At 22 years old, the 22nd pick of the season 2 draft was Patrick Hartman, catcher out of Chadron State College. With this pick, Texas decided to go on pure talent, even if it means limited playing time. Hartman was a premier hitting in college, but was diagnosed with TLS, Tired Leg Syndrome. Any over-exertion on his legs causes them to go numb. He's got a decent arm, handles a pitching staff well enough, and has a great eye for the strike zone, but with his playing time severely limited, his value will be limited also.
With the college ranks dominating the first round of the draft, Johnny Blackmon brings his speed, defense, and decent bat to Wichita. Johnny played shortstop all throughout high school and college. Given the right fielding coach, he may be able to break into the Majors as a shortstop, though it's more likely that it'll be at the hot corner. It all hinges on the fact of whether or not he can stay healthy enough to get there. When his mother was a child, she had a terrible experience with dairy products while touring Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and thus never gave Johnny any milk while growing up. This lack of calcium has led to brittle bones, so more often than not he's got some part of his body in a cast. Training will be important, but he could prove to be a huge part of the Wichita franchise.
The Toledo Mud Hens plucked Hooks Daubach right out of their backyard. Hooks has a dominating fastball that he used to overpower his high school peers, but he didn't get in the weight room until his Junior year, so he has some room to improve his strength and velocity. Last season his coach taught him how to throw a forkball, so he's working on that pitch in his first professional season. He's also got some work to do with his control, but if he can get that to a reasonable level, he'll be a Major League household name in no time.
With the first of Toledo's 2 consecutive picks, they selected Ryan Taylor from Wahkiakum HS. A slick fielding shortstop who hits for average, Taylor will progress together with fellow Toledo high school draft pick Hooks Daubach in a race to the top. However, Taylor will have to work on his temper. He grew up in a wealthy household where his parents had little limits or boundaries, so he's used to getting whatever he wants. He's probably the only 18 year old kid who won't notice the additional $2,300,000 in his bank account after his signing bonus. While celebrating his draft selection at a local restaurant, he threw his plate of surf and turf back at the server because his food was touching! If he can keep from alienating himself in the clubhouse, he'll help Toledo's big league club in a few short years.
Slugger Hawk Wilkerson goes from Purdue University to the Burlington Northern with the 19th pick in the season 2 draft. Wilkerson is an all-around player, boasting above-average 3B defense and a big power bat. As a leader for his Boilermakers, he's looking to bring that leadership quality into the clubhouse in Burlington. Hawk should shoot through the farm system like a greased pig, and will find his way to the Majors in 2 shakes of a lambs tail. (That's for all you Burlington farmers!)
Clint Latham, the 17th overall pick by Durham, dominated in the closer's role at Oral Roberts University. Fastball hitters aren't going to see any while facing Latham, as he relies on a devastating sinker and an equally nasty curveball. Many scouts believe he will develop pin-point accuracy, but he does stay around the strike zone which allows good hitters to put a bat on the ball. They can't do much with his pitches, but he'll have to rely on a good defense behind him. Look for him to make his Durham debut in the next few years.
Darrell Park cashed in after being selected 16th overall to the St. Louis Cardinals. The definition of a 5-tool player, Park has solid speed, has a good understanding of the basepaths, hits for average, hits for power, and provide versatile, solid defense. His defense needs some work, and he may not make it in the bigs as a shortstop. He has also shown some durability issues. Never before being asked to play more than 100 games in a season, Park will need to work with the trainers to be able to play full time during a 162 game season. But don't look for this to slow him down, as he'll be a star when his number is called. You'll be hearing from Darrell Park before you know it.
"I couldn't be happier to be taken by Tampa Bay!" said an excited Al Lecuona the morning after being drafted. "When I started to Volunteer State Community College, I had to decide if I was going to stick with my baseball career, or pursue my budding music career. My band is a little disappointed, but they understand. God bless baseball. God bless country music. And God bless America. Peace out!" Given Lecuona's talent and performance, many scouts were shocked that he was even considering a career outside of baseball, but Tampa Bay will now get to reap the benefits of his decision, as he combines control of his fastball, curveball, and slider to blow away hitters. Don't forget about Al Lecuona.
Greg Hendrick is an incredible talent, setting all kinds of records at North Idaho College. He bucks the normal convention of lefty hitters have less success against lefty pitchers compared to righties. But Hendrick actually prefers the southpaws. In high school he hit an astounding .561 against left handed pitchers, and he looks to continue that success in his professional career. Also an above average base stealer, he'll prove to be an incredible asset for the Cattle Prod. His only liability is his work ethic. He's been known to rest on his talent, while failing to put in the work necessary to rise to the top. Time will tell if he can do what it takes to be not just a good major league player, but one of the best.
The Chicago Pale Hose made Phil Koh of Niles, MI the 13th overall pick. This speedster has plus defense, and has mastered the art of the slap hitter. He occasionally gets a hold of one, but he'll earn his paycheck with his keen eye of the strikezone, his ability to fight pitches off and avoid the strikeout, and his Rickey Henderson-esque basestealing technique turning singles into doubles or triples. Scout Jared Ramsay was asked about his most recent find. "I was visiting my family last year when Phil was a freshman, and I got lost trying to find a beer spot. I turned down a dirt road and ran into a baseball field used by Ancilla College. He was putting on a hitting clinic for his teammates, and it was at that point I knew we had to have him." Look for Phil to make his mark in the next couple seasons.
Brainiac Max Bell from Tipton, IA, educated in New Jersey at the acclaimed Princeton University now finds his home on the island of Honolulu, Hawaii. Graduated with a pre-law degree after just 3 years, Bell was just as impressive on the pitcher's mound. He's got the stuff to crack the major league rosters of several teams right now, but he's got room to grow, and the Sharks are looking forward to seeing him blossom into what they think he can be. As the 12th overall pick, and $3,000,000 richer, Bell is ready to buckle down and make his alma mater proud.
Coming up next...Season 2 Draft - Picks 1-11