Day Two Draft Wrap Up

The Tigers concluded the 2008 draft with college pitching and middle infielders being their favorite targets. The Tigers also took their full compliment of 50 players over the two-day event with college seniors being the top target.

The Tigers made Wichita State center fielder Andrew Dirks (8) the first of 16 seniors (two more players taken are fourth-year juniors who redshirted a year) taken on the day. Simply put, Dirks knows how to get on base. He got on base in 52 straight games last summer in the Northwoods League. He entered the NCAA Tournament with a 28-game hitting streak and was on base in 73 straight games. He has a hard-nosed approach with a patient approach and good speed.

Oklahoma State's Robbie Weinhardt (10) was one of five senior relievers taken joining Southern Mississippi's Tyler Conn (14), Michigan State's Mark Sorensen (32, and son of former major leaguer and Tigers broadcaster Lary), Yale's Steve Gilman (36) and Baylor's Nick Cassavechia (37). Weinhardt throws the hardest at 94-96, while Conn is the lone left-hander of the group and had 18 saves this spring. His fastball reaches 92 and he has a good changeup. Sorensen can run his fastball to 93 with hard sink. Gilman has been up to 94, and Cassavechia was terrific on the Cape last summer using a sidearm angle to get great movement on his 88-92 heater. Sans Conn, all use sliders as their secondary pitches, and Sorensen uses a changeup against left-handed hitters.

The Tigers also drafted four senior starters. Nebraska's Thad Weber (15) was in the low-90s and touching 94-95 before tiring late in the season. The right-hander also has a sharp slider. Liberty's David Stokes (28) matches third-rounder Scott Green for the biggest player taken with his 6-foot-8, 245-pound frame.

The right-hander went 8-6 with a 3.60 ERA and showed good command by walking just 16 batters in 100 innings. Stokes had 86 strikeouts.

Northern Illinois' Trevor Feeney (31) is similar to Stokes in that he throws strikes with his four-pitch mix. He is a right-hander who can touch 92 and his slider and changeup are usable. Ohio State's Dan DeLucia (35) is a left-hander who had surgery similar to Tommy John surgery, but it removed calcium deposits that had grown on the ligament. Shoulder tendonitis slowed him down this spring, and he may not be able to pitch right away in order to get the necessary time to get healthy. He isn't overpowering, but has solid command of three pitches.

After Dirks was selected in the eighth round, the Tigers drafted seven more position players who are college seniors. Oregon State's Jordan Lennerton (33) is a first baseman with power from the left side of the batters box. UCLA's Alden Carrithers (15) and Oklahoma's Mike Gosse (23) are a pair of second basemen that were taken. Carrithers is a solid all-around player, who can hit and run well. He also is a solid defender.

Gosse hit a team-leading .368, a 121 point improvement from his junior year. He had eight homers, 23 doubles and 52 RBIs. He also struck out just 12 times in 253 at-bats.

Lewis-Clark State's Brent Wyatt (26) is a very versatile player who can play several spots on the field. He gets the most out of his tools and did a good job hitting out of the leadoff spot with a .354 average. He was slated to play center field, but wound up at shortstop.

Sam Houston State outfielder Keith Stein (29) showed some power in his 5-foot-10 frame by hitting 10 home runs this spring. He hit .358, led the team in triples with six, hit 24 doubles, and had 58 RBIs. He also had more walks (25) than strikeouts (23) in 262 at-bats. Stein leaves as the school's all-time leading hitter with a .379 average, and he is the only player to have 100 hits in a season.

Rounding out the infield is Houston's Bryan Pounds (34). The third baseman led the Cougars with a .354 average, and his 10 homers ranked second on the team. He drove in 67 runs, which also led the team. He drew 35 walks and fanned 46 times in 257 at-bats. He is listed as a third baseman, but he has played shortstop and second base during his time with the Cougars.

Catcher Tyler Weber became the second Wichita State player to be taken by the Tigers in the 30th round. A solid receiver, he has good arm strength and quickness. Weber also uses his strength on offense, where he has eight homers this spring.

More College
In addition to the seniors, the Tigers drafted 10 more juniors beginning with Old Dominion right-hander Anthony Shawler (9), who has a four-pitch mix. Shawler will work in the 89-92 range with his fastball and he has a nasty cutter. He also throws a split-finger and a changeup. After a superb sophomore year (11-2, 2.30 ERA), Shawler didn't pitch to expectations, but is leaning towards signing. He also was scouted as a draft prospect in the outfield.

After bring one of the top sophomore-eligible players available last year, Northern Iowa shortstop Brandon Douglas (11) returned to school and had a solid junior year. Douglas is a good athlete whose best tool is his bat. He has gap-to-gap power and projects to get stronger. Douglas also has good plate discipline. He is an average runner and is the same with his arm strength. He has struggled with the routine play in the past, and could move to second base in time.

Perhaps the toughest sign the Tigers selected in the first 15 rounds was Rice right-hander Jared Gayhart. Better known as the Owls' starting right fielder, Gayhart has displayed more upside in the limited time he has had on the mound. He has a long, loose body that is ideal for pitching and he has been 88-91 and topped out at 93. His curveball shows above-average potential, and he is the rare Rice pitcher to have no mileage on his arm, having pitched just 13 2/3 innings in the last two years. Paying a big bonus to a pitcher who is as inexperienced as Gayhart is will be a tough sell, but you can bet the Tigers will try to follow him closely this summer.

UC Riverside reliever Rob Waite didn't post the best numbers (2-4, 6.35 ERA), but had 31strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. His 27 appearances also led the team.

Like Dirks, William & Mary's Ben Guez (19) knows how to get on base. He had a 32-game hitting streak this spring on the heels of a solid summer on the Cape. The Tigers listed Guez as a center fielder, and he showed solid defensive skills there last summer. He has good power for someone his size (6-foot-0, 170 pounds), but not enough for a corner spot, and he lacks the raw speed to stay in center. He could move to second base, where his tools may be better suited.

Missouri outfielder Kyle Lollis (20) is one of the more intriguing players the Tigers selected on the draft's second day. Lollis is a great athlete with solid tools across the board. He has enough speed to play center field, and his arm strength is good enough to play in right. The question is with the bat, where he has more of a contact approach, but he has the strength to swing the bat with more authority. If Lollis' bat perks up this summer, you can bet the Tigers will make a run at signing him.

The Tigers went to Wisconsin's St. Norbert College for their selection in the 21st round with shortstop Adam Frost. There is no question with Frost defensively. He has great first-step quickness and a cannon for an arm, which gives him two-plus tools presently. Like Lollis, the question will be with the bat. He makes line-drive contact, but hasn't consistently seen top-level pitching. There is no denying that he has the physical tools for the position.

The third and final Wichita State player taken by the Tigers was Josh Workman (38), who like Douglas, is a fourth-year junior due to taking a redshirt year after having shoulder surgery. Workman was one of the most ballyhooed players to come out of the Kansas prep ranks after hitting .720 as a senior and setting the state record with 38 home runs. A former sprint champion, he still runs well and has nice upside with his tools. The Tigers drafted him as an outfielder, but most scouts think he'll move to second base because of the lack of arm strength.

One of the more interesting players the Tigers will follow this summer will be Quinnipiac's Chris Gloor, a big left-hander who has a huge frame at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. The top prospect in the Coastal Plain League last summer, Gloor had a horrible spring and saw his velocity dip dramatically. When he is right, Gloor can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and his curveball will be above-average. He also throws a straight changeup. He isn't athletic and must work harder to keep his body fit. If he shows his form from a year ago, the Tigers almost certainly will make a run at him and try to sign him as they did with Michigan State's Jon Kibler last year.

The Tigers took a college junior with their final pick of the draft with Hawaii catcher Landon Hernandez (50). He hit .277 with five homers and 30 RBIs, and needs to stop expanding his hitting zone. He has solid catch-and-throw skills that should make him a solid senior sign next year.

After taking high school players with three of their first six picks in 2007, the Tigers selected only five high school players in the first 40 rounds of the draft this year. Shades Valley (Ala.) left-hander Jade Todd (7) has already agreed in principle to sign with the Tigers instead of attending Alabama. Todd has a nice frame and a solid three-pitch mix that is highlighted by a 12-to-6 curveball and changeup. His fastball was 90-91 before dipping to the 85-87 range late in the year.

The Tigers selected shortstop Brett Anderson (12) from Bristol Eastern (Conn.) as their next selection from the prep ranks. Anderson has an above-average arm, and has bat speed and instincts, but is still learning to hit. He has signed with Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire.

Perhaps the biggest signability player the Tigers selected was Acton-Boxborough (Ma.) right-hander Scott Weismann (18), who has signed with Clemson. He has a narrow frame (6-foot-1,180 pounds) and throws from a low three-quarters release point, but he runs his fastball up to 94 with boring life on right-handed hitters. His curveball also has big break. If Weismann makes it to school, he could become their closer as a freshman, and his stuff has had a tendency to flatten out over longer appearances.

The Tigers headed west for their next high school pick by taking shortstop Zach MacPhee from Sandra Day O'Connor (Ariz.) HS. MacPhee may be small in size, but he draws Dustin Pedroia comps for his dirtbag mentality and ability to max out his tools. He runs well (6.7/60) and hits the ball hard consistently against good competition with gap power. MacPhee has signed with Arizona State.

With their pick in the 27th round, the Tigers selected Miami Southridge right-hander James Young. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Young projects and presently resides in the 86-90 range with good movement on his fastball. His curveball shows 12-to-6 break and he has a changeup. He is a fierce competitor and has only recently begun pitching. Young throws strikes and has plus control. He has committed to Barry University.

The Tigers selected four straight high school players between rounds 42-45, with the first being Paul Hoenecke (42) from West Bend (Wis.) HS. A recruit of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Hoenecke is sound defensively and has a good arm and footwork. He has a short, strong swing that produces line drives to all fields.

The most unsignable player from this group is shortstop Tyler Grimes (43) from Wichita North (Kan.) HS. Grimes is a solid defender and he runs well. He also has a good arm, and could very well rank as Wichita State's top recruit. His dad was a Wichita State recruit who turned pro out of high school and failed miserably, which has greatly influenced his son to attend school. If it all comes together, look for Grimes to be a potential premium-round pick in 2011.

The Tigers were very busy in drafting players from Alabama, and the final one they drafted definitely will be one to watch closely. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, center fielder Bryan Wheeler (44) from Childersburg HS has a chiseled frame and he uses his 6.6/60 speed to track down fly balls in center field. He also has a good arm and has power potential, as his 30 homers over the last two years will attest. He has signed with Wallace State-Hanceville, which is one of the top junior colleges in the country.

The Tigers went north of the border for their next choice, as they took Canadian left-hander Nathan Linseman (45) from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic HS. The Tigers certainly would've seen Linseman quite a bit this spring, as he was with the Canadian National Team that toured Florida during the spring. He sits in the 80s with his fastball to go with a breaking ball. Linseman has signed with Canisius.

JUCO Picks
The Tigers normally tap the junior college ranks for summer follows, but they took only five players total with one being a Tigers family-related pick.

The first junior college player picked came in the 24th round with the selection of second baseman Carmelo Jaime from Miami-Dade CC. A slick fielder with the glove who also switch hits, Jaime has a good offensive approach and sprays the ball around the field. He has an above-average arm and is also an average runner. He handles the bat well and like former Miami-Dade standout and current Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco, he profiles as an ideal No. 2 hitter. Jaime is expected to sign, as he hasn't made a four-year college commitment.

In the 25th round, the Tigers selected catcher Billy Nowlin from Golden West (Ca.) CC. The co-MVP of the Orange Empire Conference after hitting .439 BA with eight homers and 53 RBIs, Nowlin likely will be headed to the outfield, as his catching skills need a lot of work. Nowlin hasn't made a college commitment, but does have a few suitors. He is presently playing for the Regina Red Sox in the Western League in Canada.

The Tigers grabbed one of the top pitchers in Texas with right-hander Bryan Bingham (40) from Navarro College. Bingham works in the 88-92 range with a hard slider and a changeup. With their next pick, the Tigers took Eric Broberg from Seminole (Fla.) CC, who has been in the 93-94 range when used out of the bullpen, but his velocity has dipped when used as a starter. He has a hard-breaking curveball and changeup, which would keep him as a potential starter, but his bulldog mentality makes him better suited to close. He has signed with South Carolina.

All in the Family
The Tigers selected four players with ties to the organization with picks 46-49, as they drafted Michigan State catcher Eric Roof (son of Gene Roof), second baseman Alan Avila from Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) HS (son of Al Avila), senior catcher Casey Moore (son of Tom Moore), and Barton County (Kan.) CC left-hander Matt Roberston (brother of Nate Robertson). Of these four, Moore would be the only one logically that would sign, as he is a senior. Roof has another year of eligibility, while Avila isn't ready for pro ball. Robertson went 5-4 with a 7.90 ERA as a freshman, and seems primed to return for his second year at Barton.

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