#1 Seneca Point: SP Luis "Criminal" Ramirez - An obvious #1 pick, this guy has tremendous ability... four plus pitches, velocity, superb control, and a knack for avoiding the long ball. Work ethic remains a bit of a question mark, but he looks to be as close to a sure thing as you'll find on draft day. The River Sharks already have two of the very best prospects in Dog Days, SP Roadrunner Sertori and OF Douglas Devonville, both now in AAA. Add Ramirez, and they look like a team to be reckoned with not so far down the road.
#2 Washburn: SP De-Wei Shao - Along with Urveta, one of the two dominant high school pitchers available in the draft this year. Urveta might have slightly superior physical talent, but Shao appears to want it more. He also looks to be the rare starting pitcher with the stamina to finish more than the occasional game. Might not wrack up the strikeouts in the pros, but he looks like a winner.
#3 Cottonwood: SP Elias Schlieffen - A mild surprise, with Urveta and Ziersch still on the board. Scouts have not been impressed with his work ethic, and he seems a little more prone to the long ball than the other top pitching prospects. However, he has dazzling control, he finished second in the nation in strikeouts and will almost certainly make an excellent major league pitcher. More advanced than most of the other prospects, and control pitchers tend to have cheaper contracts than the strikeout artists. With all of Ravens' budget woes, that could be a concern.
#4 Stratford: SP Angelito Urveta - The debate before the draft centered on who would go after Ramirez, with Erveta and Ziersch getting roughly equal support. So the Lancers did very well to snag Urveta at #4. Urveta is inherently a little more risky, a high school prospect who lacks solid work habits. But his FIP of 0.29 says it all, the guy just oozes talent. You're not going to see many walks or homers with Urveta on the mound.
#5 Greenwood: 3B Nae-wi Yi - Lots of debates regarding which hitter would go first, but no one ever suggested it would be Yi. Showed a little pop in high school ball, and he has some patience at the plate. Nonetheless, he has always had trouble making contact consistently, and his fielding is not of the sort that would cover for a questionable bat.
#6 Denton: SP Jason Ziersch - The steal of the draft at #6. The Snake is probably not as good a pitcher as Ramirez -- his control is just good, not outstanding, and he is greener. (At age 22, that matters.) However, he is much harder working, and he is a lefty. He also faced tougher competition than the other top college prospects, meaning that those college stats might be better than they look.
#7 Kingsbury: SP Neto Zambrano - Left handed college prospect who can best be termed a finesse pitcher. Keeps the ball down, avoids the long ball, gets a lot of double plays with his sinker. I'll be surprised if he's a star, but he's likely to have a long, successful career. Faced great competition in college. Several years away from being ready.
#8 Point Breeze: CF/P Gui-Fan Khu - High schooler who has split his efforts between pitching and outfield, and he looks like a second round prospect at either position. As an outfielder, he displays tremendous range, so he might possibly make it as a glove type centerfielder. His batting skills might be adequate but not enough to carry him. As a pitcher, Khu does a decent job of keeping the ball in the park, but he lacks the stuff of most other notable prospects
#9 Ritchford: C Hansl Metzler - Like Yi, a huge surprise. Metzler was not even close to the best hitter available. However, Ritchford appears to have had different priorities. In Ferneyhough and Blackmer, the Redwings possess two of premium young arms in the game, and to maximize their impact, a good defensive catcher is needed. Metzler is the best defensive catcher in this draft, and he has enough power to survive, if just barely. Seems a bit more developed than most of the other high school prospects.
#10 Twin Falls: SP George Cabatbat - A fascinating pick. "Sparro" might very well be Ramirez's equal as a pitcher, but most scouts assume that he lacks the stamina required to start. (He rarely started even in college.) However, he has four excellent pitches, and if he could add a little bit of stamina as he matures, Cabatbat could yet turn out to be the very best in this very strong pitching draft. And if not? Then the Captains have a superb closer.
#11 Murray Creek: SP Amadis Pingarron - Extremely tall right handed high school prospect who combines strong control with better than adequate stuff and movement. Smart, hard working, and durable. Not quite as successful in high school as the top prospects, but a solid pick at #11.
#12 Yancey: SP Jose Pimentel - College hitters made contact, but they rarely hit Pimental hard. Gets good movement on his pitches, and, although he does not exactly live on the black, he knows how to throw strikes without putting the ball out over the heart of the plate. Not at all a dominant pitcher, but if he picks things up as expected, he'll make it into the starting rotation. Not very developed at this point.
#13 Hinsdale: SP Maklolm 'Quasimodo' Almqvist - Generally regarded as a pitching prospect, and he is a good one. High school right hander somewhat in the mold of Pimental, but a shade better in practically every area. Won't strike out a whole lot of players, but extremely tough to take long. Almqvist also has the skills to play either infield or outfield, although most scouts would lean towards shortstop or, more likely, third base, where his arm would be best put to use. Arguably the third best hitter in the draft, behind van Klaveren and Pacheco. However, his batting eye may not be up to pro standards, thus the assumption that he will end up on the mound. Very, very green.
#15 Blackwood: SP Yasuyuki Osaka - College prospect who relied on his control to get by, or not. Frequently burned by the long ball, even though he was not facing top competition. Hard worker but not adept at holding runners or fielding.
#16 Jenton: CF Hendrikjan Dekkers - High school outfielder with a little pop, but nothing to write home about. Quite speedy on the bases, and rangy in the outfield, but shows an alarming tendency not to catch the balls he gets to. Seems like he lacks the overall batting package one would look for in a corner outfielder, and the overall fielding package for a centerfielder.
#17 Twin Falls: CL Amdre Estcio - College pitcher who lacks the pitch selection and possibly the stamina needed to start in the pros and will need to be utilized as a reliever. Has the makings of an excellent closer. Led the nation in strikeouts, and has shown an ability to handle left handed as well as right handed hitters. Clueless as to holding runners.
#18 Kendall: 1B Ramiro Pacheco - Probably the best hitter in the draft. Combines very good contact skills with an excellent batting eye and plus power. Smart hitter likely to get better. As to his fielding, he might eventually be an adequate first baseman, but that's his ceiling. A very good value at the 18th pick.
#19 Oakton: C Colijn De Wijs - College catcher with a standout batting eye, leading the nation in base on balls by quite a distance. When he swings, it tends to be from the heels, producing a decent number of homers but a lot of long outs. His bat will have to be what earns him a major league job because he has neither the talent nor the inclination to be a catcher. Far too slow to play any other postion, except first base.
#20 Red Willow: OF Alberto Siberon - Displayed good but not excellent power in college. However, he faced some of the best competition in the country, so he may be underrated. To this point, though, he has looked very ordinary in his ability to field and get on base, so he is going to need power to make it in the bigs.
#21 Hood River: C Vince Van Klaveren - Scouts feel that Van Klaveren was the best pure power hitter in the draft. He finished second in the nation in homers and did so against top competition. Also displayed a well above average batting eye. His contact skills have not looked solid to this point, but scouts insist he has the potential. If he can develop those even a little, Hood River could have the top non-pitcher in the draft, because no one doubts that Van Klaveren can hold his own behind the plate. Not quite a sure thing, but a very high value close to the end of round one. After Ziersch, the biggest bargain in the draft. A very good farm system looks likely to become even better.
#22 Northhampton: SP Sammy Dobson - College pitcher who looks the part when he's throwing. Very good stuff, strong control, a great knack for keeping the ball in the park. However, some serious questions loom. At this point Dobson lacks a third pitch of pro quality. Stamina is quite low. His best hope of holding a runner is to induce the runner to fall over laughing at his inept move to first. May end up in the bullpen, but does not really have the profile of a stopper, and, as a result, many feel he will end up as just a decent middle reliever. Still, you only have to watch him pitch to see he has upside.
#23 Langlade: 3B Alexandre Briere - Slips into round one, presumably because of a general lack of quality hitting prospects in this draft. Briere has just enough all around batting skills to make him a possibility, and the intelligence to give hope that he might improve. Could play infield or outfield, which helps, but he will never wow anyone with his glove. Best bet is that Briere ends up a journeyman utility player.
#24 St. Bernard: MR Seckin 'Trojan' Inonu - College starting pitcher from Turkey who will have to move to the bullpen in the pros. Not quite the strikeout artist one looks for in a top closer, and he gives up his share of homeruns. From here, he looks like an above average middle reliever in the making.
sandwich pick by Oakton: SP Normando Gavardo - Successful high school pitcher who makes all the scouts cringe with his habit of leaving pitches up, over the heart of the plate. Excellent control, but lacks the pitch selection pro teams look for in a starter. Has a chance, but will need to make some improvements if he plans to continue his success into the pros.
sandwich pick by Red Willow: C Luis Viramontes - Tied for the most homers in the nation, although he did not stand out at the plate in other areas. Has adequate defensive abilities. Looks plenty good enough to make a major league roster. Jury is out whether he can make it as a regular.
sandwich pick by Kendall: SS Weihwa Tantawi - Slick gloveman with just enough batting skills to rate as a viable prospect. Will never be a star, but ought to be a useful role player, possibly even a starter. He could help himself a lot if he could get a little better at recognizing the strike zone. For a gloveman, he is not especially strong at turning doubleplays, either.