Change-UpMay 28, 2008
Checking In
By Patrick Sullivan

Just as we intend to this season, Baseball Analysts profiled a number of soon-to-be draftees ahead of the 2007 Amateur Draft. We interviewed three position players and three pitchers, all drawing varying degrees of interest from Major League ball clubs. Among others, there was the uber-prospect, the seasoned college player, the signability guy and the player who had performed but failed to overwhelm scouts.

Let's check in with each of them to see how their professional careers have started out.

  • Matt LaPorta, 23, Huntsville Stars/Milwaukee Brewers, OF

               PA   H   BB   AVG   OBP   SLG
    Rk         28   7    1  .259  .286  .519 (2007)
    A         102  28    7  .318  .392  .750 (2007)
    AA        223  53   27  .288  .399  .592 (2008)

    Prince Fielder clamored for a lucrative extension this Spring while Ryan Braun got one. Both young studs seem like the type you want to lock up but with LaPorta seemingly not far on the horizon, you can understand Milwaukee's hesitancy to lock up Big League dollars at LaPorta's position. He's raking and has already been named the Player of the Week in the Southern League twice this season.

  • Brian Rike, 22, Asheville Tourists/Colorado Rockies, OF

               PA   H   BB   AVG   OBP   SLG
    A-         223  55  32  .296  .404  .441 (2007)
    A          219  48  32  .267  .393  .483 (2008)

    The Colorado Rockies selected Rike with the 72nd overall pick in the 2007 draft and so far he has not disappointed. A Louisiana Tech product and the 2007 WAC Player of the Year, Rike seems to be the real deal thus far in his professional career.

  • Josh Vitters, 18, Peoria Chiefs/Chicago Cubs, 3B

                PA   H  BB   AVG   OBP   SLG
    Rk          31   2   1  .067  .094  .067 (2007)
    A-          23   4   2  .190  .261  .190 (2007)
    A           14   3   0  .214  .214  .429 (2008)

    Ranked the finest prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization by Baseball America, Vitters has unfortunately been battling tendinitis in his left hand. He went 3-for-4 with three doubles in his first game this season, then went hitless in his next 10 at-bats. He hasn't seen action in over a month. While Vitters has yet to display the hitting prowess he exhibited as an amateur, the sample size and hand injury are more telling than the stats. There is not much to say at this point other than that the Cubs hope he gets healthy sooner rather than later.

  • Phillippe Aumont, 19, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/Seattle Mariners, RHP

               IP    H  BB  SO  ERA  
    A          31   20   9  29  1.74 (2008)

    The 11th overall pick of last season's draft, Aumont has not disappointed pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League. The 6-foot-7 native of Canada didn't allow an earned run in his first six appearances covering 17.2 innings. We will need to see quite a bit more of Aumont's professional body of work before we project him with any measure of certainty but so far, so good.

  • Jack McGeary, 19, Vermont Lake Monsters/Washington Nationals, LHP

               IP    H  BB  SO  ERA  
    A-        2.2    3   5   4 13.50 (2007)

    McGeary made only two appearances in 2007, both in September. He has yet to play this season.

    For details on McGeary, I will let the Washington Post take it away. The Nationals picked McGeary in the fifth round of last year's draft, gave him a $1.8 million bonus and also agreed to pay his tuition at Stanford University. For a glimpse into his life at Stanford, here is an excerpt from the piece:

    Depending on the hour or the day of the week, he could be going to run on the track, sometimes at 6 a.m. He could be going to yoga. He could be going to the weight room. He could be going to throw on campus. He could be driving some 15 miles to Santa Clara University where, unlike at Stanford, he is welcome to use the baseball team's facilities, to throw with their players. Toss in what could be a crippling courseload -- Greek mythology; Hannibal; children, youth and the law; and a literature course to which he might relate, "Epic Journeys and Modern Quests" -- and it's safe to say that he'll be unique among pitchers in the New York-Penn or South Atlantic league this summer.

    This (short) season will be a telling one for McGeary, as the Nats will get an opportunity to evaluate whether or not their gamble is paying dividends. Sure he has been hitting the books, the weight room and even the practice fields at Santa Clara. But he is not living the life of a professional. Whether this most unusual arrangement will work out for Washington or not will not ultimately be determined for some time, but keep an eye on McGeary's first chunk of Minor League ball this year.

  • Adam Mills, 23, Lancaster JetHawks/Boston Red Sox, RHP

               IP    H  BB  SO  ERA  
    A-         35   32   9  37  2.04 (2007)
    A          53   60  10  30  4.10 (2008)

    On the one hand, Mills has weathered the pitcher's nightmare that is Lancaster quite capably in 2008. In fact, after allowing 13 ER in his first 13 IP, Mills has settled down and allowed given up 11 ER in his last 39.2 IP. He has struck out 13 batters without issuing a free pass in the past three games.

    On the other hand, Mills is 23 years old and advanced for this level of play. Still, I think it is fair to say that the 5-11, 190-pounder out of UNC Charlotte is doing what he needs to do to pass the required tests in order to climb the Red Sox Minor League ranks. How he fares once promoted to AA Portland will be the tell-tale sign as to whether Mills is the performance analyst's pipe-dream or a legitimate "if he is good he might be good" success story.


    As mentioned above, we will profile a few players and live blog the draft once again. We plan once again to provide first class draft coverage so for those of you interested, we hope we have earned our way into your draft coverage rotation.