Thursday, March 11, 2010

Season 15 Draft Recap - Hartford through Los Angeles

Cal Nicholson
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Santa Cruz, CA
Position(s): P (ClA)
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Hartford Whalers
--With the #8 pick overall, Hartford expected to get a stud player of epic proportions, and they nearly did in C Mitch Titan.  But ultimately Titan's salary demands were bigger than Cronos' appetite, and he refused to sign with the Whalers.  But you can't fault Hartford for swinging for the fences in a very poor draft, and as a reward they are guaranteed the #8 pick next season in what will hopefully be a more fertile draft pool.  What they ended up with as a consolation was supplemental pick RP Cal Nicholson, who is very similar in quality to Cleveland's #1 overall pick, but with slightly better splits and much better velocity.   Nicholson has the potential to be a very good ML RP vs. lefties.  Supplemental pick SP Jose Estrada has ML long relief potential, but isn't the type of player one usually expects at #34 overall.  2nd round pick SS Les Spivey, cousin of Dover #1 pick SS Howard Spivey, is only slightly less talented than his higher round counterpart.  One could actually put them on a comparison chart and see them come out nearly the same, so this has to be considered a great value pick for Hartford, and an indictment on Dover that the essentially the same player could have been had 62 picks later.  The rest of Hartford's draft is pretty average, but all told this was one of the more successful drafts in the sense they guaranteed themselves a high pick next year and still made out with two potential ML players.
Grade: B+

Kent Milton
Iowa City
Corn Dogs
Age: 20B/T: S/R
Born: Sturgis, MI
Position(s): SS
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Iowa City Corn Dogs
--Usually the #16 pick will get you somebody really great, but not this year.  What Iowa City ended up with was a very serviceable player in SS Kent Milton, but not the potential all star they were probably hoping to get.  Milton does have a very nice glove, and his hitting skills should net him a place in the line up, especially in the National League.  But he's not a great hitter by any stretch, and will need to develop his glove for a while in the minors before he's ready to go in the majors.  Milton reminds the Cobb Times Herald quite a bit of current ML SS Mickey Corino, who has some gold gloves to his name.  2nd round pick RF Trey Ventrella has great splits and batting eye, but his contact and power are abysmal, and more suited to the SS or CF position, which means he will probably spend most of his career in the minors as his glove just isn't good enough to move to another position, and corner OF spots are usually reserved for better hitters. After Ventrella the Iowa City draft got some good minor leaguers, but nothing else of real note.
Grade: C+

Shane Lindblom
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Belmont, NC
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Jackson Pollocks
--Jackson's top pick this year was a 4th rounder, so really not much was expected.  But the Pollocks managed to grab a great value pick in Shane Lindblom.  He'll probably never reach the majors, but he should have a very nice minor league career and might earn a shot someday as an injury replacement thanks to his very high control.  But with the massive talent drop this year Jackson did much better by signing Dennis Ashby and Ken Puffer than taking the picks they would have gotten otherwise.
Grade: D- for the picks, A+ for nearly missing this draft entirely.

Wade Stowers
Kansas City
Age: 22B/T: L/L
Born: Lincoln, AL
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Kansas City Express
--Kansas City was picking #2 this year, and was expecting big things from the pick. They ended up with SP Wade Stowers, a sure fire stud in the making with all the right ingredients for total dominance, assuming he doesn't stub his toe on the turf and start a devastating chain of injuries that could forever ruin his promising career.  Indeed, it seems as if Stowers suffered from polio or pneumonia as a youth, as his general health is quite frail and is a major red flag.  But considering the other players that could have been chosen this year, Stowers is actually the better gamble.  2nd round pick 2B Jerry Walters is a capable fielder with a capable bat.  He'll never impress, but will be a more than capable backup in the bigs.  No other top picks signed for Kansas City this season.
Grade: B (would have been an A if Stowers weren't the pitching equivalent of Wiki Vasquez)

Samuel Baker
Los Angeles
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: New Berlin, IL
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Los Angeles Leopards
--Following last seasons disaster the Leopards earned the #1 pick in the draft, and used it on a player who was clearly the best overall in the draft, SS Samuel Baker.  But as is consistent with the players in this years draft he has some problems too, which is hard to believe for a player projected near 90 overall.  His glove is elite, as are his arm strength and accuracy, but his range only projects to an 80, which means he will probably top out in the mid to upper 70s, which for a ML SS isn't the greatest.  Bakers bat is also only just above average, with good power, but only upper 60's elsewhere, which means he'll probably hit only .260 in the majors.  But he does have great health, durability, temper, and makeup, which means he should be a blast in the locker room on a daily basis.  Neither of the two other top round picks that signed for LA will ever amount to much.  LA also managed to not sign a supplemental pick this year as well, which makes this a pretty disappointing draft for the Leopards.
Grade: C+ (Baker is good, is he really worthy of the #1 pick?)

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