State Report: Virginia




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Since 1999, Virginia has had at least two players on our predraft Top 200 Prospects list every year, and for a few years in the early '00s it looked like the state was becoming a veritable talent hotbed. The 2009 season continues a trend in the other direction, though. No Virginia player made the cut for the top 200, and it's possible that no one will go in the first 10 rounds. If a Virginia prospect does get picked in the first 10 rounds, some scouts would immediately label it as an overdraft.

The college ranks offer some intriguing prospects with limited upside, while the high school crop might be more disappointing than it was in 2008. Most of the prep prospects will end up in college, where they could develop into good 2012 talents, but right now a team would have to dream on a player's bat or arm strength to take him high enough to buy out of college.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

None

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

1. Blake Hauser, rhp, Manchester HS, Midlothian
2. Reed Gragnani, ss, Mills Godwin HS, Richmond
3. Ethan Carter, rhp, Menchville HS, Newport News
4. Andrew Carraway, rhp, Virginia
5. Tyler Cannon, inf, Virginia
6. Steve Domecus, c/of, Virginia Tech
7. Justin Bour, 1b, George Mason
8. Jordan Flasher, rhp, George Mason
9. Kevin Landry, rhp, William & Mary
10. Travis Smink, lhp, Virginia Military Institute
11. Alex Gregory, 1b, Radford
12. Tanner Biagini, 3b, Virginia Military Institute
13. Mike Modica, lhp, George Mason
14. Chris Henderson, c, George Mason
15. R.C. Orlan, lhp, Deep Run, Glen Allen
16. Cameron Giannini, rhp, Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham
17. Brett Goodloe, rhp, St. Anne's Belfield, Charlottesville
18. Jacob Mayers, 3b, Hanover
19. Gerrard Hall, ss, Old Dominion
20. Scott Krieger, lf, George Mason
21. Whit Mayberry, rhp, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes, Alexandria
22. Dustin Umberger, rhp, Liberty
23. Errol Hollinger, c, Liberty
24. Carlos Rodriguez, c, Virginia Commonwealth
25. Rhett Ballard, rhp, Virginia Tech
26. Kyle Cichy, rhp, Virginia Tech
27. Anthony Sonoskie, c, Virginia Tech
28. Steven Bumbry, of, Virginia Tech
29. Isaac Ballou, of, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk

SCOUTING REPORTS

Nothing In The Water

Blake Hauser came on strong late in the season to earn recognition as the state's top prospect. He's a lanky 6-foot-2, 160-pound righthander from the Richmond area who has a ton of arm speed. He has sat 92-93 mph, and some scouts said he flashed a 95, but his secondary stuff needs work. Committed to Virginia Commonwealth, Hauser's fastball has good life and one scout said he could fit into the Roy Oswalt mold.

Scouts like Reed Gragnani's bat. He's a switch-hitter and has good hands at the plate, making him a line-drive hitter who shows extra-base power now. Scouts also like his makeup and polish. While he was a high school shortstop and could play there in college—he's committed to Virginia—he projects to move to second base at the pro level. Gragnani is an average runner, and it would take significant money to keep him from joining a strong Virginia club in 2010. One scout could see him following the same path as David Adams, a third-round pick of the Yankees last year out of UVa.

Coming into this year, righthander Ethan Carter was the state's top prospect and had the best shot at landing in the top 200. But a stress fracture got him off to a slow start, and his velocity was down from years past. On scouts' radar since he was 14 years old, Carter has been seen up to 90-93 mph, but he started this season 86-89 and had been sitting 88-90 more recently. He has a strong frame at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds and might be an intriguing summer follow. However, his commitment to South Carolina may be too much for teams to overcome.

Wait 'Til Next Year

The consensus opinion from scouts and coaches about the talent at Virginia colleges was, "They've got guys for 2010." The University of Virginia could be a force in next season, with plenty of young talent that led the Cavaliers to an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship and a first-ever super regional appearance this spring.

The top prospect for this year is righthander Andrew Carraway, who shut down a strong UC Irvine club to clinch Virginia's regional victory. He threw seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out three, and improved to 7-1, 4.30 on the season and may have boosted his draft stock. His arsenal isn't overwhelming, but his pitchability and command make everything play up. His fastball sits in the mid-80s and can touch the low 90s. His curveball flashes sharp break and sits in the low 70s, and he also shows a changeup and slider. He should be a quality senior sign.

Shortstop Tyler Cannon is the best draft-eligible hitter for the Cavaliers, though pro scouts like him better as a catcher or third baseman. He's a switch-hitter who was batting .349/.442/.493 going into super regionals, but scouts aren't convinced he'll hit in pro ball. If he could stick behind the plate his offense becomes less of a concern. He also has the versatility to make him a useful utilityman, and he could be helped by the lack of college hitters in this draft.

George Mason dominated the Colonial Athletic Association this year, winning the regular-season title and an at-large regional bid. Outfielder Scott Krieger (.378) and catcher Chris Henderson (.416) shared CAA player of the year honors, and along with hulking first baseman Justin Bour (.336) combined to hit 51 of the team's 81 home runs. Bour shows the ability to hit for average and power. He's a strapping 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and has drawn physical comparisons to Brett Wallace. Power will be his calling card, though he has the tools to be a good defensive first baseman. Krieger is limited to left field, but he has a major league body and has been the top power hitter in his conference for the last couple of seasons. Henderson hits for average from the left side, but he doesn't have a great body and his arm is likely short for a pro catcher.

The Patriots were really carried by pitching and defense, however, and a couple of those arms could get drafted. Lefthander Mike Modica was a workhorse and finished the regular season 11-1, 4.17, and he draws pro interest as a lefty who can spin and command a curveball. He needs to cut down his walks.

Righthander Jordan Flasher had Tommy John surgery early in the 2008 season and was still working his way back into form this spring. He pitched just 20 innings and wasn't used on back-to-back days, though he did record six saves. He had 17 strikeouts while walking 10, reflecting the rustiness of his command. Flasher's fastball was at 88-92 mph this spring, though he has been 94-95 in the past and touched 96 in the Cape Cod League in 2007. His curveball gets good reviews but could use more depth. In addition to being a Tommy John alum, Flasher is undersized at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds.

William & Mary righthander Kevin Landry was another potential top-five-round pick coming into the spring, but he hasn't reached the velocity he showed in the fall. He was 91-94 mph then but has been 87-90 this spring. Some scouts like his big, sweeping breaking ball, while others say it's no more than an average pitch. He went 4-6, 4.72 with 90 strikeouts and 30 walks in 76 innings for the Tribe this spring. He made 20 appearances but only seven of those were starts. Teams can still dream on his 6-foot-6, 210-pound frame.