With three possible first-rounders and a dozen candidates for the first five rounds, Virginia shapes up as one of the best states in the country this year. Tim Stauffer is a lock to go in the top five or six picks, while Matt Moses and Jay Sborz are first-round candidates. It's the state's deepest draft since 1997, when Great Bridge High teammates Michael Cuddyer (ninth) and LHP John Curtice (17th) were among four Virginia players drafted before the second round.
1. Tim Stauffer, rhp, Richmond
2. Matt Moses, 3b, Mills Godwin HS, Richmond
3. Jay Sborz, rhp, Langley HS, Great Falls
7. Kenny Lewis, of, George Washington HS, Danville
4. Jonathan Fulton, ss, George Washington HS, Danville
5. Kurt Isenberg, lhp, James Madison
6. Chris Ray, rhp, William & Mary
8. Asher Demme, rhp, South Lakes HS, Reston
9. Michael Brown, of, William & Mary
10. Eddie Kim, 1b, James Madison
11. Brian Marshall, lhp, Virginia Commonwealth
12. Marc Tugwell, ss, Virginia Tech
13. David Reaver, ss, Richmond
14. Sean Marshall, lhp, Virginia Commonwealth
15. David Winfree, c/3b, First Colonial HS, Virginia Beach
16. Harold Mozingo, lhp, Essex HS, Tapanek
17. Adam Tidball, c, Richmond
18. Phil Hendrix, rhp, Virginia Military Institute
19. Matt Deuchler, c, James Madison
20. Alex Smith, lhp, Cape Henry HS, Virginia Beach
21. Chris Sweet, of, Virginia
22. Jess Stewart, rhp, Osbourn City HS, Manassas
23. Kris Rochelle, c, Mills Godwin HS, Richmond
24. Thomas Meeks, rhp, Ferrum
25. Vito Chiaravalloti, of, Richmond
26. Nick Jones, 2b, Virginia Commonwealth
27. Victor Hamisevicz, 1b/lhp, Gonzaga College Prep, Dunn Loring
28. Jeremy Harper, rhp, Virginia Military Institute
29. Jeff Kamrath, rhp, Virginia
30. Joe Koshansky, lhp, Virginia
31. Anthony Granato, 3b, Virginia Commonwealth
32. Nathan Doyle, ss, James Madison
33. Matt Dalton, rhp, Virginia Tech
34. Chris Shaver, lhp, William & Mary
35. Billy Marn, 1b, Tabb HS, Yorktown
36. J.J. Pannell, rhp, Bishop O'Connell HS, Springfield
Projected First-Round Picks
Tim Stauffer, rhp
Stauffer emerged as a sophomore when he earned All-America honors. His 15 wins tied for the national lead and his 1.54 ERA was the best of any starter in the country. He set Richmond single-season records for wins, complete games (13), strikeouts (140) and innings. His record (8-4) suffered this year because of a lack of run support, but he struck out 130 and walked only 14 in 98 innings. Stauffer shows excellent command of four pitches: a fastball, changeup, curveball and a cutter that serves as his out pitch. He has the confidence to throw any pitch in any count. He also effectively adds and subtracts from his different offerings, which expands his repertoire. Stauffer works in the 89-91 mph range, but his four-seamer gets up to 94 while his two-seamer has plus life and is often unhittable at 92-93. Stauffer throws two breaking balls, a 12-to-6 power curve that is more consistent and a one-knuckle curve that's more lively. His stuff, delivery, mound presence and knack for pitching are all major league-quality now and he should breeze through the minors. One scouts says he's like Twins pitcher Brad Radke with a better fastball and breaking ball. The only real questions are the competition Stauffer faced in the Atlantic-10 Conference and the fact he's thrown nearly 250 innings and 23 complete games for the Spiders over the last two seasons.
Matt Moses, ss
Some scouts say the lefthanded-hitting Moses has the best high school bat in the draft. He has an excellent swing path and smooth line-drive stroke, and should hit for average and power down the road. The biggest question is his position. A shortstop in high school, Moses isn't a consistent enough fielder to play the position as a pro. His mechanics, especially his footwork, aren't sound and he tends to knock down more balls and then rely on his arm strength to make plays. The style profiles fine for third base, though he could become a power-hitting second baseman. Others think his arm strength would work fine in the outfield or behind the plate. At 6 feet and 205 pounds, Moses doesn't have the lean, athletic build scouts look for, and his lower half could thicken, resulting in a more squatty player. Regardless of where he lines up on defense, Moses' bat will play.
Jay Sborz, rhp
Sborz has a special arm. He throws a heavy fastball in the 93-95 mph range and maintains his velocity deep into games. His slider is another plus offering, at 79-81 with sharp movement. He has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds with wide shoulders to build on, and if he can keep his arm slot consistent Sborz could push 100 mph one day. His delivery has been violent but he refined his mechanics as the season wore on. A personal trainer has also helped Sborz get more out of his body. He still needs to develop a changeup if he wants to remain a starter, though his stuff and makeup are ideal for a closing role. There are some questions with Sborz involving off-the-field issues, but if everything falls into place his ceiling is higher than Tim Stauffer's.
Projected Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Kenny Lewis, of
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Lewis is easily the fastest player in the draft, with 80 speed on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. He ran the 60-yard dash in a lightning-fast 6.20 second at a workout in Texas in early May and zooms to first in less than four seconds. His game and approach have drawn comparisons to Kenny Lofton. After adding 20 pounds of muscle, he looks like a classic sprinter and profiles more like Rickey Henderson than Lofton. His speed plays everywhere, especially on the basepaths, where he could become a threat to swipe 65 bags annually even if he hits just .250. He can run down balls in center field, but needs work on getting jumps and making reads as he's played baseball seriously for only three years. Lewis has a left-field arm. Like high school teammate Jonathan Fulton, Lewis has committed to Virginia Tech. Lewis, however, has accepted a football scholarship as a running back and defensive back. He would follow in the footsteps of his father Kenny, who played in the NFL with the Jets, but Lewis has indicated he wants to sign. He could go as high as the second or third round to a team that covets his speed. His football prowess would also allow a team that drafts him to spread his bonus over five years.
Jonathan Fulton, ss
Fulton is viewed as a third- or fourth-round talent, but he may go a round or two earlier because of the shortage of quality middle infielders in the draft. He offers the total package at shortstop. He has great hands, solid arm strength and a quick first step. He makes most routine plays but tries to be too flashy at times. A quarterback in high school, he's physical and athletic. At 6-foot-4 he might outgrow short, which leads to questions about whether his bat would play at third base. His swing isn't the quickest and can be long at times. He's shown better balance at the plate and needs to get stronger. At 19, he's older than most high school seniors after he was held back a year to gain an athletic advantage. Even as he's hit more than .500 this spring, some say he should be dominating high school players more than he has.
Kurt Isenberg, lhp
After sparking interest with a 7-4, 3.73 sophomore campaign followed by a strong Cape Cod League performance, Isenberg was inconsistent this spring. He went 7-7, 5.30, and typically followed an impressive start by getting knocked around. At his best, Isenberg is a polished pitcher with three average offerings, a clean delivery and good feel for pitching. His fastball ranges from 88-92 and he shows a solid changeup. He has the makings of a decent curveball, but his command of it is sporadic. He's a solid athlete who fields his position well. He was a two-way player until this season, when he played less in the outfield so he could focus more on pitching.
Chris Ray, rhp
Ray had a solid Cape Cod League season in 2002, going 2-1, 1.93 with 10 saves and 38 strikeouts in 28 innings. Off that performance and a strong sophomore year at William & Mary, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ray looked like a potential first-round pick. He was inconsistent as a junior while moving from the bullpen to the rotation, and his stock plummeted as much as anyone in the draft. A starting role was supposed to give Ray the best chance to develop his arsenal but it didn't work out. He struggled to find a pitch to complement his 90-94 mph fastball. Scouts say Ray's splitter is his best pitch, but he didn't use it much and settled for a shaky slider and improving changeup. Even his fastball, which was clocked at 98 mph last fall, lost velocity. He got hit hard as the pitch has little movement and there's not a lot of deception in his delivery. He had trouble repeating his delivery as his body moved too quickly at times, throwing his mechanics out of whack. Ray's feel improved as the season moved along, and he gained more confidence as he switched to a two-seam fastball to get more movement from his high three-quarters arm slot. But it may have been too little, too late.
Others to Watch
RHP Asher Demme went head-to-head with Sborz early in the season, and the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder was no match for the more powerful Sborz. The matchup drew a huge contingent of scouts, and a pumped-up Demme tried to match Sborz pitch-for-pitch in the bullpen. He had nothing left in the game and his stock took a hit. He rebounded with his fastball working effectively at 88-91 mph, while touching 92. His raw power and strength should allow him to throw even harder. He also has a power curveball. Demme has had a difficult upbringing and should be an easy sign. He has committed to Chipola (Fla.) Junior College.
1B Eddie Kim should finally get drafted this year. He wasn't selected as a junior after winning the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year award and falling a hit, RBI and homer short of the league triple crown. He posted nearly identical numbers this year (.426-15-62) and should be drafted after the fifth round by a team that values performance over tools. Kim trimmed up his big 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame over the winter and shortened his swing as well, but his mammoth power is still his calling card. He crushed a deep homer on a 95 mph fastball off William & Mary's Chris Ray. He also has shown the patience to take his walks when pitched around. The rest of his tools are adequate. He runs well for a man his size and he's an adequate defender at first base.
Like Kim, senior OF Michael Brown showed ample power in his freshman and sophomore campaigns, reaching double-digit home runs totals each year. He injured his knee playing flag football in the fall before his junior campaign, however, and wasn't drafted in 2002. He still walks with a slight limp though his speed is relatively unaffected. Brown has returned to form at the plate this year, forcing his way into the CAA triple-crown picture with a .419-17-61 season. He makes excellent in-game adjustments and hits breaking balls well. He or Kim could be the first senior drafted out of the region.
SS Marc Tugwell also had a solid senior year and should be a good pick after being passed over last year. He plays hard and has good instincts, not surprising because his dad Ron was a longtime, highly successful coach at West Springfield High in northern Virginia. Tugwell played there with Joe Saunders and the two moved on to Virginia Tech together. Saunders was a first-round pick of the Angels a year ago. Tugwell is a poor man's Craig Biggio, a gap-to-gap hitter who makes adjustments and will go the opposite way. He took a .400 average into May. He plays solid defense and has good hands, feet and arm strength that should allow him to stay at shortstop in pro ball.
Virginia Commonwealth's twin 6-foot-5 lefthanders, reliever Brian Marshall and starter Sean Marshall, both have projectable bodies and helped the Rams compile the best team ERA in Division I. Look for each to go before the 10th round. Sean is more of a soft-tosser at 86-88 mph and could add velocity as he fills out his slim frame. His curveball is his best pitch. Brian's fastball touches 91 and he can throw that pitch and his changeup, splitter and slider from several different arm slots, including submarine. His lower arm slot provides excellent deception and movement. He's a Graeme Lloyd type whose resilient, loose arm allows him to work back-to-back days. He had 11 saves for the Rams this season.
2B Nick Jones and 3B Anthony Granato have the best chance of being drafted among VCU position players. Jones is a solid middle infielder with doubles power. Granato is the best defensive third baseman in the CAA and shows gap power.
In addition to Stauffer, Richmond has three solid draft prospects, though none swung the bat as well this year as they did in the past. After hitting .330 with 11 homers and 40 extra-base hits as a sophomore, C Adam Tidball had just 17 extra-base hits and a .260 average. He hasn't come close to realizing his offensive potential and might never because he is reluctant to make adjustments and struggles to maintain a consistent swing. He's a solid receiver who inspires confidence in his pitchers with his game calling, catch-and-throw skills and blocking. A gap-to-gap hitter, SS David Reaver led the Atlantic-10 in batting (.391), doubles (30), hits (104) and stolen bases (32) as a junior while setting Richmond season marks in doubles and hits. He also set a school record with a 34-game hit streak but wasn't nearly as successful at the plate as a senior. OF Vito Chiaravalloti also fell off at the plate as a senior. He led the Atlantic-10 in home runs (23), RBIs (86) and walks (50) last season, and struggled to reach even double digits in homers this year. He overswings, trying to hit everything out of the park.
Virginia Military has two pitchers who commanded interest from scouts. Undersized at 5-foot-11, RHP Phil Hendrix was compared to Tim Hudson for his size, bulldog mentality and stuff. He throws an 88-91 mph fastball. RHP Jeremy Harper is taller and throws harder, up to 89-92. He entered VMI on a basketball scholarship and quit after one season to focus on pitching. He can throw his curveball for strikes and has a strong changeup. He hasn't thrown many innings because of his basketball past, so Harper has a fresh arm and is projectable. His feel for pitching improves with every outing.
Six-foot-6, 230-pound RHP Thomas Meeks comes from the same Division III school that produced Astros lefthander Billy Wagner. He showed a heavy 88-89 mph fastball last summer, prompting a strong rating from the Major League Scouting Bureau, but his stock slipped when his velocity topped at 84-85 this season.
C Matt Deuchler missed the first half of the season with a broken hand. He is in demand as the top defensive catcher in the CAA.
SS Nathan Doyle's twin brother Jared was a third-round pick of the Diamondbacks last year. He's a solid college shortstop, but his lack of speed may push him to a corner. He led the CAA in home runs as a junior and has the power and arm strength to move to third as a pro.
RHP Matt Dalton transferred to Virginia Tech after spending a year at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. The 23-year-old senior switched to a submarine delivery last fall and didn't allow his first run until early May, while registering 14 saves. The run was the only one Dalton allowed in 28 innings while striking out 22 and allowing 10 hits and four walks. At 6-foot-4, Dalton throws just 82-86 mph but locates his fastball well and gets good movement.
Chris Sweet is a good defensive center fielder with a strong arm. He has been clocked at 97 mph on throws from the outfield and has been up to 92-93 mph on the mound. He was drafted as a pitcher last year by the Giants, and projects to that role in pro ball. He has gap power.
The more LHP/1B Joe Koshansky has filled out his 6-foot-5 frame, the more interest he's drawn. His fastball sits at 85-86 mph and touches 88. He has shown good command of three pitches and may end up as a hitter in pro ball. He has shown plus power potential in his first season as a hitter.
RHP Harold Mozingo plays at a small, rural Virginia high school and didn't surface until late April. A 19-strikeout game caught the attention of scouts, who found a projectable 6-foot-4 pitcher with a loose arm and three workable pitches, including an 88-92 mph fastball and power slider.
C/3B David Winfree projected as a possible first-rounder as a sophomore, but his game has not developed. His bat is still his best tool, but he may not have enough power to play first base and his arm doesn't work at third, the position he prefers. Scouts see potential for him behind the plate, but Winfree has expressed a reluctance to play the position. He's likely to end up in college at Clemson.
RHP Jess Stewart reached 91 mph in the past and has the potential to reach 94 or 95, but he borders on unsignable because of a strong commitment to Notre Dame, where his grandfather is in the school's athletic hall of fame.
C Kris Rochelle, a teammate of Moses, is committed to UNC Charlotte. He's a solid catch-and-throw player with decent power.
LHP Alex Smith needs to add weight to his broad-shouldered 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and has some projection in him. He didn't play baseball as a junior because he starred in lacrosse. He then hit 89 mph at Virginia's Commonwealth Games during the summer and focused more on baseball. He was at 85-86 this season with an average breaking ball and changeup. A good student, he signed to Virginia and could be a much higher draft after college seasoning.
1B/LHP Victor Hamisevicz throws effectively from a three-quarters arm slot and has shown plus power potential despite a long swing.
An obscure college outfielder tucked away in rural eastern Kentucky keeps the state from earning the lowest possible rating. The high school crop is especially thin, though several players have the potential to become solid picks after three years in college.
1. Josh Anderson, of, Eastern Kentucky
2. Heath Castle, lhp, Kentucky
3. Jordan Newton, c, LaRue County HS, Hodgenville
4. Mark Jurich, of, Louisville
5. Andy Baldwin, rhp, Western Kentucky
6. Josh Ellis, rhp, Dunbar HS, Lexington
7. Kyle Perry, rhp, Murray State
8. Adam Gautreau, rhp, Kentucky Wesleyan College
9. John Shelby, ss, Tates Creek HS, Lexington
10. Josh Bolen, of, Louisville
11. Scott Green, rhp, Male HS, Louisville
12. Isaiah Howes, of, Pleasure Ridge Park HS, Louisville
13. Scott Barber, rhp, Louisville
14. Carlos Fernandez, rhp, Louisville
15. Neil Sellers, 3b, Eastern Kentucky
16. Ron Braun, c, Louisville
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Anderson was among national leaders in batting average (.438) and stolen bases (44) and has always suffered from a lack of exposure. He was primarily a basketball player in high school and wasn't recruited to play baseball. He also played in the Ohio Valley Conference and didn't play in high-profile summer competition. Speed is his best tool. He's been clocked at 6.4 seconds over 60 yards and can track balls with the best in center field. His arm is average, and he's one of the few players who can throw almost equally well with either arm. Scouts aren't sold on his bat and he lacks the power to play on a corner. Some see him as just a fourth outfielder, and they might think he had more potential if they'd seen him succeed on a bigger stage.
Others to Watch
LHP Heath Castle started slowly in his first and possibly only season at Kentucky and picked up his velocity down the stretch. His fastball topped at 90 mph and he relied more on an above-average slider to get hitters out. He compares to a young Mike Stanton.
OF Mark Jurich was hurt in his first game this season and missed the next 26 after having the hamate bone in his hand removed. He spent last summer with Team USA, playing alongside several of the top college picks in this year's draft. Jurich isn't expected to go before the sixth or seventh rounds because he has only one above-average tool: a lefthanded bat. His power doesn't project with wood and his arm will limit him to left field. His father Tom is Louisville's athletic director.
Six-foot-3, 235-pound OF Josh Bolen has excellent tools and did a better job this year of putting them all together, leading Louisville with a .384 average, seven homers and 48 RBIs.
RHP Scott Barber has command of four pitches, including a fastball that tops out at 91.
RHP Carlos Fernandez has two plus pitches--a slider and an 87-90 mph fastball--and used them effectively to compile a 5-1, 1.35 record with 11 saves as Louisville's closer.
Six-foot-2, 190-pound RHP Andy Baldwin reached the mid-90s last summer in the Cape Cod League, but didn't show that velocity this spring. He has a funky arm action that produces good sink on his fastball. His slider, also an above-average pitch at times, was inconsistent.
RHP Kyle Perry is the Ohio Valley Conference's best pitching prospect. He can run his fastball up to 92.
3B Neil Sellers should get a look after hitting .395-16-76, but his best shot could be behind the plate.
RHP Adam Gautreau hasn't thrown as hard as he did when he was a sophomore, when he was up to 91 mph, but he should be a late draft.
C Jordan Newton is the best of a thin lot of Kentucky high school players. One of the best running backs in the state, he is short, stocky and powerful. He has a quick release, runs the 60 in 6.7 seconds and is athletic enough to play outfield. He has committed to Western Kentucky.
RHP Josh Ellis was the state's best prep prospect at the start of the year, before he hurt his knee playing football in the fall and was late coming out for baseball. He started slowly but his fastball soon returned to 89-90.
SS John Shelby is the son of ex-big leaguer John Shelby. Though he swings the bat OK and his other tools are playable, scouts say he would benefit from college. He committed to Kentucky.
Ohio has a history of first-round picks emerging late. Twenty years ago, righthander Tim Belcher surfaced as the No. 1 pick less than two months before the draft. John VanBenschoten was barely on the radar two years ago before he became the eighth pick overall. The latest Johnny-come-lately is Marc Cornell, who burst on the scene this spring. He headlines one of Ohio's strongest draft crops in years.
1. Marc Cornell, rhp, Ohio
2. Mitch Maier, c, Toledo
3. Chad Billingsley, rhp, Defiance HS
4. Ryan Feierabend, lhp, Midview HS, Grafton
5. Greg Moviel, lhp, St. Ignatius HS, Cleveland
6. Casey Abrams, lhp, Wright State
7. Keith Weiser, lhp, Talawanda HS, Hamilton
8. Matt Lorenzo, rhp, Kent State
9. Chris Snavely, 2b/of, Ohio State
10. Dirk Hayhurst, rhp, Kent State
11. Justin Masterson, rhp, Beaver Creek HS, Dayton
12. Jason Stephens, rhp, Tallmadge HS
13. Bart Hunton, c, Columbus State CC
14. David Cook, of, Miami
15. Walt Novosel, lhp, Ohio
16. Jeff Carroll, 1b, Bishop Watterson HS, Worthington
17. Shawn Nottingham, lhp, Camden Jackson HS, Jackson
18. B.J. Borsa, rhp, Cincinnati
19. Evan Smith, rhp, Milford HS
20. Matt Davis, rhp, Ohio State
21. Ben Snyder, lhp, Bellevue HS
22. Dan Horvath, lhp, Wellington HS
23. Jonathan Sanchez, lhp, Ohio Dominican
24. Michael Gardner, rhp, Miami
25. Drew Roberts, 1b, Sycamore HS, Cincinnati
Projected First-Round Picks
Marc Cornell, rhp
For a time, Cornell was considered by the Devil Rays for the No. 1 pick, but that ended when Cornell pulled himself out of consecutive starts--once after two innings, once after one hitter--because of a shoulder impingement. An MRI showed no problems, but Cornell's ability to pitch again and show scouts he's not hurt was critical to his status. Healthy, he's a lock to go in the first round. No college pitcher showed as much arm strength this spring. He's strong and thick-legged with a loose, easy arm action. His fastball was 94-95 mph and reached 97-98 on occasion, though it lacks the life that last year's No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington had. His breaking ball was inconsistent. He was more of a pitcher than thrower this year and attacked hitters aggressively in the strike zone. Scouts had little history on Cornell, other than knowing he had a questionable medical record. He developed shoulder tendinitis in his final start last year and didn't pitch last summer. Instead, he worked hard in the weight room to get stronger, particularly in his legs. Cornell also had minor arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in high school, when his dad was his pitching coach, and he missed his junior year.
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Mitch Maier, c
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Maier ranks among the elite catchers in the college game, and his lefthanded bat sets him apart. He led the Mid-American Conference in hitting as a freshman with a .444 average, and duplicated that feat this spring, hitting .457. He also led the MAC in stolen bases--a rare feat for a catcher. A 3-1 walk-strikeout ratio further bolsters his offensive profile. Defense is not one of Maier's strong suits. His receiving skills are suspect, and while he has good arm strength his release is a little slow. Experience should cure most of his shortcomings, and he has the speed and athletic ability to move to the outfield, if necessary. Maier was an all-state quarterback in Michigan and lived minutes away from the University of Michigan. He planned to play baseball and football there, but changed his mind when he learned that Michigan had recruited two other catchers--one being Jake Fox, who also should be a factor in this year's draft.
Chad Billingsley, rhp
Though rivals have emerged to challenge Billingsley in becoming the first Ohio high school player drafted, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has been consistent for two years. He did not do anything to hurt--or help--himself this spring. He competes hard and showed above-average arm strength, touching 95 mph on occasion. He also has a hard slider. Not everyone sees Billingsley as a premium pick, though. He pitches on a flat plane and his body might be close to maxing out. If he falls, he will probably end up at South Carolina.
Ryan Feierabend, lhp
It's touch and go whether the 6-foor-3, 190-pound Feierabend or the shorter, more compact Billingsley will be drafted fist. Feierabend has the higher upside and is considered the easier sign. He's mechanically sound with a smooth delivery. His fastball ranges from 88-90 mph, and scouts say there's a lot more in there. His best present pitch is a changeup. He's 17 but pitches with the moxie of a veteran. He pitched well early in the year and had a couple of rough outings in early May. A fast finish might get him into the second round.
Greg Moviel, lhp
At 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds Moviel has the size to be a premium pick, but he didn't become a legitimate candidate until this spring when his velocity increased from 85-87 to 90-92 mph. His breaking ball also was below-average in the past and has improved, and now rates as a projectable pitch. The Indians have more interest in Moviel than most clubs. With two extra picks, they might be tempted to spend one on a rare hometown product. Signability could be an issue if Moviel's not drafted in first few rounds. He has committed to Vanderbilt, a program on the rise that already has a good track record for hanging on to top recruits.
Casey Abrams, lhp
The 6-foot-4 Abrams helped himself as much as anyone in the state this spring, with the possible exception of Cornell. He became one of the top strikeout pitchers in Division I, with 119 strikeouts in 82 innings. His strikeout pitch is a darting, hard slider. He gets good life on an 89-90 mph fastball that ranges up to 94. A former all-state wrestler in high school, Abrams is a fierce competitor. The trick for former big league lefthander Ron Nischwitz, his coach at Wright State, has been to dial down Abrams' intensity. He still has the mindset of a wrestler on the mound at times, but has made strides relaxing and staying focused. He's the best prospect from Wright State since lefthander Brian Anderson was the third overall pick in 1993. Anderson had a better feel for pitching and fit the mold of a goofy lefthander, while Abrams is more businesslike and has better stuff.
Keith Weiser, lhp
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Weiser doesn't have the raw stuff to command early attention, but he makes up for it with a great knack for pitching. He has a smooth, easy arm action and has an approach beyond his years. His fastball topped out at 88 this spring and he supplemented it with a 79-80 mph changeup. He has committed to Miami (Ohio).
Matt Lorenzo, rhp
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Lorenzo improved his stock as he increased the velocity on his fastball from 87-90 mph to 90-92 with a high of 95. He also improved his feel for pitching, with command of an 83-84 slider and a changeup. A curve, his fourth pitch, lacks consistency. Lorenzo, an Ohio high school product, spent his freshman year at Georgia Tech and went 4-0, 2.82 before transferring back home. He was Kent State's No. 2 starter, behind career wins leader Dirk Hayhurst, and averaged more than a strikeout an inning while going 6-5, 4.04. He'll be drafted ahead of Hayhurst because he throws harder.
Others to Watch
2B/OF Christian Snavely is Ohio State's best potential draft pick, even though his season was disappointing. A stream of injuries to teammates forced him to play out of position and left him no protection in the batting order. He came off a solid summer in the Cape Cod League without showing the same athleticism, speed or aggressiveness at the plate. His position also is unclear. Originally a shortstop and used primarily at second base last year, he played all over the field this spring--wherever he was needed. His lack of arm strength may push him to left field or first base, but he lacks the consistent power to play there. He has a good approach to hitting and is disciplined at the plate, though he struggled to hit even .200 most of the first half. He had since moved his average back over .300. Sophomore RHP Matt Davis is also draft-eligible. He leads the Buckeyes with 10 saves and his fastball has been up to 92, but scouts say he is not ready for pro ball.
RHP Dirk Hayhurst wasn't drafted as a junior but should be a good senior sign. He continued to improve his velocity, touching 92 this year, and improved his slider. He's been durable for four years.
Record-setting RHP Matt DeSalvo of perennial NCAA Division III power Marietta would have been a solid draft pick, but he signed with the Yankees as a fifth-year senior when the season ended. He struck out 19 in his final game. The 6-foot, 175-pound DeSalvo set NCAA career records for wins (53) and strikeouts (603) after going 13-2, 1.31 with 157 strikeouts in 96 innings this year. In 2001, he went 17-1 with 205 strikeouts, but redshirted last year with a knee injury. DeSalvo reminds scouts of Athletics prospect Chad Harville because of his size and arm strength. He was clocked up to 95 mph.
RHP B.J. Borsa and LHP Walt Novosel should also get good looks as college seniors. Borsa topped out at 88, while Novosel improved his stock by touching 90.
Senior OF David Cook has a good power/speed package and showed improvement in all areas of his game.
RHP Jonathan Sanchez didn't created a buzz like Ohio Dominican teammate Benny Cepeda, a top prospect for 2004, but his fastball topped at 92.
C Bart Hunton, a top prospect out of an Ohio high school in 2001 who initially attended Clemson, resurfaced at Columbus State CC, leading the team to a berth in the Junior College Division III World Series. Power is his best tool, and he had more than 20 homers this spring. His younger brother Brock should be drafted out of Wallace State (Ala.) JC.
Six-foot-4, 225-pound RHP Justin Masterson has upside because he's been pitching for just two years. He already touches 90.
Six-foot-3, 165-pound RHP Jason Stephens isn't overpowering, but pitches easily and is projectable. If he's not drafted in the top five rounds, which would be a longshot, he'll probably end up at Georgia Tech.
Ohio State-bound 1B Jeff Carroll has one big tool, his bat, though he frequently struggled at the plate this spring.
LHP Shawn Nottingham was dismissed from his high school team for disciplinary reasons. He pitched in workouts for scouts and was clocked at 90 mph in Perfect Game's predraft workout in Iowa in mid-May.
LHP Ben Snyder came on late and showed arm strength, but he's not the prospect on the order of his brother Brad, an outfielder at Ball State who is projected to go in the first round.
RHP Evan Smith, projectable and rising fast, helped Milford High to a top 25 national ranking this spring.
LHP Dan Horvath improved his stock considerably when he outdueled Feierabend in an April game with a lot of scouts on hand.
Last year's crop was anchored by Ball State's Bryan Bullington, the No. 1 pick, and Luke Hagerty, who went to the Cubs in the supplemental first round. Another Ball State product, Brad Snyder, looks like the only first-rounder in an otherwise mediocre year for the state. Bethel College produced a solid prospect in Eric Stults last June, and earned more attention for Greg Kloosterman and David Humen this spring. The weather caused problems in most of the Midwest region, preventing more exposure.
1. Brad Snyder, of, Ball State
2. Robbie Wooley, rhp, Taylor HS, Kokomo
3. Dusty Glant, rhp, Purdue
4. Greg Kloosterman, lhp/of, Bethel College
5. David Humen, rhp, Bethel College
6. Clayton Richard, lhp, McCutcheon HS, Lafayette
7. Blake Hollar, lhp, North Vigo HS, Terre Haute
8. Matt Macri, ss, Notre Dame
9. Steve Sollmann, 2b, Notre Dame
10. Ryan Spilman, c, Decatur Central HS, Mt. Vernon
11. Andy Groves, rhp, John Glenn HS, Walkerton
12. Vasili Spanos, 3b, Indiana
13. Kevin Egli, of, Indiana State
14. Ben Smith, rhp, New Castle HS
15. Matt Samuels, lhp, Indiana State
16. Daniel Underwood, of/rhp, Purdue
17. Jason Paul, rhp, Ball State
18. J.P. Gagne, rhp, Notre Dame
19. Ben Vannatter, c, Indiana State
20. Sean Gaston, c, Brownsburg HS
21. Mike Dury, 1b/of, Bishop Chatard HS, Indianapolis
Projected First-Round Picks
Brad Snyder, of
Snyder nearly had to have his right big toe amputated after a serious wreck in the summer of 2001, which would have likely ended his baseball career. He fully recovered and hit .389-13-57 as a sophomore, raising expectations heading into this spring. He posted nearly identical numbers this year and shows more power from his lean, athletic 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. He made an adjustment to erase a loop from his stroke, and takes a more direct, fluid path to the ball. While he is a patient hitter, he occasionally lacks pitch recognition. He hits with good balance and bat speed, and shows the ability to turn on the ball for power. Snyder earned a tremendous reputation for his work habits while coming back from his injuries. An average runner with good instincts and an average arm, he profiles as a prototypical right fielder in the Paul O'Neill mold. He has attracted mid-first-round attention. Snyder's younger brother Ben, a lefthander at Bellevue (Ohio) HS, might be drafted in the top 20 rounds.
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Robbie Wooley, rhp
Expected to be the first high school player drafted from the state, Wooley has reached 94 mph with his straight fastball. Scouts say he's closer to 5-foot-11 than his listed 6 feet, which causes him to deliver his stuff on a flat plane. He regularly pitches between 88-91 and flashes a good slider, but will likely be relegated to a bullpen role because of his size and full-effort delivery. Wooley, committed to Cincinnati, is considered signable and could be drafted as high as the fourth round.
Others to Watch
RHP Dusty Glant has been clocked as high as 95 mph this spring after topping out at 91 last fall. He pitches in the 88-92 range with sinking action. He throws a slurvy breaking ball that is considered fringe-average at best, and his cut change is an effective pitch with slider action. He works with a clean delivery and good command. He has logged 50 innings out of the bullpen during his career at Purdue, limiting scouts' chances to see him. Clubs drafting with performance as a priority aren't likely to tab Glant, who posted an 8.88 ERA as a sophomore and had two disastrous outings inflate his 2003 ERA, though he still could go off the board by the 10th round.
Last year the Dodgers took LHP Eric Stults out of tiny Bethel College, the 2002 National Christian College World Series champs, in the 15th round. Astute area scouts also had their sights set on LHP/OF Greg Kloosterman. While interest has waned since March, Kloosterman was his conference's player of the year as a two-way star. He holds the career home run record at his high school and homered 18 times in each of the last two years at Bethel. His loose left arm has most scouts intrigued. He pitches between 85-88 mph and touches 90, showing running action at the plate. His curveball and changeup are inconsistent due to minor mechanical flaws that should be corrected with pro instruction. Kloosterman has an athletic frame and has drawn comparisons to Denny Neagle. He could be drafted by the fifth round. Kloosterman's teammate, RHP David Humen, spent his freshman year at Rice, followed by two seasons at Oral Roberts before he came to Bethel this spring. Humen moved from the pen to the rotation with good results, but scouts project him as a power-armed reliever in the pro ranks. Humen can dial it up to 94 mph with explosive life at the plate. Based on pure stuff, he's the best pitcher in the area, but he has a full-effort delivery, which he repeats, leading to long-term concerns. He also throws a good 77-78 mph breaking ball.
Comparisons to Drew Henson are overblown, but LHP Clayton Richard is similar in size and background. Richard signed to follow Henson to Michigan as one of the country's top quarterback recruits. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, he's an impressive physical specimen with athleticism and arm strength. Most scouts say there isn't enough interest to sway him from college football, though. On the mound, he pitches at 87 mph, touches 90 and shows a decent slider and underdeveloped changeup. Despite his size and arm strength, there is not a lot of projection to his fastball because his arm action is not clean. He passed for 2,420 yards and 20 touchdowns last fall.
Six-foot-4, 165-pound LHP Blake Hollar has a loose, effortless arm and tops out at 88 mph. His projection is a question because of his slight frame. He sits in the 84-87 mph range with a good curveball. Occasionally he gets on the side of his curveball, causing it to flatten out, but for the most part it has good bite and late action. On talent, Hollar could be drafted as high as the third round. Because he has a scholarship to Stanford, signability concerns could knock him down considerably.
Sophomore-eligible SS Matt Macri was regarded as a possible first-round talent coming out of an Iowa high school. A poor showing at a predraft showcase and signability issues sent him spiraling to the 17th round. Macri headed to Notre Dame as a shortstop/closer and redshirted his freshman year due to Tommy John surgery. He but hasn't pitched in two seasons because of the injury. If he stays in college, which is likely, he might get back on the bump next year. A solid athlete, Macri can handle shortstop at any level. There are questions about his ability to hit at the next level, and his power potential is limited.
2B Steve Sollmann's tools don't stand out, but he has made himself attractive to teams that value performance and is a candidate for the first five rounds. Sollman compares to Craig Counsell as a gamer with an outstanding feel for the game and the ability to work the count and put the ball in play. He has struggled in the Cape the last two summers, however, and he might not sign until next year after his senior season. Sollmann profiles as a utility infielder, with average speed and a below-average arm.
The top three catching prospects from the state are Ryan Spilman, son of former major league journeyman Harry Spilman, Ben Vannatter and Sean Gaston. Spilman and Gaston have solid catch-and-throw skills. Spilman has above-average instincts and still needs to develop as a hitter. Gaston is a Notre Dame recruit.
RHP Andy Groves will be a tough sign because he is headed to Purdue and both of his parents are teachers, but his average fastball is easy to project.
Senior 3B Vasili Spanos hit .270-7-33 on the Cape last summer after going undrafted last June. He hasn't disappointed this season by leading the Big 10 Conference in batting. His bat is his only tool, and he has a good idea and approach at the plate. Defensively, he can handle first base, but his hands are just fair and he lacks range. Expect the A's to overdraft him in the first 10 rounds.
OF Kevin Egli shows raw power potential to all fields, though he connected for just six home runs this season. After being pitched away for three years, he made the adjustment to drive the ball to the opposite field. He's a well-rounded athlete with a plus arm and decent speed.
RHP Ben Smith throws 86-91 mph from a high three-quarters slot. At 6-foot-5 with a quick arm, he projects to gain velocity as he fills out. He mixes in a 12-to-6 curveball and changeup.
LHP Matt Samuels, a Tennessee transfer, throws 87-90 with a four-pitch mix consisting of a changeup, curveball and good slider.
OF/RHP Daniel Underwood will be a nice senior sign as a pitcher. He touched 93 last summer in Alaska and has been in the 88-91 mph neighborhood, with a splitter, changeup and breaking ball this spring. He also leads the team in hitting.
Senior RHP J.P. Gagne operates with an average 90 mph fastball, but he makes his living with a plus changeup.
Injuries struck most of Michigan's top college prospects to varying degrees, enabling unheralded Jake Fox to surge to the top. The high school crop is thin, but the Class of 2004 is shaping up as one of the state's strongest in years.
1. Jake Fox, c, Michigan
2. Pat Misch, lhp, Western Michigan
3. Dan Kapala, rhp, Shrine HS, Royal Oak
4. Ryan Goleski, of, Eastern Michigan
5. Jim Brauer, rhp, Michigan
6. Brad Mumma, lhp, Western Michigan
7. Steve Boge, rhp, Mt. Pleasant HS
8. Michael McCormick, lhp, Goodrich HS
9. B.J. Brown, lhp, Oakland
10. Brady Burrill, c, Michigan State (CONTROL: Mariners)
11. Anthony Tomey, rhp, Eastern Michigan
12. Marco DiMichele, lhp, Garden City HS
13. Eric Thiesen, rhp, Adrian HS
14. Tom Fabrizio, of, Western Michigan
15. Michael Thompson, rhp, Central HS, Grand Rapids
16. Brian Gale, rhp, Michigan State
17. Dan Horvath, rhp, Central Michigan
18. Derrick Peterson, 3b, Eastern Michigan
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Jake Fox, c
Fox enjoyed a breakout season with the bat, hitting .365 and leading the Big 10 Conference in homers (14) and RBIs (63). He drives balls 450 feet in batting practice, and might have had more homers if he didn't play his home games in cavernous Ray Fisher Stadium. He is exceptionally strong at 6 feet and 210 pounds, and has worked hard to improve his catching. He still has just average skills behind the plate, with below-average hands and arm strength. Scouts say he's a better receiver than Toledo's Mitch Maier, the Midwest catcher he's routinely compared to. Fox also compares favorably to Maier as a hitter, though Maier is more athletic and more projectable.
Others to Watch
LHP Pat Misch was drafted in the fifth round by the Astros a year ago and chose to return to Western Michigan for his senior year. He missed several starts with minor elbow soreness and was back at full speed late in the season. He is expected to be drafted in about the same area again, as he's shown excellent command of three pitches, though his fastball has been only around 87 mph. A second Western Michigan senior lefthander, Brad Mumma, also should be a first-day selection. He led the Mid-American Conference in strikeouts, throwing an 88-89 mph fastball and curve with good deception.
RHP Jim Brauer was projected to be Michigan's top draft pick before he hurt his arm in a bullpen session and pitched only five innings. He should get a medical redshirt. The injury wasn't serious; it was diagnosed as scar tissue breaking up from a previous surgery. He'll likely be drafted in a lower round and watched closely this summer, with the idea that he could sign later if he's healthy. Brauer's fastball ranges from 88-91 mph; his slider 78-82. He learned to master a changeup this spring when he wasn't able to throw a curve.
OF Ryan Goleski went to the rescue of a teammate attacked on campus in late April and broke a bone on his right hand. He returned a couple of weeks later with his fingers taped together so he could throw and hit and wasn't expected to be 100 percent by the draft. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Goleski has excellent upper-body strength and can hit balls a long way. He hit .381 with 22 homers a year ago, but he slumped this year. The rest of his tools are average, at best.
Six-foot-5, 245-pound RHP Anthony Tomey throws hard, up to 93 mph, but has trouble commanding his stuff.
Senior LHP B.J. Brown was one of nine Oakland University pitchers that touched 90 this spring.
C Brady Burrill was one of the leading hitters in the Big 10 and was expected to sign with the Mariners before the draft as a fifth-year senior. He was drafted by Seattle in the 34th round last year.
RHP Brian Gale is deceptive because he throws from so many arm angles, and he looks like he's throwing a lot harder than his normal 84-86 mph.
RHP Dan Kapala is the best prospect in a lean crop of Michigan high school pitchers. He's big, strong and fluid at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, and gets exceptional life and deception on his pitches because he throws from a Jeff Weaver-like low three-quarters angle. He's been up to 93-95 mph in various showcase events this spring, but 88-91 in games. A commitment to Notre Dame may kill his chances of going early.
Michigan recruited RHP Steve Boge and LHP Mike McCormick, two other pitchers generating moderate interest. Boge's fastball ranged from 84-90 mph, but he needs work on his mechanics. The 6-foot-5 McCormick throws in the 85-87 range, and there's a lot of projection in his tall frame.
It's a down year in Canada after a banner 2002. British Columbia lefthanders Adam Loewen and Jeff Francis went fourth and ninth overall last year, becoming Canada's two highest picks ever. Loewen will be back in this year's draft if he doesn't sign with the Orioles. Next year's draft promises to be better with catcher Joel Collins and third baseman Mike Saunders projecting as early-rounds picks.
1. Brooks McNiven, rhp, U. of British Columbia
2. Jamie Romak, of/3b, A.B. Lucas HS, London, Ontario
3. Dustin Molleken, rhp, Lethbridge CC
4. A.J. Wideman, lhp, Streetsville HS, Mississauga, Ontario
5. Cory Stuart, rhp, U. of British Columbia
6. Jimmy Durette, lhp, Matine, Quebec
7. Matt Lander, rhp, Hamarskjold HS, Thunder Bay, Ontario
8. Nicholas Bleau, of, St. Elizabeth-Anne HS, Mercier, Quebec
9. Josh Sawatzky, rhp, Miller Collegiate HS, Altona, Manitoba
10. Patrick LaPage, c, Ste. Catherine, Quebec
11. Adam Leduc, rhp, Marianopolis HS, Beaconsfield, Quebec
12. John Marriotti, rhp, Chaminade HS, Toronto
13. Adam Roos, rhp, Hamarskjold HS, Thunder Bay, Ontario
14. Matt Kierstead, rhp, Musquash, N.B.
15. Michael Cart, 3b, King City (Ontario) HS
16. Ian Prescott, c, U. of British Columbia
17. Joel Thorney, rhp, Leaside HS, Toronto
18. Alex Baboulas, lhp, Toronto
19. Mark Tourangeau, rhp, Oakville, Ontario
20. Jon Baksh, of, Applewood SS, Mississauga, Ontario
21. Brett Blackman, rhp, Sinclair SS, Whitby, Ontario
22. Sean Hotzak, ss/c, Capilano (B.C.) JC
23. Scott Judson, rhp, University College of the Caribou
24. Cass Rhynes, c, Cornwall, P.E.I.
25. Jamie Lehman, rhp, Brampton, Ontario
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second-Fifth-Round Picks
Others to Watch
Six-foot-5, 175-pound RHP Brooks McNiven assumed the role of ace from Jeff Francis at the University of British Columbia, the only four-year college in Canada that plays baseball. He posted an 8-2, 1.63 record. He has a long, loose easy arm action, and his fastball was clocked at 90-93 mph all spring despite bad mechanics. Drafted out of high school by the Blue Jays in 1999, he doesn't get his front side out, and his back leg barely leaves the rubber in his delivery. His 82-84 mph slider can be a good pitch but is inconsistent because he doesn't stay on top of it. He might be able to throw in the mid-90s if his mechanics are revamped. McNiven's teammate, RHP Cory Stuart, was a force out of the bullpen, where he was 0-1, 2.75 with 30 strikeouts in 20 innings. Scouts like his easy arm action and low 90's fastball.
Six-foot-5, 205-pound RHP Dustin Molleken is a Regina, Saskatchewan, product playing at the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, Alberta. He has a prototype pitcher's body and throws in the low 90s with lots of deception. He has an average change and his curve is subpar. He came down with shoulder tendinitis in early May, and wasn't scheduled to pitch again leading up to the draft.
3B Jamie Romak's best tool is his bat. He has a solid line-drive stroke with above-average power potential. He played third base for Team Canada at the 2002 World Junior Championship, and even though he has above-average arm strength he may be better suited for left field. He lacks the actions to stay at third.
Jimmy Durette is an athletic lefty who was clocked at 87-90 mph all spring. He throws from a high three-quarters slot but has a long arm action in back and needs to keep his front side closed. His curve is inconsistent because he gets under the ball too much. He throws a straight change that has a chance to be an average pitch.
Polished LHP A.J. Wideman has a mature pitcher's body and excited scouts with his knack for pitching. He has more experience than the usual Canadian high schooler after spending the summer of 2001 with the Texas Storm and 2002 with the Texas Heat, two prominent travel teams. His fastball sits in the 86-88 mph range with good downhill plane, and he's a good competitor who throws strikes.
RHP Matt Linder became friends with projected first-rounder Chris Lubanski when they both participated in the Field of Dreams tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., at the age of 12. The two became teammates for two years on the Pennsylvania Lugnuts. Linder, who broke his elbow when he was 11, has a projectable body and throws in the high 80s. He struggled when the Canadian junior national team was in Florida in April and rebounded with a good showing at a Major League Scouting Bureau camp in Winnipeg. He has a loose arm action, with average command of an 87-91 mph fastball and 76-79 curve.
At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, 3B Michael Cart has a good baseball build. He is a pull hitter with gap power and an uppercut swing, and projects to have above-average power. Cart, 17, has average arm strength, struggles with the glove and is a well-below-average runner. An honors student, he committed to South Alabama.
RHP Adam Leduc has a strong, durable frame. He touched 93 mph but has a poor arm action and his slider needs work.
Patrick LaPage is a solid lefthanded-hitting catcher with power who came on strong leading up to the draft. He has good receiving skills and above-average arm strength but needs to improve his footwork.
OF Nicolas Bleau has spent time on the mound, but scouts think his future lies with the bat. He is a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate who shows a more advanced stroke from the left side. Bleau also is an excellent fielder with an above-average arm and below-average speed.
Six-foot-5 RHP Josh Sawatzky projects well. A Niagara signee, he improved his velocity from the low 80s to the 88-89 mph range this spring after going on a strenuous long-toss program over the winter. Sawatzky has an improving curveball and a decent split-finger, but stills needs to clean up his arm action. A two-time member of Team Manitoba, he went 8-3, 2.86 with three saves in summer league competition in 2002, with 113 strikeouts in 85 innings.
Six-foot-2, 205-pound RHP/3B John Marriotti can swing the bat and has some power. He has a loose arm on the mound, is athletic for his size and can reach 90-91.
OF Jon Baksh has a smooth lefthanded stroke with decent bat speed. Although not a true burner on the basepaths, he projects as a top-of-the-order threat.