State Reports: Virginia




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
After years of rising talent, featuring players like the Upton brothers, Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright, Virginia's talent has ebbed in the last couple of years. The college crop has some depth but didn't produce a premier prospect, with University of Virginia righthander Jacob Thompson ranking as the most significant disappointment this spring.

More surprising for the state as a whole, though, is the lack of a major high school prospect. After a steady stream of first-round picks over the last decade, the state might not have a single significant high school player signed this year. The state's best prep players all come with college commitments that pro teams probably won't be willing to buy them out of.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. David Adams, 2b, Virginia (National Rank: 102)
2. Jacob Thompson, rhp, Virginia (National Rank: 161)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

3. Dan Hudson, rhp, Old Dominion
4. Jared Bolden, 1b/lhp, Virgina Commonwealth
5. Daniel Marrs, rhp, James River HS, Midlothian
6. Kyle Long, lhp, St. Anne's Belfield HS, Ivy
7. Jeremy Farrell, 1b, Virginia
8. Mike Sheridan, 1b, William and Mary
9. Anthony Shawler, rhp, Old Dominion
10. Chris Jackson, 3b, Virginia Commonwealth
11. Pat McAnaney, lhp Virginia
12. Pat Kantakevich, rhp, William and Mary
13. Michael Schwimer, rhp, Virginia
14. Dexter Carter, rhp, Old Dominion
15. Mikey O'Brien, rhp, Hidden Valley HS, Roanoke
16. Steven Caseres, 1b, James Madison
17. Michael Bowman, rhp, Virginia Military Institute
18. David Burns, c, Old Dominion
19.  Greg Miclat, ss, Virginia
20. Ben Guez, of, William and Mary
21. Sean Grieve, lhp, William and Mary
22. Will Lamb, lhp, York HS, Seaford
23. Jake Rule, rhp, Virginia
24. Sean O'Brien, 1b, Virginia Tech
25. Scott Krieger, of, George Mason
26. Bryan Cipolla, 1b, Old Dominion
27. Andrew Carraway, rhp, Virginia
28. Alex Hale, rhp, Richmond
29. Cody Eppley, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth
30. Garrett Young, of, Liberty
31. Austin Stadler, of/lhp, James River HS, Midlothian
32. Evan Scott, rhp, Battlefield HS, Maymarket
33. Travis Smink, lhp, Virginia Military Institute
34. Kurt Houck, rhp, James Madison
35.  Gary Ward, lhp, Hickory HS, Chesapeake
36. Jordan Flasher, rhp, George Mason
37. Peter Verdin, rhp, Paul VI HS, Alexandria
38. Luke Erickson, lhp, St. Christopher HS, Richmond
39. Jesse Beal, rhp, South County HS, Lorton
40. Jackie Bradley, of, Prince George HS
41. Will Roberts, rhp, Maggie Walker HS, Richmond
42. Dan Bowman, of, Turner Ashby HS, Bridgewater
43. Ryan Page, lhp, Liberty
44. Alex Gregory, 1b, Radford
45. Zach Jung, rhp, Richmond Collegiate HS
46. Trey Barham, lhp, Virginia Military Institute
47. Dustin Umberger, rhp, Liberty

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. David Adams, 2b, Virginia (National Rank: 102)

Ranked as the No. 67 prospect in the 2005 draft by BA, Adams lasted until the 21st round, when the Tigers took him, because of a strong commitment to Virginia. He followed through on the commitment with the expectation that he would be the successor to Ryan Zimmerman at third base, though he has spent most of his time at second instead. After productive freshman and sophomore seasons at Virginia and in the Cape Cod League, Adams seemed to be on his way to possible first-round consideration. But he has had a disappointing junior year, batting .281—more than 100 points lower than his sophomore season. A gap-to-gap hitter with occasional power, Adams profiles as a second baseman at the pro level as well. He's an experienced hitter with an advanced approach and has a good track record of hitting with wood, though he has an unorthodox swing and scouts are unsure if it will play at the next level. In the field, Adams is fairly athletic and has the potential to be average defensively. He's also regarded as a good all-around baseball player with advanced instincts.

2. Jacob Thompson, rhp, Virginia (National Rank: 161)

Thompson built an impressive resume and the reputation as a winner in his first two seasons at Virginia. Compiling double-digit wins in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, he had won 21 of his 32 starts coming into his junior year. He also pitched for Team USA's national college squad last summer, compiling a 1.27 ERA in five starts, and started against Cuba in the gold-medal matchup at the Pan American Games. He entered the season as a projected first-round pick, but a disappointing spring caused his draft stock to plummet. Thompson never showed overwhelming stuff, but when successful he mixed his low-90s fastball, plus slider, average curveball and changeup with superior pitchability and command. Creating steep plane from his 6-foot-6 frame, he pitched down in the zone and had a .198 opponent average his sophomore year. He has struggled with his command this year, though. Due to an inability to consistently get over the rubber and pitch downhill, Thompson's fastball has been left up in the zone and his secondary pitches have been flat. A team that drafts Thompson early will do so on his track record, but if he's drafted on the basis of this year's performance, he may slip past the point of being signable.

Down Year Across The State

The University of Virginia maintained its position as the top team in the state, yet still had a disappointing season. Beyond David Adams and Jacob Thompson, the team's best prospect is first baseman Jeremy Farrell, who led the Cavaliers with 11 home runs. After injury-riddled freshman and sophomore seasons, Farrell started 60 games this year. He does not have plus bat speed but has shown the ability to hit for power. He is strong and athletic both at the plate and in the field but lacks projection. First base is his best position because he is a below-average runner with an average arm, though he might be athletic enough to play a corner outfield position. Farrell's father is Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell.

At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Greg Miclat is an undersized, switch-hitting middle infielder. Typically a plus defender at shortstop, he had arm surgery a year ago and battled a sore shoulder for most of the season. When healthy, Miclat has solid arm strength and plus range, playing with a fearless nature and good instincts. At the plate, he is a slap hitter who uses his speed to put pressure on the defense. He stole 30 bases this season for the Cavaliers.

Seniors Pat McAnaney and Michael Schwimer stepped forward this season as other players backed up. McAnaney moved into the Friday starting role and finished the year 4-5, 3.67 with 92 strikeouts in 61 innings. He is lefthanded and throws his fastball around 90 mph. McAnaney has good command and a feel for pitching, mixing his above-average changeup and slurve to keep hitters off balance. The breaking ball is his out pitch, while the changeup makes his fastball even tougher to hit. Schwimer saved 14 games in 26 appearances and finished with a 3-1, 1.72 mark. He profiles better as a set-up man at the pro level. His best two pitches are a fastball that sits between 90-93 mph and slider in the mid-80s. Schwimer also throws a split-finger pitch that acts as his changeup. He has command of all three pitches.

Old Dominion also had a disappointing year, finishing 25-27 after being ranked No. 25 by BA in the preseason, due in part to the three quality pitching prospects on its staff. Lefthander Dan Hudson was coming off an impressive sophomore year and summer in the Cape Cod League but went 5-6, 4.70 in 13 starts this spring as the Monarchs' Friday starter. His stuff remains attractive, however. Hudson is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and throws his fastball in the low 90s. He has long been a strikeout pitcher and that didn't change this season, as he struck out 107 batters in 92 innings against 33 walks. He has a long arm stroke in the back and a whipping sidearm motion through his release point, which makes for natural life on his fastball, fading away from lefthanders and in on righthanders—though it can also make his command inconsistent. Hudson also throws a slider, curveball and changeup, with the curve being his best secondary pitch.

Anthony Shawler was ODU's Saturday starter, and he also has a four-pitch arsenal. His fastball also sits between 90-92 mph but doesn't have the late life of Hudson's heater. Shawler's best secondary pitch is a slider that generates swings and misses. He also throws a split-finger fastball and changeup. Shawler compiled a 95/38 strikeout/walk ratio in 76 innings this season. Dexter Carter opened the season as the Sunday starter, but command trouble limited his work and relegated him to the bullpen. Carter was a 12th-round pick of the Rangers in 2005 coming out of high school, and his 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame and live arm still give scouts plenty to dream on. His fastball has touched 97 and he pitches around 92 mph. Carter's slider can also be a plus pitch, but like his fastball is inconsistent.

Virginia Commonwealth's Jared Bolden has consistently hit in each of his three years in college, and he led an anemic VCU attack with a .355 average and 12 home runs this season. A lefthanded first baseman, Bolden is athletic and could move to the outfield in pro-ball. Third baseman Chris Jackson is a plus defender in the infield and a gap-to-gap hitter at the plate. William and Mary's top prospect is also a lefthanded first baseman. Mike Sheridan had a tremendous season at the plate, hitting .423 with 15 home runs and 72 RBIs in 56 games, and he has an advanced approach at the plate and makes consistent contact. In 227 at-bats, he struck out just 11 times. Pat Kantakevich is the Tribe's top pitching prospect and was the team's workhorse closer, saving 10 games in 32 appearances. He pitches between 88-91 mph and is not considered a strikeout pitcher. Outfielder Ben Guez should also be given a shot in pro ball after carrying momentum from an all-star summer in the Cape last year into this season. Guez hit .390 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs this spring, including a 32-game hitting streak, though he profiles as an offensive fourth outfielder with below-average power and average speed. James Madison's Steven Caseres is also a first baseman with raw power. Caseres piles up high strikeout totals, and first base is his only defensive option.

The high school talent in the state comes mainly from the mound. Righthander Daniel Marrs is the top prep prospect from the state but is known as an arm strength guy in need of polish. He's a projectable 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and was an Aflac All-American last summer, and he pitches in the low 90s but has been seen up to 96 mph. He lacks an average secondary pitch. He throws a curveball and split-finger but both lack consistency and command. Marrs is committed to Wake Forest, where he will likely end up in the fall.

Former Oakland Raiders star Howie Long already had a prominent draft pick this year, with son Chris going second overall to the St. Louis Rams. Now younger son Kyle Long is a baseball prospect as a lefthander. He plays with a mentality similar to his father's on the football field. Long is 6-foot-8, 285 pounds and attacks hitters with a low-90s fastball that can reach 95 mph. He's raw and pitches with a max-effort delivery, and his secondary pitches are currently below-average. He's committed to Florida State.

Righthander Mikey O'Brien throws his fastball at 90 mph and shows a good feel for pitching. He has command of a solid curveball and changeup and dominated high school hitters this season. The knock on O'Brien is his size. At 5-foot-11, he'll likely end up in college, and he is committed to Winthrop.