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Final Pre-draft thread

Where are the Diamondbacks going with the number one pick? Consider the following first hand account from D-backs scouting director Mike Rizzo as well as this separate article with GM Joe Garagiola Jr. denying that any decision has been made to counter the claims made by BA and another Arizona reporter over the weekend that the D-backs were likely still picking Justin Upton.

This article says Seattle is probably going college and still most likely Troy Tulowitzky with the number three pick, meaning Cameron Maybin is probably dropping unless K.C. takes him, which all indications are that they're still wisely leaning to Alex Gordon. Which leaves the same three question marks. Washington, will still probably take Ryan Zimmerman, unless Upton or Gordon are there. Milwaukee's an unknown. Toronto wants college pitching and is still leaning toward lefty Ricky Romero.
The Brewers have had success with both high school (Prince Fielder) and college (Rickie Weeks) position players in the past. Like the Rockies and Diamondbacks, however, their system is light on pitching and a pick of Pelfey or Hochevar will help that tremendously. Unlike the Rockies, the Brewers won't pick again until the third round after their first selection so the pressure is on them to make the most of that one opportunity. What do you do then? A few weeks ago I brought up Prospect Theory as a possible way of evaluating and perhaps even forecasting how teams will react in given situations and the draft is probably the easiest baseball scenario to see it at work in. Teams with better records and perennially lower picks (the Yankees, the Braves) tend to pick more high school players (especially pitchers) with the hopes that the higher risks of the picks busting will be mitigated by getting a top of the draft talent while teams higher on the draft board have more less risky talent available to them and can then look to other factors such as system depth, money etc.., when making their decisions. Prospect Theory applies as it holds that when faced with a likely losing scenario people tend to take greater risks to try and cover their losses than they will react when they view the scenario as a likely win.

This is all a long and confusing way of saying that given no other information we have to assume that the Brewers feel that their pick at number five is more likely than not to be an almost given win, meaning that there will be plenty of quality major league material available. That said, they will tend to a more conservative approach then they may have exercised a little further down the board. You already see this with Kansas City (Alex Gordon), Seattle (Tulo) and Washington (Zimm) as they take elite college position prospects while Justin Upton's Hall of Fame potential is too much for Arizona to ignore. I'm going to say that the risks with Maybin (weak competition, limited exposure to advanced pitching and inexperience with wood bats, uncertain contract demands) will cause Milwaukee to shy away.

I think Milwaukee will take the first Scott Boras pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, because they will have an assurance that they can get that pitcher at near slot money and fairly quickly under contract. I have a hunch that the Rockies have received similar assurances regarding Hochevar, but I think with Maybin available that the Rockies will let Luke slide by. So for this post in the comments, I want to take a suggestion from Rox Fan in NY and invite my readers to post their final thoughts on who the Rockies will take with each of their four top sixty selections, my four:

#7 Cameron Maybin of, Asheville NC
#32 J Brent Cox rhp University of Texas, just a step behind Craig Hansen and likely loads cheaper.
#52 Garrett Olson lhp Cal Poly I think regardless of who gets picked here by the Rockies, he will be the best college lefthanded pitcher available.
#55 Josh Wall, Baker, LA, I think the Rockies might take a risk on a high upside high school pitcher with this pick.

Update [2005-6-7 14:15:28 by Rox Girl]:

Rockies Picks: #7 Troy Tulowitzky, shortstop, Long Beach State University.

Troy and his team lost to a far superior and better looking USC team in the college playoffs, but he's a very toolsy middle infielder who's compared to Bobby Crosby, but apparently with more power and a better bat. Decent Pick, but we liked Maybin better.

#32 Chaz Roe, rhp, Lafayette High school, from Lexington, KY

Excellent choice, a six foot six right handed hurler who can throw in the mid nineties. It might take a little convincing to get him out of his commitment to the UK Wildcats, though.

Rockies second round pick, Daniel Carte runs the bases

#53 Daniel Carte, of, Winthrop University

Carte provides much of the offense for one of the better college programs in the country, actually brings the defense too, as he has a lot of tools and a very advanced bat. He was named BA's summer player of the year last year after excelling in the Cape Cod league and was a preseason first team All-American. Like Seth Smith last year, this is an excellent toolsy pick for this far down in the draft.

#55 Zach Simons, rhp, Everett CC, Washington State

Simons was perhaps a bit of a reach with this pick, so apparently Rockies' scouts saw something in him that they really liked, or after three high profile selections, they thought they could save a little money, ala Oakland by picking someone who'd be happy to sign for a little less than the going rate for that slot number. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. Simons could be an intriguing guy to watch, though.

#77 Kyle Hancock, rhp, Rowland, Texas

Another high school right hander, Hancock has a low nineties fastball, and an okay curve and decent slider. The three pitch ability at eighteen is intriguing and if he can improve the breaking stuff and develop a change he could prove a very effective starter.

#117 Brandon Durden, lhp, Georgia College

Another raw pitcher, the Rockies have picked three here in the early rounds, Durden's an interesting selection. He was probably scouted along with teammate Matt Goyen, but don't confuse the two, opponents batted .301 off Durden and he only had 72 K's in 88 IP. I think this is the sketchiest pick of the day so far, and I wonder if the Rockies just took him because he was lefthanded.

#147 Joshua Sullivan, QB, rhp, Auburn University

It wouldn't be a Rockies draft without taking a quarterback. Hey, it worked with Helton and Holliday, so why not? Sullivan just converted to baseball full time two years ago and pitching only last year, so he needs some refinement, particularly with his control, but his mound presence is good and he has a good looking upper eighties (usually he's worked around 89-90mph this year) fastball with natural sinking movement. He has a good change already and can throw a pretty nice curve (although this is the pitch that tends to get him in the most trouble as he leaves it hanging too much, or misses the plate altogether). As Rox Fan in NY pointed out in the comments, BA thinks he can become a number three.

#177 Corey Wimberly, 2b, Alcorn State

only the third position player and the second middle infielder selected by the Rox. I don't know much about him yet, but he's kept an online journal this season so we can all learn. Alright, he's short at 5'8" but he has the best batting average in the country and I'm really digging his confidence. His compact strikezone and tight swing might actually help him be a legit top of the order guy, and he has enough defense to stay in the middle. His bat doesn't project to have much power with wood, but he's got great make-up it looks like. I'm starting to like him a lot already. oH and did I mention he's a burner? 42 steals in 34 games is impressive.

#207 Jeff Strickland, ss, Florida Southern

Not a great selection, a scrappy glove man and with the other two middle infielders already taken, I wonder about this choice.

#237 James Burok, rhp, Old Dominion

Burok was far more highly touted coming out of high school but has struggled in college and has seen his stock drop a little, although his draft position has risen from the 50th round selection he was then by Cleveland (his commitment to ODU scared most teams away). He's another big guy at 6'3" and 215 lbs. He was converted to closer this year and struck out 54 in 51 innings of work.

#267 Andrew D. Johnston, rhp, Missouri

Another right handed pitcher, that makes seven in the first nine rounds and first eleven picks. Johnston is another former Indians pick, 26th round in 2003, and transferred to Missouri from Jefferson College. He was the Tigers' top reliever this year.

#297 Garner Wetzel, ss, Milsaps College

Don't know him, but the bio that RFNY points out has some interesting statements regarding him.

#327 Chris Frey, cf, Arizona University

If we can convince him to sign this will be an excellent late round pick as Frey is very talented and has quite a bit of upside. He's a good defender and could prove to be a decent bat as well. He's got speed to cover the vast Coors prairie in the outfield.

#357 Dominick Foster, of, Fresno City CC

The Rockies re-draft Foster after failing to sign him as a draft and follow last year, this time he moves up five rounds to the twelfth where we will try this again.

#387 Michael Paulk, of, CSUN

I'm really not sure why Paulk dropped this far, he's a legit power threat and though his junior year was a little off, he still projects to have a decent major league bat (20-25 HR, and .300 AVG). I think there's some concern with his defense and that he won't be able to stay in the outfield and might not be powerful enough for first, but he walks more than he strikes out and looks good to me.

#417 Kyle Blumenthal, c, Cal Poly SLO

Just converted to behind the plate last year from being a middle infielder throughout high school and juco at Riverside CC.

#447 Travis Becktel, of San Jose State

.317/.397/.420, 19 BB's and 40K's in 224AB, 10/13 SB/ATT. His strikeouts aren't too high, but he doesn't walk very much. He appears to be a project selection that needs some work.

#477 Brett Bergland, of, Cal Poly SLO

#507 James Freeman, LHP, Washington State

#537 Brett Strickland, RHP, Georgia State