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.