New Mexico outfielder Cameron Monger is one of the fastest players in the draft, but was just a role player for the Lobos this year. He’s raw at the plate, but the Padres took a chance on his tools and his Eric Byrnes-like body with their 27th-round pick.
Coco Beach lefthander Brian Johnson was another pitcher that showed well in front of about 100 scouts in Sebring a few weeks ago. He squeaked onto the back of our final Top 200 list, but fell to the 27th round and is likely headed to Florida.
Minnesota outfielder Eric Decker is one of the best pure athletes in the draft. He also plays wide receiver for the Golden Gophers and has said repeatedly that he’ll return for his senior year on the gridiron. That’s what caused him to last until the 27th round, though it could get interesting as the hometown Twins called his name.
Pepperdine second baseman Nate Simon gets a shout out on the draft blog simply because he went to Redmond (Wash.) High, my alma matter. Go Mustangs!
Rodriguez HS catcher Geno Escalante came into the year ranked as one of the Top 100 high school players in what appeared to be a stellar class for high school backstops. But he didn’t show well this spring and didn’t help his stock by giving scouts the silent treatment. He’ll likely head to Cal State Fullerton.
In the 28th round, I just like the fact that Saugus (Calif.) High righthander Kyle Hooper and Orchard Park (N.Y.) High outfielder Kyle Hoppy went back-to-back to the Pirates and Yankees, respectively. It’s too bad they didn’t end up on the same team to drive announcers nuts, but we can only hope they’ll face each other one day.
Two more Florida recruits lasted until the 29th round in Cardinal Mooney righthander Michael Heller (who was selected by the Pirates) and Mariner HS catcher Michael Zunino. Both were in BA’s Top 200 heading into the draft and Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan must be licking his chops, especially as another recruit for the Gators, Eagle’s View Academy catcher Austin Maddox, hasn’t even been picked yet.
For me, the most interesting pick of the 30th round was Shorecrest’s James Robbins from Shoreline, Wash. Robbins is built like a wrecking ball at 6-feet and 225 pounds and plays both ways. He’s intriguing on the mound because he throws 86-90 mph lefthanded. He has a heavy fastball and shows a breaking ball that has a chance to be average. Scouts who like him better as a hitter see above-average power potential because of his good bat speed. If he ends up at Washington State, he’ll continue to play both ways.
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