2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Utah
By Allan Simpson
(National ranking in parentheses)
1. MARK PAWELEK, lhp (National rank: 17)
OTHERS TO WATCH
(Numbers in parentheses indicate rank in Utah)
Dixie Rises Again
Dixie State, which won the Junior College World Series last season, failed to defend its title by losing out in regional play, but should again dominate the draft in Utah with five or six selections—providing several players under control don’t sign before the draft.
SS Colt Sedbrook (3) and double-play partner Jimmy Scholzen (10) should both be shortstops in the long term. Scholzen moved across the bag temporarily because he was coming off arm surgery in 2004, while Sedbrook has committed to Arizona in 2006 to play second. Sedbrook (.314-3-30) is the best athlete on the team and reminds scouts of former Dixie State shortstop Kyle Boyer, a fourth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2002. He has five-tool potential, with the arm, glove and range to play in the middle infield. Scholzen (.319-1-16), an 18th-round pick in 2004, was looking to sign with the Devil Rays before the draft—and before he embarks on a Mormon mission.
LHP Nick Walters (8), who threw two no-hitters this spring and posted a 1.82 ERA, was looking to sign with the Whie Sox before the draft. His velocity is a little short at 86-88 mph, but he gets exceptional movement on all his pitches from a funky, low arm angle. RHP Chad Povich (6) went undrafted out of a Colorado high school in 2004, but had the best stuff on the Dixie State staff this spring, with a 91-92 mph fastball and an above-average curve.
Salt Lake Community College had two pitchers who were good prospects as well, but RHP Ryan Zimmerman (7) went down with an arm injury in April. Zimmerman was the starting quarterback at Southern Utah as a freshman, but decided to give up football to concentrate on baseball. Before he got hurt, his fastball was 88-90 mph and touched 93. He is scheduled to transfer to Arizona State for the 2006 season. RHP Nick Ison (4) was the most effective pitcher in the Scenic West Conference, going 8-1, 1.26 with 81 strikeouts in 72 innings. He also had the best stuff, according to scouts, with excellent life on his slider and an 89-91 mph fastball. The big knock on the 5-foot-11, 172-pound Ison is his size. It may knock him down in the draft enough that he will stick with his commitment to Washington State.
Brigham Young junior 3B Brandon Taylor (2) made headlines this spring with his bat. He hit for the cycle twice in April, an NCAA record-tying feat that had been accomplished only twice before in the same season. He also banged three grand slam home runs while hitting .363-20-80 overall. Still, scouts say his impressive numbers are a product of altitude and mediocre pitching in the Mountain West Conference. He will need to make adjustments at the plate because his swing is long to contact.
Scouts rave about Taylor's arm strength, though. His throws across the diamond have been clocked at 94 mph. The biggest question is where to play him. He made 23 errors as a shortstop in 2004. While he handled a move to third this spring, scouts question whether he’ll have enough raw power to remain there. There has been talk of trying him on the mound to take advantage of his arm, he has resisted the idea. Taylor, who spent the 2002-03 seasons on a mission to Argentina, will need to get his pro career off to a quick start because he’ll be 23 by the end of the summer.
Six foot-5 RHP Dave Horlacher (5), BYU’s most effective pitcher, also is an older player as he interrupted his career to go on a mission to Chile. He returned in time to become a key member of Dixie State’s 2004 championship team before transferring to BYU. He has an outstanding 12-to-6 curveball but hasn’t shown the velocity scouts were expecting. His fastball topped out at 91 mph, but generally was only 88-90.