Led by Jeff Allison, who has been as dominant as any amateur player in the nation this spring, Massachusetts has one of its best draft crops in years. Though the college crop is barren, as many as five high school players have attracted top five-round interest.
1. Jeff Allison, rhp, Veterans Memorial HS, Peabody
2. Pat Bresnehan, rhp, Dover Sherborn HS, Sherborn
3. Matt Antonelli, ss, St. John's Prep, Danvers
4. Jason Smith, rhp, Bourne HS
5. Lance Zawadzki, ss, St. John's HS, Ashland
6. Eric Grabowski, of/rhp, David Prouty HS, Spencer
7. Nick DeVito, 1b/rhp, Hingham HS
8. Steve Perry, rhp, St. Mark's Academy, Milford
9. Larry Day, c, St. John's Prep, Amesbury
10. Trey Hendricks, 1b, Harvard
11. Brian Lentz, c, Harvard
12. Allen Mottram, 3b, Massachusetts-Lowell
13. Jeff Altieri, 1b, Massachusetts
14. Rich Sirois, lhp, St. John Prep, Ipswitch
15. Cody Crowell, lhp, Harwich HS, Harwichport
16. Pat Maguire, rhp, North Chelmsford HS
Projected First-Round Picks
Jeff Allison, rhp
Allison was the ace of USA Baseball's junior national team that finished third at the World Junior Championship last summer. He had 17 strikeouts in 14 innings, and threw a four-hitter against Venezuela. He has been even more dominating this spring and had the second-highest grade turned in by the Major League Scouting Bureau at one point. Allison was a perfect 5-0, 0.00 with 82 strikeouts in 37 innings. His raw stuff is electric and has made him the top high school pitching prospect in the draft. He has a lean, athletic body with a weak upper half, long lanky arms and muscular legs. He has a no-windup delivery and generates serious arm speed from a three-quarters slot, which enables him to run his fastball up into the 96-97 mph range with nasty movement. He complements his heater with an 86-88 mph tilted slider and an 82-84 mph curve with excellent spin, bite and two-plane break. He shows an occasional 76-77 mph change and does a good job of repeating his delivery and commanding both sides of the plate. Allison has minor mechanical faults, sometimes rushing through his balance point in his delivery, causing his arm to drag. He also lands on a stiff front leg, hyperextending his knee, and has some recoil in his delivery. Scouts say he's cocky, to the point of being difficult to coach at times.
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Patrick Bresnehan, rhp
Bresnehan became familiar to scouts two years ago after he led the state in strikeouts (109) and compiled a 1.58 ERA in 49 innings at Dover-Sherborn High. After a year at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, where he went 5-1, 0.25, the Arizona State signee decided to return to Dover-Sherborn. Because Bresnehan spent only one school term at Salisbury (he enrolled in March 2002), the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association twice denied the football, basketball, and baseball star a transfer waiver to play at Dover-Sherborn before he finally got it on appeal last October. Bresnehan got out of the gates quickly this spring, throwing a no-hitter with 21 strikeouts and one walk his first time out. He has a mature, athletic body with a quick arm and high three-quarters slot but is a maximum-effort thrower. Bresnehan has a heavy sinking fastball in the 89-90 mph range, and will touch 93 mph with extension-side action. His curve is 74-78 mph with good two-plane break, but he often drops his elbow too low, causing it to flatten out.
Matt Antonelli, ss
The 6-foot, 180-pound Antonelli is a three-sport star at St. John's Prep, excelling at football, hockey and baseball. His stock surged this spring as he started refining his raw athleticism. Antonelli is a burner on the basepaths, running the 60-yard dash in 6.5-6.6 seconds, and can get down the line to first in four seconds flat. He's a good hitter with gap power and an ideal leadoff hitter. He has an average arm and stiff actions in the field and needs to improve his strength. He's a hard-nosed player who has committed to Wake Forest. Scouts see him moving from short to center field, or maybe third if his bat develops enough.
Jason Smith, rhp
Smith is also a star on the basketball court, averaging 17.7 points and eight rebounds this year and scoring more than 1,000 points in his high school career. The South Florida signee has a prototype pitcher's body and clean, easy arm action, but scouts haven't seen the same velocity this spring after watching him touch 95-96 mph last summer. His fastball has been in the 88-92 mph range with late run and sink, and he supplements it with a slurvy breaking ball that has good depth and bite when he doesn't drop his elbow. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has a fringe-average change, and he does a good job of throwing strikes. Scouts have concerns with his maturity and makeup, which may cause him to slide.
Others to Watch
As Antonelli's stock has surged this spring, switch-hitting SS Lance Zawadzki's has slipped. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Zawadzki has a short, compact stroke and creates good bat speed. He is a bit longer from the right side and shows more natural ability from the left. He projects to have average power and hits line drives to all fields. Zawadzki runs a 6.8-second 60-yard dash and is 4.2-4.3 seconds down the line from the left side, but scouts see him getting slower as he matures. He has an average arm with good carry from the third base side of the hole to go along with soft hands, quick feet and fluid movements. Some scouts think he will outgrow the position and project him as a second baseman.
OF/RHP Eric Grabowski is an above-average runner (6.5 seconds in the 60) with a plus arm. He's an outstanding athlete with good bat speed but poor hitting mechanics. He has a lot of holes in his swing. As a pitcher, he has a loose, easy arm action and projectable body. His fastball is in the 88-90 mph range, and he complements it with a 77-79 mph curve.
Six-foot-1, 195-pound RHP Steve Perry lives in New Hampshire but attends a Massachusetts prep school. He's athletic, throws in the 90-92 mph range and has a good breaking pitch. He has committed to Dartmouth.
Six-foot-6, 215-pound 1B/RHP Nick Devito has committed to Vanderbilt and is expected to be a tough sign. He has adequate bat speed with good extension and leverage, and produces power to all fields but his swing can get long at times. He has poor lateral agility at first and below-average hands.
RHP Pat Maguire was one of the better pitchers in the state but now faces Tommy John surgery. When healthy, he has a strong pitcher's body with a consistent high-80s fastball and good command.
LHP Cody Crowell throws in the mid- to upper-80s with good deception and decent offspeed stuff. He has a 74 mph curve with two-plane break and sharp bite, and good feel for a changeup. He needs to refine his command and mechanics.
LHP Rich Sirois is headed to Connecticut but had upwards of 20 scouts in to see one of his early May starts. He flashed an 87-89 mph fastball, with a slow-breaking curve and an effective change, but worries scouts with a funky arm action.
C Larry Day is a solid hitter with some power. He has below-average arm strength, with adequate receiving skills. Day has a mature body and lacks projection but is praised for his work ethic and leadership skills.
1B Trey Hendricks had knee surgery in April. He can swing the bat but struggles defensively and is a poor runner.
C Brian Lentz is a fifth-year senior who struggled with his grades and returned after missing a year. He matured as a player this year, showing better leadership and improved work ethic. He is a solid catch-and-throw guy behind the plate with above-average arm strength, but has major holes in his swing and struggles against breaking pitches.
LOWER NEW ENGLAND *
Connecticut, Rhode Island
It's been a quiet year, but scouts have plenty to look for down the road. Junior righthander Jay Rainville is the top prospect in Rhode Island and should be an early-round selection next year. He's also a hockey prospect of note and already throws in the low 90s. Sophomore righthander Josh Zeid would be the top prospect in Connecticut and might go in the first three rounds this year if he were eligible. He's already throwing in the low 90s.
1. Eric Drown, rhp, Connecticut
2. Reid Willett, rhp, Rhode Island
3. Mike James, thp, Connecticut
4. Chris Fournier, ss, Fairfield (Conn.) HS
5. Mike Leonard, c, Connecticut
6. George Blystone, lhp/of, St. Luke's HS, Norwalk, Conn.
7. Brian Forgione, lhp, Southern Connecticut State
8. John Slusarz, rhp, Connecticut-Avery Point
9. Steve Bray, rhp, New Haven
10. Chris Winkler, rhp, Staples HS, Westport, Conn.
11. Ryan Marshall, lhp, Waterford (Conn.) HS
12. Peter Soteropoulos, lhp, Connecticut
13. Matt Untiet, 2b, Berlin (Conn.) HS
14. Matt Kutler, of, Brown U.
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Others to Watch
RHP Erik Drown popped up on area scouts' radar screens when he flashed 96 mph against Rhode Island this spring. He has a good arm, with his fastball consistently in the 91-93 mph range, and has improved his control. Scouts worry about his arm action, though. He has a short-tilted slider at times, but it's inconsistent, and he needs to improve his command. Drown, 23, was a medical redshirt his freshman year and is a fifth-year senior, eligible to sign before the draft. He was scheduled to attend predraft workouts for both the Yankees and Red Sox. Teammate Mike James has been as high as 92-93 mph but pitches in the 88-91 range. He also throws a curve, which is a below-average pitch. OF/LHP Peter Soteropoulos led UConn in seven different offensive categories, including a .386 average. He struggled on the mound this spring, going 2-3, 7.88, but that's where scouts like him best. The 21-year-old senior has been consistently in the high 80s and topped out 91 mph. C Mike Leonard is a plus receiver with a strong, accurate arm and quick release. He projects to have an average bat with pull power.
RHP Reid Willett has a good pitcher's body and solid arm action. His fastball is in the 86-89 mph range and has been as high as 92 mph with arm-side running action. His breaking pitches need work.
Senior RHP Steve Bray ranked among the national leaders in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.8. He has a four-pitch mix with an 88-89 mph fastball, slider, changeup and spilt.
RHP John Sluzarz and LHP Brian Forgione both throw in the 85-88 mph range. Sluzarz shows an average curve with good depth, while Forgione struggles with his breaking pitch.
SS Chris Fournier is a pure hitter with an advanced approach at the plate and line-drive power. He is aggressive in the box and produces solid bat speed from a slightly open stance; he finishes with good top-hand extension and follow-through. Despite an athletic physique, Fournier is a bit heavy-legged and lacks the speed to play shortstop. Scouts view him as a second baseman down the road. An honors student who has committed to Notre Dame, he will be a difficult sign and could fall in the draft.
LHP George Blystone throws in the mid-80s and has an idea for how to use his fastball. He has a long, loose arm action that should allow for more velocity, and a sound delivery. He throws a curve with good spin that has the potential to be an average pitch.
2B Matt Untiet is a lefthanded hitter with a solid line-drive stroke who struggles defensively. He is headed to college at Connecticut.
NEW YORK ***
New York doesn't have a first-rounder but claims partial credit for Richmond righthander Tim Stauffer, a Saratoga Springs High product who should be one of the top four or five players in this year's draft. Some scouts are calling Estee Harris the best hitting prospect ever from Long Island.
1. Estee Harris, of, Islip HS, Central Islip
2. Chris Schutt, rhp, Cornell
3. Ricky Brooks, rhp, North Tonawanda HS, Buffalo
4. Chuck Bechtel, rhp, Marist
5. Terry Engles, rhp, St. Peter's HS, Staten Island
6. Josh McCurdy, of, Niagara
7. Brian Mattoon, lhp, LeMoyne
8. Michael Ambort, c, South Side HS, Rockville Centre
9. Travis Garcia, ss, Iona
10. Chris Bilyk, lhp, Ithaca HS
11. Chris Homer, rhp, Marist
12. Bill Graiser, of, St. John's
13. P.J. Zocchi, rhp, Iona Prep, Bronx
14. Chris Vasami, 1b/rhp, Mamaroneck HS
15. Kyle Brown, of, LeMoyne
16. Jason Motte, c, Iona
17. Joe Reid, rhp, St. John's
18. Chris Tracz, lhp, Marist
19. Pasquale Antoniato, ss, Briarcliffe JC
20. Cory Haggerty, ss, Cortland State
21. Casey Walsh, rhp, Ithaca HS
22. Andy Weimer, rhp, LeMoyne
23. Jared Brown, lhp, Briarcliffe JC
24. Mike Tamulionis, rhp, St. John's
25. Billy Weitzman, rhp, Briarcliffe JC (CONTROL: Mets)
26. Jesse Darcy, rhp, Division HS, Levittown
27. Mike Rozema, ss, St. John's
28. Mike Zgorzelski, rhp, Shaker HS, Troy
29. Stephen Emmerthal, rhp, Albany
30. Kevin Ool, lhp, Marist
31. Jeremy Cabot, rhp, Siena
32. Paul Nardozzi, rhp, Victor Central HS, Victor
33. Bobby Blevins, rhp, Briarcliff HS, Briarcliff Manor
34. Philip St. Amant, c, Brockport Central HS, Brockport
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Estee Harris, of
The 6-foot, 180-pound Harris might have the best pure tools of any player in the Northeast. He has quick hands and the ball jumps off his bat. His speed is near the top of the chart. He's been clocked in 6.4 seconds over 60 yards--though that reading has been disputed by some scouts. His power is average and should bump up a notch as he fills out. He hit .431 this spring with six homers. The one tool Harris lacks is arm strength, which may keep him out of the first two rounds. His arm is well-below-average--just a 30 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. He has a funky arm motion and his throws have little velocity or carry. He's described as player with a left-field arm, center-field range and right-field power. He has the kind of tools scouts can dream on. Few players have as much projection. He has made a college commitment to Lamar.
Others to Watch
RHP Chris Schutt has the best shot of cracking the top five rounds among college players. He moved onto the radar screen last fall when the Major League Scouting Bureau put a big number (55 on the 20-80 scale) on him based on a workout, and he justified it this spring. Despite a 3-5 record, he posted a 1.89 ERA and averaged 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He led the Ivy League in strikeouts. He's not physical at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds and his fastball normally runs in the 88-90 mph range, but his power slider sets him apart. The pitch had more bite this year and acts like a knuckle-curve. He throws it confidently in any count. His command of all his pitches has gotten much better this year.
After Harris, the high school player given the best chance of breaking into the first five rounds is projectable 6-foot-3, 170-pound RHP Ricky Brooks, tucked away in the western part of the state. His fastball normally is 87-88 mph and touches 92, and he has an idea how to spin a breaking ball. He has committed to East Carolina.
Marist has one of the better college pitching staffs in the country and could have four pitchers drafted. The best of the lot is RHP Chuck Bechtel, who was 8-3, 1.29 with 94 strikeouts in 77 innings. He is a fifth-year senior under control to the Padres, who selected him in the 25th round of last year's draft. Bechtel sat out a year earlier in his career with Tommy John surgery and is 100 percent healthy again. Like all of Marist's pitchers, he has a good feel for pitching. He has two plus pitches: an 87-91 mph fastball that occasionally reaches 94 and an 85-86 mph slider. RHP Chris Homer (2-2, 1.46, seven saves) has the best stuff of the remaining members of the staff. One of the region's most effective closers the last two years, he has a 91-92 sinking fastball and plus slider. LHP Chris Tracz, Marist's career wins leader, has a better feel for pitching than Homer but only an 84-87 mph fastball. Crafty LHP Kevin Ool (5-1, 1.71) doesn't throw hard but should get a shot.
LHP Brian Mattoon leads a contingent of three LeMoyne players who should be drafted. Mattoon wasn't picked in 2002 despite pitching well, but should go this year as a good senior pick. His best pitch is a fastball that touches 90. RHP Andy Weimar was 6-1, 0.57 with four saves, and recorded more than 20 wins and 20 saves in his career. He gets hitters out with a hard sinking fastball that induces a lot of ground balls. OF Kyle Brown's best tool is his speed. He covers a lot of ground in center field.
Canadian OF Josh McCurdy is intriguing because of his 6-foot-6, 215-pound frame. He performed this year like never before, breaking single-season records at Niagara for home runs, stolen bases and RBIs while hitting .417-12-60.
Travis Garcia has a prototype shortstop body at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, and is a slick fielder with average arm strength and hitting skills. His Iona teammate, C James Motte, has outstanding catch-and-throw skills but a questionable bat.
St. John SS Mike Rozema was the Big East Conference's top hitter and was solid in the field, but he lacks the tools to be more than a fringe draft pick. OF Bill Graiser has two outstanding tools, speed and arm strength, but doesn't make enough contact. Sophomore-eligible RHP Joe Reid missed 2002 with Tommy John surgery and has rebounded to throw 90-91 mph with a high of 93. RHP Mike Tamulionis was drafted a year ago and has recovered from early arm soreness to throw 88-92 mph.
A sleeper is 6-foot-4, 195-pound RHP Terry Engles, who popped up this spring throwing 90-94 mph. He was also seen at 84-85 as the nasty spring weather didn't allow him to get in a rhythm. Engles has no college options, so he could be an attractive budget pick in the first 10 rounds.
Like Harris, lefthanded-hitting C Michael Ambort committed to Lamar. He has caught for only three years and needs work on his receiving, but has an accurate arm. He could develop into a top-flight receiver with proper instruction in college.
RHP P.J. Zocchi is a polished high school pitcher who locates an 88-92 mph fastball well. His 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame will keep him out of the early rounds and likely deliver him to Clemson.
Six-foot-4, 220-pound RHP/1B Chris Vasami is a Notre Dame recruit with a chance to play both ways for the Irish. His fastball tops at 91 mph, but he doesn't throw hard enough consistently for a team to buy him out of school.
Ithaca High has two pitchers who attracted pro interest: 6-foot-3 LHP Chris Bilyk and 6-foot-5 RHP Casey Walsh. Bilyk's best pitch is a curve, while Walsh's is a fastball that peaked at 89.
Briarcliffe JC has three possible draft picks. RHP Billy Weitzman, a Mets draft-and-follow, topped at 93 mph this spring. Six-foot-4, 215-pound LHP Jared Brown, passed over in 2002 but an Expos draft pick out of high school, has touched 91. SS Pasquale Antoniato hit better than .400 this spring.
After two off years for a state that has twice produced the draft's No. 1 overall pick--Al Chambers in 1979 and Shawn Abner in 1984--Pennsylvania has more to offer this year. Chris Lubanski is a certain first-rounder, and two more high school players should go in the first five rounds. The college ranks are extremely thin.
1. Chris Lubanski, of, Kennedy-Kenrick HS, Schwenksville
2. David Shinskie, rhp, Mt. Carmel Area HS, Kulpmont
3. Trent Kline, c, West York HS, York
4. Russ Brocato, rhp, Pennsylvania
5. Jake Cuffman, rhp, Butler Area HS
6. Nathan Nery, lhp, Moon Area HS
7. Jeff Barnyak, rhp, Pittsburgh
8. Clay Hamilton, rhp, Penn State
9. Josh Sharpless, rhp, Allegheny
10. Donald Rhoten, rhp, Pittsburgh
11. Nick Evangelista, rhp, Pittsburgh
12. Andrew Reichard, rhp, State College HS
13. Edgar Ortiz, rhp, Point Park College
14. Anthony Zambotti, rhp, Indiana
15. Matt Powell, rhp, Temple
16. Craig Clark, lhp, Spring-Ford HS, Phoenixville
17. Billy Muldowney, rhp, East Senior HS, West Chester
18. Frank D'Agostino, rhp, Pine Grove HS
19. Peter Maropis, ss, Duquesne
20. Adrian Schau, rhp/of, Villanova
21. Dan Waters, lhp, LaSalle College HS, Wyndmoor
22. Jim Popp, rhp, Duquesne
23. Billy Konecny, rhp, Downingtown HS
24. Chris Graziano, rhp, Villanova
25. Kevin Ricciuti, rhp, Ellwood City HS
Projected First-Round Picks
Chris Lubanski, of
Lubanski has had a remarkable high school career. He's raised his average from .405 as a freshman, to .467 as a junior, to .592 as a junior to more than .600 as a senior. He's been a mainstay on Team USA's youth and junior squads, and played with and against the best players in the country for years. As a regular on the showcase circuit, he's also been visible to scouts and recruiters in all parts of the country. He has four tools that grade out average or better, and even his arm, his weakest tool, may become average. His hitting ability is obvious, but his best tool is his speed. He's been timed in less than 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash. He has long strides and glides to balls in center; it's a sight to behold watching him leg out triples, a frequent occurrence. His power will evolve as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. He's a tireless worker and takes a lot of pride in his performance. Lubanski is a top student with a commitment to Florida State, but he's a major draft prospect and could go as high as seventh overall to the Orioles.
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
David Shinskie, rhp
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Shinskie was the best quarterback in a state with a rich history of producing top quarterbacks. He was offered scholarships to several Big 10 Conference schools, but chose instead to sign with Delaware to play baseball. College is a secondary consideration, though, because he's expected to be among the first 100 players drafted. He has a big league mound presence, but the time he's spent away from baseball shows in the command of his stuff. He has trouble controlling a 90-92 mph breaking ball and doesn't have a feel yet for a hard, slurvy breaking ball.
Trent Kline, c
It may take a hard sell for a club to draft the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Kline in the third or fourth round, but his talent warrants it. He's an exceptional defensive catcher, with polished receiving skills, soft hands, quick feet and a quick release. He runs well for a catcher and was his team's leadoff hitter this spring. A switch-hitter, he hit .459 and led his team in homers, though he'll never hit for much power. Kline was a three-sport star in high school; an all-county defensive back in football and a guard on a championship basketball team. He's a baseball grunt above all else, though, and his father Greg played in the minor leagues. He committed to North Carolina, and signability could become an issue if he slides beyond the early rounds.
Others to Watch
Six-foot-3, 195-pound RHP Jake Cuffman has a live, projectable arm with a fastball in the low 90s and the makings of a plus breaking ball. His makeup has turned teams away, as he's had trouble getting along with coaches and teammates in every sport he's played. Scouts have noted his negative demeanor and selfish attitude. He has no college options.
Six-foot-4, 195-pound LHP Nathan Nery throws in the high 80s with the potential for more velocity from an easy, projectable delivery. He has a scholarship to Stetson but could edge his way into the top six or eight rounds.
Almost all of Pennsylvania's top remaining high school prospects are pitchers. Six-foot-4, 190-pound RHP Andrew Reichard had arm trouble in the fall but bounced back into the 89-91 mph range this spring. He's considered more signable than most of the other players in his class. LHP Craig Clark, a Penn State signee, hasn't thrown much faster than 85-86 mph, and his best pitch is a breaking ball. RHP/C Bill Muldowney, a Duke recruit, has good two-way skills, but scouts are more impressed with him on the mound. He has three average pitches, including an 87-91 mph fastball. RHP Frank A'Agostino has a lanky 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame and command of three pitches. He signed with Division II Shippensburg. LHP Dan Waters, a Maryland recruit, is the best high school pitching prospect in the Philadelphia area, according to some scouts. He's 6-foot-4 and throws in the upper 80s. Six-foot-3, 190-pound RHP Billy Konecny, a Xavier signee, touches the low 90s.
The Pennsylvania college ranks are so thin that 6-foot-6 RHP Russ Brocato has been the most closely watched player despite being virtually unknown to scouts in early April and compiling a 2-3, 7.82 record. He got his break when Penn played Ivy League rival Princeton, featuring top prospect Thomas Pauly. Brocato touched 92 and word spread quickly. Brocato might not be ready for pro ball, as his delivery and breaking stuff need a lot of work.
Clay Hamilton is another 6-foot-6, 200-pound righthander, but he has been known to scouts since last summer when he threw in the low 90s in the Shenandoah Valley League. He struggled this year, with his fastball dipping into the high 80s, and battled command issues.
RHPs Donald Rhoten and Nick Evangelista were supposed to be Pittsburgh's most heavily scouted pitchers this spring but were upstaged by RHP Jeff Barnyak, who was clocked from 89-91 mph and threw all his pitches for strikes. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Rhoten was injured off and on and never pitched as predicted; the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Evangelista put up impressive numbers and touched 90 but wasn't as sharp as Barnyak.
Power-hitting Temple 1B Rob Cucinota would have been one of Pennsylvania's better college prospects but signed with the Red Sox as a fifth-year senior. Temple teammate RHP Matt Powell should be a good senior draft with an 88-90 mph fastball.
2B Peter Maropis projected as a good draft at the start of the year but had a disappointing year with the bat.
RHP Adrian Schau took over as Villanova's closer after 6-foot-7, 240-pound RHP James Russell, who had 15 saves in 2002, battled severe control problems. Schau showed upper-80s velocity, with a good slider and changeup.
OF Chris Graziano has outstanding speed and defensive skills, but his draft chances are hurt by a lack of consistent contact.
Pennsylvania traditionally has good representation from small-college players. RHP Josh Sharpless was clocked as high as 90-92 mph; RHP Anthony Zambotti, a fifth-year senior with a devastating slider, rebounded from a serious knee injury two years ago; and RHP Edgar Ortiz, one of several Dominican players at Point Park College, has advanced pitching skills.
NEW JERSEY **
Unusually bad spring weather affected the entire Eastern seaboard this spring, particularly New Jersey. The high school season normally doesn't start until April 1 anyway, but frozen fields, rain and snow pushed the season back almost two weeks. That will hurt the draft hopes of many Jersey players, with the notable exceptions of Eric Duncan and Thomas Pauly.
1. Eric Duncan, 3b, Seton Hall Prep, Florham Park
2. Thomas Pauly, rhp, Princeton
3. Elvys Quezada, rhp, Seton Hall
4. James Hoey, rhp, Rider
5. Michael St. Martine, c, Monmouth
6. Tim Lahey, c, Princeton
7. Shaun Parker, lhp, Rutgers
8. Jeff Goldwater, lhp, Montclair State
9. Evan Baubles, c, Wall Township HS
10. Michael Kelly, rhp/ss, Rider
11. Chris Noonan, lhp, Seton Hall
12. Ryan Lobban, lhp, St. Joseph HS, Upper Saddle River
13. Eric Young, 2b, Piscataway HS
14. Tim Edmeads, 3b, Buena Regional HS
15. Ryan Stanek, c, Kean
16. Dane Mason, rhp, Gloucester CC
17. Brian Rabbitt, rhp, Brookdale CC (CONTROL: Mets)
18. Josh Corn, c, North Highlands HS, Allendale
19. Ryan Gavagan, rhp, Ridge HS, Basking Ridge
20. Brendan Monaghan, c, Wayne Hills HS, Wayne
21. D.J. Cunningham, rhp, Hanover Park HS, East Hanover
22. Chris Rini, rhp, Immaculata HS, Flemington
Projected First-Round Picks
Eric Duncan, 3b
Duncan is the best New Jersey high school hitter to come along in years, and hit .533 with nine homers this spring. He has a mature approach to hitting and a quick, polished stroke with above-average power potential. He makes adjustments well for his age, though he's vulnerable to breaking balls. He's done an excellent job of improving his body over the last year. He added 15-20 pounds, all in the form of upper-body strength. He reminds scouts of Chipper Jones at the same stage of his development. He has passable third-base actions and an average arm, though he's destined to end up at first base or left field down the road. Duncan grew up in California before moving to New Jersey as an eighth-grader. He committed to Louisiana State, but that should be for leverage only as there's a good chance he'll go in the first round. The Yankees, among others, are attracted to his lefthanded power.
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Thomas Pauly, rhp
With ex-big leaguer Scott Bradley as coach, Princeton is building a reputation for churning out top-notch pitching prospects. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Pauly is this year's contribution, and a possible sandwich pick or second-rounder. Pauly has a quick, resilient arm and was used mostly as a closer this spring--often working three games on a weekend. Throwing primarily a fastball that ranged from 93-95 mph, he averaged 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings, while going 6-1, 1.25 with six saves. He occasionally mixed in an 83-84 slider. He'll need to develop a changeup if he has aspirations of becoming a starter in pro ball. Pauly threw 83-84 when he enrolled at Princeton. He was a swimmer in high school and has worked hard to fill out his body and get stronger.
Others to Watch
RHP Elvys Quezada was a 15th-round pick of the Mets in 2002 and didn't sign because he believed he deserved to go higher. He may prove his point, as he's expected to be one of the first seniors to go. Even though he went just 3-5, 5.43 this spring, he created a lot of interest with an 83-85 mph slider--his out pitch--and a fastball that topped out at 94. He projects as a set-up man or closer.
LHP Chris Noonan stepped in as Seton Hall's closer, replacing all-Big East Conference performer Isaac Pavlik. He was on track to break the school record for saves while touching 90 and demonstrating a good feel for a breaking ball.
Six-foot-6, 190-pound RHP James Hoey led Rider in wins, ERA and strikeouts. His fastball topped out at 91 mph and he showed better command of his breaking stuff.
Six-foot-3, 200-pound LHP Shaun Parker, Rutgers' No. 2 starter, peaked at 89 mph with an above-average slider, but battled command issues.
LHP Jeff Goldwater is the top prospect in New Jersey's traditionally strong NCAA Division III ranks. His fastball was generally in the mid-80s, but scouts see upside in his 6-foot-3 frame.
RHP/SS Michael Kelly often played shortstop and came on to close games for Monmouth. He is an above-average defender with a weak bat, and scouts see his future on the hill. His fastball registers in the mid-80s.
Catching is an unusually deep position in New Jersey, both in college and high school. Michael St. Martine has been catching little more than a year and already has excellent defensive skills. He's a below-average hitter, which will hurt his chances in the draft. Some scouts like 6-foot-4, 240-pound Tim Lahey better because he has more power. His 11 homers led the Ivy League. Evan Baubles and Josh Corn are both good athletes behind the plate, with arm strength and power. Baubles has limited college options, while Corn is a top student and plans to attend Stanford.
2B Eric Young has a good pedigree. He's the son of Brewers second baseman Eric Young, a 12-year major league veteran. Like his dad, Young has above-average speed. His bat has a long way to go and he has below-average instincts for a middle infielder. Young is a dual-sport athlete and committed to Villanova, where he plans to play both football and baseball.
3B Tim Edmeads is the best high school prospect in south Jersey, with power his most advanced tool.
Crafty 6-foot-2, 160-pound LHP Ryan Lobban has a good feel for pitching, but only a mid-80s fastball.
Six-foot-4, 180-pound RHP D.J. Cunningham put himself on the map in early May when he struck out Duncan twice on curveballs with a lot of scouts on hand. His fastball tops out at 87. He'll likely play at Seton Hall.
RHP Dane Mason was one of New Jersey's top high school pitchers in 2000. Three years and three schools later, he's back throwing 91-92 mph. He's had a history of arm and off-field problems.
Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Washington, D.C.
Maryland has produced its share of talent in recent years, from high school righthanders Bubba Nelson (2000) and Gavin Floyd (2001), to University of Maryland shortstop John McCurdy (2002). The talent is just average this year, but Hagerstown junior righthander Nick Adenhart is the No. 1-ranked player in the country in the 2004 high school class. For this year, West Virginia has the best talent in the area.
1. Anthony Whittington, lhp, Buffalo HS, Putnam, W.Va.
2. Daryl Thompson, rhp, LaPlata (Md.) HS
3. Aaron Laffey, lhp, Allegany HS, Foxburg, Md.
4. Joe Wilson, lhp, Maryland-Baltimore County
5. Steve Schmoll, rhp, Maryland
6. Mark Michael, rhp/3b, Delaware
7. Matt Foster, lhp, Navy
8. Greg Conden, rhp, George Washington
12. Matt Montgomery, rhp, Watkins Mill HS, Montgomery Village, Md.
9. Alex Turner, of, Catonsville (Md.) JC
10. Jason DiAngelo, rhp, West Virginia
11. Adam Yesalusky, lhp, Potomac (W.Va.) JC (CONTROL: Astros)
13. Emanual Burris, ss, Woodrow Wilson HS, Washington, D.C.
14. Jared Rine, of, West Virginia
15. Tim McCabe, 3b, West Virginia
16. Dan Lindner, rhp, Potomac State (W.Va.) JC
17. Tim Schilling, 1b, West Virginia State College
18. Josh Glass, lhp, Potomac (W.Va.) JC
19. Kris Dufner, 3b, Delaware
20. Kevin Marrie, rhp, River Hill HS, Clarksville, Md.
21. Kyle George, ss, Maryland
Projected First-Round Picks
Projected Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Anthony Whittington, lhp
Whittington has plus-plus life on his fastball, which reached 94-95 mph early in the season but slipped to the 84-90 range as he tired under a heavy workload. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Whittington already has a man's frame and conjures images of Steve Carlton. He has a long, quick arm action that makes him projectable, but he's unrefined and doesn't have a good feel for pitching. He throws every pitch from a different arm slot and lacks a consistent second offering. His breaking ball is slurvy. He'll need two seasons in Rookie ball to smooth out the rough edges. Whittington often started two games a week and made four starts over one 10-day stretch. Still, he could be a premium pick, possibly as high as the third round. A volunteer fireman in high school, he committed to Oklahoma State because of its fire management major.
Daryl Thompson, rhp
Thompson wasn't well known entering the 2003 season, but soon had scouts flocking to see his athleticism and 90 mph-plus velocity. Lean, wiry and loose-limbed, Thompson draws comparisons to Oil Can Boyd for his pitching style and appearance. His mechanics and easy, loose arm also are reminiscent of Dewon Brazelton, the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. He's raw on the mound as he drops and drives through his delivery, reaching down and back to hurl his fastball consistently 90-94 mph. Thompson's fastball has plus movement and he maintains his velocity well into games. He also shows a solid feel for his breaking ball. Thompson showcases his changeup only in bullpen sessions. By far the best athlete on his high school team, Thompson played shortstop when he didn't pitch and is a plus runner.
Aaron Laffey, lhp
Laffey pitched better every time out this spring and became a possible early-round selection. He has a quick arm with clean mechanics and can locate all three of his pitches: an 85-87 mph fastball that reaches 91, a changeup and slider. He has a good feel for pitching, though his 6-foot, 180-pound build doesn't leave room for much projection. He's a good athlete who plays shortstop when he doesn't pitch and averaged 15-20 points for his high school basketball team. His father is a former teammate of Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, which might put him higher on the Braves' draft board. The Braves are targeting lefthanded pitching. Laffey has committed to Virginia Tech and his pitching style reminds area scouts of Virginia Tech lefty Joe Saunders, a first-round pick in 2002.
Others to Watch
RHP Steve Schmoll became an overnight sensation this spring at Maryland as a fifth-year senior, and his rise ranks as one of the year's more unlikely draft stories. He was a high school catcher who tried to walk on at Maryland as a freshman and was cut. He built a mound in his backyard to learn how to pitch and later made the Terrapins as a pitcher. He wasn't drafted a year ago and changed his arm angle after discovering he had better control and deception from a sidearm slot, while messing around during a bullpen session with former Maryland closer Ken Beck. Moved from the rotation to a closer's role, he struck out 119 in 83 innings, while walking just 19. He threw his fastball, slider and changeup for strikes from arm angles that ranged from submarine to straight over the top. His fastball peaked at 93 and his slider was effective against lefthanded hitters. Schmoll also worked quickly and confidently while pitching exclusively from the stretch. Scouts say he demonstrated as good a feel for pitching as anyone in the region outside of Richmond's Tim Stauffer. He's projected as a closer or set-up man as a pro. He likely would be a fifth- or sixth-rounder, but as a fifth-year senior he was eligible to sign after Maryland lost in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Schmoll is a biological resources engineering major and is considering medical school.
RHP Matt Michael is the only Delaware player projected to crack the top 10 rounds. A two-way player in college, Michael played mostly third base as a sophomore and saw time at first and DH this year. But scouts are interested in his arm. He generated 93 mph velocity on the rare occasions he pitched, but couldn't crack the Blue Hens rotation. He lacks command of his fastball and it has little movement. Michael's curveball also rates below-average. Michael's power arm and athleticism led to his being drafted by the Twins in the 21st round out of high school. He went to Old Dominion before transferring to Delaware. Michael still has screws in his elbow from a surgery he had five years ago. There are also questions about his desire and determination. He is anxious to sign and could be a cheap pick.
At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, RHP Greg Conden has a nice frame to go with his 88-92 mph riding fastball. His curveball and changeup are above-average college pitches. He's been a big-game pitcher and holds the George Washington record with 32 career wins. Conden's mechanics are sound for a pitcher his size, and he maintains good body control throughout his delivery. After a 6-3, 3.68 senior year with 67 strikeouts and 22 walks over 64 innings, Conden would go cheap as a senior sign between rounds 10 and 15.
Six-foot-2, 190-pound LHP Joe Wilson drew late draft interest this spring as he pushed his fastball up to 92-93 mph. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, which hurts his curveball but helps his slider. He's a long, lanky and athletic pitcher who could be drafted by the fifth round and is signable.
LHP Matt Foster got a lot of press this spring as he looked for ways to pursue his baseball career while still fulfilling his three-year service commitment to the Navy. He jumped into prospect status last summer at the All-American Amateur Baseball Association World Series in Johnstown, Pa., when his fastball was clocked at 93 mph. He hasn't reached that velocity since. He was around 90 with plus sinking action this spring, and struggled to control his fastball and changeup while demonstrating little feel for a breaking ball. He would merit being drafted around the 10th round, but a violent delivery combined with the $125,000 it would take to buy out his military commitment makes him too much of a risk for most teams.
A former track athlete at Clemson, OF Alex Turner is a plus-plus runner whose speed rates just a tick below Virginia prep star Kenny Lewis, the fastest player in the draft. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Turner has a projectable but skinny frame, and the rest of his tools are below-average.
RHP Jason DiAngelo, whose father Matt is a Mets associate scout, is an arm strength pitcher with an 87-90 mph fastball that tops out at 92.
Senior OF Jared Rine enjoyed a breakout year offensively, carrying a .400 average into mid-May, and answered the biggest question about his game. He's a plus runner who projects to hit for average and power with wood.
3B Tim McCabe, West Virginia's career home run leader, has a long, loopy swing. He was a 25th-round pick out of high school and figures to go in the same area four years later.
A 40th-round pick of the Astros last year out of a Pennsylvania high school, LHP Adam Yesalusky throws his fastball at 86-89 mph with decent command.
RHP Matt Montgomery's fastball reached 93-94 mph. He's a raw, power-armed thrower like Virginia high school ace Jay Sborz, but the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Montgomery doesn't have Sborz' durability.
RHP Kevin Marrie was Maryland's No. 1-ranked high school player entering his senior year but went backward this spring. He topped out around 90 last summer and spent most of the spring in the mid-80s. Marrie also doesn't have a useable second pitch.
RHP Dan Richardson shaped up as Delaware's top high school player before he hurt his arm in a November showcase and had Tommy John surgery. He threw 90-91 mph with a quick arm action prior to his injury. RHP Adrian Santiago assumed the role of Delaware's best pitcher when Richardson went down. He throws three pitches for strikes, including a fastball that ranges from 86-90 mph.