2005 Early Draft Preview: High School Preseason Top 100
The Top 100 high school prospects for the 2005 draft.
The Top 100 high school prospects for the 2005 draft.
A breakdown of the top tools among 2005 high school draftees.
In a draft class heavily weighted with two-way standouts, Sean O'Sullivan, a senior righthander from Valhalla High in suburban San Diego has the moves to play professionally on the mound or at the plate. O'Sullivan's package of legitimate pitching and hitting tools is among the most intriguing in the class, and he enters the season ranked as the nation's No. 3 prep prospect.
Justin Upton, who, after being drafted first overall by the Diamondbacks and fortifying his status as baseball's best amateur player, is BA's High School Player of the Year.
When it rains at a minor league ballpark, the entire staff usually gets out on the field to pull the tarp. If there's a bunch of pizza left over at the end of the night, many teams will send employees into the stands to sell it off at a bargain price. When one team is displaced from its park after a catastrophic event like a hurricane, other teams are happy to help out. Minor league adaptability is not a new phenomenon, of course.
In the last couple of years, minor league teams have started to conduct "Baseball 101" seminars for women to introduce them to the whole spectrum of the game, from the basics of keeping score to actually taking batting practice on the field.
Surgery was the last resort for Travis Blackley's injured labrum, and the Mariners resorted to surgery last week, sidelining the lefthander for the 2005 season.
In 2003, the top lefthanders in the minor leagues were Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir and a late-bloomer in the Dodgers system, 18-year-old Greg Miller. While Hamels and Kazmir had lengthy amateur resumes, Miller was a relative unknown who was throwing in the mid-80s late in his high school career. A tweak here, some better conditioning there, and Miller started pumping mid-90s lightning while throwing three other pitches for strikes.
Through three decades of Caribbean Series play Mexico was the afterthought. Not anymore. Francisco Campos turned in another brilliant outing and Mexican champion Mazatlan held on in the final game of a marathon lineup of baseball, edging the Dominican Republic 4-3 to win the Caribbean Series.
After last season, Texas League president Tom Kayser knew his league would have to move forward without its flagship franchise. The Round Rock Express, arguably the best Double-A franchise ever, would move up to the Pacific Coast League in 2005. The league might never find one franchise that's the equal of the Express, but its combination of two new franchises might mean the league is even better. The Corpus Christi Hooks have replaced the Express, and the former El Paso Diablos have moved to Springfield, Mo., and become the Cardinals. And while it's still early, both franchises were averaging better than 7,000 fans a night in April. Round Rock (9,846 a night) and El Paso (3,422) averaged a little over 13,000 fans combined last year.
The Pacific Coast League may finally be ready to emerge from its Portland quagmire. The league has a buyer for the team lined up and has hired a new president/general manager for the operation. The process of closing the deal will still be complicated, but by the end of the season the Portland Beavers will be a healthy franchise again.
Greenville, S.C., was without minor league baseball for about five months before it found a team to replace the Greenville Braves. Local fans will hardly notice because the new team will take the field at Municipal Stadium on Opening Day. The Southern League franchise has moved south and will take up residence in Pearl, Miss., as the Mississippi Braves this season. And after Minor League Baseball decided in February who could take over the Greenville territory, the former Capital City Bombers have driven the moving trucks up Interstate 26 from Columbia, S.C.
The Texas League's Tulsa Drillers will celebrate the 100th anniversary of baseball in the city with a year's worth of promotions and remembrances in 2005. The Tulsa Oilers took the field in the Class C Missouri Valley League in 1905; Oklahoma became a state two years later. Baseball in Tulsa has been tied to the oil industry from the beginning, which is appropriate because the city is so intimately tied to oil as well. The city's team has been known as the Oilers and Drillers in all but one of its seasons—1914, when it was called the Producers, still another oil tie.
The company is Fun Entertainment, and after talking to Alan Stein you feel like it's an apt name. Of course, it's easy to have fun when you've just sold a baseball team for $15 million.
The beginning of the Caribbean Series was delayed when Dominican champion Aguilas failed to show up in Maztalan, Mexico, on time for their opening game. Tournament organizers said the Dominicans won't be forced to forfeit the game, however.
Going into 2004, Cole Hamels was the Phillies' top prospect and one of the top lefthanders in the minor leagues. But after missing most of 2004 with biceps tendintis, Hamels will have his 2005 comeback delayed. He broke the fifth metacarpal—the long bone in the palm of the hand that leads to the pinkie finger—in his left (throwing) hand during an altercation over the weekend in Clearwater, Fla.
The Mariners concluded a yearlong pursuit of Cuban shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt on Wednesday, signing him to a four-year contract worth $3.65 million.
Ozark, Mo., a city with a practically new ballpark, has no team to play in it. This trend could grow in the coming years, as the ballpark arms race escalates and cities find out the park they just built won't cut it anymore.
Now that Willie Randolph finally made it with the Mets as part of general manager Omar Minaya's rainbow coalition and career development program, he has no second thoughts about his career path. And he feels no need to apologize for the lack of an Arizona Fall League stint on his resume.
Wade Townsend had an eventful year. It included an undefeated 12-0 junior season at Rice, as well as being the eighth overall pick of the 2004 draft.