|THIS YEAR'S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
|National Top 200 Prospects|
|Other Players Of Note|
1. Brad Lincoln, rhp (National rank: 3)
School: Houston. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Clute, Texas
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: 5/25/85.
Scouting Report: Always a talented two-way player, Lincoln began building momentum as a possible 2006 first-rounder with a breakout performance in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has continued improving and made himself a candidate to go to the Royals with the No. 1 overall pick. Lincoln raised his arm slot while on the Cape and became more confident challenging hitters. He's throwing more downhill, making his size (6 feet) less of an issue, and locating his pitches better in the strike zone. He sits at 91-93 mph with good life on his fastball, touches 95-96 most games and has peaked at 98. He holds that velocity throughout games. His curveball is equally as impressive, and he can throw it for strikes or break it out of the zone as a chase pitch. He also shows feel for a changeup that's close to an average pitch already. Lincoln is close to big league ready and his competitive makeup means he'll get everything out of his considerable ability. A lefthanded hitter with power to all fields, Lincoln led the Cougars in RBIs as a first baseman/DH. He conceivably could move to third base or the outfield as a pro, but he's too good on the mound to consider that option.
2. Clayton Kershaw, lhp (National rank: 6)
School: Highland Park HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 3/19/88.
Scouting Report: The draft's best high school prospect, Kershaw projected as only a second- or third-round pick before blossoming as a senior. He had gotten exposure as a member of the USA Baseball national junior team and had a solid fastball for a lefthander at 88-92 mph. Now he has grown into his strong, athletic 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, and his stuff has taken a leap. He has pitched at 90-96 mph all spring while continuing to pound the bottom of the strike zone. His curveball has improved even more than his fastball and now ranks a legitimate second plus pitch. He also has done a better job of repeating his delivery, giving him more control and command. Kershaw has dominated every time out, striking out 18 in Highland Park's district opener and breaking the school's career record for victories by earning No. 32 in his next outing. The only blip came when he strained an oblique muscle in his regular-season finale, knocking him out of the first round of the playoffs. The injury won't affect his draft status-he could go as high as No. 6 overall to the Tigers-and he was expected to return to action in the second round of the playoffs.
3. Luke Hochevar, rhp (National rank: 8)
School: None. Class: --
Hometown: Fowler, Colo.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 198. Birthdate: 9/15/83.
Scouting Report: Rated the second-best college starter in the 2005 draft, Hochevar tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 15 wins and led Tennessee to the College World Series. He was a candidate to go No. 1 overall to the Diamondbacks, but his signability dropped him to the Dodgers at No. 40. On Labor Day weekend, Hochevar switched agents from Scott Boras to Matt Sosnick and agreed to a $2.98 million bonus. Then he switched back to Boras, reneged on the deal and accused the Dodgers of trying to force him into a bad deal. Aiming to re-establish his worth for the 2006 draft, Hochevar has joined the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association. His first two starts drew a flock of scouts, and he lit up the radar guns from 90-97 mph with his fastball. Hochevar also showed his mid-80s slider, and he can turn to a curveball and changeup. His command isn't as sharp and his stuff starts to drop by the fourth inning, both products of his long layoff. He has had trouble repeating his delivery, but overall he has looked just as he did early in 2005. The Dodgers still control his rights through May 29, but it's unlikely they can sign him to a deal in which both sides could come out as winners.
4. Drew Stubbs, of (National rank: 11)
School: Texas. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Atlanta, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 201. Birthdate: 10/4/84.
Scouting Report: Stubbs was considered a borderline first-round talent coming out of high school in 2003. He would have signed with the Astros for $900,000 as a third-rounder if Major League Baseball hadn't persuaded Houston owner Drayton McLane not to exceed its bonus recommendation. Had he turned pro then, scouts wouldn't have to fret over his bat now. The best athlete in college baseball, Stubbs is a potential Gold Glove center fielder with plus raw power, plus-plus speed and an average arm. Though he has improved his approach and is using the whole field more as a junior, scouts believe his bat is far from a sure thing. He has struck out roughly once a game throughout his Longhorns career, and his contact rate hasn't improved this spring. He also hit a soft .304 with wood bats while on Team USA last summer. He still ranks second behind only Evan Longoria among position prospects in 2006. In last year's draft, which was much deeper in hitters, Stubbs would have lasted until the late first round. But with a scarcity of position players this year, he could go as high as No. 6 overall to the Tigers and probably won't get past the top 10 picks.
5. Kyle Drabek, rhp/ss (National rank: 12)
School: The Woodlands HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: 12/8/87.
Scouting Report: There may not be a more gifted player than Drabek in this draft, but he also comes with makeup concerns. On the mound, he shows better stuff than his father, former Cy Young Award winner Doug. Though he's 5-foot-11, he has the arm speed to deliver 94-95 mph fastballs and top out at 97. His best pitch may be his 78-82 mph spike curveball, which is all but unhittable. The lone knock on the pitch is that he relies on it too much. "He has as good an arm as anyone," an American League scouting director said. "When his fastball and curve are on, he has the best two-pitch combination in the draft." Drabek has a decent slider and feel for a changeup, though he rarely needs to use either at this point. He finishes a bit upright in his delivery, but his mechanics are otherwise sound and the ball comes out of his hand easily. He could also make a case for being the best high school position player in the draft, as he's a comparable hitter to New Jersey's Bill Rowell and would have a better shot at playing shortstop as a pro. Yet some teams are backing away from Drabek. He's high-strung on the field, and there are off-field issues as well, but he'll still go in the middle of the first round.
6. Kyle McCulloch, rhp (National rank: 16)
School: Texas. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 3/20/85.
Scouting Report: McCulloch's stuff isn't as sexy as the pitchers ahead of him on this list, though he's a better bet to reach his ceiling as a No. 3 or 4 starter than most. "He's a safe pick," a regional crosschecker said. "You know he's a big leaguer. Maybe you get Brad Radke out of him." The Longhorns initially signed McCulloch as a shortstop out of Houston power Bellaire High, where he played both ways but first emerged as an infielder. He's a good athlete for a pitcher and quite consistent. McCulloch's velocity has been down a little this year, as his fastball has sat at 88-90 mph, compared to 89-92 in 2005, when he won the deciding game of the College World Series. His best pitch is his plus changeup, and both his curveball and slider are effective if not spectacular. Early in the spring, he struggled when he relied too heavily on his secondary stuff, but righted himself when he returned to working off his fastball. Besides winning at premier high school and college programs, McCulloch also has proven himself against top summer competition. He held his own as a reliever in the Cape Cod League in 2004 and tied for the Team USA college team lead with four victories in 2005.
7. Jordan Walden, rhp (National rank: 25)
School: Mansfield HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Mansfield, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 230. Birthdate: 11/16/87.
Scouting Report: Walden entered 2006 as Baseball America's top-rated high school prospect on the strength of his performance last summer, when he touched 99 mph with his fastball in a Connie Mack game and was named the best pitching prospect at the Aflac All-American game. He hasn't been as spectacular this spring, pitching at 91-94 mph and topping out at 96. On his good days, Walden inspires visions of a big, tall pitcher who could have three plus offerings. His ability to repeat his mechanics fluctuates, as does his command and the quality of his curveball. He has good rotation on his curve but needs to throw it with more power. His changeup has improved and he has good feel for it. A matchup with projected second-round pick Zach Britton drew a horde of scouts, but Walden pitched at just 85-88 mph due to a groin injury. He did rebound to throw 92-93 mph in his next outing, so his draft status is secure. He doesn't hold his velocity as well or have as much polish as fellow Texas prep pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Drabek. Walden should go no lower than the second round, making it unlikely he'll follow through on a scholarship to Texas.
8. Aaron Miller, of/lhp (National rank: 43)
School: Channelview HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Channelview, Texas
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 9/18/87.
Scouting Report: Miller emerged as a pitching prospect as a sophomore two years ago, when he threw 90-91 mph. Because teams have looked at him on the mound for so long he hasn't quite gotten his due as a hitter, but that's where his future lies. Miller can become a solid big league right fielder in the mold of Paul O'Neill. He has a pretty lefthanded stroke that should produce both power and average. He's still a little pull-conscious, leaving him vulnerable to pitches on the outer part of the plate, though he's learning to use the whole field better. His speed and defense are fine, and his arm strength is a plus. Miller still likes to pitch, but he works more at 86-88 mph now and his curveball is inconsistent. His body is mature, so there isn't much projection left. A top student who finished second in his high school class, Miller has a strong commitment to Baylor. It will take first-round money to sign him, and a handful of teams will consider meeting his price.
9. Dustin Dickerson, 3b (National rank: 54)
School: Midway HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: McGregor, Texas
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 9/30/87.
Scouting Report: One of the top high school hitters in Texas this spring, Dickerson should go off the board somewhere between the second and fourth rounds. He incorporates his hands well into his swing and employs a sound whole-field approach. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, he offers plenty of strength and raw power. He also has displayed an aptitude for making adjustments at the plate. While Dickerson isn't one-dimensional, he'll be drafted mainly for his bat. He has good athleticism and speed for his size, and he played wide receiver on Midway High's district champion football team. But he has just adequate arm strength and glovework at third base, so he might move to an outfield corner or first base down the road. He's a good student committed to Baylor, but he should sign if he gets drafted as high as expected.
10. Zach Britton, lhp (National rank: 59)
School: Weatherford HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Weatherford, Texas
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 12/22/87.
Scouting Report: Clayton Kershaw isn't the only Texas high school lefthander who has shot up the charts this spring. After sitting at 86-87 mph in 2005, Britton's fastball shot up to 92-93 for much of this spring. He further helped his cause by outpitching the more ballyhooed Jordan Walden when scouts swarmed to their matchup in early April. Britton's velocity has tailed off slightly this spring, but his arm works well and he'll have a consistent plus fastball once he fills out. There's plenty of room to add strength to his athletic 6-foot-3, 180 pound frame. As he matures physically, he should add power to his curveball, which should become a solid-average pitch once he learns to stay on top of it better. Walden's delivery isn't deceptive, so refining a changeup to keep righthanders off balance will be important. Texas A&M did a nice job of identifying Britton's potential, but he started to achieve it so quickly that it's now unlikely he'll turn down pro ball for college.
11. Brandon Belt, lhp (National rank: 67)
School: Hudson HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Lufkin, Texas
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 188. Birthdate: 4/20/88.
Scouting Report: If the draft were held in February and not June, Belt would have been a first-round pick. A lefthander, he was showing an 88-93 mph fastball with good life and a promising curve with bite and depth. There's lots of room for more projection with his 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame. He also was showing feel for a changeup and fine athleticism. Because he's young and not physically developed, Belt hasn't maintained that velocity, pitching more at 85-88 mph as the draft drew closer. His arm works well, so scouts have no doubts that it will come back. Belt has continued to dominate Texas 3-A competition without his best stuff, throwing no-hitters in the district clincher and the opening round of the playoffs. Committed to Texas, Belt should sign if he goes in the second or third round as expected.
12. Matt Sulentic, of (National rank: 70)
School: Hillcrest HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 175. Birthdate: 10/6/87.
Scouting Report: Texas A&M has endured a rough season in the Big 12 Conference, and its strong recruiting class may also take major hits. Lefthanders Clayton Kershaw and Zach Britton are unlikely to make it to College Station after improving significantly this spring, and Sulentic fits into that category as well. He hit .676-19-58 to win the Dallas area triple crown, and the only 4-A or 5-A player in the Metroplex who has matched his numbers in the last decade was Jason Stokes, who hit 19 homers in 2000 and now plays in Triple-A for the Marlins. Sulentic is a pure lefthanded hitter with power to all fields. He's an average runner with a decent arm, and his instincts allow his tools to play up in all aspects of the game. Scouts love his makeup, perhaps more than any high school player in Texas. His chief drawback is his size. He's built along the lines of Lenny Dykstra but is more suited for left field than center. Sulentic has played shortstop, and if a team believes he could handle second base he could get picked as early as the second round.
13. Nathan Karns, rhp (National rank: 92)
School: Martin HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Arlington, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: 11/25/87.
Scouting Report: Like fellow University of Texas recruit Brandon Belt, Karns created a lot of excitement with the way he was throwing the ball early in the season. Coming off a summer when he helped lead the Midland Redskins to the Connie Mack World Series semifinals, Karns opened 2006 by working at 92-95 mph. He's a power righthander with a strong 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, but he didn't hold that velocity throughout the spring. He often loses something off his fastball by the third inning, and there were games where he pitched more at 87-88. His arm action is long in the back, which costs him consistency with his velocity, breaking ball and command. The Longhorns have a better chance of holding onto Karns than Brandon Belt, who's lefthanded and more polished, though Karns still may go as high as the third round.
14. Casey Beck, rhp (National rank: 103)
School: San Jacinto (Texas) JC. Class: Fr.
Hometown: Woodville, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 197. Birthdate: 3/28/87.
Scouting Report: Despite being the Texas 2-A state player of the year, Beck went undrafted out of high school in 2005 because his mechanics and command were rough. Now he's the top juco prospect in Texas. Succeeding Angels draft-and-follow Stephen Marek as San Jacinto's closer, Beck has helped pitched the Gators to the Junior College World Series. His fastball sits at 92-93 mph and touches 95, and he backs it up with a big league slider. His delivery and control are still less than smooth, as he tends to overthrow when he gets amped up with the game on the line. Scouts who saw him pitch as a starter during the fall wonder if he could succeed in that role. He didn't try to throw as hard, dropping down to 88-91 mph and hitting both sides of the plate. He also showed some aptitude for a changeup. Beck will return to San Jacinto for his sophomore season if he doesn't sign.
15. Jess Todd, rhp (National rank: 104)
School: Navarro (Texas) JC. Class: So.
Hometown: Kilgore, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 4/20/86.
Scouting Report: Todd signed with Texas Tech out of high school but transferred to Navarro after a semester. Though he wasn't drafted in 2005, he has stood out the most on a loaded Navarro pitching staff that includes seven legitimate pro prospects. Todd, who finished his season with a 1-0 shutout in a regional playoff game, also dominated in the West Coast Collegiate League last summer. He attacks hitters with two pitches, an 88-92 mph that features plenty of sink and a nasty slider. He can touch 95 mph when he goes to a four-seam fastball, and he throws strikes with relative ease. The knocks against Todd are his size and his maximum-effort delivery, leading to concerns as to how long his stuff will hold up when he pitches every five days in pro ball. He may be better suited to be a reliever. On pure stuff, Todd could go in the third round. His stature and mechanics may knock him down further than that, and if he slides too far he'll attend Texas in 2007.
16. Jordan Craft, rhp (National rank: 119)
School: Dallas Baptist. Class: So.
Hometown: Wrightwood, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 6/5/85.
Scouting Report: Craft barely pitched in his first two seasons in college, redshirting in 2004 at Pepperdine and working just 10 innings last year after transferring to Dallas Baptist. This spring, he has emerged as the best prospect on a Patriots roster full of pitchers who can top 90 mph. Craft relies on two pitches, a hard sinker and a slider. His two-seam fastball usually ranges from 90-93 mph. There's still some projection left in his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. Both Craft's performance and his control have been inconsistent this spring, but he won over scouts with an early May outing against Texas. Pitching in relief, he allowed just two hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings, striking out four while topping out at 94 mph. The Longhorns torched the rest of the Dallas Baptist staff for 15 runs in 10 2/3 innings during a doubleheader. A draft-eligible sophomore, Craft could go as early as the third round.
17. Brad Furnish, lhp (National rank: 126)
School: Texas Christian. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Allen, Texas
B-T: B-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 1/19/85.
Scouting Report: Texas Christian's trio of weekend starters has the chance to pull off the rare feat of each topping 100 strikeouts, and pro teams can't wait to get their hands on any of them. But Jake Arrietta and Sam Demel are sophomores, leaving Furnish as the rotation's lone draft pick in June, a likely third- to sixth-rounder. Furnish, who spun a seven-inning no-hitter with 13 strikeouts against Texas-Pan American in February, leads the Horned Frogs with 112 strikeouts in 90 innings. He began his college career at Nebraska before transferring after the 2004 season, and has pitched well in the Cape Cod League the last two summers. He's a lefty with two solid pitches, an 88-92 mph fastball and a solid overhand curveball. Furnish likes to change hitters' eye levels by throwing high fastballs to set up his curveball. He probably will have to pitch more down in the zone with his fastball as a pro, and refining a changeup would improve his chances against righthanders.
18. Kevin Angelle, lhp (National rank: 136)
School: Bridge City HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Bridge City, Texas
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 170. Birthdate: 2/27/88.
Scouting Report: Along with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Britton, Angelle is another Texas high school lefthander whose stuff has taken a big step forward this spring. Angelle has been Bridge City's ace since his sophomore year, when his fastball sat at 82-84 mph. His velocity climbed to the mid-80s in 2005, and now he's pitching at 88-90 mph and topping out at 92 mph. He has good arm speed and room to add strength to his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame, so his fastball could continue to improve. Angelle also throws a late-breaking, sweeping curveball and has some feel for a changeup, and he has the potential for three average or better pitches. His delivery isn't the smoothest and could use some cleaning up. His velocity was inconsistent down the stretch, though he struck out 17 in a win in the opening game of the state 3-A quarterfinals. Like Kershaw and Britton, Angelle originally signed with Texas A&M. But he's eager to enter pro ball, and he would likely attend San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College if he doesn't sign.
19. Russ Moldenhauer, 3b (National rank: 138)
School: Boerne HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Boerne, Texas
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 9/24/87.
Scouting Report: Moldenhauer has been one of the top high school hitters in Texas since he was a sophomore, when he led Boerne to the Texas Class 4-A title and was the state 4-A player of the year. He has a strong 6-foot, 200-pound build, uses his hands well and drives balls from gap to gap. The two questions are what position he'll play and whether he can be signed away from the University of Texas. Moldenhauer has played a variety of positions for Boerne, including catcher, and he continues to pitch. Though he has been versatile and was an all-district wide receiver in football, he's not a tremendous athlete. He's a below-average runner with a mature body. While he has average arm strength and catchers are always a prized commodity, he doesn't receive well enough to stay behind the plate. He'll probably begin his pro career at third base, though his range is questionable at the hot corner. Moldenhauer reportedly wants top-two-round money to sign and he projects more as a third- to fifth-rounder.
20. Jeremy Barfield, of (National rank: 141)
School: Klein HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Spring, Texas
B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 7/12/88.
Scouting Report: Barfield has excellent bloodlines. His father Jesse won an American League home run crown and two Gold Gloves with the Blue Jays in the 1980s, and his brother Josh is a rookie second baseman with the Padres. Jeremy had focused primarily on pitching before 2006. Though he's a 6-foot-6 lefthander, he had a low-80s fastball and just a fair curveball. Barfield has a lot more power in his bat than in his arm. His size gives him leverage to drive pitches, and he has emerged as one of the best high school hitters in Texas. Barfield's bat will have to carry him, because his other tools don't stand out. He has below-average speed and arm strength, and he may have to move to first base as a pro. Scouts like his makeup and confidence, and his stock was rising as the draft approached. Though he's a good student, he wants to turn pro. Jeremy has passed on four-year schools and has committed only to San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College.
21. Cory Van Allen, lhp (National rank: 144)
School: Baylor. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 12/24/84.
Scouting Report: Van Allen was the third-highest unsigned pick from the 2003 draft, following earlier third-rounders Andrew Miller (Devil Rays) and Drew Stubbs (Astros). While Miller and Stubbs are lock first-rounders three years later, Allen looks more like a fifth-rounder because he hasn't progressed. He's still a lefthander with good velocity, but he hasn't developed his secondary pitches or his command as much as scouts would like. Van Allen has an 89-91 mph fastball that reaches 93, but it doesn't have much life. His changeup has its moments, though he doesn't locate it well on a consistent basis. He also has a slider that needs a lot of work. Van Allen mostly works up in the strike zone, which makes him more hittable. The raw ingredients are there, but the team that drafts Van Allen will have to teach him a breaking ball and add movement to his fastball.
22. Eddie Degerman, rhp (National rank: 153)
School: Rice. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Granada Hills, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 9/14/83.
Scouting Report: Degerman ranked among the top NCAA Division I pitchers in wins (9-1), ERA (1.37) and strikeouts (119 in 92 innings). Not bad for a guy who couldn't get on the mound in two years at UC Irvine. He transferred to Rice after the Owls won the 2003 national title. Degerman has a stiff, over-the-top delivery that, while unorthodox, also allows him to stay on top of his pitches and drive them to the bottom of the strike zone. His best offering is a high-70s curveball, and his fastball has improved from 87-90 to 89-92 mph during the last year. He can subtract velocity from his breaking ball, using the slower version of his curveball as a changeup. He repeats his mechanics well, and the different look is tough on batters. Just a 41st-round pick a year ago, the Red Sox still control his rights, but Rice's season should extend beyond the period when Boston could sign him, and he should become a nice bargain pick as a fifth-year senior.
23. Preston Claiborne, rhp/3b (National rank: 155)
School: Newman Smith HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: Carrollton, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 1/21/88.
Scouting Report: Tulane has had a nice run of two position players in recent years, with first-round picks Michael Aubrey and Brian Bogusevic among them. Claiborne could be the next in line if he decides to attend college. Scouts are split on whether he should pursue pitching or hitting as a pro. As a pitcher, he has an 88-89 mph fastball that reaches 92 mph, plus a hard slider and good command. As a hitter, he has a short stroke, bat speed and a lot of power, including to the opposite field. His strong 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame is an asset either way. Claiborne obviously has the arm strength for third base, but he may fit more as a corner outfielder in pro ball. The two factors working against him in the draft are that he struggled on a national stage at last year's Area Code Games, and that Tulane recruits are notoriously difficult to sign.
24. Nick Papasan, ss (National rank: 157)
School: Granbury HS. Class: Sr
Hometown: Granbury, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 165. Birthdate: 3/14/88.
Scouting Report: Papasan is the infield version of outfielder Matt Sulentic, a Texas high school hitter (and Texas A&M recruit) who would be a premium draft pick if he were bigger. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, he may be closer to 5-foot-9, and his size could push him out of the first five rounds. There's little not to like about his offensive game, however. He has strong hands and surprising pop for his size, and he has been the top hitter in the Fort Worth area since transferring from Midland High after his sophomore season. He missed Granbury High's first eight games this spring with a muscle strain, then returned to terrorize pitchers as usual. The rest of Papasan's tools are average, though he plays above them because he has good instincts. Most scouts project him as a second baseman rather than a shortstop in pro ball.
25. Josh Rodriguez, 3b (National rank: 163)
School: Rice. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 12/18/84.
Scouting Report: Rodriguez came into the season as one of college baseball's best shortstop prospects, but he has been supplanted there at Rice by sophomore Brian Friday. Rodriguez had elbow problems that bothered him during fall practice and early in the spring, so he opened the season as a DH and since has moved to third base. He has played second, third and short in three years at Rice, and his arm is a plus at any position. He's a slightly below-average runner, however, so he'll have to move to second or third as a pro. He's a streak hitter with gap power, and he has a penchant for drawing walks. Rodriguez hit .326 with wood last summer for Team USA, the highest average among 2006 draft-eligibles on the club. There's talk that a couple of teams could take him in the second or third round, but he's more of a consensus fifth-rounder.
26. Chad Huffman, 1b/2b (National rank: 178)
School: Texas Christian. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Missouri City, Texas
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 206. Birthdate: 4/24/85.
Scouting Report: Huffman is third of three brothers to double as college baseball and football players. Scott played linebacker and got a handful of at-bats at Rice, while Royce (now in Triple-A with the Astros) was a quarterback and infielder at Texas Christian. Chad has followed in Royce's footsteps in both sports for the Horned Frogs, and broke his school record for hits in a season as a freshman in 2004. A third-string quarterback, Chad appeals to baseball scouts solely for his bat. He should hit for average as a pro, and his power continues to develop. The question is what position he'll play. Though he has arm strength and athleticism, Huffman's footwork and range were lacking when he tried to play second base earlier this spring. Scouts aren't confident he can play third base, which would limit him to an outfield corner or first base--and require a lot more offense out of him than if he could handle second. His overall profile is similar to that of Royce, a 12th-round pick in 1999. Chad should go about seven rounds higher, and maybe as early as the third round to a team that believes he can adapt to the hot corner.
27. Steve Macfarland, rhp (National rank: 186)
School: Lamar. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Marlboro, N.Y.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 8/17/85.
Scouting Report: Macfarland opened his college career at Pace (N.Y.) in 2004, then transferred to Lamar when the Setters dropped to NCAA Division II. He spent most of his freshman and sophomore seasons as a reliever before making the transition to starting this spring. Macfarland won his first three decisions but has been inconsistent ever since. He pitched in the low 90s and touched 94 coming out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod League last summer, but has sat mostly in the high 80s in 2006. His fastball lacks life and his command wavers, so it's hittable when he leaves it over the plate. His slider can be a plus pitch at times, clocking in at 80-83 mph. He projects better as a reliever in pro ball, and he's going to have to improve his control in any case. A team that liked his arm strength on the Cape could pop him in the fifth round.