James Paxton will follow in Luke Hochevar, Max Scherzer and Aaron Crow's footsteps by becoming the fourth unsigned first-round or supplemental first-round pick in to pitch for a Texas-based American Association team in hopes of raising his draft stock.
But unlike the previous trio who all pitched for the Fort Worth Cats, Paxton will be pitching for the Grand Prairie AirHogs and manager Pete Incavilgia.
Paxton, the Blue Jays' supplemental first-round pick in 2009, failed to reach agreement with the team before last August's signing deadline. He originally returned to Kentucky, but the school decided to not allow him to pitch because of concerns about his eligibility. Paxton unsuccessfully sued to get back on the field with the Wildcats, then left school after his suit failed.
That's where the AirHogs enter the story. Mark Schuster, a member of Grand Prairie's ownership group, saw a story about Paxton and mentioned to Chris Carminucci, the team's director of player procurement, that it would be nice to get Paxton to Grand Prairie. Carminucci and Incaviglia both contacted people they knew with the Scott Boras Corporation (Paxton's agent) and made their pitch. [...] Continue Reading »
If Tanner Scheppers was going to give scouts a reason to draft him high in the first round, he made a pretty convincing closing argument.
In his final start for the St. Paul Saints (independent American Association), Scheppers worked five innings, allowing three hits, one run and three walks while striking out five . Extra fresh after a nine-day layoff, Scheppers was sititng at 96-97 mph for much of the game and he touched 101 mph on the Saints’ radar gun. Scouts told manager George Tsamis after the game that they had him touching 98 and 99 mph. [...] Continue Reading »
With their first few regular-season starts in the independent American Association, Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers have solidified their position in the upper half of the first round.
Crow hasn’t allowed a run in his first two starts for the Fort Worth Cats, striking out 13 in 11 innings and retiring 31 of the 38 batters he’s faced. His stuff has been nearly as good as it was when he starred at Missouri last spring—and good enough that he could go as high as No. 3 to the Padres or No. 4 to the Pirates. He’s believed to be seeking at least the $4 million his advisers, the Hendricks brothers, asked for at the Aug. 15 signing deadline last year. [...] Continue Reading »
As a pair of former college righthanders now pitching in the independent leagues as they await the June draft, it’s hard not to compare Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers. The two are both righthanders with plus fastballs (although Scheppers throws harder) and solid breaking stuff. And now they are throwing on roughly the same schedule.
In their first outings, Scheppers was clearly the sharper of the two. But this weekend while Scheppers struggled in St. Paul, Crow dominated Wichita Saturday night in an exhibition outing. Crow allowed two hits and struck out two in four scoreless innings.
"He was a lot sharper. He was around the zone a lot better," Fort Worth manager Chad Treadaway said. "That’s what I’m expecting–for him to be shaper every time out. To me he looked better as far his control." [...] Continue Reading »
In his first outing as an independent leaguer, Tanner Scheppers was unhittable. In his second outing, the indy leaguers hit back. Scheppers allowed five runs on five hits, walking two and striking out five in four innings of work in an exhibition game as St. Paul rallied to beat Winnipeg 7-5.
Scheppers is pitching in St. Paul after a shoulder injury cut his 2008 season at Fresno State short. He was still drafted by the Pirates in the second round, but Scheppers and the club couldn’t reach an aggreement on a deal before the Aug. 15 signing deadline. Scheppers signed with the Saints to get game action in front of scouts in the leadup to June’s draft. [...] Continue Reading »
In a draft where Stephen Strasburg is a clear No. 1 but no one is established as the surefire No. 2 prospect, righthanders Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers got their first opportunities to convince scouts that they should be part of the conversation.
Both were premium prospects in last year’s draft who didn’t sign, and now they’re trying to boost their stock for this year’s draft by pitching for independent minor league teams. They saw their first action in exhibition games on Monday.
Scheppers made the stronger opening statement in the independent American Association, where he’s pitching for the St. Paul Saints. He struck out the side in the first and worked four hitless innings, striking out six and walking four, against the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. He sat at 94-95 mph for much of the outing, touched 97 and 98 and broke off several hard-biting curveballs, getting a couple of called third strikes with the curve. He flashed his changeup, but mainly stuck with the breaking ball/fastball combo. [...] Continue Reading »
Major league clubs still are waiting for a player to step forward as the obvious No. 2 prospect in this draft behind San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg. Two more candidates are about to throw their hats in the ring, as righthanders Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers are about to join independent league clubs.
Crow and Scheppers both will make appearances in American Association exhibition games on Monday, with Crow taking the mound for the Fort Worth Cats and Scheppers pitching for the St. Paul Saints.
A year ago in our Draft Preview , we rated Crow (then at Missouri) as the fifth-best prospect and Scheppers (then at Fresno State) as the 10th-best in the 2008 draft, and they were the top two righthanders overall. The Nationals drafted Crow at No. 9, but his agents (the Hendricks brothers) and the club never found any common ground and ended up $500,000 part at the Aug. 15 deadline, with Crow seeking $4 million and turning down $3.5 million. Scheppers hurt his shoulder in April—with conflicting reports as to the specific injury and how it occurred—and went to the Pirates in the second round. Pittsburgh evaluated him at the end of the summer but ultimately decided not to sign him. [...] Continue Reading »
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