Draft Report Card
Best Pro Debut: LHP Neal Cotts (2) and RHP Mike Wood (10) dont usually top 90 mph, but they know how to get hitters out. Cotts went 3-2, 2.32 with 34 strikeouts in 31 innings at high Class A Visalia after pitching well at short-season Vancouver. Wood also had success at Vancouver before moving up to high Class A Modesto, where he went 4-3, 3.09 with a 52-10 strikeout-walk ratio in 58 innings.
Best Athlete: OF Marcus McBeth (4) does a lot of things well. He had arguably the best outfield arm in the entire draft, and some scouts think he could throw 92-94 mph if he ever took the mound. Hes a very instinctive player who chases down everything in center field with his above-average speed. He also has a quick bat and got stronger as a South Carolina junior, so he began to hit for power. McBeth handled kickoffs for the Gamecocks football team as a freshman. If he can make adjustments to his swing and approach at the plate, he could be an exciting player. SSs Bobby Crosby (1) and J.T. Stotts (3) and OF Austin Nagle (6) also are fine athletes in their own regard. OF Matt Groff (28) runs well and punted for Kent State before transferring to Tulane.
Best Hitter: For now, C Casey Myers (9) is the most advanced hitter from this crop. Hes not blessed with tools, but he knows how to play and earned short-season Northwest League all-star honors by hitting .278-7-35. Long term, Crosby should pass him.
Best Raw Power: Using his quick hands and loft swing, lefthanded-hitting 1B Dan Johnson (7) crushes tape-measure shots. He broke the University of Nebraskas single-season homer mark with 25 last spring.
Fastest Runner: Stotts takes just 4.15-4.2 seconds to get from the right side of the plate to first base. McBeth is a solid runner but not a flier.
Best Defensive Player: At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Crosby doesnt fit the usual shortstop profile. But he has sure hands, a strong, accurate arm and more than enough range.
Best Fastball: RHP Jeremy Bondermans (1) velocity was inconsistent this spring, though he threw as hard as 95 mph and was still putting up 92s and 93s in instructional league. RHP Rich Harden, a 17th-round draft-and-follow peaked at 97 mph while striking out 100 in 74 NWL innings.
Most Intriguing Background: After getting his general equivalency diploma, Bonderman became the first high school junior to be drafted. Crosbys father Ed played in the majors and was the scout who signed Jason Giambi for Oakland. The Diamondbacks took Myers brother Corey with the fourth overall pick in 1999. Regrettably, 3B Mark Hilde (32) was killed in a car accident that also claimed the life of top Padres prospect Gerik Baxter.
Closest To The Majors: Crosby is on the fast track despite the presence of Miguel Tejada in Oakland. LHP John Rheinecker (1), who shook off late-spring forearm problems, is a southpaw with average velocity and plus life on his fastball. He can throw his curveball and slider to both sides of the plate for strikes. RHP Jeff Bruksch (5) has a tough slider and big-game experience. He shares College World Series records for single-tournament and career saves.
Best Late-Round Pick: Wood, who began his career at North Florida as an infielder. Area scout John Poloni, who signed Tim Hudson for the As, also pushed hard for Wood because he has similar sink on his pitches. Oakland believes it may have found a Hudson clone.
The One Who Got Away: 1B/RHP Jason Dixon (18) has Richie Sexson power potential and an 88-89 mph fastball. He turned down Oakland for North Florida.
Assessment: The As continued to follow the blueprint that has led them to lots of talent in recent years. They value skills over raw tools, which leads them to accomplished college players, with Bonderman being the lone exception in the first 10 rounds this year. They got Bonderman and Rheinecker with compensation picks for free agent Kevin Appier, a trade theyll make every time.
Copyright 2001 Baseball America. All rights reserved. |
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.