The pitcher who impressed me most was Kyle Gibson of the Twins, who was throwing 93-94 MPH like he did in college, with good secondary pitches and impressive command. His velocity has been up-and-down since the spring of 2009, but I think the Tommy John surgery has restored him to what he was in the months before the '09 draft.♦ Tigers Baseball (Detroit Free Press)
RHP Tyler Clark: The 23-year-old has allowed eight runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.♦ Inside the Arizona Fall League, the MLB's Grad School for Top Prospects (The Atlantic)
"You have to play the game on a regular basis to conquer it," Hemond says. "They don't play enough games in college." Unlike NCAA football, which can reasonably simulate the punishment of an NFL season, The NCAA's 14-week long baseball season is but a shadow of the seven-month Major League grind. Cold climates in northern schools also make it harder for those players to get regular competition and scouting attention, which is why top baseball programs tend to be concentrated in warmer climates like California, Texas and Florida. The use of aluminum bats in college ball gives players a boost in power, and even the best college players can need years of development afterward to adjust their game. And so while dozens of college baseball players are drafted each year, it's not unusual for them to spend five years of obscurity in the farm system, which is part of the reason why many elite high-school players sign contracts right after graduation to get a jumpstart on the long road to the majors.
Unlike the meteoric rise of some football and basketball stars, baseball prospects face a long and unglamorous climb. That's because baseball is a game of failure...