Capsules on top players eligible for baseball draft Print
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Wednesday, 06 June 2007 06:09
MLB Headline News

 Some of the top players eligible for Thursday's first-year player baseball draft, listed in alphabetical order (with position, school, height, weight and class in college):

RHP, Ecole Du Versant (Quebec), 6-foot-7, 225 pounds
Considered Canada's best pro prospect since Adam Loewen, who went No. 4 overall in 2002. Threw in front of scouts in the spring and flashed fastball that consistently hit mid-90s to go along with 80-82 mph slider and impressed when he struck out five in three innings during tournament in Florida. Mechanics a bit raw, but should be easily smoothed out at next level.

RHP, Irving H.S. (Texas), 6-7, 210
Made name for himself last fall when he struck out 11 for Team USA in a shutout of Cuba at the World Junior Championship. Threw perfect game in which he struck out 18 batters this spring, as well as a 15-strikeout performance. Sidearmer allowed only two earned runs in 11 starts. Has fiery attitude on mound - once was ejected for yelling at opposing fans - but scouts like his self-confidence.

RHP, North Carolina State, 6-10, 240, Jr.
Quit the basketball team after his sophomore season and focused on pitching. Imposing presence on mound, he's still learning how to pitch. Was inconsistent for Wolfpack - 6-4, 3.81 ERA, 74 Ks, 37 BBs - but was dominant at times. Throws hard and even touched 99 mph last summer in Cape Cod League; fastball is ranked tops in college by Baseball America. Has tricky curveball and is still developing changeup. Scouts excited about potential of what he can do with some refinement at next level.

LHP, Missouri State, 6-4, 175, Jr.
Thin lefty dealt with lack of run support most of season, as evidenced by 4-5 record and 2.22 ERA. Still, his 110 Ks in 89 innings are impressive, as is his 93-95 mph fastball and knee-buckling curve. Could go as high as No. 2 to Kansas City, which has had him on its radar since he starred in Cape Cod League and with Team USA last summer. Sometimes gets in trouble with command (38 walks), but teams can't overlook high ceiling.

SS, Rutgers, 6-4, 215, Jr.
One of top college position players in draft in the postseason, he hit monstrous home run that cleared scoreboard at Brooklyn's KeySpan Park over 400 feet away during Big East tournament. Will be third Frazier brother drafted, following Jeff (Seattle, 2004) and Charlie (Florida, 1999). Broke school records for HRs (22) as leadoff hitter, and also set marks for runs (87), walks (62), doubles (24) and total bases (187). Projects more as third baseman or outfielder in pros, but powerful bat will get him into lineup wherever he plays.

RHP, Fitch H.S. (Conn.), 6-4, 190
Entered high school season considered a top prospect and did everything he could to warrant that status. Went 4-0 with a 0.45 ERA in first five outings, including 63 Ks in 31 innings. Has heavy fastball that consistently hit 92-94 mph, to go along with impressive curve and changeup. Despite sometimes throwing across body, scouts are confident his mechanics will be fine-tuned at next level - where he could be dominant.

OF, Henry County H.S. (Ga.), 6-2, 200
Has shown tremendous versatility, playing center field and first base and pitching during career, but projects as a right fielder at next level because of strong arm. Extremely patient at plate and rarely gets fooled. Bat speed and left-handed raw power should help him become slugger in pros. Was hitting .520 with eight HRs and 29 RBIs, along with 17 SBs this season.

OF, James Madison, 5-11, 205, Jr.
Outstanding college hitter made run at Division I Triple Crown last season before falling just short. Struggled a bit in Cape Cod League last summer, but bounced back with another impressive season for Dukes - .398, 19 HRs, 49 RBIs - despite being pitched around regularly. Set school records for homers (51), extra-base hits (105) and slugging percentage (.755). Is considered average defender and runner, but bat could be above average in pros.

1B, Florida, 6-1, 215, Sr.
After helping Gators to CWS championship series as a sophomore and leading country in HRs, LaPorta followed it with terrific summer for Team USA. Then, he injured his oblique muscle at start of junior year, struggled for most of season and slipped to 14th round of draft. Rebounded in big way this year when he opted to return to Florida. Finalist for Golden Spikes Award hit .402 with 20 HRs and 52 RBIs despite seeing few good pitches. Considered below average defensively, but bat could make him top-15 pick.

3B, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 6-3, 220, Jr.
Son of Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills set NAIA season record with 38 HRs while leading Lewis-Clark State to 15th national title. NAIA player of year hit three HRs and had eight RBIs in championship game over Spring Arbor (Mich.). Powerful bat projects at next level, and could play either infield corner position. Transferred from Fresno State after school suspended him late last season for poor academic performance.

LHP, Clemson, 6-1, 200, Jr.
Moved from role as closer for one of nation's top teams to starter midway through this season. Just 3-5 with 2.91 ERA heading into super regionals, Moskos has three potentially dominant pitches: 93-95 mph fastball, wicked slider that hits mid- to upper-80s and a good curve. Really grabbed scouts' attention last summer when he struck out 35 in 21 innings and had six saves as Team USA's closer. Currently projects as No. 3-type starter in pros, but could also end up coming out of bullpen as stopper.

INF, Chatsworth H.S. (Calif.), 6-0, 185
player at next level despite mid-90s fastball. Also played quarterback for a few years in high school, but dedicated himself to baseball.

RHP, Norwell H.S. (Ind.), 6-2, 175
Scouts rave about his clean mechanics with smooth, easy delivery and 94-97 mph fastball, rated as best among high school pitchers. Has outstanding command and mound presence, and is projected to be No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the pros. Compared to Roy Oswalt by some because of size and stuff. Didn't allow an earned run until seventh start this spring. Could go within top 10.

RHP, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.), 6-5, 188
Could be first high school player selected. Has been hyped as a can't-miss prospect since his sophomore season, and has improved steadily since. Threw seven-inning perfect game last month, flashing 94-95 mph fastball with superior command consistently for nation's top-ranked high school squad. While he occasionally struggles with control of breaking pitches, his curve, changeup and slider are considered potential above-average. Good mechanics and excellent mound presence.

LHP, Vanderbilt, 6-5, 215, Jr.
Dominant season came to surprising end in regionals when top-ranked Commodores lost to Michigan in finals - a game in which he came on in relief and took his first loss of year after pitching just three days earlier. Touted as likely top pick for three years and most believe Tampa Bay will make him No. 1 overall - first lefty picked there since Yankees took Brien Taylor in 1991 - after going in 19th round out of high school. SEC pitcher of year led nation with 194 Ks, including 17 in regional opener against Austin Peay, and went 11-1 with 2.63 ERA. Fastball sits in mid-90s and he mixes it well with outstanding slider and changeup. Projects as dominant staff ace.

OF, Texas, 6-5, 185, Soph.
Draft-eligible sophomore set Texas season record for homers and tied for Division I lead with 27. Power is biggest asset with quick bat and left-handed swing. Might slip in draft because of well-documented struggles to make contact. Set Cape Cod League record for strikeouts last summer with 64 in 126 at-bats, and had 64 more in 223 ABs for Longhorns. Still, scouts believe his uppercut swing could be smoothed out while maintaining power. Has average speed and defensive skills, but has strong arm and projects as pro right fielder.

LHP-1B, Rice, 6-3, 215, Jr.
Regarded as nation's top two-way player entering season, Savery hasn't been as dominant on mound as he was in past, but posted good numbers (10-1, 2.78). Couldn't pitch for Owls last June because of a shoulder injury, but has been steadily improving his velocity. Has low- to mid-90s fastball and above-average changeup and curve. Has also been offensive leader for Owls, hitting .360 with four HRs and 54 RBIs while playing first base. Teams mostly looking at him as pitcher in pros.

LHP, Arkansas, 6-5, 230, Jr.
Big, bulldog-type pitcher threw more than 100 innings each of past two seasons as Razorbacks' No. 1 starter. Went 11-3 with 2.69 ERA and 111 Ks - down from 145 as a sophomore. School's career leader in strikeouts goes deep into games (five complete games this season) and shows terrific competitive attitude. Throws 88-92 mph fastball consistently and into the late innings; combines it with above-average changeup and curve. Could be middle-of-rotation pitcher at next level, if not a solid No. 2.

3B, Cypress H.S. (Calif.), 6-3, 195
ms on defense and doesn't have great range. Could end up in OF - teams will want his bat in lineup.

C, Georgia Tech, 6-5, 230, Jr.
Outstanding defensive catcher with a strong, accurate arm. No. 3 prospect in Cape Cod League last season is being considered by Tampa Bay, along with Price and Vitters. Best position player in draft is switch-hitter with tremendous power potential from both sides. Quietly put together solid season for Yellow Jackets: .358, 10, 59. Also served as team's closer for most of his three seasons with fastball that regularly hit mid-90s. Projected as potential All-Star catcher despite above-average height for position.

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