State Report: Texas
|THIS YEAR'S CROP
||One for the books
||Solid, not spectacular
||Not up to par
||Nothing to see here
High school talent sticks out the most in Texas this year, and even the swine-flu scare that shut down the season for two weeks couldn't drive scouts away. The Lone Star State is home to two of the five elite prep arms in this draft (Matthew Purke, Shelby Miller), as well as some of the best athletes (Everett Williams, Todd Glaesmann), power hitters (Randal Grichuk) and two-way players (Slade Heathcott) in the nation. All five of those players should get drafted high enough to get paid handsomely, though signability questions could drive down the draft status of several other high school stars.
By contrast, the college crop has been disappointing. More pitchers went backward than forward, including Baylor's entire original weekend rotation of Kendal Volz, Shawn Tolleson and Craig Fritsch. Ryan Berry worked his way toward the first round before becoming the latest Rice ace to go down with a serious injury. Righthanders Victor Black (Dallas Baptist) and Alex Wilson (Texas A&M) and lefty Aaron Miller (Baylor) should still go in the first couple of rounds. There's no college hitter in Texas who will be picked nearly that high. Texas received the No. 1 overall seed in the 64-team NCAA Division I tournament, yet the young Longhorns don't have a prospect who projects to go in the first five rounds.
Howard won the Junior College World Series and finished the season 63-1 after opening the year with a juco-record 57 straight wins. The Hawks boast the state's top college position prospect in catcher Miles Hamblin. The independent American Association contributes Texas' best overall draft prospect in righthander Aaron Crow, who failed to sign after the Nationals drafted him ninth overall a year ago out of Missouri.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Aaron Crow, rhp, Fort Worth Cats (National Rank: 7)
2. Matthew Purke, lhp, Klein HS, Spring (National Rank: 10)
3. Shelby Miller, rhp, Brownwood HS (National Rank: 11)
4. Everett Williams, of, McCallum HS, Austin (National Rank: 19)
5. Victor Black, rhp, Dallas Baptist (National Rank: 50)
6. Alex Wilson, rhp, Texas A&M (National Rank: 52)
7. Todd Glaesmann, of, Midway HS, Waco (National Rank: 53)
8. Aaron Miller, lhp/of, Baylor (National Rank: 57)
9. Randal Grichuk, of, Lamar Consolidated HS, Rosenberg (National Rank: 58)
10. Slade Heathcott, of/lhp, Texas HS, Texarkana (National Rank: 72)
11. Brooks Raley, lhp/of, Texas A&M (National Rank: 82)
12. Kendal Volz, rhp, Baylor (National Rank: 92)
13. Donnie Joseph, lhp, Houston (National Rank: 108)
14. Colton Cain, lhp/1b, Waxahachie HS (National Rank: 109)
15. Ryan Berry, rhp, Rice (National Rank: 113)
16. Cohl Walla, of, Lake Travis HS, Austin (National Rank: 120)
17. John Stilson, rhp, Texarkana JC (National Rank: 127)
18. Jacob Cowan, rhp, San Jacinto JC (National Rank: 133)
19. Matt Graham, rhp, Oak Ridge HS, Conroe (National Rank: 141)
20. Hoby Milner, lhp, Paschal HS, Fort Worth (National Rank: 152)
21. Miles Hamblin, c, Howard JC (National Rank: 168)
22. Dustin Dickerson, 1b, Baylor (National Rank: 183)
23. Shaver Hansen, ss, Baylor (National Rank: 187)
24. Sam Selman, lhp, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Austin
25. Josh Elander, c, Round Rock HS
26. David Stewart, of, Grayson County CC
27. Zach Dodson, lhp, Medina Valley, Castroville, Texas
28. Josh Urban, rhp, Dripping Springs HS
30. Tommy Collier, rhp, San Jacinto JC
31. Paul Goldschmidt, 1b, Texas State
32. Nathan Karns, rhp, Texas Tech
33. Miguel Pena, lhp, LaJoya HS
33. Brodie Greene, 2b, Texas A&M
34. Brock Holt, 2b, Rice
35. Michael Ratteree, ss, Memorial HS, Houston
36. Jonathan Walsh, c, Coppell HS
37. Kendall Korbal, rhp, Blinn JC
38. Brett Bruening, rhp, Grayson County CC
39. Kyle Thebeau, rhp, Texas A&M
40. Michael Rockett, of, Texas-San Antonio
41. Keifer Nuncio, rhp, Katy HS
42. Ryan Goins, ss, Dallas Baptist
43. Austin Wood, lhp, Texas
44. Myrio Richard, of, Prairie View A&M
45. Max Muncy, inf, Keller HS
46. Dane Phillips, c, Central Heights HS, Nacogdoches
47. Brandon Belt, 1b, Texas
48. Tyler Spurlin, rhp, The Woodlands HS
49. Chad Kettler, ss, Coppell HS
50. Jordan John, lhp/1b, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi
51. Wes Musick, lhp, Houston
52. Craig Fritsch, rhp, Baylor
53. Will Stramp, of, Lubbock Christian
54. Trevor Petersen, rhp, Hallsville HS
55. Damien Magnifico, rhp, North Mesquite HS
56. Michael Johnson, rhp, Concordia
57. Nathan Long, rhp, Texas-Arlington
58. Brian Needham, rhp, Lamar
59. Jaron Shepherd, of, Navarro JC
60. Rett Varner, rhp, Texas-Arlington
61. Jake Feckley, rhp, Wylie HS
62. A.J. Ramos, rhp, Texas Tech
63. Matt Vern, 1b, Texas Christian
64. Burch Smith, rhp, Howard JC
65. Red Patterson, rhp, Texas-San Antonio
66. Diego Seastrunk, c, Rice
67. James Brandhorst, rhp, Lamar
68. Brandon Kendricks, of/lhp, Prairie View A&M
69. Tyler Herr, rhp, Katy HS
70. Steven Sultzbaugh, of, Rice
71. Jarrett Higgins, of, Bellaire HS
72. Jacob Morris, of, Coppell HS
73. Shawn Blackwell, rhp, Clear Creek HS, League City
74. Luke Anders, 1b, Texas A&M
75. Aaron Gilbreath, lhp, Colleyville Heritage HS
76. Kyle Martin, rhp, St. Michael's Catholic Academy, Austin
77. Kyle Von Tunglen, of, Kempner HS, Sugar Land
78. Josh Turley, lhp, Texas HS, Texarkana
79. Kyle Colligan, of, Texas A&M
80. Brandon Wood, of, Clements HS, Sugar Land
81. James Wooster, of, Alvin CC
82. David Carpenter, rhp, Paris JC
83. Boogie Anagnostou, rhp, Alvin CC
84. Brady Rodgers, rhp, Lamar Consolidated HS, Rosenberg
85. Ricky Testa, rhp, Lamar
86. Willie Kempf, rhp, Baylor
87. Chris Richburg, 1b, Texas Tech
88. Drew Harrison, 1b, Waxahachie HS
89. Richard Folmer, rhp, Stephen F. Austin State
90. Brandon Bantz, c, Dallas Baptist
91. Deric Hawkins, of, San Jacinto JC
92. Nick Zaleski, 1b, Sam Houston State
93. Cody Scott, rhp, Midland JC
94. Joey Leftridge, of, Howard JC
95. Russell Fant, lhp, Texas HS, Texarkana
96. Runey Davis, of, Howard JC
97. Andy Sauter, rhp, Texas-Arlington
98. Bryan Holaday, c, Texas Christian
99. Chase Dempsay, rhp/of, Houston
100. Ryan Enos, of, Dallas Baptist
101. Matt Carpenter, 3b, Texas Christian
102. Justin Meza, rhp, Moody HS
103. Josh Easley, rhp, Weatherford HS
104. Raynor Campbell, 3b, Baylor
105. Cody Rogers, of, Panola JC
106. Jamodrick McGruder, ss, Coronado HS, Lubbock
107. Ben Theriot, c, Texas State
108. Evan Bronson, lhp, Trinity
109. Kane Holbrooks, rhp, Texas State
110. Chad Stang, of, Midland JC
AARON CROW, RHP, FORT WORTH CATS
Crow, then at Missouri, was the top righthander in last year's draft, and the Nationals were thrilled to get him with the ninth overall pick. But they never found any common ground in negotiations with his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, and the signing deadline passed with Crow seeking $4 million and turning down $3.5 million. Now he hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Tigers teammate Max Scherzer, who parlayed a stay in Fort Worth into a $4.3 million big league contract with the Diamondbacks. Crow had the best fastball package in the 2008 draft, with velocity (92-96 mph), hard sink, command and the ability to maintain it into the late innings. He showed the same heater in his first two exhibition and three regular-season starts with the Cats, and flashed the plus slider that overmatched college hitters. He's still regaining the sharp command he had in 2008, when he threw 43 consecutive scoreless innings at Missouri. Crow used his downtime to get stronger and to work on his changeup. There's some effort to his delivery, and some teams wonder if his mechanics and size (generously listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds) will make him more of a closer than a frontline starter. In either case, he should go in the first 10 picks again and shouldn't require much time in the minors. He's believed to be seeking at least $4 million, yet is in the mix for the Padres at No. 3 and the Pirates at No. 4.
MATTHEW PURKE, LHP, KLEIN HS, SPRING
Purke rivals Tyler Matzek as the best lefthanded pitching prospect in this draft. He already throws a 92-95 mph fastball and could throw harder as he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He backs up his heater with a hard slider that ranks among the best in the prep draft class. He doesn't have much experience throwing a changeup because he hasn't needed one. Last summer, Purke needed just nine pitches to work a perfect inning at the Aflac All-American Game and started the gold-medal game for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Canada (albeit taking a 7-0 loss against Korea). Matzek has moved ahead of Purke for most clubs because he works with less effort. Purke throws from a low three-quarters angle that adds life and deception, but he has slinging action in his delivery. It's not violent, but it's not smooth either. Purke's stuff, track record and strong makeup combine to make him an upper-first-round talent, though teams are worried about his signability amid reports that he wants $5 million or more. If he follows through on his commitment to Texas Christian, he'd be draft-eligible again as a sophomore in 2011.
SHELBY MILLER, RHP, BROWNWOOD HS
No high school pitcher has a better fastball than Miller. At 94 mph, he tied for the highest velocity recorded at last summer's Area Code Games, and he touched 97 mph in a playoff game in late May that was attended by several scouts and Rangers president Nolan Ryan. Miller usually pitches at 92-93 mph, but his fastball has more than just velocity. It has tremendous life, it's deceptive because he has such an easy delivery and he does a good job of using his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame to throw it downhill. Miller spins a solid curve that will be a plus pitch when he commands it more consistently. He has made strides with his changeup as well. He has sound mechanics and arm action, and a blue-collar work ethic. He's a good athlete who also starred in football, making the all-state 3-A second team as a tight end and punter in the fall. He also hit a three-run homer to provide all his scoring in a 3-1 win in the state 3-A regional semifinals, striking out 16 while tossing a three-hitter. Miller is Texas A&M's top recruit, but he's expected to turn pro after going in the upper half of the first round. He's as signable as any of the five elite high school pitchers in this draft—that group also includes California's Tyler Matzek, Purke, Missouri's Jacob Turner and Georgia's Zach Wheeler—which could push Miller into the top 10.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, OF, McCALLUM HS, AUSTIN
Of all the elite high school athletes in this draft, Williams has the best bat. He has a strong 5-foot-10, 200-pound build and big, quick hands, which allow him to power balls to all fields. One area scout says he's seen Williams hit a 500-foot blast, and the lefthanded hitter finished second in the home run derby at the Aflac All-American Game last summer. He has above-average speed that plays as plus-plus on the bases because of his instincts and aggressive nature. He'll need some time to smooth out his defense in center field, but he's certainly capable of staying there. His arm is fringe-average but playable in center. The biggest knock on Williams is a tendency to play on cruise control. Scouts say he's a good kid who just need to play harder on a more consistent basis. He didn't commit to Texas until March, but if he goes in the first round as expected, he won't suit up for his hometown Longhorns. Williams also has some of the best bloodlines in his draft, as his father played in the NFL, his cousin Cedric Allen pitched in the Reds system and two of his aunts are enshrined in the national softball hall of fame.
VICTOR BLACK, RHP, DALLAS BAPTIST
Black may have cemented his status as Texas' top college prospect when he outpitched two of his main challengers, Texas A&M's Brook Raley and Alex Wilson, in front of a crowd of scouts in late April. Black allowed just one hit in the first six innings before tiring, topping out at 96 mph and sitting at 92-94. His fastball is pretty straight because he throws from a high three-quarters slot, and his control sometimes deserts him, but he has pitched in the mid-90s throughout the season. Black has improved his mechanics and command significantly from a year ago, when he struggled mightily at Dallas Baptist (1-6, 4.97) and in the Cape Cod League (0-4, 7.01). He had a good curveball as a freshman but lost it in 2008, and he now throws a slider. It has good tilt when he stays balanced over the rubber, and it was sharp against the Aggies. His changeup has been more effective this year, but it will require work in pro ball. His 6-foot-4, 204-pound frame is built for durability. The velocity and progress Black has shown this season could carry him into the end of the first round.
ALEX WILSON, RHP, TEXAS A&M
Wilson projected as a possible first-round pick before he blew out his elbow in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2007, shortly before he transferred from Winthrop to Texas A&M. He redshirted with the Aggies last spring, though he did reach 94 mph in bullpen workouts that attracted a number of scouts. The Cubs took a flier on him in the 10th round last June and followed him when he returned to the Cape in the summer. Chicago reportedly offered him $600,000 to sign but he was looking for $1.5 million. Wilson looked to be in line for that kind of bonus when he opened this season with a 91-95 mph fastball and a true slider, but his stuff slacked off later in the spring and didn't pick up when Texas A&M moved him to the bullpen. By May, his fastball had flattened out and was down to 88-91 mph and his breaking ball had become slurvy. In his final chance to impress scouts, he got pounded by Oregon State in the opening round of the NCAA Division I regionals. Wilson is mainly a two-pitch pitcher, so he projects as a reliever in pro ball. His control has been sharp (105-18 K-BB ratio in 75 innings) for a pitcher in his first season back after elbow reconstruction. He figures to be a second-round pick at this point, though he's believed to be looking for a seven-figure bonus as a 22-year-old junior.
TODD GLAESMANN, OF, MIDWAY HS, WACO
After a so-so performance on the showcase circuit last summer and surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament last fall, Glaesmann has exceeded expectations this spring. He has emerged as a potential five-tool talent and a possible second-round pick. He has a prototype 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame that should give him plenty of leverage for power, though he employs more of a line-drive approach at this point. Glaesmann has some obvious length to his swing, but he shows patience and should hit for average from the right side of the plate. He has solid speed and arm strength, with the possibility of sticking in center field and the tools to be a standout in right field should he move there down the road. A quality athlete, Glaesmann played quarterback and wide receiver in high school and played through the injury to his left (non-throwing) thumb. One area scout compared him to former Texas high school and college star Drew Stubbs, the eighth overall pick in the 2006 draft, with less athleticism but better baseball skills. Glaesmann has committed to Texas A&M.
AARON MILLER, LHP/OF, BAYLOR
Baylor was supposed to have one of college baseball's best rotations, and instead it has been the biggest disappointment. Kendal Volz, a projected early first-rounder when the season opened, has seen his stuff regress. A pair of possible second-rounders, Shawn Tolleson (elbow issues) and Craig Fritsch (command woes and a lack of mental toughness), fared even worse, and the trio combined for just eight wins this season. Though he faded down the stretch, Miller was the Bears' best pitcher for much of the spring and pitched himself into the top two rounds in the process. Though he hadn't pitched regularly since high school, Miller repeatedly showed a 91-94 mph fastball and a nasty 82-83 mph slider. His command is spotty, but the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has the athleticism to improve with more experience. Miller first emerged as a top pitching prospect when he threw 90-91 mph as a high school sophomore, but by his senior year he was more highly regarded as a right fielder in the mold of Paul O'Neill. Miller didn't want to pitch as a freshman for Baylor and made just six mound appearances in 2008. He still started in right field for the Bears when he wasn't pitching, and hit .310 while ranking second on the club with 12 homers and 47 RBIs. But it's clear now that his future will be on the mound.
RANDAL GRICHUK, OF, LAMAR CONSOLIDATED HS, ROSENBERG
Grichuk first made a name for himself as a power hitter at the 2004 Little League World Series, leading the tournament with four homers, and hasn't stopped hitting home runs since. He hit three longballs as the United States won the gold medal at the 2007 World Youth Championship in Venezuela, and he regularly went deep at prestigious events on the showcase circuit last summer. At the International Power Showcase at Tampa's Tropicana Dome in January, he led all comers with 20 total homers, including a 475-foot blast with a metal bat. Grichuk is more than just a masher, however. He doesn't have the prettiest righthanded stroke, but his strong hands and bat speed should allow him to hit for a solid average once he adjusts his pull-oriented ed approach. A 6-foot, 195-pounder, Grichuk has decent athleticism and fits best defensively as a left fielder. He's a below-average runner with a fringe arm, but his work ethic and passion for the game should make him a solid defender. He has committed to Arizona but is considered signable if he goes in the first three rounds as expected.
SLADE HEATHCOTT, OF/LHP, TEXAS HS, TEXARKANA
Heathcott is a legitimate prospect as both an outfielder and a lefthanded pitcher, but he has DHed for most of the spring. He was out until mid-March recovering from November surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, then jammed his throwing shoulder diving for a fly ball in his second game back. When healthy, he's an athletic outfielder with five-tool potential. He swings a quick bat from the left side and has strength and power in his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame. He earns plus grades for his hitting and his speed, and he has good range and above-average arm strength in the outfield. Heathcott was selected for the Aflac All-American Game last summer as a pitcher, and some clubs like him more as a lefty with an 88-92 mph fastball that touches 94 and a promising curveball. There's effort in his delivery because he approaches pitching like he does everything else: full speed ahead. Heathcott hasn't pitched this spring because of the shoulder injury, however, though Texas High was readying to return him to the mound after winning its first six playoff games. His makeup is a concern for several clubs and he missed the first playoff contest because of an academic suspension. Then Heathcott went on a salary drive, hitting three homers in the next five games and turning in a plus-plus 4.0-second time from home to first in front of heavy hitters from the Phillies and Yankees. He's committed to Louisiana State but should get drafted high enough—possibly in the first round—that he'll forego college.
BROOKS RALEY, LHP/OF, TEXAS A&M
Raley was the best two-way player in college baseball in the first half of the season before dropping off down the stretch. The consensus is that he's better on the mound, where he has command of a diverse array of pitches. He works mainly with an 87-90 mph sinker, a slider and a changeup, and he also has a four-seam fastball that peaks at 93 mph and a curveball. Scouts respect his ability to compete and to command all of his offering, but he doesn't have a true out pitch, which will leave him with little margin for error in pro ball. Though Raley has a clean delivery, they also wonder how well he'll hold up at a wiry 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds. He also has potential as a lefthanded-hitting outfielder, though a second-half slump has led to some questions about his bat. He does offer plus-plus speed, a good eye and gap power as a hitter, as well as above-average range and arm strength. Raley plays the outfield corners for Texas A&M, in part to reduce the physical burden of playing both ways, but definitely is capable of playing center field as a pro. A sophomore-eligible, he could be a second- or third-round pick. But he's spooking clubs by not giving them any inkling as to his asking price, so he could last much longer in the draft than his talent would dictate.
KENDAL VOLZ, RHP, BAYLOR
Expectations were high for Volz after he showed a 92-95 mph fastball and a low-80s slider with late break as Team USA's closer last summer. He didn't allow an earned run in 14 innings, saved the gold-medal game at the FISU World Championships in the Czech Republic and looked like a possible top-10 pick for 2009. But his stuff had gone backwards so much by May that he might not even go in the first three rounds. His fastball parked in the high 80s and flattened out, and his slider no longer was a weapon. His delivery looked different, containing some ugly recoil, and his command got worse as well. After he dropped his last three starts, Baylor used him out of the bullpen in the postseason. Volz has flashed an effective changeup and has a 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame built for a workhorse role, so he has the ingredients to be a starter at the next level—provided his previous fastball, slider and command return. If not, he looked well suited for a late-inning role last summer. But outside of his time with Team USA, he has been hit harder than someone with his stuff should.
DONNIE JOSEPH, LHP, HOUSTON
Joseph had little success in his first two years at Houston, bouncing between roles while battling his control and command. He finally harnessed his arm strength this spring, posting a 2.16 ERA, 11 saves and 75 strikeouts in 50 innings. The athletic 6-foot-3, 185-pounder now works consistently with a lively 90-93 mph fastball after often having to dial it down to 87-90 to find the plate in the past. He also has come up with a reliable breaking ball, a hard slider that gives him two legitimate weapons for pro ball. Joseph still doesn't have a trustworthy offspeed pitch and his control still isn't sterling, so he profiles to remain a reliever at the next level. He has enough stuff to be much more than a lefty specialist, and he should go somewhere between the third and fifth rounds.
COLTON CAIN, LHP/1B, WAXAHACHIE HS
On the right day, Cain can look like a first-rounder. He's a strong 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefthander who has can sit in the low 90s for a few innings and touch 94 mph with his fastball. He has improved his curveball to the point where some area scouts grades it as an average pitch and project it as a plus offering. He also has a strong track record, having starred with the U.S. youth and junior teams the previous two summers. Scouts who aren't as high on Cain have seen him overthrow trying to pitch to the radar gun, and didn't think as highly of his breaking ball or arm action. If Cain attends Texas, he may get more of an opportunity to contribute initially in the lineup than on a crowded pitching staff. He's a first baseman with plenty of strength and lefthanded power potential. He made more of an impression at the Area Code Games last summer with his bat, though scouts now prefer him more as a pitcher. They have some questions about his ability with wood bats and his defense. Cain reportedly wants a seven-figure bonus, which may be a bit rich for pro clubs.
RYAN BERRY, RHP, RICE
Berry doesn't have Stephen Strasburg's stuff, but he was the second-best pitcher in college baseball before he got hurt in mid-March. In consecutive complete-game wins over Texas A&M, Notre Dame and San Diego, he allowed just five hits, an unearned run and no walks while striking out 28. Then he strained a muscle beneath his pitching shoulder in his next start, which sidelined him for five weeks. The Owls eased him back slowly into the rotation and he looked like his early-season self in the Conference USA tournament, firing a two-hitter against Alabama-Birmingham. Two days later, he pitched the ninth inning to save the championship game. In the NCAA Division I regionals, he threw 126 pitches in a loss to Kansas State's A.J. Morris—his teammate at Humble (Texas) High—and pitched the final two innings of the clincher against the Wildcats on one day's rest. Berry's lone plus pitch is his knuckle-curve, yet he took a step forward this spring when he stopped relying on it so much. He has done a better job of throwing his 88-91 mph fastball to both sides of the plate to set up his curve, and he also mixes in a slider and changeup. His fastball has good life and touches 93 at times. He's not physical at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, but he does a good job of repeating his delivery and throwing strikes. His mechanics bother some scouts, as he lands stiff and upright, putting stress on his arm. While Berry's resurgence has him moving back up draft boards, it remains to be seen whether a club will take him high enough (top two rounds) to sign him. Before he was sidelined, teams already were leery of the health of Rice pitchers. Six of the eight Owls pitchers drafted in the first or supplemental first round this decade (Kenny Baugh, Jon Skaggs, Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend, Joe Savery) have had elbow or shoulder surgery in college or early in their pro careers.
COHL WALLA, OF, LAKE TRAVIS HS, AUSTIN
Walla earned all-state honors at wide receiver as Lake Travis won the Texas 4-A state football title in the fall of 2007, catching 68 passes for 1,072 yards and 13 touchdowns. He hasn't played football since, skipping his senior season on the gridiron to focus on baseball. That decision should prove to be wise, though questionable signability could drop him out of the early rounds this June and make him more of a prime draft prospect for 2012. Walla is an extremely athletic 6-foot-4, 170-pounder with the room to add plenty of muscle. He's wiry strong and shows raw power with an easy righthanded swing, but he hasn't hit as well as a senior as he did as a junior. Walla has above-average speed and plays a solid center field. He even offers arm strength, as he has shown an 88-91 mph fastball and flashed a hammer curveball on the mound. He's more of a thrower than a pitcher, however, and scouts prefer him as a position player. Walla verbally committed to Texas Christian before changing his mind and opting for Texas. He may not be signable outside of the first two rounds, but his talent fits more in the fourth- to sixth-round area for now.
JOHN STILSON, RHP, TEXARKANA JC
Stilson has emerged as the top juco prospect in Texas this spring despite not showing enough to warrant making area scouts' follow lists last fall. A three-sport star at Texas High in Texarkana, he hurt his shoulder in his senior football season and it continued to bother him until he had surgery in July 2008. He wasn't 100 percent during fall practice while trying to work his way into Texarkana JC's plans as a middle infielder and pitcher. His future definitely is on the mound, as he has gone from topping out at 88 mph last fall to pitching at 88-90 mph early this spring to repeatedly topping out at 95 mph down the stretch. Though the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder is athletic—he shows good actions and has some pop as a shortstop—there's also a lot of effort in his delivery. He'll need to smooth out his mechanics to improve his command and the consistency of his hard breaking ball, which is a true, hard slider at times. Stilson doesn't have much of a changeup either, but he's also just in his formative stages as a pitcher. He projects as a fourth- to seventh-rounder, though he may not be signable at the low end of that range. He'll return to Texarkana for his sophomore season if he doesn't turn pro.
JACOB COWAN, RHP, SAN JACINTO JC
Despite a bout with elbow tendinitis that sidelined him for four weeks and cost him some sharpness on his pitches, Cowan has been plenty effective. He threw a complete-game one-hitter against Panola (Texas) JC in the regional playoffs, helping San Jacinto reach the Junior College World Series for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, then fanned 13 to beat Santa Fe (Fla.) JC as the Gators finished third in the nation. A 14th-round pick out of a Georgia high school by the Red Sox in 2007, Cowan spent 2008 at Virginia before transferring to San Jac. He worked with a low-90s fastball, but his arm problems have left him with a high-80s heater for much of the spring. An MRI revealed no structural damage, and Cowan should regain velocity once he fully recovers. There's also room for projection on his 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame. Cowan doesn't need to overpower hitters because the late boring action on his fastball makes it tough to square up, and he mixes four offerings. His slider is a low-80s strikeout pitch at its best, and he does a nice job of maintaining his arm speed when he throws his changeup, which has good fade and sink. His curveball is his fourth-best pitch, and it has some lost some velocity and tilt this spring, but it's still an effective offering. He has a clean delivery, so when he's 100 percent he can throw all four pitches for strikes. He also draws praise for his ability to compete without his best stuff. Cowan looked like a potential second-rounder in the fall. Though he's now more of a fourth- to sixth-rounder and has committed to Texas, he's still considered signable.
MATT GRAHAM, RHP, OAK RIDGE HS, CONROE
Texas area scouts still haven't figured Graham out. He excited them when he emerged as a potential first-rounder in the summer and fall before his junior season, but he has had a Jekyll-and-Hyde ride since. His velocity plunged to the mid-80s at the start of last summer, though it had crept up to the low 90s by the end of the showcase circuit. This spring, Graham has had outings where his fastball has sat at 86-88 mph and others where it has parked at 90-93 mph. He'll mix a power curveball with some ineffective breaking balls, and he's show the makings of an effective changeup but doesn't use it often enough. Graham has an athletic 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame but he throws with a herky-jerky delivery that contains a lot of effort. He needs to clean up and repeat his mechanics, and to improve control that's as inconsistent as his stuff. Graham has committed to North Carolina but may be signable if drafted in the first five rounds.
HOBY MILNER, LHP, PASCHAL HS, FORT WORTH
Milner's father Brian is the only high school position player in the draft era who began his pro career in the major leagues. Brian fell to the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 1978 draft because he had a scholarship to play baseball and football at Arizona State, but signed for a then-club record $150,000. He went for 4-for-9 in two big league games before heading to the minors, where injuries destroyed his career. Milner looks like the son of a former big leaguer, as he has clean, repeatable mechanics that allow him to command his pitches with ease. He throws a consistent 87-90 mph fastball with little effort, and it's easy to envision him adding velocity as he packs more strength on his skinny 6-foot-2, 155-pound frame. Milner's second pitch is a quality curveball, though he sometimes gets under it. With his aptitude, he should be able to develop a reliable changeup. The biggest caveat scouts have with Milner is that he got knocked around on the showcase circuit last summer and hasn't dominated lesser competition in high school. Unlike his father, he probably won't sign out of high school because his mother is adamant that he follow through on a University of Texas scholarship. Milner's talent could fit him as high as the third or fourth round, but it may take a seven-figure bonus to sign him.
MILES HAMBLIN, C, HOWARD JC
Hamblin is the best prospect on a Howard team that set a national junior college record by winning its first 57 games of the season and finished at 63-1. He led the Hawks with nine RBIs at the Junior College World Series, where they swept all five of their games. Hamblin was a righthander/third baseman when he joined Howard in the fall of 2007, and though he could touch 93 mph on the mound, his fastball was straight. The Hawks converted him to catcher and he has made significant progress in a short time. He has plus arm strength and good accuracy on his throws, and he has become competent at receiving pitches and blocking balls in the dirt. Though he shared time with Monk Kreder behind the plate, scouts consider Hamblin a far superior catcher. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder also has made tremendous strides as a hitter. He arrived at Howard as a dead-pull hitter, and coaches had him focus on using the opposite field. He had an inside-out swing at the start of 2009 but was driving balls with power to both gaps as the draft approached. As a bonus, he bats lefthanded. He'll have to adapt to quality offspeed pitches and may have to spread out his stance more at higher levels. A former high school quarterback, Hamblin has good speed and athleticism for a catcher. If he doesn't turn pro, he'll attend Mississippi next season. His older brother Danny signed with the Athletics as a 10th-round pick in 2007.
DUSTIN DICKERSON, 1B, BAYLOR
Dickerson projected as a possible second-round pick coming out of high school in 2006, but signability concerns dropped him to the Nationals in the 15th round. Scouts loved his sweet lefthanded swing but didn't like the adjustments he made at Baylor, as he spread out his stance and became more of an opposite-field hitter. He batted just .303 with seven homers in his first two seasons. Dickerson started pulling more pitches again this year, maximizing the strength in his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. He led the Bears with a .377 average, fashioned a 24-game hitting streak and hit 10 homers. He has a patient approach at the plate and makes consistent contact. Though he's reasonably athletic and runs well for his size, most of Dickerson's value lies in his bat. A high school third baseman, he moved to first base at Baylor and is only an adequate defender. His offensive potential could get him drafted as high as the third round.
SHAVER HANSEN, SS, BAYLOR
Texas colleges are rife with professional second-base prospects, either players who currently man the position (Texas A&M's Brodie Greene, Rice's Brock Holt) or who figure to move there from shortstop (Hansen, Dallas Baptist's Ryan Goins). Hansen is the best of the group because he has the most polished bat. After hitting nine homers in his first two seasons, he exploded for 17 this season, a school record for shortstops. He takes a big swing and has sacrificed some strike-zone discipline for power. He did hit a solid .273 with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. A 6-foot, 185-pound switch-hitter, he gets good leverage in his swing from both sides of the plate. Hansen is a below-average runner with a fringy arm, which is why he'll move off shortstop once he turns pro. His instincts make him an effective baserunner and defender. He profiles as an offensive second baseman or utilityman, and he has shown his versatility by starting for the Bears at second base as a freshman and third base as a sophomore.
Selman Intrigues Scouts With Velocity
No player in Texas has shot up draft boards as much as lefthander Sam Selman
, who wasn't known to most scouts or recruiters last summer. Despite being extremely skinny at 6-foot-3 and 160 pounds, he drew attention by reaching 94 mph this spring. He's raw, and his fastball would drop to as low as 84 and sat at 86-91 mph by the end of the season. He has a loose arm and projectable frame, but the rest of his game is a work in progress. He has inconsistent feel for a slow curveball and little command. He's also a private-school kid from a wealthy family who has committed to Vanderbilt, so Selman is going to be difficult to sign. If the Commodores can refine him, he could be an early pick in the 2012 draft.
is more athletic than most catchers, and he showed off his all-around skills by winning the 14-year-old division of MLB's Pitch, Hit & Run competition in 2005. He also starred at wide receiver and defensive back for Round Rock High's football team. Though he has arm strength and works hard, he may have to move from behind the plate because he throws from a low arm slot and is inconsistent as a receiver. The 6-foot, 190-pound righthanded hitter may have the tools and the bat to move to the outfield, though he is still growing into his power. He did give a taste of his potential by leading all players with eight homers in the first round of the home run derby at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field last August, including a blast that made it to Waveland Avenue. He has average speed. Elander has committed to Texas Christian and may not be signable outside of the first two rounds.
Outfielder David Stewart
was the best position prospect in Missouri when he came out of high school in 2007, then couldn't crack Nebraska's lineup as a freshman and transferred to Grayson County CC. His best tool is his lefthanded power, as he uses the strength and leverage in his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame to drive balls. He's a good athlete for his size and has thrown 90 mph off the mound, but he could wind up at first base down the road.
Baylor's top recruit, lefthander Zach Dodson
, likely will make it to school because he has a seven-figure asking price. He has been inconsistent this spring, but when he has his mechanics in sync he can hit 91-92 mph with his fastball and demonstrates a solid curveball and the makings of a change. He's not big at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, so he generates velocity with some effort in his high three-quarters delivery. He's also a good athlete whose lefty bat also could help the Bears, and they should be able to smooth him out.
attracted a lot of scouts after he threw 91-93 mph in an early scrimmage, but he sat more at 86-89 mph for much of the spring. Still, he's a projectable 6-foot-4, 215-pounder who throws strikes. He needs to tighten and add more velocity to his curveball and develop his changeup, but it's not hard to envision him becoming a premium draft pick after three years at Texas.
Righthander Tommy Collier
pitched Cypress-Fairbanks High to the state 5-A title in 2007, when he was also the 5-A player of the year. The Brewers thought they could sign him for $75,000 after taking him in the 29th round last June, but he opted to attend San Jacinto JC instead. Collier was the leading winner on the Gators this spring, going 12-1, 2.81 with 115 strikeouts in 83 innings. He capped his season with a 13-strikeout win over Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) in the opening round of the Junior College World Series. Collier pitched at 86-91 mph with his two-seam fastball for most of the spring, keeping the ball down in the zone with good sink. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder showed move velocity and touched 94 in the fall. His hard slider is his out pitch and he also throws a curveball, but he relies on his breaking stuff too often. Collier has committed to Texas for his sophomore season, but the Longhorns are loaded with pitchers and scouts wouldn't be surprised if Collier returned to San Jacinto if he doesn't turn pro.
became the first player to repeat as Southland Conference hitter of the year since future big leaguer Ben Broussard in 1998-99. Goldschmidt, who also won the SLC's player of the year award, led NCAA Division I with 87 RBIs entering super-regional play and bashed 18 homers this spring, giving him a school-record 36 for his career. He has big righthanded power and good plate discipline for a slugger. Though he's a good athlete for a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder, his lack of range limits him to first base, so his bat will have to carry him. Part of a national championship team at The Woodlands (Texas) High in 2006, Goldschmidt went in the 49th round of that draft to the Dodgers.
Righthander Nathan Karns
positioned himself to go in the first three rounds after flashing a 95-96 mph fastball and a plus curveball in the Cape Cod League last summer. After an inconsistent spring, he may go closer to the 10th round, where the Astros drafted him out of high school in 2006. "He looks like Roger Clemens in the bullpen," one scout said, "but he gets whacked." Karns has a strong 6-foot-3, 223-pound frame and showed a 91-94 mph fastball and hard curve in his second season at Texas Tech after transferring from North Carolina State. He's still figuring out how to pitch, as he has trouble throwing strikes and locating his pitches when he can find the zone. Scouts don't love his delivery and question his mental toughness.
appeals to scouts because he's a three-pitch lefty who's projectable and signable. He has a lot of room to add strength to his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame, and he uses a loose, easy delivery to throw an 86-88 mph fastball with good life. He also spins a curveball better and has more feel for a changeup than most high school pitchers. He has committed to San Jacinto JC.
showed his toughness when he missed just a week of action after getting beaned in mid-March, despite needing 10 stitches and multiple root canals to save several of his teeth. He batted .257 before getting hurt, then .384 the rest of the way. A converted outfielder, Greene may have the best all-around tools of the state's college second-base prospects. A 6-foot-1, 195-pound switch-hitter with plus speed, he'll have to learn to draw more walks and better cope with breaking pitches to bat atop a pro lineup. His range and arm are solid for second base.
A shortstop at Navarro (Texas) JC, Brock Holt
moved to second base after transferring to Rice in deference to Rick Hague, a top 2010 draft prospect. He made a seamless transition to his new position and to batting leadoff for the Owls, hitting for average, controlling the strike zone and offering gap power from the left side of the plate. He's an average runner with the instincts to steal a few bases. A 5-foot-10, 170-pound scrapper, Holt has enough arm and range to tempt a pro team into giving him another shot at shortstop.
was his 6-A football district's defensive player of the year as a safety, but he'll focus on baseball if he attends Rice as expected. A 6-foot-1, 190-pound shortstop, he's an athlete with righthanded pop. Holt's possible successor, he faces the same move to second base to play alongside Hague. The outfield is another possibility if Holt doesn't turn pro. Ratteree has solid speed and arm strength. As with most Rice recruits, he'll be a tough sign.
Coppell Stars Disappoint
Coppell High ranked No. 5 in Baseball America's preseason Top 50, but the team and its top prospects—catcher Jonathan Walsh
, shortstop Chad Kettler
and outfielder Jacob Morris
—underachieved this spring. Walsh continued to show power from both sides of the plate, but he struggled with his throwing and receiving. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has enough athleticism to move to another position and may have to do if he attends Texas, which already has an offensive-minded catcher in Cameron Rupp. Kettler has the fewest tools among Coppell's stars but gets the most out of them. He's a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder with pop from both sides of the plate, and his lack of speed will dictate a position change. His hands and arm strength lead some scouts to believe he could make a nice catching prospect. Morris has the best tools but has a reputation for doing more in showcases than games. A 6-foot-3, 196-pounder with five-tool potential, he's also a switch-hitter who struggles against quality pitching. All three may wind up in college, with Kettler committed to Oklahoma and Morris ticketed for Arizona State.
Along with San Jacinto's Jacob Cowan, righthanders Kendall Korbal
and Brett Bruening
entered the year as the state's best juco prospects. While Cowan maintained his status despite losing some velocity, Korbal and Bruening couldn't live up to expectations. After transferring from Arkansas, Korbal touched 94 mph and showed a hard slider in fall ball. While he worked in the low 90s at times and threw strikes this spring, he didn't always maintain his velocity and was erratic with his command. The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder also stopped throwing his slider because it bothered his elbow, which didn't quiet questions about his motivation and drive. He went with a curveball that didn't impress scouts, who believe that his desire for top-three-rounds money means he'll wind up at Texas Christian next year.
Grayson County coach Dusty Hart says Bruening has more sheer arm strength than Jordan Walden, a former Viking who signed with the Angels for $1 million. A bit player on Grayson County's 2008 Junior College World Series championship club, he looked primed to contribute more as a sophomore after reaching 95 mph in fall practice. He flashed that velocity and even touched 96 this spring, but he has to dial his fastball down to 88-92 mph to throw strikes. His size (6-foot-6, 215 pounds) works against him because he has a hard time maintaining good balance and repeating his mechanics. He's still figuring out his delivery and command after missing two years in high school following elbow surgery. He also will have to develop reliable secondary pitches, as his curveball and changeup are mediocre. Pro clubs can't help but notice his fastball, but they may let Bruening spend a season at Louisiana State before investing heavily in him.
Righthander Kyle Thebeau
helped his cause by throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Wright State in an elimination game in the regionals—but scouts aren't convinced he wants to play pro ball. He turned down $80,000 from the Padres as a ninth-round pick in 2008, and Texas A&M's male scholar-athlete of the year may decide to pursue a career in petroleum engineering. He opened the spring by pitching at 88-92 mph and boosted his fastball to 92-95 mph by season's end. His mid-80s slider is his best pitch, though he throws it too much. He's not big at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, but has a resilient arm and set an Aggies record with 103 career appearances.
uncle Pat was the 10th overall pick in the 1973 draft. While Michael won't go that high, he'll be a decent pick after setting several career records at Texas-San Antonio and in the Southland Conference. He has an atypical set-up, starting with his feet close together and his hands near his hips, but he gets into hitting position and takes a healthy cut. Rockett has good bat speed, makes consistent contact and produces line-drive power from the right side. A 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, he may have enough speed to play center field as a pro and does have enough arm to play in right.
If righthander Keifer Nuncio
were a little bigger and a lot more signable, he could go in the first five rounds. He has an 88-91 mph fastball, a solid curveball and feel for a changeup, and scouts praise his bulldog nature as much as his stuff. He's listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds (which may be generous) and uses a drop-and-drive delivery, so he doesn't get much downward plane on his pitches. Committed to Texas, he may want first-round money to sign.
smashed 22 homers for Dallas Baptist this spring, but his best tool is actually his plus-plus arm. A lefthanded hitter, he projects to have more gap power than home run pop with wood bats. The 5-foot-11, 183-pounder draws a lot of walks and should be able to hit in pro ball. His well-below-average speed will force him to move from shortstop to second base, where his arm strength will be less of an asset.
Wood Turns In Legendary Performance
No college has more pitching heroes than Texas, and lefthander Austin Wood
joined that list with his performance in the NCAA regionals. Wood entered a game against Boston College in the seventh inning and worked 12 1/3 innings before allowing a hit. All told, he pitched shutout ball for 13 innings, striking out 14 but receiving no-decision as the Longhorns won in 25 innings—the longest game in NCAA history. Wood threw 169 pitches, including 120 for strikes—no surprise because throwing strikes is his forte. Texas dropped Wood's arm angle from high three-quarters to nearly sidearm last year, and he has seen his fastball improve from 86-88 mph to 89-91 mph while maintaining good run this spring. He also throws a quality changeup, though he never has been able to master a consistent breaking ball. A senior who's the only draft-eligible arm who sees much action on the Longhorns staff, Wood could go between the seventh and 10th rounds and will continue to relieve in pro ball.
Though Texas won the Big 12 regular-season and conference championships and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA baseball tournament, it has a young team with few enticing 2009 draft prospects. Besides Wood, the only other Longhorn with a chance to go in the first 10 rounds is first baseman Brandon Belt
. He led Texas with a .338 average and eight homers heading into the super-regionals, though scouts don't love his set-up. He bats out of a deep crouch and cuts himself off, reducing his power. A disciplined lefthanded hitter with the size (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) to drive the ball, he led Cape Cod League champion Harwich with five homers last summer. He uses more of an opposite-field approach and doesn't turn on pitches consistently. He's a good defensive first baseman with average speed. Belt has been drafted twice previously, in the 11th round out of high school by the Red Sox in 2006 (as a lefthanded pitcher) and in the same round out of San Jacinto JC by the Braves in 2007.
Outfielder Myrio Richard
is an impressive 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete who won player-of-the-year honors in both the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Texas Collegiate League last year. He didn't perform as well this spring, as his righthanded swing got longer and he rarely altered his dead-pull approach. He has plus speed, power potential and arm strength, but he needs polish in all aspects of the game. He should be able to remain in center field at the next level, though he often has to rely on his quickness to overcome bad routes on fly balls.
and Dane Phillips
are gifted hitters who would be more attractive to pro clubs if scouts believed they could catch. Muncy, who's 6 feet and 185 pounds, has a lefty line-drive stroke and arguably the best bat among Dallas-area high schoolers. He didn't look good behind the plate in a trial with his summer team, so it would take a lot of projection to believe in him as a catcher. An infielder in high school, he has some arm strength and will play second base, third base or the outfield if he attends Baylor.
Scouts give Phillips high marks for his lefthanded bat, athleticism and work ethic, but they're still skeptical that he can catch. He has enough arm strength but has struggled to handle quality arms such as former high school teammate Trey Haley (an Indians second-round pick in 2008) and select squad teammate Matthew Purke (a projected first-rounder this June). Six-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Phillips has solid speed and could move to the outfield if catching doesn't work out. He has committed to Oklahoma State and is believed to want first- or sandwich-round money to sign.
hit four homers in a 5-A playoff game against Klein Oak, but his future is on the mound. He's a projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander with athleticism and an 88-91 mph fastball that touches 93. He has played around with a variety of secondary pitches, going from a curveball and a cutter to a hard slurve for which he shows decent feel. From a scouting standpoint, the biggest drawbacks with Spurlin are a hitch in which he cups the ball in the back of his delivery, and his commitment to Rice. If he attends college, he'll pitch and play the outfield for the Owls.
Lefthander Jordan John
doesn't light up radar guns yet, but few Texas high school pitchers can match his track record of winning. John went 11-1 and pitched Calallen High to the state 4-A championship as a junior, and he carried a 13-0 record (including eight shutouts and two no-hitters) into the regional finals this spring. John has a lively 85-87 mph fastball and should add velocity as he fills out his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame. He shows some feel for both a curveball and slider, and his breaking pitches would benefit if he adds strength. His athleticism and clean delivery bode well for his future. John has signed with Oklahoma.
Baseball America rated lefthander Wes Musick
the state's top college starting pitching prospect a year ago, but he declined to sign as a draft-eligible sophomore after the Giants selected him in the 24th round. He has shown the same fastball velocity (86-91 mph) he had in 2008 but otherwise has regressed. He hasn't commanded his fastball as well, his changeup and curveball have been less effective, and his delivery hasn't looked as smooth. The 6-foot, 190-pound Musick went just 5-7, 5.97 as a 22-year-old junior, and his medical history may work against him as well. He developed a tender elbow shortly after arriving at Houston in the fall of 1995, then tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing touch football in the outfield. A subsequent exam revealed a torn ligament in his elbow as well, and he had a knee operation and Tommy John surgery.
An all-star summer in the Cape Cod League positioned righthander Craig Fritsch
as a top-three-rounds pick in 2009 as a draft-eligible sophomore. But he quickly pitched himself out of Baylor's rotation this spring, casting his draft status in doubt. When Fritsch is on, he has a 91-92 mph fastball that touches 95 and a good slider and can locate both pitches. He has the potential to add velocity as he adds strength to his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. At the same time, he's maddeningly inconsistent and scouts question his mental toughness. He pitched much better for the Bears as a reliever, where his fringe changeup and command weren't as much of a drawback. His disappointing year and extra leverage won't help him in the draft, which could mean that he'll return to Baylor for 2010.
Outfielder Will Stramp
won MVP honors at the NAIA World Series after leading Lubbock Christian to its second-ever championship. A 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior, he batted .498 with 27 homers and 99 RBIs, leading the NAIA in hitting, hits (115) and total bases (225). The righthanded hitter, who spent his first two college seasons at Dallas Baptist, has plus speed and decent tools across the board. He's capable of playing all three outfield positions.
Righthander Trevor Petersen
has size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and arm strength (his fastball sits at 88-90 mph and touches 94) on his side. He slings the ball from a low arm angle that makes it difficult to stay on top of his slurvy slider and will need a lot of work, but the raw material is there. He's considered signable despite a commitment to Louisiana Tech.
Another raw righthander drawing interest is Damien Magnifico
, who has touched 94-95 mph. Though he's just 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he generates his velocity mostly with a quick arm rather than effort. Magnifico's fastball is fairly straight, and his curveball and command are quite raw, so he's still a work in progress. Though he hasn't committed to a four-year school and is ticketed for Howard JC, he'll be unsignable if reports that he wants a seven-figure bonus are true.
Missing In Action
Several players who otherwise would have cracked our Texas rankings were left off because of physical questions:
Elbow problems have marred Baylor righthander Shawn Tolleson
's first two forays into the draft, ruining his chance to be a first-rounder both times. He had Tommy John surgery as a high school senior in 2006, which led to him redshirting his first year in college. This spring, the Bears shut him down twice when his elbow bothered him again, though an MRI came back clean. Tolleson showed a low-90s fastball and a hard slider while leading the Cape Cod League with 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings last summer, but his stuff was down as he won just one game in 2009. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder throws across his body, which leads to further health concerns. His extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore and $500,000 asking price make it likely he'll return to Baylor unless he stays healthy and pitches well this summer.
Despite pitching with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, Rice righthander Mike Ojala
won games in the Conference USA tournament and the NCAA Division I regionals. He'll eventually need Tommy John surgery but decided to keep pitching until he couldn't any longer. Before he got hurt, Ojala had a chance to go in the fourth or fifth round. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder had an 88-92 mph fastball, a hard curveball and good changeup. His elbow also bothered him last summer, when he helped the Santa Barbara Foresters win the NBC World Series.
Texas' Preston Clark
ranked as one of the top catchers available in 2007 but hurt a knee right before the draft and dropped to the Cubs in the 33rd round as a draft-eligible sophomore. He also had arthroscopic surgery on both knees while in high school, when the Indians drafted him in the 39th round. No team selected him in 2008 and he may not get picked as a 23-year-old senior this June. Clark used to have fine catch-and-throw skills but has lost arm strength and agility. He's now primarily a first baseman/DH and his bat doesn't profile well enough in that role. Five-foot-11 and 215 pounds, he has righthanded power but doesn't hit for average because he's aggressive and struggles versus breaking pitches. He's a well-below-average runner.
After pitching in the mid-80s last summer, Houston Christian HS lefthander Cameron Coffey
popped some 94s and consistently pitched in the low 90s this spring. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Duke recruit's stock was rising until he blew out his elbow and required Tommy John surgery in March.
Rockwall-Heath HS righthander Drew VerHagen
played first base but didn't pitch this spring after having Tommy John surgery last June. He's projectable at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, and he had an 88-92 mph fastball and a promising curveball and changeup before he got hurt. He has committed to Oklahoma.
Centennial HS (Frisco) shortstop Ryan Mossakowski
already would have been nearly impossible to sign because he's a quarterback who will compete for playing time at Kentucky as a freshman. Then he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder last fall, requiring surgery that limited him to DH this spring. He's a 6-foot-5, 215-pound athlete with raw power and big-time arm strength.