Scouting Reports: Pacific Rim
Hawaii high schools may have produced a presidential candidate in Barack Obama, but they have hit a talent dry spell in baseball since the turn of the century, when the likes of Dane Sardinha, Justin Wayne and Jerome Williams were becoming premium picks.
The University of Hawaii also wasn't as strong in 2007 as it was in '06, when the team played in an NCAA regional. The 2008 class is expected to produce several draftable players, but the '07 class is not.
|*****||One for the
|**||Not up to
|*||Nothing to see
Alaska had some interesting high school players a year ago, but no one from the Last Frontier figures to go in this year's draft. There is an Alaskan righthander, Joe Kohan of Juneau, who could go high in 2008, as he was throwing 87-88 mph in his first start this year. Naturally, it was 39 degrees and rainy for his April tilt.
1. Brandon Haislet, of, Hawaii
2. Kris Sanchez, 1b, Hawaii (SIGNED: Mariners)
3. Mark Rodrigues, lhp, Hawaii (SIGNED: Indians)
4. Ian Harrington, lhp, Hawaii
5. Tyler Davis, rhp, Hawaii
6. Lars Knepper, rhp, Hawaii-Hilo
7. Andrew Hall, lhp, Douglas HS, Juneau, Alaska
8. Justin Frash, 3b, Hawaii
9. Ryan Skillern, 3b, South HS, Anchorage, Alaska
Hawaii went just 11-13 in the Western Athletic Conference during a 34-25 season. It's the fifth straight winning season for the Rainbows after netting just 16 victories in coach Mike Trapasso's first season. The program was heavy with seniors this year, and two fifth-year players already had signed in slugging first baseman Kris Sanchez
, the team's top hitter, and lefty Mark Rodrigues
, who played his high school ball in Hawaii and went 9-3, 3.75 this spring.
Sanchez has shown power to all fields, and though he's not a supreme athlete, he should go out and hit as a pro. Rodrigues has an 86-89 mph fastball at his best and is still battling back from Tommy John surgery he had two years ago. He's shown excellent control for a TJ alum, with just 10 walks in 98 innings.
Rodrigues throws harder and has a better feel for pitching than fellow lefty Ian Harrington
, who throws in the mid-80s and has a curveball, slider and changeup. Harrington also pounds the strike zone but gets away with mistakes less frequently than Rodrigues.
Outfielder Brandon Haislet
has the best tools on the club among draft-eligible players, and he led the Rainbows in stolen bases and runs out of the cleanup spot. He's a plus runner (4.1 seconds to first base from the right side) with a good pro body and the range to play center field. His funky swing holds him back; he's got plenty of holes and doesn't make consistent enough contact to unlock his raw power. A 2003 high school graduate in Sacramento, he spent his first two seasons at Cosumnes River (Calif.) Community College.
Hawaii's top pitcher was short righthander Matt Daly, a sophomore who will be an intriguing 2008 draft, as he throws 94-96 mph. When Daly moved into the rotation later in the season, righty Tyler Davis
stepped in as the closer and led the team with four saves. Davis uses a low three-quarters arm slot to attack hitters with an 87-91 mph fastball and sweepy slider. He gave up only one homer in 44 innings but is far from dominating, profiling more as a middle reliever who can come in and get a groundball out.
Alaska's top draft prospects would be ideal draft-and-follow candidates under the old system. Lefthander Andrew Hall
has swing-and-miss stuff against his competition, though he's had control problems; in one start, he struck out 10 but walked 14. He has signed with Lower Columbia (Wash.) Community College.
Infielder Ryan Skillern
will play at Montana State. He's a 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete who could stay at third base thanks to an average arm and good footwork, honed while playing high school tennis. He's an average runner.