2008 Draft Preview: Update #1

The mean old Pirates struck out Billy Crystal
Update: Girardi will not miss Bronx managerial debut

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.

The mean old Pirates struck out Billy Crystal
Update: Girardi will not miss Bronx managerial debut
  • dan

    What about Aaron Crow tells you that he’s overrated? (just wondering)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Just about all of Crow’s hype comes from his showing at last year’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game, when he miraculously jumped from 91-92 to 96-97. His numbers over the last two years don’t exactly make you think “first overall pick.”

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees Eric Schultz

    Miami 1b Yonder Alonso’s off to a nice start too, hitting .450 with 4 homers and 14 rbi in 12 games, slugging .875. I guess working out with A-Rod really pays off.

  • Harry

    Where’s LHP Kyle Long? I read in last weeks issue of Sports Illustrated that Howie Long’s second son throws 96 mph and could go first overall in this years draft. Any truth to that?

    • Mike R.

      Yes and no. He does have serious stuff on the mound, but a lot of scouts like him more as a position player. He has quite a bat, but there is no chance he goes first overall. He could sneak into the first round.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.
  • CB

    Justin Smoak is a better prospect than Tim Beckham?

    When you say “The best prospect in the draft. Period.” I take it you’re including prep players as well.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I am including prepsters. Smoak’s that great of a hitter and while Beckham is really really talented, he’s not nearly as much of a sure thing. If we’re talking highest ceiling, then it’s Beckham. But Smoak is the best combination of ceiling and probability.

  • marc

    Why do people keep comparing Texiera’s ankle injurt to alvarez’s wrist injurt…. significantly different injury, to a very different part of the body… you would think an ankle would be less of a concern than a wrist for a guy whose projected as a big tme power hitter… isnt that mixed with Boras’s demands a good reason to think he’ll fall into the 20’s?

  • http://breakingballs.riveraveblues.com Tommy

    For Matusz, he just had one brutal season-opening start, with a line of

    4.2IP 8H 6ER 4BB 6K

    Aside from that he’s been pretty dominant. The real Matusz showed up for his last start, where he went

    8.0IP 4H 0ER 2BB 12K

    against a pretty strong Oklahoma State team. Whoever takes him is going to be pretty pleased with the results, IMHO.

  • J.R.

    Tim Murphy is sick. His start against Bethune-Cookman was on ESPN and he looks like the real deal. He throw low 90’s and has a great power curve. If he fell to the yankees (unlikely) he would be a steal.

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  • R.D.

    How is Crow overrated? I’ve seen him this spring and he’s pitching 91-93 and hitting 94, and it’s not even that warm of weather yet. This kid’s an absolute stud. Command of the fastball is excellent and he doesn’t rely on offspeed stuff to get hitters out, he can do it with his fastball alone. That is not to mention the quality of his other pitches.