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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Mississippi

By John Manuel
June 1, 2005


THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Crosscheckers and scouting directors have checked out Mississippi more than usual this year, and the state could provide a pair of first-round picks in Ole Miss first baseman/lefthander Stephen Head and a righthander from Head's alma mater, Hillcrest Christian's Cody Satterwhite. Just as importantly, Ole Miss offered scouts several other reasons to make repeat visits to the state and could have three players drafted in the first five rounds.

(National ranking in parentheses)
Potential First-Round Picks
1. Stephen Head (36), 1b/lhp, Mississippi
2. Cody Satterwhite (39), rhp, Hillcrest Christian HS, Byram
Potential Second-Fifth Round Picks

3. Matt Maloney (106), lhp, Mississippi
4. Brian Pettway (129), of/rhp, Mississippi
5. Mark Holliman (141), rhp, Mississippi

Others Of Note
6. Brad Corley, of, Mississippi State
7. Thomas Berkery, c/if, Mississippi State
8. Garner Wetzel, ss, Millsaps College
9. Jared Koon, rhp, Itawamba Community College
10. Eric Fowler, lhp, Mississippi
11. Marc Maddox, 1b, Southern Mississippi
12. Wade Broyles, rhp, Madison Central HS
13. Kyle Maxie, c, North Forrest, Hattiesburg
14. Toddric Johnson, Meridian CC
15. Andy Rice, 1b, Itawamba CC
16. Brant Leach, lhp, Delta State
17. Craig Newton, c, Delta State
18. Corey Wimberley, 2b, Alcorn State
19. Russ Snead, rhp, Magnolia Heights, Senatobia
20. Brad Jones, 1b, Mississippi

1. STEPHEN HEAD, 1b (National rank: 36)
School: Mississippi
Hometown: Raymond, Miss.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Birthdate: Jan. 13, 1984
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Head has had one of the best careers in Mississippi and Southeastern Conference history as a two-way star for three seasons. He falls into the next tier behind the all-time great two-way SEC players such as Tennesseeís Todd Helton and Floridaís Brad Wilkerson because heís not as athletic as those lefthanded sluggers. He has similar raw power, though, thanks to a big, strong frame. Headís body isnít great, but some scouts expect it to firm up as he focuses on hitting as a pro and eschews the mound, where he gets by on a high 80s fastball, guile and competitiveness. Still, heís two saves away from tying the Rebelsí career record. Headís average has tumbled this year as SEC coaches worked around him to keep him from beating them, and heís become more impatient and tried harder to hit home runs. He has enough strength to hit them with a more patient, level approach, and profiles to hit 20-30 homers annually in the majors. Most scouts expect him to become a better hitter after he gives up pitching, and he should fill out in his upper body. Head is also a good fielder at first base with soft hands.

2. CODY SATTERWHITE, rhp (National rank: 39)
School: Hillcrest Christian HS.
Hometown: Byram, Miss.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: Jan. 12, 1987.
College Commitment: Mississippi.
Scouting Report: One of the hardest throwers in the nationís high school class. Satterwhite also comes with intrigue. He has signed with Mississippi, which has used Hillcrest Christian as a feeder school in recent years for stars such as outfielder Seth Smith (a 2004 second-round pick of the Rockies) and first baseman/pitcher Stephen Head. His signability is in question, and he may have to go before the third round to go pro. Satterwhite was a teammate of Headís in both baseball and soccer in high school, but dropped soccer after 11th grade to concentrate on baseball. His improved focus paid immediate results, as a fastball that sat in the 88-90 mph range last summer at the East Coast Showcase leaped into the low 90s. Satterwhite got better as the spring went on, often sitting at 92-93 mph and touching 95-96. He has a somewhat projectable frame, and while there are no major problems with his mechanics, his command comes and goes. Some scouts say he lacks the polish to be a first-round pick and compare him to Alan Horne, the former Mississippi righthander (now at Florida) who throws hard but with little command or mound presence. Satterwhite also plays against weak competition that makes it difficult to evaluate his fringe-average curveball.

3. MATT MALONEY, lhp (National rank: 106)
School: Mississippi.
Hometown: Huron, Ohio.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 220. Birthdate: Jan. 16, 1984
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Maloney originally committed to Tennessee before injuries his senior year in high school prompted the Volunteers to release him from his letter of intent. After two modest seasons, he emerged as Mississippi's ace midway through the year, flipping spots with Stephen Head on the pitching staff as Head became the closer and Maloney became the No. 1 starter. He was able to take over that role as his physical maturity helped all his pitches move up a grade this season. Maloney's stuff was consistent all year and should move him into the first three rounds. Big and physical, he maintains a good downward angle on his 88-91 mph fastball, which has bumped up to 92-93 at times this spring. However, his fastball has below-average life, so he has to locate it to be effective. His curveball, slider and changeup range from average to fringy, but when he stays tall in his delivery, he keeps both pitches down. His ability to throw four pitches for strikes makes him profile as a starter, but he's shown the durability to return to a relief role.

4. BRIAN PETTWAY, of/rhp (National rank: 129)
School: Mississippi.
Hometown: Vicksburg, Miss.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: July 29, 1983
Previously Drafted: Never drafted.
Scouting Report: Pettway had two solid college seasons for the Rebels and was ready to fall into the "good senior sign" category before making a change in his routine this offseason. He lost about 20 pounds, regaining some athleticism and more importantly some bat speed, and emerged as more than just a good prospect. He became perhaps the best hitter in the Southeastern Conference and helped carry the Rebels to a No. 5 overall national seed. Pettway's new body gave him newfound confidence, and he has excellent presence in the batter's box. He uses it to take confident swings at his pitch, as he remains patient and lashes line drives from gap to gap with a level, consistent swing. His biggest question as a pro is his position. A low-90s fastball helps him work as a reliever in college, but most clubs prefer his bat. Once a third baseman, his footwork leaves a return to that position questionable, making right field his most likely destination.

5. MARK HOLLIMAN, rhp (National rank: 141)
School: Mississippi.
Hometown: Germantown, Tenn.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 187. Birthdate: Sept. 19, 1983
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Holliman was one of the Southeastern Conference's top Friday starters in 2004, but he wasn't able to say the same in 2005. Being a shorter righthander, Holliman has to stay on top of his pitches to keep them down in the strike zone, and when he's up he can be punished. He has big stuff, with fastball in the 90-92 mph range that will sometimes sit at 93-94. Despite its velocity, Holliman must locate the fastball better than he has this spring; it's a one-plane pitch, and hitters looking for it have pounded his heater when he leaves it up. Holliman throws both a slider and a curveball and at times the slider is an above-average pitch. He also lacks deception in his delivery, another reason he has been so hittable this season despite above-average stuff. He has a durable, strong body and throws strikes, so Holliman should be drafted high, but some scouts think he profiles better as a middle reliever.


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

Magnolia Momentum

Head's status as a premium pick was expected, but the emergence of Satterwhite brought even more scouting directors and crosscheckers to Mississippi. That some of them turned up at Division III games was a stunner to area scouts, but the bigwigs came to Millsaps College to check out intriguing SS Garner Wetzel (8). At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Wetzel will move either to third base or elsewhere as a pro, and his competition made him difficult to scout. He has shown raw power in his swing, which can get long and sweepy. He's strong and has athletic ability, and his good makeup means he'll at least be an organizational player. Some teams like him better than that, and Wetzel--who attracted little attention in his prep career in Biloxi--could be picked in the first 10 rounds.

Wetzel surpassed another small-school player in the state with big numbers--Alcorn State 2B Corey Wimberly (18), a slight, speedy player who led Division I in batting. His size keeps him out of the top of the draft, but Wimberly should go on the draft's first day. The same can be said for Division II power Delta State's top players, LHP Brant Leach (16) and C Craig Newton (17). Leach is the better prospect as a lefty with 88-92 mph heat and secondary stuff that is average at times. His inconsistency has kept him from even pitching consistently in the Delta State rotation, however.

Mississippi's strong season was built on more than just four players. LHP Eric Fowler (10) was a member of the rotation all season and has solid-average stuff that should get him drafted on the first day. Fowler's velocity improved from the mid-80s to the upper 80s this season. His slider comes and goes, and when it's on he can be a strikeout pitcher. He hasn't responded well to past moves to the bullpen, though that's what scouts consider his better future role.

Mississippi lost to streaking Mississippi State in the SEC tournament finale, and the Bulldogs' hot streak might help players' draft stock. The two best bets to go are C/IF Thomas Berkery (7) and OF Brad Corley (6). At the outset of the season, Corley was a candidate to be a first-round pick, but he'll be lucky to go in the first five rounds. He's as toolsy as any player in the state, with a power arm suited for right field and enough juice in his bat to profile for the spot. He hasn't shown much power after coming back from a broken thumb last summer, however. After hitting 19 homers as a sophomore, he had just three homers this spring. Scouts were concerned about the lack of a power load in his swing for the move to wood bats.

Berkery has improved his stock as the Bulldogs' most consistent hitter, and his versatility makes him attractive to clubs who see him as a safe pick who could be a utilityman. He's athletic enough for spells at second or third base, is a solid catch-and-throw option behind the plate and has a consistent, line-drive approach that allows him to make consistent contact.

Southern Mississippi made regionals again and might have had an early pick if not for injuries that cost them their top two pitchers, Cliff Russum (before the season) and Mike Cashion (eight starts, Tommy John surgery). 1B Marc Maddox (11), more athletic and less of a slugger than the average profile for the position, might be a tough sign as a junior who is academically motivated.

Mississippi's junior colleges are consistent sources of talent, and another raw player emerged this spring in RHP Jared Koon (9). Koon has signed with Mississippi State, meaning he was good enough for Bulldogs coach Ron Polk to break his personal rule of only signing Mississippi juco players after they've completed two years of school. Koon is still maturing into his 6-foot-4, 210-pound body, and when he harnessed all the moving parts, he touched the mid-90s at times with his fastball. He was previously known as a pitcher who threw consistent strikes with an 84-85 mph fastball and a solid curveball. Now he has velocity to go with his approach and breaking ball, but his Mississippi State commitment might make him expensive.

Two other juco players who will get a look are Southern Miss signee Toddric Johnson (14), an athletic outfielder who has started to smooth out the rough edges on his offensive game; and 1B Andy Rice (15), who has plus raw power but not enough of an idea of how to use it consistently.

Aside from Satterwhite, the state's high school ranks will contribute little. C Kyle Maxie (13) failed to dominate despite a power bat and strong, mature body. He's expected to be a tough sign as a Florida State recruit and may not be drafted. RHP Wade Broyles (12) has an average curveball that at times is a plus pitch and an average fastball. He also has some projection, but his command hasn't been consistent this season. A club that saw him throw strikes consistently could take him in the 10th to 20th round.

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