MLB Draft News and Notes
It's still amateur
Today's entry is a smorgasbord of news and notes resulting from last week's draft.
First baseman/corner outfielder Shane Peterson (STL, #59) was chosen in round two, shortstop Danny Espinosa (WAS, #87)) and righthanded starters Andrew Liebel (TOR, #95) and Vance Worley (PHI, #102) were selected in the third round, righthanded reliever David Roberts (CLE, #141) was taken in the fourth round, and righthanded starter Brett Lorin (SEA, #162) was plucked in the fifth round. All five players are expected to sign although Lorin, a draft-eligible sophomore, could return to Long Beach in an attempt to improve his draft status after a season in which he could be the Dirtbags' Friday Night Starter.
Long Beach nearly made it eight players when outfielder Jason Corder (TB, #203, 7th round) was nabbed with the first pick when the draft resumed on Friday. Travis Howell (SEA, #552), Nick Vincent (SD, #555), and Jason Tweedy (TB, #593) were also selected on the second day, giving the 49ers a total of 11 players chosen overall.
The five players drafted in the top three rounds and the seven taken in the first five are both school records. Led by Jered Weaver (LAA, #12), the 2004 team had three players chosen in the top three rounds and four in the first five. Troy Tulowitzki (COL, #7) and Cesar Ramos (SD, #35) both went in the opening round of the 2005 draft while three others were taken in the sixth round.
The above is a testament to coach Mike Weathers' ability to recruit and develop players, but this year's purge in talent is likely to leave the 2009 club thin in both pitching and hitting.
While the scouting reports sound convincing, Martin's dominance over high school hitters should be discounted as he turned 19 the day after the Dodgers selected him with the 15th overall pick. If anybody would like to pursue such a study as a guest columnist for Baseball Analysts to confirm or deny my suspicions, please drop me a note at the email address linked to my name in the sidebar on the left.
While some analysts expected that the Angels might go for a first-round talent who was passed over due to concerns over signability, director of scouting Eddie Bane opted for the smallish righthander with the 74th overall pick in the draft. Chatwood went 9-1 with a 1.05 ERA as a pitcher and 49-for-94 (.521) as a hitter, playing shortstop and center field when not on the mound. However, with a fastball that – according to Bane – ranges from 92-97 mph, Chatwood's pitching career didn't end when he was saddled with the loss in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 2 championship game at Dodger Stadium a week ago.
Hicks, the only draftee who showed up in Orlando, was interviewed by ESPN2 moments after he was selected by the Twins. Urban Youth Academy program senior director Darrell Miller, the brother of all-time women's basketball great Cheryl and a former catcher with the California Angels (1984-88), was part of Hicks' travel party in Florida. He told David Felton of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, "We've had a little bit of fun today. I'm pleased that he went to a team like the Twins," adding that Minnesota had been very supportive of the Academy. "(Hicks and Gose) are wonderful young men you want to have other kids see and emulate. For (the Urban Youth Academy), it's just great. It's going to really galvanize the kids."
Meanwhile, Gose was one of a trio of toolsy players selected by the Phillies with the club's first three picks. Shortstop Anthony Hewitt (#24) of Salisbury School (NY) and outfielder Zach Collier (#34) of Chino Hills HS (CA) are also talented athletes with projectable bodies and huge ceilings. While raw, Hewitt may have the most upside of any player taken in last week's draft. Overlooked on the showcase circuit last summer, Collier had been climbing draft boards ever since he slammed a home run off a 93-mph fastball from Hicks in a tournament game in Fullerton this spring.
While college players are generally much closer to the majors at the time of the draft, elite high school prospects like Bruce can make it to the bigs at a younger age than their more experienced counterparts.
Check back later in the week as we drill deeper into the stats (including various splits) of first-round picks plucked from the college ranks.