Saturday, April 30, 2011

Season 13 in Review, Part I: The Draft

With season 13 winding down, it's time for a look back at how things have gone. First up is a pick-by-pick review of the first round of the amateur draft.

Frank King, 2B/CF
Age 18 - Oklahoma
Signed for $4.00M

King has the highest ceiling in this year's draft class - as a switch-hitter with incredible power, L/R splits, batting eye, and speed, he has the potential to become a superstar. (Not to mention that he projects to be a competent fielder at both 2B and CF.) His health and makeup are low enough, however, to cause some concern about his ability to reach that potential.
Season 13 stats: .347/.445/.795, 23 HR, 9 SB in 73 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Fernando Lorenzo, 2B/3B
Age 22 - Wisconsin
Signed for $3.91M

In contrast to King, Lorenzo is as close to a "sure thing" as it gets - his makeup and health are unimpeachable - but he lacks the same superstar potential. His potential as a hitter is quite good, but not great. Lorenzo primarily played SS in college, but lacks the range to stay there as a pro; he could be a Gold Glover at 2B or 3B, however.
Season 13 stats: .446/.527/.765, 15 HR, 5 SB in 76 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

Antonio Bolton, LHP
Age 18 - Illinois
Signed for $3.82M

The first pitcher selected is, without question, the best pitcher in this draft class. Bolton is a classic power lefty with very good control, and four of his five pitches are projected to develop to big-league quality. The only marks against him are that he gives up a few fly balls too many and doesn't quite have the stamina you like to see from an ace, but those are minor quibbles.
Season 13 stats: 3.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 18 BB, 78 SO in 72 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Ernie Allensworth, SS
Age 20 - Illinois
Signed for $3.72M

This is a bit high for Allensworth. He doesn't hit for much power nor is he projected to develop any, and although he is a good contact hitter and baserunner, that's undermined a bit by a lackluster batting eye. What he does well, however, is field - he's one of the few shortstops in this draft who could legitimately win a Gold Glove at the position.
Season 13 stats: .325/.438/.452, 4 HR, 21 SB in 79 games (Rookie League/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

Matty Gold, 2B/OF
Age 18 - Connecticut
Signed for $3.63M

Gold may be the best pure hitter in this year's draft. He's projected to hit very well for both contact and power, with an excellent batting eye, against both lefties and righties. However, he's a mediocre fielder at 2B and may need to be moved to the outfield. A bigger concern, though, is his low durability, which will likely limit him to playing 120-130 games per season at most.
Season 13 stats: .384/.473/.662, 14 HR, 0 SB in 62 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

Kenny Dean, LHP
Age 18 - Pennsylvania
Signed for $5.95M

This is the draft's first real head-scratcher of a selection. Dean is a finesse lefty with five good pitches and excellent control, but he's mediore at best against right-handed hitters and throws with little velocity. He's a fine pitcher, but not worthy of a top-10 pick - or a signing bonus of nearly $6 million.
Season 13 stats: 10.37 ERA, 2.28 WHIP, 28 BB, 13 SO in 46 innings (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C-

Julian Sanchez, RHP
Age 22 - Oklahoma
Signed for $3.44M

Sanchez was the only truly elite closer prospect in this year's draft class. He already has outstanding velocity, pinpoint control, and two high-quality pitches, and should reach the majors very soon. This is a bit high to select a reliever, and Sanchez has shown himself vulnerable to lefties, but this is still a solid pick.
Season 13 stats: 1.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 8 BB, 53 SO in 52 innings (Low A/High A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

Matthew Chatwood, 2B/CF
Age 20 - California
Signed for $3.35M

Chatwood is a paradoxical prospect. He projects to hit for good contact and power, with a discerning eye at the plate, but he has mediocre L/R splits which might hold him back as a hitter. He has good range and a terrific glove, but a wet noodle for a throwing arm. It's hard to settle on what his potential truly is, but one thing is for sure: there were better players available here.
Season 13 stats: .315/.414/.550, 13 HR, 8 SB in 77 games (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B-

Yonder Rodrigo, SS/3B
Age 19 - California
Signed for $3.25M

How did Rodrigo fall this far? Hard to say; he does just about everything well. He projects to be an excellent contact hitter with good power, and should do well against both righties and lefties. He has great speed, is a good fielder (better at 3B than SS, though), and has the durability to play 162 games. His makeup isn't great, but did that really scare teams away?
Season 13 stats: .337/.450/.620, 16 HR, 10 SB in 76 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A+

Nick Perry, SS
Age 21 - Wisconsin
Signed for $3.16M

Like Rodrigo, Perry is another impressive prospect who somehow slipped through the cracks. As a hitter, he projects to be a perfect leadoff man - great contact and L/R splits, good batting eye and speed, and a bit of power. His range is a bit low for a SS, but his other fielding ratings are good enough to make up for it.
Season 13 stats: .361/.456/.589, 9 HR, 0 SB in 59 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Tony Acevedo, RHP
Age 18 - New York
Signed for $3.07M

Acevedo is one of the draft's best high-school pitchers. He doesn't throw hard, but boasts a fastball with terrific movement as well as four other solid pitches, and is equally effective against both lefties and righties while keeping the ball down. Most impressively, his potential control rating is a perfect 100. The only thing that might hurt him is his mediocre makeup.
Season 13 stats: 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 17 BB, 36 SO in 45 2/3 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Jim Frazier, 2B
Age 20 - New Jersey
Signed for $2.97M

Frazier is good at a lot of things, but truly great at almost none of them. He's a decent contact hitter with a good eye, and shows good range and a very good glove in the field, and has very good speed. He is an outstanding baserunner and is extremely healthy and durable, but even with that, none of Frazier's major tools are truly impressive, and that's a problem for the 12th overall pick.
Season 13 stats: .343/.438/.479, 6 HR, 25 SB in 59 games (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C+

Sam Phillips, RF/1B
Age 18 - Alabama
Signed for $2.88M

Phillips didn't grade much above average in his ability to hit for either contact or power, but what he lacks in tools, he makes up for in baseball smarts: he sees the ball very well against both lefties and righties - particularly righties. He also has great baserunning instincts. He's not much of a fielder and not particularly durable, but he should become an excellent hitter.
Season 13 stats: .427/.518/.795, 9 HR, 8 SB in 67 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B+

Raymond Mauer, RHP
Age 20 - Arizona

This is one of the most dubious picks of the first round. Mauer isn't exactly terrible - he throws two good pitches with some impressive heat, and can generally throw strikes - but he projects, at best, to be a decent setup man, and isn't even among the top 5 relievers in this draft class. At least Mexico City didn't waste money on signing him.
Season 13 stats: N/A
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: D

Donaldo Maradona, SS
Age 19 - Oklahoma

There is no scouting information available on Maradona.
Season 13 stats: N/A
Player Potential: N/A
Pick Grade: N/A

Paul Walker, 2B
Age 21 - California
Signed for $4.39M

Walker is one of the best legitimate power hitters in this draft class, and boasts a good eye along with solid contact and L/R splits to boot. He also has impressive speed, although he runs into too many outs on the bases. Walker projects to be an average defensive 2B, and should develop into one of the league's best hitters at the keystone. He's well worth his inflated signing bonus.
Season 13 stats: .302/.399/.607, 16 HR, 0 SB in 63 games (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Sun Martin, RHP
Age 22 - New York
Signed for $2.50M

Martin is a "tweener" pitcher who doesn't have the stamina to be classified as a starter, and lacks the durability to be classified a reliever. Whatever his role, however, he projects to be a good pitcher, with excellent control and four good pitches, two of them truly outstanding. He is a bit of a soft-tosser and vulnerable to lefty hitters, but overall this is a solid pick for the mid-first round.
Season 13 stats: 3.69 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 15 BB, 72 SO in 70 2/3 innings (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B+

18. BOISE BULLDOGS (Type D Compensatory Selection)
Randy Cairncross, SS/3B
Age 18 - Wisconsin
Signed for $2.41M

Cairncross projects to be a very good power hitter who should absolutely obliterate left-handed pitching. He's a free swinger, with a mediocre batting eye and a below-average projected contact rating, but he should slug well enough to make up for it. As a fielder, he's not really cut out to play SS, but would do well with a slide over to 3B. One big concern: his low makeup could hinder his development.
Season 13 stats: .332/.402/.605, 17 HR, 4 SB in 76 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

Jeremy Floyd, 2B/CF
Age 18 - Illinois
Signed for $2.32M

Floyd is a fast, rangey 2B who should be an excellent fielder at the position - which is good, because he's probably going to be a mediocre hitter. Although he projects to have good contact and power, his L/R splits are only average, and his batting eye is just awful. Also, he's known as a manager's nightmare - he has very little patience and a terrible temper.
Season 13 stats: .350/.402/.586, 12 HR, 17 SB in 72 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C

20. CHEYENNE FROZEN ROPES (Type D Compensatory Selection)
Jim Sorrento, RHP
Age 21 - Texas
Signed for $2.22M

Sorrento may be the worst pick of round one. Yes, he throws very hard, and yes, he has excellent control, but still: even as a reliever, you generally need two good pitches to get by in this world. Sorrento has one very good pitch, one pitch that might be average someday, and... that's it. It's hard to forsee him being any better than mediocre at the big-league level.
Season 13 stats: 10.41 ERA, 2.41 WHIP, 23 BB, 18 SO in 32 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: D

Francis Romano, LHP
Age 18 - Utah
Signed for $2.13M

Like Sun Martin, Romano is a good pitcher who doesn't really belong as a starter or a reliever. A hard-thrower with three solid pitches, good control, and good L/R splits, Romano should be good (but not great) at getting outs in any role. His quesitonable makeup might be his downfall, but if he gets close to reaching his potential, he'll be a solid if unspectacular pitcher.
Season 13 stats: 4.50 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 22 BB, 37 SO in 44 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C+

Eric Hill, LHP
Age 20 - Texas
Signed for $2.04M

Hill projects to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. Although he only has one truly outstanding pitch, he complements it with two fairly good ones, throws everything hard, has very good control, and doesn't give up many fly balls. Like Romano, he should develop into a solid pitcher, but not a great one; this is probably a bit too high to pick him.
Season 13 stats: 2.02 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 16 BB, 54 SO in 49 innings (Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B-

Dave Torres, LHP
Age 20 - Virginia
Signed for $1.94M

Here's yet another hard-throwing lefty with good control and stamina issues that might require a move to the bullpen down the road. However, this isn't quite a broken record: Torres has four legitimately good pitches including a killer sinker ball, and was one of the best pitchers available at this point in the draft. Also, as a native Virginian, he has a chance to be a hometown hero for Norfolk.
Season 13 stats: 2.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 22 BB, 89 SO in 80 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

Tyler Burkett, RHP
Age 18 - Louisiana
Signed for $2.22M

Nothing about Burkett's stuff overwhelms you - he has three good-but-not-great pitches, he throws with adequate velocity, he projects to have very good control, and generally keeps the ball on the ground. However, pitching like that when you have a rubber arm that can throw an inning or two in over 100 games a year - that's valuable. Maybe not worth the 24th overall pick, but close to it.
Season 13 stats: 2.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 14 BB, 38 SO in 35 2/3 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B+

Alex Callaway, 2B/CF
Age 22 - California
Signed for $1.75M

Callaway is, essentially, the Very Model of a Modern Major-League Leadoff Hitter - he has the contact hitting and batting eye to get on base with a walk or single, and the speed and baserunning smarts to fly around the basepaths. Of course, he has no power and won't develop any, so don't count on him to do anything else. (And, given his poor makeup rating, don't count on him to develop to his full potential.)
Season 13 stats: .373/.466/.475, 2 HR, 30 SB in 70 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

26. MILWAUKEE MANIC MAULERS (Type D Compensatory Selection)
Zachrey Durham, SS
Age 22 - Ohio
Signed for $1.66M

How a player like Durham exists is a mystery. He projects to have the range to be an outstanding big-league shortstop, and yet his speed rating is exactly 0. Maybe he just always knows where the ball is going to be hit? In any case, Durham is probably the best fielder at any position in this draft, and projects to be a capable big-league hitter as well. This is a very good pick.
Season 13 stats: .297/.376/.549, 17 HR, 0 SB in 77 games (Rookie/Low A/High A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Sam Steinbach, RHP
Age 18 - Iowa
Signed for $3.04M

Steinbach is a finesse pitcher in the tradition of Greg Maddux - he doesn't have much velocity, but he puts a lot of movement on his pitches and throws a ton of strikes. With very good L/R splits and one pitch that could, potentially, reach a perfect 100 rating, he's one of the best SPs in this draft class. He did present a signability risk and demanded an above-slot bonus, but was well worth it.
Season 13 stats: 0.61 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 15 BB, 58 SO in 59 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A

Russell Simon, 2B
Age 20 - Washington
Signed for $1.74M

Simon is a bit like Matthew Chatwood - a talented middle infielder with flaws that may prevent him from settling into an easily-defined role. He's a good hitter, but he lacks the power for the middle of the lineup, and the speed for the top of the lineup; he's a good fielder, but not so good that he can be called a defensive player. He'll be a solid big-leaguer someday, but probably no more than that.
Season 13 stats: .267/.360/.373, 8 HR, 0 SB in 77 games (Rookie/High A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B-

Kirt Morgan, RHP
Age 19 - Ohio

Morgan is a very good finesse pitcher much like Sam Steinbach, and, like Steinbach, he was a signability risk, having gone on record as saying he'd prefer to finish college. Unfortunately for Louisville, he stuck to his guns and did not sign. It was a worthwhile risk, though, as he was perhaps the best player left on the board at this point.
Season 13 stats: N/A
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

John Turner, 2B/RF
Age 19 - California
Signed for $1.29M

Turner should make an good top-of-the-lineup hitter. He already has very good speed on the bases, and projects to have an excellent batting eye to go with a good contact rating and decent power. His L/R splits are merely average, but he's still capable of hitting well at the big-league level. A 3B in college, Turner has been moved to 2B already, but his long-term future is probably as an outfielder.
Season 13 stats: .400/.513/.615, 2 HR, 4 SB in 18 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

31. VANCOUVER GRIZZLIES (Type A Compensatory Selection from Ottawa)
Vasco Arrojo, RHP
Age 20 - Louisiana
Signed for $1.19M

Arrojo gets by on the strength of excellent control, two very good pitches, and little else. He has neither the stamina to start nor the durability to relieve, his pitch velocity is lacking, and his projected L/R splits are only a tick above average. In short, although he'll probably reach the majors someday, he's not first-round material.
Season 13 stats: 1.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10 BB, 29 SO in 38 2/3 innings (Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C-

Gail Hollins
Age 18 - Massachusetts
Signed for $1.10M

Hollins is one of the better overall "true" shortstops in this draft class. He projects to be an excellent fielder, with good speed and a capable (but not great) bat, particularly against LHPs. His biggest weakness seems to be his mediocre durability, which likely won't allow him to play more than 140 games per season.
Season 13 stats: .364/.420/.670, 16 HR, 12 SB in 77 games (Rookie/Low A)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

Gene Holtz, C
Age 22 - New Jersey
Signed for $1.00M

Holtz has great potential as a hitter, boasting excellent projected ratings for both power and batting eye. However, he's not all that good defensively (particularly as a pitch-caller), he has poor durability even for a catcher, and he has the worst makeup of any first-round draftee. Holtz's strengths are impressive, but his weaknesses put his big-league potential in doubt.
Season 13 stats: .296/.399/.537, 16 HR, 0 SB in 76 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C+

Benito Romero, LHP
Age 18 - Wisconsin
Signed for $6.00M

Romero has the makings of a future mid-rotation starter - he has excellent control, good L/R splits, and several very good pitches. He doesn't throw hard, and gives up a lot of fly balls, but overall he projects to be a good pitcher. The issue here, howerver, is the price - Romero's $6M signing bonus is the largest of the draft, and it's hard to justify that for a player with his potential.
Season 13 stats: 5.06 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 41 BB, 43 SO in 78 1/3 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: B

35. OTTAWA O-JAYS (Type D Compensatory Selection)
Brady Simmons, RHP
Age 21 - Montana
Signed for $0.92M

Simmons is perhaps the second-best reliever in this draft class (or the second-best who signed, anyway). He throws hard with excellent control, boasts a great fastball and changeup and a solid splitter, and most importantly has excellent L/R split projections. With his limited stamina he's strictly a one-inning closer, and he is an injury risk, but overall he's a nice "get" for the end of round one.
Season 13 stats: 1.66 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 3 BB, 18 SO in 21 2/3 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: A-

36. HELENA SHADOW WOLVES (Type A Compensatory Selection from Salt Lake City)
Tim Jordan, RHP
Age 21 - Connecticut
Signed for $0.88M

Jordan is a finesse pitcher with poor velocity but excellent control and great movement on his pitches, particularly his fastball and curveball which both have top-notch potential. However, his L/R splits aren't particularly impressive, his makeup is just this side of terrible, and he doesn't quite project as someone who fits as a starter or a reliever. This is a bit of a reach.
Season 13 stats: 1.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 BB, 52 SO in 60 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Pick Grade: C

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