. I think I need a college guy or two to finish this thing off.

6:40 PM (Shadow Draft Update)

Looks like there is a run on college guys, so I’ll jump in and take one to call my own. The pick is Erik Castro, third baseman from San Diego State. He gets the nod over Cincinnati’s Mike Spina, but I had to think long and hard about it.

6:55 PM (Ben Theriot Update!)

Round nine features a ton of big-time college athletes flying off the board including Trevor Coleman (Missouri), Brock Holt and Ryan Berry (Rice), Evan Crawford (Indiana), Brian Pearl (Washington), Wes Musick (Houston), Preston Guilmet (Arizona), Ben Orloff (UC Irvine), Gavin Brooks (UCLA), and Kendal Volz (Baylor). Berry and Coleman were at one time considered potential late first rounders, Volz was almost a sure-fire first round pick coming into the year, and, most intriguingly, Brooks was once considered one of the very best (we’re talking top 10 easy, maybe top 5) players in the entire class.

I love seeing college guys getting their due on draft day, so I’m happy for every last one of the players listed. Of course I have to admit that the pick of Texas State catcher Ben Theriot makes me happier than just about any other selection in the draft. Congratulations go out to Ben and the entire Theriot family. I can’t wait to continue to follow Theriot’s career as a professional…expect regular updates!

7:00 PM

Round ten finishes up with my last shadow draft selection – OF Jake Locker, aka the University of Washington’s star quarterback. If you’ve followed this site at all, you had to know he was going to be my last pick. I doubt he is signable, but his tools are so great that I’m willing to try. If not for Locker, I would have popped another personal favorite, prep C Josh Leyland. I’m not sure if I mentioned this explicitly or not, but I did have a reason for doing a pair of shadow drafts. I wanted to do one for this site specifically (the Indians one), but I wanted to maintain my streak of shadow drafting for the Phillies for my own pleasure. I didn’t plan on the two drafts being almost identical, but I didn’t have a single player drafted between the Indians and Phillies pick like I had anticipated. Final Shadow Draft results:

Cleveland Indians

1.15 RHSP Tanner Scheppers
2.63 C Wil Myers
3.94 RHSP Brody Colvin
4.125 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.155 1B Jeff Malm
6.185 SS Scooter Gennett
7.215 RHSP Madison Younginer
8.245 OF Cohl Walla
9.275 3B Erik Castro
10.305 OF Jake Locker

Philadelphia Phillies

2.75 C Wil Myers
3.106 RHSP Brody Colvin
4.137 RHSP Sam Dyson
5.167 1B Jeff Malm
6.197 SS Scooter Gennett
7.227 RHSP Madison Younginer
8.257 OF Cohl Walla
9.287 3B Erik Castro
10.317 OF Jake Locker

7:10 PM

Time for me to catch up on on rounds 11-30. Not sure what kind of stuff I should throw up on the site in the coming days (draft report cards, naturally), so I’m open to suggestions – anything you want to see?

Day Two 2009 MLB Draft Top 33 Big Board

What names should your team be looking at in Rounds 4 and up? Check out the highest ranked players left from the original top 100 to find out.
  1. RHSP Sam Dyson
  2. C Luke Bailey
  3. RHSP Brody Colvin
  4. RHSP Madison Younginer
  5. C Max Stassi
  6. RHSP Keyvius Sampson
  7. SS Scooter Gennett
  8. LHSP Chris Dwyer
  9. 1B Jeff Malm
  10. SS Daniel Fields
  11. SS David Nick
  12. RHSP Zack Von Rosenberg
  13. C Mike Ohlman
  14. C Tucker Barnhart
  15. C Josh Leyland
  16. 2B Derek McCallum
  17. OF Cohl Walla
  18. C Austin Maddox
  19. C Miles Hamblin
  20. OF Todd Glaesmann
  21. RHSP Mike Nesseth
  22. RHSP Andrew Doyle
  23. RHSP Ryan Buch
  24. RHSP Michael Heller
  25. RHSP Scott Griggs
  26. LHSP Brooks Raley
  27. RHRP Jason Stoffel
  28. OF Kent Matthes
  29. OF Angelo Songco
  30. OF Brian Goodwin
  31. RHSP Sean Black
  32. RHSP AJ Morris
  33. 1B Jonathan Singleton

2009 MLB Draft Live Blog

5:45 PM

How ’bout them Pirates? Tony Sanchez at 4 is flat out insanity, sorry. I get that they are hoping to use some of their player development acquisition cash on the international scene, but it seems like a gigantic risk banking on being able to sign the guys they want on the free market like that. What if Miguel Sano backs out of their agreement and they somehow swing and miss on the other top international prospects? Risky, risky, risky.

I mentioned seeing Dustin Ackley more than any other player in the draft in one of the recent mocks, but Tony Sanchez and I go back almost as far. I probably saw Sanchez play about 30 games at BC and nothing about his game ever screamed front-line ML catcher to me. We’ll see.

I can’t be the only one stunned to see Matt Hobgood’s name connected with Baltimore at 5. I never would have guessed he would be the top prep arm off the bard in a billion years. Bizarre pick.

6:00 PM

Christmas in June. They are really holding the draft in Studio 42? What a hideous set. Jim Callis = Bob Saget. I formed that opinion based on a picture I saw long ago, so even when I see him on video like tonight and realize the comp is a stretch, I can’t get the Saget image out of my head.

(more…)

2009 MLB Draft Top 100 Big Board

  1. RHSP Stephen Strasburg
  2. CF Dustin Ackley
  3. LHSP Tyler Matzek
  4. RHSP Mike Leake
  5. RHSP Tanner Scheppers
  6. RHSP Alex White
  7. 3B Bobby Borchering
  8. SS Grant Green
  9. RHSP Jacob Turner
  10. RHSP Shelby Miller
  11. RHSP Aaron Crow
  12. RHSP Kyle Gibson
  13. CF Donavan Tate
  14. LHSP Matt Purke
  15. RHSP Zack Wheeler
  16. OF Everett Williams
  17. LHSP Tyler Skaggs
  18. LHSP Mike Minor
  19. RHSP Sam Dyson
  20. LHSP Chad James
  21. RHSP Garrett Gould
  22. OF Jared Mitchell
  23. C Wil Myers
  24. C Luke Bailey
  25. RHSP Brody Colvin
  26. RHSP Madison Younginer
  27. RHSP David Hale
  28. C Max Stassi
  29. 1B Rich Poythress
  30. LHSP James Paxton
  31. 3B Matt Davidson
  32. RHSP Keyvius Sampson
  33. LHSP Rex Brothers
  34. RHSP Eric Arnett
  35. SS Scooter Gennett
  36. LHSP Chris Dwyer
  37. LHSP Aaron Miller
  38. 1B Jeff Malm
  39. SS David Renfroe
  40. OF Slade Heathcott
  41. 3B Chris Dominguez
  42. SS Daniel Fields
  43. SS David Nick
  44. RHSP Jake Barrett
  45. SS Jiovanni Mier
  46. RHSP Zack Von Rosenberg
  47. RHSP Kyle Heckathorn
  48. RHSP Chad Jenkins
  49. LHSP Andy Oliver
  50. RHSP Matt Hobgood
  51. RHRP Drew Storen
  52. C Josh Phegley
  53. OF Tim Wheeler
  54. C Tony Sanchez
  55. OF Randal Grichuk
  56. OF Jason Kipnis
  57. RHSP Robert Stock
  58. C Mike Ohlman
  59. C Tucker Barnhart
  60. C Josh Leyland
  61. OF Max Walla
  62. 3B Tommy Mendonca
  63. 2B Derek McCallum
  64. OF Cohl Walla
  65. 2B Kyle Seager
  66. LHSP Justin Marks
  67. SS Nick Franklin
  68. C Austin Maddox
  69. OF AJ Pollock
  70. OF Brett Jackson
  71. C Miles Hamblin
  72. OF Todd Glaesmann
  73. OF Kentrail Davis
  74. OF Mike Trout
  75. RHSP Garrett Richards
  76. RHSP Mike Nesseth
  77. RHSP Andrew Doyle
  78. RHSP Ryan Buch
  79. RHSP Michael Heller
  80. SS Billy Hamilton
  81. RHSP Scott Griggs
  82. LHSP Brooks Raley
  83. 2B Robbie Shields
  84. RHRP Jason Stoffel
  85. OF Kent Matthes
  86. OF Angelo Songco
  87. OF Brian Goodwin
  88. RHSP Alex Wilson
  89. OF Marc Krauss
  90. RHSP Victor Black
  91. RHSP Eric Smith
  92. RHRP Joe Kelly
  93. RHSP Sean Black
  94. RHSP Billy Bullock
  95. RHSP AJ Morris
  96. LHSP Matt Bashore
  97. OF Reymond Fuentes
  98. SS Mychal Givens
  99. 1B Jonathan Singleton
  100. LHSP Josh Spence

FINAL 2009 MLB Mock Draft 3.0

1.1 Washington: RHSP Stephen Strasburg – San Diego State

Do us a quick favor, will ya? See this franchise here? We need a little help, as I’m sure you know. If it’s not too much trouble, could you, if you’d be so kind, please save baseball in Washington? Simple enough, right? We just need you to sign without too much of a fuss (talk about a PR headache), avoid getting injured in the first few years of your deal (that would be such a buzzkill), and pitch well enough to live up to your reputation as the greatest amateur player of your generation (no pressure!). You’ll be compensated quite handsomely, of course, but terms will be discussed only on the condition of a minimum six-year commitment.

We can’t deny any of the negative press you’ve probably heard about us recently. Yes, it’s true that attendance is way down, our front office/ownership group is in disarray, and we don’t actually have any kind of on field plan in place (I personally love the 14 corner outfielder plan to begin the year), but things aren’t all bad in our nation’s capital. There are building blocks in the organization like Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, and Elijah Dukes, plus you’ll be joined by another top ten draft pick upon signing. We have a new park, a small but fervent fan base, and, really, who among us could possibly resist the temptation of all the chili half-smokes from Ben’s Chili Bowl you can handle? Think about it, Stephen. This is your chance to be the most talked about savior in DC since that other impossibly hyped guy who took charge back in January.

I think he signs for $18.88 million, by the way. Why $18.88 million? So glad you asked. $18.88 million because a) I think he signs for somewhere between $15 and $20 million, but probably closer to $20 million, and b) 8 is my favorite number. How’s that for sound logic? $18.88 million (or whatever the heck he winds up getting) is a relatively small price to pay for relevancy, big crowds every fifth day, and, oh yeah, a damn fine pitcher. He’ll sign, the price won’t be extraorbitant, and the only real concern for Washington will be making sure they spell his name right on the back of his jersey.

1.2 Seattle: CF Dustin Ackley – North Carolina

There is no potential high round pick that I’ve seen in person more often than North Carolina star CF/1B Dustin Ackley. I know what you’re thinking – congratulations, but, really, who cares? I’m not a scout, I’m not an expert, heck, I’m not really anybody worth listening to at all (now that’s a ringing endorsement for this site!). That said, if you are reading this then I’m going to have to assume you love/like/at least tolerate baseball on some level, so you’ll understand when I tell you that with some players…you just know. Watch Ackley swing a bat and you might just get the same feeling I got the first time I saw him swing a bat as a freshman at UNC. Here’s what I wrote about him heading into the season back from Mock Draft 1.0:

Ackley is one of my favorite players in this or any draft because, even though there are a lot of players that you can compare him to, in the end he is still, somehow, someway, a really unique prospect. What position will he play? Where will he fit best in a lineup? Will the power develop? How’s his arm holding up post-Tommy John surgery? How much of his prospect value is tied into the answers of these questions? Maybe his skillset isn’t all that unique (there are plenty of examples of high average, good plate discipline, questionable power bats in this draft), but he certainly offers a weird blend of talents for a guy expected to go so high.

Ackley was an excellent prospect heading into the season, but, as you can see, there were questions about his game that needed to be answered this spring. Let’s see how he did, shall we?

Q: What position will he play?

A: He’s a centerfielder until he proves otherwise. A legitimate case could be made for a pro transition to second base, something the coaching staff at UNC believes he could handle with relative ease. The worst case scenario defensively is that he’ll settle in at either an outfield corner or first base, but the team that drafts him can take comfort in the fact he’ll at least be a well above-average defender at any of the three spots in question.

Q: Where will he fit best in a lineup?

A: To answer this question, let’s examine my string of Ackley comps and see if a pattern develops. Now obviously I’m incredibly high on Ackley’s upside, so these player comps may be a little more optimistic than some seen elsewhere. I tried to use as many contemporary comps as I could, but the one “old-timer” I heard referenced by scouts in the stands down in Chapel Hill was Fred Lynn. I liked that one a lot, even though my knowledge of Fred Lynn is limited to box scores, highlight videos, and stories from those who actually watched him play. As for the more recent comps, feel free to try any of these out for a spin and see what you like: Paul O’Neill, Bobby Bonilla with more speed/patience, Brian Giles at his Age 28 to 31 power peak, Bobby Abreu minus some strikeouts, John Olerud with speed, Bernie Williams, Roberto Alomar, and, my personal favorite, Chase Utley. To finally get back to answering the question, he’ll hit third as a pro.

Q: Will the power develop?

A: He’s not currently. nor will he ever be, a prototypical power hitting slugger, but his compact yet emphatic line drive stroke, wiry strong build, and ability to consistently square up on all pitch types portend well above-average power numbers to come. There is also the matter of that 2009 slugging percentage (.781), a number even more impressive taken in context – Boshamer Stadium, Carolina’s newly renovated home, is a moderate pitchers park. Nobody will make the argument that college statistics have the kind of predictive value that minor league stats have, but at some point the results must be acknowledged as something worth talking about. For Ackley’s ultimate power upside, I think the Chase Utley comp works pretty darn well.

Q: How much of his prospect value is tied into the answers of these questions?

A: Ha, trick question! You can reword the question into this statement: Ackley’s prospect stock was directly tied to his defense, his power, and his health. To steal what is apparently a perpetually funny phrase from sixth graders everywhere, “NO DUH!” Of course his stock was tied to those things…every player in every year is evaluated similarly, right? The question isn’t worthless, however, when we consider potential negative “what-if” scenarios. What if Ackley was tied to first base going forward, but still had the monster 2009 offensively? Would he still be in the running for the second overall pick if he was strictly a first baseman? What if he was totally healthy and playing every day in CF, but put up a .417/.520/.571 line instead of his actual .417/.520/.781? Would the questions about his power scare teams off from taking him in the top five? Top ten? Who knows?

Here is what I do know, or at least thing I know: Dustin Ackley is a future .300/.400/.500 hitter capable of providing above-average defense at an up-the-middle defensive position. It stinks that Seattle missed out on Strasburg, but Ackley is a prospect worthy of the number two overall pick in this or any draft year.

1.3 San Diego: OF Donavan Tate – Cartersville HS (Georgia)

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a Padres fan right about now. The days leading up to such a pivotal draft should be tense but in a good, exciting way; it certainly should not be as stressful and panic attack inducing as it would appear to be for fans of the Pads. Maybe I take my own personal baseball fandom too far, but reports that the Padres may take Vanderbilt LHSP Mike Minor third overall would have me breathing into a paper bag if I was a fan of the team. Then again, if I was a Padres fan then chances are I would be a resident of San Diego. If that was the case, I’m not sure I’d be in a position to complain about too much.

With the top pitcher and hitter both off the board, the Padres will be faced with the challenge of sorting through a collection of two classic categories of player: high risk/high reward (Donavan Tate, Tyler Matzek, Kyle Gibson, and Zack Wheeler) and safe/signable (Aaron Crow and Mike Minor). It’ll be the job of Bill Gayton and his scouting staff to find the player that offers them the best blend of each category – reasonable upside, a high floor, and a sure bet to sign for the right price. That’s the hope, anyway. The reality could very well be that the safest route (an overdraft like Minor) is the path ownership forces upon the baseball side and it’s as simple as that. My worry about this pick is that it becomes less about the players involved and more about the unfortunate San Diego draft idealogy. Let’s take a closer look at the three most likely players involved and where they fit in with this idealogy.

If Tate is the pick, as I’m predicting in this version of the mock, then we’ll know who has one of the most influential scouting voices on the San Diego staff. Baseball Prospectus claims Padres VP of Scouting and Player Development Grady Fuson is lobbying hard for OF Donavan Tate, a report that has been verified by just about every other draft publication since. Tate’s upside is through the roof (I think the Carlos Beltran comp is a bit much, but a poor man’s version of Beltran is still pretty exciting) and the ability to spread his signing bonus out as a two-way athlete ought to be enough of an enticement for San Diego to get a deal hammered out.

In the past two weeks or so, the aforementioned Mike Minor has emerged as the hot signability pick that could become a reality if the Padres opt to draft on the cheap. If Minor is the guy, then you’d better believe the pick will get panned by pundits everywhere, but I don’t think it’s as big a talent stretch as some seem to believe. I’ve been hard on a potential Minor selection, but I want it to be clear that it would be more about what it would represent than the actual player being picked. No, Minor is not the third best prospect in this year’s class, but I still think he’s a first round talent that will be better as a professional than he was as an amateur.

If the Padres decide to go with Crow, the chain reaction will be a sight to behold. The Pirates have Crow at or near the top of their board, so they may be forced to go to their Plan B. Let’s say that Plan B includes one of the high profile high school arms (Tyler Matzek?). That wouldn’t sit well with either one of the next two drafting teams because Baltimore (another team that could have Matzek atop their board) and San Francisco (Matzek, Jacob Turner, and Zack Wheeler just to name a few) both are reportedly to be leaning heavily towards high school arms as well.

The rest of my final 2009 MLB Mock Draft after the jump… (more…)

The 2009 MLB Draft Countdown Begins…

Less than a week remains until the 2009 MLB Draft…crazy, right? We need a plan. Here’s my tentative schedule for the next few days, but feel free to add any suggestion you’d like to see – I’m nothing if not flexible.

Friday – Mock Draft 3.0 (with commentary)

I’m thinking I ought to make that my last mock of the season, for no other reason than any updated version would admittedly be mostly a rehash of the great final mock that Jim Callis at Baseball America puts together. I obviously use BA, Baseball Prospectus, and PG Crosschecker as resources during the year, but I try not to be swayed too much by their respective mocks. It’s a tough balancing act — keeping up with what the excellent mainstream publications are saying while also incorporating my own opinions and sources — but I’d like to think it’s worked out pretty well so far. That’s just a long way of saying that I don’t want the temptation of plagarizing too much of Callis’s awesome final mock (Mock v4.0 will be posted on BA on Tuesday morning, by the way) to get in the way of what I hope will be a pretty good final mock of my own.

Weekend – First Day (Top 3 Round) Mock; Personal Big Board of 2009 Draft Prospects

I want to expand the mock to the entire first day, but it’s more of an exercise in seeing whether or not I’m capable of doing it rather than any kind of attempt to accurately guess who goes where. Yeah, that’s a cop-out, but it’s better than me lying, right? I’m excited to put the final touches on my Big Board, but unsure how big it’ll wind up being…it’ll be at least 75 players deep, but it could be as massive as 300 players.

Monday – Shadow Draft Rules; Random Sleepers I Like; Last Minute Draft News Updates

I’ve shadow drafted the top few picks for the Phillies the past few years, so maybe I’ll dig up some old stuff on that. I’ll also lay out my plans for maybe doing a new team this year – teams that pick in the middle of each round are optimal, I think, and the Phillies aren’t that team this year.

Tuesday – Christmas in June Live Blog (starting 4ish)

I can’t wait.