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2005 Draft Scouting Reports: Utah

By Allan Simpson
May 26, 2005

***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Utah may have only one player drafted in the first 10 rounds, but it's a special player who has attracted almost every important scout in the industry to Utah this spring. Mark Pawelek, possibly the best lefthander in the country, could become the second Utah high school player ever drafted in the first round.

(National ranking in parentheses)
Potential First-Round Picks
1. Mark Pawelek (17), lhp, Springville HS
Potential Second-Fifth Round Picks


Others Of Note
2. Brandon Taylor, 3b, Brigham Young U.
3. Colt Sedbrook, ss, Dixie State JC (CONTROL: Rockies)
4. Nick Ison, rhp, Salt Lake CC
5. Dave Horlacher, rhp, Brigham Young U.
6. Chad Povich, rhp, Dixie State JC
7. Ryan Zimmerman, rhp, Salt Lake CC
8. Nick Walters, lhp, Dixie State JC (CONTROL: White Sox)
9. Tyson Ford, rhp, Timpanogos HS, Orem
10. Jimmy Scholzen, ss, Dixie State JC (CONTROL: Devil Rays)
11. B.J. Ferguson, rhp, Cottonwood HS, Taylorsville
12. Nick Beghtol, c, Dixie State JC (CONTROL: Pirates)

1. MARK PAWELEK, lhp (National rank: 17)
School: Springville HS.
Hometown: Springville, Utah.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: Aug. 18, 1986.
College Commitment: Arizona State.
Scouting Report: Pawelek left his mark on the Utah prep ranks by the time he completed his junior year, setting the state record for career strikeouts with 341 while going 26-2 in his first three years. As a junior, he went 10-1, 1.05 with 156 strikeout in 80 innings. He moved onto the national stage as a senior with an even more impressive season, going 8-0, 0.00 in his first 51 innings, striking out 109, walking just 12 and allowing 12 hits. Of more importance for the draft, he topped out at 94-95 mph with an effortless delivery. Scouts say his feel for pitching, presence and composure are so advanced for his age that he’s the equivalent of a college sophomore. He has command of four pitches and knows how and when to use his curveball and changeup. He’s the most complete high school pitcher to come out of Utah since lefthander Mike Gosling--who signed for $2 million in 2001 after three years at Stanford--and Gosling’s fastball was 3-4 mph slower than Pawelek’s. The only high school player ever drafted in the first round out of Utah is lefthander Bruce Hurst, selected by the Red Sox with the 22nd pick in 1976. Pawelek could go higher than that on talent, but he’s the only high school player in this year’s draft who is being advised by Scott Boras and that could have a profound impact on where he is picked. Pawelek’s older brother Dennis was drafted by the White Sox in 2002 out of Snow (Utah) Junior College, but he never played pro ball and spent last fall as a backup kicker on Utah’s undefeated Fiesta Bowl football team. There is little chance Pawelek will forgo a similar opportunity to play pro ball.

(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.