New Mexico Scouting Reports
|THIS YEAR'S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
The story of the year in New Mexico, as expected, was a little lefthander who dealt. But instead of the focus being on New Mexico Junior College's Brian Flores, a relative giant at 5-foot-11, it was on New Mexico's Danny Ray Herrera, who was among the NCAA Division I leaders in ERA for much of the season despite pitching at New Mexico's jetport of a ballpark. Herrera's performance leveled off a bit late in the season, but he still offers some intrigue to an otherwise lackluster draft state.
1. Brian Flores, lhp, New Mexico JC (CONTROL: White Sox)
2. Matt Speake, rhp, New Mexico JC
3. Luke Hopkins, 1b, New Mexico State
4. Danny Ray Herrera, lhp, New Mexico
5. Jason Connor, rhp, New Mexico State
6. Chris Carlson, 1b/of, New Mexico
7. Jarrad Watkins, rhp, Farmington HS
8. Jason Davidson, lhp/1b, La Cueva HS, Albuquerque
9. Dan Stovall, 1b, New Mexico
10. Matt Foote, of, New Mexico
11. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, 1b, New Mexico JC
12. J.J. Muse, of, La Cueva HS, AlbuquerqueStrong NMJC Squad Highlights Land Of Enchantment
New Mexico Junior College, ranked No. 1 for five national juco polls in a row, offered the state's two best arms in Brian Flores
, a quick-armed lefthander under control to the White Sox, and righthander Matt Speake
. Scouts were reticent to talk about Flores, who was engaged in negotiations with the World Series champions and expecting a six-figure signing bonus. All three of his pitches grade out as average, with a fastball that hits 90 mph regularly, a good curveball and solid changeup. He threw one five-inning perfect game this season, needing just 48 pitches as NMJC won 11-0 for his school-record sixth shutout.
Speake was not under control and showed an average fastball in the 86-91 mph range as a freshman. His slider also showed the potential to be a plus pitch, and he has a durable body, though on the short side at 6-foot, 195 pounds. A third NMJC player, first baseman Brian Cavazos-Galvez
, also was not under control and was the team's leading hitter most of the season. He comes from a baseball background and has a feel for hitting, having won the state's high school triple crown in 2005. The trio couldn't get New Mexico back to Grand Junction, as the defending national champions were eliminated with an 0-2 record in regional play.
New Mexico State's top prospect, first baseman Luke Hopkins
, has followed a recent tradition of Aggies sluggers who have taken turns atop national hitting leader boards. Unlike Billy Becher and Ryan Kenning, however, Hopkins doesn't come from the Gary Ward school of hitters. The former Oklahoma State and New Mexico State coach's methods often led hitters to develop an arm bar, straightening their lead arm and short-circuiting their bat speed. Hopkins has a sound, natural swing that produces above-average lefthanded power, and he repeats it. He's patient and isn't afraid to go the other way, and he has shown some athleticism despite his 6-foot-1, 240-pound body. He's a below-average fielder but not a slug--not yet, anyway. Hopkins was slowed by a hamstring injury late, which further clouded the draft-eligible sophomore's signability as scouts had less time to evaluate him.
His teammate, righthander Jason Connor,
has a low 90s fastball and tight slider at times, and has been a durable, consistent starter at high altitudes. He's short (6 feet) and strong (225 pounds) but lacks offspeed stuff, making him profile as a reliever in the major leagues.Danny Ray Herrera
attracted national attention for his exploits at New Mexico this season, though his ERA had jumped to 2.30 by the time the Mountain West Conference tournament rolled around. Herrera wearing down over the season is no surprise, as he's listed at just 5-foot-7, 145 pounds, and he ranked third in the nation with 120 innings. Scouts say Herrera's money pitch, a changeup with true screwball action, is a legitimate plus major league pitch due to his arm speed, the late fade and tumble the pitch has and his ability to locate it. His fastball has touched 88 mph but usually is in the 83-86 range. Herrera is just so unconventional, it's difficult to expect him to be drafted highly.
The Lobos have more conventional picks, led by Chris Carlson
, a Kansas State transfer with good size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), patience, strength and decent bat speed. If Carlson were more athletic he'd be a solid draft as an outfielder, but he's played mostly first base in 2006. Outfielder Matt Foote
is more athletic--an average runner with better bat speed than Carlson--who doesn't hit enough to be more than a senior sign. DH/1B Dan Stovall
, a solid hitter with no plus tool, falls into the same category.
New Mexico high schools don't do much for scouts this year. Jason Davidson
entered the season as the top player in the state and had a fine season, leading the state in home runs as La Cueva won its fourth consecutive Class 5-A state championship. He doesn't have pro tools or a pro body, so he's expected to play both ways at New Mexico.
That leaves righthander Jarrad Watkins
, also a New Mexico signee, as the top prospect. Watkins has a small frame (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) but a loose arm and has sent his fastball in at an 87-90 mph clip much of the spring. His curveball is a good pitch at the amateur level but needs to be tighter. He's academically inclined, so it might take a decent round to keep him from school.