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Fate Lies In Critical Call

Jason Becker -Premium Content

Two years ago, Jordan Danks was known in scouting circles simply as "Little Danks" or "John Danks' little brother." While the elder Danks was mowing down hitters, guiding Round Rock High to the Texas Class 5-A state championship game as a senior before being drafted ninth overall by the Rangers, Jordan was hitting near the bottom of the lineup, a tall, slender sophomore playing right field. Much as he had throughout the first 14 years of his life, he was the little guy, tagging along behind his big brother and playing up with John's classmates.

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Rancho Bernardo Keeps Rolling

John Maffei -Premium Content

The key to success is simple, Rancho Bernardo High coach Sam Blalock says: "It all comes down to the kids." And over the past decade, the Broncos have had a lot of great kids, including five first-round draft picks—Jaime Jones (1995), Matt Wheatland and Scott Heard (2000), Cole Hamels (2002) and Danny Putnam (2004, drafted out of Stanford)—11 players drafted in the first 10 rounds and more than two dozen draftees overall.

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Power Drop Clouds Mayberry’s Status

Casey Tefertiller -Premium Content

It was the unthinkable, in these modern times. John Mayberry Jr. turned down first-round money—not to bargain for more cash, not to get a better deal—to attend college and get himself educated. That happened with some regularity a couple of decades ago, but with the big money being thrown at this generation's high picks, education becomes a lower priority against the immediate gratification of a huge paycheck.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Virginia

Will Kimmey -Premium Content

The talent has been building in Virginia in recent years, and this year caps off the state's steady surge toward amateur prominence. First and foremost is Justin Upton, the consensus top talent in the draft, and he's closely followed by Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is the exception this year, however, as the only college player among the state's best prospects. Of the top 12 players in the state, 11 come from the high school ranks.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: West Virginia

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

West Virginia enjoyed some success on the national stage this spring when West Virginia State advanced to the Division II World Series and Potomac State made its second straight appearance at the Junior College World Series. Winthrop outfielder Daniel Carte, a West Virginia native who is the state's high school career home run leader, is a potential first-round pick. But that's as close as it will get in the draft as the state won't have any other players with West Virginia connections go in the first 10 rounds.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Pennsylvannia

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

This has not been a vintage year for Pennsylvania, especially in the western half of the state. After producing premium first-rounders Chris Lubanski (Royals, 11th overall) in 2003 and Neil Walker (Pirates, 11th) in 2004, there may not be a Pennsylvania player among the draft's top 100 picks this year.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Ohio

Jim Callis -Premium Content

In a change from recent years, high schools have produced more of Ohio's best draft prospects than the colleges in 2005. Slugging outfielder Nolan Reimold is one of the few position players and collegians of note, and his late surge could carry him into the fifth round or earlier.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: New York

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Led by the dynamic pitching duo of Craig Hansen and Anthony Varvaro at St. John's, New York has an unusually deep crop of college pitchers this year. If he goes in the first round, as expected, Hansen would be the first player drafted in the first round out of a New York college or high school since 1996.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: New Jersey

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

New Jersey has been a tough state for scouts to get a read on this spring. There were three premium high school arms all along, but the pecking order changed continually until righthander Vince Mazzaro, the most signable of the trio, made a late charge. Some scouts saw Princeton multisport star Will Venable as a better athlete and better baseball prospect than B.J. Szymanski, Princeton's two-sport star from 2004 who went in the second round to the Reds, while others see him as no better than the surprise 15th-rounder he was a year ago.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Upper New England

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

A year after Maine high school righthander Mark Rogers, selected fifth overall by the Brewers, became the highest pick in draft history from this three-state region's prep ranks, things have returned to normal. With the possibility of one or two players slipping into the first 10 rounds, crosscheckers had little reason to trek to the northeast corner of the country this spring.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Lower New England

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Connecticut high school righthander Josh Zeid is the only player with a shot of being drafted in the first 10 rounds, but he could just as easily slide a long way because he has not had a dominant season and his commitment to Vanderbilt has raised issues about his signability. By winning the Atlantic-10 Conference title, Rhode Island qualified for its first-ever NCAA regional appearance and should also make its greatest imprint on the draft, with three pitchers expected to be selected.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Mid-Atlantic

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Maryland had hopes of producing two first-round picks this year, but those hopes evaporated when outfielder Justin Maxwell was felled by his third season-ending injury in two years early in the season and righthander Brandon Erbe couldn't produce even a .500 record at the high school level.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Massachucetts

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Massachusetts did not shape up as an even average state at the start of the year, but UMass righthander Matt Torra made more strides this spring than possibly any college pitcher in the country. Boston College pitchers Mike Wlodarczyk and Joe Martinez also showed significant improvement, raising the entire profile of the state.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Michigan

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Zach Putnam looked like he would become the state's first first-round pick since the Yankees reached up for David Parrish 28th overall in 2000. But Putnam has leveled off as a pitcher, and now teams project him as a third-round talent as a third baseman. After Putnam and Chris Getz, the state's most attractive prospects are pitchers. Sophomore-eligibles Paul Phillips and Jayson Ruhlman could be premium picks in 2006 if they return to school and show more consistency.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Kentucky

John Manuel -Premium Content

While the college programs at Kentucky and Louisville are improving, neither is in position yet to consistently feed talent to the draft. Kentucky figures to have a premium selection next year in infielder John Shelby Jr., the son of the former big league outfielder, but doesn't figure to have recruit Chaz Roe join him on the roster. Roe, whose father played football for the Wildcats, figures to be drafted in the first 50 picks.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Indiana

Jim Callis -Premium Content

High school righthanders are Indiana's strength, after being in short supply a year ago. Josh Lindblom has an outside chance of going in the supplemental first round, and the state's next three best prospects are three more prep righties. The state's colleges have been a disappointment, as several players failed to build on the momentum from strong summer performances.

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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Canada

Allan Simpson -Premium Content

Canada's impact on the draft may never again approach 2002, when lefthanders Adam Loewen (Orioles, fourth overall pick) and Jeff Francis (Rockies, ninth) were both among the first 10 players drafted. But the country continues to produce 40-45 picks a year, and the prospects for Canadians brightened in mid-May when Congress voted to increase the supply of visas used by minor league baseball players, which will allow Canadians to begin playing immediately.

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