#1 Seneca Point SP Kyung-Jin "Roo" An - In an down season for the ammy draft, Chinese national Hsi-men Cuan and South Korean Kyung-Jin An were generally regarded as the only two true blue chippers available, and the River Sharks went with the safer pick, An, who dominated in college, leading all college starters in FIP, WHIP and ERA. An is probably a couple seasons away from the bigs, but he is already quite a good pitcher with tons of potential -- just not quite as much upside as Cuan. Four good pitches, adequate stamina, and durable. No ammy pick is a sure thing, but An is about as close as they come. Not on the same lofty plane as last year's top pick Luis Ramirez, but a very likely #2 starter down the road.
#2 Hinsdale P Hsi-men Cuan - Hinsdale made the obvious choice at #2 and took Cuan. If An led all college pitchers, it would be fair to say Cuan obliterated the high school competition where he struck out 150 batters in 87 IP and gave up only one homerun. However, scouts agree that Cuan is very green and is far more of a projection as a pro. Looks to have three, maybe four pitches. The sky is the limit for this guy, but there's a long road between dominating as a high school pitcher and acing a major league staff. Still, if an ace comes out of this draft, odds are high it will be Cuan.
#3 Washburn SP Ubaldo Abecassis - Three picks, three right handed pitchers. (No left handed pitchers ended up going in round one this year!) Abecassis was 5th in the country in FIP, 7th in WHIP and ERA. Although a sussessful high school pitcher, he was a very controversial third pick among sports writers and scouts. He lacks not only An's strikeout power, but also Mop MacHutcheon's control. His stamina is going to be an issue. He does not hold runners all that well, and he's a subpar glove. He also alarmed many scouts with is lackadaisical habits as well as his difficulty grasping simple ideas. But all of that would be forgiven and he would still be considered a reasonable top five pick if he had not survived to this point on just two pitches. Don't expect a bust -- the kid's got a decent arm. But one can easily imagine a career as a middle reliever. Washburn does not have a whole lot of talent in their system, and it is to be wished they could have picked up more here with a #3.
#4 Denton CF Patrik Newquist - The Yorkies went for defense, taking Patrick Newquist, a very good outfield glove. Excellent range, although he does not have an arm to match. Finished second in the NCAA in batting average, but scouts are suspicious of his hitting credentials, with his having played against particularly weak competition. A hard-working, motivated player, but the big question will be whether he has the bat to justify a top 5 pick.
#5 Kingsbury SP Luis Valle - College pitcher from a so-so program who was in the top five in the NCAA in WHIP, FIP and ERA. While it would be inaccurate to say his control is deficient, he has not, to this point, been as accurate as the other serious prospects in the draft, and that concerned some scouts. He also gave up nine homeruns, which, considering the level of competition, could be a worry.
#6 Stratford C Sergio Salazar - Led the nation in homers with 12, and did it against top notch high school competition. However, to this point, has been held back by a tendency to swing for the fences, and his batting average has suffered. Has a pretty good arm but the bat is going to be his meal ticket, and in order to make an impact in the pros, he'll have to do better at making contact.
#7 Greenwood CF Manny Herrera - Led the NCAA in batting average this year, but swings at a lot of pitches far outside the strike zone, a habit that's going to be considerably more costly when facing wily pro pitchers. Has the necessary range to stay in center in the pros. A bit risky, but a good chance to be a starter, yet I'll be surprised if he's ever a star.
#8 Point Breeze SP James Machutcheon - Second among high school pitchers in pretty much every statistical category, except control where he led the nation. Fell to #8 in the draft due to a limited pitch repertoire. He has the kind of control that allows him to live on the corners, but most pro teams are going to be skeptical of placing a pitcher in the rotation when he can rely only on his fastball and slider. Talented pitcher with a lot of upside, but might end up just a good reliever.
#9 Cottonwood CF Pete Hetley - Apparently the Ravens were looking for power -- they have very little in the way of offense in their system -- but this draft did not offer a lot of high quality options. Hetley showed good enough pop in high school to warrant attention, and although his power potential probably does not match that of Salazar, he has at least some contact skills. Played center in high school, but lacks the range for that in the pros, although he shows good speed on the bases.
#10 Redsand SS Miron Madgearu - Led high school hitters with a .539 average and invites comparisons to Greenwood's Herrera. Like Herrera, the upside of his contact skills is somewhat balanced by his continued inability to tell a strike from a ball. Does not flail at truly bad pitches as often as Herrera, though. Has been a bit of an enigma in the field, where his range is quite impressive, yet frequently misfires after getting the ball in his glove.
#11 Jenton CL Kang-Chor "Turkey" Pak - It always seems questionable taking a relief pitcher early in the draft, yet Turkey Pak appeared to be one of very few high percentage picks remaining on the board at this point. Possesses the dominating fastball of your prototype closer, and keeps the ball down very effectively. Only 20 but quite advanced. No chance of ever starting, however.
#12 Hood River SS Roy Holsinger - Not a lot of attractive choices remained at #12, but Holsinger remains a bit of a surprise. He has speed on the base paths, but the best other thing one can say about him is that he ppears to have almost adequate contact skills -- he finished 22nd among high school hitters in average. Nonetheless, his eye for the strike zone remains poor at this point, and his glove appears only average. Seems a reach at 12.
#13 Jackson City SP Fermin Capacho - 4th in the country in WHIP, and not much further back in FIP and ERA. Nothing about Capacho says star, but he has some talent and no glaring weaknesses. Decent pitch selection and stamina. Good character. Seems to be one of the best couple players on the board at this point, and he could reasonably have gone several picks earlier.
#14 Kendall SS Aneudy Carbajal - Drafted as a shortstop although he was known more for his pitching in high school. Has some contact skills but little sense of the strike zone. Green as they come at shortstop, but he has above average tools to work with. Most teams had been scouting him as a pitcher, although pitch selection would probably limit him to the bullpen. A smart, hard-working guy, so maybe he'll eventually make it in one role or the other.
#15 Twin Falls LF Liam Hadden - Power hitting high school outfielder with a quick bat and good instincts at the plate. Where Salazar might have slightly more pure power at this point, Hadden looks to be a much more balanced hitter. Effectively lays off the bad pitches and perfectly capable hitting singles as well as homers. Not a likely superstar, but he looks very good in this draft. If a team were willing to overlook his lack of glove and speed, he could have gone as early as #3. A very high value at #15.
#16 Red Willow SS Rudi Kapllani - Doesn't appear to have the contact skills to start in the pros, nor the kind of glove that would tempt a manager to overlook a low batting average. Will need to improve his game in order to stick in the majors.
#17 Yancey LF Jong-Yun Na - Led all college hitters with 13 homers, maintained a pretty good batting average, and did this against top competition. A little less effective at recognizing balls and strikes, but this is not a serious deficiency. Not a big time prospect, but could easily turn out to be a solid contributor with the bat, which is pretty good in this draft.
#18 Murray Creek 1B Jean-Paul Cote - Yet one more of the modest group of prospects in this draft (almost all high school players) who combine fairly good power potential with somewhat less contact and batting eye, and have little to offer on the bases or in the field. In my view, Cote offers a better overall hitting package than any of them, except for Hadden. Cote's level of power is less a sure thing -- he did not play against tough competition -- but he seems to have enough all around skills with the bat to make him a legitimate prospect. Most years, he'd go in round two, but he looks to offer more than anyone else on the board at pick 18 in this year's crop.
#19 St. Bernard SP Suk-Joo 'Porker' Yun - Second in the nation in FIP, third in ERA and WHIP. However, Yun faced very weak competition, making his ability level a bit of a cipher. Has a good array of pitches, solid work ethic and leadership skills. Most scouts think he lacks the fastball to be a big time contributor, but he is still young and would not have to improve very much to to make it.
#20 Blackwood SP Dan Sartirant - A strong personality, but a substandard fastball. Sartirant lagged behind the high school pitching leaders in all major metrics, but not by a lot. Has an unusually large array of pitches and has good control with them all. Similar to Yun, at this point he looks like a #5 starter at best, but it wouldn't take all that much of an improvement to be a contributor. A reasonable pick, given the options available.
#21 St. Bernard SS Esteban Proano - Fourth best batting average among NCAA batters this year, showed some pop, and did this while facing top competition. For that reason, he has been a popular pick in the local press. Has displayed very good range in the field and speed on the bases. However, he has some very significant holes in his game. Like Salazar, he has a tendency to chase pitches far outside the strike zone, and scouts are divided as to whether he has the capacity to overcome this. He also seems to lack the hands, arm, and athleticism of a pro shortstop, and you have to doubt that his bat will qualify him for third base, not unless he makes some major improvements. We will see.
#22 Northhampton CF Armando Bujosa - Little known left handed high school outfielder who did not rank near the leaders in any area. Has a very strong outfield arm, good baserunning speed, and a reasonable sense of the strike zone. To this point, he has not shown enough aptitude with the bat to take seriously.
#23 Langlade SP Vasile Eminescu - Hard working right hander who struggled quite often at the college level. Struck out 163 in 136 innings, but also gave up 16 homers. If Eminescu makes it in the pros with that kind of college history, he will be the first such pitcher I am aware of.
#24 Oakton 3B Seung-Jae Park - College third baseman who showed decent power but not a lot of batting average playing against some of the nation's top teams. A very good if not excellent glove at the hot corner, however, which helps his case significantly. Park isn't anything like a sure thing, but one can imagine with modest improvements his turning into a contributor. Not too bad for the end of round one in this particular draft.
Washburn 3B Corey Smith - Lightly regarded high school third baseman most famous for infuriating coaches and scouts with his laziness and lack of judgment. Marginal contact skills, not a lot of power, and, outside of a plus arm, an ordinary glove. Even if no one strangles him -- a rather large supposition -- he will be a longshot.
Kendall LF Joseph Carrick - Pretty much an unknown with a batting average lower than most high school prospects, no power to speak of, and serious mobility problems, both on the bases and in the field. Has a very strong arm, but no pitching ability.
Northhampton SS Burian Barney - Rangy high school shortstop who put up respectable numbers against weak competition. Has a decent eye and patience at the plate, having led the country in walks. Not likely to spark anyone's offensive attack, but he could develop to the point that his offense does not hold him back. However, his defensive abilities are not stellar. Frequently fails to turn double plays, and his hands are questionable. Still, a pretty good value at this point in this draft.
Top of round 2: The forgotten man, Felix Quinones, finally goes to the River Sharks with the first pick of the second round. Over-aged at 23, Quinones possesses the best batting eye in the draft, walking once every 6.8 trips to the place, an incredible rate for a college player. Not an impressive contact or power hitter, but not really deficient in those areas, either. Generally a good glove at second base, although he makes his share of errors. Not likely to be a star, but quite likely to become a starting second baseman. Had been projected to go in the top 10 and probably should have.