MLB Draft 2005: Grading The Supplemental 1st Round

Last week, Senior Writer Todd Morgan gave his grades out for the first round of the 2005 Major League Draft. This week, he gives us his grades for the Supplemental First Round draft picks.

31. Arizona Diamondbacks – Matt Torra, RHP, Massachusetts

Playing for Yakima of the Northwest League, Torra has had something of a slow summer. To date, he has only pitched ten innings in five games (two starts) for the Bears, posting a 1.80 ERA and 10/4 K/BB ratio. Luckily – and those of you who have been to Yakima already know this – Torra has probably kept himself plenty busy eating Miner's burgers. Considering their sparing use of Torra's arm, the Diamondbacks will probably send him to the Midwest League next year, with quick advancement a possibility if he performs well. Grade: B

32. Colorado Rockies – Chaz Roe, RHP, Lafayette HS, Lexington, KY

Roe has been everything one might expect from a high school pitcher with raw tools and a high ceiling. He's played at Casper of the Pioneer League (Rookie) since signing with the Rockies, compiling a 4-2 record and 4.74 ERA in 11 starts. Over 43 2/3 innings, Roe has given up only 27 hit, but his control has hurt him – 34 walks against 50 strikeouts. The K total is excellent, but the walks are a clear indication that control and command are areas that need work. He has time. Figure he'll be in the Sally League next year, with a chance that he could be sent to short-season ball in late June if he can't hold his own at Asheville. Grade: C

33. Cleveland Indians – John Drennen, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, CA

Another product of the prospect factory at Rancho Bernardo, John Drennen has had a rather inauspicious beginning to his pro career. Sent to Burlington of the Appalachian League, he has struggled in 51 games, hitting .238/.325/.435 with seven doubles, eight homers, 28 RBI and six steals in nine attempts. His walk rate isn't terrible but could stand some improvement (18 in 168 ABs), and his strikeout rate isn't good (37). His path for the 2006 season will be similar to Roe's – Sally League, with a trip to short-season if he doesn't perform a Lake County. Grade: C-

34. Florida Marlins - Ryan Tucker, RHP, Temple City HS, CA

Tucker pitched 31 2/3 innings in the Gulf Coast League and was solid, though he did not display a lot of upside while there. His 35 hits allowed and 23/16 K/BB were mediocre at best, while his 3.69 ERA indicates he was effective in limiting damage. The Marlins moved him up to short-season Jamestown of the New York-Penn League on August 21st, and he proceeded to get knocked around for 18 hits in 11 innings (three starts). His ERA jumped to 7.36, but his K/BB improved to 13/4. If he can keep those strikeout and walk rates up he'll go a long way toward reaching his potential. Tucker is another guy who will probably get a shot at Low Class-A next spring, though like Drennen and Roe he could wind up back in short-season ball. Another possibility will be a trip to extended spring training prior to the start of short-season leagues. Grade: C+

35. San Diego Padres – Cesar Ramos, LHP, Long Beach State

Ramos took an interesting path this summer. He started his career as a Eugene Emerald in the short-season Northwest League and just plain stunk. His ERA was 6.53 in six appearances (four starts), with 21 hits allowed and a 13/7 K/BB in 20 2/3 innings. Hardly numbers for a guy who wants to move up, yet move up he did. The Padres promoted Ramos to Low Class-A Fort Wayne, where he fixed just about everything in seven starts (including one complete game). His H/IP rose a bit (42 in 38 2/3 IP), but his ERA dropped to 4.19 while his K/BB improved to 32/7. The Padres will face a tough decision next year, as he might be ready for High Class-A. Grade: B-

36. Oakland Athletics – Travis Buck, OF, Arizona State

Buck gave the A's every reason to feel good about drafting him right out of the gate. Kicking off his pro career in Vancouver of the Northwest League, Buck just killed the ball, hitting .361/.439/.556 in nine games (36 ABs). Upon his promotion to Low Class-A Kane County, Buck continued raking: .357/.444/.496 with 13 doubles and a homer in 30 games (115 ABs). Maybe the most telling stat is Buck's 18/19 K/BB ratio. It isn't often that a power hitter walks more than he strikes out. Though his power hasn't resulted in a strong homerun total, the 13 doubles are a good indicator that the homers will come in time. He should start next season in High Class-A Stockton of the California League. Grade: B+

37. Los Angeles Angels – Trevor Bell, RHP, Crescenta Valley HS, La Crescenta, CA

Trevor Bell didn't sign with the Angels until late July and didn't make his pro debut until August 14th. Playing for the Angels Arizona League affiliate, Bell made his first start against the Giants AFL squad, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out three. The Angels have him on a very short leash – in four starts he's thrown a total of eight innings, compiling a 7/3 K/BB and 4.50 ERA while allowing ten hits. It's barely enough to grade, but I'm saving incompletes for draftees who have yet to sign. He will probably be in Rookie ball against next year, with an eventual move to Low Class-A as the high end of his development path for the season. Grade: C+

38. Houston Astros – Eli Iorg, OF, Tennessee

Iorg signed on June 21st and was assigned to Greeneville of the Appalachian League, though he didn't start playing until the middle of July. The Astros left him alone after that, which looks like a smart move. In 138 ABs over 35 games, Iorg has simply raked, hitting .333/.391/.565, with seven doubles, two triples, seven homers and 34 RBI. He even has 12 steals in 15 attempts. The lone criticism of his season is a sub-par walk total of nine, as opposed to 27 strikeouts. He will need to refine his plate discipline at higher levels, but for now he looks like a solid bet to start in Class A somewhere in the Astros system. Based on the walk rate I'd lean toward a conservative Low Class-A decision to start 2006. Grade: B+

39. Minnesota Twins – Henry Sanchez, 1B, Mission Bay HS, San Diego, CA

A man-child at 6'3, 260 pounds, Sanchez was assigned to the Gulf Coast League after signing. In 21 games he has struggled, hitting .229/.300/.343 in 70 ABs. The poor showing is likely a result of the transition to wooden bats, as his only great tool – his power – has yet to show itself. He'll be back in the Rookie leagues until he starts centering the bat on the ball and driving it with more authority. Once that happens his other numbers should fall in line. Grade: D

40. Los Angeles Dodgers – Luke Hochevar, RHP, Tennessee

Hochevar was easily a top ten talent in this draft, but his affiliation with Scott Boras scared teams off until the Dodgers decided to take the plunge in the sandwich round. It was probably a good gamble by L.A., as he gave them a high-end talent even though their first pick didn't come until #40 overall. According to the L.A. Times, Boras and Hochevar were seeking a $4 million bonus while the Dodgers were offering $2.3 million. In a last-minute standoff, Hochevar chose not to attend classes at Tennessee before the school's add/drop deadline. Normally, this would be a sign that an agreement was on the horizon, but the gap between offer and demand is still as wide as ever. I think it will get done if the offer gets up in the $3.25-3.5 million range. Grade: Incomplete

41. Atlanta Braves – Beau Jones, LHP, Destrehan HS, LA

Like just about every high school pitcher the Braves draft, Jones has been solid in his pro debut in the GCL. Over eight appearances (seven starts), Jones has a 3.86 ERA and 41/16 K/BB ratio. Even better, in his 35 innings of work he has only allowed 25 hits. He should see Low Class-A next season. Grade: B+

42. Boston Red Sox - Clay Buchholz, RHP, Angelina JC, TX

Buchholz has been masterful in 14 starts for the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League. In 37 1/3 innings he's struck out 39 batters against only nine walks, allowing 30 hits with a 2.89 ERA. The Red Sox have been very careful with his arm, but his performance has been top notch regardless. Next year should see Buchholz somewhere in Low Class-A, though how early remains to be seen. Grade: A

43. St. Louis Cardinals – Mark McCormick, RHP, Baylor

McCormick started two games for New Jersey of the New York-Penn League, allowing a hit in six innings to go with a 10/3 K/BB. The Cards moved him along to Quad Cities of the Low Class-A Midwest League where he hit a wall. His hit and strikeouts rates are fine (40 and 45, respectively, in 42 2/3 innings), but he walked 28 and posted a 5.48 ERA. The stuff is there but he's still erratic, just like he was at Baylor. With his velocity and difficulty commanding his pitches he may wind up in the bullpen. He'll be back at Quad Cities next year. Grade: C+

44. Florida Marlins – Sean West, LHP, Captain Shreve HS, Shreveport, LA

West was dominant in the GCL this summer with a 2.35 ERA and 40/7 K/BB in 38 1/3 IP. He made eight starts and one relief appearance, allowing only 30 hits before he was promoted to Jamestown. In two starts he had a 3.86 ERA, eight hits allowed and 10/2 K/BB in seven innings; above-average even with the small sample size. He'll be in Low Class-A next year. Grade: B+

45. Boston Red Sox – Jed Lowrie, 2B, Stanford

Wow, do I wish Lowrie had fallen a few more spots so the A's could take him in the second round. In 50 games for the Lowell Spinners he has put up a very strong offensive line: .326/.422/.447, 11 doubles, four homers, 28 RBI, 30 BB, 29 K. He's been average in the field, committing nine errors but exhibiting soft hands and a solid arm. He reminds me a bit of Carlos Baerga in his early years, with similar pop and better defense. Baseball America compared him to Chase Utley and Adam Kennedy, though I like the Baerga comparison better because he switch-hits and has more pop. My bet is that he'll be in AA by mid-summer of 2006. Grade: A

46. St. Louis Cardinals – Tyler Herron, RHP, Wellington Community HS, FL

In 13 Appalachian League starts, Herron has shown good stuff along with a tendency to give up the long ball. He's put up a 5.62 ERA in 49 2/3 innings, but has a curiously strong strikeout rate (49) and hit rate (47). The 27 walks are a problem, as are the 11 homers allowed. He may need more time in short-season ball, but is also a candidate for full-season Quad Cities. I'll be interested to see which way the Cardinals go. Grade: C

47. Boston Red Sox – Michael Bowden, RHP, Waubonsie Valley, HS, Aurora, IL

Bowden signed late and didn't make his debut until August. Since then he's made four appearances (two starts) in the GCL, totaling six innings and allowing four hits and no runs to go with a 10/4 K/BB. He'll likely wind up back in short-season ball next year. Grade: B

48. Baltimore Orioles – Garrett Olson, RHP, Cal Poly

Olson's summer has been pretty successful. He had no trouble at all with the New York-Penn League, posting a 1.58 ERA in 40 IP over 11 games (six starts). His K/BB was 40/13 and he allowed a measly 22 hits. The Orioles promoted him to High Class-A Frederick and he continued to perform, pitching 14 1/3 innings and allowing ten hits, five earned runs for a 3.16 ERA to go along with a 19/7 K/BB. He will need to cut down on his walks at higher levels, but so far, so good. He has a shot at finishing 2006 in AA with a strong performance next year. Grade: B+

Other notables:

50. Kansas City – Jeff Bianchi, SS, Lampeter-Strasburg HS, Lancaster, PA

Bianchi drew comparisons to Justin Upton as a multi-tooled talent, and in 98 ABs for K.C.'s Arizona League team he has proven he is worthy of those comparisons. His offensive line of .408/.484/.745 is beyond good – it is monstrous. He had seven doubles, four triples and six homers to go with 30 RBI and five steals. It's easy to dismiss his numbers since he's so far away from the big leagues, but this is a spectacular start. Grade: A

60. Cincinnati Reds – Travis Wood, LHP, Bryant HS, Alexander, AS

Wood was seen as a very raw prep pitcher with incredible stuff. He routinely hits 95 MPH on the radar gun but showed lots of holes as an amateur – inconsistent mechanics and shoddy control. Fortunately for the Reds, it hasn't stopped him so far. In the GCL, he made eight appearances (seven starts) and posted a mind-blowing 0.75 ERA in 24 IP, striking out 45 batters and walking only seven. The Reds promoted him to Billings of the rookie Pioneer League and he continued to pitch well, posting a 1.82 ERA in six appearances (four starts) spanning 24 2/3 IP. His walk rate went up a bit and his strikeout rate dropped (22/13 K/BB), but that's to be expected when 18 year-olds get promoted. Wood has only allowed 28 hits in 48 2/3 professional innings, and with that arm he could do great things. Control will be his biggest challenge. Grade: A

63. New York Yankees – J. Brent Cox, RHP, Texas

The successor to Huston Street as the Longhorn's closer, Cox has been great at High Class-A Tampa of the Florida State League. In 16 appearances he totaled 27 2/3 innings, with a 27/5 K/BB ratio and 20 hits allowed along with a 2.60 ERA. He could be in New York sometime next year, or he could get stuck in AA if he struggles. He's on the fast-track, so figure he'll start 2006 in AA, move to AAA by mid-season and be in the Bronx by September. Grade: B+

69. Oakland Athletics – Jared Lansford, RHP, St. Francis HS, Santa Clara, CA

Carney's son has been very good since he agreed to terms with the A's in June. The organization assigned him to their Arizona League affiliate, where he has been dominant in 21 1/3 innings. Over seven games (six starts), Lansford has a 20/5 K/BB and a 1.27 ERA while giving up 16 hits. He should be ready for Low Class-A at some point next year, but the A's are going to be careful with him. They haven't invested a lot of money in high school pitchers in the last five years, so both Lansford and fellow prep righty Craig Italiano will be handled gingerly. Grade: A-

73. Minnesota Twins – Kevin Slowey, RHP, Winthrop

Do the Twins really need another premium arm? Twins fans and management will scoff at the question, but their scouting department is just terrific. In Slowey's case, they got one of the fastest-rising college pitching prospects from the 2005 draft. He began his pro career in relief at Elizabethton, working 7 1/3 innings over four appearances, fanning 15 and walking none. He gave up two hits and one run for a 1.17 ERA. Duly impressed, the Twins promoted him to Low Class-A Beloit. In 13 appearances (nine starts) he worked 64 1/3 innings, striking out 69 against only eight walks. He allowed 42 hits and posted a 2.24 ERA, including a one-hit, complete game shutout against West Michigan on August 6th. Scouts project him as an innings-eating 3rd or 4th starter and he is well on his way to fulfilling that promise. Grade: A

75. Atlanta Braves – Yuniel Escobar, SS, No School (Cuba)

Escobar defected from Cuba last year along with four other players, though he was by far the most talented among them. He has spent time at Danville of the Appalachian League and Rome of the Sally League, posting solid numbers at each stop. Actually, his Danville numbers are better than solid: .400/.472/.733 in 30 ABs. He cooled down a bit in Rome, hitting .313/.358/.470 with 13 doubles, three triples, four homers and 14 walks in 198 ABs while displaying good range and a plus arm at shortstop. My guess is that he'll split time between Low Class-A and High Class-A next year. Grade: B

83. Arizona Diamondbacks – Micah Owings, RHP, Tulane

Looks like the third time is the charm for Owings, who was drafted twice before being taken by the D-backs in 2005. The big right-hander is playing for Arizona's California League affiliate in Lancaster, where he has been excellent in 16 relief appearances. His ERA is 2.45 over 22 innings, with a very strong 30/4 K/BB and 17 hits allowed. It's unclear whether Arizona sees him as a reliever in the long-term or if they're just being careful of an arm that had a heavy workload at Tulane. Indications are that he will start next year but I could not confirm that. If he goes back to the rotation he'll be back at Lancaster, but will move to AA if his future is as a reliever. Grade: B+

99. Texas Rangers – Taylor Teagarden, C, Texas

After holding out until August, Teagarden finally signed for a reported $725,000 bonus. The Rangers sent him to Spokane of the Northwest League to play out the summer, and he has been more than up to the task. The knock on Teagarden is that he doesn't project as a hitter, but he has ignored the criticism to hit .303/.451/.685 with five doubles, four triples, seven homers and 22 walks in 89 ABs. His defense behind the plate is excellent, with clean footwork and a strong, accurate arm. He will be in High Class-A next year, most likely to begin the season. Grade: A-

116. Toronto Blue Jays – Ryan Patterson, OF, Louisiana State

Patterson made a name for himself two years ago in the Cape Cod League by performing well with wooden bats, then had an excellent season for LSU in 2005. Always a power threat in college, Patterson slipped in the draft because scouts felt his power wouldn't translate in the pro ranks. To date, he has played 69 games for Auburn of the New York-Penn League, hitting .340/.387/.593 in 268 ABs. His power has not only translated; it has flourished. He's collected 21 doubles, four triples and 13 homers while walking a respectable 21 times against 51 strikeouts. He will likely start 2006 in Low Class-A. If he continues to rake like he has this year he'll see time in High Class-A before the end of next season. Grade: A

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