Scouting Reports: Kentucky

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

After a standout season in 2006, which included a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title, the University of Kentucky took a step back this year. Similarly, the overall talent in the state isn’t what it was a year ago.

A year ago, Kentucky’s lineup was laden with talent, as the Wildcats posted remarkable offensive numbers. John Shelby signed as a fifth-round pick, leaving behind a career as one of the school’s best hitters, and SEC player of the year Ryan Strieby signed for $295,000 as a fourth-round pick of the Tigers. Kentucky finished fifth in its division in the SEC this year and didn’t qualify for the conference tournament.

The Wildcats have a few candidates for the first 10 rounds, but other than high school product Ben Revere and Louisville closer Trystan Magnuson, the state doesn’t boast any frontline prospects. The crop of high school players is especially thin.

With the hire of former Mississippi assistant Dan McDonald as head coach at Louisville, the Cardinals immediately showed signs of improvement, and 2008 already looks better for the high school class, as juniors Daniel Webb (Heath High, Paducah), Robbie Ross (Lexington Christian Academy), Alex Blodgett (Tates Creek High, Lexington) and Revere’s teammate, Nick Maronde, have shown potential to be Kentucky’s best high school class of the decade.

National Top 200
Prospects

1.
Ben Revere
, of, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic
HS
2. Trystan Magnuson, rhp,
Louisville

Other Prospects Of
Note

3. Scott Green, rhp, Kentucky
4. Sawyer Carroll, 1b, Kentucky
5. Collin Cowgill, of, Kentucky
6. Zach Pitts, rhp, Louisville
7. Andrew Albers, lhp, Louisville
8. James Caldwell, c/of, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS
9. Nathan Jones, rhp, Northern Kentucky
10. Gabriel Shaw, rhp, St. Mary HS, Paducah, Ky.

Scouting
Reports

1. Ben Revere, of
(National rank:
135)

School:
Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS. Class:
Sr.
B-T: L-R.
Ht.: 5-9.
Wt.: 152.
Birthdate:
5/3/88.
Scouting
Report:
A few months after Revere starred as a defensive
back, receiver and kick returner on Lexington Catholic’s 3-A state
championship football team as a junior, he won a state championship
with the baseball team. His father John played football and baseball at
Eastern Kentucky, and his brother J.R. played both sports at Georgia
Southern, winning a I-AA national title as the Eagles’ quarterback in
2000. A four-year starter in baseball, Revere has a career .487 batting
average and a state-record 27 triples. He has struck out 19 times in
433 high school at-bats. The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder opened eyes at last
year’s East Coast Showcase when he turned in the best 60-yard-dash of
the event (6.28 seconds) and showed some pop at the plate. While his
speed is his best tool, Revere has a sound approach at the plate and a
knack for turning on fastballs and pulling them with authority. He gets
good extension in his swing and projects for average power as a pro. He
needs to refine his bunting and use the whole field more effectively.
Revere’s speed could allow him to become a plus defender in center
field, but presently he makes mistakes that he can usually outrun. He
needs to improve his reads and could take better routes to the ball. He
has a below-average arm. Revere is considered signable in the top five
rounds, and should easily find a suitor by
then.

2. Trystan Magnuson,
rhp (National rank:
199)

School:
Louisville. Class:
Sr.
B-T: L-R.
Ht.: 6-7.
Wt.: 194.
Birthdate:
6/6/85.
Scouting
Report:
A former walk-on from British Columbia, Magnuson
made just 35 appearances for the Cardinals prior to 2007 and wasn’t on
the prospect map. His father and uncle both played college hockey, and
his great uncle, the late Keith Magnuson, spent 11 years in the NHL
with the Chicago Blackhawks, amassing more than 1,400 penalty minutes
and appearing in two Stanley Cup finals during the 1970s. Trystan has
slowly learned to control his thin, 6-foot-7 frame over the rubber and
had been lights-out coming out of Louisville’s bullpen this season. He
did not allow an earned run in his first 23 innings and had 43
strikeouts and eight walks while posting a .165 opponent average in 44
innings during the regular season. He has a low-90s fastball and
mid-80s slider that he has learned to keep down in the zone. His got
ahead in the count with his fastball and used his slider as a chase
pitch this spring. He’ll have to improve its break in order for it to
be as effective in pro ball. Unless Louisville receives an NCAA
regional bid and makes a run, its season will be over in time for
Magnuson to negotiate as a free agent because he is a fifth-year
senior. He should receive plenty of interest as potential set-up
man.

Top Wildcat Goes On The Shelf

The departure of Shelby and Strieby left outfielder Collin Cowgill
without much protection in the lineup, a point that became moot when he
broke his hamate bone and was lost for the season. He was not expected
to receive much interest on the first day of the draft, and Kentucky
hoped to get a medical redshirt and bring Cowgill back as a fourth-year
junior next season. Cowgill was one of the catalysts of Kentucky’s
offense as a sophomore in 2006. He has the gritty style of play that
endears him to managers, and enough bat speed to spray line drives from
gap to gap with a wood bat.

First baseman Sawyer Carroll
has the best approach and swing of Kentucky’s draft-eligible position
players. His defensive skills are passable, though his arm is
below-average. He lacks strength, which shows in all phases of his
game. He’s primarily a singles and doubles hitter who makes enough
contact to draw consideration on the first day of the draft.

The Wildcat with the most upside is Scott Green,
a fifth-year senior righthander with a big arm. At 6-foot-8 and 225
pounds, Green has the look of a professional prospect and the arm
strength to match. He has been up to 94 mph and will occasionally show
a hard slider with sweepy break. He throws across his body and has
questionable command. Green’s medical history includes Tommy John
surgery, and he missed time this season with a pulled oblique and
strained muscle in his back, making him both hard to see and somewhat
risky to select as high as his ceiling might suggest.

Lefty Andrew Albers
has a good feel for pitching and outstanding control of three pitches,
though none of them is above-average. He works off a mid-80s fastball,
slider and changeup, keeps the ball down in the zone and mixes his
stuff effectively. He could be taken in the eighth to 10th round but
was more likely to return to school for his senior season.

Louisville righthander Zach Pitts
leans on above-average command of his fastball to get outs. He works
ahead in the count and can spot his high-80s heater to all four
quadrants of the strike zone. Like Charlotte’s Adam Mills, Pitts
doesn’t have a separating pitch and profiles as a middle reliever.

Catcher James Caldwell
played football alongside Revere and joined him during the East Coast
Showcase last summer. His swing has holes, and he doesn’™t have much
feel for hitting, though he has a penchant for driving mistakes to all
parts of the field. His plus speed and athleticism might play better in
the outfield. Behind the plate, he has poor throwing mechanics and
looks rigid in his receiving. Caldwell has committed to Middle
Tennessee State as a catcher and righthanded pitcher.

Draft | #2007

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