2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Lower New England
(Connecticut, Rhode Island)
By Alan Simpson June 3, 2005
THIS YEAR'S CROP
One for the books
Solid, not spectacular
Not up to par
Nothing to see here
Connecticut high school righthander Josh Zeid is the only player with
a shot of being drafted in the first 10 rounds, but he could just as easily
slide a long way because he has not had a dominant season and his commitment
to Vanderbilt has raised issues about his signability. By winning the
Atlantic-10 Conference title, Rhode Island qualified for its first-ever
NCAA regional appearance and should also make its greatest imprint on
the draft, with three pitchers expected to be selected. (National ranking in parentheses)
Potential First-Round Picks
Potential Second-Fifth Round Picks
1. Josh Zeid (85), rhp, Hamden Hall Country Academy, New Haven,
Others Of Note
2. Josh Sowers, rhp, Yale U.
3. Zach Zuercher, lhp, U. of Rhode Island
4. Jon Hollis, rhp, Yale U.
5. Ryan DiPietro, lhp, Eastern Connecticut State College
6. Eric Campbell, 3b, Norwich (Conn.) Free Academy
7. Matt Kutler, of, Brown U.
8. Patrick Egan, rhp, Quinnipiac College
9. Jason Rago, of, Fairfield College Prep
10. Michael Lefort, rhp, U. of Rhode Island
11. Liam Ohlmann, rhp, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, Conn.
12. Dan Frederick, rhp, U. of Rhode Island
13. Jeffrey Beliveau, lhp, Bishop Hendricken HS, Johnston, R.I.
14. Stephen Sloan, rhp, Bryant (R.I.) College
15. Ari Kafka, rhp, Quinnipiac College
1. JOSH ZEID, rhp (National rank: 85) School: Hamden Hall Country Day HS. Hometown: New Haven, Conn. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.:
225. Birthdate: March 24, 1987. College Commitment: Vanderbilt. Scouting Report: Scouts have been awaiting Zeid’s
arrival since the day he set foot in high school. As a ninth-grader, he
was throwing 85-86 mph. A year later, he had bumped his velocity to 94
and was a key member of the national youth team that won a gold medal
at the 2003 World Youth Championship in Taiwan. He had all the makings
of a future first-round pick, but he hadn’t shown a lot of improvement
since and his attitude became an issue, causing scouts to re-evaluate
his worth this spring. There were times when his fastball dropped to 88-90,
touching 92, and fell off to 86-87 in the middle innings. He wasn’t
repeating his delivery and his breaking stuff was inconsistent. Through
it all, he continued to dominate a weak private school league in Connecticut,
going 6-1, 0.43 with 89 strikeouts in 44 innings. Once the New England
weather began to warm up in May, however, Zeid’s velocity also heated
up and he was soon back up to his customary mid-90s with an 82-84 mph
slider that touched 86. If teams are convinced that he has matured, still
has room for growth and development in his big frame and can be bought
away from a college commitment to Vanderbilt, he could still go in the
first five rounds, possibly as high as the second. OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Lower New England)
While his twin brother Jeremy was twice picked in the first round,
signing with Cleveland in 2004, RHP Josh Sowers (2)
has yet to be drafted. But that's about to change as Sowers may have
been the best college pitcher in New England this spring. He went 6-1,
2.10 for Yale and led the team in strikeouts for the third straight
year, with 63 in 60 innings. While he’s smaller than Jeremy, the biggest
difference between the two is merely that one is lefthanded and the
other righthanded. Josh may have a better slider than Jeremy. He repeats
his delivery so well on the pitch that it resembles a fastball coming
out of his hand. His 86-90 mph fastball also has good late movement.
Sowers is polished, with his brother’s same intelligent approach to
Six-foot-3, 230-pound RHP Jon Hollis (4) is not as
polished as Sowers, but has more upside. His fastball tops out at 92
mph, though he has trouble throwing it and an average slider for strikes
from a three-quarters arm slot. He projects as a reliever as he has
a resilient arm and has yet to develop an effective third pitch.
Six-foot-2, 210-pouind LHP Zach Zuercher (3) is the
best of three draftable arms at Rhode Island. A Rhode Island high school
product, he spent his freshman year at North Carolina before returning
home and becoming the Atlantic-10 Conference’s pitcher of the year as
a sophomore. He didn’t have as dominating a season as in 2004, when
he set school records with nine complete games and four shutouts, but
Zuercher has four pitches he can throw for strikes. His curveball is
his most effective pitch. His fastball normally ranges from 84-88 mph,
but it touched 90.
With a 29-3, 1.50 record and a nine-inning average of 11.8 strikeouts
in three years at Eastern Connecticut State, LHP Ryan DiPietro
(5) is one of the most successful pitchers in NCAA Division III history.
But he fell short of his performance as a sophomore, when he was 11-1,
1.04 with 162 strikeouts in 112 innings. He walked a lot more batters
this year and his velocity slipped to 86-87 mph after touching 92 in
the past. He has a good feel for pitching, especially in locating his
curveball. Physically, he resembles Casey Fossum.
OF Matt Kutler (7) was eligible to sign before the
draft as a fifth-year senior after missing the 2004 season with an injury.
Kutler has a history of swinging the bat, though he is not overly physical
and has tended to struggle against lefthanders. He was the MVP of the
2002 Cape Cod League playoffs and led the Ivy League in hits and RBIs
in 2003. He showed little ill effects for missing 2004 by hitting .427-8-41
this year. A poor arm relegates him to left field. 3B Eric Campbell
(6) has above-average power and performed as well as any high school
player in Connecticut this spring. He has committed to Boston College.