Saturday, October 29, 2011

Season 15 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. New Orleans Voodoo

Otis Evans, RHP - Age 18 - $6.72M - Rating: - Grade: A+

Comment: Evans is the clearest choice for the #1 overall pick in quite some time, and may be the best pitcher to enter the league – through the draft or otherwise – in several seasons. He’s well worth his huge signing bonus.

2. New York Knickerbockers

Endy Regan, CF/2B - Age 18 - $6.10M - Rating: - Grade: B-

3. Cheyenne Crackers

Delino Rojas, CF – Age 20 - $3.82M – Rating: - Grade: B

Comment: Regan and Rojas both project to be speedy players with strong defense, but neither is an especially skilled hitter. While they’re both valuable, neither is quite worthy of a top-5 pick.

4. Oakland East Bay Rays

Burke Lincoln, RHP – Age 22 - $3.72M – Rating: - Grade: A-

Comment: In a weak year for pitchers, Oakland gets the marquee prospect their farm system badly needs with the draft’s second-best starter. Best of all, as a college senior, Lincoln is probably closer to the majors than any other player in this draft class.

5. Mexico City Chupacabras

Mateo Mercedes, 2B – Age 19 - $3.63M – Rating: - Grade: A+

Comment: Mercedes is almost certainly the draft’s most talented position player, a top-quality hitter with good speed and the durability to play 162 games a season. It’s shocking that he fell this far.

6. Norfolk Destroyers

Kennie Webster, SS – Age 18 - $3.54M – Rating: - Grade: A

7. Boise Drifters

Leo Harris, LHP – Age 19 - $3.44M – Rating: - Grade: A-

8. Milwaukee Manic Maulers

Lance Doyle, 2B – Age 21 - $3.35M – Rating: - Grade: B+

Comment: Doyle is a difficult player to grade. Scouts say he has great potential both as a contact hitter and a power hitter, but his L/R splits are mediocre at best. No matter how his hitting turns out, his defense and speed are still impressive, but he’s not quite 5-star material.

9. Seattle Killer Whales

Alex Tolbert, RHP – Age 18 - $3.25M – Rating: - Grade: C-

Comment: It’s never easy to draft a good starting pitcher, but the Killer Whales could certainly do better than Tolbert, who throws just 3 pitches and has unimpressive L/R splits.

10. Salem Sacrifices

Sammy Bowen, RHP – Age 18 - $3.16M – Rating: - Grade: B

11. Cincinnati Reds

Robinson Reynolds, 1B/DH – Age 19 - $3.07M – Rating: - Grade: A+

Comment: The switch-hitting Reynolds swings the best bat in this draft class by a wide margin, and if he’s able to overcome his injury problems, he will likely develop into a perennial All-Star.

12. Boston Bambinos

Harold Alston, LHP – Age 18 - $2.97M – Rating: - Grade: A-

13. Chicago Cows

B.C. Sipp, SS – Age 18 - $5.11M – Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: For the third straight season, the Cows selected the draft’s best high-school position player. The pride of Cajun country (the “B.C.” stands for Beauregard Charlemagne) is more than just a good hitter – he’s also lightning-quick on the bases and projects to be a competent fielder, too.

14. Monterrey Sultans of Swat

Derrek Trammell, 2B – Age 18 - $2.79M – Rating: - Grade: C+

15. Seattle Killer Whales

Spike Alston, RHP – Age 20 - $2.69M – Rating: - Grade: B-

16. Vancouver Grizzlies

Jude Aardsma, RF/1B – Age 18 - $2.60M – Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: Aardsma is a terrific hitter with great speed whose talent is more like that of a top-10 pick than the 16th overall selection. What might hold him back, however, is his poor durability, which will likely limit him to 130 or so games per season.

17. Scranton Janitors

Bill Barker, LHP – Age 18 - $2.50M – Rating: - Grade: A-

18. San Juan Dead Bunnies

Willis Barfield, 1B/DH – Age 19 - $2.41M – Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: Barfield is almost certainly the second-best hitter in this draft class. But one area in which he’s second to none is his temper, which has been described as “explosive” and “terrifying” by various sources. Hopefully for San Juan, he’ll calm down enough to become a good big-leaguer.

19. Louisville Woodies

Art Dunn, RF – Age 19 - $2.32M – Rating: - Grade: A-

Comment: Dunn has great potential as a hitter, but his platoon splits are as dramatic as they come. Against lefties, he’s the second coming of Babe Ruth; against righties, he’s the second coming of Mario Mendoza.

20. Huntington Riverdogs

Philip Giambi, 2B – Age 18 - $2.22M – Rating: - Grade: B

21. Syracuse Sandmen

Mariano Herrara, LHP – Age 21 - $2.13M – Rating: - Grade: B

22. Buffalo Blue Cheese

Marino Blanco, LHP – Age 18 – $2.04M– Rating: - Grade: D

Comment: Blanco throws hard, has good control, and keeps the ball on the ground – but he only has one good pitch, and his L/R splits aren’t very exciting either. Buffalo may have been better just letting him go unsigned.

23. Salt Lake City Shakers

Billy Nelson, RHP – Age 18 - $1.94M – Rating: - Grade: C+

24. Minnesota North Stars

Vicente Chavez, 3B – Age 22 - $1.85M – Rating: - Grade: A

25. Atlanta Bandits

Dean Hill, RHP – Age 21 - $1.75M – Rating: - Grade: B

Comment: Hill is the third reliever chosen in a four-pick span, but the only one with true potential to be a closer. Though he doesn’t throw particularly hard, he boasts a devastating cutter and slider, and excellent control of both pitches.

26. Anaheim Chiles

B.J. McNeil, LHP – Age 22 - $1.66M – Rating: - Grade: B-

27. St. Louis River City Rage

Antone Webster, LF/RF – Age 18 - $1.57M – Rating: - Grade: D

Comment: It’s typical to see teams reach for pitchers at the end of round 1, but rarely do position players of Webster’s caliber get taken this high. He projects to be an average ML hitter at best, and isn’t especially fast either – not exactly the sort of future you want for a corner outfielder.

28. Helena Shadow Wolves

Willie Nieto, LHP – Age 18 - $1.47M – Rating: - Grade: B+

29. Fargo Dirtbags

Dick Jefferies, RHP – Age 18 - $2.95M – Rating: - Grade: B-

30. Buffalo Blue Cheese

Johnnie Gibson, SS – Age 18 – Unsigned – Rating: - Grade: C-

Comment: Gibson is a mediocre hitter at best, but he’s also one of the best defensive shortstops in the draft. He seems to have chosen football over baseball, as he said he might – but that may be because Buffalo management simply declined to meet his contract demands.

31. Helena Shadow Wolves

Andrew Clayton, 2B – Age 18 - $1.19M – Rating: - Grade: A

Comment: Clayton may not have the durability to last a full big-league season, but whatever portion he does play, he’ll be a dynamic force. He’s a good fielder who can run and hit for both power and contact – a great find for the 31st pick.

32. Washington Blue Coats

Pete Adams, 1B – Age 22 - $1.10M – Rating: - Grade: A-

33. Salt Lake City Shakers

Hector Machado, SS – Age 18 - $1.00M – Rating: - Grade: B

34. Ottawa O-Jays

Vernon Bruntlett, RHP – Age 19 - $0.96M – Rating: - Grade: B+

Comment: Ottawa closes out the first round with one of its most intriguing selections. Bruntlett has terrific stuff and could be an excellent setup man or even closer someday – but his poor stamina and durability will drastically limit how much he can be used.