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June 15, 2008

Future Shock

NL West Draft Recap

by Kevin Goldstein

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Draft Philosophy: Pick power arms early, and offensive college performers later.

First Pick: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona (26th overall)\
How High He Could Have Gone: Schlereth's late-season outings, during which he consistently touched 98 mph, put him squarely in the mix as one of the top college relievers on the board, and by the final week leading up to the draft, he was almost assuredly going in the 20s, which is what happened.
Path To The Big Leagues: He's a pure reliever, so he could move quickly; the only open question is if his ceiling is as an eighth-inning pitcher or that of a true closer.

Rest of the First Day:
1. Wade Miley, LHP, Southeastern Louisiana: Another power lefty, Miley's stuff is a tick or two below Schlereth's, but he has the mechanics and arsenal of a starter.
2. Bryan Shaw, RHP, Long Beach State: One of the best 'tier two' college relievers; both his fastball and slider are plus offerings.
3. Kevin Eichhorn, RHP, Aptos HS (CA): Mark Eichhorn's kid, so it's no surprise that he has an excellent feel for the game; his stuff is solid but unspectacular.
4. Ryne White, OF, Purdue: Lots of bat speed and a feel for contact, but his other tools fall short.
5. Collin Cowgill, OF, Kentucky: Very good tools packed into a small body; should at least be a good fourth outfielder.
6. Justin Parker, SS, Wright State: Older brother of the organization's top prospect, Jarrod Parker; Justin profiles as an offensive second baseman.

Best Second-Day Selections:
8. Pat McAnaney, LHP, Virginia: Not overpowering, but he fills the strike zone with three pitches, has a good breaking ball, and changes speeds well.
10. Danny Hultzen, LHP, St. Albans HS (DC): Some see him as the best high school lefty in the draft, but he's also considered all but unsignable.
12. Daniel Webb, RHP, Heath HS (KY): Another talent who dropped because of signability concerns; Webb is worth second-round money, and needs it to avoid going to college.

Colorado Rockies

Draft Philosophy: All college, all the time-but that doesn't mean there's not any upside here.

First Pick: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky (25th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: It was a surprise to see him drop this low. A month ago, he seemed to be slotted in the 11-15 range, and while he slipped a bit in the final week, it didn't look like he'd slip this far.
Path To The Big Leagues: Southpaws with outstanding curveballs have a tendency to dominate minor league hitters, so Friedrich could put up some gaudy numbers in the minors, even though his ceiling is more that of a mid-rotation starter.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Charles Blackmon, OF, Georgia Tech: He has lots of tools and projection; but the kind of rawness you don't normally see from a player at a major college program.
3. Aaron Weatherford, RHP, Mississippi State: A college closer, he has more set-up man stuff.
4. Ethan Hollingsworth, RHP, Western Michigan: A finesse specialist with plus-plus command.
5. Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville: At six-foot-five and close to 250 pounds, he's a mammoth presence at the plate with incredible power, but he strikes out a ton and might want to return to school to see if he can put it all together and make more money next year.
6. Kiel Roling, C, Arizona State: A big, physical catcher who hasn't put up big numbers, and is slow on the basepaths and behind the plate.

Best Second-Day Selections:
10. Stephen Dodson, RHP, Georgia: His only skills are getting groundballs and throwing strikes, but he does both very well.
25. Andy Burns, SS, Rocky Mountain HS (CO): The Rockies are hoping for a hometown discount, as he's a six-figure talent who wants to go to college.
42. Talyor Hightower, C, Cartersville HS (GA): One of the better high school backstops around, but he will need cash if he's to be signed.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Draft Philosophy: While the first-round pick was exactly the type of talent one normally associates with the Dodgers, after that there was a surprising focus on college talent.

First Pick: Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephens County HS (GA) (15th overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: If the scenario that had one of the top college talents in the draft falling to Texas did not come to fruition, he could have gone high as 11.
Path To The Big Leagues: Martin has tremendous upside on the mound, but he's probably going to move on the standard development path, taking three to four years.

Rest of the First Day:
2. Josh Lindbloom, RHP, Purdue: A college reliever, he has a Lee Smith body and almost as much stuff.
3. Kyle Russell, OF, Texas: Plus-plus raw power and arm strength, but it comes at a cost in average and strikeouts.
4. Devaris Strange-Gordon, SS, Seminole CC (FL): Tom Gordon's son has crazy-good tools, but very limited experience and refinement.
5. Jon Michael Redding, RHP, Jacksonville CC (FL): A strike-throwing machine with solid fastball/slider mix.
6. Tony Delmonico, SS, Florida State: The son of a coach who plays the game the right way, but profiles as more of a utility type.

Best Second-Day Selections:
7. Cole St. Clair, RHP, Rice: Expected to go higher, but an undefined arm injury made teams nervous; talent-wise he's not far below Joe Savery, another Rice product who was a first-round pick last year.
16. Kyle Conley, OF, Washington: Size and power to spare, but he's a left fielder at best who will struggle to hit for average.
20. Zach Cox, 3B, Pleasure Ridge HS (LA): Built like a linebacker and with plus in-game power, Cox will need a significant bonus to sign.

San Diego Padres

Draft Philosophy: As usual, take a very college-oriented approach, with even the lone high school selection on the first day resembling more of a college-type pick.

First Pick: Allan Dykstra, 1B, Wake Forest (23rd overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: Going as high as 23 was a bit of a surprise, as most saw the hulking slugger as more of a supplemental first-round or early second-round selection.
Path To The Big Leagues: Dykstra's power and patience should convert well to pro ball, but some teams we're concerned about his ability to hit for average. That will ultimately define how quickly he moves.

Rest of the First Day:
1. Jaff Decker, OF, Sunrise Mountain HS (AZ): Not a lot in the way of tools, but man, can he hit-he's very similar to Oakland selection Matt Sulentic from a couple of years back.
1. Logan Forsythe, 3B, Arkansas: A good third baseman with a solid bat, but his power is a question mark.
2. James Darnell, 3B, South Carolina: A lot of power, but he's likely a platoon player who can't stay in the infield.
3. Blake Tekotte, CF, Miami: A true center fielder with plus-plus speed, but he needs to tighten his approach to be true leadoff type.
3. Sawyer Carroll, 1B, Kentucky: This big first baseman is low on tools beyond his bat.
4. Jason Kipnis, OF, Arizona State: Has on-base skills and is a good athlete; doesn't show a lot of power.
5. Anthony Bass, RHP, Wayne State: A smallish righty with a power arm; his secondary stuff needs work.
6. Cole Figueroa, SS, Florida: Not a true shortstop, but has enough bat for second and get high marks for his effort and baseball instincts.

Best Second-Day Selections:
7. Adam Zornes, C, Rice: He's a backstop with power; maybe a slightly less skilled version of Chris Snyder.
8. Beamer Weems, SS, Baylor: An outstanding defensive player who can't hit.
11. Tyson Bagley, RHP, Dallas Baptist: Six-foot-eight and in possession of mid-90s heat, he needs a breaking ball and a more consistent release point.

San Francisco Giants

Draft Philosophy: Focus solely on talent and end up with an impressive haul, as each of the first four picks were in the first-round mix at some point this spring.

First Pick: Buster Posey, C, Florida State (fifth overall)
How High He Could Have Gone: While the Rays selected Tim Beckham with the first overall pick, Posey was their second choice.
Path To The Big Leagues: Posey really has no weaknesses in his game, and despite the difficulties of his defensive position, he could move up as fast as any position player in the draft.

Rest of the First Day:
1. Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Wichita State: One of the best non-first basemen in the draft, Gillaspie is an outstanding offensive prospect whose defense doesn't match up; he might end up at first base like the rest of them.
3. Roger Kieschnick, OF, Texas Tech: Big, athletic, and loaded with tools, but in many ways a projection pick, as he's failed to produce consistently.
4. Brandon Crawford, SS, UCLA: The infield version of Kieschnick, gifted with first-round tools to go along with tenth-round performance.
5. Edwin Quirate, RHP, Cal State Northridge: A college closer who throws a plus sinker and has good command but needs a second pitch.
6. Eric Surkamp, LHP, North Carolina State: A command/control type who could dominate at the lower levels, but projects as more of a bullpen arm in the end.

Best Second-Day Selections:
10. Ryan O'Sullivan, RHP, Valhalla HS (CA): Brother of Angels prospect Sean O'Sullivan, and a similar type of player-a stocky right-hander with a lot of polish.
11. Justin Fitzgerald, RHP, UC Davis: A big reliever who can touch 95 mph and throws a nice slider; could end up as late-inning bullpen piece.
14. Caleb Curry, OF, Iowa: Big Ten speedster plays a solid center field and has excellent fundamentals.

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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