Friday, June 09, 2006

Philadelphia Phillies 2006 Draft Review - First Day

1.18 Kyle Drabek – The Woodlands (Texas) HS – RHP

Born 12/8/87…5’11” or 6’0” or 6’1” (I’ve seen his height listed at each number already) and 190 pounds…94-95 MPH fastball, topping out at 97, curveball at 78-82 MPH, the one-two combo of pitches was regarded as being the key to the very best pitching repertoire of any pitcher in this draft…his slider has also been labeled as that top second pitch, seems like there is a dispute in scouting reports as to whether that spike curve should really be called a slider…his change up, rightfully unused throughout his high school career, needs work…smooth, easily repeatable mechanics that limit the risk of injury going forward…also a legitimate shortstop prospect that some scouts claim would have been the first high school bat off the draft board…special athletic talent who has shown off his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash – the Phillies may soon have more players (Cooper, Myers, Berry, etc.) who run 4.4ish 40s or better than the Eagles…Drabek’s much discussed off the field issues will have to be closely monitored, but the Phillies have done their homework and are confident Drabek is mature enough to handle life as a professional ballplayer – the Phillies would have never been in a position to draft Drabek if not for the questions on makeup, so the 2006 draft may very well play out like the 2002 draft when the Phillies had Cole Hamels fall into their laps due to concerns over his checkered past (in Hamels case it was injuries)…

The last two Phillies high school pitchers selected in the first round were both late signs who did not pitch professionally the year they were drafted. Gavin Floyd debuted at Low-A Lakewood as a 19-year old in 2002 and Cole Hamels, also 19 years old in his first pro season, split the 2003 season between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater. Zack Segovia, a second rounder in 2002, went to play with the Gulf Coast League Phillies as a 19-year old in 2002; Kyle Kendrick, a seventh rounder in 2003, also began with the GCL Phillies in his age-19 season.

Drabek alone makes this draft worthwhile for the Phillies. To get a guy with top of the rotation stuff when picking eighteenth overall in the draft is a coup. The similarities and comparisons between him and Cole Hamels are indeed warranted – get excited Phillies fans, the future looks bright. Visions of a 2010 pitching staff including Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Gio Gonzalez, Scott Mathieson, Carlos Carrasco, Ryan Madson, Gavin Floyd, Daniel Haigwood, Edgar Garcia, Zack Segovia, Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Matt Maloney, Josh Outman, Drew Carpenter…of course nobody can predict what will happen between now and 2010 (what fun would that be?) and there are no guarantees in life (especially when it comes to pitching), but this current group of young pitching in the Phillies organization is a pretty exciting blend of talent with enough top to bottom depth that the inevitable attrition shouldn’t be too big a problem.

1.37 Adrian Cardenas – Monsignor Pace (Florida) HS – INF

Born 10/10/87, lefthanded hitter/righthanded thrower…6’0”, 185…Cardenas watched as his draft stock rose like few other players this spring as scouts flocked to Monsignor Pace HS to watch highly touted third baseman Chris Marrero, but walked away just as impressed with the scrappy shortstop Cardenas…started the year 29 for 37 at the plate…finished the 2006 season hitting .630 with 17 homers, a Monsignor Pace record…

One of the bigger question marks of Cardenas’ game surrounds his projectability on defense. Though he played shortstop in high school, scouts consider his body too stiff and his arm too weak to handle short in the pros. Many Phillies fans are optimistic that Cardenas will start his pro career at third base and, while it is still a possibility, it doesn’t seem all that likely to me that he’ll begin his career at anywhere but second base. I see no problem in letting him play shortstop or third base until he absolutely proves he can’t do either on a regular basis. Cardenas is by all accounts a very hard worker who is willing to put in extra work in order to become an above average defender at second.

Cardenas’ outstanding senior season at Monsignor Pace has not been ignored. He has been compared to Jose Vidro by while others believe his scouting report reads like Chase Utley-lite (and this assessment came even before this Marti Wolever quote from the Philadelphia Inquirer: "When I first met Adrian, he shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, 'I can hit like Chase Utley,' " Wolever said. “After we watched the game, I kind of agreed, having seen Chase in high school. They're very similar in that regard. That's a big statement, but he has a chance to be a very good offensive player.")

Baseball America had this to say about Cardenas’ big league potential: “He should hit 10-15 home runs annually in the big leagues with a .275-.295 average.” Those numbers look fine for a regular starting baseman, but there is no telling whether the Phillies will have a vacancy at second by the time Cardenas is ready (odds are good Chase Utley will still be manning second for the Phils, I’m just pointing out that you never know). With enough power at other spots in the lineup, those numbers could play at either third base or left field. It’s also possible that Cardenas is not yet done growing and gaining strength, and that he’ll continue to develop power like he showed as a high school senior. The Baseball America power projection may be on the safe end – here’s hoping Cardenas’ senior year success is a springboard to future great performances as a minor leaguer.

Cardenas has an outstanding baseball scholarship to the University of Florida, but the odds of him ever suiting up for the Gators are about the same as Ryan Franklin ever winning a Cy Young…one of the things I like about Cardenas is that he is unique as a high schooler in that he is not necessarily a raw athlete still learning the game – he is a baseball player through and through…good combination of polish and projectability make him a fine selection at this point in the draft…

2.65 Drew Carpenter – Long Beach State – RHP

Born 5/18/85…6’3”, 225/230 junior righthanded starter who was a member of teams at Chico State (Division II) and Sacramento City College (Junior College) before landing at Long Beach State in 2006 – all three schools are legitimate powers in their respective collegiate classifications…good collegiate numbers (2.91 ERA, team high 117.2 IP with 5 complete games in 16 starts, 99 K/20 BB, and only 4 homeruns allowed), but played in one of the best ballparks for pitchers (Blair Field) in all of college baseball while at Long Beach…

He is an advanced college pitcher ready to step right in and pitch as a professional – not unlike a righthanded version of Phillies prospect and 97th overall pick in 2005, Matt Maloney…fastball is a mystery pitch as its velocity seemed to go up and down as the season wore on – it was clocked at 89-93 MPH early on the year, but dipped to 87-89 MPH later on, only to shoot back up to 94 by the end of the season…Carpenter’s arsenal of pitches is loaded – he throws the heater, a splitter, an inconsistent but developing slider (hits 80-81 MPH), a curve, and a change…his mechanics improved throughout the year to the point where they are now considered one of his biggest plusses…his control is yet another plus…Carpenter has been criticized in the past for his inability to be too economical with his pitches – he has been accused as a nibbler at times and needs to learn to go after hitters once he gets 2 strikes on them...

If that fastball sits in the low 90s rather than the high 80s, Carpenter’s stock within the organization should catapult. He figures to instantly be in the mix when people talk about the Phillies top five righthanded starting pitching prospects (Carlos Carrasco, Scott Mathieson, Zack Segovia, Edgar Garcia, and Kyle Kendrick all are in the mix as well - as will be Drabek when signed...). Like Cardenas, Carpenter is one of the fastest risers in the entire draft. His consistent performance week after week for a top college program combined with plus control, good mechanics, and an intriguing five pitch arsenal make him a prospect with a bright future. He may not have the ceiling of anything more than a back of the rotation starter or middle reliever in the majors, but he seems like as sure a bet as any other player drafted by the Phillies in 2006 to actually reach his ceiling.

The Phillies have been pretty consistent in their practice of sending college pitchers right to Batavia after the draft. J.A. Happ and Matt Maloney both pitched as 21-year olds for the Muckdogs the year they were drafted. Expect Carpenter to be a quick sign who will be sent to Batavia right out of the gate though he may be given some time off to rest his arm after a season of overuse at the college level.

3.97 Jason Donald – Arizona – SS

Born 9/4/84…6’1”, 190…hit .332/.401/.528 this past year at Arizona though those numbers dipped during Pac-10 games (.314/.387/.476)…Donald is not your prototypical shortstop prospect – his strengths lie in his natural hitting ability and plus power to the gaps (29 extra base hits, including 6 homers) rather than speed, defense, and patience at the plate (only 7-12 on stolen base attempts, team high 19 errors, and a K/BB ratio of 48/19)…strong enough arm to play short, good range, majority of errors came on plays where he tried to do too much…those three dreaded words clubs hate to hear may have caused Donald to slip more than expected in the draft: Scott Boras Client

Donald turned down first round bonus money (reported as being in the high six figures some places, 1.8 million dollars in other places – either way it’s big money) from the Angels after they took him in the twentieth round in 2003, so his status as a highly thought of prospect has been well known around baseball for a long time now…even with all the tools and pure physical talent he possesses, he has never been able to put it all together on the field for an extended stretch of time…Donald is a college guy, but one that is far from an unfinished product…there is plenty of growth in his game…

Donald’s contact rate (48 strikeouts in 54 games) scares me into thinking he has a huge uphill battle ahead of him if he ever wants to be anything more than a backup major leaguer. Donald’s negotiations could be complicated due to the potential of unreasonable demands and the leverage of returning to the Wildcats for a senior year, but ultimately the odds of him not joining the Phillies in 2006 are extremely low – coming to exact terms on the money will be the key as I think Donald is about 99% committed to playing pro ball this season. The quicker he signs, the better; good professional coaching can do great things with a middle infielder with Donald’s kind of power. I hate to hedge my bets again, but I think Donald’s future in the Phillies organization could come as a super sub capable of playing a variety of positions. If he achieves this ceiling and becomes a top bat off the bench, you’ll hear no complaints out of me.

4.127 D’Arby Myers – Westchester (California) HS – OF

Born 12/9/88…listed at 6’3”, 175…Scholarship to USC baseball…family reportedly values education highly…comes off as a very special prospect, almost the “perfect prospect” according to the Los Angeles Times (April 2005):

“His physical skills are immense. He's 6 feet 3, 170 pounds, and the way he runs, throws, catches and hits would cause any scout to list him as a top prospect. He also has a 4.0 grade-point average, with A's in chemistry, U.S. history and American literature. A baseball player with brains. What an unbeatable combination. But what shows that he can make it to the top of his profession is the way he plays the game. There's never a swing in the batting cage that he doesn't enjoy. There's never a moment when he's in uniform that he doesn't feel as if he has found his life's calling. "It's the sport I feel connected with," he said. "I played all the other sports … basketball, football, even hockey … but there's something about baseball that brings me joy inside. Since I was little, all I've wanted to do was play ball."

The draft negotiations with Myers will be a circus. The Phillies 2006 draft will be judged on what kind of pitcher Kyle Drabek is, first and foremost, but the signings (or lack thereof) of D’Arby Myers and Riley Cooper will go a long way in determining the value of the draft as a whole.

5.157 Quintin Berry – San Diego State – OF

Born 11/21/84…6’0”, 170…lefty/lefty…Hit .335/.429/.485 for the Aztecs in 2006…good speed (32 steals), but needs real work on refining his base running skills (those 32 steals came in 41 chances)…profiles as having a similar skill set to current Reading OF and former Houston Cougar Michael Bourn, but Berry has more pop in his bat (Bourn hit .330/.411/.407 the year he was drafted)…plus runner and fielder…gets extra credit for being the type of game changing collegiate hitter that caused teams to openly talk about making stopping him a big part of their gameplan…

Berry is an interesting prospect in that he isn’t just another player who fits the Phillies outfield prospect mold (plus speed, plus athlete, but can he hit?). Berry actually has a track record of success with the bat and should be an instant contributor at Batavia if he is a quick sign.

6.187 Daniel Brauer – Northwestern – LHP

Born 10/14/83…6’0”, 210…former teammate of current Phillies farmhand J.A. Happ…Far and away the ace of a dismal Northwestern pitching staff, Brauer was also an innings eating workhorse for the Wildcats (7 complete games out of 15 starts) who finished the year with an ERA of 3.30 in 92.2 IP…Brauer’s impressive K/IP ratio is a positive, but the 2/1 K/BB ratio and lack of control are worrisome – the control issues may be related to the rust of Brauer missing the entire 2005 season due to injury…there should be a spot in the Batavia rotation waiting for him upon his signing…

7.217 Charlie Yarbrough – Eastern Kentucky – 1B

Born 11/7/84…measures in at a modest 6’6”, 250/255…Yarborough wrapped up a monster year at Eastern Kentucky (.391/.482/.739) befitting a monster of a man such as himself – on the EKU website, he lists his best non-athletic talent as “eating”…Yarbrough led the team in homeruns (18), hits (81), runs batted in (69), doubles (18), and walks (32)…he also finished second on the team in strikeouts (42)…one of the biggest negatives concerning Yarbrough is his lack of defensive value – with that giant frame of his, it appears his future in the NL will be at first base or bust…if nothing else, Yarbrough should be a fun player to watch as he rises up the minor league ladder

8.247 T.J. Warren – Bethel (California) HS – OF

Born 8/17/88…6’4”, 200…plus runner, great size, questionable hitter who struggles with making consistent, solid contact…Warren seems very willing to sign, but he is a long ways away from even sniffing the big leagues…the Vallejo Times Herald goes in to detail about his desire to sign and play right away:

All three players plan on signing contracts with their new teams instead of going to college. Warren made a little history. He became the first Jaguar baseball player to get drafted. "I feel great. It just feels good to be the first person from Bethel," Warren said. "Hopefully, there's more to come." Warren batted .393 with four homers, eight doubles and 15 RBI as a senior. His numbers would have been even more impressive had he not been given Barry Bonds-type treatment by the rest of the Solano County Athletic League, according to Bethel assistant coach Keven Connelly. "Realistically, nobody in the league was pitching to him. Nobody was challenging him," Connelly said.

But scouts were impressed with Warren even when he wasn't in a Jaguar uniform. His 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame, bat speed and power won many of them over at a high school All-Star game in Cape Cod, Fla., and at the Area Code Games in Los Angeles last summer. His success with the Connie Mack organization's Oakland Oaks didn't hurt, either. "He's got a major league body build. He's tall, really quick and he's still going to grow into his body. That's what they're looking for at that age," Connelly said.

In an attempt to improve his draft status, Warren also took part in camps run by the Giants, Orioles and Phillies. It was the Phillies who were impressed the most. Warren's already hired an agent, Jason Hoffman, who expects a deal to be completed soon. "We're looking to get some pretty good money, without mentioning a figure," Hoffman said. "It should take no longer than a day or two." If he does sign with the Phillies, Warren expects to be sent to play in the Gulf Coast League rookie team.

9.277 Andrew Cruse – South Carolina – RHP

Born 5/31/84…6’0”, 190…redshirt sophomore…Cruse had an outside shot at earning time in the Gamecocks starting rotation coming into the season, but instead settled into the bullpen where he earned the rep of a fairly generic righthanded collegiate reliever that got him drafted…6’1”, 193…good value pick when taking into account how other teams supposedly felt about him…Cruse was used as a spot starter for USC and succeeded in the role leading some teams to wonder if maybe he has a better mental disposition for starting…the problem with using him as a starter comes with the possibility that his so-so stuff (his low 90s fastball is a plus, but his only steady breaking ball offering is a barely average curve)…seems like he is heading to the Batavia bullpen to start his pro career

10.307 Sam Walls – North Carolina State – RHP

Born 10/31/83…6’1”, 186…also listed at 5’11”, 195…his ERA on the year was 2.89 while he racked up 8 saves in 43.2 innings pitched…not a future big league closer, but has the potential to be a quick riser in the system who ought to aim for a full-time spot in the Philadelphia bullpen by 2009…great value pick, Walls compares favorably to Drew Carpenter when talking about first ’06 draft pick who will reach the majors…I actually think Walls will be the first draftee to make it out of this class (being in the pen gives him the edge over Carpenter)

11.337 Jarrod Freeman – Alta (Utah) HS – RHP

Born 11/20/87…6’3”, 187/195…very projectable…loose, clean arm action appears effortless when throwing fastball…plus slider with late movement on it…plus pick off move…Scholarship to play baseball at Utah, but should be a relatively easy sign…guys from non-traditional baseball areas (Utah being a perfect example) are often overlooked, so Freeman qualifies as an under the radar player to watch in my book…

12.367 Darin McDonald – Cherry Creek (Colorado) HS – OF

Born 11/3/87…6’3”, 195…Signed letter of intent to play football at Idaho State, but should be similar to Jarrod Freeman when it comes to being an easier sign (pro baseball or football at Idaho State? You make the call…)

13.397 Zachary Penprase – Mississippi Valley State – SS

Born 2/16/85…6’2”, 180…Hit .354 – no power to speak of (just 1 homer and 5 doubles), but plenty of speed to burn (9 triples and 56 steals in 63 attempts)…33 walks to 20 strikeouts…quality of Penprase’s competition is a question mark – Mississippi Valley State went 20-4 in SWAC play, but only 4-28 outside of the conference…sorry Zach, but you look like standard organizational filler to me

14.427 Gus Milner – Kansas – OF

Born 4/21/84…like Yarbrough, Milner is another giant, slugging kind of player (6’5”, 240/245)…played two seasons at Hutchinson Community College before transferring to Kansas before last season…his showed enough in his first season to get drafted in the 47th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2005…hit .328/.395/.521 with 7 homeruns, 5 triples, and 20 doubles in the cleanup hole this past season…he also added six steals (in seven tries) plus five outfield assists as the Jayhawks everyday right fielder…power numbers took a big hit as he struggled mightily in Big 12 conference play (.282/.342/.398)…the Batavia outfield is extremely uninspiring at the moment, so it is not inconceivable to see Quintin Berry, Gus Milner, and Jay Miller all getting plenty of at bats for the Muckdogs…

15.457 Riley Cooper – Clearwater Central Catholic (Florida) HS – OF

Born 9/9/87…6’3”...6’4”, 208/212…raw but chock full of tools…big time power potential…surprisingly balanced and natural swing…Signed letter of intent to play football at Florida…got a little Cole Hamels in him as he recently slammed his hand throw a car window…4.37 40-yard dash…plus speed, plus power potential, plus arm strength…the plot thickens as information from the St. Petersburg Times comes out:

"It was obviously a hard choice, but having an opportunity to play at Florida, that's ultimately what I want to do," said Riley Cooper, who will play receiver in the fall and outfield in the spring.

That didn't stop Philadelphia from taking a flier on Cooper in the 15th round, 457th overall.

Cooper, 6 feet 4, 212 pounds, was rated by most recruiting services as a first-rounder when the spring began. He was touted for his blazing speed and raw power, shining in a number of showcases during the summer before his senior season.

But he sustained a season-ending injury in March when he was involved in a late-night scrape in Clearwater. Cooper sustained a deep cut to his right arm throwing a punch through a car window.

According to Larry Cooper, Philadelphia told him it was going to take Riley Cooper with the 18th overall pick in the draft before being talked out of it. "They were asking us if they drafted Riley in the first round, would he sign, and we said no," Larry Cooper said. "As of (Monday) night, they wanted to take us in the 10th-15th round and pay us first-round money and see if they can get us up in Philadelphia by the 25th. That's still their plan."

Riley Cooper said he will report to Gainesville on June 27. Gator football coach Urban Meyer was one of the first to call after his selection, to congratulate one of his prize recruits and make sure he won't wilt under the pressure from the Phillies to sign.

"I don't think so," Cooper said.

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but the contract negations between the Phillies and both D’Arby Myers and Riley Cooper should be fascinating. The fact that the Phillies reportedly thought enough of Cooper that they considered him worthy of a first round draft grade is a good indication of what kind of potential he has as a ballplayer. Also important is the fact that the Phillies have reportedly indicated to Cooper’s camp that they are willing to pay him way, way, way over slot money to get a contract with him done. If Cooper bites, fantastic; if he balks and goes to play football instead, the Phillies would still presumably have the money earmarked for Cooper available to sign a good number of the other high school picks (including Myers and a whole slew of second day picks with potential). The more I read about Cooper as a ballplayer, the more I like. However, by the same token, the more I read about him, the more certain I am that his heart is with Urban Meyer and the Gator football team.

16.487 Cody Montgomery – Dallas Baptist – 3B

Born 10/26/83…Finally, the Phillies take a third baseman…solidly built, 6’3”, 220…reportedly a plus fielder at third – only 11 errors in 54 …hit .333/.376/.671 with 14 homeruns, 22 doubles, 8 triples, and 10 steals in 12 tries…35 strikeouts versus 17 walks…good numbers, decent tools…probably organizational filler but a guy worth watching because he can play third…

17.517 Jay Miller – Washington State – OF

Born 8/11/83…hit .361/.428/.476…gap power like few others (28 2B)…22 BB/15 K…17/19 SB…classic leadoff man size (5’9”/5’10”, 176/185) who bats right/throws right…one of the hardest players in all of college baseball to strikeout…I keep sending all these college outfielders to Batavia, but that outfield is beginning to get crowded – logically, all three of the Phillies collegiate outfielders will start with the Muckdogs but the Gulf Coast League Phillies is a possibility for any of the three as well…

18.547 Michael Dubee – Okaloosa-Walton (Florida) CC - RHP

Born 1/12/86…6’2”, 177…Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee’s son…draft and follow player who should prove to be a tricky sign even with the family ties to the organization…very mature, draws rave reviews for advanced pitchability…great pick at this spot if the Phils believe they can get him signed and throwing quickly…


Anonymous malphie said...

So you haven't given up on Floyd yet huh...I have...screw him...he's dead to me...

6:27 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

He's only 5 months older than you, sucka. Have a little patience...

2:07 PM  

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