(Year of the SS OR Where did the Pitching go?)
Prologue: There is one thing, I’ve repeated several times in my reviews (here and in other ones); that is “If they can get him to his potential”. The question is how do you get them there?? The fact is, the majority of the picks will NOT make it to their ‘potential’ ratings. Many will fall short, why? Well there are several factors that play a part in this. The three biggest are: Player’s Makeup Rating, Training Budget and Coaches. Also, timely promotions and of course staying healthy play an important part too. One thing that I don’t mention in my reviews is the Makeup Rating. This very key piece of the puzzle and the one part that is out the control of the owner; while the others parts are all owners. Neglecting the parts that are in your control; may well mean that multi-million bonus spent here in the draft will not be money well spent. Sometimes even IF you do everything right, they still may not make it, which comes back to the 'Makeup rating.
As for the 'pick of the draft', there are 4 very strong contenders (2 taken early and 2 taken later). This draft, required me to add a third award, you'll see it.
1 Charlotte Lions: Joe Grace RF/1B – Bonus 4.0 Mill
As first overall picks go, this is a pretty good one. There is no doubt that Joe will be a offensive contributor when he makes to the ML level. He should hit for both average and have decent power numbers. He’ll be a little bit of a liability in the outfield but his bat should offset that. Though as RFers go, his defensive ratings are pretty good. Overall I’d say this was the best bat available in the draft.
2 San Juan Dead Bunnies: Vic Olivares SS – Bonus 3.9 Mill
Here is the first of the several potential ML Shortstop taken early in this season’s draft. Vic should become a real solid contributor at the ML level with his glove and bat. While both are little short of ‘spectacular’ due to a couple of weaknesses (Range a little low for the SS position and his RH split is marginal); he’ll still be a player I’m sure San Juan will like having in the lineup. The only other negative, is his durability it’s a little on the low side too. Overall this is a good pick but I think the two next picks are a little better.
3 Philadelphia Phantoms: Barry Sanders SS – Bonus 5.2 Mill
Barry in the highest bonus paid for any of the first rounders taken this season. Question, is he worth the price tag? In my opinion, yes. This is a solid prospect; the only real problem is that his glove may be a little weak for the SS position at the ML level. Still, when you consider the overall package here, that’s a small thing really. If the Phantoms can get this prospect to his potential, it will be money well spent.
4 Boston Bambinos: Mel Turner SS – Bonus 3.7 Mill
The difference between this pick and the previous one on an overall basis, is really only the price tag. Mel will be the better of the two defensively, but may come up slightly short offensively. The thing is in both, the difference isn’t really a lot either way. So to break the tie I looked the tangibles. Those are pretty close as well. So again it comes down to price…
5 Chicago Snake Tamers: Andrea Butler CF – Bonus 3.6 Mill
Don’t get me wrong Andrea should become a solid ML player in about 4 seasons down the road. He’s a solid prospect, I just don’t think he is quite top 10 material. His splits will only be marginal (especially RH!) while for power hitter his contact is pretty good. This though is offset by a marginal batting eye. His defensive potential is good but not great. Yes Andrea is a 1st round pick, just not a top ten. That said, if Chicago can get him to his potential, he’ll be decent ML Centrefielder.
6 Scranton Janitors: Cleatus Jaramillo SS – 3.5 Mill
As Shortstops go, this has to be the most unique ratings I’ve ever seen. This prospect has gold glove potential at the ML level! Not only that, he hits with a lot power! The only thing is his batting average will not be anything to brag about. His low contact and marginal batting eye will see to that. So he’ll strike out a lot but when he does hit the ball … This would be an interesting one see how he does at the ML level (when he gets there). A defensive specialist with power??
**** (Question Mark Award)****
7 Syracuse Simpleton: Bob Ramsey P – Bonus 3.4 Mill
Here is the first pitcher taken in the draft. My mother always said if you don’t have anything nice to say…. Well, Mr Ramsey should have great Durability and has a great make up rating. Sorry but everything else… I don’t get this pick to be honest, from what I see, Syracuse paid 3.4 million for a guy who’s top end is at best Hi-A. With these ratings I suspect he’d get shelled at Hi-A. I wouldn’t qualify this pick for the Red Herring award…cause he ain’t even that good. There is a saying “This guy couldn’t pitch heaters to Eskimos”. (Note as my writing this, the Rookie League is 40+ games into it’s season and Bob hasn’t pitched to a single batter yet.)
8 Buffalo Blue Cheese: Hub Hamilton 2B – Bonus 4.7 Mill
With this pick Buffalo gets a prospect with the potential to put up some really good numbers at the plate. His potential defensive ratings aren’t quite up to the ML standards for 2B; so maybe LF or RF would be better. Either way this is a bat you’d want in the line up. The other thing is, his potential durability means he could be a real iron man.
9 Norfolk Destroyers: Geovany Manzanillo SS – Bonus 3.2 Mill
My first pick was the guy I add rated #1 on the list I saw. While his overall defensive ratings are just OK for the shortstop position (at the ML level); his offensive rating are were the best I saw. This definitely a project style pick, he’ll take a while to reach his potential. If I can get him there, he’ll make for a solid everyday SS; who’ll have some pop in his bat.
10 Vancouver Golden Otters: B.C. Macias SP – Bonus 3.2 Mill
Now here is the first ML potential pitcher taken in the draft. He should have great splits and control; with his overall pitch quality being just OK. He doesn’t really have an “Out” pitch. Even so, he should make for an effective pitcher at the ML level. Also, his makeup rating should mean his ML career will be a long one.
11 Washington D.C Blue Coats: Jorge Cruz RP – Bonus 3.0 Mill
Washington takes a blue chip future closer. Jorge potential ratings say he should become a fine ML closer. Solid splits, great control and 2 great pitches, then throw in decent velocity. It all makes for a great closer, if the Blue Coats can get him to this potential
12 Kansas City Scouts: Heath Christiansen RF – Bonus 2.9 Mill
Between Heath and the first overall pick (Joe Grace), it’s a pretty close regarding their offensive potential. Heath though is a little better defensively. Still he’s a RF/1B prospect overall. If the Scouts can get this pick to his potential, he’ll make a fine addition to their batting lineup
13 Salem Sacrifices: Willie Hernandez SP – Bonus 2.8 Mill
Another SP prospect with a great Makeup rating. Willie should become a solid starting ML pitcher. Decent splits for a left-handed pitcher and solid control, just a strange to see his #2 pitch his best. Especially by as much as it is. Still Willie should make a good middle of the rotation type starter.
14 Buffalo Blue Cheese: Rip Battle 2B – Bonus 2.8 Mill
Got to be the best name in the draft (the 1st round at least). As prospect, Rip is a pretty good one. Great potential hitting ratings, but his potential defensive ratings are just marginal for the second base position. I think that his bat overshadows any defensive short comings. I think if Buffalo can get him to his potential, they will be please with the outcome.
15 New York new york: John Scott SP – Bonus 3.7 Mill
Another solid middle of the rotation pitching prospect. His splits are a little low for a lefty but his pitch quality and control should offset this. While John may not win any Cy Young awards, still he should give New York solid work from the mound when he gets to the ML level
16 Cheyenne Nation: Russell Karl SP – Asking 3.9 Mill
With their first pick, Cheyenne took a flyer at a pitcher that may not sign. As of writing this report, he was unsigned. Overall Russell has the potential to a decent ML pitcher but his stamina is a low for a starter. Even, so he’d give you some decent innings whether as a starter or from the pen. I’d say he was worth the risk, especially considering Cheyenne has another pick in the first round.
Rating 8.0 (unsigned)
17 Anaheim Chiles: Del McClellan COF – Bonus 2.5 Mill
For the 17th overall pick, this is a pretty darn good pick up. One trend (if any) seems to be very evident with most of the positional players taken so far, is that their LH split is a fair bit higher than the RH. Del takes this to almost an extreme. His RH is just OK but his LH split… guys throw Righties at this boy!!! This guy should make for a great #2 guy in Anaheim’s future batting order.
18 Boise Shadow Wolves: Magglio Delgado SP – Bonus 2.4 Mill
Of the starting pitchers taken & signed so far in the draft, Magglio is most likely the best of them. Still, while his control and splits should become great; his pitch quality is a little low. Taken as a whole package, I think the ‘Dark Hounds’ will be happy if this pick can make these potential ratings.
19 Austin City Limits: Ron Sewell SP – Asking 4.2 Mill
As of the writing of this, this pick is unsigned. Overall I’d say this prospect is equal to Boise’s pick above. Splits aren’t as good but pitch quality is better. Still all that doesn’t mean much if he goes unsigned. Also, his price is almost twice that of Mr Delgado
Rating 8.0 (unsigned)
20 Milwauke Manic Maulers: Kareem Crede – Bonus 2.2 Mill
Here is another solid starting pitching prospect. His splits are the only thing keeping him from ‘Ace’ status. That will not mean he’ll not be an effective pitcher, cause he will be. Just he’ll be doing that from the middle of the rotation. Nothing wrong with that.
21 New Orleans Voodoo: Jamey Hunter 2B – Bonus 2.1 Mill
At first glance this looks to be a pretty good overall pick. No doubt about his defensive potential, he should make for a solid 2B in the field at the ML level. BUT his bat will be another matter; his splits are low for ML hitter. This will keep him from putting up good numbers at the dish. So will he put numbers good enough to get him the majors, if he makes it can he stay?????.Time will tell of course.
22 Cheyenne Nation: Leon Dunn RP – Bonus 2.0 Mill
With their 2nd pick in the round the NATION take one of the several solid closer prospects available in this draft. One could argue this is the best of the lot, it’s close for sure. This guy has everything you could ask for, really good splits, great control, 2 top quality pitches …. Leon will definitely be a contender for the Fireman award when he makes to the ML level.
23 Buffalo Blue Cheese: Rey Maeda SP – Bonus 3.0 Mill
I’ve got a SP in Williamson World pretty much what this guy’s potential is. While his stamina is a little low for a starting pitcher (only able to go 6+ innings at most); he’s in the running for the Cy Young every season (won it twice). If Buffalo can get Rey to his potential, that’s what they will have EXACTLY! It was so hard NOT to give this pick ‘The Award’ but there a pitcher taken slightly better.
24 Helena Grotto Gottos: Benji Pena COF – Bonus 1.8 Mill
If Helena can get this prospect to his potential, they will have a really solid COF for their ML club. Sure his potential defensive rating isn’t spectacular, but they more than good enough for a COF spot. As for his offensive potential, what’s not to like about a guy who should hit for a really good average and has some decent pop in his bat? Overall as 24th pick, this is a darn fine prospect
25 Jackson Vipers: Lenny Shafer SP – Bonus 1.7 Mill
Another potential future closer? He should develop great control and great splits; this along with great velocity seems to indicate that. But (you knew it was coming) his pitching quality AND durability are too low for that spot on a ML staff. Still, he could give Jackson some valuable work as a ‘shortman’ out of the pen. Though I’d suspect his performance will lack some consistency.
26 St. Louis River City RAGE: Stu Phillips RP – Bonus1.6 Mill
Here is the other potential ML closer. There isn’t much choose between Stu and Cheyenne’s pick. Stu’s splits are a little better but Leon’s pitch quality is better. So it’s really 6 of one & half a dozen of another. Taken this late in the first round, this is a great pick up for the RAGE
*****PICK OF THE DRAFT*****
27 Monterrey Sultans: Jamie Stanley SP – Bonus1.5 Mill
When you consider when he is taken, his cost and his overall potential; you have the pick of the draft right here. If Jamie can make it to his potential ratings, Monterrey will have a pretty good #1 starter for their rotation. BIG NOTE here though, Jamie is presently on the 60 day DL for elbow surgery!!! So I suspect Monterrey is hoping that this will not stop him becoming that ace. He’s only 18 years old, so the chances are good
28 Oklahoma City Obese Supermodels: Vic Volquez CF – Bonus 1.4 Mill
With their pick Oklahoma City takes a potential future lead off man. Vic will have really good speed and should hit a good average with great contact & batting eye ratings. As with all speedsters he’ll be a little weak against left-handed pitching. For a pick taken this late in the first round, this is a solid prospect with only one drawback. That being his potential durability is low for an everyday starter.
29 Trenton Traffic: Jack Milliard 1B/DH – Bonus 1.6 Mill
Trenton takes the first 1B/DH picked in this draft. In Jack, Trenton is getting a very good potential bat for the future. At least it better be very good, cause defensively Jack is a liability on the field. With a marginal glove for first baseman, no range and well no arm to speak of; his offensive upside better be great. Being in the NL means Trenton can’t hide this guy as a DH. All that being said, I think if the Traffic can get Jack to his potential; his bat should overshadow his weak defensive play
30 Atlanta Bandits: Tomas Nunez SP – Bonus 1.3 Mill
What a surprise, Atlanta taking a pitching prospect. Tomas should become a solid ML pitcher if he reaches his potential. Though I don’t think it will be as starter, overall pitch quality is suspect. Even if it’s from the pen, he should give Atlanta some quality innings when he does take the mound for them. There is nothing about his potential ratings that jump out at you, but no major weakness is there either (except for no real ‘out’ pitch). Tomas should make for a solid addition to Atlanta’s ML pitching staff when the time comes
*****RED HERRING OF THE DRAFT*****
31 Jackson Vipers: Hunter Kerr SP – Bonus 1.2 Mill
When their second pick of the first round, Jackson takes another pitching prospect. This prospect will have great stamina, solid control and splits but unfortunately that is really where the good ends. His potential pitch quality is really not up to ML standards, his best pitch is just marginal and the next two are really suspect. Tomas above has at least 2 potential pitches in the 70s and better splits; as well as five pitches; Hunter has only 3 and his splits are not good enough to make up for this weakness. I see this as AAA prospect only, the only role he could be at the ML level is Mopup. As of this writing, Hunter is on the 60 day DL; unlike the other pick presently on the DL, Hunter is a fair bit older and therefore is recovery will be harder.
32 Houston Riverdogs: Dan Matthews SP – Asking 5.0 Million
With their pick Houston took a flyer at risky pick (one that may not sign). I like this strategy. It’s a player most will bypass, so he should be available at the #32 pick. If he signs, you’ll get a great prospect with a late round pick; if he doesn’t you get a compensation pick next season. I see no downside to this idea! At present Dan is unsigned. This is too bad really because Dan’s potential looks like he could make a top of the rotation type starter! His stamina is a little low for a starter but considering the rest of his potential pitching ratings, that is not a big deal. His asking price is high but considering what an IFA with this potential would cost…it’s bargin.
Rating 9.0 (unsigned)