The first weekend of Division I college baseball produced some news regarding top draft prospects. A quick rundown:
• Preseason All-American Pedro Alvarez, the consensus (but not unanimous) top prospect for the 2008 draft, missed two games with a wrist injury. We’ll have more on Alvarez and his status for this week soon.
• Arizona righthander Ryan Perry (pictured at right) will be watched closely this spring after showing one of the best arms in the Cape Cod League last summer, and he had a typically enigmatic 2008 regular-season debut. Perry missed most of last season as he recovered from a motorcycle injury, and he entered his junior season with a 6.85 career ERA in 68 1/3 innings. His performance this weekend at Georgia was middling, as he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings, but his fastball sat in the 94-96 mph range, much as it did last summer in the Cape. Perry wasn’t the hardest thrower in Athens on the weekend, as Georgia closer Josh Fields, the top senior draft prospect in the country, touched 97.
• Another hard thrower got off to a better start, as Pepperdine’s Brett Hunter sat at 94-97 mph with his fastball, hitting 97 with his 100th pitch. He struck out six and gave up just two runs and four hits in six innings–with preseason All-American Allen Dykstra accounting for three of the hits–to get a victory against Wake Forest in his opener. Another power righty on the West Coast who got off to a strong start was Long Beach State closer Bryan Shaw, sitting at 93-95 mph with his fastball in getting a save Saturday against Rice. He was wrapping up for Dirtbags ace Andrew Leibel, who struck out 11 in eight scoreless innings, showcasing a low-90s fastball that confounded Owls hitters. [...] Continue Reading »
Prep lefthander John Lamb, who recently impressed scouts at a showcase event in Compton, Calif., won’t get to build on the momentum he gained in that event due to an injury.
Lamb, a projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pounder with Laguna Hills High, had recurring pain in his left elbow stemming from a car crash last week, and it now has been diagnosed as an avulsion fracture, when a ligament or tendon pulls off a piece of bone. He is expected to miss at least 12 weeks while doctors immobilize and rehabilitate his throwing arm.
Lamb will not have surgery, according to an e-mail his father sent to scouts. He was starting to pitch his way into single-digit draft-round territory after showing improved fastball velocity (touching 91 mph) and a better breaking ball during this month’s Major League Scouting Bureau event at Compton’s RBI facility. Now Lamb probably won’t pitch until mid-to-late May, just before the draft.
The annual high school preview edition hadn’t even finished going to press before a prospect made headlines.
Jaff Decker, an outfielder/lefthander from Sunrise Mountain High in Peoria, Ariz. took the mound Wednesday against Glendale’s Deer Valley High in front of a few dozen scouts, and threw a no-hitter in the season opener.
"It was pretty impressive," said Decker’s coach, Mike Gardner. "He just dominated the whole game." [...] Continue Reading »
Niko Vasquez, a shortstop prospect from Durango HS, Las Vegas, is ineligible to play until March 28, the end of the school’s third quarter. Sam Knapp, the Trailblazers’ head coach, confirmed the language of the matter Thursday morning. Nick Aiello, the assistant coach, said Vasquez "made some mistakes" in the classroom. Aiello added that Vasquez has learned his lesson and feels horrible about the situation.
Durango has 33 games on their schedule this season. The situation does not affect Vasquez’ status with Oregon State and he still intends to honor his commitment.
At the 2007 Area Code Games, Vasquez showed outstanding bat speed with a quick, compact stroke, producing unexpected power. His non-hitting tools are average to fringe-average, so he will probably shift to second base where he would be more offense-oriented. He also has shown that he can hit the ball hard with wood, something some of his prospect counterparts have not done.
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