Early 2009 MLB Draft Primer

When: The MLB Draft will be a bitt different this year, taking place over three days instead of two. The draft runs from June 9-11. On June 9, rounds 1, 1A, 2, 3, and 3B. June 10 will have have rounds 4 through 30 or so. June 11 will cover the rest of the draft.

How long does the draft last? The draft normally goes 50 rounds, but some teams pass on their selection earlier. Once a team passes, they no longer make any selections. It's highly unlikely that all teams will pass before the 50th round.

Ways to follow the draft: The MLB Network will air the first round of the draft, which starts at 6 pm. This article informs us about coverage for the rest of the draft.

What picks do the Rockies have early on? The Rockies select 11th and 32nd in the first round and 34th in 1A. The Rockies have the 32nd and 34th picks as compensation from the Angels for losing Brian Fuentes. You can find the complete draft order for rounds 1 and 1A here.

Further Reading: Jabberwocky covered the draft in this Purple Row Academy article.

Who's the top prospect? San Diego State RHP Stephen Strasburg is head and shoulders above everyone else in this draft.  Back in February, Baseball America had a good article on how Strasburg went from an undrafted high schooler to top prospect in three years. Just this past weekend, Straburg threw a 17-K no-hitter against Air Force. With Scott Boras as his agent, there are rumors circulating that Strasburg will ask for a $50 million major league contract. That number will likely come down some when the real negotiations begin with, most likely, the Nationals, who hold the first pick.

Join me after the jump for a look at some other top prospects.

This draft is going to be very good for pitching, so let's start off with some pitchers.

Aaron Crow, RHP: The Nationals selected Crow with the ninth pick last year but failed to sign him. As a result, the Nationals gained a compensation pick at #10, pushing the Rockies to the 11th spot in the first round. Crow, meanwhile, did not return to Missouri, but chose to sign with an indy league team. He's getting back into shape  right now, with his fastball reportedly reaching between 92 and 94. He also throws a slider and a changeup, all being plus pitches.

Tanner Scheppers, RHP: Scheppers, like Crow, was a 2008 draftee who did not sign with the team that selected him. Scheppers was a first-round candidate, but an injury dropped him to the second. And not signing with the Pirates was probably a good thing, too. He also signed with an indy league, and has seen preseason action in the recent weeks. He's reached the mid-90s recently, but he's still a bit unrefined as a pitcher.

Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri: I profield GIbson some time ago here. Gibson's gone 9-3 in 13 starts so far, with five complete games and one shutout. He has a 3.73 ERA, 115 K, and 15 BB in 91 2/3 IP.

Alex White, RHP, North Carolina: White's hasn't had an outstanding season, but he's still been good. He's 7-2 with a 3.45 ERA and 82 K in 75 2/3 IP. He's also walked 31. This MLB.com report can tell you a bit more about White.

Rex Brothers, RHP, Lipscomb: This guy has been skyrocketing up boards all season, and I'm a fan. Brothers made a change to his delivery, which has helped immensely. He now hits 96-97 MPH on his fastball and has a wicked slider. He has a 3.30 ERA with 120 K and 39 BB in 84 2/3 IP. The main concern moving forward with him is whether he develops a changeup.

Matt Purke, LHP, Texas HS: He's one of two top high school lefties appearing in this piece. Purke's the second best. He has the potential for three plus pitches with his fastball, curve, and changeup, but there are worries about his build and delivery.

Tyler Matzek, LHP, California HS: Matzek has four pitches, three of which are very good right now (fastball, curve, slider), but some scouts believe he kind of floats by at times. If he can focus, the total package is there to succeed.

Grant Green, SS, USC Trojans: Green set the prospect watch afire last season when he hit .390/.438/.644 with 15 2B, five triples, and nine home runs. He then followed that up in the Cape Cod League with a .348/.451/.537 line. He also stole ten bases in each go around. This season, Green caught a bit of draftitis. Oh, he's still going to go high in the draft, but he couldn't follow up on 2008. He has only three homers so far and struck out quite a bit early on in the season. He has 33 right now, two behind his total in 2008.  He's also a premier defender, but the draftitis also affected his fielding this season, committing 15 errors so far. Still, Green is going to be a high pick in a weak draft for hitters. MLB.com report

Dustin Ackely, 1B, North Carolina: Ackley is probably the best pure hitter in the draft, and he's done nothing to lessen his standing this season. Hitting a robust .401/.510/.746, Ackley has 16 homers (17 over his first two years). He's also shown good plate discipline, walking 41 times to his 23 strikeouts. He's mostly played 1B this season after having Tommy John surgery last year. If he can return to center, his power is going to be a great asset there, not so much at first. Regardless of what position he plays, Ackley will be gone early in round one. MLB.com profile


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