2008 Draft Team

1. Aaron Crow, rhp, Missouri

Actual selection: (1, 9) to the Washington Nationals

Crow is our top ranked pitcher thanks to an impressive combination of stuff and command. He throws his fastball in the mid 90s with excellent life and his slider is a second plus pitch. He also will offer a solid changeup. He has dominated Big XII hitters despite pitching in an extreme hitters’ ballpark. In 2008, he had a 2.35 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 38 walks. His biggest weakness is his potentially hazardous arm action. This is a correctable flaw, so it would not be a stretch to see him at the front of a big league rotation by 2011.

2. Seth Garrison, rhp, Texas Christian ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (23, 712) to the Boston Red Sox

Garrison was highly regarded as a pitcher and infielder at Coppell High School in Texas. He spent one season at Arizona State before transferring to Navarro Junior College and TCU. He’s got a good pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. Garrison underwent elbow reconstruction surgery in March 2007 after only pitching 23 innings in ‘07. He came back strong in ’08, with a 4.13 ERA, 41 strikeouts, 25 walks and no home runs allowed. He has only allowed one home run in three seasons. He faces quality competition in neutral parks and is consistently stingy with walks. Garrison has a low 90s fastball and a power curve. His ceiling is as a No. 3 starter and could be a fast riser.

3. Ryan Hinson, lhp, Clemson

Actual selection: (31, 924) to the Pittsburgh Pirates

Clemson coach Jack Leggett started as many as seven underclassmen this year and wasn’t able to advance out of the ACC Tournament. What kept the Tigers competitive was their weekend rotation with juniors Ryan Hinson and D.J. Mitchell. Hinson is a 6-foot-2 left-handed pitcher and he offers a plus curveball and a 90 mph fastball. More impressively, he struck out 62 in 68.1 innings and walked only 22 in 2008. He did allow opponents to hit .301 against him, but that number is much higher than his freshman and sophomore numbers and will go down in the minor leagues. Hinson has excelled in three seasons pitching against tough ACC competition in a hitters’ park and will move quickly in pro ball.

4. Preston Guilmet, rhp, Arizona

Actual selection: (22, 664) to the Oakland Athletics

Guilmet has dominated Pac-10 hitters with a combination of decent stuff and unconventional mechanics. He doesn’t have the sexy fastball velocity (his fastball sits in the upper 80s) but he has an above-average slider and a good splitter. Guilmet releases the baseball from nearly straight over the top and has quality command and competitiveness. In 2008, he struck out 93 batters and only walked 22 while pitching in a very hitter friendly ballpark. Because of his subpar velocity, he may be sent to the bullpen. No matter where he’s pitching, he’ll carve up minor league hitters.

5. Eric Thames, lf, Pepperdine ($150,000 bonus)

Actual selection: (7, 219) to the Toronto Blue Jays

What happens when you cross one of the best hitters in college baseball with a package of tools that draws comparisons to Eric Davis? You should get a first-round pick, but Thames wasn’t drafted until the seventh. He’s done everything asked of him since transferring from West Valley Junior College after the 2006 season. Thames hit .407/.513/.769 with 13 home runs in 2008. He does this while playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the country. Thames also has plus speed but needs to improve his defense in left-field. With his bat, he should be an impact player in the big leagues. He has already signed with the Jays and will probably be assigned to short-season Auburn.

6. Chris Reap, rhp, Northern Colorado

Actual selection: Undrafted

Reap is such a big sleeper that he went undrafted last week. The 6-foot-3 senior spent two seasons at Dixie State College before transferring to Northern Colorado. His ERAs have been ugly – 7.90 ERA in 2007 and 5.32 in 2008. But these numbers should be attributed to the Bears defense. Reap is a sinkerball pitcher and the ground balls he’s allowed have found holes. His opponents have hit .390 and .314 respectively against him in the last two seasons. However, he only walks about three batters per nine innings and possesses a strikeout to walk ratio that is better than 2:1 in his two-year career. He has only given up seven home runs in his career in the high altitude of Greeley, Colorado. He has no college eligibility remaining and will look for a job as a non-drafted free agent with an affiliated minor league team or a contract with an independent team.

7. Bobby Lafromboise, lhp, New Mexico ($70,000 bonus)

Actual selection: (8, 252) to the Seattle Mariners

Lafromboise has put together two solid seasons despite pitching in one of the most treacherous parks for pitchers in the country. He succeeds with his high 80s lively fastball that induces groundballs and a solid slider. Neither of these pitches is above-average, but Lafromboise is successful because he doesn’t allow many walks and has only allowed six home runs in two seasons at New Mexico. He has already signed and should be assigned to Everett (A).

8. D.J. Mitchell, rhp, Clemson

Actual selection: (10, 320) to the New York Yankees

Mitchell is the other half of the most underrated pitching duo in the ACC. While Hinson is a crafty lefty, D.J. Mitchell is a completely different kind of pitcher. He’s a natural who didn’t pitch until his sophomore season at Clemson. He gets outs by burying a low 90s sinker that rivals Twins first-rounder Carlos Gutierrez’s in terms of movement and late life. He complements it with a solid slider and changeup. I saw him pitch against Maryland in late March and he dominated the Terrapins, giving up one unearned run through eight innings and picking up a win while striking out six. If there’s a knock on him, it’s his size. He’s only 6-foot and 170 pounds so a move to the bullpen is possible. However, he has the stuff to start and he’ll probably begin his minor league career in the rotation.

9. Chris Swauger, lf, The Citadel ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (26, 785) to the St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Swauger has enjoyed an outstanding four-year career at The Citadel and is a valuable senior-sign for the Cardinals. He showed good defensive skills at first base as a freshman, but was moved to left-field in 2006. He hits no matter where he plays, however. In a tough pitchers’ park, Swauger hit .360/.485/.603 in 56 games in 2008. He led the Coastal Plains League in home runs in the summer of 2007 and smacked another 10 in 2008. He’s not particularly big (6-foot, 195 pounds), but he can really hit and should tear up minor league pitchers.

10. Dominic de la Osa, 2b, Vanderbilt

Actual selection: (11, 336) to the Minnesota Twins

This is the second year in a row that we selected de la Osa in the 10th round. He has more athleticism than most position players who we drafted. He’s an above average runner who has powerful bat and a strong arm. He’s an inconsistent hitter, but he’s more hot than cold. He was better as a junior than as a senior; he hit .378/.452/.727 with 20 home runs in ‘07. However, he had a good year in 2008, too, when he hit .297/.410/.506 and 10 home runs. Those numbers look even better once one considers that he has faced challenging SEC pitchers and has faced them in a pitcher’s park over four years.

11. Andrew Carraway, rhp, Virginia

Actual selection: Undrafted

In a rotation with preseason consensus first rounder Jacob Thompson, who would have expected that the Cavaliers’ other two weekend starters — Pat McAnaney and Carraway — would carry the torch? Carraway pitched out of the bullpen in his first two seasons at Virginia but was thrust into the rotation when Sean Doolittle signed with Oakland following the 2007 season. He made the most of the opportunity and made huge strides in ‘08. Carraway struck out more one batter per inning and K’d seven batters for every one he walked. He pitches in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, which makes the five home runs he allowed in 75 1/3 innings a little troubling. Even still, these are bananas numbers. Carraway was not drafted last week and, as a junior, he’ll have another season of college eligibility to prove that he can continue his success.

12. Mitch Herold, lhp, Central Florida ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (16, 502) to the Boston Red Sox

Herold really came into his own in the ‘08 season, when he dominated hitters to the tune of a 3.04 ERA and a two-to-one strikeout to walk ratio at Central Florida. He struggled in limited action as an underclassmen, but he had stepped up in the past year. He works with a 90 mph fastball and a hard curve. The Sox drafted him in the 16th round and he’ll probably be assigned to short-season Lowell.

13. Kevin Crabtree, lf, Stephen F. Austin State

Actual selection: Undrafted

Stephen F. Austin State has produced two big-time power hitters in consecutive seasons. Last season, it was Steven Hill, the Lumberjacks’ slugging catcher who is hitting .303 at AA this season. Kevin Crabtree filled Hill’s shoes in ‘08; Crabtree hit .362/.457/.647 with 11 home runs. The power-hitting leftfielder led SFA in nearly every offensive category and was named First-Team All-Southland Conference. He’s only 5-foot-10, so he doesn’t project as well as bigger players. Thirty MLB teams ignored his productivity and failed to draft him. He’s a senior so he’s available as a non-drafted free agent.

14. Blake Murphy, c, Western Carolina ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (42, 1265) to the St. Louis Cardinals

Murphy has repeatedly turned down large signing bonuses, but without any college eligibility remaining Murphy should be a fairly easy sign in ‘08. He has an above-average arm behind the plate but needs to improve his blocking and receiving skills. Murphy is a polished hitter with an impressive resume. In 2008, he hit .358/.531/.740 with 16 home runs, matching his homer total from 2007. In each of his four seasons, his on-base-plus-slugging was .900 or better. He has very good plate discipline. Murphy’s Western Carolina team plays in the mid-major Southern Conference, but the Catamounts had a demanding non-conference schedule, which included Vanderbilt and Georgia. The Cardinals signed Murphy with one of their last picks and he has already signed.

15. Justin Bass, lf, Stetson ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (19, 568 ) to the Florida Marlins

It’s rare to pick up a .400 hitter this late in the draft, but that’s just what we did with Bass in the 15th round. The transfer from Lake Sumter Community College hit .404/.476/.663 with 11 home runs for Stetson in ‘08. He’s small at 6-foot-1, but he isn’t without tools. He is also a good runnner (he stole 18 bases in 20 attempts this year). He is a power-speed player who will play left-field in the Marlins system. He has already signed.

16. Chris Shehan, lf, Georgia Southern ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (30, 910) to the Atlanta Braves

The Braves scout their home state amateurs exceptionally well and they found another gem in Shehan. The Pennsylvania native hit .438/.557/.835 with 17 home runs in his junior campaign. These numbers made him a First-Team All-American with the likes of first-rounders Brian Matusz, Justin Smoak and Gordon Beckham. He’s not just a hitter, either. He’s athletic with good speed who will be able to play the outfield in the pros. He has been assigned to the Braves’ rookie league affiliate in Danville, Virginia.

17. Nate Recknagel, 1b, Michigan

Actual selection: (19, 591) to the Cleveland Indians

Recknagel is another member of our 2008 draft team who we also drafted in ‘07. Proving his junior season was no fluke, Recknagel hit .368/.465/.751 with 23 home runs in ‘08. He’s got big-time power, but it might be hard to coax it out of him once he uses wood bats. He’s got a strong arm and he used to catch for the Wolverines, so a move behind the plate isn’t out of the question. The Indians drafted him as a first baseman so that’s where he’ll begin his professional career.

18. Jeremy Hauer, lhp, Creighton

Actual selection: Undrafted

Hauer went from a junior college player to Creighton’s best starter in only one season. After transferring from Indian Hills Community College following the 2007 season, he became Creighton’s Friday starter and workhorse logging 84 innings for the Jays. He pitched to a 3.32 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 24 walks, allowing only one home run on his way to the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year award. If there’s a knock on him, it’s his height (he’s only 5-foot-10). He was not drafted in ‘08, which means he’ll have to prove himself again in 2009.

19. T. R. Keating, rhp, Northern Colorado

Actual selection: (34, 1016) to the Baltimore Orioles

At first glance, Keating’s college career is unspectacular. He posted a 6.14 ERA in 2007 and a 6.83 ERA in ‘08. But look closer. Keating struck out four batters for each batter he walked this season (50 strikeouts and 12 walks). He allowed five home runs in the thin air of Greeley, Colorado. Keating is projectable (he’s 6-foot-6), possesses good control and keeps the ball in the ballpark. He should move quickly through the Orioles’ minor league system.

20. Scott Krieger, 1b, George Mason

Actual selection: Undrafted

Krieger is an all or nothing power hitter of the Three True Outcomes model. These hitters hit mostly home runs, earn walks and strike out. Krieger hit .381/.483/.761 in ‘08, his second consecutive year with an on-bases-plus-slugging better than 1.000. He hit 21 home runs, earned 35 walks and struck out 68 times in 55 games at George Mason. The Towson Md., native doesn’t have a true position. He plays left field and first base for the Patriots, but will probably be restricted to first as a pro. He was not drafted and will return to Mason for his senior season. He’ll need to cut down his strikeout rate to earn a selection in ‘09.

21. Ian Berger, rhp, Missouri

Actual selection: Undrafted

Missouri’s rotation featured first-round pick Aaron Crow, highly touted sophomore (and 2006 draft pick) Kyle Gibson and 2008 sixth rounder Rick Zagone, but Berger put up similar numbers to less fanfare. The Illinois State transfer posted a 4.54 ERA in an extreme hitter’s park in ‘08, but what’s more impressive are his 68 strikeouts and 20 walks. He’s always had good control, dating back to his freshman year at Illinois State when he struck out 69 and walked only 22. He’s slightly undersized at 6-foot-1. Berger was not drafted in 2008 but has another year of college eligibility.

22. Marcus Moore, rhp, Utah Valley State

Actual selection: Undrafted

The search for pitching leads us to Orem, Utah where 6-foot-4 Marcus Moore has steadily improved and posted one of the best seasons of any Division I Independent. He won a school record 10 games in ‘08, pitching to a 2.86 ERA with 97 strikeouts and 42 walks in 113 1/3 innings. Moore allowed only six home runs despite pitching in the thin Rocky Mountain air. He threw six complete games, two of which were shutouts including one in his final collegiate game at Hawaii. Moore is tall and lean at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds. He graduated this spring with degree in exercise science and a 3.46 GPA. He would be a valuable non-drafted free agent pickup.

23. Matt Gardner, rhp, Oklahoma State

Actual selection: Undrafted

After coming back from an arm injury that restricted him to only 30 innings in ‘07, Matt Gardner regained his control and put up another impressive season in ‘08. He struck out three times as many batters as he walked and kept the ball in the ballpark. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was high, which led to his 5.13 ERA. Gardner was good enough to get drafted in 2007 (to the Dodgers in the 32nd round) but not good enough to merit a selection in ‘08. He’s a senior and is available as a non-drafted free agent.

24. John James, rhp, Utah

Actual selection: Undrafted

A former Arizona recruit, James red-shirted for the Wildcats and transferred to Utah following the 2006 season. He’s another pitcher on our draft team from a Rocky Mountain state. What sets James apart is his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He has only allowed three home runs in 105 innings combined between ‘07 and ‘08. James’ strikeout to walk numbers haven’t been as impressive and he posted a 5.05 ERA this season. The 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore went undrafted, but he has a couple of more years of eligibility.

25. Keith Stein, lf, Sam Houston State ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: (29, 883) to the Detroit Tigers

Sometimes transferring schools is the best thing that could ever happen to a baseball player’s career. Keith Stein was struggling as a reserve outfielder for Texas A&M in 2005 and 2006. The College Station native transferred to Sam Houston State following the ‘06 season; he immediately anchored a Bearkats team that advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the second consecutive season. Stein’s .355/.421/.607 numbers were good enough to merit a selection on the All-Southland Conference First-Team in ‘08. Over his two-year career at Sam Houston State, he set the record for batting average (.379). In his first season in Huntsville, Stein became the first Bearkat to collect over 100 hits, but his ‘08 season was more impressive because he hit 10 home runs in a pitcher’s park. Stein is small (5-foot-11) and was drafted as a centerfielder. His offense is ahead of his other tools.

26. Trent Lockwood, 1b, Texas-San Antonio

Actual selection: Undrafted

One of the mysteries of this draft is how Trent Lockwood was not included among the list of his teammates at Texas-San Antonio who were selected earlier this month. The 6-foot-4 first baseman led his team in home runs, RBIs and walks. He has excellent plate discipline and has put up two stellar seasons since transferring from Hill Junior College after the ‘06 season. In 2008, he hit .340/.443/.693 with 16 home runs. He is a senior, so look for a team to add him as a non-drafted free agent in the weeks to come.

27. David Klumpp, lhp, Arkansas-Little Rock

Actual selection: Undrafted

It’s hard not to like a pitcher who has struck out nearly four batters for each one he’s walked in his two-year college career. That’s exactly what 6-foot-2 lefty David Klumpp has done since transferring from McLennan Community College. He proved his mettle on April 26 when he struck out 14, tying a school record, and carried a shutout into the ninth inning against Houston Baptist. That performance earned him Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week honors, the second time he’s won that award in two seasons. When Klumpp struggles, it’s due to the home run. His home stadium favors neither hitters nor pitchers, yet he’s given up 10 gopher balls in two seasons. He has exhausted his college eligibility and could be a neat pickup as long as he improves his home run rate.

28. Sonny Meade, rf, The Citadel

Actual selection: Undrafted

Chris Swauger may have been drafted, but it was his teammate and fellow outfielder who out-did him. While Swauger was named to the second-team (media) All Southern Conference, Meade was first team (media) All SoCon. It’s the third all-conference honor for Meade in three seasons. He hit .393/.438/.528 with 5 home runs in ‘08 and his 89 hits and 45 RBIs led the Bulldogs. Meade isn’t quite as good as Swauger because he doesn’t get on base as often and hits for less power. Meade is still capable, however, and his numbers play up because he plays half of his games in a tough pitcher’s park. He also has a strong arm; he pitched 16 2/3 innings in his freshman season. Meade did not get drafted and will return to campus for his senior season.

29. Ty Wright, lf, Georgia Southern

Actual selection: Undrafted

Wright is another example of an unsung teammate who put up great numbers to less fanfare. Wright transferred from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after he was named GJCAA Player of the Year in 2007. Chris Shehan got all the attention, but Wright also put up stellar numbers for Georgia Southern in 2008. He hit .398/.494/.781 with 17 home runs. Not only did Wright make the All Southern Conference first team, he also was named NCBWA Player of the Week in late April. He earned that honor after hitting for the cycle against Wofford on April 27. He is also a member of Georgia Southern’s 50 run/50 RBI club. Wright was not drafted, not even by his hometown Atlanta Braves or his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. He has one more season of college eligibility, although it’s hard to imagine he’d improve upon the numbers he just posted.

30. Matt Couch, rhp, San Diego

Actual selection: Undrafted

It’s easy to be overshadowed when your teammates are first-round pick Brian Matusz and fourth-rounder Josh Romanski. Nevertheless, Couch posted three solid seasons entering the 2008 campaign. He has always been around the plate (he walked fewer than two batters per game in ‘07). Couch started off the 2008 season as the team’s third starter. He struggled early, going 2-1 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts. His peripheral numbers were strong; he struck out 21 and walked only six in 21 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a home run. Coach Rich Hill benched him in favor of uber freshmen prospects Kyle Blair, Nick Ousman and Sammy Solis. It’s an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, but it’s a shame that Couch didn’t get another shot. He exhibits excellent control even when he’s struggling. He’s a non-drafted free agent, and it remains to be seen whether a team will give him a shot.

31. Jared Alexander, rhp, Hawaii

Actual selection: Undrafted

Four Rainbows were drafted ahead of Alexander, but the 6-foot-3 righthander is no slouch. A junior college transfer from Cosumnes River College in California, Alexander shined in his first season at Hawaii. He was the team workhorse as he led the Rainbows in innings pitched and ERA. Alexander held opponents to a 3.27 ERA, struck out 63 and walked only 15 in 82 2/3 innings. He was not drafted this month so Alexander will get another opportunity in college next season to prove he can duplicate his success.

32. Bryce Mendonca, 3b/ss, Pepperdine

Actual selection: Undrafted

Mendonca arrived on campus after transferring from Chabot Junior College with a reputation of being a well above-average runner, a trait he has shown at Pepperdine. His raw numbers aren’t impressive but he gets a huge boost when his home ballpark and the quality of his competition are considered. Pepperdine plays in the West Coast Conference, the third strongest conference in the country this season. Additionally, Eddy D. Field Stadium is among the top ten most pitcher friendly ballparks in all of college baseball. Mendonca has a knack for getting on base (he hit .332/.412/.388 in 2008). Mendonca has no power, however. He did not hit a home run or record a triple in his lone season in Malibu. He’ll show more power when he plays in a more hitter friendly environment in pro ball, but he’ll have to show the hands and range to stick at shortstop in the minor leagues. He doesn’t have the offensive skill set to play third base. Mendonca was not drafted and will return to the Waves in ‘09.

33. Ryan Wiegand, 1b, Gonzaga

Actual selection: Undrafted

Wiegand has done nothing but hit. The 6-foot-4 first baseman from San Diego was hitting .365/.431/.613 with 11 home runs through May 18. He suffers from playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but was still named to the Rivals.com Preseason All-West Coast Conference team. He was also named to the All-West Coast Conference team in 2007 and to the All-WCC Freshman team in 2006. He’ll be limited to first base or DH as a pro, but his hitting tools are good enough to merit a late round pick. He was not drafted and will return to the heart of the order in Spokane in ‘09.

34. Tim Park, c, William & Mary

Actual selection: Undrafted

Tim Park is constantly proving himself. Undrafted out of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Silver Spring, MD, Park spent two years at Montgomery Community College in Germantown, Maryland. He was named first-team All-American as a sophomore but again was not drafted. After transferring to William & Mary as a junior, Park has put up two spectacular seasons. His OPS was 1.058 in 2007 and in 2008, he hit .418/.488/.736 with 14 home runs. It is true that he plays against weaker competition in the CAA and that Plumeri Park is a bandbox, but it’s hard to ignore Park’s production. He is a below average runner and has below average arm strength, which might necessitate a move to first base. Park was not drafted but should get picked up by a team as a non-drafted free agent.

35. Kevin Reese, rhp, Lafayette ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: Undrafted (Signed with Washington Wildthings of Frontier League)

Reese was Lafayette’s most consistent performer, consistently putting up good numbers and limiting his walks. He was awarded the team’s most valuable pitcher award after posting a 2.90 ERA, while striking out 40 batters and walking only 18. Over his career, he struck out 157 and walked 44 in 222 1/3 innings. The senior righthander went undrafted and signed with the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League. In five appearances, he has a 12.00 ERA, with four strikeouts, two walks and no home runs allowed.

36. Jack Adams, rhp, San Jose State

Actual selection: Undrafted

Adams, a junior college transfer from College of San Mateo, transferred to San Jose State prior to the ‘08 season. He posted a 0.42 ERA in ‘07 as San Mateo’s closer and was expected to assume the same role for the Spartans. He didn’t, however, recording only one save with a 5.24 ERA. Other signs are encouraging. Adams struck out 34 in 22 1/3 innings and walked only ten. When the ball was put in play, it was found holes; batters hit him at a .309 clip. Adams was not drafted, but he’s got a good shot to get drafted as a senior in ‘09 if his ERA goes down.

37. Mark Triolo, rhp, Portland

Actual selection: Undrafted

Originally a San Diego State recruit, Triolo pitched sparingly in relief for the Aztecs. He transferred to Portland prior to the 2008 season and immediately became a factor for the Pilots. Triolo led the team in wins and strikeouts. Through 69 innings, he recorded a 4.17 ERA with 48 strikeouts, 20 walks and two home runs allowed. Triolo has consistently posted good strikeout-to-walk ratios in his stints at San Diego State and Portland. He gets outs with his sinking fastball and decent curveball and changeup. He has an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. Triolo was not drafted and will return to Portland for his senior season.

38. Barrett Shaft, cf, Western Carolina

Actual selection: Undrafted

Western Carolina had quality hitters up and down its lineup, including Shaft, catcher Blake Murphy and infielder Brent Greer. Shaft led the Catamounts in batting average, triples and hit by pitches. He was an excellent leadoff hitter, hitting .374/.462/.541 with 5 home runs. While he doesn’t have much power, Shaft gets on base frequently and is a fast runner (Baseball America named him the fastest runner in the Southern Conference in 2006). The biggest knock on Shaft is his size. He’s only 5-foot-9 and his slight stature might scare teams away. Shaft graduated last month and was not drafted.

39. Chad Cregar, 1b, Western Kentucky

Actual selection: (47, 1413) to the Chicago Cubs

Cregar put up big numbers in his first year at Western Kentucky after transferring from Northwest Mississippi Community College. He showed huge power, hitting .360/.420/.680 with 21 homers. He led the Sun Belt Conference in home runs and RBIs (82), which was also a school record. He’s got good size at 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds but he’ll need to refine his approach if he signs. Although he played first base for the Hilltoppers, the Cubs drafted him as an outfielder. While it’s unlikely he’ll ever be an average defensive outfielder, he could take pressure off his bat by becoming adept in the outfield.

40. Nick Kirk, lhp, Northern Iowa

Actual selection: Undrafted

Kirk has a good mix of stuff and performance. He recorded a 3.84 ERA in ‘08, striking out 61 while walking only 17. He has yet to allow a home run in three seasons. The jewel of the season was his no-hitter on March 28 against Evansville. In the outing, he struck out 15 and walked one. He works from a 92 mph fastball with extra life and a good curve. He’s a bit undersized at 6-feet tall, but he has the stuff and stats to please scouts. Despite this, he was not drafted in ‘08 and will go back to Northern Iowa for his senior campaign.

41. Mark Dibernardo, rhp, Western Illinois

Actual selection: Undrafted

Why would anyone give a second look to a mid-major pitcher who has never posted an ERA below 5.00? DiBernardo has pitched the past two seasons at Western Illinois after transferring from Monterey Peninsula College. Although his ERAs have been high, his peripheral stats are solid. He led the Leathernecks in strikeouts (66), innings pitched (83 2/3) and complete games (four). He has only walked 24 batters in two seasons. Those signs are encouraging but no team drafted him and teams will probably be scared off by his high ERAs.

42. Nick Pugliese, rhp, Stetson ($0 bonus)

Actual selection: Undrafted (Signed as NDFA by Los Angeles Angels)

Pugliese and teammate Justin Bass both transferred to Stetson from Lake Sumter Community College. While Bass was a consensus middle round draft pick and a premium talent, Pugliese has flown under the radar. The 6-foot-1 righthander from Deltona, Florida never wowed scouts with his numbers or his stuff, but he’s been a steady pitcher who rarely walks a batter. In ‘08, he recorded a 4.27 ERA with 39 strikeouts, 11 walks and three homers in 65 1/3 innings. Baseball America ranked him as #100 draft prospect in the state of Florida. Pugliese recently graduated from Stetson and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Los Angeles Angels.  He will open his pro career in the Arizona League.

43. Barry Bowden, rhp, Southern Mississippi

Actual selection: Undrafted (Signed as NDFA by Kansas City Royals)

Barry Bowden capped an impressive five year college career with postseason accolades and an opportunity to continue pitching at the next level. Bowden’s 2.12 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 22 walks earned him a spot on Ping! Baseball’s All-America second team and Baseball America’s All-America third-team. He also was named to the All-Conference USA first team and was named National Pitcher of the Week three times in ‘08. His best pitch is a plus changeup which is a swing and miss pitch for lefties and righties alike. Bowden went undrafted but signed with the Kansas City Royals as a non-drafted free agent. He has been assigned to the Royals’ Rookie league affiliate, the Burlington Royals. Bowden has yet to pitch.

44. Hiram Burgos, rhp, Bethune-Cookman

Actual selection: Undrafted

Burgos arguably the best pitcher on a Bethune-Cookman team that won its third consecutive MEAC title. The Puerto Rican righthander led the Wildcats in ERA and innings pitched and tied for the team lead in wins. His 1.58 ERA was fourth best in the nation among NCAA Division I pitchers. The only other draft eligible pitcher who had a better ERA was drafted in the first round (Christian Friedrich). Burgos formed a one-two punch with lefthander Joseph Gautier, who the Diamondbacks drafted in the 19th round. Burgos may not be as good as Gautier, but he’s very good in his own right. Burgos posted a 1.58 ERA with 69 strikeouts, 24 walks and allowing only one home run in 2008. Despite his success, he was not drafted and will return to campus for his senior season.

45. Ian Thomas, lhp, Virginia Commonwealth

Actual selection: Undrafted

Thomas played a key role for the Rams in ‘08 after spending 2006 and 2007 at Louisburg Junior College. The 6-foot-4 lefty held batters to a 4.45 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 18 walks in 60 2/3 innings. Virginia Commonwealth plays at a slightly hitter friendly home stadium. Thomas just completed his junior year at Virginia Commonwealth and, having not been drafted, will return to Richmond for his senior season.

46. Jerome McCollum, lf, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Actual selection: Undrafted

Big things do in fact come in small packages. McCollum may be only 5-foot-9, but he’s put up big numbers. He finished ‘08 having hit .408/.492/.701 with eight home runs. He’s a mainstay on the NCAA Division I leaderboards, placing 29th in doubles per game, 30th in batting average, 39th in slugging percentage and 48th in on-base percentage through June 9. He also made the SWAC All-Conference First Team. For all the accolades, McCollum didn’t get drafted this June. He has one more season of college eligibility but it’s hard to imagine he’ll top these numbers.

47. Cory Harrilchak, rf, Elon

Harrilchak’s numbers were the stuff of legends. He finished his junior campaign hitting .410/.492/.678 with 11 home runs. He was the first Elon player since 1988 to finish the year with a .400 batting average or better. Harrilchak also tied the program record with 71 runs and placed third in school history with 84 hits in 2008. He also earned several national honors, including a spot on the ABCA/Rawlings All-Atlantic Region Second-Team and First Team All-SoCon and was named the SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player. He also spent 66 2/3 innings on the mound, but he’s not a pro pitching prospect because he allowed 12 home runs in 15 appearances. Harrilchak’s a bit undersized at 5-foot-11, but he has a strong arm and can play outfield in the minor leagues. He was not drafted and will return to the Phoenix for his senior season.

48. Hank Robertson, rhp, Texas A&M

Actual selection: Undrafted

Kirkland Rivers and Brian Ruggiano may have been drafted, but Robertson was as important to the Aggies’ 46-19 record and NCAA Super Regional berth as any. As a short-reliever, Robertson held opponents to a 3.75 ERA, with 26 strikeouts and seven walks in 24 innings. He pitched at North Central Texas College for two seasons before transferring to College Station prior to the ‘08 season. At North Central, Robertson set the school record with 26 saves and made his junior college’s All Conference Second-team. He was not drafted in ‘08 and will return to the back of the Aggies bullpen as a senior in ‘09.

49. Luke Demko, rhp, Rhode Island

Actual selection: Undrafted

Demko is a monster at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds. The Gilford, New Hampshire native is more than simply a physical specimen, however. He held opponents scoreless over four consecutive appearances in early March, allowing only three hits in that stretch. He has been dominant all season, too, posting a 2.30 ERA with 55 strikeouts and seven walks over 43 innings in his lone campaign for the Rhodies. These numbers should be tempered by URI’s relatively soft schedule as they play in the weak Atlantic 10 conference. Rhode Island plays in an extreme pitchers’ park, but it’s still worth giving Demko his due. No MLB team did, however, and Demko will return to Kingston for another season.

50. Bradley Chovanec, rhp, Texas-San Antonio

Actual selection: Undrafted

Our Mr. Irrelevant is the 6-foot-4 Chovanec. He may look like an ordinary junior college transfer whose ERA has hovered around 5.00 in two seasons with the Roadrunners. Closer inspection reveals that the Blinn Junior College transfer is much better than that ERA; he struck out 63 and walked 20 in 2008. His nine wins tied for second in the Southland Conference and in UTSA history and he was fourth in conference with 98 innings pitched and three complete games. Chovanec won SLC Pitcher of the Week honors twice in the ‘08 season and graduated with a 3.91 GPA in kinesiology. The Burton, Texas native was not drafted.


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