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2005 Draft Report Cards: San Francisco - Washington
By Jim Callis
2005 Draft Report Cards:
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Best Pro Debut: RHP Brian Anderson (14) led the short-season Northwest League with 19 saves, going 3-1, 1.95 with a 42-3 K-BB ratio in 28 innings. OF Antoan Richardson (35) topped the Rookie-level Arizona League in runs (45), steals (40) and on-base percentage (.465) while batting .321. RHP Dan Griffin (5) pitched in both leagues and put up a combined 3-2, 1.99 record with 69 strikeouts in 50 innings.
Best Athlete: OF Ben Copeland (4), San Francisco's top choice. His best tool is his speed, which makes him a threat on the bases and allows him to track down balls in center field. He also has some bat speed and is starting to hit for some power. OF Joey Dyche (7), a former college volleyball player, and Richardson are also good athletes.
Best Pure Hitter: Copeland, who hit .315-5-37 between the AZL and NWL. Dyche, who uses an inside-out swing, set a record at NAIA power Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) by hitting .500 in 2005. He also became the first player ever to hit for the cycle at the NAIA World Series. The Giants also are pleased with 2B Mark Minicozzi (17), who moved from third base and hit .321-2-36 in the NWL.
Best Raw Power: SS David Maroul (23) is inconsistent at the plate but can launch balls when he connects. He got hot at the right time for the University of Texas in June, winning College World Series MVP honors as the Longhorns captured the national title.
Fastest Runner: Richardson flies down the first-base line in 3.9 seconds from the left side and 4.0 from the right. The Giants are trying to get him to hit down on the ball so he won't waste his speed on popups. Copeland, Dyche and 1B Chris Stanton (43) all have above-average wheels.
Best Defensive Player: Maroul was a whiz at third base for the Longhorns but moved to shortstop at Salem-Keizer, where Pablo Sandoval manned the hot corner. Maroul had no problems at the tougher position and will stay there in 2006.
Best Fastball: Griffin can be overpowering, using his 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame to generate 90-94 mph fastballs. That's up from 82-83 mph when he enrolled at Niagara three years earlier, and there's more velocity in there. RHP Wayne Foltin (31) also can touch 94 mph.
Best Breaking Ball: RHP Robert Grace's (21) curveball. Griffin has the makings of a power curve. RHP Nick Pereira (10) has the best slider.
Most Intriguing Background: Grace is the half-brother of Giants reliever Scott Eyre. RHP Ivan Rusova (26) was born of Russian parents, spent his early years in Cuba and moved to Newfoundland when he was five. He eventually moved with his family to Toronto.
Closest To The Majors: Anderson. He has a good slider, an 88-91 mph fastball and good control. Copeland is the most advanced of the position players.
Best Late-Round Pick: Anderson and Pereira among the pitchers, Maroul and Minicozzi among the hitters.
The One Who Got Away: OF Kurt Lipton (40) took his line-drive bat to Vanderbilt. RHP Brad Cuthbertson (6) and 2B Scotty Bridges (8), the only players in the first 17 rounds who didn’t sign, remain under Giants control.
Assessment: The Giants were the last team to start drafting, kicking things off with Copeland at No. 132, and didn't land a premium draft-and-follow like they did the previous year with Marcus Sanders. But they always seem to come up with pitchers, and Griffin could be special.
Best Pro Debut: Drafted No. 3 overall for his offense, C Jeff Clement (1) didn't disappoint, hitting .319-6-20 in 30 games in low Class A. 1B Andy Hargrove (47) earned all-star recognition in the Rookie-level Arizona League by batting .314-3-25 with a .464 on-base percentage.
Best Athlete: OF/3B Bryan Sabatella (9) moves well for a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder and intrigues the Mariners with his power, arm and speed. Draft-and-follow OF Michael Saunders (11 in 2004) has better all-around tools and has been compared to Shawn Green. He hit .270-7-39 as an 18-year-old in the short-season Northwest League.
Best Pure Hitter: Clement made great strides as a hitter in 2005, beginning to use the entire field while showing improved discipline and plate coverage.
Best Raw Power: Clement had more raw power than any college player available in the draft. As a bonus, it comes from the left side. He still holds the national high school career home run record with 75, and his 46 longballs at Southern California were the second-most in the storied program's history behind Mark McGwire's 54.
Fastest Runner: Sabatella rates a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale. The Mariners didn't draft much speed.
Best Defensive Player: Ronnie Prettyman (10) topped short-season Northwest League third basemen with a .944 fielding percentage. His physical tools are fairly ordinary, but he has exceptional instincts that allow him to make all the plays. Clement's defense took a step forward this year under the tutelage of Trojans volunteer coach Chad Kreuter, a former big leaguer.
Best Fastball: RHP Stephen Kahn (5) pitched at 95 mph and topped out at 97-98 with explosive life when the Mariners moved him to the bullpen as a pro. His fastball command still leaves something to be desired, but he did earn a win or save in 15 of his 17 appearances in the NWL. RHP Anthony Varvaro (12) had a 92-94 mph heater before he succumbed to Tommy John surgery in May.
Best Breaking Ball: Varvaro showed a true power curveball before blowing out his elbow. Kahn also has a hard curve, while LHP Justin Thomas (4) has the best slider. LHP Robert Rohrbaugh (7) commands his slurvy breaking ball well.
Most Intriguing Background: Hargrove's father Mike manages the Mariners and was the 1974 American League rookie of the year. RHP Brett Bannister's (19) father Floyd was the No. 1 overall pick in the June 1976 draft and an all-star for Seattle in 1982. His brother Brian pitches in the Mets system. Unsigned RHP John Holdzkom's (15) brother Lincoln pitches in the Marlins system.
Closest To The Majors: The Mariners have a hole at catcher that Clement should be able to fill within the next two years.
Best Late-Round Pick: For the second straight year, the Mariners used their 12th-rounder on a pitcher who needed Tommy John surgery. In 2004 it was Steve Uhlmansiek, and this time it was Varvaro, who would have gone in the second or third round if healthy.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Lance Lynn (6) could become a two-way star at Mississippi and develop into a higher draft pick by 2008.
Assessment: Clement was the Mariners' earliest draft pick since they took Jose Cruz Jr. third overall in 1995. Seattle forfeited its second- and third-rounders as free-agent compensation, but made up for it by signing Saunders and Varvaro.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Best Pro Debut: RHP Derek Feldkamp (9) led the short-season New York-Penn League with 15 saves, going 1-2, 4.05 with 35 strikeouts in 27 innings. OF Garrett Groce (41) batted .322-9-35 with 12 steals in the NY-P.
Best Athlete: RHP Chris Mason (2), who was also a regular third baseman at UNC Greensboro. His mechanics, fielding and pickoff move are all smooth. As a position player, he had plus power, speed and defensive ability. Among the everyday players, the pick is OF John Matulia (10). He has speed, hitting ability and pop, and he plays center field well.
Best Pure Hitter: OF Andrew Lopez (8) is a natural hitter who batted .325-4-21 at Rookie-level Princeton. It cost $300,000, the equivalent of third-round money, to divert him from attending Long Beach State.
Best Raw Power: 1B Henry Wrigley (14) is still filling out his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame, but his strength already is evident. He was consistently driving pitches in instructional league after signing late in the summer.
Fastest Runner: Matulia has above-average speed, though he was caught in 10 of his 18 steal attempts.
Best Defensive Player: SS Neil Walton (16) pushed skilled defenders Justin Turner and Ronnie Prettyman to other positions at Cal State Fullerton. He has enough arm strength to pitch if the Devil Rays want to try him on the mound.
Best Fastball: Feldkamp, Mason and RHPs Jeremy Hellickson (4) and Greg Reinhard (6) all have 91-95 mph fastballs. So does RHP Bryan Morris (3), who's expected to sign as a draft-and-follow next spring. The Devil Rays agreed to a reported $1.3 million deal with Morris, but didn't close it in time to keep him from attending Motlow State (Tenn.) CC.
Best Breaking Ball: Mason and Morris both have terrific curveballs. RHP Wade Townsend's (1) signature pitch is his spike curveball, but he won't be throwing it for at least a year after blowing out his elbow in the Arizona Fall League. RHP Ryan Zimmerman (12) also has a power curve but is recuperating from Tommy John surgery in March.
Most Intriguing Background: Morris' father Ricky is an assistant coach at Motlow State. Matulia's dad Michael is the head coach at Lake Sumter (Fla.) CC. Zimmerman started at quarterback for Southern Utah before transferring to Salt Lake CC and focusing on baseball. Unsigned 1B/LHP Ike Davis' (19) father Ron was an all-star reliever.
Closest To The Majors: Mason, who has strong makeup to go with all of his physical gifts.
Best Late-Round Pick: Zimmerman, who also had an 88-92 mph fastball, could be a steal once he makes a full recovery from Tommy John surgery. Wrigley and Groce have legitimate hitting potential.
The One Who Got Away: Davis, now at Arizona State, could be a star as either a hitter or a pitcher. Southeastern Louisiana-bound Wade Miley (20) is a southpaw with a 90-92 mph fastball.
Assessment: The former upper-management team of CEO Vince Naimoli and GM Chuck LaMar didn't do the Rays any favors by insisting on the choice of Townsend at No. 8 overall or by holding up the Morris deal. There's still plenty of depth to salvage this draft, and Morris can be signed next spring.
Best Pro Debut: OF Steve Murphy (14) won the MVP award in the short-season Northwest League after batting .306-9-37. SS German Duran (6), who hit .262-4-33, joined him on the NWL all-star team. RHP Jon Wilson (29) also stood out in the NWL, going 3-1, 2.08 with 11 saves and a 49-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 35 innings. The Rangers challenged RHP Kea Kometani (15) by sending him to low Class A, and he responded by going 3-2, 2.40 with a 46-13 K-BB ratio in 56 innings.
Best Athlete: OF John Mayberry Jr. (1) was the best college athlete in the draft, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound package of tools. He has huge power potential, plus arm strength and speed. The power is what separates him from OF R.J. Anderson (9), a blue-chip defensive-back recruit who committed to play football at South Florida before signing with Texas.
Best Pure Hitter: 3B Johnny Whittleman (2), who hit .279-0-35 with 11 steals in the Rookie-level Arizona League, has merited comparisons to Hank Blalock.
Best Raw Power: Mayberry hit 11 homers in the NWL. Though he hit just .253 with 71 strikeouts in as many games, the Rangers say he has started to make adjustments to his swing and found a batting stance he'll stick with.
Fastest Runner: Anderson can cover 60 yards in 6.35 seconds.
Best Defensive Player: Taylor Teagarden (3) was the best defensive catcher in the draft, and he lasted 99 picks only because clubs worried about agent Scott Boras' asking price. One scout called Teagarden, who signed for $725,000, the best catch-and-throw amateur since Joe Mauer. There are mixed reports on his bat, but he hit .281 with seven homers in a month in the NWL.
Best Fastball: RHP Matt Nevarez (10) works at 91-92 mph and maxes out at 94. RHP Shane Funk (4) can reach 93 mph.
Best Breaking Ball: LHP Michael Kirkman (5) mixes four pitches well for a teenager. His 1-to-7 curveball is better than his slider, but that has potential as well. Funk gets good bite on his curve.
Most Intriguing Background: Mayberry's dad John also was a first-round pick and was one of the top power threats in the American League during the mid-1970s. Unsigned C Kevin Gossage's (33) uncle Rich is on the cusp of being voted into the Hall of Fame. RHP Jacob Rasner's (7) cousin Darrell broke into the majors with the Nationals in 2005. SS Renny Osuna (32) was MVP of the Junior College World Series.
Closest To The Majors: Teagarden is on the express route to Texas, especially if he continues to hit like he did in his first month as a pro.
Best Late-Round Pick: Nevarez and Murphy. The Rangers also have heightened expectations for savvy pitchers Kometani, Wilson and RHP Doug Mathis (13).
The One Who Got Away: Texas made a strong run at projectable 6-foot-4 RHP Chris Hicks (35), but not enough to keep him from Georgia Tech. The Rangers will sign their first 16 picks, if RHPs Brad Barragar (8) and Dexter Carter (12) sign in the spring as draft-and-follows.
Assessment: Mayberry is a classic boom-or-bust pick. The Rangers exceeded slot money to sign Whittleman, Teagarden, Rasner and Anderson, and they'll have to open the checkbook again to sign Barragar in the spring.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Best Pro Debut: OF Ryan Patterson (4) batted .339-13-65 and led the short-season New York-Penn League in RBIs, extra-base hits (40) and slugging percentage (.595). OF Jacob Butler (8) made the Rookie-level Appalachian League all-star team by hitting .290-14-52. RHP Paul Phillips (9) went 2-1, 2.29 with 13 saves and 41 strikeouts in 39 NY-P innings.
Best Athlete: 2B Sean Shoffit (15) has a good lefthanded swing with power potential, above-average speed and a plus arm. He was clocked at 92-93 mph while pitching at Cosumnes River (Calif.) JC. The Blue Jays signed a number of prominent two-way players, including OF Brian Pettway (3), C Josh Bell (6), OF Zach Kalter (20) and RHP Dennis Bigley (22).
Best Pure Hitter: Patterson's swing is a little unconventional but it works for him. He won the 2004 Cape Cod League batting title with a .327 average. Butler has more of a traditional stroke and also gets good results. Pettway nearly won the Southeastern Conference batting title with a .383 average at Mississippi, but hit just .225 in the NY-P.
Best Raw Power: Pettway has the best pull power, while Bell has the best to the opposite field. Patterson and Butler have good pop, too.
Fastest Runner: OF Matt Cooksey (32) gets from home to first in 4.0 seconds from the left side. Kalter is a step behind Cooksey but still has plus speed.
Best Defensive Player: Cooksey plays a solid center fielder. SS Chris Gutierrez, signed as nondrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, is a better defender.
Best Fastball: Phillips pitched at 89-95 mph all summer out of the bullpen. RHP Reidier Gonzalez (19) also can touch 95. RHP Billy Carnline (12) peaks at 94, while LHP Ricky Romero (1) and RHP Robert Ray (7) deliver the most consistent heat among the starters at 89-93 mph. Ray's fastball has explosive late life.
Best Breaking Ball: Romero's curveball is more effective than LHP Eric Fowler's (5) slider because Romero commands it so well.
Most Intriguing Background: RHP Josh Sowers' (10) twin brother Jeremy was a two-time first-round pick and pitches in the Indians system. Phillips' father Arnold is a part-time scout for the Devil Rays.
Closest To The Majors: Romero, the top lefty in the draft and the first pitcher selected. He blends the stuff of David Purcey and the command of Zach Jackson, Toronto's first two picks in the 2004 draft. Romero spent most of the summer in high Class A and held his own, going 1-0, 3.82 in eight starts.
Best Late-Round Pick: Shoffitt, Gonzalez and Kalter.
The One Who Got Away: The Blue Jays didn't come close to signing 1B Brett Wallace (42), a hitting machine now at Arizona State. But they did sign their first 15 picks.
Assessment: The Blue Jays are as dogmatic in the pursuit of college players as any organization. They signed just one high school product (2B Wesley Stone, 11). By focusing on draftees who can advance more quickly, however, Toronto winds up sacrificing ceiling.
Best Pro Debut: 3B Ryan Zimmerman (1) hit .336-11-38 in the minors, then hit .397-0-6 in 20 big league games. OF John Michael Howell (9) batted .363-3-18 at short-season Vermont.
Best Athlete: After breaking through in the Cape Cod League in 2003, OF Justin Maxwell (4) projected as a first-round pick. But he has barely played since, instead sidelined by a series of broken bones in his forearm, finger and wrist. He has size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), loft power and speed. He signed for $390,000 after turning down $386,000 from the Rangers as a 10th-rounder in 2004.
Best Pure Hitter: Zimmerman hit a Team USA-record .468 in the summer 2004, outperforming seven other 2005 first-round picks on the national team.
Best Raw Power: Six-foot-4, 215-pound OF Ryan DeLaughter (5) edges out former Central Florida teammates Howell and OF Dee Brown (10). The Nationals also clocked DeLaughter at 93 mph on the mound in high school.
Fastest Runner: Maxwell can run a 6.6-second 60-yard dash.
Best Defensive Player: Zimmerman will start winning Gold Gloves at third base once Scott Rolen leaves the National League. His range, arm, hands and footwork are all easily plus defensive tools. Washington even had him play some shortstop in hopes he might fill the biggest hole in the big league lineup. Maxwell is an above-average center fielder.
Best Fastball: RHP Andre Enriquez (13) is on the Joe Nathan career path. Like Nathan, Enriquez spent most of his college career as an infielder at a New York university. But area scouts Larry Izzo and Tony Arango liked his arm more than anything, and Enriquez was throwing 92-95 mph as a full-time pitcher as a pro. RHP Marco Estrada (6) pitches at 90-93 mph.
Best Breaking Ball: Estrada has a plus curveball and can throw it for strikes.
Most Intriguing Background: Brown's father Jerome was a two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman in the NFL before he was killed in a 1992 car accident.
Closest To The Majors: Zimmerman was the first position player from the 2005 draft to reach the big leagues. None of the other draftees will be pushed quickly.
Best Late-Round Pick: Enriquez. RHP Brad Clark (19) is a 6-foot-6, 200-pounder with a good fastball/slider combination. His draft stock took a tumble when he came down with a sore shoulder late in the spring, but the Nationals worked him out in the summer before signing him and think he'll be fine. Clark has gotten more exposure in showcases than in high school because he was academically ineligible for his first three seasons.
The One Who Got Away: The Nationals signed all their picks in the first 22 rounds. Scouts compare OF Marcus Jones (38) to Maxwell, but say Jones is more advanced at the same stage of his career. Like Maxwell, Jones is a top student who earns bonus points for his makeup. He'll play at North Carolina State.
Assessment: Washington couldn't have gotten a much more immediate payoff than it got from Zimmerman. Though they wasted their second- and third-round picks as compensation for free agents Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman, the Nationals got equivalent talents by signing Maxwell and Clark in October. They might not have been afforded that opportunity when the MLB-owned franchise was losing money in Montreal.