1. J.J. Putz, rhp, U. of Michigan
Six-foot-6 RHP J.J. Putz' talent has been evident since high school, when he was drafted in the third round. For three years though, he lacked maturity and underachieved. Even in workouts before the start of the 1999 season, Putz threw no harder than 81-82 mph and was given little chance of resurrecting his career. Once the season got going he turned it around, though, and before long was throwing as hard as 92-94 mph, his old velocity, with command of his slider and curve. Almost overnight, he has become a legitimate prospect again. Naturally, questions linger over whether Putz can sustain his success . . . With the exception of Putz, the talent level in Michigan this year is way down. Almost all the high school talent is concentrated in one school: Redford's unbeaten Catholic Central High, which could have several players drafted, including RHP Anthony Tomey and OF Bob Malek. Tomey throws in the 89-92-mph range. Malek swings the bat well but is only a fair runner.
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