Saturday, June 25, 2011

Five signings to look at

Thanks to Baseball America's Minor League Transactions post from June 15-21, we now have 4 more Nats signings to look at, although only 1 is a draft pick.

26th round OF Shawn Pleffner, University of Tampa
Pleffner turned two great years of JuCo ball at Tallahassee Community College into an equally solid season this year at Tampa, where he hit .366/.454/.559. He is listed as a SS on the Nats official draft page but played 1B/OF at Tampa and was called an OF by Baseball America; at 6'4" and 220 lbs, it is not a huge surprise that he's not a SS. The Maryland native (Gambrills/Arundel HS) signed quickly after my last post, but I was waiting on some more signings to come in to include him.

Undrafted FA RHP Ben Grisz, Duke
Grisz's college career isn't too impressive when you consider the fact that he was a top 100 prospect coming out of high school. He finished the 2011 season with a 5.23 ERA, 61 hits allowed, 22 BB and 43 K in 43 IP. His peripherals improved from his 2010 season, though (47 hits allowed, 20 walks and 33 K in 33 IP), so there could be room for improvement. From what I've seen, he was a 90+ mph arm in high school and pitched lower than that in college, so there are some question marks. Hopefully Grisz's pitching is as good as his *ahem* extra-curricular skills (subject 3, but click with caution).

Undrafted FA RHP Jason Smith, Black Hawk CC (Illinois)
Smith allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 3 and 1/3 innings during his freshman season as a Western Illinois Leatherneck before transferring to Black Hawk Community College, where he went 5-3 with a 3.92 ERA, 35 K and 20 BB in 43 and 2/3 innings this season. According to his coach Arnie Chavera in this article by Steve Batterson of the Quad-City Times, Smith tops out around 91 MPH with a solid curveball while learning to throw his change-up. Comes from the same program as 2008 28th round pick Matt Swynenberg. He passed up a chance to play at UNC-Pembroke to sign with the Nats.

Undrafted FA SS Wes Schill, Western Oklahoma State JC
The 5'9", 170 infielder hit .449/.511/.581 with 10 HR and 16 2B. His OBP looks a little low for such a high batting average, but he did have 34 BB and 27 K and has a history of having  more BB than K (including at Northeast Texas CC in 2009, where he apparently led the nation with 46 SB, although there is no real way to double check that). The speedster scored 85 times in 65 games this season and was named to the NJCAA DII World Series All-Tournament Team this year. Schill signed with Texas A&M out of high school, but it does not appear that he ever played for them.

Undrafted FA OF Michael Cruz, Western Oklahoma State JC
When I searched for Schill, I found out in this article from the Altus Times that his teammate Michael Cruz also signed with the Nats. Cruz hit .464/.538/.787 this season with 16 HR, 82 R and 90 RBI. His 28 BB/36 K ratio isn't as spectacular as Schill's, but is still solid. Cruz, along with Schill, made the 2011 NJCAA All-Region II Team and both received gold glove awards.

It's especially interesting to see the Nats chase after all of these Western Oklahoma State guys. Last year, the Nats grabbed OF Randolph Oduber in the 32nd round and OF Wander Nunez in the 36th, so it appears that the Nats have their eye on the Junior College.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

10 more Nats draft pick signings

On Friday, I took a look at the 9 players that Baseball America's Prospect Blog reported that the Nats signed: 5th round 3B Matt Skole, 11th round OF Caleb Ramsey, 22nd round RHP Travis Henke, 23rd round 2B Khayyan Norfork, 27th round LHP Bobby Lucas, Jr., 29th round C Sean Cotten, 33rd round 2B Trey Karlen, 36th round LHP Ben Hawkins and 50th round OF Tony Nix. That same day, Sue Dinem of Nationals Prospects figured out that Auburn unofficially put up their roster on their website, which included 10 draft picks. I would have taken a look at them on Friday, but I spent that evening at the Nats game with my dad as well as Saturday at the US Open, so this is the first chance I've gotten to take a look at the new guys.

The Nationals have updated their draft results page with 10 additional signings since my original post. The Nats have now signed 3 picks from the first 10 rounds, 6 out of the top 20 and either 18 or 19 overall, as the Nationals have not announced Cotten's deal yet. Here is a look at the newest batch of signings:

7th round RHP Brian Dupra, Notre Dame
Dupra signing quickly was no surprise, as he is a senior with little leverage. While a lot of seniors for that reason are seen as safe/signable picks, the Dupra pick was received well throughout the prospect community, especially with John Sickels. He was included in this draft post.

10th round RHP Manny Rodriguez, Barry University
Rodriguez was another favorite of Sickels due to his arm speed and secondary pitches. The righty had 126 K and 35 BB in 112 and 2/3 innings this year, but since it was against Division II competition, there is still some question to what his future looks like. He was included in this draft post.

12th round LHP Blake Monar, Indiana University
Monar bounced back from a shoulder injury in 2010 to throw well in 2011. He doesn't throw particularly hard (usually between 88 and 90, peaks at 92) and his injury still worries some, so he has something to prove in Auburn. He was included in this draft post.

16th round SS, Deion Williams, Redan HS (Georgia)
Williams was given the label "toolsy" which either means he can't hit or he's just really fast and a good hitter. The 16th round is an excellent place to take a risk on a guy like Williams, though, especially given his ML bloodlines (both his father, Dion Williams and grandfather, George Scott, played with the Red Sox organization). Williams is the most unexpected early signing to since he's a high schooler. He was included in this draft post.

21st round LHP Todd Simko, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Peripherals are not encouraging (4.31 BB/9 and 6.38 K/9 this season), but got things done at A&M-CC this season. If he gets moved to the pen, he could be turned into a solid lefty specialist. He was included in this draft post.

25th round C Erick Fernandez, Georgetown University
Fernandez is an exciting pick on many levels; the slick-fielding catcher (actually listed as an infielder on the Nats draft page) hit .325 in college and is a semi-local product (from Florida but played at Georgetown). He was included in this draft post.

28th round RHP Ken Ferrer, Elon University
Like Simko, Ferrer had pedestrian peripheral numbers at Elon (4.98 BB/9 and 7.03 K/9). He did do a good job keeping the ball in the yard, however. He was included in this draft post.

35th round RHP Alex Kreis, Jamestown College
Kreis is another small-college player who dominated the NAIA for the Jamestown (North Dakota) Jimmies. Like Rodriguez, it is refreshing to see guys with good results at smaller schools get a shot. He was included in this draft post.

41st round 3B Bryce Ortega, University of Arizona
This is one of my favorite picks in the draft as long as Ortega plays 2B rather than 3B. Ortega looked like an solid prospect going into the 2010 season but got injured. He bounced back in 2011, hitting .353/.412/.430 with solid speed. If he can continue to get on base, Ortega will be a solid infielder in the Nats organization.
He was included in this draft post.

45th round LHP Richard Mirowski, Oklahoma Baptist University
Yet another small college senior with good peripheral numbers. The one thing Mirowski has that the other small college guys don't is a history of facing players from "big schools," as he dominated the California Collegiate League in 2010. He was included in this draft post.

The Nats still have 6th round RHP Taylor Hill (Vanderbilt), 8th round RHP Greg Holt (North Carolina), 9th round RHP Dixon Anderson (California), 30th round LHP Bryan Harper (South Carolina) and 46th round OF Tyler Thompson (Florida) playing in the College World Series, so those 5 could sign as soon as their teams finish.

Friday, June 17, 2011

9 Draft Pick Signings

According to Baseball America's Prospects Blog, the Nats have signed the following draft picks:

5th round 3B Matt Skole, Georgia Tech University
Skole was one of my favorite picks due to his power potential at a corner position. He was at last night's game and got to tour the facilities and stuff. He was included in this draft post.

11th round OF Caleb Ramsey, University of Houston
Ramsey showed little power and only average speed at Houston, but combined good contact with excellent plate discipline and solid defense. He was included in this draft post.

22nd round RHP Travis Henke
Stats don't look too solid for Bob Henke's nephew. At 6'6", there is still some room to add velocity. He was included in this draft post.

23rd round 2B Khayyan Norfork, University of Tennessee
The speedy infielder hit .330 and showed solid plate discipline this season for Tennessee. He was included in this draft post.

27th round LHP Bobby Lucas Jr., George Washington University
The GWU lefty struggled this season (his first as a starter), but still racked up a K/9 rate of 11.92. Pitches with his brain rather than trying to overpower opponents. He hand-delivered his signed contract at last night's game. He was included in this draft post.

29th round C Sean Cotten, Tusculum College
Cotten broke pretty much every offensive record Tusculum had. He was included in this draft post.

33rd round 2B Trey Karlen, University of Tennessee-Martin
Karlen's 2010 line of .297/.365/.513 was awful...if you compared it to his 2010 triple slash of .356/.454/.671. He was included in this draft post.

36th round LHP Ben Hawkins, University of West Florida
The Division II National Champion was dominant in the first half of the season and struggled with control down the stretch. He was included in this draft post.

50th round OF Tony Nix, University of California-Riverside
Nix is a hacker who showed nice power in 2010 but had a down year in 2011. He was included in this draft post.

Ramsey, Henke, Norfork, Lucas Jr., Cotten, Karlen and Nix were seniors, so it is no surprise they signed quickly. Skole and Hawkins were juniors, so it is nice to see the Nats snag a couple of guys with a little more leverage early on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Syracuse options

The Nats are playing great baseball, with 5 straight wins and a +1 run differential on the season. That doesn't mean the team cannot be improved, though. Here are a few players currently playing in AAA Syracuse that could give the Nats a hand:

IF Matt Antonelli is tops on my list for a callup. He's better than Bixler and is the only infielder in the Majors or AAA other than Desmond or Espinosa that has a future with the team. If you haven't already, read my interview with Antonelli here.

1B Michael Aubrey has struggled over his last few weeks, hitting .167/.323/.333 in his last 10 games. Still, he's an OBP machine with a little pop and a nice glove. Adam LaRoche's season-ending injury makes me want to call up Aubrey even more, as he's a left handed hitter who can serve as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement for Morse late in games (something Stairs is incapable of).

1B Chris Marrero is in the right place at the wrong time. His AAA numbers are solid (.290/.351/.450), but Morse's hot streak and RH bat make it so calling up Marrero and sitting him on the bench would be a detriment to the 22 year old's development. We'll see him in September I'm sure.

LHP Tom Milone has allowed more HR (5) than BB (4). And 5 HR ain't a whole lot to allow in 70 and 1/3 innings, anyways. With a 19:1 K:BB ratio and a respectable 3.58, we will probably see Milone in DC sometime this season, albeit the role may come as a reliever.

RHP Josh Wilkie probably should have gotten the call in 2009 and 10, but I'll still hold out hope that 2011 will be the year he gets his shot. While peripheral stats aren't as good as they were in 2009 and 10, the fact that he's put up consistently solid ones in three straight years at AAA make him a viable option.

RHP Brad Meyers has less BB (3) than Milone in more innings (76 and 1/3) across two levels. He's been prone to the long-ball in Syracuse (5 HR allowed in 7 starts), but has put up solid stats otherwise. Meyers has spent a considerably smaller amount of time in Syracuse so he's on the bottom of the totem pole. Still, a 24.33 K:BB ratio throughout his minor league appearances this year is awesome.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview with Syracuse 2B Matt Antonelli

A lot of players would have given up after missing almost two full seasons of their career due to injury, but not Matt Antonelli. The former 1st round pick and top 50 prospect stuck it out through injuries, rehab and being non-tendered by the only team he had ever played for, the Padres. Now, he's killing the ball in AAA Syracuse, hitting .364/.430/.545 in 21 games. Matt is an avid blogger and one of the most approachable players in the game and was kind enough to answer some questions for me pertaining to both him and the draft. Thanks again, Matt!

1) As a former 1st round pick, what advice do you have for Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin, the Nats' three 1st rounders this season?
Well I wouldn't do anything different just because you are a high round pick. The way I looked at it when I got drafted was that every player in the organization is now in the same boat, and the guys that will ultimately make it to the Major Leagues will be the best players and the guys that can help the big league team win ball games. No matter where you are picked there is still a long way to go before you reach your ultimate goal, so you have to continue to work hard each and every day.

2) What do you attribute your early success to in 2011? Does it have anything to do with finally being healthy after being plagued with injuries over the past few years?
Well, it has a little bit to do with being healthy and a little bit to do with me really working on my swing over the past few years. I would attribute more of the success to my swing and not my health, but it was tough at times to hit with some of the pain I was experiencing in my hand. Basically I had gotten into some really bad habits in 2008 and the little bit of 2009 that I was able to play in. After the 2009 season I worked really hard with a hitting coach that got me out of those bad habits and helped me regain what I was doing earlier in my career. So far I've been able to repeat a lot of those things and hopefully will be able to continue to do so.

3) While you're not known for your power, you did hit 21 HR in in the minors in 2007. Should we expect similar power in the future, or was that outburst more of an outlier?
Yeah, I've never been a big power hitter. I'm more of a line drive hitter who usually has a good amount of doubles. I'm just looking to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it. If the ball happens to go out of the ballpark then that is just a bonus.

4) How would you describe your future with the Nationals? Did they tell you "you need to hit ________ to get called up" or anything like that?
I get asked this question probably about ten times a day from people. The truth is whether it is moving up or down from Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A, or the Major Leagues you really have no idea why, when, or how it will happen. Our job as players is just to go out and play as well as we can. That is really the only thing we can control so that is the only thing we worry about.

5) What does a typical day look like for you, from waking up to going to sleep after a 7 pm game?
When we are home in Syracuse my typical day will be to wake up around 10 AM and eat breakfast. I will relax around my apartment for a few hours, watching TV, writing on my blog, maybe reading a book. At around 2 PM I will pick up lunch and head to the field to eat. At about 3 PM is when my actual baseball day will start. I will stretch out and hit in the batting cage around then. At 4 PM I will go out on my field for an hour or so of batting practice. From about 5:15 PM until about 6 PM I like to eat a snack and relax in the clubhouse. At 6 PM I will start getting ready for that night's game. I'll jump in the hot tub to loosen up, take a shower, then start to stretch out. At 6:40 PM I will head out to the field to loosen up again for the game which starts at 7 PM. Usually the game ends around 10 PM when I will shower up and either eat dinner at the field or head out to eat. I usually get back to my apartment around 11:30 PM or so. By this time I'm pretty tired so I'll get on my sofa with my computer until around 12:30 or 1 and then start to fall asleep before I wake up the next day and do it all over again.

6) As a supplement to that, what do you and your teammates do to hang out and stuff?
Well, I hang out with my teammates a lot more on the road than I do at home. When I'm on the road we will eat together a lot. I love movies so a group of us will usually try to catch a flick after a Sunday day game. Other than that we do pretty much the same stuff that everyone else does when they hang out with friends. We are at the field for the majority of the day so most of the time we spend with each other is there.

7) A lot of people who follow the Nationals are wondering if 2B could be a long-term fit for 1st round pick Anthony Rendon. How difficult was the transition from 3B to 2B for you?
Well, I went to Wake Forest to play middle infield but had to move to 3rd because we didn't have anyone to play over there. I think the transition was easier for me because I grew up playing SS throughout most of my life. I guess it all depends on the player, how athletic they are, how big or small they are, and what positions they have played in the past. I've seen some guys that can play anywhere on the diamond and I've seen some guys that can't. It all really depends. I think a lot of people believe that baseball players can play any position on the field, but when it comes to playing a position in the Major Leagues that really isn't the case.

8) How does it feel to see Nationals infielders struggle in the big leagues when you think that you can do better yourself?
I actually don't worry too much about how the guys ahead of me or behind me are doing. I really can't control how anyone else plays but myself, so I try to worry about that and that's it. If I play well and handle my business then everything will work out in the end.

9) To this point, what is your proudest accomplishment in your baseball career?
I guess I would have to say making my Major League debut. That is something I had wanted to do since I was young, and when I got drafted in 2006 that was obviously my goal. Now I want to get back to the Major Leagues and have a successful career. That is my main goal right now and what keeps me working hard everyday.

10) What is your favorite road city to play in, and why?
Well I loved San Diego. I think that is one of the best cities in the country for sure. I also really enjoyed playing in DC when I was with the Padres. When it comes to Major League cities there really isn't much to complain about. This is my basically my fourth full season in the minor leagues and you end up playing in a lot of interesting places. Playing long enough in the minors will make you really appreciate any city in the MLB. Thanks for the questions and thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Interview with Nats pick Josh Laxer

Josh Laxer (from My601)

I am glad to present to you an exclusive interview with a Nationals draft pick Josh Laxer. Laxer, a 20th round pick, is a RHP from Madison Central HS in Madison, Mississippi. After the interview, you will see some notes, quotes and links about him. Enjoy!

1) I found an article about you from 2010 that said you threw in the 86-90 MPH range, but many this year that say you're now in the 95 MPH range. What have you done over the last year to improve your velocity?

This off-season I did a lot of long-tossing. I also fixed some sloppy mechanics.

2) Can you give us a quick rundown on what pitches you throw, what movement they get and around how fast they are?

4-seam fastball: 91-94 mph, runs away on a righty
2-seam fastball: 90-92 mph, runs in on a righty
Slider: 75-79 mph, has a late break
Changeup: 78-81 mph, circle change grip

3) You were drafted one round after another Missisippi high schooler (and Ole Miss commit), Hawtin Buchanan. Are you two friends, rivals or acquaintances? Do you think the Nationals picked you two together in hopes of signing you as a pair?

We are actually good friends. We played together in the East Coast Pro Showcase in Lakeland, FL. I do not know why they (drafted) us both.

4) Who are your baseball mentors? Who are your favorite players?

My favorite player is Greg Maddux. Not because he is a great pitcher but because he fields his position very well, also.

5) What was the scouting/draft process like for you? Who were you in contact from the Nationals organization? Did you get picked earlier or later than you expected?

Well, at the beginning of the year, I only had 4 or 5 area scouts come to my house. But by late April I had about 10 of them calling to come to my house after they saw me pitch. I talked to Harry Porter the most from the Nationals. I had been talking to him for the past 2 years because of his summer baseball team. I honestly had no idea when I would get picked. I was just honored to be picked.

6) Fill in the blank: Without _______, I would not be a baseball player.

My Parents

7) If you weren’t a professional athlete, what would you likely be doing right now?

I would be packing my bags and getting ready for summer school in July at Ole Miss.

Here are some reports on Josh:
"At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he pounds the strike zone with quality stuff, touching the low 90s and sitting around 88-89 mph with a fastball that has good armside life and sink at times. He spots his slurvy breaking ball well and knows how to pitch." - Baseball America

"Josh is a hard-throwing righty with solid mechanics at this stage in his development. His fastball can sit in the low 90's and when he avoids walks, he can be pretty unhittable at the high school level...He's not going to wow you with his height, but his overall build is pretty solid for a kid his age." - Travis Recek, My601

"As the Jaguars' ace, the Ole Miss signee drew dozens of scouts with his 95-mph fastball, a nasty slider and unique change-up - the last one he swiped from his older brother...The 6-foot, 190-pounder has rapidly been building on his speed over the last three years. He hit 89 as a sophomore, clocked 94 at times last year and was clocked as high as 95 this year. (Madison coach Gregg) Perry credits it to the Gregg Maddux approach of throwing often. 'He likes to throw. He throws every day. It's what Greg Maddux did,' Perry said of the Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer. '(Maddux) tried to throw every day, even the days after he pitched. It can't be bad if Greg Maddux did it.;...Josh credits it to his lower body mechanics - 'I use my legs to push off and then torque my hips,' he says - and, of course, to his brother and those intense competitions. - Josh Dellenger, The Clarion-Ledger

Josh is on Twitter @JoshLaxer. Feel free to leave additional questions for him in the comments section and I'll pass them along. Thanks, Josh!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Coffey for Borbon?

Ken Rosenthal wrote following nugget to his column on Monday, June 6: "Add the Nationals’ Todd Coffey to the list of relievers in whom the Rangers are showing interest. The Rangers even have a player who would fit the Nats’ need for a leadoff man and center fielder: Julio Borbon. Of course, it’s doubtful the Rangers would trade a potential everyday player for a seventh-inning reliever. Still, Borbon could be a chip, given the Rangers’ depth in center field." On a normal week, I would have written about this immediately after it was brought up, but as you might have noticed, I was a little busy writing a ton of posts about the draft. Now that I've completed the draft posts, I finally have time to look at whether or not Coffey for Borbon would be a trade the Nationals should make.

First, a look at Coffey: The XL reliever has been solid for the Nationals this year, posting a 2.28 ERA, 8.75 K/9 and 3.42 BB/9. His FIP is a spectacular 2.69, but his xFIP at 3.44 suggests that he may have gotten a bit lucky with his numbers, including a .234 BABIP (.318 career BABIP against) and a 3.7% HR/FB (12.6% career HR/FB%). Even though we should expect a little regression from Coffey, he should still be a valuable late-inning reliever for the Nationals for the rest of the season. That being said, Coffey should be eligible for free agency after the season. If the Nationals don't move him now, they may lose him later without compensation, and even if they trade him, they can always resign him in December.

If the Nationals traded Coffey, who would take over his role? Sean Burnett has struggled all season and Drew Storen has gone through a few rough outings recently. While Tyler Clippard is still pitching well, it would be risky for the Nationals to move one of their most consistent relievers. Henry Rodriguez could step things up, but he has been inconsistent. Maya could be shifted to the bullpen when Gorzelanny is activated from the DL, or he could be sent to AAA and a reliever such as Collin Balester could be called up instead.

Is Julio Borbon any good? That is yet to be seen. The 2007 supplemental first round pick has spent parts of the last three seasons in the majors, compiling a .284/.324/.358 batting line in 745 plate appearances. Borbon has basically no power and essentially refuses to take a free pass, with a 5.0 career BB% largely fueled by his 8.4% walk rate during his rookie 46-game stint. He does have blazing speed (40/53 career SB) and plays good defense, albeit with a poor arm. The streaky player's true ML talent level is yet to be seen, as would be semi-expected with a 25 year old player with toolsy roots. Fortunately, the Nats have consistent playing time to offer Borbon in CF (that is, if they're willing to end the Ankiel as a starting player/leadoff hitter experiment). He has room to grow and could potentially develop into the player the Nationals thought they had in Nyjer Morgan, but younger and a better base-runner.

If a Coffey for Borbon trade was on the table (and there is no indication that such an offer ever was proposed), the Nats should take it in a heartbeat. Borbon will not be arbitration-eligible until after the 2012 and will be under team control for 4 years in total. I am in favor of a losing team trading free agent-to-be relievers for position players in pretty much any situation and think that the Nats should certainly trade a relief pitcher that could walk after the season for 4 and 1/2 years of a potential starting CF/leadoff man any and every day...if, that is, the offer is on the table.

The Organized 2011 Nationals Draft Post

In the past week, I have written 10 posts about the Nationals and drafting. Since there are so many posts, I figured it would be helpful to have all of them refer back to one main, organized post.

  • I started things off on Monday with a two-part look at past Nationals drafts, both from 2005-07 and 2008-10.
  • The Nats forfeited their 2nd round pick to the Phillies in the Jayson Werth signing, so I kicked things off on Tuesday with a look at our 3rd through 10th rounders: LHP Matt Purke, LHP Kylin Turnbull, 3B Matt Skole, RHP Taylor Hill, RHP Brian Dupra, RHP Greg Holt, RHP Dixon Anderson and RHP Manny Rodriguez.
  • I spent Wednesday writing two separate posts. The first went through rounds 11 through 20: OF Caleb Ramsey, LHP Blake Monar, 1B Casey "Ory" Kalenosky, LF Cody Stubbs, SS Zach Houchins, SS Deion Williams, RHP Esteban Guzman, LHP Nick Lee, RHP Hawtin Buchanan and RHP Josh Laxer. I have set up preliminary plans to conduct an email interview with Laxer and will attempt to do so with as many other draft picks as I can.
  • Wednesday's second post went from round 21 to round 30, including many players with local ties and baseball bloodlines: LHP Todd Simko, RHP Travis Henke, 2B Khayyan Norfork, LHP Kyle Ottoson, C Erick Fernandez, SS Shawn Pleffner, LHP Robert Lucas, RHP Ken Ferrer, C Sean Cotten and LHP Bryan Harper.
  • On Thursday, I took a look at picks from rounds 31 to 40. These players were SS Josh Tobias, OF Billy Burns, 2B Trey Karlen, RHP Calvin Drummond,  RHP Alex Kreis, LHP Ben Hawkins, RHP Derrick Bleeker, LHP Brett Mooneyham, OF Peter Verdin and OF Stephen Collum.
  • On Friday, I finished things up with rounds 41 to 50. The players taken were IF Bryce Ortega, SS David Kerian, SS Mitchell Morales, 1B Matt Snyder, RHP Richie Mirowski, OF Tyler Thompson, LHP TJ Montgomery, OF Mike Bisenius, OF Hunter Cole and OF Tony Nix.
  • On June 17, nine draft picks signed with the Nats: Skole, Ramsey, Henke, Norfork, Lucas, Cotten, Karlen, Hawkins and Nix.

      Nationals Draft History: 2011 Rounds 41-50

      41st round: 3B Bryce Ortega, University of Arizona
      Ortega played 2B and SS at Arizona, and looks like a better option in the middle infield where power is not as necessary. Like I said, he doesn't have prototypical power for a 3B (only 6 HR in 4 seasons at Arizona), but has solid on-base skills and speed. He hit .353/.412/.430 this season for the Wildcats and was 25/29 in stolen bases. His plate discipline slipped a little in 2011, with 20 BB and 30 K (72 BB and 70 K in his previous 3 seasons), but were still pretty solid.
      From Ryan Finley, Arizona Central, 2/19/11: "The past, present and future of the Arizona Wildcats' baseball program can be summed up in one sentence. It's all in how you pronounce it.
      The reason for the UA's struggles in 2010? Bryce Ortega's back.
      Why Arizona should be even better in 2011: Bryce Ortega's back."
      From Rob Ozga Baseball Draft Report, 3/26/10: "Ortega put up very consistent numbers in his first two full seasons at Arizona, but has taken a step backwards in the power department in the early going of 2010. As a matter of fact, he’s the only one of the four players listed who has experienced a decline in his performance so far in 2010. The most commonly cited reason for Ortega’s early season struggles relate back to his transition from shortstop (a position he is more than capable of playing, for the record) to second base; not sure I buy it, but it’s a thought. Strong base running and good patience have long been the bedrocks of his offensive game, so it’s good to see those areas remain consistent despite his 2010 contact and power deficiencies. Patience at the plate, a two-year track record of pop (2010 be damned), excellent base running instincts, and a versatile glove fit the potential utility infielder mold pretty well, don’t you think?"

      42st round: SS David Kerian, Bishop Heelan HS (IA)
      Kerian sounds excited to be drafted., but is signed with the University of Illinois, so he will probably not sign.
      From Michael Klos, KTIV, 6/8/11: "'Ever since I was little, I always wanted to be drafted right out of high school, so I put in the hours to be able to do that, working hard in the off-season,' said David Kerian, Bishop Heelan Senior. 'If the opportunity to sign with the Nationals comes up and I get a good enough deal, then there is a chance I might go. Right now I just want to stay in school and continue my education.' Kerian says he's still looking at offers to play baseball at the collegiate level."
      Scouting videos of Kerian can be found here.

      43st round: SS Mitchell Morales, Wellington Community HS (FL)
      The Florida Atlantic University signee is a lefthanded hitting shortstop with good speed and a nice arm. As a late round HS player, he likely will not sign.
      From Prospect Wire, 5/25/11: "Mitchell Morales is an undersized slick-fielding shortstop who has signed with Florida Atlantic. His glove is enough to get him some pro attention, but his hitting is not quite ready for that level."

      44st round: 1B Matt Snyder, Ole Miss
      Snyder is the younger brother of 2005 Orioles 1st rounder Brandon Snyder and a graduate of Westfield HS in Chantilly. He hit .301/.425/.534 with 14 2B, 9 HR, 28 BB and 40 K. With one more year of eligibility, Snyder could return to school. Snyder has a lengthy injury history that limited him to a DH role for the entire 2011 season, so his bat needs to stay strong if he wants to be an ML player.

      45th round: RHP Richie Mirowski, Oklahoma Baptist University
      I like this pick. Mirowski is a senior from a small college that put up great K and BB numbers. He'll sign, there's little risk and there's a chance he continues to put up great K and BB numbers. 
      From Andrew of Summer Ball, 1/11/11: "My next top performer from the 2010 summer season is Richie Mirowski of the SLO Rattlers...this past Spring, Richie went 3-1, and had a great era of 2.14 in 43 innings pitched. He also fanned 55 batters during the season. Richie spent the summer of 2009 pitching for the SLO Rattlers, where he was an All-Star. He returned to the Rattlers for the 2010 summer season, and he didn't disappoint his fans with his performance either. While the California Collegiate League is filled with players from the "big schools", Richie proved that he could hang with them. He went 3-2, and had a league-low 1.54 era in 44 innings of work for the Rattlers. In 8 starts, he allowed just 38 hits and held opponents to a .230 batting average. He also had a great bb/k ratio of 10/53 this past summer."

      46th round: OF Tyler Thompson, Florida
      Thompson is the son of former San Francisco Giant Robby Thompson, now the bench coach for the Seattle Mariners. Because he is a junior coming off of a season with a ton of injuries and mediocre performance, there's a decent chance he won't sign. Thompson hit .279/.333/.372 in 86 at-bats, with 5 2B, 1 HR, 3/3 SB and a 7/22 BB/K ratio.
      From Jason Lieser, Palm Beach Post, 6/9/11: "Given the list of injuries Florida Gators outfielder Tyler Thompson sustained, this could have been a lost season. He tore his hamstring early in the year. He had an infection under a fingernail on his throwing hand. He injured his groin. Most recently, he was hampered by back spasms."

      47th round: LHP TJ Montgomery, Rockmart HS (GA)
      This is all I've found on TJ, unfortunately.
      From Perfect Game, 8/22/10: "Touched 84 and sat between 82-83, showing a smooth, repeatable delivery, some arm-side run, easy effort, and tight spin on his 2-8, 73-mph curve."
      Scouting video on Montgomery.

      48th round: OF Mike Bisenius, Wayne State College (NE)
      Mike is the younger brother of former Nationals pitcher Joe Bisenius (now with the White Sox).

      From My Wayne News, 6/9/11: "Bisenius was named to Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association 2011 NCAA Div. II third-team All-American honors after leading Wayne State in batting this past season with a .401 average with eight homers and 48 RBI’s. The first-team All-Northern Sun Conference selection ranked in the top 10 in nine different categories in the NSIC this season, leading the league in on-base percentage (.483) while ranking third in average, slugging percentage (.704), doubles (18) and tied for third in home runs with eight. He also ranked fifth in total bases (107) and tied for fifth in run scored (47) while ranking sixth in RBI’s (48) and ninth in hits with 61."

      49th round: OF Hunter Cole, Dorman HS (SC)
      Hunter is committed to the University of Georgia. He's got solid speed and a 90 mph arm. Would have been drafted higher, but he sent a letter to scouts asking that they not draft him, as he is set on going to Georgia.
      From Georgia's Official Site, 11/16/10: "'Hunter might be the best hitter in the country, he’s a really good baseball player and an outstanding student,' said (Georgia coach David) Perno. 'We’re going to take a hard look at him as a centerfielder, but he can play anywhere. He has a great approach as a hitter and has the ability to put up huge numbers in college. When you combine his academics and his athletic talent, he’s an exciting prospect.'"
      From John Whittle, The Big Spur, 9/2010: "Easily the best power bat in the state of South Carolina. Complete hitter that showed more defensively this summer than he has in the past."

      50th round: OF Tony Nix, University of California-Riverside
      Nix dominated opponents in 2010, hitting .361/.425/.699 with 19 2B, 2 3B and 11 HR. His success did not transfer into the 2011 season as well, with a .282/.343/.422 triple slash, 18 2B, 1 3B and 3 HR. If Nix wants success at the next level, he must improve his plate discipline (36 BB/109 K at UCR).

      Thursday, June 9, 2011

      Nationals Draft History: 2011 Rounds 31-40

      Round 31: SS Josh Tobias, Southeast Guilford HS (NC)
      The speedy, switch-hitting middle infield prospect compares his batting game to Carl Crawford and defense to Jimmy Rollins. He will most likely fulfill his commitment to the University of Florida, though.
      From Perfect Game:
      "Excellent All around Talent, Very good at WWBA, big power/speed combo, Aflac All American, big showing at PG National."
      From Steve Garrity, DraftSite, 7/14/10
      "Josh Tobias is...5’9"-ish, but he is built like a running back at 190 lbs. In the case of Tobias, big things come in small packages, as he produces some of the biggest power in the class. He is a switch hitter, though that may come to an end at the professional level as he is much more comfortable from the right hand side. Tobias utilizes a very short and compact stroke, along an extremely quiet load (he turns his front foot in to transfer his weight back before exploding forward), and amazingly quick hands to make consistent contact. In the field, he plays the left side of the infield, and can handle himself on the high school level. Tobias has plus speed, and it is a huge help at short, as it allows him to make all the plays. However the game is faster at the professional level, and with his size, some are not ruling out a possible move to second base. Tobias is one of the most toolsy players on the prep scene, and he continues to improve."

      Round 32: OF Billy Burns, Mercer University
      There isn't a whole lot of info on Billy Burns out there, but here is what I've dug up: Atlanta's 16th rounder in 2008 hit .357/.473/.509 in 224 at-bats for Mercer University this year. His power is solid but unspectacular (12 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR) but his plate discipline is great (39 BB/29 K) as are his base-stealing abilities (29/32 SB this year). Burns was a high school teammate of Virginia Tech C Chris Kay, a friend of the blog, so I'll do my best to snag an interview to find out more about him.

      Round 33: 2B Trey Karlen, Tennessee-Martin
      UTM is certainly ecstatic with Karlen's selection, as he is their first draftee since 1998. He is listed as a 2B on MLB's draft page, but played 3B and OF for the Skyhawks. Karlen hit .297/.365/.513 in 222 at-bats for Tennesse-Martin, adding 19 doubles, 1 triple and 9 home runs. His 19 BB/32 K ratio could use some work, however, but his base-stealing game is solid already (21/23 SB). Karlen's 2010 season at UTM was fantastic, as he hit .356/.464/.671 with 14 HR and 30 SB. He struggled to a .185/.250/.252 triple slash on his summer wooden bat league team, the New Market (VA) Rebels, so he does have work to do.

      Round 34: RHP Calvin Drummond, University of San Diego
      Drummond, a 38th round pick by the Brewers in 2008, went 3-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 76 and 2/3 innings this year for San Diego. His peripherals weren't all that impressive; 4.34 BB/9, 6.46 K/9 and almost 1 hit allowed for each inning pitched. Drummond did keep the ball in the yard well, however, and found ways to get outs.
      From John Klima, Baseball Beginnings, 5/17/10
      "Drummond was 91-92 in this look, 93-94 when I saw him in the Fall. The big body, the frame, and the radar gun will get him in the door. What he needs to keep himself there are consistent mechanics leading to consistent stuff. He did get the full scouting card treatment from me, which automatically means your arm interests me." Note-link includes video.
      From Joel Badzinski, LaCrosse Tribune, 5/30/10:
      "The key adjustment Drummond made was shelving his slider in favor of a cut fastball. His repertoire now includes a fastball that sits at 91 to 93 mph, a curveball, changeup and the cutter. 'All of his stuff can compete in the major leagues,' (Drummond's private instructor, former Major League pitcher Gary) Buckels said. 'He moved to the cutter and he caught on right away; it's flat-out nasty.'"

      Round 35: RHP Alex Kreis, Jamestown College
      From the Grand Forks Herald, 6/8/11:
      "Kreis, a right-handed pitcher, has named the Dakota Athletic Conference's pitcher of the year each of the past two seasons. He posted a 21-5 record in his four seasons pitching at Jamestown College, including 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA this spring. He was reported to have consistently been throwing in the 91-92 mile-per-hour range at a recent tryout with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks."
      From Tracy Erickson, SID of Jamestown College, 6/8/11:
      "Kreis was a high school product from Grand Forks, N.D. (Central HS) who went on to have a stellar career for the Jimmies from 2008-2011. In his four years at Jamestown College, Kreis started 30 games and compiled an overall record of 21-5, which included going a perfect 11-0 in his sophomore and junior seasons. He averaged a strikeout per inning during his career, throwing 209 innings while striking out 217 batters. He finished with a career ERA of 3.49. "

      Round 36: LHP Ben Hawkins, University of West Florida
      Hawkins threw a no-hitter this season for the eventual Division II National Champions, the University of West Florida Argonauts. During the regular season, Hawkins went 11-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 86 and 2/3 innings. He struck out 101 batters and walked 44, and allowed only 12 extra base hits all season. He continued to pitch well in the NCAA South Regional, allowing only 4 runs on 6 hits in 12 and 1/3 innings. Hawkins did have control issues down the stretch, but could be a solid pickup from a smaller school.

      Round 37: RHP Derrick Bleeker, Howard College
      The Nationals grabbed #1 (Goodwin), #4 (Stubbs) and #9 (Bleeker) from Baseball America's pre-sesaon top 20 JuCo/Small College prospects list. Bleeker started out at Arkansas but apparently transferred for playing time concerns. He is currently committed to play at UNC next season.
      From Brian Howell of the Longmont Times-Call, 6/8/11:
      "Bleeker was a relief pitcher at Howard, compiling a 2.84 earned-run average and two saves in 12.2 innings of work. He struck out 14 hitters and walked just two. Also an infielder, he hit .318 (21-for-66) with four home runs and 19 RBIs."

      Round 38: LHP Brett Mooneyham, Stanford
      Mooneyham missed the entire 2011 sesaon due to injury, as you'll read. He still has at least 1 more year of eligibility, so he likely will not sign.
      From the Merced Sun-Star, 6/9/11:
      "Mooneyham missed his entire junior season with the Cardinal after cutting the middle finger on his throwing hand before the start of the season. The gash required surgery and the former Buhach Colony ace was forced to sit for the year. It was a disappointing blow after Moooneyham had such a successful summer with the USA Collegiate National Team. He pitched in four games, going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings. Mooneyham is 9-10 with a 4.67 ERA in 30 games with Stanford. He has 28 career starts and 171 strikeouts in 1541/3 innings pitched."

      From John Klima, Baseball Beginnings, 7/15/10: "Mooneyham didn’t pitch very well when I saw him at UCLA, but he still has the body and arm speed to be a first-round talent. The day I saw him, Mooneyham struggled with his release points and consistency. His fastball kept starting up in the strike zone. These things are correctable, and I hope Mooneyham has made progress by the time I see him next."
      From Klima, 7/14/10: "Mooneyham is made for the mound, with tall and very broad shoulders. His fastball in this look was 89-92, averaged 90, and I felt lacked major league average movement and command. The curveball was 72-77, with average command, but lacked the power and bite the pitch should have. He threw a few change-ups at 78, which were average pitches. All this said, Mooneyham has a good arm. He needs to tighten his delivery based on this look. Too many times, he’s open, too many times, his fastball is starting up in the zone. His arm slows on the change-up. His stride and landing points were inconsistent in this look. He pitched with a slow tempo and didn’t look very confident in this outing. He wasn’t pitching with his fastball and this didn’t help him. All this said, Mooneyham is still a major league prospect. But he needs polish. What I’m looking for next time I see him is more consistent mechanics, more conditioning, and more confidence in himself and his fastball. I am by no means writing him off, but I want to see what comes next."
      From his scouting report from 2008: "A big, imposing lefty with the potential to have some plus stuff is always interesting, but Mooneyham's lack of command may cause some to pause. He's got serious arm strength and should develop three average or above offerings in the future. The combination of wildness, a concern over whether he's mentally ready to make the leap to pro ball, a commitment to Stanford and having Scott Boras as an advisor all make Mooneyham a bit of a wild card for Draft day." Note-he was taken in the 15th round of the 2008 draft by San Diego.
      Other articles/scouting reports on Mooneyham can be read here and here.

      Round 39: OF Peter Verdin, Georgia
      Verdin is Paul VI product, so don't let the Georgia fool you on this local pick. He only hit .258/.325/.331 this season, with an awful 8 BB/37 K ratio. He did hit over .300 in his sophomore season, though, so there is room for improvement. He says he'll probably come back to school.
      From Georgia's official website: "When I heard I’d been drafted by the Nationals I thought that was cool because that's my hometown team," said Verdin. "I wasn't sure if I was going to get drafted and going in the 39th round, I'm not expecting too much so I'll probably be coming back to school."

      Round 40: OF Stephen Collum, Cartersville HS (GA)
      Drafted as an OF, but also has pitched. Can't find anything on a potential college commitment.
      From Perfect Game: "Stephen Collum is a 2011 RHP/OF with a 6'3'', 180 lb. frame from Cartersville, GA who attends Cartersville. Tall athletic build, fast-twitch athlete, 3/4 arm slot on the mound, clean arm circle, arm works well, velo projects down the road, feel for 11 to 5 curveball, good life on change-up, fills up the strike zone, solid delivery, switch-hitter, LH-good bat speed, consistent solid contact, stays on the ball well, RH-line-drive approach, smooth swing, aggressive, good bat speed, similar from both sides of the plate, runs well, 6.99 sixty, huge throwing arm in the outfield, good footwork, accurate, athletic actions, strong student. Named to Top Prospect Team."

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Nationals Draft History: 2011 Rounds 21-30

      Round 21: LHP Todd Simko, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi roundup: "Simko had a 4.31 ERA and walked 46 batters in 96 innings but set a school record with 10 wins."
      Simko has an extraordinary backstory: as Andrew Masuda of KSBY reports, "Simko broke his neck and his throwing hand and nearly died in a major car crash when he was in high school. Now, five years later, he's a major league draft pick." The San Luis Obispo Tribune went into further depth on 3/21/07, writing that "an off-duty emergency doctor was riding a bicycle when he came upon the wreck and prevented Todd from being moved — an eventual life-saving move considering doctors later told Todd he might have been paralyzed or killed had his neck shifted a minimum of two millimeters." Crazy stuff.
      In terms of Simko's actual performance, his 4.31 BB/9 and 6.38 K/9 make me a little wary, but he found a way to get things done with a 4.31 ERA and 10-6 record. I have yet to find anything about his pitches, velocity or potential.

      Round 22: RHP Travis Henke, Arkansas-Little Rock roundup: "Henke worked out of the bullpen as a junior, but started 14 games with a 5.20 ERA as a senior."
      Henke's numbers aren't incredibly impressive. His 5.20 ERA and 61 K in 90 innings are nothing really to brag about, but with 28 walks, he does have decent control.. When you're talking about 22nd round picks, you can't really go wrong, and scouts can certailny see tweaks in pitches and mechanics that I can't just looking at his stats. He is 6'6", so there is still some room for more power in his arsenal. Maybe his uncle Tom Henke can hook Tyler Clippard with some sweet specs, too!
      Matthew Harris of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a nice article about Travis and Tom's relationship.

      Round 23: 2B Khayyan Norfork, Tennessee roundup: Norfork stole 43 bases in two seasons at Tennessee, where he hit .299."
      Norfork's 2011 stat line: .332/.430/.483, 68 H/205 AB, 36 R, 15 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 28 BB/35 K, 29/33 SB. 36 runs strikes me as a low number for a speedy player who reached base over 100 times, so maybe his base-running abilities need work. His base-stealing abilities are pretty sweet, though.
      Grant Ramey of Go Vols Extra (3/24/11) has a nice article about Norfork's road to baseball. He devoted more effort to basketball than baseball all the way through high school, which makes his journey even more impressive. In the article, Norfork attributes his 2011 success to the Cape Cod League last summer, where he was forced to shorten his swing to have success with a wooden bat against 90+ MPH fastballs.
      UT Sports TV has a nice video feature on him (5/10/11).

      Round 24: LHP Kyle Ottoson, Arizona State roundup: The Nationals are the fourth team to draft Ottoson, whom the Rockies selected in 2008 (39th round), the Yankees picked in '09 (36th) and the Phillies took in '10 (48th)."
      From Parker Cotton of the Greeley Tribune, 6/7/2011: "'The thing you always remember about Kyle was that nasty knuckle curve,' Danley said. 'None of our guys could hit it in practice and none of the opponents could either.' As for possibly signing with the Nationals, Ottoson said he spoke with the team’s area scout Mitch Sokol on Tuesday afternoon and said more negotiations would take place when ASU’s season is finished. 'Right now I’m excited about heading to Austin tomorrow and a chance to play in the College World Series,' Ottoson said. In the event Ottoson decides not to sign with the Nationals, he still has Arizona State to fall back on. 'If I don’t go to the Nationals, I’m having a great time at ASU and I love playing in the Pac-10, and I would look forward to coming back next season to help get us to the College World Series again,' Ottoson said. On the other hand, if he signs, he knows he would have to start in the minors, but that’s all part of the journey. 'That’s the first step,' Ottoson said. 'I’d be more than happy to go where they send me and get my road started.'"
      2.18 ERA, 112 hits allowed, 43 BB/183 K in 153 innings in community college from 09-10. 3.40 ERA, 43 hits allowed, 20 BB/46 K in 50 and 1/3 innings for Arizona State this year. Solid pick.

      Round 25: C Erick Fernandez, Georgetown roundup: The catcher consistently hit for average and finished his Georgetown career with a .325 mark."
      From Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby, 6/17/10: "Fernandez has been seen as a solid defensive catcher for some time, and he fits in nicely with the pick of Mayo, as they're more traditional defensive catchers in terms of size and strength."
      Fun fact: Fernandez was smart enough to achieve a 4.4 GPA at Georgetown, but still dons the tools of ignorance. Fernandez hit .315/.385/.478 this year with 16 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 14 BB and 21 K, throwing out 21 of 56 would-be base stealers (37.5%). More than just a token local kid getting picked in the middle rounds.

      Round 26: SS Shawn Pleffner, Tampa roundup: Pleffner hit .366, drove in 39 runs and scored 42 of his own after playing two seasons at Tallahassee Community College."
      The Gambrills, Md./Arundel HS native is big for a shortstop (6'4" 220), but I haven't seen anything that suggests he'll change positions. He hit .366/.454/.559 this season.

      Round 27: LHP Bobby Lucas Jr., George Washington roundup: The 6-foot-4 left-hander struck out 11.92 batters per nine innings but went 2-8 with a 5.27 ERA in his first full season as a starter."
      The Baltimore/Calvert Hall native's biggest critic is himself, according to Cory Weinberg of the GW Hatchet (4/21/11): "'I'm not overpowering. I really have to try to pitch. I can't rely on pure 'stuff.' I've embraced that more and more as I've gotten older so it's made me a better pitcher all around,' Lucas said. Lucas has developed his two-seam fastball, which darts and dives toward hitters, and complimented his repertoire with a slider that breaks in on right-handed batters. He has served Atlantic-10 hitters a steady diet of off-speed pitches, his four-seam fastball rarely breaking 90 miles per hour. 'Coming in from high school, where my fastball would get a lot of swings and misses, it was really demoralizing to come to college and see that your fastball isn't what it was, because everyone throws as hard,' Lucas said."

      Round 28: RHP Kenneth Ferrer, Elon roundup: The Indians selected Ferrer in the 35th round last year, but he returned to Elon and went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA."
      The senior RHP threw 69 and 1/3 innings this year, allowing 67 hits, 38 BB and 50 K. Ferrer ended his Elon career with 4.98 BB/9 and 7.03 K/9, so he needs to improve his control. He limited opposing batters to 10 extra base hits as well. He apparently was throwing 93 MPH in high school (can't find any current velocity info), so the Nats should see him as a viable, quick-signing bullpen arm.

      Round 29: C Sean Cotten, Tusculum College roundup: Cotten shattered the school record with 186 RBIs in his four-year career. He hit 35 career home runs and stole 34 bases, while also hitting for average."
      Cotten is Tusculum's all-time HR, RBI, TB, BB and sacrifice fly leader. Can't find anything else on him at the moment other than that he also played some 1B at Tusculum.

      Round 30: LHP Bryan Harper, South Carolina roundup: The Nationals' selected Bryce Harper's older brother for the second time after taking him in the 31st round of the '08 Draft. He pitched 18 1/3 innings and allowed 11 runs in his only season at South Carolina."
      From, 3/25/2010: "Harper comfortably throws in the 89-91 mph range and will occasionally touch 92 mph. He's got average movement on his fastball. Curve: It's a wide, hard, three-quarters, sweeping breaking ball, thrown 76-78 mph...particularly tough on left-handed hitters. Changeup: He has a very good feel for his changeup. Control: His walk rate hasn't been great, but his overall command is not bad. Poise: He's very competitive on the mound and seems to be able to pitch through it when he doesn't have his best stuff. Strengths: Good competitiveness on the mound, improving fastball, with maybe more in the tank. Good overall feel for pitching. Weaknesses: He doesn't always pitch like he's 6-foot-5, with a little drop and drive in his delivery. While it's not bad, he could use some refinement to his command. Tall, lanky lefties who can touch 92 mph aren't all that common, and Harper also has a pretty good feel for his breaking ball and changeup. He'll need to cut down on his walk rate a bit, but there's also room for growth in his frame and has some upside as he continues to learn how to pitch."

      Bryce's big brother had an up and down 2011 season, with a 5.40 ERA to date in 18 and 1/3 innings. His 18 K looks good, but the 17 walks are a little disheartening. That being said, he only walked 29 in 65 and 1/3 innings in JuCo last year, so this year's control issues are likely an outlier due to a small sample size. Harper was excellent in limiting opposing hitters to singles, however, only allowing one double on the season and no triples or homers. Harper was drafted in the 27th round last year by the Cubs, but did not sign due to his commitment to South Carolina. It will be interesting to see if Harper turns down the Nationals, but if he signs, they will have quite a coup with an intriguing lefty arm in the 30th round.

      Nationals Draft History: 2011 Rounds 11-20

      Round 11: OF Caleb Ramsey, Houston roundup: "Ramsey hit .318 and drove in 46 runs in his senior season. He stole five bases and did not homer."
      Unfortunately, there is very little I could find on Ramsey besides this interview from last summer. The 2010 Cape Cod League All-Star hit .318/.416/.430 this year, including a bunch of doubles and triples but no homers in his senior season at Houston. He was 5/6 on stolen bases as well. Since Ramsey is on Twitter, I will do my best to contact him and find out what type of player he really is.
      Follow Caleb on Twitter

      Round 12: LHP Blake Monar, Indiana roundup: "A shoulder injury limited Monar to 3 1/3 innings a year ago, but he recovered to go 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA this season."
      Monar was taken out of high school by the Yankees in 2009's 16th round.  
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "A year ago, lefthander Blake Monar's career as a pitcher appeared finished. He injured his shoulder in Indiana's season opener and served as a reserve outfielder, then spent the summer lifting weights and honing his swing. But his arm bounced back in the fall, allowing him to return to the mound. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder's out pitch always has been his curveball, and he sets it up with an 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92. His changeup is effective at times, though he'll need better command to remain a starter rather than becoming a lefty specialist. Despite his comeback, his medical history still concerns some teams." 
      From Gordon Engelhardt, Evansville Courier & Press, 6/7/2011: "Monar said a Nationals scout contacted him before and after he was selected and they were pretty close financially. 'I think when it's all said and done I will get top-10 round money,' Monar said. 'Negotiations haven't really started yet. But they will definitely be around the ballpark I'm asking for. I don't want to say numbers yet. I'm pretty happy how everything went down.' Monar, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, posted a 6-3 record with a 3.52 earned run average for the Hoosiers."

      Round 13: 1B Casey Kalenkosky, Texas State roundup: "Kalenkosky provides some pop, as his 21 home runs ranked sixth in the nation entering NCAA Regionals, but he also boasted a .327 batting average this season."  
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Kalenkosky (13th round, Texas State) has massive power (21 homers) that could play nicely in pro ball if he keeps the strikeouts (50 in 245 AB) from eating him up."
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "Kalenkosky hit 20 homers in two seasons at Cisco (Texas) JC and nearly matched that total during the regular season, tying the Texas State record with 18. The 6-foot, 195-pound righthanded hitter's power will have to carry him, however. He lacks the pitch recognition to hit for a high average and is a below-average runner and defender. He does have arm strength and has seen brief action as a catcher."

      Round 14: LF Cody Stubbs, Walters State CC roundup: "The Red Sox drafted Stubbs out of high school (29th round, 2009), but he went to Tennessee for a season before transferring to Walters State, where he also played for one season."
      Known as Roland by, but goes by Cody. Committed to UNC for next year. Hit .413 with 17 homers and 76 RBI's this season. Really not a whole lot on Stubbs online, but I'll do my best to dig more up!

      Round 15: SS Zach Houchins, Louisburg College roundup: "Houchins hit .349 with four home runs, 35 RBIs and seven stolen bases."  
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "The best junior-college prospect in the state is either shortstop Zach Houchins or first baseman Tyler Molinaro. Houchins has good strength and bat speed and has consistently hit the ball hard this season. He has a good arm but lacks the speed and actions to stay at shortstop."
      Zach's Twitter has been deleted after some uproar from the Nationals blogosphere for being inappropriate/racist/bad. For Love of the Nationals has a recap post, though.

      Round 16: SS Deion Williams, Redan H.S. (Ga.) roundup: "The 6-foot-3 shortstop signed a letter of intent at Georgia State after playing in the Under Armour All-American Game as a high school junior. His father and grandfather both played professionally in the Red Sox organization."
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Williams is toolsy and raw and has major league bloodlines, being the grandson of former major leaguer George Scott."
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "The state's top middle-infield challenger to Julius Gaines was athletic Deion Williams, who plays at Redan High, the same school that produced recent big league infielders Brandon Phillips and Chris Nelson. At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, he's tall and lean with an excellent frame that should fill out well. He has bloodlines as the grandson of former big league slugger George Scott. His defense is his best attribute now, as he has arm strength and quick feet. He doesn't have great actions, and while his swing has some looseness, he doesn't drive the ball consistently. He's signed to Georgia State."
      "Deion Williams is a sleeper! Every scout and scouting department that I speak with drools at his potential, projection and tools. He is worth the risk!"-Commenter MLB Scout II on Minor League Ball, 4/24/2011.
      From Mike Holmes, Georgia State Sports, 11/17/2010: "Deion Williams is a nationally ranked prospect from Redan High School where he played for Marvin Pruitt, one of the most successful baseball coaches in the state...A multi-tool shortstop, Deion currently ranked as the fifth best player in the state of Georgia and is ranked 86th nationally by PGCrosschecker...He led Redan to the final four of the state playoffs last season, one of the top finishes in school history...Last year, he participated in the Under Armour All-American Game after playing summer ball for former Panthers Mark Mortimer and Jack Stewart...Baseball has a long tradition in his family as his grandfather, George Scott, signed with the Boston Red Sox and spent 13 years playing professional baseball. His father Dion also played in the Boston Red Sox organization and was the head coach at McNair High School for 11 years, winning 200 games."

      Round 17: RHP Esteban Guzman, San Jose State roundup: "The 6-foot-4 Guzman struck out 74 batters over 75 2/3 innings with a 3.33 ERA."

      Guzman sounds ecstatic to be drafted and says he'll likely sign, according to Paul Farmer of the Fairfield Daily Republic (6/7/2011). Farmer quotes Guzman as saying, "There’s a great chance I’ll probably sign and start my career this summer," as well as "Obviously it’s a dream come true. I get to start my pro career, but it’s just a start."
       In the same article, his coach Jason Chatham described him as a pitcher: "The kid lives in the low 90s. He’s got a great breaking ball. He’s got excellent poise on the mound."
      SJSU's website had a nice getting-to-know-you interview with him last year.

      Round 18: LHP Nicholas Lee, Weatherford College roundup: "The Draft-eligible southpaw went 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA this season."
      Lee pitched for Weatherford, a Junior College in Texas this year, and is signed to play for the Oklahoma Sooners next year. He was a 38th round draft pick last year by the Houston Astros.
      From Perfect Game: "Lefty showed mid 80s FB and nice slider at AC"
      Not a whole lot of info on Lee because it's hard to Google a guy named Nick Lee. I'll be adding stuff to Lee's profile whenever I find it, though.

      Round 19, RHP Hawtin Buchanan, Biloxi H.S. (Miss.) roundup: "The 6-foot-8 Buchanan dropped this low over fears that he will follow through on his commitment to Ole Miss. His fastball is in the low 90s."
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Buchanan is strongly committed to Ole Miss but would have gone 15 rounds higher if considered more signable."
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "Scouts flocked to Mississippi for a deep pool of high school talent this year, and the towering Buchanan seemed to be at his best when the heat was on. At 6-foot-8, he's athletic enough to have played quarterback in the fall, and he has room to fill out even though he's a listed 230 pounds. He repeats his delivery well for a prep pitcher of his size, and one evaluator called him the "definition of a big-body power arm." He elicits comparisons to former Ole Miss righthander Cody Satterwhite, who was similarly physical, but Buchanan may throw harder more consistently. After sitting 86-91 mph early in the spring, he was hitting more 93s as the season went along. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and he hasn't shown much of a feel for his loopy, slow curveball. Some scouts are concerned about Buchanan's arm action in the back, as his elbow tends to get inverted, much as Stephen Strasburg's more celebrated arm does. Buchanan was at his best against the likes of Senquez Golson and Mason Robbins, two of Mississippi's top prep hitters. He's an Ole Miss legacy who is considered a tough sign."
      From Matt Garrioch, MLB Bonus Baby, 11/22/2010: "Hawtin is all projection. He's 6'8" and throws low 90's. He's athletic for his size and is definitely a project worth taking a shot on." Garrioch ranked Buchanan #42 on his top 150 here.
      From Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby, 7/18/2010: "Extremely tall, and he still manages to have projection despite already packing on some 230-240 pounds on his 6’8’’ frame. He has a very deceptive above-average fastball when he’s on, and his release point is so close to the plate that his 88-90 mph fastball looks more like 91-93. His curveball is a potential plus pitch, too, and I’ve heard of a few average changeups thrown in when he was here at East Cobb a couple weeks ago. If he had 3-4 more miles an hour on his fastball, we’d be talking about him as a top ten pick."
      From Team One Baseball, 6/28/2010: "Hawtin has a mature frame and a pro pitcher body, standing 6’8’’ and weighing 240 lbs.  He utilizes his great body to throw his fast ball on a downhill plane that ranges from 86-90 MPH.  Hawtin has a quick, fluid delivery, good glove side lead, and a smooth arm action.  Buchanan has excellent mound presence, and a sharp 11-5 breaking ball with good potential.  Hawtin's stock on the mound can rise even higher if he can improve his change-up."

      From what I've read, Buchanan will almost certainly fulfill his commitment to Ole Miss rather than sign. Stranger things have certainly happened, though, as the Nats have been very aggressive with drafting and signing HS pitchers with signability issues in the past (Robbie Ray, Jack McGeary, Brandon King, etc.). I wonder if the Nationals drafted Buchanan and Laxer back-to-back to try and convince the two of them to go pro together. Pure speculation, of course, but adding a second gigantic righty in this draft would be huge for the Nationals (literally).
      Follow Hawtin on Twitter

      Round 20, RHP Josh Laxer, Madison Central H.S. (Miss.) roundup: "Another Ole Miss commit, Laxer throws a 95 mph fastball. He struck out 110 batters and walked 19 in 68 innings this season."
      From Baseball America, 6/7/2011: "In many years, Mississippi signee Josh Laxer would have been the top prep pitcher in the state. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he pounds the strike zone with quality stuff, touching the low 90s and sitting around 88-89 mph with a fastball that has good armside life and sink at times. He spots his slurvy breaking ball well and knows how to pitch. His lack of physicality may make college ball a better fit."
      From Josh Dellenger, The Clairon-Ledger, 6/4/2011: "As the Jaguars' ace, the Ole Miss signee drew dozens of scouts with his 95-mph fastball, a nasty slider and unique change-up - the last one he swiped from his older brother. For Laxer to bypass a college career at Ole Miss, the money must be right. In fact, he has a figure in mind: 'Anywhere around' $900,000, he said. It's an amount he and his family agreed upon."
      From Team One Baseball, 6/28/2010: "Laxer is a strong, thin, wiry athlete that currently projects better on the hill than in the INF.  Josh throws a fast ball ranging from 86 to 90 MPH that has A/S run.  He is an aggressive Pitcher with a live / loose arm and an on-time delivery.  He has quality off-speed pitches, he changes speeds very well, and can pitch to both sides of the plate.  Laxer has excellent mound presence and is a legitimate prospect.  In the INF, Josh has soft hands and good lateral movements.  He has a good idea, he can throw from different arm slots, and he makes things look easy.  Offensively, Laxer is an aggressive hitter with good strength and pop in his bat.  He centers the ball well on the barrel and with better use of his lower 1/2 strong offensive numbers can become even better." Note-this is from last summer, so apparently his fastball velocity increased by 5 MPH in that span.

      It's interesting to see that Laxer has the figure he's willing to sign for prepared (and public): $900k. In a draft that features some expensive players at the top but a ton of college seniors that will sign around or under slot in the top 10 rounds, the Nationals can likely afford to pay Laxer.
      Read my interview with Josh here.
      Follow Josh on Twitter

      Tuesday, June 7, 2011

      Nationals Draft History: 2011 Rounds 3-10

      This post will be updated throughout the day as the Nats make more picks. For real-time thoughts, be sure to follow me on twitter @seanhoganvt.

      Round 3: LHP Matt Purke out of TCU. Another elite talent with injury problems. He's no guarantee to sign both because of his injury and his sophomore eligibility. The 3rd round is the one to risk a pick, though, as the Nats get a compensation pick at the end of the 3rd next year if he doesn't sign. I'm ecstatic with the pick - elite talent doesn't grow on trees.

      Notes on Purke:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Huge wild card. Put up great numbers (1.71 ERA, 61/20 K/BB in 53 IP, 36 hits) despite injury issues and loss of velocity. Has sophomore leverage. If he looks good this summer, he could earn first round money, but my psychic powers say he heads back to college."
      From Keith Law via Amanda Comack, The Washington Times, 6/7/2011:
      "I could craft you an explanation about how the time off cost him arm strength, and how he didn't have time to rehab the arm and regain both velocity and durability, and it would all make sense. I'm not dismissing the possibility that given time and the right strengthening program, Purke can again pitch like he did during his healthy and successful freshman year. But the bottom line is that pitchers with big price tags need to show big stuff, and Purke didn't do it in what is likely his last opportunity before the draft to show he's worth what he's expected to demand."
      From John Manuel, Baseball America, 6/7/2011:
      Purke was never quite right in 2011. He didn't pitch last summer or fall and wasn't able to recapture his '10 form in 2011. Purke's fastball hit the mid-90s last year and sat at average this year, and his stuff across the board was down, plus he missed time with arm issues. He was an unsigned first-rounder in 2009 and might be the toughest sign in this draft, considering he agreed to a $6 million deal in '09 before it was vetoed by the commissioner's office.
      On 6/1/2011, John Sickels of Minor League Ball noted that Purke was likely around 40 on his draft board. Rendon was #1, Meyer was #24 and Goodwin was #25.
      On 6/3/2011, Matt Garrioch of MLB Bonus Baby listed Rendon as his #1, Meyer #20, Purke #31 and Goodwin #78.

      Round 4: LHP Kylin Turnbull out of Santa Barbara City College. 2010 30th round pick by the White Sox. Reliever whose fastball reached the mid 90's in MPH this year, and 6'5" height gives him room for physical growth.

      Notes on Turnbull:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Big projectable lefty put up excellent numbers this year, velocity is average but slider and splitter have potential and his velocity could pick up further. Sleeper pick. Oregon commitment."
      From Nathan Rode, Baseball America, 6/7/2011:
      "Faded down the stretch but has lean, loose frame at 6-foot-4, 195. Average fastball but has touched 93-94. Average splitter and fringy slider."
      On 6/2/2011, John Sickels named Turnbull as a player he was interested in for his Shadow Draft.
      On 5/13/2011, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America tweeted, "Kylin Turnbull's command has been spotty, but he's gotten Ks with fastball, SL (78-81) & SP. Heard he's touched 94 this yr, but 87-91 today."
      From John Klima, Baseball Beginnings, 7/3/2010:
      "A GOOD GET IF YOU CAN SIGN HIM: Santa Barbara City College left-hander Kylin Turnbull threw very well this spring. Many scouts who saw him felt there is much projection left in his arm." (Note that this is from last year's draft).

      Round 5: 3B Matt Skole out of Georgia Tech.
      Hit 47 homers in 3 years at Georgia Tech, but only 10 came in 2011. Maintained the plate discipline improvements he made between his freshman and sophomore years this year. Briefly suspended this season for a DUI in late February. Aside from the DUI, Skole is a solid pick and could move fairly quickly through the organization. At 3B, he would be a good hitter with a bad glove. At 1B/LF, he would be an average hitter with a mediocre glove. Intriguing prospect for now due to the power.

      Notes on Skole:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Strong left-handed power, good strike zone judgment, opinions split on whether he can remain at third base, but the bat looks good."
      From Mike Newman, Scouting the Sally, 4/20/2011:
      "Brother of former 1st round pick Jake Skole...Slightly below average athlete overall; Moves well for a man his size...More compact stroke than most left-handed hitters his size...Patient hitter; Rarely chases pitches outside the strike zone – even against mid-90′s velocity...See more potential as an average/on base hitter than true power hitting threat...Present speed is below average and is unlikely to improve...Future defensive home is uncertain...Showed a lack of confidence at third base; Shied away from cutting ball off in the 5/6 hole...Looks more comfortable at first base; Prospect status takes a definite hit if he settles in at 1B permanently...Has made a few starts behind the plate this season"
      "For whatever reason, the first name to pop into my head when seeing Skole play was Anthony Rizzo. To be clear, Skole would be a poor man’s version of the San Diego Padres first base prospect, but that has value nonetheless. I suspect he will at least be given an offseason to work on his defense at third base, if not longer since his prospect status is significantly higher at the hot corner. Should he be forced to move over the first base, Skole’s value takes a significant hit as his offensive game is strong, but not elite."
      From Matt Grabusky, MLB Draft Guide, 4/13/2011:
      "Skole will go as far as his bat will take him. He is a patient hitter with plus power. He does have a head tug that is often mentioned and needs to be corrected if he is to reach his potential. Skole has a plus arm, but that is his only strenth in the field. His range is limited and his hands are suspect. A move to 1st or, possibly, left is on the horizon."
      Matt Garrioch of MLB Bonus Baby had Skole listed 95th on his draft list on 6/3/2011 and 137th back on 11/22/2010.
      Brian Foley of College Baseball Daily had Skole listed 59th on his draft list on 11/20/2010.

      Round 6: RHP Taylor Hill out of Vanderbilt.
      While his given name is David (and that's what the MLB lists by), but he goes by Taylor. Drafted in the 30th round by the Indians last year. Struck out 13 in Vandy's victory over Belmont on Sunday. Hill was listed as the 173rd best player in the draft by Baseball America. Looks like a solid organizational arm with the ability to make it as a middle reliever. Little leverage as a senior, so he should sign quickly for fairly cheap.

      Notes on Hill:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "88-92 sinker, good slider and changeup, throws strikes, knows how to pitch. Possible fourth starter but a nice value selection."
      From A Scout's View, 6/7/2011:
      "a bit of a slinger, good arm strength and will show you a 92-93 on occasion...pitches well down in the zone and around 90-91...fb up tends to straighten out and slider piece is just ok...command and control are good enough to be a good middle guy in the ML or a poor man's 5th man in the ML rotation...doesn't have any real knock out pitch, but he gets people out."
      From John Klima, Baseball Beginnings, 3/12/2010:
      "Hill should have more power than he does now. That’s the factor that might help make Hill a better pro than a college pitcher. He has a barrel chest and broad shoulders and average arm speed, but with the proper combination of conditioning and instruction, he could be a better pro than the draft round he will likely fall in. In other words, he’s a tweener, but there might be more to work with than meets the eye....he won’t blow anyone away despite a frame that indicates there should be more power, but an improved change-up should help level that playing field. Right now I would conclude Hill has a touch more power than he is presently showing, but that alone will not make for enough power. His control and command on all pitches is serviceable enough to where Hill could be a decent guy if he can find a touch more power and a signature secondary pitch. Conclusion: This is a good draft pick to send to a good pro pitching coach."
      From Jeff Ellis, Indians Prospect Insider, 6/8/2010:
      "Taylor Hill is the definition of a team player he has pitched all over in the pen and as a starter. He seems destined for the pen where he excelled a year ago in the Cape. He has done well this year as a starter, but the previous two years had been solid but unimpressive. Hill has 2 plus pitches with a fastball that has good sink that is in the low 90’s. This pitch is offset by his low 80’s slider which also grades out as plus. He has a changeup in the high 70’s, but it is his weakest pitch by far. His mechanics need cleaned up, but he has the big body and durability you would want in a pitcher. He was rated as a Top 200 player by PGCrosschecker (in 2010)."

      Round 7: RHP Brian Dupra out of Notre Dame
      The trend of college senior RHPs continues with Dupra, Holt, Anderson and Rodriguez all in a row. Another favorite of John Sickels, who took him in the 6th round of his shadow draft today, noting that he had a good gut feeling on Dupra. #190 on Matt Garrioch's top 200 from 6/3/2011 and #147 on 11/22/2010. Drafted in the 11th round by Detroit in 2010.

      Notes on Dupra:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "College senior but don't underestimate him, fastball at 90-95, made large improvements with slider and changeup this year, good size at solidly built 6-3, 205"
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 5/11/2011
      "Senior with live arm has made big strides in the last year."
      From Sickels, 3/30/2011:
      "Works at 90-93 and has hit 96 at times. Throws a changeup but inconsistent breaking stuff kept him from great success in past seasons. Dramatic improvement in stats this year is notable. Is it the different bat, or has he figured something out? He's definitely worth tracking."
      From Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby, 6/15/2010:
      "Seiler Rating 2C2: Dupra was almost an early round pick in the 2007 draft, and he struggled through three years at Notre Dame due to a poorly-commanded fastball and metal bats. I like this pick quite a bit, as his pure stuff and size makes him a potential #4 starter, but he fell this far due to a lack of a successful track record." Note-2C2 means Dupra had 4-6 round talent, about MLB league average potential and around a 20% of achieving that.

      Round 8: RHP Greg Holt out of UNC.
      Hit .385/.431/.631 (albeit in 65 at bats) this season and threw 55 and 1/3 innings of 3.09 ERA ball almost all out of the bullpen, with 63 K and 30 BB. Appears to have been drafted as a RHP. Another middle relief prospect.

      Notes on Holt:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Average velocity at 88-91, but has a good curveball. A senior like Dupra but doesn't have as much upside. 3.65 ERA, 64/31 K/BB in 57 IP. Future middle reliever."
      From Aaron Fitt, Baseball America, 2/20/2011:
      "Senior righty Greg Holt has gradually developed into an invaluable bullpen anchor during his UNC career, which began as a position player. After hitting 92-94 mph on the radar gun while striking out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings Friday against Cal Poly, Holt came back to throw two strong innings Saturday, allowing just one hit (though he did allow an inherited runner to score). He sat in the 89-91 range and touched 92 Saturday, and his 80-83 slider was very effective. 'I told Greg on the bus the other day, I was glad he couldn't hit,' UNC coach Mike Fox said. 'He came into our program as a hitter, and I was trying to make a joke—not a very funny one. It didn't work out for him as a hitter, but we saw that arm strength. When he just started focusing on pitching, the sky's been the limit with him. The great thing about Greg is he recovers so quickly—he's got a rubber arm.'"

      Round 9: RHP Dixon Anderson out of Cal-Berkley.
      Anderson was drafted in the 6th round by the Orioles in 2010. He can reach 95 or so with his fastball, but lacks something (like Garrett Mock, maybe?). Could be a stud reliever or a complete bust.

      Notes on Anderson:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: Threw in mid-90s last year and was drafted in the sixth round. Went back to school, threw just 90 this year and lost three rounds. Also has decent curve, cutter, and splitter. Inning-eater type but might get velocity back if he goes to bullpen."
      From "MadBum," MLB Bonus Baby, 5/31/2011:
      "Dixon Anderson was a complete disappointment. He’s got the stuff, with a 2 seam with good movement and a 4 seam that hits 93, and that doesn’t mention his solid off speed offerings. When he was on, he was getting ground balls and using his repertoire effectively. However, that didn’t happen often. He was removed after 2 innings and was just getting roped (against Stanford). It wouldn’t surprise me if Anderson is quickly converted to relief when he’s drafted, because starting isn’t working for him."
      From Matt Garrioch, MLB Bonus Baby, 12/19/2010:
      "Anderson has been a reliever in college but has 3 pitches that could be usable. His fastball is low 90's and he has a nice slider. His changeup isn't good but could become average with more experience. I think signing and being used as a starter would have been good for his development, but returning to Cal for one last run may help him as well. If he improves his command he could go higher in 2011."
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2010:
      "Big guy at 6-5, can hit 95 MPH, but secondary stuff is below average and college performance record is inconsistent. Could turn out to be very good, or he could stall out in A-ball."
      From Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby, 6/8/2010:
      "2C1: Was high on Anderson early on, but he hasn't had the greatest season and sophomore-eligible status clouded signability. Glad to see him going here, though, as he has good stuff and #3 starter potential. Thought he'd go in 4th-6th, so nice pick for value." Note-2C1 means Anderson had 4-6 round talent, about MLB league average potential and around a 10% of achieving that.
      From Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby, 2/14/2010:
      "For some reason, I have a strong intuitive feel about Dixon Anderson. To begin, Anderson has a strong, workhorse body that projects to be able to handle a pro workload at the highest levels. His arm action is fairly clean, and there aren’t any big warning signs for future breakdown. He has a plus fastball that sits in the low-90s, and he may have the best chance of any 2010 draft class players to be able to routinely sit anywhere from 92-94 as a pro. He uses both a slider and curve, and both project as average offerings. In bullpen use in the past, he dropped his curve in favor of the slider, but he has fairly good command of both pitches. His changeup is actually a splitter, and it works well." Note-this was written 2 seasons ago, so take it for what it's worth...I posted it because it was the best overall scouting report I could find.

      Round 10: RHP Manny Rodriguez out of Barry University.
      Another senior. Not a whole lot of info on Rodriguez due to Barry being a small school. Rodriguez went 7-3 this year with a 2.00 ERA in 112 and 2/3 innings. His 126/35 K/BB ratio is excellent, and opposing batters only hit .214 against him. It is tough to judge players like Rodriguez due to poor competition (Barry plays in the NCAA Division II), but his arm and control are both solid.

      Notes on Rodriguez:
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/14/2011: "Big-time sleeper prospect, converted third baseman with untapped potential, throws 90-95, curveball and changeup are coming around."
      Named by Sickels on 6/2/2011, along with Dupra and Turnbull, as players he had interest in for his shadow draft.
      From John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 5/18/2011:
      "Former position player converted to the mound, throws 92-95 MPH, secondary pitches coming around. 2.38 ERA with a 111/31 K/BB in 95 innings, 75 hits allowed. Statistics are excellent for context, particularly his K/IP ratio."