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June 22, 2010

Future Shock

Draft Wrap: NL West

by Kevin Goldstein

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Arizona Diamondbacks
Day One Selections
6. Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M

Inside the Pick:
One of the biggest first-round surprises, and arguably riskier than Hayden Simpson or Cito Culver considering the draft spot and the money. I know of no team other than Arizona that had him as the second-best college arm on the board.
What He is:
A big right-hander built to throw 200 innings a year. He has three average-to-plus pitches with his 91-94 mph fastball, a curve/change combo, and his command is well above average. 
What He is Not:
Loux lacks any pitch that rates higher than a 60 on the scouting scale. He had elbow surgery in the offseason for bone chips and rarely went deep into games this spring. For most, his ceiling is a No. 3 starter.
Path with the Diamondbacks: At sixth overall, Loux shouldn't be a difficult sign, as even the slot money is more than double what he was expecting before the draft. He has the stuff and polish to move quickly.

Through Three Rounds
2 (56). J.R. Bradley, RHP, Nitro HS (WV)
3 (88). Robby Rowland, RHP, Cloverdale HS (CA)

Bradley is a long, projectable right-hander with velocity and command, but he's a bit of a project, as his secondary pitches lag well behind. Rowland offers even more to dream on based on his 6-foot-6 frame, and he's the son of a big-league catcher, so he has an advanced feel for his craft. Both players have already signed.

Of Note Afterward:
Sixth-rounder Blake Perry is another teenage righty that offers plenty to dream on, but not much right now. Fifth-rounder Cody Wheeler is the exact opposite; he’s a highly polished college southpaw without a ton of upside, but good command of a three-pitch mix.
Summary:
After loading up on hitters last year, the Diamondbacks went pitching-crazy this year, not selecting a position player until the ninth round. The Loux pick remains questionable, but there was a significant focus on upside afterward.

Colorado Rockies
Day One Selections
26. Kyle Parker, OF, Clemson

Inside the Pick:
Parker's football career scared some teams off due to potential signability issues, but no team loves quarterbacks more that the Rockies, who selected Parker right around where he should have gone, based on baseball talent alone.
What He is:
Parker offers considerable offensive upside. While his plus-plus raw power is what made him a first-round pick, he also has a good feel for the strike zone and makes enough contact for scouts to think he'll be more than just a one-dimensional slugger.
What He is Not:
Beyond the bat, Parker's tools rate as average at best. He's not much of a runner who will likely get slower, and his arm is fringy in right field.
Path with the Rockies:
Assuming that Colorado can get Parker to walk completely away from football, the hope is that he can take a big step forward when focusing on just one sport.

47. Peter Tago, RHP, Dana Hills HS (CA)

Inside the Pick:
One of many California high school righties seen as a day-one pick, Tago just made it with three picks to spare.
What He is:
A high-upside arm with athleticism, outstanding arm action, and a fastball that already gets up to 96 mph while sitting comfortably at 91-94.
What He is Not:
Tago is still far more of a thrower than a pitcher at this point. His curveball is loopy and below average, and his changeup is primitive. 
Path with the Rockies:
Tago is not expected to be a fast mover due to his lack of refinement, but his upside ranks with nearly any arm in the system.

Through Three Rounds
2 (76). Chad Bettis, RHP, Texas Tech
3 (107). Josh Rutledge, SS, Alabama

Already signed, Bettis is a thick, stocky reliever with plus-plus velocity and a good slider who some think has closer possibilities down the road. It's hard to find holes in Rutledge's game, but it's hard to get too excited, either. He's a true shortstop, but hardly a plus defender, and he has some hitting ability with gap power and a bit of speed.

Of Note Afterward:
Yet another quarterback, fourth-round pick Russell Wilson is looking for a deal that will let him return to football this fall at North Carolina State, but he's a good athlete who offers a lot of promise in baseball if he ever commits to the sport. Eighth-round pick Corey Dickerson was one of the better JuCo hitters in the country, offering big-time raw power.
Summary:
Like most recent drafts, the Rockies focused on athletes, and it's hard to argue with their recent results in this area.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Day One Selections
28. Zach Lee, RHP, McKinney HS (TX)

Inside the Pick:
Thought to be focusing on signability offerings due to non-baseball related cash issues, the Dodgers surprised everyone by selecting one of the top players in the draft, although most teams saw him as unsignable.
What He is:
On pure baseball talent, many thought Lee ranked only behind second overall pick Jameson Taillon when it came to high school arms. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, and ultra-athletic, Lee has a 92-95 mph fastball, plus slider, some feel for a change, throws strikes, and has that killer instinct that scouts love.
What He is Not:
Signable? Lee didn't even seem to have a price tag, simply telling teams that he had every intention of going to Louisiana State to play quarterback. 
Path with the Dodgers:
The Dodgers insist that they did not punt this pick and have every intention of making a concerted effort to sign Lee. The ability to spread out his bonus over multiple years in a two-sport deal could be the key to their chances.

Through Three Rounds
2 (78). Ralston Cash, RHP, Lakeview Academy (GA)
3 (109). Leon Landry, OF, Louisiana State

A cousin of former Dodgers first-round pick Ethan Martin, Cash doesn't have Martin's stuff, but like his cousin, he's a big athlete with upside. Landry has tantalized scouts for years with his tools, but he rarely played up to them during his three years at LSU.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick James Baldwin is the son of the former big-league pitcher, and while he's impressive off the mound, he was drafted for his toolsy upside as an outfielder. Sixth-round pick Kevin Gausman has a lot of similarities to Lee, as he'll need big-time money to buy him out of a commitment to LSU, but also like Lee, he's a big, athletic right-hander with plenty of upside.
Summary:
It's nearly impossible to evaluate what the Dodgers have done this year until Aug. 17. If Lee doesn't sign, everything about this draft takes a significant hit.

San Diego Padres
Day One Selections
9. Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS (FLA)

Inside the Pick:
The second high school righty off the board went to a team that seemed to be changing their preference on an hourly basis.
What He is:
Highly advanced for a high school arm, and with plus stuff as well. His fastball sits at 91-94 mph and features lots of movement, his slider can be a wipeout offering at times, and his changeup is almost shockingly refined. With his long, skinny frame, there is some projection as well.
What He is Not:
Whitson had some late-spring starts that didn't live up to expectations, and some saw him as more of a mid-first-round talent. He needs to live up to his projection to be a star.
Path with the Padres:
Whitson has the polish to move quickly for a teenager, and could need just three minor-league seasons to reach the big leagues.

Through Three Rounds
2 (59). Jedd Gyorko, 2B, West Virginia
3 (91). Zach Cates, RHP, Northeast Texas JC

Most thought Gyorko could be a day-one pick, as he was one of the better college hitters available, but he doesn't have a defensive home yet. Cates had one of the better fastballs available, sitting at 92-95 mph and touching 98, but everything else about him, from his command to his secondary stuff, lags behind.

Of Note Afterward:
Fourth-round pick Chris Bisson is a second baseman with speed and a quick bat, but he doesn't have power and needs to turn into an on-base machine to project well. Fifth-round selection Rico Noel has speed and a bit of power in center field, but has questions about how much he'll hit.
Summary:
The Padres took an interesting mix of safe college picks and high-upside high school arms in the draft, as well as some lower-level players with signability players late. This has the potential to be a good haul for the first year of the new Padres administration.

San Francisco Giants
Day One Selections
24. Gary Brown, OF, Cal State Fullerton

Inside the Pick:
A late-season broken finger prevented Brown from getting a lot of late-season looks, but his tools were too good for him to slide out of the first round.
What He is:
Brown is arguably the fastest player in the draft, with sub-4.0 times to first base from the right side of plate . He's a potential Gold Glove center fielder with a plus arm, and he out-hit fourth overall pick Christian Colon on the same Cal State Fullerton team by nearly 100 points while showing the consistent ability to drive balls. He also has an innate feel for contact.
What He is Not:
Brown's approach at the plate is ultra aggressive. He rarely walks and rarely strikes out. He could end up lacking the on-base skills to hit at the top of the lineup, but he offers more than enough other skills to offer everyday value.
Path with the Giants:
If Brown's approach doesn't get the better of him, he could be patrolling the sizable center field in San Francisco in short order.

Through Three Rounds
2 (74). Jarrett Parker, OF, Virginia
3 (105). Carter Jurica, SS, Kansas State

Parker entered the spring as a potential first-rounder, but he had an inconsistent spring. He has tools, but his streaky ways have many thinking he has equal chances of being a bust or one of the steals of the draft. Jurica is a grinder who gets the most out of his tools, but he'll likely have to slide over to second base as a pro.

Of Note Afterward:
Fifth-round pick Heath Hambree has plus-plus velocity and was up to 97 mph all spring, but some thought it was his only pro-level pitch, and his control can waver. Seventh-rounder Chuck Jones is a massive, athletic high school outfielder from Missouri who offers plenty to dream on, but to call him raw doesn't really do it justice.
Summary: Brown could be an ideal fit for the Giants, and there's plenty of upside beyond him as well.  

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Jarrett Parker,  The Who,  Barret Loux,  Zach Lee

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