Saturday, September 20, 2008

Season 3 – 1st Round Draft overview

The 3rd Annual Draft Review

Here is a look at the first 32 picks of this year’s draft. First though, let us look at what is called “signability”.

With an IFA, they ALL will sign, just a matter of cost (initial demand). There are 3 basic things you’ll see with them:
1. Looking to sign. Would love an opportunity to play in America
2. May sign if the deal is right. If not, he’ll continue to play outside the States.
3. Probably won’t sign. He’s happy playing in his home country.

Based on equal talent value, the initial demand of “1” is the cheapest and “2” is the next up etc. Of course with IFAs it’s a bidding war, so really where you start doesn’t really matter; it where you end that does. It’s just with a “3” the starting point can be pretty high especially if they are a great prospect. Personally,the highest initial demand I’ve seen is 9.1 Million.

Amateur Draft picks, here is the list of some examples of what you’ll see with them:
1. Looking to sign. Will sign for slot money.
2. Looking to be drafted in the first round. If not, he'll probably accept a scholarship to play DI college baseball.
3. May sign if the deal is right. Has been offered several scholarships to play college baseball at a DI school.
4. Undecided. He has scholarships on the table to play DI college basketball.
5. Probably won't sign. He's determined to finish out his college career.

Now of course there are “variations” of these themes but they all fall within one of the 5 groups.

Group 1 is of course the cheapest of the groups. They are just looking for value based on what round they are taken. Also, they will ALWAYS sign and ALWAYS right away (no waiting)

Group 2 is the next up the ladder in cost. Their statement says it all, if not taken by the round stated… high risk NOT to sign (at any cost). But if they are, they WILL sign; either for the initial amount offered or they’ll want a little more. Note: Groups 2-5 will always make you wait.

Groups 3-5 are where some great prospects reside, but there is a risk and cost associated with these. These guys can be and often are very expensive (sometimes their demands can be ‘unreasonable’ based on their potential and when taken in the draft). Just how expensive… take a look at St. Louis’s pick of O.T. Bravo; he’s in group 5 and wants 8.5 million (and that may go up IF he decides to actually sign). Also, as you go up the scale from 3 to 5, there is a higher risk they’ll simply say, NO. In my opinion, with 3 & 4 the odds are in your favour (of course 4 being more risky than 3); but with group 5 “flip the coin”.

Now if you don’t sign your 1st round pick, you’ll get a compensation pick in next season’s draft. This pick is between the 1st and 2nd round AND is after the picks given to teams for Type A & Type B free agents. So where as this year’s pick is within the first 32; this compensation pick will most likely be somewhere in the high 40s or low 50s. Not exactly equal, so not only do you NOT get the prospect this year; but the compensation will likely not be of an equal value to what you DIDN’T get.

Class of Season 3:

1) Seattle Killer Whales (AL)
Jacque Puffer – 2B. Price: $4 Million
Going 1st overall is second baseman to Seattle. Jacque looks to be a solid ML prospect that once he makes it to the ML level he’ll hit for both power and average. His glove and range will definitely be ML quality but is arm…. will be marginal for 2B position. So he might end up as COF. Either way, his will be bat Seattle will want in the line up.
Rating: 9.5/10

2) Washington D.C. Blue Coats (NL)
John Balfour - SP Price: $6.4 Million
This pick finally signed, after increasing his initial asking price by more than a million. John will have the control, splits and velocity of a ML starter; his overall pitch quality will be good but not spectacular. The major drawback with John will be his stamina, it’s low for a ML starter. While true John will rarely throw a complete game, he should give a team solid 6-7 innings. With that a chance to win… that is not that bad.
Rating 9.0/10

3) Scottsdale Slammers (NL)
Ken Keagle – RF Price: $3.8 Million
Unlike most RFers drafted that are questionable in the field; Ken has decent glove and solid arm for a corner outfielder. Though it’s not his glove or fielding that made him a high pick, it’s his bat. If he meets his potential he’ll hit for both power and average. Now he will not win any homer run or batting crowns; still he’ll definitely put up the numbers. His only drawback, his potential durability will be under 80 (my minimum line for a positional player at the ML level)
Rating: 9.0/10

4) Colorado Spring Chickens (AL)
Barry McEnroe – LF Price: $3.7 Million
Another COF goes early in the draft. Unlike Ken above Barry, is an “okay” fielder for RF (definitely no LFer). But his bat is slightly better than prospect taken just before him, as is his durability. Again, maybe slightly short of Triple Crown material, but not much really
Rating: 9.5/10

5) Charlotte Blue Devils (AL)
Dan Callaway – RP Price: $4.1 Million
Dan is pretty close to being what I describe in an earlier Blog article – Viagra Needed. This guy should have great control, solid pitch quality and decent splits; all things you’d want in a starting pitcher. But there is no way Dan will make it into a ML starting rotation due to 2 things. Firstly his stamina will be marginal, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to keep him out of a rotation. It’s his durability!!! Under 20 is NOT for a starting pitcher (takes too long to get back to 100%). Now if you keep his PC low, he’ll make a solid Set Up guy. Not quite what you want in a 1st round pick, especially 5th overall.
Rating: 5.5/10

6) Jackson Vipers (AL)
Tony Johnson – 2B Price: $ 4.8 Million
With 6th overall pick Jackson takes a guy who should become a solid ML second baseman. Tony will not be quite the hitter the 1st overall pick should be, but he’ll be slight better defensively. Tony has the potential to be one of the “silent” contributors in the line up. Meaning me may not be in the All Star Game, win a Gold Glove or Batting title etc, but he’ll put up the #s and make Jackson glad he’s on their team.
Rating 8.5/10

7) Philadelphia Phantoms (NL)
Doc Bowen – SS Price: $ 3.4 Million
The Doc has the potential to be a gold glover at the SS position in the Majors. As good as he may be, he has 2 drawbacks for a MLers. Firstly (minor) is his potential durability is just under “my minimum”. But more important is his split vs Righties is was too low; while the rest of potential hitting ratings are real good, but a split under 50 against RHP is not good. Especially consider majority of pitchers are righties
Rating: 8.0/10

8) New Orleans Voodoo (NL)
Kevin Pong – SP Price: $3.4 Million
With this pick the Voodoo select a pitcher I feel will be a solid ML starting pitcher. Maybe not an Ace of a staff (splits not quite enough for that) but a #2 or #3 guy. He’ll give New Orleans a lot of quality innings. Now maybe one should look for a future ace in the first 10 picks, maybe. Still this is a good solid future prospect for the Voodoo.
Rating: 9.0/10

9) St. Louis Silly Nannies (AL)
O.T. Bravo – 1B/DH Price $8.5 Million
Here is the guy with the best overall potential hitting ratings available in the draft. He has Triple Crown type ratings!!! IF St. Louis sign I say he’s the pick of the draft, BUT that is a BIG IF. Does St. Louis have the $ to sign him???? Even if they do… will he sign??? At present, it would appear… Bravo will not be signed.
Rating: ??/10 (not signed)

10) Iowa City Cornjerkers (AL)
Tomas Cedeno – SP Price $3.1 Million
Iowa City takes the 4th pitcher picked in this season’s draft. While Tomas has the potential to be a ML pitcher whether he’ll be a Starter or Long Relief guy is hard to say. He’ll have the stamina, control, and velocity and splits necessary for a ML starter BUT there is quite a drop off in pitch quality after his 2 main pitches. Pitches 3-5 are all marginal (at best) and if he’s to contribute as a starter he’ll need a catcher with a really high PC to help him. Otherwise…it’s bullpen in my opinion; time will tell though.
Rating 7.5/10

11) Salt Lake City Shakers (NL)
Phillip McCartin – CF Price 3.0 Million
Mr. McCartin has the potential to be a solid lead off hitter at the ML level. Has great potential rating in both contact and batting eye as well as a great R Split. He’ll struggle against lefties (compared to Righties) still that will not hinder him from hitting over .300 and scoring his share of runs for the Shakers. Defensively, Phillip will be a solid CF. He recently sustained a major injury in Rookie Ball (Ankle Bone Bruise) and is one the DL for 60 days. Hopefully this will not hinder his development into a ML player.
Rating 8.0/10

12) San Juan Dead Bunnies (NL)
Shane Fletcher – CF Price 3.0 Million
The ‘Stiff Hares’ have chosen what appears to be the pick of the draft (IMO). Shane is everything the 11th pick above is, AND MORE. Better defensively, overall better hitting ratings and equal in speed (though his base running skill will keep him from being a major thief at the ML level). In Shane, San Juan has what should be one the best lead off guys in the league and a guy who’ll be a solid CFer!! IF there is a slight downside, his durability will only be slightly over ‘my line’ of 80, even so… Shane should make his share of appearances at the Mid Summer Classic.
Rating 10/10

13) Huntington Beachcombers (AL)
Tommy Jordan – 2B Price 2.9 Million
Tommy’s potential defensive abilities seem to mirror the other second basemen taken so far, solid if not great (weak arm). Again Tommy will have GREAT speed on bases but his skill will not be good enough to be a real successful thief at the ML level. While his Contact & Batting Eye ratings are really good, his split vs Righties is a little low and this could hurt his overall batting average. Still this is a solid pick. NOTE, Huntington started him in Hi-A and he’s presently in AA on the Inactive List???
Rating: 8.0/10

14) Trenton Traffic (NL)
Gary Nelson – CF Price 2.8 Million
Trenton gets themselves a solid potential CFer in Mr. Nelson. The guy should have GREAT range and solid glove to take away those potential extra base hits. As a batter, Gary should hit with decent power. The rest of his hitting rating should reach the “OK” level for a MLer but no more. So he’ll 30 long flies with a BA of .270; not shabby.
Rating 7.5/10

15) Las Vegas Gamblers (AL)
Will Weston – CF Price 2.7 Million
Again CFers are taken back to back?? Will also has great defensive potential like Gary above. Again like Gary too, his batting will be decent at the ML level but not spectacular. Sure his batting eye should be great, but his split vs Righties is really low and since most pitchers are RH…. Even so, Will is a decent prospect. It will be interesting to see how he fares at the dish, once he makes to the ML level.
Rating 7.5/10

16) Austin City Limits (NL)
Ewell Elster – 3B Price $3.4 Million
Austin takes the first 3rd baseman of the draft. Ewell has the potential to win some gold gloves in the ML at 3B, if he reaches his potential. While Ewell’s splits are GREAT, it’s his batting eye & contact ratings that will hold him back at the dish. Still, he’ll make a contribution in the line-up. This a long term project for Austin, if they can get him to his potential… they’ll have a solid 3b on their hands
Rating 8.0/10

17) Norfolk Destroyers (NL)
Al Cruz – 1B Price $2.5 Million
For second time in my HBD career I took a 1B/DH in the first round. My team is the NL (no DH) so picking a 1B in the 1st round is kind of against the ‘book’. BUT Cruz’s potential hitting ratings are just too good to pass on, they are pretty darn close to O.T. Bravo’s and a steal at 2.5 million. One drawback, his is durability… potential is a little below that line of mine and like Ewell above he’s a project. Still, if I can get him to those ratings…
Rating: 9.5/10

18) New York new york (AL)
Vin Logan – C Price $2.4 Million
Last season we saw a lot catchers picked in first 2 rounds. This season we had 7 with 2 taken in the first 32 picks. Mr Logan will hit for average and decent power if he reaches the potentials I see. Though his batting eye will be marginal, it will only hurt him a little. Defensively as a Catcher, his potential is at best marginal (both PC and arm barely meet ML standards). But being in the AL, New York can make him a DH… and he’ll definitely fit that role (and them some). Like my Al Cruz, his durability will be a little below ‘the line’.
Rating: 9.5/10

19) Toledo Greensox (AL)
Kenneth Stafford – SP Price $2.4 Million
Mr Stafford has the potential to be a pretty steady ML pitcher. Both his potential Stamina and Control ratings are both marginal for a ML SP but he should have decent pitch quality, solid splits and be a groundball pitcher. With his stamina & control being marginal, I see Long Relief for Kenneth at the ML level. He should provide a steady arm from the pen, but is Bullpen material what you want with a first round pick?
Rating 7.0/10

20) Atlanta Bandits (NL)
Pedro Limon - SP Price $3.3. Million
Pedro is a prospect that when I first opened my prospect list, he was in the top 5. When I saw his overall potential rating, I thought “here is potential ace”. Well, he’ll have everything needed for that title EXCEPT pitch quality and potential durability ain't quite high enough. Not one of his pitches has a potential quality of 70+ and that isn’t good enough for a starter especially an ace of a staff. With his control, stamina, splits etc he 'might' make a decent SP4 or SP5 no better but his PC will have to be kept relatively low (for a starter) cause of the durability. Again I see long relief in this boy’s future
Rating 7.5/10

21) Syracuse Slyce (AL)
Rex Kent – C Price $2.1 Million
Syracuse takes the 2nd catcher taken in the first round with their first pick. Like the previous catcher take Rex is more of the Pseudo-Catcher I described in my previous blog entry. He’ll have a great bat, hitting for both power and a decent average BUT his PC and arm will not be ML quality; he’ll be 1B/DH material. Nothing wrong with that though
Rating 8.5/10

22) Anaheim Chiles (AL)
Peaches Thompson – SP Price $2.0 Million
Definitely one of the more colourful names in the draft, one we are going to see more of once he reaches the ML level. This is the best overall pitcher taken in the first round. His potential pitching ratings put him as a solid SP1 or SP2 of any staff. The only drawback, is his marginal health rating. Can Anaheim keep him from serious injury??? If so, Peaches will be a name heard by many in the AL in a few seasons.
Rating 9.5/10

23) Toronto Toros (NL)
Rob Cather – SP Price $1.9 Million
Here is another solid pitching prospect with a bright future ahead of him. He’s got the makings of solid middle of the rotation starter. His pitch quality is will be just barely short of a higher spot in the rotation. Even so, Rob is a solid first round pick and for the price… a steal
Rating 9.0/10

24) Nashville Sounds (AL)
Peter Guerrero – 2B Price $1.9 Million
Nashville takes the 4th 2B chosen in the first round. Again like previous ones taken, he’s more of a COF (in his case more so). Peter’s potential hitting ratings all look real good except one Split vs Righties (like Will Weston of LV). Like I mentioned before this could hurt his overall hitting performance at the ML level. Still, he’ll put up decent #s
Rating 8.0/10
25) Chicago Snake Tamers (NL)
Alving Alfonseca – SS Demanding $5.5 Million (not signed)
Alving has the potential to be a great hitter at the ML level. The kid will have power at the plate and will hit .300, definite all star material here. His potential range is not quite up the ML standards but should have a great glove and arm. Also, his durability will be quite a bit below the benchmark of 80 (I seem to be seeing a lot of this???) This far below will limit his playing time by a fair bit, as such he’ll barely hit 40 or so long flies a year. If stamina was in the high 80 range… we’re talking HR crown competitor here.
Of course, this depends on if he’s signed.
Rating: ??/10

26) Houston Riverdogs (NL)
Jackie Page – SP Price $1.6 Million
In Mr. Page, Houston is getting the potential for a decent ML pitcher. While his Control and Velocity should be great; Stamina and Splits are both just okay. The main thing with him (like Thomas Cedeno of Iowa City) there is a big drop off in pitch quality after the first two! None of the 3 have a potential over 50, which means he’ll need a catcher with a high PC rating and a solid defence behind him at the ML level.
Rating 7.5/10

27) Salem Sacrifices (NL)
Melvin Taylor – COF Price $1.6 Million
Melvin should be come a solid COF at the ML level some day; though it will take a while for him to get there. Once he does, Salem should be happy with the result. Melvin may not win any gold gloves in the outfield but his performance at the plate should more than make up for that. His splits will be marginal though but with contact, batting eye and powers like he should have… that should effect his #s that much. Melvin’s health rating is a little low and considering the time it will take him to reach his potential ratings.. keeping him from serious injury will be key.
Rating 8.0/10

28) Louisville Legends (AL)
Bert Rivera – RF/1B Price $1.8 Million
Bert is defensive potential ratings put his as RF/1B/DH class hitter. Though his glove is marginal for RF, his range and arm will be ML calibre. The thing with Bert is while hitting ratings have the potential to be solid, he’ll not hit with power. Now usually guys with a low power rating have good speed on bases…. not in this case. And again his durability will be slightly below the benchmark. Bert should become a solid #2 in the batting order; still with that lack of HR ability, I’d like to see more speed. Especially considering where he’ll play. Do you want your RF/1B to be your #2 hitter?
Rating 7.0/10

29) Arizona Diamondbacks (NL)
Tony White – RP Price $1.4 Million
This draft (unlike last season) didn’t have many quality short relief/closer guys. I’d say Tony was the best available. But he doesn’t really have ML Closer potential in his ratings. While his control, velocity and durability are all what you’d want in a closer; his potential splits are marginal for the ML level especially a closer. Also his pitch quality while very good, it comes up short for ML closer. Tony should make a solid setup man, but I don’t see him as a closer
Rating 6.5/10

30) Toronto Toros (NL)
Rick Foster – COF Price $1.3 Million
With their second first round pick, the Toros take a prototypical potential RF/1B. Defensively his potential isn’t up to ML standards for the outfield, so it 1B or DH for Rick. He’ll have great hitting rating, though his vs Righty split is marginal. Still he should up decent power #s and have good batting average at the ML level once he gets there.
Rating 8.0/10

31) Monterrey Sultans (AL)
Slash Ruffin – SP Price $1.2 Million
Another colourful name for the league to hear more from in a few seasons. Slash has the potential to be a solid starter at the ML level. His pitch quality isn’t up to Ace standard (no out pitch); still he’ll 3 solid pitches and that is what a starter needs. Monterrey will have to try to keep Slash healthy though, his health rating is marginal. BUT if they can, they’ll have a solid arm to insert into the rotation.
Rating 8.5/10

32) Milwaukee Manic Maulers (AL)
Alexander Richardson – RP Price $1.1 Million
Alex has most of the potential to become a solid ML starter. He should have solid control, good splits, GREAT velocity and solid pitch quality. Drawbacks, while his #3 & #4 pitch will be marginal the first 2 should more than make up for it; still that will hinder him becoming a starter. BUT the biggest thing is his potential stamina!! In the 50s is not even marginal for a ML starter. Alex should become a valuable member of Milwaukee’s bullpen some day.
Rating 7.5/10

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