1. Willie Bloomquist, ss, Arizona State U.
SS Willie Bloomquist may lack the tools to be a first-round pick, but he gets awfully close because of his approach to the game. He is a baseball player in every sense of the word. He plays hard, he plays smart, he plays anywhere on the field and he makes things happen in his role as an igniter at the top of a batting order. In his new position as a shortstop this season for Arizona State, he was the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year. He hit .394, led the nation with 95 runs and stole 32 bases. He doesn't have the skills to play shortstop in pro ball and projects more as a second baseman or outfielder. He might be a jack-of-all-trades if he lacks the strength to handle the everyday grind. He'll hit no matter where he plays, though he doesn't have much power . . . Thanks to Bloomquist's generosity, 3B Andrew Beinbrink returned to ASU for his senior year and eclipsed Sun Devils career marks for hits and RBIs. Of more significance to scouts, Beinbrink drove the ball more consistently and played better defense. He needed to show improvement in those areas to elevate his draft position from last year, when he was selected in the 10th round. Beinbrink could return to school after he was drafted only because Bloomquist gave up his scholarship for him . . . OF Jay Sitzman and 2B Mark Ernster finally got a chance to play this season at Arizona State and made the most of it. Both hit nearly .400. Sitzman also used his outstanding speed to steal a club-high 35 bases. Ernster, a 12th-round pick out of high school, overcame a broken thumb to provide solid play at second base . . . After Portland State dropped its baseball program last season, RHP Josh Pearce wanted to showcase his considerable pitching skills in a more traditional college environment. He chose Arizona. His performance was erratic but he showed off two solid pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 94 mph . . . SS Corey Myers is an outstanding hitting prospect. He set an Arizona high school record with 21 home runs this year and broke his brother Casey's state record of 62 hits. He has an excellent work ethic but may lack the mobility to play anywhere but first base or DH in the long run, though he'll try third base first. He may well join his older brother, a sophomore, at Arizona State . . . 1B Chris Duncan is also toying with joining his older brother Shelley, a freshman All-American candidate, at Arizona. Both are sons of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. Scouts say Chris has more talent than his brother and should be a bigger and better athlete with better speed, but Shelley, who hit 19 homers as a freshman, is considered a better hitter with more game-oriented power. The younger Duncan has enough ability to go in the first couple of rounds, though he's expected to be a tough sign . . . RHP Jerrod Fuell also has committed to Arizona. He throws 88-90 mph and projects as a later pick because he is still raw and his curve is inconsistent.
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