Monday, July 19, 2010


Every year, some underappreciated future stars slip through the cracks come draft day, and end up making all the teams who passed on them in favor of some soon-forgotten bum pay the price in the loss column.

In light of my stingy scouting budget, I am in no position to accurately forecast who those players may be this season. But I’ve never let ignorance and misinformation stop me before.

So here are my picks for the top five draft day steals.

#1 -- Glen Mann, taken 30th by the Tucson Ectoplasm

Starting pitchers who can competently eat innings while mowing down opposing batters usually go at a premium in the amateur draft. With good control, excellent splits, killer velocity, and two plus pitches, Mann should fill that role admirably and likely shouldn’t have fallen to the bottom of the first round. Presumably, owners were scared away by the three weak pitches Mann carries. His other skills should over-ride that.

Of course, he doesn't look like quite as solid a pick if snow doesn't sign him.

#2 -- Byron Weathers, taken 19th by the Hartford Crushers

Byron Weathers
Age: 20B/T: L/L
Born: Valhalla, NY
Position(s): LF
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A power hitter with decent splits and an unsurpassed batting eye. In a draft lacking sluggers, he may end up being the best. And with his superior judgment at the plate and great speed/baserunning skills, an outstanding OBP should be icing on the cake.

#3 -- Bump Tyson, taken 31st by the Helena Barking Moonbats

Bump Tyson
Barking Moonbats
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Katy, TX
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Throw objectivity to the wind, I like my pick. It’s hard to call him a bargain with a seven mill price tag, but if he avoids injury he should have been gone by pick #10.

#4 -- Bernard Wilson, taken 53rd by the Tampa Bay Stars

Bernard Wilson
Tampa Bay
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Bronx, NY
Position(s): P (P)
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Another guy with the potential to be an outstanding starter who drops to the tail end of the sandwich round. May not be the guy you want facing lefties in pressure situations, but definitely on par with plenty of the pitchers selected mid first round.

#5 -- King Rowan, selected 73rd by the Hartford Crushers

King Rowan
Age: 19B/T: L/R
Born: Kemp, TX
Position(s): 2B
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Historically, few impact players drop to the second round. But with his power, splits, and solid defensive potential, this guy may earn a ticket to a long and lucrative career.

Drafting may be impacted by sheer luck, the whims of those drafting above you, and the competence of your scouting staff. But judgment and preparation definitely play a part, especially when you see the same guys year after year pulling outstanding players out of less than exciting draft positions.

The teams that kept jumping out at me this season as making the most of their picks were the Tucson Ectoplasm (Mann, Brad Jones), the Tampa Bay Stars (Wilson, Claude Coleman), the Hartford Crushers (Rowan, Weathers), and the Las Vegas Rattlers (Chip Wilson, Alton Herzog).

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