SEATTLE—With boating season set to kick off today, I made sure to leave extra early for yesterday’s University of Washington game against Southern California. A commute that normally takes about 20 minutes took an hour, as every car wanted to slow down and gawk at all the boats lining up in Lake Washington as they drove over the floating 520 bridge.
My foresight allowed me to still arrive in time for batting practice. Of course Huskies right fielder Kyle Conley was pulling balls over the wall, but sophomore first baseman Jacob Clem, who has been limited to just 22 at-bats this season with injuries, also looked impressive. Righthander Brian Pearl has been a position player his whole life, but has seen just one at-bat this year, as he’s primarily been the team’s closer. Still, he has a clean, line-drive stroke and the ball jumps off his bat, especially for a guy his size. He also takes balls at shortstop during batting practice. [...] Continue Reading »
• The third UGA starter goes here in the 11th round as Nathan Moreau is selected by the Orioles at 326. All three Bulldog weekend starters are eerily similar, which may be why they were all selected close to the same point in the draft.
• N.C. State toolsy outfielder Marcus Jones is selected by the Nationals at 331. Jones is an athletic, lean and wiry center fielder that can really run, catch and throw. Jones also has power at the plate, creating leverage with his long arms. This only question with him is if he will hit enough at the next level. This is a good pick for the Nationals in the 11th round, if Jones (a D.C. area native) signs.
• One of the Junior College ranks’ more intriguing guys, Devin Shepherd, is drafted by the Cardinals at 335. Shepherd has been up and down in scouts minds, ever since he came on the radar. He has the tools to play at the major league level but has just never been able to put it all together. Shepherd was introduced as a right fielder. He had big workouts in high school and got a reputation as a showcase performer and had excellent workouts this week for the Cardinals, hitting nine home runs with a wood bat according to one source.
• Florida prep shortstop Rolando Gomez finally gets drafted as the Angels select him with the 349th pick. Gomez is a flashy middle infielder from Florida with real defensive ability. He is a diminutive 5-feet-7, 150 pounds, but has smooth actions in the field and live hands at the plate. Gomez is a lefthanded hitter and can really fly down the line.
Georgia’s first starting pitcher went off the board to the Marlins at pick 298. Holder is a righthander with an average fastball but fringe-average secondary stuff. He does have pitchability and a solid track record as he was one of the best pitchers in the Cape Cod League last summer. He will be starting for the Bulldogs this weekend as they host N.C. State in a super-regional.
Toolsy outfielder Rashun Dixon goes to the A’s at 304. Dixon is a two sport star and signing the Terry HS native will be a challenge.
Holder’s teammate on the UGA staff Stephen Dodson is selected by the Rockies at pick 317. Dodson is similar to Holder in that his fastball is average and his secondary stuff is not so great. Dodson has been pretty ordinary this season, starting on Saturday’s for the Bulldogs.
The Clemson Tigers see their first player selected as righthander D.J. Mitchell is picked by the Yankees at 320. Mitchell is a 6-foot starter throwing close to 90 mph but with tremendous life and sink. Mitchell was the ace of a Tiger team that had a disappointing season this year, missing regional play for the first time after 21 consecutive trips.
The first name in the ninth round that grabs attention is the Reds’ pick at 269, selecting Coastal Carolina outfielder David Sappelt. The conference player of the year as a sophomore, Sappelt is an athletic center fielder with speed and pop in the bat. Sappelt is the leadoff hitter for a Chanticleer offense that is headed to the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend against North Carolina.
Senior RHP Ryan Strauss, selected by the White Sox with the next pick (270) will also be in a Super Regional this weekend, playing for Florida State. Strauss has been the Seminoles best relief pitcher this season, throwing in the low-90s with a solid breaking ball.
The Dodgers took lefthanded power-hitting first baseman Steven Caseres with the 277th pick. Caseres hass a big 6-foot-4 body with plenty of raw power. However, Caseres is limited to first base and has hittability concerns.
Cody Overbeck was Ole Miss’s best hitter this year and was selected by the Phillies at pick 286. A third baseman in college, Overbeck may have to make a move to second base at the pro level. Overbeck has the ability to hit for power but concerns scouts with the fact that he has an arm-bar hitch in his swing, making it difficult to hit upper-level fastballs.
• Two Auburn players were just selected as outfielder Mike Biannucci and leftthander Evan Crawford each go in the eighth round. Bianucci is thought to have big power potential but not much hittability. He’s very strong but lacks fluidity in his swing. Crawford has a power arm and thrived in the bullpen this year after his poor command hindered him as a starter.
• The Univeristy of Virginia’s Friday night starter Pat McAnaney was just selected by the Diamondbacks with the 258th pick. Lefthanded, McAnaney was the best starter for the Cavaliers all season and works off a fastball-changeup mix.
The second day of the draft is underway as the Tampa Bay Rays made outfielder Jason Corder from Long Beach State the first pick of the seventh round. He’s got big-time raw power and hit 13 homers this spring at spacious Blair Field.
• Pepperdine had two of its top players fall to the seventh round due to injuries. Wave righthander Brett Hunter didn’t stay around long on Day two as the A’s just selected him with their first pick in the seventh round. Scouts say Hunter has a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow; at least that’s what the medical report says now. More likely, closer inspection could reveal a tear, and many scouts think Hunter will need Tommy John surgery. In the seventh round, it’s worth the risk, as he has one of the draft’s best arms when healthy.
Another player who’s draft stock plummeted due to injury, outfielder Eric Thames was selected by the Blue Jays with the 219th pick. Thames’ injury has been reported as a muscle that separated from his hip bone, which sounds awfully painful.
• Outfielder Tim Fedroff, is the University of North Carolina’s first player to be selected as the Inidans select him with their seventh round pick. Another Tim from UNC, goes next to the Red Sox with pick 232. The Red Sox were known to have been interested in Federowicz to help their catching situation in the minors, and apparently got their guy. Federowicz has improved his catch-and-throw skills, has a plus-plus arm and some power, though he had a down spring offensively.
Fedroff is a draft-eligible sophomore with a big price tag, which caused his draft stock to slip. Last weekend in the NCAA Regional, Fedroff went 9 for 11 and named the Cary Regional MVP, and his 12 homers leads the second-ranked Tar Heels.
• Outfielder Isaac Galloway is finally selected with the No. 238 pick to the Marlins. Galloway was regarded as one of the top high school prospects in the country to start the season.
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