Midseason Top 50 Prospects
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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: North Carolina
By John Manuel
(National ranking in parentheses)
1. CAMERON MAYBIN, of (National rank: 3)
School: T.C. Roberson HS, Arden, N.C.
Hometown: Asheville, N.C.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: March 4, 1987.
College Commitment: Southern.
Scouting Report: Baseball America’s 2004 Youth Player of the Year, Maybin entered the year as the No. 2 high school player on the board and stayed there, nipping at Justin Upton’s heels. Maybin has a rare combination of premium athletic ability, bloodlines (his cousins include former North Carolina basketball star Rashad McCants) and baseball savvy. Maybin has grown up around the game, serving as a batboy for the hometown Asheville Tourists, and has begun to translate his physical tools to the diamond. He has broad shoulders and long limbs and fingers, and physically evokes comparisons on the low end to Preston Wilson and on the high end to Vladimir Guerrero. He should be a premium defender in center field with experience, with long, graceful strides gobbling up turf and an average arm. As he fills out, he could move to right field and be a more athletic Cliff Floyd. Maybin has not faced great competition in western North Carolina during his high school career--though he has faced the best of the best in youth and showcase play--and some scouts think his bat might take time to develop once he starts seeing good breaking balls consistently. His makeup—including good work habits, maturity and love for the game--endears him to scouts, as does his family. His Southern commitment isn’t scaring anyone away.
2. JOEY DEVINE, rhp (National rank: 35)
3. CHRIS MASON, rhp (National rank: 82)
4. ZACH WARD, rhp (National rank: 117)
OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in North Carolina)
Top-Heavy Tar Heel State
Beyond Maybin, North Carolina offers one of its weakest draft crops in years, particularly on the prep side. LHP Drew Taylor (6) had the best chance of going high; he has good arm strength and a changeup that at times looks like a plus pitch. Taylor has shown better velocity at times than the 87-89 mph heater he showed in Perfect Game's predraft showcase in Iowa in mid-May. His lack of a consistent breaking ball and role as North Carolina State's top recruit (it reportedly will take a significant bonus to buy him out of school) make it unlikely he'll be more than an insurance pick.
While other pitchers such as Nick Conoway (8), Josh Dowdy (20), Tyler Leach (15) and Adam Warren (14) could be picked, none has done enough to warrant the money it would take to buy them out of college. Conoway is signed to Oklahoma, Dowdy is headed to East Carolina, Leach to Virginia Tech and Warren to North Carolina.
The prep that scouts and college recruiters agree took the biggest step forward in 2005 was SS Jeremy Synan (7), a lefthanded hitter with a bat ready for pro ball. Synan has room to fill out physically and hit for more power, and he's athletic and runs well enough to be picked in the first 15 rounds. Synan doesn't help himself with the glove and profiles best as a second baseman rather than as a shortstop down the road.
The state's college crop isn't much better, but that will change next year when North Carolina's young roster, featuring sophomores Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard, offers several tantalizing picks. Many other college programs in the state, such as Duke and Wake Forest, are either rebuilding or in dire need of it.
North Carolina State, however, is on its way to its third straight regional and continues to produce solid draftees who weren't drafted out of high school. Devine, a possible first-round pick, will lead off the board, and scouts can't wait to get their hands on 6-foot-10 freshman RHP Andrew Brackman, a two-sport star who plays on the basketball team.
This year, State's biggest contributions after Devine will be C Jake Muyco (10) and 1B Aaron Bates (16). Muyco is a typical catch-and-throw receiver with questions about his bat, but scouts know him well; he was drafted in 2003 after his freshman season at Columbia Basin (Wash.) Junior College. Bates, who played catcher in 2003 at San Jose State, transferred after a bureaucratic snafu left him ineligible in 2004. He has had a big spring, and he has a track record of hitting with wood, batting .339 and winning team MVP honors last summer in the California Collegiate League. He maintained his performance there even though his father died in the middle of the summer. He moved to first base to accommodate Muyco and emerged as one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's top hitters. He's strong and has good hands at the plate, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields. Bates doesn't have great loft in his swing yet and will need to hit for more power, and his 6-foot-4, 228-pound size might make a move back behind the plate difficult.
Other colleges offer mostly mid-round picks, such as UNC Wilmington RHPs Ronald Hill (11) and Jeff Moore (9). While Hill has the longer track record of success, having become the Seahawks' career wins leader, his stuff is typical. He used to throw more consistently in the low 90s but now touches 90-91. He's a sinker/slider pitcher without a strikeout pitch, and his competitiveness works to his advantage. Moore has come on this spring while moving from the bullpen to the rotation. He's retained most of the velocity on his fastball, in the 90-94 range, yet remains better suited for the bullpen because of his maximum-effort delivery. Moore is deliberate to the plate and doesn't have pretty mechanics, but his power-pitching style and improving slider could get him drafted higher than Hill.
Louisburg Junior College has an impressive array of draft talent, much of it already under control to other clubs, starting with RHPs Woods Fines (12), who has had bouts of tendinitis in his arm this spring, and Marcus Covington (13), who has arm strength but is short and lacks consistent command.