The most intriguing pick of this round range goes to Toronto's 29th-round pick, Brigham Young's Taylor Cole. A 6-foot-1, 180-pound righthander, Cole ranked No. 79 on BA's Top 200 back in 2007, when he was a star at shortstop and pitcher for Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High. Cole's combination of arm strength and athleticism was attractive to scouts, but they had a hard time getting a read on his signability and willingness to delay his Mormon mission trip. After a year at CC of Southern Nevada, Cole took his mission trip, spending two years away from baseball completely while working in Toronto.
He returned to front BYU's rotation this spring, going 5-5, 2.95 with just 67 strikeouts in 93 innings. His fastball still touched 94 mph early but he lost velocity as the year went on. He actually was drafted six spots after Cougars righty Matthews Neil, who has profile size at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds but who's also 24.
On to the other highlights:
• Round 26: The Tigers drafted Florida Southern second baseman Colin Kaline, grandson of Hall of Famer Al Kaline . . . The Phillies drafted Oklahoma ace Michael Rocha, a short righthander who went 10-3, 1.75 as the Sooners' ace. He walked just 17 in 113 innings.
• Round 27: The Brewers drafted 6-foot-8 righthander Chad Thompson out of Orange Coast (Calif.) JC. A redshirt freshman, Thompson was a Top 200 candidate in 2009 before injuring his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery in May '09. He was originally committed to Arizona State but wound up at Orange Coast, flashing 95 mph fastball velocity at times. At others, he sat in the mid-80s as he continues his surgery recovery . . . The Mariners took one of the top Division III prospects in the draft in righthander David Colvin out of Pomona Pitzer (Calif.). He has a fringy fastball and slider that he uses to set up his fine changeup.
• Round 28: We're calling this the SoCon round, as the most interesting players in the round played at Southern Conference schools. Elon righthanders Ken Ferrer went to the Nationals while erstwhile closer Thomas Girdwood went to the Athletics. Ferrer has a fastball that sits 90-94, though he lacks pitchability or a putaway pitch; he had 157 strikeouts in 216 innings the last three seasons. Girdwood can have electric stuff from a low, nearly sidearm slot at times, but loses command when he loses his release point. The senior saved 27 games his first two seasons but just 10 the last two years as his command woes never abated. He wound up starting in 2011, going 4-5, 3.39 overall. Citadel senior lefty Matt Talley, a rotation workhorse the last two seasons who has an average fastball and good size at 6-foot-6, went to the Braves.
• Round 29: The Royals took the round's top talent in righthander Jake Junis, a member of N.C. State's impressive recruiting class. He's a basketball-baseball two-sport athlete with an athletic, projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame and three average pitches, with his curve showing plus potential . . . The Brewers drafted David Lucroy, younger brother of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, as a righthander out of Umatila (Fla.) High.
• Round 30: Keeping with the bloodlines theme, Milwaukee drafted the son of agent Scott Boras, third baseman Trent Boras out of JSerra High in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. . . . The Nationals kept Bryce Harper happy by drafted his older brother, lefthander Bryan Harper, out of South Carolina, where he's a situational reliever . . . The most intriguing talent in the round is Lamar (Colo.) JC righthander Arturo Maltos-Garcia, who was going to be picked earlier before an arm injury in the junior-college postseason. When healthy, Maltos-Garcia showed a 90-92 mph fastball and plus 12-to-6 hammer curve.
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