Stanford Baseball Draft Recap

The first day of the 2002 Amateur Baseball Draft has been completed with five Stanford players chosen. As expected, pitching ace Jeremy Guthrie was taken in the first round, but there were plenty of surprises after that. Read on for a recap of Day One of the draft.

Day One of the 2002 Amateur Baseball Draft has been completed with five Cardinal players chosen.  The draft will conclude tomorrow (9 am to 3 pm).  As expected, Jeremy Guthrie was taken in the first round.  The junior righthander is having an outstanding season compiling an 11-1 record to go along with a 2.34 ERA.  It was a little surprising to see him picked just 22nd overall (Cleveland Indians) as some projections had him as high as #10.  Of course, when your advisor is Scott Boras you are going to scare off quite a few teams.  So despite being picked in the bottom half of the first round, expect Guthrie to get money worthy of being picked in the top half of the draft.

The next player chosen was junior outfielder/DH Jason Cooper.  Cooper struggled in his first two years on the Farm mainly because of injuries after being selected in the second round out of high school.  But the powerful lefty is healthy this season and it's showing in his production with a .351 batting average to go along with 13 homers and 52 RBI.  Cooper was selected in the third round this season also by the Cleveland Indians and is expected to sign a contract with them.  Some teams may have been a bit scared off because of his past injuries as there was an outside chance Cooper could have been selected in the first round, but nevertheless, he should still get a good offer from the Indians.

The third Stanford player drafted this afternoon was senior second baseman Chris O'Riordan.  After not being picked at all after his stellar junior campaign last year, O'Riordan was selected in the eighth round by the Texas Rangers today.  O'Riordan walked-on to the team during his freshman year back in '99 and after playing in only two games that season, he has taken over the starting second baseman position over the last three years.  He's hitting .335 this year with ten homers and 43 RBI.

Another first-time draftee was selected next as shortstop Andy Topham was taken by the Houston Astros in the ninth round.  Topham struggled at times with the bat last season hitting .272, but has improved this year as evident by his .303 batting average heading into this weekend.  The strength though of Topham has to be his defense.  The senior has made numerous spectacular plays at shortstop this season and if he is able to succeed hitting-wise in pro ball, he should move up in the Astros farm system.  I was certainly surprised to see Topham drafted this high, but it is clear the Astros think very highly of him.

The final Stanford player selected on Day One was righthanded pitcher Darin Naatjes who was taken in the 14th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.  The 6'7" junior has been used in relief this season and on occasion a Tuesday night start as he's complied a 4-0 record with a 2.53 ERA with 15 walks and 25 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.  A lot of potential with Naatjes as he throws very hard (91-to-94) and has developing off-speed pitches.  No word on his intentions about whether he is going to sign or return to Stanford to play baseball and football.

Two incoming Stanford freshman were also drafted very high today.  First baseman John Mayberry Jr. was taken in the first round (28th pick overall) while lefthanded pitcher Mark Romanczuk was selected in the fifth round.  While it's doubtful that Mayberry will ever wear a Cardinal uniform, there is still a chance.  He was projected to be drafted in the upper half of the first round, so to see him drop down to #28 could mean he is at least strongly considering attending Stanford in the fall.  That opens the door for him to come the Farm, but first round money will be awful hard to turn down.  As for Romanczuk, this is another player that fell a little lower then expected.  Many thought he was a second or third round pick, but fell back likely due to his commit to Stanford.  Much better chance he comes to Stanford then Mayberry, but still no guarantees.  Last year's freshman class was much more committed to coming here with guys like Paganetti and Jecmen being drafted much later (while Carter, Lucy, and Putnam weren't even drafted at all) when they easily could have been selected in the top ten rounds.  Bottom line, if Stanford is able to pull in at least one of these two athletes, it has to be considered a success.

Day Two of the draft is tomorrow and there is still a very good possibility we'll see more Stanford players drafted.  The two most likely candidates include pitcher Tim Cunningham and catcher Ryan Garko.  I was surprised to not see either of these players selected today, especially Cunningham.  We'll see where they are picked tomorrow and depending upon where, we could see these two return next year for their senior season.  Other eligible players include, Arik VanZandt, Tobin Swope, Scott Dragicevich, Ryan McCally, Dan Rich, and J.D. Willcox.

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