Around the MajorsJune 10, 2009
Looking Back at Day One of the Draft
By Marc Hulet

Yesterday was a bit of a blur as the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft flew through the first three rounds. The first round of the draft was also aired on TV at the MLB Network, which was fun to watch even if we had to put up with MLB commissioner Bud Selig as the talking head announcing the picks.

There were some forgone conclusions (Stephen Strasburg first overall to the Nationals), as well as some surprises (like prep catcher Max Stassi slipping to Oakland on the second day in the fourth round or Baltimore going cheap at No. 5 with prep pitcher Matt Hobgood).

As you probably know (and can see below), Rich and I live blogged the first round of the draft and each player had a unique scouting report written by one of the many talented Baseball Analysts scribes. I'd also like to share with you some of the scouting reports for players who slide out of the first round and into the supplemental first round.

37th overall | Toronto Blue Jays

James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6-4, 215 | DOB: 11/6/88

2009 stats: 5-3 W-L | 5.86 ERA | 78.1 IP | 83 H | 115-20 K/BB

Paxton is a true dark-horse in the first round of the draft. The left-hander throws big-time heat (he can touch 98 mph), but his results - especially this year - have just not matched his stuff. The college junior is a native Canadian (British Columbia), so he does not have as much pitching experience as many of the players from the southern U.S. states. Regardless, his potential will tempt teams in the late rounds of the first round, and certainly in the supplemental round. Along with his fastball, Paxton also has a good curveball and changeup. There are some concerns that he's been plagued by minor injuries throughout his career, especially given the track record for health problems amongst Canadian big league pitchers (Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis, Erik Bedard, etc.). Two teams tied to Paxton are Milwaukee and Toronto. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

39th overall | Milwaukee Brewers

Kentrail Davis, OF, Tennessee

Height/Weight: 6-1, 200 | DOB: 12/5/87

2009 stats: .308/.424/.528 | 214 AB | 66 H | 12 2B | 4 3B | 9 HR | 48-33 K/BB

Davis turned down big money ($1 million-plus) from the Rockies as a 14th round pick out of high school in 2007, after he slid in the draft due to signability concerns. He's also represented by Scott Boras. A draft-eligible sophomore, the thinking is that Davis will got back to college for his junior season in hopes of improving his stock, but it's a weak year for college players in 2009 and some team with multiple picks early in the draft could take a stab at him. He has both above-average power and speed, but the power could be limited by his 5-9 stature (He tends to over-swing as it is) and the speed is expected to diminish as he fills out (He's already 200 lbs). The left-handed hitter may age quicker than most due to his physical limitations. Davis can also rub opponents the wrong way as he's known to showboat a little bit. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

40th overall | Los Angeles Angels

Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica HS (CA)

Height/Weight: 6-5, 180 | DOB: 7/13/91

2009 stats: 2-3 W-L | 1.60 ERA | 48.0 IP | 24 H | 76-11 K/BB

Skaggs stands tall on the mound at 6’5” and generates downhill plane on his 88-92 mile per hour fastball. He has a quick clean arm action and his main off-speed offering is a slow, looping curve ball of the Barry Zito variety. As a 17-year-old lefty who can already hit 92 on the gun with two solid pitches, he has potential to be a mid-rotation starter, but he remains the second best left-handed prep pitcher from SoCal behind Matzek. Earlier this month, Skaggs returned from a sprained ankle, but he should have alleviated most worries thanks to nine strikeouts in seven innings. Skaggs has committed to Cal State Fullerton. (Posted by Jeremy Greenhouse)

44th overall | Texas Rangers

Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul Saints

Height/Weight: 6-4, 200 | DOB: 1/17/87

2008 stats: 8-2 W-L | 2.93 ERA | 70.2 IP | 54 H | 109-34 K/BB (Fresno State, NCAA)
2009 stats: 0-1 W-L | 3.32 ERA | 19.0 IP | 17 H | 20-11 K/BB (St. Paul Saints)

Much like Aaron Crow, Tanner Scheppers chose to enter independent baseball rather than go back to college for his senior year after failing to come to terms with the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. Prior to the 2007-08 season, Scheppers projected to be a top pick in the draft, but teams were wary of the right-hander's health after he suffered a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder. Despite being fully healthy before the 2008 draft's signing deadline last August, Scheppers and the Pirates could not come to a deal, although the former Fresno State pitcher told Baseball Analysts, in a recent interview, that he thought a deal was going to get done and it was the Pirates organization that pulled the plug. Scheppers has potentially the most powerful arm in the 2009 draft and he can touch 98 mph. He has also worked hard to improve his curveball and the changeup is a work-in-progress. Scheppers has been examined repeatedly, including by the highly-respected Dr. Lewis Yocum, and he is completely healthy. However, due to his long layoff while rehabbing and strengthening the shoulder, the right-hander's control and command has both been off during his appearances with the St. Paul Saints. Regardless, the team that agrees with the medical reports and pops him in the first round will have a talented arm. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

47th overall | Milwaukee Brewers

Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State

Height/Weight: 6-6, 240 | DOB: 6/17/88

2009 stats: 4-1 W-L | 3.44 ERA | 86.1 IP | 85 H | 98-27 K/BB

Heckathorn has a pretty catchy name and you can't miss him on the field with his hulking size. He has a power fastball to boot. The heater is straight but it gets into the mid-to-upper 90s. Heckathorn also has a power slider and tosses in an occasional changeup. His college results have never matched his raw stuff. Control is not a strong suit for the right-hander but some team that loves the strong body and power fastball will snap him up in the first round and give him a shot at starting in the minors. He'd move quicker as a reliever, though, and is reminiscent of Kansas City's Kyle Farnsworth sans the spectacles. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

There were also some other players we thought would go a little sooner in the draft but they slid past the first and supplemental first rounds... including:

51st overall | Seattle Mariners

Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia

Height/Weight: 6-4, 245 | DOB: 8/11/1987

2009 stats: .376/.468/.764 | 237 AB | 89 H | 17 2B | 0 3B | 25 HR | 39-42 K/BB

Jim Callis pointed out in his latest mock draft that Poythress saw his stock drop after tailing off at the end of the college season but still, the numbers above indicate the guy has a chance to continue to pound the ball at the professional level. Keith Law compares his body type to Jim Thome and Frank Thomas. Poythress knows that the only way he gets to the show is to hit and hit and hit some more. (Posted by Patrick Sullivan)

54th overall | Baltimore Orioles

Mychal Givens, SS/RHP, Plant HS (FL)

Height/Weight: 6-2, 185 | DOB: 5/13/90

2009 stats: .389 AVG | 95 AB | 37 H | 9 2B | 1 3B | 4 HR

On the diamond, Givens has good actions and smooth range at shortstop. He has good speed, which helps him field his position, but he's more of a 20-25 stolen-base threat on the bases. At the plate, the switch-hitter shows a good stroke and should hit for a respectable average. Givens projects to have average power, at best. He is committed to Oklahoma State University.

On the mound, the right-handed pitcher can touch the upper 90s with his fastball, but his secondary pitches need a lot of work at this point. There are also some concerns over his stamina, as he currently projects as a late-game reliever. As such, most teams prefer Givens as a hitter at this point, but pitching could be a fall-back option if his bat stutters. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

55th overall | San Francisco Giants

Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS (AZ)

Height/Weight: 6-1, 210 | DOB: 7/16/91

2009 stats: .494 AVG | 77 AB | 38 H | 4 2B | 0 3B | 15 HR

Fifteen homers in 77 at-bats is impressive, and Joseph has the type of power that is rare coming from a premium defensive position. He has the arm to stay behind the dish, but this was his first year primarily donning the tools of ignorance having previously played first base and DH. It shows behind the plate as he has a lot of work to do with receiving, blocking and, obviously, game calling (since managers mostly call the pitches). As a catcher, his size hinders his quickness, and he’s far from fleet of foot running the bases. He's already starting to get thick in the lower half. His bat will play, but the difference between him becoming a Major Leaguer and a star is whether he can remain a catcher. Joseph is committed to Arizona. (Posted by Jeremy Greenhouse and Marc Hulet)

58th overall | Detroit Tigers

Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State University

Height/Weight: 6-3, 212 | DOB: 4-24-1987

2009 stats: 5-6 W-L | 5.58 ERA | 81 IP | 84 H | 91-33 K/BB

Oliver's 2009 junior year was a bit of a disappointment based on expectations from his amazing sophomore year. Still he is considered one of the top college lefties in the draft on the strength of his fastball-changeup combo and good control. John Sickles notes that part of the problem in '09 was that he lost the plus curveball he had in '08. He is advised by Scott Boras. Oliver has already had quite an impact on the first-year player draft. The NCAA does not allow amateur players to be represented by agents who negotiate directly with professional teams. Thus, players drafted out of high school loss their eligibility to play college ball if their 'advisers' communicate directly with the MLB teams that drafted them. Oliver was selected in the 17th round of the 2007 draft by the Twins and his adviser at the time, not Boras, was present during his negotiations. He never reached an agreement and went onto play at OSU. The NCAA became aware of this and he was lost his amateur eligibility in May of 2008 just before the NCAA regionals. Oliver sued the NCAA and in February a Ohio judge ruled that the NCAA cannot restrict a player's right to have legal help when negotiating a professional contract and Oliver's eligibility was restored and he played the 2009 season. The NCAA is appealing the decision and sent potential high school draftees a memo saying that while the appeal was in process that restriction stands. Oliver's lawyer disagrees. (Posted by Dave Allen)

65th overall | Los Angeles Dodgers

Garrett Gould, RHP, Maize HS (KN)

Height/Weight: 6-4, 190 | DOB: 7/19/91

2009 stats: 0.82 ERA | 50 IP | 24 H | 107 K

Gould offers a projectable frame as a 6’4” right-hander who currently sits 90-92 with his fastball. In his senior year, he saw an increase in fastball velocity, which coincided with a rise in his prospect status. What sets him apart from other high school arms is his hard 12-6 curveball, considered a top pitch in this year’s draft. Gould mainly sticks to those two pitches as his third pitch, a changeup, has not yet been needed. Gould has a violent delivery that raises some concerns, but he’s at least athletic enough to repeat it. He was also a standout basketball and football player before giving up the sports to concentrate on baseball. Gould demonstrated his versatility on the diamond as well, posting a .493/.540/.893 line with the bat. Gould has committed to Wichita State. (Posted by Jeremy Greenhouse)

70th overall | Minnesota Twins

Billy Bullock, RHP, University of Florida

Height/Weight: 6-6, 225 | DOB:

2009 stats: 3-3 W-L | 2.64 ERA | 47.2 IP | 40 H | 50-22 K/BB

Despite his 6-6 frame, Bullock does not show consistent plus velocity as a starter. In the bullpen, though, he can touch 96-97 mph on a regular basis and a club in need of quick bullpen help could turn to Bullock early on in the draft. His repertoire also includes slider and an occasional changeup. It's possible that the team that selects the right-hander will try and move him back to the starting rotation. The Dodgers selected Bullock out of high school in the 20th round of the 2006 draft. (Posted by Marc Hulet)

91st overall | Kansas City Royals

Wil Myers, C, Wesleyan Christian Academy, North Carolina

Height/Weight: 6-3, 185 | DOB: 12/10/1990

2009 stats: .532 AVG | 62 AB | 33 H | 7 2B | 0 3B | 14 HR

Keith Law reported that Myers was slipping because scouts had reservations about his body type. Tall, lanky types tend not to stick at catcher. His bat is solid enough that even if he were moved off of catcher, he would still project as a Major League hitter but since there are all of about 4 or 5 catchers in the world that can hit at the Big League level, we all know that sticking behind the plate will be his ticket. (Posted by Patrick Sullivan)

At the end of the first day of drafting (the conclusion of the third round), Baseball America - the leading draft experts - stated that a number of key draft prospects were still available in the coming day, beginning in round four. Here are the names that BA identified (The number represents the player's ranking amongst BA's Top 100 draft prospects list):

30. Max Stassi, c, Yuba City (Calif.) HS
38. Sam Dyson, rhp, South Carolina
41. Zack Von Rosenbuerg, rhp, Zachary (La.) HS
43. Brody Colvin, rhp, More HS, Lafayette, La.
45. Madison Younginer, rhp, Mauldin (S.C.) HS
47. Keyvius Sampson, rhp, Forest HS, Ocala, Fla.
55. Chris Dwyer, lhp, Clemson
59. Jeff Malm, 1b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
60. A.J. Morris, rhp, Kansas State
62. Jason Stoffel, rhp, Arizona
63. Kent Matthes, of, Alabama
64. Angelo Songco, of, Loyola Marymount
65. Brian Goodwin, of, Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS
68. Dane Williams, rhp, Archbishop McCarthy HS, SW Ranches, Fla.
74. Jacob Stewart, of, Rocky Moutain HS, Fort Collins, Colo.
80. Ryan Jackson, ss, Miami
81. Austin Maddox, c, Eagle’s View Academy, Jacksonville, Fla.
82. Brooks Raley, lhp/of, Texas A&M
83. Andrew Doyle, rhp, Oklahoma
90. Ryan Buch, rhp, Monmouth
92. Kendal Volz, rhp, Baylor
94. Matt den Dekker, of, Florida
96. Luke Bailey, c, Troup HS, LaGrange, Ga.

Of those players, we here at Baseball Analysts wanted to share a few more scouting reports, as well as the team that drafted them on Day 2.

4th round | San Diego Padres

Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Forest HS, Florida

Height/Weight: 6-1, 185 | DOB: 1/6/1991

2009 stats: 8-0 W-L | 0.83 ERA | 59 IP | 19 H | 113-14 K/BB

Sampson is known for his easy delivery and athletic frame, and there is even some question as to whether he will continue his professional career as a pitcher or position player. Given that he sits in the low-90's and touches the mid-90s, it looks like he will be pitching as a pro. He has a compelling personal story and extraordinary makeup. He is a Florida State commit. (Posted by Patrick Sullivan)

4th round | Oakland Athletics

Max Stassi, C, Yuba City (Calif.) HS

Height/Weight: 5-10, 190 | DOB: 3/15/91

2009 stats: .538/.643/1.423 | 78 AB | 42 H | 11 2B | 1 3B | 11 HR | 23 BB | 8 SO

Stassi is likely the top rated catcher in this year's draft. Rated the #30 overall prospect by Baseball America, he has outstanding baseball makeup and is considered a gamer. His short, but powerful build allows him to hit with plus power, slugging 1.423 in his senior season. His defensive skills are also a plus - he has a decent arm and excellent footwork behind the plate. He missed time this season when he tweaked his shoulder, but appears to have recovered from the injury. The key concern about Stassi is his signability. He is committed to UCLA, making college an attractive option. He has said he is 50-50 on going pro. (Posted by Sky Andrecheck)

5th round | St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan Jackson, SS, University of Miami

Height/Weight: 6-3, 185 | DOB: 8/26/1990

2009 stats: .263/.362/.381 | 194 AB | 51 H | 9 2B | 0 3B | 4 HR | 33-32 K/BB

The numbers underwhelm, so let's let friend of Baseball Analysts Tony Sanchez take it away.

I have been watching him since we were 12 and I always knew he was going to be special. Guys like us don't necessarily impress everyone - like me, he has his critics. But he has that intangible that I think will help him become a Big League shortstop. Travel ball, high school ball and most recently in college I have watched him and he has it. His glove alone could probably make him a Big Leaguer and if he hits, sky's the limit. (Posted by Patrick Sullivan)


I don't think Baltimore necessarily "went cheap" with Matt Hobgood at #5, Joe Jordan and Co. apparently liked what they saw from him. Baseball America is now comparing him to Matt Cain, based on his build and strong curve. Other teams were interested in Hobgood, and he clearly would have been a top 10 pick. He just flew under the radar all this time...