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Expos Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: RHP Derrick DePriest (17) befuddled hitters with his submarine delivery. He had a combined 11 saves and 1.54 ERA for two Class A teams before becoming one of three pitchers drafted this year to reach Double-A.

Best Athlete: OF Grady Sizemore (3) was one of the most complete athletes in the draft, which is why it cost Montreal $2 million to buy him away from a Washington football scholarship. Besides his impressive physical tools, he also earns praise for his instincts, work ethic and aptitude. The only reason he was available in the third round was due to concerns about his signability.

Best Hitter: Sizemore and another Washington high school product, 3B Seth Johnson (11). Johnson outhit Sizemore .299 to .293 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Best Raw Power: Sizemore, though he had just one home run in 205 at-bats in the GCL.

Fastest Runner: 3B Darryl Jenkins (10) is a long strider who can run a 6.6-second 60-yard dash. Sizemore runs a 6.7 and stole 16 bases in 18 attempts in the GCL.

Best Defensive Player: Sizemore again. He gets after balls well in center field.

Best Fastball: LHP Cliff Lee (4) and RHP Thomas Mitchell (5) both can reach 94 mph, with Lee doing so more consistently.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Justin Wayne (1), the No. 5 overall selection, was the highest-drafted Hawaiian ever. His brother Hawkeye pitches in the Mariners system. DePriest punted for North Carolina’s football team.

Closest To The Majors: Wayne, who has an 88-91 mph fastball and a plus slider, is so advanced that he’s compared to fellow Stanford product Mike Mussina. He’s an innings-eater with excellent makeup. DePriest will continue to rise quickly if batters don’t figure out his submarine style.

Best Late-Round Pick: Johnson, who figured to go in the first five rounds. DePriest may be a real find as well, and the Expos also like RHP Ben Washburn (14), a fastball-slider guy who had a 1.30 ERA at Class A Cape Fear.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Wes Littleton (7) headlines a banner Cal State Fullerton recruiting class.

Assessment: Are these the Expos? First they lost a second-round pick by signing a free agent, though the wisdom of giving up a pick for Graeme Lloyd is debatable. Then they spent $2.95 million, the draft’s third-largest bonus, on Wayne, before breaking the bank again for Sizemore, much to the consternation of the commissioner’s office. Wayne’s bonus equaled the combined amount Montreal gave its top picks from 1998 and ’99.

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