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Expos Bank On Bray Taking Fast Track

June 7, 2004
By Aaron Fitt

A year after selecting Chad Cordero, one of three college closers from the 2003 draft who has already reached the major leagues, the Expos stuck to the same formula with their first pick.

Montreal grabbed polished William & Mary lefthander Bill Bray with the 13th overall pick, the highest a Tribe player has ever been drafted. Bray, the school's all-time saves leader, went 4-4, 2.44 with eight saves this spring while posting a 5.4-1 strikeout-walk ratio. He was impressive in the Cape Cod League last summer, going 2-1, 1.44 with four saves and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder has two above-average pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball with riding life and occasional sink, and an 82-84 mph slider with sharp tilt and late bite. Bray has a herky-jerky delivery with a loose arm action and a big pitcher's body, and some scouts worry about his mechanics and the softness of his build.

"Bill is a lefthander with a power arm," Expos scouting director Dana Brown said. "We see him being able to contribute out of the bullpen, but he also has the stuff to pitch in a starting role. He's been a closer in college and we like his ability to add depth to our bullpen in the future, either in a set-up or closer's role."

In the second round, the Expos selected Miami catcher Erick San Pedro. A raw offensive player with a plus arm and soft hands, San Pedro handles his staff well and has a reputation as a clubhouse leader.

"Erick has a good bat, an above-average arm, and he has a great feel for the game behind the plate," Brown said.

San Pedro's power has improved, shown by his 12 home runs and 51 doubles this season, but he drifts and lunges in his swing and lacks offensive instincts. But his glove could get him to the majors quickly, particularly in an organization thin on quality catchers.

EXPOSES

In the fifth round, Montreal drafted East Carolina righthander Greg Bunn, just minutes after Bunn held UNC Wilmington to two hits over eight shutout innings and struck out 11 to send the Pirates to a regional title and a berth in a super-regional next weekend against South Carolina.

The Expos also got value with South Florida catcher Devin Ivany in the sixth round. Rated as the No. 80 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, Ivany's maturity, versatility and line-drive swing had him projected to move in the third round. He hit .357 with five homers this spring, but not all scouts are sure he'll hit as well with wood.

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