First Look At the MLB '09 Draft
RHP Aaron Crow: The first player I wanted to look at is the big right-hander from Missouri, Aaron Crow. It's pretty clear that San Diego State phenom Steven Strasburg will go number one. North Carolina's .400 hitting Dustin Ackely, arguably the top hitter in the draft should also be gone before the Giants select at number 6, but then things could go a number of different ways. Crow, the former Tigers' ace, is widely considered the 2nd best arm in the draft behind Strasburg. As a junior in 2008, Crow went 13-0 while striking out 127 batters in just 107 innings pitched. He was drafted number 10 overall in last years draft by the Nationals, but never came to an agreement on a contract and has played this spring with the Ft. Worth Cats of the Independent League. The 22 year-old rightie averages between 93-96 MPH with his heater consistently complimented by a slider and change that are both plus pitches as well. He's got a nice compact delievery and still provides plenty of zip on the heater. He's also had some experience playing pro ball after 3 years at the NCAA division 1A level, so he could be one of the quicker-tracked arms in the draft and could provide help to a big league team as early as 2010.
RHP Alex White: Another top flight college right-hander who scouts have going anywhere from pick #3 to somewhere in the middle of the first round is North Carolina's Alex White. The hard throwing right hander has an ideal frame for a pitcher at 6'3" and 195 pounds and has the best sinking fastaball in the draft. His 93-95 MPH sinker has drawn comparisons to those of Kevin Brown and Brandon Webb. His delivery is a lot like Webbs as well, kind of a slow delivery before the ball comes firing out of his hand. If I had my choice of Crow or White, I'd probably go with Crow, just because I think he's got a little bit stronger an arm and will be able to contribute quicker than White will.
LHP Tyler Matzek: This guy is the top left-handed high school arm in the draft this year and the Giants had some success taking a high school lefty in 2007 ( Giants #1 prospect, Madison Bumgarner). Matzek doesn't quite have the overpowering stuff that Bumgarner has, but has been equally effective in the prep ranks. The 18 year-old lefty from Capistrano, California is a little more finesse than Bumgarner, but still averages around 92 with his heater. His strength though, lies in his command and secondary pithces. He's got a big sweeping curve that could translate into being a great strikeout pitch in the Major Leagues. I also like his mechanics on the mound. He's got a very smooth delivery and repeats it with ease. I don't think Crow or White are going to fall to the Giants at 6, and if they don't, Matzek would be a great fall-back option.
RHP Tanner Scheppers: If this kid never got injured last year, he probably would have been a top-10 pick in 2008, but instead went in the second round and never signed a contract. Scheppers has the size at 6'4" and 200 pounds to be an innings eater and a horse when he gets to the majors. He throws 95 mph on average and can get up to 98 when needed and also posses a hard, nasty curveball. His stuff and build kind of remind me a bit of Jason Schmidt. There still are some teams that are worried about his shoulder, so he could fall down in the first round. Both he and Matzek should be available when the Giants select so if the Giants take an arm, which they most likely will do, chances are that it will be one of the two.
SS Grant Green: Although all signs are pointing towards the Giants selecting a pitcher with their first pick in this years draft, they may jump at the opportunity to grab the uber-athletic USC shortstop. Green was thought to be a top-5 pick entering the 2009 college season, but a lackluster first half has hurt his stock. He still should be a top 15 pick, and in a draft short on college positional talent, he is the cream of the crop (not including catchers). He's got five-tool talent and is an above average shortstop in the field.
Other Prep Stars In the Mix:
RHP's Jacob Turner and Zach Wheeler: These are two promising prep arms that could be gone within the first 8 picks of the draft. Wheeler is built in the same mold of Chad Billingsly and really has the same mechanics and stuff as the young Dodgers right-hander. Turner doesn't quite have the hard fastball and the dominating stuff that Wheeler does, but at 6'4" and 200 pounds, scouts love what he could project out to be. I'd lean towards Wheeler over Turner if the Giants are determined on grabbing a high school righty, but I think Matzek has more upside than either of these two.
OF's Michael Trout, Donovan Tate: I don't think the Giants will take a high school outfielder in the first round of this draft, but if they do, it would likely be one of these two guys. Both of them are all-around outfielders with 5-tool talent. Tate may be a tad more athletic and more projectable, while Trout is a little more polished right now, but doesn't quite have the upside and athleticism of Tate down the road.