CC of Southern Nevada righthander Colby Shreve got good news after seeking a second opinion on his injured right elbow. BA’s preseason No. 2 junior college prospect visited Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and the prognosis is much improved. Instead of a tear in a ligament in his elbow, Shreve has a strain, and Yocum recommended six weeks of rest and rehabilitation, rather than surgery.
So, Shreve’s draft stock is down but not damaged as significantly as it would have been had he required Tommy John surgery. He should be healthy enough to throw for clubs just prior to the 2008 draft, scheduled for June 5-6, and could still be a high pick and summer follow.
Shreve is an Arkansas signee, and the injury could help drive him to the four-year college route, though that seems less likely now that he doesn’t need surgery. Another Arkansas signee, Colorado prep righthander Tyler Sample, was starting to play his way out of the Razorbacks’ range. Sample, at Mullen High in Denver, debuted in mid-March and was hammered by perennial power Cherry Creek High, but his fastball touched 93 mph that night, and he’s been excellent since then. He has a 17-strikeouts game to his credit and has held his above-average velocity deep into games, showing he’s all the way back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss his sophomore season in high school.
At 6-foot-7, 248 pounds, Sample is a physical specimen in line with past big, physical Colorado prep pitchers. In the last 15 years, the state has produced a strong group of pitchers, from Scott Elarton (supplemental first round, 1994) and Roy Halladay (1995 first-rounder) to pitchers drafted as first-rounders out of college, such as David Aardsma, Brad Lidge, Kyle Sleeth and Luke Hochevar.
"He’s further ahead of a lot of those guys at the same stage in terms of size and stuff," said one American League scout who has seen Sample this spring. "He’s right up there with those upper echelon guys, though I think it’s not fair to compare him to Halladay after the career Roy has had.
"His fastball has been 88-94 all spring, usually pitching at 90-93, and he’s got an excellent, spike curveball that’s a real power breaking ball, sometimes up to 81 or 82 (mph).l He’s athletic and a big fella, properly proportioned."
One American League scout said Sample’s velocity was down Tuesday when he worked in relief three days after a start, sitting in the high 80s, and both scouts expressed concern that even with his size, Sample might not be able to handle his current heavy usage. However, both scouts also report several scouting directors, national crosscheckers and even general managers have been in to see Sample, who’s rising into at least the supplemental first-round range.
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