Around the MinorsJune 11, 2008
Shadowing the 2008 Draft
By Marc Hulet

Much like draft guru Jim Callis over at Baseball America, I conduct a shadow draft of the MLB Amateur Draft every season and have been doing so for more than five years now. This season’s draft was no different, so let’s take a look at how I did through eight rounds after allowing myself the 16th spot in the draft (Milwaukee’s actual spot), as well as a supplemental first round pick just for fun (the 38th overall selection, which belonged to Houston and, hey, we all know they weren’t going to use it correctly):

  • First Round (16th selection): Brett Lawrie, C/3B, British Columbia high school
    Actually selected by the Milwaukee Brewers (16th overall)

    I had the opportunity to interview Lawrie before the draft, as well as speak to his father and two coaches, so I had a pretty good feel for him. After hearing about his domination of professional pitchers in the Dominican Republic, I am not worried about his bat at all. As for his lack of position, I think the bat will play just about anywhere and will play him at third base. I would have seriously considered Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso and Ethan Martin if they had fallen to me, but I am pretty happy.

    If you missed it, here is what we posted about Lawrie on draft day:

    Lawrie saw his value skyrocket as the draft approached, going from a second round or supplemental first round pick to a likely first rounder – possibly as high as 12th or 13th overall. The athletic Canadian’s stock was hurt by a lack of position but he convinced more and more scouts that he could stick behind the dish. Lawrie has a rocket for an arm as well as good hands and feet but his overall catching skills are raw. He is a little pull conscious right now but he has excellent bat speed, which helps created plus-plus raw power. Lawrie has international experience, having played for Team Canada, and is committed to Arizona State University. He recently played with Team Canada's junior team against MLB Dominican Summer League teams and dominated, hitting five homers in one day during a doubleheader.

    Others considered: Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Christian Friedrich

  • First Round Supplemental (38th selection): Logan Forsythe, 3B, University of Arkansas
    Actually selected by the San Diego Padres (46th overall)

    He is a ballplayer. You have to love that he played through a broken foot and his numbers have been quite good in college. I’m sure they would have been even better if he had been healthy and I consider him a first-round talent. The only worry I have is that he’ll hit for enough power at third base.

    Here is what we said about Forsythe on draft day:

    A stress fracture in his foot has slowed Forsythe this season and he may end up as one of the steals of the draft. He has good line-drive power and could develop more home run power as he matures. As evidenced by his BB/SO totals, he has tremendous control of the strike zone. Forsythe is known for his great intangibles and has been likened to Mike Lowell by Baseball America. He is a good athlete and has an above-average arm, so he could also play at second base or in the outfield.

    Others considered: Brett DeVall, Jaff Decker and Kyle Ladendorf

  • Second Round (62nd overall): Zeke Spruill, RHP, Georgia high school
    Actually selected by the Atlanta Braves (70th overall)

    I considered Spruill with my supplemental first round pick and was happy to get him in the second round. He’s a competitor with clean actions and good command for a high school pitcher. I am also big on pitchers with good fastball velocity that has sink (love those groundball outs).

    Here are our draft day thoughts on Spruill:

    Spruill can touch 93 mph but works more in the 88-92 mph range with his sinking fastball. He also has a breaking ball and a change-up. His command is good, as is his delivery. Spruill does, though, tend to lose velocity as the game wears on. An athlete with above average makeup and competitiveness, Spruill is committed to the University of Georgia.

    Others considered: Tim Melville, Tyle Stovall and Tyler Chatwood

  • Third Round (92nd overall): Ross Seaton, RHP, Houston high school
    Actually selected by the Houston Astros (109th overall)

    Why haven’t the Astros selected this kid already? Oh well, their loss is my gain. You don’t find many pitchers in the third round with a fastball that can touch 95 mph, with good control and two secondary pitches with plus potential.

    Here are our draft day thoughts on Seaton:

    Seaton can touch 94 mph with his fastball and has some good sink. His slider is plus at times and can hit 85 mph. Seaton commands both pitches well. He doesn’t use his change-up much. Seaton uses his smarts to succeed on the mound and he is athletic, which allows him to be a pretty good hitter as well. He may be tough to sign away from Tulane University where he could be a two-way player (Similar to Arizona’s Micah Owings).

    Others considered: Tim Melville and Chris Carpenter

  • Fourth Round (128th overall): Brett Jacobsen, RHP, Vanderbilt University
    Actually selected by the Detroit Tigers (133rd overall)

    OK, I am still looking for the best player available but I am feeling a little nervous about all these raw high school players so I am happy to see Jacobson available. He has a good, strong body and throws in the mid-90s when he pitches out of the pen. I am going to start him out in the rotation, though, and see how he does. I am hoping the extra work will help improve his curve ball and change-up.

    Others considered: Jason Christian and Ryan Westmoreland

  • Fifth Round (158th overall): Jeremy Hamilton, 1B, Wright State University
    Actually selected by the Philadelphia Phillies (166th overall)

    Hamilton may not have the greatest power but there is no doubt the kid can rake. I would be very happy to find Sean Casey or Mark Grace in the fifth round. Hamilton is one of the best pure hitters in the draft, has excellent gap power and is a potential Gold Glover.

    Others considered: Ryan Westmoreland, Joe Duran and Kenny Williams Jr. (Soooo just kidding)

  • Sixth Round (188th overall): Cole Figueroa, 2B, University of Florida
    Actually selected by the San Diego Padres (195th overall)

    I almost took Figueroa in my 2006 draft, but declined due to signability concerns and regretted it. He is a draft-eligible sophomore but I’ll do what is needed to get him to sign on the dotted line. When I interviewed Figueroa’s college teammate Matt LaPorta last year before the draft, the slugging first baseman said Figueroa was one of the most talented players on the club and would surprise a lot of people in the future (and he was a freshman at the time). His numbers are solid and he comes from a baseball family.

    Others considered: Colby Shreve, Kiel Roling, Cole St. Clair and Justin Parker

  • Seventh Round (218th overall): Eric Thames, LF, Pepperdine University
    Actually selected by the Toronto Blue Jays (219th overall)

    For some reason I just got a nasty phone call from the Toronto organization after making this pick… But Thames, like Forsythe, is another player with considerable talent who inexplicably dropped due to an injury that is not a long-term concern. He had an amazing offensive season this year at Pepperdine, although I always worry a little bit about players who improve significantly in their junior year over their previous two seasons. I feel a bit better knowing he has hit OK with wood bats in the past.

    Others considered: Tim Federowicz, Jeremy Farrell and Jeremy Barfield

  • Eighth Round (248th overall): Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Puerto Rico
    Actually selected by the Philadelphia Phillies (256th overall)

    I have secured four solid college players in a row so I feel comfortable taking another (very) raw high school player in Rodriguez. He had his fastball up to 92 mph as the spring wore on and I think there is more to be found in his 6-4, 200 pound frame. If the secondary pitches don’t come along, he could be a solid late-game reliever.

    Others considered: Antonio Jimenez and Ryan O’Sullivan

    So, how did I do? Post a comment below and let me know… and I am more than willing to field job offers from impressed Major League Baseball clubs.

  • Comments

    Here's a question - with five years of shadow drafts, what does your shadow organization look like at this point?

    I'll have to look back in my notes for the older drafts but here are the last few:

    2007: Tim Alderson, Kyle Lotzkar, Jess Todd, Kyle Blair, Kyle Russell, Will Middlebrooks, Cole St. Clair, Jordan Wideman, Brad Emaus

    2006: Adrian Cardenas, Steve Evarts, Wes Hodges, Adam Davis, Garrett Olson (3B), Shane Robinson, Tyler Norrick, Mark Melancon, Jeremy Barfield

    2005: Cesar Carrillo, Michael Bowden, Nick Weglarz, Taylor Teagarden, James Avery, Clete Thomas, Neil Jamison, Chris Leroux, Jeremy Slayden

    I think I go back to 2002...