Monday, June 8, 2009

MLB Draft begins Tuesday

Fort Worth has become a nice stopover for top baseball prospects (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Crow follows Luke Hochevar of the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and Max Scherzer, now pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, in 2007, each of whom found a haven in Fort Worth while waiting a year to begin their careers with a major league organization.
. . .
"I think it’s worked out the way I’d hoped it would," said Crow, who was the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2008. "I came down here and it was definitely taking a step forward as far as the competition. It’s definitely been a productive year.

"These guys are older, more mature. They know what they’re doing more than college kids."

Apparently not when trying to deal with Crow’s three-pitch repertoire, which includes a fastball, a sharp slider and a changeup. In three regular-season starts with the Cats, Crow has posted a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings, with 17 strikeouts and only five walks. Opponents have hit just .196 against him.

Strasburg one of several coveted college pitchers (Yahoo Sports)

Aaron Crow, RH, Fort Worth Cats/Missouri: Crow was the Nationals’ top pick last season, going No. 9 overall, but they couldn’t agree to terms by the Aug. 15 deadline, Crow demanding $4 million and the Nationals offering $3.3 million. After a year of working out and making three one-inning appearances for the independent Fort Worth Cats, he’s considered the pitcher closest to reaching the big leagues besides Strasburg. He twists his wrist in an odd manner when drawing his arm back to throw, but so did Rick Sutcliffe and Don Drysdale. Scouts compare his stuff to that of A.J. Burnett. Crow isn’t likely to last beyond Baltimore’s No. 5 pick, and could go as high as Seattle’s No. 2.

Kyle Gibson
, RH, Missouri: This could be Tanner Scheppers, circa 2009. Gibson, a 6-foot-6 hard thrower, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right forearm a few days ago and will be out several weeks. That would explain why his fastball dropped from the low 90s to the low 80s in his last two starts. Before the injury, many scouts considered Gibson second behind only Strasburg among college arms. Now teams must hastily evaluate his injury, recovery time and evaluate how it bodes for the future. He could sign for significantly less money than he would have gotten before the injury, or sit out a year and go the independent team route.

■ Baseball America did a Fantasy Draft:
#4 Pirates: I think Fort Worth Cats (American Association) righthander Aaron Crow makes the most sense. He's motivated to sign as a virtual college senior, he has front-of-the-rotation upside and he commands the fastball, so he should get to the big leagues quickly.

#11 Rockies: OK, you knew this was coming at some point: I'm taking Missouri righthander Kyle Gibson, even after we broke the news Saturday that he has a stress fracture in his forearm. You know I love Gibson as a prospect, probably more than his own parents do. The guy has starred since day one as a freshman, he has three
quality pitches, command, athleticism . . . and that stress fracture. But I'll explain why this makes some sense. Gibson will be able to throw by the end of July, giving the Rockies 2-3 weeks to evaluate him before the Aug. 15 deadline. They want a college pitcher here, and if he checks out, they get a guy they really didn't have a shot at a week ago. And here's the thing: If he doesn't look good, they can walk away and put the roughly $2 million in this pick into signing their bonus picks (for losing Brian Fuentes) at No. 32 and No. 34. It all makes sense to me, at least, but you knew I'd be rationalizing a way to take Gibson.
Sports Notebook (Rochester Post-Bulletin)

The annual amateur baseball draft will begin on Tuesday and Aaron Senne of Rochester has a strong chance of being selected.

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