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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Kansas
By Jim Callis
(National ranking in parentheses)
1. MIKE PELFREY, rhp (National rank: 5)
School: Wichita State.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: Jan. 14, 1984.
Previously Drafted: Devil Rays 2002 (15).
Scouting Report: Pelfrey and Tennessee's Luke Hochevar have been running neck and neck all spring as the top pitching prospects in college baseball. Pelfrey moved ahead as the draft approached, though where the two would go in the draft remains uncertain because both have Scott Boras as an adviser. Shockers pitching coach Brent Kemnitz says Pelfrey is the best pitching prospect in school history, a rich tradition that includes seven first-rounders, and his 2.03 career ERA is a Wichita State record. Pelfrey suffered from draftitis in 2002, when he entered his high school senior season as a projected first-round pick, but that hasn't been the case this spring. He has blown away hitters consistently with a 92-97 mph fastball that's as notable for its sink as for its velocity. He's adept at getting grounders or strikeouts, depending on the situation. He has refined a straight changeup that will be a plus pitch and keeps lefthanders in check. He also has tightened his curveball and become more consistent with it. Add in a perfect pitcher's frame, good control and a competitive makeup, and the only thing that really bothers scouts about Pelfrey is Boras. Pelfrey could fall to No. 10—where the Tigers have a scouting director who used to coach at Wichita State (David Chadd) and an owner who has signed Boras free agents the last two offseasons (Mike Ilitch)—or perhaps further.
2. BRENT MILLEVILLE, c (National rank: 122)
OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Nebraska)
Plenty Of Potential, Questions
OF Gus Milner (3) has the best pure tools among the state's position players. He's 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds with power, speed, center-field instincts and a right-field arm. But he's still raw at the plate and scouts wonder about his ability to handle the bat. In his first season at Kansas after two at Hutchinson Community College, he hit just .221 in Big 12 Conference play.
Hutchinson, which advanced to the Junior College World Series this year, has the top pitcher and position player among the state's junior college programs. RHP Danny Calvert (6) had arm problems in the fall and has been inconsistent this spring, but at his best he's a projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pounder with an 88-92 mph fastball and a slurvy breaking ball. SS/RHP Noah Krol (11) is a switch-hitter with gap power and a strong arm. Calvert, who's under control to the Indians as an 18th-round pick from 2004, has no four-year college option. Krol, who was not drafted last year, has committed to Wichita State.
Mike Zagurski (4) made himself even more attractive as a senior sign when he beat Texas in front of several scouts in early May. He's a southpaw with solid-average velocity (88-92 mph) and a slurvy slider, and he throws strikes and misses bats. His 6-foot, 225-pound frame is a little chunky, but his arm works well. The Longhorns got revenge against him in the Big 12 tournament, shelling him for eight runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings.
RHP Don Czyz (12) touched 93 mph against Texas in the same game when Zagurski stood out. Czyz usually pitches at 89-91 mph and throws his slider for strikes. His younger brother Nick, a lefty at Blue Valley West High in Overland Park, Kan., is a Jayhawks recruit who could blossom into a decent prospect after time in college. Nick has an 86-88 mph fastball, a promising curveball and feel for a changeup.
Andy Van Slyke and Jamie Quirk played together with the 1983 Cardinals and opposed each other in the 1985 World Series, and now their sons who are two of the better prospects in the state. OF A.J. Van Slyke (5) was the Central Illinois Collegiate League MVP last summer after leading the circuit in hitting (.402) and homers (nine) while finishing second in steals (19). His bat is his best tool, and he has average power and speed. A below-average arm limits him to left field. OF/1B Kelly Quirk (10) probably won't get drafted high enough to divert him from Wichita State. He handles the bat well and creates good leverage with his 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, but he needs to get a lot stronger.
RHP Matt Smith (14) has one of the state's highest ceilings, but he's also not ready to go pro yet and would benefit from attending Wichita State. An all-state forward in basketball, Smith is projectable at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds. His arm works well, but he's a work in progress who tops out at 88 mph.
Among players already at Wichita who aren't named Pelfrey, OF Phil Napolitan (13) stands out. He's a fifth-year senior but won't get the chance to sign as a free agent before the draft because Wichita State advanced to NCAA regional play. He's a good athlete with speed and arm strength, though scouts want to see him show more pop at the plate and are concerned by his history of back problems.
Two transfers from four-year schools are the most attractive players at Kansas State. SS Eric Eymann (7), who spent his first two seasons at Illinois, is an athletic 6-foot-3, 186-pounder with good range and arm strength plus some juice in his bat. He needs to add weight to his frame and stop being so pull-conscious in order to be more effective at the plate. OF Steve Murphy (8) starred for Central Missouri State's 2003 NCAA Division II champions, then jumped to the Wildcats when Mules head coach Brad Hill did the same. He's a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder with close to average tools across the board, though scouts would like to see him realize more of his projectable power.
OF Luke Gorsett leads all national juco players with 20 homers, but the top prospect at Garden City Community College is Padres draft-and-follow RHP Aaron Breit (9). A 46th-round pick out of Thomas More Prep in Hays, Kan., a year ago, Breit already dials his fastball up to 90-94 mph with more room for projection in his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. His splitter also can give batters fits.