Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Day After

I think that with all the young pitchers we already have in the bigs or on the way, that we're in a position to take a couple of hitters first and then take a (cheaper) HS pitcher in the 2nd or 3rd round and baby him along.

--Roman, May 27th

The draft for our mighty A's went somewhat like I predicted. However, the extreme to which Billy Beane loaded up on pitchers is pretty surprising. And I'm NOT saying this because of the perception that Billy doesn't like high schoolers, but simply because of the number of pitchers we took and because they all seem to have the same characteristics.

Craig Italiano, RHP, 6'3", 195 lbs
Comments: He has pitched in the mid-90s and touched 97-98 mph on several occasions. "He has thrown bullets every time out," one scouting director says. Italiano also has improved his breaking ball, taking it from a slurve to more of a true slider.

Jared Lansford, RHP, 6'1", 180 lbs
Comments: Jared was expected to be a solid mid-round pick as a second baseman, but that was before his fastball was clocked at 93-94 mph. Suddenly, interest in Lansford as a pitcher took off, to a point that scouts say he could be picked as early as the second or third rounds. Lansford had pitched a lot prior to this year, but had only touched 90 and had a fringy breaking ball. Not only did his velocity spike this year, but his command, breaking ball and changeup have also been substantially better.

Vince Mazzaro, RHP, 6'2", 190 lbs
Comments: New Jersey had three premium high school arms that jockeyed much of the spring for the distinction of being the first player drafted, and Mazzaro looks like the winner. Not only was his power stuff slightly more appealing than the others, but Mazzaro is considered far more signable. He has a live arm, with a fastball at 88-92 mph that touches 93. He gets exceptional movement on the pitch because he throws across his body from a high three-quarters angle.

James Shull, RHP, 6'2", 175 lbs
Comments: Cal Poly senior RHP Jimmy Shull was an unsigned eighth-round pick from the 2004 draft. A converted shortstop, he came on last year, showcasing an 88-92 mph fastball with good sinking action and a plus slider, but didn’t sign because he thought he could improve his draft position this year. He was hot and cold most of this season before again turning it on down the stretch with a fastball that peaked at 94. His late surge could improve his draft position by two or three rounds.

Scott Deal, RHP, 6'4", 190 lbs
Comments: Scott Deal remains the state's best prospect, but he was inconsistent all season. He would show a fastball up to 93 mph with an average slider when at his best, but less velocity with a flatter slider on his off days.

Kevin Bunch, RHP, 6'5", 215 lbs
Comments: Strong, powerful, fluid, easy arm. Throws on downhill plane. Sharp, downer curveball when gets out front. Deceptive, late sink action with circle change. Converted catcher.

Jason Ray, RHP, 6'0", 208 lbs
Comments: He was a right fielder his freshman year, but his big arm led to his taking the mound on occasion as a sophomore. Used strictly as a pitcher this year after he transferred to Azusa Pacific, his velocity soared to 93-95 mph, touching 96. Though there’s effort to his delivery, he showed respectable command of his fastball for someone so new to pitching and generally held his velocity deep into games. His curve and circle changeup also made progress, but were inconsistent.

Looks to me like the plan was to stock up on big, right-handed, fireballers. I don't think it's a coincidence that a majority of these guys are converted fielders either. Their arms, in theory, should be "fresher" than those of the guys who have pitched since they were eight or nine. And since we already have plenty of major league-ready pitchers, we can afford to take our time to really teach these kids how to pitch. I just hope that these guys stay relatively healthy.


I didn't get as many participants as I had hoped in the Draft Challenge, which is probably why only one person beat my pathetic score of seven. Congrats to Toni, who correctly picked eight of the first fourty-eight players drafted. Toni's a girl. That's right, I lost to a friggin girl.


I will once again return to bashing Macha and his pathetic line-ups (which mustered up one whole run off a guy with a 5.58 ERA yesterday) tomorrow.


Blogger CanYouSmellWhatTheHawkIsCooking said...

well, the site had a good ride while it lasted.

but i understand. you do lead a pretty busy life of pretending to work.

Sunday, June 12, 2005 8:01:00 PM  

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