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Draft '99 ILLINOIS ***

1. *Rob Purvis, rhp, Bradley U.
2. *Jim Journell, rhp, U. of Illinois
3. Nick Trzesniak, c, Andrew HS, Tinley Park
4. Todd Deininger, rhp, Joliet Township HS

5. Ken Lutz, rhp, Collinsville HS, Caseyville
6. Jim Caine, rhp, St. Charles HS
7. Scott Hindman, lhp, William Fremd HS, Palatine
8. Matt Gage, rhp, Eastern Illinois U.
9. Tim Lavery, lhp, U. of Illinois
10. Eric Eckenstahler, lhp, Illinois State U.

RHP Rob Purvis, who has first-round stuff, may have pitched down the draft this spring with a disappointing season. He finished 2-8 and didn't retire a batter in his final start before a throng of scouts. And that was after he'd been rested for almost two weeks with a tired arm. The season started on a sour note when he tore a deep callous on his hand. The problem lingered for most of the season, straightening his fastball and flattening his slider. When he's on top of his game, those are both plus pitches, especially the 93-94-mph fastball. He is strong and has a loose arm. There was also a concern that he was overworked at times this spring. He would often throw 150-160 pitches in a game, then would be used again with insufficient rest. His role at the pro level may be defined by his ability to develop a third pitch . . . Six-foot-4 RHP Jim Journell was the most intimidating closer in college baseball this season. He terrorized righthanded hitters with a nasty sinking fastball up to 95 mph thrown from a low three-quarters to almost submarine arm angle. His out pitch against lefthanded hitters is a solid changeup. Like Purvis, he was shut down briefly late in the season with a little soreness in his arm. That was viewed strictly as a precautionary measure . . . Six-foot-3, 190-pound LHP Tim Lavery, a former Illinois quarterback, gave up football to concentrate on baseball. His decision should pay off even as he struggled on the mound this spring. He has excellent movement and command of an 87-88-mph fastball . . . Six-foot-7 LHP Eric Eckenstahler throws a 90-92-mph fastball. Scouts are skeptical of his funky throwing motion and inability to master a second pitch . . . RHP Matt Gage has good size and a good fastball . . . No player made more of a move in the Illinois high school class this spring than C Nick Trzesniak, a strong, intelligent receiver with a blue-collar work ethic. He has an excellent arm and sure hands behind the plate. Though scouts say his bat is the weakest part of his arsenal, he smashed 11 home runs this spring . . . RHP Todd Deininger and LHP Scott Hindman traveled to Venezuela this spring with the Team USA junior squad, and both look like they're headed for college. Deininger is a little stiff in his arm action but his mechanics are consistent. He holds his 92-mph velocity well and throws strikes. He is one of the younger players in the draft and appears firmly committed to fulfilling a scholarship offer to Texas A&M. Hindman may be the most unsignable player in the draft. He is an outstanding student who has been accepted to Princeton. He touches 90 mph at times. His curveball and arm action are inconsistent . . . RHPs Ken Lutz and Jim Caine have their share of supporters, though it's not universal. Both throw in the 89-92 range with little finesse or control. Lutz is the more projectable of the two and considered the easier sign.

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