LOS ANGELES — MLB Network will televise the first and first supplemental rounds of the draft on Monday, June 7. Once the cameras have been switched off and the pundits depart, the final stages of the draft will take place on June 8 and 9.
In Southern California, playoffs are continuing for both Division-II and junior college programs. Over the past two weeks, Baseball America bird dog scout Dave Perkin has hit the road to get a peek at several talented but relatively unknown players who, if selected, will probably be chosen in the non glamour rounds: 7 through 50. Here are some reports on small-school players making some noise. Make sure to check out Baseball America's Draft Tracker on May 26 for a look at some under-the-radar high school and Division-I prospects from Southern California this year.
Josh Thompson, OF, El Camino JC
A lefthanded-hitting center fielder, Thompson has tremendous speed and is a wonderful defensive outfielder, tracking down drives from gap to gap. Thompson has swiped 28 bases this year, and his bat has shown marked signs of improvement. A late-round draft prospect, Thompson may not be ready for pro ball just yet, but his skills fit comfortably at the D-II, D-III, NAIA—and possibly D-I—levels.
Kyle Petter, LHP, El Camino JC
Drafted twice previously, Petter is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound lefthander who has enjoyed a spectacular season while leading ECJC to its first state championship berth since 1951. Noticeably fitter and stronger than in previous seasons, Petter tosses an 88-89 mph fastball that can touch 91 and an over-the-top, near 12-6 curveball in the mid-70s. Committed to a small college in Florida, Petter is reportedly signable if selected on the second day of the draft.
Kevin Pillar, OF, Cal State Dominguez Hills
Pillar grabbed nationwide headlines with a 54-game hitting streak this season. He is a solid but not spectacular player with average non-hitting tools. At bat, Pillar does not display a great deal of power, but he is a savvy hitter who can spray line drives to all fields—ideal for beginning and maintaining a long hit streak. Pillar hit .379 with 5 home runs for the D-II Toros.
Abel Medina, 3B, Cal State Dominguez Hills
In an overall sense, Medina had a superior season to Pillar, hitting .394 with 13 home runs. He has a quick lefthanded bat, flashes interesting power, and can utilize the entire diamond. The primary drawback with Medina is his glaring lack of speed, which will hurt him on the bases and limit his defensive options.
Bereft of attention but not short on drama, the latter stages of the draft are an arcane process unique to baseball. The second and third days will have a lasting impact on those players who are chosen, and could very well determine the future path a prospects career—and life—will take.