Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NL North Season 1 Draft Report

AUGUSTA BLUE LOBSTERS (College 11/High School 11)

Top Picks

Rnd 2, #77

PETE SABATHIA (19, 2B) – a serviceable middle infielder with a keen batting eye and an iron constitution. His bat isn’t good enough to make up for his subpar defensive play, relegating him to a career on the razor’s edge between AAA starter and ML benchwarmer.

Rnd 3, #109

LARIEL SOTO (18, SP) – will probably peak in AAA. Not a terribly deficient pitcher, just not good enough in any particular way to warrant a spot on an ML club (particularly Augusta, which is stocked with talent). Already sustained an elbow injury in Rookie League play.

Rnd 4, #141

BILLY STEVENS (21, RP) – projects to be a solid Setup B option, or perhaps LH specialist. Nothing spectacular, but boasts a solid fastball-curve combo and keeps the ball on the ground. Every team needs a couple of these arms.

Rnd 5, #173

CARLTON COOK (18, RF) – won’t make it past AA ball, unless the club is looking for a pinch-runner on the bench. Doesn’t even have the defensive makeup to make that decision any easier.

Notable: Took a couple of 3B sluggers in the 6th and 7th rounds - Tom Schilling and Cameron Payton. Neither can hit righties, but one of the two might make it to the bigs as a LH-hitting utility bat… 8th rounder Billy Loiselle chose to go to college…

Best Player: Stevens

Biggest Reach: Soto

Best Bargain: Stevens

Overall: The Lobsters came away with a bullpen arm and maybe a bat for the bench. Considering the depth of the draft, they probably could have done better than this, but with their first pick at #77, the ceiling was limited.

COLUMBUS CONSPIRACY (College 10/High School 10)

Top Picks

Rnd 1, #17

LONNY PETRICK (21, SP) – a 6-8 knuckleballer, Petrick projects to be an inning-eating workhorse in the middle of a ML rotation. Equally tough against righties and lefties, Petrick brings three ML-quality pitches to the mound and has the kind of temperament clubs look for in clubhouse leaders.

Rnd 1, #29

BRIAN PEREZ (20, SP) – a risky pick with tons of upside. Though fully capable of being a reliable six-inning starter, Perez has the intangibles and “stuff” to make the transition to a back-end reliever role. A classic fastball-curve-change pitcher, Perez is injury-prone, has average-at-best control, little velocity, and is prone to the gopher ball, but his plus curve and formidable makeup suggest a strong ML contributor and a steal late in the 1st round.

Rnd 1, #31

TYLER HAWKINS (18, SP) – Hawkins has solid “stuff”, including the best curveball in the draft class and ML-quality fastball and slider, but hasn’t been able to harness them with consistency. His control may never be better than subpar, and his delivery will always make him susceptible to RH sluggers. The curve alone may be good enough to earn him a spot-start role on an ML club, but he’ll probably peak as a AAA all-star.

Rnd 1, #41

YORRICK DARR (19, CF) – Darr will be a solid but unspectacular ML center fielder; one of those players who is constantly thrown in to even out trades. If he earns an ML starting job – which is possible, considering his blend of speed, patience and glovework, as well as his switch-hitting ability – he will always be a guy looking over his shoulder as the team attempts to “upgrade.”

Notable: 2nd rounder Terry Brantley doesn’t the have moxie to advance beyond the AA rotation… 3rd round pick Dick Helton (18, LF) has the potential to play in the bigs, but is notoriously impatient and a hideous defender… Columbus has signed two of their last 16 draft picks

Best Player: Petrick

Biggest Reach: Brantley

Best Bargain: Perez

Overall: The Conspiracy started strong, with two solid arms and a third with potential in the first stanza (this is saying something, considering the pitching-thin S1 crop), but beyond the first round, the club’s draft picks simply lacked any ML potential. Plenty of teams were picking gems out in the 3rd, 5th and even 7th rounds, but the Conspiracy seemed to close up shop after their first few selections.

DETROIT PINK SLIPPED (College 10/High School 10)

Top Picks

Rnd 3, #111 (unsigned)

HARRY GIBSON (22, 2B) – a solid glove and subpar hitter, Gibson probably will be carrying his own luggage for the entirety of his ballplaying career.

Rnd 4, #143

RICHARD EDMONDS (22, SP) – Edmonds will someday devour innings for the AA club.

Rnd 5, #175

ED WALSH (20, SS) – A defensive guru with unparalleled range and just enough speed on offense to warrant a spot on an ML bench. The kind of player teams hope to uncover late in the draft.

Notable: Free agency gutted Detroit’s chances of acquiring any serious ML talent, but they nonetheless have to be disappointed with their first pick… The selection of Walsh in the fifth was a coup… 11th round C Brian Jackson may have just enough defense and pitch-calling acumen to warrant a 25th man role on an ML club.

Best Player: Walsh

Biggest Reach: Gibson

Best Bargain: Walsh

Overall: Hopefully the free agent acquisitions are paying off, because the draft paid little dividends.

Milwaukee Microbrewers (College 11/High School 11)

Top Picks

Rnd 1, #22

HECTOR TORCATO (22, SP) – a solid pitcher with pinpoint control and four passable pitches, Torcato will be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in a year or two. If anything diminishes Torcato’s luster, it is the more promising players selected directly after him in Round 1 (particularly Jorel Orie and Paul Grace).

Rnd 2, #69 (unsigned)

J.J. CURTIS (18, 1B) – This youngster has yet to sign with the club. Reports on his ability, a little-scouted slugger from War, WV, are rare and varied.

Rnd 3, #101

VICTOR VEGA (18, SP) – In possession of a rubber arm and a nasty sinker, Vega’s cringingly-bad control will relegate him to a minor league career and occasionally-astonishing boxscores.

Rnd 4, #133

MAX HAYES (19, 2B) – A solid defensive player and calm as a hindu cow, Hayes will make the majors if he can find a way to play beyond his God-given talent (God was not overly generous, particularly against lefties).

Notable: 6th round RP TJ Norton could make the club as a LH specialist… The Microbrewers were wildly aggressive in their pursuit of control pitchers, particularly in the first ten rounds… 12th rounder Davey Pineda is on drugs.

Best Player: Torcato

Biggest Reach: Vega

Best Bargain: Norton

Overall: If Curtis signs and pans out, this could be considered a solid draft. If not, it won’t.

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