The Dodgers drafted Nick Akins and it’s the third time he’s been drafted. The Dodgers were the team that initially took a chance on him out of high school, in the 13th-round of 2006, but he didn’t sign. Then the Nationals took him in the 20th round last year, but he didn’t sign that time either. Akins hit .314 this spring and led NAIA Vanguard with 13 home runs and 15 doubles. Akins is now a left fielder with the same strengths and weaknesses as before. His sculpted build can produce massive home runs, but his inability to handle breaking and offspeed stuff frustrates scouts as much now as it did when he was a showcase star in high school. Always a tough sign, Akins has only one more year of draft eligibilty remaining, so his window may be closing. Maybe the third time’s a charm.
After going with Deven Marrero the round before, the Reds took a chance on another highly-ranked Florida high school shortstop, this time with Gulliver Prep’s Stephen Perez. Perez has more present hitting ability than Marrero, showing off his surprising pop last summer during the home run derby prior to the Under Armour/Baseball Factor all-star game. Perez also has some juice from both sides of the plate, as he’s quick to the ball, balanced in his stance and athletic. Perez has a 60 arm that should be sufficient for shortstop. The only negatives for the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder are his lack of physical projection and big man’s hitting approach. At times, Perez has too much power for his own good, as he fares better when he uses the whole field. He’s a fringe-average runner, and while his arm profiles at shortstop, his range fits better at second. Like Marrero, he could end up in college at Miami.
[...] Continue Reading »
Lots of big names in the 17th round, of all places. Shortstop Deven Marrero hails from American Heritage High in Florida and is close friends with Royals prospect Eric Hosmer, his former teammate. The Reds selected Marrero, who is a very smooth fielder, but there are questions about his bat and he has made it clear to teams that he wants to attend Arizona State next year.
Surprise, surprise: the White Sox picked another toolsy outfielder in Rocky Mount (N.C.) High’s Brian Goodwin. But, as it may turn out, their 17th-round selection may end up being better than their first rounder, Jared Mitchell. Goodwin didn’t have a knockout spring and scared teams off when he chose Scott Boras Corp. as his advisers. Don’t be surprised if he ends up patrolling center field for the Tar Heels next season.
The Yankees took a shot on El Toro High righthander Chad Thompson. As you may remember, Thompson went under the knife for Tommy John surgery in early May. The 6-foot-8 righthander was highly touted coming into the year and if they want to buy him out of Arizona State and wait for him to heal, he could be a bargain in the 17th round.
The Red Sox picked one of the most interesting pitchers in my coverage area this year in Oregon State lefthander Kraig Sitton. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, the draft-eligible sophomore is rail thin. He started last summer in the West Coast Collegiate League but has been used sparingly by the Beavers. He pitched 25 innings last year and just 20 this spring. Believers see a late bloomer who could end up as a starter with a couple of winters in a professional weight room. Others aren’t sure he’ll ever fill out and see him as a bullpen specialist at best.
We rank the best tools in the draft but, unfortunately, we don’t have a "Best Mustache" category. If we did, the leader of the pack would likely be Pepperdine righthander Nathan Newman, who was the Tigers’ 17th-round pick.
Round 16 had two interesting players from Florida and two from California.
We ranked Florida center fielder Matt den Dekker as the 94th-best prospect heading into the draft, but he lasted until the 475th pick. He’s an excellent defender with plus range, he tracks balls well and plays hard. A preseason second-team All-American, den Dekker played for USA Baseball’s college national team last summer, hitting just .229 with one homer, and his offensive production has faltered this spring as well, making his draft position murky. Scouts still like his swing and struggle to explain his difficult season, as he was hitting .305 and slugging just .435 through 49 games. He could sign for above-slot money if the Pirates were serious about using the money saved from taking Tony Sanchez fourth overall throughout the rest of the draft.
In our final Draft Tracker before the big day, I noted that Scooter Gennett was trending down—and that’s the direction he headed, right down to the 16th round, when the Brewers took a shot on him with the 496th-overall selection. In Sebring, he looked a little sloppy in the field and didn’t hit well with wood. He’ll likely end up at Florida State, where he’ll be draft eligible again as a sophomore.
On the other side of the country, Diablo Valley (Calif.) CC’s Ryan Palsha is a 6-foot-2 righthander that is long and loose. He throws an 88-91 mph fastball and a big curveball. He’s agressive with his stuff and throws strikes, but is still a little raw. Bill and Ted’s favorite pick would have to be San Dimas High catcher Josh Leyland. BA bird dog Dave Perkin is a fan of the 6-foot-3, 225-pound backstop that ranked as our 145th-best prospect heading into the draft. Perkin wrote that, while Leyland needs some work behind the plate, he is one of the most mature and fundamentally-sound hitters in the state of California. The A’s picked Leyland as one of four quality catchers they popped over the first two days and he is committed to Washington State.
Mitchell High lefthander Patrick Schuster—he of the four consecutive no-hitters this spring—finally gets drafted, by the Diamondbacks. Schuster has some funk in his delivery, but throws in the upper 80s to low 90s with a good breaking ball and finds ways to miss bats. This is lower than Schuster was expected to go based on talent, so it’s likely he’ll head to Florida, as part of their strong recruiting class.
It was a down year for Idaho, but two players from The Gem State shined in the 13th round. JC of Southern Idaho righthander Tyler Curtis has a big body and he’ll need to watch his weight, but offers a fastball that’s been up as high as 94 mph this spring. He was picked by the Marlins. Lewis-Clark senior outfielder Sean Halton put up some impressive numbers for the Warriors this year and has some power, though his swing is stiff and he’s limited to a corner outfield spot. The Brewers selected him with the 406th-overall pick.
[...] Continue Reading »
Everyone here’s still entering rounds and putting the print magazine to bed, but now it’s time to pick back up with some blog thoughts. I’m on the even rounds, starting with Round 12.
• Nathan Karns, rhp, Nationals. Karns was a 10th-round pick out of high school and touched 94 mph at times at North Carolina State, then wound up transferring and just couldn’t put things together at Texas Tech. If he returns for his senior season, he could be part of a power rotation with potential 2010 first-rounder Chad Bettis.
• Jeffrey Inman, rhp, Pirates. Another former Cape League prospect, Inman had a late-season shoulder injury and a 2-6, 6.11 record this year that caused teams to have no idea what the real Inman is. He’s had success in the past, helping pitch the Cardinal to Omaha last season while going 7-2, 4.27. On balance, though, Inman has been more about potential than performance since his days as a high-rated prep pitcher in Bakersfield. Maybe this is a spot where the Pirates spend some of the money they saved by drafting Tony Sanchez at No. 4 overall. [...] Continue Reading »
The second day of the draft—which consisted of rounds 4 through 30—is in the bag, so to speak. We’re bustling around trying to get the magazine off to the printers and feeding the beast that is the Draft Database. We haven’t forgotten about the Draft Blog, though, so stay tuned for more round-by-round analysis.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the draft started, and a first-rounder already has signed. Stanford righthander Drew Storen, the No. 10 overall pick, has agreed to terms with the Nationals for a $1.6 million bonus.
Washington received the No. 10 pick as compensation for not signing first-rounder Aaron Crow last year, but wouldn’t have gotten another choice had it failed to sign this one. It was no secret that the Nationals were going to take a player they’d be confident in signing. Storen had extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore, but he also went as high as he could have gone after projecting to go in the late first or sandwich rounds.
Last year’s No. 10 choice, Stanford catcher Jason Castro, signed with the Astros for MLB’s slot recommendation of $2.07 million. Commissioner Bud Selig has slashed slots by 10 percent this year.
• East Carolina’s Ryan Wood (who just might grace the college All-America team as a second baseman when it is released tomorrow) was drafted in the 11th round by the Royals—as a righthanded pitcher. Wood pitched just four innings this year, but he has flashed power stuff at times, particularly in fall ball, running his fastball up to 94 mph. He could take off once he focuses on pitching for real.
• A number of college corner infielders with average or better power but few other tools were drafted in the 11th: Cincinnati’s Mike Spina (Athletics), Mississippi State’s Connor Powers (Dodgers), Louisiana State’s Sean Ochinko (Blue Jays), Tulane’s Sam Honeck (Mets) and Arizona’s Dillon Baird (Angels).
• My vote for best pick in the 11th: Oklahoma State outfielder Neil Medchill, who went to the Yankees at No. 345 overall. The No. 160 prospect on our Top 200, Medchill was expected to go around the third round thanks to his solid tools across the board and big-time lefthanded power potential. The Yankees have taken a number of talented college players who have slipped for one reason or another (Medchill, Tyler Lyons, Gavin Brooks and Graham Stoneburner), and it will be interesting to see how aggressively they attempt to sign those players.
Coming into the season, Jeff Inman was regarded as one of the top juniors in the country. Even after a so-so sophomore year, where he want 7-2, 4.27 with just 45 strikeouts and 29 walks over 72 innings, Inman was considered a first-day pick because he threw 94-96 mph when he was right. The problem is, he wasn’t right this year. Late in the season, Inman told a group of scouts that he been pitching through shoulder tendinitis for six or seven weeks. On the season, he went 2-6, 6.11 with 33 strikeouts and 19 walks over 53 innings. If Inman recovers, the Pirates could get a 12th-round steal, but he could easily opt to head back to Stanford and give it another go.
Two more pitchers who were projected as potential first-round picks at some point in 2009 went off the board in the 10th. The Athletics took South Carolina flamethrower Sam Dyson with pick No. 303, and the Yankees grabbed Oklahoma State lefty Tyler Lyons 12 picks later.
Dyson ranked as the top prospect in the Palmetto State this year (No. 38 on our top 200), and we expected him to be drafted no later than the second round. A survivor of labrum and knee surgeries, Dyson has one of the draft’s best power arms, but spotty command led to an up-and-down redshirt sophomore season this spring (9-4, 5.21). He was overpowering at times, running his fastball up to 98 mph and flashing an above-average power curveball. The combination of Dyson’s high pricetag and his checkered medical history were the biggest reasons for his slide, and it will be a surprise if the A’s open up the checkbook to sign him as a 10th-rounder. [...] Continue Reading »
A pair of Rice players went back-to-back early in round nine, as the Pirates took scrappy second baseman Brock Holt at No. 265, and the Orioles took righthander Ryan Berry at 266. If the draft were held in early to mid-March, Berry would have been a late first-round pick; he was utterly dominant over three straight complete games, and scouts at the Houston College Classic in February raved about his fastball command and life, as well as his secondary stuff. But his stock sank when he was sidelined with a muscle strain in his shoulder. He returned down the stretch and pitched well for the Owls, but he did not show the same fastball velocity. Still, there’s no reason to believe Berry’s shoulder woes will be permanent, and getting a borderline first-round talent in the ninth round is pretty good.
In that same vein, how about Baylor righty Kendal Volz going 288th to the Red Sox? Volz was projected as a potential top 10 overall pick heading into the spring following his dominant summer for Team USA, during which he ran his heavy fastball up to 95 mph and showed a good low-80s slider. But his stuff regressed dramatically this spring, and he was one of the more disappointing players in the nation, on one of the more disappointing teams in the nation. Like Berry, though, Volz has already shown glimpses of his potential, making it easier to dream on him. It will be interesting to see how motivated Volz is to sign; surely it will take an above-slot bonus, but the Red Sox might have gotten a gift if Volz is ready to put his Baylor career in the rear-view mirror.
• A pair of versatile, athletic college center fielders went back-to-back at picks No. 209 and 210. First the Reds took Cal State Fullerton star Josh Fellhauer, and the Tigers followed by popping Oklahoma’s Jamie Johnson with the next pick. Both of these guys are outstanding baseball players with good speed, the ability to make consistent contact and excellent baseball instincts. Both were available in the seventh round because both are sub-six-footers, but both could wind up being steals.
• Speaking of potential steals and college outfielders, the Indians pick Mississippi center fielder Jordan Henry at No. 215. Like Fellhauer and Johnson, Henry is a bit undersized (6-foot), but he might actually profile better than that duo because his speed is a premium tool, and his defense has a chance to be as well. We rated Henry as the No. 131 prospect in the draft, so he looks like a strong value at 215. [...] Continue Reading »
In high school Jake Locker fell to the 40th round because teams believed that he was set to head to Washington as a football player. Scouts were right, as Locker spurned the Angels to head to the Huskies, where he’s become the team’s starting quarterback. But he did play in the West Coast Collegiate League last summer, which was enough to entice scouts again.
The Angels must feel they have a better chance of signing Locker this time, as they took him with the last pick of the 10th round. If he can be induced to sign, he is a top-flight talent who has drawn some Matt Holliday comps, but it will be tough, even if Washington was 0-12 last year, because Locker has his sights set on the NFL.
Going to have to finish putting out a magazine here in a minute and pass the blogging baton to Aaron Fitt & Conor Glassey. Before I go:
• The Braves take a fascinating sixth-rounder in righthander Ryan Woolley, who didn’t pitch this year at UAB after transferring from Georgia. Woolley was involved in an auto accident in 2008 in the Cape Cod League that injured former North Carolina pitcher B.J. Dail, who wound up transferring to Division II Mt. Olive (N.C.). Woolley didn’t pitch this spring for UAB. We hope to have more later.
• Shocked that Zach Von Rosenberg lasted until the sixth round, where the Pirates took him. Hey, Pirates fans, we like this pick! Now get him signed away from LSU . . . [...] Continue Reading »
• College run at the top of the round, with no pick that jumps out other than catcher/1B Jason Hagerty (Miami) going third overall to the Padres. He was more of a 6-to-10 consensus guy but has a pretty polished bat and is a good value if he can catch.
• Texas’ regional hero Austin Wood—he of the 169-pitch game—goes fifth round to the Tigers.
• The Rockies step in with another fascinating pick, Auburn infielder Joseph Sanders. Before an April broken jaw that wiped out all but the final weekend of the season for him, Sanders had a great spring, whacking 18 homers and keeping pace with Kent Matthes for much of the season. Sanders has athletic ability and could stay in the infield; again, nice value.
• The Indians pop NAIA righty Austin Adams, who moves up 22 rounds from last year’s draft spot. We profiled Adams earlier this spring on the blog.
• Big 12 player of the year J.T. Wise, a catcher out of Oklahoma, goes to the Dodgers.
• The Cardinals pop preseason All-America shortstop Ryan Jackson, who had a brutal year with the bat for Miami. His Hurricanes teammate, closer Kyle Bellamy, went four picks later to the White Sox.
• Tough sign alert—Vanderbilt eligible sophomore righthander Caleb Cotham went to the Yankees near the end of the fifth. Cotham made some money with a complete game effort in the Louisville regional. At his best, he’s a power sinker-slider pitcher, with his slider reaching 87 mph in shorter outings.
• The Brewers pop Florida State outfielder (and former quarterback) D’Vontrey Richardson. He’s going to need some time but has undeniable athleticism.
• The Rays take Las Vegas prep slugger Jeff Malm, who led Bishop Gorman High to four straight state titles.
With their sixth-round pick, the Texas Rangers took a familiar name: Ruben Sierra Jr. He’s another high-upside pick for the Rangers, who are having a great draft so far. Ruben’s father started his career with the Rangers and spent 10 years with the organization over three stints.
A year ago, the Kansas City Royals set a draft record by spending $11.1 in bonuses, largely because they were willing to draft and sign players like Tim Melville, a first-round talent who slipped to the fourth round because of his bonus demands.
This year, it appears that Kansas City is again willing to spend to sign its draft class. Aaron Crow, the team’s first pick, should land a solid but not record-setitng deal, but the team’s next two picks are both players who will likely command above-slot bonuses. [...] Continue Reading »
Teams had all morning to re-size their boards, see who was available and contact players and their advisers about what it would take to sign. Now we’re going to see some interesting picks.
The round is flying by, some quick thoughts:
• The A’s take Max Stassi, top talent left on our board; will he give them a NorCal discount?
• The Padres may have made noise about disagreeing with BA ranking their system 29th out of 30 in our Prospect Handbook, but we did so due to a lack of high ceiling athletes. Suddenly the Padres are drafting nothing but athletes in the ’09 draft. Yesterday it was Donavan Tate and Everett Williams as prep outfielders with five-tool potential. Today it’s hard-throwing righthander Keyvius Sampson, whose signability was tough to gauge because he didn’t have an adviser, instead having his adopted father handle negotiations. [...] Continue Reading »
One of the biggest surprises on day one was a name that wasn’t called: Max Stassi. So, heading into day two, the Yuba City (Calif.) HS catcher, who ranked 30th on our latest Top 100, will be the best talent on the board. He could now be a tough pry away from UCLA, though he was still in good spirits when I caught up with him this evening.
"I don’t know," Stassi said about why he wasn’t selected on the first day of the draft. "I was expecting to go off the board pretty high too. The thing about signability was that I didn’t really put out too high a number. I stuck out a solid number, but I felt it was fine. Whatever happens happens and I’m perfectly fine right now and I’m excited to see what’s coming. Hopefully I’ll be picked on day two."
Stassi would not disclose his asking price.
"I’m keeping that number close to me and my family and my adviser," he said. "We have a number and I wouldn’t say it’s outrageous, but if I don’t get it, or if they negotiate around it, I’m happy to go to UCLA. Whatever happens happens and I’m happy either way because either way I’ll be playing baseball and furthering my career."
Stassi got off to a sizzling start this spring, hitting .593 with nine homers in his first 21 games. For a high schooler, he’s an exceptionally advanced hitter. He attacks the ball, uses the entire field and has above-average bat speed. Defensively, Stassi is solid but not outstanding. Other catchers are superior in catch-and-throw skills, but scouts agree that Stassi should have no difficulty remaining behind the plate. A bothersome shoulder injury restricted him to DH duty for about a month, but he has since returned to catching full time. His smaller, 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame leaves questions about whether he’ll be able to hold up under the grind of catching everyday but, if not, he could move to second base and be a Dustin Pedroia or Craig Biggio-type player.
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