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Draft Review – Detroit Tigers

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Detroit Tigers’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy (MO), #9 overall, 6’4’’/205: Turner gained helium throughout much of the year based on his pure arm strength alone. He quickly gained fame for hitting 98 on the radar gun, and despite being a Scott Boras advisee, got picked at a fair spot here in the first. He signed a Major League deal at the deadline and did not pitch at the end of the season. DOB: 5/21/91. Signing bonus: $4,700,000*.

2. Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State, #58 overall, 6’3’’/210: Oliver had a season that was pretty much the opposite of Turner’s. Another Scott Boras client, Oliver went through the tumultuous NCAA hearings about his eligibility, only to be reinstated and pitch poorly for his standards. He lost feel for his curveball and fell here, and the Tigers overspent for him. Mediocre pick, and he didn’t have any late-season innings. DOB: 12/3/87. Signing bonus: $1,495,000.

3. Wade Gaynor, 3B, Western Kentucky, #89 overall, 6’4’’/225: Gaynor was a quick mover in the spring, and he really ended up being drafted twenty rounds higher than most expected entering his junior season. He’s going to have to get by with his hitting, and he’s got good power and bat speed. He signed fairly quickly and hit .192/.281/.282 in 234 ABs with Oneonta in the New York-Penn League. Disappointing start. DOB: 4/19/88. Signing bonus: $392,400.

4. Edwin Gomez, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #120 overall, 6’3’’/175: Gomez was one of those prospects that was more appealing to some than others. A shortstop as a prep, he’ll almost definitely have to move off there, but he might stick in center field with solid speed and athleticism. He’s a switch-hitter with good raw power, so this wasn’t a bad pick, just risky. The Tigers kept him at shortstop for his debut, and he hit .190/.233/.216 in 153 ABs in the GCL. DOB: 8/26/91. Signing bonus: $245,700.

5. Austin Wood, LHP, Texas, #150 overall, 6’2’’/195: Wood became famous in the extra-long extra innings NCAA Regional game against Boston College’s Mike Belfiore. However, as a senior sign, he really didn’t show anything extraordinary for pro scouts, and he still projects as a lefty middle reliever, with possibly enough stuff to get good righties out with lefties. After signing, he pitched 5 shutout innings with Lakeland in the Florida State League. DOB: 11/2/86. Signing bonus: $100,000.

6. Daniel Fields, SS, University of Detroit Jesuit HS (MI), #180 overall, 6’1’’/200: Fields was a highly-touted northern shortstop entering the year, but even after a monster senior year, some scouts still doubted his results against weaker competition. The local Tigers thought he displayed the tools to stick at shortstop, with an increasing ability to tear the cover off a ball. This is a projection pick, and I still think they overpaid, but it could pay off in the end. He didn’t play after signing at the deadline. DOB: 1/23/91. Signing bonus: $1,625,000.

7. Jamie Johnson, OF, Oklahoma, #210 overall, 5’8’’/185: This was probably on the upper-end of where Johnson was projected to go, but he’s still a solid player. With good speed and a solid hit tool, he’s got a leadoff man’s approach. That bodes well for a future fourth outfielder. He hit .241/.345/.367 in 270 ABs with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 4/26/87. Signing bonus: $125,000.

8. Craig Fritsch, RHP, Baylor, #240 overall, 6’4’’/190: Fritsch, like most Baylor pitchers, was a huge disappointment in the spring, and he went from possible first-round material to late-round follow material very quickly. He’s got a plus fastball, but his inconsistent slider and lack of a decent changeup hamper his pro potential. He didn’t sign, and he’ll return to Baylor for his junior year, where he might become a top five rounds pitcher. DOB: 12/29/87.

9. John Murrian, C, Winthrop, #270 overall, 6’2’’/215: Murrian was a three-year starter at Winthrop, and he looked like a good organizational catcher prospect with patience behind the plate. The Tigers overdrafted him a bit here, but he’s not a bad prospect. He signed quickly and hit .296/.356/.468 in 186 ABs with Oneonta while playing solid defense behind the plate. DOB: 6/15/88. Signing bonus: $100,000.

10. Chris Sedon, 2B, Pittsburgh, #300 overall, 5’10’’/175: Sedon had a huge junior year at Pitt after transferring in from a JUCO, and he was projected to go somewhere within a few rounds of this spot. He sacrificed a little contact for power, and that shows in his pro debut numbers. He hit .137/.221/.165 in 139 ABs with Oneonta, striking out 57 times. DOB: 11/6/87. Signing bonus: $74,000.

11. Adam Wilk, LHP, Long Beach State, #330 overall, 6’2’’/175: Wilk had a good junior year at LBSU, using pitchability to induce hitters into weak contact. He’s a lefty specialist at best in the pros, and the Tigers probably went a few rounds too high on him. He had 14 great starts split between Oneonta and West Michigan in the Midwest League to start his pro career. DOB: 12/9/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Matt Thomson, RHP, San Diego, #360 overall, 6’4’’/200: Thomson, like Fritsch, was a heralded arm entering the spring, but well when he posted less than stellar results. With average stuff, Thomson relies more on command, and he didn’t really have it as a junior. He didn’t sign, and he’ll return to USD in hopes of landing a spot 5-7 rounds higher in 2010. DOB: 3/22/88.

13. Michael Rockett, OF, UT-San Antonio, #390 overall, 6’1’’/180: A senior outfielder, Rockett had an impressive spring, enticing scouts to think of him as an early-teens fifth outfielder type of player. This was about where I expected him to go, and he hit .274/.306/.380 in 266 ABs with Oneonta, followed by a quick trip to Toledo in AAA to finish out the year. DOB: 7/26/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. Kevan Hess, RHP, Western Michigan, #420 overall, 6’2’’/190: Hess was more known as a catcher in college, though he moved into a relief role during the spring. He’s understandably raw on the mound, but after not expecting to him to get drafted at all, I say he’s done well for himself. Crazy pick, but he did got 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in 44 innings with Oneonta after signing. Strange. DOB: 3/30/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Mark Appel, RHP, Monte Vista HS (CA), #450 overall, 6’4’’/195: This marks the turning point to unsignable and organizational players in Detroit’s draft. Appel was a highly touted prep with great raw stuff, but he lacked the refinement of the top prep arms. Thought of as unsignable, he dropped ten to twelve rounds below his talent level, and he didn’t sign with the Tigers. Watch for his name in 2012. DOB: 7/15/91. Commitment: Stanford.

16. Kenny Faulk, LHP, Kennesaw State, #480 overall, 6’0’’/210: Faulk is a future lefty specialist that was a senior sign for the Tigers. He hasn’t done anything outside of relieving in college, so I expect he’ll go up the chain relatively quickly in a similar role in the pros. He went 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 28.2 innings with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 5/27/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Nathan Newman, RHP, Pepperdine, #510 overall, 6’5’’/215: After not signing as a tenth rounder a year ago with the Mariners, Newman struggled a bit during the spring at Pepperdine. A senior, Newman’s going to get by on his pro body and possible swing man stuff. He went 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 42.1 innings with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 12/17/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

18. Eric Roof, C, Michigan State, #540 overall, 6’3’’/185: Another senior, Roof was a late-round pick of the Tigers a year ago, but didn’t sign. He’s a little big for catching, and he lacks pop, so he’s probably a first baseman at best. He hit .213/.291/.283 in 127 ABs with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 11/15/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

19. Rawley Bishop, 3B, Middle Tennessee State, #570 overall, 6’3’’/200: Bishop has mashed in three of his four years at Middle Tennessee, but he lacks pro tools, especially defensively for third base. He’s probably another organizational depth kind of player, but most likely at first base, where he played in his pro debut. He hit .282/.378/.439 in 255 ABs with Oneonta. DOB: 11/19/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. Jimmy Gulliver, SS, Eastern Michigan, #600 overall, 5’11’’/180: Gulliver was a second baseman in college that didn’t blossom until his age-23 year at Eastern Michigan. He lacks any sort of pro tools, so he’s an organizational infielder now. He was awful in his debut with Oneonta at the plate and in the field. He hit .196/.285/.223 in 148 ABs. DOB: 6/6/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

21. Giovanni Soto, LHP, Carolina (PR), #630 overall, 6’3’’/155: Soto was a late-round pick of the Phillies a year ago, and I haven’t heard anything to show me that he’s much better. He signed, but did not pitch before the season ended. DOB: 5/18/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Matt Mansilla, OF, Charleston, #660 overall, 5’11’’/180: Mansilla comes from the prep powerhouse American Heritage, where he was a 22nd round pick of the White Sox five years ago. A fifth-year senior, Mansilla managed to go undrafted in-between all those years. He showed good power with Charleston as a senior, but struck out way too much, making him organizational filler. He hit .175/.281/.267 in 120 ABs with Oneonta, playing left field. DOB: 5/25/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Cory Hamilton, RHP, UC Irvine, #690 overall, 6’1’’/195: The first college junior taken in awhile for the Tigers, Hamilton had an up and down college career. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen after missing almost all of 2008, Hamilton was hit hard and was wild. He’s a wild card arm, but with mixed results. He went 4-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 44.2 innings with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 4/15/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Wade Kapteyn, RHP, Evansville, #720 overall, 6’5’’/235: Kapteyn was drafted late last year by the Twins as a draft-eligible sophomore, but didn’t sign. His younger brother Braden may be a high pick in 2011, but this Kapteyn was slotted for somewhere in this range after rough years as a starter at Evansville. He won’t miss bats. He went 1-5 with a 7.27 ERA in 34.2 innings with Oneonta after signing. DOB: 7/11/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Victor Roache, OF, Lincoln HS (MI), #750 overall, 6’1’’/195: Roache was another of Michigan’s best preps, and the Tigers always seem to love their state prospects. Roache is extremely athletic, but extremely raw, though we could see him in the top five rounds in 2012. He didn’t sign. DOB: 9/17/91. Commitment: Georgia Southern.

26. Edgar Corcino, 3B, Adolfina Irizarry De Puig HS (PR), #780 overall, 6’2’’/190: Corcino was a third baseman as a prep, but he has good tools to be a catcher in the pros. I don’t expect him to ever hit enough to start, but he might be a backup option at some point. He went 4-for-25 in his debut in the GCL. DOB: 6/7/92. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Pat McKenna, SS, Bryant (RI), #810 overall, 5’9’’/170: Another senior, McKenna profiles as an up-the-middle organizational filler. His swing is too slow and long to really hit for anything, but he’ll provide stability as a backup. He hit .195/.295/.232 in 82 ABs in the GCL in his debut. DOB: 6/24/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

28. Tobin Mateychick, RHP, Enid HS (OK), #840 overall, 6’4’’/180: Mateychick is the definition of projectable, but he’s too raw even for the Tigers at this point. He’s got a good raw arm, but lacks command and polish. He’s the headliner for Wichita State’s recruiting class, and we’ll hear his name again in 2012. DOB: 8/13/90. Commitment: Wichita State.

29. Michael Morrison, RHP, Cal State Fullerton, #870 overall, 6’1’’/210: Morrison was a hugely disappointing prospect this spring, but I never expected him to fall this far and still sign. He’s got a good fastball-curveball combo from the bullpen, though his command needs significant work. He went 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in 19.1 innings with Oneonta after signing. This could be a steal. DOB: 12/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. James Robbins, 1B, Shorecrest HS (WA), #900 overall, 6’0’’/225: Robbins was a solid pitching prospect in addition to his hitting, and the Tigers ended up pushing to sign him for more than slot money late in the summer. He’s got plus raw power and will surprise some people. There’s always his pitching arm to fall back on. He went 13-for-36 (.361) in his pro debut in the GCL after signing. DOB: 9/26/90. Signing bonus: $235,000.

31. Andrew Walter, RHP, Cactus HS (AZ), #930 overall, 6’3’’/190: Walter shows a projectable pro body, but he lacks the polish of most prep arms. He’s likely to move into a bullpen role in college until his command firms up, so I expected him to be a late-round pick. He didn’t sign. DOB: 10/18/90. Commitment: San Diego.

32. Parker Markel, RHP, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ), #960 overall, 6’3’’/210: Markel’s body is a bit more mature than Walter’s, and I would have expected their draft positions to be reversed, with Markel going 15 rounds higher. However, Markel doesn’t have quite enough current stuff to handle the pros, and he’ll be a solid JUCO follow over the next two years. DOB: 9/15/90. Commitment: Yavapai JC (AZ).

33. Cody Keefer, OF, Davis HS (CA), #990 overall, 6’1’’/190: Keefer is an athletic outfielder that I expected to go 15 rounds higher as well. He hit very well in the West Coast League over the summer, and though the Tigers failed to sign him, he raised his stock for 2012. He’ll struggle for playing time his freshman year. DOB: 11/6/90. Commitment: UCLA.

34. Derek Kline, RHP, Millersville (PA), #1020 overall, 6’4’’/215: Kline is a big-bodied junior draft pick who will prosper from returning to school for his senior year. I expected him to be a late-round follow, and the Tigers didn’t see enough to try and sign him. DOB: 3/2/88.

35. Patrick Biondi, OF, Divine Child HS (MI), #1050 overall, 5’9’’/160: Biondi has plus speed to go with a leadoff man’s mentality, and he’s likely to step into that spot and start in center field from day one for Michigan. He doesn’t have enough strength to be a pro yet, so that would be why Detroit passed on him in earlier rounds. DOB: 1/9/91. Commitment: Michigan.

36. Ben Crumpton, SS, Lakeside HS (AR), #1080 overall, 5’11’’/180: Crumpton is one of those guys that’s known as an elite athlete, but isn’t what I would call a baseball player. He’s got plus speed, but little else in terms of baseball skills. He was a football standout, but he’s likely not a shortstop in the SEC. He didn’t sign. DOB: 10/12/90. Commitment: Arkansas.

37. Danny Canela, C, Florida Christian HS (FL), #1110 overall, 5’11’’/200: This was an unsignable pick from the get-go. Canela has a solid bat and solid defensive tools, but as you can tell by his size numbers, he’s pretty much maxed out. I heard some good things out of fall practice at NC State, so Canela could increase his stock after three years there. DOB: 12/24/90. Commitment: NC State.

38. Tarran Senay, OF, South Park HS (PA), #1140 overall, 6’1’’/205: Thou shalt not play football as a baseball prospect. Seriously. Senay broke his wrist playing football in the fall, and he never quite recovered from it, pushing him from a possible top ten round choice to this low on draft boards. He’s got plus power when healthy, and he flashed it this fall as Canela’s teammate. DOB: 10/20/90. Commitment: NC State.

39. Chad Duling, SS, Bishop Carroll HS (KS), #1170 overall, 6’0’’/175: Duling was a non-prospect, and I was a little surprised to see him drafted at all. He’s playing at Hutchinson CC now, but I don’t see him blossoming into anything big, even after a couple years there. DOB: 4/2/91. Commitment: Hutchinson CC (KS).

40. Ben Bechtol, C, Neshannock HS (PA), #1200 overall, 5’10’’/195: I have no idea who this is, and I lived in Pennsylvania during the spring. I have zero notes on him, but was able to find out he’s now going to Jefferson State CC in Alabama. Anyone know anything else? DOB: 9/22/90. Commitment: Jefferson State CC (AL).

41. Larry Balkwill, C, Ursuline College Chatham SS (ON), #1230 overall, 6’4’’/185: Balkwill’s a big kid who was projected to only go late as a follow, and that’s what happened. I don’t see catcher in his long-term future, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him blossom into a 12-15 round type of guy for 2012. DOB: 6/28/91. Commitment: Siena.

42. Nick Avila, RHP, Central Florida CC, #1260 overall, 6’2’’/220: Maxed-out physically and already old for a JUCO, Avila still didn’t sign. Hmm. DOB: 8/29/88. Commitment: Unknown.

43. Andrew Allen, 3B, Central Arizona JC, #1290 overall, 6’1’’/225: A late-round pick by the Diamondbacks out of high school, Allen’s gone nowhere in JUCO ball. He played first base at Central Arizona, so I was surprised to see him picked as a third baseman. Gotta think he was only drafted because he’s the son of a Detroit broadcaster. DOB: 7/10/89. Commitment: None.

44. Charlie Markson, OF, Whitefish Bay HS (WI), #1320 overall, 6’2’’/180: Markson became more well-known late in the spring as the teammate of Kevin James, who the Rays drafted in the 9th round and signed for $600,000. At the beginning of the year, Markson was the better prospect, though the main tools for him are his arm and his bat. He’s got enough tools to succeed, but he’s got to prove he’s strong enough to warrant an early-round pick in 2012. DOB: 2/6/91. Commitment: Notre Dame.

45. Jimmy Brennan, OF, Suffern HS (NY), #1350 overall, 6’0’’/185: A sweet-swinging lefty, Brennan was Suffern’s best senior on a team that includes major 2010 prospect Robbie Aviles. Brennan is taking his show to St. John’s, where he hopes to team with Kyle Hansen to form a pair of legitimate 2012 draft prospects. DOB: 12/18/90. Commitment: St. John’s.

46. Nate Goro, 3B, Lafayette HS (MO), #1380 overall, 6’0’’/185: Goro was supposed to go somewhere in the teens as a follow, but most passed up on him due to a lack of physical projection and his commitment to Wichita State. He got some good reviews in fall ball, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a decent top ten round type of guy for 2012. DOB: 11/30/90. Commitment: Wichita State.

47. Kevin Chambers, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS (CA), #1410 overall, 6’3’’/210: Chambers should only matter to you at this point as Tyler Matzek’s high school teammate. He’s short on projection and stuff, but has good size and should contribute in a collegiate bullpen right away. DOB: 11/30/90. Commitment: Oklahoma State.

48. Jake Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep HS (NJ), #1440 overall, 6’2’’/195: His last name’s Porcello. That’s why the Tigers picked him. No other reason. In all seriousness, Porcello was lucky to get drafted, but he’ll get three years to prove himself at Seton Hall. DOB: 4/2/91. Commitment: Seton Hall.

49. Cameron Giannini, RHP, Hargrave Military Academy (VA), #1470 overall, 6’4’’/210: Giannini’s got pro size, but not enough command to really show for a top prospect. He was expected to be a late-round follow, and that’s what came to pass. Having committed to a small program, I expect he’ll get plenty of chances to succeed starting early on. DOB: 8/23/91. Commitment: Liberty.

50. Nico Rosthenhausler, OF, South Mountain CC (AZ), #1500 overall, 6’0’’/200: Rosthenhausler has good bloodlines, but didn’t perform well enough as a sophomore at South Mountain to warrant any draft hype. He’ll take his skills with him to Arizona, where he should be a decent corner outfielder and 2010 draft prospect. DOB: 5/11/89. Commitment: Arizona.

This draft has arguably the highest upside of any drafts in the entire 2009 draft collection. The Tigers were able to sign three guys who rate out as first-round talent, and that was without having to settle on a cheaper first-round alternative. Turner has the definition of an elite arm, and he projects as a true number one starter. I’m not too happy that they went all the way by giving him a Major League deal, as that will really hamper their options with him. He won’t even get enough time to have a chance to fail at the minor league level. However, they got their target, and they should be happy that he lasted to the ninth pick. Oliver continues to be a tease with a great fastball, but no feel for a breaking pitch. He’s going to need to develop that breaking ball again, or else he’s going to be one expensive reliever. He pitched well in fairly limited action in the Arizona Fall League, but his command continues to be a problem, and righties noticeably handled him more easily than lefties. Fields, the third first-round talent in this group, comes with plenty of questions, as most Michigan prep shortstops should. Can he handle shortstop? Can he handle pro breaking stuff? Those are the big ones that should be answered a year from now. Beyond those three, the picks were solid, but not spectacular. Turner, Oliver, and Fields will make this draft or break it in the end.

As far as budgeting goes, Tiger fans should be greatly encouraged by the draft spending in 2009. After a fairly blah 2008 draft in terms of going for high-upside talents with big price tags, the Tigers went back to their 2007 ways, beginning with Turner. The $4.7 million bonus Turner got as part of his Major League deal came in as the 4th-highest bonus in the entire draft class, and it was the highest of all the prep pitchers in the class, $800,000 more than Tyler Matzek’s bonus. Oliver also got an overslot bonus, and his bonus came in as the 23rd-highest bonus of the 2009 draft. Fields, who got more than Oliver, came in at number 19 on the bonus list. So the Tigers gave away three of the top 23 signing bonuses from the draft. They didn’t spend a lot on top of that, but those three add up to a significant amount. By my rough estimate, the Tigers spent somewhere between $9 and $9.25 million on bonuses this year, easily one of the higher amounts in baseball. They might not get their money’s worth in the end, considering they only got four overslot guys (the other was James Robbins), but their amount added up to that much.

As for the grade, I’m not sure I can go too high here. I like drafting talent by pure volume, not just by a few high-ceiling guys. Sure, Turner makes this draft a very solid one, and Oliver and Fields have plenty of upside, too. However, the rest of their draft didn’t wow me, and I’m not sure there’s really any Major League talent outside of their trio of talented millionaires. Michael Morrison returning to form could help, but he’s only one relief arm. If Wade Gaynor can turn around his rough entrance into pro ball, that could be also be a boost. In general, I don’t think they added any safer bats or arms, and the draft is all about mixing risk and reward, so I felt they went too much on the riskier side. However, top-tier talent holds its own advantages, so I have to give this draft a solid grade based on Turner, Oliver, and Fields.

FINAL GRADE: B.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at mlbbonusbaby at gmail dot com.

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 9 Comments

Draft Review – Cincinnati Reds

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Cincinnati Reds’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State, #8 overall, 6’0’’/180: I have to start this out by saying that I’m a big Mike Leake fan. Where most people jump on Leake’s lack of physical projection, I see his athletic frame as a slight plus, as he has the ability to repeat his delivery with consistency, and his mechanics are clean. His advanced command of multiple offerings is quite scary, and though his fastball is average in velocity, he more than makes up for that with movement and command. I see his ceiling as quite a bit higher than some media outlets will tell you, though I don’t think he’s a number one guy. However, he looks like a good number two to me, probably in the mold of Tim Hudson during his Oakland years. Leake’s negotiations have hit a bit of a snag, but I fully expect him to sign. DOB: 11/12/87.

1s. Brad Boxberger, RHP, USC, #43 overall, 6’2’’/200: Earlier in the season, I was also a big Boxberger fan, as he showed many of the characteristics that Mike Leake did. He dabbles with three pitches that have good consistency, and his pitches themselves actually have better pure potential than Leake’s. However, Boxberger lacks the precision command of Leake, and he showed he was prone to physical slowdown late in games during the year. I do like this pick at this spot, though, as it’s good value for talent, draft position, and signability, though he hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 5/27/88.

2. Billy Hamilton, SS, Taylorsville HS (MS), #57 overall, 6’1’’/160: I thought this was a very interesting pick, considering it came after a pair of relatively safe college arms went to the Reds. It makes for a very interesting blend of high-ceiling talent with high-floor talent, a good combination. Hamilton himself isn’t one of my favorite ballplayers, as he’s just so raw. He’s got blazing speed to go along with great defensive quickness, and his arm is plus at short, too. However, in the areas where experience shows, Hamilton is most raw. His hitting and fielding tools are lacking greatly at the present time, and he might have to move off short due to that. This is a high-risk, high-reward pick, and even though I thought a couple other prep shortstops would go before him, this isn’t a bad pick. He signed pretty quickly and is hitting .229/.292/.314 in 118 ABs in the GCL. DOB: 9/9/90. Signing bonus: $623,600.

3. Donnie Joseph, LHP, Houston, #88 overall, 6’3’’/190: Joseph is a bit of a polarizing figure in scouting circles, as some say he has the pure stuff to be a late-inning reliever, while others say his lack of a history of command will keep him from getting very far with his stuff. I tend to think Joseph will succeed in pro ball, having developed a fairly consistent breaking ball to go along with an improved fastball out of the bullpen. I think he has the ability to be a CJ Wilson-like reliever, meaning he could probably close on some teams, but not most. I like this pick for draft position, it’s about average for talent, and he signed quickly. He breezed through the Pioneer League in 11.2 innings with a 0.77 ERA, and he’s only allowed three earned runs in 11.1 innings (2.38 ERA) with Dayton in the Midwest League so far. DOB: 11/1/87. Signing bonus: $398,000.

4. Mark Fleury, C, North Carolina, #119 overall, 6’1’’/200: I wasn’t a big Fleury fan for most the spring, simply because he had no track record of catching a full college season and handling the dominating stuff thrown by most UNC pitchers. While I’m still not high on Fleury, I’m much more so than I was four or five months ago. I like his patience at the plate, but I loathe the bunches of strikeouts he rang up. I think his bat is quite questionable. I heard mixed reviews about his handling of the pitching staff, and that makes me wonder whether he can continue to be a full-time starting catcher. This is about where I thought he’d go, but I don’t necessarily liken him to fourth round talent. He signed quickly and is hitting just .175/.284/.286 in 63 ABs with Billings in the Pioneer League. He’s 0-for-14 against lefties. Ouch. DOB: 5/4/88. Signing bonus: $249,300.

5. Daniel Tuttle, RHP, Randleman HS (NC), #149 overall, 6’1’’/185: The Reds continued their pattern of following two safer college draftees with a more risky prep one with the selection of Tuttle. Much like Hamilton, Tuttle’s got a lot of work to do. His mechanics just aren’t right, and it’s obvious to anyone with any history of scouting, as he can’t even repeat his delivery from pitch to pitch sometimes. However, he still can have filthy stuff, and his pitch mix has the potential to be top-end. I like this pick a lot, and he only signed for slightly above slot money. It’s filled with risk, but considering the reasonable price, it’s worth the gamble. He’s gone 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings so far in the GCL, striking out 15 and walking 6, while allowing 20 hits, a surprisingly high number. DOB: 8/21/90. Signing bonus: $200,000.

6. Mark Serrano, RHP, Oral Roberts, #179 overall, 6’2’’/195: Serrano was drafted by the Royals in the 47th round way back in 2004 out of high school in California. In the next four drafts, Serrano was eligible each time, but was never picked again. Enter 2009. Serrano burst onto the scene partway into the year, and he never slowed down. He showed average stuff with excellent results. His fastball is fairly average, and I’d compare it to Leake’s without the advanced movement. In addition, Serrano’s slider has drawn some praise, and it could be a big league pitch in time. If Serrano can nail down his changeup, he could be a back-end starter in time. However, he’s already 23, so you have to take most pro success shy of AA ball with a grain of salt. He signed quickly for what is next to nothing for a sixth rounder, and he ran through the Pioneer League in just 6.1 innings with only one earned run allowed, and he’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings with Dayton so far. DOB: 9/14/85. Signing bonus: $25,000.

7. Josh Fellhauer, OF, Cal State Fullerton, #209 overall, 5’11’’/175: This is a solid pick, as Fellhauer was projected to go off the board as many as three rounds higher. I think Fellhauer has a chance to be a solid starting outfielder in the bigs, especially with his excellent defense. He reminds me in many ways of A’s outfielder Ryan Sweeney, though Fellhauer might be a better defender in center. I like this pick a lot, as it was above-average for draft position, talent, and Fellhauer signed quickly for a reasonable amount of money. He’s hitting .296/.375/.528 in 142 ABs with Dayton so far. DOB: 3/24/88. Signing bonus: $125,000.

8. Juan Silva, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #239 overall, 6’0’’/190: I was hearing much better things about Silva coming into the spring than I heard during the spring itself. The big plus I like about Silva is his excellent outfield defense, and combined with a solid arm, he should be an excellent overall defender in time. It might be in right field, but he’s blessed with that natural talent nonetheless. Silva’s other plus tool is his speed, and while he’s not a Hamilton-like burner, he’s a speedster in his own right. His hitting lags behind a bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the Reds’ best offensive pick outside of Fellhauer in this draft. I do like this pick, especially considering the safety of the previous two picks by the Reds. Silva signed quickly and is hitting .258/.351/.412 in 97 ABs in the GCL. Solid start. DOB: 1/8/91. Signing bonus: $95,000.

9. Brian Pearl, RHP, Washington, #269 overall, 6’1’’/190: Pearl was moving quickly up draft boards this year, but he never really put together the dominating results that some expected with his stuff. He was fairly inconsistent, actually varying wildly in terms of pure stuff from appearance to appearance. A pure reliever, Pearl has back-end stuff at times, but he’s got a long ways to go to reach that consistency. I like this pick here, as it was great for draft position and talent, and they didn’t even need six figures to sign him. He’s been inconsistent still in the minors so far, compiling a 5.00 ERA in 18 innings with Billings, but striking out 29. DOB: 5/17/88. Signing bonus: $90,000.

10. Tucker Barnhart, C, Brownsburg HS (IN), #299 overall, 5’8’’/180: When I first started writing this draft review, Barnhart still hadn’t signed. However, he recently did, making this a solid pick. Committed to Georgia Tech, Barnhart’s signability was the big question entering the draft, as his skills are less doubted. A very athletic catcher, Barnhart’s arm is pretty average for the position, but due to that athleticism, Barnhart’s pop times can be excellent. He’s fairly new to the position, so he needs to work on receiving skills. With the bat, I see Barnhart as being solid, especially considering he’s a switch-hitter. I like this pick a lot for draft position and talent, as Barnhart has the potential to be a Major League catcher in the mold of Jason Varitek. He took a fairly large over slot bonus, but getting him signed was important for this draft class. He went 0-for-4 in his Tuesday debut in the GCL. DOB: 1/7/91. Signing bonus: $250,000.

11. Jacob Johnson, RHP, Trinity Christian Academy (FL), #329 overall, 6’4’’/215: I didn’t really think Johnson would be a high pick in this draft, simply because his current stuff isn’t very special. What’s special about Johnson is his projection. With a pro pitcher’s frame, Johnson is able to still have somewhat clean mechanics, a plus for such a big prep pitcher, and I think that’s the saving grace for him. Otherwise, he’d be either hurt or on his way to Wake Forest. However, he was signed quickly for a pretty penny, though it could worth it if the Reds are patient enough with him to let him develop his offspeed stuff. Good pick for talent and draft position, and he signed quickly. He’s had a very successful debut in the GCL, going 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA in 26 innings, walking 10 and striking out 24, allowing only 13 hits. He’s handling lefties and righties alike, so this has to be seen as nothing but a success. DOB: 9/12/90. Signing bonus: $150,000.

12. Josh Garton, OF, Volunteer State CC (TN), #359 overall, 6’2’’/205: I think this pick also has good potential, as Garton has shown great power potential at times in his JUCO career. I don’t really see any other plus tools with Garton, but if he can improve his plate discipline, this can be a solid pick. He’s already 21, so he doesn’t have the extra potential that most JUCO players have compared to four-year program players, but this is a solid twelfth round selection. He signed quickly, but is off to a poor .190/.255/.320 start in 100 ABs with Billings. DOB: 4/27/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Nick Christiani, RHP, Vanderbilt, #389 overall, 6’0’’/195: Christiani was a 32nd round pick of the Indians a year ago after his junior year at Vandy, but he chose not to sign. I thought he might go somewhere in the teens this year, but only because he seemed to be an affordable senior option for a team looking for relievers. He doesn’t have great stuff, but might eventually be a middle relief candidate. However, he still hasn’t signed, so I wonder if he even wants to play pro ball. DOB: 7/17/87.

14. Tim Crabbe, RHP, Westmont (CA), #419 overall, 6’4’’/195: I don’t know why, but I never saw Crabbe as a legitimate mid-round draft pick this year. A draft-eligible sophomore, Crabbe does have pro size, but I was told his current stuff wasn’t pro material quite yet. Therefore, I expected he’d either be a late-round follow or not be drafted at all, though I figured the former was the more likely option. However, the Reds drafted him within their true “wants” range, and he signed quickly. He’s 0-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 27.1 innings with Billings so far, striking out 29 and walking 18 while allowing 21 hits. DOB: 2/20/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Jamie Walczak, RHP, Mercyhurst (PA), #449 overall, 6’2’’/195: Walczak was also an outfield prospect as a senior at Mercyhurst, though I didn’t expect him to go this high for either spot. He doesn’t have good stuff, and he’s already 22, so I’m not a big backer of this pick. He signed quickly and is off to a 1-2 start with Billings, accompanied by a 6.39 ERA in 12.2 innings of relief. He’s been hit quite hard by both righties and lefties alike. DOB: 5/4/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

16. Chase Fowler, C, South Forsythe HS (GA), #479 overall, 6’1’’/185: This enters the start of the unsignable and organizational players territory for the Reds. Fowler never really caught my attention as a possible pro prospect, but I do think he could re-emerge in the single digits for 2012 as a lefty-hitting catcher. I fully expect he’ll honor his college commitment, as he hasn’t signed yet with less than a week to go until the deadline. DOB: 9/16/90. Commitment: Southern Miss.

17. Deven Marrero, SS, American Heritage HS (FL), #509 overall, 6’1’’/180: Marrero went from being in consideration for the best prep shortstop in this draft class to being a contingency plan for the Reds. Marrero has good all-around tools, and his best asset is his plus defensive actions. He has a good future hitting tool, too, but his present hitting tool is too far away from that future grade to expect him to reach it. Having been picked this far down, it’s pretty unreasonable to think he’ll sign, especially considering Hamilton’s entrance into the organization at the same position, though Marrero’s a far superior defensive shortstop. There’s a possibility the Reds want to sign one of Marrero or Steven Perez, but I honestly don’t know if they’ll have the money considering they’re still battling with Leake and Boxberger at the top. DOB: 8/25/90. Commitment: Arizona State.

18. Steven Perez, SS, Gulliver Prep HS (FL), #539 overall, 5’11’’/175: It’s funny that the Reds picked Perez in addition to Marrero, as they were often compared to each other this spring in south Florida. Perez has a lower ceiling than Marrero, but a higher floor, too. His defense is more solid than Marrero’s, as is his hitting, but I don’t see a ton of projection in his frame, meaning he might not ever hit with enough pop to hold down a steady shortstop job. Perez’ commitment might be stronger than most think, and I don’t think he’ll sign before the deadline. DOB: 12/16/90. Commitment: Miami.

19. Mitchell Clarke, LHP, Forest Heights (ON), #569 overall, 6’2’’/220: This is about where I expected Clarke to go, as he has a big frame and had a weak college commitment. Like most Canadian prospects, he’s behind in his development, but his pure physicality is quite good, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet. He signed quickly, and he’s off to a 1-1 start with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings in the GCL. He’s been much more effective in relief so far. DOB: 8/29/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. Matt Valaika, 2B, UC Santa Barbara, #599 overall, 5’10’’/190: The Reds took a shot that Valaika would be tied in with his family here, though he probably has a much better chance of going in the single digits next year than he did this year. He’s a small kid, and there’s not much future projection there. He’s a bench player at best. He’ll most likely be returning to school for his senior year. DOB: 4/2/88.

21. Jon Reed, RHP, Memorial HS (OK), #629 overall, 6’2’’/200: Reed comes with a lot of injury risk, as he didn’t pitch this year due to elbow problems. He did continue to play in the field, however, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t do some further damage to that elbow as a result. I don’t see the Reds signing him, and he’ll likely end up on campus soon. DOB: 9/12/90. Commitment: Tennessee.

22. Dave Stewart, 1B, Grayson County CC (TX), #659 overall, 6’6’’/220: Remember the profile of Rangers’ first baseman Chris Davis when he came out of the JUCO ranks? It’s eerily similar to Stewart’s. A power bat, Stewart does have some glaring weaknesses, but he’s blessed with a big body and natural talent. I’m a big fan of this pick, as he’s signed fairly recently. I expected him to go ten rounds higher after going to the Nationals in the 31st round out of high school in 2007, but he fell for unknown reasons. He’s 2-for-9 in the GCL so far. DOB: 11/23/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Chris Richburg, 1B, Texas Tech, #689 overall, 6’2’’/210: A 23 year old college senior, Richburg doesn’t have much upside, and I didn’t think he’d be anything but a late-round roster filler. He signed quickly and is hitting .231/.346/.341 in 91 ABs with Billings. DOB: 12/29/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Derrick Lowery, 1B, Young Harris JC (GA), #719 overall, 6’1’’/215: Lowery was one of the better JUCO prospects in Georgia this spring, though that’s not saying much. He was more highly regarded as a lefty pitcher, so I’m not sure what the Reds saw in him that others didn’t. I thought he might go a few rounds earlier, but it was not to be. At 21, he’s a year older than most JUCO sophomores, so there’s less upside here. He signed quickly and is 6-for-19 in the GCL after going 1-for-3 with Billings. DOB: 5/3/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Mike Monster, RHP, Rutland SS (BC), #749 overall, 6’3’’/220: Monster wasn’t far behind Phillies’ draftee Steven Inch for the title of best Canadian righty prep arm this spring, but I’d prefer Inch over Monster. Monster’s got good projectability in his frame, and with time he could become what Inch already is. However, he fell due to his rawness, and it looks like he’ll be heading to junior college. He’ll be eligible again next year if he does enroll. DOB: 12/3/90. Commitment: New Mexico JC.

26. Trey Manz, C, South Florida, #779 overall, 6’1’’/205: Who? Pure roster filler here, as the Reds were in need of a short-season catcher for split time between Billings and the GCL. He signed quickly and is 0-for-7 with Billings and 8-for-19 (.421) in the GCL, his current assignment. DOB: 9/1/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Stefan Del Pino, LHP, Dorman HS (SC), #809 overall, 6’1’’/175: I thought Del Pino would be a late-round follow, as he just doesn’t have pro strength yet. He might develop into something for the 2012 draft, but he’s probably a middle reliever in the long run. I expect him to fulfill his college commitment. DOB: 6/8/91. Commitment: Coastal Carolina.

28. Derek Poppert, SS, San Francisco, #839 overall, 6’1’’/190: Poppert wasn’t very highly-regarded, making him just a roster filler option, though they haven’t signed him. He’ll probably return to school for his senior year. DOB: 7/27/88.

29. Jason Braun, RHP, Corban (OR), #869 overall, 6’5’’/185: I like this pick quite a bit, especially considering they signed him so easily. Braun’s a former basketball player who has great pro size, and he might have the ability to be a setup man in the future. He gets good downward action on his fastball, and with his tall frame, he gets a lot of ground balls. He’s 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings so far with Billings, and he’s getting a ton of groundball outs. DOB: 11/24/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Yovan Gonzalez, C, Wabash Valley CC (IL), #899 overall, 5’11’’/190: A JUCO sophomore who is roster filler. He is only 19, so maybe there’s something there I haven’t seen. He signed quickly and is hitting .256/.318/.282 in 39 ABs in the GCL as a backup catcher. DOB: 11/11/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Adian Kummet, RHP, St. Scholastica (MN), #929 overall, 6’4’’/205: Wasn’t even on my radar, so the only thing I notice is his size. He’s also 22, so there’s probably not much to see here. He signed quickly and is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings with Billings. DOB: 4/15/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. Shane Carlson, SS, UC Santa Barbara, #959 overall, 6’0’’/185: The inability to sign Valaika or Poppert meant the signing of the lower-rated Carlson became more crucial. Carlson is pure roster filler at its best. After a 6-for-27 (.222) run with Billings, he was promoted to Sarasota in the Florida State League, where he’s hitting .275/.310/.338 in 80 ABs. DOB: 4/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Will Stramp, 3B, Lubbock Christian (TX), #989 overall, 6’3’’/190: I find this pick intriguing, as I expected Stramp to go possibly fifteen to twenty rounds higher. He absolutely hit the cover off the ball this spring, and he’s got some pro tools mixed in with the normal college skillset. He’s old at 23, but this is a great sign this far down. However, he’s only 1-for-19 (.053) so far with Billings, so he’s off to a rough start. DOB: 5/29/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

34. Forest Cannon, RHP, UC Santa Barbara, #1019 overall, 6’3’’/190: I was honestly surprised to see Cannon sign, as he was a draft-eligible sophomore with pretty much no draft stock. However, it seems he decided that it was now or never for his pro career, and the Reds inked him quickly. There’s some good size here, but not much current stuff. He’s 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings with Billings, though he hasn’t pitched since July 24. DOB: 6/5/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

35. Oliver Santos, 3B, South Carolina JC-Salkehatchie, #1049 overall, 6’0’’/186: A JUCO sophomore, there’s also not much to report here. Santos is already 22, so we’re once again looking at roster filler. He’s hitting .245/.365/.340 in 53 ABs so far in the GCL. DOB: 2/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

36. Chris Burleson, SS, Southern Maine, #1079 overall, 5’11’’/190: I don’t know anything about Burleson, and even though it’s reported that he’s signed, he has yet to appear in a game. DOB: 4/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Dayne Read, OF, Chipola JC (FL), #1109 overall, 5’11’’/185: Read’s a JUCO freshman who stood more to gain from staying in close and not signing. He’ll be 21 in next year’s draft as a JUCO sophomore. DOB: 12/31/88. Commitment: None.

38. Tommy Nurre, 1B, Miami (Ohio), #1139 overall, 6’3’’/235: Nurre was a 38th rounder of the Dodgers a year ago as a junior, and he went in the same round this year. He’s still only 21, though, and his size is good. However, he’s got big weaknesses, causing him to fall this far. He signed quickly and is hitting .274/.346/.425 in 73 ABs with Billings. DOB: 12/11/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Paul Barton, RHP, Kwalikum SS (BC), #1169 overall, 6’3’’/197: Much like Monster, I thought Barton would go much higher. However, he’s still underdeveloped even when compared to other preps, though his projectability is good. He could turn into a higher pick in next year’s draft after a year of JUCO ball. DOB: 2/17/91. Commitment: New Mexico JC.

40. Michael Robertson, OF, Bellevue CC (WA), #1199 overall, 6’2’’/190: Robertson was a JUCO freshman that earned good reviews for his work ethic, but I don’t see him turning into a pro player just yet. He’ll be 20 as a JUCO sophomore for next year’s draft, and he could go twenty rounds higher then. DOB: 4/8/90. Commitment: None.

41. Jake Wiley, RHP, Marist, #1229 overall, 6’1’’/195: Wiley was an unheralded senior at Marist, and he’s a middle reliever at best, though he doesn’t even have that much current stuff. He signed quickly as roster filler, and after posting a 4.60 ERA in 15.2 innings in the GCL, he’s allowed just an earned run in 3 innings with Billings. DOB: 10/4/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

42. Blair Carson, RHP, Anderson (SC), #1259 overall, 6’2’’/193: Carson was a senior outfielder who was surprisingly taken as a pitcher by the Reds. He didn’t really have a future in the outfield, so many there’s some upside on the mound. He went 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings over four starts in the GCL, and is 0-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 23.1 innings so far with Billings. DOB: 10/3/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

43. Ricky Bowen, RHP, Mississippi State, #1289 overall, 6’3’’/185: This is a re-draft, as Bowen was picked by the Reds a year ago as a JUCO sophomore in the 38th round. There might be some potential here, but probably not much. Bowen hasn’t allowed an earned run in 3.2 innings with Billings so far. DOB: 8/6/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

44. Jaron Shepherd, OF, Navarro JC (TX), #1319 overall, 6’1’’/175: Shepherd was a 17th rounder of the Pirates a year ago at Navarro, and he fell this year due to both performance issues and a commitment to an SEC school. A lefty hitter, Shepherd has some potential to play right away, which will move him up boards for when he’s eligible again next year. DOB: 10/30/88. Commitment: Mississippi State.

45. Brian Adams, OF, South Forsythe HS (GA), #1349 overall, 6’4’’/210: Adams is actually more of a football player than a baseball player, and his commitment to school is for that sport. He’s a big kid with big potential, but it will be tough for him to realize it when he’s playing another sport. He won’t be signing this week. DOB: 2/28/91. Commitment: Kentucky.

46. Tim Dunn, RHP, Trevecca Nazarene (TN), #1379 overall, 6’2’’/215: Dunn has decent pro size, but he’s still young, not turning 21 until next week. He’ll probably return to school for his senior season, and he might be a decent senior sign next year. DOB: 8/19/88.

47. Jason Hampton, RHP, Rocklin HS (CA), #1409 overall, 6’4’’/225: A big kid, Hampton’s also a hitting prospect. Remember his name for a few years down the road. He won’t be signing. DOB: 12/19/90. Commitment: Cal State Sacramento.

48. Kenny Swab, C, Young Harris JC (GA), #1439 overall, 6’2’’/213: A teammate of Lowery’s, Swab has a strong college commitment, though his skills aren’t of pro caliber yet. I expect him to go to school. DOB: 8/20/88. Commitment: Virginia.

49. Darion Hamilton, OF, Taylorsville HS (MS), #1469 overall, 6’3’’/180: Yes, this Hamilton is related to second rounder Billy Hamilton. Darion is Billy’s cousin, and they played as teammates in high school. There’s not much to say about Darion except that he was probably drafted as a courtesy to Billy. He won’t be signing. DOB: 11/20/89. Commitment: Jones County JC (MS).

50. Chris Page, 1B, Genessee CC (NY), #1499 overall, 6’5’’/240: Page is an unknown, but his size looks intriguing. I haven’t even been able to find a college commitment for him, and he’s already 21 now. DOB: 7/20/88. Commitment: Unknown.

At first glance, I love this draft. It’s not in the territory of the Giants’, but I expect it to be a top ten draft when signing day comes and goes next week. I’ve already mentioned I’m a big Mike Leake fan, and I’m probably higher on Boxberger than most. While there’s plenty of risk in this draft with the likes of Billy Hamilton, Daniel Tuttle, Juan Silva, Tucker Barnhart, and Jacob Johnson, there’s also plenty of safer picks to accompany those boom-or-bust type of players. It’s this type of balance that I look for when grading drafts, as too much of one or the other can lead to either a low-ceiling or low-floor farm system, which no team wants. Balancing out your Hamiltons has to be your Leakes and Boxbergers, Josephs and Fellhauers. That’s what teams need to do in order to build a farm system for both supplying the Major League club and for providing trading pieces to acquire other talent. Players like a Daniel Tuttle may look extremely appetizing in, say, December 2010, when he’s probably put up some very good numbers in low-A ball, but most of what will determine his success is his ability to adjust against better hitters in AA ball and above. That’s where the high-upside players come in as trade chips, as Tuttle will still be very attractive at those winter meetings, whereas he might still be in that boom or bust phase, but he can bring in talent that’s better than the $200K the Reds just invested in him in the past month or so. Great mix here that should be encouraging for Red fans.

Looking at the Reds’ draft from a monetary standpoint, the Reds should be in good shape to sign both Leake and Boxberger without a problem. Leake’s probably holding out for last year’s slot money ($2.27MM), and I’m guessing Boxberger is, too ($877,000). That would put the Reds at somewhere close to $5.5 million in total bonuses given out, a healthy amount, though not at the top of the league. Without a solid mix of high-ceiling and high-floor talent, though, they probably would be under spending compared to most teams who pay more for their draft picks. However, the Reds generally don’t go over slot for many of their picks, and if they do, it’s for a relatively small amount. Tuttle and Barnhart represent the only true over slot deals given out by the Reds so far, though Leake and Boxberger will probably join that group. Considering how much I like this draft, I’m surprised at how few over slot players they needed to put together such a group.

Now on to the grading. Like I said before, I like this draft quite a bit, though it’s below the Giants’ draft, the team that has my highest-rated draft so far. The Reds will be adding two college starting prospects in Leake and Boxberger, two prep starting pitching prospects in Tuttle and Johnson, potential shutdown relievers in Joseph and Pearl, as well as a possible swingman in Serrano. Add to that a potential top-flight shortstop, a platoon catcher in Fleury and a possible starter in Barnhart, and a college outfielder, JUCO outfielder, and prep Puerto Rican outfielder, and you have yourself great depth at each spot. Dave Stewart also helps me grade up this draft a bit, as he could be a Major League hitter in the future. They loaded up their first base depth in later rounds, mixed them with some middle relief prospects, and the overall combination is one of the more solid drafts for them in recent memory. So, I have to grade this draft right up there near the top, but one grading step below the Giants, who still hold my top draft class ranking for now.

FINAL GRADE: B+.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at mlbbonusbaby at gmail dot com.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 2 Comments

Draft Review – Atlanta Braves

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Atlanta Braves’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt, #7 overall, 6’3’’/200: I was slightly surprised by this pick, but not because I thought the Braves were locked into a prep arm. Minor really projects as a #4 starter to me, and I’m surprised the Braves didn’t shoot for a higher-upside arm like Alex White. However, it’s probably a signability issue, as the Braves generally don’t go over slot for their first pick, and even though Minor’s holding out at the moment (likely for last year’s slot), I don’t see him rejecting an offer somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.175 million, which is what the slot is supposedly this year. Don’t like this pick at all. DOB: 12/26/87.

3. David Hale, RHP, Princeton, #87 overall, 6’2’’/200: I really like this pick, as I’ve been high on Hale all spring. He’s got a plus arm, and while he lacks the polish that comes with most college juniors, he’s got the upside to make up for it. I’d say his potential is even higher than Mike Minor’s, though with considerably more risk. He can reach the mid-90s with his fastball, and he’s got repeatable mechanics, though his offspeed pitches are still a work in progress. He’s got a fresh arm, having thrown only 40 innings this spring, but that also means he’ll need more time in the minors. However, this is a great pick for talent and draft value, as this was a little below where I thought he might go. He also signed quickly for slot, and while he’s on the roster for Danville in the Appy League, he hasn’t appeared in a game yet. DOB: 9/27/87. Signing bonus: $405,000.

4. Mycal Jones, SS, Miami Dade CC (FL), #118 overall, 5’10’’/165: While I was high on Hale, I jumped back a bit with Jones, as I’m normally very wary of 22 year old JUCO players. Jones had a huge spring at Miami Dade, where he landed after a year at North Florida, then a year of academic ineligibility there. Jones is very, very fast, but that doesn’t always translate to the field, where he shows flashes of good defense, but only has what most have said is an average arm. I still think he’s better suited for second base or center field, but the Braves want to try him at short. This was an average pick for draft position, probably about average for talent, too, and he signed quickly for slot. He’s hitting .238/.330/.356 in 101 ABs with Danville so far. DOB: 5/30/87. Signing bonus: $252,000.

5. Thomas Berryhill, RHP, Newberry (SC), #148 overall, 5’10’’/185: This pick intrigues me, as Berryhill was a late riser in his college career. He was also a position player at Newberry, further obscuring his talent on the mound. A late-inning reliever, Berryhill flashes a plus fastball, and I think he might have the stuff and makeup to maintain a late-inning role in the Majors if he can avoid arm troubles. I didn’t expect him to go this high, but I had a sneaking suspicion late in the year that he was a name that might pop up earlier than expected anyway. He signed quickly, making this a solid pick, maybe even underrated by most observers. He’s thrown 12 solid innings for Danville so far. DOB: 12/9/87. Signing bonus: $160,000.

6. Ryan Woolley, RHP, UAB, #178 overall, 6’1’’/190: I have to admit that I had almost completely forgotten about Woolley before his name popped up this early on draft day. I had written his name down as a transfer to keep an eye on, but I didn’t really have a handle on how much helium Woolley had in side sessions. With the new transfer rules prohibiting Woolley from playing this spring, he was just a name on a piece of paper, and it wasn’t until the week before the draft that I wondered how he was doing. I had heard he would get drafted, but not this early. He’s got decent talent on the mound, but his signability is in question, and I’m not sure the Braves were competing against any other team for him this high. He hasn’t signed yet, and he’s busy pitching in the Alaska Baseball League as of now. Questionable pick. DOB: 2/11/88.

7. Robby Hefflinger, OF, Georgia Perimeter JC (GA), #208 overall, 6’5’’/225: I wasn’t surprised when the Braves selected a Georgia native, and Hefflinger was a name I thought might be connected to them, though probably in the early teens. He’s got immense power, but he seems to swing and miss a lot. He’s got a plus arm, though, as he was also a power pitcher for Perimeter. All of these tools add up to a high-ceiling corner outfielder with a lot to work on. This is a decent pick for talent, but it’s risky, and I thought they could have waited a few more rounds to get him. He signed quickly, however, and he’s hitting .277/.345/.505 in 101 ABs with Danville, a good start. DOB: 1/3/90. Signing bonus: $125,000.

8. Kyle Rose, OF, Northwest Shoals CC (AL), #238 overall, 6’1’’/185: A 49th round pick of the Marlins in 2007 out of high school, Rose is another burner selected by the Braves. I’d say his speed is his only plus tool, though, as I’ve heard numerous reports of struggles with his bat. In addition, Rose was also kicked off the team late in the season, though I don’t know all the reasons behind the move, so I can’t comment accurately on the situation. I expected Rose to last much longer, but the Braves overdrafted him here, and they signed him quickly as a JUCO sophomore. He’s hitting .327/.435/.404 in 52 ABs with the GCL Braves, with 8 steals in addition. DOB: 5/24/89. Signing bonus: $122,500.

9. Matt Weaver, SS, Burlington CC (NJ), #268 overall, 6’0’’/175: Weaver’s another questionable pick to me, as I thought he’d simply be a late-round follow. A JUCO freshman, Weaver’s still got a lot to work on, though he showed signs of an ability to hit for average this spring with Burlington. He’s also got above-average speed, though he’s not a burner like some of the Braves’ other picks. I don’t see him necessarily sticking at short, so second base might be Weaver’s best option. I’m just underwhelmed by this pick. He signed quickly, went just 3-for-22 (.136) with the GCL Braves, then was promoted to Danville, where he’s 1-for-5. DOB: 1/27/90. Signing bonus: $105,000.

10. Aaron Northcraft, RHP, Mater Dei HS (CA), #298 overall, 6’4’’/215: This is a good pick for draft position and talent, but I’m afraid Northcraft might need a complete mechanical re-work. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, and he’s inching closer to being a sidearm pitcher. He’s got the pro body and pure arm to throw as a starter from a pure three-quarters slot, but it will take time to iron out the kinks. I do like this pick a lot, however, as he’s a nice high-upside selection that signed for a reasonable amount of money in the tenth round. He’s thrown 14 quality innings in the GCL so far. DOB: 5/28/90. Signing bonus: $125,000.

11. Chris Masters, LHP, Western Carolina, #328 overall, 6’0’’/230: Masters is a big kid, and I don’t mean big in a good way. He carries some extra weight, and that might hamper his chances of success in the pros. He does have some good stuff, though, and he was quite successful at times converting to a starter this past spring. I thought he might last another round or two, but I don’t really consider this an overdraft as much as I think some teams just valued him more than others. He’s a native Georgian, and I’m sure that contributed to him signing quickly, making this a solid pick. He’s been fairly dominant so far in 21.2 innings with Danville. DOB: 10/1/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Chris Lovett, SS, Columbia State CC (TN), #358 overall, 6’0’’/175: Lovett was a powerful infielder with Columbia State, but I didn’t think he’d even be in the conversation for an early second day pick like this. Armed with only a commitment to Lipscomb, Lovett was obviously not a highly-touted prospect, but the Braves drafted him in prospect territory, making this pick questionable. I’m not sure Lovett has the bat or glove to stick as a prospect in the pros. He signed fairly quickly, but is just hitting .211/.333/.395 in 38 ABs in the GCL. DOB: 12/21/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Jordan Kreke, 3B, Eastern Illinois, #388 overall, 6’1’’/205: I’m sure that Ohio Valley Conference pitchers are happy to have Kreke out of their league, but I didn’t think he’d be out so quickly. A college senior, he’s your classic college hitter than had huge success against weaker pitching. He was also a shortstop with Eastern Illinois, and the Braves already moved him to third. He’s got good arm strength, as he was also a reliever in college this past spring. He’s got limited upside in general, but he signed quickly. He’s hitting .267/.371/.344 in 90 ABs with Danville. DOB: 5/21/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. Cory Harrilchak, OF, Elon, #418 overall, 5’10’’/180: Harrilchak is an interesting case study for how college outfielders develop. He hit very well as a junior, but he wasn’t drafted last year. However, he added some pop during his senior year, and I thought he was a good candidate for the teens in this draft. The Braves made that happen, and Harrilchak signed quickly. It almost seems like an organizational pick, but it falls squarely in prospect territory, and Harrilchak might be a future bench players and pinch hitter. He’s hitting .321/.389/.432 in 81 ABs with Danville so far, so he’s off to a good start. DOB: 10/27/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Bennett Pickar, C, Eaton HS (CO), #448 overall, 6’1’’/185: This seems to mark the transition to unsignable and organization player territory for this draft, though I personally think they went to that level in terms of talent a few rounds previously. Pickar fell behind fellow Colorado catcher Chris O’Dowd in my book early on, but Pickar has the lighter commitment and possibly better pro tools. However, being from Colorado, he’s very raw, and he would benefit greatly from college, especially a place like Oral Roberts that develops good pitchers, forcing Pickar to work heavily on his defensive game. He hasn’t signed yet, and I think it’s up in the air at the moment whether he will or not. DOB: 9/14/90. Commitment: Oral Roberts.

16. Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, 1B, Nova Southeastern (FL), #478 overall, 6’2’’/215: Spanjer-Furstenburg is just trying to make my life harder in the spelling department. A native South African, Riaan (as I will call him from now on) showed some good pop at Nova, though he’s pretty limited in terms of projection. However, he should hit for at least awhile in the low minors, and I think he’s got what translates to the pro game in general. As a first baseman, he must continue to hit, though. He signed quickly and is doing just that with Danville, as he has a line of .412/.459/.619 in 97 ABs. DOB: 2/8/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Jace Whitmer, C, Kennesaw State, #508 overall, 6’4’’/225: Whitmer is better known as the catcher for top draft picks Chad Jenkins and Kyle Heckathorn in this draft class. Whitmer himself might be too large to stick at catcher, though his body is definitely of pro size and strength. He strikes out tons and doesn’t walk much, so his approach in general is lacking. He signed quickly and is hitting .250/.310/.281 in 64 ABs with Danville. DOB: 12/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

18. Jakob Dalfonso, 3B, Middle Georgia JC, #538 overall, 6’3’’/200: Dalfonso was a shortstop as a JUCO freshman this past spring, and I wasn’t sure he’d be anything more than a late-round follow, considering he still had a year of eligibility left at Middle Georgia. He signed quickly and is hitting .333/.419/.389 in 54 ABs in the GCL. DOB: 1/25/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

19. Ty’Relle Harris, RHP, Tennessee, #568 overall, 6’4’’/235: Harris was a senior pitcher with the Volunteers that projected as a future middle reliever for the late teens or early twenties. He’s got a big frame and some decent stuff to go with it. This was a solid pick, and Harris signed quickly. He threw 5.2 dominant innings with Danville, then was promoted to Rome in the Sally League, where he’s thrown 9.2 dominant innings there. Great start for a 19th-rounder. DOB: 12/12/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. Jeff Lorick, LHP, Virginia, #598 overall, 6’0’’/185: Another native Georgian from out of state, Lorick was mostly a starter at Virginia, but he really struggled this spring. I thought he would go in this area, and the Braves signed him quickly, despite Lorick having another year of eligibility. He’s had mixed results in 17.2 innings with Danville. DOB: 12/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

21. Matt Crim, LHP, Citadel, #628 overall, 6’0’’/195: Crim was a senior lefty that I expected to go a few rounds later, though this isn’t really an overdraft. He signed quickly and has pitched well with a great groundout to air out ratio in 24 innings with Danville. DOB: 8/14/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Ryan Weber, RHP, St. Petersburg JC (FL), #658 overall, 6’0’’/170: A 12th-rounder a year ago to the Phillies, Weber’s got tons more potential than this draft slot. He didn’t show as much high-end promise this spring, though I like how his offspeed stuff came along. I doubt he signs this far down, and he’ll probably return to school and could improve on his draft position as a sophomore JUCO player. DOB: 8/12/90. Commitment: None.

23. Lucas LaPoint, RHP, Knight HS (CA), #688 overall, 6’3’’/215: LaPoint’s got a pro body to go along with some hope of projectability, and I thought he might go a few rounds higher on pure talent. He doesn’t have the refinement of even normal prep pitchers, which caused his drop. He surprisingly signed despite being taken this late, and he’s struggled a little in the GCL. DOB: 3/30/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Casey Upperman, RHP, Notre Dame Prep (AZ), #718 overall, 6’1’’/183: Another prep I expected to go a number of rounds higher, probably somewhere in the teens, Upperman fell due to a lack of projection and pro size. I doubt he signs in this slot, as he’ll be eligible again next year after a year at Yavapai. DOB: 11/16/90. Commitment: Yavapai JC (AZ).

25. Ethan Icard, RHP, Wilkes CC (NC), #748 overall, 6’2’’/180: A JUCO freshman, I didn’t expect Icard’s name to get called, as I had heard absolutely nothing on him. He’s got a year of eligibility year at Wilkes, so I’d expect him to return to school. DOB: 8/28/90. Commitment: None.

26. Will Scott, RHP, Walters State CC (TN), #778 overall, 6’2’’/191: Scott was a 32nd-rounder of the Rockies a year ago out of high school, and I expected him to go in the early twenties this year as a JUCO freshman. He’s got pretty good stuff, though he wasn’t the best pitcher on his staff. I don’t expect him to sign, as he could turn into a pretty high pick as a JUCO sophomore next year. DOB: 9/2/90. Commitment: None.

27. Joey Leftridge, OF, Howard JC (TX), #808 overall, 6’0’’/175: Despite being a freshman, Leftridge actually graduated high school two years ago, and he was drafted by the Twins in the 39th round in 2007. He’s got good speed, but he also still has a year of eligibility at the powerhouse Howard. I don’t expect him to sign this late. DOB: 11/23/88. Commitment: None.

28. Eric Swegman, RHP, Young Harris JC (GA), #838 overall, 6’6’’/215: A 33rd-rounder of the Royals a year ago, Swegman has the definition of a pro body. A JUCO sophomore from the state of Georgia, I’m guessing the Braves also thought he would be fairly signable, though he’s about ten rounds lower than I thought he’d be. With a D-1 college commitment, that signability is now in question. He hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 8/3/88. Commitment: Georgia.

29. Bobby Rauh, OF, Daytona Beach CC (FL), #868 overall, 6’0’’/185: Daytona is a pretty bad program, and Rauh wasn’t expected to be drafted. He’s got great speed, though, and he showcased that this summer in the Virginia Valley League. I don’t expect him to sign so far down in the draft with a commitment. DOB: 11/25/87. Commitment: Tampa.

30. Vince Howard, OF, Sikeston HS (MO), #898 overall, 6’0’’/205: I didn’t know what to expect with Howard coming into the draft, as he had completely fallen off my radar. I wasn’t able to find a commitment for him, either. I don’t know whether he’ll sign or not, since I don’t know of his commitment. DOB: 8/16/90. Commitment: Unknown.

31. Derek Wiley, 1B, Belmont, #928 overall, 6’3’’/217: Wiley was a 50th-rounder of the Athletics a year ago as a junior, and it was only because of his pro size. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t walk much, though he has some power. He’s an organizational infielder over the long-run. He signed quickly, and he’s hitting .211/.302/.395 in 38 ABs with Danville. DOB: 4/9/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. Jake Montgomery, RHP, Pope HS (GA), #958 overall, 6’2’’/214: Montgomery’s got a natural pro body, but he lacks the refinement of a top pro prospect. He probably could have gone fifteen rounds higher, if not more, but he also fell due to a strong college commitment. I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 1/14/91. Commitment: Georgia.

33. Tyler Stubblefield, SS, Kennesaw State, #988 overall, 5’10’’/185: Stubblefield was a third baseman at Kennesaw State. He’s fairly small, and he’ll probably go higher as a senior sign next year. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 11/19/87.

34. Arby Fields, OF, Los Osos HS (CA), #1018 overall, 5’9’’/190: Short switch-hitter with strong college commitment. I wouldn’t expect him to sign, as I thought he’d simply be a late-round follow. DOB: 6/25/91. Commitment: Northwestern.

35. Matt Hartunian, C, Montclair Prep HS (CA), #1048 overall, 5’11’’/190: Prep catcher that will be eligible for the draft again in 2011 after his sophomore season of college. I highly doubt he signs. DOB: 6/28/90. Commitment: USC.

36. Andrew Wilson, RHP, Liberty, #1078 overall, 6’2’’/180: Senior pitcher originally from North Carolina. Nothing special in terms of stuff or size. He signed quickly and has thrown 8.2 good innings in the GCL. DOB: 7/30/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Matt Moynihan, OF, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA), #1108 overall, 6’2’’/200: Athletic outfielder that I thought might go in the early twenties if not for his hometown college commitment. Lot of work left in his skillset. I doubt he signs. DOB: 1/18/90. Commitment: San Diego.

38. Tripp Faulk, OF, North Myrtle Beach HS (SC), #1138 overall, 6’1’’/175: Another late-round prep follow, but Faulk has a smaller college commitment. I still don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 1/11/91. Commitment: Wingate (NC).

39. Joey Bourgeois, RHP, Louisiana State-Eunice JC, #1168 overall, 6’3’’/225: Freshman JUCO player on the most talent-laden Louisiana JUCO team. Good pro size, but only a late-round follow, because he has much work left to do. Will probably go twenty rounds higher a year from now. DOB: 2/12/90. Commitment: None.

40. Antonio Carrillo, OF, San Ysidro HS (CA), #1198 overall, 5’11’’/165: I expected Carrillo to go as much as 25 rounds higher, as I can’t even find a college commitment for him, supposedly making him an easier sign. He’s lacking in pro size, but his toolset is at least adequate. However, he probably won’t sign this far down. DOB: 7/3/91. Commitment: Unknown.

41. Kyle Petter, LHP, El Camino JC (CA), #1228 overall, 5’10’’/180: A 41st-rounder of the Blue Jays a year ago out of high school. Having just finished his freshman year at El Camino, he still has a lot to work on with command, and he could be drafted as a hitter next year. I doubt he signs. DOB: 4/5/90. Commitment: None.

42. Josh Conway, OF, Smithburg HS (MD), #1258 overall, 6’1’’/165: One of, if not the best, outfielders in the state of Maryland, Conway needs to add serious muscle to be a pro outfielder. I expected him to go maybe 25 rounds higher, but he’s got a good college commitment, and I’d expect him to turn into a solid college hitter. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 4/12/91. Commitment: Coastal Carolina.

43. Alan Walden, RHP, Red Bank HS (TN), #1288 overall, 6’1’’/154: Walden is in a similar position to Conway in that he needs to add strength to his frame before I can consider him a pro prospect. He’s got quality stuff, not top of the line, but it will be enough to get him a bullpen role in college, if not more. He won’t sign. DOB: 11/18/90. Commitment: Tennessee.

44. Corey Newsome, RHP, Bay HS (FL), #1318 overall, 6’0’’/170: Don’t have any info on Newsome, and I couldn’t find a college commitment. I wouldn’t expect him to sign this far down, though. DOB: 9/27/90. Commitment: Unknown.

45. Nathan Dorris, LHP, Marion HS (IL), #1348 overall, 6’3’’/185: Not one of the top pitchers in Illinois, but he does compare favorably in terms of size with almost any other Illinois prep pitcher. Three years of Vanderbilt will do him good, and I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 12/9/90. Commitment: Vanderbilt.

46. George Farmer, RHP, Rockdale County HS (GA), #1378 overall, 6’3’’/220: Otherwise known as Buck, Farmer was a top ten round candidate without the strong college commitment. He’s a strong kid with a good pro body, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him push into the top ten rounds after three years of college, too. He’s not overpowering, though, so he might disappoint a few scouts. He hasn’t signed, and I don’t think he will. DOB: 2/20/91. Commitment: Georgia Tech.

47. Colby Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC), #1408 overall, 6’0’’/195: Smaller kid with possibly better repertoire than Farmer. However, he doesn’t have the natural size, limiting him in the eyes of scouts. He could have a successful college career, though, as he probably will not sign. DOB: 10/24/90. Commitment: South Carolina.

48. Jamie Hayes, RHP, Rider, #1438 overall, 6’0’’/195: Small senior pitcher who also played shortstop in college. He was simply a roster filler pick. He signed quickly, and he’s thrown 5 innings without allowing an earned run in the GCL. DOB: 10/21/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

49. Gabe Gutierrez, RHP, Apollo HS (AZ), #1468 overall, 5’10’’/200: Small kid with a big build. I expected him to be a late-round follow, and he might pop up on draft boards again with two years at Central Arizona CC coming up. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 9/30/90. Commitment: Central Arizona CC.

50. Josh Edgin, LHP, Francis Marion (PA), #1498 overall, 6’1’’/225: Nothing to add on Edgin, who is already 22. He hasn’t signed, and I don’t know why he’s holding out, as he’ll probably go undrafted a year from now. DOB: 12/17/86.

Looking at this draft, I initially wonder what the Braves’ draft plan was. Minor doesn’t fit your typical Braves’ first round mold, but I thought the pick was at least slightly defensible, since he was one of the better lefty college pitchers available this year, and the Braves like advanced pitchers from time to time. The David Hale pick was actually one of my favorite picks of the third round, too, so I thought that was defensible, since Hale has more upside than most college picks. However, from there, I started getting really confused. Mycal Jones has a good toolset in general, but he’s already 22 and still lacks a lot of the basic fundamentals that fourth round prep shortstops have. Berryhill is also a talented pitcher, but I also thought the pick could have waited a round or three. Beyond that, I really felt that the Braves were continually jumping on players that they liked too soon, with relatively few exceptions. As a result, their total talent acquired in this draft is sorely lacking. I was fairly shocked by this, as I was a supported of their 2008 draft, even when some were questioning their heavy use of the JUCO ranks. However, they really perplexed me with some picks, so I’m not nearly as bullish on this draft as I was a year ago.

Money-wise, I’m starting to wonder whether the Braves were under some serious financial restrictions when making the picks. They’ve spent right around $5 million per year over the last couple of drafts, and the bonuses they’ve doled out so far equal out to somewhere in the $1.3 million range, with Mike Minor and Ryan Woolley the two early picks yet to sign. Minor’s slot is supposedly in the $2.175 million range, and he’s probably holding out for last year’s slot of $2.42 million. I would guess Woolley is asking for something in the $200K range, maybe a tad more. Using that 2008 slot amount and the $200K amount I throw out there, it looks like Atlanta’s budget might be around $4 million this year, a decrease of a crucial $1 million. That $1 million could have gotten them a better talent at any of the top four rounds or so, though I repeat my thought that David Hale is a great third round pick. Or they could turn that extra $1 million into multiple mid-round picks signed at higher prices, buying them away from college commitments, and players such as Zack Von Rosenberg and Brody Colvin from the Louisiana prep ranks were still available to the Braves when they made their 5th and 7th round picks respectively. Getting one of those arms instead of a Thomas Berryhill or a Robby Hefflinger is a big deal. That’s where I think the major detraction is in this draft. They lack high-end players.

Putting all those factors together, I really have to grade this draft down from each of the first six drafts I’ve reviewed, and I’m pretty surprised by that. I do expect both Minor and Woolley to sign, so I don’t see myself making any changes to that grade after signing day on August 17. Minor will probably turn out to be a solid Major League starter, but it’s more likely that he’s in the back of a rotation than the front, a disappointing fact considering the number of young arms the Braves already have in their system with more potential. Players like Woolley, Berryhill, Hefflinger, and Northcraft will define how good this draft is when we look back a number of years from now, and I’m not sure Braves fans are going to be happy about that result. The odds of a Major Leaguer coming from this draft not named Minor are pretty low, though David Hale is big wild card, and I’m high on the pick. Me being high on that pick is the only thing that saved the Braves from being graded down two levels from the worst drafts ahead of them. They got some athleticism, some power, some pitching, and some balance, so I have to give them first a passing grade, then the raw talent they got allows a little higher grade than just above passing. There’s a high risk of failure in this draft class, as with any class that falls in love with JUCO freshmen, but Minor at the top balances that out a bit. Overall, this draft was pretty disappointing, and it’s the worst I’ve graded yet.

FINAL GRADE: C+

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 8 Comments

Draft Review – San Francisco Giants

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the San Francisco Giants’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS (GA), #6 overall, 6’3’’/180: This wasn’t unexpected at all, as Wheeler had been seen by Giants’ GM Brian Sabean weeks before the draft. Wheeler had the most helium of any of the top prep pitchers over the course of the season, as he started running his fastball up and showed excellent potential. He hasn’t signed yet, but I expect him to reach a deal sometime on the deadline day. DOB: 5/30/90. Commitment: Kennesaw State.

2. Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS (AZ), #55 overall, 6’1’’/215: I had some people criticize my next-to-last mock draft, because I left Joseph out of the three round mock altogether. I even had a few people say it was idiotic for Joseph to be left out of the first round, as he was a lock. However, I felt a subtle shift in his stock late in the season, as teams were always sure of his bat, but became more apprehensive about his glove. I see first base in his future, as his mechanics behind the plate just aren’t those of a catcher in today’s game. He could easily improve greatly and prove me wrong, but I just don’t see the skills. He does have the tools, however, as his arm is quite strong. He hasn’t signed, but I expect him to agree shortly before Wheeler. DOB: 7/16/91. Commitment: Arizona.

3. Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville, #86 overall, 6’5’’/235: I love this pick for the Giants, as Dominguez is one of those rare college third basemen that could turn out to be a starter at that position in the big leagues. He has enormous tools, and you have to start with the raw power. He’s got enough strength to hit 30 homers a year if he improves his approach, though that’s tough, as he struggles with pitch recognition. His arm is also a plus, and he can handle third with it in the long-run, though, as with most third base prospects, he needs reps in order to become consistent. He’s still raw, despite having been a 5th round pick last year by the Rockies as a draft-eligible sophomore, but he’s got enormous potential. This wrapped up a great first day for the Giants. Dominguez signed quickly, and after a quick .306/.375/.528 run through the AZL in 36 ABs, he’s 8-for-21 (.381) with Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League. DOB: 11/22/86. Signing bonus: $411,300.

4. Jason Stoffel, RHP, Arizona, #117 overall, 6’2’’/220: Stoffel was one of those rare cases in which I firmly believe he was the subject of pitching abuse, though he was a reliever in college. The Wildcats used him early and often, and he threw over 50 innings over a three month span, equivalent to over 100 innings in relief over a six month Major League season. No manager in the Majors would subject such a high-end arm like Stoffel’s to that kind of use. However, it happened, and as a result, Stoffel’s pure stuff was down, as was his command, and I personally speculated a few times that Stoffel might be having arm troubles. He fell this far as a result of the diminished results, and the Giants might have gotten a steal. He signed already, but has yet to be assigned to a roster. DOB: 9/15/88. Signing bonus: $254,700.

5. Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas, #147 overall, 6’5’’/210: This was a surprising overdraft to me, as I loved what the Giants had done with their first four picks. However, Belt, despite blessed with exceptional size and good natural power, lacks the performance numbers or tools to be drafted this high. Since being drafted in the 11th round in both 2006 and 2007 (Red Sox and Braves), Belt has been a huge disappointment, with relatively weak hitting, making him going this high a big surprise. He’s got good tools at first, and with mechanical adjustments, he might become a more powerful hitter, but it’s just not likely. He hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 4/20/88.

6. Matt Graham, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX), #177 overall, 6’4’’/225: I’m still trying to figure out what to expect from Graham, who I had as a first round lock for this class a couple years ago. He completely lost his top-shelf stuff over a year ago, and despite some claims that he’s back, I just haven’t heard the big positives I was hearing back then. He’s still raw, and though he’s gotten his fastball back to an extent, his command is just not what it was. Was he hurt? I don’t know. All I know is that the Giants got a first round talent in the sixth round here, but he might be expensive to sign. This was somewhere near where I expected Graham to go, though I heard different projections even during the beginning of draft week. Great, but risky, pick. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll be draft-eligible again after his sophomore season in college in 2011. DOB: 5/1/90. Commitment: North Carolina.

7. Nick Liles, 2B, Western Carolina, #207 overall, 6’0’’/165: I was very encouraged by Liles after a good summer on the Cape last year, but was utterly disappointed when I heard he was switching to center field part-way through the spring. Apparently he just hasn’t gotten comfortable being an infielder, though his body isn’t really geared for anything else. The Giants decided to draft him as a second baseman, hoping that with repetitions, he could become solid at that spot. Liles does have the ability to hit for average, and his speed is close to above-average, as well. Don’t expect a lot of homers out of him, but he’s not punchless, either. I expected him to go as early as the 5th or as late as the 9th, so this was a solid draft position. He signed quickly, but has had sporadic playing time in the AZL, where he’s hitting .323/.333/.355 through 31 ABs. DOB: 7/23/87. Signing bonus: $120,000.

8. Gus Benusa, OF, Riverview HS (PA), #237 overall, 5’11’’/180: I’ve heard mixed opinions on Benusa, with one person telling me that Benusa has the tools to be a Major League center fielder, but with another telling me they’d be surprised if he made it to AA. Having lived in the state of Pennsylvania this past spring, all I can tell you is that the buzz was there. I don’t necessarily believe in his tools, but he’s worth an eighth-round risk considering how much he dominated competition with a respectable pro package. He may not succeed due to his below-average pedigree for baseball, but I don’t necessarily disagree with this pick. He’ll be interesting to watch, as he signed quickly, but has also received fairly sporadic playing time in the AZL like Liles. He’s hitting .308/.400/.308 in 26 ABs. DOB: 1/30/91. Signing bonus: $125,000.

9. Evan Crawford, OF, Indiana, #267 overall, 6’2’’/175: Crawford’s another one of those players that draws differing opinions in the eyes of scouts. Seeing a theme here? The Giants decided that Crawford’s toolset, which features plus speed and decent range for a new center fielder, was worth the six figure risk. I expected Crawford to go somewhere in this range, so I don’t necessarily think this is a bad pick, but the refinement level for Crawford is quite low. He doesn’t turn 21 until next month, though, so he’s got time to improve. He signed quickly and is hitting .286/.318/.310 in 42 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 8/5/88. Signing bonus: $110,000.

10. Jeremy Toole, RHP, BYU, #297 overall, 6’4’’/235: I like this pick from a pure talent perspective, and I think this may be a tenth-round bargain, as well. However, I don’t think Toole will be a starter. On the contrary, I think Toole has the potential to be a power closer, though he’d likely serve as Brian Wilson’s setup man in the current Giants bullpen. Toole has what can be an overpowering fastball, though his arm strength seemed to falter with a starter’s workload for a second straight season, the first being at a JUCO in Texas. He was drafted out of high school by Kansas City in the 41st round in 2006, so you know the natural talent is there, just not the refinement quite yet. He’ll probably start for awhile in the minors, but that’s probably not his long-term destination. He signed quickly, and he’s thrown 10 strong innings with Salem-Keiser, though with some command problems. DOB: 6/17/88. Signing bonus: $80,000.

11. John Eshleman, SS, Mount San Jacinto JC (CA), #327 overall, 6’0’’/180: I followed Eshleman this season mainly as a result of following Drew Madrigal, his teammate, very closely. I quickly realized that Eshleman had good pro ability, though his tools aren’t overwhelming. He wasn’t a full-time shortstop, so I thought his long-term position might be center field. He’s got the potential to hit for average, and he’s got decent speed, though I don’t have a report on his defense at short. I assume he needs to become more consistent there. He signed quickly and is hitting .304/.467/.391 in 23 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 4/8/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Chris Heston, RHP, East Carolina, #357 overall, 6’4’’/185: This was Heston’s third time being drafted, as most recently he was picked by the Nationals in the 29th round a year ago out of Seminole CC in Florida. A starter at ECU, Heston showed solid command, but really lacked quality pro stuff. He probably profiles best as a middle reliever as a pro, though he might be able to become a command setup man if his stuff grows, as he’s got a solid pro body. He signed quickly, but has been hit around a little in 8 innings in the AZL. DOB: 4/10/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Shawn Sanford, RHP, South Florida, #387 overall, 6’0’’/210: A 43rd round pick out of high school by the Rangers in 2006, Sanford has been on the scouting stage for awhile, despite not having a prototypical pro body. He split time this spring as both a late-inning reliever and a starter, finishing the season as a starter. However, like Heston, Sanford probably profiles best as a reliever in pro ball, though Sanford’s body is less projectable. Sanford is young, not turning 21 until the very end of the season this year, so he’s got that slight advantage over many juniors just drafted. He signed quickly and has thrown 7 dominating shutout innings in the AZL in relief. DOB: 8/28/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. B.J. Salsbury, RHP, Mount San Jacinto JC (CA), #417 overall, 6’2’’/185: While I was drawn to Salsbury’s teammate Eshleman as a result of Drew Madrigal, I always had some interest in Salsbury, as he was drafted by the Rangers in the 37th round out of high school in 2007. I thought Eshleman and Salsbury would be flip-flopped in terms of draft position, but that’s not how it happened. Salsbury was a starter at Mount San Jacinto, and he was borderline abused there, throwing 111 innings at the age of 19. He’s got decent stuff, but I’d worry about the workload. He signed quickly, and he’s had mixed results through 16.1 innings in the AZL. DOB: 10/22/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Kyle Vazquez, RHP, Franklin Pierce (NH), #447 overall, 6’3’’175: Vazquez was a starter at Franklin Pierce this spring, and like Salsbury, I’m afraid he was slightly abused, which marks a trend in this draft for the Giants. He threw a 10 inning shutout in early May, a game which included 15 strikeouts. That obviously shows some solid stuff, but I didn’t really expect him to go this high. He signed quickly, but has been hit hard in 5.1 innings with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/29/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

16. Ryan Cavan, SS, UC Santa Barbara, #477 overall, 5’10’’180: Cavan was a transfer to UC Santa Barbara from Chapman University, and he sat out a year as a result, making him a 22 year old junior in 2009. He showed good plate discipline in college, as well as a decent ability to hit for average, though he lacks power and speed. A third baseman in college, Cavan was drafted as a shortstop, and I wonder if he has the range for the position. He signed quickly and is hitting .270/.368/.446 in 74 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/28/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Chris Gloor, LHP, Quinnipiac, #507 overall, 6’6’’/255: A towering figure, Gloor was a solid prospect a couple of years ago until he came out throwing lifeless fastballs last spring. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 39th round a year ago as a result. He regained some of his status this spring, but not all of it. However, I thought his size and signability would push him into the top twelve rounds. He fell here, and the Giants got a steal in all categories. Great pick. He signed quickly and is dominating the Northwest League as a reliever. DOB: 3/7/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

18. Jonathan Walsh, OF, Coppell HS (TX), #537 overall, 6’2’’/208: I was one of those who were not surprised when the Giants called Walsh’s name as an outfielder on day two of the draft. As someone on my “most disappointing” list this spring, Walsh showed little of the potential he has with the glove behind the plate as a catcher, regularly struggling to reach even average pop times. His offense also struggled under the spotlight, and though he has enormous potential with the bat, too, it just wasn’t there. Whether it’s Draftitis or a larger problem, Walsh was just not on his game this spring. He still should have gone in the top ten rounds, and he’s not going to be signable in this range. This marks the beginning of the unsignable and organizational player run for the Giants in this draft. DOB: 11/14/90. Commitment: Texas.

19. Jason Walls, RHP, Troy, #567 overall, 6’5’’/205: I was pretty high on Walls coming into the draft, as I placed him on my sleeper list and shadow drafted him in the 15th round. He’s got a good fastball that was described to me as full of life and a slider that was described to me as late-inning material. Put those two together and we have a late-inning reliever on our hands. However, Walls also has command problems and a windup that might lead to injuries, so teams naturally shied away from his pro body and natural stuff. Long-term relievers with command problems aren’t incredibly desirable. There’s a good chance Walls heads back to school for his senior year, as he’s yet to sign. DOB: 2/22/88.

20. Mitch Mormann, RHP, Des Moines Area CC (IA), #597 overall, 6’6’’/220: I think the Giants were reading off my draft list on day two, as I also popped Mormann in addition to Walls, Mormann being picked by me in the 18th round. However, I was surprised when I was able to do so as late as I did. Mormann’s got a top of the line fastball and great pro size, though his offspeed stuff needs major work. He’s also got a strong LSU commitment, one which I wouldn’t be surprised to see him follow through with. He’s still learning to pitch with his tall body, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him blossom into something special. Great pick for talent and draft position here, but he might hold out for good money, knowing he could get a lot more looks next year in Baton Rouge. DOB: 3/17/89. Commitment: LSU.

21. Zach Wasserman, 1B, Lake Shore HS (MI), #627 overall, 6’6’’/225: Wasserman has already announced he will honor his college commitment. That makes this pick kind of worthless, doesn’t it? DOB: 8/30/90. Commitment: Louisville.

22. Drew Biery, 3B, Kansas State, #657 overall, 6’0’’/205: Biery was a college senior that best profiles as an organizational utility infielder. He doesn’t have pro size or pro tools, and he’s already 23. As expected, he signed quickly and is doing well in the Northwest League, hitting .363/.416/.425 in 80 ABs. DOB: 5/14/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Adam Champion, LHP, Arkansas-Little Rock, #687 overall, 6’7’’/220: Unlike Biery, Champion does have pro size, but he lacked the results to merit a high pick. I did think Champion might be picked in the top 30 rounds as a tall college junior with decent stuff, but I also think he’s a LOOGY in the long-run. It’s looked to me like Champion will return for his senior year. DOB: 9/22/87.

24. Alex Burg, C, Washington State, #717 overall, 6’0’’/190: Burg was only a part-time catcher as a senior, and he had a knee injury during the year at that. Likely drafted as an easy sign, Burg has actually yet to sign with the Giants, a surprising move. He doesn’t have any leverage for holding out. DOB: 8/9/87.

25. Taylor Rogers, RHP, Tulane, #747 overall, 6’4’’/200: It’s amazing how many big-bodied arms a team can find in the later rounds of a draft. A midweek fill-in starter and reliever at Tulane, Rogers doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but there’s always hope in a body like his. He’s already 22 despite having been a junior this year. He signed quickly and has been hit hard with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

26. Luis Munoz, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #777 overall, 6’0’’/165: I don’t have anything to add except the fact that I couldn’t even find a college commitment for Munoz, meaning I don’t have any real information on him. He signed already, but is hitting poorly in the AZL. DOB: 10/10/91.Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Kyle Mach, 3B, Missouri, #807 overall, 5’11’’/191: College senior was the leading hitter on a disappointing Mizzou squad. No power, not much potential for average, but he doesn’t strike out or walk much at all. No speed. Organizational infielder. He signed quickly and is hitting .213/.278/.319 through 47 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 11/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

28. Jamaine Cotton, RHP, Western Oklahoma State JC, #837 overall, 6’1’’/175: JUCO freshman that I don’t expect to sign, still being 18 years old. Could be a top twenty rounder next year, if not in the top ten. Decent command as a starter as a freshman. Has not signed. DOB: 9/27/90. Commitment: None.

29. Luke Demko, RHP, Rhode Island, #867 overall, 6’7’’/260: Tall college senior (also large in general) had success as closer this spring. Command needs work, but has decent stuff, though nothing special. He signed but hasn’t been assigned to a roster yet. DOB: 6/26/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Craig Westcott, RHP, Belhaven (MS), #897 overall, 6’4’’/225: Westcott was a dominating pitcher at Belhaven, though it was as a 23 year old senior. He threw 90 innings over 17 starts, striking out 124 while allowing roughly a .200 batting average against him. That’s obviously great success, and I thought someone might take him in the teens as an interesting senior sign. He’s got good size, but marginal pro stuff. He signed quickly, and he’s dominated the AZL in 8 innings of relief. Nice pick. DOB: 3/1/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Diego Seastrunk, C, Rice, #927 overall, 5’9’’/210: Seastrunk should have gone much higher as Rice’s starting catcher. An infielder in previous seasons, Seastrunk transitioned fairly well to catching, and I’m guessing he fell this far as a result of his desire to return to Rice for his senior season. He’s got the tools all-around to be a decent backup catcher at the Major League level with enough repetitions. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/11/88.

32. Luke Anders, 1B, Texas A&M, #957 overall, 6’6’’/225: I thought Anders might go 15 rounds higher after going in the 16th round to the Yankees a year ago as a junior. Like Brandon Belt, Anders is a tall college first baseman without a long history of success at the college level. He’s got some pop, though it probably doesn’t translate to the pro game. He’ll probably strike out a lot, but this is actually good value this far down, as Anders might have enough in his body to make it to the high minors, possibly into a bench role on an NL team. He signed quickly and is hitting .266/.351/.500 in 64 ABs with Salem-Keizer, a promising start. DOB: 10/2/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Jake Dunning, RHP, Indiana, #987 overall, 6’4’’/188: Dunning was actually Indiana’s starting shortstop, and he only threw 7 innings in relief this spring. A college junior, he’ll likely return to school for his senior year to improve his stock. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 8/12/88.

34. Brandon Kirby, OF, Lake Wales HS (FL), #1017 overall, 6’0’’/185: I knew of Kirby’s town mate (not teammate) Kyle Andre of Frostproof HS, but I had no information on Kirby. I doubt he signs, but any draftee is a name to watch in the JUCO ranks. He hasn’t signed as of yet. DOB: 12/10/90. Commitment: South Florida CC.

35. Brandon Graves, LHP, Valdosta State (GA), #1047 overall, 6’1’’/190: I have to say I was much more on Graves’ teammates at Valdosta State than Graves himself. He was an Appalachian State transfer after starting at Tallahassee CC (FL). He had most of his success in the bullpen. Maybe there’s a future LOOGY in there. He signed quickly, and he’s had some ups and downs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 8/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

36. Ryan Scoma, OF, UC Davis, #1077 overall, 6’2’’/195: College senior outfielder with normal limited upside. Was at College of San Mateo before UC Davis. Very limited in tools. Signed quickly and is hitting .262/.295/.286 in 42 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 9/12/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Ryan Lollis, OF, Missouri, #1107 overall, 6’2’’/185: Lollis was a 20th rounder of the Tigers a year ago as a junior, but he returned to Mizzou, where he had a disappointing season. Has good speed, and I thought he might go 15 rounds higher simply for that. He’s got a little more potential than your normal 37th round outfielder. He signed quickly and is hitting .307/.316/.453 in 75 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/16/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

38. A.J. Proszek, RHP, Gonzaga, #1137 overall, 6’5’’/260: Senior pitcher with a big body. Nothing much to add here. Signed quickly, but was been hit very hard in 5 innings in the AZL. DOB: 4/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Kyle Henson, C, Ole Miss, #1167 overall, 5’10’’/195: Senior catcher with Ole Miss. Very limited upside in terms of tools and skills. Signed quickly and is hitting .276/.323/.448 in 29 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

40. Jonathan White, OF, Vanderbilt, #1197 overall, 6’2’’/198: 23 year old senior was drafted in 2007 by the Braves in the 24th round. His game relies on huge speed, but he’s simply not a refined ballplayer. Poor plate discipline and lack of hitting skills. He signed quickly and is hitting .341/.388/.500 in 44 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 6/16/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

41. Gary Moran, RHP, Sonoma State (CA), #1227 overall, 6’8’’/265: Has a big body and not much else as a 24 year old senior pitcher. Signed quickly and hasn’t allowed a run in 5.2 innings of relief with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 5/21/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

42. Nick Schwaner, 3B, New Orleans, #1257 overall, 6’1’’/215: I thought Schwaner would go as much as 30 rounds higher as a solid college third baseman with solid hitting skills, but with a poor glove. He slipped this far, and he’ll likely return to school for his senior year. DOB: 2/27/88.

43. Matt Jansen, LHP, Purdue, #1287 overall, 6’2’’/210: 22 year old college junior with LOOGY potential. Still has a year of eligibility, so he might return to Purdue with the hopes of moving up twenty rounds. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 5/25/87.

44. Joe Lewis, 1B, Pittsburg HS (CA), #1317 overall, 6’5’’/205: Big, big kid. Still can’t find a college commitment for him, but his pure body size is encouraging. He hasn’t signed, and I’d expect he’d go to school. He was the quarterback on the school football team, too, and he was apparently pretty good. DOB: 9/17/90. Commitment: Unknown.

45. Kyle Kramp, RHP, Westfield HS (IN), #1347 overall, 6’4’’/195: Kramp’s teammate Kevin Plawecki got much more attention, but Kramp does have pro size. He’s got a decent college commitment, so I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 12/23/90. Commitment: Butler.

46. Juan Martinez, SS, Oral Roberts, #1377 overall, 5’10’’/190: 22 year old junior infielder with limited pro skills. He signed quickly and is hitting .333/.383/.600 in 75 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/26/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

47. Michael Ness, RHP, Duke, #1407 overall, 6’4’’/210: Big college junior with a little more potential than your normal 47th rounder. I expected him to be a late-round follow, and I also think he’ll return to school for his senior year. DOB: 10/20/87.

48. Randolph Oduber, OF, Western Oklahoma State JC, #1437 overall, 6’3’’/186: I liked Oduber more than his teammate Cotton who was picked twenty rounds higher by the Giants. Oduber’s got solid pro tools, and I thought the only thing that held him back from being picked in the top 15 rounds was the fact that he was a JUCO freshman. He is 20 already, but he won’t sign since he went so far down. DOB: 3/18/89. Commitment: None.

49. Austin Goolsby, C, Embry-Riddle (FL), #1467 overall, 6’2’’/190: Junior catcher originally from the state of Texas. I’d expect he returns to school for his senior year, as he’s got good pro size behind the plate. DOB: 4/28/88.

50. Kaohi Downing, RHP, Point Loma Nazarene (CA), #1497 overall, 5’10’’/170: Wasn’t on my radar at all as a smallish 23 year old pitcher. He signed quickly, but is getting hit hard in the AZL. DOB: 5/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

A quick scan can give an encouraging sign that the Giants have signed so many of their picks before the cutoff into the unsignable and organizational player section. They’ve already signed 13 of their first 17 picks, and I think they transitioned after that 17th round pick of Chris Gloor. I’d still expect they get all of those 17 picks under contract, as I don’t think any of them are unsignable. I’d expect Belt to be signed first, but Zack Wheeler, Tommy Joseph, and Matt Graham might go down to the deadline. The wild card in Matt Graham, as he might feel he can make himself back into first round material in college, therefore affecting his asking price. He’d be eligible again in just a couple of years after a run with North Carolina, so it’s not an unreasonable claim. The Giants have also only spent somewhere in the $1.2 million range for bonuses so far, though a tad below that. That leaves plenty of room for more signatures, as slot for Wheeler is somewhere around $2.3 million, for Joseph it’s around $650K, and for Belt it’s around $175K. Having spent $9.1 million, $7.4 million, and $4.4 million on the last three drafts, I’d expect that leaves plenty of room to sign at least Graham, if not more. Tommy Joseph might get somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K, though, so budget room will start to be restricted after they sign those players.

The talent level of this draft greatly impresses me. Wheeler, Joseph, Dominguez, and Stoffel have all been discussed as having first-round talent from time-to-time, as has Matt Graham, who was the top prep pitcher in his class for a time during his pre-junior year. They could potentially have the best top six players of any combination of six players in any team’s draft. That’s how high I am on this draft. I still have to wait to see how many players they get under contract, but I’m optimistic about that too, as they saved money in the right places in order to have plenty to sign the big players at the top. There is some risk in this draft, though, as Dominguez, Stoffel, Belt, and Graham have all been disappointments in one way or another over the last year or two, and they come with major flaws. However, the talent level is undoubtedly there.

Looking past those initial six players, I’m not incredibly impressed. Liles may have potential to become a Major League ballplayer, but he needs to shore up his defense to be worth much of anything. His bat could help him progress, though. Benusa’s got a lot of risk, though $125K isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things within the context of the draft. Crawford also has a lot of risk, and I’m not too high on him in general. I do like the Toole pick, though, and the fact that he was so cheap is very encouraging. I’d put him in the bullpen and watch him go. There’s a lot of arms in general in this draft that could end up being helpful bullpen arms, so that’s something to watch. They might have dipped into the abused category once too many times, but every pitcher comes with inherent risk anyway. I do like the Chris Gloor pick a lot for that position, but his ceiling probably isn’t as high as some prospect homers might have you think. If the Giants can get their early picks signed, and if they can add someone in the Walsh-Walls-Mormann run, this has to be an unqualified win for this draft team. I’m going to assume that either none or just one of those players there signs, limiting my grade a bit, but I’m still very, very high on this draft, and I think it’s going to be one of the best in the entire league, despite not having any extra picks. Signing day may change my grade, but I grade this draft well above the first five I graded, as this draft is clearly superior.

FINAL GRADE: A-

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 8 Comments

Draft Review – Baltimore Orioles

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Baltimore Orioles’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS (CA), #5 overall, 6’4’’/245: This was an unexpected pick. The Orioles had a history of going for expensive players over the last couple of years in Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz, but they apparently wanted to go with the Pirates’ philosophy of save a little here in order to spend a little more later. Hobgood has good pure stuff, but his build is deceiving. He’s not overpowering, and the projectability isn’t completely there, but he still has #2 potential if everything comes together. As with most prep pitchers, he just needs to learn how to command his offspeed stuff. He signed fairly quickly, but hasn’t appeared on a roster yet. DOB: 8/3/90. Signing bonus: $2.422 million.

2. Mychal Givens, SS, Plant HS (FL), #54 overall, 6’1’’/190: Givens was in the running for a first-round slot at the beginning of the year, but the flaws in his game never seemed to be fixed. A two-way player, Givens drew a lot of attention on the mound, where his fastball rated up with anybody in the entire draft class. However, he wasn’t durable enough to be a starter, and his breaking ball was well below average. In the field, his hitting draws question marks, though his strong arm and defensive skills should keep him at short, providing he becomes consistent. However, this is a decent pick for draft position and talent, though he hasn’t signed yet, and it might go down to the final weekend before the signing deadline. DOB: 5/13/90. Commitment: Oklahoma State.

3. Tyler Townsend, 1B, Florida International, #85 overall, 6’3’’/215: Townsend snuck up on everybody this year, as he entered the year as only a possible mid-round pick. However, by the end, I was really thinking someone might call his name at the end of day one. Surprisingly, it was at the beginning of the third round. He has a big bat, and he projects well for both average and power. However, he can’t run at all, his arm is pretty weak, and first base is about it for him if you want even average defense at his position. Altogether, this is about average for all factors I consider, as he signed quickly, but is off to a poor 8-for-47 start (.170) with Aberdeen in the NYPL. DOB: 5/14/88. Signing bonus: $417,600.

4. Randy Henry, RHP, South Mountain CC (AZ), #116 overall, 6’3’’/198: This is probably one of the more intriguing names in the entire draft. Henry was supposed to be a solid 2008 draft prospect before he blew out his elbow and missed his senior year of high school. He ended up at South Mountain as a result, and he was held back a lot during the season. He only threw 11 innings, but as the year went along, his stuff got stronger and stronger. Now he’s considered a 19 year old kid without much mileage on his arm, and he’s got the pure stuff of a high-upside starter. I thought he might last a round or two later, but he’s got the pure talent to be a round or two higher. He still hasn’t signed, and he’s got another year at South Mountain, so he might command a little more money than slot, but he’s going to sign, and it will probably be before the deadline. DOB: 5/10/90. Commitment: None.

5. Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Oklahoma City, #146 overall, 6’0’’/170: Tolliver was also an interesting name to watch entering the draft. Having broken out on the Cape a year ago, he transferred into Oklahoma City from Arkansas-Little Rock and continued his success through most of the year. While I like this pick, I do give some credence to the thought that Tolliver can’t handle a starter’s load, as his frame really isn’t your prototypical pro starter’s. However, his stuff in relief on the Cape tells me he can probably be a lefty setup man, maybe even a closer in a pinch. That’s great value in the 5th round, so I grade this pick up. He hasn’t signed yet, but it will happen, and it will likely happen well before the deadline. DOB: 1/24/88.

6. Justin Dalles, C, South Carolina, #176 overall, 6’2’’/205: This is the fourth time Dalles has been drafted, as he went in the 15th in 2006 (Mets), 40th in 2007 (Cardinals), and 26th in 2008 (Blue Jays). 2009 was Dalles’ first year at South Carolina, where he took over the starting catching immediately, having done the same in the Florida JUCO ranks. He’s a solid defender, and while his bat is decent, it’s not really a starter’s bat when paired with his glove. All in all, Dalles looks like a backup to me, though he’s still just 20. If he can continue to improve behind the plate like he has in the last few years, he might make himself into a defensive starter. Not a big fan of this pick, but it needs time in terms of judging the total outcome. He signed quickly, but is off to a poor 8-for-41 (.195) start with Aberdeen. DOB: 12/30/88. Signing bonus: $150,000.

7. Aaron Wirsch, LHP, El Toro HS (CA), #206 overall, 6’6’’/200: I didn’t think Wirsch would find himself drafted so highly this year. Playing for a solid prep team that included Nolan Arenado and the injured Chad Thompson, Wirsch became the de facto ace when Thompson went down. He doesn’t have much pure stuff at the moment, but I’m guessing the Orioles liked his projectability. He’s got room to add some strength, so there might be some natural growth available. However, his current stuff is pretty average, and I thought he’d be picked five rounds lower, possibly more. He hasn’t signed yet either, so I’m not a fan of this pick. DOB: 11/15/90. Commitment: San Diego.

8. Devin Harris, OF, East Carolina, #236 overall, 6’3’’/227: Here’s another very talented player, but one with limited polish for a college bat. Harris started for the first time this past year, and though he played well, he also showed the holes in his game. Like a lot of prep players, Harris struggles with pitch recognition on the offensive side and route-taking on the defensive side. He’s got plus power to go along with a plus arm in right field, so the tools are there, but he’s a boom-or-bust type of player. As a sophomore-eligible, he’s also got good leverage, though I think he’ll sign. Good pick for talent, a little above-average for draft position, but a little below-average for signability. DOB: 4/23/88.

9. Ryan Berry, RHP, Rice, #266 overall, 6’1’’/195: RUN AWAY!!! That’s how I feel about drafting Rice pitchers and overworked college pitchers in general. While college pitchers bring the extra security that teams desire in some drafts, there’s also the risk that the player was overworked, and that’s usually the case with Rice. Berry’s mechanics also aren’t so clean, and while he’s got good natural stuff, it’s not anything to write home about. The one positive with Berry is that he has good command of his breaking ball, the rarely-used knuckle curve, and he also has good command of his other pitches. Decent pick for talent and very good for draft position, but his signability is a huge question. I think it will take $800K to sign him away from returning to Rice. DOB: 8/3/88.

10. Jacob Cowan, RHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #296 overall, 6’3’’/175: Cowan was the second straight pitcher with injury questions that the Orioles took. Having been drafted in the 14th round by the Red Sox in 2007 out of high school, Cowan stagnated at Virginia in 2008 before transferring to San Jacinto. He came down with elbow tendinitis part-way through the season after showing diminished stuff, making some question his long-term health outlook. However, he came back strong later in the season, and the Orioles got a steal getting him this late. He should have gone five or six rounds higher. Great pick for talent and draft position, and he just signed. No word on the signing bonus yet, and he hasn’t been placed on a roster. DOB: 6/30/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

11. Michael Ohlman, C, Lakewood Ranch HS (FL), #326 overall, 6’4’’/205: I’m a bit higher on Ohlman than some others, as I think he has the natural tools to stay behind the plate, and he’s developed the skills there, too. He’s still got some learning to do, but I think he could be a plus defender there. At the plate, I like the fact that he makes good contact, and his power should play. There’s no reason to think that there’s not a starting catcher in his toolset. This is a great pick for both talent and draft position, as Ohlman was speculated to be a first day candidate. However, he might not be signable, as it could take $1MM+ to get him away from Miami. That will be tough, but the Orioles might have saved enough for it with the Hobgood deal. DOB: 12/14/90. Commitment: Miami.

12. Steve Bumbry, OF, Virginia Tech, #356 overall, 5’10’’/185: I was pretty surprised that any team would be interested in Bumbry as anything more than an organizational player. He doesn’t have pro size, strikes out a ton, and doesn’t really have any noticeable pro tools. However, he proved very signable, and while I don’t like this pick for either talent or draft position, the signability factor came into play. He was 2-for-20 with Aberdeen before coming down with an injury and hitting the disabled list. DOB: 4/4/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Ty Kelly, 2B, UC Davis, #386 overall, 6’0’’/185: While Kelly was supposed to go a few rounds later on most boards, I somewhat like this pick. As a sophomore, Kelly had a great campaign, but he really dipped during his junior year. However, he still has the same ability to hit for average, and I like his chances of being a possible reserve Major Leaguer. He might even have enough skills to start at second for a season or two. In addition, he also signed quickly and doesn’t turn 21 until next Monday. He’s hitting .309/.347/.382 in 68 ABs with Aberdeen so far. DOB: 7/20/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. David Baker, RHP, Hemet HS (CA), #416 overall, 6’4’’/195: Baker wasn’t really on my radar as anyone that would be drafted on the second day. So it naturally surprised me when he went in a team’s favored range, the top fifteen rounds. He’s got some projectability, but has a long, long way to go, as he allowed what is a lofty ERA in prep ball for a high draftee (3.12). Don’t like this pick for draft position at all, but he might prove to have more talent than I think. He signed fairly quickly, but hasn’t been rostered yet. DOB: 4/17/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Garrett Bush, RHP, Stanton College Prep HS (FL), #446 overall, 6’4’’/190: This marks the transition to the unsignable or organizational player territory for the Orioles. Bush has a great combination of pro body with pro arm, and he has the added plus that he lacks significant mileage on his arm, as he served as a reliever for the most part in high school. However, he lacks the polish of most highly-touted prep pitchers, as he focused on catching before realizing his pitching potential during the last couple of years. I thought he might be signable in the top ten rounds, but it’s more difficult this far down. Great pick for talent and draft position, but I fear he may end up at Auburn without $250K heading in his direction. DOB: 10/11/90. Commitment: Auburn.

16. Ryan Palsha, RHP, Diablo Valley JC (CA), #476 overall, 6’1’’/180: Not someone that was on my follow lists early on. Command is a problem, and he needs to be a reliever. I thought he’d be a late-round follow, as he has a year left at Diablo Valley. However, he signed already, but hasn’t appeared on a roster yet. DOB: 5/17/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Jeff Walters, RHP, Georgia, #506 overall, 6’3’’/190: I thought Walters might go a few rounds earlier, as he’s got the body and pure stuff of a 7th inning reliever. He was picked out of a JUCO last year in the 30th round by the Indians, but ended up at Georgia. Like Justin Dalles, he was also picked the previous two years. This could be a nice sign if the Orioles can make it happen. I put the odds of signing him at 50/50. DOB: 11/6/87.

18. Jarret Martin, LHP, Bakersfield JC (CA), #536 overall, 6’3’’/200: The Orioles obviously like Martin, as they also popped him in the 19th round a year ago. He’s got a pro body, but was a reliever with Bakersfield. He was just a JUCO freshman, so there’s questions about his signability this late. He’s a potential LOOGY, but hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 8/14/89. Commitment: None.

19. Kipp Schutz, OF, Indiana, #566 overall, 6’4’’/170: I thought Schutz might go a little higher, as he had a decent junior year. He’s also got pro size, though his power was disappointing this spring. The bad with Schutz is the defense, and he might be a career platoon left fielder, even in the minors. He just doesn’t have the skills there. The Orioles also picked Schutz, a draft-eligible sophomore, in the 26th round out of high school in 2006. He signed quickly, but is off to a poor 7-for-42 (.167) start with Bluefield in the Appy League. DOB: 3/21/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. James Brandhorst, RHP, Lamar, #596 overall, 6’4’’/235: This is a great pick this far down. I had Brandhorst as a sleeper reliever candidate to go in the top twelve rounds, and I think he has setup man potential. His command is the huge hurdle though, and it’s a big one. However, with his fastball/slider combo, Brandhorst has room for a little error, and he should move through the low minors fairly easily. Great pick for draft position and talent, and he signed quickly. He’s pitched 9 innings with Aberdeen, allowing 3 runs on 10 hits and a walk, striking out 13. DOB: 8/26/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

21. Kevin Landry, RHP, William & Mary, #626 overall, 6’7’’/220: Another great pick here. Landry should have gone as much as ten rounds higher, but fell for unknown reasons. His pure stuff was down this spring, but the Orioles bought low for a guy that can flash low- to mid-90s fastballs in the spirit of a first day pick. His pure ceiling might be a tad below that of Brandhorst’s, but Landry is no slouch. Great pick for talent and draft position, and he signed already. He allowed a run on 3 hits in 1.2 innings in his Aberdeen debut, walking 2 and striking out 3. DOB: 5/9/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Cameron Coffey, LHP, Houston Christian HS (TX), #656 overall, 6’5’’/215: Coffey got a tough break this spring, when he blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. This came after a huge breakout early in the year in which he started routinely throwing in the low-90s and I was hearing tons of buzz on him. I thought he might be heading towards day one before the injury. This seems like a pure follow to me, as I don’t think the Orioles will invest the money to sign Coffey away from his strong Duke commitment. DOB: 9/20/90. Commitment: Duke.

23. Mike Mooney, SS, Florida, #686 overall, 5’8’’/160: This was puzzling to me, as I thought Mooney would either be a late-round follow or go undrafted altogether. He’s tiny, doesn’t have any pro tools or skills, and still had a year of eligibility at Florida. However, he signed quickly with the Orioles, and he’s hitting .214/.290/.339 in 56 ABs with Aberdeen. Don’t like this pick. DOB: 6/12/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Justin Anderson, LHP, UL-Monroe, #716 overall, 6’4’’/195: I have to admit I didn’t even follow Anderson this past season. It really surprised me to see someone picked in day two that I had to look up. He struggled during the year, and I’m surprised he signed so quickly, as he might have climbed boards as a senior lefty. He’s got pro size, and he’s off to a decent start as a reliever with Bluefield, as he has a 3.95 ERA through 13.2 innings. DOB: 10/21/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Jay Johnson, LHP, Lethbridge CC (AB), #746 overall, 6’2’’/210: Johnson was probably the best JUCO player in Canada for this draft class, and I expected him to go possible a few rounds earlier. As a result, he hasn’t signed, and I expect him to honor his college commitment. DOB: 12/21/89. Commitment: Texas Tech.

26. Blake Mechaw, LHP, Shelton State CC (AL), #776 overall, 6’2’’/200: A JUCO sophomore, I thought Mechaw might go a few rounds earlier, though him falling to here wasn’t a surprise. He might be a future LOOGY at best, and he signed quickly. He’s allowed 5 earned runs in 6.2 innings with Bluefield so far. DOB: 8/19/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Mike Planeta, OF, Glendale CC (AZ), #806 overall, 6’3’’/195: As a JUCO freshman, I had essentially written off Planeta as a late-round follow with an eye on next year. However, he’s got pro size, and he signed fairly quickly. He’s got bad pitch recognition skills, so I don’t expect much from him. He’s hitting .259/.273/.315 through 54 ABs with Bluefield. DOB: 10/17/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

28. Kyle Hoppy, OF, Orchard Park HS (NY), #836 overall, 6’0’’/195: Hoppy’s probably got a better chance of starting on the football team at Bucknell next year than sporting a pro baseball uniform. I didn’t even follow him this spring, and I don’t think I’ve seen him on any other follow lists either. Interesting name to watch if you like two-sport athletes, though. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 5/8/91. Commitment: Bucknell (FB).

29. Brandon Alexander, OF, Oakville HS (MO), #866 overall, 6’1’’/170: A 19 year old high school senior, Alexander was yet another surprise to me. Since he committed to a JUCO, he’ll be eligible for the draft every year from here on out, since he’d be eligible at a four year school as a 21 year old sophomore. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 6/2/90. Commitment: Logan JC (IL).

30. Brenden Webb, OF, Palomar JC (CA), #896 overall, 6’3’’/190: If only they could sign him, I would love this pick. Webb was a name I kept hearing about in the California JUCO ranks as the draft neared, and I wondered if he might have enough helium to reach the top ten rounds. However, he fell as a JUCO freshman, and the Orioles picked him with their last second day pick. He’ll likely return to school, and he could be one of the top JUCO bats for the 2010 draft. DOB: 2/24/90. Commitment: None.

31. Mike Flacco, 3B, Catonsville CC (MD), #926 overall, 6’5’’/220: Flacco was the best JUCO hitter in the state of Maryland for 2009, though that’s not saying much. He’s much more famous as the brother of Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco. While I like the size, I don’t like the fact that he was a JUCO freshman at age 22, and I don’t see a bright future in baseball for the other Flacco. He signed quickly, and he’s off to a .242/.315/.333 start in 66 ABs for Bluefield. DOB: 1/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. Matt Nadolski, LHP, Casa Grande HS (CA), #956 overall, 6’2’’/185: I thought Nadolski would go as many as twenty rounds higher as a projectable prep lefty. However, it seems his college commitment scared off enough teams that the Orioles drafted him as a simple follow, meaning he won’t be signing. He should contribute immediately for San Diego State. DOB: 2/6/91. Commitment: San Diego State.

33. Tyler Naquin, OF, Klein Collins HS (TX), #986 overall, 6’1’’/165: I also thought Naquin could go twenty rounds higher, as he’s got some pro tools. However, he’s probably headed to JUCO power San Jacinto, and we’ll probably see his name again next year. He hasn’t signed, and I wouldn’t expect him to. DOB: 4/24/91. Commitment: San Jacinto JC (TX).

34. Malcolm Clapsaddle, RHP, Oviedo HS (FL), #1016 overall, 6’2’’/170: Clapsaddle is the next in a run of projectable, but unsignable, prep players for the Orioles. He has what can be called a projectable body, and he’ll probably contribute immediately out of the bullpen in college. I thought he’d go twenty rounds higher, maybe more. He won’t be signing. DOB: 9/10/90. Commitment: Georgia.

35. Jeremy Lucas, C, West Vigo HS (IN), #1046 overall, 6’2’’/190: Lucas is someone who will benefit from college time. Coming from a less-than-stellar baseball state, he just needs reps. Expect to see him on draft boards in three years, though his tools are probably not good enough to warrant a high selection. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/10/91. Commitment: Indiana State.

36. Scott Firth, RHP, Stevenson HS (IL), #1076 overall, 6’0’’/170: For me, Illinois’ prep pitcher ranks went Tanner Bushue-Ian Krol-Scott Firth. However, scouts always mentioned something about Firth’s size, as he’s definitely not your prototypical starting pitcher. However, he’s got pro stuff, and he’s also got the brains to succeed. He’s a great student, so that’s why he fell so far, with his college commitment being as strong as they come. He won’t be signing with the Orioles. DOB: 4/20/91. Commitment: Clemson.

37. Taylor Rogers, LHP, Chatfield HS (CO), #1106 overall, 6’3’’/175: Rogers is another projectable lefty, though he’s much more raw than most as a result of his competition in Colorado. I’d say that Rogers was probably the best prep lefty from the state in the class, but again, that’s not saying much. I doubt he signs, and he’ll be in the bullpen next year in college. DOB: 12/17/90. Commitment: Kentucky.

38. Josh Dowdy, RHP, Appalachian State, #1136 overall, 6’1’’/190: The Orioles had to fill out their rosters somewhere. Dowdy was a senior reliever who signed quickly and is off to a sizzling start with Bluefield, having allowed a single run in 13.2 innings of relief. DOB: 1/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Kevin Alexander, RHP, Taravella HS (FL), #1166 overall, 6’0’’/160: Alexander’s got a body much like Firth’s, though Alexander probably needs a lot more work on his strength than Firth. As a result, Alexander wasn’t high on many follow lists in the heavily-scouted state of Florida, and I thought he might not get drafted at all. He’ll have some major work to do in college. DOB: 5/4/91. Commitment: Florida Atlantic.

40. Bobby Shore, RHP, Palomar JC (CA), #1196 overall, 6’0’’/175: Having already drafted an outfielder from Palomar, the Orioles decided Shore might be another nice addition, though he’s equally likely to sign. Shore doesn’t have much of a body, but he did garner a big college commitment, which probably dropped him somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty rounds. He’ll be back on boards next year as a junior. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/27/89. Commitment: Oklahoma.

41. Mason Magleby, RHP, Del Oro HS (CA), #1226 overall, 6’1’’/190: Magleby’s also a football prospect, and that’s where his future lies in college. He’s got average size for a pitcher, though he’s not really projectable. He will likely not sign. DOB: 4/29/91. Commitment: Nevada (FB).

42. Joe Valleggia, C, Old Dominion, #1256 overall, 6’6’’/235: Valleggia has great size, but little results. He played on a limited basis this past year, and is still 9 days shy of his 21st birthday. He will probably head back to school for his senior year. DOB: 7/23/88.

43. Brad Decater, OF, Cuesta JC (CA), #1286 overall, 6’1’’/190: I had Decater on my lists as a shortstop, so I’m a little perplexed as to what outfield position the Orioles thought he would play. However, I also thought he’d be a late-round follow, and I don’t even know his commitment for next year. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 12/28/88. Commitment: Unknown.

44. Kyle Westwood, RHP, Palm Harbor University HS (FL), #1316 overall, 6’2’’/170: Westwood has solid size for a projectable starting pitching prospect, but he wasn’t very highly touted as a prep. I don’t even know what his commitment is, and I thought he’d be drafted in this area if at all. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 4/13/91. Commitment: Unknown.

45. David Rivera, OF, Francisco Oller HS (PR), #1346 overall, 6’0’’/190: I’ve got nothing that isn’t already known about Rivera (which isn’t much). He signed quickly and is off to a .255/.304/.333 start in 51 ABs with the GCL Orioles. DOB: 3/20/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

46. Scott Swinson, RHP, Maryland, #1376 overall, 6’1’’/185: By the end of the year, I thought Swinson had made himself into his team’s best 2009 draft prospect, ousting teammate A.J. Casario from that spot. However, Swinson fell this far probably due to a desire to return for his senior year and the poor results he generally got. He’s got average stuff with above-average command, so he might be a nice senior sign in the 2010 draft. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 3/11/88.

47. Nolan Martz, RHP, McKendree (IL), #1406 overall, 6’5’’/230: I didn’t follow Martz at all, so all I can say is that his frame screams big middle reliever. He probably won’t sign and will show up on draft boards again as a senior next year. DOB: 2/24/88.

48. Ryan Burnaman, 3B, San Jacinto JC (TX), #1436 overall, 5’11’’/165: Ignoring anyone on San Jacinto is a bad idea, even the small-framed infielder. A shortstop with San Jacinto, this JUCO freshman was picked as a corner infielder, though he’ll likely end back up at school. If he can prove he can hit, Burnaman might be as many as thirty rounds higher next year. DOB: 3/6/90. Commitment: None.

49. Ashley Bulluck, RHP, South Broward HS (FL), #1466 overall, 6’9’’/270: I don’t think the size is a typo, but the last listings I saw on Bulluck had him at 6’4’’, which was still good enough for me to make a note of him. There’s a point where size works against a pitcher, and this is probably it. Bulluck will probably always garner scouting attention for his size, so remember the name. He won’t be signing this year. DOB: 5/13/91. Commitment: Broward CC (FL).

50. Tim Berry, LHP, San Marcos HS (CA), #1496 overall, 6’2’’/165: Berry’s got a weak frame, and he’s likely to benefit from three years of college. To call him projectable might be an understatement, as he’s got tons of room to grow. I thought he might go in the top fifteen rounds to someone who liked that projectability, but he fell here due to his college commitment and questions about his durability. He won’t sign. DOB: 3/18/91. Commitment: Oregon.

I’m immediately struck by how much risk is in this draft. While Tyler Townsend offers at least some security, most of the rest of this draft is filled with riskier players. Hobgood is one of your more secure prep pitchers, but as with any prep pitcher, or any pitcher at age 18 for that matter, there’s a huge amount of risk. Perhaps Hobgood’s strong size will help him get through the injury nexus, but I wouldn’t bet $2.4 million on it. Looking beyond Hobgood, Givens is a very risky pick as a position player, and it will probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K to sign him, maybe more. I don’t like Givens’ chances to both reach his potential with the bat and glove, so at least one will be iffy. The pure talent is definitely there, and while I like pure talent in evaluating, the risk of entire draft class has to be taken into account, too.

Starting with the second day, I see more risk in there. Henry threw just 11 innings this year, as I noted above, and he was also a reliever. I’m pretty sure they drafted him as a starter, but JUCO freshmen take time to develop, and they’re also close to being as risky as prep pitchers. The one consolation I find in that selection from a risk standpoint is that his coach did a nice job of shielding him from a heavy workload. Tolliver is a nice pick, but I do see him as a reliever, which takes away some of the risk, but he’s also only a year into being any good, and there might be some regression in there. Same with Dalles. Wirsch has a long way to go, as does Devin Harris, who could pay huge dividends, but could also be an expensive bust. Berry and Cowan are a pair of pitchers coming off arm injuries during the season, so there’s that risk, too. In addition, with Mike Ohlman, the Orioles need to believe that he’ll stick at catcher with his huge frame. Otherwise it’s a waste of a large amount of money on someone that might not hit enough to be a starter at any other position, though I personally believe in his bat.

From there, the Orioles went into what almost seemed to be risk-averse mode, overdrafting Bumbry, Kelly, and Baker, though the selection of Garrett Bush in the 15th round could be a huge steal if they can sign him. I do like Kelly more than most, but I’m not predicting stardom for him. I really like the selections of Walters, Brandhorst, and Landry, as they could all be Major League relievers. Walters might not sign, but already having Brandhorst and Landry locked up could be a coup, but not enough of one to really raise my grade of their draft as a whole. I’ll be re-examining every team’s draft after the signing deadline and end of the minor league season, so there’s a lot that could change between now and then. However, looking at the here and now, I have to give this draft a B-, as the risk is just too high. Getting good players late, and also getting bargains early in terms of draft position, was offset by a few overdrafts and the heavy risk involved with their picks. This draft may put out a Major Leaguer or two, but I don’t see most of these high-risk players making it past AA.

FINAL GRADE: B-.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 6 Comments

Draft Review – Pittsburgh Pirates

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College, #4 overall, 6’0’’/215: I, like many observers, absolutely loathed this pick when it occurred. This smelled like old Pirates’ ball, the kind where Moskos is better than Wieters. Sanchez is a good player, and easily the best college catcher in the 2009 class, but he’s not top ten good. However, he was affordable for slot, and the Pirates value that. He signed almost immediately, and after a quick 4-for-13 stint with State College in the NYPL, Sanchez is now 13-for-30 (.433) with West Virginia in the single-A Sally League. DOB: 5/20/88. Signing bonus: $2.5 million.

1s. Victor Black, RHP, Dallas Baptist, #49 overall, 6’4’’/205: Though I wasn’t a fan of the Sanchez pick, I immediately liked this one. Black greatly improved from 2008 to 2009 due to hard work on his mechanics, thus improving his command. He’s got great natural stuff, with a hard fastball that lacks movement, but also paired with an effective slider. He’s got a bit longer to go than most college junior pitchers, but he’s got the natural stuff of a potential #3 starter. Good pick for talent, about average for draft value, and he signed quickly. He’s thrown 6 good innings for State College. DOB: 5/23/88. Signing bonus: $717,000.

2. Brooks Pounders, RHP, Temecula Valley HS (CA), #53 overall, 6’4’’/225: Pounders has a big body, but he’s not going to be throwing every pitch past batters. Rather, Pounders comes with an advanced repertoire for a prep, including a changeup that is already considered something close to average. His command is solid, and there’s a chance he can move fairly fast. I expected Pounders to last to the next round or so, and this isn’t really a projectability pick, so I’m a tad down on it, but Pounders could easily work his way up to becoming a solid #3 or 4 workhorse in the rotation. He signed fairly quickly, but was lit up for a couple of runs in just two-thirds of an inning in his GCL debut. He followed that up nicely with 3 perfect innings five days later. DOB: 9/26/90. Signing bonus: $670,000.

3. Evan Chambers, OF, Hillsborough CC (FL), #84 overall, 5’11’’/210: I’m not a big fan of this pick at all. Chambers has some thunder in his bat, but I don’t think his recognition skills are good enough to warrant this high of a selection. I expected him to go somewhere early in the second day, probably in the neighborhood of the 5th round, so this was also a bit of an overdraft. He’s got enough skills to be an average center fielder, but the whole package is generally some plus tools with some average ones with some minus skills. He’ll need time, and I’m not sure he was worth the risk of such an expensive investment. He signed fairly quickly and is off to a 7-for-36 (.194) start with State College. DOB: 3/24/89. Signing bonus: $423,900.

4. Zack Dodson, LHP, Medina Valley HS (TX), #115 overall, 6’2’’/190: Dodson’s also a very risky pick. I’ve heard multiple reports that his mechanics are Purke-like, though his command in games was much worse than Matt Purke’s. My initial reaction is that he might need a remake of his mechanics altogether. However, even with the shaky mechanics, Dodson is able to unleash an average fastball for a lefty, combined with a nice slow curve. BA has speculated that he has a seven-figure asking price, so this is a bad pick for signability. The talent is there, however, and this is about where I thought he might go, possibly landing a round later. He still has not signed, and this one will probably go down to the wire. DOB: 7/23/90. Commitment: Baylor.

5. Nate Baker, LHP, Ole Miss, #145 overall, 6’3’’/193: Another surprising pick, as Baker was a spot starter and reliever this year with the Rebels. He doesn’t really have a long track record of success, either. However, he did end up being the most effective pitcher on the Rebels’ staff, and he’s got solid stuff. I still think he’s probably a LOOGY, or a 7th inning type of guy, but there’s a good chance the Pirates see him as a starter, as he has a nice three pitch mix. His ceiling is probably as a #4/5 starter in his prime. Don’t like this pick much for draft position or talent, though I would think he’s signable. However, he hasn’t signed yet, so it’s something to watch. Neal Huntington said they were close to a deal 11 days ago. DOB: 12/27/87.

6. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP, Zachary HS (LA), #175 overall, 6’5’’/205: I was very surprised when Von Rosenberg lasted this long, as he’s a personal favorite of mine. A pitchability righty, Von Rosenberg doesn’t have a flaming fastball, but his command of his arsenal is some of the best I’ve seen from a prep in recent memory. His frame is projectable, so there might even be something to add in the velocity department if that’s your thing. But I’ll stick with this kid, because he can locate his pitches and can learn how to throw Major League pitch sequences as a result. He hasn’t signed yet, and I doubt he will until the deadline, as I expect his bonus might be in the $800K-$1MM range. He’ll be worth it. DOB: 9/24/90. Commitment: LSU.

7. Trent Stevenson, RHP, Brophy Prep HS (AZ), #205 overall, 6’6’’/175: I’d say Stevenson is pretty close to being the opposite of Von Rosenberg. As a tall, skinny prep thrower, Stevenson lacks the polish of a top prospect, even for a prep. He’s got the body and pure arm of a first-rounder, but his lack of command and consistency really keeps him from making anything of his natural talents, at least so far. If the Pirates sign him, which is by no means guaranteed, they’ll have a major project on their hands, as Stevenson will probably need the full step-by-step process to reach the bigs. He’s got monster potential, probably in the #2 range, but is years away from seeing it. Good pick for talent and draft position, but he’s going to be expensive. DOB: 6/1/90. Commitment: Arizona.

8. Colton Cain, LHP, Waxahachie HS (TX), #235 overall, 6’3’’/225: The Pirates finished a run of three top prep arms with the one who might be best of all in Cain. Here’s a lefty who can sit in the low-90s, and he also has a decent curve on top of that. Already a big kid, Cain is capable of playing first base, as well, which is something he did on the showcases last summer. He’s got some minor makeup issues, usually in the cocky category, but the talent is undeniable. Great pick for talent and draft position, but it might take seven figures to keep Cain from Austin. I’m guessing that one of the three pitchers here won’t sign, as this is an expensive run. DOB: 2/5/91. Commitment: Texas.

9. Brock Holt, 2B, Rice, #265 overall, 5’10’’/170: I thought Holt might climb a few rounds higher as a scrappy, heady player from a solid program. However, Holt does lack the overall tools to be an impact player, and I see him as an eventual utility man with plus defensive skills at second, average ones at short, and the ability to handle third in a pinch. His bat has some pop, but I wouldn’t classify it as average in the power department. He probably won’t hit enough to hold down a regular job. He signed quickly and is off to a rough .208/.291/.325 start with State College in 77 ABs. DOB: 6/11/88. Signing bonus: $125,000.

10. Joey Schoenfeld, C, Santiago HS (CA), #295 overall, 6’2’’/187: This was a large overdraft, as Schoenfeld is one of the more raw players with talent in this draft class. Classifying him as a catcher is a bit iffy right now, as he has the tools, but has bad mechanics and will need a lot of work. There’s been speculation he’ll need to move somewhere else and soon. Same for the bat, as he’s just up to shape yet. The Pirates surprised me by calling his name this high, and while the talent might be decent, it’s definitely not a strong by draft position. He hasn’t signed yet, either, and I wonder if he will at all. A bit puzzling here. He’s simply an athlete, not yet a baseball player. DOB: 6/11/91. Commitment: San Diego State.

11. Aaron Baker, 1B, Oklahoma, #325 overall, 6’2’’/220: I liked this pick to an extent, as Baker has the natural talent to be a starting first baseman, but has more holes in his game than your normal college pick. He’s got huge power, and I like his patience as well, but he strikes out way too much as a result of big holes in his swing that will get exposed at higher levels. However, this pick is quite good for talent, and this is about where I thought he’d go. He signed quickly, and he’s at .244/.370/.333 through 45 ABs with State College. DOB: 9/10/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Jeff Inman, RHP, Stanford, #355 overall, 6’3’’/205: Inman was in the running for a top three rounds pick entering the spring. However, huge bouts of ineffectiveness and loss of command meant that he fell down the boards. He’s got the natural talent to be an impact pitcher, but with questions of health and stuff coming in, this was a natural decline in draft stock. I still expected him to go in the 7-10 round range, with someone offering him 3rd round money to sign away from his senior year at Stanford, but it’s looking to me like he’ll return. This is a decent gamble in the 12th round for the Pirates, but I only see him signing if multiple pitchers in the 6-8 round picks fail to sign, opening up enough money for him. DOB: 11/24/87.

13. Walker Gourley, SS, Eastern Wayne HS (NC), #385 overall, 6’0’’/180: I expected Gourley to go somewhere in this range as a solid prep infielder with medium upside. He’s not loaded with tools outside of his arm, but he has enough talent to become a possible utility infielder, though his range up the middle will be limited. He also has a chance to hit for a decent average, but with little power. He signed not long ago, but is off to a poor 1-for-16 start in the GCL. DOB: 6/28/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. Marcos Reyna, RHP, Bakersfield JC (CA), #415 overall, 6’2’’/185: This was a very surprising pick to me, as Reyna, a JUCO freshman, was never even on my radar. A 14th-round pick is usually spent on someone a team thinks can be a possible Major Leaguer. He’s got a solid pro body with some decent stuff, but this was a reach. He hasn’t signed, and I wonder if his extra leverage in being a JUCO freshman comes into play. DOB: 11/4/89. Commitment: None.

15. Peter Bako, C, Connors State JC (OK), #445 overall, 6’1’’/180: Another JUCO freshman, Bako’s got a different pedigree than Reyna, having come to Connors from Ontario. I expected Bako’s name to pop up somewhere around this point, as he’s got the raw tools to be a decent catching prospect. However, as with Reyna, he has extra leverage, and he hasn’t signed. I put the odds of him signing at 20/80, with the 80 being him going back to school. DOB: 9/14/89. Commitment: None.

16. Matt den Dekker, OF, Florida, #475 overall, 6’1’’/205: This marks the transition to the unsignable and organizational player wave for the Pirates. den Dekker was a first day prospect entering the spring, but his disappointing performance led to big questions about his future hitting ability, as some now see him as a reserve outfielder. He’s got solid fielding skills for center, and he should hit in time, but it’s now likely he’ll return to school for his senior year, where he could hit himself into the first day. He hasn’t signed, and I don’t expect him to. DOB: 8/10/87.

17. Jordan Cooper, RHP, Central HS (TN), #505 overall, 6’2’’/195: Cooper’s got the natural talent of a first day prospect, but the refinement of a 15th-rounder. He throws the ball with great velocity, but his command of his arsenal, and the lack of quality secondary pitches, pushed him down boards. However, he should have gone significantly higher than this on ceiling alone, but fell due to signability concerns. He probably won’t sign, and he’ll be eligible for the draft again after his sophomore season at Kentucky in 2011. DOB: 2/16/90. Commitment: Kentucky.

18. Ryan Beckman, RHP, Grayson County CC (TX), #535 overall, 6’4’’/185: This is an intriguing pick for me, as I knew of Beckman, but not enough to think he’d be picked even in the second day. He’s definitely got a pro body, and it seems to be projectable, but he just seemed so raw to me that I thought teams would surely let him return for his sophomore season at Grayson. Surprisingly, he rather quickly signed with the Pirates, and he threw 4 decent innings in his GCL debut on July 10. DOB: 1/2/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

19. Josh Urban, RHP, Dripping Springs HS (TX), #565 overall, 6’4’’/215: Urban’s another pick that has much more raw talent than his draft position shows. Blessed with a natural pro body, Urban’s main flaws lie in his mechanics, and he gets many of the same criticisms that fellow Texan Matt Purke gets about his delivery. However, Urban’s mechanics don’t allow for the velocity of Purke, making his stock even worse. This is a great pick on talent and draft position, but he also won’t sign. DOB: 3/1/91. Commitment: Texas.

20. Sam Spangler, LHP, Hawaii, #595 overall, 6’2’’/195: Spangler’s an interesting story, as he was an absolute nobody entering college. Originally from New Mexico, Spangler worked himself into being a pro prospect as a draft-eligible sophomore, and he has the talent to be a swing man. In other words, he can be more than just a LOOGY. However, his extra leverage puts his signability in doubt, and even though he should have gone 5-10 rounds earlier, he fell here and hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 9/24/87.

21. Phillip Irwin, RHP, Ole Miss, #625 overall, 6’3’’/220: Having already drafted one Rebel, the Pirates went back to Oxford for a second Ole Miss pitcher. Irwin’s got a durable pro body, but lacks any real pro stuff, and he projects as a middle reliever to me. He signed quickly, and he’s thrown 7 quality shutout innings in his debut with State College. DOB: 2/25/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Carmine Giardina, LHP, Tampa, #655 overall, 6’3’’/218: Giardina was a 28th-rounder of the Red Sox in 2006, but he passed up pro ball to head to school at Central Florida, where he transferred out of in favor of Tampa this year. He’s also blessed with a natural pro body, and he’s usually the most obvious pro candidate on any field he’s played on. However, he hasn’t signed quickly, and even though I thought he’d go around this in terms of draft stock, there’s a good chance he heads back to school. DOB: 2/20/88.

23. Jose Hernandez, LF, UT-San Antonio, #685 overall, 5’11’’/190: Pure organizational filler here. Hernandez never secured a solid starting spot at Long Beach State, so he transferred for UTSA for his junior year. I didn’t expect him to go this high, but he signed quickly. Already 23 years old, he’s 5-for-19 so far with State College. DOB: 3/19/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Jason Erickson, RHP, Washington, #715 overall, 6’1’’/195: Erickson was picked in the 44th round out of high school in 2005, and was drafted 20 rounds earlier as a senior in college. I thought he could go as many as 10 rounds higher, but more due to command than stuff. He signed quickly and has a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings with State College. DOB: 2/3/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Aaron LaFountaine, OF, North HS (CA), #745 overall, 6’0’’/150: Not on my radar screen at all. It was hard enough finding a college commitment for him. Judging from the numbers and body size, he needs some college experience. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 6/29/91. Commitment: Riverside CC (CA).

26. Matt Dermody, LHP, Norwalk HS (IA), #775 overall, 6’5’’/185: Dermody is another tall, projectable kid drafted by the Pirates, and it looks like Dermody isn’t signable, too. He was the best prep lefty in Iowa, and he battled Matt Koch in my mind for best prep pitcher period in that state. I expect he goes to school and reemerges in two years, as he’ll be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2011. He has not signed. DOB: 7/4/90. Commitment: Iowa.

27. Wes Luquette, C, Newman HS (LA), #805 overall, 6’0’’/200: Call it the curse of Luke Bailey. Luquette also went down late in the season, only to have Tommy John surgery pretty much ruin his draft stock. I had Luquette ranked in my top five defensive catchers before the surgery, and his bat was solid, but nothing spectacular. He reminds me a lot of Taylor Teagarden, maybe with a tad less power. I bet he goes to school, as his pure talent would have had him in the top ten rounds. DOB: 5/28/90. Commitment: LSU.

28. Kyle Hooper, RHP, Saugus HS (CA), #835 overall, 6’4’’/195: I applaud the Pirates for thinking long-term in terms of drafting pitcher after pitcher with projectability. The only problem is the signability factor. Hooper should have gone in the top twelve to fifteen rounds, as he’s got nice size, but lacks polish. He’ll likely end up at school, as it will probably take good money to sign him away. DOB: 5/28/91. Commitment: UC Irvine.

29. Michael Heller, RHP, Cardinal Mooney HS (FL), #865 overall, 6’1’’/188: I initially tracked Heller as a middle infielder, but it became apparent that his potent tool was his arm strength, which played much better as a pitcher. In many ways, he’s similar to Keyvius Sampson there, as he might only have one average or better pitch, probably limiting him to relief. Combined with his signability, it made him fall all the way to this spot, and he probably won’t sign. DOB: 4/25/91. Commitment: Florida.

30. Ty Summerlin, SS, Southeastern Louisiana, #895 overall, 5’10’’/170: A college senior, Summerlin was a roster-filler pick. He signed quickly, and he’s hitting .293/.333/.345 in 58 ABs. DOB: 10/6/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Zach Taylor, OF, Statesboro HS (GA), #925 overall, 6’3’’/210: Taylor’s a big kid, but is quite raw in most facets of his game. As a result, he fell this far, probably ten rounds more than I thought he would, and he’ll likely end up at school. Remember this name for a possible Jared Mitchell-like ascendance three years from now. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 5/3/91. Commitment: Georgia.

32. Niko Spezial, LHP, Don Bosco Prep HS (NJ), #955 overall, 6’3’’/230: Spezial was probably the best prep lefthander in New Jersey this year, but fell this far due to signability concerns and concerns over his secondary stuff. As evidenced by his size numbers, he’s a big kid, and he might blossom like follow New Jersey prep Anthony Ranaudo has at LSU. He will likely not sign. DOB: 11/1/90. Commitment: Wake Forest.

33. Pat Irvine, OF, Elon, #985 overall, 5’11’’/190: Irvine’s another guy I wasn’t really tracking this year. He’s a roster filler that really struggled at times before this year. He signed quickly and is off to a .220/.300/.373 start with State College. DOB: 1/27/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

34. Zach Fuesser, LHP, Walters State CC (TN), #1015 overall, 6’2’’/190: Fuesser was a 19th-rounder of the Braves a year ago out of high school and didn’t sign, so it’s doubtful he’ll sign this year. A JUCO freshman, Fuesser’s also got the leverage of having another year of JUCO ball. He’s got good size, but needs to work on his consistency. I doubt he signs. DOB: 7/17/90. Commitment: None.

35. Chris McKenzie, RHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #1045 overall, 6’3’’/185: Another JUCO freshman, McKenzie will also probably pass over the Pirates’ offer in favor of another year at the JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto. I expected him to go late like this, as he’s got talent, but needs work and isn’t worthy of a large investment quite yet. He could emerge higher next year, as he probably will not sign. DOB: 12/6/89. Commitment: None.

36. Bobby Doran, RHP, Seward County CC (KS), #1075 overall, 6’6’’/225: You generally can’t beat Bobby Doran in terms of size, but I haven’t been able to pull together much other information about him. He worked a lot for Seward this year, and I think he wants to pitch in the Big 12. I doubt he signs. DOB: 3/21/89. Commitment: Texas Tech.

37. Zach Nuding, RHP, Weatherford JC (TX), #1105 overall, 6’4’’/250: Back to JUCO freshmen, Nuding is one from Weatherford. He’s got a big, durable body, and he pitched in relief this past year. It seems he’s got a durable starter’s body in the long-run, but I doubt he signs with Pittsburgh and returns to Weatherford for his sophomore campaign. DOB: 3/29/90. Commitment: None.

38. Jake Lamb, 3B, Bishop Blancet HS (WA), #1135 overall, 6’3’’/195: Lamb’s another kid with a pro body, but is also a kid in need of some polish before entering the pro game. He’s got plenty of talent, but if he wants to be drafted as a third baseman again, he needs to get the bat going. He’s almost certain to end up at college. DOB: 10/9/90. Commitment: Washington.

39. Keifer Nuncio, RHP, Katy HS (TX), #1165 overall, 6’0’’/195: I thought Nuncio would go in the top 12 rounds, but he fell due to signability concerns. His body isn’t exactly your typical pro body, and there’s thought that he might not be able to handle a starter’s workload. However, he’ll probably step right in for his college staff as a reliever, working his way into more mound time. He’s got solid stuff. He probably will not sign. DOB: 1/23/91. Commitment: Texas.

40. Brett Lee, LHP, West Florida HS (FL), #1195 overall, 6’4’’/185: Another tall, tall kid, Lee is a pure projectability pick. A southpaw, Lee doesn’t have a lot in terms of current stuff, but he offers a lot of projectability for a club wanting high-end arms. Lee should have gone in the top 15 rounds or so, and he’ll likely end up at college. He has not signed. DOB: 9/20/90. Commitment: Florida State.

41. Tyler Cannon, SS, Virginia, #1225 overall, 6’0’’/205: When picking kids out of historically-strong academic schools, there’s always a risk that they won’t want to sign after their junior year. That’s what prompted Cannon to fall so far, as he had a chance to go in the top ten rounds when taking signability out of the equation. He improved a lot from year-to-year, but doubts linger about his bat. He’s not likely to sign. DOB: 8/30/87.

42. Marc Baca, RHP, UNLV, #1255 overall, 5’11’’/170: Senior sign on the cheap. Signed quickly and has only allowed a single earned run in 9.1 innings of relief with State College. DOB: 10/11/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

43. Teddy Fallon, RHP, South Carolina-Upstate, #1285 overall, 6’2’’/191: 22 year old college junior with nothing left to prove in college. Signed quickly and has allowed 3 earned runs in 4 innings of relief with State College. DOB: 10/29/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

44. Dexter Bobo, Georgia Southern, #1315 overall, 5’11’’/190: Bobo’s got some decent pure stuff, but doesn’t get the results. He’s a smallish pitcher with a middle reliever ceiling, but it’s likely he returns to school for his senior year. He hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 11/10/87.

45. Kevin Gelinas, LHP, Central Arizona JC, #1345 overall, 6’5’’/230: I thought Gelinas would go much higher, possibly even sneaking into the top ten rounds. However, it seems his commitment for college is much stronger than I thought. He needs to work on his command, but he’s got scary potential. I doubt he signs, as he hasn’t yet. DOB: 5/31/89. Commitment: UC Santa Barbara.

46. Parker Bangs, RHP, South Carolina, #1375 overall, 6’4’’/213: Bangs was a sophomore-eligible with a big body, but not much results. He’ll likely return to school for his junior year, and he should go much higher. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 12/22/87.

47. Justin Earls, LHP, Georgia, #1405 overall, 6’2’’/190: Earls was a junior lefty with Georgia, and he’s got enough stuff to possibly be a LOOGY in the distant future. However, for now he’ll be returning to Athens for his senior year. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 12/4/87.

48. Blake Brown, OF, Normal West HS (IL), #1435 overall, 6’0’’/185: I thought Brown could go in the top fifteen rounds as a solid prep outfield pick. However, he’s committed strongly to Missouri, and coming from a cold climate, that was enough to convince scouts that they should let him go. He could improve his draft stock greatly with three years of college. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 6/30/91. Commitment: Missouri.

49. Yasser Clor, RHP, California, #1465 overall, 6’4’’/195: Clor was picked in the 15th round out of high school by the White Sox in 2006, but hasn’t gained much notoriety since. He’ll likely return to school for his senior year, as he hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/16/88.

50. Matt Taylor, LHP, Columbus HS (GA), #1495 overall, 6’1’’/160: Taylor fits the mold of this draft, as he’s a projectable pitcher with room to grow. I like his big, slow curveball, and he could end up contributing quickly in school. Since he fell about 40 rounds farther than I thought he would, he won’t sign. DOB: 4/1/91. Commitment: Alabama.

I’m very interested in how this draft looks on August 18, after all the signings have become known. There’s quite a few guys with big signability questions mixed in, and if they can ink them, this draft looks quite impressive. As I’ve made known quite a few times, I don’t like passing on more talented players at the top in favor of signability, so the Tony Sanchez pick doesn’t sit too well in my eyes. Even though first-rounders are no sure things, they generally put out much more value in the Major Leagues than any other slot, so teams need to concentrate heavily on getting the best player available there. Sanchez was a borderline first round pick, and most studies have shown that top fifteen players can be much more valuable in terms of Major League output than the second half of the first round. Since the Pirates conceivably picked a guy that’s a second half of the first round talent, there’s a line of thought that they essentially traded away Major League output for money, at least in terms of pure statistical chance. So I don’t like it. I thought this team had changed their ways after last year’s Pedro Alvarez pick, but apparently not.

The one shining light I found in their model was the idea that they were saving that Sanchez money not for Miguel Angel Sano, but for the rest of their picks. They did a good job of signing their top picks quickly, as Victor Black and Brooks Pounders gave them two solid starting prospects, and Evan Chambers gave them a high-risk, high-reward option in the outfield. Sanchez is likely their future starting catcher, too. Their other signed top-ten rounder, Brock Holt, probably has a future as at least a Major League utility man, though his price tag of $125K is a little much that far down. Since the Pirates already have a draft of Sanchez, Black, Pounders, Chambers, and Holt locked down, their chances of sliding up in quality at the signing deadline are high. Dodson, Von Rosenberg, Stevenson, and Cain all offer quality prep arms, and my guess is that they ink three of the four. Nate Baker should be signed before the deadline, as I don’t see him going any higher if he were to re-enter next year. The 5th round is his ultimate ceiling.

Beyond those top ten guys, there’s an interesting mix of what are largely unsignable players. Depending on the amount the Pirates spend on the prep mix listed above, there’s a chance one or two of the guys I listed as virtually unsignable will in fact be signed. Jeff Inman is probably their first option past those guys, and they’ll probably make an independent run at him with a set budget amount in mind. Inking a Matt den Dekker also would make this draft interesting, as adding a few position players might help it. However, looking at this draft as a whole, it’s quite successful, but I have to mark it down a little, as they didn’t get a marquee player, even while holding the fourth pick. As a result, I grade them about even with the Nationals, but better than Seattle or San Diego.

FINAL GRADE: B.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 3 Comments

Draft Review – San Diego Padres

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the San Diego Padres’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS (GA), #3 overall, 6’2’’/184: I have to admit I wasn’t high on Tate for most of the draft season, so him going this high was a little annoying to me. I don’t really believe in his bat, and combined with the signability issues connected to a prep who has a UNC commitment and also will play football, I just didn’t see an attractive draft prospect. However, he does have top ten talent overall, and the Padres were heavily connected to him coming into the draft, making this pick lack surprise. He hasn’t signed yet, and I don’t see him signing until the deadline. DOB: 9/27/90. Commitment: North Carolina.

2. Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS (TX), #52 overall, 5’10’’/200: The Padres got a steal when Williams fell this far. He had been rumored as a possible first-round pick in the early 20s up to the week of the draft, but fell due to a few small questions. He doesn’t have a big arm, limiting him to center field or left, and he doesn’t have the plus speed of a typical center fielder. But he does have a bat, and that bat packs plenty of punch. Great pick if they can sign him, which I think is a pretty sure bet. DOB: 10/1/90. Commitment: Texas.

3. Jerry Sullivan, RHP, Oral Roberts, #83 overall, 6’4’’/220: While some sources say Sullivan can be a power pitcher, I’ve yet to see a full recovery in terms of velocity from his days as a touted high school junior before Tommy John surgery. However, I like his command, and the fact that he has a quality slider/changeup combo really raises his grade in my eyes. I thought he might last a round longer, but this isn’t really an overdraft, as he’s got the talent. His workload at ORU was a bit much, so that’s something to keep an eye on. He signed on June 24 and has thrown three mediocre relief appearances with Eugene in the Northwest League. DOB: 1/18/88. Signing bonus: $430,200.

4. Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Forest HS (FL), #114 overall, 6’0’’/185: Sampson was very high on draft boards entering the spring, and he had a great senior season. However, there were lingering questions that popped up late on his frame and durability, as some scouts wondered if he’d be able to handle a starter’s workload. As a result, it seems some teams saw Sampson as a future reliever, really bringing down his draft value. However, the Padres still got a steal here, as Sampson should have gone in the area of the second round. If they sign him, which they haven’t, this is a big coup. DOB: 1/6/91. Commitment: Florida State.

5. Jason Hagerty, C, Miami, #144 overall, 6’3’’/220: I was surprised Hagerty went this high, as he only really had a solid starting spot with good production for a single year at Miami. Add in the fact that he hasn’t caught full-time since his freshman year, and you should have a guy that has less helium than Hagerty ended up having. However, the Padres seem to believe in Hagerty’s plus raw power, and they also seem to believe that he’ll bloom with full-time experience at catcher. Hagerty most recently held down the first base spot for the Hurricanes. Not high on this pick, as Hagerty has to stay behind the plate to warrant this high draft slot. He signed on June 24, and he’s 10-for-36 (.278) so far with Eugene. DOB: 9/13/87. Signing bonus: $177,300.

6. James Needy, RHP, Santana HS (CA), #174 overall, 6’6’’/195: This was another questionable pick, as I never saw Needy mentioned in the top 200 prospects anywhere before the draft. However, for a team looking to add projectable arms with some good current velocity, Needy is an ideal pick. My main concern is his mechanics, which were reportedly a bit crazy, and he had elbow surgery in December 2008 for some minor cleanup, though that could have been as a result of his football throwing as a quarterback, as well. The good news is that he already throws a full complement of offspeed stuff, meaning he should be ahead of the curve and able to fully concentrate on cleaning up his mechanics. Decent pick, but Needy still has not signed. DOB: 3/30/91. Commitment: San Diego.

7. Miles Mikolas, RHP, Nova Southeastern (FL), #204 overall, 6’5’’/220: Mikolas has the definition of a pro body, but I had basically written him off as a top ten round candidate following a late-season suspension due to what was reportedly a substance-abuse violation. That’s a bit scary, especially considering the amount of money a 7th-rounder can get, but the Padres still loved the plus pitchability and solid velocity. I don’t like this pick for the risk it takes on, but the talent is there. Keep an eye on Mikolas, as he could break out or flame out. He signed on June 24, but he’s been hit around hard with Eugene so far. DOB: 8/23/88. Signing bonus: $125,000.

8. Nate Freiman, 1B, Duke, #234 overall, 6’8’’/220: A 28th-rounder of the Rangers a year ago, Freiman returned to Duke due to his desire to get a degree. He has enormous raw power, as evidenced by his monster numbers with the Blue Devils, and his size is intriguing by most standards. I’ve seen a couple reports that question his bat speed, though, and that’s why he fell this far. This is around where I expected him to go, as Freiman has a bit of upside, but is already old for his level and is limited to first base. He signed on June 14 and is hitting .293/.338/.480 through 75 ABs with Eugene. The lack of walks is a bit concerning. DOB: 12/31/86. Signing bonus: $40,000.

9. Chris Fetter, RHP, Michigan, #264 overall, 6’8’’/230: Fifth-year seniors rarely intrigue me, especially ones that have never been drafted before. Such is the case with Fetter. However, he’s got what can be average stuff and a pro body, so this is a bit better than your normal fifth-year senior draft. I think Fetter has a nice chance of eventually becoming a middle reliever, which is a contrast to his starting role at Michigan, where he was essentially the staff ace. If he can pitch to his height advantage, the Padres might be on to something here. He also signed on June 14, and he’s had four solid starts with Eugene. DOB: 12/23/85. Signing bonus: $25,000.

10. Ryan Hinson, LHP, Clemson, #294 overall, 6’3’’/225: I’m quite underwhelmed by this pick, as Hinson wasn’t on my radar screen for anything but a mid-teens or later pick. A 31st-round pick of the Pirates a year ago as a junior, Hinson continued his role as a reliever and spot-starter for the Tigers as a senior, posting decent numbers. He’s got good size, but he also has LOOGY written all over him at best. He signed very quickly and has been beaten around with Eugene in four relief appearances. DOB: 5/12/87. Signing bonus: $15,000.

11. Drew Madrigal, RHP, Mount San Jacinto JC (CA), #324 overall, 6’2’’/200: I’ve been very high on Madrigal for most of the spring, and the only thing that kept me from anointing him higher in my shadow draft was his high workload as a JUCO sophomore. This is about where I expected him to go overall, though, as his prospects may only be as a reliever in the pros, where he can take advantage of his average fastball and above-average curve. He hasn’t signed yet, and I wonder if his college commitment is stronger than first thought. DOB: 1/16/89. Commitment: Auburn.

12. Brayden Drake, 3B, Missouri State, #354 overall, 5’11’’/195: Drake was a senior third baseman for Missouri State that I thought would land close to round twenty than round ten. However, it seems the Padres believed in Drake’s bat much more than I did. He might hit for some average eventually, but the power isn’t really there, and his glove is very error-prone. He’s got decent control of the strike zone, though, and that makes him an ideal senior sign. I started to wonder if this was the Padres’ cutoff for the organizational player line, but I decided against it. He signed quickly, but is off to a nasty 2-for-32 start with Eugene. He’s only struck out three times, so it could easily be an unlucky streak. DOB: 4/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Matt Vern, 1B, TCU, #384 overall, 6’3’’/215: Another senior that went undrafted up to this point, Vern showed more natural power than Drake, but also had more problems all-around. Even as a senior, Vern continued to strike out at an alarming rate, and his control of the strike zone is still fairly limited. I didn’t expect his name to get called until well into the 20s, so this was a surprise, and I’m not high on this pick at all. He signed quickly, but is hitting just .236/.333/.364 with Eugene. DOB: 11/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. Nick Greenwood, LHP, Rhode Island, #414 overall, 6’1’’/177: Greenwood’s not a guy that overly impressed me this year, but at least he’s a college junior with a track record of success with average stuff, but above-average command and deception. While I still think he’s a LOOGY in the long run, he’s got enough stuff to be a minor league starter for awhile. This was about where I thought he’d go. He signed quickly and has dominated the Northwest League in 3 starts, allowing only a single run in 13.2 innings. DOB: 9/28/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Matt Lollis, RHP, Riverside CC (CA), #444 overall, 6’7’’/230: I love this pick, but only if Lollis can be signed. As you can tell by his raw size, Lollis attracts scouts in droves. Many don’t know that Lollis was supposed to be a nice sidekick to Kyle Skipworth a year ago, but he hurt his shoulder early and missed the season with tendinitis, a worrying sign. However, after coming back from another injury this spring, this one to his ankle, Lollis was a name I kept hearing whispered. He was stronger, had better offspeed stuff, better command, and better concentration. He also has a young, fresh arm. However, he might not be signable, as he has another year at Riverside with which to improve his draft stock, and he could show up as a top 3 rounder next year. DOB: 9/11/90. Commitment: None.

16. Griffin Benedict, C, Georgia Southern, #474 overall, 6’1’’/195: While I like this pick on the whole, I’m not sure why the Padres think Benedict will be a passable catcher. He doesn’t have a good arm, and while his receiving skills might be good, he’s really already done most of the natural growing he can do, as he’s already done four years of college. He’s got good bloodlines, being the son of Bruce Benedict, but it’s really the bat that should carry him as an offense-first backup catcher that swings from the left side. He might need to shift out from behind the plate if he doesn’t drastically improve, though. He signed quickly, and after a quick 6-for-24 run with Eugene was promoted to Fort Wayne in the Midwest League, where he’s 2-for-8. DOB: 7/4/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Jorge Reyes, RHP, Oregon State, #504 overall, 6’3’’/195: This marks the transition to the unsignable and organizational player period of the Padres’ draft. Reyes falls under the unsignable. A Boras client, Reyes had a dominant freshman campaign followed up by a murderous sophomore year, followed by a mediocre junior year in 2009. He’s got decent stuff, though I’m in the group that thinks he’s ultimately a reliever, though with a setup man’s ceiling. His fastball is quite good when it’s moving, and his slider is an out pitch when he keeps his confidence. Overall, though, I doubt the Padres can offer enough money to keep Reyes from going back to school, where he’ll hope he puts together a dominating senior year. DOB: 12/7/87.

18. Shuhei Fujiya, RHP, Northern Iowa, #534 overall, 6’3’’/180: A final part of the dying Northern Iowa baseball program, Fujiya was the closer. Interestingly enough, the junior hurler still hasn’t signed for some reason, even though he doesn’t have a baseball program to return to. He needs to harness his command and control problems overall, but this could be an interesting find. DOB: 8/12/87.

19. Chris Tremblay, SS, Kent State, #564 overall, 5’10”/170: Another college senior, Tremblay is a little middle infielder who I expected to go later as an organizational infielder looking for a half-year filler. He’ll be 23 in November. He signed quickly and is hitting .217/.338/.217 in 60 ABs with Eugene. DOB: 11/13/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. John Wooten, 3B, Eastern Wayne HS (NC), #594 overall, 6’4’’/190: Wooten has a pro third baseman’s body, but he’s quite raw, even for a prep. For that reason, it’s almost a sure thing that he goes to school, where he should climb up boards for the 2012 draft, but only if he cleans up his game. I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 1/19/91. Commitment: East Carolina.

21. Kendall Korbal, RHP, Blinn JC (TX), #624 overall, 6’5’’/195: Korbal was supposed to be one of the best JUCO arms available in the 2009 class, but after a strong fall ball run, he disappointed greatly in the spring, showing decreased velocity and command. He also had elbow problems, which led to his precipitous drop here. As a result, when the Padres drafted him, getting a bargain by the way, the original contract they signed him to was voided after failing the physical, and they had to re-sign him to a lower amount. That was done, and the Padres, if Korbal is healthy, could end up with a major steal. He’s listed on the AZL Padres’ roster, but hasn’t appeared in a game. DOB: 11/20/88. Signing bonus: $25,000.

22. Cody Decker, 1B, UCLA, #654 overall, 5’10’’/205: I read a lot of differing opinions on Decker, some of which loved his power and ability to handle anything inside, and others which thought of him as a mistake hitter with a tiny frame and a lack of pro ability. I’m more on the latter side, but I did expect him to go more in the 15th-round range. The Padres signed the college senior quickly, and he’s hit .263/.300/.474 in 57 ABs with the AZL squad. DOB: 1/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Jeff Ibarra, LHP, Lee (TN), #684 overall, 6’6’’/185: Ibarra is a tall, skinny reliever that has LOOGY written all over him if he can use his frame to his advantage. He signed after his senior year, and he’s thrown 10 quality innings with Eugene so far. DOB: 8/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Bo Davis, OF, Southern Miss, #714 overall, 6’0’’/185: Davis is a 5th-year senior who was easily the best hitter on the Southern Miss squad. Even though he’s quite old for his level, Davis does have some decent tools, and I like his hitting ability in general, though he’s not any sort of prospect. He should put together an interesting minor league season or two. I expected him to go ten rounds earlier, so this is a decent pick. He signed quickly and is hitting .333/.468/.483 in 60 ABs with Eugene, stealing 10 bases already. DOB: 8/28/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Ty Wright, OF, Georgia Southern, #744 overall, 6’1’’/235: Wright’s a well-built college senior that I expected to go somewhere in this range as a short-term organizational soldier. He signed quickly, went a lowly 3-for-22 with Eugene, but has gone 6-for-14 since a demotion to the AZL. DOB: 8/10/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

26. Kevin Winn, 2B, Louisiana Tech, #774 overall, 5’11’’/185: Winn’s another college senior, and I’m not sure I even thought he’d be drafted. He’s simply a small, lefty hitter without any tools to speak of. He signed quickly, and after a 4-for-16 run with Eugene was promoted to Lake Elsinore in the Cal League to be a backup, where he’s 1-for-3 in limited action. DOB: 6/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Cameron Monger, OF, New Mexico, #804 overall, 6’2’’/205: At least Monger has a plus tool: his speed. A former undrafted JUCO player, Monger transferred in this year to New Mexico, where he didn’t even start. However, every team needs a burner outfielder as a backup and Monger might be just that. I don’t trust his bat, but if you bring him in every day as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, he should be fine. He signed quickly and is off to a .311/.348/.459 start in the AZL, having already stolen 8 bases. DOB: 8/5/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

28. Vince Belnome, 2B, West Virginia, #834 overall, 5’11’’/205: Belnome is one guy I expected to be drafted, and probably higher than Kevin Winn, though that turned out to not be the case. A junior, Belnome did sign quickly, which might not be good for him in the long-run, as he could have moved up boards with a good senior year. He’s off to a .323/.475/.581 start in 62 ABs with Eugene, and he’s showing incredible plate discipline. One of the more interesting late-round picks. DOB: 3/11/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

29. Robert Poutier, RHP, Virginia, #864 overall, 6’4’’/190: Not a name on any of my lists. Old fifth-year senior with a decent body. Signed quickly and has thrown 6 quality innings in the AZL. Should always have to battle for his roster spot. DOB: 10/21/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Wande Olabisi, OF, Stanford, #894 overall, 6’0’’/212: I thought Olabisi might go ten rounds earlier, but he fell as a college junior. The Nigerian surprisingly (to me at least) signed quickly, despite having a year left at Stanford. He’s off to a 8-for-30 start in the AZL (.267). DOB: 3/18/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Matt Jackson, RHP, South Alabama, #924 overall, 6’3’’/170: Another tall, skinny thrower, Jackson was at LSU to start his career, then transferred into USA after a year at Chipola JC in Florida. He had mixed success as a starter there, but is probably a middle reliever at best in pro ball. He signed quickly and has thrown 15.1 dazzling innings of shutout ball with Eugene. DOB: 12/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. David Erickson, RHP, Connecticut, #954 overall, 6’0’’/190: I don’t ever tire of writing about 23 year-old college seniors. Here’s another in Erickson, another middle reliever-type of thrower, though Erickson has less of a pro body than most of the other names called by the Padres. He also signed quickly and is off to a nice start with Eugene, having allowed just a pair of earned runs through his first 9 innings. DOB: 2/9/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Jon Berger, RHP, San Diego State, #984 overall, 6’2’’/215: Berger really only got noticed due to his teammate named Strasburg. I’m still a little surprised Berger got picked at all following his senior season. He’s a control specialist that was a starter with the Aztecs, but is another middle reliever-type in the pros. He signed quickly and has had a nice start to his pro career in Eugene, where he’s thrown 4 nice starts. DOB: 1/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

34. Josh Cephas, RHP, Southern Nazarene (OK), #1014 overall, 6’0’’/195: Finally somebody I like, and they haven’t signed him! Every time I spoke with some that covered Ashur Tolliver late this spring always put in a tidbit about Cephas, who had absolutely blossomed as a senior reliever with Southern Nazarene. He’s got a great fastball/slider combo that projects as a possible setup guy’s repertoire, and I thought he might go as early as round eight. However, he fell here, and the Padres have yet to sign him. DOB: 4/17/87.

35. Adalberto Santos, OF, Oregon State, #1044 overall, 5’10’’/184: Santos was a 17th-rounder of the Blue Jays in 2007, when he had been a star at New Mexico JC. He was a true utility man at Oregon State, and I figured he wouldn’t be drafted this year, as his tools aren’t really pro-caliber. But he’s a gritty player. He should return to Oregon State for his senior year, as he hasn’t signed yet, and I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 9/28/87.

36. Dylan Tonneson, C, California, #1074 overall, 6’3’’/220: I thought Tonneson would go at least ten rounds higher as a physical catcher from the Pac-10. However, he fell this far, and the Padres signed him quickly following his junior year. He’s off to a rough 2-for-34 start in the AZL. DOB: 9/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Gaspar Santiago, LHP, Ranger JC (TX), #1104 overall, 6’0’’/200: Santiago was at Old Dominion before Ranger JC, and I don’t know much about him. He was drafted previously by the Rangers in 2007 in the 32nd round, but I haven’t heard much of him since. He hasn’t signed yet, and I don’t even have a college commitment for him. DOB: 9/23/89. Commitment: Unknown.

38. Kyle Loretelli, OF, Cal State Stanislaus, #1134 overall, 5’11’’/185: Nothing to add here except he’s a small senior sign. Signed quickly and is hitting .325/.426/.450 in 40 ABs with Eugene. DOB: 6/30/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Chris Ahearn, SS, Catawba (NC), #1164 overall, 5’11’’/180: Another small senior sign, this being in the infield, as Ahearn’s already 23. Signed quickly, but is only 1-for-7 in the AZL, where he’s still on the active roster, but hasn’t played since June 23. DOB: 5/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

40. Tom Porter, RHP, Elon, #1194 overall, 6’1’’/185: Another smaller senior arm that might vie for middle relief spots through the system. Signed quickly and is pitching in mediocrity in the AZL. DOB: 11/11/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

41. Dane Hamilton, 2B, New Mexico, #1224 overall, 6’2’’/195: Hamilton’s another senior pick, though he hasn’t signed as of yet. He was a third baseman in college, but was tabbed as a second baseman by the Padres. I don’t know what’s holding him up, other than the idea that he doesn’t want to play pro baseball. DOB: 9/26/86.

42. Rey Delphey, RHP, Alonso HS (FL), #1254 overall, 5’10’’/195: Delphey’s a small kid who is also an outfield prospect. I doubt he signs, as he’s got a much better chance of being a better player after three or four years of college. DOB: 10/19/90. Commitment: South Florida.

43. Chadd Hartman, OF, Central Florida, #1284 overall, 6’0’’/195: Hartman was a 43rd-rounder before, this being in 2005 to the Indians out of high school. Now a senior, Hartman signed quickly, though there’s not much talent to find in his body. He’s 4-for-14 in a reserve role for Eugene. DOB: 11/9/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

44. Ryan Skube, 2B, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ), #1314 overall, 5’11’’/175: Skube is a diminutive prep middle infielder that wasn’t committed to a college that I could find. I know nothing of his skills, but it still surprised me when he signed right away, as the vast majority of preps picked here don’t sign. He’s 6-for-25 in the AZL. DOB: 3/26/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

45. Derek Landis, RHP, Iowa Western CC (IA), #1344 overall, 6’6’’/180: I thought Landis would go much higher as a tall, lanky JUCO freshman. Having been picked this late, I doubt he signs, and he’ll head back to Iowa Western for his sophomore year. DOB: 8/27/89. Commitment: None.

46. Mykal Stokes, OF, Orange Coast CC (CA), #1374 overall, 6’2’’/170: Stokes was picked in the 41st round by the Yankees a year ago out of high school, and the Padres called his name as a JUCO freshman, though this was about where I thought he’d go. He’s not refined at all, and he’ll likely head back to Orange Coast for his sophomore year. DOB: 6/2/90. Commitment: None.

47. Zach Thomas, LHP, Cypress-Fairbanks HS (TX), #1404 overall, 6’2’’/200: Someone had mentioned Thomas to me, but only as a first baseman, not as a pitcher. Either way, he’s not a highly-touted prospect, and it’s doubtful he signs this far down. I think he’s committed to a JUCO, but I’m not positive. DOB: 10/3/90. Commitment: Howard JC (TX).

48. Andrew Ruck, OF, Sinclair SS (ON), #1434 overall, 5’11’’/185: I thought Ruck would go higher, possibly as high as the 20th round. Like most Canadian preps, he’s not very refined, so college will do him some good. He won’t sign. DOB: 5/20/91. Commitment: Lafayette.

49. Brett Holland, RHP, Texas-Tyler, #1464 overall, 6’1’’/185: Holland was picked by the Athletics in the 48th round a year ago, but didn’t sign as a draft-eligible sophomore. He surprisingly signed quickly and is off to a good start in the AZL. DOB: 6/30/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

50. Brett Basham, C, Ole Miss, #1494 overall, 6’2’’/195: Basham was a 16th-rounder of the White Sox last year as a junior, and returning for his senior season only hurt his stock. He signed quickly and is 4-for-9 in the AZL as a backup catcher. DOB: 9/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

The Padres on the whole put on a nice draft, grabbing some high-ceiling guys and some guys with polish. I really like the balance. I’m generally not critical of picking two guys in the same position with your first two picks, as the Padres now have a pair of very talented young center field prospects in Tate and Williams. Tate’s obviously the more hyped prospect, but Williams could easily have a better Major League career with the pop he has in his bat. Following those picks up with a polished arm with upside like Sullivan and a high-risk prep like Sampson were smart moves, and Sampson was easily one of the better talents available when the second day started. I worry about his durability like almost everyone else, but at least he’s a power arm they have in their system.

Moving beyond those picks, you can tell the club is in need of budget room for getting Tate under contract. Starting with Freiman, they went with very affordable players, and this draft has more college seniors than is the norm. James Needy, Jorge Reyes and Kendall Korbal all offer some higher-upside talent, but only Korbal is under contract so far, and I doubt Reyes will be signed. Needy’s an intriguing name to watch, though, as he’ll need a long development path, but could produce nice dividends as a 6th-rounder. I don’t like the Hagerty pick much at all, and the Freiman-Fetter-Hinson run is a bit disappointing considering they could have all gone a few rounds later in most scenarios.

Finally, I’m not really impressed with any of their picks past Drew Madrigal, excluding Kendall Korbal. None really seem to have much of a chance to make it to the Majors, even the long list of middle reliever candidates. The Padres seem to have overvalued some guys that are simply organizational players if they’re in almost any other organization, as the Padres’ cutoff line in this draft probably came after the run on college seniors. They need to sign Madrigal, Matt Lollis, and Reyes for me to really be impressed with this draft. As a result, on the whole I’m pretty much unimpressed with the talent the Padres stockpiled, as they added some nice names early, but failed to add them beyond that. Going with the strength of their early picks, especially getting Williams and Sampson as late as they did, I’m going to give them an even grade with the Mariners, but firmly behind the Nationals. Affordability is no substitute for upside.

FINAL GRADE: B-.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 4 Comments

Draft Review – Seattle Mariners

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Seattle Mariners’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Dustin Ackley, OF, North Carolina, #2 overall, 6’1’’/190: Ackley was undoubtedly the best college position prospect in the draft and with some late-season time in center field to showcase his ability there, he cemented his status as the second-best talent overall, leading to this selection. Though Scott Boras represents him, he shouldn’t command Pedro Alvarez money, but anything is possible, and he won’t sign until August 17. DOB: 2/26/88.

1. Nick Franklin, SS, Lake Brantley HS (FL), #27 overall, 6’1’’/170: Whereas Ackley was an unquestioned pick, this pick had me scratching my head. Franklin rose up boards late, but he honestly doesn’t have first-round tools, but still comes with most of the prep bat risk. He’s a good defender at short, but I didn’t think any prep shortstop outside of Jiovanni Mier would be in the first. Overall, I thought Franklin was second-round material, and I’m mystified as to why they took him this early and still haven’t signed him. DOB: 3/2/91. Commitment: Auburn.

1s. Steve Baron, C, Ferguson HS (FL), #33 overall, 6’0’’/195: There was news before the draft that the Mariners had agreed with Baron on a pre-draft deal for this slot, and they indeed did take him here. I was still surprised, as Baron wasn’t near the top of my prep catcher list for this class. However, it surprised me more when rumors started leaking of Baron backing out of his pre-draft deal, and he still hasn’t signed. He’s got a strong college commitment, so this could end up being one of the bigger gaffes in this draft, as they get no compensation if he doesn’t sign, since this is a compensation pick by itself. DOB: 12/7/90. Commitment: Duke.

2. Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia, #51 overall, 6’4’’/235: Poythress was a possible first-round option after a strong start to his college season, but he wore down a bit, scaring some teams off, most of which thought his decline in production was due to his holes against better pitching. However, this was a strong pick for draft value and talent, as I didn’t think Poythress would slip out of the supplemental first as a college junior. He still hasn’t signed, but I don’t see him holding out too much longer. DOB: 8/11/87.

3. Kyle Seager, 2B, North Carolina, #82 overall, 5’10’’/194: Seager climbed boards this year with yet another strong college season with the bat and a move to third base for the Tar Heels. He doesn’t have big upside, but as a polished college bat, he could be ready for the big leagues in just a couple of years. I doubt he’ll hit enough for third base, and he was announced as a second baseman, so I see that as his development path. He still hasn’t signed, but he won’t gain much from going back to school. DOB: 11/3/87.

4. James Jones, OF, Long Island, #113 overall, 6’4’’/193: Known more as a pitching prospect, the Mariners bucked the consensus and drafted the athletic Jones as an outfielder, one of the more interesting early second-day picks. He really busted on the mound this Spring, making his strong performance at the plate intriguing, especially considering his strong arm and good outfield defense playing center field. He’s probably a right fielder long-term, but that athleticism is hard to miss, and I like this pick this far back, though he hasn’t signed, and I don’t know how much he wants. DOB: 9/24/88.

5. Tyler Blandford, RHP, Oklahoma State, #143 overall, 6’3’’/220: Drafted out of high school by the Orioles in the 34th round in 2006, Blandford came into the 2009 draft with a similar draft profile: huge arm, no control. I enjoyed watching the rivalry of Oklahoma’s Garrett Richards and Blandford, as both are quite similar, though Blandford’s slider may be better. However, I’m not alone in thinking Blandford is a long-term reliever, as he’s had no success with a changeup, and unless he commands that fastball, his two pitches won’t be able to get him through a lineup multiple times. However, this is a solid pick for talent and draft position, and he should be signable, though he hasn’t been inked yet. DOB: 1/25/88.

6. Shaver Hansen, 3B, Baylor, #173 overall, 6’0’’/190: Hansen was a shortstop this past year for Baylor, though the Mariners drafted him at the position he played during his sophomore year in Waco. Some have thought he’d end up at second base, using his advanced bat to make up for slightly below-average defense, but with Kyle Seager already in the bag, this move makes sense. I like this pick from a draft position perspective, as this was spot on as to where I thought Hansen would go, though I like it a little less from a talent perspective. It’s a safe pick, but with little upside, especially if he can’t make himself into a plus defender at third. He hasn’t signed yet, either. DOB: 12/19/87.

7. Brian Moran, LHP, North Carolina, #203 overall, 6’3’’/190: This pick was surprising to me, as Moran is one of those college relievers that is usually more effective against college hitters. He doesn’t have good offspeed stuff, but his strange delivery and deceptive fastball allow him to get by. I expected Moran to go somewhere in round ten or twelve, so this was a slight overdraft, and the talent isn’t way up there. However, he signed already, but was beaten around badly in his first appearance with Pulaski in the Appy League yesterday. DOB: 9/30/88. Signing bonus: $140,000.

8. Jimmy Gilheeney, LHP, NC State, #233 overall, 6’1’’/200: I expected Gilheeney to possibly go as early as the fifth round to someone who liked his advanced repertoire, and Mariners fans should be happy they got him this far down. He doesn’t have a plus fastball, but there’s plenty to like about his nice changeup/curve combo. He was a starter in college, and I’d expect he stays there, though he could develop into a LOOGY long-term if that’s what they wanted more than a #5 starter. He hasn’t signed yet, a disturbing trend so far in Mariner picks. DOB: 11/8/87.

9. Trevor Coleman, C, Missouri, #263 overall, 6’1’’/211: A 38th round pick of the Reds in 2006 out of high school in Texas, Coleman’s always had a good reputation for his defensive credentials. His bat is another story. He hit only .260 this year with Mizzou, and I’m sorry to say I don’t see him doing much better in the pros. Also of concern is the sore elbow he battled this year, which makes me wonder if he can catch all season. However, this was a good pick for draft position, as the Mariners capitalized on the injury and bat concerns to get a guy that’s more talented than a 9th round draft slot, though he hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 1/19/88.

10. Vinnie Catricala, 3B, Hawaii, #293 overall, 6’2’’/220: Catricala played high school ball in California, and he was a 50th-round pick of the Indians in 2006. While I expected him to go in the 12-15 round range, the Mariners picked him a few rounds earlier, though I don’t fault them for it. Catricala has a nice bat, and the improvements he’s shown year-to-year at Hawaii are greatly encouraging. He has developing power, has a great approach, and doesn’t strike out a lot for his production. However, his fielding still needs work, though I think he’s shown the work ethic to get it to where it needs to be. All in all, I like this pick, even if it was a little higher than most expected Catricala to go. He signed fairly quickly and is hitting .260/.302/.400 in 50 ABs in the Appy League. DOB: 10/31/88. Signing bonus: $90,000.

11. Tim Morris, 1B, St. John’s, #323 overall, 6’3’’/225: The Mariners do like their lefties. Morris had a strong junior season at St. John’s, where he was essentially their entire team in terms of production. This was remarkable, as Morris was simply not good before a breakout summer last year. He was originally at Clemson, but transferred due to lack of playing time, and he develop a nice feel for hitting, and I somewhat buy into his newly developed approach. Skeptics have reason to feel uncomfortable, though. This was a bit higher than I thought he’d go, but he signed quickly and is hitting .297/.409/.432 in 37 ABs with Pulaski. DOB: 12/11/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Andrew Carraway, RHP, Virginia, #353 overall, 6’2’’/200: While power arms and bats are nice and all, finding that quality pitchability guy who makes his teammates around him better is just as important. Carraway is that guy. As a senior, Carraway was the Cavaliers’ Friday starter, and he was only around that long, because he’s incredibly smart and scared every team away from him in the 2008 draft, as he wanted to return to school. He’s got multiple pitches that work for him, and I like his slow curve best of all, as he can command it for strikes. He knows how to pitch, and I like his chances of reaching the big leagues. Great pick, even if the pure talent isn’t that high. He signed quickly, and he’s absolutely dominated competition in the Northwest League with Everett, where he’s thrown 8 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits and a walk, striking out 12. DOB: 9/4/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Matt Cerione, OF, Georgia, #383 overall, 6’2’’/192: Any time I see a guy benched for showy play, I wonder what’s going on in his head. Is it actually being showy or is it just how the player plays? Anyway, that’s what happened to Cerione, and though he has quality tools, I wonder about his ability to actually play baseball. His bat was horrible in SEC play, and I’ve never liked watching him, as he still looks like a high school player running around the field. Not much polish at all. Just not a smart ballplayer. I expected him to go somewhere after the tenth round, and he fell here. He still hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/4/88.

14. Adam Nelubowich, 3B, Vauxhall Academy (AB), #413 overall, 6’2’’/185: AB stands for Alberta, just in case you’re wondering. This Canadian prep had an impressive run with the Canadian junior team, and I started hearing some little things about him right before the draft. He’s got some power potential, and his showing with the wood bat convinced some detractors. He hasn’t signed, but he only has a JUCO commitment, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign soon. DOB: 4/28/91. Commitment: Midland JC (TX).

15. Blake Keitzman, LHP, Western Oregon, #443 overall, 5’11’’/185: I have to admit I know very little about Keitzman. He was an Oregon State transfer to Western Oregon, and that’s about as far as I got. Here’s a video. He worked in the mid-80s in the few fastballs in the video, so I’m guessing this was a potential LOOGY pick, though Keitzman was an effective starter with Western Oregon. He hasn’t signed, and he won’t be signing. He’s already announced he’s heading back to school for his senior year. Oops. To me, this marks the transition to the unsignable and organizational player category of the draft, as few of the following players that have any impact talent are signable. DOB: 1/9/88.

16. Tillman Pugh, OF, Gateway CC (AZ), #473 overall, 5’11’’/185: This was much higher than I thought Pugh would go, as I thought he’d just be a late-round choice. Pugh was an Arizona State transfer, as he got almost no playing time in 2008. If you want to see Pugh make an amazing catch, look here. This article says Pugh wasn’t going to sign before the draft, but when he was picked so high, he was thinking it over again. He hasn’t signed as of yet, but we’ll see what happens. Pugh is currently playing with the Amsterdam Mohawks in the New York Collegiate Baseball League, where he’s hitting .300/.408/.483 in 60 ABs. It’s sounding like a summer follow to me. DOB: 2/19/89. Commitment: None.

17. Joe Terry, 2B, Cerritos CC (CA), #503 overall, 6’0’’/200: Terry was a freshman second baseman with Cerritos, and this is way higher than I ever expected to see him, even with his amazing season. Freshmen don’t generally go very high unless they’re absolutely signable, as they have tons of leverage. He hasn’t signed as of yet, so that’s up in the air. DOB: 12/18/89. Commitment: None.

18. Anthony Vasquez, LHP, USC, #533 overall, 6’0’’/190: Vasquez was last drafted in the 49th round by the Angels in 2005, the year he graduated high school. A solid senior sign, this was about where I expected Vasquez to go. He signed quickly and is off to a solid start in the Appy League. DOB: 9/19/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

19. Eric Thomas, RHP, Bethune-Cookman, #563 overall, 5’11’’/180: Another college senior, Thomas had a mediocre senior year, showing some decent stuff, but little command. He’s a middle reliever at best. He signed quickly, but has been roughed up a little in his Appy League debut. DOB: 10/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. John Hesketh, LHP, New Mexico, #593 overall, 5’11’’/195: Hesketh is beyond just a senior, he’s a fifth-year senior. He was drafted twice before, in 2004 and 2006, and he just signed with the Mariners, though this is higher than I expected him to go. He’s also a native Canadian for those who like to know. He’s thrown one shutout inning so far in the Arizona Rookie League. DOB: 6/3/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

21. Daniel Cooper, RHP, USC, #623 overall, 6’3’’/205: I thought Cooper would go before Vasquez, as he has more pro size and less wear on his arm, having been a bullpen guy with the Trojans. However, he fell a little bit, and the Mariners got a slight bargain here. He signed quickly and has been great with Everett in the Northwest League. DOB: 11/6/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Drew Hayes, RHP, Vanderbilt, #653 overall, 6’1’’/205: Hayes has a legit fastball, but pretty much nothing else. He should have gone much higher, but it seems that he’ll go back to school for his senior year, and he could go in the first ten rounds if he does so. The Diamondbacks picked him in the 29th round in 2006. Great pick for draft value and talent, but I doubt he signs. He hasn’t as of yet. DOB: 9/13/87.

23. David Rollins, LHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #683 overall, 6’1’’/185: A 19th-rounder a year ago to the Dodgers, Rollins had a solid freshman year with San Jacinto. I’m guessing he’ll go back to school for his sophomore year to try and improve upon his stock, as this was where most expected him to go. He hasn’t signed as of this posting. DOB: 12/21/89. Commitment: None.

24. Carlton Tanabe, C, Pearl City HS (HI), #713 overall, 6’0’’/190: This was much higher than I expected Tanabe to go, as I thought he’d be picked in the 40s range and would end up at school. However, his weak college commitment (to a JUCO) and decent defensive skills enticed the Mariners to pick him this high. Not my favorite pick. He signed quickly, but is just 2-for-11 with the AZL Mariners. DOB: 10/28/91. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Brandon Josselyn, RHP, Yale, #743 overall, 6’3’’/200: Josselyn should have gone much higher, and this is a steal. I expected him to go in the top ten rounds as a senior sign with an average fastball and enough else to possibly make the bigs as a middle reliever. That’s not much, but that’s great value for the 25th round. He’s been fairly good with Pulaski since signing. DOB: 8/22/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

26. Chris Sorce, RHP, Troy, #773 overall, 6’1’’/195: I was surprised to see Sorce this high, as he’s got a merely average fastball and absolutely nothing else. He got some good results, though, at Troy, but he’s also got a year of eligibility left, and I doubt he signs having been picked this far down. DOB: 10/28/87.

27. Austin Hudson, RHP, Central Florida, #803 overall, 6’4’’/185: Hudson was picked by the Nationals in the 37th round in 2006 out of high school, and he’s definitely got a pro body. He had horrible results, though, as he’s extremely hittable. I doubt he signs, even though I’m not sure he can turn it around as a senior next year. DOB: 1/6/88.

28. Regan Flaherty, 1B, Deering HS (ME), #833 overall, 6’2’’/185: I had seen a few mentions of Flaherty as a pitcher, too, but the most notable things I’ve seen about him are his bloodlines (his brother is Ryan Flaherty of the Cubs) and his strong college commitment. He won’t sign. DOB: 10/16/90. Commitment: Vanderbilt.

29. Brandon Haveman, OF, Purdue, #863 overall, 5’9’’/165: Haveman is a little senior outfielder from Purdue that’s already 23 years old. He signed quickly and is off to a .371/.450/.514 start with Pulaski through 35 ABs. DOB: 6/21/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Brandon Bantz, C, Dallas Baptist, #893 overall, 6’1’’/210: Twenty years from now, Bantz’ claim to fame might be that he caught Victor Black in college. He probably should have gone maybe ten rounds earlier as a decent senior catcher, but fell for unknown reasons. He signed quickly and is off to a slow 4-for-21 start with Pulaski. DOB: 1/7/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Clint Dempster, LHP, Mississippi Gulf Coast JC, #923 overall, 6’1’’/185: Dempster should have gone at least ten or so rounds earlier, but fell for unknown reasons. He’s got a decent curveball to pair with a solid fastball for a lefty, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a decent LOOGY one day. However, I doubt he signs, as he hasn’t yet. DOB: 8/29/89. Commitment: Nicholls State.

32. Bennett Whitmore, LHP, Oregon, #953 overall, 6’3’’/230: Whitmore was drafted out of a JUCO last year by the Red Sox in the 44th round, and I thought he might go twenty rounds higher this year. However, he fell, and despite his pro body, I doubt the Mariners offer enough to sign him. He’ll probably end up back at school. DOB: 4/17/88.

33. Hawkins Gebbers, 2B, Biola (CA), #983 overall, 6’2’’/200: Senior pick was expected to go about this late as an organizational infielder. Signed quickly and is hitting .348/.423/.478 in 46 ABs with Everett. Nice surprise. DOB: 7/29/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

34. Scott Griggs, RHP, San Ramon Valley HS (CA), #1013 overall, 6’3’’/185: Griggs entered the year as a possible first-round candidate, but huge mechanical issues led to command problems, which led to a precipitous drop in his draft stock. The Mariners aren’t going to sign him, but he’s an interesting name to watch for the 2012 draft, when he almost certainly will be in the top ten rounds, even if he has problems developing, as his arm holds tons of potential. DOB: 5/13/91. Commitment: UCLA.

35. Eric Valdez, RHP, Indiana State, #1043 overall, 6’1’’/195: Valdez was a 22 year old junior with some decent relief stuff. He signed quickly and has had mixed results with Pulaski. DOB: 5/4/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

36. John Housey, RHP, Miami, #1073 overall, 6’3’’/180: Housey was drafted in the 42nd round by the Reds out of high school in 2006, but hurt his arm, missing part of the season for the Hurricanes. He’s got some good stuff, but just needs to harness it. He signed quickly and has been dominating the AZL. DOB: 6/4/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Chris Kessinger, RHP, Nebraska-Omaha, #1103 overall, 6’0’’/195: Nothing to add here. Signed quickly as a 23 year old senior and has been dominating in the AZL. DOB: 6/5/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

38. Matt Nohelty, OF, Minnesota, #1133 overall, 6’1’’/185: A college senior, Nohelty was drafted by the Twins in 2008 in the 18th round, but opted not to sign. That seems like a bad decision now, as he dropped twenty rounds and still hasn’t signed. I expected him to go ten rounds higher, but he’s still not a prospect either way. He had to DH most of the season due to a bum shoulder, and I’m surprised he hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 5/21/86.

39. Greg Waddell, OF, Florida International, #1163 overall, 6’1’’/210: Another senior. He signed quickly, but is off to a rough 1-for-20 start with Pulaski. He’s in danger of being cut. DOB: 5/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

40. Jorden Merry, RHP, Washington, #1193 overall, 6’1’’/190: Merry was a 14th-rounder of the White Sox a year ago, didn’t sign, then followed that up by falling on his face. He lost his rotation spot with the Huskies and had an awful year, resulting in his falling this far, though this is a bit farther than I thought it would be. He’s done well in the Appy League after a brief appearance in the AZL. DOB: 6/30/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

41. Kyle Witten, RHP, Cal State Fullerton, #1223 overall, 6’4’’/195: Last drafted by the Twins in the 22nd round a year ago, Witten has a pro body and decent arm. He just doesn’t get the results he wants. He shouldn’t have fallen this far, but the Mariners aren’t complaining, as he’s signed but hasn’t appeared in a game yet. DOB: 9/14/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

42. Steve Hagen, 3B, Eastern Oklahoma State JC (OK), #1253 overall, 6’2’’/225: Drafted two years ago out of high school by the Athletics in the 50th round, Hagen’s got some power, but I highly doubt he signs. Even though he’s originally from the Seattle area, I’m guessing he fulfills his college commitment having gone this low. DOB: 10/26/88. Commitment: Texas Tech.

43. Cameron Perkins, OF, Southport HS (IN), #1283 overall, 6’5’’/195: Perkins played mainly infield in high school, and his body size is definitely of the pro variety. His signability was a big question entering the draft, and that led to his fall. He’ll end up at school, where he probably had the talent to be possible thirty rounds higher. DOB: 9/27/90. Commitment: Purdue.

44. Mark Angelo, OF, East Stroudsburg (PA), #1313 overall, 6’2’’/195: Nothing to add here. Senior sign, signed quickly and is struggling to a 4-for-24 start in the AZL. DOB: 7/15/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

45. Kevin Mailloux, 2B, Canisius, #1343 overall, 5’11’’/195: I thought this native Canadian would go 10-20 rounds higher. However, he fell and ended up being picked as a late-round senior infield sign. He’s off to a nice 8-for-24 start in the AZL, but he’ll always have to battle for a spot. DOB: 3/5/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

46. Clay Cedarquist, 1B, Fowler HS (CA), #1373 overall, 6’2’’/170: Pretty much an unknown, as I don’t even have a college commitment for him. I doubt he signs, though. DOB: 2/4/90. Commitment: Unknown.

47. David Holman, RHP, Hutchinson CC (KS), #1403 overall, 6’4’’/170: Holman’s got a pro body, and he was drafted in the 48th round by the Braves a year ago, but didn’t sign. I don’t expect him to sign again, as he’s just a JUCO freshman. DOB: 5/31/90. Commitment: None.

48. Sean Nolin, LHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #1433 overall, 6’4’’/240: Another JUCO freshman, Nolin was a 50th rounder of the Brewers a year ago out of high school. Like Holman, I expect Nolin to return to school and improve his draft stock for next year. DOB: 12/26/89. Commitment: None.

49. Dane Phillips, C, Central Heights HS (TX), #1463 overall, 6’1’’/195: Phillips is similar to Scott Griggs in that he fell this far due to some question marks and will end up in college. A questionable catcher, Phillips has a great bat and enough athleticism to possibly move to the outfield, though at least one report I’ve read says he’s improved a lot behind the plate. This is simply a courtesy pick, but remember this name for 2012. DOB: 12/18/90. Commitment: Oklahoma State.

50. Evan Sharpley, 3B, Notre Dame, #1493 overall, 6’2’’/210: You might know this name from Notre Dame football, but Sharpley’s a decent baseball player, too. A college senior, he signed quickly and has put up a nice .311/.380/.578 line in 45 ABs in the AZL. Good end to the Mariners’ draft. DOB: 11/4/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

The Mariners have done a surprisingly bad job of signing their higher picks so far, and I’m not sure why. Franklin and Baron are two lower-upside prep picks, and they were supposed to be signable for their slots, though Baron’s apparently backed out of his pre-draft deal. I really do like the Poythress and Seager picks for their slots, and James Jones as an outfielder is much more intriguing than James Jones as a pitcher. Blandford’s got nice stuff, and he’s a bit of a contrast from the rest of their draft, which went with lower-ceiling pitchers. Their collection of hitters was quite good, especially with Dustin Ackley headlining the package. They essentially filled an entire infield with legitimate prospects, and might have added an impact outfielder if James Jones pans out. But going around the diamond, I can see a Poythress-Seager-Franklin-Hansen-Baron combo with Ackley in center and Jones in right. They obviously were targeting hitters in a pitching-rich environment with the 2009 draft.

The one big weakness, and I mean big, that I see in this draft is a lack of any sort of starting pitching prospect. Blandford has a big arm, but with the mechanical issues he has, there’s no way he can stick to starting full-time. The rest of their pitchers were low-ceiling middle relief guys, with maybe a pair of #5 starter types in Carraway and Gilheeney, though Gilheeney’s quite questionable. Were they trying to win an award for most LOOGY and ROOGY candidates? I’m all for drafting the best player available, but you have to have some sort of balance in a draft, and there was absolutely none in this draft.

Looking at all of those pieces together, grading this draft was a little difficult, especially considering they haven’t signed any of their top picks. When you’re almost a month out of the draft and still haven’t locked up any of your top six picks, you might want to start sweating. They’ve only signed two of their top ten. I usually don’t pay much attention to who is signed at this point in most drafts, but when so many guys that are considered signable still aren’t inked, I start to wonder if something is up. Seager should be signed already. So should Blandford, Hansen, Gilheeney, and Coleman. I can give some leeway, maybe allowing a pair of those guys to slip away at this point. But all 5? That’s cutting it close, especially if you want at least the hitters to get some pro seasoning before they can’t get more than a few weeks in. Questionable signing problems and a lack of balance make me lean down from where I was with the Nationals’ draft. They might have gotten some nice infield prospects, but a lack of high-ceiling guys is also a bit concerning, so I have to grade this below the Nationals’ draft overall.

FINAL GRADE: B-.

Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 7 Comments

Draft Review – Washington Nationals

Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Washington Nationals’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State, #1 overall: This was a no-brainer, as Strasburg had been the number one prospect in this draft for well over a year. He’s got the best stuff of any pitching prospect in recent memory, so this was a solid choice, though he’ll cost upwards of $20 million in all likelihood. DOB: 7/20/88.

1. Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford, #10 overall: Storen became a legitimate first round prospect as a draft-eligible sophomore at Stanford, showing plus command with above-average raw stuff. The fact that he was a reliever is a bit of a downer, and he wasn’t deserving of a top ten slot, but the Strasburg signability factor comes into play here. This is a defensible pick, and he signed quickly. His debut is going reasonably well, as he was jumped to the Sally League, where he’s struck out 11 in 8 innings without walking a batter. He needs to get better against lefties. DOB: 8/1/87. Signing bonus: $1.6 million.

2. Jeff Kobernus, 2B, California, #50 overall: Kobernus was edging up draft boards in the weeks before the draft, as his performance at Cal merited what most thought would be a second or third round selection. He’s got some pop, versatility, and some speed, making him a quality selection. I like this pick quite a bit. He signed on June 29, and he’s 0 for 8 so far in a pair of games with Vermont in the NYPL. DOB: 6/30/88. Signing bonus: $705,000.

3. Trevor Holder, RHP, Georgia, #81 overall: This was a shocking pick. Holder was a senior starter for the Bulldogs, but was hit hard despite some solid stuff. Most predicted him to go in the 7th-10th round range, so this was surprising. He signed for under slot, though, so I give them props for that. However, this was altogether puzzling, as Holder seems to have middle reliever written all over him. He signed on June 15 and threw 3 shutout innings in his only start for Vermont. DOB: 1/8/87. Signing bonus: $200,000.

4. A.J. Morris, RHP, Kansas State, #112 overall: Great pick here. Morris was expected to go as high as the second round, so getting a quality arm like his in the fourth was a coup. He throws a nice fastball/slider combo with plus command, though his workload was awful. Probably the worst workload I saw this year. He’s a year older than most juniors, but he should move fast through the system anyway as a potential number four starter. He just signed on July 3. DOB: 12/1/86. Signing bonus: $270,000.

5. Miguel Pena, LHP, La Joya HS (TX), #142 overall: This was also an overdraft to me, as most had Pena going in the 7th-10th round area at best. He’s a projectable lefty at 6’2’’/160, and you can tell from that line that he has room to fill out. He’s also considered signable, but he hasn’t signed yet, so we’ll see. Overall, a mediocre pick. DOB: 10/24/90. Commitment: San Jacinto JC (TX).

6. Michael Taylor, SS, Westminster Academy (FL), #172 overall: There was simply not much information on Taylor publicly available before the draft, so it was very surprising to see his name called this high on draft day. According to this story, Taylor had an impressive workout. Good workouts make draft position hard to gauge. Taylor signed quickly on June 15, and he’s yet to make his pro debut, though he’s on the GCL Nationals’ roster. DOB: 3/26/91. Signing bonus: $125,000.

7. Dean Weaver, RHP, Georgia, #202 overall: The Nationals went back to the Bulldogs for this pick, and this pick was much more sensible than the Holder pick. He’s a year younger, and he already seems to be in the role in which he’ll flourish, the bullpen. He’s got a solid fastball and solid offspeed stuff, making him a possible setup man in the future. He was expected to go a few rounds higher, and he has yet to sign. DOB: 5/17/88.

8. Roberto Perez, SS, Dorado Academy (PR), #232 overall: Perez is a unique Puerto Rican prospect in that he has a commitment to a large mainland baseball program. This makes his signability a little more questionable than most island draftees. However, his solid skillset and huge arm at short still made him an attractive prospect behind fellow Puerto Ricans Reymond Fuentes and Ruben Sierra, Jr. He has yet to sign, so we’ll see how this pick plays out. DOB: 4/4/91. Commitment: Oklahoma State.

9. Taylor Jordan, RHP, Brevard CC (FL), #262 overall: I immediately liked this pick, as Jordan was one of the more interesting JUCO prospects. Having been picked by the Reds in the 18th round in 2007, he was always a prospect, but he missed a year for unknown reasons before re-taking the mound this spring. He pitched very well on a weak team, showing a nice sinker/slider combo with room to grow. He’ll need some work, but this was a great pick in terms of talent and signability, though they might have been able to get him a round or three later. Jordan signed on June 15, and he’s thrown 5 shutout innings in the GCL with 5 strikeouts and only a hit and walk allowed so far. DOB: 1/17/89. Signing bonus: $99,500.

10. Paul Applebee, LHP, UC Riverside, #292 overall: I wasn’t too impressed with this pick, but it’s fair in terms of draft value. Your normal college lefty, Applebee didn’t ever flash anything close to a plus, or even average, fastball, but he has solid offspeed stuff, making him a candidate to be a future LOOGY. I don’t like to draft future LOOGYs this high, but he was always a candidate to go here. Applebee signed on July 3, and he’s yet to appear in a game. DOB: 5/17/88. Signing bonus: $95,000.

11. Justin Bloxom, OF, Kansas State, #322 overall: Bloxom was projected to go somewhere in this area as a typical hard-nosed college first baseman. The Nationals picked him as an outfielder with the goal to make him into a passable left fielder. He’s a switch-hitter with a Lyle Overbay-like swing, though with far less results. He was a solid hitter in college, though, and he signed quickly (June 15). Solid, though uninspiring, pick. DOB: 4/29/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Nathan Karns, RHP, Texas Tech, #352 overall: This was a pick I immediately identified as a potential steal if the Nationals were able to sign him. Karns has a plus fastball with a potentially devastating slider, but his mechanics are all screwed up, leading to some awful command. His pro body (6’5’’/225) is watched with extreme interest from scouts, but he fell this far due to the mechanics questions. He still hasn’t signed, and he’s currently pitching in the Texas Collegiate League, where he’s flashing his plus stuff and poor command. DOB: 11/25/87.

13. Pat Lehman, RHP, George Washington, #382 overall: Not a lot available on this kid, except the fact that he was a 41st rounder of the Twins a year ago and he has a large frame at 6’6’’/215. He was the Atlantic-10 Pitcher of the Year, though he didn’t strike out a batter an inning, and his workload was quite heavy. Still, this is an intriguing pick, and even though this is a bit earlier than I thought he’d go, Lehman could make things interesting. He signed on June 15, and he’s having a successful debut with Vermont, having thrown 7 innings, allowing only a run on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 6. DOB: 10/18/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. Naoya Washiya, OF, JC of the Desert (CA), #412 overall: Very interesting background story. Read about it here. However, I have to question drafting a guy this high who only hit .274 in junior college, especially considering no one thought he’d be drafted much higher than the 42nd round tag the Nationals put on him a year ago. However, he signed quickly on June 15, and he’s 1-for-16 so far in the GCL. DOB: 10/3/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Corey Davis, 1B, Coffee HS (GA), #442 overall: Davis is a huge kid at 6’3’’/258, and he undoubtedly carries with him the expectations of power hitting. He’s only committed to a junior college, so I’m wondering why he still hasn’t signed. I expect that they’ll eventually get it done, though Davis isn’t exactly an uber-talented prospect. DOB: 10/10/90. Commitment: Walters State CC.

16. Sean Nicol, SS, San Diego, #472 overall: Not a lot to see here, as I’m still trying to wrap my head around why the Nationals seemed to want Nicol so much. He improved his hitting quite a bit in college, and his approach is pretty good, but his fielding has been pretty bad. If his hitting improvement is legit, it could be a nice find, but he’s not really a shortstop. He was part of the group that signed on June 15, and he’s hitting a nice .313/.382/.375 through 48 ABs with Vermont. DOB: 9/25/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Chad Jenkins, LHP, Cecil CC (MD), #502 overall: Jenkins is another former Nationals draftee that was re-drafted by them this year. Picked in the 44th round out of high school, Jenkins was expected to go somewhere near the 20th this year. He was mediocre stuff, but had great results at Cecil. He signed on June 23, and he’s thrown 5 innings in the GCL, allowing a couple of earned runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 7. DOB: 3/12/88. Signing bonus: $45,000.

18. Marcus Stroman, SS, Patchogue-Medford HS (NY), #532 overall: Stroman came onto my radar screen as a two-way prospect with a smallish body. Despite scouts’ overall impression that he’s a better prospect as a pitcher, the Nationals appeased Stroman by picking him as a shortstop, though it’s doubtful he’ll sign. He’s got some plus tools (speed, fielding), but I doubt his hitting ability. Don’t expect him to sign, though it’s possible that some August 17 wrangling might get him in the system. This marks the transition to the organizational and unsignable player territory. The following writeups will only be done for notable players. DOB: 5/1/91. Commitment: Duke.

19. Frank Corolla, RHP, Houston, #562 overall: Not much to say here except that Corolla failed his physical and had his contract voided after agreeing with the other June 15 signees. Ouch. DOB: 3/22/88.

20. Jack Walker, 3B, Concordia (IL), #592 overall: I have to admit Walker wasn’t on my radar screen at all. He signed on June 15, and he’s hitting .289/.438/.368 in 38 ABs for Vermont. DOB: 2/12/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

21. Mitchell Clegg, LHP, UMass, #622 overall: Clegg should have gone higher, so I’ll give him a brief mention. He’s got a big body (6’4’’/225), though he’s older and has some mediocre stuff. However, he could grow into a nice LOOGY, maybe even a normal middle reliever. He was an easy sign on June 15, and he’s had a nice pro debut with Vermont, as he’s being stretched out as a starter. DOB: 12/22/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

22. Danny Rosenbaum, LHP, Xavier, #652 overall: Rosenbaum was projected to go in the teens, and though he doesn’t have a big pro body (6’1’’/205), he should make it by on his solid, though underwhelming, stuff for awhile. He signed on June 17, and he’s been hit around hard in the GCL so far. DOB: 10/10/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Kyle Breault, SS, Northville HS (MI), #682 overall: Breault was a relative unknown, so I’ll leave this alone. He signed on June 24, and he’s 0-3 with 3 strikeouts in his only GCL appearance. Seems overmatched to me. DOB: 10/5/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Dustin Crane, RHP, Snead State CC (AL), #712 overall: I really liked this pick, so I might as well say it. Crane is a bit old for a JUCO, but his arm is undeniable despite being a couple years removed from Tommy John surgery. Solid pick for signability, draft position, and talent. He signed on June 15, and he’s been hit around in the GCL in 4 innings. DOB: 8/13/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Matt Ridings, RHP, Western Kentucky, #742 overall: Nothing to add except the fact that he’s a college junior who hasn’t signed, and therefore I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 10/17/87.

26. Gianison Boekhoudt, SS, Carroll HS (TX), #772 overall: One of the stranger names I’ve come across. Signed on June 15 and has yet to debut in the GCL. Was a prep catcher. DOB: 10/15/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Brandon King, RHP, Martinsburg HS (WV), #802 overall: Very rarely does a 27th-rounder get a huge bonus. Even more rarely do they get that bonus so quickly after the draft. However, King got both. A big kid (6’3’’/210) with a live arm, King’s stock came on strong late, and his workout with the Nationals probably earned him his money. He signed on June 29, and he’s yet to appear on a roster. DOB: 11/14/90. Signing bonus: $250,000.

28. Matt Swynenberg, RHP, Black Hawk JC (IA), #832 overall: Nothing to add. Signed around June 24, has a pro body (6’5’’/185), and has pitched well in a pair of GCL performances. DOB: 2/16/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

29. Evan Bronson, LHP, Trinity (TX), #862 overall: Was drafted in the 36th round by the Brewers a year ago, but didn’t sign. Was expected to go somewhere around the 20th round. Signed on June 15 and has dominated the NYPL. DOB: 2/13/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Rob Wort, RHP, Jefferson JC (MO), #892 overall: Wort had a legit college commitment to Missouri State, but signed with the Nationals almost immediately on June 15. His debut in the GCL hasn’t gone too well. DOB: 2/7/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. J.J. Sferra, OF, UNLV, #922 overall: Small body, not much speed, not any power, not much ability in general. Signed on June 15 and has gone just 6-for-35 with Vermont. DOB: 12/16/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. Kyle Morrison, RHP, Wagner, #952 overall: This could be a steal, as Morrison could have easily gone in the top ten rounds. He fell for unknown reasons, and the Nationals snapped him up in the third day. He’s got an average fastball and with some work on his slider, he can be either a possible middle reliever, even peaking as a setup man. Nice, nice pick, especially considering they signed him so quickly on June 15. He’s pitched fairly well in his debut with Vermont. DOB: 12/22/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Nick DeSantiago, C, Hays HS (TX), #982 overall: Nothing to add here. Hasn’t signed yet, and I wouldn’t expect him to. DOB: 4/17/91. Commitment: Texas.

34. Shane McCatty, RHP, Oakland, #1012 overall: College senior organizational arm. Signed on June 29 and has had solid debut, though in the GCL. DOB: 5/18/87.

35. Jacob Morris, OF, Coppell HS (TX), #1042 overall: Morris is an unsignable player, but his tools are outstanding. He’s got plus tools in almost every category, though I’m wary of his hitting skills. He’s a switch-hitter with more issues from the left side, so maybe a coach can convince him to drop the lefty part of his game. Great pick from a talent and draft position perspective, but he’s completely unsignable. DOB: 12/19/90. Commitment: Arizona State.

36. Josh Miller, LHP, O’Connor HS (TX), #1072 overall: Nothing to add except the fact that he’s apparently unsignable. I don’t even know where he’s going. DOB: 1/7/91. Commitment: Unknown.

37. Josh Elander, C, Round Rock HS (TX), #1102 overall: Elander was expected to go much higher, but he fell due to worries about his college commitment and asking price. He’s got a big, big bat, and he also is more athletic than most catchers, leading some to wonder if he’ll end up in the outfield, though his arm is strong enough to be a pro catcher. He probably needs college refining, and he could re-emerge as a top prospect in three years. He won’t sign. DOB: 3/19/91. Commitment: TCU.

38. Chris Manno, LHP, Duke, #1132 overall: Manno should have gone much earlier, and he was in consideration for the top ten rounds quite easily as a lefty with good size and great deception. His fastball is below-average, but he couples it with a contrasting changeup that gets a lot of funny swings. He got picked so low that I think he goes back to Duke for his senior year. DOB: 11/4/88.

39. Kyle Martin, RHP, St. Michael’s Academy (TX), #1162 overall: Big kid at 6’7’’/185, but unrefined and unsignable, leading to his falling this far, though he wasn’t expected to go too much higher. Will easily benefit from college and won’t sign. DOB: 1/18/91. Commitment: Texas A&M.

40. Joseph Hughes, RHP, McMichael HS (NC), #1192 overall: Hughes should have gone much higher, probably in the teens, but his college commitment, asking price, and rawness scared teams off. This was simply a follow selection, and he won’t sign. Remember this name for 2011, though, as he’ll be a sophomore-eligible. DOB: 6/4/90. Commitment: East Carolina.

41. Dane Opel, OF, Edwardsville HS (IL), #1222 overall: Opel would have gone much higher without a strong college commitment, as he’s big (6’3’’/193) and strong at the plate. He won’t sign, as this was largely a ceremonial pick. DOB: 5/22/91. Commitment: Missouri.

42. Daniel Cropper, RHP, UNC Wilmington, #1252 overall: A draft-eligible sophomore, there’s no way Cropper signs, though he has a pro body at 6’4’’/200. Expect him to resurface a bit higher next year. DOB: 1/13/88.

43. Cohl Walla, RHP, Lake Travis HS (TX), #1282 overall: Another talented player, Walla was expected to go in the top ten rounds, but fell due to signability concerns with his college commitment. Interestingly enough, the Nationals called Walla’s name as a pitcher, where most teams easily preferred Walla’s pure athleticism in the outfield. He’s got a projectable body at 6’4’’/170, so either spot seems a possibility. There’s a good chance he’ll be a two-way player in college, so remember this name for 2012, even if he doesn’t put it all together. DOB: 7/20/90. Commitment: Texas.

44. Hoby Milner, LHP, Paschal HS (TX), #1312 overall: Milner is yet another Texas prep that won’t be signed by the Nationals. He’s got an easy delivery with a strong college commitment added in, meaning his top five round talent was dropped this far. He won’t sign, but he should become an immediate part of his college pitching staff. DOB: 1/13/91. Commitment: Texas.

45. Michael Ratterree, SS, Memorial HS (TX), #1342 overall: Ratterree was definitely on my draft board on draft day, but I, like most teams, shied away due to that dreaded Rice commitment. He’s got a very solid prep bat, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting at second base next Spring for the Owls, though he could move to short after Rich Hague moves on to pro ball. He won’t sign, but he could have an immediate impact in college. DOB: 2/9/91. Commitment: Rice.

46. Seth Greene, RHP, Deep Run HS (VA), #1372 overall: All I know is that this is the son of former Major Leaguer Tommy Greene, making him an interesting name to follow for 2012. DOB: 8/16/91. Commitment: VMI.

47. Darius Rudoph, 2B, Snead State CC (AL), #1402 overall: Nothing to add here. DOB: 11/10/88.

48. Zach Dygert, C, Ball State, #1432 overall: A college junior that fell most likely due to his desire to finish school. DOB: 8/4/87.

49. Jose Sermo, OF, Ileana de Gracia HS (PR), #1462 overall: Nothing to add. DOB: 3/22/91.

50. Alvin Hines, OF, Pelham HS (AL), #1492 overall: Hines has a football scholarship to Samford, and I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 1/21/91. Commitment: Samford (FB).

From what I said before: “I give them a B, only because of Strasburg. I like the picks of Kobernus, Weaver, Taylor Jordan, and Nathan Karns, and if they can sign a single guy that’s projected to go to school, their grade might be a bit higher. Guys like Marcus Stroman, Brandon King, Kyle Morrison, Jacob Morris, Josh Elander, Chris Manno, Cohl Walla, and Hoby Milner make this an interesting draft, but I’d be surprised if any of those guys sign.”

Surprisingly, they’ve already signed Brandon King and Kyle Morrison from the aforementioned group, though they haven’t been able to nail down Nathan Karns as of yet. If they were to do so, and if they are able to sign Strasburg, Miguel Pena, Dean Weaver, and Roberto Perez, I’d wholeheartedly give this draft a solid B, as they’ve added some solid talent. Strasburg is obviously the prize, but Storen has had a nice debut, and Jeff Kobernus and A.J. Morris are both legitimate prospects. I still question the Trevor Holder pick, and I wonder why they even gave him $200K. Dean Weaver deserves more than Holder, which might be his holdup. Pena will sign relatively soon, but I’m less sure about Perez, as his OSU commitment kind of turns around the assumption in most baseball circles that a drafted Puerto Rican prospect is a signed Puerto Rican prospect. Good for him. That might lead other Puerto Rican prospects to seek out mainland college commitments, not just for leverage, but for legitimate options.

Looking at some quick trends, it’s obvious that the Nationals leaned heavily on the state of Texas, though they won’t sign the majority of the prospects there. They’ve also leaned heavily towards college players in the early rounds, with very signable younger players mixed in, as I’m pretty sure they’re surprised by Pena’s holdout and Perez’ as well. They went to the University of Georgia pitching staff a pair of times, a trend that could be followed in upcoming years, as that team seems to put out one or two quality arms every year. I’m guessing the team is hoping they can get a LOOGY out of one of Paul Applebee, Chad Jenkins, Mitch Clegg, Danny Rosenbaum, and Evan Bronson. The Nationals’ lack of Major League bullpen arms seems to have come through into the draft process. Overall, though, I think the Nationals did a nice job of adding some talent with some upside, though they didn’t have the money to really think big, and that must be disheartening. However, Brandon King is a nice late-round sign, and little things like that can help build farm systems back into respectability.

FINAL GRADE: B.

Note: If you have information that either contradicts the information above or can add to it (such as signing bonus information), feel free to leave a comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst@gmail.com.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Draft Review | | 14 Comments

   

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