2010 Draft Preview: Righthanders
Usually the deepest position in the draft, righthanded pitching—particularly among the high school class—is the strength of the 2010 draft. Finding prep righthanders with low- to mid-90s fastballs wasn't hard this spring. Louisiana State's Anthony Ranaudo entered the year as the top player at the position, but a forearm injury and some poor performances had clouded his draft stock.
1. Jameson Taillon
The Woodlands (Texas) HS
There's no doubt that Taillon has more upside than any pitching prospect in the 2010 draft. The only debate is whether he's a better pitching prospect than fellow Texas fireballer Josh Beckett was at the same stage of his career. They have similar stuff, with Taillon having a bigger frame (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) and Beckett possessing a meaner streak on the mound and turning in a more consistent high school senior season. Taillon gave up 11 runs in a much-anticipated pitching duel with fellow Rice recruit John Simms in mid-March. His fastball command was out of whack, but he solved the problem and threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter a week later. He owns the two best pitches in the draft: a heavy 93-97 mph fastball that has touched 99, and a hammer curveball in the mid-80s. He throws his heater with such ease that it looks like he's playing catch. He also has a hard slider and the makings of a changeup, though he rarely has needed more than two pitches to this point. He has a classic pitcher's body and strong makeup. With the Nationals zeroing in on Bryce Harper, Taillon is unlikely to become the first high school righthander selected No. 1 overall. He still could match or exceed two draft records shared by Beckett: the highest draft slot for a prep righty (No. 2), and the biggest guarantee ever given to a high school pitcher (a $7 million major league contract).
2. Stetson Allie
St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio
Based on his mid-90s fastball and hard slider, Allie entered 2010 as a likely first-round pick, but he had a reputation as more thrower than pitcher. He took a significant step forward in May, dialing his heater up to 98-99 mph and his slider up to 88-89 while showing more polish than ever before, giving him a chance to go in the top 10 picks. The only pitcher in this draft with comparable pure stuff is Jameson Taillon. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Allie has cleaned up his delivery and command, and he maintains his overpowering stuff into the late innings. The North Carolina recruit had expressed a desire to hit, and he does have some of the best raw power in the draft. He famously hit a broken-bat homer at the East Coast Professional Showcase last summer, though his swing has gotten long this spring. With his size, power and arm strength, he could be an early-round pick as a third baseman, but he now accepts that his future is on the mound.
3. Deck McGuire
McGuire is a Virginia product who was a mid-week starter as a freshman at Georgia Tech before settling in as the Yellow Jackets' Friday starter the last two seasons. He had more success for the first three-quarters of 2009 than he had at the end of last season, when he was hammered in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and in regional play—he gave up nine runs to Southern Miss in the regional final working on two days' rest. McGuire's stuff hasn't been quite as crisp since then, and scouts have lowered their expectations for the 6-foot-6, 218-pounder, but most still see him as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the majors. McGuire commands a 90-92 mph fastball that hits 94, and he throws with a good downhill angle to the plate, making it tough to elevate. His fastball has a bit less life than it used to. McGuire also throws strikes with his curveball and harder slurve, and his changeup is average to fringe-average. He's an excellent competitor who doesn't fold up with runners on base. He's a proven college winner with a good track record of performance and durability; similar prospects rarely last through the first half of the first round.
4. Dylan Covey
Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif.
Covey first grabbed the attention of California scouts at a San Gabriel Valley underclassman showcase in Alhambra in the summer of 2008. A sophomore at the time, Covey unleashed a series of throws from right field that exhibited his terrific arm strength. Not surprisingly, several scouts asked Covey if he was a pitcher and asked when he would be throwing next. Since then, Covey has matured, grown into his frame and improved his conditioning. The results have been sensational. Covey made all the standard showcase appearances in the past year, with uniformly outstanding performances. Covey, solidly built at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, hammers the strike zone with a 93-94 mph fastball that can touch 96. He adds a wicked 81-82 mph slider and has steadily developed his curve and changeup. Covey's arm works smoothly and his has solid mechanics, though he will need to fight a tendency to pull his lead shoulder open when tired. Resembling a younger, lighter version of Giants righthander Matt Cain, Covey profiles as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter with four average to plus offerings. A San Diego signee, Covey ranks a notch above the rest in a deep Southern California prep pitching class and figures to take a shorter path to the majors than his peers.
5. Kaleb Cowart
Cook HS, Adel, Ga.
Cowart was in the running to be the High School Player of the Year as a dominant two-way player, evoking comparisons to past Georgia preps Buster Posey and Ethan Martin. Those two examples set up two different paths for Cowart, who like Posey is a Florida State signee. Posey was more of a third-round talent out of high school and a different type of pitcher than Cowart, who on the mound is all about power. He has arm strength and good sinking life on his plus fastball, which sits in the 91-93 mph range at its best. He also has a hard slider and scouts don't seem to mind his split-finger fastball, either. Scouts prefer Cowart as a pitching prospect with a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pitcher's body. Like Posey, Cowart prefers to hit; he's a switch-hitting third baseman, and while some scouts consider his defense fringy at the hot corner, he has strength in his swing and some raw power. Scouts hope Cowart is more like Martin, a prep third baseman-turned-pitcher who signed with the Dodgers as a first-rounder after realizing he was a better prospect on the bump. But Cowart's signability was in doubt early, as he was asking for close to $3 million in order to spurn Florida State.
6. Karsten Whitson
Chipley (Fla.) HS
A Florida signee, Whitson played on the USA Baseball 18U club that won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela and pitched at all the big showcase events, so national-level scouts have a history with him. They've seen one of the draft's best secondary pitches in a hard, sharp, 80-84 mph slider. The word most often associate with Whitson's slider is "legit." His fastball also earns praise as he can reach 95 mph regularly and pitches at 90-94 mph. Whitson was a fine prep basketball player who gave up a sport he loves for baseball, and his athleticism usually translates to the diamond in terms of control and the ability to repeat his delivery. However, Whitson had a difficult start in early May in front of a large crowd of scouts, crosscheckers and scouting directors. According to one scout, Whitson had thrown 130 pitches in his previous start and then had more than 10 days off, and his stock was falling as BA went to press. He's one of many Florida prep players whose final landing spot in the draft may depend on how they perform at the state all-star games in Sebring at the end of the month.
7. A.J. Cole
Oviedo (Fla.) HS
Cole was the shortstop on BA's most recent Baseball for the Ages 12-year-old all-star team, so he has been on the prospect radar for some time. He had a stellar summer showcase circuit in 2009, positioning himself as a potential first-rounder. His spring season started poorly, however, thanks to a bout with the flu and rainy, cool weather that interrupted the high school schedule in the Orlando area. Cole's fastball velocity was down early in the spring but jumped in late April and early May. After sitting 88-93 mph early, Cole was back to sitting at 92-93 and regularly hitting 95-96. He has an athletic, projectable frame and long legs; at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he should add strength that will help him have more consistent velocity. He has a low-maintenance delivery and projects to have solid command. His curveball at times exhibits hard, late break and can be a plus pitch, though scouts prefer the hard slider of his rival for the title of Best Florida Prep Pitching Prospect, Karsten Whitson. Cole also has a decent changeup that at times has late fade. At his best, Cole is among the best pitchers available in the draft, and his recovery from his poor start means he won't get out of the first round.
8. Brandon Workman
The Longhorns have one of the best college pitching staffs in recent memory, as evidenced by their team 2.14 ERA in mid-May—and the fact that Workman, their No. 3 starter, could be a first-round pick. The Phillies drafted him in the third round out of high school, but held firm with a $275,000 offer and wouldn't give him the $350,000 he sought. Now he could get four to five times that amount. Unable to secure a spot in the Longhorns rotation as a sophomore, Workman has been more focused and efficient this spring. His best pitch is a knockout curveball, and he pairs it with a 90-92 mph fastball that peaks at 96. He has developed a high-80s cutter as a strikeout pitch against lefthanders, and he also has some feel for a changeup. His command is better than ever, and he now realizes that he's more effective when he doesn't overthrow, which causes his pitches to flatten out. Workman earned all-star honors in the Cape Cod League the last two summers, leading the league in strikeouts after his freshman season.
9. Matt Harvey
Harvey entered 2007 as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country, just ahead of fellow North Carolina recruit Rick Porcello. While Porcello signed with the Tigers as a first-rounder that year, Harvey was an unsigned third-rounder of the Angels. Five days after Porcello made his big league debut in 2009, Harvey took a loss in a mid-week relief appearance for the Tar Heels against High Point. That was probably the low point of Harvey's career, as he struggled as a sophomore. As a junior, though, he has regained his mojo. Scouts agree that Harvey's arm action is longer now than it was in 2007 but they aren't sure why. It affects his command, as it's harder for him to repeat his delivery and find the same release point. When he does, Harvey has explosive stuff, and he has worked harder than ever, thanks to improved maturity, to improve his balance and tempo. As a result, Harvey has pitched like an ace, with only one clunker start (against Duke) this spring and several gems, including a 158-pitch, 15-strikeout complete game at Clemson. His final pitch was 96 mph, which is usually where Harvey sits when he's right, in the 92-96 mph range. Once the owner of a power curveball, Harvey now prefers a hard slider that at times sits in the mid-80s with depth and late finish. Some scouts have given it a well-above-average grade. His changeup is just fair, and Harvey's command is below-average. With his stuff, he just needs control, and he has thrown enough strikes this year to get back into the first-round conversation.
10. Alex Wimmers
Only a hamstring injury has been able to stop Wimmers this spring, as he won each of his first nine starts for the Buckeyes before missing the first two weekends in May. He also starred in 2009, sharing Big 10 Conference pitcher-of-the-year honors before leading Bourne to its first-ever Cape Cod League championship. Scouts said Wimmers had the most polished arsenal on the Cape, and few pitchers in this draft can match the depth of his repertoire. He has the best changeup in the 2010 draft crop, and one area scout said it's the best he has ever seen from an amateur. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94, and he could add a little more velocity if he builds arm strength by using it more in pro ball. His third pitch is a curveball that he easily throws for strikes. He's an athletic, 6-foot-2, 195-pounder who holds the record for career batting average (.457) at Cincinnati's storied Moeller High—the alma mater of Buddy Bell, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.
11. Brett Eibner
Eibner is the best two-way prospect in the 2010 draft. Teams are evenly split about whether he has more potential as a pitcher or an outfielder. A fourth-round pick out of high school by the Astros, he has impressive power in his arm and bat. He has added significant polish as both a pitcher and a hitter this spring, making the decision about his future no easier. After not pitching during the fall while recovering from a mild elbow strain sustained in the Cape Cod League, he has refined his command and secondary pitches. His fastball velocity can be inconsistent, as he'll sit at 88-91 mph during some games and 92-94 in others, peaking at 97. His mid-80s slider/cutter is a plus pitch at times, and he has improved his feel for a changeup. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has a loose delivery that he repeats well. Eibner also has considerable upside as a power hitter. He can crush the ball to all fields, and he has done a better job this year of recognizing pitches and using the opposite field. Though he's strictly a righthanded hitter in games, he wowed Cape observers with a lefty batting-practice display last summer. His arm is an asset in the outfield, and while his solid speed and athleticism give him a chance to stick in center field at the next level, he projects more as a right fielder. Eibner's preference is to hit, but it remains to be seen if he'll get his wish.
12. Anthony Ranaudo
After winning the championship game of the College World Series last year and ranking third in strikeouts (159 in 124 innings) and fifth in wins (12) as a sophomore, Ranaudo was the top college prospect and No. 2 overall when 2010 started. But scouts haven't been sure what to make of him since he came down with a stress reaction following his first start in February. He missed a month and has battled his mechanics and command since returning. When he's right, he uses his 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame to leverage a 91-94 mph fastball down in the zone and to both sides of the plate, and he backs up his heater with a plus curveball and solid changeup. But that Ranaudo hasn't been seen this spring. He still has a low-90s fastball, but his delivery has fallen out of sync. His arm action is flatter, preventing him from staying on top of his pitches, causing them to flatten out and rise up in the strike zone. Ranaudo also missed the first two months and worked just 12 innings in his freshman season because of a bout with elbow tendinitis. His medical history, inconsistent spring and choice of adviser (Boras Corp.) could cause him to slide deep in the first round unless he suddenly regains his 2009 form.
13. Jesse Hahn
Three years ago, one of Hahn's high school teammates and rotation partners was getting tons of draft attention. The teammate was righthander Matt Harvey, who ended up dropping to the third round and honoring his commitment to North Carolina. Now, both Fitch (Conn.) High alums could be drafted in the first round. Hahn has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, but he missed three weeks of action this spring. He had an MRI on his right elbow that revealed no structural damage. When healthy, Hahn has an electric arsenal. He has a plus fastball that sits 92-94 mph with some armside run. He has been able to run his fastball up to 96-97, especially when he pitched out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod League last summer, but has learned that he's better when he dials it back. He has two average to plus secondary offerings in a slider and curveball, as well as a potentially average changeup. His curveball has 12-to-6 action, but he raises his arm slot on the pitch, which could give it away to hitters. He mixes in an 80-82 mph slider that occasionally gets big on him but is also an average or better offering. His changeup has some fade and really works well when he locates down and to his arm side. His command isn't exceptional, but scouts don't see it as a problem moving forward. Working against Hahn are a spotty medical history and limited track record of performance. As a freshman he went 3-7, 4.64 in 64 innings with 36 strikeouts and 25 walks. He saw significantly less time as a sophomore, going 1-2, 6.00 in 24 innings. Only two of his 17 appearances were starts. Hahn has seen a big turnaround this season, going 5-2, 2.81 with 64 strikeouts and 14 walks through 58 innings.
14. Zach Lee
McKinney (Texas) HS
Lee's status as one of the best quarterback recruits in the nation and a top student will make him one of the most difficult signing decisions in this draft. The perception among area scouts is that Lee might require as much as $3 million—and even that might not be enough to steer him away from playing two sports at Louisiana State. He passed for 2,565 yards and 31 touchdowns last fall, and his arm is just as potent on the mound. He already has a 90-93 mph fastball with room for more projection in his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He also throws a sharp slider and a changeup that needs work but shows promise. Unlike many two-sport stars, he has a lot of polish. Lee has a clean delivery that he repeats, enabling him to throw strikes with ease.
15. Asher Wojciechowski
Wojciechowski grew up in Michigan but moved to South Carolina during high school with his family, in part for the strong college baseball. He wound up at The Citadel and has been a weekend staple for three seasons, earning a spot on USA Baseball's college national team last summer. Noted mostly for his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame and above-average hard slider previously, Wojciechowski worked off the fastball more last summer with Team USA at the urging of Elon coach Mike Kennedy, who was Team USA's pitching coach. Wojciechowski took the advice to heart and has thrown harder as a result of throwing more fastballs and honing his mechanics. After throwing 89-92 mph last year, Wojciechowski has shown one of college baseball's best heaters this season, sitting 93-96 in numerous starts and reaching 96 in the eighth inning in at least two starts. Wojciechowski's slider is still a plus pitch, but he needs work on his rudimentary changeup. He has good control of his fastball and the durable frame to project as a mid-rotation innings-eater.
16. Chad Bettis
Bettis could join Brett Eibner as an unsigned Astros 2007 draft pick (eighth round) who blossoms into a first-rounder three years later. As with Eibner, there's debate about Bettis' future role. He's definitely a pitcher, and while many scouts see him as a rubber-armed reliever, others say he has enough stuff to start. Texas Tech has used him in both roles, deploying him as a starter as a freshman, a reliever a year ago and both ways this spring. A 6-foot-1, 211-pounder, Bettis has a quick arm, fluid delivery and quality fastball. He pitches in the low 90s as a starter and touched 98 mph coming out of the bullpen last summer with Team USA. He generates velocity with his fluid delivery and arm speed rather than effort. He still needs to do a better job of locating his fastball down in the strike zone, but he has thrown more strikes and shown more sink this year. Bettis' mid-80s slider can be a plus, but he also overthrows it at times. His changeup gives him an effective pitch against lefthanders. He sometimes relies on his secondary pitches too much, to the detriment of his fastball command.
17. Barret Loux
The Tigers spent heavily to sign high school pitchers Rick Porcello ($7 million contract in the first round) and Casey Crosby ($748,500 in the fifth) in 2007, and thought they also met the $800,000 asking price of Loux, their 24th-rounder. He changed his mind about signing and instead opted to attend Texas A&M, where his 2009 season was halted by bone chips in his elbow. After having the chips removed, Loux is healthy again and racking up strikeouts with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 95. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder throws with such ease that his fastball appears even harder. If he had a standout second pitch, he'd be a first-round pick, but he may have to settle for the sandwich round because his curveball and changeup are merely effective. His curveball was his best pitch in high school but hasn't been as sharp since his elbow surgery. He'll show an average changeup, though not on a consistent basis. Some teams have medical concerns about Loux, who missed two months of his high school senior season with a tender shoulder.
18. Peter Tago
Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif.
Tago epitomizes Southern California cool. Oblivious to outside distractions, he calmly ambles off the team bus decked out in a hooded sweatshirt and wraparound shades with his iPod earphones firmly in place. He also worries little about high school hitters, whom he routinely dominates. His lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame is ideally projectable, and Tago delivers the ball with an easy, relaxed throwing motion that is almost poetic. Tago, who switched his college commitment from UCLA to Cal State Fullerton in May, fires a 91-93 mph fastball, and his arm action and build indicate more velocity in the future. His curve exhibits nice shape and two-plane movement, but Tago will need to tighten the spin on that pitch. He can better incorporate his lower half into his delivery and clean up his arm stroke as well. He'll also need to develop a third pitch, such as a changeup. An Aflac and Area Codes alumnus, Tago provides a near perfect model of a prep righthander with a huge upside: projectable frame, easy arm action, calm demeanor and electric stuff.
19. Jacob Petricka
Petricka may have had more helium than any player a month before the draft, with his stock rising so rapidly that it could carry him into the first round. He began his college career at Iowa Western CC, where he sat out 2007 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and mostly pitched in the high 80s. He touched 94 early in the 2009 season after transferring to Indiana State, but didn't hold that velocity and ultimately turned down the Yankees, who took him in the 34th round as a draft-eligible sophomore. Petricka was on follow lists for 2010, and early in the season he was nothing special, sitting at 90 mph and featuring a soft curveball. Starting in mid-April, he made a quantum leap and began pitching at 92-94 mph and reaching 98 with his fastball, holding his velocity deep into games. His breaking ball now has some power to it and grades as a solid-average pitch. Scouts have noted that the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is doing a much better job of using his legs and finishing his delivery.
20. Ryne Stanek
Blue Valley HS, Stilwell, Kan.
When scouts saw Stanek's 6-foot-4, 180 pound build and his ability to maintain a 90-92 mph fastball on the showcase circuit last summer, it was easy for them to project that he might throw in the mid-90s one day. That day came sooner than expected, as Stanek worked at 91-96 mph in his first game this spring. He has kept that velocity all spring, doing so with little effort. His delivery is fairly sound, though he does throw slightly across his body. His curveball is crisp and has two-plane break, giving him a second future plus pitch. He also throws a slider and changeup. Stanek is one of the cornerstones of a deep Arkansas recruiting class, but his step forward this spring means he'll likely bypass college.
21. Seth Blair
A Top 200 draft prospect out of Rock Falls (Ill.) High in 2007, signability caused Blair to drop to the 47th round and he headed west to Arizona State. He always had good stuff, and his results have taken a step forward every year there. He came into the season expecting to be Arizona State's Saturday starter, but was thrust into the Friday night lights when lefthander Josh Spence was shut down all season. He stepped up nicely, helping the Sun Devils get off to a 24-0 start and rank among the nation's top teams all season. Blair showed electric stuff earlier in the season, sitting 93-95 mph and even touching 97. He tailed off a little as the year went on, but he still pitches at 92-94. It's a heavy fastball with riding life and some sink when it's down in the zone, although it can flatten out later in games. His curveball is an average pitch now with a chance to be plus. He has a good changeup and a cutter that he uses occasionally. A long arm action in the back and some pulling off to his glove side cause him to have average command. His walk rate is down this year, but he still hits a batter nearly every game and runs up a high pitch count that causes him to leave games earlier than teams would like to see out of top pitchers. Blair is a Boras Corp. client, but teams don't consider him a particularly tough sign.
22. Kevin Gausman
Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.
Gausman has a tall, thin build with long arms and legs. While scouts believe he'll add strength, he's one of the older players in this year's high school class and will always be on the slender side. He pitched as much as anyone last summer, throwing in just about every high-profile showcase event possible, including Perfect Game National, Aflac, Under Armour, Tournament of Stars, Area Codes, Team USA and Jupiter. Combine that with the fact that he played basketball all winter and bad weather in Colorado all spring, and it shouldn't come as a shock that his velocity was down a tick this season, sitting at 89-92 mph. Gausman has pitched in the low to mid-90s in the past. His fastball has some life and run, but he doesn't command it particularly well and it's flat in the zone. Last year in the state playoffs, he was up to 96 mph but gave up 11 runs in two innings. His secondary pitches—a 76 mph curveball, a Vulcan changeup and a cutter-like slider—are all below-average currently and project to be average at best. Because he has been inconsistent this spring, Gausman may slide to the supplemental or second round, but it will likely still take first-round money to sign him. If he heads to Louisiana State, he'd be draft-eligible again as a sophomore in 2012.
23. Tyrell Jenkins
Henderson (Texas) HS
Jenkins may be the most athletic pitcher in the draft. Baylor's top quarterback recruit, he also lettered in basketball and ran a 49-second quarter-mile in a relay race this spring—without any training. The next day, he was throwing 92-93 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Jenkins has a loose, quick, whippy arm that can deliver fastballs up to 95 mph. There's a lot of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, and lots of room for improvement with his secondary pitches. He can spin a curveball and also throws a slider and changeup. He should develop more consistency once he focuses on baseball and does a better job of repeating his delivery. He's raw but has tremendous upside, making him a perfect fit in the sandwich round for teams with multiple picks. Jenkins is considered much more signable than fellow Texas high school pitcher/quarterback Zach Lee.
24. Mike Foltynewicz
Minooka (Ill.) Community HS
Foltynewicz is far and away the best pitching prospect in the Upper Midwest. He opened eyes by sitting at 91-94 mph and touching 96 with his fastball at a preseason showcase in February, and he has shown similar velocity throughout the spring. With his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, strength and arm speed, it's easy to project him regularly throwing in the mid-90s down the road. He already has an advanced changeup for a high school pitcher, as it features good sink and could become a plus pitch. He doesn't consistently stay on top of his breaking pitches, though he was doing a better job later in the spring. He throws both a curveball and a slider, and he'd be best served by focusing on improving his slider. No Illinois high school pitcher has gone in the first round since the White Sox selected Kris Honel in 2001, but a team that believes Foltynewicz can refine a breaking b all could be tempted to pick him that high. He'll pitch at Texas if he doesn't turn pro.
25. A.J. Vanegas
Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo, Calif.
Among a solid crop of Northern California high school righthanders, Vanegas is the top talent and the most pro-ready. Listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Vanegas has the type of build that can hold up immediately in pro ball while allowing him to pitch with his best stuff more often than not. With his clean arm action, good arm speed and stout frame, he's expected to get stronger and continue to add velocity. Vanegas pitches at 90-92 mph and can dial his fastball up to 94, with good life through the strike zone. He pitches with a high three-quarters arm slot, with smooth, short backside arm action. When his delivery is on, Vanegas spots the fastball to all quadrants of the zone and finishes his pitches well. His best secondary pitch is a mid-70s curveball that has tight spin, good bite and tilt. He also has a changeup. Vanegas was scouted heavily in the summer and fall ball because his high school team did not face very good competition. He has committed to Stanford, which will force teams to do their homework when gauging his signability.
26. Perci Garner
Ball State produced a first-round pick (Bryan Bullington, No. 1 overall) and sandwich-rounder (Luke Hagerty) in the 2002 draft, and could repeat the feat again this year with Kolbrin Vitek and Garner. Garner joined the Cardinals on a football scholarship, but didn't see any game action in two years as a quarterback. After he emerged as the best pitching prospect in the Great Lakes League last summer, he gave up football, and he has continued to make strides this spring. Garner opened the season in Ball State's bullpen but moved into the rotation after shutting down a talented Louisville lineup for four innings in mid-March. He has a strong, athletic 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and a pair of plus pitches in a lively 92-94 mph fastball that reaches 97 and a power curveball. He also throws a slider and a changeup. Garner's inexperience on the mound shows at times. His delivery can get slow and lack rhythm, and improving it would help his control. Though he's a draft-eligible sophomore, he's not considered a difficult sign.
27. Jason Adam
Blue Valley Northwest HS, Overland Park, Kan.
Adam began the year as the highest-rated pitching prospect in Kansas. Though Ryne Stanek has since surpassed him, Adam has pitched well enough that the state could have two high school pitchers drafted in the first three rounds for the first time ever. Adams' draft status hinges more on the strength of his commitment to Missouri than his stuff, which fits near the top of the draft. He has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 95 and also spins a good curveball. His changeup shows enough promise that he eventually could have three average-or-better pitches with good control. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he's more physical than Stanek, and he also repeats his delivery more consistently.
28. Cam Bedrosian
East Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, Ga.
Georgia has plenty of strong bloodlines this spring, with two sons of big leaguers jostling to go in the first two rounds. Besides Delino DeShields Jr., there's Bedrosian, whose father Steve pitched for the Braves and won the 1987 National League Cy Young Award as the Phillies' closer. Cam Bedrosian, whose middle name is Rock (as his father's nickname was Bedrock), could one day wind up a closer, but he has a chance to be a starter as well, which is why he's a potential first-rounder and a key Louisiana State signee. The only drawbacks with Bedrosian are his size (he's a 6-foot righty but strong at 200 pounds) and the fact he has some effort in his delivery. Scouts have seen his fastball touch 96 mph, and Bedrosian sits in the 92-94 range all day. He repeats his delivery well enough to have fastball command at the amateur level, and with some smoothing out of his delivery he could have average pro command. He also throws a fringe-average curveball and changeup, as well as a power slider. He has the potential to have a plus fastball and three average secondary pitches if it all comes together.
29. Chance Ruffin
En route to a 12-year big league career, Ruffin's father Bruce was a second-round draft pick out of Texas in 1985. His son could match or exceed that draft status after moving full-time to the bullpen this spring. Ruffin's stuff has played up after the change in roles, with his fastball jumping from 89-91 mph to 90-93, topping out at 95 when he's fresh. His 78-82 mph slider is his best pitch, and he has a late-breaking curveball that he uses to get backdoor strikes against lefthanders. He'll also mix in a changeup, though it's really more of a batting-practice fastball. His numbers through mid-May—0.89 ERA, 11 saves, .189 opponent average, 72-15 K-BB ratio—are as dazzling as any in college baseball. He's similar to former Longhorns closer Huston Street in terms of size, arsenal and competitive makeup. The biggest drawback with Ruffin is his size (6-foot-1, 185 pounds), but nevertheless some scouts think he could make it in pro ball as a starter. More likely, he'll be fast-tracked as a reliever.
30. Robbie Aviles
Suffern (N.Y.) HS
Scouts have been impressed with how Aviles has performed in the face of adversity. In late March, two of Aviles' Suffern High teammates were killed in a car accident. The two were honored before Suffern's game the following week, and Aviles took the mound and got the win. He struck out 11 in a perfect game in his next start, then whiffed 15 in a no-hitter in his subsequent outing. Aviles sat at 91-92 mph for most of his perfect game but reached back for 93-94 in the seventh inning. Aviles' 6-foot-4, 193-pound frame is athletic and projectable, and his arm action is loose, but he has a tendency to cut off his finish and needs to fine-tune his command. His curveball has good three-quarters break and projects as an average or better pitch. Some scouts say he flashes a plus changeup, but he rarely uses it against overmatched high school competition. Down the stretch, Aviles struggled to repeat his release point—especially on his breaking ball—and started working exclusively out of the stretch. Aviles needs some polish, but his upside is significant, and he is overwhelmingly regarded as the top prospect in the Northeast this year. A Florida signee, Aviles is a supplemental first-round or second-round talent and is considered signable.
31. Aaron Sanchez
Barstow (Calif.) HS
Sanchez has lured scouts to Barstow, stuck in the middle of the California desert halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Only one player—Royals righty Matt Mitchell, a 2007 14th-round pick—has been drafted out of Barstow in the last 20 years. Sanchez, an angular and projectable Oregon recruit, should change that. He first drew the attention of scouts (and comparisons to Orel Hershiser) during last summer's showcase season, when he starred in the Area Code Games and the Aflac game. Utilizing an easy, mid-three-quarters arm action, Sanchez flashes a 91-93 mph fastball and adds a crisp curve. Mechanically advanced, Sanchez uses his legs well in his pitching delivery, avoids flying his front shoulder open and finishes strongly while creating a decent downward plane. As he progresses, the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder will need to develop more movement on his fastball, which is now too straight. His command is negatively affected by variances in his arm slot, and Sanchez will need to add at least a pitch and potentially two to his current arsenal. Sanchez profiles as a No. 3 starter. He may take some time to reach the majors, but his tantalizing upside is difficult for any organization to ignore.
32. Jordan Swagerty
Swagerty was a highly touted high school player out of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas. He was a 2007 Aflac All-American and a member of Team USA's junior national team. Now a draft-eligible sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthander has been dynamite at the back end of the Sun Devils' bullpen. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range and can get up to 96 when he's amped up. But, that's not his best pitch. Swagerty also throws a 84-86 mph curveball that grades out as a legit 70 on the 20-80 scale. It's a true 12-6 hammer. Swagerty's size concerns some scouts, but he can hold his velocity in back-to-back outings. He doesn't quite profile as a big league closer, but should move quickly to the big leagues and reminds scouts of Angels set-up man Scot Shields.
33. Mathew Price
A draft-eligible sophomore, Price has a thin body at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, and some scouts don't think he'll add much weight because there isn't anywhere to put it. One scout compared his frame to Mike MacDougal. Price is comparable to teammate Jesse Hahn, but he's a notch below him overall. His fastball sits comfortably at 92-93 mph, and he has shown the ability to touch 94-95 late in games. His curveball is average, but he flashes some that scouts can dream on. His second pitch is a changeup that's an average pitch now and has a chance to get better. His command as a freshman was below-average, but it's average to slightly above now. The concern with Price is his delivery. His arm is quick, but it's not real loose. There's some stiffness to his delivery as he has a short stride for someone with his height and he lands on a stiff front leg. This causes him to sometimes leave pitches up in the zone. His stuff puts him as a second-round candidate, high enough to consider him signable despite the leverage of returning for his junior season. For the Hokies, Price was 7-3, 4.37 through his first 12 appearances, 10 of which were starts. In 70 innings he had 68 strikeouts and 21 walks.
34. Taijuan Walker
Yucaipa (Calif.) HS
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Walker doubles as an elite basketball player, averaging 21 points and 15 rebounds per game as a forward last season. He has great leaping ability, and his dunks on the court have made him into a local folk hero. As a junior, Walker pitched little but did play shortstop next to Diamondbacks supplemental first-rounder Matt Davidson, a third baseman. Obviously uncomfortable and ill-suited for the infield, Walker has since concentrated on pitching. Walker was terrific in a stint for the Angels Elite scout team in the fall of 2009, but since then he has been more erratic. His outings in the early part of this season were rocky, probably due to the transition from basketball to baseball. In later starts, Walker would start strongly and then struggle as a game went on. When right, Walker fires a 91-93 mph fastball that can touch 95, and adds a slider and curve. His whippy three-quarters arm action can be free and easy on some occasions, restricted and stiff on others. Scouts agree that Walker, who hasn't committed to a college yet, is a long-range project as a pitcher, but his combination of sparkling athletic ability, raw stuff and imposing build may make Walker a gamble worth taking.
35. Eric Jaffe
Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland
Jaffe stands out as the most likely Northern California high school player to be drafted. His size and present stuff immediately get attention. For the sake of comparison, it can be said that he is similar to Matt Hobgood, a first-round pick of the Orioles last year. Like Hobgood, Jaffe is a big-bodied righthander (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) with two plus present pitches. Also like Hobgood, Jaffe is an accomplished high school hitter with plus raw power, not to mention soft hands around the first-base bag. He likes to swing the bat and that could complicate his signability, because Jaffe likely will get the chance to hit if he attends California. However, it is his combination of a fastball that reaches up to 95 and a wipeout power curveball that has scouts preferring him on the mound. He has also added a split-finger fastball. Jaffe has displayed some command issues in the past but is a good athlete, and the more time he spends on the mound, the better the command will be.
36. DeAndre Smelter
Tattnall Square Academy, Macon, Ga.
Scouts who focus on what Smelter does have plenty to talk about. He's an exceptional athlete who turned down Division I offers in football (he was a wide receiver and defensive back) to sign with Georgia Tech to play baseball. He's a plus runner as well as a position player, but his arm strength sets him apart. Smelter has reached 95 mph with his fastball and has been up to 87 mph with a slider, which he doesn't throw often. His pitching coach is former big leaguer Kevin Brown, himself a Georgia Tech alumnus. Brown also has Smelter throwing a split-finger fastball with good action. Despite all those pluses, scouts see negatives on Smelter that have driven him down some boards. He's got big stuff, but he has below-average control and didn't throw a lot of quality strikes this spring. His delivery and arm action resemble those of Brown, complete with the hip turn and wrap in the back of his arm action. Even with his fast-twitch athleticism, it's a difficult delivery to repeat. Smelter's a wild card because of his Tech commitment, his erratic spring and the fact that his bonus can be spread over five years due to his two-sport ability.
37. David Filak
Oneonta State (N.Y.)
Filak has a fresh, explosive arm; he did not pitch in high school and walked on at Oneonta State as a catcher. He was quickly converted to the mound, where he led all Division III pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings (14.86) and fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.07) as a sophomore last year. Scouts were buzzing about Filak after he ran his fastball up to 95 mph and flashed a plus-plus 83 mph spike curveball in his 2010 debut in Vero Beach, but he exited his third start of the season after just two innings because of elbow stiffness, which caused him to miss his next outing. He did not show quite as much velocity after returning to action, but he still posted a dominant season, going 8-0, 1.82 with 96 strikeouts and 16 walks through 59 innings. Filak's fastball settled in at 90-93 mph, and he still regularly flashed a plus curveball with 12-to-6 break in the 77-80 range. Filak did not learn to throw a changeup until last fall, and the pitch is a work in progress. Filak has a physical, athletic 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, and he could still add velocity as he learns to make better use of his lower half in his delivery.
38. Drew Cisco
Wando HS, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Cisco signed with Georgia, and the Bulldogs—with a staff ERA close to 9.00 despite a raft of power arms—could have used his feel for pitching this season. Cisco is so polished that it's almost unfair to lump him in with other high school pitchers. His grandfather Galen was a big league pitcher and pitching coach, while his older, shorter brother Mike pitched at South Carolina and is now in Double-A with the Phillies organization. Drew Cisco has good size at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, the best command in the prep class and a knack for pitching beyond his years. Scouts believe Cisco will carve up wood bats with his ability to pitch inside and confidently work off his fastball, even if it has just average velocity at 88-91, touching 92. It stands out more for its life and command than for velocity. Cisco has a mid-70s curveball he can throw for strikes or bury that grades out as average, and a changeup with sink that he also commands. Cisco sets up hitters like a pro and will move faster than many college pitchers, but any loss in fastball velocity would reduce his margin for error significantly.
39. Josh Slaats
Slaats came to Hawaii via California High in San Ramon, Calif. He started for the Rainbows his freshman year, but was ineffective and moved to a relief role in 2009 after coming out of the bullpen for Wareham in the Cape Cod League the previous summer. Slaats returned to the Cape last summer and dominated (2-0, 0.95) and reclaimed a spot in Hawaii's weekend rotation, although he didn't become their Friday night guy until midway through this year and missed a start in March with some elbow tenderness. Slaats sits 90-93 mph with his fastball, holding it deep into games, and has even touched 95. Slaats throws a disappearing slider with sharp, two-plane break. His changeup is still coming along but has shown flashes of being a good pitch. Slaats has a physical presence on the mound at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. He repeats his delivery well, but has a tendency to open his hips a little early and fall off to the first-base side. As a pitcher from Hawaii, Slaats final start of the regular season at San Jose State and in the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Mesa, Ariz. will be important, as it will give more scouts a chance to see him.
40. Zach Cates
Northeast Texas CC
Undrafted out of an Arkansas high school in 2008 and bypassed again at Northeast Texas CC last year, Cates won't be overlooked a third time. He spent most of his freshman season as a catcher, standing out for his strong arm and working just seven innings on the mound. A strong fall as a pitcher landed him on follow lists, and he has steadily risen up draft boards this spring. His fastball ranges from 90-93 mph to 95-97, and there should be more consistent velocity in his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. For an inexperienced pitcher, he has a relatively advanced changeup, which grades out as a better pitch than his curveball. His curve does have its moments, and he could have an easy plus fastball with two solid secondary pitches once he develops. His command and control still need work, but neither is a red flag. He's a tough competitor. Cates hasn't committed to a four-year school for 2010 and should be signable.
41. Burch Smith
Howard (Texas) JC
Smith was a late bloomer in high school, not pitching much until his senior season, and he served as the No. 4 starter on Howard's 2009 team that started 57-0 and finished at 65-1 as the national juco champion. This spring, he has become the No. 1 starter on the Hawks and emerged as a possible second-round pick—with still more room for improvement. Smith throws a 90-93 mph fastball with little effort, and could add a few more mph and maintain his velocity deeper into games if he can pack some strength on his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He has made the transition from thrower to pitcher, dealing more strikes and using his changeup and curveball to get outs rather than just trying to overpower hitters. Both of his secondary pitches can become at least solid-average, with his changeup grading better than his curve at this point. A 49th-round pick by the Indians a year ago, Smith will pitch at Oklahoma next season if he doesn't turn pro.
42. Daniel Tillman
Florida Southern has had back-to-back seasons with a high-profile prospect who thrived in the Cape Cod League the previous summer. Robbie Shields didn't live up to billing last season, though the Mets still popped him in the third round. This year, Tillman figures to go in the same range as he has continued to rack up strikeouts in the nation's best Division II conference. He put up 22 scoreless innings on the Cape for Cotuit last summer and has had consistent stuff this spring. Tillman has a quick arm on his 6-foot-1, 200-pound body, and he consistently sits in the 90-94 mph range, touching 96. He complements it with a quick, hard slider, giving him two plus pitches. Tillman's mound presence gives him an extra edge and he has a closer's mentality. He'll have to hone his command to get a chance to close at the big league level but should have the stuff to reach the majors as a set-up man, going out as early as the third round.
43. Kevin Munson, James Madison
44. Addison Reed, San Diego State
45. Kyle Blair, San Diego
46. Scott Frazier, Upland (Calif.) HS
47. Robby Rowland, Cloverdale (Calif.) HS
48. Randy LeBlanc, Covington (La.) HS
49. Tony Dischler, LSU-Eunice JC
50. Sam Dyson, South Carolina
51. Jimmy Nelson, Alabama
52. Austin Wood, St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC
53. John Simms, College Park HS, The Woodlands, Texas
54. Dan Klein, UCLA
55. Tyler Green, Brazoswood HS, Clute, Texas
56. Cole Green, Texas
57. Jordan Cooper, Wichita State
58. Adam Duke, Spanish Fork (Utah) HS
59. Justin Grimm, Georgia
60. Luke Jackson, Calvary Christian HS, Fort Lauderdale
61. Nick Tepesch, Missouri
62. Adam Plutko, Glendora (Calif.) HS
63. Zach Weiss, Northwood HS, Irvine, Calif.
64. Gabriel Encinas, St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
65. Kevin Walter, Legacy HS, Westminster, Colo.
65. Donn Roach, CC of Southern Nevada
66. Bobby Doran, Texas Tech
67. John Barbato, Varela HS, Miami
68. Josh Mueller, Eastern Illinois
69. Matt Suschak, Toledo
70. Greg Peavey, Oregon State
71. Austin Kubitza, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
72. Cody Buckel, Royal HS, Simi Valley, Calif.
73. Tyler Burgoon, Michigan
74. Cole Cook, Pepperdine
75. Jake Thompson, Long Beach State
76. J.R. Bradley, Nitro (W.Va.) HS
77. Michael Goodnight, Houston
78. Andrew Triggs, Southern California
79. Martin Viramontes, Loyola Marymount
80. Daniel Burawa, St. John's
81. Jason Hursh, Trinity Christian Academy, Addison, Texas
82. Chris Marlowe, Navarro (Texas) JC
83. Dixon Anderson, California
84. Clay Schrader, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
85. Seth Rosin, Minnesota
86. Thomas Royse, Louisville
87. Zach Neal, Oklahoma
88. Nick Kingham, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas
89. Brooks Pinckard, Baylor
90. Tyler Thornburg, Charleston Southern
91. Hayden Simpson, Southern Arkansas
92. Chad Sheppard, Northwestern State
93. Heath Hembree, College of Charleston
94. Joe Robinson, CC of Southern Nevada
95. Aaron Barrett, Mississippi