Draft Aft: Weekend preview and stuff

A good friend suggested using “Draft Aft” — borrowing a nautical term — for when I’ve got draft news. I liked it, so I went with it (Besides, I got no other suggestions).

I have to admit I love this time of year. Not because of the weather here in my Pittsburgh home, that’s certainly not it. No, it’s because draft season is really upon us.

If you’re jonesing for some baseball and can’t wait for Spring Training games, you don’t have to. There’s some good amateur baseball to follow, with some top draft prospects in action. Some of it is even on TV.

This weekend, at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., there’s the Urbanstephen_strasburg.JPG Invitational. The colleges involved are San Diego State, University of San Diego, Bethune-Cookman and Southern University. Games start Friday, but you’ll want to tune into the MLB Network on Saturday as they’ll broadcast the doubleheader. At 5 p.m. ET, you can watch USD take on Bethune-Cookman. The nightcap is SDSU vs. Southern. If you’re only going to watch one of them, that’s the one to watch because it looks like Stephen Strasburg will be starting for Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State team. Strasburg, in case you don’t know, is generally considered to be the top talent in the 2009 draft class and is a pretty good bet to be the top pick when all is said and done.

In the early game, San Diego sophomore Kyle Blair will start. Blair was a good high school prospect back in 2007 and was selected in the fifth round by the Dodgers that June, but opted to go to school. Throughout this tournament, you’ll also likely get to see how USD right-hander Matt Thomson looks. There’s also RHP AJ Griffin from San Diego and lefty Nate Solow from SDSU. A sleeper to watch is San Diego’s Darrin Campbell, a red-shirted sophomore who is coming off TJ surgery, but has been up to 93 mph at times.

Other college tourneys worth checking on (with draft prospects listed underneath):

Big East-Big Ten Baseball Challenge
Clearwater/St. Petersburg/Bradenton/Dunedin, Fla.

Teams: Michigan, South Florida, Cincinnati, Purdue, Connecticut, Michigan State, Georgetown, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, St. John’s… is there anyone NOT playing in this thing?)

Players to watch: Matt Bashore, LHP, Indiana; Sean Black, RHP, Seton Hall; Eric Decker, OF, Minnesota; Josh Phegley, C, Indiana; A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame

Coca-Cola Classic
Mobile, Ala.

Teams: Liberty, Mississippi, Mercer, South Alabama

Players to watch: Aaron Barrett, RHP, Mississippi; Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi; Jordan Henry, OF, Mississippi

Grand Canyon Tournament
Phoenix, AZ
Teams:
Missouri, Nevada, Gonzaga

Players to watch: Trevor Coleman, C, Missouri; Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri; Aaron Senne, OF, Missouri

Other odds and ends…

Someone left a comment recently about Austin Maddox, out of Eagle’s View Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. (it looks like they play on Friday, also, in Jacksonville, if you want some HS ball). The comment was:

Where does Austin Maddox from Jacksonville Eagles View rank for this
upcoming draft? Is he likely to be drafted as a catcher or pitcher? Any
info would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Thanks for the question. Obviously, it’s early, but early signs point to Maddox being very highly regarded come June. With a plus arm (one scout said it rated 70 on the scale, 80 being the highest one can get) and legit power, people will be watching his performances. Catching usually gets over-drafted, and there’s not a ton of it in any draft class, particularly legit catchers coming out of high school. If Maddox performs well this spring, it wouldn’t shock me to see him at least be in first-round consideration… as a catcher.

If you’ve got more questions about the draft, or the Minors, don’t hesitate to leave ‘em in comments (I’ve got a question from a while back about LHP prospects that I promise to answer soon).

Finally, back a couple of weeks ago, our own Ben Platt covered the high school draft showcase at the Urban Youth Academy. He interviewd 3B prospect Matt Davidson. Been meaning to add it, so you can listen to it here:  020809_matt_davidson.wma 

Alright, kids, that’s it for me. Talk to you soon.

1 Comment

Stephen Strasburg was the lone collegian to play this past summer at the Beijing Olympics, helping the USA Baseball win the Bronze Medal. (Hence the jersey in the photo.) Here are a few more links: (That is if the dastardly “spam-killer” function doesn’t wipe them clean!)
http[colon]//baseball.teamusa.org/athlete/athlete/2152
http[colon]//web.usabaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090217&content_id=36198&vkey=news_usab&gid=
http[colon]//www.cbssports.com/olympics/story/10931837
. . .BeesGal

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