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Draft Report Cards

By Jim Callis
September 29, 2003

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Best Pro Debut: LHP Daniel Davidson (13) went 8-2 and led the Rookie-advanced Pioneer League with a 1.64 ERA. He's a finesse pitcher who has an 83-86 mph fastball and gets outs with his changeup. Though SS Adam Pavkovich's (11) defense was believed to be his strength, he hit .301-2-29 (including .320 in low Class A) and earned a one-game cameo in Triple-A.

Best Athlete: OF Reggie Willits (7) is a toolsy switch-hitter who runs well and plays a solid center field. He also had a fine debut, batting .300-4-27 with 14 steals in the Pioneer League.

Best Pure Hitter: SS Brandon Wood (1) worked out diligently before his high school senior season last spring and turned himself into a threat at the plate, hitting 20 home runs. SS Sean Rodriguez (3) and Pavkovich rank right behind him.

Best Raw Power: Many teams didn't get a good look at OF Blake Balkcom (5), who had minor knee surgery last fall and then injured his quadriceps when he tried to come back too early last spring. The Angels think he'll hit for enough power to play in right field, and he has the arm strength for the position.

Fastest Runner: Willits can run the 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds. He led the Big 12 Conference with 37 steals in 54 attempts for Oklahoma in 2003.

Best Defensive Player: Wood is a better shortstop than Rodriguez because of his superior hands and instincts. Rodriguez has more arm and flash, but lacks Wood's hands and range. Rodriguez is more versatile, as he has enough power to play third base and could be an offensive second baseman. His best fit may be behind the plate, though he's reluctant to catch at this point.

Best Fastball: RHP Bob Zimmermann (4) hit 98 mph as a reliever with Team USA in the summer of 2002. He started much of last spring at Southwest Missouri State and this summer after signing, but fits best in the bullpen because he has had trouble repeating his delivery and developing a third pitch. LHP Anthony Whittington (2) and RHP Chris Hunter (41) both get to 94 mph, and Whittington has exceptional life on his fastball.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Jesse Smith (6) has a plus curveball and backs it up with an 88-92 mph fastball. He tends to pitch high in the strike zone, however, and needs to learn to keep the ball down.

Most Intriguing Background: Whittington was a volunteer fireman, and his maturity helped sell the Angels on him. Smith worked construction and spent two years out of baseball before Illinois Valley CC coach Bob Koopman spotted him at a tryout for the independent Frontier League. Willits' sister Wendi played briefly in the WNBA. Unsigned SS Jason Donald (20) played for his father Tom at Buchanan High (Clovis, Calif.). Rodriguez' father Johnny is a coach in the Marlins system.

Closest To The Majors: Zimmermann, whose progress will be expedited once he moves to the bullpen. Pavkovich is another candidate, though he may have to switch positions next year with Wood destined for low Class A and 2003 Midwest League all-star Erick Aybar headed to high Class A. Pavkovich played third alongside Aybar at the end of the summer.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Angels signed their first 15 picks. They weren't able to land Hunter as a 19th-round draft-and-follow from 2002, but signed him late after drafting him for the second straight year. Pavkovich and LHP Kelly Shearer (14) also bear watching. Shearer is a three-pitch lefty with a very projectable 6-foot-5, 200-pound build.

The One Who Got Away: Some clubs considered Donald a possible first-round talent but he was intent on attending Arizona.

Assessment: Scouting director Donny Rowland was fired in July, but his fourth and final draft for the Angels added to the organization's depth of pitchers and up-the-middle position players. He also signed a record nine draft-and-follows from 2002, most notably Cs Bobby Wilson and Brett Martinez and RHP Michel Simard. Most of the team's top picks played at Provo, which tied a Pioneer League record with 54 wins.


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Best Pro Debut: OF Conor Jackson (1) was MVP of the short-season Northwest League, batting .319-6-60, winning the RBI title and setting a NWL record with 35 doubles in 68 games. 3B Jamie D'Antona (2) hit .277-15-57 and tied for the NWL homer lead. RHP Dustin Glant (7), a sinker/slider specialist, led the NWL with 18 saves, while 2B Steve Garrabrants (9) topped the league with 30 steals. RHP Adam Bass (10) and LHP Walt Novosel (22) both posted sub-1.00 ERAs. Bass is more of a power pitcher, while Novosel has solid stuff and relies more on command.

Best Athlete: OF Jayson Santiago (17), who's extremely raw. OF Jeff Cook (5) is also a good athlete and he's much more refined after four years at Southern Mississippi. He set several school records, most notably for career homers (50).

Best Pure Hitter: OF Carlos Quentin (1) or Jackson. Quentin, who has yet to make his pro debut because he needed Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, is a better hitter. Jackson has slightly more pop and a better approach at the plate.

Best Raw Power: The Diamondbacks thought D'Antona had more raw power than any player in the draft. He set the Wake Forest career home run record with 58.

Fastest Runner: Santiago can cover 60 yards in 6.4 seconds. Garrabrants is a step behind him but has better instincts on the bases.

Best Defensive Player: Garrabrants and SS Tila Reynolds (11) briefly formed a good double-play combination in the NWL. OF Jon Kaplan (12) can go get balls in center field with the best.

Best Fastball: LHP Matt Chico (2) touched 97 mph and sat at 92-93 while working out for the Diamondbacks before the draft. He turned down the Red Sox as a 2001 second-round pick, then flunked out of Southern California and wasn't academically eligible at Palomar (Calif.) JC last spring. For movement, it's Glant. The Diamondbacks compare his heavy sink to Brandon Webb's.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Chris Kinsey (4) has two effective breaking pitches, a true curveball and a slurvy slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Jackson's father John is a regular on the CBS series "JAG," and Conor has had bit parts as an actor. RHP Derik Nippert (36) is the identical twin of Dustin Nippert, one of the top pitching prospects in the Arizona system. C Orlando Mercado Jr.'s (6) father caught for eight years in the majors and is the Angels' bullpen coach.

Closest To The Majors: Jackson, because he got a head start on Quentin and is more disciplined than D'Antona. Jackson and D'Antona will begin their first full pro seasons no lower than high Class A, and Quentin could join them there. He's a month ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and should be able to return to the outfield next May.

Best Late-Round Pick: Bass has a big frame (6-foot-6, 210 pounds) and two potential plus pitches in his fastball and slider. The Diamondbacks have clocked him as high as 95 mph.

The One Who Got Away: The Diamondbacks signed 28 of their first 29 selections. RHP Jeff Manship (50) had one of the best curveballs in the draft, not to mention an 88-92 mph fastball and loads of pitchability. But his size (6-foot-1, 165 pounds) and seven-figure price tag caused teams to back off. He's at Notre Dame and scouts expect him to be a first-round pick in 2006.

Assessment: Arizona may have found the heart of its future batting order with Jackson, Quentin and D'Antona. Chico got back on track in the NWL and could be a coup if he refines his mechanics and repertoire.


ATLANTA BRAVES

Best Pro Debut: OF Steven Doetsch (14) batted .320-8-37, tying for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League home run title and leading the GCL in hits (73). The Braves had several young pitchers perform well, most notably LHP Jo Jo Reyes (2) and RHP Paul Bacot (2), who helped the GCL club win their first championship in 39 years. Reyes went 5-3, 2.56, while Bacot went 4-0, 0.95 before coming down with biceps tendinitis.

Best Athlete: Doetsch, who was considered the best draft-and-follow position prospect from 2002 but re-entered the draft when the Phillies couldn't sign him. He's 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, has plus speed and arm strength, and plays a fine center field. Bacot is a very good athlete for a pitcher. Six-foot-6 and 200 pounds, he led his high school team to the 2003 Georgia state 5-A basketball finals as a point guard. Mid-level NCAA Division I basketball programs offered him scholarships.

Best Pure Hitter: Though there were questions about Doetsch's swing and approach before the draftand the Braves shared themthey believe he's the best hitter they signed. He still needs to cut down on his strikeouts, but he showed more patience and a greater willingness to use the entire field.

Best Raw Power: 3B Jamie Romak (4), who was limited to 51 at-bats this summer because of a lower-back injury. The Braves consider him a righthanded version of Scott Thorman, a fellow Canadian slugger whom they took in 2000's first round.

Fastest Runner: Doetsch runs well for his size, going 60 yards in 6.6-6.7 seconds. He's still learning how to use his speed, as he was caught stealing on nine of his 17 GCL attempts.

Best Defensive Player: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1) had the best all-around catching package in the draft. He's big and agile with good catch-and-throw skills. As a 6-foot-4 switch-hitter with power, he has a lot of offensive upside as well.

Best Fastball: RHP Ryan Basner (7) has reached 95 mph while working out of the bullpen. Several of Atlanta's high school arms already can touch 93, including Reyes, Bacot, LHPs Jake Stevens (3) and Matt Harrison (3), and RHPs Chris Vines (5) and Asher Demme (6). The Braves' first pick, RHP Luis Atilano (1), currently peaks at 91 mph but is very projectable and should catch up to most of them in time.

Best Breaking Ball: Stevens' hard curveball ate up GCL hitters and was even more effective when he established his fastball.

Most Intriguing Background: Saltalamacchia's older brother Justin, an outfielder/infielder, signed with the Braves as a nondrafted free agent out of UNC Greensboro. C C.J. Bressoud (26), an advanced defender, is the nephew of Eddie Bressoud, the first pick in the 1961 National League expansion draft and an all-star shortstop with the Red Sox.

Closest To The Majors: RHP Sean White's (8) sinker and command could move him up the ladder quickly. He could see Double-A at some point in 2004.

Best Late-Round Pick: Doetsch, whose third- to fifth-round talent was clouded by concerns about his signability. Bressoud and LHP Kyle Bakker (20) also were considered tough signs yet came to terms with the Braves at the end of the summer. Bakker, a preseason All-American out of Georgia Tech, is a 6-foot-9 command specialist who struggled during the spring when he tried to use power rather than finesse.

The One Who Got Away: Atlanta's haul of high school pitching could have been even better had it signed LHP Keith Weiser (18) and RHP/OF Brooks Brown (21). Weiser is at Miami (Ohio), while Brown will play both ways for Georgia. The Braves signed their first 14 picks.

Assessment: With many teams passing on high school pitchers in the early rounds, that played right into Atlanta's hands. The Braves have had success with prep arms in the past, and no club can top their 2003 draft in that regard as they signed seven such pitchers in the first six rounds.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Best Pro Debut: Though most teams had him pegged as a lefthanded pitcher, OF Nick Markakis (1) became a full-time hitter and ranked as the top prospect in the short-season New York-Penn League after batting .283-1-28 with 13 steals. And while most clubs didn't have RHP Brian Finch (2) as high on their draft boards as the Orioles did, he had a 1.93 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 NY-P innings before being shut down with a strained elbow. RHP Tony Neal (20) put up similar numbers in the NY-P: 1.94 ERA, 43 whiffs in 42 innings. His out pitch is his slider.

Best Athlete: Better known as a linebacker who's on his way to leading Ball State's football team in tackles for the fourth straight year, OF Lorenzo Scott (17) has power and speed and wasn't as raw as the Orioles thought. He hit .319 with 12 extra-base hits and 11 steals in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before returning early for his senior football season.

Best Pure Hitter: Markakis, who batted .455-17-74 and .439-21-92 while winning consecutive Baseball America Junior College Player of the Year awards at Young Harris (Ga.) JC. Last spring, he led national juco players in RBIs, as well as pitching victories and strikeouts. The scout who recommended that the Orioles consider Markakis as a hitter is Mickey Whitethe scouting director who took NCAA home run champ John VanBenschoten eighth overall in 2001 and made him a full-time pitcher. VanBenschoten has become Pittsburgh's top prospect.

Best Raw Power: Scott and 3B Matt Pulley (12).

Fastest Runner: SS Nate Spears (5) used his plus speed to steal 18 bases in 23 tries in the GCL. He also projects as a possible No. 1 or 2 hitter because he has a solid lefthanded bat and has good plate discipline (40 walks, 32 strikeouts).

Best Defensive Player: Though Markakis was used primarily as a DH at Young Harris to protect his prized left arm, he has plus range and arm strength for right field. The Orioles have given him some exposure in center, and he may be able to play there unless he grows too big.

Best Fastball: Finch and RHPs Chris Ray (3) and Bob McCrory (4) all can pitch in the mid-90s. Finch has more life and sink on his fastball than Ray and McCrory. Baltimore will use all three as starters for now, though they may wind up as power relievers when they reach the majors.

Best Breaking Ball: Ray's hard slider, combined with his fastball, allowed him to dominate the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2002. Finch's knuckle-curve and Neal's slider are also plus pitches.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned SS David Cash's (21) father Dave was a three-time all-star as a second baseman in the mid-1970s.

Closest To The Majors: Markakis might have moved faster as a lefthander, but he still should win the race among Orioles draftees. Ray is the best candidate among the pitchers.

Best Late-Round Pick: Scott, with the credit going to area scout Marc Ziegler. While scouting Baltimore 2002 seventh-rounder Paul Henry and Cleveland 2003 first-rounder Brad Snyder at Ball State, Ziegler became enamored with Scott, who started just five games last spring. The Orioles also like the bat of OF Brad Wiggins (34), whom they also drafted in the 44th round in 2002.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Nathan Nery (8) is projectable with a 6-foot-4, 195-pound build and a high-80s fastball. Baltimore's only unsigned pick in the first 14 rounds, he's attending Stetson.

Assessment: In LHP Adam Loewen (No. 4 overall pick in 2002) and Markakis (Cincinnati's 23rd-rounder in 2002), the Orioles got the two most coveted draft-and-follows from the 2002 draft. They're easily the best prospects in the system, and Baltimore followed them up with three power arms in Finch, Ray and McCrory.


BOSTON RED SOX

Best Pro Debut: LHPs Abe Alvarez (2) and Justin Sturge (12) backed up their reputations as control specialists. They rarely touch 90 mph, but Alvarez didn't allow an earned run and had a 19-2 strikeout-walk ratio in nine short-season starts. Sturge went 4-0, 1.08 with a 36-6 K-BB ratio in 42 short-season and low Class A innings.

Best Athlete: The Red Sox added several quality athletes to a system sorely lacking in them. OFs David Murphy (1), Mickey Hall (2), Chris Durbin (10) and Chris Turner (15) are all multi-tooled players, and Boston believes they all have good chances to play center field.

Best Pure Hitter: OF Matt Murton (1) over Murphy and Hall. Murton had an off year as a Georgia Tech junior, but he flourished with wood bats in the Cape Cod League the previous two summers. Murphy batted .346 in the short-season New York-Penn League before a promotion to high Class A.

Best Raw Power: Murton. His bat and power are plus tools, and his speed and range are average. The only tool he's lacking is arm strength, which is why he's relegated to left field.

Fastest Runner: Turner has plus speed. The Red Sox didnt get any blazers, but most of their position-player picks are average runners.

Best Defensive Player: SS Ignacio Suarez (24) can field and throw with any shortstop in the system. He needs to get strong and answer questions about his bat that he didn't resolve by batting .222 in the NY-P.

Best Fastball: RHP Jon Papelbon (4) pitches at 89-94 mph and reaches 96 mph out of the bullpen. RHP Jason Smith (49), a home-state product, hit 95-96 mph last summer but pitched at 88-92 as a high school senior.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Beau Vaughan (3) has three average or better pitches, starting with his slider. Vaughan, who attended four colleges in four years, also has a 90-94 mph fastball and a changeup. Alvarez has plus command of an average curveball.

Most Intriguing Background: The Red Sox drafted four relatives of their employees. The only one who turned pro was C Erich Cloninger (35), the grandson of big league pitching coach Tony Cloninger. The others opted for college: SS Chris Johnson (37), the son of Double-A manager Ron; OF Dallas Williams Jr. (42), the son of their big league first-base coach; and C Scott Thomas (43), the son of special assistant Lee. Murphy, Murton and LHP David Sanders (30) won back-to-back Cape Cod League championships with the 2001-02 Wareham Gatemen, and Durbin also was on the latter club. LHP Brian Marshall's (5) twin brother Sean, also a lefty, signed with the Cubs as a sixth-round pick.

Closest To The Majors: As a lefthander with outstanding pitchability in a thin system, Alvarez will get to the big leagues faster than most 2003 draftees. The Red Sox signed only two high school players.

Best Late-Round Pick: Turner, Sanders and Smith all have much more upside than their draft position would indicate. Turner (a Royals 36th-round draft-and-follow from 2002) and Smith were considered tough signs. Sanders' stuff was down last spring after he showed three fringe-average pitches and posted a 0.73 ERA on the Cape in 2002.

The One Who Got Away: The Red Sox signed their first 18 picks, but OF Josh Morris (20) would have given them another athletic outfielder if he hadn't decided to go to Georgia. He's a 6-foot-5, 230-pound package of tools.

Assessment: Boston shifted its focus heavily to college players in Theo Epstein's first year as general manager, with Hall and Smith its only high school signees. The Red Sox accomplished their goals of adding athletes and players who could advance quickly to restock the upper levels of their system.


CHICAGO CUBS

Best Pro Debut: LHP Sean Marshall (6) went 6-6, 2.34 with 99 strikeouts in 91 innings between the short-season Northwest League and low Class A Midwest League. In the MWL playoffs, he pitched scoreless ball for 6 2/3 innings to win his lone start. The Cubs think he has similar upside to 6-foot-9 lefty Andy Sisco, their 2001 second-rounder. Marshall's body (6-foot-6, 195 pounds), fastball (currently in the high 80s) and curveball all have a lot of projection, and he already has plenty of command and feel for pitching.

Best Athlete: OF Ryan Harvey (1) has been compared to two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy because of his size (6-foot-5, 215 pounds), power and all-around tools. He's a potential Gold Glove right fielder who had above-average speed and a 90-93 mph fastball before blowing out his right knee in an outfield collision during a November 2002 showcase. He should be fully recovered by spring training.

Best Pure Hitter: Harvey. His .235 average and 21 strikeouts in 51 Rookie-level at-bats were an aberration easily attributable to the rust he accrued during a mostly inactive spring and summer.

Best Raw Power: Few players can drive pitches farther than Harvey. He wrests the honor of most powerful Cubs minor league from Brian Dopirak, his former teammate at Dunedin (Fla.) High.

Fastest Runner: Nondrafted free-agent OF Ryan Fitzgerald has 70 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale and won the Rookie-level Arizona League batting title, but the Cubs didn't sign any draftees with those kind of wheels. Harvey should regain his 6.7-second speed in the 60-yard dash, though it's more useful in the outfield than on the bases.

Best Defensive Player: The best receiver in the 2003 draft, C Tony Richie (4) frames pitches like a big leaguer. He also has an average, accurate arm, but scouts would like to see him take charge behind the plate more often. After offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, he had to be shut down when it bothered him again during the summer.

Best Fastball: The Cubs signed RHP Robert Ransom (23) after he touched 94 mph this summer in the Cape Cod League. His fastball could use more movement, however.

Best Breaking Ball: LHP Darin Downs (5) had a 70 curveball before coming down with shoulder tendinitis last spring. He's very advanced for a high school pitcher.

Most Intriguing Background: Marshall's twin Brian was Boston's fifth-round pick. RHP Ryan Kalita (17) followed his brother Tim, a lefty in the Tigers system, to Notre Dame and into pro ball. Unsigned RHP Chris Ortmeier's (31) older brother Dan is a Giants minor league outfielder.

Closest To The Majors: Marshall, especially if he shifts to the bullpen as he gets closer to Wrigley Field.

Best Late-Round Pick: Ransom.

The One Who Got Away: OF Sam Fuld (24) fell in the draft after a disappointing junior season at Stanford, then rebounded with a banner summer in the Cape Cod League. C Landon Powell (25) could rebound to become the first college senior drafted in 2004 after using the summer to get himself in better physical shape. 3B Jefferies Tatford (46) could be a high pick in 2006 after three years of refinement at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Assessment: As in 2001 when they got Mark Prior with the No. 2 overall pick, Chicago was in the right place at the right time. Harvey was a consensus top-five choice and just the type of slugger the Cubs needed in their system, and they got him when the Royals decided to save money by taking Chris Lubanski at No. 5.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Best Pro Debut: OF Ricardo Nanita (14) finished second in the Rookie-advanced Pioneer League batting race, hitting .384-5-37 with 11 steals. He used wood bats during fall practice at Florida International, easing his transition to the pros. The White Sox' first four picks all topped .300, with the biggest surprise being SS Robert Valido (4), who hit .307-6-31 with 17 steals in the Rookie-advanced Appalachian League.

Best Athlete: Brian Anderson (1) and Ryan Sweeney (2) are five-tool outfielders who have shown potential on the mound. Anderson threw 92-93 mph as a freshman at Arizona, while Sweeney pitched at 88-92 last spring and drew legitimate interest as a lefthanded pitcher. Anderson, whose pro debut was curtailed when he hurt his right wrist, runs a little better and has a better chance to stick in center field. Sweeney, who profiles more as a right fielder, also led his high school basketball team in scoring as a senior and could have landed a college hoops scholarship.

Best Pure Hitter: Sweeney's bat speed, swing plane and approach should allow him to produce for both power and average.

Best Raw Power: Anderson can launch 400-foot line drives. OF Clint King (3) gets nice loft with his swing.

Fastest Runner: The White Sox went for power more than speed in the 2003 draft. Valido is the best runner in this crop, rating a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: Valido has all the tools to be an outstanding shortstop. His instincts and range allow him to cover lots of ground, and he has soft hands and a strong arm. He's from the Miami Coral Park High program that also produced shortstop Luis Montanez, the No. 3 overall pick in 2000.

Best Fastball: Chicago signed three strong arms out of the state of Texas. RHP John Russ (8) pitches at 90-92 mph and topped out at 96 during the spring. RHPs Matt Nachreiner (5) and James Casey (7) both throw 91-93, and Nachreiner achieves Derek Lowe-like sink on his fastball. Draft-and-follow RHP Fernando Hernandez (49 in 2002) is just 5-foot-11 but generates 92-96 mph heat.

Best Breaking Ball: Russ' curveball has been compared to Mike Mussina's. But for all his stuff, he doesn't miss many bats. He gave up more than a hit per inning at Frank Phillips (Texas) JC, then allowed a .301 opponent average in the Pioneer League.

Most Intriguing Background: LHP Greg Moviel (15) and RHP Paul Moviel (36) are brothers. Greg, who already has a 90-92 mph fastball and is very projectable at 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, turned down the White Sox for Vanderbilt.

Closest To The Majors: Anderson, though he was set back by needing his second wrist surgery in the last year. He should be 100 percent by spring training.

Best Late-Round Pick: Nanita. LHP Fraser Dizard (10) would have gone much higher had he not hurt his elbow in 2002 and pitched poorly last spring. When he's right, Dizard commands an 88-92 mph fastball, a plus changeup and an average curveball.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Donald Veal (12), SS Wes Hodges (13) and Greg Moviel. Veal, who decided to attend Arizona, reminded some scouts of Dontrelle Willis. Hodges, who's now at Georgia Tech, slid when his power was muted by a broken hamate bone last spring.

Assessment: The White Sox were short on position-player prospects before this hitter-heavy draft. Scouting director Doug Laumann's reward? Getting reassigned for political reasons.


CINCINNATI REDS

Best Pro Debut: RHP Ryan Wagner (1) reached the Reds just 46 days after going 14th overall, and he easily proved that he belonged. He went 2-0, 1.66 with 25 strikeouts in 22 innings. RHP Jim Paduch (12) went 7-1, 1.94 during the Rookie-advanced Pioneer League regular season, then threw a no-hitter to win the final game of the playoffs. He has an 87-91 mph fastball and throws strikes. OF Kenny Lewis (4) led the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with 37 steals, though he hit just .232 between the GCL and Double-A.

Best Athlete: Lewis, a Virginia Tech football recruit, was the fastest player in the draft and can put on a show in batting practice. The only tool he lacks is arm strength. He'll be a long-term project because he's raw and needs to focus on using his speed more than his power.

Best Pure Hitter: SS Jose Ronda (3) is an offensive infielder who may outgrow his current position and warrant a move to second or third base. He has enough bat to make either move and hit .307 with 20 extra-base hits between the GCL and Pioneer League.

Best Raw Power: When the Reds worked out OF Ben Himes (9) in 2002, special assistant Bob Zuk (the scout who signed Hall of Fame sluggers Reggie Jackson and Willie Stargell) loved him. Himes missed all of that year with a knee injury and turned down Cincinnati as a 50th-round pick. He subsequently broke his hand and had back problems, but stayed healthy and batted .317-7-42 in the Pioneer League after signing. Six-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he also has speed and arm strength.

Fastest Runner: The Reds have clocked Lewis at an unfathomable 6.0 seconds in the 60-yard dash, and at 3.5 seconds from the left side of the plate to first place on a drag bunt. "He's the fastest kid I've ever seen," Cincinnati scouting director Leland Maddox said.

Best Defensive Player: OF Chris Dickerson (16) made an impression by chasing down several balls in the gaps from center field during instructional league.

Best Fastball: RHP Brock Till's (17) maximum-effort delivery is worrisome but generates 93-96 mph heat. Like Till, RHP Damian Ursin (8) is 6 feet tall, and he has a 92-95 mph fastball. Wagner and RHPs Thomas Pauly (2) and Richie Gardner (6) all pitch to 94 mph. Wagner's fastball has a lot of sinking life, while Gardner's has good riding action.

Best Breaking Ball: Wagner's slider is so devastating that it may have to be outlawed. He used it to break a 39-year-old NCAA Division I record by averaging 16.8 strikeouts per nine innings during the spring.

Most Intriguing Background: Lewis' father Kenny was an NFL running back. The Reds drafted Notre Dame QB Carlyle Holliday (44) as an outfielder though he never has played baseball for the Fighting Irish. They weren't able to sign him or OF Dennis Dixon (20), whose power/speed/arm combination could have made him a second-round pick if not for his football prowess. The top gridiron recruit in Oregon's 2003 class, he's a quarterback who'll enroll in January. Because the Ducks don't have a baseball program, the Reds can sign him as a draft-and-follow. Cincinnati became the latest team to take a flier on RHP Matt Harrington (24), who turned down $3.7 million as the Rockies' 2000 first-rounder and has yet to sign. The Pirates took Harrington's brother Troy, a righthander, in the 44th round.

Closest To The Majors: Wagner's trip to the majors was the swiftest since Ariel Prieto went from the independent Western League to No. 5 overall pick to the Athletics in 28 days in 1995. Among non-professionals, Wagner was the quickest since Jerry Don Gleaton moved from the Texas Longhorns to the Texas Rangers in a 36-day span in 1979. With Cincinnati's need for pitching, Pauly and Gardner also are on the fast track.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Reds say Dickerson could handle the majors defensively right now. He still has to prove he can hit after batting .243 at Nevada last spring and .244 in the Pioneer League this summer.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Marc Cornell (5) was in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Devil Rays until he hurt his shoulder. He spent the summer rehabbing before returning to Ohio University, where he hopes to regain his 94-98 mph fastball. 1B Andy D'Alessio (10) was one of the top high school power hitters entering the spring, but broke the hamate bone in his right wrist and slid because of signability. The Reds wouldn't meet his $500,000 asking price, so he went to Clemson.

Assessment: Wagner provided an instant payoff, and Cincinnati also expects big things from Pauly, Ronda and Lewis. The downside for the budget-conscious Reds came when Cornell couldn't get healthy quick enough for them to make a run at him, and when they couldn't find the money for D'Alessio.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Best Pro Debut: 1B Michael Aubrey (1) went straight to low Class A and hit .348-5-19. The only negative was that he missed four weeks with a quadriceps injury. Managers rated RHP Adam Miller (1) as the Rookie-advanced Appalachian League's No. 1 prospect, though his record was 0-4, 4.96. LHP Aaron Laffey (16) was untouchable in the Appy League, going 3-1, 2.91 with 46 strikeouts and just 22 hits in 34 innings.

Best Athlete: OF Brad Snyder (1), taken along with Miller with the compensation picks for the loss of franchise home run leader Jim Thome. Snyder showed his diverse tools by hitting .284-6-31 with 14 steals in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he moved to center field after playing in right at Ball State. He needs to improve his reads and routes but should be able to make the transition.

Best Pure Hitter: Scouts considered Aubrey the second-best hitter in the college draft pool, behind only No. 2 overall pick Rickie Weeks. Using wood bats in 2002, Aubrey led Team USA in the triple-crown categories at .405-6-26, while Weeks hit .273-2-14.

Best Raw Power: 1B Ryan Goleski (24) earned NY-P all-star honors by batting .296-8-37. He set Eastern Michigan and Mid-American Conference career home run records with 51 in three seasons. OF Ryan Mulhern (11), South Alabama's career home run leader (49), tied for the NY-P lead with 25 doubles while hitting .279-5-30.

Fastest Runner: OF Juan Valdes (5) ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash during instructional league.

Best Defensive Player: C Javi Herrera (2) is an advanced receiver with a good arm, though he was ineffective combating the running game in 2003. He threw out just 20 percent of basestealers at Tennessee and 17 percent in pro ball. SS Brandon Pinckney (12) has very good hands and made the Appy all-star team by hitting .272-1-27.

Best Fastball: Miller has a 90-95 fastball with 55 sink and 60 command on the 20-80 scouting scale. At 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, he should get stronger. RHP Scott Roehl (10) has similar arm strength but doesn't have the same life or control. Draft-and-follow RHP Nick Pesco (25 in 2002) reached 94 mph in instructional league and has a power curveball, yet his best pitch may be his changeup.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Matt Davis (7) tightened up his slurvy breaking ball after signing, turning it into an 82-84 mph strikeout slider. He went 4-4, 1.54 and limited NY-P hitters to a .199 average.

Most Intriguing Background: Snyder recovered from a horrific car accident in the summer of 2001 that nearly forced him to have his right big toe amputated, which could have ended his career. His younger brother Ben, a lefthander, was the Dodgers' 24th-round pick in June. Offensive-minded C Ryan Garko (3) was on the receiving end of President Bush's ceremonial first pitch at the 2001 College World Series. Valdes is a cousin of Royals star Carlos Beltran. C Ryan Spilman's (15) father Harry played first base for 12 years in the majors and is the Astros' batting coach.

Closest To The Majors: Aubrey should reach Double-A at some point in 2004. His main need is at-bats against quality lefthanders after hitting .250 against southpaws (compared to .400 against righties) in his pro debut.

Best Late-Round Pick: Laffey, who has a good feel for pitching. He has an 86-89 mph fastball and gets strikeouts with two average breaking balls, a curveball and slider. The Indians also like Goleski's pop and may have scored with a pair of late-round college juniors, RHPs Adam Hanson (42) and Joe Weaver (43). Hanson's stuff bounced back after he signed, while Weaver uses a sinker/slider combination.

The One Who Got Away: Toolsy OF Ben Harrison (4) wanted second-round money, even after breaking his hamate bone in the Cape Cod League. He returned to the University of Florida for his senior season.

Assessment: The Indians took steps to rectify the American League's second-worst offense by starting their draft with Aubrey and Snyder. Miller had one of the best high school arms in the draft, and Pesco is a DFE signing in the tradition of Jason Davis (2000) and Sean Smith (2002).


COLORADO ROCKIES

Best Pro Debut: 3B Ian Stewart (1) had no trouble jumping from high school to the Rookie-advanced Pioneer League. Managers rated him the league's top prospect after he hit .317-10-43.

Best Athlete: RHP Scott Beerer was as versatile as any college player last spring. He batted .335-11-57 while starting games at left field, first base and third base for Texas A&M, and also set a school record with 13 saves. C Rick Guarno (4) is very athletic for his position, prompting comparisons to Brad Ausmus and Jason Kendall.

Best Pure Hitter: The organization has depth at third base with Garrett Atkins and Jeff Baker, and Stewart may be a better all-around hitter than either of them. He should hit for more power than Atkins and more average than Baker.

Best Raw Power: Stewart.

Fastest Runner: Guarno and OF John Restrepo (11) both possess above-average speed.

Best Defensive Player: Guarno shows good catch-and-throw skills and quick feet behind the plate. He didn't get to show much defensively after signing because of an impingement in his throwing shoulder.

Best Fastball: Beerer throws 91-95 mph with plus life. RHP Darric Merrell (10) hit 94 mph in 2002 but didn't show the same velocity this year while battling elbow problems. OF Ryan Fox (21) wanted to start his pro career as a position player and hit .175-8-26 in the short-season Northwest League. But the Rockies drafted him with the intention of eventually moving him to the mound, where he has shown a 92-93 mph fastball.

Best Breaking Ball: LHP Aaron Marsden's (3) best weapon is a plus-plus slider. Beerer has an above-average slider at times but needs to be more consistent with the pitch.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned 2B Eric Young Jr.'s (30) dad was an all-star second baseman for the Rockies and spent 2003 with the Brewers and Giants. OF Joe Gaetti's (12) father Gary made two All-Star Games and won four Gold Gloves with the Twins. RHP Mark Kaiser (10) was the MVP of the 2003 NAIA World Series for champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). RHP Jason DiAngelo's (27) father Matt is an associate scout with the Mets.

Closest To The Majors: Marsden won't have to do much to outperform free-agent southpaw busts Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle. Besides his slider, he also has an 87-91 mph fastball with good movement and plus command.

Best Late-Round Pick: Kaiser was a 2000 fourth-round pick out of high school by the Reds. He began his college career as a two-way player at Arizona before transferring to Lewis-Clark State. Though he never has been injured, his velocity has slipped from the mid-90s to 89-90 mph. Yet he's a more well-rounded pitcher after refining his two-seam fastball and slider. OF Cole Garner (26), Stewart's teammate at La Quinta High in Westminster, Calif., is a power hitter who could have gone as high as the fifth round had he not confused teams about his signability.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Jim Brauer (17) pitched just five innings at Michigan during the spring before being sidelined by scar tissue buildup in his elbow. He was fully healthy in the Cape Cod League this summer, though his four-pitch mix wasn't as sharp as in the past. The Rockies pursued him, but not strongly enough to keep him from returning to the Wolverines. The Rockies signed their first 16 picks.

Assessment: The Rockies concentrated on college players as usual, taking 24 in the first 25 rounds, but couldn't pass on Stewart's bat with the No. 10 overall choice. He's on his way to becoming their best homegrown hitter since 1995 first-rounder Todd Helton.


DETROIT TIGERS

Best Pro Debut: Arguably the best all-around pure college shortstop available in the draft, SS Tony Giarratano (3) surprised the Tigers with his quick adjustment to wood bats. After hitting .187 in the Cape Cod League last summer, he batted .328-3-27 in the short-season New York-Penn League. He made the NY-P all-star team along with his double-play partner, 2B Eric Rodland (9), who hit .328-0-27 with 13 steals. RHP Chris Homer (24) used his sinker/slider combination to tie for the NY-P lead with 15 saves.

Best Athlete: OF Jeremy Laster's (12) power and speed give him a huge ceiling, though he's also very raw.

Best Pure Hitter: Rodland is an offensive second baseman who holds Gonzaga's career hits record with 269.

Best Raw Power: C Cody Collet (6) edges OF Michael Brown (13). Collet signed late and didn't play a pro game, while back problems limited Brown to one home run.

Fastest Runner: After loading up on athletes in 2002, the Tigers concentrated on bats in 2003. Laster has plus speed but isn't as fast as 2002 draftees Robbie Sovie and Bo Flowers.

Best Defensive Player: Giarratano's arm and hands are both well above-average tools.

Best Fastball: The first pitcher taken in the 2003 draft, RHP Kyle Sleeth (1) sat at 93-94 mph and touched 96 consistently all spring. RHP Jay Sborz (2) has similar velocity but can't match Sleeth's command and consistency. RHP Josh Rainwater (4) hit 95 mph in high school before the draft. RHP Andy Baldwin (15) pitched in the mid-90s on the Cape in 2002 but didn't light up the radar gun like that this year.

Best Breaking Ball: Sleeth has two good breaking pitches. The Tigers think his power curveball is better than his low-80s slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Sleeth tied an NCAA record by winning 26 consecutive games from 2001-03. Unsigned RHP Josh Wahpepah (18) is a full-blooded Native American. SS Nathan Doyle's (25) twin brother Jared, a lefty, is one of the Diamondbacks' best pitching prospects. The Tigers drafted 3B Jacob Ford (21) based on his stats at Spalding (Ky.) University. The NAIA player of the year, Ford hit .436 and led the NAIA with 31 homers and 110 RBIs. His numbers didn't translate to the pros, as he hit .216-2-14 in the NY-P.

Closest To The Majors: Sleeth signed too late to make his pro debut, but he's so advanced that he could push Detroit to start him in Double-A next year. After the Tigers rushed Jeremy Bonderman, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sleeth make their rotation by mid-2005, if not sooner. If Giarratano continues to hit, he'll also be on the express route to Comerica Park.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Jordan Tata (16) showed average stuff during the spring but consistently popped 93 mph after signing. He also has a solid curveball and keeps his pitches down in the strike zone. He went 4-3, 2.58 in the NY-P.

The One Who Got Away: The Tigers either signed or still control the rights to all but three of their 50 draftees. Their biggest regret is losing RHP Ryan Muller (35) to the University of San Francisco. He has a promising fastball and curveball, plus an advanced feel for a teenager.

Assessment: One benefit of losing big is premium draft position, which allowed the Tigers to spend the No. 3 overall pick on Sleeth, arguably the most promising pitcher they've ever drafted. He and Giarratano could provide some quick help in Detroit, which moves up to No. 2 in the 2004 draft.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Best Pro Debut: LHP Jon Nickerson (16) went 5-1, 1.86 and threw a no-hitter in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Finesse LHP David Marchbanks (7) was winless but posted a 1.91 ERA between three stops, including a quality start in Double-A.

Best Athlete: OF Jai Miller (4) and 2B Cole Seifrig (5) were both surprise early-round picks because most clubs figured they'd follow through on football scholarships to play wide receiver at Stanford and Purdue, respectively. Miller also would have been a point guard on Stanford's basketball team. With Preston Wilson tools, Miller is the best athlete in the Marlins system. Seifrig isn't far behind. SS Jonathan Fulton (3) and C Tanner Rogers (8) were high school quarterbacks and have good tools for their positions. They both have to prove themselves at the plate after finishing below the Mendoza Line in the GCL.

Best Pure Hitter: Seifrig's sweet stroke gives him the most upside at the plate. He hit .280 between the GCL and the short-season New York-Penn League.

Best Raw Power: Miller batted just .206 with one homer in the GCL and NY-P, but the ball jumps off his bat. As he focuses on baseball, makes adjustments at the plate and fills out his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, he'll show more game power. 3B Lee Mitchell (6) and 1B J.T. Restko (10) also have good pop.

Fastest Runner: Miller's speed rates a 75 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He can go from the right side of the plate to first base in 4.05 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Miller is a natural center fielder. Mitchell is a good third baseman with a strong arm.

Best Fastball: RHP Jeff Allison (1) had the most electric arm in the 2003 draft. He gets a lot of movement on a 92-97 mph fastball from a three-quarters arm slot. RHP Logan Kensing (2) can't match Allison's velocity, but he throws 90-94 mph and has even more impressive life with his fastball's heavy, heavy sink. RHP David Humen (9) has raw arm strength and can touch 94, but he doesn't have the polish or action of Allison or Kensing.

Best Breaking Ball: Allison's breaking pitch is as good as his fastball. When he gets on top of it, it's an untouchable 80-83 mph. At times he'll get under it a little more and it will move up to 84-86 mph with slider action. Humen also has a 12-to-6 curveball, though his isn't as consistent as Allison's.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned RHPs Chilion (47) and Ashkelon Stapleton (48) are identical twins whom the Marlins will pursue as draft-and-follows in 2004. Allison, Baseball America's 2003 High School Player of the Year, didn't allow an earned run in 64 prep innings last spring. OF Jim Adducci Jr.'s (42) father played briefly in the majors. Miller's father, Quency Williams, was a defensive lineman in the Canadian Football League. His godfather, Tommy Agee, was an NFL running back. Mitchell's brother Russ, an infielder, was the Dodgers' 15th-round pick.

Closest To The Majors: Kensing or Marchbanks. The Marlins may find it hard to hold back a pitcher with Allison's stuff, no matter how young he is.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Marlins spotted Nickerson while evaluating Miller in an Alabama high school all-star game. Nickerson, who had been more of a basketball player, has a very good changeup and life on a fastball that reaches 90-91 mph. Florida also is intrigued by OF Ryan Bear (30), who hit .296-6-37 with 15 steals in the NY-P.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Tony Watson (23), who opted to attend Nebraska, is more advanced than Nickerson. A three-sport star in high school, he's very projectable at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds. He touches 90 mph and shows a feel for a curveball. The Marlins inked their top 16 picks.

Assessment: Allison slid out of the top 10 to No. 16 overall based on signability, but Florida was able to sign him for $1.85 million, a relative bargain. After grabbing Kensing, projected as a first-rounder during the spring, the Marlins concentrated on raw athletes who offer high risks and high rewards.


HOUSTON ASTROS

Best Pro Debut: OF Josh Anderson (4) batted .286-3-30 with 26 swipes to make the short-season New York-Penn League all-star team. 3B Brock Koman (9), who tied for the NY-P lead with 25 doubles and batted .267-3-29, reminds the Astros of Morgan Ensberg, a fellow college senior sign.

Best Athlete: Anderson, who led NCAA Division I in stolen bases, has five tools, including 70 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also starred at guard for his high school basketball team and won a slam-dunk contest for central Kentucky prepsters. OF Jeff Jorgensen (7) is faster than Anderson, though not as strong. RHPs Cliff Davis (6) and Jimmy Barthmaier (13) were highly sought after as quarterbacks. Both gave up football after signing. Barthmaier's $750,000 was the biggest bonus the Astros gave out in the draft.

Best Pure Hitter: Anderson has the speed and batting ability (.447 last spring, third in Division I) to hit for average, though he'll need to show more discipline to bat at the top of the order.

Best Raw Power: 1Bs Beau Hearod (10) and Kevin Vital (18). Hearod, who led the Southeastern Conference with 20 homers and 82 RBIs for Alabama last spring, is more consistent. Massive at 6 feet and 245 pounds, Vital batted cleanup in the Southern University lineup behind No. 2 overall pick Rickie Weeks.

Fastest Runner: On most teams, Anderson's 3.95-4.0 second time from the left side of the plate to first base would stand out. But Jorgensen gets from home to first in 3.9 seconds from the right side. He was a national 60-meter semifinalist as a high school sprinter and originally attended Rice on a track scholarship. He missed the summer while recovering from a broken foot that kept him out of the College World Series.

Best Defensive Player: SS Wade Robinson (12) has the range, hands, arm and actions to make all the plays at his position. Despite an all-field, no-hit reputation, he batted .306-3-29 in the NY-P.

Best Fastball: RHP Jason Hirsh (2) can be an absolute monster coming out of the bullpen. Six-foot-8 and 250 pounds, he can reach 96 mph with his fastball and 86 with his slider. LHP Josh Muecke (5), Davis and Barthmaier all push 94 mph, with Barthmaier the most advanced pitcher among that group.

Best Breaking Ball: Area scout Mike Maggart, who previously signed Wade Miller and Tim Redding, found RHP Jamie Merchant (16) at the University of Vermont. Merchant's 77-78 mph curveball was better than expected and enabled him to go 5-1, 3.44 with 56 strikeouts in 55 NY-P innings. He has an 87-90 mph fastball.

Most Intriguing Background: Jorgensen might never have played baseball had high school teammate Austin Davis, a Rice outfielder, not talked him into trying out. Jorgensen spent the 2002 season watching from the Owls' bench, and his development was hindered when he had to leave his summer team after a brown recluse spider bit him. He graduated with a triple-major in May.

Closest To The Majors: Hirsh will have two plus-plus pitches once he becomes more consistent with his fastball and slider. A starter for now, he projects as a future closer.

Best Late-Round Pick: Barthmaier would have been a borderline first-round pick had football not clouded his signability.

The One Who Got Away: OF Drew Stubbs (3) was a quarterback, basketball player and member of two state champion relay teams at his high school. His power, speed and arm are all plus tools, but he took them to the University of Texas.

Assessment: The Astros lost their first-round pick for signing Jeff Kent and didn't help their cause by losing Stubbs to the Longhorns. They did compensate by going well over slot money to get Barthmaier, who has the highest starter ceiling among all their hard throwers.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Best Pro Debut: The Royals drafted mainly college players, and several of them tore up the Rookie-level Arizona League, led by SS Michael Aviles (7). Aviles won the MVP award after hitting .363-6-39 with 11 steals and league highs in doubles (19) and runs (51). Managers rated OF Chris Lubanski (1) the league's top prospect after he batted .326-4-27. C Mitch Maier (1) hit .350-2-45 and OF Shane Costa (2) batted .368-1-24, including a short stint in high Class A.

Best Athlete: Lubanski is a rangy athlete with strong tools across the board except for arm strength. Once he fills out his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and learns pro pitching, he should have solid pop to go with his plus speed.

Best Pure Hitter: Costa or Maier. Maier finished second in the Division I batting race at .448 and has more power than Costa. The Royals will give Maier every chance to catch, and he should have enough bat if he needs to move to third base or left field.

Best Raw Power: 1B Brian McFall (3), a surprise early-round pick, has the most present power and also showed some promise as a pitcher in junior college. 3B Miguel Vega (4) may develop more loft power in time.

Fastest Runner: Lubanski gets from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.9-4.0 seconds. He's still learning as a basestealer after getting caught 10 times in 19 AZL attempts.

Best Defensive Player: Lubanski has the tools to become a Gold Glover in center field but still needs work on his reads and jumps. For now, Aviles is better. His arm and range are plusses, though he has to improve his footwork.

Best Fastball: RHP Ryan Braun (7) hit 97 mph during the spring and 94-95 during the summer. RHP Chris Goodman (5) pitches at 90-92 mph and gets to 94. The Royals signed both pitchers for $1,000.

Best Breaking Ball: If he improves his command, Braun has closer stuff with his fastball and his 85-86 mph slider. His hard curveball also is effective at times.

Most Intriguing Background: Aviles' uncle Ramon was a big league infielder and is a minor league coach for the Phillies. Ramon is also involved with the Carolina franchise in the Puerto Rican League, which will give Michael a chance to win its shortstop job this offseason. Michael was named NCAA Division II player of the year after leading that level in hitting (.500), slugging (1.016), runs (83) and homers (22).

Closest To The Majors: Costa may beat Maier because he won't have to learn a new position. The Royals will see if Costa can play center field, but he always can fall back on left field. Though he's more athletic than most catchers, Maier must improve significantly to remain behind the plate.

Best Late-Round Pick: LHP Dustin Hughes (11) was an AZL all-star after going 5-2, 2.84 with 54 strikeouts in 51 innings. He commands a slightly above-average fastball to both sides of the plate and backs it up with a slider. 2B Irving Falu (21) has speed and defensive ability but must get stronger to produce at the plate.

The One Who Got Away: The Royals couldn't lure RHP Pat Bresnehan (23) away from attending Arizona State. Based on sheer ability, he would have gone in the first three rounds.

Assessment: After years of drafting young, projectable players, the Royals signed just three high schoolers after landing that many in the first four rounds a year ago. Kansas City drafted well despite facing budget constraints that led to below-slot deals with both first-rounders and $1,000 bonuses for the fifth- through ninth-round choices.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Best Pro Debut: The first pitcher and hitter drafted by the Dodgers both experienced immediate success. RHP Chad Billingsley (1) looked polished while going 5-4, 2.83 with 62 strikeouts in 54 innings in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. OF Xavier Paul (4) batted .307-7-47 with 11 steals and a PL-best six triples.

Best Athlete: Paul's bat, power, speed and arm are all plus tools. He started throwing in the low 90s as a high school freshman. More accomplished in basketball than baseball, OF Matt Kemp (6) is a very raw, 6-foot-5 package of power and speed.

Best Pure Hitter: SS Andy LaRoche (39) was the best position player in the Cape Cod League this summer, but the Dodgers believe Paul is slightly better at the plate. He has a short, sweet stroke and already hits the ball where it's pitched. LaRoche is older but less disciplined. 3B Lucas May (8) and SS Russ Mitchell (15) also have hitting potential.

Best Raw Power: LaRoche has more strength than Paul, though Paul bombed a ball off a warehouse roof in Ogden.

Fastest Runner: Paul runs the 60-yard dash in 6.45-6.6 seconds. His speed and instincts make him an asset on the bases and in the outfield.

Best Defensive Player: LaRoche isn't speedy or flashy, but he's surehanded and has a strong arm. While some scouts think he'd make a dynamic catcher, the Dodgers project him as an offensive second baseman.

Best Fastball: Billingsley's fastball ranges from 90-97 mph and sits at 93. LHP Chuck Tiffany (2) comes in second with a heater that can reach 94. RHPs Jordan Pratt (5) and Phil Sobkow (10) reside in the same neighborhood.

Best Breaking Ball: Billingsley's curveball and slider are both plus pitches at times; his curve is slightly better. Tiffany has a good hook as well as the best changeup among Dodgers draftees.

Most Intriguing Background: C Thomas Piazza (26) is the younger brother of perennial all-star Mike Piazza, who began what will be a Hall of Fame career in Los Angeles. LaRoche's father Dave was a two-time all-star reliever, while his brother Adam is a top first-base prospect in the Braves system. 1B James Peterson (16) is the second-leading home run hitter in national high school history with 73. Mitchell's older brother Lee, a third baseman, was a sixth-round pick of the Marlins. Unsigned LHP Ben Snyder's (24) older brother Brad was an Indians first-rounder. Unsigned 1B Brett Lawler's (34) father Jim is the top assistant coach at Texas A&M. Unsigned SS Clayton Van Hook's (43) dad Kyle scouts for the Mariners.

Closest To The Majors: High schoolers such as Edwin Jackson, James Loney and Greg Miller are speeding through the Dodgers system, and the club thinks Billingsley, Paul and Tiffany can do the same. LaRoche might struggle a little because he's aggressive at the plate, but he'll be on the fast track as well.

Best Late-Round Pick: LaRoche, easily. Based on his Cape performance, he would have been a mid-first-round pick in 2004, which is why it cost $1 million to sign him.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Cory Van Allen (3) has a smoother delivery and more polished repertoire than Tiffany. He's now at Baylor. RHP Derik Olvey (13), SS Matt Antonelli (19) and RHP Doug Frame (22) should go much higher in 2006 after three years of college. Olvey is at Notre Dame, Antonelli at Wake Forest and Frame at Texas A&M. Overall, the Dodgers failed to sign five of their top 14 picks.

Assessment: While more teams covet college players, the Dodgers have bucked the trend and had success with high schoolers. Their first eight selections were high school players. For the second straight year, they mixed strong arms and productive bats.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Best Pro Debut: C Lou Palmisano (3) was the MVP of the Rookie-level Pioneer League after he won the batting (.391), on-base (.458) and slugging (.592) titles. The only blemish came when he broke his left ankle busting up a double play in August. 2B Rickie Weeks (1) hit .349 with more extra-base hits (10) and walks (15) than strikeouts (nine) in low Class A. RHP Tommy Hawk (17) used his fastball life and good breaking ball to go 2-1, 2.31 and lead the Rookie-level Arizona League in ERA. OF Terry Trofholz (22) batted .349-0-22 and topped the Pioneer League with 39 steals.

Best Athlete: The Brewers like the athleticism of their top four picks--Weeks, OF Anthony Gwynn (2), Palmisano and OF Charlie Fermaint (4)--but it's hard to beat Weeks' package. His offensive ceiling is as high as any player's in the 2003 draft, and Weeks has plus speed to boot. He still needs to smooth out some rough edges defensively, but he has the arm and hands to excel at second base. Center field could be another option.

Best Pure Hitter: Weeks, who won back-to-back NCAA Division I batting titles in 2002-03 and holds the NCAA career record with a .473 batting average. He might have the quickest hands of any draftee since Gary Sheffield, the No. 6 overall pick by Milwaukee in June 1986.

Best Raw Power: Weeks. Palmisano and C Brian Opdyke (5) have intriguing power potential, especially considering their potential. The Brewers believe that the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Fermaint could develop surprising pop once he fills out.

Fastest Runner: Fermaint was clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash before he pulled a hamstring during the spring, which caused him to slide in the draft. One of the youngest players in the draft, he didn't turn 18 until Oct. 11.

Best Defensive Player: Though Gwynn has his famous father's hitting approach, he really distinguishes himself with his play in center field. His instincts and speed make it difficult to shoot balls by him in the gaps. Palmisano is very agile behind the plate and has solid arm strength.

Best Fastball: RHPs Robbie Wooley (6) and Ryan Marion (8) both touch 94 mph, with RHP Brian Montalbo (7) right behind them at 93. Draft-and-follow LHP Dana Eveland (16 in 2002) has a better arm, capable of delivering 94-95 mph fastballs. He went 2-1, 2.08 with 41 strikeouts in 26 Pioneer League innings.

Best Breaking Ball: LHP Greg Kloosterman (9), a two-way star at Bethel (Ind.) College, has the most refined curveball. He also owns an 85-90 mph fastball and went 6-1, 3.28 with 78 strikeouts in 69 innings in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.

Most Intriguing Background: Gwynn's father Tony coached him at San Diego State after winning eight National League batting titles. Unsigned RHP Robert Hinton's (40) dad Rich played in the majors, as did draft-and-follow RHP Tim Dilliard's (34 in 2002) father Steve. Montalbo's dad Mel played two games in the NFL as a defensive back. Palmisano's brother Nicholas, a first baseman, was a 33rd-round pick by the Pirates. 1B Carlos Corporan's (12) brother Elvis is a third baseman in the Yankees system. Unsigned LHP Justin Wilson's (37) father Ric is Milwaukee's West Coast crosschecker.

Closest To The Majors: Weeks got there in September, going 2-for-12 as he tuned up for the Arizona Fall League, and likely will begin 2004 in Double-A. There's no one standing in Palmisano's way on the road to Milwaukee.

Best Late-Round Pick: Hawk, who was ticketed for Cal State Fullerton.

The One Who Got Away: The Brewers signed their first 12 picks. They liked the bat of C Garrett Bussiere (14), who escaped to the University of California.

Assessment: Milwaukee has baseball's most improved farm system thanks to solid drafts under scouting director Jack Zduriencik. This year was no exception, as the Brewers got arguably the best hitter (Weeks) and catcher (Palmisano) in the entire draft.


MINNESOTA TWINS

Best Pro Debut: RHP Scott Baker(2) has command of four pitches. He debuted at low Class A and put up a 3-1, 2.49 record and 47-8 strikeout-walk ratio in 51 innings. RHP Chris Schutt (7) led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 82 strikeouts in 55 innings and went 5-1, 1.98. LHP Errol Simonitsch (6) was just as effective at the same level, going 5-1, 1.76 with a 57-6 K-BB in 46 innings. He should develop three solid average pitches.

Best Athlete: LHP Michael Rogers (16) and Schutt pulled double duty as pitcher/center fielders before turning pro. Rogers would have been one of college baseball's top two-way players had the Twins not signed him away from Texas late in the summer.

Best Pure Hitter: 3B Matt Moses (1) had one of the best bats in the high school ranks and hit .385 during a short stint in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. 1B Johnny Woodard (3), who wasn't that high on most team's draft boards, has the ability to hit for power and average.

Best Raw Power: 1B David Winfree (13) has a strong body and power swing, but he'll have to make some adjustments to make better contact after going 9-for-70 (.129) in the GCL.

Fastest Runner: OF John Rumsey (41) is a 60 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: SS Patrick Ortiz (24) makes all the plays, though he hit just .208 in the GCL. Woodard handles himself well at first base.

Best Fastball: Baker's fastball runs from 88-93 mph and sits at 90, but is an above-average pitch because it features so much life. Draft-and-follow RHP Evan Meek (11 in 2002) has more pure arm strength and can reach 96 mph.

Best Breaking Ball: Schutt's slider and Rogers' curveball have the most potential. Baker also has a plus slider.

Most Intriguing Background: A routine physical revealed that Moses had a tiny hole in his heart, but he's fine and feeling better than ever after a 20-minute operation. C Gregory Najac (20) may be the first player ever selected out of Belgium. His father is in the U.S. Air Force, and Najac was draft-eligible because he began his high school career in New York. C Eli Tintor (18) would have played quarterback at Minnesota-Duluth had he not turned pro. His father Rick works for the Twins as an associate scout and was Minnesota GM Terry Ryan's catcher in Class A. Unsigned Peter Taraskevich (27) is a switch-pitcher. RHP Levale Speigner's (14) brother Brent, a righty, was the Devil Rays' 50th-round draft choice.

Closest To The Majors: Baker, Simonitsch and Schutt, in that order. Moses has the bat to move swiftly for a high schooler, and he's expected to adjust to playing third base quickly.

Best Late-Round Pick: If Rogers were a couple of inches taller (he's 6 feet), he could have been a first-rounder. Both he and Winfree substantially exceeded slot money for their rounds.

The One Who Got Away: SS Brandon McArthur (5) has a chance to have average tools across the board with plus offensive potential. He'll spend the next three years at the University of Florida. The Twins also tried to sway RHP Josh Oslin (28), a projectable homestate prospect, away from the University of Minnesota.

Assessment: Moses evokes 1997 Minnesota first-rounder Michael Cuddyer, another Virginia high school product. He and Baker were a nice start to the Twins' draft, which received a significant boost when they decided to pay extra for Rogers.


MONTREAL EXPOS

Best Pro Debut: RHP Chad Cordero (1) didn't receive as much publicity as the Reds' Ryan Wagner, but he too shot to the majors and pitched well there. Cordero went 1-0, 1.64 with one save in Montreal, allowing big leaguers to bat just .111 against him. He was one of the most surprising picks in the first round, but he made a lot of sense for the Expos because he was willing to take below-slot money and could pay off quickly.

Best Athlete: The Expos considered OF Jerry Owens (2) with their first-round pick but were able to wait another round. A wide receiver for current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller in high school, Owens entered college on a UCLA football scholarship. After transferring to The Master's (Calif.) College to play baseball, he originally wanted to pitch before he was persuaded to take full advantage of his blazing speed. He played just two games this summer before running into a wall and needing minor surgery to clean up his left (throwing) shoulder and a pre-existing hernia.

Best Pure Hitter: OF Edgardo Baez (4) has a quick bat and led all Expos draftees with a .274 average in his pro debut. He played in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Best Raw Power: 1B Josh Whitesell (6) sold the Expos on his power with his batting-practice displays using wood bats at Loyola Marymount. He was primarily a DH this spring while recovering from 2002 arm surgery that curtailed his pitching career.

Fastest Runner: Few 2003 draftees can outrun Owens. He gets from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.85-3.95 seconds, and cuts that time to 3.5 seconds on a drag bunt.

Best Defensive Player: SS Trey Webb (5) was one of the best pure shortstops in the draft. His arm and range are strengths, though he's error-prone and committed 17 miscues in 54 games in low Class A. His bat causes more concern after he hit .238 there and .222 in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Best Fastball: Cordero and RHPs Daryl Thompson (8) and Alexis Morales (46) all can touch 94 mph. Thompson's fastball has the most upside because he's just 17 and generates a lot of life on the pitch.

Best Breaking Ball: Cordero's slider is a big reason he was able to succeed in the majors. It peaks at 85 mph and he commands it very well.

Most Intriguing Background: 2B Oscar Bernazard's (28) uncle Tony played 10 seasons in the big leagues and is now a special assistant with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Closest To The Majors: Cordero. The Expos think RHP Devin Perrin (7) could be a sleeper who moves fast. He relies on command.

Best Late-Round Pick: Area scout Zack Hoyrst looked past Morales' 5-foot-11 build and his arm soreness last spring. After returning to full strength, Morales showed a plus fastball and an 82 mph slider. Promoted to high Class A at the end of the season, he struck out eight in five scoreless innings.

The One Who Got Away: The Expos signed their first 19 picks--the best success rate in the majors--but couldn't find the money to sign Iowa Western CC RHP Joe Bisenius (21), who transferred to Oklahoma State. Six-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he has an 88-93 mph fastball and promising slider.

Assessment: Handicapped by a small draft budget and a tiny scouting staff, the MLB-owned Expos have to work that much harder. None of their hitters had strong debuts, but Cordero, Perrin, Thompson and Morales offer promise on the mound.


NEW YORK METS

Best Pro Debut: RHP Brian Bannister (7) made the short-season New York-Penn League all-star team after going 4-1, 2.15 with 42 strikeouts in 46 innings. RHP Carlos Muniz (13) picked up 13 saves and had a 0.45 ERA in the NY-P before his season ended prematurely when he broke his thumb after slipping and falling on a fielding play.

Best Athlete: OF Lastings Milledge (1) had the best five-tool package in the draft, though he'll need some refinement. OF Cory Wells (28) is another gifted athlete, but he's raw. Six-foot-7 RHP Andy Sides (11) was an all-state basketball player at his Missouri high school.

Best Pure Hitter: Though Milledge has struggled at times at wood-bat showcases and against quality breaking pitches, the Mets arent worried about his ability to hit. They love his bat speed and approach and just think he needs to learn pitch recognition and the strike zone.

Best Raw Power: Milledge or OF Seth Pietsch (8). Pietsch, who's built like Brian Giles at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, homered on the first pro pitch he saw.

Fastest Runner: Milledge has 6.4-6.5 second speed in the 60-yard dash. He stole five bases in seven games in the Appalachian League.

Best Defensive Player: Milledge covers a lot of ground and has a very strong arm for a center fielder. The same is true of OF Corey Coles (5), who also pitched at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Best Fastball: The Mets mostly went for guys who knew how to pitch with average stuff. Their strongest arm belongs to RHP Mateo Miramontes (6), who works at 90-91 mph and maxes out at 92. He battled control problems in the NY-P before getting straightened out in instructional league.

Best Breaking Ball: Bannister's curveball is a cut above Miramontes' and RHP Vince Cordova's (9). Before the draft, the Mets targeted all three of them and would have considered themselves fortunate to get two.

Most Intriguing Background: Bannister's father Floyd was the No. 1 overall pick in the June 1976 draft and was an all-star in 1982, when he led the American League in strikeouts.

Closest To The Majors: LHP Shane Hawk (4) was an obvious candidate, with his solid fastball and slider, plus his 0.00 ERA in 13 short-season innings. But he came down with a sore shoulder working as a starter after relieving at Oklahoma State. Bannister and Cordova are two other possibilities.

Best Late-Round Pick: Sides could be a steal with his projectable body and feel for his offspeed pitches. The Mets also like Muniz' sinker/slider combination.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Kyle McCulloch (18), who decided to attend Texas, has a solid average fastball and an advanced changeup. He reminded the Mets of two of their better pitching prospects, Bob Keppel and Matt Peterson, at the same stage of their careers.

Assessment: This Mets draft was very similar to their last one. In both cases, they had a premier talent slide to their first-round pick (Scott Kazmir in 2002) and forfeited their second- and third-round choices to sign free agents. After that, their drafts were ordinary.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Best Pro Debut: Managers rated 3B Eric Duncan (1) the top prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and he hit .373 after a late promotion to the short-season New York-Penn League. Between the two stops, he batted .301-4-41. RHP Tyler Clippard (9) went 3-3, 2.89 with a 56-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 44 GCL innings. He reminds the Yankees of Zach Day, whom they drafted in the fifth round in 1996. RHP Elvys Quezada (15) went 5-0, 1.72 in 10 starts between the NY-P and low Class A.

Best Athlete: OFs Estee Harris (2), Tim Battle (3) and Jose Perez (7) all can fly, have center-field skills and have power potential. Harris has the most pop, while Battle is the fastest and has the strongest arm. Perez turned down a scholarship to play wide receiver at San Diego State in order to sign with the Yankees. Battle currently is undergoing chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with lymphoma, but is expected to make a full recovery and return to the diamond in spring training.

Best Pure Hitter: Duncan, whose bat is more advanced than his glove. The Yankees believe he can stay at the hot corner rather than moving to first base, but he'll need time to work on his defense.

Best Raw Power: Duncan or Harris. Harris is reminiscent of a young Chili Davis. He's just 6 feet and 170 pounds, but the ball jumps off his bat.

Fastest Runner: Battle can run the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Battle gets the nod over Harris because he's a little quicker and has a much stronger arm. Battle was clocked at 90-92 mph on the mound in high school.

Best Fastball: The Yankees weren't able to sign him as a draft-and-follow after taking him in the 18th round in 2001, but they finally got RHP Josh Smith (8) this year. His fastball usually runs from 92-95 mph. RHP T.J. Beam (10) doesnt throw as hard, sitting at 90-91 mph, but generates a tough downward plane with his 6-foot-7 frame.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Jason Stephens' (6) curveball is better than Clippard's. The Yankees spent $500,000 (roughly four times the average for the sixth round) to sign Stevens because they like his projectability. He was considered a tough sign because he was headed to Georgia Tech.

Most Intriguing Background: 1B Taylor Mattingly's (42) father Don and 2B Andre Randolph's (45) dad Willie were all-stars for the Yankees at the same positions and are employed by the club. 2B Enrique Cruz' (14) brother Jose plays for the Giants, and his father Jose and uncles Hector and Tommy all were former big leaguers. 1B John Urick (22) is the grandson of potential Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog. The Yankees avoided confusion by failing to sign another RHP Josh Smith (23). That one throws 92-97 mph and transferred from Central Arizona JC to Arkansas.

Closest To The Majors: Beam or Quezada, whose fastball and slider are above-average pitches at times.

Best Late-Round Pick: Quezada or Cruz. Cruz is an offensive second baseman who'll have to work defensively and become a little less pull-conscious.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Daniel Bard (20) had a borderline first-round arm but was considered impossible to sign away from the University of North Carolina. Those fears turned out to be true. LHP David Purcey (17) can be inconsistent, but he could go that high in the 2004 draft after a very strong summer in the Cape Cod League. The Yankees figure to sign RHP Steven White (4) before next year's draft because he's out of college eligibility. He's 6-foot-5 and can throw 90-94 mph.

Assessment: In a departure from recent years, the Yankees gambled on younger, less polished players with higher ceilings. They're starting from the bottom as they begin replenishing a system depleted by trades and disappointments.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Best Pro Debut: SS Omar Quintanilla (1) hit .358-2-20 between the short-season Northwest League and high Class A. He's similar to Padres 2002 first-rounder Khalil Greene in that his instincts and desire get the most out of his solid but unspectacular tools. Quintanilla isn't as strong as Greene, however.

Best Athlete: RHP Brad Sullivan (1) is very athletic for a pitcher and makes spectacular defensive plays off the mound. He also played first and second base for the University of Houston during the NCAA playoffs last spring. Among the position players, OF Andre Ethier (2) stands out the most. His power is still developing and his speed is nothing special.

Best Pure Hitter: 3B Brian Snyder (1) wasn't a first-rounder on most teams' draft board, but the Athletics believe he'll improve upon his .253-1-17 NWL debut when he's not fighting minor injuries. Ethier showed an advanced hitting approach in instructional league. Quintanilla isn't as pretty as Snyder and Ethier, but he could outhit them on sheer will.

Best Raw Power: Six-foot-4, 260-pound 1B Eddie Kim (4) used his massive strength to hit .305-4-39 in the NWL. 3B Vasili Spanos (11) has plenty of pop and a better approach. He didn't get to show much after breaking a hamate bone five games into his pro career.

Fastest Runner: The A's value speed as little as any team. Quintanilla's average speed is the best this draft has to offer, and he enhances it with his savvy on the bases.

Best Defensive Player: Most teams project Quintanilla as a second baseman, yet the A's will give him an extended look at shortstop. He gets himself into position to make all the routine plays, and his sure hands allow him to cut down on mistakes.

Best Fastball: Before he wore down physically at the end of the college season, Sullivan threw 91-94 mph with excellent sink. He would have gone in the upper half of the first round if not for his fade.

Best Breaking Ball: Sullivan's 82-85 mph slider is a better pitch than his fastball, though he falls in love with it too often. He also throws an effective curveball. Australian RHP Grant Reynolds (9) has the best curve among this crop.

Most Intriguing Background: 3B Eric Macha's (33) father Ken manages the A's and spent parts of six seasons in the majors. Sullivan overcame a severe brain injury sustained in a car accident when he was 10. Unsigned RHP Justin Cassel (30) has two brothers in sportsJack pitches in the Padres system and Matt is a backup quarterback at the University of Southern California. Justin went 15-0 last spring to lead Chatsworth (Calif.) High to the prep national title. Unsigned 1B Billy Becher (18) topped NCAA Division I with 32 homers and 118 RBIs in 2003.

Closest To The Majors: Sullivan or Quintanilla. Both should see Double-A action in 2004.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Jared Trout (28) spent more time as an outfielder than as a pitcher at the University of Rhode Island. He touches 90-91 mph with his fastball, has adequate secondary pitches and is a tough competitor.

The One Who Got Away: The A's signed their first 17 picks, but lost Cassel to UC Irvine. His command and mechanics are his strong suits right now, but his arm speed portends better stuff in the future.

Assessment: Getting Sullivan at No. 25 overall was a coup. With him and Quintanilla among their three first-round picks, the A's may ultimately have more success than they did with seven first-rounders in their ballyhooed "Moneyball" draft of 2002.


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Best Pro Debut: OF Javon Moran (5) led the short-season New York-Penn League with 27 steals and hit .284-1-12. If he had signed quicker, OF Michael Bourn (4) would have grabbed that title because he swiped 23 bases and batted .280 in 25 fewer games. LHP Joe Wilson (13) went 5-3, 2.14 with 72 strikeouts in 64 innings between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and the NY-P. LHP Dan Hodges (26) went 2-0, 0.99 with four saves between the NY-P and low Class A.

Best Athlete: The Phillies used their top three picks on speedsters with 2B Tim Moss (3), Bourn and Moran. Bourn is the fastest but isn't as strong as the other two. Moran's tools are a little more diverse than the others'. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7) turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Washington State and also starred in basketball for his high school team.

Best Pure Hitter: Bourn accepts his role better than Moss and Moran do. He draws more walks and focuses on getting on base. The Phillies are encouraging him to hit more balls on the ground to take further advantage of his speed.

Best Raw Power: OF Jason Crosland (9), who finished third in the national junior college ranks with 23 homers in 2003, has more strength than 1B Matt Hopper (10), who holds the University of Nebraska career homer mark with 64.

Fastest Runner: Bourn can race from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.8-3.9 seconds. Over a longer distance, Moss might catch him.

Best Defensive Player: Bourn and Moran both cover the gaps from center field and have fringe-average arms.

Best Fastball: RHP Nate Cabrera (16) reached 94 mph in the spring but didn't match that velocity after signing because he came down with a tender arm. RHP Matt Linder (8) hit 92-93 mph before the draft. After Kendrick smoothed out his mechanics in instructional league, he could surpass them both.

Best Breaking Ball: Hodges' screwball is so good that it allows him to succeed with a fastball that rarely breaks 80 mph.

Most Intriguing Background: C Jose Cortez (14) tied the NCAA Division III career record with 70 homers.

Closest To The Majors: Moran or Bourn. They're ahead of Moss, who hit .150 in the NY-P.

Best Late-Round Pick: Wilson surprised the Phillies with the quality of his stuff, which includes an 89-93 mph fastball and an effective slider. LHP Derek Griffith (17) has a 6-foot-6 frame and a high-80s fastball, and he would have gone 10 rounds earlier had he not had Tommy John surgery in April.

The One Who Got Away: A quarterback recruited by several NCAA Division I football programs, RHP Greg Reynolds (41) will play baseball only at Stanford. As a 6-foot-7, 220-pounder with an easy delivery and solid repertoire, he could blossom into a 2006 first-rounder.

Assessment: The Phillies put a lot of faith in the speed of Moss, Bourn and Moran. If they don't drive the ball often enough to be effective offensive players, this draft could be very thin. Surrendering their top two picks for free agents Jim Thome and David Bell also hurt their effort.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Best Pro Debut: The Pirates' top two picks, LHPs Paul Maholm (1) and Tom Gorzelanny (2), both posted sub-2.00 ERAs in the short-season New York-Penn League. They combined for just three wins in 16 starts only because they were kept on tight pitch counts. Five-foot-11 RHP Chris Hernandez (22) had a better ERA (1.64) and averaged more than a strikeout per inning (41 in 38) at the same level.

Best Athlete: A baseball/football/track star in high school, OF Adam Boeve (12) went to Northern Iowa on a football scholarship as a safety and started his baseball career there as a catcher. The 2003 Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, he has solid all-around tools. OF Andrew Chance, signed as a fifth-year senior before the draft, has a similar background. He spent his first three years at Louisiana-Monroe as the Indians' starting quarterback before giving up football.

Best Pure Hitter: C Steve Lerud (3) missed the summer because the Pirates wanted a previous foot injury to heal correctly. He swung the bat well in instructional league, and his stroke and bat path will allow him to hit for average.

Best Raw Power: Lerud owns the Nevada high school career home run record with 60. He has work to do behind the plate, though he receives well. He has more offensive upside than most catchers, and that will be his ticket to Pittsburgh.

Fastest Runner: OF Pedro Powell (18) is a little guy with big-time speed. He's 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, and the Pirates have clocked him from the right side of the plate to first base in 3.7-3.8 seconds. To take further advantage of his wheels, he learned to switch-hit in instructional league.

Best Defensive Player: 2B Craig Stansberry (5) was a shortstop in junior college and the most athletic third baseman in college baseball when he played on Rice's 2003 College World Series champions. His athleticism allowed him to make a seamless transition to second base in the pros, with double-play pivots giving him no trouble. He runs well and batted .307-2-21 in the NY-P.

Best Fastball: Gorzelanny pitched to 94 mph in the spring, and gets good run and sink on his fastball. Draft-and-follow RHP Wardell Starling (4 in 2002) can match that 94. In terms of velocity, RHPs Kyle Pearson (4), Russell Johnson (7), Jake Cuffman (14), Dustin Molleken (15) and Josh Sharpless (24) are all just a tick behind Gorzelanny. Cuffman also has nice sink on his heater.

Best Breaking Ball: RHP Sergio Silva (8) and Sharpless have equally effective sliders.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Brett Holmes (20) is the grandson of 1955 National League rookie of the year and former Pirates manager Bill Virdon. Molleken's father Lorne is an assistant coach with the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. Unsigned 1B Nicholas Palmisano's (33) brother Lou won Rookie-level Pioneer League MVP honors after the Brewers signed him as a third-rounder. Unsigned RHP Troy Harrington's (44) brother Matt was a Rockies first-rounder in 2000 and was drafted in the 24th round by the Reds in June.

Closest To The Majors: Owner Kevin McClatchy prefers nearly-ready college players in the first round, and that's what he got in Maholm. His changeup may be his best pitch, though different scouts will vote for his sinker, curveball or slider. He commands them all, pitches inside and induces grounders. He'll probably start 2004 in high Class A and finish the season in Double-A or higher.

Best Late-Round Pick: Cuffman or Sharpless, two Pittsburgh-area products who got little predraft exposure.

The One Who Got Away: As the draft approached, RHP Dallas Buck's (19) stock kept rising until he made it clear he wanted to play football at Oregon State, where he's a defensive back. He has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and his athleticism allowed him to star in baseball, basketball, football and track in high school. Power-hitting 1B C.J. Smith (6) had extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore and exercised it by returning to the University of Florida.

Assessment: For a team that signed just 18 players, the Pirates got more than their share of intriguing pitchers. Lerud has the kind of power that's sorely lacking in Pittsburgh.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Best Pro Debut: The Cardinals spent a late pick on OF Sal Frisella (37) because he had a quick bat and a right-field arm. He paid them back by hitting .315-8-37 and leading the Rookie-level Appalachian League with a .434 on-base percentage. SS Brendan Ryan (7) batted .311-0-13 with 11 steals in the short-season New York-Penn League. RHP Justin Garza (9) went 3-0, 1.53 with 30 strikeouts in 29 innings between the two leagues.

Best Athlete: Ryan is a four-tool shortstop who lacks only power. RHPs Mark Michael (4) and Garza were two-way players in college. Michael was the victim of poor run support in the NY-P, but he showed a 92-94 mph fastball, plus slider and solid changeup in his lone victory. Garza was a preseason junior college all-American as a shortstop, but his low-90s fastball sealed his future as a pro.

Best Pure Hitter: C Daric Barton (1) is a gifted lefthanded hitter who batted .291-4-29 against more experienced Appy League pitchers. His arm is a tick below average and he's still learning behind the plate, but his offense should more than make up for any defensive shortcomings.

Best Raw Power: OF Levi Webber (26) looks like a young Richie Sexson, though he does more damage in batting practice than in games (.188-4-23 in the Appy League). Barton isn't as strong but may have more usable power in the long run.

Fastest Runner: Ryan and 2B Temetric Thomas (24) have solid average speed.

Best Defensive Player: C Matt Pagnozzi (8) led NY-P catchers by throwing out 51 percent of basestealers. He can get the ball from home plate to second base (mitt to glove) in 1.8 seconds. He's so advanced defensively that he may jump to high Class A in 2004 despite batting .178 in his pro debut.

Best Fastball: RHP Dennis Dove (3) regularly throws in the mid-90s but still is learning the importance of movement. RHP Stuart Pomeranz (2) already works in the low 90s, and at 6-foot-7 and 218 pounds he projects to catch up to Dove.

Best Breaking Ball: LHP Buddy Blair (10) has a sharp curveball.

Most Intriguing Background: Pagnozzi's uncle Tom was an all-star catcher for the Cardinals. OF Jose Virgil's (18) father Ozzie Jr. also was an all-star backstop, and his grandfather Ozzie Sr. was the first Dominican to play in the majors. SS Omar Pena's (16) brother Carlos is the Tigers' first baseman.

Closest To The Majors: RHP Anthony Reyes (15), if he can stay healthy and continue to pitch like he did in instructional league. If not, Blair could get there first as a lefty specialist.

Best Late-Round Pick: Reyes outpitched Mark Prior as a University of Southern California freshman in 2000, establishing himself as the possible No. 1 overall pick in 2002. But he didn't throw that well afterward and came down with elbow trouble. In Florida this fall, he regained his low-90s fastball and good slider.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Ian Kennedy (14) may replace Reyes in the Trojans rotation. He's advanced for his age and owns a solid fastball and slider.

Assessment: The Cardinals stocked up on young catchers and raw arms, two of the riskier demographics. Reyes has the potential to be the best pick in this draft.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Best Pro Debut: 3B Billy Hogan (5) hit .315-4-43 against older pitchers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League and the short-season Northwest League. RHP Ryan Klatt (38) was a dominant closer in the Pioneer League, recording 12 saves, a 2.12 ERA and a 51-3 strikeout-walk ratio in 30 innings. RHP Eddie Bonine (23) was nearly as effective finishing games in the short-season Northwest League, with 14 saves and 33 whiffs in as many innings.

Best Athlete: The Padres made a conscious effort to find bats, making athleticism a secondary concern. 2B Peter Stonard (4) has decent to solid tools across the board but doesn't have an obvious defensive home.

Best Pure Hitter: Stonard won the 2002 Cape Cod League batting title with a .348 average. He has good bat control and hit .293 in low Class A. He had a chance to go at the end of the first round until he failed drug tests at Alabama and San Diego State.

Best Raw Power: C Colt Morton (3) may never hit for average, but his 6-foot-6, 227-pound frame generates a lot of leverage. He hit .231-9-27 between the NWL and low Class A. Hogan should produce power and average.

Fastest Runner: From the draft, it's OF Jeff Leise (12), who has 60 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. But that's a full grade behind draft-and-follow OF Brian Wahlbrink (42 in 2002), who goes 60 yards in 6.3-6.4 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Though C Matt Lauderdale (9) had a better reputation, the Padres say Morton is better behind the plate. He has soft hands and good instincts, and his size doesn't hurt his agility or throwing mechanics.

Best Fastball: RHP Tim Stauffer (1), more for its outstanding life than its 91-92 mph velocity. Stauffer, LHP Daniel Moore (2) and RHPs Clark Girardeau (7) and Chuck Bechtel (15) all can hit 94. The Padres redrafted Bechtel after failing to land him as a 25th-rounder last year. They also signed two righties who reached 97 before the draft: draft-and-follow Jared Wells (31 in 2002) and fifth-year senior Howard Pence.

Best Breaking Ball: Stauffer's curveball. During negotiations, Stauffer came clean and told the Padres that an MRI had revealed weakness in his shoulder. His integrity cost him roughly $2 million, as San Diego reduced its bonus offer to $750,000, but scored him big points with team officials. The Padres believe he'll be able to avoid surgery and be fully healthy for spring training.

Most Intriguing Background: 1B Fernando Valenzuela Jr.'s (10) father made six all-star teams and spawned Fernandomania in Los Angeles during the 1980s. Lauderdale's sister Mandy was featured in the first edition of the FOX show "Temptation Island." 2B Brett Burnham's (21) brother Gary was a Triple-A first baseman in the Blue Jays system this season. The Padres drafted OF Tom Vincent (48) out of Australia. He was eligible because he had played collegiately in the United States.

Closest To The Majors: Stauffer, if he's healthy, or Stonard. Bonine and Klatt could move quickly as relievers.

Best Late-Round Pick: Bonine and Klatt. Bonine pitches at 90-91 mph and can throw two versions of a knuckleball. Klatt has a slightly harder fastball and can flash a good slider.

The One Who Got Away: Power-hitting OF Cory Patton (6) showed no desire to play pro ball and returned to Texas A&M.

Assessment: The top of San Diego's draft looks shaky with Stauffer's shoulder problems, Moore's and Morton's inconsistency in college and the pros, and Stonard's off-field issues. The Padres did supplement the draft with an impressive haul of DFEs that included 1B Michael Johnson (2 in 2002), C George Kottaras (20 in 2002), LHP Danny de la O (30 in 2002), OF Drew Macias (35 in 2002), Wells and Wahlbrink.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Best Pro Debut: RHP David Aardsma (1) had no problem going from the College World Series to high Class A. He had a 1.96 ERA, eight saves and twice as many strikeouts (28) as hits (14) over 18 innings. RHP Ben Thurmond (15) went 5-0, 1.93 with a 45-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 51 innings in the short-season Northwest League. 3B Nate Schierholtz (2) hit .331-5-34 between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the NWL.

Best Athlete: C Todd Jennings (2) also played second base, third base and the outfield at Long Beach State. He has plus arm strength, good receiving skills and hit .296-3-32 in the NWL. The Giants compare his athleticism to Jason Kendall's.

Best Pure Hitter: Schierholtz didn't get much play before the draft, but scouting coordinator Matt Nerland uncovered him at Chabot (Calif.) JC, vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow's alma mater.

Best Raw Power: Schierholtz should hit for power and average. 3B Brian Buscher (3) also has some pop.

Fastest Runner: OF Jon Coutlangus (19) rates a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: Jennings led NWL catchers by erasing 39 percent of basestealers.

Best Fastball: Aardsma and RHP Craig Whitaker (1) both sit in the mid-90s and top out at 98 mph. Whitaker is three years younger and has yet to fully develop his 6-foot-4, 170-pound frame, so his fastball has room to grow further. RHPs Billy Sadler (6) and Kellen Ludwig (9) can push their fastballs to 95-96 mph.

Best Breaking Ball: Before he needed Tommy John surgery, RHP Brian Wilson's (24) curveball was easily the class of this crop. Until he returns, RHP Brooks McNiven's (4) slider and LHP Pat Misch's (7) curve are the best.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Patrick Dobson's (18) father Kevin was a regular on "Kojak" and "Knots Landing." C Nick Conte's (13) dad Stan is the Giants' head trainer. Unsigned LHP Tyler Coon (26) was named tournament MVP after helping the CC of Southern Nevada win the Junior College World Series.

Closest To The Majors: Aardsma will be ready once he develops consistency with his slider. When he reaches the majors, he'll move ahead of Hank Aaron to the front of the alphabetical player listing in baseball encyclopedias.

Best Late-Round Pick: Wilson might have been a supplemental first-rounder if he hadn't blown out his elbow. His rehab is going well, and the Giants expect he'll eventually regain his curveball and 90-93 mph fastball. Thurmond didn't need reconstructive surgery, but he has battled elbow problems for two years. San Francisco thinks he can regain his low-90s fastball, which would make his plus changeup that much more effective.

The One Who Got Away: Florida Christian High (Miami) teammates C Raul Rodriguez (20) and RHP Sean Watson (21). An offensive-minded catcher, Rodriguez is at Florida State. Watson, who has a nice assortment of pitches led by an 88-92 mph fastball, went to Tennessee. The Giants signed their first 18 picks.

Assessment: The Giants started off with two very powerful arms in Aardsma and Whitaker, then did what they do best. They work hard and aren't afraid to buck the consensus, an approach that brought them Jennings, Schierholtz and Buscher.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Best Pro Debut: Several scouts questioned SS Adam Jones' (1) bat and thought he'd be better off as a hard-throwing righthander, but he hit .303-0-12 between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the short-season Northwest League. After coming down with draftitis during the spring, LHP Tom Oldham (8) rebounded to go 5-3, 2.86 with 63 strikeouts in as many innings in the NWL. He got his 88-91 mph fastball, his curveball and his changeup back.

Best Athlete: Jones could be a multitooled shortstop if he continues to hit. He's raw but his debut was encouraging, though he's not a plus runner. OF Sam Bradford (22) isn't as strong as Jones, but he's faster and he's a switch-hitter with a quick bat. Bradford also lists pitching on his resume and has been clocked at 93 mph in the past.

Best Pure Hitter: SS Jeff Flaig (2) was the best hitter on the 2001 U.S. youth national team that also included future first-round picks Chris Lubanski, Lastings Milledge and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He projects to be similar to fellow El Dorado High (Placentia, Calif.) products Bret Boone and Phil Nevin. Flaig tore his rotator cuff in 2002, which has affected his throwing, but the Mariners like his defensive instincts and will give him the opportunity to stay at shortstop. He may battle Jones for playing time along the way.

Best Raw Power: Jones has more pop than Flaig, though both are still growing into their bodies.

Fastest Runner: Bradford is a plus runner, but the Mariners didn't get any burners.

Best Defensive Player: C Justin Ruchti's (9) pro debut was cut short when he strained a hip. The injury also hampered his ability to shut down the running game, his greatest strength.

Best Fastball: Jones hit 96 mph during the spring, creating the interest in making him a pitcher. Among the guys who will stay on the mound, RHP Aaron Jensen (19) has the top fastball. LHP Casey Abrams (5) and RHP Tim Dorn (14) can match Jensen by touching 94 mph, but Jensen does it consistently. Abrams strained his forearm shortly after signing and was shut down for the summer.

Best Breaking Ball: Jensen can throw his hard, biting 12-6 curveball for strikes. Abrams has the best slider. If we had categories for best changeup, smoothest delivery or most precocious feel for pitching, LHP Ryan Feierabend (3) would win all three.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned OF Trevor Heid's (39) father Ted is in charge of Pacific Rim operations for the Mariners' scouting department. Seattle also drafted Trevor two years ago, and they picked Ruchti's brother Aaron, a catcher, in both 2001 and 2002. Unsigned C Yusuf Carter (38) is the nephew of former all-star Joe Carter. Yet another unsigned C, Danny Santin (23), is the son of Devil Rays international scouting director Rudy Santin. Unsigned OF C.J. Gaddis (20) is redshirting as a quarterback at Clemson.

Closest To The Majors: There aren't any obvious candidates. A healthy Ruchti might arrive first based on his defense alone.

Best Late-Round Pick: Jensen was considered the best Utah high school pitcher in several years. Signability was the only reason he didn't go in the first two rounds, which was also the story with . . .

The One Who Got Away: LHP Scott Maine (15), the Mariners' highest unsigned pick. He's still filling out at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, and he already throws an 89-92 mph fastball and a plus curveball with no effort. He could be the University of Miami's ace as a freshman.

Assessment: The Mariners had a rough draft in 2002, when they failed to sign two of their top three choices. They rebounded this June with two multitooled infielders, Jensen and a host of lefthanders that also includes Paul Fagan (4) and Eric O'Flaherty (6).


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Best Pro Debut: Primarily a shortstop at North Carolina State, RHP Chad Orvella (13) put up eight saves, 12 scoreless innings and a 15-1 strikeout-walk ratio in the short-season New York-Penn League. Then he injured a knee and required arthroscopic surgery. LHP Joe Little (26) went 4-0, 0.29 in five NY-P starts to earn a promotion to high Class A. He lacks a plus pitch but throws all four of his offerings for strikes. 2B Chad Cooper (11) led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 25 steals.

Best Athlete: OF Shaun Cumberland (10) is the purest athlete but is very raw as a baseball player. 3B Travis Schlichting (4) has the power and arm strength for the hot corner. He also served as the third starter (behind Rangers first-rounder John Danks and White Sox fifth-rounder Matt Nachreiner) at Round Rock (Texas) High, the nation's No. 1-ranked prep team for much of the spring.

Best Pure Hitter: OF Delmon Young (1) went No. 1 overall because of his hitting prowess. He has a very quick bat and tied for the lead on the 2002 U.S. junior national team with a .474 average.

Best Raw Power: Young can hit 450-foot bombs in batting practice and keeps the power turned on once the game starts. He set a U.S. junior record with 16 homers in 2002, when he topped all players at the World Junior Championship with nine homers and 18 RBIs in seven games.

Fastest Runner: Cooper and SS Brandon Rousseve (45) have 6.6-second speed in the 60-yard dash. The Devil Rays redrafted Rousseve after failing to get him as a 39th-round draft-and-follow from 2002.

Best Defensive Player: The Devil Rays think they got several premium gloves in Schlichting, C Christian Lopez (6), SS Matthew Maniscalco (8) and Rousseve.

Best Fastball: Orvella already throws 94-95 mph and could add more velocity now that he'll be given time to hone his craft. LHP Jon Barratt may have the quickest arm in the entire draft. Scouts say Barratt can't be taller than 5-foot-8 yet he reaches 93 mph.

Best Breaking Ball: LHP James Houser (2) and Barratt have good curveballs. Houser is much more projectable at 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds and shows three plus pitches at times. Teams considered him for the first round until they backed off because he has a heart murmur and showed inconsistent velocity last spring.

Most Intriguing Background: Young and his brother Dmitri, an all-star with the Tigers, are the highest-drafted siblings in draft history. Dmitri went fourth overall to the Cardinals in 1991. Unsigned OF Rod Allen Jr.'s (22) father got 50 big league at-bats and serves as the color analyst on Detroit telecasts. RHP Brent Speigner's (50) brother Levale, also a righty, was the Twins' 14th-rounder.

Closest To The Majors: Young's bat should get him to Tampa Bay by the end of 2005. He made his pro debut in the Arizona Fall League.

Best Late-Round Pick: Orvella has the chance to be a setup man. Little and LHP Aaron Gangi (14) have similar stuff and project as No. 5 starters or middle relievers.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Andrew Miller (3) and RHP Jared Hughes (16) each ranked as the nation's top high school prospect at one point during the year leading up to the draft. Miller became the highest-drafted player not to sign (66th overall) when he declined a backloaded major league contract worth more than $2 million. He's at the University of North Carolina, while Hughes went to Santa Clara. South Florida RHP Casey Hudspeth (21) and Alabama LHP Wade LeBlanc (36) also will be coveted picks in 2006.

Assessment: Young is a safer bet to produce than Tampa Bay's No. 1 overall pick in 1999, Josh Hamilton. The Devil Rays upgraded their lefthanded pitching significantly with Houser, Barratt, Brian Henderson (7), Gangi, Little and DFE Rejino Gonzalez (46 in 2002).


TEXAS RANGERS

Best Pro Debut: OF Jeremy Cleveland (8) hit .322-7-53 and led the short-season Northwest League with 64 runs. OF Dane Bubela (22) edged him for the batting title at .323-4-35 and also led the NWL in on-base percentage (.436). The Rangers also had the Rookie-level Arizona League OBP leader (.446) in 2B Micah Furtado (20), who batted .342-0-23 with 17 steals there. RHP Wes Littleton (4) recovered from a lost spring at Cal State Fullerton that included a six-week suspension and pitching his way out of the weekend rotation. He went 6-0, 1.56 with a 47-8 strikeout-walk ratio in 52 NWL innings.

Best Athlete: The Rangers didn't sign a classic power/speed combination, but OFs Vince Sinisi (2), Adam Bourassa (6), Cleveland and SS Ian Kinsler (17) are good athletes. So is LHP John Danks (1), who could have been drafted in the top 10 rounds solely as an outfielder.

Best Pure Hitter: Sinisi was one of the best college bats available and would have gone in the top 10-15 picks if his signability hadn't been an issue. He received $2.07 million. Cleveland is another gifted hitter, and sleeper OF Andrew Wishy (12) has the physical skills to produce at the plate.

Best Raw Power: Six-foot-3, 210-pound 1B Ian Gac (26), followed by Wishy and Cleveland.

Fastest Runner: Bourassa has 4.0-4.1 second speed from the left side of the plate to first base. On a bunt, he can get down the line in 3.7 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Bourassa's speed and instincts serve him well in center field. Kinsler is better at shortstop than the Rangers expected. He's very fluid, has good hands and made just seven errors in 50 games.

Best Fastball: RHPs Matt Lorenzo (5) and Matt Farnum (7) reached 95 mph in college, and Farnum did on a few occasions during the summer. Danks and Littleton can both get to 94.

Best Breaking Ball: Danks' curveball is better than his fastball at times. He also has a picture-perfect delivery to go with his two plus pitches. Littleton has the top slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned 3B Josh Lansford's (39) father Carney won the 1981 American League batting title. RHP John Hudgins was the Most Outstanding Player at the 2003 College World Series, where he won three times but saw his Stanford team lose to Rice in the finals. Wishy is an accomplished pianist. Bubela's brother Jaime is an outfielder in the Mariners system. Unsigned LHP Curtis White (44) has been selected in the last five drafts.

Closest To The Majors: Hudgins and Littleton, who fit into the Rangers' philosophy of prizing pitchability over unrefined pure stuff. Hudgins developed a nerve problem in his ribcage after pitching two innings as a pro, and the hope is he won't require surgery. He has a solid four-pitch mix.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Marc LaMacchia (21) had a 91-92 sinker before undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-May. Had he stayed healthy, he could have gone in the second or third round. The Rangers also have hopes for Wishy, Bubela, Gac and RHP Scott Feldman (30). Feldman has an 88-92 mph turbo sinker, but hurt his elbow six innings into his pro career and may need surgery.

The One Who Got Away: The Rangers signed their first 17 selections. RHP Brad Lincoln (28) is just 6 feet tall, but he throws in the low 90s with little effort. He should crack the University of Houston rotation as a freshman.

Assessment: Getting Danks and Sinisi was the equivalent of having two picks in the upper half of the first round. After giving up their 2002 second- through fifth-round choices as free-agent compensation, the Rangers kept their selections this time and were able to grab some much-needed pitching.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Best Pro Debut: 1B Vito Chiaravalloti (15) won the short-season New York-Penn League triple crown (.351-12-67) and MVP award. Auburn went 56-18 in the NY-P regular season thanks to Chiaravalloti and several other draftees. SS Aaron Hill (1) hit .361-4-34 before he was promoted to high Class A. LHP Kurt Isenberg (4) won the ERA title at 7-2, 1.63, while RHP Tom Mastny (11) was top in victories at 8-0, 2.26. RHP Josh Banks (2) gave Auburn a third dominant starter, going 7-2, 2.43 with an 81-10 strikeout-walk ratio in 67 innings. The bullpen also was in capable hands with RHPs Shaun Marcum (3), Jamie Vermilyea (9) and Brian Reed (27) turning in sub-2.00 ERAs.

Best Athlete: Hill is an offensive middle infielder with average arm strength, range and quickness. Marcum and Isenberg were two-way players in college, with Marcum serving as a rare shortstop/closer on Southwest Missouri State's surprising College World Series team.

Best Pure Hitter: Hill, who likely would have wrested the NY-P batting crown from Chiaravalloti had he been given enough at-bats to qualify.

Best Raw Power: Chiaravalotti slumped from 23 homers as a junior in 2002 to 13 last spring, but got his bat going again after turning pro.

Fastest Runner: OF Jayce Tingler (10) has 55 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: 3B Ryan Roberts (18). Hill gets the job done at shortstop, and he could be very good at second or third base.

Best Fastball: Batters can't sit on Banks' 90-94 mph heater because he has a nasty splitter. He slid out of the first round when blisters caused his performance to slip right before the draft.

Best Breaking Ball: Marcum has a plus slider. He can get his fastball to 90-92 on a good day.

Most Intriguing Background: The Blue Jays believe in LHP Matt Foster's (14) potential and are optimistic that he'll join them full-time next summer after he completes his two-year commitment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Currently in submarine school, Foster has a live 90-92 mph sinker but needs time to work on his other pitches. While in high school, Chiaravalloti was a YMCA national champion in the 100-yard backstroke and the New Jersey swimmer of the year. C Jeremy Knicely's (42) father Alan caught for parts of eight big league seasons. Unsigned 1B Jim Burt Jr.'s (35) father won two Super Bowls as a nose tackle with the Giants and 49ers.

Closest To The Majors: Hill and Banks.

Best Late-Round Pick: Chiaravalloti continued to swing the bat well in instructional league. The Blue Jays also could get good value from Mastny, Foster and Roberts.

The One Who Got Away: The Blue Jays hoped RHP Brad Depoy (20) would attend junior college, but they lost his rights when he went to the University of Houston. He touched 94 and made progress with his slider last spring.

Assessment: The Blue Jays prefer college players with a proven record of success, so it's no shock to see many of their picks post strong numbers in short-season leagues. It's also hard not to be impressed by those numbers.

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