On Friday, we told you about John A. Logan lefthander Danny Jimenez, the top junior college prospect in Illinois this spring. Two more Midwest juco players worth watching are Allen County (Kan.) shortstop Dillon Hazlett and Iowa Western righthander Derek Landis.
Hazlett is the best position prospect in Kansas this spring–college, junior college or high school. A 6-foot-1, 191-pound sophomore, he’s an explosive athlete. He has plus speed, good actions and arm strength at shortstop, and quick hands at the plate that give him surprising pop. He’s hitting .454/.526/.754 through 40 games, with six homers and 25 steals in 26 attempts. He’ll attend North Carolina next year if he doesn’t turn pro. [...] Continue Reading »
Our Draft Preview goes to the printer not quite a month from now, so we’re working the phones frantically these days. I handle our Midwest coverage, and my goal this year is to blog an interesting note or player I learn about when I’m done with my calls each day.
The top junior college prospect in Illinois this year is John A. Logan lefthander Danny Jimenez. BA readers may remember him from our 2008 Illinois draft prospects list, where we ranked him No. 8 as a senior at St. Charles North High. Jimenez is a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder with the strength to maintain his velocity into the late innings. In a complete-game win over Lincoln Trail (Ill.) last Saturday, he was throwing 90 mph in the ninth inning.
Jimenez usually pitches from 87-91 mph with his fastball. He also has tightened up his breaking ball and gotten more comfortable with his changeup. In nine starts, he’s 4-2, 2.38 with a 72-33 K-BB ratio in 64 innings. Opponents are batting just .197 with one homer against him.
LOS ANGELES—A cursory peek at the brightly colored weather page in any national newspaper reveals the depressing news: Freezing, near-zero mercury readings throughout the Midwest and blizzards blanketing the northeast.
Not so in Southern California, as locals on Tuesday enjoyed sunny skies, mid-60s temps, and a slight breeze off of the ocean. Winter in this region requires the residents to suffer the inconvenience of being forced to wear long pants and at least one jacket or sweater. A hat is optional.
Such were the conditions as yet another spring scouting season began, with the opening of the Southern California junior college campaign. My initial foray of 2009 was to observe the tussle between Mt. San Antonio College and Orange Coast College at OCC, won 11-8 by OCC. [...] Continue Reading »
Two bits of news involving a pair of Western pitchers who were expected to be drafted highly in two weeks.
Legacy Sports Group, which is advising Fresno State righthander Tanner Scheppers, reports that Scheppers has had a more detailed examination of his troubled shoulder by Angels team doctor Dr. Lewis Yocum. While Dr. Yocum’s report hasn’t been completed, Legacy Greg Genske said Dr. Yocum assured him Scheppers did not have a stress fracture in his shoulder.
"Tanner had an MRI with a doctor in Fresno, but there was no bone scan, so there’s no way to know if there was a stress fracture—there has never been a stress fracture," Genske said. "There may be a bone bruise, but the MRI was clean. Dr. Yocum said there’s some wear and tear in the shoulder, and naturally we’re waiting to see how significant it is when he tells us the results of the examinations."
One part of the initial diagnosis remains consistent with Scheppers’ initial diagnosis of two weeks ago, when he was pronounced to be out for the season: He’s still done. Fresno State coaches said Monday that they don’t expect to have him back, and Genske said Scheppers wasn’t expected to start working his way back until late June at the earliest.
There have been twists and turns with Colby Shreve, the CC of Southern Nevada righthander who entered the year as the top junior-college pitcher in the country. The unsigned eighth-round pick of the Braves in 2007 has been sidelined of late with elbow problems, and after getting a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum that said he should be able to try the rehabilitation route, Shreve now has been diagnosed with enough ligament damage to require Tommy John surgery. His advisors at Sosnick-Cobbe confirmed the latest diagnosis.
Shreve’s draft status takes a significant hit, as his 2009 season is essentially a wash now as well. He’s committed to play college ball at Arkansas, but Shreve now has had consecutive seasons where he couldn’t make it through a full junior-college season, against hitters using wood bats.
CC of Southern Nevada righthander Colby Shreve got good news after seeking a second opinion on his injured right elbow. BA’s preseason No. 2 junior college prospect visited Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and the prognosis is much improved. Instead of a tear in a ligament in his elbow, Shreve has a strain, and Yocum recommended six weeks of rest and rehabilitation, rather than surgery.
So, Shreve’s draft stock is down but not damaged as significantly as it would have been had he required Tommy John surgery. He should be healthy enough to throw for clubs just prior to the 2008 draft, scheduled for June 5-6, and could still be a high pick and summer follow.
Shreve is an Arkansas signee, and the injury could help drive him to the four-year college route, though that seems less likely now that he doesn’t need surgery. Another Arkansas signee, Colorado prep righthander Tyler Sample, was starting to play his way out of the Razorbacks’ range. Sample, at Mullen High in Denver, debuted in mid-March and was hammered by perennial power Cherry Creek High, but his fastball touched 93 mph that night, and he’s been excellent since then. He has a 17-strikeouts game to his credit and has held his above-average velocity deep into games, showing he’s all the way back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss his sophomore season in high school.
A couple of top pitching prospects for the upcoming draft each had recent scares—one of which could be season ending and the other not even a black eye.
Colby Shreve, arguably the nation’s top junior college pitching prospect, has missed his last two starts with an elbow injury, and rumblings in the scouting community were that he is going to need Tommy John surgery. Shreve is seeking a second opinion from Los Angeles Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum.
For the second year in a row, Shreve started the season out strong only to be set back. This season, Shreve had compiled a record of 5-1, 2.30 in eight starts, including three complete games. He had held opposing batters to a .146 batting averaging and struck out 43 in 47 innings pitched.
Shreve’s last start on March 21 may have been an indicator of his elbow problems. His normally low 90′s velocity was noticeably lower as Shreve allowed seven earned runs in three innings pitched. He also walked four and only struck out two in his only loss of the season.
An unsigned eighth-round draft pick by the Braves last year, Shreve is signed to play baseball at Arkansas in ’09. Before this injury, it was improbable Shreve would make it to the four year school as he was more than likely to be selected in the first 50 picks of this year’s draft. However, with elbow surgery looming, his draft stock is inevitably going to fall.
The nation’s No. 1 high school pitching prospect had a little better luck in his visit to the local physicians. While playing floor hockey in gym class on Monday, righthander Tim Melville was hit in the right eye with a stray puck, sending him to the doctor’s office. Melville was forced to miss his start that evening.
"It’s a very small bruised retina," Melville said. "I played yesterday and everything is normal. It’s just one of those things you have to get checked out."
The incident might not have grabbed as much attention as it did had Melville’s team not been playing Howell High, a highly touted and undefeated team from St. Charles, Mo. Melville is now scheduled to make his next start on Saturday.
After starting slow, Melville has shown increased arm strength and command. In his last start, Melville took a no-hitter to the last strike of the game in which he hung a curveball, allowing a single. His fastball velocity peaked at 94 and never dipped below 90.
Melville is committed to the University of North Carolina and is projected to be a first-round draft pick come June.
Contributing: John Manuel.
Baseball America has told Nick Akins’ story once before, and it’s a story that keeps developing. Akins did not play in 2006, yet was the Dodgers’ 13th-round pick that year anyway. A draft-and-follow, he shook off some rust at Riverside (Calif.) CC in 2007, but wasn’t a consistent regular. His inexperience and raw skills also showed in the West Coast Collegiate League over the summer; he hit three homers for the Corvallis Knights, second on the team, but also struck out 40 times and hit .227 in 110 at-bats.
Akins remains one of the most talented players in Juco ball, however, and BA’s Prospects Plus scout, Dave Perkin, checked him out this Tuesday and sent in this report: [...] Continue Reading »
It appeared the Padres and righthander Matt Latos were at a standstill that wouldn’t be resolved before tonight’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline to sign draft-and-follows. Latos reportedly sought more than $3 million, while San Diego was offering roughly half that. But the two sides got a deal done this evening, with Latos receiving a reported bonus of $1.25 million. [...] Continue Reading »
Jordan Walden entered 2006 with the tag as the best high school prospect in the draft, not to mention seven-figure bonus aspirations. He had to wait a year, but Walden got his money Tuesday, agreeingÂ to termsÂ on a $1 million bonus from the Angels. He’ll sign the deal today, the deadline for clubs to come to terms with the last-ever crop of draft-and-follows. [...] Continue Reading »
One draft-and-follow signing we missed recently was Cubs righthander Jordan Latham, a 29th-round pick last year out of the JC of Southern Idaho. Pitching in the wood-bat Scenic West Athletic Conference, Latham was as nasty as any pitcher in the league at times–a league that includes Brewers $500,000 signee Chad Robinson and Braves DFE Cole Rohrbough, a Top 100 prospect. [...] Continue Reading »
It’s the last year of the draft-and-follow process, and the Brewers are going to go out strong. [...] Continue Reading »
As many junior college seasons were wrapping up across the country, players who were drafted last year and remained under control could begin negotiating with the teams that picked them.
We broke down the most notable draft-and-follow (DFE) prospects in our most recent Draft Dish and there are some interesting second-tier junior college players worth mentioning, as well. [...] Continue Reading »
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