Posted by: bhyman | June 20, 2008

2008 Draft Team, Part VII

42. Nick Pugliese, rhp, Stetson

Actual selection: Undrafted

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 will look to be signed to an independent team as a non-drafted free agent with an affiliated minor league club.

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.

We conclude the draft team tomorrow.


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