On to the final installment. These late round selections are characterized by franchises not willing to take a lot of risks on developing high school players to their potential. They wisely load up on the college scouting budget to obtain players that will contribute to the franchise quickly and while they lack the upside of a potential high school star, they have stronger chances to pan out.
28. TEXAS RANGERS (6/6)
Brian Kim, 2B – There is more to Kim than meets the eye, although his batting eye is the first thing you notice. He has great plate discipline, mediocre power and can struggle to make contact sometimes. But Kim can hustle down the line faster than a lot of players, has good base-running instincts and can lay down a beautiful bunt. He’ll play excellent defense and get to a lot of balls that others wouldn’t. He also can hold his own driving the ball against any pitcher. About his only knock is that he’ll struggle to turn the double play.
The Rangers also snap up an excellent closer in the supplemental round. Ronald Roosevelt will have his way with right-handed bats and put the fire out of any rallies. Texas signs few of their remaining picks, destined for now to leave the franchise few unexpected discoveries after the All-Star break each season.
Overall Grade: B+
29. NEW ORLEANS JAZZ (10/10) ** via MILWAUKEE BREWERS – HECTOR JOHNSON
Tito Mays, 1B – If only Tito hit the weight room more. The 5’10” 200lb hitter is blessed with a pure stroke. He does an excellent job looking for a good pitch to hit, connects more often than not, and he swings perfectly level and drives the ball off the bat with a sharp crack. Fielders will see few lazy fly balls or pop-ups to the infield coming off his bat. The only knock is his drives will bounce off the porch step more often than reach the porch, and most owners want more pop at first. He is a tremendous find at #29.
New Orleans proceeded to gather good pitching and a defensive catcher in the next few rounds, complimenting these two first round selections quite nicely. While my scouts did not see Norberto Tavarez, my fuzzy projections show a control pitcher with excellent stuff.
Overall Grade: A
30. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (18/10)
Doug Joyce, SS – Scouts drool over Joyce’s range. College ball has proven he can get to almost any ball in the majors now. Coaches want to modify his glove work and build his arm strength, but defensively he’s a wall on the left side of the infield for any ground ball. For a guy with an eye to get to a grounder, he can’t pick one up nearly as well coming off a pitcher’s hand. He won’t walk that much and will struggle to make contact, but when he does he should drive the ball more than sufficiently and get on base. It’s nice to grab a defensive shortstop who’s not a black hole offensively.
The Royals selection of closer Scot Page in round two was a steal so late. The man throws hard and will strike out a lot of batters with his near-perfect four-seamer and slider. Batters will not enjoy seeing him out of the pen. The Royals were content to sign but four of their selections, but the four they did were the cream of the crop.
Overall Grade: B+
31. DETROIT TIGERS (18/18) ** via PITTSBURGH PIRATES – EUGENE BECKHAM
Monte Randall, LF – The Tigers take an above average bat with their second pick in the first round, but they choose a second left fielder in the first round. Perhaps one will play first base. Randall doesn’t have all the pop scouts like to see in the defensive spot, but there are few holes in his game. He can drive the ball well off any pitcher, and can pick up the ball and make consistent contact. Having a lefty in the lineup who can do all these things isn’t bad either.
Despite drafting a lot of talent through the first few rounds and budgeting some $20 million to prospects, Detroit interestingly has yet to sign a single draft pick or international free agent. This rookie class sits idle, collectively waiting by the phones to learn their assignments.
Overall Grade: B
32. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (14/10)
Charlie Cecil, RHP – The last player selected in the first round, Cecil is a fine late pick up. The starter projects not to go deep into too many games, but will always be ready to go. He is fine action on his four-seam fastball, keeps the ball relatively down in the zone and throws with decent placement and velocity.
A team loaded with talent at catcher picks up another one with their second pick, and he projects to the majors. Despite all his talent, Felix Miyakazi has a pitch his teammates call the “kamikaze” because he unintentionally hits so many batters with it. The dude has no idea where he’s throwing it. Like the Royals, the Dodgers sign only four of their picks.
Overall Grade: B+
38. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (18/2)
*J.J. Hegan, RHP – The Blue Jays make their first selection at #38 in the supplemental round. Hegan lacks the full repertoire of pitches you like to see from a starter and will issue his fair share of walks, but he projects to be pretty tough on righties and lefties. He’s a nice find late.
Second rounder Christopher Hunt lacks the glove coaches like to see at center or second and may make a few errors both fielding and throwing the ball as an infielder. He may be better suited defensively to left but lacks the bat for it. The Blue Jays go on to select a grab bag of players with mediocre bats who project to left field in the show.
Overall Grade: C+
41. ANAHEIM ANGELS (14/2)
Rudy Pavlov, CF – The Angels find good value in Pavlov with a late supplemental round selection. Pavlov projects to have decent range and glove but lacks the arm strength to make throws from deep in the hole at shortstop. He’ll be a nice defensive second basemen or even center fielder however at the big league level. Pavlov struggles against righties but will be platoonable versus lefties, where he’ll connect with pitches on a regular basis and drive them well.
They don’t find much more in the draft afterwards, collecting a mishmash of defensive utility infielders with no outstanding qualities beyond their defense. Drafting late in the first round, not much more can be expected though.
Overall Grade: C+
43. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (16/2)
Bill Rivers, SS – Rivers is a defensive shortstop who has an average eye and contact but little power. He’ll be a bench player at the big league level – the ultimate utility infielder/outfielder who will play any position well. This is a value pick for the franchise who’s first pick came late.
Steve Thompson is the best of the lot of the remaining selections. If he had a stronger sense of the strike zone he would be a tougher out. He does have a lot of nice extras, including speed and the ability to lay down a good bunt to get on. Milwaukee makes the most of its late selections.
Overall Grade: B
44. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (10/10)
*Fred Werth, LHP – The last franchise to make a selection, the Buccos go for a relief pitcher where a lot of quality players still reside late in the first round. Werth projects to throw hard and place the ball nicely in the zone. He has two pitches, and both aren’t far from fooling major league hitters now. He may struggle facing righties but should have his way with lefties.
The Pirates follow up Werth with pitching, pitching and more pitching. A total of eight straight were drafted. Some project to have fringe major league talent should they develop to expectations, but I see no sure-fire selections in the bunch.
Overall Grade: B-