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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Arkansas

By Jim Callis
May 30, 2005


THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Outside of Bryant High lefthander Travis Wood, it's a down year in Arkansas. There might not be another player drafted in the first 10 rounds, and the colleges are much thinner than usual. Auburn righthander Josh Sullivan, an Arkansas native, might be selected before Wood, and his younger brother Jake is the state's second-best prospect.

(National ranking in parentheses)
Potential First-Round Picks
None
Potential Second-Fifth Round Picks
1. Travis Wood (98), lhp, Bryant HS, Alexander
Others Of Note
2. Jake Sullivan, lhp, Central HS, Little Rock
3. David Hum, c, Little Rock Catholic HS, North Little Rock
4. Craig Gentry, of, U. of Arkansas
5. Scott Bridges, 2b, U. of Arkansas (dismissed from team)
6. Tommy Bryant, c, U. of Arkansas-Little Rock
7. Taylor Fowler, lhp, Arkansas State U.
8. Bennett Cromer, rhp, U. of Arkansas-Little Rock
9. Geoff Desmond, 1b, Arkansas State U.
10. Casey Rowlett, of, U. of Arkansas (dismissed from team)

1. TRAVIS WOOD, lhp (National rank: 98)
School: Bryant HS.
Hometown: Alexander, Ark.
B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 170. Birthdate: Feb. 6, 1987.
College Commitment: Arkansas.
Scouting Report: Wood is a long-term project, albeit an intriguing one because there aren't many lefthanders who can reach 95 mph. His fastball sat at 88-91 mph for much of the spring, but he started making more frequent forays into the mid-90s as the draft drew closer. Wood isn't tall, but he generates his velocity with a quick arm and athleticism. Scouts aren't crazy about his delivery, as he throws with a lot of effort and with some recoil. Wood hasn't shown much aptitude for spinning a breaking ball, and his curveball ranges from below-average to decent. For the most part, he just rears back and blows fastballs by inferior competition, so he'll have to make adjustments at the next level. Wood is considered a tough but not impossible sign. If teams decide he can't be steered away from Arkansas, the state may not have a player drafted in the first 10 rounds.


OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Arkansas)

Sullivan Sequel

LHP Jake Sullivan's (2) older brother Josh (No. 105 on our Top 200 Prospects list) is a former Auburn quarterback who has blossomed into a potential third-round pick now that he's focusing on baseball. Jake has the same kind of ceiling as a 6-foot-5, 200-pound lefty—but he's three years away from being that kind of draft pick. Sullivan is athletic and just starting to put things together on the mound. He has an 85-87 mph fastball and a rudimentary breaking ball, and it's unlikely he'll get selected early enough to divert him from Georgia Tech.

C David Hum (3) also could become an early draft pick after three years of college, in his case at Notre Dame. He's attractive because he's a catcher with lefthanded power. He showed an average arm before injuring his elbow last summer. He tried to rehab it before having Tommy John surgery last winter.

OF Craig Gentry (4) is the best of shallow pool of college talent. Gentry has above-average speed and arm strength, along with power potential and the athleticism to play center field. He's still raw, however, and hit just .316 with 11 extra-base hits in 44 regular-season games.

2B Scott Bridges (5) was leading the Southeastern Conference with 22 bases in as many games and OF Casey Rowlett (10) was atop the batting race at .473 when both were dismissed by Arkansas for violating team policy. Their draft status is completely up in the air. Both the 5-foot-10 Bridges and 5-foot-8 Rowlett are undersized, with Bridges ranking as the better prospect because he has a plus tool with his speed. Rowlett's bat and arm are his best assets.

The state's top college pitcher is LHP Taylor Fowler (7), who no-hit Northwestern in his first Arkansas State start this spring after transferring from Mississippi. He only throws in the mid-80s, but he has a lot of running action on his fastball and locates his changeup well. His awkward delivery hides the ball from hitters.

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