Meet “The Selectables”

That’s what the PDF file the Major League Scouting Bureau sends to major league organizations is called–2007 Selectables. It’s a list of draft-eligible players who have been turned in by Bureau scouts. The MLSB is centrally funded by MLB and scouts all players, a bit differently from MLB clubs. In a sense, the Bureau list is a follow list for clubs’ area scouts.

Even though we’re not supposed to get a copy here at BA World Headquarters, it’s been happening for as long as I can recall, and we’ve gotten a few copies this year. Our latest one is a late-April update, hot off the press, and without giving away the farm, here are a few interesting tidbits:

• David Price is the No. 1 prospect on most boards, but a pair of high school righthanders, New Jersey’s Rick Porcello and Connecticut’s Matt Harvey top the list. Porcello has one of the highest grades I’ve ever seen, ranking behind those given to Josh Hamilton and Jason Neighborgall that I can recall, but he’s in rarified air. Mind you, no high school righthander ever has been the No. 1 overall pick; Bill Gullickson (1980) and Josh Beckett (1999) came the closest, both being the second picks in their respective drafts. Prep RHPs Jarrod Parker and Phillippe Aumont also are in the top five.
• Just six of the 25 highest-graded players attend four-year colleges–Price; Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State’s Beau Mills; Kent State righthander Chris Carpenter, who has pitched just 14 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery; Missouri State southpaw Ross Detwiler; Oregon State closer Eddie Kunz; and San Francisco lefty Aaron Poreda. Mills is the highest-rated position player, and Julio Borbon of Tennessee, down at No. 29, is the only other college position player in the top 40. The other 19 guys in the top 25 are all prep products. It’s just not a good year for the college class, no matter who’s doing the evaluating.

• Two Canadian righthanders, Aumont (Quebec) and Kyle Lotzkar (British Columbia), rank in the top 10, and two Puerto Rican hitters–outfielder Angel Morales and third baseman/shortstop Neftali Soto–are in the top 20. Aumont is the best bet to go in the first round of this quartet.

• Looking for a fast riser? How about Gonzaga’s Clayton Mortensen, who wasn’t on the radar entering the year. Mortensen, who has had a 16-strikeout game this spring, has allowed only one homer all spring in 82 innings, has racked up 84 strikeouts and has pushed his Bureau ranking up from slightly below average to above average. With a sinker that has sat in the 90-94 mph range, Mortensen–the rare college senior with some projection in his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame–could push himself into the first three rounds.

• From the triviality department, Georgia Tech’s Matt Wieters–the top position player in the college class–has a higher Bureau number as a pitcher than he does as a hitter. That’s despite the fact he has a 6.75 ERA as Tech’s closer this spring and has largely given up that job to focus on catching.