Orioles Organization Report
Organization analysis for the Orioles heading into 2006.
Organization analysis for the Orioles heading into 2006.
The college draft crop offers several pitching options, though none have done enough yet to wow Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier, whose club holds the No. 1 overall pick.
The NCAA finally has passed legislation that will usher in a national start date, making scouting director's jobs just a little easier.
Though just two ended up playing for the title, it was the inclusion of big leaguers that made the World Baseball Classic such an enormous event. However, like international baseball events of the past, prospects still got a chance to shine.
Washington coach Ken Knutson has heard what scouts think about his ace, Tim Lincecum. The 6-footer, whose listed weight is 165 pounds, is too small. His delivery, likened by some to a pinwheel, requires too much effort. His control—he walked 153 in his first 217 collegiate innings—is too scattershot.
2005 Minor League All-Star Teams
John Manuel takes questions about his prospect rankings.
While we rank a lot of things, what we're known best for ranking is minor league players. With our Top 10 Prospects completed on the web, and with our Prospect Handbook already out (its earliest release date ever), our Top 100 Prospects rankings can't be far behind. To help sate the need for rankings, here's my take at the top prospects broken down by position, after digesting the work of our staff and correspondents in the Handbook. The deeper the position, the more players I ranked.
While the college programs at Kentucky and Louisville are improving, neither is in position yet to consistently feed talent to the draft. Kentucky figures to have a premium selection next year in infielder John Shelby Jr., the son of the former big league outfielder, but doesn't figure to have recruit Chaz Roe join him on the roster. Roe, whose father played football for the Wildcats, figures to be drafted in the first 50 picks.
Veterans of the Florida scene can't remember a worse year for the state in recent draft history. Yes, the Sunshine State should still see four players go in the first 50 picks, but that's below-average for the state. Since 2000 Florida has averaged five first-rounders a year, including the sandwich round. Worse than the top-of-the-line talent is the depth, particularly at the state's major colleges. Florida State might not produce a draft pick in the first 10 rounds, and scouts considered Miami's talent ordinary by its lofty standards. The state's high school ranks also were having a down year, with few players other than lanky lefthander Michael Kirkman stepping forward this spring to improve their draft stock.
The story in Tennessee last year was a high school class that produced first-round pick Kyle Waldrop and several top freshmen in the Southeastern Conference, such as Alabama shortstop Cale Iorg, Tennessee pitcher James Adkins and Vanderbilt pitcher David Price. This year, the story is the much-improved Tennessee Volunteers roster, which should produce three draft picks in the first five rounds. Vanderbilt's impact in the draft will outstrip its disappointing season, which kept the Commodores from making back-to-back regional trips.
South Carolina is sending six teams into NCAA regional play, a testament to the fervor for baseball in the state, and the talent beyond the flagship programs of Clemson and South Carolina shows why so many teams have been successful. The high school crop does not measure up, with the exception of good friends Justin Smoak and Reese Havens, both of whom are committed to South Carolina if they don't start their pro careers.
Cameron Maybin made a run at giving North Carolina its third-ever No. 1 overall draft pick from its high school ranks. He's not likely to make that happen, but he figures to go in the first 10 picks. Perhaps it's best that he avoid the No. 1 tag, which didn't seem to help Brien Taylor (1991) or Josh Hamilton (1999). Scouts say that while Maybin and Hamilton are different, Hamilton's bat was more ready for pro ball than Maybin's. Maybin should be the only prep player from the state drafted in the first 10 rounds, if not the first day. The state's colleges aren't fertile this year, either, and figure to be much stronger next year.
Crosscheckers and scouting directors have checked out Mississippi more than usual this year, and the state could provide a pair of first-round picks in Ole Miss first baseman/lefthander Stephen Head and a righthander from Head's alma mater, Hillcrest Christian's Cody Satterwhite. Just as importantly, Ole Miss offered scouts several other reasons to make repeat visits to the state and could have three players drafted in the first five rounds.
Top 10 World Baseball Classic Prospects. Though just two ended up playing for the title, it was the inclusion of big leaguers that made the World Baseball Classic such an enormous event. However, like international baseball events of the past, prospects still got a chance to shine. Three prospects who raised their profile as much as anyone at the Classic were Italy's Tony Giarratano, Australia's Brad Harman and Taiwan's Chin-Lung Hu.
Typically a major factor toward the top of the draft, Georgia figures to be less prominent this time around, as most of the high-profile players in the territory regressed or merely held their place, rather than improving significantly in the spring. Pitchers particularly struggled this spring in Georgia, from college talents such as Jason Neighborgall and Will Startup to preps like Miers Quigley and Buster Posey.
Trailing heading into the ninth inning, Canada rallied for four runs off 17-year-old reliever Jared Elario and pulled out a first-round victory at Scottsdale Stadium.
It should be one of Alabama's biggest contributions in the draft in years, as the state offers several solid college players and a good crop of high school pitchers. Most significantly, Russell County High product Colby Rasmus could be the state's first prep player drafted in the first round since Terrence Long went 20th overall to the Mets in 1994. Colby's brother Cory and teammate Kasey Kiker, a lefthander likely to be a first-round pick next year, will make Alabama a must-visit state in 2006 as well.
A day after throwing a scare into Pool B leader Canada, South Africa couldn't quite do the same against Mexico. Jorge Cantu and Vinny Castilla had three hits apiece and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and two RBIs to pace Mexico's 12-hit attack. The Mexicans scored in six of their eight half-innings to improve to 1-1 in the tournament.
The game between Cuba and Puerto Rico scheduled for Friday might not mean much in the standings, as both teams have qualified for the World Baseball Classic's second round, but the intensity level—in the stands as much as on the field—promises to be off the charts.