Hailing from Cicero, IN, Cam Blake drove west in his 1984 Toyota Celica towards Kansas City (where the Monarchs, interestingly enough, have all 6 levels of their baseball organization located). Abdullah Woodward, his agent, informed him that he'd be assigned to Hi-A, and should be ready to hit the ground running. With $3,000,000 in hand, Cam Blake looks to make a huge impact in the ML with his defense, power, and impressive speed for a catcher. Look for Blake to jump into the Major Leagues in the next couple years.
With the 10th overall pick, Atlanta landed college phenom Lou Rubel out of the College of Saint Rose. Relying more on his control than velocity, Rubel confuses hitters with a combination of sinkers, sliders, and change ups. He's also got an average cut fastball, and is working on developing a curveball. Rubel is ready to pitch in the Majors now, and has little patience for the Braves organization moving him slowly, so his maturity, along with his ability to avoid injury, will play a role in when we get to see his ML debut. But make no mistake...it's "when", not "if".
One of the 6 pitchers taken in this year's top 10, Derrick Smalley has surely impressed in rookie ball. Limiting hitters to a .211 average while striking out 63 in 65 innings, Smalley looks to progress through the Milwaukee farm system quickly. He has good velocity on his cut fastball, and does a nice job with a slider/curveball combo to keep batted balls on the ground. If he can stay away from the High Life Beerfall (the famous "waterfall" of beer in center field in Milwaukee), Smalley will be a key piece to ensuring a deep playoff run for the High Life in the future.
What can we say about Roger Willis? Well, not much really. My scouts got lost on their way to Sun Valley, ID to visit his family. But we know what we see on film, and that's incredible speed, great power, a good understanding of the strike zone, and a decent glove that needs a little work to stay at 2B. Willis has had a little trouble with his propensity to strikeout, but he is sure to find his way to the big show soon enough.
Hey, Tito! Scout for Minnesota, Andrew Corey, knew he had to have this guy the first time he saw him pitch...and he hasn't disappointed thus far. In 19 innings in rookie ball, Doerr has yet to allow a run! He's given up 7 hits, walked 3, while striking out 30. Yes, folks, that's a 3/30 BB/K ratio. The only issue with Tito Doerr is that his idols growing up were Rob Dibble and John Rocker. So he sometimes gets a little too fired up when he takes the mound. If you want to see him flip his lid, just say two words..."paint chips." No one is sure why, but it sends him into orbit! But even with some anger management issues, Doerr is a top-notch pitcher who will be closing for the Miracles in just a few short years.
Santa Fe made Dave Bryant a Rattler with the 6th overall pick in the Season 2 draft. Bryant was ready to get out of town after attending Assumption HS (and we all about assumptions). During his time of assumption, he dominated his peers. He entered the draft as the 5th best amateur player in the country, and his potential shows us why. He has impressive control for an 18 year old, with a nasty slider and an equally nasty screwball. High schoolers were completely man-handled by him, but professionals are having a little more success. With great makeup, it'll be up to Bryant to work with the coaching staff to turn potential into reality.
As the third position player selected in the draft, Gene Clark plans to utilize his excellent glove and above average bat to turn the Yardbirds into contenders. Clark boasts blazing speed to go with his glove, and is working on his command of the strike zone. When Clark makes his major league debut, it will likely be due to his speed and defense, but make no mistake about it...he has the ability to turn into a threat with the bat too. If he can become a smarter baserunner, look for Clark to steal 50+ bases every year. Folks in Baltimore can't wait to see this kid under the bright lights and gaze of 40,000 screaming fans.
Matthew Hernandez was arguably the best position player in this year's draft. Unfortunately, he won't see any action with Rochester. With nearly all of their prospect money spent on Joaquin Paz and Juan Rivera in the international market, there wasn't the $3,720,000 left to ink Hernandez. Hernandez is shocked, as he was very anxious to get started with Rochester, but he plans to finish up college this year and see what other opportunities he can find after that.
Clay Brooks looks to continue his success with Las Vegas after being the 3rd overall pick. A prodigy out of high school, he mowed down hitters with an amazing fastball/slider combination. During his time at Northern Essex Community College he developed a curveball and change up, though those are still being worked on. He's got great control for a 20 year old, and handles even professional hitters with ease. It won't be long before we see Mr. Brooks announced as the opening day starter for the Las Vegas Outlaws.
Scott Hurst is regarded as the pitcher with the most potential in this year's draft, but he's got a long way to go. He's got the tools to be an elite starting pitcher for many years, and Detroit is hoping their investment in him pays off. At Nevada High School he set the school record for most innings pitched, most wins, most strikeouts, and most girls taken to prom. He's had some arm trouble, so he'll have to train hard to stay healthy, but if he can keep the 'Ace' bandages off his golden left arm, he'll keep the 'Ace' label next to his name for many years.
Curt Hogan. Curt. Hogan. How I love to say thy name! Alright, I got nothing on this guy. All I know is that he's got beady eyes and a strange goatee. But Anaheim must know enough about this high schooler to make him the top pick in the draft. It's unknown at this time whether Hogan is holding out, or if Anaheim has yet to send him an offer. But if anything's going to happen, it's going to have to happen in the next few days.