04 June 2008

Draft Preview -- Beyond 1:4 (Rounds 4-5 and Signability Fliers)

Continuing with our look at Round 2 through Round 5...

Round 4

Josh Romanski (SP) University of San Diego
6'0" / 185lbs / B-T (L/L)
Scouted: July 20, 2007 USA vs. Cuba ( Film)
4.00/1.11, 96.2 IP, 20 BB, 78 SO, .240 BAA
Romanski offers a nice balance of solid arsenal and good command, while not setting himself apart in either respect. He sits in the upper-90s with his fastball and gets good late movement away from right-handers. His curveball is a potential above-average pitch, and he mixes in a changeup and slider, as well. Like teammate Brian Matusz, Romanski is generally clean through his mechanics. One item that will likely be addressed at the pro level is his tendency to finish by falling-off to his glove-hand side. Though he was knocked around with Team USA last summer, he was impressive in the PanAm Games gold medal matchup with Cuba (the game scouted), appearing in relief and posting a line of 1.1 IP, 1 BB, 1 H, 2 SO, 0 ER. Romanski profiles anywhere from a back-of-the-rotation starter to a number 3, depending on who you talk to. He would be a relatively safe pick after round 3 and is a good bet to find a spot in a Major League rotation.

Chase Davidson (1B) Milton High School (Georgia)
6'5" / 222lbs / B-T (L/R)
Scouted: Film
.429 AVG / 1.071 SLG, 70 AB, 5 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR

Davidson has plus-power potential, though it hasn’t consistently manifested itself in games. At 6’5” and 216 pounds he is well on his way to filling out his Major League frame and is athletic enough for teams to try him at RF/LF. He has good bat speed, though his mechanics leave a fair amount of room for improvement – especially in his weight transfer. He'll need to improve his balance and avoid falling off and opening up his hips too early in order to realize his full potential as a future power hitter. He profiles as a #4 or #5 and presents good power upside to go along with a Major League average bat. He is a well below average runner, clocking in at 4.56 seconds to firstbase.

Lance Lynn (SP) University of Mississippi
6'5" / 250lbs / B-T (R/R)
Not Scouted
4.52/1.35, 89.2 IP, 110 SO, 31 BB, .251 BAA

Lynn does not have electric stuff, but he has been a consistent producer at Ole Miss. His arsenal is built around a low-90s fastball and a low-80s slider. Both his curveball and changeup pitch up because of his command, but project to be average offerings. Lynn isn’t a frontline starter, but should be a safe bet to be a solid workhorse at the back of a competitive rotation. In addition to solid numbers at Ole Miss, he was impressive last summer with Team USA, posting a line of 2-1, 1.80/0.84, 25 IP, 26 SO, 9 BB, .136 BAA.

David Adams (2B) University of Virginia
6'2" / 205lbs / B-T (R/R)
Scouted: March 29, 2008 vs. Virginia Tech (Film); May 25, 2008 vs. Miami (Film)
.286/.384/.411, 231 AB, 11 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR

Adams's down season has likely dropped him from a 2nd rounder (or possible 1st round or supplemental pick) to at least a 4th or 5th Rounder. After an impressive junior campaign, he saw his batting average fall over 100 points this season. He has gap-to-gap power and doesn't figure to hit many homeruns as a Major Leaguer. He has a professional approach at the plate that translated into successful campaigns his freshman and sophomore year at UVA, as well as in the Cape Cod Summer League (though some have expressed concerns that his swing will not play at the next level). Defensively, he profiles as an average 2B with above-average baseball instincts. His arm is probably not strong enough to play at 3B professionally, though he was recruited by UVA to follow in Ryan Zimmerman's footsteps. Adams is a moderate risk in the 4th or 5th round that could reap late 1st round dividends.

Anthony Capra (SP) Wichita State University
6'1" / 200lbs / B-T (L/L)
Scouted: Not Scouted
2.87/1.17, 75.1 IP, 87 SO, 30 BB, .212 BAA

In Capra's first season as a member of the Shockers's rotation, Capra dominated in route to a 9-0 record in 11 games started. The lefty sits in the 88-93 range with his fastball, which shows good boring action and late life. His changeup was arguably the best in the Missouri Valley Conference and rates as a plus-pitch that could miss Major League bats. There are conditioning concerns as Capra is a little heavy for his frame, but this should not affect his draft slotting. To be successful at the professional levels he will have to fine tune his curveball, which is inconsistent to be kind. He may be well-suited to scrap it and work on a splitter or a slider, which would play nicely off of his fastball and changeup.

Round 5

Cole St. Clair (SP) Rice University
6'5" / 225lbs / B-T (L/L)
Not Scouted
2.65/1.12, 54.1 IP, 60 SO, 16 BB, .230 BAA

Cole St. Clair is a first round talent that has struggled to regain his velocity following a weightlifting injury. Formerly sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball, this year St. Clair was closer to the upper-80s, topping out at around 91. His curveball is an average pitch with above-average potential, though he has struggled with it as well since the injury. His command is above-average and, coupled with a deceptive delivery, has allowed him to continue to thrive in a challenging Conference USA. Provided St. Clair can find his velocity during the upcoming offseason, it's possible someone will end up with a first round arm between picks 100 and 200. Orioles fans might hope for an Arrieta Re-dux.

Brian Humphries (OF) Granite Hills High School (Calif.)
6'3" / 170lbs / B-T (L/R)
Not Scouted
.398 AVG /.602 SLG, 98 AB, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR

Humphries was hot and cold throughout the summer circuit, leaving scouts uncertain as to his slotting for the 2008 Draft. After some impressive showing in Wood Bat leagues, and a noticeable physical maturing this past winter, Humphries entered the season as a mostly-projection player with impressive upside. The Pepperdine commit shows plus-speed and the potential to develop above-average power, while drawing mixed reviews in the outfield. Humphries has the frame and athleticism to warrant a Round 5 selection, even without a refined offensive game. There is enough here for an organization to work with, and Humphries periodic success with wood makes the pick a little easier to make.

Michael Tonkin (SP) Palmdale High School (Calif.)
6'6" / 192lbs / B-T (R/R)
Not Scouted
2.23/1.07, 67 IP, 97 SO, 11 BB

Tonkin has the size and velocity to throw in a Major League rotation. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, with a boring 2-seamer and a straight 4-seamer. He shows good feel for his changeup and his sweeping curveball shows flashes of a potential fringe-above-average pitch. Like most prep pitchers, Tonkin will need to smooth out a lot of kinks with his motion, but his arsenal is a solid base upon which to build. He has the upside of a middle-of-the-rotation arm, and the size to project as a dependable workhorse. He is currently committed to Southern Cal.

Mark Sobolewski (3B) University of Miami
6'1" / 200lbs / B-T (R/R)
Scouted: May 24, 2008 vs. NC State (Film); May 25, 2008 vs. Virginia (Film)
.326/.393/.483, 230 AB, 13 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR

As an eligible sophomore, it may be difficult to sign Sobolewski as another year could vault him into the first round and perhaps the top 10. He has above-average power and clean compact swing. While he shows the ability to spray balls to all fields, he could stand to improve his approach a bit as most of his power comes when he pulls the ball. In the field, Sobolewski was inconsistent to say the least. The good news is that his struggles were primarily throwing issues and further had nothing to do with his footwork. He has a tendency to drop down and throw across his body, leading to throws that sailed on him from time to time. He has the hands, range and arm to stay at third base and perhaps perform at an above-average level. The Hurricane's clean-up hitter should garner plenty of attention on draft day, though it remains to be seen if a team will be able to pry him away. It wouldn't hurt if Miami were to win a title this year in Omaha.

Brandon Crawford (SS) UCLA
6'5" / 210lbs / B-T (L/R)
Scouted: March 1, 2008 vs. Bethune-Cookman (Film)
.302/.394/.491, 232 AB, 13 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR

One of the top middle infielders in the class coming into 2008, Crawford has suffered through a supremely disappointing season, striking out in just over 1 out of every 4 at bats. He has fringe-plus power but has not been able to develop it in games, primarily because of his high strikeout totals. One aspect of his game that has not fallen-off is his defense. He is athletic and has the range and arm to make each shortstop play in the manual. In addition to above-average defense and a plus arm, Crawford flashes fringe-above-average speed. If he can get his offensive game back on track, he could be a steal.

Some Signability Fliers for Rounds 6 and Up

Ryan Westmoreland (OF) Portsmouth High School (R.I.)
6'2" / 185lbs / B-T (L/R)
Not Scouted
.508 AVG / .902 SLG, 61 AB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR

Despite wishful thinking from Red Sox fans, rumors have circulated that Westmoreland is all but guaranteed to head to Vanderbilt, following in his mother's footsteps. Westmoreland features plus-speed and an above-average arm and average defense, profiling as a future CF at the professional level. His superior hand-eye coordination allows him to consistently square up on the ball, though he'll have to work on his mechanics to start driving the ball with more force. Like many prep hitters, he's gotten by on "metal bat" bat speed and accurate hands -- he'll need to build more power through his legs to take the next step.

Dan Hultzen (SP) St. Albans High School (D.C.)
6'2" / 195lbs / B-T (L/L)
Not Scouted
0.82/0.53, 66 IP, 127 SO, 13 BB

The likely Virginia Cavalier-to-be throws his fastball in the upper-80s to low-90s with good boring action and brings a fringe-above-average slurve to the table, as well. The lefty has further flashed various show-me pitches, including a split-finger, but for now relies primarily on his fastball/slurve combo. He shows solid command over his best two offerings and could conceivably wind-up a legitimate Round 1 talent if he can't be lured away from Charlottesville.

Sonny Gray (SP) Smyrna High School (Tenn.)
6'0" / 185lbs / B-T (R/R)
Scouted: Film
0.79/0.91, 35 IP, 78 SO, 17 BB

Gray is a little undersized for a pitcher, though you'd never know it from his radar gun readings. His fastball sits in the mid- to upper-90s and his curveball is a second above-average offering that sits in the mid-80s. Throughout the summer circuit he threw each with command and confidence. His size has some profiling him as a shut-down power closer, though he'll likely get the chance to start wherever he ends up. His strong commitment to Vanderbilt may make signing him an issue, but his arm is too good for a team not to take a flier on him.

Jordan Swagerty (SP/C) Prestonwood Christian Academy (Texas)
6'1" / 175lbs / B-T (R/R)
Scouted: Film
0.50/0.55, 83 IP, 147 SO, 10 BB

Swaggerty is not far enough along is his offensive game to warrant top consideration and he has happily committed to Arizona State. These two facts may make it difficult for teams to draft and sign the starting catcher from last year's Junior U.S. National Team. Behind the plate he is efficient and shows a good feel for receiving and throwing. At the plate, his swing lacks force (from both sides of the plate). A bump in velocity since last summer has scouts looking at him primarily as a pitcher. He sits in the low-90s with his fastball and shows average feel for his curveball. Relatively new to the mound, he has a lot of developmental time ahead of him to improve his pitchability. As a tool set, he is an intriguing package that could easily find himself in the first round in three years should he continue on to Arizona State.

Brett Mooneyham (SP) Buhach Colony High School (Calif.)
6'5" / 220lbs / B-T (L/L)
Not Scouted
0.49/1.19, 43 IP, 56 SO, 36 BB

The big bodied lefty is one of the top prep lefties in this year’s class and will likely be among the most difficult to sign. In addition to being a Boras advisee, Mooneyham has excelled as a student and has committed to Stanford. He has a big league frame and stands to add a little more size, as well as velocity, making him an intriguing project. Currently, his fastball sits in the low-90s, occasionally touching as high as 95. While he has not yet had to rely on secondary pitches, his slider stands to be a potential above-average offering. It's reasonable to think that as he cleans up his mechanics and fills-in his frame he could add a few more mph. Rumblings among scouts indicate that Mooneyham is nearly unsignable, but his impressive frame and big league "stuff" should draw a late pick and solid run at signing.

6/5 am Final War-Room Review
6/5 Camden Depot Shadow Draft and Live Draft Coverage

No comments: