Scouting Reports: Kentucky




2007 MLB Draft After a standout season in 2006, which included a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title, the University of Kentucky took a step back this year. Similarly, the overall talent in the state isn't what it was a year ago.

A year ago, Kentucky's lineup was laden with talent, as the Wildcats posted remarkable offensive numbers. John Shelby signed as a fifth-round pick, leaving behind a career as one of the school's best hitters, and SEC player of the year Ryan Strieby signed for $295,000 as a fourth-round pick of the Tigers. Kentucky finished fifth in its division in the SEC this year and didn't qualify for the conference tournament.

THIS YEAR'S CROP
*****One for the books
****Banner year
***Solid, not spectacular
**Not up to par
*Nothing to see here
The Wildcats have a few candidates for the first 10 rounds, but other than high school product Ben Revere and Louisville closer Trystan Magnuson, the state doesn't boast any frontline prospects. The crop of high school players is especially thin.

With the hire of former Mississippi assistant Dan McDonald as head coach at Louisville, the Cardinals immediately showed signs of improvement, and 2008 already looks better for the high school class, as juniors Daniel Webb (Heath High, Paducah), Robbie Ross (Lexington Christian Academy), Alex Blodgett (Tates Creek High, Lexington) and Revere's teammate, Nick Maronde, have shown potential to be Kentucky's best high school class of the decade.

National Top 200 Prospects

1. Ben Revere, of, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS
2. Trystan Magnuson, rhp, Louisville

Other Prospects Of Note

3. Scott Green, rhp, Kentucky
4. Sawyer Carroll, 1b, Kentucky
5. Collin Cowgill, of, Kentucky
6. Zach Pitts, rhp, Louisville
7. Andrew Albers, lhp, Louisville
8. James Caldwell, c/of, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS
9. Nathan Jones, rhp, Northern Kentucky
10. Gabriel Shaw, rhp, St. Mary HS, Paducah, Ky.

Scouting Reports

1. Ben Revere, of (National rank: 135)
School: Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 152. Birthdate: 5/3/88.
Scouting Report: A few months after Revere starred as a defensive back, receiver and kick returner on Lexington Catholic's 3-A state championship football team as a junior, he won a state championship with the baseball team. His father John played football and baseball at Eastern Kentucky, and his brother J.R. played both sports at Georgia Southern, winning a I-AA national title as the Eagles' quarterback in 2000. A four-year starter in baseball, Revere has a career .487 batting average and a state-record 27 triples. He has struck out 19 times in 433 high school at-bats. The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder opened eyes at last year's East Coast Showcase when he turned in the best 60-yard-dash of the event (6.28 seconds) and showed some pop at the plate. While his speed is his best tool, Revere has a sound approach at the plate and a knack for turning on fastballs and pulling them with authority. He gets good extension in his swing and projects for average power as a pro. He needs to refine his bunting and use the whole field more effectively. Revere's speed could allow him to become a plus defender in center field, but presently he makes mistakes that he can usually outrun. He needs to improve his reads and could take better routes to the ball. He has a below-average arm. Revere is considered signable in the top five rounds, and should easily find a suitor by then.

2. Trystan Magnuson, rhp (National rank: 199)
School: Louisville. Class: Sr.
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 194. Birthdate: 6/6/85.
Scouting Report: A former walk-on from British Columbia, Magnuson made just 35 appearances for the Cardinals prior to 2007 and wasn't on the prospect map. His father and uncle both played college hockey, and his great uncle, the late Keith Magnuson, spent 11 years in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, amassing more than 1,400 penalty minutes and appearing in two Stanley Cup finals during the 1970s. Trystan has slowly learned to control his thin, 6-foot-7 frame over the rubber and had been lights-out coming out of Louisville's bullpen this season. He did not allow an earned run in his first 23 innings and had 43 strikeouts and eight walks while posting a .165 opponent average in 44 innings during the regular season. He has a low-90s fastball and mid-80s slider that he has learned to keep down in the zone. His got ahead in the count with his fastball and used his slider as a chase pitch this spring. He'll have to improve its break in order for it to be as effective in pro ball. Unless Louisville receives an NCAA regional bid and makes a run, its season will be over in time for Magnuson to negotiate as a free agent because he is a fifth-year senior. He should receive plenty of interest as potential set-up man.

Top Wildcat Goes On The Shelf

The departure of Shelby and Strieby left outfielder Collin Cowgill without much protection in the lineup, a point that became moot when he broke his hamate bone and was lost for the season. He was not expected to receive much interest on the first day of the draft, and Kentucky hoped to get a medical redshirt and bring Cowgill back as a fourth-year junior next season. Cowgill was one of the catalysts of Kentucky's offense as a sophomore in 2006. He has the gritty style of play that endears him to managers, and enough bat speed to spray line drives from gap to gap with a wood bat.

First baseman Sawyer Carroll has the best approach and swing of Kentucky's draft-eligible position players. His defensive skills are passable, though his arm is below-average. He lacks strength, which shows in all phases of his game. He's primarily a singles and doubles hitter who makes enough contact to draw consideration on the first day of the draft.

The Wildcat with the most upside is Scott Green, a fifth-year senior righthander with a big arm. At 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Green has the look of a professional prospect and the arm strength to match. He has been up to 94 mph and will occasionally show a hard slider with sweepy break. He throws across his body and has questionable command. Green's medical history includes Tommy John surgery, and he missed time this season with a pulled oblique and strained muscle in his back, making him both hard to see and somewhat risky to select as high as his ceiling might suggest.

Lefty Andrew Albers has a good feel for pitching and outstanding control of three pitches, though none of them is above-average. He works off a mid-80s fastball, slider and changeup, keeps the ball down in the zone and mixes his stuff effectively. He could be taken in the eighth to 10th round but was more likely to return to school for his senior season.

Louisville righthander Zach Pitts leans on above-average command of his fastball to get outs. He works ahead in the count and can spot his high-80s heater to all four quadrants of the strike zone. Like Charlotte's Adam Mills, Pitts doesn't have a separating pitch and profiles as a middle reliever.

Catcher James Caldwell played football alongside Revere and joined him during the East Coast Showcase last summer. His swing has holes, and he doesn’t have much feel for hitting, though he has a penchant for driving mistakes to all parts of the field. His plus speed and athleticism might play better in the outfield. Behind the plate, he has poor throwing mechanics and looks rigid in his receiving. Caldwell has committed to Middle Tennessee State as a catcher and righthanded pitcher.