Buster Gunns - Cobb Times Herald
It was a draft year considered by many to be lacking in talent and star quality. But upon closer inspection there were some good players available that should be a big help to teams in the future. Here is a look at the first round of picks.
1. Tony Arnold, 1B- Tacoma Jerry Gang
Pros: Fantastic hitter with incredible contact and batting eye. Should be good for .350 avg. with 30 HR's a year. Eats right too, and is quite healthy.
Cons: Weak splits vs. left handed pitching, not as durable as you would like, only projecting to possibly 100-120 games played.
Grade: B+ ~ Great hitter who fills a need in the Tacoma organization, but there were more dominant players available with the first pick.
2. Bill Palmer, SP - Kansas City KILL
Pros: Five great to above average pitches, excellent splits vs. all hitting, good control, and is a workhorse pitcher.
Cons: Weak velocity and average stamina are all that is holding this pitcher back.
Grade: A ~ If he signs, Palmer will be a dominant force when he hits the bigs.
3. Bosco Simon, 2B - Burlington Big Dogs
Pros: Excellent hitter who excels in all disciplines at the plate, is a good base runner, and has a good glove.
Cons: Not many.
Grade: A+ ~ Simon is a player that could make the bigs on any team in the league, and is pretty close to contributing at the major league level. Excellent pick.
4. Dick Wolf, 2b - Richmond Cohibas
Pros: Super healthy and durable, an everyday player with a potential gold glove, and excellent hitting splits.
Cons: Average contact, power, and batting eye.
Grade: A ~ Great 2B who will not only hit .300, but should win some gold gloves as well, if he signs.
5. Rod Ross, SP - Santa Fe Heat Wave
Pros: Has stamina to throw deep into games, excellent control, 4 quality pitches.
Cons: Slightly above average splits, weak velocity.
Grade: A- ~ Good SP who should have a spot in the rotation, with his control and pitch selection overcoming his average splits.
6. Frank Hartgraves, CF - Toledo Tsunamis
Pros: Everyday player with great hitting skills, good batting eye, and above average glove.
Cons: Average splits vs. right handed pitching.
Grade: A ~ Quality pick who adds some much needed hitting depth to the Toledo organization.
7. William Coleman, SP - San Francisco Blur
Pros: Good control, great stamina and durability, excellent pitch selection.
Cons: Average splits, average GB/FB ratio.
Grade: B+ ~ There wasn't much pitching to be had in this draft, but the Blur came away with a quality pick who should produce in the bigs.
8. Omar Valenzuela, SP - Durham Pitbulls
Pros: Great control, splits, 5 good pitches, and good stamina/durability.
Cons: Weak velocity.
Grade: A+ ~ Valenzeuela is possibly the best pitcher selected in the draft this year, great value for the pick for Durham.
9. Larry Sabel, SS - Seattle Seacows
Pros: Excellent fielding skills, good contact, splits, and batting eye, very healthy and durable.
Cons: Range and glove are good but not great.
Grade: A ~ Sabel might be the most well rounded player in the draft, and is capable in the field and at the plate.
10. Mike Boudreau, SP - San Diego Small Ballers
Pros: Great splits, durability, and 3 good pitches.
Cons: Suspect control, weak 4th pitch.
Grade: B ~ Boudreau is intriguing, if he can overcome his control problems he could be very good, if not then there could be trouble ahead.
11. Candy Robinson, SP - Philadelphia Floppin' Phils
Pros: Good control, velocity, pitch selection, and Chris Sabo glasses.
Cons: Average splits are nothing to write home about.
Grade: B ~ Good but not great pitcher isn't the value for the pick that could have been had.
12. Shawon Lee, C - Huntington Hillbillies
Pros: Great hitter in all areas at the plate, durability to play every game.
Cons: Pitch calling is barely average, and his health is a concern.
Grade: A- ~ Lee is a catcher in the Vernon Jones mold, he should hit the lights out, but whether or not his defense can keep him behind the plate is the question.
13. Mitch Watkins, CF - Wichita Wankers
Pros: Potential gold glove, hits for high power and average, health and durability.
Cons: Average contact, weak vs. lefties.
Grade: A ~ Excellent fielding player should play every day, and hit .300 with 40+ HRs.
14. Tom Gibson, SP - Nashville Rebel Riders
Pros: Good control, splits, GB/FB ratio, and three good pitches.
Cons: Average vs. left handed hitting, low stamina, weak fourth pitch.
Grade: A- ~ Very good starting pitcher who should do well in the bigs, but perhaps in the pen instead of as a starter.
15. Ira Black, 2B - Charlotte Dogs
Pros: Good range and glove, good batting eye, good base runner.
Cons: Average contact and splits, average durability.
Grade: B+ ~ Good player who will contribute in the bigs but probably won't be an all star. Solid and safe pick however.
16. Brad Mann, 2B - New York Pick Pockets
Pros: Devastating contact and power, above average fielder, speedy base runner.
Cons: Average splits and batting eye, average durability.
Grade: A ~ If Mann doesn't hit 50+ HR's a year, it will be a disappointment with his skills at the plate.