|THIS YEAR'S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
|National Top 200 Prospects|
|Other Prospects Of Note|
24. Brett Eibner, rhp, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
25. Tyler Henley, of, Rice
27. Eric Eiland, of, Lamar HS, Houston
26. Aaron Brown, rhp, Houston
28. Taylor Grote, of, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
29. P.J. Dean, rhp, New Caney (Texas) HS
30. Kyle Nicholson, rhp, Texas A&M
31. Randy Boone, rhp, Texas
32. Blake Stouffer, 1b/3b, Texas A&M
33. Drake Britton, lhp, Tomball (Texas) HS
34. Chase Reid, rhp, Carroll HS, Southlake, Texas
35. Kevin Keyes, of/rhp, John B. Connally HS, Austin, Texas
36. Ryne Tacker, rhp, Rice
37. Michael Ambort, c, Lamar
38. Keith Conlon, of, Texas Christian
39. Ryan Turner, rhp, Richland (Texas) HS
40. James Russell, lhp, Texas
41. Adrian Alaniz, lhp, Texas
42. Andrew Walker, c, Texas Christian
43. Nate Jennings, rhp, Texas-Tyler
44. Chance Corgan, rhp, Texas Christian
45. Gary Poynter, rhp, Weatherford (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Rangers)
46. Andrew Cashner, rhp, Angelina (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Rockies)
47. Danny Lehmann, c, Rice
48. Jeff Mandel, rhp, Baylor
49. Matt McGuirk, of, Texas Christian
50. Michael Bolsinger, rhp, Grayson County (Texas) CC (CONTROL: Indians)
51. Erik Kanaby, of, Lamar
52. Hank Williamson, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
53. Chris Johnson, rhp, Texas Christian
54. Richard Orange, of/rhp, Lubbock Christian (Texas)
55. Michael Richard, ss, Prairie View A&M
56. Tyrone Hambly, 3b, Grayson County (Texas) CC
57. Cameron Rupp, c/1b, Prestonwood Christian Academy, Plano
58. Chris Corrigan, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
59. Zach Oliver, lhp, Paris (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Braves)
60. Brandon Belt, lhp/1b, San Jacinto (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Red Sox)
61. Eric Fry, of, San Jacinto (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Rangers)
62. Chris Kelley, rhp, Rice
63. Lucas Luetge, lhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC (CONTROL: White Sox)
64. Chad Mozingo, of, Klein (Texas) HS
65. Ben Feltner, of, Texas A&M
66. Joseph Paylor, of, Hillcrest HS, Dallas
67. Bobby Bramhall, lhp, Rice
68. Randall Linebaugh, rhp, Baylor
69. Matt Evers, lhp, Stratford (Texas) HS
70. Chase Gerdes, of, Baylor
71. Maurice Bankston, rhp, Texarkana (Texas) JC
72. Joseph Krebs, lhp, Texas
73. Joseph Leftridge, of, Duncanville (Texas) HS
74. Rafael Thomas, of, Lufkin (Texas) HS
75. Runey Davis, of, Georgetown (Texas) HS
76. Travis Lawler, rhp, A&M Consolidated HS, College Station, Texas
77. Matt Smith, c, Texas Tech
78. Steven Hill, 1b, Stephen F. Austin State
79. Tyler Ladendorf, ss, Howard (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Yankees)
80. Scott Meyer, rhp, Lamar
81. Joris Bert, of, Frank Phillips (Texas) JC
82. Benino Pruneda, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
83. Michael Johnson, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
84. Nick Peoples, of, Texas
85. Jeremy Barfield, of, San Jacinto (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Mets)
86. Austin Adams, of, Texas Christian
87. Garrett Baker, of, Dallas Baptist (SIGNED: Giants)
88. Jonathan Kaskow, 1b, Coppell (Texas) HS
89. Ryan Brasier, rhp, Weatherford (Texas) JC
90. Garrett Clyde, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
91. Brian Needham, rhp, Lamar
92. Jacob Leonhardt, rhp, Stephen F. Austin State
93. Caleb Staudt, rhp, St. Mary's (Texas)
94. Jason Lara, rhp, Prairie View A&M
95. Rashad Ford, rhp, Texas Southern
96. Stayton Thomas, rhp, Corsicana (Texas) HS
97. Kevin Angelle, lhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC (CONTROL: Rangers)
98. Kyle Martin, ss, Texas Tech
99. David Wood, 1b, Texas State
100. Parker Dalton, 2b, Texas A&M
101. Chance Wheeless, 1b, Texas
102. Jacob Bidelman, rhp, Celina (Texas) HS
103. Luke Prihoda, rhp, Sam Houston State
104. Kristian Bueno, lhp, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas
105. Conrad Flynn, rhp, Robert E. Lee HS, Midland, Texas
106. Tant Shepherd, 3b, Flower Mound (Texas) HS
107. Paul Demny, rhp, East Bernard (Texas) HS
108. Kenneth Gilbert, of, DeSoto (Texas) HS
109. Allen Harrington, lhp, Lamar
110. Tim Matthews, rhp, Baylor
111. Jordan Dodson, of, Rice
112. Monty Daniel, rhp, Douglas MacArthur HS, San Antonio
113. Jose Duran, ss, North Central Texas JC
114. Ross Speed, rhp, Westwood HS, Austin, Texas
115. Michael Pair, rhp, Trinity Christian Academy, Dallas
116. Chase Dempsay, rhp/3b, Sterling HS, Baytown, Texas
117. Nick Pepitone, rhp/1b, Katy (Texas) HS
118. Aaron Dabb, lhp, Katy (Texas) HS
119. Ryan Riddle, lhp, Texas Wesleyan
120. Chris Holguin, rhp, Lubbock Christian (Texas)
|1. Blake Beavan, rhp (National rank: 13)|
School: Irving (Texas) HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 1/17/89.
|Scouting Report: Beavan set the tone for a dominant senior season last summer, when he threw an 11-strikeout shutout against Cuba--in Cuba--during the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship. The ace of Team USA and Baseball America's 2006 Youth Player of the Year, Beavan allowed two earned runs in 11 starts this spring, including an 18-whiff perfect game and a 15-strikeout one-hitter in the playoffs. He has pitched at 91-96 mph with his fastball all spring, and some scouts believe his hard slider may be his best pitch. His 6-foot-7, 210-pound frame adds to his intimidating presence, and it's tough for righthanders to dig in when he drops down to a lower three-quarters arm angle. Beavan's mechanics are the only thing that give scouts pause about him. He has some recoil and effort in his arm action, and he often stays too upright and doesn't finish over his front side. He also tips his pitches at times by varying his arm slot. Despite those concerns, Beavan has been durable and should go in the middle of the first round. He committed to Oklahoma but won't be a tough sign.|
|2. Max Scherzer, rhp (National rank: 17)|
Team: Fort Worth Cats (American Association).
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 7/27/84.
|Scouting Report: After pitching in the mid- to high-90s with Missouri and Team USA in 2005, Scherzer projected as the top righthander in the 2006 draft. But he came down with biceps tendinitis at midseason and sat at 91-92 mph. Several teams didn't get the medical clearance to draft Scherzer, and questions about his signability also didn't help his case. The Diamondbacks took him 11th overall, but he had not signed and agent Scott Boras steered him to the independent Fort Worth Cats this spring. Fellow Boras client Luke Hochevar took the same path en route to becoming the No. 1 overall pick in 2006, and Scherzer could do the same if he regains his 2005 form in a year short on quality college-age righthanders. In his first two outings for the Cats, Scherzer showed he was healthy and pitched from 92-98 mph from his fastball. However, his heater lacked life and his slider was a below-average pitch. His changeup and two-seam fastball are still works in progress. Scherzer throws with some effort and ultimately may be more of a closer than a frontline starter. Few specifics about his negotiations with the Diamondbacks have leaked out, though the club is believed to have offered around $3 million with Scherzer and Boras looking for roughly twice that, probably in a major league contract. If he doesn't sign by May 30, he'll re-enter the draft. (UPDATE: Scherzer has signed with the Diamondbacks, receiving a $3 million bonus as part of a four-year, $4.3 million major league contract.)|
|3. Joe Savery, lhp (National rank: 21)|
School: Rice. Class: Jr.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 11/4/85.
|Scouting Report: Area scouts have projected Savery as a 2007 first-rounder since he came out of Lamar High in Houston three years ago. He was the top two-way player in the state, but it would have taken a $1 million bonus to dissuade him from following Jeff Niemann's path from Lamar to Rice. As with Niemann in 2004, Savery hasn't been 100 percent in his draft year following offseason surgery. He didn't pitch for the Owls last June, then had minor surgery to shave down a bone growth in the back of his shoulder that was causing some fraying in his labrum. Savery has taken a regular turn in the Rice rotation this spring, but he has been less than dominant, as his 44-30 K-BB ratio through 68 innings would attest. Savery's velocity was improving in early May, as he was showing a 90-94 mph fastball for a couple of innings and still touched 90 after 100 pitches. In his initial starts this season, he worked more often at 85-89 mph. His changeup is a plus pitch, and his hard, slurvy curveball can get strikeouts when it's on, though he hasn't used it as much as in the past. Savery has continued to pull double duty for the Owls, playing first base and leading the club with a .353 average and 43 RBIs through 52 games. Once he regains full health, he could take off after he focuses his energy and efforts on pitching. The recent litany of Rice pitching prospects who have needed surgery after turning pro concerns scouts, but Savery could be a steal if he slides into the second half of the first round.|
|4. Kevin Ahrens, 3b (National rank: 28)|
School: Memorial HS, Houston. Class: Sr.
B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 4/26/88.
|Scouting Report: The best high school hitter in another strong year in Texas, Ahrens repeatedly draws comparisons to Chipper Jones. That holds up on several levels, as Ahrens is a switch-hitter with power and a high school shortstop who will have to move to third base at the next level, whether that's at Texas A&M or in pro ball. More of a gap-to-gap hitter in the past, Ahrens has gotten stronger and started to turn on his power at the World Wood Bat Championship last fall, hitting a game-winning triple in the quarterfinals and a game-winning homer in the semis before his Houston Heat lost in the championship game. He's proficient from both sides of the plate, with a sound approach and little effort in his swing. The only thing lacking in Ahrens' game is speed, as he's a below-average runner. Though he still sees himself as a shortstop, he'll definitely have to shift to the hot corner, where his plus arm and soft hands will be assets. In a tremendous year for high school third basemen, Ahrens could be a bit of a steal in the late first round or early supplemental first round.|
|5. Brad Suttle, 3b (National rank: 34)|
School: Texas. Class: So.
B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 213. Birthdate: 1/24/86.
|Scouting Report: There's a debate among scouts about who's better, Suttle or his Longhorns teammate, Kyle Russell. Suttle doesn't have Russell's power ceiling, but he's a better bet to hit in the major leagues. He's a pure hitter and switch-hitter to boot, with scouts preferring his stroke from the left side. He has a strong 6-foot-2, 213-pound frame, though his inside-out swing doesn't have much lift and somewhat limits his power. He drives more balls into the gaps than over the fence. The biggest knocks on Suttle are his heavy legs and lack of speed. That limits his range at third base, though he has a strong arm (clocked up to 92 mph when he was a high school pitcher) and soft hands. Some teams may be wary of him because he's a Type 1 diabetic, but he hasn't let if affect his career. The Hendricks brothers, his advisers, have put a $1 million price tag on Suttle, and he does have extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore. But clubs expect he'll sign if he's taken in the upper half of the sandwich round.|
|6. Kyle Russell, of (National rank: 35)|
School: Texas. Class: So.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 6/27/86.
|Scouting Report: No potential first-rounder creates as much divergent opinion as Russell, whom some teams rate as no more than a fourth- or fifth-round talent. He plays in a tough hitter's park and against quality competition in the Big 12 Conference, and he led NCAA Division I with 26 homers with a week remaining in the regular season. That total obliterated the Longhorns record of 20, and he also led the nation in slugging percentage (.877). He has a quick bat and lefthanded power to all fields, and he also offers solid athleticism, speed and arm strength. Yet a lot of scouts aren't sold on his stroke and approach. They say it's a grooved swing with too much uppercut, and pitchers can get him out by working up in the zone or coming inside. They also wonder how he'll handle quality lefthanders. Russell has performed poorly on national stages in front of scouting directors and crosscheckers in the past, going 0-for-19 with 12 strikeouts at the 2004 Area Code Games and batting .206 with a league-record 64 strikeouts in 126 at-bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. But he still has a big ceiling, and as one scout who likes him says, "I defy any lefthanded hitter to hit 26 home runs in that ballpark against the competition they face. At some point you have to give him credit for that." Another draft-eligible sophomore at Texas, Russell like Brad Suttle is advised by the Hendricks brothers and could seek a seven-figure bonus. He could get that in the first round, and the asking price could be a ploy to steer him to a club that will pay him in the sandwich round.|
|7. Will Middlebrooks, 3b/rhp (National rank: 36)|
School: Liberty-Elyau HS, Texarkana, Texas. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 9/9/88.
|Scouting Report: Kevin Ahrens isn't the only blue-chip third-base recruit Texas A&M could lose to the draft. Where Ahrens gets compared with Chipper Jones, the more athletic Middlebrooks draws Cal Ripken Jr. and Scott Rolen comparisons. Selected to play in a Texas high school football all-star game, Middlebrooks drew college interest as a quarterback and punter. He's also a 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander with a low-90s fastball and an occasional plus curveball. But his future is at the hot corner. He's not quite as polished a hitter as Ahrens, but he's not far off and his size gives him leverage that will produce power. He's an athletic third baseman with good range and a strong arm, and he runs well for his size. Middlebrooks is a consensus supplemental first-rounder, but he could sneak into the first round with the right club.|
|8. Chris Withrow, rhp (National rank: 44)|
School: Midland (Texas) Christian HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: 4/1/89.
|Scouting Report: Withrow first boosted his stock last summer at the Texas Scout Association showcase, and he has continued to rise up draft boards this spring. He has a projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pound body and plenty of present velocity. He was reaching 93-94 mph as the draft approached and consistently pitching at 88-92 mph. He has a clean delivery, no surprise for someone whose father Mike pitched at Texas and reached Double-A in the White Sox system. Mike is also his pitching coach at Midland Christian High. Withrow doesn't always finish his curveball, but it's a promising pitch with bite and has improved this spring. He should get drafted high enough to pass up the opportunity to attend Baylor, but if he does go to college he'll be a two-way player. He has some hitting ability and the athleticism to play an outfield corner.|
|9. Jake Arrieta, rhp (National rank: 55)|
School: Texas Christian. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: 3/6/86.
|Scouting Report: After a sensational 2006, Arrieta has cooled off this spring. He tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 14 wins at Texas Christian after transferring from Weatherford (Texas) Junior College, and encored by going 4-0, 0.27 with Team USA last summer. But instead of dominating the weak Mountain West Conference this spring, he has been inconsistent. He showed a 91-94 mph fastball with life and a hard slider a year ago, but this spring he has lost velocity and life. His fastball has been 88-91 mph and straight, and though he's 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, his drop-and-drive delivery means his heater comes in on a flat plane. Arrieta has struggled to repeat his mechanics, which has led to command difficulties. He hasn't used his changeup much, though it should become a decent third pitch. If Arrieta can turn himself around, he could be a steal in the supplemental first round after projecting at one point as a possible top-10 pick. But he's also represented by Scott Boras, and if he's looking for more than slot money, he could slide.|
|10. Cole St.Clair, lhp (National rank: 56)|
School: Rice. Class: Jr.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: 7/30/86.
|Scouting Report: Like Joe Savery, St.Clair is a Rice lefthander who has been tough to get a handle on because he has been less than 100 percent physically. He impressed scouts last summer with Team USA, going 4-0, 0.69 with three saves while displaying a 91-94 mph fastball and a plus curveball. His size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) is another plus. But he strained his shoulder lifting weights shortly before this season began and missed the first two months. St.Clair's stuff has looked good when he has taken the mound, as he has worked at 90-92 mph and flashed a good curve. Yet he had pitched just 11 innings in five weeks and he's a reliever, so scouts had trouble catching him in action. When healthy, St.Clair has been more dominant than Savery. Several clubs believe he has enough stuff to start in pro ball, a transition he wants to make. St.Clair was a potential top 10 pick coming into 2007, and he could vault back into the first round if he shows teams he's healthy. If that happens, he'd be the second member of Foothill High's (Santa Ana, Calif.) 2004 pitching staff to go in the first round, joining Phil Hughes of the Yankees. If he drops too far, signing him away from his senior season at Rice could become an issue.|
|11. Jordan Walden, rhp (National rank: 69)|
School: Grayson County (Texas) CC. Class: Fr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: 11/16/87.
|Scouting Report: Walden was Baseball America's No. 1 high school prospect at the outset of the 2006 season, but an inconsistent senior year killed any chance that he'd realize his desire for a seven-figure bonus. After touching 99 mph the previous summer, he dipped as low as 85-88. When he fell to the Angels in the 12th round last June, he turned down a scholarship from Texas to attend Grayson County Community College and keep his draft options open. Walden has been much better in 2007, sitting at 92-94 mph and peaking at 97. In addition to increased velocity, he has improved his slider and his command of his two primary pitches. Grayson's coaches also have forced him to use his changeup, which he'll need in pro ball. They toned down his delivery, though it still has some stiffness that leads to worries about how much command he'll develop. He closed his season with a bang, striking out 15 and carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a regional playoff game. Other clubs expect the Angels to sign him as a draft-and-follow, and he'd be a sandwich or second-round pick if he re-entered the draft. (UPDATE: Walden signed with the Angels for $1 million.)|
|12. Sam Demel, rhp (National rank: 70)|
School: Texas Christian. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 10/23/85.
|Scouting Report: Demel broke Josh Beckett's single-season strikeout record with 188 at Spring (Texas) High, and he has set the career saves mark at Texas Christian. He also has enjoyed success as a starter for the Horned Frogs, but pro teams project him as a reliever because he's small (6 feet, 185 pounds) and has a lot of violence in his delivery. That max-effort approach does produce nasty stuff, however. Demel has a 92-94 mph fastball that can touch 96, and it has armside run. His slider may be his best pitch, though at times he'll rely on it too much. He also has a changeup that drops off at the plate, giving him a weapon against lefthanders. While his mechanics make scouts cringe, Demel never has had arm problems. He figures to go between the second and fourth rounds, and a team coveting a nearly ready reliever could make him a supplemental first-rounder.|
|13. Preston Clark, c (National rank: 103)|
School: Texas. Class: So.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 212. Birthdate: 8/16/85.
|Scouting Report: Clark is one of three prime draft-eligible sophomores with reported seven-figure price tags at Texas, but there are a couple of differences between him, third baseman Brad Suttle and outfielder Kyle Russell. Suttle and Russell are 21-year-olds in their second year of college, while Clark is in his third year after redshirting in 2005 while getting his classwork in order. And while Suttle and Russell have played well enough to go in the sandwich round, Clark hasn't shown that kind of bat. He hit just .295 during the regular season, in part because he struggles against breaking balls. Clark does have power potential, and he's more ready for the next level defensively than offensively. He has strong catch-and-throw skills, including nimble footwork, a quick transfer and arm strength. Clark had arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees while in high school, and he'll have to watch the weight on his 5-foot-11, 212-pound frame. His offensive performance merits a third-round selection, which may not be high enough to sign him. Catchers often get overdrafted, however. If Clark returns to the Longhorns and improves offensively in 2008, he could be a first-round pick.|
|14. Matt West, 3b (National rank: 104)|
School: Bellaire (Texas) HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: 11/21/88.
|Scouting Report: West was known mostly for his arm strength coming into 2007, but his bat garnered a lot of attention early this spring and at one point seemed destined to make him a supplemental first-rounder. He has cooled off somewhat, particularly when he faced better competition, and now looks like more of a second- or third-rounder. West doesn't have a long track record as a hitter, but he has fared well in wood-bat workouts. He stays inside pitches well, uses the opposite field and has some power potential. He's a solid athlete with good hands, but he'll have to move from shortstop once he leaves high school. He's probably destined for third base because he's already 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds and second base would be a stretch once he fills out. West has committed to both San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College and Arizona State in order to keep his options open, but he's not considered a tough sign.|
|15. David Newmann, lhp (National rank: 106)|
School: Texas A&M. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 6/24/85.
|Scouting Report: Though Newmann didn't pitch in 2005 or 2006 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Brewers still drafted him in the 29th round last June--a good indication of his potential. In his only previous college season before this one, Newmann pitched San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College to the championship game of the 2004 Junior College World Series. He threw a one-hitter in the tournament opener and contributed three saves. Newmann is a four-pitch lefthander who has heavy sink on an 88-92 mph fastball that he can boost to 94 when he throws a four-seamer. He also has a good curveball and a decent changeup, but like many Tommy John survivors, it has taken him a while to regain his command. Newmann got off to a good start this spring but has been inconsistent since. He doesn't have the smoothest delivery or a lot of athleticism, but he competes hard and gets the job done. As a nearly 22-year-old junior, Newmann is expected to be an easy sign should he go in the first three rounds of the draft.|
|16. Collin DeLome, of (National rank: 108)|
School: Lamar. Class: Jr.
B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 12/18/85.
|Scouting Report: Scouts have scanned the nation for athletic college position players, and they found one at Lamar in DeLome. Few collegians can match his all-around package of tools, as he has bat speed, foot speed, center-field range and arm strength. As a bonus, he's a lefthanded hitter. DeLome, a former middle infielder at a small-town Texas high school, still is refining all aspects of his game. He drew just 12 walks during the regular season and struggles against quality fastballs and lefthanders. His instincts on the bases and in the outfield are still developing, so he has yet to make the most of his quickness. He may wind up moving from center to an outfield corner despite his range. A hot start positioned DeLome as a possible supplemental first-rounder, but he subsequently cooled off and now will be a second- or third-rounder.|
|17. Chad Bettis, rhp (National rank: 124)|
School: Monterey HS, Lubbock, Texas. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Birthdate: 4/26/89.
|Scouting Report: West Texas isn't scouted as heavily as the rest of the state, and Bettis didn't pop up on the radar of most clubs until late in the spring. He got a late start on his senior season after hurting a knee playing pickup football, an injury that required arthroscopic surgery in January. When he got on the mound, he showed a 91-94 mph fastball and drew comparisons to Jake Peavy. Bettis throws from a low three-quarters slot and isn't big at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. While he doesn't throw on a steep downward plane, his arm angle generates a lot of life on his heater and makes it difficult to hit. His hard curveball ball shows promise and his clean mechanics helped him hold up to a heavy workload down the stretch, as Monterey High rode him during the Texas 5-A playoffs. Bettis isn't high on draft boards for several teams, though he could be a third-rounder for a club such as the Devil Rays or White Sox. He'll attend Texas Tech if he doesn't turn pro.|
|18. Ryan Miller, lhp (National rank: 146)|
School: Blinn (Texas) JC. Class: So.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: 12/14/86.
|Scouting Report: The top lefthanded pitching prospect on the Texas junior college scene this spring, Miller went 9-0, 2.05 and ranked among the national juco leaders with 115 strikeouts in 92 innings. He's not big at 6 feet and 195 pounds, but he has big-time stuff for a southpaw. Miller attacks hitters with a 91-93 mph fastball and a hard 78-81 mph breaking ball. He's still making the transition from thrower to pitcher, as he telegraphs his marginal changeup by slowing down his arm speed. He'll have to improve his location at the next level as well. The Indians control Miller's rights after selecting him in the 36th round last June, and he's expected to sign as a prime draft-and-follow. Should he unexpectedly return for his junior year, he'll attend Arkansas. (UPDATE: Miller has signed with the Indians for $450,000.)|
|19. Rick Hague, ss (National rank: 154)|
School: Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 9/18/88.
|Scouting Report: Preparing for the expected loss of Brian Friday to the draft, Rice got commitments from not one, but two blue-chip shortstop recruits in Hague and Louisiana high schooler Carmen Angelini. Scouts like Hague's potential both offensively and defensively, as well as the intangibles he brings to the table. He currently uses a line-drive approach and could grow into power as he adds strength to his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. He plays under control and shows smooth action at shortstop. His speed and arm strength are average tools. Some teams might consider Hague as early as the second or third round if not for the fact that he's considered to be virtually unsignable. After three years at Rice, he could become a premium pick in the 2010 draft.|
|20. Austin Krum, of (National rank: 158)|
School: Dallas Baptist. Class: Jr.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Birthdate: 1/19/86.
|Scouting Report: Krum offers an intriguing package of tools, and when he came out of high school, his athleticism afforded him a football scholarship offer from Northern Colorado and recruited walk-on opportunities at Colorado and Colorado State. He has no better than average size (6 feet, 185 pounds) or speed, yet he has been able to play center field and steal bases in college thanks to his impressive instincts. At the plate, Krum has bat speed and an aggressive swing, yet he drew more walks than strikeouts this spring. His arm strength is average. While he has solid tools across the board, some scouts wonder how his game will translate to pro ball. He doesn't have a true plus tool, will have to tone down his approach and may be a 'tweener more than a true center fielder or corner outfielder. There are teams that are sold on Krum's package, and they could take him as early as the third round.|
|21. Brandon Hicks, ss (National rank: 172)|
School: Texas A&M. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 9/14/85.
|Scouting Report: Last year, Hicks was the best junior college position player in Texas who wasn't under control to a big league club. He wanted to sign after helping San Jacinto reach the Junior College World Series, but scouts questioned his bat and he went undrafted. That won't happen again, not after he has transferred to Texas A&M and led an Aggies resurgence. His instincts allow him to play above his tools, and he's not short there. He's a 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete who has improved at the plate while continuing to make all the plays at shortstop and use his solid speed to steal bases. A&M coaches have helped Hicks make adjustments with his swing, though he still pulls off breaking pitches. He hasn't pitched this spring, but he flashed a low-90s fastball and promising secondary stuff while at San Jacinto. There still are some scouts who aren't sold on his hitting ability, but Hicks' performance and tools could get him overdrafted (perhaps as high as the second round) in a draft short on college middle infielders.|
|22. Brian Friday, ss (National rank: 177)|
School: Rice. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 12/16/85.
|Scouting Report: Friday went from hitting .256 with one homer as a freshman to a team-high .353 with nine home runs as a sophomore, helping lead Rice to a third-place finish at the 2006 College World Series. He hasn't hit with the same authority this spring, though he's doing a better job of controlling the strike zone. That will be key if he's going to be a leadoff or No. 2 hitter in pro ball, as will adding strength to his 5-foot-11, 180-pound frame. His plus speed, baserunning instincts and bunting ability are suited for the top of the order. Friday covers a lot of ground at shortstop and enhances his strong arm with a quick exchange. His lone defensive flaw is that he tends to sit back on grounders. He's not as physically imposing as Texas A&M's Brandon Hicks, but some area scouts believe in Friday's bat more than Hicks'.|
|23. Brandon Workman, rhp (National rank: 195)|
School: Bowie (Texas) HS. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: 8/13/88.
|Scouting Report: On the right day, Workman can look like a first-rounder. He'll show a low-90s fastball that tops out at 95 mph to go with a plus 12-to-6 curveball, and that stuff comes from a projectable 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame. He's still growing too, having added two inches and 20 pounds since last summer. But the problem is poor arm action that scares scouts and robs Workman of any consistency. His mechanics will need an overhaul, and though he has enticing raw arm strength, it's going to be difficult to draft him high enough to lure him away from Texas. He's a top student and scouts don't think he'll sign for less than third-round money.|