If you're looking for lefthanders, come to Louisiana. Starting with likely
first-rounder Brian Bogusevic, the state could have six southpaws taken
in the top five rounds. The Bayou State also boasts a trio of hard-throwing
righthanders, but not much in the way of position players. The best long-term
bat in the state may belong to Bogusevic, but most clubs like him better
on the mound. (National ranking in parentheses)
12. Drew Allain, of, Holy Cross HS, New Orleans
13. Ryan Patterson, of, Louisiana State U.
14. Clay Harris, 3b, Louisiana State U.
15. Kevin Ardoin, rhp, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
16. Randy Roth, c, Southeastern Louisiana U.
17. Heath Hennigan, rhp, Pineville HS
18. Jeremy Moore, of, North Caddo HS, Shreveport
19. Blake Jones, rhp/dh, Northwestern State U.
20. Nick Stavinoha, of, Louisiana State U.
21. Jordan Brown, rhp/ss, Hahnville HS, Luling
22. Augustin Guzman, 2b, Baton Rouge CC
23. Greg Dini, c, Tulane U.
24. Jason Determann, lhp, Louisiana State U.
25. Dallas Morris, 3b, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
26. Eric Fry, of, Barbe HS, Lake Charles
27. Blake Gill, 2b, Louisiana State U.
28. Matt Liuzza, c, Louisiana State U.
29. Craig Westcott, 3b/rhp, Archbishop Hannon HS, Chalmette
30. Austin Faught, lhp, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
31. Mario Santiago, rhp, Baton Rouge CC
32. Billy Mohl, rhp, Tulane U.
33. Clay Dirks, lhp, Louisiana State U.
34. Ricky Fairchild, rhp, Tulane U.
35. Chad Pendarvis, lhp, Southeastern Louisiana U.
36. Anthony Hatch, 1b, Nicholls State U.
37. Gene Filyaw, 2b, Southern U.
38. Seth Henry, ss, Berwick HS
39. Jeff Texada, ss, Catholic HS, New Iberia
40. John Coker, of, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
41. Thad Montgomery, rhp, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
42. James Bennett, of, U. of Louisiana-Monroe
43. Daniel Lonsberry, rhp, Northwestern State U.
44. Bubba Bell, of, Nicholls State U.
45. John McCarthy, of, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
46. Phillip Hawke, 1b, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette
47. Lane Mestepey, lhp, Louisiana State U.
48. Brandon Hamilton, of, Woodlawn HS, Baton Rouge
49. Riley Hollingsworth, rhp, Louisiana State CC-Eunice
50. Risley St. Germain, rhp, Southeastern Louisiana U.
1. BRIAN BOGUSEVIC, lhp/of (National rank: 19) School: Tulane.
Hometown: Oak Lawn, Ill.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 211. Birthdate: Feb. 18, 1984.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: No. 2-ranked Tulane boasts the best record (45-8) in NCAA Division I and two of the best two-way players in Bogusevic and Micah Owings. It's a given that Bogusevic will go in the first round, but his pro position remains uncertain. Though more teams prefer him as a three-pitch lefthander, he also has five-tool potential as a right fielder. On the mound, Bogusevic shows an 89-93 mph fastball along with a solid slider and changeup. He has good command, though his velocity and location slipped when he strained a hamstring early in the season. The injury also kept him out of the lineup for much of the first half, though scouts were running in to check out his bat as the draft approached. Bogusevic's size, swing and bat speed give him tremendous power potential from the left side of the plate. That power is still more raw and not as evident in games—he hasn't homered in 94 at-bats this spring—but it's there and he did have 10 home runs as a sophomore. He's also Tulane's fastest player, running the 60-yard-dash in 6.6 seconds during the team's scout day last fall. His arm obviously is an asset on defense as well. Bogusevic hit just .183 with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer, a performance partially attributed to fatigue from the grind of playing both ways during a long college season.
2. JACOB MARCEAUX, rhp (National rank: 49) School: McNeese State.
Hometown: Jennings, La.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: Feb. 14, 1984.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Marceaux received precious little exposure before exploding onto the prospect scene this spring. He was home-schooled until his senior year of high school in 2002, and just two teams were on him as a possible draft pick that year. He compiled a 5.20 ERA while spending most of his first two seasons at McNeese State in the bullpen, rarely throwing a breaking ball, before pitching for former all-star closer Mike Henneman in the Texas Collegiate League last summer. Henneman taught him a mid-80s slider and a mid-70s spike curveball. Marceaux's fastball also has taken a step forward this spring, as he has pitched at 93-95 mph with good sinking life. His changeup is a solid-average pitch that he can locate on both sides of the plate. There are minor concerns about his durability—he missed two starts after pulling a ribcage muscle in mid-March—so some scouts project him as a reliever. But Marceaux has a deep enough repertoire to warrant the opportunity to make it as a starter first.
3. SEAN WEST, lhp (National rank: 55) School: Captain Shreve HS.
Hometown: Shreveport, La.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: June 15, 1986.
College Commitment: San Jacinto (Texas) JC.
Scouting Report: Louisiana is rich in lefthanders this spring, with four who could go in the top four rounds. West ranked behind Jeremy Bleich, Wade Miley and Beau Jones entering 2005, but shot past them thanks to his projectability. At 6-foot-8, West has plenty of room to add strength and velocity, and his fastball already has improved from 85-86 to 90-92 mph within the last year. For a tall pitcher, West repeats his mechanics well and has little trouble throwing strikes. He also has upgraded his curveball, which should give him a second plus pitch. West's high school career ended in the Louisiana 5-A state quarterfinals, when he struck out 17 and took a shutout into the ninth inning, only to lose 5-0 to Jones, who fanned 15. West is signable because he has no four-year college option and has committed to perennial juco power San Jacinto (Texas).
4. JOSH WALL, rhp (National rank: 63) School: Central Private HS.
Hometown: Walker, La.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: Jan. 21, 1987.
College Commitment: Louisiana State.
Scouting Report: Wall had a chance to go in the first round based on his early performance. He struck out 12 in a heavily scouted 2-0 loss to Aaron Thompson in April, and at that point he had been regularly working with a 90-93 mph fastball and a solid curveball. Wall's stuff dipped toward the end of his season, though, and he pitched at 86-88 mph and had a less effective curve. He kept winning, allowing one earned run in two playoff games as Central Private capped a 38-1 season with a championship in the Mississippi Private School Association (which includes teams from both Mississippi and Louisiana). While Wall probably will go in the second round now, he's still one of the most projectable pitchers available. He has a lot of room for to add muscle to his frame, and when he does should have more success maintaining a plus fastball. Wall's size also makes him a power threat at the plate, as he tied a school record with 19 homers this spring.
5. MATT GREEN, rhp (National rank: 81) School: Louisiana-Monroe.
Hometown: Monroe, La.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: Jan. 5, 1982.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Green's career at Louisiana-Monroe took a while to get started. He missed what would have been his freshman year in 2002 when he was hit in the head by a line drive during offseason workouts and spent most of 2003 in the bullpen. He was eligible but went undrafted the last two years, though he started to come on in 2004. His $150,000 price tag was too rich for clubs in the draft, but he generated free-agent interest during the summer, when he was rated the top prospect in the Jayhawk League and starred at the National Baseball Congress World Series. This spring, his first as a full-time starter, Green led NCAA Division I with 135 strikeouts in 97 innings through mid-May. His fastball has sat at 91-93 mph all year, and scouts saw it hit 97 mph last summer when he pitched in relief. He backs up his heat with a tight, low-80s slider. He has the makings of a good changeup, but rarely uses it because it's the pitch he threw when he got drilled during batting practice three years ago. There's a split camp on whether he'll be a starter or reliever as a pro, but there's a universal appreciation for his arm and pitcher's body.
6. JEREMY BLEICH, lhp (National rank: 97) School: Isidore Newman HS.
Hometown: Metairie, La.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: June 18, 1987.
College Commitment: Stanford.
Scouting Report: All the strong arms at Isidore Newman High don't belong to quarterbacks. The alma mater of No. 1 overall NFL draft picks Peyton and Eli Manning has a pitcher with early-round talent this year. Of Louisiana's coveted high school lefthanders—a group that also includes Sean West, Wade Miley and Beau Jones—Bleich has the best breaking ball, the most polish and the strongest makeup. But he's also the most unsignable, because he wants first-round money to give up his opportunity to attend Stanford. Bleich usually pitches in the high 80s and tops out at 91-92 mph. His arm works well and he should be able to add a couple of miles an hour to his fastball. His hard curveball is his best pitch, and he has a good feel for throwing a changeup with fade. His deception and ability to locate his pitches give hitters fits. Bleich shows enough promise with the bat to possible play both ways for the Cardinal.
7. WADE MILEY, lhp (National rank: 140) School: Loranger HS.
Hometown: Loranger, La.
B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: Nov. 13, 1986.
College Commitment: Southeastern Louisiana.
Scouting Report: The last game of Miley's high school career was a classic. Pitching in the state 2-A quarterfinals, he tossed a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts against Riverside High, only to lose 1-0 on an unearned run to junior Jordan Poirrier, who countered with a 12-whiff no-hitter of his own. Miley pitched in the mid-80s last summer and early this spring, but his stuff and stock were skyrocketing as the draft approached. When he polished his delivery and stopped throwing across his body, he started throwing in the 90s and showed a more consistent breaking ball. In one outing on two day's rest, scouts clocked him at 92 mph. Because he blossomed late, nearby Southeastern Louisiana was able to pull a coup by landing Miley during the early-signing period last November. The Lions would use Miley as a two-way player, but his surge makes it less likely that he'll attend college.
8. MICAH OWINGS, rhp/1b (National rank: 142) School: Tulane.
Hometown: Gainesville, Ga.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: Sept. 28, 1982.
Previously Drafted: Cubs 2004 (19).
Scouting Report: Owings has been through the draft twice before. Though he hit 69 homers in high school, fourth all-time in national prep history, the Rockies made him a second-round pick as a righthander in 2002. He opted instead to attend Georgia Tech, where he continued to star as a two-way player for two seasons. Draft-eligible as a sophomore last season, he slipped to the Cubs in the 19th round because of signability concerns. Owings was the Conference USA player of the year this spring after transferring to Tulane, where he has been the club's leader in both homers (16) and pitching strikeouts (117 in 107 innings). Clubs continue to prefer him as a pitcher. His aggressive approach plays better on the mound than at the plate, where he's prone to strikeouts and causes scouts to question how he'd fare against better pitching. He goes right after hitters on the mound with an 89-91 mph fastball that tops out at 95 and a changeup that can be a plus pitch at times. His ability to throw strikes (his 117-17 strikeout-walk ratio is the fourth-best in NCAA Division I) is another asset. Owings throws a below-average slider and may have to scrap it for a cutter. He doesn't have a dominant out pitch and projects more as a set-up man with a bulldog attitude.
9. BEAU JONES, lhp (National rank: 155) School: Destrehan HS.
Hometown: Destrehan, La.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: Aug. 25, 1986.
College Commitment: Louisiana State.
Scouting Report: Jones capped a banner senior season with two gems in the state 5-A playoffs. First he no-hit traditional power Barbe High in the regional round. Then he outdueled the state's top prep lefty, Captain Shreve's Sean West, with a 15-strikeout shutout in the quarterfinals, pitching around a 142-minute rain delay and throwing 120 pitches in the process. Of the state's quality high school southpaws, Jones is the least projectable but has the best breaking ball with his nifty curveball. He also works in the 90s and has touched 94 mph with his fastball. Jones already is physically mature, but his stuff will be plenty good as it is. Scouts are more concerned with his laid-back nature, though that figures to make him more signable and less apt to follow through on his commitment to Louisiana State.
10. TOMMY MANZELLA, ss (National rank: 172) School: Tulane.
Hometown: Chalmette, La.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: April 16, 1983.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Manzella wasn't drafted a year ago after hitting .311 in a lackluster junior season, but his stock is rising along with his offensive performance in 2005. He's a legitimate shortstop with some potential at the plate, a fifth-round talent who could go higher than that because he comes with a discount as a college senior. His situation is similar to that of Tony Giarratano, his predecessor as Tulane's shortstop. Giarratano rebounded from a terrible 2002 season to go to the Tigers in the third round of the 2003 draft. Manzella has better hands and instincts but less speed than Giarratano, whom he pushed to second base in 2002. It remains to be seen whether Manzella can make the huge jump with his bat that Giarratano has since turning pro. His range and arm are at least average, so he should be able to stay at shortstop.
11. GREG SMITH, lhp (National rank: 177) School: Louisiana State.
Hometown: Alexandria, La.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: Dec. 22, 1983.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Louisiana State's No. 3 starter is its best pitching prospect. A reliever in his first two college seasons, Smith made a seamless transition to the rotation this spring, highlighted by a scoreless streak of 28 2/3 innings in Southeastern Conference play. His plus curveball remains his best pitch, and he also has a lively 89-90 mph fastball and a decent changeup. While he has the repertoire, command and delivery to succeed as a pro starter, some scouts wonder if he might be more useful coming out of the bullpen. Last year he regularly pitched 90-93 mph while working shorter stints. Though Smith hasn't had major arm surgery like other members of the Tigers staff, there is a medical concern with him. During fall practice of his freshman year, doctors found a tiny hole in his heart. The condition hasn't given him any trouble, so it may not affect his draft status.
OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Louisiana)
OF Drew Allain (12) didn't get much exposure before breaking his wrist while running into a wall in center field. But one scout calls him a poor man's Rocco Baldelli. Allain is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete with plus speed, power and arm strength. He has been clocked from the right side of the plate to first base in 4.03 seconds, and he has homered at spacious Zephyr Field, home of New Orleans' Triple-A club.
After Greg Smith, LSU's best prospects are all senior position players. OF Ryan Patterson (13) went undrafted in 2004 and turned down free-agent offers after leading the Cape Cod League with a .327 batting average. A center fielder this season, he'll have to move to a corner as a pro. He has 49 homers in three seasons with the Tigers, but some scouts wonder if his power will translate to wood bats. 2B/3B Clay Harris (14) has been a rare sight this spring, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder playing second base. He began his LSU career as primarily a pitcher before becoming a full-time corner infielder, where he'll return as a pro. He has a strong arm and a solid line-drive bat. Harris hit 16 homers as a sophomore, and has totaled just 16 since. OF Nick Stavinoha (20) began his college athletic career as a long snapper on the Houston football team, then spent two seasons as a catcher at San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College. He has settled into right field and has almost as many homers (17) as strikeouts (19) this year.
Louisiana-Lafayette could have as many as 11 players drafted. Their top five picks likely will be seniors, led by RHP Kevin Ardoin (15). A 12th-round pick of the Rangers in 2004, Ardoin doesn't have a big league out pitch but has excellent command of three offerings, including a high-80s fastball. 3B Dallas Morris (25) hit 12 homers in 39 games before a leg injury ended his 2004 season. He hasn't shown quite the same power and has been more erratic defensively this year, but his bat speed and athleticism are pro caliber. At 12-0, LHP Austin Faught (30) is the winningest undefeated pitcher in NCAA Division I. He went 10-12 in his first three college seasons, including two at Houston, and missed all of 2004 recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers nonetheless took him in the 43rd round last June and can sign him as a draft-and-follow fifth-year senior if the Cajuns' season ends before the draft. His changeup is his best pitch, and he'll also flash an average fastball and curveball.
C Randy Roth (16) turned down a football scholarship to play quarterback at Louisiana Tech and has started games at six positions in two years at Southeastern Louisiana. He fits best behind the plate, where he can make good use of an arm that delivered fastballs topping out at 95 mph when he pitched at Delgado (La.) Community College. Before that, he originally signed with LSU and spent his freshman year at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College. Roth also has a quick bat that gives him plus power potential.
One rival recruiting coordinator projects RHP Heath Hennigan (17) as a possible 2008 first-round pick after he spends three years at Northwestern State. Henningan throws 87-89 mph fastballs on a tough downward angle and could add velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame. He also has the makings of a good breaking ball.
OF Jeremy Moore (18) is a four-sport standout. In addition to baseball, he has starred as a running back in football, a guard in basketball and a sprinter in track. He's a toolsy center fielder whose speed stands out the most.
RHP/DH Blake Jones (19), the Southland Conference player of the year, ended the regular season ranked second in the league in both batting (.363) and saves (eight). Scouts like him more as a pitcher because of his size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), 90-92 mph fastball and his curveball.
Scouts also prefer another top two-way player, RHP Jordan Brown (21) on the mound. Brown led Hahnville High to the No. 1 ranking in the state before the team was upset in the 5-A regional playoffs. Brown has some juice in his bat, but he also has a 91-92 mph fastball and a decent breaking ball. He's considered an easy sign because he has committed to Meridian (Miss.) Community College.
Two Puerto Ricans have attracted attention at Baton Rouge Community College. 2B Augustin Guzman (22) ranks among the national juco leaders in hitting (.465), homers (13) and steals (27). He doesn't have tremendous range at second base, but his bat could sneak him into the first 10 rounds. RHP Mario Santiago (31) has used an 88-92 mph fastball and deceptive changeup to top national juco pitchers with 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
C Matt Liuzza (28) entered the year as a projected third- to fifth-round pick, but an awful season makes it unlikely he'll get drafted high enough to consider signing. After hitting .321 with 13 homers in his first two seasons at LSU, he has slumped to .244 and two longballs this year. Trying to hit homers to impress scouts, he got too pull-happy and totally lost his swing and his confidence. His woes carried over to his defense, which is supposed to be his strong suit. Liuzza has good catch-and-throw skills, but basestealers have gone 29-for-29 against him. Greg Dini (23) has passed Liuzza as the state's top catching prospect for the 2005 draft. Knee and wrist ailments have hampered Dini's play this spring, but he has a line-drive bat, an accurate arm and fine receiving skills.
LHP Jason Determann (24) stands just 5-foot-10 and usually doesn't push radar guns past 88 mph, but he'll get the opportunity to play pro ball if he wants it. He gets lefties out with his curveball and cutter/slider, and he gets righties out with his changeup. Determann throws strikes with all four of his offerings (62-8 K-BB ratio in 54 innings) and has recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2002. But the SEC baseball scholar-athlete of the year has completed his degree in biological science and will give up his fourth season of college eligibility to attend medical school next year. He'll consider turning pro but has told clubs med school will be difficult to turn down.