One school had a monopoly on the best talent in both northern and southern Nevada. In the north, it was Reno's Galena High, which had three of the state's four best position players, including Billy Paganetti, Nevada's best all-around talent. In the south, it was the Community College of Southern Nevada, which is in just its second year of existence. The school may not have a profound impact on this draft but had six players under control from 2000. Its best player, catcher Tommy Rojas, already signed with the Yankees.
Projected First-Round Picks
Projected Second-Fifth Round
Billy Paganetti. Paganetti came back from Tommy John surgery in his junior year and generated major interest at last year's Area Code Games with his power display. He entered this season as one of the top high school prospects in the country. He was a disappointment early as he proved vulnerable against quality pitching and didn't show good pitch recognition. He also didn't take to a move to center field, designed to take better advantage of his athletic ability. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Paganetti rebounded later in the season as he returned to first base. He showed more consistent power and finished with 15 home runs. He also pitched regularly and piqued the curiosity of a lot of teams by throwing in the low- to mid-90s. "That really kept the air in his balloon," a scout said. There are a couple of clubs that haven't ruled him out for late in the first round or sandwich round, especially to a team with extra picks. Others think he doesn't warrant going in the first three rounds. Paganetti has committed to Stanford, which complicates his signability.
Jake Dittler. Like Paganetti, Dittler commanded early interest that cooled when he missed four weeks in the middle of the season with a strained muscle attached to his elbow. He missed another start later in the season when the soreness returned. When he's right, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound righthander has a live arm and three solid pitches: a fastball consistently at 93 mph, a spike curve and a circle change. If he shows he's healthy, he could go as early as the second round.
Others to watch:
3B/OF Dustin Hahn is the son of ex-big leaguer Don. He transferred from a Northern California high school to Reno for his senior year and has benefited from the exposure Paganetti has received. A lefthanded hitter with average power, Hahn doesn't have a clearly defined position . . . A third Galena High product, SS Joey Hooft, is viewed as more of a college prospect and has committed to Miami. He lacks the arm strength to play shortstop in pro ball, but he runs well and has a little pop for his size . . . If OF Garrett Guzman were bigger than 5-foot-10, 165 pounds and a little faster, he would be a first-round pick. Pound for pound, he's the best high school hitter in the country . . . C Danny Kahr is an excellent defender. A weak bat may keep him out of the early rounds . . . CC of Southern Nevada's impact on this draft may be negligible if their draft-and-follows sign before the closed period. SS John DiBetta, who drove in more than 140 runs in two seasons, was under control to the Padres. John Kerschen, a raw 6-foot-4 righthander with an 88-92 mph fastball, is the team's best prospect who will definitely be in the draft . . . Nevada and Nevada-Las Vegas have little draftable talent. Six-foot-5 LHP Ryan Olson was the Mountain West Conference's best pitcher in 2000, but a bad ankle early in the year curtailed his development . . . UNLV RHP Jamie Gann might have been Nevada's top college prospect, but he was hurt and his velocity tailed off.
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