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June 12, 2008

Future Shock

AL West Draft Recap

by Kevin Goldstein

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Draft Philosophy: Do the best one can without a first-round pick, and when it comes to position players, focus on athletes and ceiling.

First Pick: Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Redlands HS (CA) (74th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: On pure talent, this is about right. There are some signability concerns due to a strong college commitment (UCLA), but the Angels would not have taken him here without every intention to sign him.
Path To The Big Leagues: There's really no such thing as a blocked pitcher, but as a high school arm, he's going to require time. He's on the small side, but his fastball and curve are both above average.

Rest of the First Day:
3. Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Chipola JC (FL): The bulky right-hander misses a lot of bats, but also misses the strike zone at times.
3. Zach Cone, OF, Parkview HS (GA): A monster athlete with plus-plus speed and power potential; needs to become a better hitter.
4. Buddy Boshiers, LHP, Calhoun CC (AL): He's a solid lefty with a big frame and an excellent breaking ball.
5. Khiry Cooper, OF, Calvary Baptist HS (LA): Another high-ceiling athlete who is a major project.
6. Josh Blanco, LHP, Franklin HS (TX): A short lefty with velocity.

Best Second-Day Selections:
10. Gabriel Jacobo, 3B, Sacramento State: A big third baseman with power and contact skills, but he might not stay at the hot corner.
13. Mike Kohn, RHP, College of Charleston: Inexperienced and raw, but outstanding arm strength.
16. John Hellweg, RHP, Florida CC: A six-foot-seven power arm who can't throw strikes.

Oakland Athletics

Draft Philosophy: Stick to what you are comfortable with, and focus on the top college talent.

First Pick: Jemile Weeks, 2B, Miami (12th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: Certainly no higher than this, and even at 12, this was a bit of a surprise, as most saw him going in the 16-18 range.
Path To The Big Leagues: Much of Weeks' timetable could depend on his defense, and he has the athleticism to be a very good second baseman, but needs a lot of work on his fundamentals.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Tyson Ross, RHP, California: Did not perform as well as expected this spring, but was up to 95-96 mph by the end of the season; it was a surprise to see him still available.
3. Petey Paramore, C, Arizona State: A solid hitter with excellent plate discipline, but the body and his arm strength are concerns.
4. Anthony Capra, LHP, Wichita State: A solid lefty low on upside, but a strike-thrower with a deep arsenal.
5. Jason Christian, SS, Michigan: A good athlete with plus speed and true shortstop skills, but he's very skinny and needs to add strength.
6. Tyreace House, OF, College of the Canyons: A burner on the basepaths with a compact frame; some feel that he turned a corner this year.

Best Second-Day Selections:
7. Brett Hunter, RHP, Pepperdine: A first-round talent who went down with an elbow injury at the end of the year. Oakland has to figure out how serious it is to determine how much he's worth now.
8. Jeremy Barfield, OF, San Jacinto JC (TX): Josh's brother is more in the mold of his father Jesse, as he's bigger and has more power.
10. Rashun Dixon, OF, Terry HS (MS): A high-ceiling toolsy type who will need more than tenth-round money to sign.

Seattle Mariners

Draft Philosophy: Safe pick in the first with a college closer, and more safe college talent to follow.

First Pick: Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia (20th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: Once the run on college closers began, Fields was going to be one of the first names off the board, so anywhere from 16-30.
Path To The Big Leagues: Fields' violent delivery and lack of a changeup mean that Seattle won't be tempted to start him. He could be in the big leagues as early as next year.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Dennis Raben, OF, Miami: Minor injuries led to a disappointing junior campaign, but he has big league-level raw power.
3. Aaron Pribanic, RHP, Nebraska: The body and stuff of an innings-eater, but no single pitch is knockout offering.
4. Steven Hensley, RHP, Elon: He has a power pitcher's frame and good stuff; another mid-rotation type. 5. Brett Lorin, RHP, Long Beach State: A gigantic righty who throws downhill but rarely dominates.
6. Jarrett Burgess, OF, Florida Christian HS (FL): Toolsy kid with excellent speed and a good arm; a skinny frame might have power in there somewhere.

Best Second-Day Selections:
9. Billy Morrison, RHP, Western Michigan: A tall sinker/slider specialist who could grow into bullpen role.
12. Kenn Kasperek, RHP, Texas: At 6'10" he excites scouts with his size, but his stuff is pretty pedestrian.
13. Ryan Royster, OF, UC Davis: An athletic outfielder, but he's raw and behind the eight-ball developmentally because of his age (he's a true senior).

Texas Rangers

Draft Philosophy: Jump up and down for joy, because somehow Justin Smoak fell to 11th overall, then follow that with a run on pitching, focusing on command and control.

First Pick: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina (11th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: He was a dark horse to go fourth overall to Baltimore, but was expected to go either fifth to San Francisco or seventh to the Reds; getting him at 11 is an absolute steal.
Path To The Big Leagues: Smoak is the kind of hitter who could be ready for Double-A as early as next year; his making the majors in 2010 is not an entirely unrealistic expectation.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Robbie Ross, LHP, Lexington Christian HS (KY): Seen by some as a talent worthy of a higher selection, Ross has plus stuff and command, and could move up quicker than most high school arms.
3. Tim Murphy, LHP, UCLA: A big, strong southpaw with three average pitches who profiles as a back-of-the-rotation workhorse.
4. Joe Wieland, RHP, Bishop Manoque HS (NV): He's a long-armed, projectable righty with good velocity and outstanding command.
5. Clark Murphy, 1B, Fallbrook HS (CA): A big kid with lots of power, but few other tools.
6. Richard Bleier, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast: Another projectable strike-thrower who changes speeds well.

Best Second-Day Selections:
10. Kevin Castner, RHP, Cal Poly: The opposite of their earlier picks, Castner has plus-plus velocity but very little feel for his craft.
15. Joe Butler, OF, New Orleans: His tools grade out very well, but there's a lot of swing-and-miss in his game.
19. Harold Martinez, SS, Braddock HS (FL): A first-round pick going into the spring, Martinez had a poor senior year, but still wants to get paid like a first-round pick or he'll go to Miami.

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

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