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2005 Draft: Midseason High School Update

By Allan Simpson
April 20, 2005


Top 50 High School Prospects

Virginia shortstop Justin Upton is the No. 1 high school player in this year’s draft class. North Carolina outfielder Cameron Maybin remains a solid No. 2.

On that score, little has changed over the first half of the 2005 season.

Upton, the younger brother of Devil Rays prospect B.J. Upton, has done little to change the minds of scouting directors, even as more are coming to the conclusion that Upton’s future may be in center field, and not at shortstop. One scouting director even said Upton’s upside as a center fielder is so high that he would compare favorably to the Braves’ Andruw Jones, arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game.

“He’s a natural center fielder, a potential 80 (on the 20-80 scouting scale),” a National League crosschecker said. “It’s a waste of his time staying at shortstop. He’s going to fight just to be an average player at that position.”

“Upton can’t play shortstop,” an American League scouting director said. “Well, if you want to stick with him for five to six years, you could bash him enough ground balls and he has enough athletic ability that he could probably play shortstop. But if you stick him in center field right now, he could be an all-star in two to three years. The problem is, I think he wants to play shortstop.”

Not all scouting directors are ready to give up on Upton as a shortstop just yet. He has the speed, range, hands and arm strength for the position, but even his biggest supporters acknowledge he is having difficulty making accurate throws across the diamond.

“He has trouble getting his arm and feet lined up,” an AL scouting director said. “He’s become very mechanical throwing the ball. He can pick it up OK and he’s got arm strength; he just has trouble throwing it accurately.”

Maybin, meanwhile, has played a steady center field this spring while continuing to swing a hot bat. Through his first 20 at-bats, he was hitting .800-5-13 with 11 stolen bases.

Pitchers On The Move

While Upton and Maybin continue to rank 1-2 in a Baseball America midseason survey of scouting directors, the high school pitching has experienced a shakeup.

California righthander Sean O’Sullivan was the No. 1 hurler at the start of the year, but he has been plagued by delivery problems leading to a significant loss of velocity. He came out throwing 86-87 mph, not the 95 he flashed consistently in 2004.

“O’Sullivan has definitely not been at his best,” an AL scouting director said, “but he still has some time to turn it around.”

In his place, 6-foot-7 Florida righthander Chris Volstad has surged to the head of the pack. He had allowed one earned run, nine hits and three walks in his first 38 innings, while striking out 61. He was particularly impressive in an early-season matchup against Wellington High’s Tyler Herron that drew a throng of scouts.

“Volstad had everything—he was 94 with power stuff,” an AL crosschecker said. “He had it all that night.”

No prep pitchers have climbed further than Utah lefthander Mark Pawelek and Tennessee righthander Bryan Morris.

“Without a doubt the high school player making the biggest push this spring is Pawelek,” an AL scouting director said. “Guys are running in there to see him. I know in his last outing he topped out at 94-95 and didn’t throw a pitch under 91.”

Morris was a relative unknown entering 2005 after he did not attend any major showcase events last year. But his stock skyrocketed when he spun no-hitters in his first two outings with an outstanding curveball and a fastball that touched 95.

The other pitcher who has made a big early impression is Texas righthander Craig Italiano. With a fastball that has touched 98 mph, he’s been the hardest-throwing pitcher in the high school ranks this spring. But scouts are reluctant to move him ahead of Volstad, Pawelek and Morris because they aren’t sold on his violent delivery.

With two months remaining before this year’s draft, scouts were reserving judgment on some of the pitchers in colder climates. But they are eager to bear down on such arms as the Illinois tandem of Michael Bowden and Mike Broadway, Ohio lefthander David Duncan, Michigan righthander Zach Putnam, Kentucky righthander Chaz Roe and Connecticut righthander Josh Zeid.

“There’s more pitchers than there were last year,” an AL scouting director said, “but there’s no one like a Homer Bailey or Mark Rogers or a healthy Nick Adenhart. Chris Volstad is good, but he’s not that good. There’s a lot of depth.”

With Upton (assuming he moves) and Maybin headlining the list, this year’s crop of prep outfielders is one of the strongest in draft history. As many as seven or eight have been crosschecked as potential first-round talents.

Florida’s Andrew McCutchen has been everything scouts were hoping for, showcasing the speed and overall hitting ability to justify his being selected in the top half of the first round.

The biggest mover has been Jay Bruce, who has leapfrogged outfielders Jordan Danks, Austin Jackson and Kyle Russell to become the top position player in Texas.

“Bruce has been really impressive,” an NL crosschecker said. “He’s got five above-average tools; he can run and throw, and he has big power. We just need to see more playability.”

California’s John Drennen and Alabama’s Colby Rasmus have been two of the nation’s hottest high school hitters for two of the hottest teams. Rasmus was hitting .539-15-43 in 76 at-bats for Russell County High, the nation’s No. 1 team. Drennen was hitting .542-10-31 in 48 at-bats for Rancho Bernardo High, the No. 3 team.

“We expected a (position) player-oriented draft, and it has held up,” an AL scouting director said.

Contributing: Jim Callis.


Top 50 High School Prospects

PS

MS

Player

B-T

HT

WT

High School

Hometown

Commitment

1

1

Justin Upton, ss/of

R-R

6-2

187

Great Bridge

Chesapeake, Va.

North Carolina State

2

2

Cameron Maybin, of

B-R

6-3

195

T.C. Roberson

Arden, N.C.

None

7

3

Chris Volstad, rhp

R-R

6-7

195

Palm Beach Gardens

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Miami

8

4

Andrew McCutchen, of

R-R

5-11

170

Fort Meade

Fort Meade, Fla.

Florida

53

5

Mark Pawelek, lhp

L-L

6-2

180

Springville

Springville, Utah

Arizona State

4

6

Justin Bristow, ss

R-R

6-4

205

Mills Godwin

Richmond, Va.

Auburn

6

7

Zach Putnam, rhp/3b

R-R

6-2

210

Pioneer

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan

11

8

Brandon Snyder, c/ss

R-R

6-2

190

Westfield

Centreville, Va.

Louisiana State

9

Bryan Morris, rhp

R-R

6-3

185

Tullahoma

Tullahoma, Tenn.

Motlow State JC

28

10

Craig Italiano, rhp

R-R

6-3

195

Flower Mound

Flower Mound, Texas

Texas Christian

44

11

Jay Bruce, of

L-L

6-2

200

West Brook

Beaumont, Texas

Tulane

5

12

Jordan Danks, of

L-R

6-5

200

Round Rock

Round Rock, Texas

Texas

26

13

John Drennen, of

L-L

6-0

180

Rancho Bernardo

San Diego

UCLA

27

14

Colby Rasmus, of

L-L

6-2

183

Russell County

Phenix City, Ala.

Auburn

9

15

Brett Jacobson, rhp

R-R

6-6

195

Cactus Shadows

Carefree, Ariz.

Vanderbilt

3

16

Sean O’Sullivan, rhp/of

R-R

6-2

195

Valhalla

El Cajon, Calif.

San Diego State

13

17

David Adams, 3b

R-R

6-1

185

Grandview Prep

Margate, Fla.

Virginia

29

18

Ryan Tucker, rhp

R-R

6-2

190

Temple City

Temple City, Calif.

Cal State Fullerton

10

19

Austin Jackson, of

R-R

6-2

180

Denton Ryan

Denton, Texas

Georgia Tech

17

20

Miers Quigley, lhp

L-L

6-3

190

Roswell

Roswell, Ga.

Alabama

61

21

Josh Wall, rhp

R-R

6-6

190

Central Private

Walker, La.

Louisiana State

22

Ryan Mount, ss

L-R

6-2

175

Ayala

Chino Hills, Calif.

Cal State Fullerton

12

23

Henry Sanchez, 1b

R-R

6-3

260

Mission Bay

San Diego

San Diego State

37

24

David Duncan, lhp

R-L

6-7

190

New Richmond

New Richmond, Ohio

Georgia Tech

25

Tyler Herron, rhp

R-R

6-3

187

Wellington

Wellington

Clemson

34

26

Jeff Lyman, rhp

R-R

6-3

215

Monte Vista

Alamo, Calif.

Arizona State

14

27

Jeremy Hellickson, rhp

R-R

6-0

170

Hoover

Des Moines, Iowa

Louisiana State

15

28

Ike Davis, 1b/lhp

L-L

6-5

205

Chaparral

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arizona State

18

29

Aaron Thompson, lhp

L-L

6-2

190

Second Baptist

Houston

Texas A&M

19

30

Michael Bowden, rhp

R-R

6-3

210

Waubonsie

Aurora, Ill.

Arizona State

43

31

Trevor Bell, of/rhp

L-R

6-2

180

La Crescenta

Crescenta Valley, Calif.

None

32

Sean West, lhp

L-L

6-8

195

Captain Shreve

Shreveport, La.

San Jacinto JC

94

33

Reese Havens, ss

L-R

6-1

195

Bishop England

Sullivan’s Island, S.C.

South Carolina

21

34

Kyle Hancock, rhp

R-R

6-3

185

Rowlett

Rowlett, Texas

Arkansas

22

35

Brad Clark, rhp

R-R

6-6

200

Sickles

Tampa

Okaloosa-Walton CC

23

36

Josh Zeid, rhp

R-R

6-4

214

Hamden Hall

New Haven, Conn.

Vanderbilt

35

37

Brent Milleville, c

R-R

6-3

230

Maize

Wichita, Kan.

Stanford

16

38

Buster Posey, rhp/ss

R-R

6-1

180

Lee County

Leesburg, Ga.

Florida State

20

39

Josh Bell, 3b

B-R

6-3

205

Santaluces

Lantana, Fla.

Florida Atlantic

32

40

Beau Jones, lhp

L-L

6-0

180

Destrehan

Destrehan, La.

Louisiana State

41

41

Iván De Jesús, ss

B-R

5-11

175

P.R. Baseball Acad.

Guaynabo, P.R.

None

52

42

Chaz Roe, rhp

R-R

6-5

170

Lafayette

Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky

63

43

Vance Worley, rhp

R-R

6-2

195

McClatchy

Sacramento

Long Beach State

42

44

Jarred Bogany, of

R-R

6-3

199

George Bush

Houston

Louisiana State

45

45

Matthew Hall, ss

R-R

6-2

180

Horizon

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arizona State

24

46

Jonathan Egan, c

R-R

6-4

210

Cross Creek

Hephzibah, Ga.

Georgia

47

Paul Kelly, ss

R-R

5-11

175

Flower Mound

Flower Mound, Texas

Texas Christian

39

48

Nick Romero, ss

B-R

6-0

180

Eastlake

Chula Vista, Calif.

San Diego State

86

49

Mike Broadway, rhp

R-R

6-5

190

Pope

Golconda, Ill.

None

96

50

Drew Thompson, ss

L-R

5-11

165

Jupiter

Tequesta, Fla.

Florida

PS—Preseason ranking
MS—Current midseason ranking.

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