Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Season 14 Draft Review

Now that all the players who are going to sign have put their name on the dotted line, it's time to take a look at this season's draft, with selected commentary on good, bad, and otherwise particularly noteworthy selections.

1. Cincinnati Reds
Hootie Adams, RHP - Age 18 - $4.00M - Rating: - Grade: A

2. Cheyenne Crackers
Adam Coppinger, RHP - Age 18 - $3.91M - Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: It's hard to say which is the better prospect, but either way it's undeniable that Adams and Coppinger are future aces and well deserving of the first two picks of the draft.

3. New Orleans Voodoo
Luis Rincon, SS - Age 19 - $3.82M - Rating: - Grade: A

4. Norfolk Destroyers
Edinson Lugo, C - Age 22 - $3.72M - Rating: - Grade: A+

Comment: Lugo may turn out to be the biggest prize of this year's draft class. Though he lacks the stellar defense of the typical 5-star prospect, he's perhaps the best pure hitter to enter the draft in several seasons and should be a perennial MVP candidate in the near future.

5. Boston Bambinos
Javier Castillo, RHP - Age 18 - $3.63M - Rating: - Grade: D

Comment: Castillo's a decent prospect, but he's barely first-round material, let alone a top-5 player. Also, as an extreme flyball pitcher, Fenway Park may be the worst possible big-league home for him. Why the Bambinos picked him in this spot is a real head-scratcher.

6. Mexico City Chupacabras
Ralph Dickerson, LHP - Age 22 - $3.54M - Rating: - Grade: B

7. Boise Bombers
Darren Coleman, LHP - Age 18 - Unsigned - Rating: - Grade: D

Comment: Faced with a tight financial situation and an unproductive farm system, Boise badly needed to draft an impact prospect whom they could afford to sign. Instead, they selected a solid-but-unspectacular pitcher with known signability concerns, and now have nothing to show for a top-10 pick.

8. Milwaukee Manic Maulers
William McConnell, SS - Age 19 - $3.35M - Rating: - Grade: A

9. Scranton Janitors
Darryl Percival, LHP - Age 18 - $3.25M - Rating: - Grade: B

10. San Francisco Sabercats
Hod Cradle, RHP - Age 18 - $3.16M - Rating: - Grade: B+

Comment: Cradle may have one the the strangest names in this year's draft class, but he's also the best reliever available by a wide margin. He adds to the impressive pile of elite pitching prospects that San Francisco has accrued over the last few seasons.

11. Chicago Cows
Pete Hitchcock, 3B/SS - Age 18 - $3.07M - Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: It's almost unfair how lucky the Cows got with this pick; it's extremely rare for a prospect of this quality to slip past the top ten - and he happened to fall into the lap of a franchise already teeming with great hitting prospects. In just a few seasons, Chicago's lineup may turn into a modern-day Murderer's Row.

12. New York Knickerbockers
Phillip Bergmann, LHP - Age 19 - $2.97M - Rating: - Grade: B

13. Salem Sacrifices
Dick Smith, LHP - Age 18 - $2.88M - Rating: - Grade: B-

14. Seattle Killer Whales
Anthony Thornton, C/DH - Age 18 - Unsigned - Rating: - Grade: C-

Comment: Thornton is a good hitter for a high schooler, but is a poor defensive catcher and likely has a future as a DH - or would have, if he hadn't picked basketball instead. Seattle may have actually dodged a bullet when he chose not to sign.

15. Minnesota North Stars
Charlie Hardy, 2B - Age 21 - $2.69M - Rating: - Grade: C+

16. San Juan Dead Bunnies
Kevin League, 2B - Age 22 - $2.60M - Rating: - Grade: B+

17. Louisville Woodies
Homer Wohlers, LF/RF - Age 18 - $2.50M - Rating: - Grade: C

18. Salt Lake City Shakers
Cecil Medina, RF - Age 18 - $2.41M - Rating: - Grade: A-

Comment: You can't sustain the kind of success that the Shakers have without drafting well, and this season is no exception. Medina has some weaknesses, to be sure, but he's one of the best hitters in this season's draft class and is an impressive "get" for the 18th overall pick.

19. Louisville Woodies
Collin Sheets, 2B - Age 21 - $2.32M - Rating: - Grade: B+

20. Atlanta Bandits
Bert Moss, SS - Age 18 - $2.22M - Rating: - Grade: B-

21. Charleston Chew
Chuck Smyth, 3B/RF - Age 18 - $3.45M - Rating: - Grade: B+

Comment: Smyth is a mediocre third baseman, at best, but could be an excellent right fielder if Charleston sees fit to move him there - well worth his above-slot signing bonus.

22. Syracuse Sandmen
Max Giminez, 2B - Age 21 - $2.04M - Rating: - Grade: C

23. St. Louis River City Rage
Paulie Smith, C - Age 18 - $1.94M - Rating: - Grade: C+

24. Atlanta Bandits
Niko Stokes, 1B/DH - Age 18 - $1.85M - Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: It's hard to believe that Stokes stayed on the board this long, but here he is, the 24th overall pick. He's a poor fielder, even for a first baseman, but he has terrific potential as a hitter, and is perhaps this draft's second-best high-school position player.

25. Washington Blue Coats
Tripp Rogers, LHP - Age 18 - $2.64M - Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: The first pitcher selected since the 13th overall pick is a good one. Rogers lacks the durability of a typical closer, but his dynamite stuff ensures that he'll be a first-rate reliever someday.

26. Helena Shadow Wolves
Phil Hukata, 1B - Age 18 - Unsigned - Rating: - Grade: A-

Comment: It's hard to blame Helena for taking Hukata, in spite of the associated signability concerns, as he was far and away the best hitter left on the board at this point. Unfortunately he chose football over baseball, but still, this was a good risk to take.

27. Vancouver Grizzlies
Jerrod Scanlan, 2B/LF - Age 18 - $1.57M - Rating: - Grade: B+

28. Anaheim Chiles
Spike Ellsbury, RHP - Age 19 - $1.47M - Rating: - Grade: B

29. Monterrey Sultans of Swat
Graham Banks, 1B - Age 18 - $1.38M - Rating: - Grade: B+

30. Louisville Woodies
Tony Burkhart, RF - Age 20 - $1.29M - Rating: - Grade: B

31. Seattle Killer Whales
Luther Mack, RHP - Age 21 - $1.19M - Rating: - Grade: C+

Comment: This is a tough pick to grade. Mack has truly amazing stuff, but his stamina and durability are so poor that it's hard to imagine what role he can fill when he reaches the majors - he simply can't pitch more than an inning at a time, or on consecutive days. But no matter what, he'll be an interesting player to keep an eye on.

32. New Orleans Voodoo
Grant Fordham, RHP - Age 22 - $1.10M - Rating: - Grade: B-

33. Nashville Hillbillies
Matty Aquino, SS - Age 20 - $1.00M - Rating: - Grade: B

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