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Thread: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

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    Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...keith#20070129

    Top 25 prospectsposted: Monday, January 29, 2007 | Print Entry

    I'm pleased to present the first annual Scouts Inc. top baseball prospects list. Given the late start we got on pro coverage last year, this list is short, with the top 25 prospects ranked and another 10 who merited consideration listed alphabetically afterward.
    Here are a few notes to explain where the rankings came from.:

    • Both ability (tools) and performance count. The closer the prospect is to the majors, the more important his performance becomes.

    • Players must still have rookie eligibility to qualify.

    • Players with little or no pro experience, or only experience in a complex or rookie league, don't make the cut. Andrew Miller and Luke Hochevar would both be candidates for this list if I chose to include them, but I'd rather see how players really adjust to the pro game before ranking them against players with full-season experience. For example: Clayton Kershaw was outstanding in the Gulf Coast League this summer -- but he was facing mostly 18-year-olds who were swinging wood bats regularly for the first time.

    • I also excluded Japanese players. Even though they're rookies, they're not "prospects" in any conventional sense of the term, especially since they have already played in a major league.

    • As always, proximity to the majors counts. The list is largely populated by players with at least some Double-A experience, and of the A-ballers on the list, only Cameron Maybin looks like he won't move that quickly. To put it another way, if you're still in A-ball, you need to have superstar potential to rate highly in these rankings.

    With that in mind, here's a quick rundown of the top prospects in the minors.

    1. Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals
    A complete hitter with a chance to be an above-average glove at a skill position. Ready for the majors now, and the leading non-Japanese contender for Rookie of the Year if he makes the big club in April.

    2. Delmon Young, RF, Devil Rays
    More raw talent than Gordon, but problems with his patience and his temper push him to No. 2. It would still be a huge upset if he doesn't become a big star, hitting for average and power with good defense.

    3. Chris Young, CF, Diamondbacks
    Power-walks-strikeouts. Probably a 50-55 bat at his peak, but for a center fielder, this is a star-caliber bat.

    4. Philip Hughes, RHP, Yankees
    Hughes vs. Homer Bailey is a toss-up. Hughes is more polished, with outstanding control, and he ends up higher because he has more probability than Bailey, who has the ceiling.

    5. Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds
    If it all clicks for him, he's a No. 1 starter, one of the only such candidates in the minors. Lots of power in a classic Texas workhorse build.

    6. Fernando Martinez, CF, Mets
    Martinez doesn't look or carry himself like a teenager, and he had no trouble against Double-A and Triple-A pitchers in the Arizona Fall League. A plus glove in center, as well.

    7. Adam Miller, RHP, Cleveland
    Plus-plus fastball, holds his velocity deep into games, plus slider and plus command. Could use a solid third pitch, and has some minor delivery issues to work out, but he's a potential No. 1, as well.

    8. Brandon Wood, SS, Angels
    Swings and misses an awful lot, but even if he ends up at third base, this kind of power is tough to ignore -- and if he stays at shortstop, he's a star.

    9. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
    Jumped two levels to Double-A at age 19 and didn't miss a beat. Legit center fielder who can fly, already hitting for plus power and controlling the strike zone, too. He and Martinez are the two early leaders for the No. 1 spot next winter.

    10. Jose Tabata, CF/RF, Yankees
    A teenager in a full-season league who showed nascent power, excellent hand-eye coordination and good pitch selection. Ranks below Martinez because he probably won't be a center fielder long term and because Martinez reached high-A and performed well.

    11. Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Brewers
    Good-sized kid with 90-93 fastball and a hard 12-to-6 curve in the upper 70s, as well as good control. Here's hoping he avoids the arm problems that have derailed almost every other Brewers pitching prospect of this decade.

    12. Billy Butler, LF, Royals
    Can hit, and hit for power, but shouldn't be allowed within 15 feet of a glove.

    13. Evan Longoria, 3B, Devil Rays
    Lower ceiling than a lot of guys on this list, but at worst he's a high-contact, high-OBP hitter with moderate power. Should be a defensive asset.

    14. Ryan Braun, 3B, Brewers
    As opposed to Longoria, Braun can hit and has more power. But he is a liability at third and will end up in left (or, if the Brewers are willing to take a risk, in center).

    15. Cameron Maybin, CF, Tigers
    More tools than Home Depot, but lacks the polish of Fernando Martinez or the discipline of Jose Tabata. With development, he could easily be one of the top three or four prospects in the game next winter.

    16. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
    Could probably pitch in the majors now as a reliever, putting up stat lines reminiscent of Mitch Williams' better years. Devastating high fastball/hammer-curve combination, with one of the crazier deliveries you'll ever see.

    17. Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox
    Offensively, there's not much of a drop-off (if any) from Joe Crede to Fields right now. For a player with limited baseball experience coming out of school, Fields has advanced very quickly and shown better strike-zone command than you typically see in multisport guys. I think there's quite a bit of growth left here, given his background.

    18. Adam Jones, CF, Mariners
    Jones is just a few weeks older than Delmon Young and outhit him in Triple-A this year. He's still raw in center and overaggressive at the plate, but he projects as an above-average bat and glove given some more development time.

    19. Adam Lind, LF, Blue Jays
    Classic left-handed swing, with good power potential as he fills out. Like Fields, he gets bonus points for being ready to play in the majors right now.

    20. Carlos Gonzalez, RF, Diamondbacks
    Easy power, good athlete, zero patience. Makes the list on ability, but with as much flameout risk as anyone else in the top 25.

    21. Reid Brignac, SS, Devil Rays
    Only thing keeping him out of the top 10-15 is his position. His defense improved this year, but he's still erratic, and the Rays do not have a good track record at improving the defense of their prospects.

    22. Matt Garza, RHP, Twins
    Great arm who raced through the minors and may be forced into a major league role a bit before he's ready.

    23. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
    Good range in the field, a 70 arm and plus power? I'll take two.

    24. John Danks, LHP, White Sox
    Has some fastball command issues to work out, but he's very close to the majors, more so than any of the pitchers on the honorable-mention list below.

    25. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers
    Plus bat, plus plate discipline, average power and not a great athlete. Should be an above-average third baseman in the bigs.


    Honorable mentions
    • Nick Adenhart, RHP, Angels
    Ability matches that of the top guys on the list above, but he hasn't proven it at upper levels, and he'll need to show he can handle larger workloads as he gets further away from 2004 ligament replacement surgery.
    • Jay Bruce, RF, Reds
    I'm probably the low man on Bruce, for a couple of reasons. One is that he's already consigned to right field. A bigger one is that, at this point, he's a pull-oriented, fastball hitter who really struggles against left-handed pitchers and against righties with good off-speed stuff (especially changeups). He's a good athlete with good pull power and plus speed, but 2006 wasn't a good step forward for him.

    • Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox
    Outstanding fastball/curve combo, but he was a bit old for low-A, making his dominance at that level less impressive. Should spend all or most of 2007 in Double-A.

    • Elijah Dukes, OF, Devil Rays
    If he would stop trying to unseat Milton Bradley as the Angriest Man in Baseball, he'd be on the list above. Catch him on the right day, and he'll show a 70 bat and 60-70 power. The most impressive thing I saw in the AFL this year was when Dukes (a right-handed hitter) swung at a ball that was off the outside corner and jerked it over the left-field fence.

    • Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles
    Still mostly just a live arm, but made some progress with his slider. Control is a tick below average, and his fastball command comes and goes.

    • Phil Humber, RHP, and Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Mets
    Pelfrey misses the cut until he has a breaking ball he can really use, while Humber's continued arm troubles (he was shut down again in the AFL, supposedly as a precautionary measure) keep him off the list.

    • Eric Hurley, RHP, Rangers
    Still some projection here, but he's already working with two plus pitches, and he survived the Cal League. Better long-term prospect than Danks, but Danks gets the nod because he's nearly ready.

    • Chuck Lofgren, LHP, Indians
    Tall lefty with an average fastball and a plus changeup. Equally effective against left- and right-handed batters in 2006. I'd like to see a better breaking ball before he cracks the top 20-25.

    • Felix Pie, CF, Cubs
    Ability is still there, but the power he flashed in 2005 wasn't apparent in 2006.

    • Colby Rasmus, CF, Cardinals
    Made my first rough cut at 25, but LaRoche's proximity to the majors won out. Just needs development time.

    • Justin Upton, CF, Diamondbacks
    I imagine this will be the most controversial placement. Upton's tools grade out at or just below Maybin's, but he didn't perform at the level of the A-ball teens on the list above (even playing in the best hitters' park of the bunch), and while it may not be fair, brother B.J. is now four years out and still hasn't established himself in the majors.

    One other name to keep an eye on is Atlanta shortstop Elvis Andrus, whose performance in 2006 was nothing special but who is already a good defensive shortstop, has good bat control and was the second-youngest player in full-season ball this year (Fernando Martinez is about six weeks younger than Andrus). He's not one of the 40 or 50 best prospects in baseball yet, but as a legit shortstop with the tools to hit, he's a sleeper and the kind of prospect who can go from nowhere to the top half of a list like this in one year.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...keith#20070129
    Ranking the farm systemsposted: Friday, January 26, 2007 | Print Entry

    As part of the prep work for my Hot Stove Heater on farm systems, I did a cursory ranking of all 30 farm systems, which I present below (rankings are from best (1) to worst (30)). Just a quick note on my criteria:
    • Players who have lost their rookie eligibility don't count for this exercise.

    • Both ability and performance count when looking at individual players, and both ceiling and depth count when looking at systems.

    • I'm a strong believer in the "time value of prospects" -- the idea that a prospect's value increases significantly as he gets closer to the big leagues. So an organization like Washington, with most of its best prospects in short-season ball in 2006, scores poorly here, because those prospects are four or five years away from the majors, and the attrition rate on those kids is going to be high.

    One other thing to bear in mind is how volatile these rankings are. Matt Garza finished the last season at 50 innings, so he's a rookie in 2007 by the slimmest of margins; without him, the Twins would rank a few notches lower. By the middle of '07, a number of these teams will have moved around as players have "graduated" from their farm systems to the big leagues.

    1. Tampa Bay: Packed with high-ceiling bats and a lot of pitching depth, although most of it was in A-ball in 2006.

    2. Colorado: Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta give them two outstanding up-the-middle prospects, and outfielder Dexter Fowler, who turned down a chance to go to some liberal arts school in Cambridge, Mass., looks like an outstanding late sign from 2005.

    3. Arizona: One of the most impressive waves of hitting prospects that any team has assembled continues in 2007 with Chris Young ready to step in and Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton coming along behind him.

    4. Kansas City: Little depth, but their top three prospects (Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar) are as good as any organization's top three.

    5. N.Y. Yankees: Massive improvement since 2005, buttressed by some trades for prospects and a higher-ceiling approach to the draft.

    6. Cleveland: Perhaps the best depth system in the game, with one impact prospect in Adam Miller and two left-handed starters who are close to that in Scott Lewis and Chuck Lofgren.

    7. N.Y. Mets: Three potential impact guys in Fernando Martinez, Mike Pelfrey, and Phil Humber (if he's healthy), but the system lacks depth, with a lot of their better prospects still in short-season ball.

    8. L.A. Angels: The next wave of Angels arms is coming, led by Nick Adenhart and Jose Arredondo. Brandon Wood and Erick Aybar are both above-average prospects who are close to reaching the majors.

    9. Milwaukee: The Brewers' top pitching prospect, Yovanni Gallardo, doesn't have the name value of Philip Hughes or Homer Bailey, but he's just about in their class.

    10. Minnesota: Very good pitching depth, with Matt Garza about to graduate from the system, but their high school bats just haven't panned out.

    11. Detroit: The Gary Sheffield deal kept them out of the top 10, but Cameron Maybin is just a tick below the Jose Tabatas and Fernando Martinezes of the world, while Andrew Miller should be one of the top five pitching prospects in the minors by midseason.

    12. Atlanta: Depth without ceiling, especially since one-time blue-chip prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia now has several dents in his armor (injuries, hitting struggles and his sheer size, which may move him out from behind the plate).

    13. Baltimore: Slow progress up these rankings, but the system is starting to build some depth, which should pay off in 2008. Brandon Snyder's struggles in 2006 were a huge disappointment.

    14. Boston: The Josh Beckett deal took out two of their top prospects, but they still have future Gold Glove outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and right-handed starter Clay Buchholz, both about a year away from reaching the majors, and I rated their 2006 draft the best of all clubs'.

    15. Cincinnati: Most of the system's value is concentrated on Homer Bailey, perhaps the best pitching prospect in baseball.

    16. Chi. White Sox: The Brandon McCarthy and Freddy Garcia trades helped to restock a system depleted by deals for veterans. Ryan Sweeney and Josh Fields are both ready to step into major-league roles if needed.

    17. L.A. Dodgers: No team was hurt more in these rankings by promotions than the Dodgers, as Matt Kemp would be one of the top 10 prospects in baseball if he qualified, and Chad Billingsley spent most of last year in the majors when the initial plan was to give him a year in Triple-A. Scott Elbert's control troubles are also a concern.

    18. Houston: Hunter Pence and Troy Patton are both solid prospects, but the Astros have given up a number of draft picks to sign free agents, and their 2005 first-rounder, Tulane left-hander Brian Bogusevic, still hasn't gotten past the Midwest League (Class A).

    19. Chi. Cubs: Other than the enigmatic Felix Pie, there isn't much close to the majors here.

    20. Pittsburgh: Andrew McCutchen already looks like the steal of the 2005 draft's first round, but behind him and 2006 first-rounder Brad Lincoln, there's very little here.

    21. Oakland: Their 2003 class was a huge bust, and their first three picks in 2004 are all probably washouts as well, with the fourth pick in that draft, Huston Street, already comfortably ensconced in the majors.

    22. Florida: To be fair, all of the Marlins' prospects spent 2006 in the majors. They do have a wave of big-tools pitchers coming, including Sean West and Chris Volstad.

    23. Washington: The Nats have some promising kids (like Colten Willems) who spent the year in short-season ball, but nothing remotely close to the majors. Their system was also badly hurt by the period of MLB ownership, which ran a bare-bones scouting budget and provided little incentive for the team to think long-term.

    24. Toronto: Adam Lind has star potential, but the only other impact prospect here is outfielder Travis Snider, who spent 2006 in rookie ball with a team that no longer exists.

    25. Seattle: The Mariners have given up a lot of picks to sign free agents, and their last two first-rounders (Jeff Clement in 2005 and Brandon Morrow in 2006) both look like long-term injury risks.

    26. Texas: Probably the shocker of the list for me, as the Rangers' touted DVD trio hasn't panned out as planned, with Thomas Diamond looking destined for the pen and John Danks dealt to pick up the more major-league ready Brandon McCarthy.

    27. San Francisco: No surprise here, as the Giants have willfully surrendered their first-round picks for years until they were forced by the rules to keep their No. 1 in 2006, which they used to select Tim Lincecum, now their top prospect.

    28. St. Louis: Saved from the bottom spot by Colby Rasmus, who just needs to pass the Double-A test to become one of the top 10 to 15 prospects in the minors.

    29. Philadelphia: Thin system which got thinner by the sudden rise of Cole Hamels. The closest solid-average prospect to the majors here is Carlos Carrasco, who spent the year in low-A.

    30. San Diego: The system's best prospects are Kevin Kouzmanoff, a low-power corner bat just acquired from Cleveland, and pitcher Cesar Carrillo, who missed the last half of the season with elbow trouble. Years of unproductive drafts have really taken a toll here.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    It kills me.

    In 2005, Cincy could have dealt Griffey and gotten Chris Young from CWS.
    In 2006, they drafted Stubbs over Lincecum.

    How's Homer, Votto, Bruce, Young and Lincecum looking?

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    That list is pretty out there. Tabata and Martinez both in the top 10? The highest I have seen either of them is 19 and 23. I take this list with a LARGE grain of salt.

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    That list is pretty out there. Tabata and Martinez both in the top 10? The highest I have seen either of them is 19 and 23. I take this list with a LARGE grain of salt.
    And Law points out that being close to the majors gets points in his list - and Tabata, who only played in the Sally League last year, is No. 10.

    I guess I don't get the pub on Tabata (probably gets a huge amount because he's a Yankee. He's 5-10 160, and even Law conceeds he won't play CF much longer. Yet Bruce gets knocked because he's already a RF?

    But at 18 in Low A he put up a .797OPS.

    Every other major teenage OF prodigy in Low A last year (Bruce, Maybin, Rasmus, McCutchen) except for Upton topped 800OPS.

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by paulrichjr View Post
    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...keith#20070129

    • Jay Bruce, RF, Reds
    I'm probably the low man on Bruce, for a couple of reasons. One is that he's already consigned to right field. A bigger one is that, at this point, he's a pull-oriented, fastball hitter who really struggles against left-handed pitchers and against righties with good off-speed stuff (especially changeups). He's a good athlete with good pull power and plus speed, but 2006 wasn't a good step forward for him.
    I had to look into the "pull oriented hitter" claim. I went to minorleaguesplits.com and checked out Jays Batted ball types.

    Jay had 111 non-HR hits last season.
    25 hits went to the left side of the field or 22.5%
    31 hits went to the center of the field or 28%
    55 hits went to the right of the field or 49.5%

    Jay had 214 outs on the season.
    55 outs went to the left side of the field or 25.7%
    45 outs went to the center of the field or 21%
    114 outs went to the right side of the field 53.3%

    So of Jays 325 non HR balls he put in play this past season he had the following break down:
    Left side of the field - 24.6%
    Center of the field - 23.4%
    Right side of the field - 52%

    For being a pull hitter, he goes the opposite field more than he does to center.....

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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    That list is pretty out there. Tabata and Martinez both in the top 10? The highest I have seen either of them is 19 and 23. I take this list with a LARGE grain of salt.
    He might know what he's talking about...he ranked Stubbs 16th in last year's draft and Lincecum 4th.

    1. Andrew Miller, LHP, University of North Carolina

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 North Carolina 2.26 103.2 82 40 26 1 35 108 .217 26%
    2006 Chatham 1.65 49.0 22 11 9 1 23 66 .133 34%
    2005 North Carolina 2.98 96.2 78 45 32 4 52 104 .230 25%
    The consensus No. 1 pick, Miller has been on prospect radar screens since he was a senior in high school in Florida, when he flashed a 94-95 mph fastball but fell out of the first round due to his seven-figure bonus demands. Tampa Bay selected him in the third round in 2003 but failed to sign him -- another parting gift from Chuck LaMar -- which has worked out well for Miller, who finds himself as the top left-handed starter in a draft thin on first-round talents. Miller's fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can run it up to 96-97 as needed, and he complements it with a plus breaking ball that he sweeps to left-handers but throws with more of a two-plane break to right-handers. Because he's 6-foot-6, Miller's delivery also causes trouble for left-handed hitters. And he was easily the best groundball pitcher among college starter prospects this year, with nearly 80 percent of his field outs coming on the ground.

    2. Luke Hochevar, RHP, Tennessee/Fort Worth Cats

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Ft. Worth 2.38 22.2 20 7 6 1 11 34 .244 36%
    2005 Tennessee 2.26 139,2 104 46 35 9 54 154 .204 27%
    Hochevar was widely seen as a top-10 talent in the 2005 draft coming off his junior year at Tennessee, but he faded toward the end of that spring, walking four or more batters in six of his last 10 starts and seeing his velocity drop slightly. The decline in his performance combined with the perceived bonus demands of his "adviser," Scott Boras, led Hochevar to fall out of the first round all the way to the 40th pick, when the Dodgers took him with their first pick of the draft. That led to a sordid series of events around Labor Day when Hochevar switched agents, agreed to a bonus of nearly $3 million that was equivalent to slot money for a top five pick, then switched back to Boras, reneged on the deal, and blasted both the Dodgers and his erstwhile agent for somehow duping him into signing a bad contract. It's tough to sugarcoat Hochevar's actions; either he's a rube, or he's a weasel. But these sins are forgiven when your fastball is 94-97 and you throw two solid-to-plus breaking balls. There are rumors that Hochevar may go first overall, signing for roughly $4 million -- less than Miller is alleged to want, and more than Hochevar was offered by LA last year, making it a win for Boras.

    3. Brad Lincoln, RHP, University of Houston

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Houston 1.69 127.2 91 29 24 8 32 152 .198 32%
    2006 Bourne 1.32 54.2 39 13 8 0 10 56 .196 26%
    2005 Houston 4.76 102.0 124 71 54 12 25 106 .298 23%
    Although Lincoln is considered short (6-foot) by baseball standards -- at least for a right-handed pitcher -- he's solid enough to also serve as a DH when he's not on the mound, finishing second in the Cape Cod League in homers and third in slugging percentage in 2005. That aside, Lincoln's going to make his money as a pitcher, with a solid low-90s fastball with good sink, a power curve that ranks among the best in this draft, and a solid changeup that he sells well. Aside from the height concern ("you must be as tall as this sign to pitch in the big leagues"), Lincoln also suffers from a lack of projection, as he's already filled out physically and his secondary stuff is already quite good. He's the highest-probability collegiate arm in this draft and should go in the top five picks.

    4. Tim Lincecum, RHP, University of Washington

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Washington 1.94 125.1 75 39 27 8 63 199 .173 39%
    2006 Harwich 0.69 39.1 14 7 3 0 11 68 .104 47%
    2005 Washington 3.11 104.1 62 40 36 4 71 131 .179 30%
    The circus freak among this year's top prospects, Lincecum might not even reach 5-foot-10 in heels, weighs less than Old Weird Harold, and has a delivery that draws comparisons to a catapult, but his one-two combination of a mid-90s fastball and an outstanding downer curveball might be the best two-pitch tandem in the draft. He has a simple plan: get ahead with two fastballs, then put hitters away with the deuce. However, Lincecum's size, unorthodox delivery, heavy workload -- he threw relief in midweek games four times this spring, and threw eight or more innings seven times -- and mediocre control all point toward a bullpen role in the pros. The limited data on Lincecum as a reliever supports the argument; in the Cape Cod League last summer, Lincecum threw 19.1 innings across 16 relief appearances, allowing one run, walking four batters and fanning 42. If the team that drafts him does put him in the pen, he's likely to be the first 2006 draftee to reach the majors.

    5. Evan Longoria, INF, Long Beach State

    Year Team AVG OBP SLG AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB
    2006 L.B. St. .353 .468 .602 201 71 13 2 11 40 29 3
    2006 Chatham .299 .331 .500 164 49 7 1 8 7 30 6
    2005 L.B. St. .310 .368 .421 228 73 8 0 5 14 41 10
    No relation to Eva -- much to the chagrin of area scouts volunteering to do the home visit -- Longoria is the top collegiate position player prospect in the pool, although that's more a reflection of the lack of star-caliber college hitters than of Longoria's own potential. Despite his apparent attempts to adopt the swing of 2005 first-rounder Troy Tulowitzki (who was the Dirtbags' shortstop for three years), Longoria is a completely different animal from Tulo, who was a rangy shortstop with plus power potential and a hose for an arm. Longoria has played third and second in addition to short, and his ultimate position isn't clear. He has only average raw power, but has shown excellent plate discipline this spring after struggling with the strike zone in an otherwise stellar summer on the Cape. He does have a hole inside, common in a lot of power hitters, but a little surprising for a disciplined, plate-coverage guy like Longoria. He'll be an above-average regular if he can stay at short, or an average third baseman, quick to the big leagues, but without much star potential.

    6. Max Scherzer, RHP, University of Missouri

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Missouri 1.95 73.2 51 18 16 3 23 72 .204 28%
    2006 Team USA 2.70 20 22 9 6 1 2 24 .282 28%
    2005 Missouri 1.86 106.1 59 26 22 3 41 131 .163 32%
    Scherzer likely would have entered the draft as the top college right-hander had he not been slowed by two bouts of tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, causing him to miss four starts in two separate stints of inactivity and causing his velocity to drop during the season, although he finished strongly, touching 98 in his last outing. A healthy Scherzer is an animal -- a big, physical kid with a 94-98 mph fastball and a hard low-80s slider, although Scherzer struggled badly with his breaking ball in March and April. As a Boras client -- excuse me, advisee -- Scherzer's ultimate destination will probably be determined by his bonus demands rather than his health or stuff, meaning he could drop out of the top 20.

    7. Billy Rowell, SS, Bishop Eustice Prep (Pennsauken, N.J.)

    Rowell has the highest offensive ceiling of any high school hitter in this year's draft, but has a longer way to go to reach his potential than some of the other top prep bats. Like Chris Marrero (No. 18), Rowell puts on a show in BP. He has tremendous raw power, although he needs to learn to extend his arms more and to stay on his back leg better, particularly in games. He's shown himself to be vulnerable inside as well. Rowell is not expected to stay at shortstop due to his long actions in the field, but has the arm to move to third base or to right field.

    8. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Highland Park H.S. (Dallas, Texas)

    Kershaw has supplanted Kyle Drabek as the top prep arm in the country, and while Drabek's off-field issues have helped make that happen, Kershaw's stuff and undeniable left-handedness have also been factors in his rise, so that he's now expected to go in the top eight picks. Kershaw probably would be a middle-of-the-round talent in an ordinary draft class, but rises to the top here on the strength of his live 92-95 mph fastball, quick arm, and big frame. His curve is inconsistent but flashes plus at times. At this point, there's next to no chance that Kershaw makes it out of the top seven picks.

    9. Joba Chamberlain, RHP, University of Nebraska

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Nebraska 3.93 89.1 84 41 39 6 34 102 .255 28%
    2006 Beatrice (MINK) 1.59 45.1 32 10 8 2 13 63 .195 35%
    2005 Nebraska 2.81 118.2 91 44 37 7 33 130 .218 28%
    Joba (pronounced Jaw-buh) Chamberlain came into the year without much fanfare, as he spent 2004 pitching for Division II Nebraska-Kearney, then after a solid spring with Nebraska in 2005, he chose to pitch in the little-known, unsanctioned M.I.N.K. League over the summer. Chamberlain then came out throwing bullets in the early going, pitching consistently in the 91-94 range and touching 98, along with two breaking balls and the beginnings of a changeup. Despite missing two starts in mid-March due to what was called "biceps tendinitis," Chamberlain made starts in each of the season's last 10 weekends. Still, one executive told me that his club had high medical flags on Chamberlain, both due to the tendinitis and due to another, more serious arm problem.

    10. Pedro Beato, RHP, St. Petersburg Junior College

    Beato's presence on this list is a huge shock, not because he lacks the talent, but because he was drafted by the Mets last year, giving them a chance to sign him this May as a draft-and-follow. Since Beato is from New York City (Xavieran High School in Brooklyn), it was assumed that he'd leap at the chance to pitch for his local team and start his pro career in his own backyard. To the surprise of just about everyone in the game, it didn't happen, even though the Mets lack a first-round pick. Because Beato was under control and presumed as good as signed, he wasn't heavily scouted this spring, making his destination in the draft an open question. As a prospect, he grades out very well as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter: tall, strong kid (6-6, 220), plus fastball up to 96 mph, average changeup, power curveball in the upper 70s that is inconsistent, with outstanding makeup and good grades to boot. That package in a 19-year-old is rare, and the fact that he's faced good competition in his year in junior college sets him apart from most of the prep arms in this draft. (How good is St. Pete's baseball program? Unless he goes in the top 40 or 50 picks, Dellin Betances, one of the top prep arms in the country -- albeit as raw as beef carpaccio -- is committed to take Beato's place.)

    11. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Halifax County Senior H.S. (South Boston, Va.)

    One of the few true flamethrowers in this year's draft, Jeffress' slim build (6-foot, 175 pounds) belies the quality of his arm. He features an electric fastball that runs up to 97 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games. His curveball has power but is inconsistent, and he has some feel for a changeup -- unusual even in the best high school pitching prospects. Although his size might be seen as a negative, his fastball velocity and durability are already excellent, so projection isn't an issue.

    12. Daniel Bard, RHP, University of North Carolina

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 No. Carolina 3.47 85.2 71 42 33 4 33 90 .225 24%
    2006 Wareham 1.25 65.0 42 18 9 2 20 82 .183 32%
    2005 North Carolina 4.22 89.2 73 53 42 8 43 77 .219 19%
    Few players in this year's draft cause as much disagreement as the Tar Heels' other hard-throwing starter, this one a righty with a low arm slot and questions about his makeup. On a good day, Bard keeps his arm at a low three-quarters angle, firing 92-96 mph sinkers with a tight slider that has good, late bite. On other days, his arm angle drops, his slider flattens out, and he struggles to throw strikes. That inconsistency combined with a lot of whispering have led to questions about Bard's toughness and coachability -- vague criticisms that prompted one top evaluator to ask me, "How do you argue against that?" Bard's ultimate destination is probably in short relief, but he does hold his velocity into games and has a good enough shot to remain a starter to warrant a first-round pick.


    13. Brandon Morrow, RHP, University of California

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 California 2.05 96.2 72 34 22 5 39 97 .211 25%
    2006 Yar.-Den. 1.84 14.2 13 3 3 0 9 24 .232 37%
    2005 California 9.36 25.0 32 27 26 3 20 25 .308 20%
    The first time I saw Morrow was on Cape Cod the summer after his freshman year, when he was throwing 87-91 and was so thin that you could have stuck him down the storm gutters to retrieve a lost ball. Fast forward to this spring, when Morrow was throwing 97-99 mph, holding his velo into the late innings of starts and flashing a new splitter that gave him his first quality secondary pitch. A solid three-start run (23 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 20 K) against Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford in front of plenty of scouting directors and cross-checkers helped cement his status as a likely top-10 pick. The lack of a breaking ball and prior command issues are the major negatives.

    14. Travis Snider, LF/RF, Jackson H.S. (Everett, Wash.)

    Snider burst onto the scene in the Area Code Games before his junior year of high school, and despite adding some weight this season (and not the good kind), he's still likely to go in the top half of the first round. The left-handed hitter has a sound, conventional swing that generates significant raw and in-game power, with a number of long home runs on his résumé. He'll need to hit and hit for power, however, as he is likely to end up in left field or at first base in the pros, due to his body type and his below-average arm.

    15. Greg Reynolds, RHP, Stanford

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Stanford 3.36 120.2 111 52 45 7 28 99 .252 20%
    2006 Bourne 1.70 53.0 36 13 10 2 15 34 .195 17%
    2005 Stanford 5.08 51.1 51 36 29 4 17 51 .260 23%
    Reynolds is one of the more polished pitching products in this draft, perhaps only behind Lincoln in that regard. Reynolds' fastball is a tick above average with decent sink, he has a plus 11-to-5 curveball, and he has good command. He also gets points for pitching well this year in the Pac-10, one of the best baseball conferences in the country. But one thing sets Reynolds apart from most of the other college pitchers who'll go in the first round on Tuesday: He just doesn't miss bats. Only the two-sport star Jeff Samardzija fanned a lower percentage of opposing hitters than Reynolds did this spring. Reynolds' K rates have never been good, even in the pitcher-friendly Cape Cod League last summer. So while he's a very high-probability pick, he's likely to end up no more than a fourth starter.

    16. Drew Stubbs, CF, University of Texas

    Year Team AVG OBP SLG AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB
    2006 Texas .342 .439 .580 243 83 14 4 12 41 60 26
    2006 Team USA .304 .385 .370 46 14 3 0 0 6 14 1
    2005 Texas .311 .384 .527 283 88 20 4 11 32 71 32
    Stubbs is Longoria's primary competition for the spot of top collegiate position player, and where the two sit on various draft boards depends on the various organizations' philosophies. While performance analysis would put Longoria in front, a more traditional, tools-oriented approach would put Stubbs far above Longoria. Stubbs is a well-above average runner and an outstanding defensive center fielder, two things generally lacking in this year's pool of collegiate hitters. However, Stubbs' flaws are substantial -- his raw power shows up in BP, but not as often in games; and he swings and misses far too often to project him to hit for any kind of average, striking out 71 times as a sophomore and 53 times as a junior. As a plus defensive player at a position on the left end of the defensive spectrum, Stubbs is likely to go in the top 20 picks, but I think there's a significant chance that he doesn't hit enough to play every day in the majors.

    17. Kyle Drabek, RHP, The Woodlands H.S. (The Woodlands, Texas)

    On talent alone, Drabek would rank as the draft's top high school pitching prospect ... and probably its top high school hitting prospect as well, although every insider I spoke with ranked him as a pitcher. Drabek works with a five-pitch repertoire, but his selling points are the mid-90s fastball and an outstanding curve. Oddly enough for the son of a pretty good big-leaguer, Drabek is not a polished pitcher, but is more of a talented arm who'd need some development. But the knocks on Drabek are substantial, from reports calling him "spoiled" to a history of off-field incidents, including a public intoxication charge that was dismissed and a one-car accident in which he rammed his SUV into a tree. Were it not for makeup concerns that have the names Jeff Allison and Josh Hamilton on some people's lips, Drabek would probably go in the top five picks, perhaps as the top pick overall, but one scouting director with whom I spoke called Drabek "the wild card" -- no one knows where he'll go.

    18. Chris Marrero, 3B, Monsignor Pace H.S. (Opa Locka, Fla.)

    Marrero came into 2006 as the consensus top high school hitter in the draft, but a subpar spring, coupled with strong performances from Snider and Rowell, has pushed Marrero out of a likely top-five slot. In fact, Marrero was overshadowed most of the spring by a teammate, shortstop Adrian Cardenas, a baseball rat who ended up setting a county record for home runs. Marrero remains high on draft boards due to his long history of success playing on the U.S. junior team and at various showcases, and because the plus power is still evident in batting practice. In games this year, however, Marrero has been pulling off the ball, failing to show any power to the opposite field. Of the big three high school bats, Marrero has the best chance to play at a skill position (third base) in the majors.

    19. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, University of Notre Dame



    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Notre Dame 4.33 97.2 101 51 47 3 37 61 .272 15%
    2005 Notre Dame 3.89 78.2 85 39 34 3 30 56 .272 16%
    Samardzija doesn't fit on the list for a variety of reasons. His performance this spring was nowhere near that of the other college players here, and even fell short of teammate (and possible first round pick) Jeff Manship's. He probably won't go in the first 20 picks, or even in the first round. And he was a second-team All-American in football. Samardzija started at wide receiver for Notre Dame last fall, racking up over 1,200 receiving yards and earning a place on Todd McShay's list of the top 12 senior prospects for the 2007 NFL draft. Because Samardzija still has a lot of development ahead of him if he wants to pitch in the big leagues, his determination to play both sports makes him less appealing to otherwise interested MLB clubs, who like his combination of size, athleticism, raw stuff (easy 92-95, allegedly reaching 99 at times, but inconsistent), and plus makeup.


    20. Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach H.S. (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

    Hyun "Hank" Conger is the top high school catcher in the country, although he's earned that status largely on the strength of his bat, as there's a lot of doubt about whether he'll stay behind the plate or move to another position, possibly third base (where he played a little bit in high school) or more likely first base. Conger's appeal is that he's a switch-hitter with legitimate power from both sides of the plate; that puts him ahead of the draft's "other" top high school catcher, Max Sapp (Bishop Moore School, Orlando, Fla.), a left-handed power bat with similar questions about his ultimate position.

  9. #8
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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    It kills me.

    In 2005, Cincy could have dealt Griffey and gotten Chris Young from CWS.
    In 2006, they drafted Stubbs over Lincecum.

    How's Homer, Votto, Bruce, Young and Lincecum looking?
    Funny thing is, if DanO had stayed through his contract, that would have probably happened(his deal got Veto'd by Lindner who shut everything down essentially for the ownership change) if no ownership change happened to the next fall.

    Then Cast doesn't rehire him last fall................
    Last edited by Aronchis; 01-29-2007 at 10:24 PM.

  10. #9
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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Yeah, the 06 draft is already won and lost I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    He might know what he's talking about...he ranked Stubbs 16th in last year's draft and Lincecum 4th.

    1. Andrew Miller, LHP, University of North Carolina

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 North Carolina 2.26 103.2 82 40 26 1 35 108 .217 26%
    2006 Chatham 1.65 49.0 22 11 9 1 23 66 .133 34%
    2005 North Carolina 2.98 96.2 78 45 32 4 52 104 .230 25%
    The consensus No. 1 pick, Miller has been on prospect radar screens since he was a senior in high school in Florida, when he flashed a 94-95 mph fastball but fell out of the first round due to his seven-figure bonus demands. Tampa Bay selected him in the third round in 2003 but failed to sign him -- another parting gift from Chuck LaMar -- which has worked out well for Miller, who finds himself as the top left-handed starter in a draft thin on first-round talents. Miller's fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can run it up to 96-97 as needed, and he complements it with a plus breaking ball that he sweeps to left-handers but throws with more of a two-plane break to right-handers. Because he's 6-foot-6, Miller's delivery also causes trouble for left-handed hitters. And he was easily the best groundball pitcher among college starter prospects this year, with nearly 80 percent of his field outs coming on the ground.

    2. Luke Hochevar, RHP, Tennessee/Fort Worth Cats

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Ft. Worth 2.38 22.2 20 7 6 1 11 34 .244 36%
    2005 Tennessee 2.26 139,2 104 46 35 9 54 154 .204 27%
    Hochevar was widely seen as a top-10 talent in the 2005 draft coming off his junior year at Tennessee, but he faded toward the end of that spring, walking four or more batters in six of his last 10 starts and seeing his velocity drop slightly. The decline in his performance combined with the perceived bonus demands of his "adviser," Scott Boras, led Hochevar to fall out of the first round all the way to the 40th pick, when the Dodgers took him with their first pick of the draft. That led to a sordid series of events around Labor Day when Hochevar switched agents, agreed to a bonus of nearly $3 million that was equivalent to slot money for a top five pick, then switched back to Boras, reneged on the deal, and blasted both the Dodgers and his erstwhile agent for somehow duping him into signing a bad contract. It's tough to sugarcoat Hochevar's actions; either he's a rube, or he's a weasel. But these sins are forgiven when your fastball is 94-97 and you throw two solid-to-plus breaking balls. There are rumors that Hochevar may go first overall, signing for roughly $4 million -- less than Miller is alleged to want, and more than Hochevar was offered by LA last year, making it a win for Boras.

    3. Brad Lincoln, RHP, University of Houston

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Houston 1.69 127.2 91 29 24 8 32 152 .198 32%
    2006 Bourne 1.32 54.2 39 13 8 0 10 56 .196 26%
    2005 Houston 4.76 102.0 124 71 54 12 25 106 .298 23%
    Although Lincoln is considered short (6-foot) by baseball standards -- at least for a right-handed pitcher -- he's solid enough to also serve as a DH when he's not on the mound, finishing second in the Cape Cod League in homers and third in slugging percentage in 2005. That aside, Lincoln's going to make his money as a pitcher, with a solid low-90s fastball with good sink, a power curve that ranks among the best in this draft, and a solid changeup that he sells well. Aside from the height concern ("you must be as tall as this sign to pitch in the big leagues"), Lincoln also suffers from a lack of projection, as he's already filled out physically and his secondary stuff is already quite good. He's the highest-probability collegiate arm in this draft and should go in the top five picks.

    4. Tim Lincecum, RHP, University of Washington

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Washington 1.94 125.1 75 39 27 8 63 199 .173 39%
    2006 Harwich 0.69 39.1 14 7 3 0 11 68 .104 47%
    2005 Washington 3.11 104.1 62 40 36 4 71 131 .179 30%
    The circus freak among this year's top prospects, Lincecum might not even reach 5-foot-10 in heels, weighs less than Old Weird Harold, and has a delivery that draws comparisons to a catapult, but his one-two combination of a mid-90s fastball and an outstanding downer curveball might be the best two-pitch tandem in the draft. He has a simple plan: get ahead with two fastballs, then put hitters away with the deuce. However, Lincecum's size, unorthodox delivery, heavy workload -- he threw relief in midweek games four times this spring, and threw eight or more innings seven times -- and mediocre control all point toward a bullpen role in the pros. The limited data on Lincecum as a reliever supports the argument; in the Cape Cod League last summer, Lincecum threw 19.1 innings across 16 relief appearances, allowing one run, walking four batters and fanning 42. If the team that drafts him does put him in the pen, he's likely to be the first 2006 draftee to reach the majors.

    5. Evan Longoria, INF, Long Beach State

    Year Team AVG OBP SLG AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB
    2006 L.B. St. .353 .468 .602 201 71 13 2 11 40 29 3
    2006 Chatham .299 .331 .500 164 49 7 1 8 7 30 6
    2005 L.B. St. .310 .368 .421 228 73 8 0 5 14 41 10
    No relation to Eva -- much to the chagrin of area scouts volunteering to do the home visit -- Longoria is the top collegiate position player prospect in the pool, although that's more a reflection of the lack of star-caliber college hitters than of Longoria's own potential. Despite his apparent attempts to adopt the swing of 2005 first-rounder Troy Tulowitzki (who was the Dirtbags' shortstop for three years), Longoria is a completely different animal from Tulo, who was a rangy shortstop with plus power potential and a hose for an arm. Longoria has played third and second in addition to short, and his ultimate position isn't clear. He has only average raw power, but has shown excellent plate discipline this spring after struggling with the strike zone in an otherwise stellar summer on the Cape. He does have a hole inside, common in a lot of power hitters, but a little surprising for a disciplined, plate-coverage guy like Longoria. He'll be an above-average regular if he can stay at short, or an average third baseman, quick to the big leagues, but without much star potential.

    6. Max Scherzer, RHP, University of Missouri

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Missouri 1.95 73.2 51 18 16 3 23 72 .204 28%
    2006 Team USA 2.70 20 22 9 6 1 2 24 .282 28%
    2005 Missouri 1.86 106.1 59 26 22 3 41 131 .163 32%
    Scherzer likely would have entered the draft as the top college right-hander had he not been slowed by two bouts of tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, causing him to miss four starts in two separate stints of inactivity and causing his velocity to drop during the season, although he finished strongly, touching 98 in his last outing. A healthy Scherzer is an animal -- a big, physical kid with a 94-98 mph fastball and a hard low-80s slider, although Scherzer struggled badly with his breaking ball in March and April. As a Boras client -- excuse me, advisee -- Scherzer's ultimate destination will probably be determined by his bonus demands rather than his health or stuff, meaning he could drop out of the top 20.

    7. Billy Rowell, SS, Bishop Eustice Prep (Pennsauken, N.J.)

    Rowell has the highest offensive ceiling of any high school hitter in this year's draft, but has a longer way to go to reach his potential than some of the other top prep bats. Like Chris Marrero (No. 18), Rowell puts on a show in BP. He has tremendous raw power, although he needs to learn to extend his arms more and to stay on his back leg better, particularly in games. He's shown himself to be vulnerable inside as well. Rowell is not expected to stay at shortstop due to his long actions in the field, but has the arm to move to third base or to right field.

    8. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Highland Park H.S. (Dallas, Texas)

    Kershaw has supplanted Kyle Drabek as the top prep arm in the country, and while Drabek's off-field issues have helped make that happen, Kershaw's stuff and undeniable left-handedness have also been factors in his rise, so that he's now expected to go in the top eight picks. Kershaw probably would be a middle-of-the-round talent in an ordinary draft class, but rises to the top here on the strength of his live 92-95 mph fastball, quick arm, and big frame. His curve is inconsistent but flashes plus at times. At this point, there's next to no chance that Kershaw makes it out of the top seven picks.

    9. Joba Chamberlain, RHP, University of Nebraska

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Nebraska 3.93 89.1 84 41 39 6 34 102 .255 28%
    2006 Beatrice (MINK) 1.59 45.1 32 10 8 2 13 63 .195 35%
    2005 Nebraska 2.81 118.2 91 44 37 7 33 130 .218 28%
    Joba (pronounced Jaw-buh) Chamberlain came into the year without much fanfare, as he spent 2004 pitching for Division II Nebraska-Kearney, then after a solid spring with Nebraska in 2005, he chose to pitch in the little-known, unsanctioned M.I.N.K. League over the summer. Chamberlain then came out throwing bullets in the early going, pitching consistently in the 91-94 range and touching 98, along with two breaking balls and the beginnings of a changeup. Despite missing two starts in mid-March due to what was called "biceps tendinitis," Chamberlain made starts in each of the season's last 10 weekends. Still, one executive told me that his club had high medical flags on Chamberlain, both due to the tendinitis and due to another, more serious arm problem.

    10. Pedro Beato, RHP, St. Petersburg Junior College

    Beato's presence on this list is a huge shock, not because he lacks the talent, but because he was drafted by the Mets last year, giving them a chance to sign him this May as a draft-and-follow. Since Beato is from New York City (Xavieran High School in Brooklyn), it was assumed that he'd leap at the chance to pitch for his local team and start his pro career in his own backyard. To the surprise of just about everyone in the game, it didn't happen, even though the Mets lack a first-round pick. Because Beato was under control and presumed as good as signed, he wasn't heavily scouted this spring, making his destination in the draft an open question. As a prospect, he grades out very well as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter: tall, strong kid (6-6, 220), plus fastball up to 96 mph, average changeup, power curveball in the upper 70s that is inconsistent, with outstanding makeup and good grades to boot. That package in a 19-year-old is rare, and the fact that he's faced good competition in his year in junior college sets him apart from most of the prep arms in this draft. (How good is St. Pete's baseball program? Unless he goes in the top 40 or 50 picks, Dellin Betances, one of the top prep arms in the country -- albeit as raw as beef carpaccio -- is committed to take Beato's place.)

    11. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Halifax County Senior H.S. (South Boston, Va.)

    One of the few true flamethrowers in this year's draft, Jeffress' slim build (6-foot, 175 pounds) belies the quality of his arm. He features an electric fastball that runs up to 97 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games. His curveball has power but is inconsistent, and he has some feel for a changeup -- unusual even in the best high school pitching prospects. Although his size might be seen as a negative, his fastball velocity and durability are already excellent, so projection isn't an issue.

    12. Daniel Bard, RHP, University of North Carolina

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 No. Carolina 3.47 85.2 71 42 33 4 33 90 .225 24%
    2006 Wareham 1.25 65.0 42 18 9 2 20 82 .183 32%
    2005 North Carolina 4.22 89.2 73 53 42 8 43 77 .219 19%
    Few players in this year's draft cause as much disagreement as the Tar Heels' other hard-throwing starter, this one a righty with a low arm slot and questions about his makeup. On a good day, Bard keeps his arm at a low three-quarters angle, firing 92-96 mph sinkers with a tight slider that has good, late bite. On other days, his arm angle drops, his slider flattens out, and he struggles to throw strikes. That inconsistency combined with a lot of whispering have led to questions about Bard's toughness and coachability -- vague criticisms that prompted one top evaluator to ask me, "How do you argue against that?" Bard's ultimate destination is probably in short relief, but he does hold his velocity into games and has a good enough shot to remain a starter to warrant a first-round pick.


    13. Brandon Morrow, RHP, University of California

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 California 2.05 96.2 72 34 22 5 39 97 .211 25%
    2006 Yar.-Den. 1.84 14.2 13 3 3 0 9 24 .232 37%
    2005 California 9.36 25.0 32 27 26 3 20 25 .308 20%
    The first time I saw Morrow was on Cape Cod the summer after his freshman year, when he was throwing 87-91 and was so thin that you could have stuck him down the storm gutters to retrieve a lost ball. Fast forward to this spring, when Morrow was throwing 97-99 mph, holding his velo into the late innings of starts and flashing a new splitter that gave him his first quality secondary pitch. A solid three-start run (23 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 20 K) against Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford in front of plenty of scouting directors and cross-checkers helped cement his status as a likely top-10 pick. The lack of a breaking ball and prior command issues are the major negatives.

    14. Travis Snider, LF/RF, Jackson H.S. (Everett, Wash.)

    Snider burst onto the scene in the Area Code Games before his junior year of high school, and despite adding some weight this season (and not the good kind), he's still likely to go in the top half of the first round. The left-handed hitter has a sound, conventional swing that generates significant raw and in-game power, with a number of long home runs on his résumé. He'll need to hit and hit for power, however, as he is likely to end up in left field or at first base in the pros, due to his body type and his below-average arm.

    15. Greg Reynolds, RHP, Stanford

    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Stanford 3.36 120.2 111 52 45 7 28 99 .252 20%
    2006 Bourne 1.70 53.0 36 13 10 2 15 34 .195 17%
    2005 Stanford 5.08 51.1 51 36 29 4 17 51 .260 23%
    Reynolds is one of the more polished pitching products in this draft, perhaps only behind Lincoln in that regard. Reynolds' fastball is a tick above average with decent sink, he has a plus 11-to-5 curveball, and he has good command. He also gets points for pitching well this year in the Pac-10, one of the best baseball conferences in the country. But one thing sets Reynolds apart from most of the other college pitchers who'll go in the first round on Tuesday: He just doesn't miss bats. Only the two-sport star Jeff Samardzija fanned a lower percentage of opposing hitters than Reynolds did this spring. Reynolds' K rates have never been good, even in the pitcher-friendly Cape Cod League last summer. So while he's a very high-probability pick, he's likely to end up no more than a fourth starter.

    16. Drew Stubbs, CF, University of Texas

    Year Team AVG OBP SLG AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB
    2006 Texas .342 .439 .580 243 83 14 4 12 41 60 26
    2006 Team USA .304 .385 .370 46 14 3 0 0 6 14 1
    2005 Texas .311 .384 .527 283 88 20 4 11 32 71 32
    Stubbs is Longoria's primary competition for the spot of top collegiate position player, and where the two sit on various draft boards depends on the various organizations' philosophies. While performance analysis would put Longoria in front, a more traditional, tools-oriented approach would put Stubbs far above Longoria. Stubbs is a well-above average runner and an outstanding defensive center fielder, two things generally lacking in this year's pool of collegiate hitters. However, Stubbs' flaws are substantial -- his raw power shows up in BP, but not as often in games; and he swings and misses far too often to project him to hit for any kind of average, striking out 71 times as a sophomore and 53 times as a junior. As a plus defensive player at a position on the left end of the defensive spectrum, Stubbs is likely to go in the top 20 picks, but I think there's a significant chance that he doesn't hit enough to play every day in the majors.

    17. Kyle Drabek, RHP, The Woodlands H.S. (The Woodlands, Texas)

    On talent alone, Drabek would rank as the draft's top high school pitching prospect ... and probably its top high school hitting prospect as well, although every insider I spoke with ranked him as a pitcher. Drabek works with a five-pitch repertoire, but his selling points are the mid-90s fastball and an outstanding curve. Oddly enough for the son of a pretty good big-leaguer, Drabek is not a polished pitcher, but is more of a talented arm who'd need some development. But the knocks on Drabek are substantial, from reports calling him "spoiled" to a history of off-field incidents, including a public intoxication charge that was dismissed and a one-car accident in which he rammed his SUV into a tree. Were it not for makeup concerns that have the names Jeff Allison and Josh Hamilton on some people's lips, Drabek would probably go in the top five picks, perhaps as the top pick overall, but one scouting director with whom I spoke called Drabek "the wild card" -- no one knows where he'll go.

    18. Chris Marrero, 3B, Monsignor Pace H.S. (Opa Locka, Fla.)

    Marrero came into 2006 as the consensus top high school hitter in the draft, but a subpar spring, coupled with strong performances from Snider and Rowell, has pushed Marrero out of a likely top-five slot. In fact, Marrero was overshadowed most of the spring by a teammate, shortstop Adrian Cardenas, a baseball rat who ended up setting a county record for home runs. Marrero remains high on draft boards due to his long history of success playing on the U.S. junior team and at various showcases, and because the plus power is still evident in batting practice. In games this year, however, Marrero has been pulling off the ball, failing to show any power to the opposite field. Of the big three high school bats, Marrero has the best chance to play at a skill position (third base) in the majors.

    19. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, University of Notre Dame



    Year School ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO Opp. BA K %
    2006 Notre Dame 4.33 97.2 101 51 47 3 37 61 .272 15%
    2005 Notre Dame 3.89 78.2 85 39 34 3 30 56 .272 16%
    Samardzija doesn't fit on the list for a variety of reasons. His performance this spring was nowhere near that of the other college players here, and even fell short of teammate (and possible first round pick) Jeff Manship's. He probably won't go in the first 20 picks, or even in the first round. And he was a second-team All-American in football. Samardzija started at wide receiver for Notre Dame last fall, racking up over 1,200 receiving yards and earning a place on Todd McShay's list of the top 12 senior prospects for the 2007 NFL draft. Because Samardzija still has a lot of development ahead of him if he wants to pitch in the big leagues, his determination to play both sports makes him less appealing to otherwise interested MLB clubs, who like his combination of size, athleticism, raw stuff (easy 92-95, allegedly reaching 99 at times, but inconsistent), and plus makeup.


    20. Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach H.S. (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

    Hyun "Hank" Conger is the top high school catcher in the country, although he's earned that status largely on the strength of his bat, as there's a lot of doubt about whether he'll stay behind the plate or move to another position, possibly third base (where he played a little bit in high school) or more likely first base. Conger's appeal is that he's a switch-hitter with legitimate power from both sides of the plate; that puts him ahead of the draft's "other" top high school catcher, Max Sapp (Bishop Moore School, Orlando, Fla.), a left-handed power bat with similar questions about his ultimate position.
    This is the time. The real Reds organization is back.

  11. #10
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Keith Law: Top 25 prospects

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric View Post
    Yeah, the 06 draft is already won and lost I guess.
    I think that most people, if given the chance to redraft, would not take Stubbs there. You never know what could happen, but I think WK would rethink his pick.
    Last edited by edabbs44; 01-29-2007 at 10:34 PM.


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