Posted by: bhyman | June 17, 2008

2008 Draft Team, Part IV

25. Keith Stein, lf, Sam Houston State

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.

We’re more than halfway through our picks.  We’ll continue with our entire 50-round draft team tomorrow.

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