Draft Tracker: Stephen King A Hot Commodity

As the draft approaches each year, there are a handful of players who rise to the top of draft boards and suddenly become first round hopefuls. Lance Broadway and C.J. Henry fit that description in 2005, and one prospect that fits into that category this year is Stephen King. We recently sat down with the prep infielder to discuss his draft hopes.

There are few players in the 2006 draft class that have the complete tool set that Stephen King offers a professional organization. For that reason, he is now a legitimate first round candidate and potentially one of the first high school position players to be taken in this year's draft.

So, we know that King, who projects to be either a shortstop or a third baseman at the professional level, has a tremendous tool set that scouts are drooling over. But, is there one tool that truly separates him? According to the young infielder, perhaps not. The overwhelming statistics that many top high school hitters often compile may not be there, but it has been the tools that have drawn the scouts to King.

"Tool wise, I believe it was a strong spring," King told Scout.com in a recent interview. "As for the tools I have, I feel that I presented them just fine. However, in the performance category, specifically hitting, I struggled a bit and felt a bit off all spring. And, I don't think it's one specific tool that has been drawing the scouts in to see me, but in fact a combination of all five."

With the scouts flocking to Winter Park, Florida to watch the latest draft phenom, the heat has obviously been turned up on the 6'3" shortstop this spring. More often than not, that type of added pressure gets to a young player such as King, who, at this point, appears to be handling it quite well.

"I believe that I have handled it very well," he said with confidence. "But, I think that it can tend to make you press somewhat at times, such as trying to do too much at the plate instead of just trying to hit gap to gap."

They come and they go, but before they go, scouts have done quite a bit of talking to Stephen King. For one, they'd like to know a little more about a young man that they may potentially be investing over one million dollars in. Besides that, they are investigating his signability. And, make no mistake, his answers to them have been very clear.

"Many teams have shown interest in me," the Winter Park standout announced. "I've had many scouts come in for signability meetings and many more to come. From what I have been hearing, I would expect to go in the first two rounds. However, with the draft being unpredictable like it is, you can't really expect too much. Professional baseball is my number one choice right now. I'd like to focus 100% on baseball and not have to take time out for school work until later on in life."

King is certainly making a significant impression this spring as his draft stock continues to soar. However, that doesn't end his work completely. In fact, he still has several "auditions" to attend before the big day finally arrives.

"I'll be participating in the Florida All-Star game at the end of the month," King said after being asked about his upcoming showcase schedule. "And, I'll also be traveling to different organizations' ballparks for pre-draft workouts."

Everyone always has one big question when they hear about a highly touted prospect: what big big league player does he compare to? While there isn't always a definitive answer, scouts and King both agree with one comparison.

"I would have to go with Scott Rolen [for a comparison] because he plays hard and is a tough competitor," he explained. "As for someone I try to model my game after, that would probably be Derek Jeter. His confidence and good attitude are tremendous."

"My philosophy towards the game is to play the game very hard and go all out for every play," King added. "I would also say that you have to take it for what it is, a game. You just have to have fun with it."


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