Colorado Scouting Reports

THIS YEAR’S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here

Colorado
has become noted as the birthplace of big-bodied, projectable
pitchers over the last 15 years, from Scott Elarton (6-foot-7) and Brad
Lidge (6-foot-5) to more recent examples such as unsigned 2005
supplemental first-round pick Luke Hochevar (6-foot-4). The righthanded
Hochevar, now pitching in the independent Central League, figures to
be the best draft pick with ties to Colorado if he doesn’t sign with
the
Dodgers, who picked him 40th overall a year ago. Hochevar also
continues the tradition of Colorado’s best players gaining notoriety
elseswhere because the state has no Division I baseball programs. This
year’s Colorado
high school and junior college crop does offer some familiar names and
interesting arms.


1. Evan Anundsen, rhp, Columbine HS, Littleton
2. Brett Sowers, ss, Cherry Creek HS, Engelwood
3. Andrew Scheid, rhp, Regis Jesuit HS, Highlands Ranch
4. Darren McDonald, of, Cherry Creek HS, Englewood
5. Sean Gleason, rhp, Lamar JC
6. Brennan Garr, rhp/3b, Northern Colorado
7. Levi Tapia, c, Lamar JC (CONTROL: Red Sox)
8. Joey Mills, of, Cherry Creek HS, Englewood
9. John Ray, c, Northern Colorado
10. Derek Riley, rhp, Conifer HS
11. Seth Loman, 1b, Lamar JC (CONTROL: Angels)
12. Tim Wulf, of, Evergreen HS

Top Prospects Have Tools, But Could Head For College

A Wichita State recruit, righthander Evan Anundsen
is the top player in the state and belongs in the first 10 rounds of
the draft based on his talent. He has room to add size and strength but
doesn’t have the classic, projectable pitcher’s body. In fact, Anundsen
needs to get stronger and more physically mature to maintain his stuff
over the long haul and improve his fastball velocity. If that happens,
a team could get a fine return on its investment because Anundsen has a
feel for pitching and solid present stuff to go with aptitude. His
fastball sits in the 88-90 mph range, touching as high as 92, and he
has improved the depth of his breaking ball. It’s now an average pitch.
The improved curveball might be enough to lure a team to take Anundsen
as high as the fifth round.

Six-foot-7 righthander Andrew Scheid
better fits the projectable Colorado frame stereotype. He had an
underwhelming spring, however, sitting in the 86-88 mph range with his
fastball and struggling with his breaking ball. His changeup might be
his best overall pitch, as he has a good feel for it and throws it with
good arm speed. Scheid’s baseball development has suffered due to his
basketball prowess.

Nebraska has recruited the state of Colorado well over the years, and some scouts believe Brett Sowers
could be their best recruit out of the state yet. A high school
shortstop, Sowers profiles better at second base or third in pro ball
because his footwork and range are lacking. While some scouts think
he’s too small to project as a regular if he can’t play second base,
others believe his bat will play, perhaps even in left field. Though
short, Sowers is strong and has what one scout called “Popeye
forearms.” His strength and quick hips allow him to whip the bat
through the hitting zone, producing power to all fields. Sowers hit 17
homers last summer on the showcase/tournament circuit and has reached
double figures in each of the last two high school seasons. Defense is
not Sowers’ strong suit, though he has some athleticism and decent
hands.

Two of his teammates at powerhouse Cherry Creek
High–alma mater of Brad Lidge and Darnell McDonald, among others–also
might get picked, and one of them is Darnell’s brother Darren McDonald.
He’s taller and rangier than his older brother, and stronger than their
oldest brother, former Yankees farmhand Donzell. One scout compared his
build to that of former Rockies slugger Ellis Burks. McDonald has
signed a football scholarship with Idaho State, which doesn’t have
baseball, but he’s indicated more interest in baseball this spring than
before. His athleticism, average arm strength and raw power have
attracted crosscheckers to the area to check him out, meaning he could
go inside the first 10 rounds. More likely, he’ll be taken as a
draft-and-follow by a team that steers him to junior college to have
more time to evaluate him. McDonald doesn’t run or throw quite as well
as Joey Mills, though his bat
is much more advanced than Mills’. A strong student, Mills is a player
scouts would love to draft and follow, but he’d rather focus on a
four-year school and was a late recruiting target of several Division I
schools.

Northern Colorado catcher John Ray
(no relation to the former Pirates infielder) started the year as the
state’s top college draft prospect but struggled with his bat
throughout the season, batting .237 and hitting just five homers after
reaching double figures in each of his first two seasons. Teammate Brennan Garr
stepped in as both the Bears’ top hitter and best prospect, though
scouts like him better on the mound. Garr threw just 13 innings as
Northern Colorado’s closer, but scouts who saw him saw a fastball that
reached 93 mph. Garr is still raw on the mound and walked 15 but also
struck out 24 thanks to a quick, power arm.

While Garr is smallish at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he dwarfs the top arm in the state, Lamar Junior College’s Sam Gleason.
Generously listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds, scouts say he’s closer to
5-foot-10. They also have seen his fastball touch 93 mph and sit at
88-91, though it’s straight. Gleason pounds the strike zone with his
fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. If his size scares off scouts
too much, he’ll head to St. Mary’s in the West Coast Conference. His
teammate, switch-hitting first baseman Seth Loman, has a big frame and some power and is under control the Angels. He’s committed to Northern Colorado.

Draft | #2006

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