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Draft '99 ALABAMA **

1. Jorge Soto, 1b, Troy State U.
2. Jacob Peavy, rhp, St. Paul's HS, Mobile

3. Seth Taylor, ss, U. of South Alabama
4. Brent Schoening, rhp, Auburn U.
5. Manny Torres, rhp, U. of Alabama
6. Brandon Culp, rhp, Jacksonville State U.
7. Todd Shiyuk, lhp, U. of Alabama-Huntsville
8. Brandon Medders, rhp, Shelton State CC (CONTROL: Devil Rays)

Alabama lacks a true blue-chip prospect this year. 1B Jorge Soto, a one-tool talent, is the closest thing. With outstanding bat speed, Soto has enormous power to all fields. He doesn't make regular contact, leading the nation in strikeouts with 86 in 1998. He has a lot of holes in his swing. His wide body limits him to first base at best . . . SS Seth Taylor is healthy again after two injury-plagued years, still runs well and has pop in his bat. All his time on the shelf may have taken a toll. Once projected as a first- or second-round pick, Taylor has slowed down in some areas. He appears to be adequate to continue at shortstop . . . RHP Brent Schoening was drafted in the seventh round out of high school and may have improved his position marginally with a strong season at Auburn. At 6 feet, he doesn't have a projectable pitching frame. At his best, Schoening carves up hitters with an 88-90-mph fastball and plus slider . . . RHP Manny Torres overcame a history of arm problems to emerge as the Tide's top pitcher, throwing consistently from 90-93 mph and topping out at 95. He's essentially a one-pitch pitcher and missed all of the 1998 season when he had his shoulder scoped. He's not big or physical . . . RHP Brandon Medders, the state's best junior-college prospect, was under control to the Devil Rays. He has good control of one above-average pitch, a fastball that peaks at 94 mph . . . With the exception of RHP Jacob Peavy, Alabama probably won't have a high school player drafted in the first 10 rounds. Even the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Pevey is no sure thing. Scouts are split over whether he'd be better off signing or going to college (Auburn) to develop his body. He's too frail for the early rounds and lacks command. He has a live arm capable of touching 90 and a solid breaking ball.

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