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Draft '99 MASSACHUSETTS ****

1. *Rick Asadoorian, of, Northbridge HS, Whitinsville
2. *Brad Baker, rhp, Pioneer Valley HS, Leyden

3. Greg Montalbano, lhp, Northeastern U.
4. Sean McGowan, 1b, Boston College
5. Keith Surkont, rhp, Williams College
6. Travis Veracka, lhp, U. of Massachusetts

Four Massachusetts high school products should be among the first 50 players selected, including Clemson RHP Mike Paradis and Providence College OF Keith Reed, who attended Massachusetts high schools 10 miles apart and once played on the same American Legion team . . . OF Rick Asadoorian and RHP Brad Baker benefited from unusually good weather in the Northeast this spring to become the hot properties at the high school level . . . Asadoorian is a five-tool talent who has been touted as the best Massachusetts position player to come along since the Conigliaro brothers and Tom Grieve in the 1960s. He reminds scouts more of former Red Sox star Dwight Evans and the hometown team, with the 17th pick, has him on their short list. Asadoorian is an outstanding hitter with a tight, compact swing. He also runs above-average, but his best tool is a strong, accurate right-field arm . . . Baker projects more as a supplemental first- or second-round pick. He has a quick arm with an easy three-quarters delivery that produces a fastball in the 90-94-mph range with good running action. His curveball is his best pitch. Atypical of most Northeast pitchers, Baker is slightly built and scouts question how much room is left for him to add maturity and strength . . . LHP Greg Montalbano has been the NCAA Division I ERA leader all spring--a remarkable achievement considering his three-year battle with testicular cancer, which he believes he has won. He dominates college hitters with an 87-88-mph fastball, but the pitch has been prone to lose velocity and movement in the late innings as Montalbano tires. He is tall and lanky with room to get better and could be picked in the first three rounds . . . Six-foot-6, 240-pound senior 1B Sean McGowan had something to prove after not being drafted in 1998. He broke several New England Collegiate League batting records last summer and continued his assault this spring with 25 homers in 47 games--the second-best power ratio in Division I. He has outstanding power but is considered one-dimensional.

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