Thursday, August 14, 2008

Top Draft Picks

The next series of posts will take a look at the top 30 draft picks of Season 8. We will dive into why the team picked them when they did and take a look at how their first professional season is starting off.

Deion Branson 2B (Anaheim Rangers): The scouted rankings on Branson tell it all -he's going to be great defensively as well as offensively! His projected above average defensive skills will come in handy at the second base position, and his batting eye coupled with his "vs" ability will propel him to one of the elite hitters in the game!

Being assigned to the rookie league, Branson has started out fairly well. He's had at least one hit in 20 of his first 26 games, good for a .295 average. Branson has not committed an error yet.

Daryle Lockwood RF (Minnesota Maulers): Having a minor league system that is extremely short in right field prospects, the Maulers elected to use their second overall pick on a Junior College student out of Geronimo, OK, Daryle Lockwood. Lockwood is and will be an average outfielder at best, but you can guarantee he was not drafted for his outfield abilities.

Lockwood was brought in to be a masher. With a projected 100 power rating, coupled with his vs. righty rating as well as his above average batting eye, Lockwood was brought in for one purpose... to be a home run machine. His contact rating may hamper his development a bit or his ability to consistently hit round trippers, but his upside is much higher than his down side.

Assigned to the rookie league after the draft, Lockwood batted .333 with a home run and 10 RBI
in eight games. Feeling confident with his abilities, the Minnesota brass promoted him to Low A where he's hitting .263 with five home runs and fourteen RBI in 57 plate appearances. It looks as if Lockwood will be spending the rest of the season with the Low A team as he continues to improve on his already established skills.

Stu Holt P (Washington D.C. Crooks): Holt is considered to be one of the top prospects in the game and one of the best players to come out of the draft in a long time. Drafted out of Belle Mead, NJ, Holt showed absolute domination in the high school ranks which propelled him to the third overall pick.

Scouts say that Holt has will posess an almost perfect control and will be able to eat up a lot of innings to help keep the bullpen fresh. He will be tough to hit against for right handed hitters, and his velocity will keep hitters guessing. He possesses an above average 4-seam fastball as well as a good curveball.

So far, in the rookie leagues, Holt has posted a 3-1 ERA and has yet to give up more than three earned runs in any of his six starts, sporting a 2.38 ERA. He has walked more than three batters in five of his six starts, but with experience, we're sure that his hits and walks will be lower than his current 1.50 WHIP. In his last two starts, he has struck out 12 batters.

Troy Owen SS (Nashville Sounds): The first shortstop taken in the draft, Owen is projected to be outstanding at short for the Sounds. With an exceptional range and an accurate arm, he will be a staple at the short stop position. His average power rating won't help him be a masher, but he will definitely be putting up respectable numbers.

In Nashville's rookie level, Owen is showing everyone why he was the number four overall pick, putting up big numbers. He's hitting .438 with seven home runs and 51 RBI. He's only struck out 14 times in 96 at bats. He is very deserving of a promotion to Low A ball soon.

Patrick Wengert SS (Salem Sleepers): Wengert was not drafted for his defensive prowess. He was drafted for his offense.

Wengert is going to be extremely strong against right handed pitchers and still strong against lefties. He won't be hitting a ton of home runs but will be putting the ball in play a good amount of the time. He will have his share of strike outs, but he will not be another strikeout king like Jose Cruz Jr.

Wengert started out in rookie ball and earned a promotion to Low A after batting a .384 in 112 plate appearances. He hit three homers and 29 RBIs in that span. After his first nine games in Low A, he's hitting .275 with a home run and five RBIs. The Sleepers will be looking forward to his offensive contributions in the majors in four to five seasons.

Hipolito Vazquez C (St. Louis Red Birds): Vazquez was slated to go number one overall in the draft, but the Red Birds were surprised that he fell to them at the sixth overall pick. Vazquez was gift wrapped for the Red Birds.

An HBD major league ready player, Vazquez is slated to be one of the best catchers in the league. With an arm that's ready for every day major league time behind the plate, Vazquez still has some work to do on his arm accuracy and pitch calling, which is why the Red Birds are starting him off slow in his building process.

Vazquez will be an offensive juggernaut with vs. right handed ratings and his contact ratings slated to be over 90. He's already maxed out on his power, but as his batting eye improves, so will his readiness to be an offensive machine in the major leagues.

Vazquez needed some time away to sort out some of his off-the-field problems, but he's now with the St. Louis organization. He was assigned to the rookie league affiliate for the Red Birds, and is already batting .464 in his first seven games. In that span, he has one home run and six RBI's. Be on the lookout for Vazquez getting the call to the major leagues in the next two to three seasons.

Andre Durocher LF (Toronto Kids in the Hall): Slated to have one of the best offensive outputs that this league has ever seen, Durocher was taken with the eighth overall pick by Toronto.

Durocher is going to be a master of left handed pitching as his vs. left handed ratings are going to be near perfect. He will still fare well against right handed pitching, but his mastery of left handed pitching will guarantee him playing time versus any left handed pitcher that will throw against Toronto. With a projected rating of contact at 95 and an above average hitters eye at 75, Durocher will be a mainstay on the base paths. With a strong power rating slated to be at 78, Durocher will have his share of home runs every season. In his prime, expect over 40 home runs per season in his time in the big leagues.

In his first professional season, Durocher is hitting .393 at the rookie level with five home runs and 27 RBI in his first 28 games. He's had seven extra-base hits in that span, and the Toronto front office is already considering a promotion to Low A ball.

Greg Beam P (Augusta Timbermen): The second pitcher taken in the draft, Beam will feature a strong 4-seam fast ball. His curve ball and slider will leave a bit to be desired, but expect Beam to throw with some great velocity.

He will be a starter with his stamina slated to be at 87, and he will have some decent control. He's stronger against left handed batters than he is against righties, and he will be more of a pop up pitcher than he will be a ground-ball pitcher.

Beam is already making his way up the ladder quickly. After sporting a 1.09 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP while winning three of his five starts, the Augusta front office thought it was time to promote him to Low A ball. Beam is doing better than he did in rookie ball, earning an ERA of 0.82 and a WHIP of 1.09 in his two starts. Opponents are hitting only .202 off of Beam in Low A so far.

Chris Ruffin SS (Montreal Canadiens): The third shortstop to be taken in the draft, Ruffin was selected by the Canadiens with the ninth overall pick. Projected to be an average fielder at best, Ruffin was taken more for his speed than his defensive prowess.

Ruffin will be a pretty durable player, and by the looks of his speed, he will be flying around on the base paths. Though his offensive splits feature a decent bit of power, he's definitely going to be making some good contact with the ball if he lives up to his projected contact rating of 88. Once on the base paths, Ruffin will be a smart runner. Not only will he steal some bases, but he will know when to and not to run, with a projected base running rating of 90. Ruffin will have his share of strikeouts, though, with a batters eye rating of 57.

After starting out in rookie ball with a .364 average, two homers, and 35 RBI to compliment his 17 stolen bases, Ruffin was promoted to Low A ball. He did, however, commit 19 errors in 33 games in rookie ball. In his first two games, Ruffin is hitting .250 with two RBI and two strikeouts. So far he has stolen one base and was caught stealing once as well. He has already committed one error in his first two games in Low A. Expect his offensive numbers to continue to grow as he gains more experience in the league.

Bruce Park SS (Scranton Ironmen): Park, coming out of Slinger, Wisconsin, was the fourth shortstop taken in this year's draft. He will be an average fielder at best, with an average range, but above average arm strength. He will not have be the best fielding shortstop in the league and will have a little bit of trouble with his throw to first.

Offensively, Park will have some pop in his bat. He will be a lot like Kris Monahan, who currently plays for the Minnesota Maulers. He will feature a low average, but when he makes contact with the ball, watch out. Expect Park, when on the base paths, to be active in stealing with a projected speed rating of 85, but he will be caught stealing a bit as well. His baserunning IQ isn't going to be the best, with a projected rating of 44.

Park is fairing pretty well in his first 35 games in rookie ball, hitting .309 with nine home runs and 30 RBI. He hasn't attempted too many steals as of yet, having successfully stolen four bases out of five attempts, but expect both numbers to grow as teams start to trust him with his decisions.

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