The White Sox selected Kyle Long, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long, with their pick in the 23rd-round. Long is 6-feet-7, and is built like a defensive end. However, Long chose baseball over football and is a lefthander throwing in the 90s.
Kyle is the second one of Howie’s sons to be drafted this year. Older brother Chris was the second pick of the NFL draft, and is expected to sign a $30-million plus deal at some point this summer. Kyle’s asking price won’t be nearly that high, but he is committed to Florida State and is most likely not signable at this slot.
• No surprise at pick 520 where the Braves take a Georgia high school righthander. Mark Pope is 6-feet-2, 200 pounds and an East Cobb alumni whose fastball is typically around 90 mph with sink. Signing Pope will be a challenge as he is committed to Georgia Tech.
The Royals get a two-way standout from Belmont with their 18th-round pick as they select Carlo Testa at 535. Testa is a lefthanded pitcher and outfielder and leads his team in both batting average and wins. Most teams like him as an outfielder and the Royals announced him as a center fielder. Kansas City is getting an athlete and this is a good pick.
The Braves get another high school pitcher from the state of Georgia in righthander Michael Palazzone. This is a steal in the 18th round—if Palazzone is signable. He pitches in the low 90s with projection and offers a big breaking ball as well. Palazzone does have a funky arm action and backward shoulder tilt that scares some scouts, as does his commitment to the University of Georgia. [...] Continue Reading »
• Hawaii prep righty Dustin Antolin was the state’s first selection, in the 11th round to the Blue Jays. He’s got a wiry frame with some projection, and his fastball has visited the low 90s.
• Cal State Fullerton ace Jeff Kaplan fell to the 11th round, and he might make the Mets look smart there. He’s both gritty and gutty, as evidenced by his heroics in the regional clincher against UCLA. More than that, he’s a Fullerton pitcher, which means he knows how to control the running game, work his fastball to both sides of the plate and has durability.
• Two picks later, the Phillies took former Oregon State ace Mike Stutes, the senior righthander who struggled most of the season. Stutes got his ERA under 6.00 late in the year and reaches 94 mph but lacks pitchability despite his experience.
The 20th round had three standout picks. The Pirates took Nick Akins of Riverside (Calif.) CC, who has huge raw power and athletic ability but has at times been allergic to breaking balls. Akins also has had makeup issues in the past though he’s had two years to mature at Riverside, where he’s had no off-field issues.
At the 28th pick of the round, the Yankees took ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte of Creighton; Venditte led the nation with 37 appearances this season and struck out 101 batters in 87 innings this spring.
Then the Red Sox ended the round by taking first-round talent Alex Meyer, the 6-foot-7 righthander who is committed to Kentucky and is considered a near-impossible sign.
• The Rays come out of the break and select California righthander Matt Gorgen, twin brother of UC Irvine ace Scott, with the 473rd pick.
• Very toolsy high school outfielder, Wesley Freeman, goes next to the Pirates. Freeman is a high upside center fielder with five-tool potential. Some scouts worry about his bat, but Freeman has huge power potential and is a great pick for the Pirates here.
• Hawaii native Derrick Saito follows Freeman at pick 475 to the Royals. Saito is only 5-feet-9, 160 pounds but packs a punch with his fastball. Lefthanded, Saito throws in the low 90s at his best and early in the season was generating early round buzz. His production dropped off as the season went on as he struggled with command and diminished velocity, but the Royals grabbed what could be a sleeper here in the 16th round.
• Ole Miss catcher Brett Basham is selected by the White Sox with the 480th pick. Basham has a tremendous arm behind the plate but often has trouble transferring the ball from glove to hand. That said, he plays the game hard and with enthusiasm. Basham will most likely never be known for his offensive ability but has played well for the Rebels this season.
Nice move by the Rays—they picked Tim Beckham’s older brother Jeremy with the first pick of the 17th round. He’s a second baseman who played at Georgia Southern, hitting .333 with little power and 24 stolen bases, and now the Rays can team the Beckhams together if they choose in the low minors.
The game is hard enough to play; why not make things easier on your No. 1 overall pick by letting him play with his older brother in the minor leagues? Great, small move by Tampa Bay.
• Take a bow, Central Illinois Collegiate League, 2006. Two of the CICL’s top 10 prospects that year went back-to-back in the eighth round in C Kevin Dubler (White Sox) and LHP Ricardo Pecina (Nationals), and a third CICL top 10 prospect went later in the round in Dan Brewer of Bradley. Dubler has an attractive profile as a lefthanded-hitting catcher with some athletic ability; he lacks arm strength, holding back his draft status. Pecina is a solid-average velocity lefty who can cut and spot his fastball well. Brewer’s fairly athletic and has some pop but lacks a defined position and profiles best as a utilityman. Subscribers can visit that whole list here.
Speaking of summer ball, 2007 Alaska League top prospect Nick Buss, an outfielder out of Southern California, went to the Dodgers with the 247th pick
• Two big league progeny picks in the eighth round as Jeremy Farrell goes to the Pirates and Jeremy Barfield goes to the Athletics. Farrell’s dad John pitched in the majors for the Indians and Angels and now is the Red Sox’ pitching coach. Farrell entered Virginia as a third baseman but played mostly first this past season and has had injury issues in college. Barfield’s dad Jesse played for the Jays and Yankees in the ’80s, and Jeremy turned down the Mets as a ninth-round pick two years ago.
• Pacific Northwest run around picks 259 through 266. Righthander Christian Scholl went to the Angels at 259, and he probably had the best arm in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC), though it’s a squatter, short body at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds. Three picks later, the Red Sox took righty Michael Lee, a NWAACC alum who transferred as a junior to NAIA Oklahoma City. Lee has solid-average fastball velocity and offers projection for a college junior.
Then in the ninth round, two former teammates went within two picks of each other. Matt Hague, who transferred from Washington to Oklahoma State as a senior, moved up from the 11th round last year. The Pirates took him at pick 264. Two spots later, Washington lefty Nick Haughian became the first Husky off the board. Haughian has a power slider he picked up this season and a fastball that has reached 92 mph.
• Western Nevada represent: current WNCC freshman Kyle Farrell went to the Braves in the ninth round, and the Braves took WNCC’s top alum, Cole Rohrbaugh, and signed him as a draft-and-follow last year. Rohrbaugh’s former teammate, RHP Stephen Sauer, went in the 10th round to the White Sox. Sauer’s fastball has better present velocity than Farrell’s when he’s healthy, hitting 93 mph with sink. Farrell has a strong, big body and a projectable arm action and should improve on his 87-90 mph fastball, and scouts consider his spike curveball at least average if not better.
• Personal favorite Gabe Jacobo lasted until the 10th round, and the Angels drafted him as a third baseman as expected. Jacobo was the No. 4 prospect in the Alaska League last summer and has legit power, but scouts had not had much of a chance to evaluate him on the left side of the infield, as Sacramento State used him mostly at first base or left field. Alaska’s No. 10 prospect last summer, hard-throwing lefty Jarred Holloway, went with the 10th round’s 10th pick, to Houston.
• South Carolina had an impressive day yesterday with three hitters selected early. One of their starting pitchers, lefthander Will Atwood goes today at pick 361. Atwood works off his secondary stuff and profiles as a reliever.
• Another Georgia Bulldog is selected as Ryan Peisel goes to the Rockies at 377. Peisel played at third base, accompanying Gordon Beckham on the left side of the UGA infield this season. Peisel is a scrappy, do what you need to win type player, but doesn’t have a tool that particularly stands out.
• Kentucky prep righthander Daniel Webb is finally scooped up as the Diamondbacks take him with their 12th round pick. Webb is a flamethrowing starting pitcher committed to Kentucky. He is considered one of the top prep pitching prospects in the country but has major signability question marks. Several Wildcats recruits, such as Andy Burns and Alex Meyer, have dropped, and there was word that Kentucky’s recruits had talked to each other and made a pact that they would go to school unless they received first-round money.
• Righty Dexter Carter goes in the 13th-round to the White Sox and is a guy to watch over the next few years. Carter throws hard and has a projectable 6-feet-6, 200 pound frame but was erratic this season for Old Dominion, posting an 8.64 ERA. He flashes lightning stuff but hasn’t been able to put it all together. He is a low risk but high reward pick at 390.
• Navy righthander Mitch Harris, who was considered one of the better college pitching prospects in this draft at the beginning of the season, goes to the Cardinals at 395. Harris has been a do it all guy for Navy in his three years there, winning games on the mound and hitting home runs at the plate. Harris injured his shoulder in the preseason rounding first base after hitting a home run in an intra-squad scrimmage, and was not able to get back on the mound until late in the season. With the Naval Academy, Harris will have to serve in the armed forces before he is able to play in the pros, which is a reason why he slipped all the way to the 13th round.
• North Carolina closer workhorse Rob Wooten is selected by the Brewers with the 398th pick. Wooten is a senior and has led the Tar Heels in appearances over the last two years. Wooten offers a fastball that can touch average but a plus slider when he locates it and an out-pitch split. Staying in the ACC, Florida State’s Jack Rye goes to the Yankees at pick 410. Rye is a lefthanded hitting outfielder with some power and hitability. He has played for the Seminoles for four years and will be a good senior sign for the Yankees. Another closer from the ACC, Michael Schwimer from Virginia is selected by the Phillies at 436. Schwimer doesn’t project as a closer at the next level but he has pitchability and a fastball in the low 90s. He has had an outstanding year for the Cavaliers and ranked sixth in the country with 14 saves this spring.
Gonna get caught up on the blog here in a few minutes but one of our favorite players just got popped. North Pole High produces a 15th-round pick in lefthander Chris Aure, who went to the Pirates with the second pick of the round.
Aure is the best prep product from Alaska in years, probably since Chad Bentz came out of Juneau in the late 1990s. Bentz was signed out of Long Beach State and pitched briefly in the majors; Aure might be a better prospect. He’s not as physical but he has solid velocity in the mid-to-upper 80s, he’s touched the low 90s, and he’s shown solid-average secondary stuff. A 6-footer, he’s not typically projectable but he also is from the NORTH POLE. Well, not really, because North Pole, Alaska, is right around Fairbanks. But the point is, this guy has never been a full-time baseball player, and he could get a lot better with more experience.
Aure would be a perfect draft-and-follow. He committed to Cochize (Ariz.) JC after touring Arizona as a member of the Langley (B.C.) Blaze travel team, and might be a better pick after a year or two of juco ball.
• The third UGA starter goes here in the 11th round as Nathan Moreau is selected by the Orioles at 326. All three Bulldog weekend starters are eerily similar, which may be why they were all selected close to the same point in the draft.
• N.C. State toolsy outfielder Marcus Jones is selected by the Nationals at 331. Jones is an athletic, lean and wiry center fielder that can really run, catch and throw. Jones also has power at the plate, creating leverage with his long arms. This only question with him is if he will hit enough at the next level. This is a good pick for the Nationals in the 11th round, if Jones (a D.C. area native) signs.
• One of the Junior College ranks’ more intriguing guys, Devin Shepherd, is drafted by the Cardinals at 335. Shepherd has been up and down in scouts minds, ever since he came on the radar. He has the tools to play at the major league level but has just never been able to put it all together. Shepherd was introduced as a right fielder. He had big workouts in high school and got a reputation as a showcase performer and had excellent workouts this week for the Cardinals, hitting nine home runs with a wood bat according to one source.
• Florida prep shortstop Rolando Gomez finally gets drafted as the Angels select him with the 349th pick. Gomez is a flashy middle infielder from Florida with real defensive ability. He is a diminutive 5-feet-7, 150 pounds, but has smooth actions in the field and live hands at the plate. Gomez is a lefthanded hitter and can really fly down the line.
It’s that time of year when the subject that has dominated so many people’s lives here at Baseball America over the past several months gains national headlines. Yes, everyone is talking about the draft, and below is a roundup of coverage from newspapers around the country.
Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison waited until Wednesday night to finally decide on selecting Tim Beckham with the No. 1 overall pick, but really, our man Marc Topkin writes, Beckham had the Rays convinced at hello. Kyle Lobstein’s stock may have dropped when his velocity dipped, but the Rays were still thrilled to get him with their No. 2 pick.
Family and friends packed into the family apartment in Upper Manhattan to celebrate Pedro Alvarez’s selection by the Pirates as the No. 2 overall pick. Alvarez was surrounded by friends dating back to his days when he dominated the local Little League. "He was the only guy who could hit the ball over every single tree," Elbert Garcia, his friend since elementary school, told The New York Times. Meanwhile, the Tribune Review says that Alvarez is everything the Pirates have avoided the past few drafts—and that’s a good thing. The Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are confident they will be able to meet Alvarez’s likely steep price tag.
Georgia’s first starting pitcher went off the board to the Marlins at pick 298. Holder is a righthander with an average fastball but fringe-average secondary stuff. He does have pitchability and a solid track record as he was one of the best pitchers in the Cape Cod League last summer. He will be starting for the Bulldogs this weekend as they host N.C. State in a super-regional.
Toolsy outfielder Rashun Dixon goes to the A’s at 304. Dixon is a two sport star and signing the Terry HS native will be a challenge.
Holder’s teammate on the UGA staff Stephen Dodson is selected by the Rockies at pick 317. Dodson is similar to Holder in that his fastball is average and his secondary stuff is not so great. Dodson has been pretty ordinary this season, starting on Saturday’s for the Bulldogs.
The Clemson Tigers see their first player selected as righthander D.J. Mitchell is picked by the Yankees at 320. Mitchell is a 6-foot starter throwing close to 90 mph but with tremendous life and sink. Mitchell was the ace of a Tiger team that had a disappointing season this year, missing regional play for the first time after 21 consecutive trips.
The first name in the ninth round that grabs attention is the Reds’ pick at 269, selecting Coastal Carolina outfielder David Sappelt. The conference player of the year as a sophomore, Sappelt is an athletic center fielder with speed and pop in the bat. Sappelt is the leadoff hitter for a Chanticleer offense that is headed to the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend against North Carolina.
Senior RHP Ryan Strauss, selected by the White Sox with the next pick (270) will also be in a Super Regional this weekend, playing for Florida State. Strauss has been the Seminoles best relief pitcher this season, throwing in the low-90s with a solid breaking ball.
The Dodgers took lefthanded power-hitting first baseman Steven Caseres with the 277th pick. Caseres hass a big 6-foot-4 body with plenty of raw power. However, Caseres is limited to first base and has hittability concerns.
Cody Overbeck was Ole Miss’s best hitter this year and was selected by the Phillies at pick 286. A third baseman in college, Overbeck may have to make a move to second base at the pro level. Overbeck has the ability to hit for power but concerns scouts with the fact that he has an arm-bar hitch in his swing, making it difficult to hit upper-level fastballs.
The Blue Jays get good value in the ninth round, taking catcher Antonio Jimenez from Puerto Rico. Jimenez, who ranked as Baseball America’s No. 200 draft prospect, had a chance to go much higher were it not for an elbow injury just before the draft that cast doubts in teams’ eyes about how it would affect a player whose value is heavily dependent upon his premium defensive skills.
Prior to the injury, there was talk that Jimenez would be the first player from Puerto Rico to be selected, but strong showcase performances last month from Puerto Rican outfielders Danny Ortiz and Javier Rodriguez catapulted their stock ahead of Jimenez’s. When healthy, Jimenez shows his athleticism behind the plate in his blocking and receiving skills, while his plus arm was also a standout tool. There are still some questions about the bat—though it’s hard to find a catcher without questions about the bat—but he does have some raw power.
If his elbow heals, the Blue Jays will have made a nice pick here in the ninth round.
It looks like Rayan Gonzalez’s drop in velocity last month has hurt his draft stock, dropping him from potentially the top pitcher to be selected to still on the board with two Puerto Rican pitchers already gone.
Gonzalez was the ace of the Puerto Rico junior national team, where he pitched at 88-92 mph, but he struggled mightily last month at the biggest showcase for Puerto Rico prospects before the draft, as his velocity dropped about four mph and he got hit around pretty well.
While Gonzalez is still available, the Phillies made righthander Julio Rodriguez the first Puerto Rican pitcher selected this year, taking him in the eighth round. Rodriguez has the size that scouts love at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and projects to have a plus fastball.
But the most interesting Puerto Rican pitcher is little lefthander Luis Cruz, who went in the ninth round to the Astros. Cruz is 5-foot-9, which immediately leads scouts to project him as a future reliever, but he likely has the best pitches on the island. He has a quality three-pitch mix, working off a quality fastball, curveball and changeup.
• Two Auburn players were just selected as outfielder Mike Biannucci and leftthander Evan Crawford each go in the eighth round. Bianucci is thought to have big power potential but not much hittability. He’s very strong but lacks fluidity in his swing. Crawford has a power arm and thrived in the bullpen this year after his poor command hindered him as a starter.
• The Univeristy of Virginia’s Friday night starter Pat McAnaney was just selected by the Diamondbacks with the 258th pick. Lefthanded, McAnaney was the best starter for the Cavaliers all season and works off a fastball-changeup mix.
Here are the 101-200 position players who were still on the board when day two began.
101. Brandon Miller: After a strong senior season, Miller is considered one of the top high school catching prospects in the southeast. The aggressive hitter is a Georgia signee.
108. Ricky Oropesa: The exciting two-way player caught scouts’ eyes early, but struggled a bit after establishing himself as a potential first-rounder. His draft status took a hit when he was showcased against quality pitching.
111. Ben McMahan: The state of Florida’s best defensive catcher is a natural leader on the field. But the Univ. of Florida signee is also a strong student, and signability likely caused him to slip a long way.
130. Brent Warren: The outfielder from Iowa has a sweet left-handed swing and above-average speed. But he also has a commitment to Oregon State and the potential to be a two-way player there.
132. Adam Smith: Smith was expected to be signable if he was drafted in the first five rounds. After that, it becomes much more likely he’ll attend Texas A&M, where his father Barry went.
135. Rolando Gomez: An undersized middle infielder, the defensive-minded Gomez might need to develop his bat if he moves to second base in the big leagues. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll have that chance at Miami.
138. Wesley Freeman: Freeman represents a prototypical package of five raw tools. A hitch in his swing has scouts concerned, though, which might have taken him out of the first day of the draft. He’s a Central Florida signee.
140. Zach Wilson: Clubs will have to weigh the downsides–a high price tage to buy him out of his Arizona State commitment–with the upside–a sweet swing that packs a punch to all fields.
146. Jack Martin: Unsteady mechanics and wildly inconsistent command has concerned scouts regarding Martin, a lefthander with a hard curveball.
155. J.P. Ramirez: The undersized outfielder’s true value and signability have raised concerns. He lacks raw power for a corner outfield position and the speed to play center, so teams are unlikely to lure him away from Tulane.
157. Jarrod McKinney: A pure athlete, McKinney wants third-round money to sign. But a lack of competition in the Texas 3-A level has dropped him out of that range, leaving signability concerns. [...] Continue Reading »
The second day of the draft is underway as the Tampa Bay Rays made outfielder Jason Corder from Long Beach State the first pick of the seventh round. He’s got big-time raw power and hit 13 homers this spring at spacious Blair Field.
• Pepperdine had two of its top players fall to the seventh round due to injuries. Wave righthander Brett Hunter didn’t stay around long on Day two as the A’s just selected him with their first pick in the seventh round. Scouts say Hunter has a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow; at least that’s what the medical report says now. More likely, closer inspection could reveal a tear, and many scouts think Hunter will need Tommy John surgery. In the seventh round, it’s worth the risk, as he has one of the draft’s best arms when healthy.
Another player who’s draft stock plummeted due to injury, outfielder Eric Thames was selected by the Blue Jays with the 219th pick. Thames’ injury has been reported as a muscle that separated from his hip bone, which sounds awfully painful.
• Outfielder Tim Fedroff, is the University of North Carolina’s first player to be selected as the Inidans select him with their seventh round pick. Another Tim from UNC, goes next to the Red Sox with pick 232. The Red Sox were known to have been interested in Federowicz to help their catching situation in the minors, and apparently got their guy. Federowicz has improved his catch-and-throw skills, has a plus-plus arm and some power, though he had a down spring offensively.
Fedroff is a draft-eligible sophomore with a big price tag, which caused his draft stock to slip. Last weekend in the NCAA Regional, Fedroff went 9 for 11 and named the Cary Regional MVP, and his 12 homers leads the second-ranked Tar Heels.
• Outfielder Isaac Galloway is finally selected with the No. 238 pick to the Marlins. Galloway was regarded as one of the top high school prospects in the country to start the season.
Although signability concerns did not have as much of an impact on this year’s first round as it has in other recent drafts, it does still explain why 14 of Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects are still on the board as the second day of the draft begins.
The majority of players sliding down draft boards are high school pitchers who may prove too expensive to buy out of their college commitments. A pair of Pepperdine products also fell because of injury concerns.
Righthander Alex Meyer (pictured at right) is BA’s highest rated player (25th on our Top 200 Prospects Rankings) still on the board as day two of the draft begins. Meyer’s lanky 6’7” frame and his repeatable delivery makes him a premium prospect, but he is advised by Scott Boras and has a solid commitment to Kentucky.
Righthander Daniel Webb (48) is considered to have the strongest arm out of all Kentucky pitchers, but isn’t as polished as first day selections Christian Friedrich and Robbie Ross. Coming into the draft Webb was considered signable, but his commitment to Kentucky is looking stronger as he slips into the second day.
Righthander Brett Hunter (51) was considered one of the top college pitching prospects heading into the 2008 season, but arm soreness wiped out much of his spring season. His unorthodox mechanics don’t ease scout’s concern about his health issues, nor do command problems that have plagued him in the past. [...] Continue Reading »
No club was more aggressive in the Northeast on Thursday than Boston, which used its final three picks of the first day on intriguing talents in their home region. In Peter Hissey, Ryan Westmoreland and Ryan Lavarnway, Boston landed the three highest-ranked position players in the Northeast (after first-rounder Anthony Hewitt), but none of them figures to be an easy sign.
The Sox have been aggressive signing Northeast high schoolers regarded as tough signs after the early rounds before; two years ago they grabbed New Jersey prep outfielder Ryan Kalish in the ninth round and bought him out of a commitment to Virginia with a $600,000 bonus. There are a lot of parallels between Kalish and Boston’s fourth-rounder this year, Pennsylvania prep outfielder Peter Hissey. Like Kalish, Hissey is a Virginia signee who is likely to command an above-slot bonus to keep him out of school. They’re even similar players: above-average runners with solid line-drive strokes and untapped average raw power, though one scout from another organization said he believes Hissey has more power potential and was a more interesting prospect than Kalish. [...] Continue Reading »
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