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June 14, 2008

Future Shock

NL East Draft Recap

by Kevin Goldstein

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Atlanta Braves

Draft Philosophy: Do what they do best and find young, high-upside arms, including at least one kid from Georgia who they've seen hundreds of times.

First Pick: Brett DeVall, LHP, Niceville HS (FL) (40th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: He had some late-first-round possibilities, but was pegged by most as a supplemental pick, which is where he ended up.
Path To The Big Leagues: DeVall could move faster than your standard high school arm, as he already has a three-pitch mix and above-average command and control.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Tyler Stovall, LHP, Hokes Bluff HS (AL): Similar to DeVall, Stovall is a highly polished left-hander who throws strikes and has secondary offerings rarely seen from a high school product.
2. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Kell HS (GA): Your classic Braves pick from the East Cobb program, Spruill has a long and lanky frame and throws a plus sinker.
3. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Wallace State CC (AL): Best pure arm selected by Atlanta; can get into the mid-90s but lacks a deeper arsenal.
4. Braeden Schlehuber, C, Southern Nevada CC (NV): Above-average defender with decent bat but not much in the way of power
5. Jacob Thompson, RHP, Virginia: Did not live up to expectations this spring and plummeted; is either a steal here or a bust.
6. Adam Milligan, OF, Walters State CC (TN): Toolsy project has power and speed.

Best Second-Day Selections:
7. Paul Clemens, RHP, Louisberg JC (NC): Like Kimbrel, Clemens is a big arm with a projectable body who still needs to learn how to pitch.
18. Michael Palazzone, RHP, Lassiter HS (GA): He'll require a big dollar figure to get bought out of college, but pitching for the hometown squad might help sway him.
30. Chris Shehan, OF, Georgia Southern: Not a lot of tools, but put up some incredible numbers this year, batting .438/.557/.835 with 22 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 58 games.

Florida Marlins

Draft Philosophy: Take the player they've been focused on all along with the high first-round pick, then turn to their usual focus on pitching, mostly from the high school ranks.

First Pick: Kyle Skipworth, C, Patriot HS (CA) (Sixth overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: He was never likely to go higher than this, but at the same time Florida was attached to him as early as February, and that never really changed.
Path To The Big Leagues: Much of it could depend on position. He's not a bad catcher by any means, but he's a big kid and still growing and no more than average at the position. The value is in his left-handed power bat, and if he can stay at catcher, that value is huge.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Brad Hand, LHP, Chaska HS (MN): A big southpaw with velocity and upside, but he's pretty raw.
3. Edgar Olmos, LHP, Birmingham HS (CA): Another upside type; tall and lanky, but not yet overpowering.
4. Curtis Petersen, RHP, Ryan HS (TX): Almost a right-handed version of Olmos, but with more stuff at present.
5. Pete Andrelcyzk, RHP, Coastal Carolina: A second-tier college closer with nice fastball/slider combination.
6. Graham Johnson, RHP, Westlake HS (CA): A bigger, more raw version of Peterson.

Best Second-Day Selections:
8. Ike Galloway, OF, Los Osos HS (CA): He has first-round tools, but fell due to poor senior season; he'll be very difficult to sign.
11. Blake Brewer, RHP, Sandy Creek HS (GA): Tall and downright skinny, he has huge upside if he fills out properly and gains velocity.
15. Johnny Dorn, RHP, Nebraska: Never walks anyone and throws four average pitches; his ceiling is as a bullpen arm, but he should get there.

New York Mets

Draft Philosophy: Add some depth to a horrible system with three picks in the first 33.

First Pick: Ike Davis, 1B, Arizona State (18th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: Eighteen may have been a little high as is. Toronto likely had a difficult time choosing before deciding on David Cooper one pick ahead of him.
Path To The Big Leagues: With Carlos Delgado a shell of his former self, Davis will now try to outshine a resurgent Mike Carp in the long-term competition for the first base job. If both turn into big leaguers, Davis has the arm and legs to play a decent right field.

Rest of the First Day:
1. Reese Havens, SS, South Carolina: A makeup player who had a breakout season; a second baseman more than a shortstop, although some want to see if he can catch.
1. Brad Holt, RHP, UNC Wilmington: A late-riser who showed mid-90s heat late into the spring and held that velocity deep into games.
2. Javier Rodriguez, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR): Big body and tools with plus power and speed potential.
3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Azusa Pacific: He can hit, but some see him as a bit of a tweener without enough power for a corner.
4. Sean Ratliff, OF, Stanford: High on power, low on average; he could be kind of a boom or bust type.
5. Dock Doyle, C, Coastal Carolina: A solid catcher with average tools across the board other than speed, but nothing eye-popping.
6. Josh Satin, 2B, California: Posted tremendous numbers in college; profiles as an all-bat/not-so-glovely second baseman.

Best Second-Day Selections:
9. Eric Beaulac, RHP, Le Moyne: A big sinkerballer who could move quickly as a reliever.
10. Brian Valenzeula, LHP, Vista Murrieta HS (CA): This minuscule southpaw has good arm strength and an excellent breaking ball; he could end up as situational bullpen arm.
13. Scott Shaw, RHP, Illinois: Scouts have trouble explaining how a guy with Shaw's body and stuff can't get hitters out... yet he can't.

Philadelphia Phillies

Draft Philosophy: Tools, tools, and more tools! Must have more tools! Enough to fill the shed!

First Pick: Anthony Hewitt, SS, Salisbury School (CT) (24th overall>
How High He Could Have Gone: There were some teams considering him towards the middle of the first round, but he was a very polarizing player. Some think he slotted well as a mid-first-round talent, others wouldn't have touched him until the first 100 picks were already off the board.
Path To The Big Leagues: It won't be quick. The best athlete in the draft is also one of the furthest away from the majors. He might not even be in Double-A by 2011, so be patient, Phils fans.

Rest of the First Day:
1. Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills (CA): Expected to go about ten picks earlier; a touch less athletic than Hewitt, but a touch more polished.
2. Anthony Gose, OF, Bellflower HS (CA): A better pitching prospect, but he doesn't want to pitch. As an outfielder, he's loaded with tools, especially speed.
2. Jason Knapp, RHP, North Hunterdon HS (NJ): The pitching version of Hewitt. He's huge and he throws very hard, but that's about it.
3. Vance Worley, RHP, Long Beach State: A big-bodied pitcher with good velocity, but he has problems with his secondary stuff and control.
4. Trevor May, RHP, Kelso HS (WA): A projectable arm who needs refinement, but the ceiling is there.
5. Jeremy Hamilton, 1B, Wright State: The rare non-toolsy pick for the Phils--he put up big numbers in college but doesn't thrill scouts.
6. Colby Shreve, RHP, Southern Nevada CC (NV): Gifted with a plus sinker/slider combination, but he just had a Tommy John surgery.

Best Second-Day Selections:
7. Johnny Coy, 3B, Benton HS (MO): He May be more raw than Hewitt, but he's 6'7" and athletic, so there's plenty to dream on.
8. Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR): Tall, projectable arm fits in well with team's philosophy.
10. Jean Carlos Rodriguez, C, Washington HS (NY): Like most Philly picks, he's raw, but he's got a good arm and a ton of strength.

Washington Nationals

Draft Philosophy: Take the best player available while not shying away from potential signability issues.

First Pick: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri (Ninth overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: Crow got off to a hot start and was seen early on as the top college pitcher in the draft, and was therefore in the mix to go in the first five picks at various times.
Path To The Big Leagues: Some in the scouting community think Crow profiles better as a closer, but you don't take a player ninth overall, with the willingness to pay an over-slot bonus, in order to convert him into a reliever. Crow could dominate the lower levels with his fastball/slider combination alone, but he'll need some minor adjustments after that.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Destin Hood, OF, St. Paul's HS (AL): A classic high-ceiling athlete who has never focused full-time on baseball, but has loads of potential.
3. Danny Espinosa, SS, Long Beach State: Not a true shortstop, but he shows good pop for a middle infielder.
4. Graham Hicks, LHP, Jenkins HS (FL): A projectability pick based on his height and long arms; right now he's pretty raw.
5. Adrian Nieto, C, American Heritage HS (FL): One of the top high school catchers in the draft was expected to go much higher; to land him the Nats will have to pay him like he did.
6. Paul Demny, RHP, Blinn JC (TX): A beefy power arm with mechanical and command issues.

Best Second-Day Selections:
11. Marcus Jones, OF, North Carolina State: An outstanding athlete who offers speed and defense, but can he hit?
12. Will Atwood, LHP, South Carolina: A consistent lefty with a three-pitch mix who could turn into a back-end starter.
15. J.P. Ramirez, OF, Canyon HS (TX): Excellent hitting prospect who wants big money or he's going to college.

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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