|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
may have no high school players drafted, and while the state’s talent
is down so is its reputation in pro ball. That’s because players
drafted out of the state in recent years continue to come up short of
expectations. The careers of players such as Jerome Williams, Dane
Sardinha, Justin Wayne and Brandon League–all drafted in the first two
rounds–have not helped players such as Milton Loo, drafted each of the
last two years by the Reds and now a draft-and-follow out of Yavapai
(Ariz.) Junior College. The state’s top pick, righty Steven Wright, is
a Californian, and the only prep from the Pacific Rim getting interest
from scouts is a rangy righthander from Alaska.
|National Top 200 Prospects|
1. Steven Wright, rhp, Hawaii
|Other Players Of Note|
2. Chad Nading, rhp, East HS, Anchorage
3. Darrell Fisherbaugh, rhp, Hawaii
4. Esteban Lopez, c, Hawaii
5. Wally Marciel, lhp, Iolani HS, Honolulu
6. Vinnie Biggs, rhp, Hawaii-Hilo
7. Conor Spink, lhp, Chugiak HS, Anchorage
8. Ben Rosen, rhp, Chugiak HS, Anchorage
9. EB Crowe, ss/rhp, Sitka (Alaska) HS
10. Justin Frash, 3b, Hawaii
1. Steven Wright, rhp (National rank: 50)
School: Hawaii. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Moreno Valley, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 8/30/84.
The ace of Hawaii’s best team in years, Wright has a low profile for a
player with his track record. He pitched in the Alaska League after his
freshman season, then had a banner summer in the Cape Cod League in
2005, tying for the league saves lead while posting a 3-0, 0.63 mark
with 41 strikeouts in 29 innings. A reliever for most of his first two
seasons, Wright has fronted the Rainbows rotation in 2006 and thrived.
His fastball, which reached 95 mph in relief in the past, sits in the
88-90 mph range as a starter, though at times he still dials it up. His
fastball lacks life and gets hit when he leaves it up in the zone. It
takes a back seat to his slider, which one scout called the best
breaking ball in the West this side of Tim Lincecum. It’s a low-80s
power pitch that gets plenty of swings and misses. His changeup also
could be more consistent, and his curveball is a definite fourth pitch.
Wright’s plus slider and success in the Cape have some scouts
predicting he’ll move quickly with a return to the bullpen.
Bright Light Coming From Alaska
Righthander Chad Nading
gives Alaska one of its top high school prospects in years. He attended
a Perfect Game showcase in the spring, and in his second time on the
mound this calendar year he topped out at 87 mph, showed a curveball
with potential to be an average pitch, and an average changeup with
good sinking life. Nading hit 91 mph last summer as a prep junior, and
his 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame offers plenty of projection. His mature,
competitive mound demeanor also is a plus. While he also played high
school football, his heart is with baseball, as his father is the
assistant coach at his high school, and his older brother Nick plays at
Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) Community College. While scouts would like to
have Nading be a draft-and-follow so they can evaluate him against
better competition, heí•â'¬â"•s a strong student and has committed to Oregon
Alaskaí•â'¬â"•s high school ranks are actually better than Hawaii’s, where the top prep, lefthander Wally Marciel,
is a soft-bodied lefthander expected to follow through on his
commitment to Kansas. Marciel throws in the high 80s and has a solid
curveball when he stays on top of it. Aside from Nading, Alaska could
have three draft-and-follows, including projectable righthander Ben Rosen and his Chugiak High teammate Conor Spink, and athletic shortstop EB Crow.
Both Rosen and Spink throw in the mid-80s now but have tall frames and
arm strength that should allow them to increase their velocity
significantly in a warmer-weather environment, where they could get on
a consistent throwing program.