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Thread: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

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    2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    I'm gonna use this thread to post draft related articles leading up to the June 5th draft.

    Beckhams of Georgia could rule the Draft
    Shortstops pace the pack of middle infielders in 2008
    By Ryan Lavner / MLB.com

    GRIFFIN, Ga. -- The pipeline was long assumed to have run dry in this remote corner of Griffin High School's athletic complex. No prospect had emerged from the Bears' Den since 1997. And 11 years, after all, is an agonizingly long wait for attention.

    Thanks to Tim Beckham, the wait is mercifully over.

    Major League teams' brain trusts -- scouts, special assistants, general managers -- have again descended upon this tiny city 40 miles south of Atlanta to gauge their future.

    With a GM's special assistant in attendance for a recent Griffin practice, Beckham, the team's much-ballyhooed shortstop, fielded grounder after grounder, turning an effortless double play with a crisp underhand flip.

    Beckham then headed into the cage for batting practice. An assistant coach hurled balls from behind the L-screen some 40 feet away. Beckham intently stared as the ball got deeper in the zone and then -- whoosh! -- his hands swept through the hitting area with unmistakable speed.

    It is a lightning-fast transfer of power.

    "I get that a lot," Beckham said with a laugh after his hitting clinic concluded.

    Everyone knows the Draft beckons for Beckham.

    After practice wound down and he was done speaking with a reporter, Griffin coach Jamie Cassady summoned Beckham from the dugout. The special assistant wanted to talk.

    Beckham calmly took a seat behind home plate while shaking hands with the assistant through the netting. He stared down at the ground as the assistant talked, his coach carrying on the other half of the conversation. Beckham chipped in with a few comments, flashed his golden smile, then retreated to the dugout, where his teammates were eagerly waiting.

    They were oblivious to the fact that practice had ended 30 minutes earlier. Everyone, it seems, is just happy to be along for this ride.

    Such is life for Tim Beckham -- the interviews, the projections, the handshakes, the autographs. It's the spoils of being King of the Preps.

    Yet here's the thing: He may not even be the best shortstop with the surname Beckham in the state of Georgia.

    That distinction could very well belong to Gordon, who is not related and who plays at the University of Georgia.

    Back in Athens, Gordon Beckham's sole focus is on winning an SEC championship. The Bulldogs already have accomplished a goal few thought possible: winning the SEC regular-season title when they were projected to finish near the bottom in the East. For this revival, Gordon Beckham deserves much of the credit. He'll likely deflect it.

    "There's no doubt his time is limited here and we need to make sure that it is as enjoyable as it possibly can be," Georgia coach David Perno said.

    With Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft about three weeks away, the question is worth asking: Which Beckham -- Gordon or Tim -- is the better prospect in the Class of 2008?

    It may be Tim, who already has the physique and skill set of a Major League player.

    But it may be Gordon, who, in spite of his wiry frame, has slugged his way into the National Collegiate Player of the Year conversation with 23 home runs in a difficult conference.

    Many prognosticators have pegged Tim Beckham as the best prospect in the Draft, with his combination of size -- 6-foot-2, 190 pounds -- and raw talent. Baseball America has rated him the best high school prospect in the country.

    In 89 at-bats this season for Griffin, Tim batted .472 with five homers and 37 RBIs. He didn't get many pitches to hit -- he walked 23 times -- as opposing hurlers would often pitch around the lineup's most dangerous threat.

    "It's frustrating, yeah," he said. "I was facing 90 [mph] all summer, and then I come back here and see anywhere from 78 to 72."

    Tim faced elite pitchers while playing in the nation's premier high school events. He was named the best prospect at the East Coast Showcase and earned MVP honors at the AFLAC All-American Game, which drew the 32 best high school players in the nation.

    He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, and hits for power and average, though he may need a few years in the Minors before he's big league ready. He has signed a letter of intent to play at Southern California, but he likely won't attend if he lands anywhere in the top 10, as projected.

    "I hear I'm a five-tool player," said Tim, who stole 18 bases and struck out only six times this season. "I know I'm a five-tool player, but I don't really let it get to me, all that stuff on the Internet and off-the-field business."

    This spring he has met with each of the GMs who hold the top five picks in the Draft, which will be held June 5-6. Cassady said that each GM has seen at least one of Tim's games and practices, and some have even taken him out of class to discuss his future.

    "It's overwhelming, for sure," Tim said. "I never thought it would be like this -- everybody calling, asking to come to your house and coming to practice. It gets pretty hectic, but it's just the process. I don't really think it gets to me. I'm still doing what I love to do."

    This 18-year-old has been under big league scrutiny the entire season. It certainly hasn't affected him -- note the aforementioned stats -- and that carries some significance, his coach said.

    "He's handled it pretty well, amazingly," said Cassady, who said that the last big leaguer to come through Griffin's program was Jeff Treadway in 1997. "He's just Tim, the same ol' guy he's always been."

    The same can't be said for Gordon Beckham, who has transitioned from a free-wheeling freshman into one of the most disciplined hitters Perno has seen since he became Georgia's coach in 2001.

    This season, Gordon's stats rank among the nation's best: a .401 batting average, 23 homers, 57 RBIs, a .811 slugging percentage and a .511 on-base percentage. All of which is enough to at least thrust the junior into the conversation for National Player of the Year, though he thinks that his good friend, Florida State's Buster Posey, will win the award.

    Nevertheless, Gordon's season to remember at Georgia was enough to vault him up the Draft boards entering this crucial final month. He is considered a bona fide top 10 prospect.

    "If you told me I was going to do this before the season, I would have said, 'You're crazy,' " Gordon said. "It has worked out really well, and I've played every game, played every pitch, and I haven't looked ahead."

    He batted .380 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 28 games against ranked opponents. And, arguably, no player has done more to boost his Draft stock this season.

    The six-foot, 185-pound slugger was invited last fall to the Cape Cod collegiate wood-bat league, and he hit a league-high nine home runs. He hasn't slowed his pace this spring, and tied Georgia's single-season home run record with his 23rd in the second-to-last game of the regular season on Friday.

    It's a stark contrast from his first year at Georgia, when he was prone to the strikeout and only occasionally possessed enough power to be a threat in the third spot of the order. Perno altered his shortstop's approach, and within weeks, saw immediate results.

    "Gordon had no two-strike adjustment the first two years, and now he is as good as anyone I have ever coached with two strikes," Perno said.

    Now the right-hander can spray the ball to all fields with power, even late in the count. What's more, his defense has steadily improved over the last three years, as he made only 10 errors in 153 attempts this season. He made 16 last season.

    Midseason, when Gordon's stats drew national attention, those around the program began murmuring about the Draft.

    "I was getting a lot of that," he said of the pre-Draft buzz. "It was getting in my head, and I didn't really want to hear it anymore. So I've kind of told everybody that I appreciate getting the compliments, but this is not my deal."

    So he hasn't much focused on his Draft prospects while in the middle of Georgia's most successful regular season in years. But that's not to say he doesn't constantly think about what his future holds.

    "I try to play every day and not worry about it, but I try to show people that I can be the best, and that's what every player wants to do," said Gordon, an honor student who said he wouldn't rule out a return to Georgia for his senior season if the monetary benefits of the Draft didn't outweigh those of a potential business degree.

    A shortstop his entire life, he isn't fixated on playing that position in the Majors.

    "I want to play in the big leagues, and if that means I'm playing right field, that's what I'm doing," he said. "I'd like to play shortstop, though, and I think I can."

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...2008&fext=.jsp

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Middle-infield pool fair at best
    After highly touted Beckhams, dropoff in talent perceptible
    By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

    The crop of middle infielders can be more or less summed up like this: If your last name is Beckham, you're in really good shape. Everyone else, good luck to you.

    OK, so maybe it's not that dire, but the dropoff after the top two middle infielders in the class, the Beckham boys, is perceptible. All signs point to Tim Beckham, the high school shortstop out of Georgia, and Gordon Beckham, the University of Georgia shortstop, going in the top 10 picks of the Draft. And no, they are not related.

    After that, it's anybody's guess. There are some late risers from the high school ranks and a couple of solid if unspectacular college guys who'll be drafted pretty well, but likely not within shouting distance of Beckham squared.

    "It's not a great year for middle infielders," a scouting director said. "Some of the college guys we hoped would step up haven't. There isn't a great, great number of premium high school middle-infield guys, either. It's certainly not a great shortstop year."

    Case in point is a pair of shortstops one would have automatically assumed would be on this list but aren't. UCLA's Brandon Crawford may end up being a steal, but he's followed up a rough Cape Cod season with a subpar junior campaign and played himself down to later in the Draft. Ditto for high schooler Harold Martinez, who at one point was considered one of the better prep position players in the country. He looks the part, but the performance hasn't been there, and college could be in his future.

    But enough about those not on the list. It's time to examine those who are.

    David Adams, 2B, University of Virginia: A good, hard-nosed player who's not afraid to get dirty, Adams hasn't had the kind of year with the bat some hoped for, seeing his average dip under .300. But he does all the little things to help a team win, plays a pretty good second base and players coming out of Virginia have had a tendency to perform better offensively as professionals after leaving the spacious confines of their home park in college. He's not Ryan Zimmerman, mind you, but it's likely he'll be drafted pretty well because of what he might be able to do at second at the next level.

    Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin (Ga.) H.S.: If you're looking for the best all-around toolsy player in the Draft class, this probably is your guy. Beckham can do everything, with the potential to do it all well in the future. He may not be as advanced as the Upton brothers were coming out -- the players with whom he's most often compared -- but unlike B.J. and Justin, most people feel that Beckham will be able to stay at shortstop for a long time. When you consider the complete package of offensive skills combined with the ability to stay at that premium position defensively, it's no wonder that the high schooler is being considered among the first few picks and very well could be the No. 1 overall pick on Draft day.

    Gordon Beckham, SS, University of Georgia: There may not be another player who's helped improve his Draft status more with his performance this spring than this Beckham. He's hitting over .400 and has been at or near the top of all Division I hitters in homers, currently with 23. He has an advanced approach at the plate, will draw walks and not strike out a ton. He's the kind of infielder who'll probably get every opportunity to play his way off of shortstop, and though some feel that second base might be his best spot long-term, he also could be the type to defy expectations and play a solid, fundamentally sound shortstop. Don't expect this Beckham to make it out of the top half of the first round, either.

    Ryan Flaherty, SS, Vanderbilt: One of the slightly underperforming college middle infielders referenced earlier, Flaherty still has a fair share of admirers. He has a good swing from the left side of the plate. He hadn't shown much power in the past, though he does have 13 homers this year. He has a gun for an arm, though he probably doesn't have the range to be a shortstop long-term. If some power does start to come, he might make for a pretty good left-handed-hitting third baseman as a pro. Despite not hitting quite as well as some would have hoped, if he finishes strong in postseason play, he'll still find a home fairly early in the Draft.

    Reese Havens, SS, University of South Carolina: It may sound cliched, but Havens gets lots of praise from scouts as being a real "baseball player," meaning he knows how to play the game the right way. While making strides offensively, he hadn't hit all that much until this year, when he's really stepped it up, hitting .357 with 16 homers for the Gamecocks. He's solid defensively, but his lack of foot speed may mean he'll need to move to third. If scouts are convinced that he can continue developing his bat, he might be just fine there. It's a year when being a solid college infielder might mean a lot, and Havens' name was creeping into first-round conversations as Draft day moved closer.

    Anthony Hewitt, SS, Salisbury (Conn.) School: A bit of a late riser -- perhaps because playing in the Northeast means a later start and fewer looks that scouts can get -- Hewitt is a terrific athlete with raw tools to spare. He can run, throw and has some serious strength, and he may have as high a ceiling as anyone in this group, if not the entire Draft class. He's still rough around the edges, though he's improved tremendously this spring, and the consensus is that his long-term home will probably be in the outfield. Even so, he's worked his way into serious first-round consideration. At this point, the only thing that might hold him back is his commitment to Vanderbilt and the bonus it might take to keep him from going there.

    Tyler Ladendorf, SS, Howard Junior College, Big Spring, Texas: Twice drafted previously, Ladendorf has had a monster season at Howard, one of the higher-ranked junior colleges in the nation. He's hit .542 and driven in 82 runs in 53 games, thanks to 29 doubles and 16 homers. He's also got 31 steals to give you an idea of his package of tools. He's big -- some think he may eventually be too big for shortstop -- but he's athletic enough that he probably can stay there for the time being, making him a very attractive possibility in the first few rounds.

    Casey Kelly, SS, Sarasota (Fla.) H.S.: Will he want to play football? Is he willing to pitch? There are many questions surrounding the son of one-time Reds bench coach Pat Kelly, but there's little doubt about his ability. Though he can crank it up to the mid-90s on the mound, he has considerable skills as an infielder. He's a big guy, but there's been nothing to point him away from being an exciting, athletic shortstop in the future. The biggest question has always been about his bat, whether he'd hit enough for the pro game. It's looking as though he's answered those questions, as he's being mentioned as a first-round possibility. Whether that's enough to stop him from heading to the University of Tennessee as one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation remains to be seen.

    Niko Vasquez, SS, Durango H.S., Las Vegas: When watching Vasquez for any length of time, two things jump out right away: his above-average power and his plus arm. He's not the most physically imposing guy in the world, but he does have some pop and should be an even better hitter with some tweaks to his swing. He has a cannon for an arm, and even though he has below-average speed, he has all the actions you want to see from a shortstop.

    Jemile Weeks, 2B, University of Miami: That's right, it's Rickie's brother, and the guy has used an outstanding junior season to improve his Draft status considerably. He's hit for average, stolen a bunch of bases and even shown some surprising pop. He doesn't have the overall power his brother has, but it's been a nice surprise nonetheless. He's not a great defensive player, and there are those who think his eventual home will be in center field, where he can use his speed to track down balls. Wherever he carries his glove, what he's shown offensively this spring is likely enough to get him drafted in the first couple of rounds.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...2008&fext=.jsp

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Griffey Sr. representing Reds at Draft
    Former outfielder headed to Oralando for first round on June 5
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    CINCINNATI -- Former Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Sr. is scheduled to represent the Reds for the second straight year at the First-Year Player Draft on June 5 in Orlando, Fla.

    Griffey, now Cincinnati's special consultant to the general manager and a Minor League scout, will be joined by director of baseball operations Dick Williams to formally announce the club's 2008 first-round selection.

    A three-time All-Star who played for the Reds from 1973-81 and 1988-90, Griffey is the father of Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr.

    MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage on BaseballChannel.TV begins at 1 p.m. ET with a special ceremonial draft of former Negro Leaguers who will be on hand at The Milk House.

    The First-Year Player Draft follows at 2 p.m. with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively on BaseballChannel.TV, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo and David Rawnsley of Perfect Game USA.

    Several of the top amateur prospects are expected in attendance in Orlando for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented by front office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.

    Day 2 will get under way at 11:30 a.m. ET and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/...=.jsp&c_id=cin

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    I didn't see this info about Alvarez posted anywhere. Sorry if it's a repeat...from mlbtraderumors.

    Pirates Likely To Draft Pedro Alvarez

    John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times chronicles the Pirates' recent draft blunders. So many wasted picks. Under different management, the Pirates could have David Wright, B.J. Upton, Carlos Quentin, Tim Lincecum, and Matt Wieters in the organization. Sounds like a fantasy team. Such hindsight cherry-picking is unfair, but the Pirates should have Upton and Wieters right now.

    Anyway, the depressing trend of bad picks for the Pirates is likely to change this year. For the first time, the Bucs might give out a Major League contract to a draft pick. That pick would be Pedro Alvarez, who Perrotto believes the Pirates will take at #2. Rumblings do not indicate the Rays want Alvarez. Both Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America believe the Pirates will get their man.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Alvarez would be a great fit for the Pirates. They've needed a 3B since they gave away Aramis Ramirez in 2003, and Alvarez is the perfect fit. I don't see anyway possible they don't draft him.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    http://www.kentucky.com/272/story/411078.html

    Gordon Beckham: 1st team all SEC, SEC Player of the Year, and SEC Scholar Athelete of the Year.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Corner IFs offer temptation, danger
    Positions have talent, but some fear one-dimensionality
    By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

    There are pros and cons to the fact that the single biggest strength in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft is first basemen.

    If you're looking for a good bat, particularly one with some power coming out of college, chances are there's one you can take. The flip side is that having all those players limited to one position leaves a smaller margin for error.

    "That's the consensus opinion, [that first basemen are a strength]," one scouting director said. "There are a lot of guys who have a bat. Essentially, though, you're saying, 'You better hit or else.' These aren't full-package guys. If [a first baseman] doesn't hit, that's it. That's the down side. But there are a whole bunch of guys who might have a chance to hit at third or first."

    There aren't nearly as many of those options at the hot corner. It would be easy to fill this breakdown with only first basemen. In the interest of variety and equity, a few more third basemen are sprinkled in, though some won't necessarily be among the top 10 corner infielders taken in the Draft, to be held June 5-6 in Orlando, Fla.

    Yonder Alonso, 1B, University of Miami: He came into the year as a terrific pure hitter with plenty of power from the left side. He's done nothing to change that perception as one of the NCAA leaders in OPS, among other offensive categories. Not considered to be terribly athletic, he's worked hard at tightening up his body and will be an OK defensive first baseman with a good arm. Don't expect him to last past the first half or so of the first round.

    Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt: Perhaps the most polished bat in the Draft class, Alvarez should hit for both average and power and it shouldn't take him too long to get to the big leagues to do it. Defensively, most feel he'll be just fine at third, though some feel he'll be a first baseman long-term. Either way, the left-handed bat will play just fine and that's the reason why Alvarez is hearing his name among the first few picks of the Draft.

    David Cooper, 1B, University of California: With a quick swing, a good approach at the plate and plus power from the left side, Cooper has moved himself into first-round consideration with the year he's had at Cal. He doesn't run well and that's what will limit him to first base as a pro. Chances are, though, the Dick Howser Award semifinalist will provide more than enough production for the position and with his approach, he could move pretty quickly through someone's system.

    Zack Cox, 3B, Pleasure Ridge Park HS, Louisville, Ky.: There aren't too many high school third basemen of note in this Draft class, but Cox is one of them, coming from a really good pool of talent from the state of Kentucky. A left-handed hitter, scouts like his bat speed and ability to make consistent, hard contact. He used to be a pitcher, too, but he developed offensively to the point where pro scouts are only interested in him as a position player. He's shown power in the past, but not as much this year, so how high he goes may depend on what teams believe his power ceiling is.

    James Darnell, 3B, University of South Carolina: Not as good a pure hitter as some on this list -- including college teammate Justin Smoak -- Darnell does have some pretty serious raw power and has been among the college leaders in RBIs during his junior year. There's some concern over his ability to play third base long-term, so a move to a corner outfield spot may be in the offing. He may never hit for average, but if a team thinks the power will translate, Darnell should do just fine on Draft day.

    Allan Dykstra, 1B, Wake Forest: Hurt a little by the depth at the position, Dykstra is still a pretty advanced college bat with some pop from the left side of the plate. Playing on a subpar Wake club, he's clearly been pitched around quite a bit and has piled up the walks. They tried him out at third, but he's really limited to first. He won't be the first guy taken from this list, but he won't be the last, either.

    Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Wichita State: Gillaspie had decent seasons as a freshman and sophomore at Wichita State, but interest piqued when he excelled in Cape Cod last summer. He's kept right on hitting and has been over .400 all season. He's a terrific hitter with a great approach, but the one thing he doesn't really have is power. That's what's kept him from creeping into the conversation with some of the other probable first-rounders in this group, but there's sure to be a team that likes what he can do and the fact that it shouldn't take him too long to do it at the big league level.

    Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.: From a pure bat perspective, there may not be many better than Hosmer in this class, particularly from the high school ranks. He's got a good approach at the plate, advanced particularly for a prepster, with decent power that should develop even further as he matures. He's an above-average defender as well, though that's not why most people will draft him. He's a top-10 talent, but the Scott Boras advisee reportedly has pretty high bonus demands that could force him down further in the first round.

    Justin Smoak, 1B, University of South Carolina: With a smooth and easy swing, a good approach and plenty of pop from both sides of the plate, Smoak could end up being the first first baseman to go off the board. He'll be OK defensively, but any takers will be buying the bat. He's hit for average and power and there's no reason to think the Dick Howser Award semifinalist won't continue to do that as a pro.

    Brett Wallace, 1B/3B, Arizona State: Another Dick Howser Award semifinalist, Wallace is the prototypical "good bat in a bad body" college player. The lefty-hitting Wallace can flat out rake, putting up gaudy average and power numbers. There's little question that he'll hit at the next level; the issue is where he'll fit defensively. Most believe he'll be a first baseman only, but there might be some teams willing to at least give him a shot to prove he can stick at third.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...2008&fext=.jsp

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Baseball America's Top 200 Draft Prospects

    Thought this belonged in here somewhere.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    With regard to the corner infielders, I will reiterate that Chris Dominguez is going to be a 4th round steal. I hope its for us. Buckley doesn't seem to want to take many guys who aren't up the middle early, but Stouffer was the 4th rounder last season, so its possible.
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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Field of college pitchers wide open
    Arms shrouded in guesses, potential after Matusz, Crow
    By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

    Back in the day, a phrase was formed to describe the Boston Braves' pitching philosophy: "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain."

    Similarly, at least in the eyes of many scouts, the 2008 First-Year Player Draft's college pitching group could be summed up as, "Matusz and Crow and you just don't know."

    San Diego's Brian Matusz and Missouri's Aaron Crow are decidedly the cream of the crop, and both should be gone in the early stages of the first round. There are others who will undoubtedly go in the opening frame of the June 5 Draft -- college closers appear to be particularly strong this year -- but how much of that is due to teams reaching for an advanced pitcher, and how much of it is because the picks are legitimate first-round talents is in the eye of the beholder.

    "There are two legitimate first-rounders and the rest of them are on the outside looking in, based on injury and performance," one Major League scouting director said.

    Injuries have played a large role in shaping this group, both early and late. Pepperdine's Brett Hunter was a sure-fire first-rounder heading into the season, but he hasn't pitched since the early stages of spring due to elbow soreness. More recently, Fresno State's Tanner Scheppers went down with a stress fracture in his right shoulder, an injury that has left many scouts scratching their heads.

    "It's unprecedented," the scouting director said of the injury. "We're used to Tommy John surgery, a labrum or a rotator cuff, but a broken shoulder? I don't know. It's an impact-type injury."

    It certainly will have an impact on draft boards, as Scheppers was considered a top 10 pick candidate. Who'll step up to fill the void as early draftees from the college pitching ranks? Here are some names to consider.

    Andrew Cashner, RHP, Texas Christian: One of several strong-armed relievers who have been rising up draft charts this spring, Cashner has taken off as TCU's closer. He's been cranking it up to 98 mph, and has a plus slider at times to go along with it. He's walked a few too many, and has come out of nowhere in terms of the jump in velocity, but has maintained it all spring. The righty has started in the past and his draft status could depend on which teams in the first round think he could be moved back into a rotation.

    Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri: After reeling off 43 consecutive scoreless innings, Crow hit a bit of a slump, causing some to worry about his draft stock. But even with a small flaw in his mechanics, his electric arsenal -- fastball, slider, changeup -- is sure to get him off the board in a hurry.

    Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia: Never underestimate the value of an extra year of education. After a subpar junior season, Fields was drafted in the second round by the Braves but opted to return to campus for his senior season. It's looking like the move will pay off, as Fields has been perhaps the top closer in the college ranks, with a .092 batting average against, a 1.52 ERA and 16 saves for the Bulldogs.

    Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky: Behind Matusz, he's the best college lefty in the class and there's a lot to like about him. He's not a command and feel lefty, though he won't be bad in that regard, and he's got the chance to have an impressive four-pitch arsenal. He may not have the ceiling of some arms in this draft, but the finished product isn't bad, either.

    Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane: The pitcher who might be helped the most by Scheppers' injury, Hunt was considered by many scouts to be next in line among college arms. With Scheppers on the shelf, teams looking for a college righty might go with the Tulane ace instead. He's got good stuff, with a fastball, curve (a plus pitch) and a feel for a changeup. While some have expressed concern about his command, others have seen him just fine. His bad start in the Conference USA Tournament shouldn't hurt him too much.

    Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego: After a slow start, the southpaw has cemented his place as the best college arm in the draft class by going 10-2 with a 2.05 ERA. He's struck out 122 and walked just 20 over 88 innings. He's got four pitches he can throw for strikes and has the potential to be much more than a pitchability lefty.

    Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona: Perry's been a little tough to figure out at times. His stuff is off-the-charts good, but he hasn't always been as unhittable as he should be, given the repertoire. He may have gotten hot at the right time though: in front of scores of scouts, he went lights out in a recent series against Stanford. Like with Cashner, the team that likes his live arm in a starting role may be the one that takes him early.

    Bryan Price, RHP, Rice: Another reliever a club might want to try as a starter because of a potential three-pitch mix, Price isn't even Rice's primary closer. Despite that, scouts like his size and stuff, though it has been inconsistent at times. When he's on, he's got first-round stuff, and there are teams at the back end considering him as an option.

    Tyson Ross, RHP, California: Early on in the season, it seemed a cinch that Ross would be an early first rounder, a guy to be talked about with the Shooter Hunts and Tanner Scheppers of the world. But he has since hit some bumps, and a loss in velocity has had many concerned he's pitching hurt. He's got a bit of an unorthodox delivery, causing some to see him as a reliever, but he's got the pitches -- when healthy -- to be a front-line starter. It will be interesting to see if his recent bounce-back start against Stanford can carry over to his final starts and help him rebuild his draft stock.

    Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona: He's been on the radar screen for a while, having been selected last year in the eighth round. He very likely would have gotten some looks as a lefty setup man this year, with a fastball usually sitting in the 93-94 mph range. When he came out against Stanford and was blowing 97-98 mph consistently last weekend, interest in him obviously increased. If clubs can be convinced he can crank it up like that more consistently -- he'll get the chance with a few more outings before draft day -- he'll be looked at as a lefty closer and could position himself for first-round consideration.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...2008&fext=.jsp

  12. #11
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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Drafting outfielders could be dicey
    None truly stand out in group eligible for 2008 Draft
    By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

    In an ideal world, teams want everything from an outfield prospect: power, speed, a strong arm -- the proverbial five tools. The hope is that in any given Draft, a team might find one of those toolsy guys who can play center and maybe a slugger to man a corner.

    Looking at this year's Draft class, that might be a bit of a challenge, because there is a relatively weak group to choose from. This is nothing new for scouting directors: the 2007 Draft wasn't exactly outfield-heavy, with only three outfielders -- four if you count the converted Matt LaPorta -- taken in the first 30 picks.

    Those three were all from the high school ranks and it appears again that there is a little more to choose from on that front. A number of toolsy, but raw, outfielders from Southern California in particular, could whet the appetites of some teams in the first round.

    "There are some athletic guys. The high school class is a different group," said one scouting director. "A little on the raw side, but that seems to be a pretty good group. Some are dual sports guys, some aren't, but there are some run and throw guys, some speed guys, some guys with power. Those guys are out there this year from the high shcool ranks. Some teams have a different appetite for those types of guys, but they are out there to talk about."

    It's a different story in the college ranks. Heading into the season, there was the hope that there'd be some interesting choices from campuses, with guys like the Texas duo of Jordan Danks and Kyle Russell leading the way. They have indeed led the way, but in the wrong direction, with subpar seasons the norm at the college level.

    "Some of them haven't gone out and had the years we were hoping to have, at least statisically," the scouting director said. "We thought there were some outfielders that would be more appealing with their offensive performances. That hasn't translated to what we hoped or expected."

    It's not as though outfielders won't be taken, however, and undoubtedly some from this class will go on to be big leaguers. Here's a smattering of the top outfield prospects teams are contemplating as Draft day approaches.

    Zach Collier, Chino Hills HS, Calif.: He's had as much helium as just about any player and certainly has the most buzz among the outfielders. Raw and toolsy, he's moved up draft boards with consistently strong performances. He's got some serious power now, with more to come. as well as some speed, and seems to be rising to the challenge of the increased spotlight on him. He's a first-rounder for sure; it's just a question of how high a team will be willing to take him.

    Ike Davis, Arizona State: While most of the college outfielders have underperformed this season, Davis -- the son of former big-league reliever Ron -- has played well. He's hit for average and power for the Pac-10 champions and the only thing that's slowed him has been an oblique injury. He's also capable of playing first base. The lefty has been mentioned as a possibility in the second half of the first round.

    Jaff Decker, Sunrise Mountain, HS, Peoria, Ariz.: He's not part of the "toolsy" high school set, though he is a prepster with plenty to offer. A left-handed hitter with some pop despite his smaller frame, he's a pretty good hitter and as a guy who's been up to 93 mph off the mound, he's got a good arm from the outfield. He's a gamer who plays hard and could be a right field type in the Matt Stairs mode in the future.

    Isaac Galloway, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.: There hasn't been that much buzz surrounding Galloway, at least not compared to Zach Collier or Aaron Hicks. That doesn't mean he's without skills and Galloway does have all the tools in his box. He's shown more aptitude at using them at times, but might not have the ceiling of his fellow SoCal outfielders.

    Anthony Gose, Bellflower HS, Calif.: Once considered to be atop the toolsy SoCal high school outfield list, Gose's stock has dropped for a couple of reasons. Shoulder tendinitis more or less limited him to DH duties for a chunk of the spring and signability has become an issue. Further complicating things is that many teams prefer him as a pitcher -- he's a left-hander who can throw 97 mph, but he's made it clear he wants to be taken as an outfielder only or he'll likely take his many talents to the University of Arizona.

    Robbie Grossman, Cypress-Fairbanks HS, Cypress, Tex.: A grinder who plays all-out at all times, Grossman maximizes his tools with his aggressive style. The switch-hitter has some pop, with more to possibly come as he matures. He can run well and likes to use his speed on the basepaths. He's a little bit of a tweener in terms of which outfield position he can play and it will be interesting to see if he gets drafted high enough to keep him from heading to the University of Texas.

    Aaron Hicks, Woodrow Wilson HS, Long Beach, Calif.: Like Gose, Hicks is a toolsy sort who can do it all, perhaps a tick behind with the bat but with speed and defensive ability particularly standing out. Like Gose, he's impressed many on the mound to the point where some teams would prefer him as a pitcher. And like Gose, he's told some teams that he doesn't want to be drafted as a pitcher. It's likely someone -- a team in the first round -- will fulfill his wish and take him as an outfielder.

    Destin Hood, St Paul's Episcopbal HS, Mobile, Ala.: A two-sport star with a football scholarship to Alabama, Hood's preference is to play baseball. He's got raw tools aplenty, with power and speed. He's played a lot of shortstop for his high school team, but the outfield is definitely his home in the future. If things don't go his way on Draft day, he's slated to play both sports at Alabama, but there's a chance a team will draft him early enough, thinking about how those tools project once he's given the chance to focus on them full-time.

    Roger Kieschnick, Texas Tech: Another college outfielder who had the chance to be a top-notch prospect but who's been inconsistent this season, Kieschnick has some intriguing power from the left side of the plate. He's a pretty good outfielder who still profiles as a prototypical right fielder if he can find a better approach than the one that has led to him barely hitting over .300 the past two years.

    Dennis Raben, University of Miami: After a Cape Cod season in which he led the league in RBIs and his team in a host of other offensive categories en route to making the league's all-star game, there were high hopes for Raben in his junior season. It got off on a slow note when he missed the beginning of the season with a back injury. He's picked it up a little later on the season but there is concern over his ability to make consistent-enough contact -- his career average at Miami is under .290 -- to get to the raw power from the left side that teams would be interested in.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...2008&fext=.jsp

  13. #12
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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    From Saberscouting.com (I rather like their stuff so far)...



    I laughed at Christian Friedrich's comp.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Give me Zach Collier

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Grande Donkey View Post
    Give me Zach Collier
    MLB would not allow for two Jay Bruce's on the same team. Unfair for the other teams.

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    Re: 2008 pre-draft articles, reports

    Here is their Top 25 (soon to be Top 100) with in-depth profiles, for those who are curious.


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