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Montreal Expos Draft Report Card

By David Rawnsley

Best Debut: Short-season Vermont’s outfield of LF Matt Cepicky (4), CF Matt Watson (16) and RF Valentino Pascucci (15) all hit over .300. Watson, who threatened the .400 mark until the final week of the season before settling at .380, and Pascucci, who hit .351, were 1-2 in the New York-Penn League batting race. Cepicky, a first-team All-American at Southwest Missouri State, hit .307-12-53 and stole 10 bases.

Best Athlete: All five of SS Brandon Phillips’ (2) tools grade out at average or above. RHP Grant Dorn (10) was a backup quarterback at North Carolina State.

Best Hitter: Watson has a smooth lefthanded stroke and hits well to all fields.

Best Power: The powerful Cepicky ranked among the NCAA home run leaders at Southwest Missouri State and followed up with 12 long balls at Vermont. Pascucci, who was primarily a pitcher in college at Oklahoma and is agile for a 6-foot-5 athlete, also has good power potential but he needs to learn to loft the ball better.

Fastest Runner: 2B Bret Boyer (7) runs from home to first base in 4.0 seconds and is a sub-6.6 runner in the 60-yard dash.

Best Defensive Player: C Drew McMillan (3) struggled at the plate in his debut, hitting .210-0-2 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, but was a premium draft because of his defensive skills. He has good quickness and arm strength.

Best Fastball: LHP Josh Girdley’s (1) fastball tops out at 92-93 mph, which gives him more than enough velocity to set up hitters for his above-average curveball. Girdley struck out 29 hitters in 10 innings of a high school game this spring.

Most Intriguing Background: Boyer is the son of former New York Yankee Gold Glove third baseman Clete Boyer. He hit .172-0-8 in 93 at-bats, but stole six bases.

Closest to the Majors: Cepicky does everything well except throw, which limits him to left field. Despite his big swing, he has advanced hitting skills.

The One That Got Away: The Expos signed all but one pick through the first 16 rounds but took a couple of gambles in the middle rounds and lost OF Brian Stavisky (12) and RHP Pat Wyrick (18) to Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

Best Non-Draft Sign: International scouting director Fred Ferreira is one of the best and most active talent evaluators in the game. His latest find is 6-foot-5 Venezuelan RHP Luis Torres, who went 5-3, 2.85 in the Gulf Coast League.

Summary: The Expos insist that Girdley was the player they wanted at No. 6 overall, that he wasn’t a signability pick. He fared well out of the gate (0-2, 3.32), as did several of the Expos’ position prospects. Their depth of position players is a rarity in the pitching-dominated 1999 draft.

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