Chuck Biscuits - Cobb Times Herald
It was a fairly deep draft in pitching prospects for Cobb World in season 12, but the hitting prospects weren't nearly as good. The Times Herald will be taking a division by division look at the franchises and how their drafts graded out. Up first is the AL East.
--After last seasons draft disaster where their first round pick refused to sign, the Freedom took a more conservative approach with their two first round picks at 46 and 49. #46 pick SP Reid Barrett projects to be a solid back end of the rotation starter with above average but not great control and splits, elite velocity, and a pretty good pitch selection. But it is doubtful he will ever achieve ace status. #49 pick SP Al Rhodes also has the same projection level, with better pitches than Barrett, but the flip side is he gives up more fly balls than you would like to see in a SP. 2nd round pick SS Shannon Sosa has ML potential, with an elite fielding skill set, and good enough splits vs. right handed pitching to be effective in the lineup. The rest of the Freedom's draft yielded some good minor leaguers, but no other players with ML potential. Still, nabbing 3 players who can contribute to the ML squad with nothing but late picks isn't that bad.
The Steamers were hoping to have better luck with their draft picks this year, and hope that none of them go down with a season ending injury in the first inning of their first game like their top pick from last season did. They certainly achieved a healthier pick with the drafting of RP Damaso Guapo at #22 overall. Guapo has all of the tools necessary to be a closer in the league, even if his splits vs. right handed hitting only just make the cut. His other skills, including devastating velocity and pinpoint control should help to overcome that one weakness. 2nd round pick Bo Hurst is a nice pickup, but his stamina issues will probably limit him to 30 innings a season max. The rest of the Steamers draft were all pitchers who probably won't make it out of the minors. Guapo is nice, but the rest of the draft isn't deep enough to be considered anything other than average.
Indianapolis Raging Slowheads
The Slowheads continued the trend of drafting first rounders with the first name of Damaso with the selection of Damaso Pizzaro with the #17 pick. The Times Herald likes this Damaso a bit better than the Steamers version, due to his excellent splits, velocity, GB/FB, and 2 first pitches. His stamina and weak 3rd pitch aren't the best however, but if Flip Heathcott could get it done with similar stats, then there is no reason Pizarro can't be an all star someday. Supplemental round pick SP Leon Strong was a bit of a disappointment, but 2nd round pick 2b Carl Barfield has ML potential. The rest of the draft wasn't that productive for Indy, but Pizzaro could be quite good, and makes this draft acceptable for the slowheads.
The SSP took the best RP they had available on the board at the #20 pick with Justin Perez. Perez has the tools to be a closer in the vein of Bobby Davidson, although you would like to see just a little more stamina and durability from the flame throwing hurler. Still, he should be pretty good at the end of games, with his excellent control, splits, velocity, GB/FB and great pitches. 2nd round pick 2b Ricky Henderson might make the bigs as a backup, but beyond that there wasn't much going on in the SSP draft.