Season 15 Draft Recap


A.L. North
Ottawa Hosers
Ottawa looks to have scored a solid pitcher with the 18th overall pick. Ebenezer “Wild Thing” House has a cannon for an arm and if he can learn even a modest amount of control, he could be a solid mid-tier starting pitcher. Second rounder Brian Ruth also represents decent value. Ruth might strikeout a little much to be a top hitter, but has enough skill to be an everyday player both defensively and offensively. Grade: A
Syracuse Blue Sox
With first round pick Joshua Zimmerman, Syracuse has a bonafide major league starter. Zimmerman has ace material, though there is some concern that he lacks a “go to” pitch in his arsenal. He appears to be the draft pick of significance in a draft that saw the Blue Sox select pitchers with their first five choices. Supplemental pick Jacob Sinclair has a chance to make the pros with some luck. Grade: B
Toronto Trout
First round pick Sammy Hall has some skill in certain areas, but looks to be a long-shot to be a productive major league hitter. As a centerfielder Hall’s defense certainly needs work, and if he can’t cover more territory in the outfield he may wind up in left. Hall has trouble hitting righties and despite a decent eye at the plate, doesn’t have tremendous power or bat control skills. The next three picks for the Trout all look to have some upside at the plate. There might be some major league skill among the group, although time will tell if any of them will have significant impact. Grade: B-
Trenton Terror Hawks
At #9 overall, the Terror Hawks selected shortstop Charlie Tolar, a very solid if unspectacular player in most areas. Tolar is a steady defender who can handle the duties at shortstop, but might really excel if moved to third base. He has average power and speed, but is a great pure hitter in the Stephen Garciaparra mold. At pick #33, Trenton landed the fastest player in the draft in second baseman Ronn Rooney. A decent fielder and a good contact hitter, Rooney will need to learn plate patience if he’s to become a leadoff hitter. Trenton also selected catcher Ron Grimsley, a power bat loaded with offensive potential, but considered a liability behind the plate. Maybe a future DH? Shane Worth should prove his worth as a useful bullpen arm at pick #97. Grade: A

A.L. East
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox had three draft picks between #27 and 36. Top choice Benjamin Reed is a great all-around pitcher with an active fastball-curveball combination. He projects to the a short reliever, with some slight concerns about facing lefties. Not a bad grab as a late first rounder, but it’s hard to get truly excited about short relief. Derrick Perkins is a tremendous shortstop with a cannon arm. He won’t scare too many pitchers with his bat, but he possesses one of the best infield arms in recent memory. His defense should certainly prove his worth. Boston also chose another shortstop in Elvis Kerr, who won’t hold a candle to Perkins in the field but shows a little more life in his bat. The 5’6” Kerr is a good contact hitter who might be better suited to third base if indeed he chooses to sign a contract with the Sox instead of opting for college. Grade: C+
Durham County Ramblers
With the 24th selection, Durham landed starting pitcher Anthony Keats. Keats shows a great arm with excellent stamina and control. He has the makeup of a great pitcher if he can work to improve his curveball and prevent deep flies. Keats is a solid late round pick.
Second round pick Dann Tomlinson should also be an effective pro arm for Durham in the late innings. Grade: A
Jacksonville Sunbirds
With only one pick in the top 100, the Sunbirds took a flyer on 20 yr old Michigan native Vinny Scott. A good all-around athlete, Scott has an interesting skill set that could see him turn into a solid outfielder for the Sunbirds. A good defender who is quick on the bases and absolutely kills right handed pitching, Scott doesn’t have a great eye at the plate and will likely never have more than modest power. Not a bad pick, it will be interesting to see how Scott does as he develops. Grade: B-
New York Crunch
Losing Juan Sosa, Brook Perez and Patrick Garcia netted the Crunch a hefty pile of first and second round compensation picks. None of their selections are without a caveat however, and it might take a season or two to see who could develop into a pro. The Crunch are very adamant that their draft choices pass a rigorous physical, so none of these guys are likely to have any injury problems. First baseman John Crane has a great eye and should hit for average, but he doesn’t have great power and his offensive ceiling is fairly low. Shortstop Dave Thomson is a great fielder and good contact hitter, but he can’t hit lefties, or really righties either. Third baseman Samuel Butler might be the best hitter that the Crunch drafted, but he doesn’t boast great power and he’ll really need to work on his plate discipline. The three pitchers are Cameron Walsh, who has the stuff to be a fantastic starting pitcher, save for his pathetic fastball; Scott White, a starter with great control who has tons of trouble against righties; and Clark Parker, likely the best of the three who may forego the start of his ball career to stay in college. The Crunch would love to sign Parker, but aren’t holding their breath. Grade: B-

A.L. South
Charlotte Designated Drinkers
At the 17th spot in the draft, the D.D’s opted for starting pitcher Angel Gonzalez. Gonzalez doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but should nonetheless compete to join the Charlotte team in a few seasons. In the second and third rounds, the Drinkers managed to land a couple of single-faceted hitters who could turn into productive hitters at any level. Giovany Silva would make a great designated hitter if not for durability concerns. He should still be a productive part of the team coming off the bench. Eugene Brett is another promising slugger who would best be served as a DH. Brett could also handle part time duties behind the plate, although his defense is average and like Silva, he’ll have a tough time playing a full season. Grade: B-
Little Rock Razorbacks
With the #2 selection in the draft, the Razorbacks were shocked to see shortstop Dicky Gleason fall in their lap. A complete package of offense and defense, Gleason is fundamentally sound in all areas and has “future star” written all over him. The 22 yr old has a sweet swing that should land him in the majors before long. He might take a couple of seasons to hone his defensive instincts… but first the Razorbacks are desperately trying to get Gleason signed to a contract. Second round selection Brandon Feliciano looks to be a welcome addition to any pitching staff. Likely a reliever, Feliciano has above average command, but could work on his fastball. Third rounder Albert Cuyler has the defense and the wheels, but may not be able to contribute with his bat.
Grade: B+ (higher if Gleason signs)
Louisville Lobsters
The Lobsters top three picks were 19, 72 and 107. They managed to come away with a boom or bust relief prospect in Ivan Mendoza, a superb defensive catcher in Vinny Yang and another decent bullpen prospect in Zeke “Smokin” Tabaka. Although they could have done much worse, none of their picks is terribly exciting. Catcher Yang’s presence behind the plate could certainly turn into the most valuable commodity to come out of the draft for the Lobsters. Yang has a terrific arm and an uncanny ability to manage pitchers. He may warrant a spot in the lineup despite his weak bat. Mendoza and Tabaka should both progress steadily for Louisville, but neither of the two short relievers is very good against lefties, which may prove to be a setback. Mendoza has the better control of the two, while Tabaka is an extremely hard thrower with a great fastball. Grade: C
New Orleans VoDoo
The selection of knuckle-baller Walter Zoltan with the third overall pick is something that New Orleans should be pretty confident about. Arguably the top pitcher in the draft, Zoltan has five pitches, no glaring weaknesses, and the VoDoo envision him as a #1 starter in a few seasons. New Orleans also drafted fielding whiz SS Gary Mulder with the 56th pick and a potential back of the rotation starter in Marvin Buford with pick 91. Grade: A

A.L. West
Helena Cowboys
With three first round picks, the Cowboys had reason to be excited about this season’s amateur draft. Top selection Jon Ardoin is a three pitch short reliever, possibly a closer one day, although he lacks the stuff to truly dominate. Antonio McLemore is a workhorse rightfielder, and a true power hitter. It remains to be seen if the other aspects of his hitting mechanics will translate well as he develops. Expect him to kill minor league pitching! Dan Ferguson is a steady hitter with some skill that could develop, but he’s not flashy and doesn’t have high upside. Second round selection Howie Robbins is a versatile fielder with good power, but little else. The Cowboys have some assets here, but nothing to get overly excited about. Grade: C+
Las Vegas Numa Numa
The Numa Numa opted for a relief pitcher with their first round pick and they can’t be too confident in lefty Sal Hamilton. Hamilton has great control and pitches especially well against righties, but he has no zip on his mediocre forkball which figures to be his prime pitch (if only he would throw that fastball a little more!). With low stamina and a difficult time throwing over 90 mph, Hamilton is definitely a work in progress. Vegas didn’t really land anyone else of much more than AAA potential. Grade: D-
Oklahoma City Rodeo Clowns
Oklahoma City selected pitchers with their first six picks. Three first rounders turned into Max Tarasco, Vic Reynoso and Macbeth Pierce. Tarasco is a groundball pitcher with a great fastball, a tricky curveball and a wild streak a mile wide. He certainly has raw potential and the Clowns may have a steal at pick #29. If Tarasco can keep the walks to a minimum, he could be an excellent addition. Reynoso is a bullpen arm with great control, but really doesn’t have the stuff that Pierce does. Still weighing the college option, Macbeth doesn’t have great stamina, but could give the clowns a “lights out” ninth with his slider/changeup combo. The real tragedy would be if he decides not to sign.
Grade: B+
Scottsdale Fighting Chokes
With the 20th selection in the first round, the Fighting Chokes were pleased to select second baseman Walt Reid. Already assigned to Scottsdale’s AA affiliate, Reid has a serious can’t miss power and speed combination. At 22 years old, Reid shouldn’t take long to take his game to a higher level. To become a complete player, Walt will need to learn to hit righties, as well as cut down on strikouts and boneheaded base-running mistakes. He might drive managers crazy at times, but he’s a gifted athlete and a steal with pick 20. Beyond Reid, Scottsdale didn’t land any other ML prospects. Perhaps catcher Grover Wyatt will prove to be part of a useful backstop tandem? Grade: A-

N.L. North
Chicago Crushers
With the first overall pick, the Crushers raised some eyebrows with the selection of shortstop Julio Pascual. The slick fielder was a consensus top ten pick, but the Crushers must have seen something special in Pascual to choose him above some of the other top talents. Pascual shouldn’t take long to reach the majors, with strong fielding, decent hitting and good intangibles. He’ll be counted on to be a focal point in Chicago’s rebuilding plan. He’s the only blue-chipper in Chicago’s draft this season. Grade: B
Detroit Tiger Sharks
Without a pick until #87 in the second round, Detroit should be fairly happy with their selection of Mac Denham, a workmanlike starting pitcher who could potentially fill a major league role. To give them high marks for top 40 value at the 87 spot, or low marks for not really having a high end draft choice? Well, they have Hunter Wilkinson to show for it, so I guess a generous Grade: C
Madison Moon Dogs
Taking pitcher Tom Messmer with the 11th pick in the draft looks like a great move for the Moon Dogs. With four solid pitches and an amazing ability to work the strike zone, Messmer has all the tools to be a star. He doesn’t blow hitters away, but should prove crafty enough to dominate. “Mess” also doesn’t have the stamina to go deep into ballgames, but the Moon Dogs love what they see and would be happy if he went a strong 6 or 7 each time out. 45th pick first baseman Pedro Duran has a solid bat and should give the M-Dogs some good clout. With the 64th they landed center fielder Josh Becker, who has excellent speed and could one day be a gold glove outfielder. Becker is a fantastic contact hitter, but the knock on him is that he’s “light’s out” against lefties but can’t hit righties. Maybe a platoon is in his future? After Becker, Madison went on to take a short reliever with some untapped potential in Arthur Thomas and a couple of fairly solid catchers in Shooter Foster and Derek Owens. Grade: A+
Montreal Maroons
While there’s still some debate as to whether Joshua Allen will be a better outfielder or a cornerback, everybody knows he’s leaning towards a football career. An outstanding athlete in the mold of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, Allen can write his own ticket and to spend a first round pick on a guy who won’t commit to your sport is a risky business. At pick 32, the Maroons felt that Allen was worth the risk. It would certainly be a coup if they were to convince him to sign. Montreal followed up the Allen pick with Woodie Musial, a quick contact hitter who could one day contribute. They also drafted some tiny infielders in Elroy Parker and Stan Matos, both of whom can hit well against lefties and demonstrate good patience at the plate. Parker in particular is a defensive gem, but he’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts to be an effective hitter. The Maroons have found some decent value if Allen doesn’t sign; outstanding value if he does. Grade: B

N.L. East
Burlington Barons
First rounder Skeeter Young has good speed and some decent bat skill. He has the makings of a solid if unspectacular outfielder, who could hit for decent average while swiping 30-40 bases per season, perhaps in a leadoff role. There’s some power here, but Young isn’t a natural slugger. Supplemental pick Al Robertson might do well to switch from shortstop to third base, and he could eventually find his way onto a major league squad. Phil Adkins and Sparky Acosta add more speed and some good skills and intangibles that could contribute down the road, however, neither should be a major league regular. Grade: B+
Pittsburgh Grindermen
With the selection of Fred Guerrero 25th overall, Pittsburgh found a solid arm with excellent control and a good changeup/curveball combo. Guerrero could wind up in the rotation or in the bullpen depending on how the Grindermen plan to use him. An undersized pitcher at 5’9”, he should be a competitive major league pitcher before long.
Grade: A-
Tampa Bay Terrific Balls
Picking much earlier than they’re used to, the T-Balls were happy to land a very good pitching prospect in Julio Martis. The 18 yr old is raw, but is a hard thrower with great potential. He’ll likely take at least three or four years to develop, but he should be worth the wait with terrific control and two terrific pitches. With their supplemental pick, Tampa chose Pascual Martin, an outstanding infielder who will likely never be a great hitter, but may be good enough to fit in somewhere. Second rounder Pedro Fernandez has a little more potential with the bat, although his eye at the plate leaves something to be desired. Martin and Fernandez won’t be stars, but Martis could be if he has the stamina to start. Grade: A-
Washington Swamp Cats
The Swamp Cats had the fifth overall pick and pinned all of their hopes on speedy power hitter Raymond Fisher. Fisher played center field in college, but could switch to the infield if and when he decides to sign with Washington. He likely will never hit for average, but scouts think that he should easily become a regular 20/20 guy. He’s patient at the plate and potentially could show even more power than that. It’s vital for the Swamp Cats to reach a deal with Fisher, as they didn’t unearth any other significant pieces to the puzzle in this year’s draft. Grade: C+

N.L. South
Charleston Southerners
Charleston has to be reasonably happy with their top two picks. Max Palacios slipped to them in the 8th spot, and scouts have been raving about the left fielder. He’s a serious power hitter who simply murders left handed pitching. Palacios will be a great everyday player at the heart of the order for the Southerners, the question remains as to whether he’ll be an all-star or just a solid player. Closer Vin Biddle is also worth the gamble for Charleston as he demonstrates pinpoint control, a nasty sinker, throws over 100 mph and knows how to generate ground balls. Time will tell if he can translate those tools to the pro level, but it was certainly worth the 61st pick to find out. Grade: A
Iowa City Bearcats
The Bearcats signed talented reliever Perry Campbell to fill their vacant closing role, and as a result didn’t have a pick in the draft until pick #78. The only choice of minor significance here was third baseman Edwards Holmes, who can hit for power but really lacks what it takes to make an overall impact. Campbell is a talented reliever and should continue to hold things together for the Bearcats. That’s the only reason that I’m not giving them an F in this season’s draft.
Grade: D-
Kansas City World Police
Orlando Jose dropped a little bit later in the first round than anticipated. Once considered a top ten prospect, the World Police did well to grab the flashy infielder with the 22nd overall selection. Jose has an outstanding arm, a steady glove, and is capable of playing any infield position or even making the transition to the outfield. A natural shortstop, he’ll likely find a home on the left side of the infield. Jose is a pure contact hitter with good plate instincts, and although he likely won’t display much power he definitely seems like a complete package. Second baseman Dioner Duran has average skill across the board and with good coaches could become a player. Second rounder Bryce Collier has much more upside both at the dish and in the field, but it might prove tricky to get him signed. Grade: B
Santa Fe Thunderbirds
As of yet, the Thunderbirds haven’t signed ANY of their top 7 draft choices. They didn’t have an excellent go of things, with only two picks in the top 100. First rounder Harry Elster is a capable third baseman with a good contact swing. He might struggle to keep his batting average healthy, but has enough clout to merit a spot at the heart of the order. Starting pitcher Irv Mays has a five pitch arsenal, but has some glaring control issues. Third baseman Stewart Trammell might be better suited to right field. He’s a power bat with little other upside. It won’t matter if Santa Fe can’t get them signed. Hopefully they can at least work something out with Elster. Grade: D+

N.L. West
Cheyenne Alpini
Johnny Manship has a good skill set on the field and off. He won’t wow anyone with his power or speed, but could turn into a good well-rounded player. He’s a contact hitter with good patience at the plate and reasonable defensive ability. Drafted as a second baseman, Manship will start getting some outfield experience with Cheyenne. Pitchers Stan Lee and Rudy Brand both have some good qualities, but it would be surprising to see either of them have a significant impact. Catcher Terry Quinn has some potential, but his bat isn’t strong enough to be a DH and his pitch calling isn’t good enough to be a regular behind the plate. Cheyenne is still hoping that they can agree on a deal with injury prone outfielder Todd Guerrero. Guerrero has great wheels and would be an ideal platoon vs. lefties at the top of the batting order, while playing great defense in center field. Grade: C
L.A. Dead Bunnies
6th overall pick Max Johnson is a sure thing and should be a star for the Bunnies. The 20 yr old left fielder shouldn’t take too long to reach the majors, and he has a good bat and good speed. 2nd rounder Walter Gonzalez has some good qualities and could develop into a solid fielder and a decent contact hitter. Really a one player draft for L.A. but they should be pleased with their top choice. Grade: B+
Tacoma Phantom der Nacht
First rounder Armando Soto is a classic boom or bust pick. Possibly the best pure hitter in the draft, Soto has many health concerns including a rebuilt spine and metal screws in his wrists. Tacoma sees him as a potential 1st baseman, although if he were a DH in the American League it may reduce his injury opportunity. If Soto can stay healthy, his bat has the potential to be among the league’s best. Time will tell. Grade: B
Vancouver Vampire Bats
In Matt Jensen, the V-Bats have another great pitcher with no stamina. It’s the second year in a row that Vancouver has addressed bullpen needs in the first round and they’ve found another late inning gem. That being said, Jensen appears to be a one-inning pitcher at best. Second rounder Pep Hubbard has some pop, but likely won’t be a ML contributor. Grade: C

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