PACIFIC RIM ****
1. Jerome Williams, rhp, Waipahu HS, Honolulu
It's rare for Hawaii to produce a high school player in the first 10 rounds, and even rarer for Alaska. Yet Hawaii has the distinction this year of having not just one such player but as many as four. Alaska could have its second-ever such selection--and a unique player at that . . . RHP Jerome Williams emerged this spring as a possible sandwich to second-round pick. He threw an ordinary 87-89 mph early in the season, but when he bumped up his velocity to 92, scouts on the mainland found a reason to travel to Hawaii. Williams was called a cross between Bob Gibson and Dwight Gooden by one scout because of his fluid arm and delivery, but his mechanics are not refined. It is rare for Hawaiians to leave the islands for the pros directly out of high school, but Williams is signable and looks like he'll join Sid Fernandez and Onan Masaoka as ones who did . . . SS Jandin Thornton-Murray has a solid approach to hitting with playable tools, particularly good hands and arm strength . . . Five-foot-9 SS Shane Victorino is a four-sport star and Hawaii's 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash champion. He swings the bat well . . . 3B Paki Lum looked like he would be the second coming of Alex Rodriguez when he was a high school sophomore. As he got older and bigger, his tools regressed. He has signed with Southern California . . . Former Duke basketball star Trajan Langdon is the only Alaskan to crack the first 10 rounds of the draft. He did so in 1994 and played briefly in the Padres organization. LHP Chad Bentz has a chance to be the second. Bentz has only a stub for a right hand. His fastball registers about 88 mph, but he can swing the bat with authority. He hit four home runs in his first eight games this year.
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