National League Draft Report Card


Best Pro Debut: LHP Josh Collmenter (15) led the short-season Northwest League with a 2.71 ERA. SS Mark Hallberg (9) earned all-star honors in the same league after hitting .313 with six homers and 12 steals. RHP Barry Enright (2) threw 15 scoreless innings and reached high Class A. None of the draftees had a better debut than draft-and-follow 3B Clayton Conner (45 in 2006), who hit .351 with nine homers in the NWL.

Best Athlete: OF Tyrell Worthington (5) was an all-state prep running back in North Carolina, rushing for 2,591 yards as a senior and landing a football scholarship from East Carolina. Speed is his standout tool, and he has a lot of raw all-around ability.

Best Pure Hitter: The Diamondbacks like the hitting prowess of C Ed Easley (1S), who was hampered by a jammed left thumb in his debut, Hallberg and OF Evan Frey (10). SS Reynaldo Navarro (3) has a line-drive approach and bat speed, and he started switch-hitting after turning pro.

Best Power Hitter: OF Pete Clifford (20), a fifth-year senior sign, hit 10 homers at Rookie-level Missoula in his pro debut. He showed pop with wood last summer as well, powering the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters to the NBC World Series title. Conner has a little more power than Clifford.

Fastest Runner: Both Worthington and OF Jimmy Principe (37) have 60-65 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Best Defensive Player: Navarro is a flashy defender with plenty of range and enough arm to make plays from the hole. Easley is very athletic for his position, while C Bill Mussleman (30) is a catch-and-throw specialist who threw out 39 percent of basestealers in his debut. Frey was one of the better defensive outfielders in college baseball in 2007.

Best Fastball: RHP Jarrod Parker (1) hit 97 mph with his first pitch of the high school season and didn't let up all year, sitting at 93-96 mph and touching 98. LHP Scott Maine (6) worked at 90-93 mph when pitching out of the bullpen, while RHPs Sean Morgan (4) and Ty Davis (22) operated at 92 mph.

Best Secondary Pitch: Parker has a hard curveball and also unveils a mid-80s slider from time to time. Morgan and Wes Roemer (1S) both have good sliders.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Mike Mee's (16) uncle Darryl Scott pitched briefly in the majors and his father Tom directs Cardinals television broadcasts. Mee's grandfather Tom Sr. was the first employee the Twins hired after moving to Minnesota in 1961, and was the club's longtime public-relations director and official scorer.

Closest To The Majors: The Diamondbacks landed two of the most polished college pitchers in the draft in Roemer and Enright. Both could reach the big leagues at some point in 2009.

Best Late-Round Pick: Collmenter doesn't have overwhelming stuff, but his command, deception and savvy have allowed him to succeed in high school, college and his first year of pro ball. Davis would have gone higher in the draft had he not had back surgery in 2006.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Sammy Solis (18) sits at 89-90 mph but had an inconsistent spring, which caused him to fall in the draft. He's at San Diego.

Assessment: Parker had the most electric arm in the draft, yet the Diamondbacks were able to nab him with the No. 9 overall pick. Tom Allison's first draft as Arizona scouting director focused on the mound, with six pitchers taken in the first seven rounds.


Best Pro Debut: Using a slider as his out pitch, RHP Nick Fellman (12) led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 12 saves and had a 46-7 K-BB ratio in 28 innings. LHP Cole Rohrbough (22 in 2006), one of the game's top draft-and-follows this spring, went 5-2, 1.17 with 96 strikeouts in 61 innings and advanced to low Class A.

Best Athlete: The Braves surprised a lot of people by drafting OF Dennis Dixon (5), who hadn't played baseball in the last three years. He's better known as the quarterback at Oregon, where he had accounted for 21 touchdowns while leading the Ducks to a 5-1 start this fall. He's rusty on the diamond, but Dixon has plenty of arm strength and speed.

Best Pure Hitter: OF Jason Heyward (1) has everything scouts look for in a young hitter. He has a very quick bat and advanced pitch recognition and plate discipline for an 18-year-old. Atlanta also has high hopes for two more high school bats, 3B Jon Gilmore (1S) and 1B Freddie Freeman (2).

Best Power Hitter: Heyward again gets the nod over Gilmore and Freeman. Some scouts have compared Heyward's build to Fred McGriff's, his tools to Willie McCovey's and his approach to Frank Thomas'.

Fastest Runner: Dixon is fast, but he's not as fast as OF Rashod Henry (28), who turned down a Southern Miss football scholarship to sign for $100,000. Henry has run sub-4.3 times in the 40-yard dash and sub-4.0 times from the right side of the plate to first base.

Best Defensive Player: SS Brandon Hicks (3) has solid speed and range to go with a plus arm.

Best Fastball: Though he's just 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, RHP Benino Pruneda (31) touches 97 mph. He had the best arm on a loaded San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College pitching staff, and the Braves see some Rudy Seanez in him.

Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Cory Gearrin's (4) sweeping slider, which he throws from a sidearm slot that makes him tough on righthanders. Rohrbough's best pitch is a power curveball that grades better than Gearrin's slider.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Mitch Harris (24) is the best pitcher in Naval Academy history, capable of reaching 94 mph, but his military commitment precluded him from signing and means he can't start a baseball career until 2010 at the earliest. Gilmore is the brother-in-law of Devil Rays shortstop Ben Zobrist and Dallas Baptist hitting coach Dan Heefner.

Closest To The Majors: Hicks batted .313 in low Class A and headed to the Arizona Fall League to expedite his development. As a reliever, Gearrin could move quicker than Hicks. Rohrbough could beat them both to Atlanta.

Best Late-Round Pick: Henry and Pruneda. Also keep an eye on RHP Rico Reid (25), who touches 93 mph with his fastball and also owns a good curveball and a competitive edge.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Joshua Fields (2) wouldn't have fallen to the 69th pick if he hadn't lost his command and slider during the spring. The Braves thought he would sign for slot money, but he took his 93-96 mph fastball back to Georgia.

Assessment: As usual, the Braves focused on the Southeast and weren't afraid to take high school players at the top of the draft. They got their top-rated position player with Heyward at No. 14, and Rohrbough might have been a sandwich pick had he re-entered the draft.


Best Pro Debut: C Josh Donaldson (1S) batted .335 with nine homers and OF Ty Wright (7) hit .308 with 10 longballs and 11 steals, as both spent most of the summer in the short-season Northwest League. LHP Casey Lambert struck out 47 in 41 innings and limited opponents to a .176 average while getting to low Class A.

Best Athlete: OF Leon Johnson (10) was a four-sport star and Arizona state 100-meter champion in high school. RHP Ryan Acosta (12) intrigued scouts as a shortstop as well. He qualified for the Florida state finals in the 100 meters and also played point guard on his high school basketball team.

Best Pure Hitter: Forget about 3B Josh Vitters' (1) 6-for-51 pro debut. The No. 3 overall pick was one of the best pure hitters in the entire draft. 2B Tony Thomas (3) finished seventh in NCAA Division I with a .430 average this spring.

Best Power Hitter: Vitters' power may be more impressive than his pure hitting ability. Both project as at least a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Fastest Runner: Johnson, who stole 23 bases in 27 pro attempts, covers 60 yards in 6.4 seconds and finally beat Elliott in a head-to-head race this year. OFs Brandon Guyer (6), Wright and Jonathan Wyatt (13) all have plus speed and reached double digits in steals in their debuts.

Best Defensive Player: OF Clark Hardman (9) is a true center fielder who makes defense look easy by getting good jumps on the ball. Darwin Barney (4) doesn't have a standout defensive tool, but he gets the job done and should stick at shortstop.

Best Fastball: The Cubs didn't take a pitcher before the sixth round and didn't land any fireballers. LHP Chris Siegfried (11), Acosta and RHP Stephen Vento (23) all touch 92-93 mph, and Acosta has the most projection remaining of that group.

Best Secondary Pitch: Lambert's curveball, ahead of LHP James Russell's (14) changeup.

Most Intriguing Background: Johnson spent two years on a Mormon mission in Siberia. Speed runs in his family, as brothers Elliott (a Devil Rays infield prospect) and Cedric (Philadelphia's 19th-round pick) also can fly. Acosta's father Oscar is a former Cubs pitching coach who was killed in a car accident in 2006 while working for the Yankees in the Dominican Republic. Russell's father Jeff and unsigned OF Jordan Herr's (41, returned to Pittsburgh) dad Tommy were big league all-stars. Vitters' brother Christian is a third baseman in the Athletics system. C Roberto Sabates (39) is a Cuban defector who became subject to the draft because he established residency in the United States.

Closest To The Majors: Barney and Lambert don't have overwhelming physical tools, but both get the most out of their ability because they're intelligent and instinctive.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Cubs spent $225,000 on Acosta and $350,000 on Russell. After pitching in the mid-80s at Texas, Russell showed improved velocity in the summer Texas Collegiate League before signing. LHP Zach Ashwood (16) also added velocity during the summer, pitching at 87-90 mph and also showing a better curveball.

The One Who Got Away: 3B/C Victor Sanchez (25) ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Northwoods League, hitting .275 with wood bats as a high schooler in a summer college circuit. He's now at San Diego. Preston Clark (33) returned to Texas and could be one of the first catchers drafted in 2008.

Assessment: The Cubs were set to take prep righty Jarrod Parker at No. 3 until the Royals made a late decision to pass on Vitters. That set the tone for Chicago, which took position players with nine of its first 10 choices.


Best Pro Debut: SS Todd Frazier (1S) ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League where he hit .319/.409/.513, and he added a two-homer game in low Class A. 3B Brandon Waring (7) batted .311 with a Pioneer League-leading 20 homers, including 10 in a 10-game stretch.

Best Athlete: Devin Mesoraco (1) is a rare five-tool catcher. He has plus potential to hit for average and power, plus catch-and-throw skills and average speed. Frazier is a good athlete for a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, though most scouts think he'll have to move off shortstop. OF Brandon Menchaca (13) is a sleeper who can do a little bit of everything.

Best Pure Hitter: Mesoraco, despite his .219 debut in the Gulf Coast League.

Best Power Hitter: Frazier, who owns the Rutgers records for season (22) and career homers (47), has the best current power. He's followed closely by Waring, who set a Southern Conference record with 27 homers this spring. Mesoraco and SS Neftali Soto (3) project to have above-average power in the future.

Fastest Runner: Menchaca and OF Alexis Oliveras (9) are both plus runners.

Best Defensive Player: Zack Cozart (2) was arguably the best defensive shortstop in college baseball this year, and he has drawn comparisons to Adam Everett for his glovework (high praise) and his bat (not so much). Mesoraco and Jordan Wideman (11) both are plus defenders behind the plate.

Best Fastball: RHP Kyle Lotzkar (1S), who came out of nowhere in the spring, pitches comfortably from 91-94 mph. RHP Scott Carroll (3), LHP Drew Bowman (5) and RHP Ty Rhoden (22) all top out at 93.

Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Evan Hildenbrandt's (6) tight curveball is better than RHP Heath Honeycutt's (10) changeup.

Most Intriguing Background: Carroll once started at quarterback for Missouri State, while unsigned RHP Jordan Chambless (50, back at Texas A&M) is a former defensive back/punt returner for the Aggies. Frazier started for Toms River's (N.J.) Little League World Series championship team in 1998, and his brothers Jeff (an outfielder in the Mariners system) and Charlie (a retired pitcher) also played pro ball. 3B Drew Benes (47), now at Arkansas State, is the son of former No. 1 overall pick Andy Benes. OF Brett Bartles' (30) father Carl was a fullback in the World Football League.

Closest To The Majors: The Reds don't want to rush Cozart's bat, but his defense will tempt them to advance him quickly. Conversely, Frazier's offense may be ready before he finds a defensive home. Carroll could beat them both to the big leagues.

Best Late-Round Pick: Menchaca. Bartles opened some eyes by batting .322 in his debut. RHP Derrick Conatser (28), a Tommy John surgery survivor, has a solid sinker-slider combination.

The One Who Got Away: 3B/OF Blake Stouffer (4), who offers athleticism and some bat potential, returned to Texas A&M for his senior season.

Assessment: In both of their drafts with Chris Buckley as scouting director, the Reds have spent three of their first four picks on up-the-middle players. While focusing on premium positions, Cincinnati also raked in a lot of power potential this time.


Best Pro Debut: RHP Bruce Billings (30) went 4-2, 2.97 and led the short-season Northwest League with 89 strikeouts in 79 innings. OF Mike Mitchell (25) topped the NWL with 32 steals. 3B Darin Holcomb (12) batted .303 with 12 homers in the NWL.

Best Athlete: OF Brian Rike (2) has solid if not spectacular tools across the board. He added 25 pounds of muscle and went from a below-average to plus runner in three years at Louisiana Tech. The Rockies also clocked him at 92 mph off the mound. C Lars Davis (3) was a standout volleyball player as a Canadian high schooler.

Best Pure Hitter: Davis hit .400 at Illinois during the spring, but dipped to .219 in his debut as he made a slow transition to wood bats. He still might be the best pure hitter in this crop, rivaling Rike and Holcomb.

Best Power Hitter: 1B Jeff Cunningham (7) set a South Alabama record with 22 homers in the spring and then bashed eight more in his pro debut. Rike, who led the Western Athletic Conference with 20 homers, is right behind him.

Fastest Runner: Mitchell is a plus-plus runner, though he's still learning how to take full advantage of his speed. He was caught stealing 11 times and batted just .259 in his pro debut.

Best Defensive Player: Mitchell uses his speed to cover the gaps well as a center fielder.

Best Fastball: RHP Casey Weathers (1) began his college career as an outfielder at Sacramento (Calif.) CC, but his arm strength led to a move to the mound. Now he sits at 96-97 mph and reaches 99. Several other righthanders can push into the mid-90s, as Connor Graham (5) has touched 98, Andy Groves (11) has peaked at 95 and Cory Riordan (6) has topped out at 94.

Best Secondary Pitch: Weathers also has a dastardly slider that can creep into the low 90s. Graham also will show a swing-and-miss slider. LHP Isaiah Froneberger (4) has a plus curve, while RHP Jeff Fischer (10) has the best changeup.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Parker Frazier (8) and unsigned 2B Nick Gallego (37, now at UCLA) have fathers who played in the majors and now work with the Rockies. George Frazier is a television broadcaster, while Mike Gallego is the third-base coach. OF Kenny Williams Jr. (32), who returned to Wichita State, is the son of the White Sox general manager. Unsigned RHP Travis Lawler's (34, now at Florida) brother Brett was the Marlins' 42nd-round choice and his father Jim is the coach at Arkansas-Little Rock. Unsigned C Richie Rowland's (40, now at Santa Rosa, Calif., JC) dad Rich caught in the big leagues. Colorado usually drafts a football player, and this year's was prep OF Israel Troupe (31), who opted to play wide receiver at Georgia.

Closest To The Majors: Weathers finished his first pro summer with a scoreless inning in high Class A and could open his first full-season in Double-A. Nationals first-rounder Ross Detwiler already has reached the big leagues, but Weathers could be next in line.

Best Late-Round Pick: Holcomb and Billings.

The One Who Got Away: OF Kentrail Davis (14) was considered a supplemental first-round talent, an athlete with lots of power potential. Colorado never got close to signing the Scott Boras client, and he's now at Tennessee.

Assessment: The Rockies concentrated on power pitchers and offensive-minded position players. They took Weathers at No. 8 for the express purpose of getting him to the majors quickly.


Best Pro Debut: RHPs Steven Cishek (5), Garrett Parcell (12) and Derek Blacksher (33) all posted sub-2.00 ERAs and 90-plus mph readings on radar guns. Blacksher also contributed 11 saves and the best K-BB ratio (33-9 in 26 innings) of the trio.

Best Athlete: Southern California's football program recruited OF Mike Stanton (2) as a wide receiver/defensive back, and he was also an all-conference basketball player who averaged double figures in points and rebounds. On the diamond, he has light-tower power and plus arm strength and speed. RHP Chaz Gilliam (22) also was a three-sport star at his Oklahoma high school, accounting for 31 touchdowns as a quarterback and averaging 18 points per game in basketball as a senior.

Best Pure Hitter: 3B Matt Dominguez (1) has the bat speed to hit for power and average, but in high school he tended to tinker with his swing too much and didn't stay back on balls. He hit just .158 in his debut but started to make the necessary adjustments in a postseason minicamp.

Best Power Hitter: Stanton hit some bombs in the same minicamp, with one approaching an estimated 500 feet.

Fastest Runner: OF Marcus Crockett (9), a product of MLB's Urban Youth Academy, has well-above-average speed. He gets down the first-base line in 4.0 seconds from the left side of the plate.

Best Defensive Player: Some veteran scouts said Dominguez was one of the best high school third basemen they'd seen. He has tremendous hands and a strong arm. The Marlins even let him play some shortstop in the minicamp.

Best Fastball: Cishek threw just 82-84 mph as a high school senior, but now he sits at 92-93 mph and tops out at 95 with good life on his fastball. He's still gangly at 6-feet-6 and 200 pounds, so he could add more velocity as he gets stronger.

Best Secondary Pitch: Parcell has a power curveball. He falls in love with it at times, and the Marlins have encouraged him to use his 90-93 mph fastball more often.

Most Intriguing Background: Dominguez and Royals No. 2 overall pick Mike Moustakas were the sixth pair of high school teammates (Chatsworth, Calif., High) to be taken in the first round of the same draft. Dominguez' agent is his uncle Gus, who was convicted in April of smuggling Cuban players into the United States. OF Taiwan Easterling (6) turned down the Marlins to play wide receiver at Florida State. OF/C Brett Lawler (42) played for his father Jim at Arkansas-Little Rock and is the brother of Rockies 34th-rounder Travis. Unsigned RHP Stephen Kohlscheen's (43, now at Cowley County, Kan., Community College) dad Brian is a Phillies crosschecker.

Closest To The Majors: Florida likes OF Bryan Petersen's (4) feel for hitting and work ethic. Cishek and Parcell probably will be developed as relievers, which could push them past Petersen.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Kyle Kaminska (25) has a lot of projection remaining and already has a lively low-90s fastball, short slider and solid changeup. Parcell could be a steal after pitching just 10 innings at San Diego State in the spring while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The One Who Got Away: The Marlins made a strong push for Easterling, whom they compared to Giants first-rounder Wendell Fairley. Easterling has 6.4-second speed in the 60-yard dash and threw 93 mph off the mound in a Mississippi state playoff game.

Assessment: The Marlins switched gears after loading up on pitchers in recent drafts, going for well-rounded position players with their first four choices this time. Dominguez could become their version of Ryan Zimmerman.


Best Pro Debut: OF Collin DeLome (5), the highest pick signed by the Astros, showed more polish and power projection than they expected. He hit .300 with six homers in the New York-Penn League. On the downside, the six pitchers whom Houston signed in the first 20 rounds went a combined 0-28.

Best Athlete: OF Devon Torrence (16) will juggle pro baseball and college football, playing wide receiver for Ohio State. His arm is his only below-average tool, and he's so enthusiastic about the national pastime that he called the Astros in October to discuss a training program for baseball. DeLome was one of the best all-around athletes among college players in the draft.

Best Pure Hitter: DeLome has a solid swing plus a willingness to use the opposite field, and he fared better against quality fastballs and lefthanders than he did in college. 2B Matt Cusick (10) hit better than .300 with more walks than strikeouts in each of his three years at Southern California, and he did the same in his pro debut.

Best Power Hitter: DeLome, OF/2B Russell Dixon (7) and 1B Brian Pellegrini (12) all have the chance to develop average or better power. Dixon missed his junior season at Auburn with a broken thumb. Pellegrini holds the season (17) and career (48) home run records at St. Bonaventure.

Fastest Runner: If there's one thing Houston got out of this draft, it's speed. Torrence, 2B Albert Cartwright (36) and OFs Chris Turner (42) and Marques Williams (43) are all well-above-average runners. Williams ran track at Cal State Fullerton before migrating to MLB's Urban Youth Academy. DeLome has plus speed.

Best Defensive Player: SS Cat Everett (44), whom the Astros were surprised was signable with their last pick. He's the third Tulane shortstop drafted by Houston this decade.

Best Fastball: RHP David Dinelli (6), the highest-drafted pitcher signed by the Astros, pitched at 92-93 mph and topped out at 96 before the draft. A hand injury kept him in the high 80s for most of the summer. RHP Roberto Bono (11) preferred catching but his future is on his mound, where he has hit 94 mph.

Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Kyle Greenwalt (20) has a sharp breaking ball. Bono flashes a nasty curveball but can't match Greenwalt's feel for his breaking ball.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned OF/LHP Chad Jones (13) could face Torrence in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game, as he's playing defensive back for Louisiana State. Unsigned 3B Derek Dietrich's (3, now at Georgia Tech) grandfather Steve Demeter and unsigned 3B/OF Brian Fletcher's (39, now at Auburn) father Scott played in the majors. Fletcher is also a cousin of big league catcher Michael Barrett.

Closest To The Majors: No one from this crop is going to provide close to immediate help for Houston. DeLome should get there first, but he'll need at least a couple of years in the minors.

Best Late-Round Pick: Torrence, provided he sticks with baseball, and Bono. Torrence's brother Devoe is a prize recruit who will join him at Ohio State next fall, which could strengthen football's hold on Devon.

The One Who Got Away: The Astros yielded their picks in the first two rounds as free-agent compensation, which made their failure to sign Dietrich and RHPs Brett Eibner (4, now at Arkansas) and Chad Bettis (8, now at Texas Tech) all the more glaring. Jones has more raw talent than any of them, but never backed off a $2.3 million asking price.

Assessment: Houston became the first team since the 1980 Yankees to fail to sign a player before the fifth round, an utter disaster for a farm system in need of talent. Owner Drayton McLane wouldn't let his club go over slot for a single player and spent a big league-low $1.584 million on the draft. The Astros got what they paid for and reassigned scouting director Paul Ricciarini after the season.


Best Pro Debut: OF/1B Andrew Lambo (4) ranked second in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in on-base percentage (.440) and third in batting (.343). SS Jaime Pedroza (9) and OF Erik Kanaby (10) were Rookie-level Pioneer League all-stars, with Pedroza batting .360 with eight homers and Kanaby hitting .338 with a league-high .427 OBP.

Best Athlete: Most of the Dodgers' position-player signees are offensive-minded rather than well-rounded, so the best athlete is RHP Chris Withrow (1). He could have been a two-way player as a third baseman or corner outfielder had he attended Baylor.

Best Pure Hitter: Lambo. A lot of teams wrote him off after he was kicked out of one high school and developed a reputation for immaturity, but his bat warranted more than fourth-round draft status. Area scout Chuck Crim stayed on top of the situation, and the Dodgers believe Lambo could be a James Loney-type hitter.

Best Power Hitter: Lambo has the most usable power right now. The most raw power belongs to 1B Chris Jacobs (17), a massive 6-foot-5, 260-pounder who's still figuring out how to carry over his batting-practice bombs into game action. 3B Austin Gallagher (3) also has more raw power than Lambo.

Fastest Runner: Few players get down the line quicker than Kanaby, a lefthanded hitter with an Ichiro-style jailbreak swing that enables him to get to first base in 3.8 seconds. He still has a lot to learn about basestealing after being caught 10 times in 18 pro attempts. OF Joris Bert (19) may have more straight-line speed than Kanaby but isn't as quick out of the box.

Best Defensive Player: C Jessie Mier (12), whose catch-and-throw skills are well ahead of his bat.

Best Fastball: Withrow ranged from 92-98 mph in a two-inning start in the GCL playoffs, generating velocity with a clean delivery and little effort. RHP Justin Miller (6), who threw seven shutout innings in relief of Withrow, gets exceptional sink on a low-90s heater.

Best Secondary Pitch: LHP James Adkins (1S) has two nasty breaking balls, a hard curveball and a slider that has topped out at 91 mph. They help his high-80s fastball play up because hitters can't sit on it.

Most Intriguing Background: Bert is the first Frenchman and the first product of MLB International's European academy ever drafted. 2B Parker Dalton (24) was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on the first day of his senior year at Texas A&M, but beat the cancer and hit a career-high .356 in the spring. 1B Matt Wallach's (22) father Tim was a four-time all-star who played and served as hitting coach for the Dodgers. Los Angeles drafted Pedroza's brother Sergio in 2005 before trading him to the Devil Rays for Julio Lugo a year later.

Closest To The Majors: Both Adkins and RHP Timothy Sexton (25) went straight to low Class A and succeeded. Adkins has a chance to start 2008 in Double-A, while Sexton will open in high Class A.

Best Late-Round Pick: Sexton came out of nowhere, then suddenly scared teams off with a $500,000 asking price, but the Dodgers landed him for $123,000. He has a solid four-pitch repertoire, a deceptive delivery and a nice feel for pitching.

The One Who Got Away: Two-time High School All-American RHP Kyle Blair (5), who wound up at San Diego, has a low-90s fastball and a plus curveball. Considered a sandwich-round talent, he wanted first-round money, which is why he slid and ultimately didn't sign. RHPs Devin Fuller (14, now at Arizona State) and Taylor Cole (26, now at Brigham Young) both top out at 94-95 mph.

Assessment: The Dodgers have an impressive track record of drafting pitchers, and they're excited about Withrow, Adkins, LHP Michael Watt (2) and Miller. Getting Lambo in the fourth round was a coup, though signing Blair in the fifth would have been a bigger one.


Best Pro Debut: The Brewers' first four picks--OF Matt LaPorta (1), C Jonathan Lucroy (3), 2B Eric Farris (4) and OF Caleb Gindl (5)--all hit .300 or better. LaPorta slugged 12 homers, while the other three were Rookie-level Pioneer League all-stars. Gindl won the PL batting title at .372. Two more standouts in that league were 1B/3B Steffan Wilson (28), who hit .328 with 12 homers and RHP Robert Bryson (31 in 2006), part of an impressive draft-and-follow haul, who went 3-0, 2.67 with 70 strikeouts in 54 innings in the same league.

Best Athlete: Most of Milwaukee's position players would be classified as bats rather than athletes. Farris has decent tools across the board, though his power is more of the gap variety. OF Erik Miller (17) is similarly athletic and not particularly powerful.

Best Pure Hitter: LaPorta or Gindl. LaPorta led NCAA Division I with a 1.399 on-base plus slugging percentage in 2007. Gindl, who's 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, reminds the Brewers a lot of Brian Giles.

Best Power Hitter: LaPorta, though Wilson isn't far behind. C Shawn Zarraga (44) won a national high school home run derby in 2006 with a power display that included six straight homers, one of them a 506-foot blast.

Fastest Runner: Draft-and-follow Lee Haydel (19 in 2006) has top-of-the-line speed and can cover 60 yards in 6.35 seconds. Farris has plus speed and very good baserunning instincts.

Best Defensive Player: Farris, who saw time at shortstop in college and should be an above-average defender at second base. Zealous Wheeler (19), another .300 hitter in the Pioneer League, plays a fine third base.

Best Fastball: Bryson and fellow draft-and-follow RHP Chad Robinson (12 in 2006) both touch 95 mph. So does RHP Cody Scarpetta (11), who would have gone in the first three rounds if he hadn't torn a tendon in his right index finger in April. The Brewers couldn't find another baseball player who's had the same injury, though Joel Zumaya had a similar ailment this summer.

Best Secondary Pitch: Scarpetta's power curveball. His two plus pitches and strong 6-foot-2 build have prompted comparisons to John Wetteland.

Most Intriguing Background: 1B Joey Paciorek's (15) father Jim and uncles John and Tom all played in the majors, as did LHP Casey Baron's (34) grandfather Ray and unsigned RHP Jordan Tanner's (40, now at LaRoche, Pa., College) dad Bruce (now a Tigers advance scout) and grandfather Chuck. Milwaukee drafted Scarpetta's father Dan in the third round in June 1982 and included him with current Brewers manager Ned Yost in a trade for Jim Sundberg.

Closest To The Majors: LaPorta's bat was as big league-ready as any player's in the 2007 draft. The Brewers plan on skipping him a level and starting him in Double-A in 2008.

Best Late-Round Pick: Scarpetta. A native Aruban, Zarraga has power in his arm as well as his bat. He plummeted in the draft after asking for $500,000 and eventually signed for $230,000.

The One Who Got Away: SS Rick Hague (37) had better all-around tools and defensive prowess than any draftee the Brewers signed, but they couldn't sway him from attending Rice.

Assessment: Milwaukee pulled the first surprise of the draft at No. 7, taking LaPorta as an outfielder though he never played the position in college. That was a harbinger of offensive-minded picks to come, though the Brewers landed three high-ceiling pitchers in Scarpetta and draft-and-follows Robinson and Bryson.


Best Pro Debut: RHP Dylan Owen (20) won two-thirds of the short-season New York-Penn League pitching triple crown, leading the league in wins and ERA at 9-1, 1.49. RHP Brant Rustich (2), who lost his job as UCLA's closer in the spring due to wildness, walked just two in 23 innings while going 3-0, 1.57 between short-season Brooklyn and Rookie-level Kingsport.

Best Athlete: RHPs Cole Abbott (25) and Scott Moviel (2) both were fine high school basketball players, with completely different frames. Moviel already throws strikes despite a 6-foot-10, 245-pound body, while Abbott's projectable at 6-foot-2, 175. SS Matt Bouchard (11) is the best athlete among position players picked, with speed and excellent body control.

Best Pure Hitter: The Mets brought in Division III all-American Zach Lutz (5) for a pre-draft workout at Shea Stadium, and he showed above-average bat speed and a swing he repeats easily. Lutz had his debut cut short (one game) by a hairline fracture in his ankle.

Best Power Hitter: A .275 career hitter at Southern California with just 20 doubles and a .410 slugging percentage, 1B/OF Lucas Duda (7) hit .299/.398/.462 for Brooklyn, with 20 doubles. He's just tapping into his plus raw power.

Fastest Runner: Raw SS Alonzo Harris (39), the last player the Mets drafted, covers 60 yards in 6.4 seconds. He signed too late to make his debut. Bouchard is also a plus runner.

Best Defensive Player: Bouchard used his sure hands, quick feet and above-average range to make just eight errors in 68 games at Brooklyn. His arm is fringe-average.

Best Fastball: Rustich has touched 97 mph with his fastball. RHP Eddie Kunz (1s) often pitched at 94-96 during his Oregon State career from a lower arm slot and with greater movement.

Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Nathan Vinyard's (1s) slider comes in at 80-83 mph with depth. RHP Steven Clyne (3) has a low-80s slider that can be an out pitch as well. Owen has excellent feel and command for several breaking balls, adjusting the tilt and break of each pitch.

Most Intriguing Background: Bouchard, just the eighth Georgetown player ever drafted, was the first Hoya picked since 1993. Moviel has two brothers, Paul (Devil Rays) and Greg (Mariners), who have played pro ball. The Mets failed to sign SS/3B Glen Johnson (36), son of big league coach and former 30-30 Met Howard Johnson.

Closest To The Majors: Kunz is on the Joe Smith development path. He's off to the Arizona Fall League; then, like the '06 third-rounder, he will get a shot to win a big league job in spring training.

Best Late-Round Pick: Bouchard. LHP Michael Antonini (18) throws an average 88-91 mph fastball and has good sink and fade on his plus changeup.

The One Who Got Away: Just 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, RHP Brandon Efferson (17) has big stuff, touching 94 mph and flashing a plus curve and changeup. His size and price tag couldn�t convince the Mets to buy him out of his Southeastern Louisiana commitment.

Assessment: The Mets were pleased to get plenty of power arms, though most of them project to be relievers. The organization clearly could bring its revenue to bear in the draft like the Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees, but apparently has not found the right match of player, pick and bonus since signing Mike Pelfrey in 2005.


Best Pro Debut: RHP Chance Chapman (8) went 5-3, 2.09 with 67 strikeouts in 78 New York-Penn League innings. In more limited NY-P action, LHP Joe Savery (1) was just as effective, going 2-3, 2.73 with 22 whiffs in 26 frames.

Best Athlete: RHP Jiwan James (22) and 3B Travis Mattair (2) were three-sport stars in high school. James, who some teams preferred as an outfielder, gave up a baseball scholarship from Florida, where the defending national champion football and basketball programs expressed some interest in him. Mattair attracted attention from NCAA Division II basketball programs as a 6-foot-5 point guard.

Best Pure Hitter: 2B Tyler Mach (4) batted .364 and .386 in two seasons at Oklahoma State, then hit .287 in his pro debut. He's not flashy, but he makes consistent quality contact and has been better than expected as a middle infielder.

Best Power Hitter: OF Matt Spencer (3) opened a lot of eyes by hitting two long homers in the season-opening Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. He has more usable power than OF Michael Taylor (5) and 1B Matt Rizzotti (6).

Fastest Runner: OF Cedric Johnson (19) has plus-plus speed, but the Phillies voided his contract because of pre-existing knee problems. He's now at Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) CC. James is an above-average runner.

Best Defensive Player: Travis d'Arnaud (1s) was one of the top defensive catchers in the draft. He regularly records 1.9-second pop times to second base.

Best Fastball: Savery and RHPs Justin DeFratus (11), Luke Wertz (13) and Brian Schlitter (16) all touch 94-95 mph on occasion. Wertz had a pre-existing labrum tear that required surgery, and while Philadelphia didn't void his contract, he'll miss all of 2008. Once he fills out, RHP Julian Sampson (12) should have a better fastball than all of them. He currently works at 90-92 mph.

Best Secondary Pitch: Chapman has a big league slider. Savery has the best changeup.

Most Intriguing Background: 1B Karl Bolt (15) will try to juggle baseball and his Air Force obligations. The second Air Force player ever drafted, he was able to play in the Gulf Coast League while stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa this summer. Unsigned LHP Mark Adzick's (18, now at Wake Forest) father Scott is a pioneering pediatric surgeon. Johnson has two older brothers in pro ball, Elliott with the Devil Rays and Leon with the Cubs. Unsigned RHP James Mahler's (42, now at Arkansas) father Mickey and uncle Rick played in the majors, as did unsigned OF Cory Vaughn's (43, now at San Diego State) dad Greg.

Closest To The Majors: Savery, if he's over the shoulder problems that caused him to slide in the first round. Chapman and Schlitter could move quickly as well.

Best Late-Round Pick: Sampson has easy velocity and a loose 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame with plenty of projection remaining. Inconsistent as a high school senior, he still earned a $390,000 bonus based on his potential. Schlitter, James and low-90s LHP Jacob Diekman (30) are three more promising late-round arms.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Brandon Workman (3) has a plus fastball and flashes a plus curveball, but the Phillies couldn't lure him away from a Texas scholarship.

Assessment: If Savery stays healthy and regains his Rice freshman form, then he was a steal at No. 19. The last time Philadelphia took a lefty with medical issues in the middle of the first round, it came away with Cole Hamels.


Best Pro Debut: LHP Tony Watson (9) went 7-2, 2.79 with a 58-8 K-BB ratio in 68 innings, including three solid starts in low Class A. OF Keanon Simon (25) hit .335 with nine steals in the New York-Penn League.

Best Athlete: OF Marcus Davis (18) is drawing some Andre Dawson comps from the Pirates after hitting eight homers and stealing 15 bases in the NY-P (albeit with a .231 average). He's raw, but he's loaded with athleticism and also flashed a low-90s fastball as a college closer. OF Quincy Latimore (4) also offers power and speed.

Best Pure Hitter: C Andrew Walker (5) and OF Butch Biela (13) both topped .300 in their pro debuts. Biela, who has a compact swing, caught in high school but Pittsburgh may keep him in the outfield to expedite his offensive development.

Best Power Hitter: Davis led the Southwest Athletic Conference with 16 homers in the spring. His eight homers in his debut were one more than the combined total of the six position players the Pirates signed ahead of him. Walker has promising power for a catcher.

Fastest Runner: SS Brian Friday (3), Latimore, Davis and Simon all have plus speed, though none is a burner. Friday was slowed by an ankle injury during his first pro summer.

Best Defensive Player: Friday is a good all-around shortstop with range, arm strength and a quick release. Walker's work behind the plate encouraged the Pirates after he slumped defensively during the spring.

Best Fastball: LHP Daniel Moskos (1) works at 91-95 mph and peaks at 97 out of the bullpen, and Pittsburgh plans to keep him in that role. RHP Duke Welker (2) regularly pitches at 91-94 mph as a starter, and RHPs Kyle McPherson (14) and Ryan Kelly (26 in 2006, a draft-and-follow) hit 94 in instructional league.

Best Secondary Pitch: Moskos had one of the most unhittable sliders in the draft. Watson has a quality changeup that helped him limit pro lefthanders to a .226 average.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Brian Tracy's (20) father Jim played in the majors and was dismissed as Pittsburgh's manager after the season, while his brother Chad is a catcher in the Rangers system. RHP Taylor Cameron's (31) dad Brad is a Pirates area scout. Unsigned 3B Matt Clark's (28, now at Lousiana State) father Terry and unsigned LHP Pat McAnaney's (39, back at Virginia) dad Will both pitched in the big leagues. Unsigned SS Erik Morrison (49, back at Kansas) is the nephew of former major league player and manager Joe Amalfitano.

Closest To The Majors: With his stuff and fierce competitiveness, Pittsburgh expects Moskos to rocket to their big league bullpen. Welker has a plus fastball and improved secondary stuff, so he could be on the fast track as well.

Best Late-Round Pick: Davis has the most potential. The Pirates also are very high on Biela; McPherson, who skipped a couple of grades early and signed as a 19-year-old college junior; and RHP Tom Boleska (35), who has plus velocity and a power curveball.

The One Who Got Away: Athletic OF Runey Davis (11), who was also a star running back, opted to play college baseball at Texas. Clark was one of the better hitters in the California community college ranks this spring.

Assessment: The Pirates took a lot of heat for taking Moskos at No. 4 rather than Matt Wieters, who had a higher price tag and went with the next pick to the Orioles. Many clubs had Ross Detwiler (No. 6 to the Nationals) ahead of Moskos among college lefties, and many would try Moskos as a starter. New GM Neal Huntington fired scouting director Ed Creech in October.


Best Pro Debut: OF/1B/C Steven Hill (12) spent most of the summer in low Class A and hit .320 with 12 homers. RHP Josh Dew (14) had 15 saves and a 1.80 ERA in the New York-Penn League. RHP Clayton Mortensen (1s) would have cracked our Top 20 Prospects lists in the NY-P and the Midwest League had he not barely missed qualifying in both cases.

Best Athlete: Speed is OF Beau Riportella's (10) best attribute, and he has some power as well. SS Pete Kozma's (1) tools all rate as average to plus except for his power, while OF Tyler Henley (8) is solid across the board. Draft-and-follow OF D'Marcus Ingram (25 in 2006) was a star running back in high school and elicited Kirby Puckett comparisons in the Gulf Coast League. OF Adron Chambers (38), who played with Ingram at Pensacola (Fla.) JC, previously played defensive back for Mississippi State's football team.

Best Pure Hitter: Hill or 3B/2B Daniel Descalso (3) . Also keep an eye on 3B Arnoldi Cruz (26), who hit .299 with seven homers while moving quickly to low Class A.

Best Power Hitter: Hill broke Stephen F. Austin State records for season (24) and career (38 in just two years) homers, preceded by a 31-homer season at Eastfield (Texas) JC. If he can be provide at least serviceable defense as a catcher, he could make for a very versatile and powerful bat off the bench.

Fastest Runner: Riportella ran a 6.3-second 60-yard dash in a predraft workout. He set a JC of the Sequoias (Calif.) mark with 31 steals (in 32 tries) during the spring, then swiped 10 in 12 attempts as a pro. Ingram, Chambers and OF Brian Buck (27) also have well above-average speed.

Best Defensive Player: C Nick Derba has outstanding catch-and-throw skills and led all catchers in full-season leagues by throwing out 53 percent of basestealers. He also showed more bat than the Cardinals expected. Kozma took some time to adjust to pro infields after playing on artificial turf in high school but should be a good shortstop. SS Oliver Marmol (6) has fluid actions and a plus arm.

Best Fastball: For the total package, it's Mortensen, who commands a 90-93 mph sinker that bottoms out at the plate. For pure velocity, it's RHP Adam Riefer (11), who touched 96 mph before sustaining a stress fracture in his elbow. RHPs Jess Todd (2), David Kopp (2), Deryk Hooker (7) and Brett Zawacki (12) all top out around 94 mph, and Zawacki also has nice sink.

Best Secondary Pitch: Todd's slider is an out pitch. St. Louis will use him as a starter for now, but he could be a late-inning force as a reliever working with just his fastball and slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Three signees have fathers who work for the Cardinals. RHP Chuck Fick's (15) dad Chuck is a crosschecker, RHP Dylan Gonzalez' (31) father Charlie is a scout and LHP Davis Bilardello's (43) dad Dann is a roving catching instruction. Dann Bilardello played in the majors, as did Fick's uncle Robert. 2B Ateo Folli's (42) godfather is St. Louis trainer Barry Weinberg. OF/2B Nick Peoples' (19) older brother Danny was an Indians first-round pick in 1996.

Closest To The Majors: Mortensen generates a lot of groundballs and strikeouts, a formula for success. He should start 2008 no lower than high Class A.

Best Late-Round Pick: Zawacki is the best prospect of a deep group of sleepers whom the Cardinals have high hopes for, among them Riportella, Riefer, Hill, Dew and Derba.

The One Who Got Away: OF Kyle Russell (4) led NCAA Division I with a Texas-record 28 homers, but his shaky track record with wood bats and seven-figure bonus demand scared most teams off. The Cardinals couldn't close a deal, so he returned to the Longhorns.

Assessment: The Cardinals' best recent drafts have come when they've blended in some high school talent rather than focusing solely on collegians. With Kozma, Hooker and Zawacki, they added some talented prepsters to go with their usual collection of college players with strong statistical performances.


Best Pro Debut: OF Kellen Kulbacki (1s) hit .301 with eight homers in the Northwest League. LHP Cory Luebke (1s) reached low Class A and went 5-3, 3.07 with a 61-8 K-BB ratio in 69 innings. Draft-and-follow RHP Matt Latos (11 in 2006), who signed for $1.25 million, rated as the top prospect in the NWL after going 1-4, 3.83 with 74 strikeouts in 56 frames.

Best Athlete: SS Drew Cumberland (1s) was an all-state defensive back and running back in Florida. He has plus-plus speed, a knack for making highlight plays on defense and even some gap power. SS Lance Zawadski (4) has plus raw power and speed, not to mention a well above-average arm. C Mitch Canham (1s) is very athletic for his position and growing more comfortable behind the plate.

Best Pure Hitter: Kulbacki is the highest-drafted position player ever out of James Madison, where he hit .400 in three seasons, including .464 as a sophomore. He has good balance and his bat stays in the strike zone for a long time, so he should continue to hit for average against better pitching.

Best Power Hitter: Kulbacki led NCAA Division I with 24 homers and a .943 slugging percentage in 2006, and his 51 career homers are a James Madison record.

Fastest Runner: Cumberland gets from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.9-4.0 seconds. OF Brad Chalk (2) and Zawadski have plus speed.

Best Defensive Player: Chalk was slowed by a back injury in his pro debut, but he's an outstanding center fielder when healthy. His solid arm strength is better than most center fielders have. Danny Payne (1s) also gets the job done in center field, more with instincts than tools. C Emmanuel Quiles (6) has promising catch-and-throw skills.

Best Fastball: Latos can sit in the mid-90s throughout an entire start and maxes out at 98 mph. Among the 2007 draftees, RHP Wynn Pelzer has a 92-96 mph four-seamer but still is recovering from a broken kneecap sustained in the Cape Cod League. RHPs Corey Kluber (4) and Jeremy Hefner (5) touched 94 in the spring.

Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Nick Schmidt's (1) curveball and changeup are solid pitches, which along with his competitive edge help his average fastball play up. However, he'll miss all of 2008 after blowing out his elbow after seven pro innings and requiring Tommy John surgery.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned SS Ross Wilson (35) was a central figure as the quarterback in MTV's "Two-A-Days," a show depicting life on and off the gridiron for Hoover (Ala.) High's football team. He decided to focus solely on baseball at Alabama, where his brother John Parker Wilson is the starting quarterback. RHP Dylan Axelrod's (30) uncle Barry is a prominent agent whose clients include Padres GM Kevin Towers. Unsigned OF Hunter Ovens (25) is playing linebacker for Virginia Tech's football team. Unsigned SS Anthony Renteria's (32, now at Palomar, Calif., JC) father Rick played in the majors and manages San Diego's Triple-A Portland affiliate. Cumberland's brother Shaun is an outfielder in the Reds system. Unsigned 3B A.J. Schugel's (33, now at Texas Tech) dad Jeff scouts for the Angels.

Closest To The Majors: Luebke throws strikes with an average fastball and slider, and being lefthanded doesn't hurt. Area scout Jeff Stewart pushed to take him as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2006 and finally got his man this time.

Best Late-Round Pick: LHP Allen Harrington (13) pitches aggressively with an 88-91 mph fastball. He posted a 2.09 ERA and 52 strikeouts in as many innings while advancing to low Class A.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Tommy Toledo (3) earned comparisons to Padres 2005 first-round Cesar Carrillo, but San Diego couldn't sign him away from a Florida scholarship. SS Christian Colon (10) took his all-around game to Cal State Fullerton.

Assessment: Three of the Padres' last four top draft choices (Schmidt, Carrillo, 2004's No. 1 overall Matt Bush) succumbed to Tommy John surgery in 2007. Nevertheless, San Diego still infused a lot of talent with five supplemental first-round picks and Latos as a draft-and-follow.


Best Pro Debut: As a college senior, 1B Andy D'Alessio (19) was way too old for the Arizona League, but he still batted .306 and topped the circuit in homers (14), RBIs (51), extra-base hits (30) and slugging percentage (.624). He was an AZL all-star, as was more appropriately aged 2B/SS Nick Noonan (1s), who hit .316 with 18 steals. RHPs Danny Otero (21) and T.J. Brewer (35) were Northwest League all-stars, as Otero had a 1.21 ERA and a league-best 19 saves and Brewer went 9-1, 3.05. Brewer shared the win lead with LHP Andy de la Garza (18), who had a 9-3, 3.57 mark.

Best Athlete: The top prep athlete in the 2007 draft, OF Wendell Fairley (1s) has well above-average power potential and speed to go with legitimate center-field ability. He also showed a low-90s fastball on the mound. Several Southeastern Conference football programs recruited him as a wide receiver.

Best Pure Hitter: Noonan is very sophisticated for a high school hitter and already has proven he can hit quality fastballs. He continues to draw Chase Utley comparisons, and while he doesn't have Utley's home run power, Noonan does have some pop.

Best Power Hitter: D'Alessio, who tied Jeff Baker's Clemson record with 59 career homers, has the most present power. Fairley has the raw strength to surpass him in the future, though he's not nearly as polished a hitter at this point.

Fastest Runner: Fairley can cover 60 yards in 6.5 seconds. OF Bruce Edwards (15) is a plus runner.

Best Defensive Player: C Jackson Williams (1s) led the NWL by throwing out 43 percent of basestealers. Not only does he have fine catch-and-throw skills, but he also blocks balls well, calls a good game and runs a pitching staff with authority. The Giants believe strong-armed Charlie Culberson (1s) can stay at shortstop.

Best Fastball: Madison Bumgarner (1) was the hardest-throwing high school lefty in the entire draft, operating at 92-94 mph and touching 97. RHP Tim Alderson (1) pitches in the low 90s and had the best command of any prep pitcher in the 2007 crop. He struck out 12 and walked none in five AZL innings.

Best Secondary Pitch: Alderson has a low-80s curveball with late, hard break. As with his fastball, he commands his breaking ball extremely well.

Most Intriguing Background: Culberson's grandfather Leon played in the majors, and he's also related to Hall of Famer George Sisler, former all-star Dick Sisler and ex-big leaguer Dave Sisler.

Closest To The Majors: Alderson's combination of stuff, command and desire could make him the first 2007 high school draftee to get to the big leagues. Bumgarner and Noonan are also more advanced than most prep players.

Best Late-Round Pick: D'Alessio. Otero is the best prospect of the NWL pitching standouts, with a fastball that creeps into the low 90s. Another sleeper is LHP Steve Edlefsen (16), who achieves heavy sink on his 88-92 mph fastball.

The One Who Got Away: The Giants signed the first 29 players they drafted. They made a run at SS Tyler Ladendorf (34), who led national juco players with 65 steals in as many attempts this spring. Ladendorf, who turned down a six-figure draft-and-follow offer from the Yankees before the draft, returned to Howard (Texas) JC.

Assessment: San Francisco had more first-rounders (three) than any club and landed three high-ceiling high schoolers in Bumgarner, Alderson and Fairley. Noonan, the first of three sandwich picks, is another prepster with a lot of upside.


Best Pro Debut: OF Michael Burgess (1s) quelled some of the worries about his ability to make consistent contact by hitting .318 with 11 homers, leading the Gulf Coast League in on-base (.442) and slugging (.617) percentage and ranking as the league's No. 1 prospect. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (2) went 5-2, 2.38 with 71 strikeouts in 53 New York-Penn League innings, while polished RHP Adrian Alaniz (8) went 8-2, 2.39 with a 62-8 K-BB ratio in 60 innings in the NY-P. OF Boomer Whiting (28) topped the NY-P with 37 steals in 42 attempts, though he batted just .250.

Best Athlete: OF Jake Smolinski (2), who was also a quarterback in high school, has solid athletic ability and a blue-collar mentality. Zimmermann (2) was a two-way player in college and starred in football and basketball in high school.

Best Pure Hitter: Smolinski, whose pro debut was truncated when a foul ball off his bat cracked a bone in his foot. He has good balance at the plate and a fine approach.

Best Power Hitter: Burgess. C Derek Norris (4) has above-average power potential.

Fastest Runner: Whiting used his plus-plus speed to lead NCAA Division I with 73 steals in the spring. He's also adept at bunting for base hits.

Best Defensive Player: Nationals assistant GM Bob Boone, who knows a thing or two about catching, raves about Norris' agility and arm strength.

Best Fastball: LHP Ross Detwiler (1) has a lot of arm speed and leverage in his 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, allowing him to throw 90-96 mph fastballs with nasty sink. Zimmermann worked from 90-94 while recovering from a broken jaw and pulled wisdom teeth this spring, and he threw harder in the Northwoods League the previous summer.

Best Secondary Pitch: LHPs Josh Smoker (1s) and Jack McGeary (6) had two of the best curveballs in the entire draft. Smoker also has a quality splitter and may have too many pitches (six) for his own good, so Washington will try to pare down his repertoire. McGeary seemed unsignable until the Nationals gave him a $1.8 million bonus and permission to work his baseball career around attending Stanford as a full-time student.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Garrett Bass' (42) father Kevin was an all-star outfielder, and his brother Justin signed this summer as the Angels' 21st-round pick. RHP Devin Drag (37) beat out Zimmermann for NCAA Division III pitcher-of-the-year honors after going 16-0, 2.41 at Chapman (Calif.). Unsigned C Dan Killian's (32, now at Kentucky) brother Billy catches in the White Sox system and his father Bill is a part-time scout for the Reds.

Closest To The Majors: Detwiler became the first player from the 2007 draft to advance to the big leagues, working a scoreless inning against the Braves. The Nationals anticipate that he'll soon claim a permanent job on their pitching staff and wanted to give him a taste of the majors.

Best Late-Round Pick: Patrick McCoy (10) is a 6-foot-4 lefty with the potential to have a plus fastball and breaking ball.

The One Who Got Away: It almost wound up being McGeary, who agreed to his record deal for a sixth-rounder only minutes before the signing deadline. Washington never got close with LHP David Duncan (23), who could blossom into an early-round pick after returning to Georgia Tech.

Assessment: The Nationals had the best draft in the industry. Landing three lefthanders like Detwiler, Smoker and McGeary is a rare feat, and Washington backed them up with more intriguing talents such as Burgess, Zimmermann, Smolinski and Norris.