State Reports: Texas




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Texas was in danger of getting shut out of the first round for the first time since 1977 until scouts saw Texas Christian closer Andrew Cashner's plus-plus fastball. It can't change the fact that it's a down year in the Lone Star State. Outside of some relievers coming out of nowhere to pitch themselves into the first couple of rounds—Texas Tech's Zach Stewart and Rice's Bryan Price join Cashner in that regard—most of the top college prospects went backward.

Beyond hard-throwing Ross Seaton, there are few high school players who have surged forward or have a price tag that matches their ability. Howard shortstop Tyler Ladendorf has emerged as the top junior college prospect in the entire draft, but scouts have been disappointed by the depth in Texas juco talent behind him.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Andrew Cashner, rhp, Texas Christian (National Rank: 24)
2. Ross Seaton, rhp, Second Baptist HS, Houston (National Rank: 28)
3. Roger Kieschnick, of, Texas Tech (National Rank: 44)
4. Zach Stewart, rhp, Texas Tech (National Rank: 46)
5. Bryan Price, rhp, Rice (National Rank: 47)
6. Robbie Grossman, of, Cypress-Fairbanks HS, Cypress (National Rank: 49)
7. Tyler Ladendorf, ss, Howard JC (National Rank: 69)
8. Jordan Danks, of, Texas (National Rank: 86)
9. Brett Marshall, rhp, Sterling HS, Baytown (National Rank: 87)
10. Austin Dicharry, rhp, Klein Collins HS, Spring (National Rank: 95)
11. Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Georgetown HS (National Rank: 124)
12. Trey Haley, rhp, Central Heights HS, Nacogdoches (National Rank: 126)
13. Adam Smith, ss, Klein HS (National Rank: 132)
14. Jordan Swagerty, rhp/c, Prestonwood Christian Academy, Plano (National Rank: 143)
15. Kyle Russell, of, Texas (National Rank: 153)
16. J.P. Ramirez, of, Canyon HS, New Braunfels (National Rank: 155)
17. Jarrod McKinney, of/ss, Hughes Springs HS (National Rank: 157)
18. Cole St. Clair, lhp, Rice (National Rank: 162)
19. Kyle Winkler, rhp/of, Kempner HS, Sugar Land (National Rank: 167)
20. Kyle Thebeau, rhp, Texas A&M (National Rank: 168)
21. Wes Musick, lhp, Houston (National Rank: 177)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

22. Adam Zornes, c, Rice
23. Kenn Kasparek, rhp, Texas
24. Beamer Weems, ss, Baylor
25. Evan Bigley, of, Dallas Baptist
26. Tyson Bagley, rhp, Dallas Baptist
27. Chris Holguin, rhp, Lubbock Christian
28. Taylor Featherston, ss, Taylor HS, Katy
29. Brett Parsons, of, Navarro JC
30. Anthony Rendon, 2b/of, Lamar HS, Houston
31. Aaron Luna, of, Rice
32. Randall Thorpe, of, Colleyville Heritage HS, Colleyville
33. Jeremy Rathjen, of, Memorial HS, Houston
34. Jared Gayhart, of/rhp, Rice
35. James Leverton, lhp, Texas Tech
36. Curtis Petersen, rhp, Ryan HS, Denton
37. Trey Watten, rhp, Abilene Christian
38. Ross Hales, lhp, Barbers Hill HS, Mont Belvieu
39. Alex Wilson, rhp, Texas A&M
40. Anthony Fazio, rhp, Monsignor Kelly Catholic HS, Beaumont
41. Kaleb Merck, rhp, Keller HS
42. Sam Stafford, lhp, Klein Collins HS, Spring
43. Bryan Bingham, rhp, Navarro JC
44. Gary Poynter, rhp, Lubbock Christian
45. Kyle Walker, lhp, Texas
46. Ben Grisz, rhp, St. Mark's School, Dallas
47. Hunter Cervenka, lhp/of, Sterling HS, Baytown
48. Chris Corrigan, rhp, San Jacinto JC
49. Bobby Stone, 1b/lhp, Montgomery HS
50. Jose Duran, ss, Texas A&M
51. Justin Coats, 2b, Texarkana JC
52. Jarred Cosart, rhp/of, Clear Creek HS, League City
53. Brad Dydalewicz, lhp, Lake Travis HS, Austin
54. Preston Clark, c/3b, Texas
55. Brett Bruening, rhp, Grayson County CC
56. Taylor Wulf, rhp, Alvin CC
57. Tim Matthews, rhp, Baylor
58. Blake Stouffer, 2b, Texas A&M
59. Matt Thompson, rhp, Grace Prep Academy, Arlington
60. Nathan Eovaldi, rhp, Alvin HS   
61. Michael Goodnight, rhp, Westside HS, Houston
62. Thomas Field, ss, Texas State
63. Steven Sultzbaugh, of, Weatherford JC
64. Jordan Meaker, rhp, Dallas Baptist
65. Pedro Villareal, rhp, Howard JC
66. Taylor Wall, lhp, Westside HS, Houston
67. Brandon Loy, ss, Rowlett HS
68. Riley Boening, lhp, Texas
69. Austin Wood, lhp, Texas
70. Matt Langwell, rhp, Rice
71. Chris Kelley, rhp, Rice
72. Owen Brolsma, rhp, Texas Tech
73. Luke Anders, 1b, Texas A&M
74. Clay Calfee, 1b, Angelo State
75. Matt Curry, 1b, Howard JC
76. Mitch Delaney, of, Western Texas CC
77. Tommy Collier, rhp, Cypress-Fairbanks HS, Cypress
78. Clayton Cook, rhp, Amarillo HS
79. Jason Gurka, lhp, Angelina JC
80. Seth Gardner, of, Highland Park HS, Dallas
81. Kris Miller, of, San Jacinto JC
82. Jared Rogers, rhp, Navarro JC
83. Walker Kelly, lhp, Arlington Heights HS, Fort Worth
84. Nino Leyja, ss, Houston Christian HS
85. Justin Walker, lhp, Lamar
86. Ryan Lormand, 2b, Houston
87. Josh Walter, rhp, Texas State
88. Randall Linebaugh, rhp, Baylor
89. Brian Ruggiano, c/of, Texas A&M
90. Jake Stewart, of, Houston
91. Dane Carter, 3b, Texas A&M
92. Vance Woodruff, rhp, Forney HS
93. Davey Wright, c/inf, Fort Worth Country Day School
94. Logan Verrett, rhp/3b, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi
95. Rashad Ford, rhp, Texas Southern
96. Jason Chowning, rhp, Texarkana JC
97. Omar Gutierrez, rhp, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
98. Colt Simon, lhp, Howard JC
99. Bobby Bell, rhp, Rice
100. Seth Garrison, rhp, Texas Christian
101. Mike Hart, rhp, Texas State
102. Kyle Colligan, of, Texas A&M
103. Casey Whitmer, rhp, Texas
104. Carson Blair, ss, Liberty Christian HS, Argyle
105. Brandon Bantz, c, Dallas Baptist
106. Cameron Monger, of, Howard JC
107. Darby Brown, of, Texas A&M
108. Jeremy Schaffer, c, Bellaire HS
109. Kevin Thomas, rhp, Stephen F. Austin State
110. Justin Fowler, rhp, Texarkana JC
111. Bryan Pounds, 1b, Houston
112. Michael Torres, 2b, Texas
113. J.P. Padron, 1b, Rice
114. Trent Lockwood, 1b, Texas-San Antonio
115. Ryan Turner, rhp, Midland JC

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Andrew Cashner, rhp, Texas Christian (National Rank: 24)
 
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.
 
2. Ross Seaton, rhp, Second Baptist HS, Houston (National Rank: 28)
 
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.
 
3. Roger Kieschnick, of, Texas Tech (National Rank: 44)
 
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.
 
4. Zach Stewart, rhp, Texas Tech (National Rank: 46)
 
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.
 
5. Bryan Price, rhp, Rice (National Rank: 47)
 
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.
 
6. Robbie Grossman, of, Cy-Fair HS, Cypress (National Rank: 49)
 
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.
 
7. Tyler Ladendorf, ss, Howard JC (National Rank: 69)
 
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.
 
8. Jordan Danks, of, Texas (National Rank: 86)
 
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.
 
9. Brett Marshall, rhp, Sterling HS, Houston (National Rank: 87)
 
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.
 
10. Austin Dicharry, rhp, Klein Collins HS, Spring (National Rank: 95)
 
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.
 
11. Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Georgetown HS (National Rank: 124)
 
After leading Rogers to the Texas state 2-A championship in 2007, Jungmann transferred to Georgetown and has pitched his new school into the 5-A regional semifinals. Jungmann is an athletic 6-foot-5, 180-pounder who also was an all-district basketball forward at Rogers. There's a lot of projection left in his frame, and scouts expect his current 88-92 mph fastball to touch 95 mph in the future. While he has a loose arm, his mechanics will need ironing out before he can develop much in the way of secondary pitches or command. Jungmann isn't likely to get picked before the third round and may not be signable outside of the first, so he could wind up attending college at Texas.
 
12. Trey Haley, rhp, Central Heights HS, Nacogdoches (National Rank: 126)
 
Earlier in the spring, Haley had a chance to be the first pitcher drafted out of Texas. He generated buzz by touching 95 mph with projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. He couldn't sustain that velocity when crosscheckers and scouting directors came in to see him, usually pitching at 91-92 mph in the first inning before sitting at 88-89 mph. He tends to overthrow, putting a lot of effort and a head jerk into his delivery when he does. He flashes a promising curveball and a changeup, but he's not consistent. He struggles to repeat his mechanics, which affects his control and command. Like many of the most promising high school pitchers in Texas this spring, Haley will be difficult to sign. It may take first-round money to lure him away from Rice, and the difference between his present and his future is too great for clubs to make that kind of investment.
 
13. Adam Smith, ss, Klein HS (National Rank: 132)
 
Smith has flown under the radar because he didn't hit the showcase circuit last summer, but as the draft approached, his tools were getting more difficult to ignore. He's a lean, athletic 6-foot-4, 195-pounder with a plus-plus arm, above-average speed and offensive potential. His bat isn't as advanced as the other aspects of his game, but there's no reason he shouldn't develop at the plate. He should grow into considerable power as he adds more strength. A quarterback for Klein's football team, Smith has good actions at shortstop despite being tall for the position, and he also shows fine instincts. Given his size, he could wind up at third base down the road. While he's committed to Texas A&M—where his father Barry, who's also the baseball coach at Klein, played for four seasons—Smith may be signable if he goes in the first five rounds.
 
14. Jordan Swagerty, rhp/c, Prestonwood Christian Academy, Plano (National Rank: 143)
 
Swagerty was the starting catcher—ahead of projected early first-rounder Kyle Skipworth—on the US. junior national team that won a bronze medal at the Pan American Junior Championships last summer. But since his velocity increased during his junior season, pro teams have regarded him more highly as a pitcher. He's still more of a thrower than a pitcher on the mound, but he eventually could have two plus pitches with his 90-92 mph fastball and his curveball. He's not big at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, so he may profile better as a reliever. As a catcher, Swagerty is more advanced defensively than he is with his bat. He has obvious arm strength, though his throwing mechanics are long. He's a switch-hitter, but his bat speed is ordinary and he needs more strength. Swagerty's signability is uncertain. Some clubs believe he'd turn pro if he goes in the first four rounds, while others think luring him away from Arizona State will be all but impossible.
 
15. Kyle Russell, of, Texas (National Rank: 153)
 
Russell topped NCAA Division I with a school-record 28 homers in 2007, yet that wasn't enough to answer questions about his bat. His poor history with wood bats and his seven-figure asking price dropped him to the Cardinals in the fourth round. When the two sides couldn't come to an agreement, he returned for an up-and-down junior season. Russell hit one homer in March and 12 in April, and scouts still aren't sure his swing and approach will work with wood. He offers power to all fields, though he has been more pull-conscious this spring. He's a decent athlete with a right-field arm, but it's his bat that will have to carry him to the majors. Russell could get drafted in the same area he did a year ago, though it's unlikely anyone will match St. Louis' reported willingness to give him an $800,000 bonus.
 
16. J.P. Ramirez, of, Canyon HS, New Braunfels (National Rank: 155)
 
Ramirez is arguably the best hitter among Texas' draft prospects this year—high school or college. He performed well all along the showcase circuit and batter .395 for the U.S. junior national team last summer. Employing a smooth lefthanded stroke, he smokes line drives from gap to gap. However, Ramirez' true value and his signability remain subjects of debate. He may be a tweener by pro standards. He's not big (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) and lacks the raw power that clubs want in a corner outfielder, while his fringy speed will prevent him form playing center field. His arm likely will relegate him to left field. Two different scouts compared him to David Dellucci. As much as Ramirez' hitting ability and his makeup draw praise, teams are unlikely to meet his top-two-rounds asking price to prevent him from attending Tulane.
 
17. Jarrod McKinney, of/ss, Hughes Springs HS (National Rank: 157)
 
The best high school athlete in Texas' draft crop this year, McKinney offers speed, arm strength and raw power. He's a 6-foot, 205-pounder capable of running a 6.5-second 60-yard dash, and his throws from the outfield have been clocked as high as 94 mph. He played running back, linebacker, kicker and punter for the Hughes Springs football team. While McKinney is strong, balls don't jump off his bat and he lacks polish as a hitter. He also hasn't faced strong competition at the Texas state 3-A level, so he'll need some time to develop at the plate. He's too stiff to remain at shortstop and right field will likely be his position, which would put more pressure on his bat. McKinney has caught in the past and a pro team may want to try him behind the plate. An Arkansas recruit, he wants third-round money to sign but may get picked in the fifth- to eighth-round range.
 
18. Cole St. Clair, lhp, Rice (National Rank: 162)
 
St. Clair outpitched teammate Phil Hughes at Foothill High in Santa Ana, Calif., in 2004, after which Hughes signed with the Yankees as a first-round pick and St. Clair headed to Rice. St. Clair figured to match Hughes' draft status entering last season, but he injured his arm lifting weights. The exact nature of the injury is up in the air. It has been reported as a shoulder strain and biceps tendinitis, while some scouts maintain it was a labrum tear. St. Clair didn't require surgery, but his stuff hasn't been the same since. While with the U.S. college national team in the summer of 2006, he featured a 91-94 mph fastball and a plus curveball. Factoring in his size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and his makings of a changeup, and some clubs projected him as a pro starter. But for much of the last two years, he has pitched at 87-88 mph and topped out at 91 with his fastball. His curveball isn't as tight as it was previously. St. Clair has continued to succeed for the Owls, thanks to his command, deceptive high leg kick and his competitiveness. The Indians failed to sign him as a seventh-rounder in 2007, and though he has completed his eligibility and his economics degree, he still may be a tougher sign than most seniors. If he regains his previous stuff, he could be a steal.
 
19. Kyle Winkler, rhp/of, Kempner HS, Sugar Land (National Rank: 167)
 
In terms of stuff and effectiveness, Winkler may be the best high school pitcher in the state of Texas. Yet he won't be the first one drafted and may not get selected at all, because he's just 5-foot-11 and 168 pounds and has told teams he plans to honor his Texas Christian commitment. Winkler doesn't have classic size or projection, but he can carve hitters up with a low-90s fastball and a hard curveball. He has a quick arm and throws without much effort. He has plenty of mound presence and has proven himself against top high school, national and international competition. He pitched the U.S. national team to the title at 2006 Pan American Youth Championships, leading the tournament with a 1.15 ERA. Last summer, he spun a no-hitter at a Perfect Game World Wood Bat tournament in Atlanta. His fastball can get straight at times and he'll occasionally battle his command, but he's polished for a high schooler and can iron out those flaws with experience. He reminds scouts of Brad Lincoln, another short righthander from the Houston area who developed into the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft following three years of college. Like Lincoln, Winkler is a standout two-way player—he's a strong-armed right fielder with a solid bat—though his future is on the mound. He'd go in the first five rounds of the draft if he were signable.
 
20. Kyle Thebeau, rhp, Texas A&M (National Rank: 168)
 
After spending two years as a swingman at Texas A&M, Thebeau has found his niche as a full-time reliever as a junior. Though he had some success as a starter, including a 13-strikeout complete-game victory against Louisiana-Lafayette in an NCAA regional championship game last June, he's better suited to work out of the bullpen in pro ball. He works primarily with a 91-94 mph fastball that touches 96 and a mid-80s slider. While his slider is an out pitch, he relies on it too much at times. He's just 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, so he generates his velocity via some effort in his delivery, which hinders his control. Thebeau projects more as a setup man than as a closer, and he's likely as good as he's going to get. But he has the arm to pitch in the seventh or eighth inning at the major league level, and he shouldn't require much time in the minors.
 
21. Wes Musick, lhp, Houston (National Rank: 177)
 
It's indicative of the talent in Texas this year that the top college starting pitching prospect has a fringe-average fastball and a medical history that includes Tommy John and knee surgeries. It's also indicative of Musick's pitchability and resolve that he has achieved that status. He developed a tender elbow shortly after arriving at Houston in the fall of 2005, but an MRI came up negative. He blew out the ACL in his knee while playing touch football in the outfield, and a subsequent examination of his elbow revealed a torn ligament there as well. Musick has been the Cougars' best pitcher since returning to the mound in 2007. His fastball parks at 86-90 mph and peaks at 91, but it features nice run and he can locate it to both sides of the plate. His best pitch is a plus changeup, and he has a solid curveball. He's not projectable at 6 feet and 185 pounds, but he's a lefthander who throws strikes and piles up innings. Though he has extra leverage as a redshirt sophomore, he's not considered an especially difficult sign.

Zornes Passes Clark As State's Top Catcher

The state's two best catching prospects are redshirt juniors. After turning down the Indians as a 24th-round pick last year, Adam Zornes will go roughly 20 rounds higher this June after becoming Rice's regular catcher for the first time. Zornes' best tools are his raw power and his solid arm. He probably won't hit for much of an average, and he needs to improve his footwork behind the plate.

Preston Clark had a chance to be a top-five-rounds pick both coming out of high school and again last year as a draft-eligible sophomore, but those projections never came to fruition. Teams deemed him unsignable in 2004, when he dropped to the Indians in the 39th round, and in 2007, when he tweaked a knee right before the draft and fell to the Cubs in the 33rd round. Now Clark is nearly 23 and facing an uncertain future after a sore shoulder has prevented him from catching much this spring. He also had arthroscopic surgery on both knees while in high school. In the past, he has shown fine catch-and-throw skills and good agility behind the plate, and catching is his strongest suit. He also has raw power, but he struggles to hit breaking balls and is a well-below-average runner.

Righthander Kenn Kasparek is another interesting fourth-year junior. Kasparek, who missed 2007 after having Tommy John surgery, started slowly this spring before no-hitting Texas State and throwing eight scoreless innings against Baylor in consecutive late-season starts. His 6-foot-10, 245-pound frame can be intimidating, but he pitches at 88-91 mph with a slurvy curveball. He consistently worked at 92-93 mph with a hard slider in the summer before his senior high school season, and scouts have been waiting to see that stuff since. The Nationals took a 34th-round flier on him a year ago.

With tremendous range, soft hands a strong arm, Beamer Weems is one of the best defensive shortstops in the draft. But he had a poor season with the bat, hitting a career-low .267/.379/.437, and scouts say he let his offensive struggles affect his defense and his attitude. He's a switch-hitter with gap power, and he may be better off hitting righthanded and focusing on getting on base. He's a slightly below-average runner, so his total offensive package probably fits toward the bottom of a pro lineup.

Dallas Baptist became the first fully independent school to qualify for the NCAA Division I baseball tournament since Cal State Northridge in 1992, and the Patriots could have three players selected in the first 10 rounds. Their best prospect is outfielder Evan Bigley, who has solid speed, pop in his bat and a strong arm. He has played third base in the past, and might fit better there than in center field as a pro. He does struggle to hit breaking balls.

Senior righthander Tyson Bagley has the most eye-catching tool at Dallas Baptist: a 93-96 mph fastball. He's also 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds. Bagley threw hard but with little control or command while at Westmont (Calif.) and Cisco (Texas) JC, and the Patriots have improved his delivery and ability to throw strikes. He still has bouts of wildness, his fastball is straight and his curveball is nothing special, so he doesn't have as much upside as his velocity might suggest.

Another Patriot, righthander Jordan Meaker, was an Astros ninth-round pick out of high school in 2005, but scouts say his delivery has a lot more effort and recoil than it did three years ago. Still, someone might buy into his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame and a fastball that has good run and sink and tops out at 93 mph. His curveball is slurvy.

Lubbock Christian went 53-4, including a 38-game winning streak, but two of its losses came in the regional playoffs and the Chapparals fell short of the NAIA World Series. Pro teams are interested in the two righthanders who took those defeats, Chris Holguin and Gary Poynter. A senior, Holguin has the better pitchability of the two, and despite being 6 feet tall, he can reach 96 mph with his fastball. His slider is a decent second pitch.

Drafted twice previously, Poynter pitched two seasons at Weatherford (Texas) JC before transferring to Arkansas last fall before coming to Lubbock Christian at the semester break. He has a better build at 6-foot-3 and 225 pound, and a 90-94 fastball. But he often has to dial back on his velocity to throw strikes, and his breaking ball lacks consistency.

Top Recruits Unlikely To Spurn TCU, Rice

Texas Christian has a strong class of recruits, most of whom seem set on attending college and are all but unsignable. Righthander Kyle Winkler is the only member of the group who made our overall Top 200 Prospects list, but shortstop Taylor Featherston and righthander Kaleb Merck should make strong contributions as freshmen. Featherston has surprising pop for a 6-foot, 175-pounder and runs well. He's a solid defender and could develop along the lines of a Brian Friday, a third-round pick last June after three years at Rice.

Like Winkler, Merck is an undersized righty (6 feet, 185 pounds) with a strong arm. He throws in the low 90s and has a plus slider at times, though he needs to repeat his delivery and his slider with more consistency. Also a gifted hitter, he won the batting championship at the 2006 Mickey Mantle World Series.

Anthony Rendon is one of the best high school hitters in the state. He led the Houston area with 14 homers as a junior and hit well over .500 this spring. Currently a shortstop, he'll probably move to second base or the outfield if he attends Rice, as expected. He has strong hands and wrists, and while he'll need to shorten his stroke a bit, he should be able to produce at the plate right away.

Fellow Rice recruit Jeremy Rathjen got a lot of exposure as a junior at Houston's Memorial High, when scouts came to see eventual Blue Jays first-round pick Kevin Ahrens. Rathjen's bat isn't as advanced as Ahrens' was, and at 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, he must get stronger. But he's athletic, a former two-way player in football for Memorial who has solid speed and arm strength. If his frame and power develop as expected, he could be a top-three-rounds pick in 2011. Because he's a good student and not ready for pro ball, he'll be difficult to sign away from the Owls.

Righthander Anthony Fazio is another talented Rice recruit who's unlikely to give up his scholarship. He stands just 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, but he achieves good sink on a high-80s fastball that touches 91 mph and has the makings of a good slider.

Navarro JC has seven sophomores who have signed with NCAA Division I programs for 2009, but its two best prospects are freshmen. Outfielder Brett Parsons is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound slugger with power to all fields. His swing can get long and his range and arm are a little shaky in the outfield, but his bat can carry him. Righthander Bryan Bingham, who pitched two innings at Dallas Baptist in 2007, is a projectable 6-foot-6, 210-pounder with an 88-91 mph fastball and a decent slider. Both may leave Navarro after one season, with Parsons set to attend Texas A&M and Bingham committed to Arkansas.

With nine homers entering NCAA regional play, Aaron Luna hasn't matched his power numbers from his first two seasons (29 total homers). That may drop him down far enough in the draft to render him unsignable away from what would be his senior year at Rice. But he did hit well with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer, and he's more athletic than his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame might indicate. A former all-state running back at a top Texas program (Carroll High in Southlake), he plays a solid left field. Luna was Rice's regular second baseman in 2007, and he profiles better at that position.

Jared Gayhart may be the best athlete on Rice, and he has served the Owls primarily as a center fielder and leadoff hitter. Though he had spent just six innings on the mound by the end of May, that was enough to draw the attention of scouts, and he may get drafted as a righthanded pitcher. Gayhart has a fastball that reaches 93 mph and a good slider, and he could get even better if he focused solely on pitching. As an outfielder, he's a blue-collar player who projects as a reserve if he were to reach the majors.

Randall Thorpe rated as the fastest player at the 2007 Area Code Games, running a 6.4-second 60-yard dash. He also has a strong arm, which makes him a standout defender in center field. But teams are unlikely to meet his asking price to keep him away from Texas A&M because they question his bat. He needs to add strength to his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame, and he struggled to hit .300 against high school pitching this spring.

James Leverton was more of a first baseman in his first two seasons at Texas Tech, not pitching at all as a freshman and working just three innings as a sophomore. He has focused almost solely on the mound this spring and will get drafted as a lefthanded reliever in the first 10 rounds. He has a strong 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, and he throws strikes with an 88-91 mph fastball and a slider that ties up lefties.

Righthander Curtis Petersen is projectable because he's 6-foot-4, 180 pounds and has a clean delivery. He usually pitches at 86-89 mph with his fastball but has touched 92 mph, and he throws his curveball and changeup for strikes. He's committed to Nebraska, and like many of Texas' best high schoolers this year, he figures to attend college.

Trey Watten played third base and pitched just one inning as a freshman, but he has won 20 games as a two-way star the last two years for Abilene Christian and will be drafted as a pitcher. An athletic, projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound righthander, he has a fastball that ranges from 88-93 mph and flashes an average slider. As a third baseman, he offers arm strength, solid defense and power potential.

Lefthander Ross Hales created a lot of interest when he showed a low-90s fastball early, but he faded later in the season and it's unlikely anyone will meet his seven-figure asking price to keep him from attending Texas A&M. On the plus side, Hales has a projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, and he has flashed above-average velocity along with the ability to spin a curveball and use a changeup. On the downside, he was pitching at 84-87 mph as the draft approach and throwing with a lot of effort, including a head jerk that scouts don't like.

Scouts Scramble To See Wilson

The biggest wild card in Texas this year is righthander Alex Wilson, who transferred to Texas A&M after starring at Winthrop for two seasons. Projected as an early pick for this year, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder blew out his elbow last summer in the Cape Cod League and hasn't pitched for the Aggies after having Tommy John surgery. In his first bullpen workout in early May, he showed that he hadn't lost any velocity by throwing 90-94 mph. Wilson, who had a hard but inconsistent slider before the injury, plans on returning to the Cape and will be monitored closely this summer by whoever drafts him.

Another pitcher with ties to Texas A&M also is coming back from elbow reconstruction. Aggies recruit Nathan Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery last May, and he rushed back to pitch his senior season at Alvin High. Eovaldi, who capped his spring with a victory in the state 5-A regional semifinals, has been back up to 92-93 mph. He hasn't been able to throw a breaking ball, however, and his hard slider was inconsistent in the path. Scouts admire his grit but balk at his price tag, so he'll probably end up in College Station.

Klein Collins High and Sterling High not only have overall Top 200 arms in Austin Dicharry and Brett Marshall, but they also have No. 2 pitchers who are solid prospects as well. Klein Collins lefthander Sam Stafford bounced back from elbow tendinitis early in the season to throw 86-87 mph with an easy arm action. He can gain velocity as he adds strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, and he throws strikes with his fastball, curveball and changeup.

Sterling lefty Hunter Cervenka throws harder than Stafford, overpowering hitters with an 89-93 mph fastball and a low-80s slider. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder also works with a lot more effort and a lot less command than Stafford, and Cervenka's reputation as a hothead turns off some scouts. His body may be maxed out already. Cervenka also is a right fielder with a lot of power potential, a strong arm and decent speed. Both Stafford and Cervenak committed to Texas, and while Stafford is considered a tough sign, Cervenka may turn pro or could take a detour to San Jacinto JC.

Righthander Ben Grisz is an accomplished wrestler, having won four Texas state titles in the 189-pound weight class and capping his career with a national championship this spring. He won all 48 of his matches as a senior and went 157-2 over his last three seasons. Grisz, who carries 210 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame when he's playing baseball, is a two-way player with more upside as a pitcher. He throws an 88-92 mph fastball and backs it up with a hard slider. Also an outfielder with power potential, he may play both ways at Duke. Many scouts didn't bother to bear down on Grisz because they didn't think they could sign him away from the Blue Devils.

Most of the veterans on the Texas staff didn't pitch up to expectations this spring. Lefthander Kyle Walker's control never has been his strong suit, and he had such problems throwing strikes this season that he got buried deep in the Longhorns bullpen. He has a low-90s fastball and a devastating curveball but he can't get them over the plate. Nevertheless, his raw stuff could get him drafted between the sixth and 10th rounds.

San Jacinto JC will have its usual half-dozen or so players drafted again this June, but the Gators won't have a high pick. Their best prospect is righthander Chris Corrigan, who had more impressive stuff as a freshman. Though he's just 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, he featured a low-90s sinker and a hard slider in 2007. This spring, he worked more at 86-88 mph, and he's likely to attend Mississippi rather than get drafted high enough to turn pro. He turned down the Blue Jays as an 18th-rounder in 2007.

San Jac also had one of the state's most dangerous juco hitters in outfielder Kris Miller, but he's 5-foot-9, 190 pounds and one-dimensional. Without a four-year college option, he'll get a look from a club that thinks his bat can carry him.

Grayson County won the Junior College World Series for the third time in 10 years. Brett Bruening didn't contribute much in Grand Junction, getting just two outs in his lone start, but he's the Vikings' best prospect. He's 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and capable of reaching 95 mph with his fastball—rare territory for a lefthander. He's still struggling with his delivery and his command, but he's also in just his second year of pitching after missing two years in high school following elbow surgery.

First baseman Bobby Stone displayed the best power at the 2007 Area Code Games, and he delivers it from the left side of the plate. He has a strong 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame and a nice swing. Stone may play both ways at Sam Houston State, as he's a lefthander with a mid-80 fastball and good mound savvy. He's more signable than most of Texas' best prep prospects.

While his older brother German was getting his first taste of the majors this spring, Jose Duran was winning Big 12 Conference player-of-the-year honors after transferring from North Central Texas JC. Like his brother, Jose is an offensive-minded middle infielder who may have to move off shortstop. He has a sound line-drive swing and gets good extension, generating gap power for a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder. His speed is average and his arm is a tick light for shortstop, so Duran likely will wind up at second base.

Duran's double-play partner, Blake Stouffer, was a fourth-round pick of the Reds in 2007, when he led NCAA Division I with 85 RBIs. Scouts saw him as a switch-hitter with gap power and solid speed, and the big knock on him was that he didn't profile well defensively at any position. After negotiations soured with Cincinnati, Stouffer came back for his senior season and proved he could handle second base well enough to play there in pro ball. But his offensive performance regressed, and he's unlikely to get the $200,000 the Reds reportedly offered him a year ago.

Justin Coats is another offensive-oriented middle infielder. After playing shortstop at Seminole State (Okla.) JC in 2007, he moved to second base at Texarkana this year. Coats made the move primarily because he had hamstring problems, but he also has stiff hands that may make him better suited for center field. He has a good approach at the plate and offers both speed and power. Coats had committed to Missouri but there were questions about whether he would qualify academically, which should enhance his signability after he turned down the Dodgers in each of the last two years. Los Angeles drafted him in the 16th round out of high school and the 30th round last year.

As an outfielder, Jarred Cosart broke Jay Buhner's Clear Creek High record for batting average this spring, hitting .506 to Buhner's .480. But pro teams are more interested in Cosart as a loose, athletic 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthander. He reached 96 mph with his fastball in the fall, but he topped out at 92 this spring. He's more of a project as a pitcher than he is as a hitter, as he has an awkward pause in the middle of his delivery that compromises his ability to throw strikes or refine his secondary pitches. He wanted top-three-rounds money to sign, which means he'll likely attend Missouri, where he'll play both ways.

Lefthander Brad Dydalewicz missed the 2007 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while playing football, but he has returned to top out at 93 mph this spring. He's just 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, so he generates his impressive velocity with a slinging, maximum-effort delivery that makes it tough for hitters to pick the ball up. His second pitch is a slurvy breaking ball and he needs a lot of polish. Though he has committed to Arizona, scouts expect him to sign.

Thomas Field also blew out his knee playing high school football. A shortstop in the mold of Adam Everett, he's a terrific defender with plus range, solid arm strength and passion for the game. He's also an above-average runner. He hit 10 homers this spring but scouts question his bat and he's going to be more of a line-drive hitter as a pro
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