A.L. North
Ottawa Hosers

Center fielder Wilton Benes is a defense-first athlete who projects to be a part time player at best. The Hosers like his intangibles, such as bunting and baserunning and see him down the road as a fifth outfielder who can pinch hit vs lefties. Catcher Giovanni Pelfrey is a capable defensive catcher, but with limited bat-skill he’ll never likely reach the professional level. Pelfrey looks to be an asset handling young pitchers through the Hosers minor league system. A forgettable draft for Ottawa this time around.
Grade: D-
Syracuse Blue Sox
With the 9th pick in this season’s draft, the Blue Sox were happy to see talented Kimera Rhodes fall to them. Rhodes could have been a top 3 pick if he didn’t come with some health concerns, making him a high risk-high reward selection for Syracuse. A solid all-around player, Rhodes can hit for both power and average, while boasting decent speed and a strong arm. Outfielder Luis Noesi shows some promise as a solid hitter with great speed. A criticism of the lefty-hitting Noesi is in the field, where his weak glove-work could make him a liability in left or right. Defensively more of a first-baseman, Noesi probably doesn’t have the offensive impact that most teams look for from first. Pitcher Steve Becker shows some promise with a great fastball and pin-point control. He projects to be a solid late-inning arm for the Sox.
Grade: A
Toronto Trout
With pick #20, the Trout selected shortstop Raymond Miller, an excellent defender who likely won’t boast the offensive chops needed to make waves as a pro. Miller has blazing speed and good instincts, which should get him as far as one can get without being a threat at the plate. He has a history of hamstring problems, so Toronto will need to keep the training/medical staff on their toes.
Grade: C-
Trenton Terror Hawks
Pitcher Nick Austin could prove to be a steal for the Terror Hawks. While he won’t blow away any radar guns, Austin has excellent stuff and looks like a top of the rotation starter if the 18 yr old develops well through the Trenton minor league system. They’ll need to monitor his inning-count going forward, but he represents excellent potential. Outfielder Rey Sheldon has some great raw skills, but his work ethic might need to evolve if he’s to be a contributor. If Sheldon stays in shape and avoids trouble away from the ballpark, he could mature into a solid center fielder, a good contact hitter and an offensive sparkplug.
Grade: A-

A.L. East
Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox admittedly didn’t exercise due diligence in this season’s draft prep, and the selection of “Wild” Juan Olmedo demonstrates this. Olmedo is a strange animal: the shocking velocity on his knuckleball is something hard to grasp, however, he has tons of trouble finding the strike zone and doesn’t look likely to improve in this regard. Boston could certainly have used this pick more wisely. The selection of left fielder Lou McQuillan is a safe one, as the steady outfielder has a potential major league bat. He has trouble in the field and he’ll never be a star, but with some hard work McQuillan could turn into a lunchbox-style pro player. Catcher Bill Sosa can handle himself adequately behind the dish and also brings some hitting ability, however, neither Sosa or McQuillan will likely be at the heart of the Sox rebuilding efforts.
Grade: D+
Durham County Ramblers
With pick #15, Durham had to be pleased to land righty Raymond James. The 20 year old James looks like a workhorse, and though he might serve up a few fly balls in the home run park, his core attributes are sensational. A knock on James might be that he only has a three pitch arsenal, including a fairly mediocre forkball. To be really successful, his fastball and curve will need to be coached into serious “big league” caliber pitches. The Ramblers followed the James selection with three hitters who won’t be oft lauded for defense. Timo Conroy is a durable contact hitter whose strength is hitting lefties. Cecil Brennaman and Joakim Johnson are patient sluggers who could be successful as major league power threats if they can also hit for a reasonable batting average.
Grade: B+
Jacksonville Sunbirds
The Sunbirds chose highly touted outfielder Dan Burke with the 8th pick in the draft and he’s the real deal. Burke, who some scouts felt could have gone a few spots higher, is a prototypical leadoff man. Boasting fantastic speed and great instincts, the athletic Burke hits lefties well and even has some surprising power. The only knock on Burke is his defense, which although adequate for a left-fielder, raises questions about how someone with such great speed can have such an ordinary range in the field. Jacksonville followed up with two pitchers, Jimmy Giambi and Nick Lowery. Lowery has some promise, but will really need all the help he can get to progress to a high level. Giambi is only 5’8” - almost unheard of for a pitcher, but he could prove useful out of the bullpen if his forkball gets a little better.
Grade: B
New York Crunch
Due to their off-season free agent acquisitions, the Crunch only had two selections in the top five rounds. With the 14th pick, they did well to draft Domingo Acosta, who has drawn comparisons to Dan Burke in terms of his speed, leadoff abilities and lack of fielding acumen. Acosta has the makings of a very intelligent hitter, with great plate patience and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Acosta has elected to bypass his senior year at Southern Illinois to start his baseball career as a 21 year old. The Crunch also chose smallish second baseman Hal Ryan, also very fleet of foot with fair hitting ability. Ryan will need to find a way to cut down on the mistakes in all areas of his game, as he’s prone to base-running blunders, as well as poor glove work by middle-infielder standards. He’ll need to work his tail off for an opportunity, as he doesn’t have nearly as much talent as Acosta.
Grade: B

A.L. South
Charlotte Designated Drinkers
The Drinkers consider themselves quite fortunate to land towering righty Pedro Martin with the 22nd pick. Martin is a strong kid, who could turn into a top-tier starter capable of throwing well over 200 innings per year. Without a serious “go to” pitch and a tendency towards fly balls, Martin will need to rely on his excellent control and four developing pitches to outsmart hitters instead of overpowering them. Only 18 years old, scouts will no doubt be monitoring his rise through the Charlotte system. First baseman Al Dunston is a safe pick, but doesn’t have the star offensive potential that many like to see from first base. Third round southpaw Dwight Weaver throws a crafty fastball-forkball mix that gives left-handed hitters trouble. He could be a long term option for the D.D’s bullpen.
Grade: A-
Florida GATORs
The Gators opted for long-term projects with their high draft picks, taking 18 year olds with their first three choices. First rounder Mark Lawton is exceptionally quick, both on the bases and covering territory at shortstop. Lawton has a much easier time hitting lefties, and will need to make seriously significant strides to become a relevant offensive player. In the field, he has a strong arm and will only need to cut down on mistakes to be effective. Alex Sweeney and Gabe McEnroe are both close to being at a pro level defensively, while likely never offering more than fleeting success at the plate. Not a winning draft for Florida in terms of building blocks for the franchise.
Grade: D
Louisville Lobsters
With the 21st pick the Lobsters chose pitcher Mark Quinn, an undersized left-handed pitcher with good control and a decent arsenal of pitches. Quinn has yet to sign in Louisville and has expressed a preference for football over baseball. It looks like the Lobsters will need to settle for a compensation pick next season. Beyond the first round, Louisville has nothing to be thrilled about with 5’9” pitcher Bryce Flores struggling with his control and outfielders Enrique Blanco and Rick Rehfield looking like long-shots for anything more than fleeting success. The Lobsters didn’t take a player over six feet tall until the fifth round!
Grade: C-
Nashville Catfish
Despite what appears to be a very meticulous draft plan, the Catfish may regret their first round selection of pitcher Brad Burks. Renowned for his patience, Burks has five average pitches but doesn’t really excel in any areas. Just out of high school, he’ll need to show serious signs of improvement if he’s going to be more than just another pretty arm. Nashville also selected a duo of catchers, including the highly-touted Puerto Rican Junior Pelaez and the more limited Dwight Johnstone. Pelaez was the top catcher in the draft according to some scouts, as he boasts a rifle arm and sound fundamentals behind the plate to go along with a dangerous bat. With great plate patience and home run potential, Pelaez might struggle with his batting average as he has a tough time adjusting to inside pitches from righties. If he stays healthy, Pelaez has a very high ceiling. If he doesn’t stay healthy, then at least they have Dwight Johnstone. Johnstone is decent behind the plate and can hit well enough to stay in the lineup. Not being able to withstand the rigors of a full season, he’s ideally suited for backup work (which is his preference). The Catfish took 3rd baseman Daniel Wise in the 4th round and he’s a bonafide slugger and strikeout aficionado who will never hit for average but projects to a 30 HR guy at minimum. The qualities of second rounder, pitcher Calvin Punto are unknown. The ‘fish are keeping Punto’s identity close to the vest.
Grade: B

A.L. West
Las Vegas Numa Numa
Consistently adept at finding skilled talent despite mediocre drafting position, Vegas once again obtained a nice asset with their top choice Charlie Torres. A great contact hitter with moderate power and deceptive speed, Torres is a good clubhouse guy who should bring a stable if unspectacular presence to the Numa Numa. Torres’ weaknesses focus around his hand-eye coordination, as is demonstrated by his poor throwing arm and his embarrassing inability to lay down a bunt. Infielders Lazy Albers and Alex Ordaz are lunchbox guys who could wind up filling some useful bench roles, and in the case of Albers a potentially versatile fielding specialist. Hard-throwing pitcher Rick Franklin shows some flashes of promise, but will have a hard time getting very far unless his fastball vastly improves.
Grade: B
Oklahoma City Rodeo Clowns
The Clowns’ scouts almost entirely steer clear of colleges in favor of spending their time hanging around high schools instead. The club only took one player over 18 amongst their first fifteen picks and 20/25 picks were 18 year olds. With three picks in the top 40, the Clowns selected two pitchers and a left fielder – all youngsters with some time to improve. Clarence Shuck is a pure “location pitcher” with five options in his arsenal. His rise through the system will determine whether he has the stamina to join the rotation and whether the “fly-ball” hurler has the craftiness to make outs at the top level. Raul Gabriel is a short reliever by pedigree and should be able to pitch almost every day. He was among Central Scouting’s top-rated relievers in this season’s draft and looks like a great value at pick 28. Gabriel doesn’t have high 90’s stuff, but his fastball has tons of movement and is a serious “out pitch”. Left fielder Santos Mercedes is the cousin of all-world slugger Alfonso, but he doesn’t have the family power or likely enough to win a starting job. He’s a low-ceiling flier pick who will need some serious coaching to turn the corner.
Grade: B-

Salem Sanguillens
With the #10 pick in the draft, Salem chose outfielder Walt O’Neill. A hitter with major league upside and good athletic ability, O’Neill isn’t flashy and won’t likely be a star. Not blessed with great speed, and only displaying moderate power, the teenager from Ohio is a guy who knows how to get on base and comes ready to play every day. O’Neill’s defense doesn’t have a wow factor, so he’ll need to be a steady clutch hitter and take advantage of his opportunities. He’s projected to reach 90/18/75/.285 levels if he’s in a solid lineup. Other Sanguillen choices of note are 5’9” pitcher Stu Nixon who will need to overcome problems with control and fly balls, and 5’5” infielder Joey Evans who looks like a utility defensive backup with limited offensive potential.
Grade: C+
Scottsdale Fighting Chokes
The Chokes took one of the top starting pitchers in this season’s draft class. Towering 6’7” Japanese-American Ozzie Tamura has serious potential if he can stay healthy. A workhorse-style starter, Tamura has already had two shoulder surgeries by age 18 and his awkward delivery makes him a risk for further complications. If he’s careful with his valuable arm, Tamura shows three ML caliber pitches and impressive poise and control. He’ll need to work on keeping the ball down in the strike zone, but he should be a front end starter for Scottsdale. 33rd pick Julio Tarasco also has some promise, and though he isn’t overpowering he doesn’t have any glaring weakness either. He might wind up in the bullpen if he doesn’t build his stamina.
Grade: B+

N.L. North
Chicago Crushers
With the second overall pick this time around, Chicago continued with their focus on acquiring front end starting pitching and selected 21 year old southpaw Jerome Johnson. With perhaps the best slider some scouts have encountered, Johnson is close to “can’t miss” with brilliant command and a well-developed arsenal to keep hitters off-balance. “JJ” is especially tough vs left-handed batters and how he develops against righties will determine whether he’ll be good or great. The Crushers also selected shortstop Vic Wainwright, he of slick glove and strong arm who may benefit with a move to third base down the road. Wainwright shows good bat contact, moderate power and should be able to contribute offense at a ML level. Hard throwing Regan Flaherty has a brilliant fastball and looks to have potential for improvement, though his durability issues may force him to the bullpen. There are some concerns about Flaherty’s control, but if he can overcome those issues he could be a useful piece.
Grade: A
Detroit Tiger Sharks
Lefty Louie Pujols is hard to evaluate. On one hand, his location is deadly accurate and he can surprise the radar gun and hitters with the combination of velocity and movement on his pitches. On the other, Pujols can be stubborn with his pitch selection and might rely too heavily on a slider that hitters can make adjustments for. He also has a tendency to leave hittable pitches out over the plate for right-handed hitters to feast on. Only 18, Pujols is still quite raw and if he can develop better consistency and avoid shoulder trouble he could turn into a prized asset for the Tiger Sharks. Detroit’s subsequent selections (pitcher Barry Lanier; second bagger Bryce Dodson; center fielder Jair Bennett) all have some winning attributes, but at the end of the day aren’t complete major league players.
Grade: B
Montreal Maroons
The Maroons haven’t been allocating money for amateur scouting in quite some time. This is reflected in their lack of any promising talent in this season’s amateur draft. Supplemental picks Sherman Wise (p), Robinzon Lee (2b) and Steve Hill (ss) most likely represent a AAA ceiling. Montreal continues to focus on recruiting international talent, meaning that newly inked phenomenal Mexican phenom Felipe Lee is more than an adequate reason to be satisfied with a poor drafting grade.
Grade: F
Philadelphia Pheremoniacs
The lower the pick in the first round, the greater the risk of missing the mark. With pick #23, Philly went as low risk as possible, taking stocky relief man Stephen Saunders. Scouts say the 19 year old community college student from Michigan is a great teammate and strong leader with fairly dependable arsenal well suited for late-inning success as a major leaguer. Saunders is the only selection of note this season for Philly, but it’s certainly not a wasted choice.
Grade: B

N.L. East
Baltimore Barons
Felix Ross has been compared on several occasions to former major leaguer Ozzie Smith. The Baron’s #3 overall selection is a wizard in his own right, extremely agile and light on his feet with a surprising arm – powerful and accurate from shallow left field, Ross is excellent throwing across his body while moving to his right. Not known for his offense, Ross brings intelligence to the plate. Patient, with good hand-eye coordination he’s a decent contact hitter but doesn’t have the strength to consistently drive the ball with much power. The Barons will be thrilled if their future gold glove candidate is good for a .270 average with 10-12 home runs per season.
Grade: B+
Cincinnati Red Army
With their first choice at #11, the Red Army was happy to see shortstop Chico Villafuerte still on the board. In the conversation with Gene Gold and Felix Ross as the top shortstops in this season’s draft, Villafuerte is still a raw commodity. Blessed with eye-popping speed on the bases and a howitzer for an arm, Cincy’s top choice will need to learn better plate patience and improve his glove work. A lock to be a major leaguer down the road, some scouts see Villafuerte as a third baseman whose overall value depends on how he develops as a hitter. With pick #51, the Army chose pitcher Archie Camilli, a steal at his draft position and a potential mid rotation ML starter. A hard worker with excellent control, the 18 year old has developed a knuckleball as the key feature of his varied arsenal. He’s a smart pitcher with a decent future. Cincinatti should be reasonably happy with their draft value this season.
New York New Jerseys
The N.Y.N.J.’s have landed themselves a couple of solid defensive assets in center fielder Bronson Cishek and corner man Joaquin Gonzales. Many scouts consider Cishek to be the best center fielder available in this year’s crop. He’s a natural at getting a great read on initial contact and the result is that Cishek covers a large portion of the outfield, often taking pressure off his corner-outfield teammates. Not know as an offensive threat, the left-handed Cishek can contribute decently against right handed pitching and his ultimate value in the batter’s box will be determined by how coachable the 18 year old is as he matures. Gonzales is a solid, but unspectacular player with a strong throwing arm who can play several positions well. He makes decent contact at the plate, but doesn’t project to make an offensive impact at the pro level. Neither player should be an integral part of the success or failure of the franchise. All things considered, not the most impactful draft for New York.
Grade: C
Washington Swamp Cats
Coming off a stellar 106-win season, the Swamp Cats were dealing with poor draft position and didn’t have high hopes. Selecting 6’5” high school pitcher Junior Garvin is a solid move for the Cats. Boasting five pitches, a strong arm and generally decent stuff, Garvin’s Achilles heel is his erratic control, which could hinder his reliability but shouldn’t prevent him from being an effective major league pitcher. Not a bad value at the 31st pick of the draft.
Grade: B

N.L. South
Charleston Cannons
With the top overall selection in this season’s draft, the Cannons didn’t hesitate to select shortstop Gene Gold. While many scouts consider Gold to be the best “all around” player in the draft, he doesn’t blow away the field in any area. A good athlete, Gold has some speed, is a solid hitter and represents himself well in the field. However, for a #1 overall shortstop pick, Gold doesn’t approach Ross in the field, nor does he have the raw speed and cannon arm of Villafuerte, but the Cannons hope that when they look back on the draft they’ve chosen the shortstop who can make the greatest offensive impact. The Cannons also chose location-challenged curveball specialist Alberto Quevedo, who might struggle to blow away major league hitting.
Grade: A-
El Paso Blancos
The Blancos’ only significant selection this time around was #6 pick, southpaw hurler Charlie Moore. A very motivated potential top of the rotation starter, Moore has a good fastball, a high compete level and no glaring weaknesses. For a pitcher of his potential to reach his ceiling, El Paso will need to handle his workload carefully and hope that he can eventually be able to routinely throw 200+ innings per season. To nit-pick a potential weakness from Moore would be his tendency towards the long-ball. It would appear that the spacious Citibank Park in El Paso is a good fit for Chuck-Mo.
Grade: A
Mexico City Jalapenos
In the off-season the Jalapenos signed a list of free-agents including Gregory Franklin, Walter Milton and Miguel Johnson. As a result, their only pick in the top 100 was a supplemental pick at #60 which they used to select second baseman Lee Stocker. A borderline option at best, Stocker doesn’t quite show the promise that one would expect from a top draft prospect. It wouldn’t seem fair to judge M.C. on Stocker, however, but instead on the long-term returns that the franchise sees on their off-season spending.
Grade: N/A
Montgomery Burns
With poor drafting position, Montgomery burnt their opportunity to secure any potential major league talent. Sturdy shortstop Kenneth Gray has an error-prone glove and a bench bat at best. Workhorse chucker Stan Larkin is under-powering, erratic and shaky under pressure. Frail outfielder Trevor has a sloppy glove and has outside potential for a vs. lefties platoon role. In all, the Burns are more focused on the standings than the amateur draft.
Grade: D

N.L. West
Helena Phantom der Nacht
One of the safer ways to make use of a late draft pick is to find a useful reliever. Many GMs feel that there is less value in an arm that will top out at an inning or two of work per appearance, but by the end of the first round an effective reliever like the undersized Dingo Burba is a good idea. Burba is a durable fire-baller/knuckle-baller who is good to throw out there almost every day. To be a premiere ML reliever, he’ll need to work on developing his slider and keeping the ball down in the strike zone to avoid the long ball.
Supplemental pick Melvin Carpenter is a good shortstop who could carve out a niche as a defensive specialist. Otherwise his potential is fairly limited.
Grade: B
L.A. Dead Bunnies
The Bunnies signed former Rodeo Clown pitcher Gerald Oliva and thus forfeited their first round pick. Starting at pick #85, L.A. really didn’t have much to work with this time around. They likely didn’t take a player who will reach the pro level, but with their late draft position it’s difficult to judge the quality of their draft execution.
Grade: N/A
San Fransisco Streets
With their top selection, San Fran opted for the athletic Quinton Hargrave to man the hot corner. The quotable and outgoing Hargrave will be an instant fan favorite for his enthusiasm and competitiveness. He has the potential to be a decent fielder, but the real strength is in his bat which should make an impact at the major league level. Displaying good power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, Hargrave is prone to swing for the fences and suffers the resulting high strikeout total. Showing good speed and reckless hustle on the bases, his overzealous running will on occasion result in poor decisions. A worthy first rounder, Hargrave will be joined on the Streets by stocky catcher Brian Castellanos and the versatile Jack Long. Castellanos has an exceptional throwing arm, but may or may not be able to fully handle ML catching responsibilities. He won’t hit for average, but he has serious major league power that will press San Fran to find him at bats. Jack Long is indeed a “Jack” of all trades in the field, with a throwing arm that would be at home in right field or third base. He won’t often hit for power, but he has the chance to provide value at the dish as well as in the field.
Grade: A
Vancouver Vampire Bats
With five picks in the top fifty, the V-Bats had a chance to impact the franchise with this season’s draft. With their top pick, they opted for left-handed pitcher Jhonny Torres, a poised twenty two yr old with excellent control and lots of good breaking stuff. He’s really tough on lefties and should provide Vancouver with a front end starter if he can turn his fastball into a major league pitch (which is still a question mark). The rock-solid Rico Ciriaco would be better option if he could stay more focused in the field. He’s likely a major league caliber hitter if they can get him to settle into a fielding role. Saskatchewan-born relief pitcher Scott Harper has the potential to be really good in a short role, bringing a sick curveball and tough mound mentality. Catcher Felipe James manages pitchers like a chess master and has some good bat skill as well. The question mark might be about his ability to catch every day, as he has a reputation for burning out easily. The V-Bats have restocked the cupboard with four players with moderate to good potential.
Grade: A

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