|1||PEDRO ALVAREZ, 3B, Vanderbilt|
Alvarez entered the season as the top prospect in this year's draft class, and even after missing the first half of the season with a hamate bone injury, he maintains that status. The New York high school player of the year in 2005, Alvarez was ranked as a top 100 player as a senior and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 14th round that year. He elected to go to Vanderbilt instead, and he hit 22 home runs and drove in 64 runs, earning Freshman of the Year honors from BA. The trend continued into his sophomore year when Alvarez was named a first team All-American after hitting .386 with 18 home runs. He also spent two standout summers with Team USA. Alvarez has been one of the most feared college hitters for all three years he has been in school. Blessed with plus raw power, he is also an advanced hitter with a professional approach. At third base, his defensive skills and footwork have improved since he arrived at Vanderbilt. His arm is plenty for the corner and his athleticism is a plus. He is also known to be a great teammate with strong makeup. His bonus demands and status as a Boras Corp. client could affect his draft stock, however.
Alvarez Named Freshman Of The Year
Alvarez Headlines Our Preseason All-American Team
Alvarez Sidelined With Hand Injury
|2||BRIAN MATUSZ, lhp, San Diego|
Like David Price, the No. 1 pick last year, Matusz is tall and lanky at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, and scouts have history with him. He didn't sign with the Angels in 2005 as a fourth-round pick out of an Arizona high school, and he starred for Team USA last summer, after ranking second (behind Price) in the nation in strikeouts. However, Matusz is a much different pitcher than Price. While he has a fastball that sits at 90-93 mph, Matusz doesn't pitch off it, instead using his above-average offspeed stuff to set up his fastball. His curveball is already a plus pitch, and he shows the ability to locate it to either side of the plate. His slider grades out as at least average. Matusz also liberally uses his above-average changeup, one of the finest on the West Coast in years. Mechanically, he's tight and compact, though his arm action is a bit awkward and slightly stiff. He also lands on a straight front leg at times, which some regard as an injury concern and which makes it harder for him to drive his fastball down through the zone. Matusz profiles as a middle of the rotation starter at worst, and if he improves his fastball and mechanics, he can become a staff ace.
More On Matusz
Scouting Report on Matusz from 2007
Feature on Matusz and teammate Josh Romanski
|3||TIM BECKHAM, SS, Griffin (Ga.) HS|
Beckham solidified his status as the nation's top high school position player last year when he produced the most impressive overall performance on the summer showcase circuit. He was consistently the best player at each event he attended and capped his performance by winning MVP honors at the Aflac Classic at the end of the summer. A wiry, athletic shortstop, Beckham hasn't produced eye-popping performances this spring, but his track record and projection make him the nation's most coveted high school prospect. He has five legitimate tools. At the plate he has the ability to be an above-average hitter with average power. He's a solid runner and his athleticism is a part of his everyday game. In the field, Beckham has smooth major league actions with an above-average arm. He has drawn comparisons to the Upton brothers, though he has more aptitude in the field and not quite the lightning in the bat. His makeup is a plus, as he displays an enjoyment of the game and energy on the field. He has a commitment to Southern California, but Beckham won't reach campus as he's a likely top 10 pick.
More On Beckham
Beckham Wins The Youth Player Of The Year
|4||BUSTER POSEY, C, Florida State|
Posey was recruited out of high school by Florida State to play shortstop, and he started all 65 games there for the Seminoles as a freshman. Following the 2006 season, however, Posey was asked to move behind the plate and catch for the first time in his life. He took to it naturally and two seasons later is considered the top catching prospect, both defensively and offensively, in the country. His offensive numbers this season, including a .471 average, put him among the national leaders in several categories. His receiving, footwork and release are all advanced, and his athleticism is apparent. Posey's arm strength (he reaches 94 mph off the mound) and accuracy are pluses as well. At the plate, Posey has above-average bat speed and makes consistent contact. He has power to all fields but will probably be known more for his batting average than home runs. Drafted out of high school by the Angels in the 50th round in 2005, Posey is regarded as one of the safest picks in this year's draft. His projection as an offensive catcher with Gold Glove-caliber defense has boosted Posey's draft stock as much as anyone's over the weeks leading up to the draft.
More On Posey
Feature On Posey's Amazing Versatility
Posey Ranks 16th On Our Early 2005 Top 100 High School List
|5||AARON CROW, RHP, Missouri|
In three years, Crow has gone from an undrafted high school senior to the best righthander in the 2008 draft, thanks largely to the best fastball package available. Other pitchers may throw harder, but no one can match the combination of Crow's velocity (92-96 mph with a peak of 98), hard sink, command and ability to maintain his fastball. He also has a plus slider, though he tends to rely on it too much. His changeup can become a solid third pitch, but he has had little use for it in college. He has control and command, keeping the ball down and throwing strikes to both sides of the plate. If there's a quibble, it's Crow's delivery, which has some effort but is cleaner than it was coming out of high school. Some teams wonder if his mechanics and size (generously listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds) might make him more of a closer than a frontline starter. Crow led the Cape Cod League with a 0.67 ERA last summer and was the No. 1 prospect in the league. He threw 43 consecutive scoreless innings early this spring, and was tied for the D-I lead with 11 wins. He wasn't as sharp after the streak and was pulled from a start with back spasms, but he solidified his place at the top of the first round.
More On Crow
Feature On Crow From This Year's Season Preview
Crow Ranks No. 1 on Cape Cod League's Top 30 Prospects
|6||GORDON BECKHAM, SS, Georgia|
After he went undrafted out of high school, Beckham has improved as much as any player during his three years in college. He started from his freshman season at Georgia, and hit 12 home runs his first season to help the Bulldogs in the College World Series and land on BA's Freshman All-American team. His batting average and power numbers have increased each year since. He won the Cape Cod League home run title last summer, and has shown it was no fluke by hitting 22 homes so far this spring. He has been among the Division I leaders in batting, home runs and slugging percentage all season. At the plate, Beckham is a home run threat to all fields. He has powerful forearms and snap in his wrists that lead to his above-average bat speed. After being known as a hacker early in his college career he is now regarded as a professional hitter. He makes good contact and consistently squares up balls and uses the whole field. While no one questions his ability to hit, scouts are split on whether Beckham has the hands to stay at shortstop. He has the instincts and is athletic with enough range and arm strength to stick at the premium position.
More On Beckham
Beckham Named Our Midseason Player Of The Year
A Feature On Beckham From Earlier This Year
|7||ERIC HOSMER,1B, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.|
An Aflac All-American and preseason High School All-American, Hosmer is one of the most decorated prep players in this year's draft class. He played for Team USA's junior squad last summer and this spring is a member of one of the nation's top high school teams, which won a state championship. Regularly compared to fellow Floridian Casey Kotchman, Hosmer is a physical specimen with bat speed to spare. Swinging from the left side, Hosmer has as much raw power as anyone in the draft. His power ranges to all fields, as he is known for letting balls get deep and driving them for opposite-field home runs. While his approach at the plate is advanced, Hosmer's pitch recognition has been a concern for some scouts. In the field, he's a solid defender with athleticism and a well-above-average arm. He is the closer on his high school team, regularly touching 95 mph off the mound. While his actions at first base need refinement, he could be an above-average defender. Hosmer has the tools to be an all-star first baseman and has one of the highest ceilings of any player in this year's draft. As an Arizona State signee and a client of the Boras Corp., however, signability could be an issue.
|8||JUSTIN SMOAK, 1B, South Carolina|
A switch-hitting first baseman with power, Smoak draws natural comparisons to Mark Teixiera. Drafted out of high school in the 16th round by the Athletics, he has started every game for South Carolina since arriving on the Columbia campus, doing nothing but produce. After batting .303 with 17 home runs, Smoak earned Freshman All-America honors. He followed that with a .315 batting average and 22 home runs in his sophomore year—enough to be tabbed as a third team All-American. He also competed for Team USA last summer. As a first baseman, Smoak has Gold Glove-caliber actions and soft hands. His footwork and instincts around the bag are advanced and his arm strength is adequate. As a hitter, he is consistent from both sides of the plate, and he has superior pitch recognition. A power threat against any pitch, Smoak has the ability to hit to all fields. Smoak proved his power translates to wood when he hit 11 home runs in 39 games while playing in the Cape Cod League following his freshman year, though he struggled with Team USA last summer. He is thought to be the best combination of offense and defense at first base in this draft class.
More On Smoak
Feature On Smoak From 2007
|9||KYLE SKIPWORTH, C, Patriot HS, Rubidoux, Calif.|
A veteran of two USA Baseball teams (junior and youth national teams), Skipworth is the best high school catcher in the nation, and may be the best prep prospect at that position since Joe Mauer was the first pick in the 2001 draft. Skipworth established himself as a top prospect last summer by blasting a mammoth home run in the Aflac Classic in August. His hitting and power both grade out in the 65-70 range on the 20-80 scouting scale. He set a California state record by getting 18 consecutive hits in an April stretch, and at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, he has enough strength to hit well with wood. Blessed with quick reflexes and superior hand-eye coordination, Skipworth's bat speed enables him to drive the ball hard to all fields, and his both his stance and swing are ideal. After struggling defensively in the summer and fall, he has improved immensely, particularly on receiving. His blocking and shifting skills also have improved and he projects as a solid-average receiver. His only below-average tool is his speed. However, Skipworth moves well for a catcher and showed his athleticism with a 31-inch vertical leap at one showcase.
More On Skipworth
A Scouting Report On Skipworth From Early 2008
A First Person Report On Skipworth
|10||TANNER SCHEPPERS, RHP, Fresno State|
An unsigned pick of the Orioles in 2005 (29th round), Scheppers struggled in his first two years at Fresno State, but showed significant improvement near the end of his sophomore season and has built on that as a consistent starter for the Bulldogs, getting the first chink in his armor in May when he missed a start with a tender shoulder. That came after Scheppers relieved on Friday (touching 99 mph) and then started on Sunday in the same series. Since then he's been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder. Before the injury, Scheppers' lanky build and spindly legs draw comparisons to former big leaguer Rick Rhoden, and he holds his fastball velocity like a frontline starter, sitting at 92-96 mph at his best with good movement and command. In the past, Scheppers had difficulty commanding his curveball, which has evolved into a power 74-78 mph offering. Generally solid mechanically and athletic, Scheppers will rush his delivery occasionally and fight his command, becoming wild high. With his workable mechanics and terrific stuff, Scheppers has the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter, but it all now depends on his recovery from the stress fracture. He's now the wild card of the 2008 draft.
More On Scheppers
Scheppers Has A Stress Fracture
Matsuz-Scheppers Duel Is A Masterpiece
Feature On Scheppers From 2008 Season Preview
|11||SHOOTER HUNT, RHP, Tulane|
Hunt has been impossible to hit all spring for Tulane in trying to lead the Green Wave back to regionals, limiting opponents to a .144 average while averaging 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings through 12 starts. Batters just can't put the barrel on his lively fastball, which sits at 91-92 mph and tops out at 94, or his hard breaking ball, which features curveball break and slider velocity. A full-time catcher until his junior year in high school, Hunt still is learning the nuances of pitching. He nibbles at the corners and often pitches away from contact rather than attacking hitters. As a result, he had allowed more walks (42) than hits (38) this spring. A sturdy 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, Hunt should be more than capable of handling the demands of starting in pro ball. His biggest adjustment will be learning to trust his stuff so he can keep his pitch counts down. He flashes a plus changeup in the bullpen, though he doesn't use it much in games. He led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts after his freshman season, which he spent at Virginia. Hunt could go as high as No. 7 to the Reds, but more likely fits in the middle of the first round.
More On Hunt
Hunt Ranks 11th On Cape Cod Top 30 Prospects List
Hunt's Transfer Ranks Eighth On Top 25 Transfers List
Hunt Ranks No. 2 In New Jersey In 2005
|12||YONDER ALONSO, 1B, Miami|
The most dangerous slugger on one of the nation's top hitting college teams, Alonso has produced consistent offensive numbers for Miami in each of his three years. As a freshman he led the team with 69 RBIs, leading the Hurricanes to the College World Series. As a sophomore, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 18 home runs, and finished the season with a .376 batting average. A native of Cuba, Alonso came to America at age 9. He was drafted out of Coral Gables (Fla.) High in the 16th round by the Twins in 2005. Alonso has always hit for average and power, and he is considered one of the most professional hitters in this year's draft. Blessed with superior plate discipline, Alonso has a great strikeout-to-walk ratio and has an advanced approach. He swings lefthanded and has power to all fields, making consistent contact. In the field, Alonso is limited to first base but plays the position well. He is a below-average runner with adequate arm strength, but he should be an above-average defender. Alonso's professionalism and makeup are both strengths as well, making him a safe pick to reach the major leagues.
More On Alonso
Alonso Ranks No. 2 On Cape Cod Top 30 Prospects List
Feature On Alonso From April 2008
|13||AARON HICKS, OF/RHP, Wilson HS, Long Beach|
A magnet for scouts since his sophomore season, Hicks is the finest prep outfielder/pitcher prospect in the greater Los Angeles area since Daryl Strawberry in the early 1980s. He most resembles Adam Jones, who was a first-round talent as both an outfielder and pitcher. As an outfielder, Hicks projects as a five-tool player, and his arm grades out to near 80 on the scouting scale. With his plus speed (6.6 seconds over 60 yards), Hicks is a daring and aggressive baserunner. His speed, easy range and arm mean Hicks will begin his career as a center fielder. Prior to the 2008 season, many scouts had reservations about his hitting ability. A switch-hitter, he's shown improvement by lowering his hands. His hitting mechanics and lightning reflexes permit scouts who believe in him to project him as an above-average hitter with above-average power. As a pitcher, Hicks' fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range, and in a mid-May start he was at 94-97. His curveball shows wicked movement and he adds a hard cutter and a change. Clubs were split on whether Hicks would pitch or hit, but either way, he's expected to go in the middle of the first round.
More On Hicks
Hicks Faces Josh Vitters In 2007
|14||CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH, LHP, Eastern Kentucky|
Part of a prospect-studded Falmouth rotation that also included Aaron Crow and Shooter Hunt last summer, Friedrich struck out Buster Posey, Jason Castro and Gordon Beckham in his final inning in the Cape Cod League playoffs. Like Crow, Friedrich operated in the mid-80s as an undrafted high school senior in the Chicago area before blossoming in college. He now maintains solid-average 89-91 mph velocity throughout a game and can touch 94, but his money pitch is an over-the-top curveball with huge 12-to-6 break. Blisters have periodically bothered Friedrich this spring, so he has been using his slider more than he has in the past, and it has become a weapon at 80-82 mph. He also has a decent changeup that he'll need to incorporate more often in pro ball. While Friedrich throws strikes and can command his fastball to both sides of the plate, he sometimes leaves it up in the zone. He gets away with a lot of those mistakes because his deceptive delivery and the fear of his curveball allow his fastball to get on hitters quickly. He doesn't have the ceiling of San Diego's Brian Matusz, but Friedrich is clearly the second-best lefty available in the draft.
More On Friedrich
Friederich Ranks Fourth On Cape Cod Top 30 Prospects List
|15||TIM MELVILLE, RHP, Holt HS, Wentzville, Mo.|
A number of teams don't like to take high school righthanders early in the draft, and that bias may be all that stands in the way of Holt High producing a first-round pitcher for the second straight year. Holt High grad and Missouri State product Ross Detwiler went sixth overall in 2007, and while Melville won't go that high, he's the top high school arm for 2008. Melville hasn't pitched as well as he did last summer, when he tore up the showcase circuit, with his velocity slightly down and his curveball losing some tightness. He struggled in his first two starts but was throwing better as the draft approached, operating from 91-94 mph with his fastball and flashing a plus curve on a more regular basis. Melville is a very athletic 6-foot-5, 210-pounder who could be a star third baseman at the college level. He repeats his stress-free delivery with ease, allowing him to fill the strike zone. As a pro, he'll have to throw more two-seam fastballs and changeups. Melville probably won't follow through on his commitment to North Carolina unless he somehow falls out of the first round, and that would be an upset.
More On Melville
|16||ETHAN MARTIN, RHP/3B, Stephens County HS, Toccoa, Ga.|
Before the season, Martin was thought of as a power-hitting third baseman with a good arm. His performance on the mound this spring has led to teams being split on whether he will be a pitcher or a position player in the pros. Playing his summer ball in the talent-rich East Cobb program in suburban Atlanta, Martin was selected as an Aflac All-American in the fall. He was a standout quarterback in high school, but is committed to play baseball only at Clemson. In the field, Martin is a plus defender with a plus arm and athleticism. His best tool, though, is his raw power and strength. On the mound, Martin offers a fastball in the mid-90s and an above-average breaking ball with slurve action. His changeup is also advanced for a high school pitcher and can be a plus pitch. Where in the past he may have been labeled a thrower, Martin has shown pitchability throughout the spring. Scouts love the way Martin plays the game, with a country strong swing and dirtbag mentality. They also love his versatility. The team that drafts Martin will be have a tough decision to make on his long-term future, because he offers the versatility and talent to reach the big leagues either way.
|17||GERRIT COLE, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS|
Cole is the best righthander out of Southern California since Phil Hughes starred at Santa Ana's Foothills High in 2004. Cole's four-seam fastball ranges from 93-96 mph, occasionally peaking at 97-98. He adds a hard, late-breaking curve which shows bite, tilt and depth. Cole used his changeup sparingly early in the season, though he used it more later. Adding to Cole's considerable appeal to scouts is his tall, lanky and projectable frame, which is nearly ideal for a prep righthander. Scouts are split over whether Cole profiles as a starter or closer. He maintains velocity and pitch movement deep into games, but his inconsistent command and tendency to run up high pitch counts may move him to the bullpen. Some scouts have compared him to Mariners closer J.J. Putz. Cole does bring mechanical concerns. He lands on a stiff front leg, and he recoils his arm during his follow-through. Both hurt control and raise injury concerns. Complicating the situation, Cole's adviser is the Scott Boras Corp., which may eliminate many clubs from consideration. Cole also hasn't endeared himself to scouts or teammates with what one scout described as his immature mound demeanor.
More On Cole
|18||JOSHUA FIELDS, RHP, Georgia|
Following his sophomore year at Georgia, Fields shined in the Cape Cod League, apparently setting him up for a high draft selection in 2007. However, command of his mid-90s fastball and low-80s breaking ball was too inconsistent during his junior season, scaring teams away. The Braves drafted him in the second round, but Fields opted not to sign and returned to Georgia for his senior season. When he returned to Athens, so did his command, and he is now considered the top closer in the country. He holds the Bulldogs' record for career saves and had struck out close to two batters per inning this season. His fastball still sits in the mid-90s, peaking at 98, and his hard downer curveball comes in between 81-83 mph. Scouts are still wary of command issues because his delivery is upright and has some effort. When he misses, it's up in the zone due to not being able to get over the rubber and finish his pitches. Also a concern is durability because of his slight build. When he's on, though, Fields has present major league stuff and the potential to be the first pitcher from this draft to reach the major leagues.
More On Fields
|19||CASEY KELLY, RHP/SS, Sarasota (Fla.) HS|
A tremendous athlete with professional bloodlines, Kelly is committed to play quarterback and shortstop at Tennessee. He is the son of Pat Kelly, who played briefly in the big leagues in 1980 and is a longtime minor league manager, and he is fundamentally sound on the baseball field. His defensive actions are advanced and he has the hands and arm strength to stay at shortstop now. However, as he develops, Kelly may outgrow the position, leading to a move to third base. At the plate, Kelly is somewhat raw and his production is still a projection for scouts. He has raw power due to his size and will need to improve his ability to make consistent contact. While he prefers playing shortstop, many scouts like his repertoire on the mound as much, if not better, than his skills as a position player. With a fastball that sits in the low to mid-90s and one of the nation's best hammer curveballs, Kelly is a safe pick in that if he doesn't pan out in the field, he could be successful on the mound. However, with his commitment to Tennessee and his desire to play shortstop, signability could become an issue.
More On Kelly
|20||BRETT WALLACE, 3B/1B, Arizona State|
|Four of the top hitters in the college draft class—Wallace, Stanford's Jason Castro, California's David Cooper and South Carolina's Jay Darnell—played together for NorCal Baseball's travel team in high school. Wallace was a bad-bodied third baseman then, tipping the scales at close to 260 pounds. Many scouts still see him as a bad-body third baseman waiting to move to first, but others see more. Many see the best natural hitter in the West. Wallace has a strong swing with above-average bat speed; his swing path stays in the zone a long time and he has outstanding plate discipline. Defensively, Wallace had made just eight errors at third in 50 games, and he has at least average arm strength to go with nifty feet. While he's cleaned up his body, he still has huge thighs that make it hard for him to get low enough to properly field groundballs. Scouts that think he could stay at third compare him to 2007 Indians first-rounder Beau Mills, who also had questionable skills at third. Those that don't care for him cite his body and the short careers of players built similarly, such as Bob Hamelin. Wallace's bat should get him drafted in the first round regardless, and most scouts give him at least above-average raw power grades.|
|21||JASON CASTRO, C, Stanford|
A catcher most of his prep career, Castro entered this season thought of as a bat first after his strong summer in the Cape Cod League. He hit just .263 combined in his first two seasons at Stanford, then hit .341 in the Cape (second-best in the league), but he played mostly first base or outfield in deference to Florida State's Buster Posey. This spring, Castro has put it all together, showing he can hit for average and power while being Stanford's primary catcher. At 6-foot-3, he's tall but athletic enough to have good lateral movement and agility, and he's improved as a receiver, where he's considered fringe-average at worst. His arm also grades as average, and he's an above-average hitter, particularly for his position. Offensively, Castro stays inside the ball and has a fundamentally sound, strong swing. One scout likened his offensive package to that of former Athletics supplemental first-rounder Mark Teahen, who also played collegiately in the Bay Area, only with more power. In some years, Castro would be the best catcher on the board, but this he's third behind Posey and Southern California prep phenom Kyle Skipworth. He's not expected to last past the first round.
More On Castro
|22||ZACH COLLIER, OF, Chino Hills (Calif.) HS|
|Collier was not selected to participate in the 2007 Area Code Games or the Aflac Classic, but he's had a high profile nonetheless. He started to generate buzz during the local Connie Mack summer season as a teammate of Isaac Galloway and Aaron Hicks. Rave reviews from parents and youth coaches began to filter down to scouts, and Collier helped his cause with strong showings in two showcase events held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton. He continued gaining ground this spring, and then moved into first-round consideration when he took a Hicks 93 mph fastball deep during a tournament game in Fullerton. To make sure the 40-plus scouts in attendance were paying attention, Collier ripped two more hits. Lefthanded all the way, Collier has an athletic and projectable 6-foot-2, 195-pound outfielder's frame. His above-average speed makes him a threat as a baserunner and permits him to patrol center field for now. As he slows down and matures physically, he'll play an outfield corner, and his average arm makes right field a possibility. Collier had a surgical procedure to improve blood flow to his heart, performed in May 2006, which may be a concern for some clubs, but he's been medically cleared for two years and has had no problems. Collier's hitting ability and solid all-around game had him moving up boards, possibly in the middle of the first round.|
|23||CONOR GILLASPIE, 3B, Wichita State|
Though he turned in productive freshman and sophomore seasons at Wichita State, Gillaspie didn't really break out as a prospect until he won the MVP award in the Cape Cod League last summer. He added the batting (.345) and slugging titles (.673) as well. He has posted similar numbers for the Shockers as a junior, consistently squaring up balls on the barrel of his bat and controlling the strike zone. As a pro, he projects to hit for a high average, with much of his power coming in the form of doubles rather than home runs. He gets high marks for his intensity and his work ethic, as he constantly strives to improve his game. He's an underrated athlete and baserunner who used his aggressiveness and instincts to tie for the NCAA Division I lead with eight triples going into the final week of the regular season. Gillaspie has no more than decent range and has been erratic at third base this spring, but he should be able to stick at the hot corner in pro ball. His hands are soft and arm strength is average, and he makes the routine plays. Clubs have varying opinions on Gillaspie, with some viewing him as a late first-round talent and others as more of a second-rounder.
More On Gillaspie
|24||ANDREW CASHNER, RHP, Texas Christian|
|For a while, it appeared that the state of Texas might get shut out of the draft's first round for the first time since 1977. That's unlikely to happen now, thanks to Cashner, the hottest pitching prospect to come out of Angelina (Texas) JC since Clay Buchholz. Cashner turned down opportunities last year to sign with the Rockies (as a draft-and-follow) and the Cubs (as a 29th-rounder), opting instead to transfer to Texas Christian. A starter at Angelina, Cashner has excelled as a reliever for the Horned Frogs. No college pitcher in this draft can match his consistent 96-98 mph velocity, the product of outstanding whip in his 6-foot-6, 180-pound frame, and overmatched opponents have hit just .104 against him. Cashner has armside run on his fastball, and he backs it up with an 84-85 mph slider that can be electric. The slider is much better than the mediocre curveball he threw in the past, though it's not always consistent. Neither is his command, which may prevent him from becoming an effective starter, but some clubs are interested in returning him to that role in pro ball. A team in love with radar-gun readings could take Cashner as high as the middle of the first round.|
|25||ALEX MEYER, RHP, Greensburg (Ind.) HS|
|Meyer created a huge stir at the Perfect Game National showcase last summer. He hadn't planned on attending the event, but his summer team was already in Cincinnati so he stopped by to pitch two innings. Meyer threw his fastball from 92-95 mph, and his hard breaking ball was even nastier. Just like that, he was tabbed as a potential first-rounder for the 2008 draft. This spring, Meyer has continued to show the talent to go in the bottom of the first round, but clubs don't think he'll sign even if he does go that high. He's advised by the Scott Boras Corp., and seems destined to attend Kentucky, so it's unlikely a team will gamble a premium draft choice on him. Meyer throws his pitches on a steep downward plane, thanks to his 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame. Unlike many big pitchers, he doesn't have much difficulty keeping his mechanics in sync and repeating his delivery, the result of the athleticism that makes him an all-conference center for his high school basketball team. If Meyer does opt for the Wildcats over pro ball, it's easy to envision him in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.|
|26||RYAN PERRY, RHP, Arizona|
Arizona coaches started getting excited about Perry last spring, when his velocity jumped into the mid-90s, but they had to wait on him after Perry was injured in a motorcycle accident, falling onto his left (non-throwing) arm and breaking a bone. He recovered in time to take the Cape Cod League by storm, pushing his fastball up to 98 mph in the league all-star game and sitting at 94-96 as a starter with a loose arm action. He started his junior season high on draft boards and in Arizona's rotation but got lit up early as a starter. Scouts say Perry's fastball, while a plus-plus pitch for to its velocity, lacks deception and hitters sit on it, especially when he's starting and struggles to locate his offspeed stuff. When he's going well, he adds a second plus pitch in a slider that one scout compared to that of Phillies closer Brad Lidge. Perry's changeup shows enough potential to make scouts consider him as a starter, but he's been much more effective out of the bullpen. His fastball lacks life and needs the extra velocity he gets out of the bullpen. He's still expected to go in the first round, and most clubs figure to give him a chance to start because his arm is so good.
More On Perry
|27||JEMILE WEEKS, 2B, Miami|
|The brother of Brewers second baseman Rickie, Weeks is an accomplished middle infielder with above-average athleticism. Drafted out of high school by the Brewers in the eighth round in 2005, Weeks elected to attend Miami instead. He competed on the U.S. college national team following his freshman and sophomore seasons and was named as a preseason All-American by BA coming into the year. A switch-hitter and plus runner, Weeks has the unique ability to put pressure on the defense with his speed on the basepaths. Although he is just 5-feet-9, 180 pounds, he is not limited to small ball as he has quick wrists and plus bat speed, allowing him to hit for power as well. Defensively, Weeks has shown flashes of making the spectacular play but needs to become more consistent with the routine play. Also, his ability to turn the double play needs improvement. In the pros, Weeks profiles as an offensive second baseman with less power than his brother but a better chance to stay in the middle of the diamond. He and Gordon Beckham are the most athletic college position players expected to be drafted in the first 50 picks.|
|28||ROSS SEATON, RHP, Second Baptist HS, Houston|
|During the fall, Seaton pitched at 88-89 mph, wasn't a coveted recruit by Texas colleges and projected as a fifth-round talent. But after throwing 90-94 mph all spring and touching 96, Seaton has leapfrogged several others to establish himself as the Lone Star State's best prep pitching prospect. He features a slider than can range from devastating to flat, and an effective changeup. While his secondary pitches are inconsistent, his control isn't, as he throws strikes with ease. His delivery is smooth and easily repeatable. Big and strong at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he's also a quality athlete who will see action as a two-way player if he attends Tulane, following in the tradition of Micah Owings and 2005 Astros first-round pick Brian Bogusevic. As an outfielder, Seaton offers power, arm strength and average to plus speed. A lefthanded hitter, he also has shown the ability to make adjustments at the plate. Nevertheless, he'll focus on pitching if he turns pro. Though he's a good student, Seaton is expected to sign if he's drafted in the early rounds. The Astros have shown a lot of interest in the local product and could target him with their sandwich-round pick at No. 38.|
|29||REESE HAVENS, SS, South Carolina|
Coming off a strong showing in the Cape Cod League last summer when he hit .314 with five home runs, Havens positioned himself to be one of the top middle infielders in this draft class. Steady and durable, Havens has been a fixture in the middle of the diamond for the Gamecocks since his freshman year. His consistency in always being in the lineup parallels his consistent improvement offensively and defensively every season since arriving in Columbia. Drafted out of high school by the Rockies in the 29th round, Havens has improved his range, hands and agility and now has the defensive ability and arm strength to stay at shortstop in the professional ranks. He makes up for his lack of foot speed with proper routes to the ball and advanced instincts. At the plate, Havens changed his hand position this season, moving them lower to an unconventional location around the bellybutton. Scouts have split opinions on his new batting style, but he he has hit for better power and average and leads off for a strong South Carolina lineup. He has great makeup and is a prototype "baseball player" with all the intangibles.
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|30||IKE DAVIS, 1B/OF, Arizona State|
The son of former big league reliever Ron Davis, Ike was not a scouts' favorite coming into his junior season. A decorated high school career that included a star turn with Team USA's youth national squad and an MVP award at the 2004 Aflac Classic, and his pitching family pedigree, had most scouts regarding him as a pitcher out of high school. He decided to go to Arizona State rather than sign as a Rays 19th-round pick, and he started on the mound and batted cleanup in his first game as a Sun Devil. He struggled with wood in the Alaska League in 2006 and in the Cape in 2007, when he cut his summer short to have right wrist surgery. He returned to the mound as a closer in 2008 and played first base to keep his arm fresh. He also worked to incorporate his lower half more and was having a banner season, leading the Sun Devils in the triple crown categories as well as saves, before missing time with a ribcage injury. Davis has excellent raw power, comparing to former ASU star Jeff Larish, but he's a much better defender with a better swing and better pitch recognition. Davis is above-average at first base and should be able to play an outfield corner as well due to his plus arm; his below-average speed could limit him to left.
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|31||DAVID COOPER, 1B, California|
|Another NorCal product, Cooper began his college career at Cal State Fullerton, helping lead the Titans to the College World Series. He had hits in seven consecutive at-bats in Omaha, earning all-tournament honors, but transferred after the season back closer to home, instantly becoming Cal's best player. He's evolved as a hitter since that season, going from two homers as a freshman to a Pacific-10 Conference-best 19 as a junior. Cooper's hitting ability stems from strong hands and forearms and excellent hand-eye coordination more than pure bat speed, and some scouts believe he'll be more susceptible in pro ball to big velocity because of it. Others believe his smooth, pure swing will let him catch up to any fastball. He has a polished, patient approach and absolutely mashes mistakes to all parts of the park. Cooper's value is in his bat; he's a well-below-average runner who could become a real baseclogger down the line. Defensively, he flashes average ability at first, but some scouts label him disinterested at worst and below-average at best. Cooper's bat could take him into the first round, though an American League club would be a better fit.|
|32||JAKE ODORIZZI, RHP, Highland (Ill.) HS|
|Scouts have flocked to see Odorizzi this spring, and some teams have rated the athletic righthander as the top high school pitcher in the draft. After pitching at 90-91 mph last summer, he has kicked his fastball up to 91-93 mph with consistent armside run this spring. A half-dozen scouting directors witnessed a May start in which he sat at 92-93 mph in the late innings. Odorizzi operates with a clean delivery that he repeats well, and the ball comes out of his hand so easily that his fastball appears even quicker. The teams that believe in him like his slider, while others think it needs more refinement. An outstanding athlete at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Odorizzi is also a star shortstop with speed and power, but his future is definitely on the mound. He also excels in football as an all-conference wide receiver, though he missed part of his senior season after spraining a knee ligament. That's the only ding on his medical record, and it's not a concern. It's anticipated that he'll forego a Louisville scholarship once he's drafted somewhere between the mid-first and second rounds|
|33||BRETT DeVALL, LHP, Niceville (Fla.) HS|
|From Florida, a Team USA Junior Olympic team alum and a participant in the East Cobb League, Devall has been on the scouting radar for a long time. DeVall was an Aflac All-American in the fall and has distinguished himself this spring as the top pure high school lefthander in this draft. DeVall, at 6-foot-4, has the ideal pitcher's build and has an advanced understanding of how to pitch. His delivery and arm action are sound as he repeats his mechanics, leading to his plus command of three pitches. The velocity on his fastball typically stays between 88-89 mph but can touch the low 90s. His curveball has the makings of an average pitch at the very least and his changeup is advanced for a high school pitcher. While he has feel for each of his three pitches, none of them is presently labeled as an out pitch. DeVall is projected as a third or fourth starter at the big league level. With the development of a plus breaking ball or an increase in velocity on his fastball, DeVall could be a No. 2 guy in a major league rotation. He is committed to play baseball for Georgia.|
|34||DENNIS RABEN, OF, Miami|
Lefthanded power hitters are always in demand, and with this draft class being low on quality college outfielders, Raben satisfies two areas of desire. A 49th-round draft pick by the Mariners in 2005, Raben chose to attend Miami and helped lead the Hurricanes to the College World Series as a freshman. Following his sophomore year, Raben played in the Cape Cod League for Orleans, hitting six home runs and earning all-Cape Cod League honors. A preseason All-American, Raben was recognized as one of the top hitting outfield prospects in the upcoming draft. Raben has a strong build at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He is aggressive at the plate and can often times get caught chasing pitches out of the zone. His swing has some length, but Raben has tremendous power that translates to the game. In the outfield, he is a below-average runner but does have good instincts and takes proper routes. However, Raben could be moved to first base at some point in his professional career.
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|35||TYSON ROSS, RHP, California|
Yet another NorCal Baseball alum, Ross stepped into California's weekend rotation as a freshman and has filled the Friday role for two years. He also pitched well for Team USA last summer and was the team's most consistent pitcher. His velocity was down during the summer in the mid-to-upper 80s, and has been erratic again this spring. He was at his best against Stanford in a May victory, touching 96 mph and sitting in the low 90s. Moreover, Ross worked off his fastball and used his changeup effectively against the Cardinal in a start that may convince teams to leave him as a starter. His best pitch is a plus slider thrown in the low-80s with short, hard break. At times it has two-plane break, and it's such a good pitch and he locates it so well that at times he throws it far too often, working off the slider instead of his fastball. The biggest question on Ross is his mechanics. His stride is exceptionally short for a pitcher his size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), leading to stress on his arm and a lack of extension to finish off pitches down in the zone. Also, his arm action is short in the back, and it may be difficult to "fix" all those issues. Some scouts believe that would do more harm than good, though, and would send him to the bullpen as a pro to use that slider as a weapon.
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|36||ISSAC GALLOWAY, OF, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.|
Galloway has long been on the radar screens of scouts. An Aflac All-American and Area Code Games regular, Issac has dazzled onlookers on the scout ball, travel ball and showcase circuit for two years. Blessed with an ideal tall, lanky and projectable frame, Galloway is a premium athlete, consistently clocking in the 6.5 to 6.6 range in the 60-yard dash at various showcase events. Galloway also possesses an impressive throwing arm, rifling straight line trajectory throws from right field and center field in both pregame and game situations. Over the past two years, Galloway had measurably improved his bat, flashing a fluid natural swing and promising bat speed. In the fall off 2007, he enjoyed impressive wood bat BP sessions at several showcase events. However, Galloway picked a bad time to slump. He has hit poorly this spring, backtracking on the advances he had made in the fall of 2007. His struggles were due in part to an unusually spread-out stance. Despite an easy, smooth swing, Galloway has no load to generate power in his current setup. He's been overpowered by good velocity this spring on a regular basis. Defensively, Galloway is a wonderful outfielder, showing a gliding Torii Hunter/Mike Cameron knack for running down balls in center. While he will need additional experience and polish, Galloway profiles as an above-average defensive outfielder. Galloway's arm also grades out as above-average, though he's lacked accuracy this spring due to poor throwing mechanics. While he has significant tools, they are too raw for him to be a consensus first-round pick.
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|37||BRETT LAWRIE, IF/C, Brookswood SS, Langley, B.C.|
Scouts debate whether Lawrie is the best Canadian hitting prospect since Justin Morneau or Larry Walker, but he's definitely created buzz in a draft relatively short on high school bats, drawing some comparisons to Craig Biggio. If he had a more defined position, he would be a cinch first-round pick. Signed by Arizona State, Lawrie has too much present hitting ability to wind up in college. One scout compared him to Marlins slugger Dan Uggla for his strength, power and muscular, mature build, and several scouts have graded Lawrie's power as above-average if not 70 on the 20-80 scale. He's not just strong but also has a keen eye, offensive instincts, aggressiveness and quick wrists that drive the bat through the hitting zone. On a spring trip with his Canadian travel teams (Langley, B.C., Blaze and the Canadian junior national team), Lawrie went 21-for-30 against extended spring training and college teams, including 14 extra-base hits. He hit doubles off Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar in a game against the Royals' extended spring team. Several scouts summed up his offensive approach by describing him as "fearless." He's also athletic with above-average speed (6.75 seconds in the 60). Defense is Lawrie's shortcoming; he plays infield and catcher and also has seen time in the outfield, where one scout described him as "disinterested." He's shown the tools to catch, as he's built for the position at 6 feet and 200 pounds, and he has an average arm at the least. However, his bat might be too advanced for him to take the time to learn such a valuable defensive position, and some scouts doubt that he'd have the temperament to handle it anyway.
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|38||ALLAN DYKSTRA, 1B, Wake Forest|
Dykstra adds to the long list of quality first basemen in this draft, and at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he possibly has the greatest raw power of the bunch. After leading the ACC with 18 home runs as a freshman, Dykstra was the ACC rookie of the year in 2006 and a Freshman All-American. Last summer, Dykstra was named a Cape Cod League all-star after hitting .308 with five home runs. Due to his size, Dykstra has an intimidating presence in the batter's box. Dykstra has an advanced approach but at times can be overly patient. combined with being on a Wake Forest team light on hitting, Dykstra is often pitched around and has set the Demon Deacons' career and season walk records. While blessed with superior lefthanded power, Dykstra has hitting ability, but some scouts don't like the mechanics in his swing or his tendency to dive out over the plate. He can be streaky and is at times susceptible to inside pitches. Although he possesses an above-average arm and experimented with playing third base this season, Dykstra is a first base/DH only as a pro. He still has work to do to become an average fielder. Dykstra was drafted in the 34th round of the 2005 draft by the Red Sox.
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|39||WADE MILEY, LHP, Southeastern Louisiana|
|Miley was part of a banner 2005 class of Louisiana prep lefties that also included Beau Jones and Sean West, who went in the sandwich round of that draft, and Jeremy Bleich, who headed to Stanford. Miley may turn out to be the best of the group, as he owns three pitches that grade as plus when at their best. His top offering is an 80-84 mph slider that he can bury down and in against righthanders. He sits at 89-92 mph with his fastball and can reach 94-95 mph, though his heater flattens out at high-end velocity. His changeup is his third pitch, and his 75-77 mph curveball shows some potential. Miley has a sound delivery and a strong 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. His command is no better than average, which is why he hasn't dominated mid-major Southland Conference competition and why some clubs project him as a reliever. But talented and proven college lefthanders are in short supply in this draft, so Miley could sneak into the first round with a club that has seen him at his best.|
|40||MIKE MONTGOMERY, LHP, Hart HS, Newhall, Calif.|
With Anthony Gose battling shoulder tendonitis, Montgomery has emerged as the top high school lefthander in an unusually deep and talented Southern California crop. He's a Cal State Fullerton recruit who would benefit by studying under coach Dave Serrano, but his strong spring likely means he won't make it to college. That was despite some makeup questions about the athletic Montgomery, who was kicked off the Hart High basketball team for racking up too many technical fouls. Montgomery was the team's top scorer at 20 points per game, and at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, he has a long, athletic build that attracts scouts. So does his fastball, which sits in the 88-92 mph range and peaks at 94. His high quality secondary offerings include a sharp, if slow, 71-72 mph curveball and a 79-81 mph changeup with sudden late drop. Montgomery will need to correct a series of subtle mechanical deficiencies that tend to impede his command, but when those problems are solved, he profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He was rising up draft boards as June approached as he showed a feel for pitching, rather than trying to just blow high school hitters way. He does an excellent job of mixing pitches, changing speeds, setting hitters up and finishing them off.
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|41||ANTHONY HEWITT, OF/SS, Salisbury (Conn.) School|
|Hewitt is the epitome of high-risk, high-reward. The risk starts with his signability: Any team that drafts Hewitt must be prepared to open its wallet and buy the academic-minded Brooklyn native-turned-Connecticut boarding school star out of a commitment to Vanderbilt. There's also a huge risk that he simply won't hit in professional ball: his raw bat was overmatched against quality pitching on the showcase circuit last summer, and though he dominated vastly inferior prep competition this spring, he still struggles to recognize breaking balls and can get locked up at times by ordinary fastballs. But then he'll crush a ball 450 feet and give scouts a glimpse of his prodigious upside. Several scouts said he was second to Tim Beckham as the best athlete at the East Coast showcase last summer, and he has three legitimate above-average tools in his raw power, speed and arm strength. His muscular 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame evokes Ron Gant, and his work ethic and charisma stand out. Hewitt plays shortstop for Salisbury, but his poor footwork, stiff actions and lack of instincts will dictate a shift to third base or more likely the outfield, where he has enough speed and arm strength for center or right. Hewitt has generated mountains of buzz in the Northeast and could sneak into the supplemental round or even the back of the first round if a club falls in love with his potential enough to overlook his crudeness.|
|42||TYLER SAMPLE, RHP, Mullen HS, Denver|
|Sample began the year behind Kentucky recruit Andy Burns on the Colorado pecking order, and he didn't figure to move up draft boards after perennial power Cherry Creek High torched him in his second start of the spring. But Sample bounced back from his only poor start to emerge as the state's best prospect and the latest heir to Colorado's recent pitching tradition. The state has produced six pitchers who were first-round picks since 1994—Scott Elarton (1994), Roy Halladay ('95), Brad Lidge ('98), Kyle Sleeth (2002), David Aardsma ('03) and Luke Hochevar ('06). While only Elarton and Halladay came out as high schoolers, Sample looks like he may sign prior to college as well, due to a big, physical body at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds. Sample's fastball sits 90-92 mph and touches 94 regularly when he's fresh, which wasn't always the case this spring; he sometimes started one day and then relieved three days later for his high school team, a dangerous proposition for a pitcher who already had Tommy John surgery as a prep sophomore. What separates Sample is his knuckle-curveball, an above-average pitch at times. It's especially impressive considering he's doing it at altitude. Sample has development to make, such as refining his command and finding a changeup, but his present stuff and body make him a good bet in the sandwich round.|
|43||ROBBIE ROSS, LHP, Lexington (Ky.) Christian Academy|
|Kentucky offers its best draft crop ever this year, and its high school class is especially deep with four prospects with the talent to go in the top two rounds. The best of that contingent is Ross, a lefty with pitches and polish. He sits at 90-92 mph and touched 94 with his fastball, and his secondary pitches and command are just as impressive. He shows a hard slider and nice feel for a changeup, and he pounds the strike zone. The only knock on Ross is that he's just 6 feet tall, but he generates his quality stuff via athleticism and arm speed, rather than effort. Scouts eagerly anticipated his late-April matchup with fellow Lexington southpaw Nick Maronde, and Ross didn't disappoint. He struck out 14 and walked none, giving up just an unearned run while dealing Maronde the second loss of his prep career. He also outdueled Niceville (Fla.) lefty Brett DeVall earlier in the year, ending the game with a 94-mph fastball for a strikeout. A Kentucky recruit, Ross should be signable in the first two rounds.|
|44||ROGER KIESCHNICK, OF, Texas Tech|
Coming off a summer during which he tied Pedro Alvarez for the Team USA lead with seven homers, Kieschnick had a shot to go in the first round, with his chances enhanced by a lack of quality college outfielders. But he hasn't delivered as much as hoped, chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone and batting just .300 entering the final week of the regular season—this after hitting .305 as a sophomore. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Kieschnick has above-average power to all fields, but until he shows more discipline, pitchers can exploit his aggressiveness. He's not one-dimensional, however, as he has solid-average speed and arm strength, making him a prototypical right fielder. His game and his build are reminiscent of his cousin, former Cubs first-round pick Brooks Kieschnick. Roger ranks as the top position player in Texas in a down year for the state, but he's more likely to go in the sandwich or second round now.
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|45||KYLE LOBSTEIN, LHP, Coconino HS, Flagstaff, Ariz.|
|Lobstein emerged on the summer showcase circuit last year, showing off the cleanest arm and delivery of any starting pitcher in the '08 draft class. BA ranked him as the No. 2 prospect at the Tournament of Stars, where he popped up from under the radar to make USA Baseball's junior national team. He followed that with a turn as the No. 1 prospect at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, and he committed to Arizona as a two-way player. He flashed an average fastball that bumped 92 mph, a promising curveball with great spin and a solid-average circle changeup. His arm still works just as well this spring, and his 6-foot-3, 185-pound athletic frame remains projectable, but Lobstein hasn't dominated inferior northern Arizona competition, and scouts' ardor for him had cooled. His fastball was topping out at 90 mph and usually sitting at 87-88, fringe-average even for a lefthander. Despite his clean arm, his velocity hasn't jumped, and neither of his secondary pitches have been quite as sharp as they were last summer. Several scouts echoed the same phrase for Lobstein: He just hasn't turned the corner. Some scouts wonder if he has enough killer instinct but cautioned that Lobstein could just be pitching to the level of his competition. A team with extra picks is expected to gamble on Lobstein toward the back of the first round or in the supplemental round, but area scouts cautioned that it could take a seven-figure signing bonus to keep Lobstein from pitching (and hitting) for the Wildcats next spring.|
|46||ZACH STEWART, RHP, Texas Tech|
|Like Andrew Cashner, Stewart is a former junior college starter who has thrived after transferring to a Big 12 school and moving to the bullpen. His best pitch is a 92-96 mph fastball with filthy sink. Early in the season, he showed a sharp slider that some scouts graded as a plus-plus offering, though it has become more sweepy as the draft approached. Stewart also shows the makings of an average changeup in bullpen workouts, leading some clubs to think he could move back to the rotation in pro ball. But as a starter at North Central Texas CC in 2007, he pitched at 88-90 with his sinker, a lesser slider and diminished control. Texas Tech moved Stewart into the rotation late in the year, and he gave up 16 hits over nine innings in his first two starts. His 6-foot-1, 175-pound build and inconsistent command also seem to make him more suited for relief work. A possible first-rounder at midseason, Stewart is more of a sandwich- to second-rounder now.|
|47||BRYAN PRICE, RHP, Rice|
|Along with Andrew Cashner and Zach Stewart, Price is one of three Texas college relievers who looks like a first-rounder on his best days. Though he had a durable 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and a promising fastball, Price worked just 17 innings over his first two years at Rice because he lacked secondary pitches, command and mound presence. He started to make strides at the end of his sophomore season, and this spring he has consistently shown a 90-95 fastball with sink. His hard slider has topped out at 87 mph, though it has devolved into more of a slurve at times. His control still needs work but has improved. He has an intriguing changeup but doesn't trust it enough to use it much in games. Some teams are interested in trying Price as a starter, and he was lights out for five innings against Texas State in his one start this year. However, he walked three of the four batters he faced in his next appearance, a relief outing five days later. His lack of a track record is a concern, though he'll probably go in the sandwich to second round.|
|48||DANIEL WEBB, RHP, Heath HS, Paducah, Ky.|
|Webb has the most arm strength among all the talented pitchers in Kentucky this spring, having hit 96 mph last fall and working consistently at 90-93 mph this spring. But he's not nearly as refined as lefthanders Christian Friedrich, Robbie Ross and Nick Maronde, so the club that takes him in the first two rounds will have to be patient. Webb's curveball is average at best right now, and he either needs to do a better job of staying on top of it or switch to a slider. His changeup and command also are works in progress. A strong 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, Webb has a delivery that's more powerful than smooth. He demonstrated impressive makeup in the 2007 state tournament, pitching a complete game and striking out 10 despite breaking a bone in his foot in the first inning. He has committed to Kentucky but is considered signable.|
|49||ROBBIE GROSSMAN, OF, Cy-Fair HS, Cypress, Texas|
|Grossman had an outstanding 2007, carrying Cy-Fair High to the Texas state 5-A title, tearing up the showcase circuit and leading the U.S. junior national team in hitting (.450). He further helped his cause by drilling three homers in a doubleheader while several national scouts were in the area to catch the Minute Maid Park Baseball Classic. But Grossman hasn't sustained that performance, sliding him out of the first round. Scouts have clocked the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder as an average runner this spring after he showed plus speed in the past, meaning they have to bet more on his bat. A Texas recruit, Grossman is a switch-hitter with raw power from both sides of the plate, but his below-average arm means he'll have to play left field if he can't handle center.|
|50||ZACH PUTNAM, RHP, Michigan|
|When Putnam is going well, he can be very good. In the NCAA super regionals last June, he no-hit eventual national champion Oregon State for 8 2/3 innings before suffering a 1-0 loss. He'll use five pitches, and they'll all have their moments. His fastball sits at 91-92 mph with heavy sink, and he can get to 95 mph with riding life on a four-seamer. His splitter can be devastating and his slider can hit the mid-80s. He also uses a curveball and changeup. Putnam's mechanics aren't the prettiest—he doesn't incorporate his lower half much and powers through his delivery—but they don't prevent him from throwing strikes. He has been a valuable hitter for Michigan, and he has the arm strength and power to profile as a right fielder at the next level, but pro teams want Putnam on the mound. They just aren't sure exactly what to make of him. His secondary pitches are inconsistent, and shoulder soreness cost him two starts at the beginning of the season. He also showed little desire to pitch or play the field in the Cape Cod League last summer, preferring to DH. Putnam's future is likely as a reliever, though it's also possible that his splitter and slider will become more dependable once he's a full-time pitcher. The Yankees are a possible destination for him with the No. 44 overall pick.|
|51||BRETT HUNTER, RHP, Pepperdine|
Undrafted out of high school, Hunter first began to draw the attention of scouts as a closer for his Connie Mack summer ball club in 2005. He has since blossomed into one of the top pitching prospects in the nation. Now 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Hunter may possess the strongest arm in the draft. Hunter has missed all but two starts in 2008 due to arm problems, generally reported as elbow pain. Hunter returned in late May with two short outings, peaking at 92 mph and showing some rust but generally encouraging scouts. Many scouts aren't surprised by Hunter's injury due to his unorthodox mechanics. He drops his arm behind himself like a discus thrower, making it hard to find a consistent arm slot. Hunter's tilted, unbalanced finish features a high right leg release. None of that precluded Hunter, who dominated with Team USA last summer as a closer, from featuring some of the nation's best stuff. His thunderbolt fastball arrives at the plate from 93-97 mph and has touched 100 in relief outings. As a starter, he has no difficulty maintaining velocity into the sixth and seventh inning, when healthy, and he challenges both good and average hitters with his four-seam in all situations and all counts. Hunter's high-70's to low-80's curve has nasty downward break, though he has inconsistent control of the that pitch. Hunter's command is spotty and causes him to get behind batters and run up high pitch counts. Health concerns muddle where Hunter will be selected, and his command problems muddle whether he will be a starter or reliever. The combination makes predicting his draft position impossible.
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|52||SONNY GRAY, RHP, Smyrna (Tenn.) HS|
Even though he's actually closer to 5-foot-10 than his listed height of 6 feet, Gray has not gone unnoticed by scouting directors. His stuff on the mound won't allow it. Possessing two of the more ready-now pitches in this year's draft class, Gray makes for a tough decision in every draft room. He consistently showed his mid- to upper-90s fastball and an above-average curveball sitting near 84 mph on the showcase circuit last summer. Both pitches have sharp, late life and are commanded in the zone. However, in early April, Gray severely sprained his ankle running out a groundball and has been unable to pitch since; he also suffered an avulsion fracture on the play. That combined with his size and a strong commitment to play at Vanderbilt in the fall will make Gray's signability an issue once drafted. Also, due to his size and max effort delivery, Gray is thought by most to be a closer type in the big leagues. Gray's makeup is a plus and he is known as a winner, leading his high school football (at quarterback) and baseball teams to high school state championships.
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|53||ANTHONY GOSE, LHP, Bellflower (Calif.) HS|
|Gose has perhaps the strongest left arm of any Southern California high school pitching prospect since Bill Bordley, a first-round pick in the mid 1970s. However, his small stature and a recent bout of rotator cuff tendinitis have his draft status in doubt. Gose's blistering fastball ranges from 92-96 mph, peaking at 97. Both his frame and four-seam fastball draw legitimate comparisons to both Scott Kazmir and Billy Wagner. In professional baseball, Gose will need to improve and sharpen both his 77 mph curve and 75 mph changeup. Gose profiles as a lefthanded closer or set-up man, since he loses significant velocity as a game progresses. He'll also need to clean up his mechanics and learn to slow down his frantic pace. Scouts are currently awaiting results on another MRI of Gose's shoulder; one in mid-April showed no fracture or labrum tear. After starting several games early in the season, Gose was restricted to DH duty for much of the spring. As with so many young hurlers, high pitch counts and year-round play add to injury concerns with Gose. When he's healthy or when he's not pitching, Gose plays center field, with plus-plus speed and arm being his best tools. He's aggressive on the bases with a knack for stealing bags, taking the extra base, and flying into bases with a head-first slide. However, Gose has never consistently shown enough hitting ability to convince scouts he can hit professional pitching. Severe doubts about his bat make it most likely that Gose will be drafted and signed as a pitcher.|
|54||DESTIN HOOD, OF, St. Paul's Episcopal Academy, Mobile, Ala.|
|Hood showed his raw power and lightning-quick bat speed when he tied for the home run derby title at the Aflac Classic last fall. Raw and electric are two words scouts use to describe Hood. He has four raw tools but each with above-average projection. An exceptional athlete with a combination of strength and speed, Hood is signed to play football (wide receiver) and baseball at Alabama. At the plate, Hood has bat speed and raw power to rival anyone in this draft class, but his hit tool is currently lacking as he often swings and misses. A shortstop in high school, Hood will most definitely be moved to the outfield due to his below-average arm strength. He is a plus runner, and although his instincts are under-developed, could be an average defender in the future. The team that drafts Hood will believe in his ability to eventually hit. Upon reaching high ceiling, Hood projects as a middle of the order impact bat.|
|55||TYLER STOVALL, LHP, Hokes Bluff (Ala.) HS|
|The top high school pitching prospect from Alabama, Stovall is a projectable lefthander who has dominated competition. Stovall set the Alabama state record for wins (18) and strikeouts (227) in 2007, and he already had 12 wins and 170 strikeouts this season. He is a U.S. Junior National Team alum and is committed to play at Auburn. While his fastball sits between 89-91 mph, Stovall's go-to pitch is his curveball. He also has an advanced changeup. While his curveball is a plus pitch, he sometimes uses it too often. Scouts would like to see Stovall pitch more off his fastball, and if he doesn't, scouts could see him settling into merely a setup or relief role as a pro. However, with added velocity and reliance on his fastball, Stovall could be a starter in the big leagues. His makeup is a plus, and academically, he will graduate at the top of his high school class.|
|56||SETH LINTZ, RHP, Marshall County HS, Lewisburg, Tenn.|
|Lintz sprouted to 6-foot-2 after a senior year growth spurt of close to three inches, and his fastball increased from the mid-80s to low-90s. His draft stock has jumped as well. He has been seen up to 94 mph and also possesses a power slider. Coming at hitters from a three-quarters arm slot, Lintz offers a fastball with late arm-side tail and sink. He is projectable and still growing into his strong-framed body. Command issues are a concern with Lintz, but that could be due to his getting acclimated with his new height and arm slot. A good student, graduating second in his high school class, Lintz is committed to Kentucky. He is now considered the second-best high school pitcher in Tennessee behind Sonny Gray but could be the first of the two drafted, due in part to Gray's injury. Lintz is projected as a starter in the big leagues and is thought to have good makeup.|
|57||STEPHEN FIFE, RHP, Utah|
An Idaho native, Fife played in the Little League World Series in 1999, and two of his teammates have joined him this season as roommates and starters at Utah. Fife was just 160 pounds as a prep senior when the Utes first spotted him and he went to Everett (Wash.) CC for a year, pitching against wood bats. He put on 20 pounds that year and now checks in at a physical 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. He pitched middle relief for much of 2007 before earning a rotation spot late in the year, and entered this season as a possible eighth- to 12th-round pick. He's just learning to pitch with power stuff and started to emerge as a popup prospect in April, when he was on the losing end of a 1-0 duel with San Diego State man-child Stephen Strasburg. While Strasburg struck out 23 in that game, Fife pitched well enough to win and has been at his best since, one-hitting Utah and ramping up his velocity. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and has touched 95, and he's shown the ability to maintain velocity deep into games, with several 93s in the eighth inning of a recent start. Fife throws two breaking balls, a true curveball he can bury or throw for strikes and a decent, early-count slider. His changeup also shows good sink, though he could refine his location and arm speed with the pitch. A late bloomer, Fife just has started to dominate, with 44 strikeouts in 41 innings since the Strasburg matchup. He started getting crosschecked in late April in a game with New Mexico and senior lefty Bobby LaFramboise, and other teams were scrambling to have him scouted heavily enough to pick him in the first three rounds. He had as much helium as any player in the West.
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|58||JAMES DARNELL, 3B, South Carolina|
|Teaming up with Havens and Smoak at South Carolina, Darnell was the third piece of one of the most potent infields in college baseball. The best athlete of the three, Darnell has potential to be a five-tool talent in the pros. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Darnell is a physical specimen with a combination of athleticism and strength. Still somewhat raw as a baseball player, it is still to be determined which position he will play at the professional level. Darnell has an above-average arm but may not have the hands to stay at third base. His above-average footspeed may make him a better candidate for right field. At the plate, consistency is Darnell's red flag. He is known for going through hot-and-cold stretches. He has above-average raw power as he hit 19 home runs last year and has hit three home runs in a game multiple times this season. He has power to all fields but is known more as a pull hitter. Darnell also has shown ability to hit for average as he led the Gamecocks with a .331 batting average in 2007. Darnell's cold spells come when he goes through stretches of chasing breaking balls and changeups out of the zone.|
|59||XAVIER AVERY, OF, Cedar Grove HS, Ellenwood, Ga.|
|Athleticism, speed and the unknown are all words coinciding with Avery. This spring he signed to play football as a running back with Georgia. A center fielder, Avery is one of the fastest players in the draft and has been timed at 6.2 seconds in the 60-yard dash. However, Avery is hampered by the poor level of competition on his high school team's schedule, making him a tough player for scouts to evaluate this spring. He was visible last summer and performed well both in the East Cobb league and on the showcase circuit, leading to his being named an Aflac all-American. Avery's tools are thought to be raw, as are his instincts. However, with his speed, he is projected to be an above-average outfielder with an average arm, similar to Carl Crawford. At the plate, Avery's ability is even more of a projection. Hitting lefthanded and having above-average speed will always give Avery a chance to hit for average, but scouts feel he is still a ways away with the bat and his approach. Avery could be an exponential improver with proper instruction and multiple at-bats in the minor leagues.|
|60||DANIEL SCHLERETH, LHP, Arizona|
|The son of former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN commentator Mark Schlereth, Daniel Schlereth was an eighth-round pick last year as a draft-eligible sophomore, having missed a year due to Tommy John surgery. Schlereth didn't sign and has come back improved as part of a devastating Arizona bullpen with three of the nation's best power arms. While teammate Ryan Perry figures to be drafted higher this year (and sophomore closer Jason Stoffel should go higher next year), Schlereth was making a case to go in the first two rounds by showing improved command and stuff from 2007. Schlereth finds the strike zone more consistently with his 90-94 mph fastball and at times has more velocity, sometimes sitting 94-96. His power breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch, and he's done a better job of throwing it for strikes. After a failed bid as a starter earlier in his career, Schlereth has shown the guts to challenge hitters with his stuff in a relief role and could be the rare lefthanded closer as a pro. The biggest question will be whether or not he can maintain his stuff while improving his control. He'll never have command with the effort he puts into his delivery, but he still doesn't throw as many quality strikes as he'll need to at higher levels. He's expected to be drafted in the first three rounds.|
|61||CHRIS CARPENTER, RHP, Kent State|
After a couple of false starts, Carpenter's pro career should finally get going this summer. The Tigers made him a seventh-round pick in 2004, but he became the highest-drafted high school pitcher that year to opt for college. He blew out his elbow throwing a 93-mph fastball as a freshman, requiring Tommy John surgery in May 2005 and a second operation in June 2006 to clean out scar tissue. He was surging toward the first round with a strong finish to the regular season last year. But teams wondered about his health and his signability as a draft-eligible sophomore, and no one took a flier until the Yankees popped him in the 18th round. They planned on following him in the Cape Cod League, but he made just two appearances before departing with a tired arm. Carpenter has been healthy all year, topping out at 98 mph and often pitching at 92-96. His hard curveball is tighter and more consistent than it was in 2007, and his command has improved after some early season struggles. His changeup has gotten better too, though he doesn't throw it for strikes as easily he does his main two pitches. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Carpenter has the body to pile up innings—provided he stays healthy. There are clubs that will back away because of his medical history, but he has enhanced his chances of going in the first three rounds by expressing a willingness to sign for slot money.
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|62||JAFF DECKER, OF/1B, Sunrise Mountain HS, Peoria, Ariz.|
Decker looks like a younger version of Matt Stairs with a compact, strong body, and he's earned comparisons to the Canadian slugger as well, though Decker throws lefthanded. Scouts mean the comparison as a compliment, because Decker can really hit. The best thing about being a 5-foot-10 slugger is that Decker is short to the ball and has an easy feel for hitting, generating easy above-average power with a quick, strong swing. He's a baseball player and grinder who has become an area scout's favorite. His arm is his next-best tool after his bat, as he's thrown a no-hitter this spring, occasionally visits the low-90s with his fastball and spins a solid-average breaking ball. If he doesn't make it as a hitter, he definitely has a shot to become a lefthanded reliever, and if he winds up at Arizona State he could become a three-year, two-way star. His body leaves no room for projection, but he has one of the better now bats in the high school draft class. Decker's a second-round bat but probably fits lower on most boards due to his small stature.
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|63||TIM MURPHY, LHP, UCLA|
|In high school and during his first two years at UCLA, Murphy was a two-way prospect who showed promise as a hard-hitting outfielder. He since has established himself as one of the premier college leftys in the nation. Murphy's build is strong and mature, and while not the lanky and projectable type, he is nonetheless a fine athlete—one who played quarterback and safety in high school and was an 11th-round pick in 2005. Scouts also appreciate Murphy's competitive attitude. He displays the ability to wiggle out of tough jams and survives outings in which his stuff is less than optimal. Since starting the season strongly, Murphy has struggled. When sharp, his fastball ranges from 89-92 mph, but dipped to 87 as the season wore on. He does a decent job of moving that pitch around, and has no reservations about challenging hitters with the four-seamer. Murphy's best offering is his mid-to-high 70s curve, an old-fashioned, over-the-top two-plane drop with 11-to-5 break. Murphy is sound mechanically, though a long back stroke in his arm action makes it difficult for him to maintain a consistent release point. His command suffers as a result. Murphy projects comfortably as either a back-of-the-rotation starter or, thanks to his curveball, as a lefthanded set-up man.|
|64||JORDY MERCER, SS/RHP, Oklahoma State|
|There aren't many all-around shortstops in this draft, and after Tim and Gordon Beckham go off the board at the top of the first round, Mercer might be the best bet to both hit and stay at the position. He has recovered from early season arthroscopic knee surgery in 2007 to display solid-average tools across the board. Though he's big for a shortstop at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has smooth actions. His range and hands are fine, and he enhances his defensive package with a plus arm. Mercer doubles as Oklahoma State's closer, powering through a rough delivery with 91-94 mph fastballs, hard sliders and grit. He has room to get better as a hitter, as he can add strength and tighten his strike zone. He has improved each year, hitting .345 with 10 homers with a week to go in the regular season after batting a combined .284 with 11 homers in his first two seasons. Mercer's speed is slightly above-average, and he's an instinctive runner if not a basestealer.|
|65||NIKO VASQUEZ, INF, Durango HS, Las Vegas|
|Vasquez emerged as a potential high draft pick at last summer's Area Code Games as he started turning his raw tools into performance, using his strong hands and good bat speed to blister good velocity. He also showed good defensive tools during a January Under Armour event, with a strong, accurate arm and better hands and actions. However, his season has been wildly inconsistent, starting with an academic suspension in February that cost him a month's worth of games. When he returned, Vasquez was inconsistent defensively, and most scouts see him moving either to third base or second due to his below-average speed and lack of range at shortstop. However, his bat and perceived signability should get him drafted in the first three rounds. A skilled hitter, he has excellent hands and a good swing path, helping him lash line drives from gap to gap. He was at his best when the scouting heat was on this spring. Some scouts want to try him behind the plate, while others think he'll hit enough and has enough arm (it's average at best) to handle third base. His academic issues didn't hinder his Oregon State commitment, but he's considered signable.|
|66||ZEKE SPRUILL, RHP, Kell HS, Marietta, Ga.|
|Another Georgia native with the benefit of displaying his skills in the East Cobb League, Spruill impressed scouts last summer and has continued the trend this spring. Spruill has a fluid delivery that is clean and repeatable. He has been up to 93 mph and pitches at 91-92. His fastball has life with sink and is a plus pitch. Commanding all three pitches, Spruill also throws a curveball with slurvy action and a changeup. At 6-foot-4 and 184 pounds, Spruill has a pitcher's body with athleticism and projection. Scouts feel he could pitch closer to 93-94 by the time he reaches the big leagues. A Georgia commit, Spruill is known as a competitor and a winner with plus makeup. Spruill, along with Martin, has separated himself as one of the top two high school pitching prospects in Georgia.|
|67||AARON WEATHERFORD, RHP, Mississippi State|
|Undrafted out of high school, Weatherford's role upon arriving at Mississippi State was unclear. As a freshman he pitched mainly out of the bullpen, totaling two saves, but did make two starts late in the season. He then began his sophomore year as the Bulldog's Friday night starter but moved back to the bullpen after six starts and helped lead the Bulldogs to the College World Series. This season Weatherford has taken on the closer role, and has seemed comfortable there, striking out close to two hitters per inning. He ranks as one of the top closers in an SEC loaded with talented relievers. Even at 6-foot-1, Weatherford has an imposing presence on the mound. His fastball reads between 92-94 mph and comes from a high, over-the-top, arm slot. He throws downhill and commands it to both sides of the plate. He also throws a hard curveball and split-finger with late break. While his split-finger is an out pitch, he rarely throws it for a strike. Weatherford does have durability concerns as he has been plagued with various injuries while a Mississippi State. He has a live arm but has a max-effort delivery, likely limiting him to a relief role as a pro.|
|68||RYAN FLAHERTY, SS, Vanderbilt|
As a coach's son, Flaherty earns compliments as a "ballplayer" from opposing coaches and scouts. His father Edward Flaherty is in the ABCA Hall of Fame and has won two national championships as head coach of Division III Southern Maine's baseball team. Flaherty himself has a track record of winning, as following his senior year in high school, his summer team won the American Legion national championship. Flaherty was also named Mr. Baseball in Maine the same season. At Vanderbilt, Flaherty took over the starting shortstop role full-time his sophomore season. However, scouts feel Flaherty's range is not good enough for him to stay at the premium position into the pros, and he will most likely have to make a move to second base, which he played for Team USA last summer. At the plate, Flaherty swings from the left side and will hit for average. He holds the Commodores record for longest hitting streak at 35 games. Flaherty hit six total home runs in his first two years on campus and has close to doubled that total this season. He has showed signs of filling out his lanky 6-foot-3 frame and more strength is projected, but he will most likely never be considered a power hitter. His athleticism and makeup are a plus and should carry him into the major leagues.
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|69||TYLER LADENDORF, SS, Howard (Texas) JC|
|Ladendorf has put up the gaudiest numbers in junior college baseball over the last two seasons. As a freshman, he hit .425 and led all national juco players with 65 steals in as many attempts. This year, he has become more of a power threat, topping the juco batting race with a .542 average thru mid-May and throwing in 16 homers (up from one a year ago) and 31 steals in 32 tries. The best juco prospect in the draft, Ladendorf would have signed for $200,000 in 2007. The Yankees offered him $150,000 as a draft-and-follow, while the Giants proposed a $190,000 bonus after taking him in the 34th round. Ladendorf is bigger and stronger than he was last year, and he now carries 210 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame. Scouts aren't sure if he truly has more than gap power, but they like him as a multitooled shortstop. He has shortened his swing and can flash plus-plus speed when he's not playing on cruise control. Defensively, he has good hands and plenty of arm despite having the labrum in his throwing shoulder disintegrate as the result of a high school injury. A team that buys into Ladendorf's entire package could take him in the sandwich round.|
|70||NICK MARONDE, LHP, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS|
|Maronde is very similar to crosstown rival Robbie Ross in that both have exceptional polish for high school lefthanders. The difference is that while Maronde has a more conventional pitcher's build at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, he can't quite match Ross' sheer stuff. Maronde isn't just a finesse guy, however. He pitches from 88-92 mph with his fastball, and his slider is good at times but still inconsistent. His changeup is advanced for his experience level, and he pounds the bottom of the strike zone with little difficulty. Maronde won 32 of his first 34 high school decisions, losing only a one-hitter and a duel with Ross, and was the U.S. junior national team's best pitcher last summer, going 2-0 and not allowing an earned run in nine innings. Teams would be very interested in Maronde if they thought he'd sign for second- or third-round money, but that appears unlikely. He's advised by the Scott Boras Corporation and has a scholarship to play at Florida.|
|71||JOSH LINDBLOM, RHP, Purdue|
|The highest-drafted player from 2005 who still has yet to turn pro, Lindblom turned down $300,000 as a third-round pick of the Astros. After spending one year at Tennessee and two at Purdue, he'll likely go one round higher this June. Lindblom scuffled as a starter before the Boilermakers made him a reliever late in the season. Now that he no longer has to pace himself, Lindblom throws at 94-95 mph with heavy life as he goes full bore for one or two innings. His hard curveball has improved, and he has quickened his delivery as well. He also mixes in an occasional splitter. Lindblom throws strikes but works out of a higher arm slot, making his pitches easier to see and more hittable than they seemingly should be. He has a resilient arm and workhorse build at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, but his stuff has been so much more electric out of the pen, suggesting that is his best role as a pro.|
|72||ZACK COX, 3B, Pleasure Ridge Park HS, Louisville, Ky.|
|Cox has touched 92-93 mph off the mound, so his arm fits in with the rest of the pitching prospects in Kentucky's bumper crop. But his future is definitely with a bat in his hands, as he's one of the more talented high school hitters in the draft. Cox has the strong frame (6 feet, 205 pounds) and the swing to produce for both average and power. He won the home run derby at the Cape Cod Classic last summer. His makeup draws praise at well. The biggest questions surrounding Cox are his future position and his signability. While he easily has enough arm for the hot corner, his speed and athleticism are below-average, and it's uncertain whether he can remain there. Some clubs have wondered about converting him to a catcher, but his hands may limit him as a receiver. If Cox winds up at an outfield corner, he should have more than enough bat for that position. He would be draft-eligible as a sophomore in 2010, which could make it more tempting to follow through on his commitment to Arkansas.|
|73||ADRIAN NIETO, C, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.|
A Cuban refugee, Nieto came to America as an 8-year-old and started catching not long after. A teammate of Hosmer since he was 11, the two have made pitchers' lives miserable for years. An Aflac All-American in the fall, Nieto is thought to be the best switch-hitting catching prospect in the country. Nieto is blessed with an above-average arm and has good instincts behind the plate. There are concerns with his receiving and blocking skills and whether or not he will be able to stay behind the plate is still to be determined. Regardless of position, he will be an offensive player. With power to all fields from both sides of the plate, Nieto has a good feel for hitting. At times, his approach at the plate needs refinement as he can be fooled or caught chasing. At 6 feet and 200 pounds, Nieto is more athletic than he looks and he runs and moves well for a catcher. Nieto plays the game with an ego and a swagger that should carry him to the big leagues. He is signed to play baseball at South Florida in the fall.
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|74||LONNIE CHISENHALL, 3B, Pitt (N.C.) CC|
After being drafted out of high school in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, Chisenhall opted to attend South Carolina, where his ability to hit was quickly noticed. He was consistently placed third in a Gamecocks lineup filled with Reese Havens, Justin Smoak and James Darnell and was considered one of the top pure hitters in the country. However, at the beginning of conference play, Chisenhall was arrested and charged with larceny, leading to his immediate dismissal from the team. (He later pleaded guilty to grand larceny and burglary and was sentenced to six months' probation.) He resurfaced at Pitt, where he played this season, but makeup issues from his past still follow him. On the field, Chisenhall has rebuilt his reputation and is considered one of the best hitters in this draft class. He possesses a fluid flat swing and a bat path that stays in the zone, producing consistent line drive contact. His swing is not conducive to above-average power, but Chisenhall does have occasional juice. His defensive position is still a question mark. Offensively, he profiles best at second base, but scouts question whether he has the hands or range to stick in the middle of the diamond. Whichever team drafts him will do so for the belief in his bat and ability to overcome past transgressions.
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|75||SHANE PETERSON, 1B/OF, Long Beach State|
|Peterson is the top prospect on a talent-laden Long Beach State squad which could have six players drafted in the first 10 rounds. Peterson's strong, mature body and outstanding hitting performance this year, following up an excellent showing in the Cape Cod League last summer, should make him the first Dirtbag drafted. One of the most versatile players in the nation, the lefthanded Peterson has the ability to play first, pitch (90 mph off the mound) or hold down a corner outfield spot. He's above-average defensively at first but should run enough (though he's below-average) to hold down a corner outfield spot. Peterson's hitting mechanics are a bit out of the ordinary, as he's a front-foot hitter, but he generates excellent bat speed and has a high finish that helps give him loft power. An admirably consistent hitter, Peterson can hammer the ball to all fields, and has cleared the deep center-field fence at Blair Field, one of the stingiest D-1 hitter's parks in the country. Peterson slumps only when he chases the high inside fastball, or when he becomes too pull oriented and flies his head and front side open. Statistically-inclined clubs will jump on Peterson, who was leading the Big West Conference in on-base percentage (.495) and ranked second in slugging. While not a prospect on the level of recent Long Beach State hitters like Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria, Peterson is a legitimate first-two-rounds candidate and has enough bat to be a regular at a corner position.|
|76||LOGAN FORSYTHE, 3B, Arkansas|
Forsythe ranked second on Team USA with six steals and third with a .309 batting average (trailing only cinch first-rounder Pedro Alvarez and Brett Wallace), but he came down with a stress fracture in his right foot at the end of last summer. After having surgery in November, he wasn't able to train as he normally would, resulting in a hamstring pull this spring. Forsythe uses his legs in his swing, and the hamstring injury affected his stroke in the early going. Once he healed, he again began drilling line drives into the gaps and making a push for the second round. Scouts believe he'll have average power in the big leagues and liken his approach to Mike Lowell's, so he should provide enough offense to stick at the hot corner. If not, he's versatile enough to also have played second base, shortstop and left field for Team USA. The 6-foot-1, 208-pounder is more athletic than most third basemen. He has an above-average arm, moves well and is a solid-average runner with good instincts.
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|77||CODY SATTERWHITE, RHP, Mississippi|
Satterwhite has been a confusing prospect for scouts since his high school days in Jackson, Miss. Blessed with a first-round arm and electric stuff, Satterwhite has made a reputation for being a projectable righthander with at least three above-average pitches but with inconsistent command and lacking pitchability. At 6-foot-4, and 205 pounds, Satterwhite has the ideal pitcher's body. As a starter, his fastball stays between 90-93 mph, but as a reliever he consistently throws between 95-98. He has done both for Ole Miss since opting not to sign with the Indians after being drafted in the 37th round of the 2005 draft. After pitching primarily as a reliever in his sophomore season, Satterwhite was selected to the U.S. National Team. This season, the Rebels put Satterwhite back in the starting rotation where he has not been as successful. Scouts believe Satterwhite will eventually end up back in the bullpen once he reaches the pros. To complement his fastball, Satterwhite offers a curveball, changeup and hard slider. He has the ability to flash all three as plus pitches but with little consistency. Due to his delivery, Satterwhite has a tendency to leave pitches up in the zone causing his fastball to become hittable and his breaking balls to flatten out. Satterwhite is lightning in a bottle as if he ever figures out how to harness his natural ability and he could quickly be an impact pitcher in the big leagues.
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|78||BRETT MOONEYHAM, LHP, Buhach Colony HS, Atwater, Calif.|
|Some clubs have the big (6-foot-5), physical (220 pounds) Mooneyham as the top prep lefthander on the board, even though he's not even the top starter on his high school team. (That would be junior righthander Dylan Floro.) However, Mooneyham has the pro body, as well as big league bloodlines—his father Bill was a first-round pick in 1980 (Angels, 10th overall) and pitched one season in the majors with Oakland. Mooneyham also has present big league stuff, with a fastball that sits 90-91 and has touched 94, as well as a slider that flashes above-average potential. His body control and athleticism are still catching up with his body, however, and Mooneyham lacks control of his power arsenal; he had 43 walks in 46 innings this spring. He's an excellent student with a Stanford commitment who also is being advised by Scott Boras Corp., so some teams have had just cursory checks on him, figuring him to be impossible to sign. Others such as the Braves and Brewers were said to be mulling gambling a pick on him and making a run at signing him, but he was considered one of the least signable players in the West, if not the country.|
|79||DAN HULTZEN, LHP, St. Albans HS, Washington D.C.|
|A late bloomer on the draft prospect scene, Hultzen is now considered one of the top prep lefties in the draft. From the metro area in D.C., Hultzen has long been known as a softer-tossing lefthander with pitchability. He recently went through a velocity jump, sending his fastball into the 88-92 mph range and his name onto every prospect follow list. However, Hultzen is firmly committed to pitch at Virginia in the fall and is thought by most to be unsignable. He pitches at a low three-quarters arm slot, creating natural tail and sink. He also offers a breaking ball with tight rotation and slurve action that at times is an above-average pitch. He even experiments with a changeup and split-finger pitch but both are currently under-developed and inconsistent. With his signability concerns, Hultzen may be a prospect that falls to late in the draft, does not sign and resurfaces as a first-round caliber prospect after three years at Virginia.|
|80||ZACH CONE, OF, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.|
|One of the best high school athletes in this year's draft class, Cone has had an impressive spring season and has vaulted his draft stock upward. Although he is still somewhat stiff at the plate, Cone improved throughout high school and has shown the ability to hit for power and the potential to hit for average. He also has above-average speed, getting down the first base line in 4.1 seconds from the right side. Cone comes from professional bloodlines as his father played in the NFL. At 6-foot-2, and 200 pounds, Cone has the range and instincts to play center field at the major league level. There aren't many prospects in this draft class with Cone's mixture of athleticism, strength and tools. Cone is committed to play baseball for Georgia.|
|81||TYLER CHATWOOD, RHP, East Valley HS, Redlands, Calif.|
|Many scouts balk at Chatwood's shorter (5-foot-11), mature and non-projectable frame. His arm and tools, however, are hard to dismiss. Most scouts prefer him as a pitcher, and it's easy to see why. Chatwood's fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range, peaking at 94-95. He'll need to develop his 82 mph change, but Chatwood's curve is already a plus pitch, a 72-74 mph multi-plane kneebuckler that is easily his best offering. Many scouts see Chatwood as a somewhat smaller version of Roy Oswalt. In the past, Chatwood has dabbled in the infield, but his hands don't work well there. As an outfielder, he has a well-above-average arm and impressive 6.7 speed. Inconsistent at bat throughout the summer and fall showcase and scout ball season, Chatwood has now developed into a terror at the plate, showing both hitting ability and provocative power. If he makes it to UCLA, where he's committed, he should be a true two-way threat.|
|82||CARLOS GUTIERREZ, RHP, Miami|
|A casualty to Tommy John surgery, Gutierrez redshirted at Miami last season. He is back to form this season, and is considered the top closer in the ACC. Pitching for one of the top-ranked college teams in the country, Gutierrez has gotten plenty of chances to show off his low-90s fastball. The pitch has late life with heavy sink and Gutierrez commands it well, down in the zone, causing hitters to swing over the top of it. He throws a slider on occasion but it currently can't be considered average and he does have an arm recoil that follows his delivery—both of which raise red flags. However, upon developing and refinement of a second pitch, Gutierrez could be a fast mover as his sinker is a current major league plus pitch. Gutierrez is one of many quality college closers in this year's draft. He was not drafted out of high school as he began playing baseball just before his senior year.|
|83||LANCE LYNN, RHP, Mississippi|
Lynn is somewhat the opposite of his Ole Miss teammate Cody Satterwhite. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Lynn is described as a big-bodied and durable starter who consistently produces quality starts game in and game out. None of the pitches in his repertoire are overwhelming, but he possesses three average to fringe-average offerings. His fastball is typically between 90-92 mph, and his slider comes in around 81 mph. He also throws a curveball and changeup, both of which are fringe-average at best. Lynn mixes all four pitches with command and pitchability, making him a safe bet to be a fourth or fifth starter and an innings-eater in the major leagues within a few years. Lynn was drafted by the Mariners in the sixth round of the 2005 draft and should improve on that this year. Lynn pitched for the U.S. National Team last summer, striking out 26 batters in 25 innings and compiling a 2-1,1.80 mark in four starts. While never stellar, scouts are impressed with his undeniable track record of success.
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|84||AARON SHAFER, RHP, Wichita State|
|Shafer had established himself as one of the premier pitching prospects for the 2008 draft midway through the 2007 season. Then he strained his elbow, which didn't require surgery but sidelined him for a month. His fastball hasn't been the same since. Shafer used to work from 91-94 mph with his fastball and now ranges from 88-91 mph. The diminished velocity hasn't made him less effective, however. His effortless delivery allows his heater to get on hitters quickly, and it enables him to live in the bottom of the strike zone. He has above-average command of his fastball, 12-to-6 curveball and changeup. Shafer has a solid 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame and his arm has been healthy since tweaking his elbow. He's no longer a candidate for the first round, but he could go in the second or third.|
|85||BLAKE TEKOTTE, OF, Miami|
|Tekotte plays on a Miami team loaded with impact draft prospects, and he has taken full advantage of the increased exposure. He has been a spark plug for the Hurricanes all season hitting out of the leadoff spot and could fit the same role as a big leaguer. Hitting from the left side, Tekotte puts pressure on the defense with his above-average speed and ability to put the ball in play. He also steals bases—more than 20 this season—and has shown occasional power this spring. Tekotte will also benefit from this being a draft low on college outfielders. He is an above-average college center fielder, and could be average there in the pros despite his below-average arm strength. Tekotte performed well in the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting .256 for Brewster in 43 games. He was subsequently named to the Cape Cod all-star team and earned all-league honors following the season. Tekotte has a good chance to hit for average at the major league level but will most likely be a gap-to-gap hitter with below-average power. His lack of power might leave his bat a bit shy for an everyday regular, and he could settle in as a fourth outfielder.|
|86||JORDAN DANKS, OF, Texas|
Jordan Danks might have been a first-round pick coming out of high school had he not told teams he was set on attending Texas. He was one of the best prep power hitters in the 2005 draft, having beaten Cameron Maybin in the home run derby at the 2004 AFLCA All-America Game, where Danks hit several balls completely out of the park. Three years later, his power potential remains largely unfulfilled. The Longhorns' Disch-Falk Field doesn't favor hitters, but it's not the sole culprit for Danks' meager total of 12 homers in three college seasons. His bat speed and feel for hitting are just fair, though he has improved at driving balls to the opposite field this spring. If Danks was delivering the power scouts expected, he'd be an easy first-round pick because he's both big (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) and the best college athlete in this draft class. He runs well and shows better instincts on the bases and in center field than he does at the plate. The White Sox drafted Danks in the 19th round three years ago and are looking for athletes, so they could reunite him with his older brother John, who's in their rotation.
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|87||BRETT MARSHALL, RHP, Sterling HS, Houston|
|Marshall presents a conundrum to scouts. After working at 88-91 mph with his fastball last summer, he jumped up to 96 mph at the outset of his senior season. His slider still needs some refinement, but it topped out at 86-87 mph. And his initial college commitment was to San Jacinto (Texas) JC, indicating that he could be fairly easy to sign. But since generating a lot of early season excitement, Marshall has backed up a little. He was sitting at 91 mph and topping out at 94 mph as the draft drew closer, and his slider wasn't as crisp. While he's wiry strong, he's also just 6 feet and 185 pounds and has some effort in his delivery, which also compromises his ability to repeat it and throw strikes. There's also talk that he's exploring the possibility of attending Rice, which could make it tougher for him to turn pro. There are a lot of differing opinions on Marshall, but he could be signable if a team likes him enough to take him in the second round.|
|88||KYLE WEILAND, RHP, Notre Dame|
Weiland has a good chance to go in the first three rounds as a reliever, but he might be starting for Notre Dame if he hadn't fallen and broken his collarbone the December before his sophomore season. After he saved 16 games as a freshman, the Fighting Irish ticketed him for their rotation in 2007. However he had a hard time making the transition to starting while recovering from the injury. Weiland enjoyed immediate success after returning to the bullpen, where he could focus on his 91-94 mph fastball and 80-82 mph slider. He owns school records for single-season and career (25) saves. The slider gives him a second plus pitch at times, though he can fall in love with it too much. Six-foot-3 and 180 pounds, he throws strikes but sometimes battles the location of his pitches in the zone. Weiland's stuff was down slightly a month before the draft, and he hit three batters in one inning against Pittsburgh.
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|89||AARON PRIBANIC, RHP, Nebraska|
|Pribanic showed a strong arm at Hutchinson (Kan.) CC in 2007, but he didn't have enough command or secondary pitches to attract any draft interest. That won't be the case this time around, as Pribanic has shown some of the best stuff among Sunday starters in college baseball. Strong and physical at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he sits at 91-94 mph and tops out at 96 mph with his fastball. His arm works very well and it's fresh, because he redshirted his first year at Hutchinson and has pitched roughly 160 innings since leaving high school four years ago. Pribanic has developed some feel for a splitter that he uses as a changeup. He's still fiddling with both a curveball and a slider, and while they're not reliable, both breaking pitches have decent shape. The curve is the better of the two breaking balls, though it still has a long ways to go. He has thrown more strikes but still has bouts of inconsistency. He loses balance in his delivery, a fixable problem that could lead to further improvements. The grandson of former all-star pitcher Jim Coates, Pribanic won't rush through the minors but could deliver a nice payoff to a team that can clean him up. He was making inroads on the sandwich round at one point, but a late-season slump could knock him down to the third or fourth round.|
|90||ERIC THAMES, OF, Pepperdine|
A lefthanded hitter and thrower, Thames' outstanding 2008 season at Pepperdine has drawn substantial attention from scouts. He was hitting .407 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs when he went down in late May with what scouts described as a hip flexor injury, though Pepperdine describes it as an upper-leg injury. An unsigned 39th-round pick of the Yankees in 2007, Thames has improved his stock considerably, improving his body over the years. He's now a solidly built, muscular 6-foot, 205-pounder who physically resembles former White Sox outfielder Warren Newson. Thames' primary tool is his bat, as he's strong enough to hit effectively from an open, spread stance. Occasionally, Thames will drift into a habit of trying to lift, pull and jerk everything. He often over swings and whiffs on offspeed stuff, and is much more effective when he cuts down on his swing and attempts to use the entire field. In the outfield, Thames is an acceptable, average defensive left fielder, with acceptable speed and range. He has played some center field but profiles better defensively in left. His inconsistent and fringy arm strength also fits better in left. As a pro, Thames profiles as a potentially heavy-hitting left fielder with average to slightly below-average non-hitting tools.
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|91||ANDREW LIEBEL, RHP, Long Beach State|
Liebel stands as an example of player development at the college level. He made little impact his first two seasons at Long Beach State, working primarily in relief, but emerged toward the end of his junior season as the Dirtbags' most consistent starter. While he's not overpowering, he had taken another step forward this spring even after well-regarding pitching coach Troy Buckley left the Beach to be the Pirates' roving pitching coordinator. Liebel attacks hitters with his fastball, which has solid-average velocity and touches 93 mph. Even though he's small at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, he has excellent arm strength due in part to his long-toss program and also to his improved diet and workout program. He also has confidence in his curveball, slider and changeup, all of which grade out as average pitches at times. His command stands out, though, and Liebel is best described as a pitchability college righthander whose biggest downside is his size. At 5-foot-11, he's compared to Yankees righty Ian Kennedy, but he lacks Kennedy's comparatively lengthy track record of success. He's one of the nation's better senior signs and could move quickly.
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|92||BRAD HAND, LHP, Chaska (Minn.) HS|
|Hand has created a bigger sensation among scouts than any Minnesota high school prospect since Joe Mauer. He won't go at the top of the draft like Mauer did, but Hand performed very well when two dozen scouts attended his fourth start of the spring. His fastball ranged from 88-93 mph with nice life, and both his curveball and changeup flashed plus potential. Hand is an athletic 6-foot-2, 205-pounder who also plays football and hockey, and in baseball he doubles as a first baseman with lefty power. The biggest issues with him are his mechanics and his signability. He has violence and a head whack in his delivery, and he lands on a stiff front leg. Hand has pitched himself into third-round consideration, but that the slot bonuses in that area of the draft (roughly $275,000 to $400,000) may not be enough to lure him away from an Arizona State scholarship. The Twins usually stay on top of their homestate prospects, and they could be tempted to take him with a sandwich or second-round choice.|
|93||JOE WIELAND, RHP, Bishop Minogue HS, Reno, Nev.|
|The Reno area is gaining a reputation for developing pitchers, but Wieland stands out as the top righthander to come out of the area that in the last few years has produced Rays minor leaguer Jake McGee (out of high school) and Cole Rohrbough (Braves, out of Western Nevada CC). Wieland has impressed scouts with his combination of now stuff, clean arm and projectable frame. He was outstanding in all, sitting at 88-91 mph with his fastball and reminding scouts of Mark Prior with his command and has more deception in his delivery. He's maintained that velocity this spring and reportedly has flashed better velocity, with most reports having him bumping 92 regularly. He's shown the ability to spin a breaking ball despite Reno's thin air and flashed a changeup. He's signed as a two-way player to San Diego State but figures to sign if taken in the second-to-fourth round range.|
|94||DONNIE ROACH, RHP, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas|
Bishop Gorman has become the premier program in Las Vegas, and Roach was the team's top player and prospect this spring, helping lead it to a third consecutive state championship. He's slightly more physical than last year's ace, righthander Taylor Cole (now at CC of Southern Nevada), and throws a bit harder than Cole did in high school, sitting 90-93 mph with his fastball. He's touched a bit higher also throws a curveball, changeup and split-finger fastball, and while none of his secondary pitches grades out as above-average consistently, all are playable and he commands them well. Most scouts rate the curve as his best secondary pitch, with future above-average potential. At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, he resembles Cole in that he's on the small side for a prep righthander, but his arm works, he's loose and athletic, and his mechanics are cleaner than those of Cole. He's an Arizona signee who might need third-round money to sign and keep him from going to college.
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|95||AUSTIN DICHARRY, RHP, Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas|
|The top-rated high school pitcher in Texas at the outset of 2008, Dicharry has slipped a little because he has been merely good rather than taking a step forward. But there's still much to like. After shaking off an early season bout with shoulder tendinitis, he has worked with a heavy 88-92 mph fastball and a plus over-the-top curveball that rated as the best at the Area Code Games last summer. Dicharry has more polish and cleaner mechanics than most high school pitchers. He also has a strong competitive makeup and a projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. He tailed off a little bit in May, which could drop him to the third or fourth round. But it might take second-round money to sign him away from Texas. He's advanced enough that he could see significant action for the Longhorns as a freshman.|
|96||BOBBY BUNDY, RHP, Sperry (Okla.) HS|
|Bundy's first-round aspirations got sidetracked when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a basketball game in December. Though his surgery usually requires a nine-month rehab, he was back on the mound with a knee brace this spring. Bundy was able to sit at 88-91 mph and touch 93 with his fastball, down 2-3 mph from last summer. He still had his trademark big-breaking curveball, which changes hitters' eye level at the plate, and he still threw strikes with ease. He has a sturdy 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame that also gives him power at the plate. Pitching with the brace forced him to smooth out his delivery, which will help him in the future. Bundy led Sperry to its second Oklahoma 3-A title in the last three years, picking up the victory and going 3-for-3 with three RBIs in the title game. He has committed to Arkansas, where he would get the opportunity to play both ways as a freshman. Whether the diminished velocity—which should return in time—drops him far enough in the draft to compromise his signability remains to be seen.|
|97||SCOTT BITTLE, RHP, Mississippi|
Taken by the Yankees in the 48th round of last year's draft, Bittle elected not to sign and transferred to Ole Miss this season from Northwest Texas CC. He was thrown into the closer's role for the Rebels and has dominated SEC hitters all season, putting up Nintendo type numbers. He has tallied an almost 5 to 1 K/BB ratio, striking out close to two batters per inning pitched. Uncharacteristic for a closer, Bittle's fastball is just an average pitch, with velocity between the 88-91 mph range. However, Bittle pitches mainly off his cut fastball—a devastating late breaking pitch in the mid-80s that has two-plane movement similar to a slider. Bittle is able to command this pitch down in the zone and creates a ton of swings and misses by starting it just above the knees and having it drop just below the strike-zone. He also effectively mixes in a changeup, freezing unsuspecting hitters. At 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, and without an above-average fastball, Bittle does not fit the typical closer's profile in the major leagues. He will most likely be a long relief or setup man in the pros. Once signed, he should move quickly as his command and stuff are close to major league ready.
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|98||BRAD HOLT, RHP, UNC Wilmington|
Holt emerged this spring as the ace of a surging Seahawks baseball team. His fastball has improved since arriving in Wilmington and now sits between 92-94 mph, touching 96. Not only does he have a big arm, but he is able to maintain his velocity deep into games. However, the major difference between this year's Holt from the past is his vastly improved command. Holt at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, has a perfect pro body with a clean delivery and a first-round arm. He is coordinated and athletic on the mound, attacking hitters with his fastball. The only thing holding him back is the lack of a usable secondary pitch. He offers a slider with loose spin and tends to slow his body and arm down when throwing it. Even though his secondary stuff is in need of refinement, teams will not walk away from the pro body, strong arm and life on the fastball.
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|99||JAY AUSTIN, OF, North Atlanta (Ga.) HS|
|A teammate of Avery in the East Cobb League, Austin is an athletic outfielder in a draft short on players of his mold. A center fielder with above-average speed and a lefthanded swing, Austin has scouts intrigued with his potential to be a five-tool player at the big league level. He has added power to his game this spring after physically maturing and incorporating his lower half more into his swing. He has plus bat speed and has shown ability to make consistent contact at the high school level. The team that drafts him will be betting that Austin will continue to hit into the pros as the other tools needed are present. Austin can even throw 90 mph off the mound, giving him a plus arm in the outfield. He is still somewhat raw but has a ceiling and would be a great pick for a team with multiple selections early in the draft.|
|100||T.J. HOUSE, LHP, Picayune (Miss.) Memorial HS|
|A lefthanded high school pitcher consistently throwing in the low-90s would typically draw constant attention from every major league scouting director. However, a high price tag and a strong commitment to play baseball at Tulane has made House unsignable, keeping most teams away. House has an above-average fastball, with a slider and curveball that are projected to be at least average. Favoring Mike Hampton, House is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, and he's athletic on the mound. Similar to Hultzen, after three years in college, House is expected to be an impact draft prospect. A competitor on the mound, House struck out 20 batters in a game at the end of his junior year. He also won a swimming state championship in 2006.|