A.L. North
Ottawa Hosers
The Hosers are making a playoff push and at this time haven’t been focusing their resources on acquiring new prospects. Their first round pick went to Baltimore as compensation for the Jesus Astacio signing. The first selection for the Hosers was a sandwich pick at #49 where they selected Trenidad Tejada, a marginal 5’5” high schooler without much offensive promise. There wasn’t much hope for Ottawa this time around, and they didn’t pull off any surprises.
Grade: D
Syracuse Blue Sox
The Blue Sox signed Jolbert Saenz and Ed Hurst and put themselves in a similar position to Ottawa. Leaving themselves virtually no money for signing young players, the Syracuse draft was mostly about rolling the dice trying to find some bargain arms that slipped through the cracks. They once again chose pitchers with their first seven picks, but the likelihood that lefty Antonio Moore can become more than a serviceable depth arm or that Nolan Kirwan can pitch to major league hitters is fairly slim.
Grade: D+
Toronto Trout
With the 17th pick in the draft, the Trout selected left fielder Santiago Crespo, whose skill set is heavily reliant on his ability to generate runs. With better than average speed and power, Crespo could be a heart of the order bat one day. His drawbacks are that he may be challenged to hit left handed pitching, and the reality that he’ll never be a great defender. He does represent above average offensive potential for his draft position. The Trout subsequently chose some pitchers with slim chances of reaching the professional ranks. They’re hoping to hit the international market to augment this season’s youth crop.
Grade: B
Trenton Terror Hawks
Trenton chose relief pitcher Mike Champion with the 19th pick and catcher/DH Gene Bell with the 42nd choice. Champion throws a hard sinker and while he seems able and willing to run out for an inning every day, scouts doubt whether he has the stuff to be an elite level closer. Bell is perhaps the best pure hitter drafted this season, and the Terror Hawks were happy to see him drop as far as he did. Many clubs were scared off by his injury history and others pointed out that despite his unparalleled bat, his defensive skills are so poor that he’ll be a liability wherever he plays in the field. A catcher by trade, his average throwing arm is down-graded by his inability to call a game. Probably a DH in the long run, his bat will certainly make waves.
Grade: B+

A.L. East
Boston Red Sox

This time around, the Red Sox started out with a couple of questionable selections with pitchers Jamie Chamberlain and Tony Camp. Both have problems with control and consistency and coming out of college, they have a bit less time to work on discovering some more redeeming skills. The Red Sox did a little bit better with their next two picks, as infielders Aaron Alexander and Rob Ramsey should provide solid defense to go along with alliteration. Alexander has great speed and both are good enough contact hitters to merit consideration for playing time at any level. Neither shows much power, however, which reflects Boston’s draft this season.
Grade: C-
Durham County Ramblers
The Ramblers have long suffered through years of mediocre pitching and their ballpark certainly doesn’t help on that score. At the #3 slot this season, they may have found a future staff ace in 6’4” righty Dan Price. Price has the make up of a future all-star and with outstanding control and no glaring flaws, if anyone can succeed pitching in Durham he looks like the perfect candidate. After Price, the Ramblers selected Ed Slocumb and Grover Blowers both of whom have an outside chance of finding their way into the bullpen. They also took a few solid defense-only players who could contribute off the bench. Really, only one pick matters this season, and Durham will soon find out if the Price is right.
Grade: A
Jacksonville Sunbirds
With the first overall selection in this year’s draft, the sunbirds chose shortstop Walt Sirotka, a complete ballplayer who boasts a dangerous bat as well as defensive acumen. With good speed, a strong arm and the reputation of a clutch performer Sirotka should be a steady major leaguer for a long time. They followed this pick up with the selection of catcher Lon Christopher and pitcher Glenn Porzio. Solid behind the plate, Christopher has yet to sign a contract and may have other options to consider. Porzio appears to be a decent pitcher, but his skill-ceiling may be lower than the Sunbirds would like. Not a bad draft for Jacksonville, but some feel that they could have scored a little higher.
Grade: B+
New York Crunch
With the 16th pick the Crunch were glad to see outfielder Tony Stanley still available. With a natural approach at the plate, Stanley has a sweet swing and a great feel for the strike zone. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he should certainly be an offensive sparkplug as he does everything else well. Hitting well for average would project him as a table-setter for the heart of the order bats to cash in. It remains to be seen how he’ll fare defensively, but Stanley is a good piece for New York’s future. Pitchers Pat Incaviglia and Otis Bowels are easy fodder for lefty hitters and may or may not be able to overcome that hurdle. From this crop, Stanley is really the only name that will generate buzz.
Grade: B-

A.L. South
Charlotte Designated Drinkers

The only piece of real significance for the D.D’s in this season’s draft was first round back-stopper Tony Park. This pick neatly addresses a need for Charlotte, where fans are growing weary of the Robert Roberts/Nigel Valentine tandem behind the plate. At 18 years of age, Park is likely still a couple of seasons away, but he easily becomes the most promising offensive catcher in the organization. He has a scorching throwing arm as well… a decent value for his draft position.
Grade: B+
Florida GATORs
Picking at the 28th slot, Florida took pitcher Todd Chatwood, who they hope will be looked back on as a diamond in the rough. Chatwood is certainly rough at this point, without much control or velocity on his varied arsenal of pitches. The rest of this season’s picks for the GATORs are nominal at best without a standout in the bunch from either an offensive or defensive standpoint. Versatile fielder Dickie Stokes has the best chance at climbing to a high level, but as a bench player to be sure. Not a very promising draft.
Grade: F (sorry)
Louisville Lobsters
Despite a later drafting position, the Lobsters found a serviceable arm in righty Mel Grant, who shows good control and could be a steady late inning presence if he can turn his cut fastball into a money pitch. Not a hard chucker by closer’s standards, Grant could turn into a situation reliever, capable of throwing every day. Louisville also landed outfielder Joshua Malone, who has a sweet swing and good bat control. Not a natural power hitter and without great speed or fielding prowess, Malone will need to hit for high batting average to make himself a useful offensive weapon.
Grade: B-
Nashville Catfish
With a heavy focus on pitching, the Catfish selected 18 yr old lefty Jason Jameson a Boston high-schooler with a promising pedigree including a sharp fastball. Some project him to end up in the bullpen, but regardless of what his role is Jameson should one day make an impact for Nashville. Second rounder Derek Bonine can make radar guns second-guess themselves, but he's quite wild and despite owning right-handed hitters, he gets slapped around mercilessly by lefties, perhaps limiting his long-term usefulness.
Grade: B-

A.L. West
Las Vegas Numa Numa

This time around, the Numa Numa decided to focus on finding capable defensive players, and drafted four shortstops with their first five picks. Top selection R.J. Moreno is an athletic player and a good contact hitter, but his lanky frame might hinder his range and see him shift over to third eventually. Steven Bird, Justin Sanders and Galahad Andrews all display strong defensive ability, without showing much upside at the plate. On the flipside, is catcher Dee Dee Jenner, who has a natural home run swing and comes out of WSU as a major league ready offensive talent. Jenner has a decent arm behind the plate, but really lacks the game-calling smarts that many pitchers rely on and as such could wind up as a DH. He hits lefties better than most current major leaguers and represents a sound offensive selection from the 45th pick in the draft.
Grade: B
Oklahoma City Rodeo Clowns
With the 31st pick in the draft, OKC selected pitcher Jacque Nicholas. The 21 year old righty has great control and throws a good fastball. He figures to work his way into the bullpen for the Clowns and could potentially be a useful piece. Second rounder Bubba Gibbons has an outstanding fastball and throws four pitches well. If he can eventually learn to command his arsenal he could wind up as another piece of the puzzle. Not bad results from mediocre draft positioning.
Grade: B-
Sacramento Sanguillens
This season, Sacramento couldn’t pass on stud second bagger Pat Baldelli. Don’t be fooled by Baldelli’s slight build, he’s one of the best natural hitting prospects to surface in recent history. While he doesn’t possess game-changing power, he should still be able to knock a few over the wall to compliment his keen eye at the plate and a good line-drive swing to all fields. Dynamic hitting skills combined with smart base-running and a sound defensive game should give the Sanguillens another blue-chipper to build around. 39th pick Reagan Beaulac is a smart catcher with decent power, who could develop into a starter one day. Despite his talent, there are those who doubt the passion that Beaulac brings to the game, and perhaps it will take just the right coaching to get the most from the solid backstop. Second rounders Terry Lee and Steven Franco give Sacramento some more depth, the former an inning eating arm and the latter a slick fielder with a decent eye at the plate. Not much more the Sanguillens could have hoped for from this draft.
Grade: A
Scottsdale Fighting Chokes
Starting the draft with four pitchers, the Chokes are seriously addressing their future needs. First rounder Harry McEnerney is a pure talent with a first rate slider and a bright future. He had a reputation as someone who likes to party, so there’s some slight concern with his off-field behavior affecting his professionalism. Young Harry is only 18, so with the right guidance he should become a top tier major league pitcher. Second rounders Mark George and Manny Adams have far less natural talent than McEnerney, but with some hard work either of them could turn into effective ML pitchers. George has a durable arm and throws a great curveball, but he suffers against lefties and his overall stuff is fairly average. Adams has much better control and composure, also relying on his curveball as a primary pitch, but will need to avoid the long-ball if he’s going to succeed in the long term. The Chokes drafted three pitchers to watch going forward.
Grade: A-

N.L. North
Chicago Crushers

After the McKay Dunham debacle from season 19, it was very important to the Crushers to make the most of the #4 pick in this season’s draft. With speedy center fielder Carson Cannon they’ve done just that! Cannon has the potential to be an all-around 5-tool player for Chicago, as he’s already blessed with good speed (both on the base path and in the outfield) to go with a great contact bat, good power and a great glove. Cannon has a very promising career ahead of him. Second rounder Andres Perez is a solid second baseman with good speed and fielding instincts, though his average bat may hinder his progress. Third rounder Vinny Lowry is an enigmatic outfielder, boasting great speed, power and other good bat skills. Not a great fielder, Lowry is also reminiscent of Mark Reynolds, and is such a poor contact hitter that he could set strikeout records if given enough at bats. It will be interesting to see if he can overcome some of his challenges. Overall, aside from the lack of pitching help, the Crushers have to feel decent about this year’s draft. Grade: A
Detroit Tiger Sharks
Top pick Delmon Grimsley is a top tier defensive shortstop, in fact, he’s such a star fielder that he’ll force people to notice him despite some fairly average offensive skills. He does hit lefties fairly well, so he may one day be a platoon player with many a late inning fielding assignment. The Tiger Sharks then went on a run of pitchers, with towering Brendan Costello and his super-sinker the most promising of the bunch. A groundball pitcher, Costello throws hard and low and might have closer’s stuff. The Tigers have a couple of useful pieces to work with here.
Grade: B
Montreal Maroons
With a mere pittance allocated for scouting, it’s no surprise that the Maroons didn’t really make a splash on draft day. First rounder Ronnie Tyson does some things well, but many feel that his ceiling is fairly low. Second rounder “A Man Named” Gail Rogers has good control, and could potentially be a bullpen arm, but there are some doubts about his overall skill-set as well. The Maroons have done a little better with the International route and are still hoping to find another youngster overseas.
Grade: D
Philadelphia Pheremoniacs
First rounder Dave Boswell is another in the slick-fielding/light-hitting mold. He could be a major leaguer if his team is content to take a .200 hitter at the bottom of the order to put his excellent defense in the field. Catcher Armando Villanueva is a solid option, with ML-ready power and good plate patience. He has the potential to be an adequate backstop, though he’ll likely never be truly great defensively, and he also has trouble hitting the southpaws, making him a potential platoon candidate. “All-or-nothing” Guy Zimmerman is a stiff outfielder with a free swing and natural power. He seems destined for AAA greatness, as his contact skills will crumble against ML pitching. Overall, the World Champs can’t be terribly excited about this seasons draft.
Grade: C

N.L. East
Augusta Capitols

The Capitols started the season by making a number of big splashes on the free agent market, thus expunging their top choice in the draft. They started with the 43rd pick and took one of the most puzzling selections in this season’s draft class: Uber-talented Michigan high-school catcher Doug Milner is one of the brightest young talents in the country, however he’s lucky to be alive after he was severely hurt in a car crash last summer. Milner operates with only one lung, and several of his organs aren’t functioning to a normal level. Some doctors said that he would never play again, but he’s been cleared to resume baseball activities (monitored by his personal physician) provided that he doesn’t aggravate his condition. Milner has a devastating power stroke and would likely have become one of baseball’s true elite sluggers if he could play a full season. A real student of the game, he also demonstrates brilliant depth behind the plate with his pitch calling and has a strong and accurate arm. Augusta has themselves a secret weapon on a respirator, and they’ll likely be itching for Milner to get into as many games as possible. He’s really the only pick with substantial upside for Augusta…
Grade: C
Baltimore Barons
After addressing pitching for the past couple of seasons (resulting in a couple of tremendously bright young arms in their future), the Barons chose center fielder Norm Schmidt with the 8th pick in the draft. Schmidt’s bat certainly will need to develop for him to be a star hitter. He’s a pure contact hitter, not likely to draw a walk, with moderate power and far more successful against left handed pitching. The clincher with Schmidt is his defense. He could be the best defensive outfielder to come along in years! He patrols center field like a gazelle, and his arm is second to none. The Barons then chose hard throwing lefty Hal McMasters, a solid two pitch guy likely on the fast track to the Baltimore bullpen. First baseman Orlando Sanchez was a steal at pick #83, with great natural hitting instincts and a sweet swing. Sanchez will never compete for a home run title, but he sees the strike zone extremely well and has extra base power to all fields. Baltimore should be fairly satisfied with their bounty in what seems to be a fairly thin draft class.
Grade: A
Cincinnati Red Army
With the 12th and 55th picks, the Red Army chose a couple of pitchers receiving mixed reviews. Top choice Chipper Edwards has a strong arm, and a magnificent sinker. He’s a true groundball pitcher with near perfect control, however, there are some concerns that he’s prone to blow-ups (especially late in games) and Cincy will need to figure out how to get the most of Chipper’s skills. Sandwich pick Brian Damon is a curve-ball master with a 5-pitch arsenal and some good zip. There are concerns that he can be a bit wild at times and also that he can’t go too deep into games. Perhaps Damon is another bullpen candidate, unless he can work on his stamina levels. This year’s draft class will need some decent coaching in the next few years if they’re to enjoy long term success.
Washington Swamp Cats
Without a pick until #26, the Swamp Cats should be pleased with their results. Second bagger Bob Forbes is a complete player with great base-running skills, good plate patience and a sound defensive game. He won’t be a star, but he should be an above average player and a good fit in Washington. Defensive infielder Kyle Hicks is another potentially useful piece, perhaps more on the defensive side. Hicks isn’t a deep threat, and as a contact hitter, he has a bit of trouble against right-handed pitching. His versatility may be his saving grace. The Swamp Cats also selected catcher Eddie Gosling, one of the soundest defensive catchers in the draft. Not really known for his bat, Gosling does boast decent power in spurts when given an opportunity.
Grade: B+

N.L. South
Atlanta World Police

The World Police didn’t pick until spot #33 and they never had much cause to celebrate this time around. Top selection Nolan Crandell is a moderately skilled outfielder with mediocre talent at the plate. Atlanta doesn’t really seem to have hit with any of their picks this season. They’re a team competing for post-season glory, so perhaps they can wait a few years for the next big thing.
Grade: F
El Paso Blancos
The top three picks for El Paso this season were American-born infielders of Latin-American heritage. Shortstop Matty Polanco is a good all-around ballplayer, with some power at the plate and a slick glove. He hits righties exceptionally well, though scouts say that he’ll struggle to hit for average and his range may not be suited to playing short long term. Range is not a problem for speedy second baseman Jorge Santana, who is a slick fielder, a fluid natural base-runner and a good contact hitter. Not a power hitter, Santana is a free swinger who doesn’t like to draw a walk, so he’ll need to figure out other ways to get on base to employ his speed game. Infielder Geraldo Estrada is a solid young contact hitter who has no major flaws in his game. Perhaps best suited as a third baseman, Estrada hits to all fields and has good baseball instincts. He doesn’t have a wealth of natural talent, so he’ll need to be in a good situation if he’s to succeed. No blue-chippers this time around for the Blancos, but they did draft three useful and skilled players.
Grade: B
Mexico City Jalapenos
Ninth overall the Jalapenos selected second baseman Buzz Hollins, a gritty hard-working throwback type ball-player who will be known more for hustle than skill. Hollins has decent range at his position, but can be prone to errors at second and might do well with a switch to the outfield. A slash hitter with good plate composure, Hollins doesn’t chase bad pitches and though he isn’t blessed with great speed, he’s a smart base-runner who makes the most of his talents. Not a natural power hitter, Buzz should still be able to knock 10-15 dingers per year. He’s really the only player with decent upside for Mexico City this time around, as pitcher Bert Tate is a bit of a longshot.
Grade: C+
Monterrey Massacre
With the 2nd overall pick, the Massacre went for Stuffy Haynes, an allergy sufferer who is a more of a great athlete than a great ballplayer. There are hopes that he can develop into an impact performer, with above average power, decent speed and good range at second base. He needs work in all departments, but he is only 18 years old, and time will tell if he becomes a serviceable player or a great one. Many scouts feel that picking Haynes at #2 was a bit of a reach, but they’ll also agree that landing Jean Berkman at #25 was a huge steal for Monterrey. Berkman is a fierce competitor with a feared bat and power to all fields. He might strike out more than his share, but he should make up for it with run production and defense. Either Haynes or Berkman will need to find a new position down the road if both top Massacre draft picks are to become successful.
Grade: B

N.L. West
Helena Phantom der Nacht

This year’s draft was a bit of a throwaway for Helena. With a mid-late first rounder (#23) and their next pick at #97, they didn’t really have access to the top talent and they bore the brunt of a very thin talent level in this season’s draft class. Top selection Vic Martinez is a 22 yr old pitcher who already throws at a AAA level, but some scouts feel that he’s already peaked. If Martinez can work on his control and improve his fastball, he could wind up as a quality major league hurler, but much hinges on the next couple season’s of his development. The rest of the draft was very forgettable for the Phantom der Nacht, as they’ve had much better luck with their international signings this season.
Grade: D-
L.A. Dead Bunnies
The Dead Bunnies took outfielder/first baseman Miguel Mota with the 22nd pick in the draft. Mota shows a fair amount of natural hitting talent that could translate into a heart of the order bat for L.A. With 30 home run potential and a good eye at the plate, Mota’s main weakness is defense, where he’ll have a tough time if the Bunnies need him in the outfield. Sandwich pick Al Maduro is a fairly smooth outfielder with great range, but he swings a fairly unimpressive bat. Second rounder Horace Scott looks like a great defensive addition, and although he’ll rarely connect with any power, he could become a good enough contact hitter to be a useful player for L.A.
Grade: B-
San Fransisco Streets
Addressing what they deem to be their top need, the Streets selected pitchers with 16 of their first 17 selections in this year’s draft. Top pick Paul Presley has the potential to be a top of the rotation workhorse in San Fran. With great control and a gritty competitive nature, Presley challenges hitters and can pitch deep into games. He’ll need a few seasons to mature, and the Streets hope that he’ll eventually be a leader for them. Second rounder Cooper Gumbert also has some promise, showing both a great curveball a nasty slider, he has a bit of work to do against lefties and probably figures in the bullpen eventually.
Grade: B+
Vancouver Vampire Bats
The V-Bats selected Marco Kelly, a soft throwing righty with decent control of his five pitches. Kelly needs to work on his stamina if he’s going to remain a starter, though he has the makeup to become a useful arm in a few seasons if he’s well coached. With their second round pick Vancouver took Jack Hackman, a solid if unspectacular hitter who’s lack of fielding prowess would best serve him as a DH in the AL. There’s some potential in these picks, but nothing ground breaking.
Grade: C+

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