1. *Ben Christensen, rhp, Wichita State U.
Wichita State continues to churn out pitchers at an impressive rate. The Shockers have produced four first-rounders in the 1990s--Tyler Green (1991), Darren Dreifort (1993), Mike Drumright (1995 and Braden Looper (1996)--and should have another this year in RHP Ben Christensen. Christensen made headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this year when he struck Evansville player Anthony Molina in the head with a warm-up pitch. Christensen was suspended for the balance of the season. The incident is unlikely to jeopardize his draft position, though scouts saw Christensen in scrimmage games and workouts only over the last six weeks. In one such workout, which attracted 24 scouts including six scouting directors, he routinely threw 92-94 mph and touched 95 on several occasions. He hit a high of 97 earlier in the year. His command is generally good and he can throw three pitches with a purpose. Like most of the first-rounders who have come before him, he could reach the big leagues in a hurry . . . RHP Brandon Sloan stepped into the No. 1 starter's role for the nationally-ranked Shockers when Christensen was suspended, completing an improbable rise. Sloan was redshirted his first year to in order to lower his delivery from straight over the top to three-quarters. He was a midweek starter a year ago. He hit 93-94 mph in his first start as the No. 1 starter and projects as a second- or third-round pick. He still needs to refine his changeup and slider . . . LHP Nate Robertson had Tommy John surgery in 1997 and is 100 percent again in his second year back. His fastball peaked at 93 this spring. A lack of command of his other pitches will probably drop him anywhere from the third to sixth round . . . RHP Greg Bauer also had Tommy John surgery just before the 1996 draft, when he was projected as a possible second- or third-round pick. He touched 90 this year with a good feel of his secondary pitches. He should be more of an eighth- to 12th-round pick . . . Cowley County put Kansas junior-college baseball on the map by winning the last two Junior College World Series. Kansas has another banner juco crop this year, but it's spread around. Several players should be solid draft picks such as RHP Luke Field and LHPs Josh Merrigan and David Sanders. All three throw right at 90 mph.
Copyright 1998-1999 Baseball America. All rights reserved.|
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.