Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another 2009 MLB Mock Draft Part II: The Supplemental Round

This post will focus on the supplemental round, a round that is in "limbo" as the insiders of baseball see it. This isn't the first round nor is it the second, it just sits there between the two and serves as compensation for teams who lost important and vital players via free agency.

Editors note: to avoid any confusion please note that the names in parathesis immediately following the team name are the last names of the free agents lost.

33. Seattle Mariners (Ibanez) – Tyler Skaggs, LHP Santa Monica HS (CA)

After taking two offensive players in the first round it would only seem logical that the Mariners dip into pitching and Tyler Skaggs, a prep LHP from California, would make sense. Skaggs has a projectable body and has a quick arm with a decent fastball (around 92 mph) that could see an increase in velocity as he further develops. On the negative side, his curveball has excellent break but it is slow (72-74 mph) and he does have the tendency to slow his arm down a bit when delivering it.

Scouts cite his delivery as being erratic and this can affect his control from time to time (causing his fastball to elevate). Skaggs is an attractive commodity for teams looking to grab a high upside player that can be easily signed.

34. Colorado Rockies (Fuentes) – Slade Heathcott, OF Texas H.S.

After investing in two quality pitchers in the first round and not having selection until 25 picks later, I think the Rockies would benefit by taking a high upside bat. Slade Heathcott is another high ceiling 5 tool capable player. He’s considered an above average hitter left-handed hitter while projecting above average power to all sides of the field. Defensively, Heathcott possesses an arm that is above average from the outfield and despite recovering from ACL surgery last season but has shown no signs in decreased foot speed.

He also projects as a quality LHP with a two-seam fastball clocking in between 88-91 mph and a four seamer that has touched 95 mph. He also throws a curve and changeup that grades as average. The only negative surrounding Heathcott is his commitment to football and if he is ready to give up his status as a two-sport athlete. He is currently committed to attending the University of Texas in the fall.

35. Arizona Diamondbacks (Hudson) – A.J. Pollack, OF Notre Dame

With another pick coming later in this round, Arizona would be smart to grab the best available bat. A.J. Pollack is an excellent option for a team looking for a polished college bat. Scouts have praised his good approach to the plate along with his ability to recognize pitches well. Pollack does, however, struggle with power and some think at best he’ll be a 10-15 HR guy. Those power numbers shouldn’t scare off a team looking to develop a prototypical leadoff hitter and Pollack does fit that scheme since he is graded as a very fast runner and should be a base stealer in the pros. He is adjusting to CF well and is athletic enough to stay there. Scouts think he has the ability to play 2B which would make him more attractive to speculating teams.

36. Los Angeles Dodgers (Lowe) – Colton Cain, LHP Waxahachie HS (TX)

The Dodgers love to draft and develop young pitchers and with their first pick in the draft they may dig into their pocket books and grab Colton Cain, a young lefty out of Texas. Cain is not as polished as the other prep LHPs but he is tall and does have a solid frame (but at 220+ lbs he could run into weight issues in the future) along with an excellent 94 mph sinking fastball.
Scouts find that he has good command of his fastball on both sides of the plate but it’s his additional offerings that are very interesting. Since learning how to pitch last year, Cain has been developing his curveball that some scouts say have plus potential as well as having a plus slider in his future. He has a “feel” for a changeup and if that pitch takes off, he’ll be something special. Cain has committed to U. of Texas for football and baseball and it will take a lot of bonus money to sign him. High risk/high reward and I believe worth the gamble.

37. Toronto Blue Jays (Burnett) – Keyvius Sampson, RHP Forest HS (FLA)

Without another pick until the middle of the second round, taking a pitcher here would benefit the Blue Jays. Keyvius Sampson is an athletic pitcher with a solid frame and a quick arm that produces a fastball that has touched 96 mph and power curve that projects as a plus, Sampson also has a feel for changeup that will be critical to his development.

The drawback to Sampson is his arm slot that differs with each pitch. To be effective Sampson will need to learn a consistent arm slot or learn to throw other pitches with varying arm angles in order to gain command. Regardless of his positives and negatives, Sampson will be a project that could pay benefits in a few years.

38. Chicago White Sox (Cabrera) – Rich Poythress, 1B Georgia

Chicago might take a flyer on last year’s first rounder Gordon Beckham’s teammate. Poythress is a big burly guy who resembles a Matt LeCroy or Sean Casey type, his swing isn’t very pretty and is more strength-generated – a good power pitcher should handle him well. He has below-average speed and is not much of a defender. Although the video below can argue otherwise:

He is currently putting up monster numbers in the SEC and it’s his approach at the plate that draws his fans. Poythress can also be valuable in terms of pitch recognition and his ability to draw walks should attract a good number of teams. But his status as a pure power bat will be debated and decided in a few years.

39. Milwaukee Brewers (Sabathia) – Alex Wilson, RHP Texas A&M

As much as I wanted the Brewers to grab a bat like Brett Jackson I decided after looking over their prospect depth chart that another pitcher would serve their organization better. Alex Wilson would be an intriguing pick if still available. He is coming off his first year after TJ surgery and his prognosis looks good as, this season, scouts have reported that his sinking fastball can hit 95 mph while riding in on lefties. He also has a plus slider as another out pitch and has a changeup (which he admits still needs work) in his arsenal along with good command. What keeps him back is his laborious delivery (hip rotation is a bit off) and ¾ arm slot could point to more potential problems in the future – some teams have flirted with the idea of making him a closer.

40. Los Angeles Angels (Teixeira) – Matt Davidson, 3B Yucaipa HS (CA)

Looking over the prospect depth chart, the Angels could benefit by adding another bat and (again) as much as I wanted to type Brett Jackson’s name here I couldn’t avoid the fact that Matt Davidson would make so much more sense. Davidson looks mature for a high school player, he stands at 6’2” and weighs a solid 225 lbs and has the plus power potential which has intrigued scouts during his last few HS seasons. What keeps him away from Borchering-status is his tendency to be overpowered by quality pitching, it’s a weakness that needs to be addressed but it’s not a consistent problem and many scouts blame it on him pressing and opening up his swing too early (has a slight uppercut in his swing).

His glove at 3B is so-so (his range is good but his arm is below average) and will probably move to a corner OF position or 1B in the future. Another negative is his below average running speed and a verbal commitment to USC which could slightly drive up his asking price.

41. Arizona Diamondbacks (Cruz) – Brad Boxberger, RHP USC

In this slot I’m expecting the Dbacks to grab a safe college pitcher, Boxberger has long been praised for having excellent velocity (95 mph fastball) but stamina issues have haunted him in the past. He has shown some progress working deep in innings but control and command can be an issue (giving him a high frequency of walks). Boxberger is considered a good “polished” college pitcher and repeats his delivery well and changes speeds well with a good slider and curveball.

Right now scouts think his cutter is a capable major league ready “out” pitch. He is improving as a pitcher and at worst he would make an excellent reliever.

42. LA Angels (F. Rodriguez) – Brett Jackson, CF University of California

The Angels having another pick in this round sold me on them taking Brett Jackson. Scouts praise Jackson as one of the top college bats and shows excellent power for a leadoff hitter. Hitting from the left side, he does swing more slap-heavy and shortens his swing for contact but his size (6’2” 210 lbs) points to someone with more power in his future. One troubling aspect of Jackson’s game is his propensity to strikeout – he has fanned 58 times out of 206 ABs. Jackson is an excellent runner and has good instincts for base stealing. On the field, Jackson shows good range and an average arm but some scouts question how long he’ll stay in CF – if he moves to a corner he’ll have to show more power. He is usually compared to Aaron Rowand.

43. Cincinnati Reds (Affeldt) – Chris Dwyer, LHP Clemson

I know the Reds have placed a premium on left-handed pitching but with Matzek gone by the time they selected eighth I figured they would take Alex White over Matt Purke. I could be wrong so with this pick it would be obvious they’d grab the best LHP available. Scouts don’t know what to make of this 21 year old freshman genius; he obviously has the athleticism but book smarts? I don’t know. It’s been reported that Dyer is a regular Daniel Desario, with news that he was held back a grade in elementary school and was “talked into” adding another year of high school to his already impressive academic transcript. On a side note, I wonder if Dwyer was ever faced with taking a big test and resorted to doing this.

Anyway, enough of me being a smartass – besides he’s getting the last laugh since he’s set to receive a high six-figure bonus while I’m sitting here, like a schmuck, blogging about it…

But on a professional and serious level, Dwyer’s delivery looks clean but he has struggled with his command causing his fastball to elevate and become hittable. He can dial up his fastball to 95 mph but it does come in rather straight but his curveball is decent and has plus capability and comes in between 78-80 mph. Dwyer has been up and down this year at Clemson struggling with command during big games but as a lefty to two capable pitches some team will grab him early.

44. Texas Rangers (M. Bradley) – Madison Younginer, RHP Mauldin HS (SC)

In terms of raw talent I like Younginer a lot. He has been recruited by Clemson as both a pitcher and offensive player so it may take a little more money to pry him away. Most scouts like what they see but they still consider this kid to be a bit unknown in terms of projectability. He has been used mainly in the bullpen but he can get his fastball consistently in the mid-90’s with a power curve that projects as a plus. Younginer is very raw and tends to be a bit of a "head-jerker" in his delivery but he has lots of upside. Concerning his delivery, he needs work on repeating his slots and watching his arm action. He also tends to throw long which can be attacked by good hitters. Scouts have said he does work on a changeup on the side but hasn’t found the need to use it in games.

45. Arizona Diamondbacks (Lyon) – Aaron Miller, LHP/OF Baylor University

The more you read about Aaron Miller the more you like. He probably has the best swing among all college bats but his progress as an LHP the past few seasons has made teams think pitcher first, hitter second (if he fails to develop or gets injured a la Rick Ankiel).

Miller has a fastball that sits between 91-94 mph and has an excellent slider which is devastating against left-handed bats. Miller has the size that can house more muscle (currently he is listed at 6’3” 200 lbs) and most scouts think his command will improve once he focuses on pitching full time. At this stage, Miller is a solid pick.

46. Minnesota Twins (D. Reyes) – Victor Black, RHP Dallas Baptist

Minnesota can afford to develop a few starters in their organization and Black should be an easy sign. This season, Black made a big jump by improving his velocity (can top off at 96 mph) and command. His fastball could use a little more movement but it is consistent and his stamina allows him to throw it deep into games. Black also utilizes a good slider and his changeup has shown signs of being effective this year. Scouts love his durability and his size (6’4” 204 lbs) and should develop into a capable starter for the Twins.

47. Milwaukee Brewers (Shouse) – Drew Storen, RHP Stanford

Storen is too good to pass up at this point and with two consecutive picks in the middle of the second round, the Brewers can afford to take a fringy bat then. Storen was used primarily out of the bullpen in college due to command issues. He has a fastball in the 91-94 mph range with good movement along with a hard breaking ball. Scouts say he has a feel for a changeup even though he hasn’t used the latter pitch much out of the pen.

Storen believes he can still start but he will have to work on his command and possibly tweak his delivery. The team that takes him will probably develop him as a starter and then go from there.

48. Los Angeles Angels (Garland) – Jiovanni Mier, SS Bonita HS (CA)

Except for Heckathorn it’s been all bats for the Angels but with a scarcity in middle infielders and the Angels own lacking of quality SS prospects – it only makes sense for them to take Mier. Scouts are high on the lanky Mier due to his solid approach at the plate. He has quick hands and a tight swing but right now he lacks power. Scouts see him developing into a #2 hitter with 10-15 HRs per year when he fills out a little bit. On the defensive side, he has excellent instincts and a strong arm to stick at short.

49. Pittsburgh Pirates (Scheppers) – Nick Franklin, SS Lake Brantley HS (Florida)

Sure, the Pirates could use a serviceable catching prospect but with another early pick in the second round they should have a number of choices available by then. Franklin has the ability to go earlier but with Mier already taken, Franklin becomes all the more valuable. Scouts praise Franklin for his potential to be a five-tool talent, but the only problem is: he isn’t blowing anyone away with his skills. He is a solid defender with a strong arm and good range. He makes contact well and has the potential to develop excellent power. He stands at 6’1” and is a bit lanky but his speed and “solid” baseball skills and athleticism show promising potential.

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