Saturday, August 9, 2008

Season 9 Draft Review - Part I (picks 1-10)

I am providing my draft coverage, based solely on my advanced scouting ratings and my opinion. Nonetheless, here are my thoughts:

1. Iowa City - Elmer Ellenwood - Ellenwood is a surprise pick by the Hawkeyes, overlooking sure fire SP Raymond Buckley and offensive star Al Wheat. Ellenwood will be an above average hitter, while being able to play shortstop at the ML level, but lacks the star power usually associated with a #1 overall pick.

2. Wichita - Curt Gabriel - An under the radar player (read - wasn't scouted by me) who has yet to sign.

3. New York Juicers - Raymond Buckley - Buckley was considered by many to be the #1 prospect in this draft. Strong armed with great control and 4 ML caliber pitches, he can dominate both righties and lefties. Buckley appears to be a Cy Young winner in the making.

4. Montreal - Al Wheat - After the Juicers picked up the best arm in the draft, the Canadiens grabbed the #1 position player. Wheat punishes all pitchers with a controlled swing that still generates a great deal of power. Add his tremendous speed and an already Major League caliber batting eye, and all the pieces are there for an MVP-type player. The only minus for Wheat are the health risks that may have scared off Wichita and Iowa City.

5. Helana - Chris Anderson - Anderson is a solid first base prospect, but going at #5 was a surprise. Many consider the eighth pick, Cliff Simpson, to be a better prospect at the position. Nonetheless, Anderson should hit for average and power, and his plate discipline will be a great asset.

6. Philadelphia - Juan Ramirez - The Wild Cat franchise, already under attack by other league owners for its poor record this season, did itself no favors by picking Ramirez sixth. While possessing the stamina and control of a Major League pitcher, he lacks a single high quality pitch, nor does he project to have the ability to be any more than a back of the rotation starter, at best.

7. Oakland - Dicky Robertson - Widely considered the top shortstop in this year's draft class, Robertson projects to be an above average glove man, while still providing the offense usually reserved for a corner outfielder. He's a very solid pick at #7.

8. Honolulu - Cliff Simpson - The Tsunami front office continues to collect fine talent in picking up first baseman Cliff Simpson. The best pure offensive player in this year's class, he should put up numbers second only to the incomparable Rudy Aldridge before his career is through.

9. San Juan - Tim Presley - Presley is a power hitting centerfielder who may instead play a gold glove caliber second base for the Baptistas. Presley's only "weakness" is an average bat against righties. However, his glove and his power make Presley a worthy top 10 pick.

10. Cleveland - Bob Dale - The Redlegs continued their recent trend of picking pitchers early by drafting the ironman reliever Dale. While some are concerned he might be like Season 7 reach Marc Lowell, Dale's superior control makes the comparison invalid. Dale may have some trouble against lefties once he hits the bigs, but both his pitches project to plus-plus at the Major League level.

Stay tuned for Part II, coming soon.

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