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Position Player Rankings

By Allan Simpson
May 30, 2002

CATCHER
There isn't a consensus first-round pick at the position. Unless a team overdrafts a catcher to fill a need, it would mark the first time since 1998 that a catcher isn't selected in the first round. Overall, it's a better crop than 2001--even though the Twins picked a catcher, hometown boy Joe Mauer, No. 1 overall. Like Mauer, the top two receivers this year are offensive-oriented lefthanded hitters. Iowa's Jeff Clement and Georgia's Brian McCann both can put a charge in the ball, but scouts say they rate as sandwich picks, at best. The player given the greatest chance of sneaking into the first round is Chris Snyder, a take-charge catcher with solid catch-and-throw skills. He profiles more as a third-round talent because scouts aren't convinced he'll hit with wood, but at least two clubs have pursued him vigorously. Ben Fritz and Matt Capps have attacted interest behind the plate, but teams see greater upside in the pair on the mound.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 2.
Best hitters: 1. Jeff Clement. 2. Brian McCann. 3. Alberto Concepcion.
Best defensive players: 1. Chris Snyder. 2. Matt Liuzza. 3. John Schneider.
Best athletes: 1. Mike Nixon. 2. Drew Olson. 3. Nick Hundley.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Jeff Clement

Marshalltown (Iowa) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-1

190

2.

Brian McCann

Duluth (Ga.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-2

195

3.

Adam Donachie

Timber Creek HS, Orlando

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

4.

Tyler Parker

Georgia Tech

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

212

5.

Chris Snyder

U. of Houston

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

224

6.

Alberto Concepcion

U. of Southern California

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

215

7.

*Ben Fritz

Fresno State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-4

220

8.

Josh Bell

North Side HS, Jackson, Tenn.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-0

200

9.

Jim Anderson

UC Riverside

Jr.

20

R-R

6-2

200

10.

Chris Robinson

Lord Dorchester HS, Dorchester, Ontario

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

185

11.

Paul Keck

Granada HS, Livermore, Calif.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-3

190

12.

Nick Hundley

Lake Washington HS, Redmond, Wash.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

185

13.

Matt Liuzza

Archbishop Rummel HS, Kenner, La.

Sr.

 

R-R

6-0

185

14.

Patrick Arlis

U. of Illinois

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

205

15.

Chris Miller

UC Irvine

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

215

16.

Mark Wagner

Mayfair HS, Lakewood, Calif.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-1

185

17.

Neil Wilson

Vero Beach (Fla.) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

195

18.

*Matt Capps

Alexander HS, Douglasville, Ga.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

220

19.

Matt Lauderdale

College of Charleston

Jr.

21

R-R

5-10

185

20.

Drew Olson

Piedmont (Calif.) HS

Sr.

19

R-R

6-3

190

21.

John Schneider

U. of Delaware

Jr.

22

R-R

6-3

215

22.

Adam Shorsher

San Jose State U.

Sr.

21

R-R

6-2

218

23.

Jake Smith

Southeast Guilford HS, Greensboro

Sr.

 

R-R

6-2

185

24.

Chris Hamblen

U. of Cincinnati

Jr.

22

B-R

6-1

194

25.

Mike Nixon

Sunnyslope HS, Phoenix

Sr.

 

R-R

6-2

185


*Also listed as pitchers

FIRST BASE
Outside of pitching, this is the strongest position in the draft. It certainly has a monopoly on power hitters, led by two Florida high school sluggers, Brian Dopirak and Prince Fielder. Nate Gold (the NCAA leader with 33 homers), Michael Johnson, Josh Kreuzer, John Mayberry, Corey Shafer, Ryan Shealy, Nick Swisher and Chris Walston also rank among the top home run hitters in the draft. Fielder and Mayberry come by their power naturally as they are the sons of former all-star first basemen Cecil Fielder and John Mayberry, who combined for 574 big league homers. Swisher is also the son of former all-star catcher Steve Swisher. All three offspring are possible first-round picks. Should Mayberry and Swisher be drafted there, they and their fathers would join the Grieves (Tom and Ben), Burroughs (Jeff and Sean) and Parrishes (Lance and David) as the only father-son first-round acts of the draft era. Mayberry is by far the most athletic of the first basemen; his speed and athletic ability may lead to his moving to the outfield at the next level.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 5.
Best hitters: 1. Prince Fielder. 2. Brian Dopirak. 3. John Mayberry.
Best defensive players: 1. Nick Swisher. 2. John Mayberry. 3. Larry Broadway.
Best athletes: 1. John Mayberry. 2. Nick Swisher. 3. Fernando Pacheco.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

John Mayberry

Rockhurst HS, Kansas City, Mo.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

195

2.

Prince Fielder

Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne, Fla.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-0

240

3.

Nick Swisher

Ohio State U.

Jr.

21

B-L

6-0

200

4.

Brian Dopirak

Dunedin HS, Crystal Beach, Fla.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-5

220

5.

Michael Johnson

Clemson U.

Jr.

21

L-R

6-2

220

6.

Larry Broadway

Duke U.

Jr.

21

L-L

6-4

218

7.

Corey Shafer

Choctaw (Okla.) HS

Sr.

19

L-L

6-3

210

8.

David Jensen

Brigham Young U.

So.

22

L-L

6-3

200

9.

Jason Perry

Georgia Tech

Jr.

21

L-R

6-1

220

10.

Fernando Pacheco

Montgomery HS, San Ysidro, Calif.

Sr.

17

L-L

6-2

190

11.

James Jurries

Tulane U.

Sr.

23

R-R

6-0

180

12.

Ryan Shealy

U. of Florida

Sr.

22

R-R

6-5

245

13.

Nate Gold

Gonzaga U.

Sr.

21

R-R

6-3

225

14.

Josh Kreuzer

West Valley (Calif.) JC

So.

19

R-R

6-6

245

15.

Chris Walston

El Capitan HS, Lakeside, Calif.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-4

240

SECOND BASE
Second base is normally a dead-end position at the high school and college level and, sure enough, none of the first nine players on the accompanying list spent this season at second base--except on rare occasions. All were predominantly shortstops but scouts say their size and/or lack of range or arm strength will dictate moving to the other side of the bag in pro ball. Several ideally project as utility players. Top prospect Russ Adams is better suited for second base because his arm is only average by middle-infield standards. But he's very steady in the field and has soft hands. A prototype leadoff hitter who steals bases and plays extremely hard, he has the best balance of offensive and defensive skills and that puts him at the top of the heap. Most of the remaining players will be offensive second basemen.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 3.
Best hitters: 1. Micah Schilling. 2. John McCurdy. 3. Russ Adams.
Best defensive players: 1. James Guerrero. 2. Russ Adams. 3. Don Murphy.
Best athletes: 1. Russ Adams. 2. Trevor Crowe. 3. John McCurdy.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

*Russ Adams

U. of North Carolina

Jr.

21

L-R

6-1

170

2.

*John McCurdy

U. of Maryland

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

195

3.

*Micah Schilling

Silliman Institute, Clinton, La.

Sr.

19

L-R

6-0

185

4.

*Trevor Crowe

Westview HS, Portland, Ore.

Sr.

18

B-R

5-11

180

5.

*Don Murphy

Orange Coast (Calif.) JC

Fr.

19

R-R

5-10

175

6.

*Javy Rodriguez

U. of Miami

Sr.

23

R-R

5-11

188

7.

*James Guerrero

Fontana (Calif.) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

5-9

165

8.

*Mark Kiger

U. of Florida

Sr.

22

R-R

5-11

180

9.

*David Uribes

South Hills HS, Covina

Sr.

17

R-R

5-11

170

10.

Eric Arnold

Rice U.

Sr.

21

R-R

6-1

180

11.

Chris O'Riordan

Stanford U.

Sr.

22

R-R

5-9

175

12.

Anthony Lunetta

U. of Southern California

Jr.

21

R-R

5-10

185

13.

Brian Burgamy

Wichita State U.

Jr.

20

B-R

5-10

180

14.

Luke Appert

U. of Minnesota

Jr.

21

L-R

5-11

175

15.

*Joey Monahan

Liberty U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-1

185


*Played shortstop this season

THIRD BASE
Next to first base, the hot corner is the strongest everyday position in the draft. The number of true third basemen makes it a representative position on its own merit, but it is enhanced by scouts saying that most of this year's top shortstops profile better as third basemen at the next level. Three Californians--Scott Moore, Sergio Santos and Jake Blalock--are symbolic of this year's pseudo shortstop crop. None have ideal range to remain at short, but all have the arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield and potentially explosive bats to play on an infield corner. Not only does the potential exist for there to be four third basemen drafted in the first round, but the position is unusually deep as well.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 4.
Best hitters: 1. Scott Moore. 2. Jeff Baker. 3. Matt Whitney.
Best defensive players: 1. Mark Teahen. Brian Barden. 3. Jeff Baker.
Best athletes: 1. Justin Tyler. 2. Travis Hanson. 3. Scott Moore.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

*Scott Moore

Cypress (Calif.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-2

170

2.

Jeff Baker

Clemson U.

Jr.

20

R-R

6-1

215

3.

Matt Whitney

Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

190

4.

*Sergio Santos

Mater Dei HS, Hacienda Heights, Calif.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-3

190

5.

*Jake Blalock

Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

205

6.

Brandon Jones

Wewahitchka (Fla.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-0

180

7.

*#Zack Greinke

Apopka HS, Orlando

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

185

8.

*Chris Lewis

Northwood HS, Irvine, Calif.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

180

9.

*Matt Craig

U. of Richmond

So.

21

B-R

6-3

198

10.

Brian Barden

Oregon State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

5-11

190

11.

Mark Teahen

St. Mary's (Calif.) College

Jr.

20

L-R

6-3

205

12.

Pat Osborn

U. of Florida

Jr.

21

R-R

6-4

205

13.

*Travis Buck

Richland (Wash.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-2

190

14.

Kevin Howard

U. of Miami

Jr.

20

L-R

6-3

185

15.

*Travis Hanson

U. of Portland

Jr.

21

L-R

6-2

190

16.

*Gabriel Sanchez

Brito Private HS, Miami

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

17.

Justin Tyler

Jones County HS, Gray, Ga.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

210

18.

Scott White

Walton HS, Marietta, Ga.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

19.

Rafael Mendez

Notre Dame HS, Caguas, P.R.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-0

190

20.

Mark Schramek

U. of Texas-San Antonio

Sr.

21

L-R

6-3

215

21.

David Bagley

U. of San Diego

So.

21

R-R

6-3

195

22.

Hunter Brown

Rice U.

Sr.

22

R-R

6-2

190

23.

Alex Gordon

Southeast HS, Lincoln, Neb.

Sr.

 

L-R

6-1

195

24.

Brad McCann

Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC

Fr.

19

R-R

6-2

195

25.

Matt Hagen

Liberty U.

Jr.

22

R-R

6-4

215


*Played shortstop this season
#Also listed as a pitcher

SHORTSTOP
Virginia high school star B.J. Upton stands head and shoulders above everyone else in this year's shortstop class. He's a five-tool talent who is compared to Derek Jeter at a similar level of development. Baseball America ranks Upton as the best overall talent in the draft, but Pittsburgh is not expected to take him with the first overall pick because of a more pressing need for immediate help. Instead, he is expected to go second to Tampa Bay. Most of the top remaining shortstops lack an important tool--and, as a result, will end up at either second base or third base in pro ball. Drew Meyer has solid shortstop tools and will most likely stay at short in pro ball. But scouts say Meyer could also be a dynamic center fielder. Beyond Upton, the high school shorstop crop is so thin that Clint Everts, who should be picked in the first round as a pitcher, is considered by some teams to be one of the three best high school shortstop prospects.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 2.
Best hitters: 1. Khalil Greene. B.J. Upton. 3. Drew Meyer.
Best defensive players: 1. B.J. Upton. 2. Taber Lee. 3. Cliff Pennington.
Best athletes: 1. B.J. Upton. 2. Drew Meyer. 3. Clint Everts.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

B.J. Upton

Greenbrier Christian Academy, Chesapeake, Va.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-2

170

2.

Drew Meyer

U. of South Carolina

Jr.

20

L-R

5-11

183

3.

Khalil Greene

Clemson U.

Sr.

22

R-R

5-10

190

4.

Taber Lee

San Diego State U.

Jr.

21

B-R

6-0

185

5.

Tyler Greene

St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Plantation

Sr.

18

R-R

6-3

175

6.

Robert Andino

Southridge HS, Miami

Sr.

18

B-R

6-0

170

7.

Tila Reynolds

U. of Washington

Jr.

21

R-R

5-11

175

8.

Cliff Pennington

Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas

Sr.

17

B-R

5-10

160

9.

*Clint Everts

Cypress Falls HS, Houston

Sr.

17

B-R

6-2

170

10.

Gera Alvarez

Texas Tech

Sr.

22

R-R

5-11

170

11.

Billy Hogan

Newman Smith HS, Carrollton, Texas

Sr.

19

R-R

6-3

185

12.

Kyle Boyer

Dixie (Utah) JC

So.

22

R-R

6-0

185

13.

Kenard Springer

Nettleton (Miss.) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-0

215

14.

Chase Lambin

U. of Louisiana-Lafayette

Sr.

 

B-R

6-2

198

15.

Justin Tordi

Dr. Phillips HS, Orlando

Sr.

18

R-R

6-3

190

16.

Christian Colonel

JC of Southern Idaho

So.

20

R-R

6-2

210

17.

Luis Rivera

Calvin School, Carolina, P.R.

Sr.

 

R-R

6-2

175

18.

Alexy Hernandez

Monsignor Pace HS, Hialeah, Fla.

Sr.

18

R-R

5-11

170

19.

Josh Murray

Jesuit HS, Tampa

Sr.

 

R-R

6-1

170

20.

Victor Menocal

Georgia Tech

Sr.

22

R-R

6-4

215

21.

Rene Quintana

Patria la Torre HS, San Sebastien, P.R.

Sr.

 

L-R

5-11

150

22.

Brian Ellerson

Montclair State U.

Sr.

22

R-R

6-2

200

23.

Adam LaRoche

Grayson County (Texas) CC

Fr.

18

R-R

5-11

175

24.

Todd Davison

St. Augustine Prep, Somers Point, N.J.

Sr.

18

R-R

5-10

170

25.

Calvin Hayes

East Rowan HS, Salisbury, N.C.

Sr.

 

R-R

5-11

190

*Also listed as a pitcher

CENTER FIELD
This position demands speed and athletic ability--qualities that enable players to chase down fly balls. Few players are faster than Denard Span or have more athletic ability than Jeff Francoeur, both heavily-recruited football players. Span committed to Florida, Francoeur to Clemson. Almost every player on this list is long on speed and short on raw power, and many have football on their resumes. Jarrad Page (UCLA) and Gavin Dickey (Florida State) were top football recuits, while Skyler Fulton (Arizona State), Freddy Lewis (Mississippi Gulf Coast JC) and Mike Goss (Jackson State) all have played football at the collegiate level. Francoeur and Steven Doetsch have the size, arm and power to play right field but their speed enables them to play in center.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 3.
Best hitters: 1. Denard Span. 2. Jon Slack. 3. Jeremy Reed.
Best defensive players: 1. Denard Span. 2. Jeff Francoeur. 3. Kennard Jones.
Best athletes: 1. Jeff Francoeur. 2. Jarrad Page. 3. Denard Span.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Denard Span

Tampa Catholic HS, Tampa

Sr.

18

L-L

6-1

175

2.

Jeff Francoeur

Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

205

3.

Steven Doetsch

Dunedin HS, St. Petersburg

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

4.

Xavier Arroyo

Antilles HS, Fort Buchanan, P.R.

Sr.

17

B-R

6-1

175

5.

Jon Slack

Texas Tech

Jr.

20

L-L

5-11

180

6.

Jarrad Page

San Leandro (Calif.) HS

Sr.

17

B-R

6-0

185

7.

Kennard Jones

U. of Indiana

Jr.

20

L-L

6-0

175

8.

Bo Flowers

Walter Lutheran HS, Maywood, Ill.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

190

9.

Bobby Kingsbury

Fordham U.

Jr.

20

L-L

6-1

180

10.

Jeremy Reed

Long Beach State U.

Jr.

20

L-L

6-0

185

11.

Freddie Lewis

Southern U.

Jr.

       

12.

Ryan Spilborghs

UC Santa Barbara

Jr.

22

R-R

6-1

190

13.

John DeFendis

Xaverian HS, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-1

175

14.

Gavin Dickey

Lincoln HS, Tallahassee, Fla.

Sr.

   

6-0

190

15.

Jeff Salazar

Oklahoma State U.

Jr.

21

L-L

6-0

185

16.

Josh Womack

Crawford HS, San Diego

Sr.

18

L-L

6-1

185

17.

Robert Andrews

Rancho Buena Vista HS, Vista, Calif.

Sr.

18

R-R

5-11

200

18.

Mike Goss

Jackson State U.

Jr.

21

L-L

5-11

185

19.

Jason Waugh

St. Mary's (Calif.) College

Jr.

22

R-R

6-1

195

20.

Dan Ortmeier

U. of Texas-Arlington

Jr.

21

B-L

6-4

220

21.

Skyler Fulton

Skagit Valley (Wash.) CC

Fr.

19

B-R

6-1

210

22.

Jeff Leise

U. of Nebraska

Jr.

21

L-L

5-10

165

23.

Larry Grayson

Manatee (Fla.) CC

Fr.

19

R-R

5-10

190

24.

Steve Stanley

U. of Notre Dame

Sr.

22

L-L

5-7

155

25.

Randy Walter

Wichita State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

205

CORNER OUTFIELD
Two themes are evident here: a handful of high school outfielders with advanced hitting skills and a decided lack of premium college players. Jeremy Hermida is regarded as the best hitting prospect in the entire draft--possibly the best high school hitter since Eric Chavez six years ago, according to some scouts. Brent Clevlen, Travis Ishikawa and Jason Pridie are also advanced hitters. The college crop is as thin as it's been in years. Stanford's Jason Cooper is the most attractive talent, but he no longer is seen as a first-rounder. He may have the best power in the draft but has been so slow to regain his arm strength from surgery in 2000 that he is viewed more as a DH. Curtis Granderson was one of the top hitters in NCAA Division I this spring, but skeptical scouts want to see how he'll fare against better competition.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale):
Best hitters: 1. Jeremy Hermida. 2. Brent Clevlen. 3. Jason Pridie.
Best defensive players: 1. Jason Pridie. 2. Sean Barker. 3. Ben Francisco.
Best athletes: 1. Robbie Sovie. 2. Elijah Dukes. 3. Nic Carter.

 

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Jeremy Hermida

Wheeler HS, Marietta, Ga.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

180

2.

Brent Clevlen

Westwood HS, Cedar Park, Texas

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

185

3.

Jason Pridie

Prescott (Ariz.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-1

175

4.

Travis Ishikawa

Federal Way (Wash.) HS

Sr.

18

L-L

6-3

205

5.

Robbie Sovie

Stratford Academy, Macon, Ga.

Sr.

18

B-R

6-0

195

6.

Jason Cooper

Stanford U.

Jr.

21

L-R

6-3

215

7.

Curtis Granderson

U. of Illinois-Chicago

Jr.

21

L-R

6-0

175

8.

Elijah Dukes

Hillsborough HS, Tampa

Sr.

17

R-R

6-3

215

9.

Sean Scobee

Rio Linda (Calif.) HS

Sr.

17

R-R

6-1

200

10.

Eddy Martinez-Esteve

Westminster Christian HS, Miami

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

185

11.

Randy Braun

Belton (Mo.) HS

Sr.

18

L-L

6-4

180

12.

Wes Bankston

Plano East HS, Plano, Texas

Sr.

18

R-R

6-3

200

13.

Sean Barker

Louisiana State U.

Sr.

22

R-R

6-3

215

14.

Bob Malek

Michigan State U.

Jr.

20

L-R

6-0

180

15.

Val Majewski

Rutgers U.

Jr.

20

L-L

6-2

200

16.

Tyler Davidson

U. of Washington

Jr.

21

R-R

6-4

225

17.

Ryan Broderick

Palm Desert HS, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Sr.

18

L-L

6-3

178

18.

Ben Francisco

UCLA

Jr.

20

R-R

6-0

180

19.

Adam Lind

Highland HS, Anderson, Ind.

Sr.

18

L-L

6-2

175

20.

Nic Carter

Campbell U.

Jr.

21

B-R

6-3

185

21.

Tim Gilhooly

U. of the Pacific

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

210

22.

Jarrod Schmidt

Clemson U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-1

215

23.

Matt Carson

Brigham Young U.

Jr.

20

R-R

6-2

195

24.

Jay Garthwaite

U. of Washington

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

205

25.

Derrick Smith

Dooly County HS, Vienna, Ga.

Sr.

18

L-L

5-11

185

26.

Brian Stavisky

U. of Notre Dame

Jr.

21

L-R

6-3

220

27.

Joseph Hunter

Germantown (Tenn.) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

175

28.

Lance Pendleton

Kingwood (Texas) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

175

29.

Eric Verbryke

Cal State Northridge

Jr.

20

L-L

6-2

220

30.

Brad Corley

Pleasure Ridge Park HS, Louisville

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

185

31.

Caleb Maher

Ceres (Calif.) HS

Sr.

17

R-R

6-3

190

32.

Joey Gomes

U. of Santa Clara

Sr.

22

R-R

6-2

210

33.

Daylon Monette

Oklahoma State U.

Jr.

20

B-L

6-3

200

34.

Jason Fransz

U. of Oklahoma

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

200

35.

Brian Wright

North Carolina State U.

Sr.

22

L-R

6-1

200

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