Live Blogging the 2007 MLB Draft
The Major League Baseball Draft is less than 12 hours away and Baseball Analysts will be here bringing you all the picks with capsules on every player selected in the first and supplemental rounds. Be sure to refresh your browser or check back throughout the day to stay abreast of the latest news as we live blog the draft.
For those of you at home or with a TV at the office, you can also catch the proceedings on ESPN2 from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ET. Karl Ravech, Peter Gammons, and Steve Phillips will be in the studio at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (just outside of Orlando), while Jim Callis of Baseball America will provide analysis from the ESPN Zone in Chicago.
With a five-minute maximum for each of the top 30 picks, the first round is expected to take about 2 1/2 hours. Following a 15-minute break, the draft will proceed with a record 34 selections in the supplemental round. The first day of the draft is scheduled to last until approximately 8:30 p.m. ET with the expectation of completing no more than five or six rounds due to television coverage, a far cry from the past when the opening day covered upwards of 20 rounds. The draft will resume on Friday morning and end after every team has either passed or made a selection in the 50th round.
The most significant rule change with this year's draft involves a universal signing date. All draft picks must now sign by Aug. 15, or they go back into the draft pool. In previous years, players who went to junior college or simply did not return to school were eligible to sign with the team that drafted them until a week before the next year's draft.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays own the first pick of the draft, followed by the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs. The San Francisco Giants are the only team with three selections in the first round (10, 22, and 29). The Giants also have three more in the supplemental round (32, 43, and 51). As a result, SF will draft four of the top 32 picks and six of the top 51.
The Toronto Blue Jays (16, 21, 38, 45, and 56) and Texas Rangers (17, 24, 35, 44, and 54) have two choices in the first round plus three more in the supplemental round. The San Diego Padres have one slot in the first round (23) and five more in the supplemental (40, 46, 57, 63, and 64).
- Rich Lederer, 6/7/07, 12:05 a.m. PT
Draft day is finally here! As Rich said yesterday, "It's Christmas in June." While the scouting directors for each club are probably tossing in their sleep right now - desperate for a couple hours of shut-eye after a long night - writers, bloggers and fans everywhere are madly trying to deduce exactly which player is being drafted by what club with which pick. The perennial draft experts Baseball America, and more specifically Jim Callis, usually come very, very close to predicting the actual first round - about 12 hours before the draft occurs.
This year is no different. Among the surprises, consensus top prep pitcher Rick Porcello could fall all the way to the Texas Rangers at 24 (rather than Kansas City with the second pick). The Yankees are also rumored to be hot after Porcello, much to adviser Scott Boras' delight.
The Royals, instead, are planning to pop arguably the top prep hitter - Josh Vitters. The first prep pitcher off the board could be Jarrod Parker to the Cubs at No. 3. I guess I should also mention that college left-hander David Price will be the overall No. 1 pick by Tampa Bay, but that has pretty much been a foregone conclusion for months.
One of the biggest movers in the draft in the past three or four weeks has been Pennsylvania high school catcher Devin Mesoraco. Baseball America has him being taken by Milwaukee at No. 7, although they are also considering Canadian right-hander Phillippe Aumont and college outfielder Julio Borbon.
Matt Wieters, considered to be the top hitting prospect in the draft, is predicted to fall to the San Francisco Giants at pick No. 10, which is the club's first of three choices in the round. They are also considering U of San Francisco hurler Aaron Poreda and prep pitcher Josh Smoker with the other two picks.
Over at MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo has the same first three picks predicted, although he sees some deviation at No. 4 and No. 5. He has Pittsburgh taking college lefty Daniel Moskos and Baltimore taking college lefty Ross Detwiler. Callis has Pittsburgh taking Detwiler and Baltimore taking the risk on the raw Canadian talent Aumont.
No doubt to the delight of Yankee fans everywhere, Mayo has Porcello dropping to the 30th pick. I really hope that doesn't happen because, if it does, it's a sign that the amateur draft still isn't working if the best players are not available to the clubs that need them the most.
- Marc Hulet, 6/7/07, 9:25 a.m. ET
According to Jim Callis at Baseball America, the Royals have switched gears at the last minute and will go ahead and grab Boras' client Mike Moustakas with the second overall pick. That moves Vitters to Chicago and drops Parker to Arizona, San Francisco or Florida. Isn't this fun?!
- Marc Hulet, 6/7/07, 1:24 p.m. ET
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt University
Price was the best pitcher on the best (regular season) team in the country and is pretty much the consensus best player in the draft. He struck out 194 batters in 133 innings against some of the best competition in the country this season. He has a polished repertoire, and figures to be fast-tracked into The Bigs as many think he is already very close to being ready to contribute at that level.
2. Kansas City Royals
Mike Moustakas, SS, Chatsworth HS (CA)
A high school teammate of 3B Matt Dominguez, Moustakas will most likely be tried at the hot corner as a pro. He possesses a strong arm as evidenced by the fact that he played quarterback on the football team and was also used as a pitcher this spring. Some scouts think his best position may be as a catcher. A left-handed hitter, his bat is good enough to play anywhere on the field. Moustakas holds the California high school record for homers in a single season (24) and career (52). He was selected state sophomore player of the year in 2005, state junior player of the year in 2006, and is expected to earn the same honor for his senior year—and could very well be named Baseball America's High School Player of the Year for 2007.
3. Chicago Cubs
Josh Vitters, 3B, Cypress HS (CA)
Vitters can flat out hit, especially with a wood bat as evidenced by his outstanding performances in the Cape Cod Classic in Wareham (MA), Area Code games in Long Beach (CA), and the Aflac All-American Classic in San Diego last summer. He has quick hands and a smooth, compact stroke that produces line drives and "lots of pop" as a former major leaguer and current scout told me. Baseball America lists Vitters as the "best pure hitter" and the "closest to majors" among all high school players. His defense and foot speed are no better than average although both could improve with additional work over time. Although Vitters has committed to Arizona State, he is expected to sign a pro contract and report to his new team well in advance of the August 15 deadline.
For more on Josh, be sure to check out last Monday's exclusive Q&A with him.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson University
I can't believe that the Pirates selected another college pitcher with their first pick - and a lefthander at that. Most of the RHP have failed to date while the club currently has three southpaws (Gorzelanny, Maholm, and Duke) firmly planted in its rotation.
5. Baltimore Orioles
Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
Wieters will be the first test for owner Peter Angelos and agent Scott Boras to work out a contract. Stay tuned for the fireworks.
6. Washington Nationals
Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State University
7. Milwaukee Brewers
Matt LaPorta, 1B, University of Florida
Wow. There is a shock. Great news for a really nice guy. But how does he fit in with a club A) with Prince Fielder and B) with no DH???
I'm sorry, this pick makes NO sense. Fielder and LaPorta? On a NL club? Neither Fielder and LaPorta can play any other position except 1B. Not a good fit. Bad choice.
8. Colorado Rockies
Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt University
How do you spell r-e-a-c-h?
As a Jays fan, thank goodness Weathers isn't there to tempt J.P. Ricciardi.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks
Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS (IN)
Parker throws three pitches but relies primarily on his powerful fastball. He throws his fastball in the 94-97 MPH range and is able to spot it effectively to both sides of the plate, which is rare for right handed pitchers in high school. His change-up and curveball have the potential to be good pitches, but he was able to get by with just his fastball in high school, so he didn't develop his other pitches. While his height is a possible concern for teams, Parker has drawn comparisons to Roy Oswalt, the patron saint of small, hard-throwing right-handers. Parker went 10-0 on the season, posting a 0.13 ERA with four complete games. In 52 innings he allowed 15 hits, 96 strikeouts and eight walks.
Parker was universally considered the best high school pitcher in the draft not represented by Scott Boras. That is a valuable combination and one that many teams were hopeful of gaining.
10. San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell HS (NC)
Bumgarner, a North Carolina commit, is tall, athletic and has an advanced physique for his age, which helps evaluators feel more strongly about his projectability. He can get it up to 95 with great command and boasts two quality off-speed pitches - a snap-hook curveball and a change-up. The most common critique that I have heard is that he can have problems controlling and commanding his deuce.
11. Seattle Mariners
Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Ecole du Versant High School (CAN)
The top amateur pitcher in Canada, Aumont had the opportunity to become the highest Canadian ever drafted (Adam Loewen was taken fourth overall by Baltimore in 2004) after surging up draft boards this spring. The 6'7'' French Canadian - who speaks solid English - has a 95-98 mph four-seam fastball, as well as a two-seamer, slurve and developing change-up. Aumont has a solid understanding of pitching and believes control and movement is more important than power. He has international experience and is a former member of the Canadian Junior National Team. Amazingly, Aumont has only been pitching since the age of 14 and took up baseball at age 11 as a centerfielder. He is raw and will be a project, but he intelligent, mature and should be a quick learner. I had a chance to talk to Aumont recently about his pitching career and what the future holds. I came away suitably impressed as Aumont was the most composed high school athlete I have every interviewed.
Interesting pick by Seattle, who was projected to take a polished college arm by just about every draft expert. Having interviewed him recently, I am thrilled for this very mature kid.
12. Florida Marlins
Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth High School (CA)
Dominguez is unlikely to fulfill his commitment to Cal State Fullerton as a highly-regarded draft prospect. He has a solid bat with power potential. Dominguez is expected to be solid defensively at third base with several scouts comparing his potential to that of Washington's Ryan Zimmerman. Dominguez is athletic and has an average arm. He has also played some shortstop in high school but does not project to have the range needed in pro ball. Dominguez has struggled with his approach at the plate this year and some adjustments need to be made.
I'm a big fan of this pick. Dominguez can field at a MLB level now and has a power bat (including two HR at Dodger Stadium in championship high school games plus another one at Blair Field with a wood bat in the Area Code games last summer).
The Marlins just stole the Jays' preferred choice. I'm sure general manager J.P. Ricciardi had some choice words...
13. Cleveland Indians
Beau Mills, 3B, Lewis-Clark State College
Mills made an unusual move from NCAA Division I Fresno State to NAIA powerhouse Lewis-Clark due to academic problems. But the move has paid off for him and he has rocketed into the first round in his junior season. He is now considered as one of the top three college bats in the draft along with Georgia Tech's Matt Wieters and U of Florida's Matt LaPorta. All three players possess above-average power potential and Mills' comes more from bat speed than raw strength. Mills has been exposed to professional baseball most of his life as his father Brad is a former Major League player and is currently the bench coach with the Boston Red Sox. Although not a speedster on the base paths, Mills is a smart runner who won't clog the bases. Defensively, his range is average but he handles everything he reaches. He may move to first base in pro ball. Mills is a solid leader who plays the game the right way.
Another shock as everyone predicted Cleveland was all over prep pitcher Blake Beavan.
Well, the Indians are known to favor college players. The fact that CLE can play him at 1B or DH makes him more valuable to them than LaPorta to MIL.
14. Atlanta Braves
Jason Heyward, OF, Henry County High School (GA)
Heyward has tremendous plus-plus, left-handed power and also has the potential to hit for a high average. As a result, he was never expected to make it out of the first 10 or 14 picks. Heyward is an average fielder who plays center field in high school but will likely move to either left or right field in pro ball. Some scouts say he can be too patient at the plate at times, but he possesses solid pitch recognition. He has committed to UCLA but is expected to display his excellent baseball instincts in pro ball instead.
Nice pick. The Braves sure love prospects from Georgia.
15. Cincinnati Reds
Devin Mesoraco, C, Punxsatawney High School (PA)
Mesoraco has four-tool potential, with his speed being his lone weak spot. Offensively, he doesn't chase bad pitches and he has plus power. Defensively, Mesoraco has a plus arm, plus hands and makes accurate throws. He has recovered from 2006 Tommy John surgery with no ill effects. Mesoraco is outstanding at blocking balls in the dirt. He also has excellent make-up and is a natural leader. His overall package is hard to ignore and he rose up the draft charts more than any other player in the last few weeks.
The Jays just lost their back-up option after first losing Dominguez. If they take a low-ceiling college pitcher, I may be sick...
Kevin Ahrens, SS-3B, Memorial HS (TX)
Ahrens is one of a number of outstanding prep third basemen in this year's draft. I saw Ahrens play in the Area Code games in Long Beach last summer. The switch-hitting prep shortstop has good size, power, and arm strength—and almost assuredly will be moved to the hot corner before reaching the majors. The comparison to Chipper Jones is understandable but a bit generous given the fact that Ahrens doesn't move nearly as well at the same age as the former No. 1 pick. Baseball America ranks Ahrens as the third "best pure hitter" among high school prospects.
I know Marc is happy!
Much better than a low-ceiling college pick... But there was almost no talk of Ahrens to Toronto in the Canadian media before this pick occurred. A bit of a surprise, but he was the best available prep player that wasn't a pitcher. And JP was not going to take a high school hurler with his first pick.
17. Texas Rangers (from Houston for Carlos Lee)
Blake Beavan, RHP, Irving HS (TX)
Beavan's season ended nearly a month ago when his Irving High team fell in the opening round of the Texas 5A postseason tournament. Beavan finished the season with a 9-2 record, a 0.19 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 73 innings. The biggest reason for Beavan's dominance was his mid-90s fastball. Beavan threw mostly fastballs in high school, while locating it on both sides of the plate. He also features a slider and change-up, although they aren't as impressive as his fastball. In the summer of 2006 Beavan pitched for the US junior national team and shut out Cuba in the quarterfinals of the IBAF World Junior Championships. His competitive nature was on display during that game when he threw a pitch over the head of Cuba's Dayan Viciedo in retaliation for Cuba's pitcher hitting Beavan's teammate Victor Sanchez. That competitive nature appeared as cockiness/showboating in the past, although it appears he has worked past that and now only shows loads of confidence on the mound.
More than a hometown pick, Beavan is tall, throws hard, and has a proven track record of success.
18. St. Louis Cardinals
Peter Kozma, SS, Owasso High School (OK)
Kozma is a solid player who does not project to be a star, but an average major leaguer. He is a hard worker who gets the most out of his abilities. Kozma has excellent hitting skills and developing power. He also has above-average speed and is a solid base runner. Defensively, Kozma has an average arm and range at shortstop. He is comparable to Mark Loretta, albeit with more athleticism. Kozma is a relatively advanced high school player and he has committed to play college ball at Wichita State University.
Joe Savery, LHP, Rice University
Savery was considered a bit of a wild card in the early rounds. He had the potential to be a first round draft pick and pitch near the top of a major league rotation but labrum surgery clouded his draft status. It also didn't help that recent Rice University high draft picks (Jeff Niemann, Phil Humber, Wade Townsend, Josh Baker) have a poor track record due to health concerns. However, Baseball America suggested Savery's injury may help him long-term, as Rice has been reluctant to use him as frequently. Savery's fastball is not as good as it used to be, but it's still pretty solid and has been between 85-94 mph this season. His curveball is still developing but he has flashed a plus change-up. Savery, a two-way player, is a good athlete.
If he's healthy, this could be a great pick. Former top-of-the-first-round type of talent. As a two-way player, he could make a minor impact with the bat.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers (from Boston for Julio Lugo)
Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland Christian High School, (TX)
Withrow throws in the 89-94 mph range with his fastball, which also has good sink to it. Both his curve and change have the potential to be above-average pitches but they are not there yet. He has solid command of all his pitches, particularly his fastball and change. Withrow is projectable and athletic, so his game should improve significantly with professional coaching. He has excellent mechanics and repeats his delivery consistently. His father pitched in the White Sox organization, as well as at the University of Texas.
Rick Porcello is still available, as is Matt Harvey. Both prep pitchers are Scott Boras clients. Look for the New York Yankees to grab Porcello if he is available and perhaps Harvey if he is not. Among non-Boras clients, Michael Main and Josh Smoker are probably at or near the top of most draft boards right now.
21. Toronto Blue Jays
J.P. Arencibia, C, University of Tennessee
Knew this one was coming... I have liked him since last year... I just hope the back problem is a thing of the past. His defence is suspect but his bat is good enough for first base.
22. San Francisco Giants (from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Schmidt)
Tim Alderson, RHP, Horizon High School (AZ)
Despite his size, Alderson's fastball currently sits in the 89-93 mph range. He has also flashed a curveball that can be a plus pitch, as well as a solid change-up that he doesn't use much against high school competition. His biggest strength right now is his plus-plus command. Not surprisingly, he has a solid mound presence and is extremely aggressive. He is athletic but has an unorthodox delivery that worries some scouts. Alderson pitches exclusively from the stretch.
Alderson struck out 111 batters and only walked 4. Yes, 111 to 4 K/BB. Not too shabby. The Giants have now taken two power arms from the high school ranks and still have four of the next 29 picks. Alderson's family can watch him train in Scottsdale next spring.
23. San Diego Padres
Nick Schmidt, LHP, University of Arkansas
As evidenced by his 111/51 K/BB ratio in 2007, Schmidt is not blessed with overwhelming stuff and slots more into the low-risk category. He sits high 80s to low 90s and really knows how to pitch. Scouts figure he will be able to consistently get outs and eat innings due to his size as he advances to the higher levels of professional ball.
I think the Padres were pleasantly surprised that Schmidt was still available at this pick. The big lefty has been Arkansas' Friday Night starter since the middle of his freshman season. He doesn't possess as much polish as SD normally likes, but they have always shown a preference for proven college pitchers.
24. Texas Rangers (from the Los Angeles Angels for Gary Matthews, Jr.)
Michael Main, RHP/OF, DeLand HS (FL)
Main is a two-way player, throwing heat from the mound and spending the rest of his time in the outfield. As a pitcher, Main has one of the strongest fastballs in the draft and mixes in an effective change-up and curveball as well. He has a quick delivery, which could have led to the tendonitis in his rotator cuff he suffered from over parts of the last two seasons. He appears to have fully recovered from the injury, as evidenced by striking out 121 hitters in 82 innings this spring. However, it could still cause a Major League team to think twice about using him as a pitcher because Main is very good as an outfielder as well. A five-tool player, Main hit almost .500 this season and runs like a deer. As a testament to his blazing speed, he was timed going from home-to-first in 4.07 seconds from the right-handed batters box. His swing is smooth and he projects to have power at the Major League level. Main's value is as a pitcher, but if a team gets gun shy about his injury history, his athletic ability is a nice thing to fall back on.
Beavan and Main? Nice. Very nice. A great athlete, Peter Gammons just compared Main to Boston uber prospect Clay Buchholz.
25. Chicago White Sox
Aaron Poreda, LHP, University of San Francisco
Poreda does not strike batters out the way you would like to see a flame-throwing lefty of his size mow 'em down (66 K's in 99 IP) but given his size and live arm, he may be well worth a flier. A good pitching coach and a quality player development system could easily mold Poreda into a quality Major League pitcher one day.
With Poreda, the White Sox do not make a big-name splash. Looks like the Yankees (pick No. 30) may have a shot at Porcello, Brackman and Harvey but keep an eye on the Tigers at 27.
26. Oakland Athletics
James Simmons, RHP, UC Riverside
Simmons is one of the most polished pitchers in the draft. He struck out 116 batters and walked only 15 in 123.2 IP this spring. Baseball America ranks him third as the "closest to the majors" among all college players (behind only Vanderbilt's David Price and Casey Weathers). After posting a 1.18 ERA over 53.1 IP in the Cape Cod League last summer, Simmons went 11-3 with a 2.40 ERA in his junior season at UC Riverside. His ERA might be a bit misleading as he gave up 15 unearned runs (out of a total of 48) in 123.2 IP, giving the strike-throwing artist a RA of 3.49.
I had the chance to see Simmons in action vs. Long Beach State on 5/18/07. His fastball sat at 90-92 in the early innings (with one pitch touching 93), then fell to 88-91 later in the game (with a high of 92). He possesses a plus change-up and no better than an average breaking ball. Simmons tends to throw a lot of pitches for someone with his command (127 over six innings in the game I saw and 133 in 7.1 IP against Nebraska in the Regionals last week). His upside will be a function of how many bats he misses at the big league level. (Photo)
Oakland has now taken 13 college players out of their last 14 first-round picks in the Billy Beane era.
27. Detroit Tigers
Rich Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (NJ)
The 2006-2007 Gatorade national baseball player of the year was the top high school pitching prospect in the draft. With a four-seam fastball that sits in the 95 MPH range and a two-seam fastball with movement, Porcello dominated high school hitters this spring. On the season he went 9-0 with a 1.44 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 13 walks in 63 innings. His easy delivery and good mechanics don't lend themselves to injuries and he has a projectable body. One of the knocks on Porcello heading into this season was his control, but he showed excellent command this spring, allaying that fear. Signability is the big issue with Porcello now, as he is advised by Scott Boras and has a commitment to North Carolina. However, with new rules in place that will compensate teams for unsigned picks in the first three rounds with essentially the same pick in the 2008 draft, perhaps teams will be less concerned about signability than they were in the past.
Take that Yankees. The Tigers LOVE to make big splashes when players fall due to signability issues. He could be a major steal, along the lines of Andrew Miller.
Sully just IM'd me and, as a Red Sox fan, is one very happy man.
28. Minnesota Twins
Ben Revere, OF, Lexington Catholic HS (KY)
Baseball America ranks Revere as the "fastest baserunner" (6.28 in the 60) among all high school prospects. He also projects to be a plus defensive outfielder in terms of range but has a below-average arm. Makes excellent contact at the plate with occasional pop. A wide receiver and kick returner in football, Revere is considered to be a great athlete with strong makeup and a first-rate work ethic.
Revere sounds like a better fantasy pool selection (especially in a 4x4 league) than baseball player.
29. San Francisco Giants (from the New York Mets for Moises Alou)
Wendell Fairley, OF, George County-Lucedale High School (MS)
Fairley's game is all about speed and athletic ability as he is a raw baseball player. He also spent time playing football in high school. He has shown the ability to hit for both average and power with a projectable left-handed stroke. Fairly projects as a centerfielder and has enough arm to stay there in the future. There are some questions about his make-up as he faced charges this year, stemming from a school prank, and is also a father, despite still being in high school.
30. New York Yankees
Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State
Many teams still do not know what to think about 6'10'' Brackman, whose season ended early due to fatigue after fewer than 80 innings of work. But with a 92-97 mph fastball, which reportedly hit 100 mph in the summer Cape Cod League, he is desirable baseball talent. Brackman is raw for a college pitcher and he is represented by super agent Scott Boras. Along with his fastball, Brackman possesses a 78-81 mph knuckle curve and an 82-84 mph change-up. He struggles with his balance and release point, which leads to spotty control at times. The former high school and college basketball player has good athleticism. As the draft neared, there were rumors flying that all the talk of injuries (as well as some impending Tommy John whispers) were orchestrated by Boras to help Brackman fall to a big market club.
You can have him.
We're in the midst of a 15-minute break between the first round and the supplemental round. Stay tuned as we will continue to bring all the coverage to you right here.
As a recap, 13 college players and 17 high schoolers were chosen in the first round with 17 pitchers and 13 position players taken. Seven top HS pitchers are now unlikely to go to college, diluting the collegiate ranks for the next few years.
According to ESPN2's coverage, Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez (Chatsworth HS, which won the Los Angeles Section City title) are the highest pair of high school teammates ever drafted.
31. Washington Nationals (from the Chicago Cubs for Alfonso Soriano)
Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun HS (GA)
Another classy looking high school southpaw, Smoker has a smooth delivery, a low-90s fastball, a very good change-up and an improving breaking ball. He can get it up into the mid-90s but sits high 80s to low 90s and is known for intelligently mixing up his pitches to get outs. He has committed to Clemson.
The Nats get great value in the supplemental round, with a player everyone expected to be gone by the end of the first round.
32. San Francisco Giants (for Alou)
Nick Noonan, SS/2B, Parker High School (CA)
Noonan projects as a No. 2 hitter at the major league level, but he still has a long way to go to reach that potential. He has excellent bat control and the ability to hit for average. Noonan doesn't have much power but he could eventually hit 10-15 homers per year. His speed is average but he has solid baseball instincts that allow him to get the most out of his abilities. Noonan, who profiles as a second baseman, has average arm strength at best and decent range at shortstop, which is where he played in high school. He has been compared to Philadelphia's Chase Utley with less power. Noonan has committed to Clemson University.
33. Atlanta Braves (from Baltimore for Danys Baez)
Jon Gilmore, 3B, City High School (IA)
Gilmore is still in the projection stages. He has projectable power and has recently shown the ability to make adjustments with breaking pitches. Gilmore lacks quickness and range at third base. He also does not run well. Gilmore puts more effort into his hitting than his defense. Regardless, his raw power and the huge strides he has made in his hitting abilities are intriguing. Gilmore is committed to Wichita State University and is the brother-in-law of Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist.
34. Cincinnati Reds (from San Francisco for Rich Aurilia)
Todd Frazier, SS/3B, Rutgers University
Frazier has good bloodlines as his brother Charles played in the minors with Florida and brother Jeff is currently at Double-A with the Cubs. The Rockies drafted Frazier out of high school in the 37th round in 2004, but he chose to attend Rutgers. Frazier has good bat speed with an unorthodox swing. He displays plus raw power but must avoid becoming too pull happy. Frazier is athletic and a fringe-average base runner. Frazier flashes a plus arm at third base and lacks the range to remain at shortstop long-term.
With Encarnacion struggling for Cincy, he now has Frazier to worry about in a couple years.
35. Texas Rangers (for Lee)
Julio Borbon, CF, University of Tennessee
Borbon is a solid center-fielder who has excellent hitting abilities, including bat control and bunting. He has flashed occasional power but he is better when he focuses on "small ball." He does not walk enough for a top-of-the-order hitter. Borbon missed a good portion of the 2007 season with a fractured ankle but he still has plus speed and great range. The only negative is Borbon's arm, which is fringe-average for center. He has been likened to New York's Johnny Damon and Texas' Kenny Lofton.
The Rangers really considered Borbon in the first round and must have been thrilled to nab him in the supplemental round.
36. St. Louis Cardinals (from Milwaukee for Jeff Suppan)
Clay Mortensen, RHP, Gonzaga University
Mortensen throws three pitches: a "heavy" fastball that sits at 89-92 and has reportedly touched 94, a hard slider, and a changeup. He was named the Western Conference Pitcher of the Year and a Louisville Slugger third-team All-America. A senior who was drafted in the 25th round in 2005 out of Treasure Valley Community College (OR), Mortensen stepped it up in conference play, posting a perfect 6-0 record in seven starts and a 1.60 ERA with a league-best 63 strikeouts. The late bloomer possesses a good frame for a pitcher and may have additional upside beyond what he has shown to date.
37. Philadelphia Phillies (from Cleveland for David Dellucci)
Travis D'Arnaud, C, Lakewood High School (CA)
D'Arnaud was considered one of the top catching options in the draft for his combined hitting and catching skills. He has shown promise with the bat, but is still inconsistent at this point. He doesn't have a naturally gifted swing and tends to get a little swing-from-the-heels happy. D'Arnaud is mostly a doubles hitter right now but projects to be a 10-15 home run hitter in his prime. He does all the little things well and is a smart base runner, even though he has below-average speed. Defensively, he has a great arm, both in terms of strength and accuracy. He also has soft hands and moves well behind the plate. D'Arnaud is poised to join his brother at Pepperdine University, unless he is drafted in the first few rounds.
Although known more for his defense, D'Arnaud led the prestigious Moore League in home runs this spring and went deep numerous times in a wood bat session at Dodger Stadium last week.
38. Toronto Blue Jays (from the Los Angeles Angels for Justin Speier)
Brett Cecil, LHP, University of Maryland
Cecil's 81-86 mph slider should guarantee him a spot in a big league bullpen. If he can sharpen his secondary pitches and find a tool for combating righties, he could become a closer in pro ball. Cecil's fastball is 89-92 mph and his repertoire also includes a curveball, change-up and split-finger fastball. He likes to challenge hitters and throw strikes. Cecil occasionally displays immaturity on the mound.
39. Los Angeles Dodgers (for Lugo)
James Adkins, LHP, U of Tennessee
Adkins is a big left-hander but throws his fastball at 88-92 mph. His slider is his out-pitch and it flashes plus-plus ability at times. For the most part he relies on command and control to get batters out and he lacks a reliable change-up. Adkins carried a no-hitter into an SEC tournament start but probably won't see similar success in pro ball as a starter with only two pitches. If he doesn't quickly pick up an off-speed pitch, he is likely headed to the bullpen as a set-up man.
40. San Diego Padres (from Houston for Woody Williams)
Kellen Kulbacki, OF, James Madison University
Kulbacki has put up some stellar numbers in his college career, although some caution must be used due to the fact he plays in an excellent hitter's park. He is an above-average hitter, though, with a chance to hit for a high average. He has plus raw power, as well. He has average speed at best, but is not a base-clogger. He is an average fielder with an arm that is suited to leftfield. His range is nothing special. Body-wise, Kulbacki is similar to Brian Giles.
I guess San Diego saw the Giles comparisons too? I am a little worried about the power numbers not translating to A) wood and B) a pitcher's environment.
41. Oakland Athletics (from San Francisco for Barry Zito)
Sean Doolittle, LHP/1B, University of Virginia
Doolittle is a two-way player who profiles better as a first baseman. He projects to be a Mark Grace style of player, rather than a hulking slugger. However, Virginia's spacious park can sometimes mask power potential. Doolittle is more athletic than most first basemen and he has an above average arm. He can throw 87-90 mph on the mound. His stock was on the rise as the draft neared and some had expected him to be taken in the first round.
42. New York Mets (from Cleveland for Roberto Hernandez)
Eddie Kunz, RHP, Oregon State
Kunz throws a sinking fastball that can touch 94 mph. His second pitch is a slider, with good late, hard break to it. He has average command and throws from a three-quarters arm slot out of the bullpen. He lacks a true weapon against good left-handed batters but his sinker will induce a lot of ground balls and chew up bats in pro ball. Because of his struggles against lefties, he projects more as a set-up man in pro ball, rather than a dominating closer.
43. San Francisco Giants (for Schmidt)
Jackson Williams, C, Oklahoma
A three-year starter, Williams hit .344/.426/.525 with 4 HR, 18 BB, and 33 SO in 183 AB in his junior season this spring. He played for the Hyannis Mets of the Cape Cod League last summer. An intense competitor and student of the game, Williams was the captain of the Sooners baseball team. He projects as a solid but "low ceiling" backstop.
44. Texas Rangers (for Matthews)
Neil Ramirez, RHP, Kempsville High School (VA)
Ramirez can dial his fastball up to 96 mph. He also has a curveball with potential and a developing change-up. He has above-average command of his fastball, but the command of his secondary stuff is below-average. He has a projectable body and good mound demeanor.
45. Toronto Blue Jays (for Catalanotto)
Justin Jackson, SS, T.C. Roberson High School (NC)
Jackson has slid down draft boards this spring despite solid, albeit unspectacular, play. It was fairly common knowledge that it would be difficult for teams to buy him away from his commitment to attended college at Arizona State if he was not take in the first couple of rounds. Jackson has solid bat speed with 15-20 home run potential and needs to get stronger overall. He doesn't have great stolen base speed, as he has a slow first step. Jackson has plus arm strength and can hit 93 mph off the mound. At shortstop, he has average range. Jackson has been on scouts' radars for a number of years and he attended the same high school as Detroit's 2005 first round pick Cameron Maybin.
A very exciting pick for the Jays... A talented but somewhat raw prep shortstop that can actually stay at the position! Jackson and John Tolisano (taken in the second round) will make an exciting, flashy doubleplay combo with the new Gulf Coast League team.
46. San Diego Padres (from San Francisco for Dave Roberts)
Drew Cumberland, SS, Pace High School (FL)
Cumberland is a contact, line-drive hitter with below average power. he is a plus-plus runner on the base paths and he knows how to get the most out of his speed. Defensively, he has a below-average arm at shortstop and poor footwork. He could face a move to second base or centerfield. He does have plus range, though, because of his speed. He is athletic and fits the mold of a top-of-the-order hitter. He also has excellent make-up. Cumberland's brother Shaun plays in the Rays' organization.
47. New York Mets (from Baltimore for Chad Bradford)
Nathan Vineyard, LHP, Woodland High School (GA)
Vineyard has an average 88-91 mph fastball and slider. His change-up is currently below-average. Vineyard has a solid delivery but his command is below average at this point in his career. He is athletic and likes to aggressively attack hitters.
48. Chicago Cubs (from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Pierre)
Josh Donaldson, C, Auburn University
Donaldson is a strong, athletic catcher with excellent instincts. However, his arm is lacking behind the plate and he may face a move to second base in the near future. He has also played shortstop and third base in high school and college. Donaldson is a below-average runner. He falls into bad habits at the plate and some scouts question his bat speed. A strong Cape Cod League in 2006 helped to raise his profile. Donaldson has a hitch in his swing and has a habit of chasing breaking balls out of the strike zone.
49. Washington Nationals (from Seattle for Jose Guillen)
Michael Burgess, OF, Hillsborough High School (FL)
Burgess showcases above-average power potential, he has excellent hand-eye coordination and his bat speed is outstanding. That said, his game is still raw and he is the perfect example of a "boom or bust" prospect. Burgess' arm strength is also a plus tool and he can exceed 90 mph when throwing from the mound. He has OK range in center but would likely move to rightfield in pro ball. His swing is inconsistent and it makes some scouts worry that he won't hit for average.
50. Arizona Diamondbacks (from Milwaukee for Craig Counsell)
Wes Roemer, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
Roemer was projected all over the first and supplemental rounds leading up to the draft. As a smallish right-handed pitcher with an average fastball (89-91 mph), command, control and make-up are his biggest strengths. He has solid command of his slider, which he can back-door against lefties, and his change-up. Roemer is a competitor, who likes to go right after batters. He could head to the bullpen as a pro, but is likely to get a chance to start.
Roemer regressed this year but still put up solid numbers (10-6, 3.33 ERA, with 136 SO and 22 BB in 127 IP). As a sophomore, the Titan was a unanimous first-team All-American and Collegiate Baseball's Co-National Player of the Year. He started the 2006 season pitching 65.2 innings without issuing a walk and finished the campaign with a 21:1 K/BB ratio on 145 whiffs and only 7 walks. Roemer was invited to play for the U.S. National Team last summer, going 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched.
I have seen him pitch in person and believe his bulldog approach will serve him well in the pros—quite possibly as someone who will eventually be asked to get outs in the eighth or ninth innings.
51. San Francisco Giants (from Cincinnati for Mike Stanton)
Charles Culberson, SS, Calhoun HS (GA)
Calhoun High School produced two picks in the supplemental round: Culberson and teammate Josh Smoker, who was selected by the Washington Nationals at 32. The duo led their team to the Class AA state baseball finals. Culberson was the No. 2 pitcher and played shortstop when not on the mound. He hit a ton this spring, batting over .500 with 16 HR, including 6 in the postseason.
52. Seattle Mariners (from Kansas City for Gil Meche)
Matt Mangini, 3B, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State's Mangini could be the best true college third baseman available, although some scouts prefer Rutgers University's Todd Frazier (currently a shortstop). He doesn't possess the power one might expect from a 6'4'' 220 lbs baseball player, which separates him from Lewis-Clark's Beau Mills. That said, Mangini should hit for a solid average and he won the 2006 Cape Cod League batting title while using wood bats. Defensively, he has an above-average arm and good range for his size.
53. Cincinnati Reds (from the New York Mets for Scott Schoeneweis)
Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, South Delta High School (CAN)
The 6'3'' 185 pound Canadian pitcher can touch 95 mph but has been overshadowed by fellow countryman Phillippe Aumont. Lotzkar's fastball currently has only fringe-average movement. His slurve could develop into a strikeout pitch but it is a work-in-progress at this point. He lacks a third pitch, but has flashed a change-up in limited action. Lotzkar could lack the command to pitch in the starting rotation in pro ball. He has committed to play college ball at Gonzaga University.
54. Texas Rangers (from the Chicago Cubs for Mark DeRosa)
Raymond Hunter, RHP, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
Known in the scouting circles as Tommy Hunter, Raymond's fastball ranges from 88-94 mph but sits most comfortable around 88-91. Both his slider and change project to be average pitches in the future. He has a bulldog mentality but below-average command, which should improve over time. Hunter has a similar build to the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton. He is a draft-eligible sophomore, so he has some signing leverage.
Nick Hagadone, LHP, University of Washington
Hagadone's stock has been sizzling. At the start of the year he projected somewhere in the 8-12 round range according to the more reputable amateur baseball publications. But given his size, stellar season out of the Huskies bullpen (72/17 K/BB in 68 IP) and increased velocity this season, Major League clubs have taken notice and he figures to go much sooner than 8-12.
Trystan Magnuson, RHP, University of Louisville
The Magnuson name is well known to Canadian hockey fans, as Trystan's European father played for a number of years in the National Hockey League. Magnuson was probably a signability pick as he was a fifth year senior in college and could have signed with any team before the draft (likely for little money) had his team finished its playoffs sooner. He has a low-90s fastball and his out-pitch is a slider, but it is still inconsistent. He was a closer for Louisville but projects to be a set-up man in pro ball.
57. San Diego Padres (from the New York Mets for Chan Ho Park)
Mitch Canham, C, Oregon State University
Canham is a 6'2'' catcher who bats left and possesses solid skills at the plate. He has the potential to hit for both average and power. The athletic Canham is only in his third year of catching and his defence is a work in progress. If his skills behind the dish do not improve, he should hit well enough to play a corner infield or corner outfield position. Canham is a confident player who takes charge on the field. He was taken by the Cardinals in the 41st round last year as a draft-eligible sophomore but did not sign. Canham significantly improved his game in the Cape Cod League last summer. Some scouts are concerned about his past, as his mother died from a drug overdose.
58. Los Angeles Angels (from St. Louis for Adam Kennedy)
Jonathan Bachanov, RHP, University HS (FL)
Bachnov's fastball ranges from 89-96 mph but he has some make-up questions surrounding him. His breaking ball is a plus pitch when it's on and he also has a cutter and a developing change. He is big and strong but doesn't alway remember how good he is, while he is on the mound. With better mound presence and maturity, Bachnov could improve significantly.
59. Oakland Athletics (from Toronto for Frank Thomas)
Corey Brown, OF, Oklahoma State University
Brown is more well-rounded than teammate Matt Mangini. Brown displays both solid power and speed. He also has a quick bat and is more than willing to take a walk. Defensively, he has the range for center but probably also has enough arm for rightfield. On the negative side, he hit below .200 in the Cape Cod League last summer and faced fairly serious criminal charges in high school.
Brandon Hamilton, RHP, Stanhope Elmore HS (AL)
Hamilton's power arm can overpower hitters at times, but he is far from a finished product. He failed to handle adversity well while recording a 2-7 record with a 1.83 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 49.2 IP. Hamilton committed to Troy but is expected to sign a pro contract as soon as one is offered him. "I just want to go out and play," Hamilton said. "If worse comes to worst, I'll go to college, but I'll probably sign. I'm open to anything."
61. Arizona Diamondbacks (from Seattle for Miguel Batista)
Edward Easley, C, Mississippi State
Easley was a second-team All-American coming out of high school. He has also played third base, but lacks the power to remain there long term, so his value lies in remaining behind the plate. He has a reputation as a solid hitter but his defence behind the dish is average at best.
62. Boston Red Sox (from Cleveland for Keith Foulke)
Ryan Dent, SS, Wilson High School (CA)
Dent led his high school team, ranked No. 1 in the country by Baseball America, to the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) Division I championship. The UCLA recruit profiles as a future lead-off hitter with solid hitting abilities and plus speed. Dent flashes occasional power, but it is not a key part of his game. Although he is athletic and speedy, some scouts question his ability to stick at shortstop longer term. A move to the outfield is not out of the question, but he presently lacks the necessary power to be a regular corner outfielder. Look for Dent to play one of the up-the-middle positions, be it SS, 2B, or CF.
63. San Diego Padres (from Oakland for Alan Embree)
Cory Luebke, LHP, Ohio State University
Luebke led the Big 10 Conference in ERA during the regular season. He had a solid Cape Cod League last summer but has underwhelming stuff for a big kid with a fastball that ranges between 88-91 mph. His slider is solid but his change is nothing special. At worst, he could be a LOOGY.
64. San Diego Padres (from San Francisco for Ryan Klesko)
Danny Payne, OF, Georgia Tech
Payne has above-average hitting skills, but below average power. He is average on the base paths but can steal bases when needed. He has a pretty good arm and threw some relief in college. He has average range in the outfield but gets good jumps. Payne has good baseball instincts and will do whatever necessary to get on base. To be an everyday player, Payne is going to have to show the ability to stick in centerfield.
SUMMARY OF SECOND ROUND
The first five selections (William Kline, Sam Runion, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Welker, and Josh Fields) are righthanded pitchers—all but Runion from the college ranks. Fields slipped in the draft from the early-season projections based on his outstanding Cape Cod performance last summer. An undersized RHP, he had trouble commanding his fastball and throwing his breaking ball this spring, but the Braves once again pulled the trigger on a Georgia prospect.
Brian Rike, who we featured last Friday, was taken by the Colorado Rockies with the 72nd pick. Jeff Albert, a graduate student at Louisiana Tech, interviewed the power-hitting outfielder and analyzed his swing in a video scouting report attached to that Q&A.
Greg Desme (OAK, 74th) was the Big West Conference Player of the Year despite missing the last couple of weeks of the season with a broken wrist. He led the league in batting average (.405), home runs (15), RBI (53), SLG (.733), OBP (.494) and total bases (143). His size, position, and power reminded me of Jonny Gomes when I saw the Mustangs get swept by Long Beach State in a three-game series in early May. He struck out in his first two at-bats on Friday night as Manny McElroy threw him almost nothing but curveballs, a pitch Desme has had a tough time handling. He will need to make adjustments at the pro level to succeed.
Zachary Cozart (CIN, 79th), Josh Horton (OAK, 90th), and Danny Worth (DET, 91st) are three polished college shortstops who were taken in the second round. Cozart, Horton, and Worth are sure-handed fielders but their lack of plus speed and range will limit them defensively at the highest level. All three profile as low-end starting SS or backups/utility players on championship teams.