Utah Scouting Reports
|THIS YEAR'S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
One scout flatly calls Utah "a one-star state without question," but the state does have a little bit of depth. This comes a year after lefthander Mark Pawelek gave the state a first-rounder for just the second time in the 40 years of the draft. The state lost perhaps its top talent when righthander John Holdzkom, who showed little control but had flashed a 98 mph fastball, dropped out of Salt Lake Community College and went back home to California. The Mariners control his rights as a 15th-round draft-and-follow. All the players from the state likely to be drafted on the first day have a major weakness to counterbalance their potential, such as being older (because they've taken Mormon missions) or having surgery.
1. Colt Adams, rhp, Dixie State JC
2. Jesse Craig, rhp, Brigham Young
3. Ryan Khoury, ss, Utah
4. Kam Mickolio, rhp, Utah Valley State
5. Josh Cooper, rhp, Utah
6. Cliff Anderson, of/lhp, Cottonwood HS, Sandy
7. Jonathan Cluff, of, Bingham HS, South Jordan
8. Ben Saylor, 1b, Brigham Young
9. Jay Brossman, rhp, Utah
10. Tylien Manumaleuna, c/1b, Dixie HS, St. George
11. Chad Povich, rhp, Dixie State JC (CONTROL: Pirates)
12. Chris Reap, rhp, Dixie State JCIntriguing Players, But Lots Of Questions
Righthander Colt Adams
had surpassed Jonathan Holdzkom as the top juco pitcher in the state even before Holdzkom left the scene. Making Adams even more attractive, he's not under control to any club because he had Tommy John surgery last year. He transferred to Dixie after starting his college career at Colorado Northwestern Community College. His fastball velocity has come back, and he's shown more facility for throwing strikes than many Tommy John alumni. Adams, who didn't pitch in 2005, has a solid 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and controls his 90-91 mph fastball well. It's not often that an average fastball, a body with some projection left and a junior-college pitcher come in the same package as someone with a knack for pitching (known in scouting shorthand as pitchability), but that's Adams.
Facing wood bats, Adams walked just 15 in 81 innings and was considered a superior prospect to fellow starters Chris Reap
and Chad Povich
, though Povich went 11-1, 1.81. The Pirates drafted Povich in the 30th round in 2005 and could move to sign him after Dixie lost in regional play to Yavapai (Ariz.) Junior College one round shy of the NJCAA World Series. Reap is a sinkerballer who had a 24-inning scoreless string during the year.
The four-year college ranks include three interesting pitchers who could go in the first 10 rounds in Utah's Josh Cooper
, Brigham Young's Jesse Craig
and Utah Valley State's Kam Mickolio
. Cooper is an a typical senior sign, with a fastball that touches 90 mph and a slider that can be above-average at times. Craig has firmer stuff and could progress quickly as a reliever. He has a sturdy 6-foot-3, 230-pound body and at 22 is ready to play pro ball, as he took a mission trip to Rochester, N.Y. Craig, who started his college baseball career at the Community College of Southern Nevada, started challenging hitters inside with his fastball there while facing wood bats. While that hasn't always worked against metal bats in the Mountain West Conference, he's not afraid to work inside (as evidenced by his 10 HBPs). He's touched 94 mph and his fastball has arm-side sink, producing ground balls when he stays on top of it. He's athletic enough to repeat his delivery and had good control of his fastball. His slurvy breaking ball needs to be tightened, and if he can do that he should emerge as a quality set-up man.
Mickolio hails from Montana and just started playing baseball before his senior year in high school, when he played American Legion ball. Previously, he had focused on basketball, as he's 6-foot-9 and Montana has no high school baseball. He started his college career at Eastern Utah Junior College, and the Cardinals actually drafted him in the 35th round in 2003, after his freshman season there. Mickolio had made progress since then, and some scouts had seen him throw well this spring, such as when he shut out Nevada. It was the first shutout ever at Reno's Peccole Park against the Wolf Pack, and some reports had the 250-pounder touching 92-93 mph. He more frequently sat in the 85-88 range, and while his slider and his changeup had made strides, they remain below-average. Mickolio has size that can't be taught and if he can establish a downward angle on a fastball in the low 90s, he'll be an interesting project.
The best position players in the state were a mixed bag of college and prep players. Utah's Ryan Khoury
had outstripped his teammate Jay Brossman
, a Washington native whose father played pro ball. While Brossman is a solid college player and likely sign next year as a senior, Khoury is a senior who should be drafted well as an offensive infielder. Khoury doesn't do anything pretty but can rake, and like Brossman he's from a baseball family. His dad played at Utah while his grandfather played for the Salt Lake Bees. A team captain, Khoury can't stay at shortstop as a pro but has some pull power and a knack for making solid, hard contact. He was Utah's career hits leader and was leading the Mountain West Conference batting race by a nearly 50-point margin.
The next best bets for scouts include BYU senior first baseman Ben Saylor
, who has a smooth swing but is 24, and prep outfielders Cliff Anderson
and Jonathan Cluff
. An Area Code Games alumnus, Cuff is a solid athlete and was a fine football running back before quitting to focus on baseball. A Brigham Young recruit, Cluff doesn't have a tool that stands out but should be a solid college player. Anderson is an Oklahoma State baseball recruit with above-average speed and solid all-around tools. He's considered the state's best high school draftee and a good draft-and-follow candidate, as he needs more game experience to improve his instincts.