TigsTown MLN: Draft Notebook

As we near the two-month mark since draft day, there's one word that's very apparent when describing the 2006 draft class: polished. The Tigers had 28 college selections, and several of them have used their extensive experience in college to get off to good starts in the professional ranks.

The nicest surprise so far has been the offensive potential shown by third-rounder Brennan Boesch from California. Boesch has already clubbed 15 extra-base hits, including four triples, which shows how quick Boesch can traverse the bases for a big guy. However, Boesch has drawn only five walks in his first 134 at-bats.

After struggling as a junior, Scott Sizemore (5) has rediscovered his stroke, hitting .348 after going 5-for-10 with two walks in Thursday's marathon victory. He has also posted solid power numbers (11 extra-base hits and three homers) for a middle infielder. Like Boesch, Sizemore hasn't shown much patience at the plate, drawing just 12 walks in 132 at-bats, but both players have made good contact, combining for only 38 strikeouts in 266 at-bats.

Ronnie Bourquin (2) hasn't shown the power (only six extra-base hits in 110 at-bats) he had at Ohio State, but leads the O-Tigers in walks with 22.

Several senior signs have done a nice job so far at Oneonta, with Chris Cody (8) leading the way with a 2-0, 2.12 ERA. He has walked only three batters in his first 29 2/3 innings.

Michigan State product Jeff Gerbe (16) has posted a 3.38 ERA in six starts and has walked only seven batters in 32 innings. Tom Thornton has gone winless in six starts despite posting a 3.47 ERA, but that's more of a byproduct of the Tigers keeping strict pitch counts in place to protect their pitchers. Casey Fien (1-0, 1.08 ERA), Chris Krawczyk (1-1, 2.21 ERA), and Brett Jensen (1.35 ERA, seven saves) all have been solid in the bullpen as well.

Several senior signs were sent to the GCL Tigers, with Paul Hammond and Chris Carlson being the best of the bunch. Hammond has allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings, while Carlson has smacked six homers, but both players need to show what they can do against more advanced competition before they become legitimate prospects.

On the downside, a few players have gotten off to tough starts. Jordan Newton (6) has split time behind the plate with Jeff Kunkel and James Skelton, and the lack of consistent playing time has hurt him mightily, as he is hitting just .189 in 53 at-bats.

Ninth-rounder Zach Piccola had issues with his control at South Alabama, and that hasn't changed since signing. The left-hander has issued 10 walks and hit three batters in 19 2/3 innings.

On the GCL front, Dana Arrowood and Rudy Darrow have combined to give up 16 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings, and Duane Below has given up 18 hits in nine innings en route to an 6.00 ERA.

After missing this past season due to a broken rib, the talented catcher was looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with the Weatherford Wranglers of the Texas Collegiate League. Unfortunately, a sports hernia temporarily derailed those plans, but thankfully, the injury wasn't very severe, and Petralli is back in the lineup.

Chad Nading (36) spent nearly the last two weeks contemplating what he wanted to do with his future, and it appears he is ready to help Oregon State defend its national championship. Tigers area scout Brian Reid flew to Alaska to see Nading pitch last week, and the Tigers made him a contract offer, but the right-hander has elected to go to college. However, the Tigers are said to be sending a member of the front office to take a last look at Nading in August before making a final decision on him.

Nading's brother plays for Chandler-Gilbert CC in Arizona, but junior college has been ruled out. Nading's stock slipped when he sat in the 85-88 range and touched only 89 after reaching 91 last summer, but his curveball and changeup have the opportunity to become solid pitches down the line, and he should throw much harder once he fills out his 6-foot-5 frame.

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