Well - it's that time of year again! Time for one of your four favorite NL North team owners to give his thoughts on the amateur draft. We start with the Phillies.
1. Philadelphia Phillies - Adrian Ashburn, starting pitcher. Ashburn looks like a true future #1 stud. He has great control, is strong against righties and lefties, and should possess 4 quality pitches by the time he hits the bigs. Ashburn throws hard, and manages to keep the ball down as well. He also receives praise for his makeup, patience and emotional stability. This is a fine pick by the franchise's new owner, jway11.
2. Oklahoma City Outlaws - Les Finnessey, centerfielder. The Outlaws went for Finnessey, which surprised many scouts around the league. He will be a capable gloveman, and he has a decent bat for the position, but most thought that he would go ten to twenty picks later. He is similar to Happy Lowell (and to a lesser extent, Jarred Mantei), but with not quite as much upside.
3. Oakland Acorns - Tony Sojo, starting pitcher. The Acorns also surprised many with their pick of Sojo. A workhorse, Sojo will throw many innings, and has an astonishing arsenal of pitches, but his lack of control will limit his upside. If he can learn to keep the ball around the plate, he could become a #2 starter, but that seems unlikely.
4. Charleston Vampires - Otis Hennessey, starting pitcher. The Charleston Vampires took a risk on picking this two-sport star from Cal Poly, and it paid off. He was the number one pitching prospect in this year's draft, with pinpoint control and a nasty 4-seamer and slider that make him almost major league ready as is. Scouts in the know project him to be a dominant, Cy Young award level starter, since he decided to throw the horsehide instead of the pigskin.
5. Kansas City Chaos - Mark Wallace, relief pitcher. Wallace is the best relief pitching prospect since Season 5 #1 pick, Don Davis. Wallace is a Goose Gossage style two inning closer who will dominate for the Chaos.
6. New York Juicers - Bobby Roskos, starting pitcher. The Juicers risked the ire of fans by picking Roskos over Dennis Spivey. However, it's easy to see why the New York nine liked this left-hander. With 3 plus-plus pitches, great control and equal effectiveness against batters from both sides of the plate, Roskos should be a #1 starter by season 15.
7. Montreal Canadiens - Happy Lowell, second baseman/centerfielder. Lowell is a little bit of a sleeper at #7, but his sterling glove work and powerful swing make him a worthy selection by our northern colleagues. Lowell is fast, makes great contact and generates a lot of power for his position. His sole weakness is an unwillingness to draw walks, but that won't stop him from a very solid career.
8. Salem City Slickers - Dennis Spivey, designated hitter. Possibly the finest offensive prospect to come into World Alexander since its inception, Spivey is already terrorizing Rookie League pitching to the tune of a 1.400 OPS. Defensively limited to the point of being solely a DH, Spivey will hit, hit and hit some more. He's a triple crown waiting to happen.
9. Charlotte Grandma-mas - Jarred Mantei, rightfielder. Mantei is very similar to Happy Lowell, but with a better arm but not as much range or as good a glove. He'll be a solid #5 hitter and starting RF for Charlotte. He will likely push disappointing Bud Davis to the bench by season 14.
10. Augusta moose - Pascual Lopez, starting pitcher. Much like the Acorns, the moose reached for a strting pitcher with a significant flaw. While Lopez has a multitude of pitches and great control, his domination of left-handers does not extend to righties. In the end, his mediocre ability against right handed swingers will likely push him to the back of the rotation.