Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NL East Season 1 Draft Report

NEW YORK GOTHAMITES (College 7/High School 8)

Top Picks

Rnd 3, #110

DARIO KIM (18, RP) – Kim possesses an ML quality fastball and is an outstanding fielder, but that alone isn’t enough to compensate for control deficiencies and the lack of a major league skill set.

Rnd 4, #142

DARIN PERRY (18, SP) – If Perry works hard and squeezes every last drop out of his talent, he’ll be a steady back-of-the-rotation presence for the AA club.

Rnd 5, #174

CODY MILLIARD (18, SS) – an all-or-nothing slugger with mediocre intangibles and some serious holes in his bat, Milliard will nonetheless put up some solid minor league numbers. He projects as a borderline ML RF or 3B.

Notable: 6th round SS Armando Rodriguez will eventually be a defensive stalwart for the AAA club… The players selected were, on the whole, a durable and healthy bunch of subpar athletes.

Best Player: Milliard

Biggest Reach: Perry

Best Bargain: Milliard

Overall: With free agency snatching up their first two picks and an extremely thrifty scouting budget, the Gothamites’ S1 draft doesn’t look to have produced an ML player.

PITTSBURGH POMERANIANS (College 14/High School 14)

Top Picks

Rnd 1, #16 (unsigned)

A.J. HILL (22, SP) – one of the oldest available first-round graded arms, Hill has yet to commit to being a Pomeranian.

Rnd 1, #40

JOAQUIN DURAN (22, C) – another 22-year old, Duran – a catcher destined for a career as a DH – slipped past a number of AL clubs, inexplicably landing in Pittsburgh’s lap at #40. A solid middle-of-the-order masher with a superb batting eye, Duran’s pure hitting prowess puts him in the class with earlier picks like Steenstra, Trunk and Romero.

Rnd 2, #64

MATTY CUMMINGS (19, SS) – A strong defensive presence who may project to third in the majors, Cummings will make limited impact with his bat but can draw walks and hurt you on the basepaths. He will be a decidedly unsexy but steady day-in-day-out presence.

Rnd 2, #76

CLINTON GREY (21, SP) – A surprising pick in the second stanza, Grey will probably never advance beyond AA ball. An inning-eater with solid control and a good changeup, Grey’s stuff just doesn’t translate well. Case in point: His fastball has been nicknamed “the slug” by opposing batters.

Notable: 3rd round SP Ramon Ueno and 4th rounder Alex Clark look to be career minor leaguers, as well… 5th round RF Rusty Stoops signed for a pricey $3.6 million, but may spend his career as a AAA masher… The Pomeranians took some gambles in the later rounds, but ended up wholly unimpressed with the results: they have yet to sign a single player taken after the 5th round.

Best Player: Duran

Biggest Reach: Grey

Best Bargain: Duran

Overall: Pittsburgh started out like gangbusters, snatching up Duran and Cummings after they tumbled. The following three pitchers have to be considered disappointments, though, especially considering the resources put into Pittsburgh’s scouting. If Hill signs, the draft will have produced the kind of talent you should see with two 1s and twos 2s. If not, then the failure to secure any useful players in the last twenty rounds of the draft will sting all the more.

ST LOUIS SAINT IFFS (College 6/High School 6)

Top Picks

Rnd 1, #9

JAMES WHITEHILL (18, 2B) – Whitehill has to represent one of the great blunders of the post-ranking draft process. A hotheaded Napoleon type, Whitehill has a keen batting eye and good-to-great speed, but his biceps look like Marvin Trunk’s wrists and his throwing ability is so poor he is projected as a 1B. Whitehill will eventually make the bigs (at $3.25 million, he better), but will probably never be more than a pinch-running utility player.

Rnd 4, #121

EDGAR CHAVEZ (18, 2B) – A poor man’s James Whitehill, if you can believe it. Another burner, with solid range but poor glove work and throwing accuracy, Chavez has a bit more pop than Whitehill but is lost against right-handed pitching.

Rnd 5, #153

BRIAN BONG (20, SP) – No matter where he pitches, this Bong will get hit a lot.

Notable: 6th round SP Monte Flair has the look of an overachiever that could sneak onto an ML roster, though probably not St Louis’ stacked pitching staff… 11th round Danny Helton has already been released.

Best Player: Whitehill

Biggest Reach: Whitehill

Best Bargain: Flair

Overall: For the moment, St Louis is the class of Cooperstown, but the club GM had a real chance to silence critics who claim the outlandish contracts and pathetic scouting were mortgaging the franchise’s future. The 9th pick could have been an exceptional player. Instead, it is James Whitehill.

TRENTON THUNDER (College 14/High School 14)

Top Picks

Rnd 1, #6

CHARLES ROMERO (18, 1B) – a 6-5, 200 pound terror with a fiery temper and an explosive bat, Romero is about as close to a sure thing as you can ask for. Romero mashes lefties and righties evenly, is terrifying enough to draw solid walk totals, and projects to be an absolutely devastating cleanup hitter.

Rnd 2, #54

BRADEN BENARD (18, SS) – Trenton took a gamble when they selected Benard – it was well-reported he was going to fulfill his mother’s desire to see him go to college. The price it would take to break his mother’s heart: $8 million. Trenton hasn’t bitten, despite outrageous Intl prices and Benard’s solid all-around play. An exceptionally patient batter with enough speed and power to make his presence felt in the 6th or 7th slot, Benard would probably have to switch positions in the pros.

Rnd 3, #86

FOOTSIE MACDOUGAL (19, 2B) – Another slap-hitting burner, MacDougal isn’t going to turn any heads with his defense or bat, but he lays a mean bunt, has enough speed to preoccupy a pitcher and hasn’t missed a game in his ballplaying career.

Rnd 4, #118

DAVEY WILFREDO (19, SP) – Wilfredo could be a good AAA pitcher or an average spot starter for an ML club. He induces groundballs by the bushel with a plus sinker and solid slider, but his control is suspect and his track record spotty.

Notable: 5th round SP Al Hayes may not make an ML impression, but is a solid minor league arm… 6th round SS Pat Maurer is another solid all-around borderline ML type.

Best Player: Romero

Biggest Reach: MacDougal

Best Bargain: Wilfredo

Overall: Romero alone makes any draft class worthy, but Trenton managed to secure some solid talent in the later rounds and, if nothing else, amplified their minor league talent level. If they find the $$ for Benard and pry him away from a higher education, then they have to be happy with the hitters they procured.

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