2008 Draft Preview: Update #1By
After telling you about some of the top overall prospects and top left-handed pitchers available in this year’s draft, it’s time to bring you up to speed on how they’re doing. The draft order is close to being finalized, with Mike Piazza being the only unsigned compensation free agent (Type-B) remaining. Even though he signed a minor league deal, the A’s will get a sandwich pick for Shannon Stewart if, and only if, he sticks on Toronto’s 25-man roster out of Spring Training. Right now the Yanks are picking at #28 overall, followed by #44, #77, #107, #142 and then every thirty picks thereafter. Not too shabby.
I had trouble finding stats for the high schoolers; most of the info on MaxPreps was team W-L records and individual game results only, not box scores or player stats. The schools’ websites were also useless, so I’ll have to update you on the prepsters in the future. Fun starts after the jump.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt: Alvarez broke a bone in his hand (rumored to be a hamate) in his very first at-bat of the year (not sure if he got by a pitch, or if it was something else), and will still be out another 4-5 weeks. He’s unlikely to get back to 100% at any point in the year, and there had been some speculation that he could slip to the Yanks at #28. The more I think about it the less I see it happening, especially when you consider that Mark Teixeira broke his ankle his draft year and still managed to go #5 overall in 2001. With Boras as his “advisor,” Alvarez may return to school next year and try to cash in on a bigger payday.
Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri: Crow’s living up to his billing as the best pitcher in the country, going 3-0, 2.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP with a 26-4 K/BB ratio in 17 IP over 3 starts. He’s on the short list of guys being considered for the top overall pick, but frankly, I think he’s a little over-rated. Not Dan Bard over-rated, but over-rated nonetheless.
Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky: Crappy weather has wreaked havoc on the Colonels’ schedule, forcing them to play three double headers in the first week-and-a-half of the season. Friedrich hasn’t been able to get into as many games as the other guys, but his stats speak for themselves: 11 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 20 K. Studly.
Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego: Pitching for a team with absolutely no offense, Matusz is having a bit of a subpar year, going only 2-1, 3.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP with a 29-9 K/BB in 19.2 IP over 3 starts. This is a guy that finished second in the nation last year with 163 K (in 123 IP) to David Price and his 195 K (in 133.1 IP). Still a cinch top 5 talent, it’ll take more than a high-3′s ERA to ruin his draft stock. Blame it on the added stress of having to pitch in front a team with an aggregate .239-.324-.354 batting line. With metal bats.
Tim Murphy, LHP, UCLA: Murphy’s off an outstanding start, going 2-0, 0.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP with a 28-8 K/BB ratio in 24 IP over 4 appearances (3 starts). He’s bumped Gavin Brooks from the top spot in the rotation thanks to a 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 11 K performance against St. Mary’s followed by a 9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 10 K outing vs. Bethune-Cookman. A borderline sandwich rounder at the outset of the year, Murphy’s pitched his way into true first round consideration.
Josh Romanski, LHP, San Diego: Romanski’s had a horrible start to year, including a thorough beat down at the hands of San Diego State. Overall he’s gone 2-0, 7.58 ERA, 1.63 WHIP with a 13-4 K/BB ratio in 19 IP, getting bumped back to the third spot in the rotation in the process. He’s hitting .296-.387-.519 as the Toreros’ regular rightfielder, ranking second on the team with 3 homers and 14 RBI. Romanski’s a guy that will need to put up numbers, because his stuff isn’t sexy. If he keeps it up, he might be better off going back to school for his senior year.
Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina: The best hitter in the country is enjoying the best season in his illustrious career, thumping opposing pitching to the tune of .364-.525-.682 with 5 doubles, 3 homers and 11 RBI. A slick fielder, he hasn’t made an error in 115 total chances. The best prospect in the draft. Period.
Justin Wilson, LHP, Fresno State: Wilson hasn’t been the rock in the Bulldogs’ rotation like in years past, going 0-2, 5.23 ERA, 2.03 WHIP with a 7-4 K/BB ratio in only 10.1 IP. He hasn’t pitched since February 28, when he got crushed by Cal in the first game of the USD Tournament, so something could be up.