Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nats sign 4 more picks

Three Nats draft picks have signed on the dotted line in the last few days: Connor Rowe, Rick Hughes and Russell Moldenhauer. I figure three is enough for another draft pick update; if you missed the first batch, here are parts one and two, plus an extended look at undrafted FA signing Mike Gallo.

OF Connor Rowe (21st round-University of Texas)

Andy Seiler (6/17/10): "Even though his ceiling is as a fifth outfielder, his range in center field is good, and I like his chances of reaching the Majors with good makeup and a great work ethic"

Seiler (4/30/10): "Rowe does have some pro tools that he must leverage to have a good pro career as a fifth outfielder. At the plate, Rowe doesn't really profile to be a starter at the next level, as he fails to work the count and strikes out too much, and he doesn't have any power projection to speak of. However, he's a plus runner, and that's the style of hitting he takes on, slapping the ball gap to gap. Where Rowe shines is on defense. A true center fielder, he has plus range and an average arm, and he profiles to be able to play anywhere in the outfield with ease. Scouts know what Rowe's strengths and weaknesses are, and while they aren't high on his offensive ability, they see good value in his defensive assets, and he should be a fairly early pick because of it."

John Sickels (3/17/10): "He caught my eye with a good measure of speed and athleticism. Needs to improve his strike zone judgment, but he has some pop in his bat. It will be interesting to see if he can boost his hitting numbers which are unimpressive right now. 10th round target at this point but perhaps the hitting will improve."

Burnt Orange Nation FanShot written by 40AS (6/20/10): "The Nats have scored 1 run in 20 innings this weekend against the White Sox, so Rowe will fit right in."

Rowe is an interesting pick. Like Seiler and Sickels point out, his 2010 stats indicate that he's not much of a hitter (.237/.274/.361) (although his 2009 stats could argue otherwise, at .277/.330/.456). Guys like Rowe remind us that baseball is not just about hitting and pitching. Rowe's fielding ability and speed can get him to the big leagues, even if his bat does not improve much. Even if his ceiling is just as a 5th outfielder, the likelihood of reaching that ceiling is not bad. One other note-Seiler did not expect him to sign, so this is a win for Rizzo and the boys.

DH (?) Russell Moldenhauer (24th round-University of Texas)

Seiler (6/17/10): "Moldenhauer was a third round pick back in 2006 to the Angels, and he didn't sign. That was clearly a horrible decision in hindsight, as he's now finished his senior year without much success, and he doesn't have any tools that say he can be even a bench bat in the Majors. He'll be signing shortly, as Texas' season just ended over the weekend"

Burnt Orange Nation comment written by 40AS (6/15/10): "Moldy gave up 4th round money as a senior in high school to come to Texas. He destroyed his knee his sophomore year and it took a full year to work back up to full strength. He tied the NCAA record for homers in a CWS. He came back and (along with Tant) was one of two hitters to be feared consistently all season. I’m glad the Nationals took him too (24th round), and I can’t think of many more players I’ll be rooting harder for to succeed at the next level."

First of all, I'm already a huge fan of "Moldy" just for his nickname. As 40AS pointed out, his knee surgery slowed him down, which could be one of the reasons he's a fungi without a position. I generally trust Seiler's judgment, but I'm a bit curious as to why he thinks Moldy isn't even a future ML bench bat. He's got great plate discipline (85 BB and 93 K in his college career) and decent power (9 HR in 2010). He was a 3rd rounder in '06, so obviously he had tools that scouts liked then, and it appears his bat didn't disappear. Maybe it's just the fact that he's a DH without a high batting ceiling, but a few years of health and Moldy could work himself back into a fielding role.

OF Rick Hughes (29th round-College of Marin)

Seiler (6/17/10): "Hughes is another big-bodied player, but he has enough athleticism to stick in a corner outfield spot. I had him as a possible late-round pick, so this isn't a bad pick, and he's currently considering committing to a four year school, which should happen fairly soon. "

There's not a whole lot I could find about Hughes, including from his own college's web site. Even when I found stuff on him from high school, it was about pitching a no-hitter rather than anything hitting or fielding-related, which he's being drafted for. All I can find on him from Marin is that he hit .355/.452/.540 with 3 HR in 34 games, with 25 BB and 23 K.

It appears that Hughes played in the same area as other Nats signed draft pick Christian Meza, so one San Francisco Bay-area scout seems to have the ear of Mike Rizzo.

OF Wander Nunez (36th round-Western Oklahoma State)

Seiler (6/17/10): "Nunez was teammates with (Nats' 32nd round pick Randolph) Oduber, and he was also a late-round pick a year ago. He can run and throw, and he's Dominican by heritage, but with a year of eligibility left at Western Oklahoma, I expect him to return to school, where he could blossom into a top fifteen rounds pick next year." (6/10/10): "Frankford coach Juan Namnun said for his 5-11, 174-pound protege, it simply was a matter of time. 'He was a gifted a player as you'd ever see,' Namnun said. 'He's always had a major league arm and a major league bat.'"

Nunez was drafted in the 49th round last year out of Frankford HS in Philadelphia). Sounds like we got a nice surprise with Nunez signing. He's a raw talent, but he could be a steal out of the 36th round.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about him on the front page last August, but has hidden it behind the paid archive wall (lame!). Fortunately for me, I waded my way through a few databases that VT subscribes to and found the full-text version (which I have made available for you here).

Some excerpts: "Nuñez, who turned 19 on June 27 (2009, so now he's actually 20), immigrated to the United States when he was 12, settling with his father, Cristino, in Orlando, Fla. Less than a year later, Wander (pronounced JUAN-day) Nuñez moved to Philadelphia to live with his half-brother, Nelson Cagral, who had bought space for his Almonte Mini Market in Feltonville, a neighborhood that is home to many Latinos. The two-story building has the small convenience store - packed with American and Latino goods along narrow aisles - on the first floor and their two-bedroom apartment on the second."

"For more than four years, his life consisted of working behind the counter and stocking shelves at the corner store and training at a dusty baseball field in Hunting Park. Going to school - which he admitted didn't come easy - wasn't in the picture. And those around him allowed him to stay out of the classroom."

"By all accounts, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound outfielder is an impressive hitter, using a wooden bat - not the batter-friendly aluminum ones used by just about everyone else at the amateur level."

"Eric Valent, the (Phillies') Northeast scout and a former big-league outfielder, said Nuñez has the 'tools. He's got power and has been using a wooden bat, which is always good. And he's got good speed.' On days when he doesn't have a game, Nuñez said, he plays baseball from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., then heads to the gym until 5 p.m. 'This is a full-time job, like any other one,' he said. 'And to achieve what you want, you need to put the time in.'"

The one red flag from last year's article is that Nunez would have signed with the Phillies for peanuts, but they didn't even offer him that. Maybe he's improved a bunch over the last year, but for the Phillies to draft him and not even want to throw a contract his way scares me off a little bit. But from all accounts I've read, Nunez has a lot of potential but will have to work pretty hard to reach his ceiling.

RHP Shane Zellers (Undrafted FA-Alvernia University)

Not a whole lot on Zellers, but he went 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA this year for Alvernia University. In 72 and 2/3 innings, he allowed only 11 extra base hits (2 of them HR) with the following rate stats: 6.8 H/9, 3.09 BB/9, 11.27 K/9. Dominating in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and dominating in the Major Leagues are two different things, but you can never have enough pitchers, no matter where you find them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meeting Mike Gallo

I figured running through the Nats signed draft picks would be pretty fun because I like wading through information and compiling lists. What I did not know was that one of the undrafted free agents, likely overlooked by many reading the Nats' press release, would end up happily answering a bunch of my questions for the blog. Mike Gallo pitched for the last two seasons at Milligan College, a very small Christian school in Johnson City, Tennessee. One of my older sisters went to Milligan, so I took a big interest in Mike's story. Here's what he had to say!

1) What pitches do you throw? (feel free to include speeds, describe the movement, etc.)

I throw a 2-seam fastball, cut fastball, 4-seam fastball, curveball, and change up. My fastball is consistently in the low 90's and runs up to 94 mph.

2) What baseball achievement or accolade are you most proud of at this point in your career?

The biggest achievement of my career has been signing with the Washington Nationals.

3) What are your favorite professional sports teams or athletes?

My favorite sports teams are The Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and Boston Celtics. When the Nationals play the Red Sox I will pull for the Nationals now!

4) Do you have any routines before starts (such as eating the same food before every game or painting your nails like Dmitri Young)?

Before games I like to listen to the song "Fire it Up" by Thousand Foot Crutch.

5) If you could face any one batter in their prime (past or present), who would it be?

I have always admired Ted Williams. I would have loved to face him.

6) Fill in the blank: Without _______, I would not be a baseball player.

My family, my former coaches and my work ethic.

7) If you weren’t a professional athlete, what would you likely be doing right now?

If I was not a professional athlete, I would be detailing boats and starting my own business in the boating industry.

8) What was the first thing you did after you signed with the Nats?

After signing with the Nats I called my family immediately to share the news.

9) I know you haven’t spent too much time in the Nats system yet, but have you made any good buddies yet?

My friend Nick Serino was drafted by the Nats this year and we will be starting our pro careers together. I have played with and against Nick my whole life. (My note-Nick, a LHP, was drafted in the 37th round out of UMass this year and signed along with the 21 other draftees and 4 other undrafted free agents announced yesterday).

10) Which Nationals coaches (at any level) have you talked to so far?

All of the coaches at the rookie ball level.

11) The Nats are obviously following the 1990s Braves methodology by building their system up through pitching. Do you think this is a good thing for you (because of increased organizational attention) or a bad thing (more competition)?

I always enjoy competition. I pride myself on my work ethic and I think it's a good thing that we have so many pitchers.

12) There is another Mike Gallo that bounced around the Majors for a few years with the Astros. Any relation?

No relation to the other Mike Gallo.

13) Milligan is not a powerhouse for developing pro athletes. Did you expect when you came in that you would progress to the point where you'd sign with a Major League organization?

Being at Milligan made me work even harder to become a professional, but I am happy to be representing them as my alma mater.

One last note: I'm sure that if anyone has questions for Mike, he would be more than happy to answer them. Just leave them in the comments and I'll pass them along to him!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking a look at the rest of the Nats' 22 signed draft picks

37th round pick Nick Serino via MassLive

On Monday, I looked at the first half of the 2010 draftees the Nats have signed so far. Today it's time for the second half. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of info on most of these guys, especially in the form of scouting reports. But I'll do my best to dig up any info I can!

Also, I have completed an interview with Mike Gallo, a RHP who just signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Nats. I'm going over final touches with him, so it should be up soon.

RF Chad Mozingo (20th round-Rice University)

Nothing from Seiler, Sickels or Oliver.

Rice Official Site: "Combines bat speed with speed on the bases. Equally capable of hitting in the top or middle of the lineup. (Coach) Wayne Graham said 'Chad's potential is almost unlimited. He plays great defense and he can hit. We are hoping for a banner year, an all-star type year for him.'"

From the looks of it, Mozingo does things pretty well across the board but without an extraordinary tool. He makes decent contact, walks an average amount, doesn't strike out way too much, has some power and some speed. Besides his coach's opinion, I've seen nothing about his defense, so I guess we'll assume for now that it's good. He's not afraid to play hurt, but at the same time appears to be semi-injury prone (broken wrist, damaged ligaments in ankle, ant bite, etc.).

RHP Cameron Selik (22nd round-University of Kansas)

A little more on Selik than most of these other guys.

Sickels (5/25/2010): "He's a big guy at 6-3, 240 pounds, a "strong legs" type. His numbers are so-so this year, 4.66 ERA with a 68/30 K/BB in 85 innings, 86 hits. But he has a decent fastball at 88-92 MPH, and got some nasty break on his slider at times, in addition to mixing in a few changeups. He would profile as a bullpen back-ender at the higher levels, but someone in the later rounds could pick him up. Guys with worse arms have been successful pitchers.

The Kansan noted that Selik hit 95 mph in a start against Baylor in March. It looks like he's finally starting to come around from his Tommy John surgery in 2007 (a good article from KU's official site about his recovery can be found here. Another by the Kansan can be found here). Another interesting note about his selection: Selik was Stephen Strasburg's catcher growing up.

It appears that Selik has two internet-savvy cousins who found NFA on draft-day, so maybe they'll find this post and tell us a little more about him!

RHP Colin Bates (23rd round-Unviersity of North Carolina)

Instantly my new favorite Nats prospect because of this gem from his UNC bio: "Pitches with a piece of his removed rib in his back pocket." Nice.

NFA commenter Cdoug passed along this scouting report on 6/8/2010: "Bates’ fastball touches 93 and his slider has decent tilt and bite. At 6-1, he is probably limited to being a reliever. Oddly, he carries in his pocket a piece of one of his ribs. After his freshman year, Bates developed a clot on his lung caused by the rib jabbing into it when he threw. He had the rib removed and has since kept it in his pocket as a reminder of how fast things can be taken away."

UNC's official site had a nice Q&A session with Bates during his redshirt freshman season in 2008. I like to see this, too: "An outstanding student, Colin is a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and two-time member of the All-ACC Academic Baseball Team. The Naperville, Ill., native graduated May 9, 2010 with a bachelor's degree from the Kenan-Flager Business School."

5 Tool Talk had this to say about Bates in April of 2009: "Colin Bates is a very interesting draft-eligible sophomore. He has a slighter build, but has a high waist, long legs and a strong lower half overall. His fastball can get straight, but he commands it well, and it works even better for him when he’s getting his curve/slurve over for strikes."

Baseball America said last year, "A redshirt sophomore who had a rib removed during thoracic outlet surgery in November 2006, Bates has low-90s velocity and bulldog tenacity out of the bullpen but doesn't hold his velocity on back-to-back days."

Bates was taken in the 37th round by Oakland last year but didn't sign. He's an intriguing pickup to me.

LHP Christian Meza (25th round-Santa Ana College)

I wasn't able to dig anything up about Meza's stuff, but it looks like he was headed to Cal State Fullerton to pitch next year after spending two years at Santa Ana College (a junior college). He went 10-1 with a 3.30 ERA this year, allowing 90 hits and 40 walks in 92 and 2/3 innings while striking out 96. He won the Orange Empire Conference pitcher of the year award in both 2009 and 10 and was named theSouthern California co-pitcher of the year this year as well.

LHP Chris Manno (26th round-Duke University)

There is a lot more on Manno out there than most of these other guys because he's a Nats redraft (taken in the 38th round last year) with pretty good college numbers.

Here's what NFA re-posted from Baseball America last year: "Junior lefthander Christopher Manno is the Blue Devils’ best prospect and could go anywhere from the fifth to 10th round. Like Wolcott, he works primarily off his fastball. He’s long and lean with deception and some projection left in his body. Manno at times sits at 83-87 mph, though he often throws harder and was 89-91 mph at times in the Cape last summer, when he went 3-0, 1.93 with 45 strikeouts in 42 innings. His changeup can be plus at times, while his slider is below-average. Manno is young for his draft class and doesn’t turn 21 until November."

Seiler (7/7/2009): Manno should have gone much earlier, and he was in consideration for the top ten rounds quite easily as a lefty with good size and great deception. His fastball is below-average, but he couples it with a contrasting changeup that gets a lot of funny swings.

Seiler answered a question on Manno in an "All Questions Answered" thread on 6/11/2010: Q: Thoughts on Duke’s LHP Chris Manno (26th, DC) – did he stuff back up a bit this year? A: Stuff was still down. Below-average velocity and stuff in general.

A nice interview with Manno from before the 2010 season can be found here. Some excerpts:

"It's hard not to root for Duke's senior lefty Chris Manno. He's humble, gives credit to coaches and teammates before himself and plays the game smart. He's both the kind of guy you want on the mound in a crucial game as well as someone you'd trust to date your sister."

"Q: The terms “funky” and “herky jerky” have been used to describe your pitching form. Yet, it's hard to say anything disparaging with the results. Has anyone attempted to tinker with your delivery or endorsed a change in your approach? A: Being herky jerky isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can watch a bunch of major league pitchers who are jerky jerky and funky, but their mechanics are actually good. My mechanics have developed throughout years and they're very sound if you watch them on tape. The way I deliver the ball and the way it comes out are just different. I do everything my coaches tell me to do and they've really, really helped me over the years. I just throw a little different – which is kind of good from what I heard.

Q: You were a late round draft choice of the Washington Nationals in the amateur drafts last spring. Was there much consideration in turning down the Nat's offers to go pro? You could been paid to play and continued your education later. A: Absolutely. That was definitely a consideration. I was honored to be drafted by them. You have to understand that I still have a lot of space for improving at the school I'm at right now. I haven't outgrown my coaches and I still have a lot to learn from them...In regards to me possibly signing it was absolutely an option, it's always been my dream to sign, but it just wasn't the right time. To be very honest I made it quite clear to scouts that it was going to take a significant commitment for me to leave an institution like Duke."

I really like Manno, especially as a 26th rounder. With a quirky delivery, he has a chance of being an effective ML pitcher. In the 26th round, there isn't any risk if he doesn't become one. He's portrayed as a high character guy. And the Nats obviously like him a lot, since they took him two years in a row. An all-around great pick to me.

C Jeremy Mayo (31st round-Texas Tech University)

Nothing from the big boys on Mayo. Hit .299/.395/.508, which is decent but not all that special. For someone that was voted by the baseball coaches of the Big 12 as the co-best defensive catcher, he made a ridiculous number of errors this year (12).

His coach, Dan Spencer, had some nice things to say about him: "He’s a kid that takes good care of his body and is proud of his work in the weight room,” Spencer said. “But he is also blessed with that good arm and has really polished his catching skills. He does drills at full tilt, asks questions about baseball as far as helping him prepare and wants to know things like a coach would, which is the next step in becoming a great catcher."

Mayo has the potential to be a solid backstop, but has to cut down on errors and work on his hitting to keep moving.

LHP Ryan Sherriff (33rd round-West Los Angeles College)

Almost nothing on this guy. The only thing I dug up were his 2010 stats (and even they were almost impossible to find): 7 starts, 4.58 ERA, 42 hits allowed, 35 K and 8 BB in 35 and 1/3 IP. Not too inspiring, but there is probably more to this guy that I simply can't find...Googling Ryan Sherriff West Los Angeles College will just lead you to the Los Angeles Sheriff's office page.

1B Tyler Oliver (35th round-Wabash Valley College)

Oliver hit .456 with 30 homers and 103 RBI this year. He comes with unusual circumstances; Oliver had so many problems with his right arm that he taught himself how to throw lefthanded and stuck with it. He has bounced around from commitment to commitment, likely due to his injury history. He was committed to the University of Kentucky for next year, but signed with the Nats instead. He's a beast with the bat and that's all that matters to me. His commitment to his baseball career despite some injuries that would have ended many other players' careers impresses me.

LHP Nick Serino (37th round-University of Massachusetts)

Serino is a childhood friend of Mike Gallo, the Nats undrafted free agent who I interviewed as well as a college teammate of Mitchell Clegg, a 2009 Nats draft pick who has been tearing the minors apart.

Serino had a rough season, going 2-6 with a 6.72 ERA, but struck out almost 11 batters per inning. UMass coach, Mike Stone, said thisabout Serino: "He's got a good arm. It's just a matter of throwing more strikes and economizing his pitches," Stone said. "He was awful close to having a better record than he did."

Despite Serino's poor overall numbers from 2010, his ability to strike batters out is valuable, especially when we're talking 37th round lefthanders. He'll be one to keep an eye on for the rest of the year.

RHP Kevin Cahill (41st round-Purdue University)

Cahill's numbers were pretty ugly in his first three seasons at Purdue, but improved greatly in his senior year. He struck out 8.9 batters per 9 innings while walking 6.0-not great by any standards, but better than before. Cahill looks like an organizational arm, but like Serino, the improving K rate is intriguing.

OF Rashad (Dimetrius) Hatcher (49th round-Patrick Henry Community College)

The Nats' one local signee came out of Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, VA. Hatcher hit .386/.459/.579 in 2010 with 14 steals in 17 attempts. His 18:30 BB:K ratio is decent and his 6.5 second 60 yard dash time is impressive; Hatcher could turn out to be a nice prospect.

PHCC Coach Chris Parker said this about Hatcher: "It’s great for Rashad. That was the best-case scenario for him. He will sign, and hopefully he’ll make a run for it. He’s got a lot of tools and raw ability. He’s a great kid that hopefully will have a chance to do great things with the game of baseball."

Perfect Game USA posted this scouting report on Hatcher in 2007: "Lean athletic body, good solid swing, finishes well, some power, drives ball to gaps, good arm speed, has carry on throws, strong arm, 85 from OF."

Here's what I've found on the undrafted free agents:

SS Mills Rogers (Carson-Newman College)

Rogers hit .378/.448/.637 with 30 extra base hits, an 18:33 BB:K ratio and an 8/11 SB success rate. His 23 errors and .915 fielding percentage are discouraging, but you take whatever you can get out of an undrafted free agent infielder who can hit.

RHP Tim Dupuis (Assumption College)

The Assumption College release is all I can really find on him: "He finished this past season 3-2 with an individual team-record 11 saves and a 3.77 earned run average and is the career closer for the Greyhounds with 28 saves (21 in the last two seasons). He posted an 11-7 overall record with a 2.50 earned run average with 106 strikeouts in 122.1 innings in his team-record 94 appearances. He allowed no home runs in his closer role for Coach George Reidy." The only other thing I can really point out is his BB:K ratio in 2010: 8:31 in 28 and 2/3 innings. I'm cool with that.

RHP Mike Gallo (Milligan College)

I won't go too far into depth with Mike because I'll be posting an interview with him soon. He went 2-1 with Milligan in 2010 with a 2.70 ERA in 40 innings, striking out 33 while walking 18. Gallo's best trait is his ability to limit the opposition to singles, with 0 homers allowed and only 6 extra base hits allowed at all this year.

RHP Zach Gerler (Austin Peay University)

Gerler was drafted in the 31st round in 2006 by the Orioles. He played two years of community college ball in the infield as well as his junior year at Austin Peay. He switched to pitching for his senior year and had semi-disappointing results, putting up an 8.41 ERA and 10 saves in 35 and 1/3 innings where he allowed 33 hits, 23 walks and hit 14 batters while striking out 35. The fact that Gerler had the stuff to be a closer in what looks like his first time pitching in 4 years makes me think he is miles away from his 2010 stat line, but he'll have to put in a lot of work with the pitching coaches to move up in the system. Here's an interesting article on Gerler and the mental side of college baseball.

RHP Ben Graham (Emporia State)

Graham recently said exactly what I like to hear out of young pitchers: "I’m finding out what kind of pitcher I am, kind of my identity. Just learning that that I don’t have stuff to blow by people, but if I get ahead in the count, then I have the ability to get a lot of ground balls."

He went 8-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 84 and 1/3 innings this year, throwing 5 complete games and 2 shutouts. 13 walks in 84 and 1/3 innings is pretty sweet. 20 extra base hits? Not so much. Graham seems to understand what he needs to do to keep moving through the system, and I certainly hope he continues to do so!

One last note-I love to interview prospects, draft picks and their coaches. If you're a family member or friend of one of these guys, feel free to pass the link along and have them contact me!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taking a look at some of the Nats' 22 signed draft picks

Brian Oliver from Nats Farm Authority posted up the list of 22 players from the 2010 draft that have been signed by the Nats. Here's what I've dug up on the guys the Nats have signed from the top 19 rounds. I will continue to dig up as much info as possible on the rest of the guys the Nats signed throughout the week.

SS Jason Martinson (5th round-Texas State University)

Seiler (4/29/2010): "He's a fringe-average hitter with fringe-average power, and while that's fine for a college shortstop, he lacks the range to stay there as a pro, meaning he'll have to handle third base. He has an average arm, and he's an average runner, so he could be a nice third baseman if he calms his hands down a bit. The consensus now seems to be that Martinson might make for a solid four corners utility player in the pros, and that has some value. He's going to strike out, but he works the count rather well, and he should make for a solid bench presence with good makeup."

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Nationals get Jason Martinson. Interesting, but not a huge fan. BA higher on him than me."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Has athleticism, good arm strength and some speed, but there are doubts about his hitting ability against good pitching."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Another college SS who’s days are numbered. All scouting reports see him moving to 3B where he should be fine defensively. The bat is more gap power than HR-power. A start in Vermont may move him off of SS for Hague."

San Marcos Record (6/9/2010): "Martinson put himself into position to be the 22nd Texas State player drafted in the last 10 years with a tremendous junior season at the plate. He batted .321 with 55 RBIs and set a school record with a 23-game hitting streak. In the field, Martinson showed great range yet left a lot to be desired. He committed 21 errors, including five in a 6-2 loss against Nicholls State. 'He could be a nice (player) if he calms his hands down a bit,” Mack Ade, a New York Mets draft insider, said.'"

San Marcos Local News (6/10/2010): Only the 3rd Texas State player to ever be taken in the first 5 rounds of the MLB draft. The other two were Scott Linebrink and Blake Williams.

C Cole Leonida (6th round-Georgia Tech)
Seiler (2/19/2010): "I had a good chance to see Cole Leonida’s run tool on a ground ball that he tried to leg out, and I can firmly say that it’s well below-average, but it shouldn’t be an issue with Leonida’s positioning as a catcher."

Seiler (2/20/2010): "The secondary thing I noticed in the third was Cole Leonida’s slowness at getting down blocking balls in the dirt. He basically only put his glove between his legs one time, only dropping his knees to the ground after the ball had hit the mitt. That would be unacceptable at the next level, and combined with his occasional dropping of his arm angle on throws, he hasn’t shown me enough to be an adequate Major League starting catcher defensively."

Seiler (3/5/2010): "It’s becoming more apparent that Leonida’s slow bat speed and approach will limit him to being an organizational catcher at best."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Good defensive catcher, but bat is questionable. Projects as backup receiver."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "A catcher known more for his glove/pitch calling. The bat will be the question."

Baseball Draft Report (5/14/2010, via NFA commenter PDowdy83): "Leonida does a lot of little things very well. His defense around the plate is a strength, and his power potential is second only to Tyler Bullock’s here on the latter half of the top thirty. Leonida’s impressive throwing arm, while at least big league average in strength and above-average in accuracy, could really stand to benefit from some mechanical adjustments to help with his release point. With good coaching that big league average arm could easily become consistently above-average. As a hitter he’ll probably never hit at or near .300 professionally, but his raw power could translate into double digit homeruns if given enough playing time."

Georgia Tech Official Site: "(Leonida's) Uncle Chuck Kniffin played in the Phillies Organization and has served as the pitching coach for both the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks."

Interview with the Denver Post (6/9/2010): "I’m really excited about it, because they’re a team that’s definitely going in the right direction. They’ve had, obviously, a good draft the last two years and they’ve got a lot of young talent. It’s also an organization where I could possibly move quickly because they don’t have a franchise catcher like (Jason) Varitek sitting in Boston for all those years. They’re still kind of on the up-and-up. It’s just a real good situation all the way around, and I’ve heard it’s a real good organization, so I can’t complain. I’m ecstatic."

RHP Aaron Barrett (9th round-Ole Miss)

Seiler (4/24/2010): "Aaron Barrett of Ole Miss is a big-armed pitcher that could be a 4th-6th round guy, if not a little higher."

Seiler (5/12/2010): "Barrett features a fastball that’s usually anywhere from 90-93, and his slider is a solid-average to above-average complement to it. He’s also mixed in a changeup that has flashed above-average, but he needs to really work on commanding all his pitches. He’s worked in a curve before, but it’s more of a show-me pitch, and it’s not Major League quality. He has improved in almost every facet of his game this year, and it looks like he’ll be one of the first senior arms off the board in the third to sixth round range." (My note-READ HIS ENTIRE POST!)

(6/8/2010): "Nationals get Aaron Barrett. What a steal."

Seiler (6/14/2010): "I really like the pick of Aaron Barrett in the 9th round. Could be a rotation arm for them."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "88-90 MPH fastball, good slider, erratic track record but has had bouts of impressive success."

5 Tool Talk (5/20/2009): "Barrett is a tall, big-bodied right-handed pitcher with an exaggerated, max-effort delivery. After compiling the Northwoods League top prospect list last summer, Barrett was the one player that led to a few people to email me and ask why I had left him off my list. He didn’t receive much support from league managers, at least outside of his own, but he also pitched out of the bullpen and wasn’t the easiest player to see perform...With his delivery I see his future in the bullpen, where his fastball-slider combination could allow him to close down the road."

NEMS360: "With low-90s velocity, Barrett has success with his fastball and change-up, but the slider is what he calls his out pitch. 'I can throw it any time for a strike, and if I throw it down and away I can strike the guy out.'"

Inside The Groove (5/8/2010): "A couple of Aaron Barrett’s favorite words are 'compete' and 'battle.' The Ole Miss starter had to do both on Saturday evening in route to a 3-2 Ole Miss victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks. However, Barrett didn’t use either word to describe the win that evened the series – and the SEC West lead. 'Attack,' Barrett said of his mindset before the game. 'I got away from that my last couple of starts. Instead of nitpicking, I just let them hit it and attack the zone.'"

SS Blake Kelso (10th round-Houston)

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Nationals get Blake Kelso. Slick-fielding shortstop."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Scrappy infielder with athleticism and speed, but undersized body may make offense problematic at higher levels. Projects as utility type."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "For some reason, he reminds me of Steve Lombardozzi. No one blow-you-away tool but does all of the little things. I love these types of guys."

RHP Neil Holland (11th round-Louisville)

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Neil Holland is a sidearming right-handed relief pitcher from the University of Louisville. His fastball is currently a fringe-average offering that sits 86-88, and since he dropped his arm angle and is a rather diminutive pitcher, there isn’t any projection for more. However, he does a good job of spotting it, and that’s how he’ll have to pitch to succeed as a pro. His slider is now of the sidearming Frisbee variety, getting above-average grades and some funny swings from a few inexperienced college bats. He also throws an average changeup, and that’s the only thing that keeps him from being extremely hittable against left-handed hitters. He’s a potential eighth to fifteenth round pick with relatively modest upside."

Aaron Fitt (2/27/2010): "Holland, a junior who struggled with a higher arm slot for the first year and a half of his college career, was dropped down to the lower slot by Williams midway through last season. He took to it immediately, and Friday he ate up Michigan's hitters with a lively 87 mph fastball, a 73 mph Frisbee slider and a quality 73 mph changeup."

Louisville Official Site: "His hobbies include paintball, racquetball, ping pong, playing cards and hanging out with friends. Ocean's 11 and 13 along with Saving Silverman are his favorite movies. Likes to watch That 70's Show on TV. His favorite athletes are David Eckstein and Jerry Rice. Lists bread and butter as his favorite foods. Also likes to eat at Texas Roadhouse. Cheers on the Colts and the Angels. Listens to all kinds of music. His dream golf foursome would be Barry Bonds, Bill Gates and the Incredible Hulk."

RHP Chris McKenzie (13th round-San Jacinto College North)

Seiler (7/13/2009): "Another JUCO freshman, McKenzie will also probably pass over the Pirates’ offer in favor of another year at the JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto. I expected him to go late like this, as he’s got talent, but needs work and isn’t worthy of a large investment quite yet. He could emerge higher next year, as he probably will not sign." Note that this was from last year's draft when he was taken in the 35th round by Pittsburgh.

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Both guys (McKenzie and teammate/Nats 16th rounder Mark Herrera) could be starters, but are more likely relievers." (6/9/2010): "McKenzie went 7-1 last season with a 2.27 ERA. He also struck out 68 batters in 67 1/3 innings. He utilized a fastball that consistently was between 91-94 mph. McKenzie also has good control of his slider."

"San Jacinto College North manager Tom Arrington said both McKenzie and Herrera have been clocked at 97 mph this season. 'I think they are both projected to have even more growth in them,' Arrington said. 'They have very fresh arms and I like their stuff. I expect them to do very well on the next level.'"

C David Freitas (15th round-Hawaii)

Nothing from Seiler, Sickels or Oliver.

Hawaii Official Site: "The Sacramento, Calif., native finished the 2010 season with a .292 batting average, tying for the team-lead with 49 RBI. He also had 10 home runs, nine doubles and 43 runs scored. Freitas was named to both the all-WAC Tournament team and the all-NCAA Tempe Regional team."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin (3/18/2010): "Freitas has moved his way into the clean-up spot in the order and was one of the few UH hitters not to struggle against USC over the weekend. He had four hits in the series and is one of four different Rainbows with multiple home runs this season. 'No matter who you are, it takes a while to adjust to Division I pitching,' (Hawaii coach Mike) Trapasso said. 'With the pitchers we've seen, he hasn't put up the numbers he'd like to, but he's doing fine. Offensively he's going to be a guy that can produce runs for us.'

The work Freitas puts in goes far beyond the batting cages. He's had to learn the tendencies and strengths of 13 different pitchers as well as show the ability to keep runners from stealing bases at will. 'The defense work has been the toughest,' Freitas said. 'Trying to block the plate and other things that I've never done is different. Throwing, I've always been throwing, so that's OK.'

Freitas said he started playing catcher as a senior in high school. He spent the majority of his high school career as a pitcher and at first base. '(Junior college) is where I really became a catcher only,' Freitas said. 'That's where I really started playing (the position).'

RHP Mark Herrera (16th round-San Jacinto College North)
Nothing really from Seiler, Sickels or Oliver. Sickels did name Herrera as one of his "four others of note" but did not add anything to it. (6/9/2010): "Herrera, used primarily in a setup role for the Gators, was 2-2 with a 1.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts in only 26 1/3 innings. His top two pitches are also a low-mid 90s fastball and mid-80s slider.

Victoria Advocate (6/8/2010): "The Nationals liked what Herrera did during his sophomore season at San Jacinto and made the Cuero graduate the first pick in the 16th round and the 476th pick overall. 'They liked how durable I was,' Herrera said. 'In the regional tournament, I pitched three games back-to back-to back. They said I was really consistent and they liked what they saw.' Herrera transferred to San Jacinto from St. Mary's. He was used exclusively in relief and had a 2-2 record with two saves and a 1.03 ERA, while striking out 37 in 26.1 innings. Herrera threw consistently in the low- to mid-90s and reached 97 on the radar gun at the Junior College World Series."

RHP Tyler Hanks (17th round-College of Southern Nevada)

Seiler (5/3/2010): "Tyler Hanks, RHP, CC of Southern Nevada, Grade 1B1. In general, better players have a lower first number, a higher alphabetical second part (A is best), and a higher third number. For example, Bryce Harper gets a rating of 1A2. He will be drafted in the first three rounds, has a ceiling of a superstar, and has a 20 percent chance of reaching that ceiling (this includes chance of injury, etc.)." So basically Hanks should have been taken in the top few rounds, has a ceiling as an above-average pitcher and has about a 10% chance of reaching that ceiling.

Seiler (4/20/2010): "He's started three games, but most scouts agree that his long-term role will be in the bullpen, where he absolutely shines. That's due to an elite fastball that gets plus grades, sitting 92-95 while touching 97-98 regularly. He's really started to command that pitch this year, and that's why he's really jumped up boards. His secondary pitch is a solid-average slider that has been as high as 87 mph, but it gets better break in the 84-85 range. He doesn't use it as much as he'll have to in the pros, as he's been able to blow his fastball by hitters with ease this spring. That, and the fact that he's changeup-free, means that Hanks will almost certainly be a relief prospect in the pros, though a very good one."

Sickels (4/22/2010): "Scouts coming to see Bryce Harper play have gotten a look at reliever Tyler Hanks, owner of a 93-97 MPH fastball and an effective slider. Like many junior college pitchers he is still rather raw, but a team looking for a young arm with upside will possibly take a shot as early as the third round." Another "four others of note" pick by Sickels.

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Teammate of Harper who gained some traction given the circus surrounding the Nats 1st rounder. Nats will probably try him as a starter, but could develop into a hard-throwing option out of the bullpen"

2B Justin Miller (18th round-Middle Tennessee State University)
Not much out there. Hit .316/.361/.639 with 17 2B, 20 HR, 74 RBI and 54 R in 244 AB, which impresses me. 13:45 BB:K ratio doesn't impress me. 13 errors and a .953 fielding percentage don't look too bad.

CF Wade Moore (19th round-Catawba College)
Not a whole lot on Moore. Hopefully I'll be able to dig up more soon.

Salisbury Post (6/9/2010): "Moore, reached by phone on Tuesday night, said, 'Obviously, I'm ecstatic.' Moore was the 2006 Rowan County Athlete of the Year and turned down football scholarships to sign with N.C. State in baseball. He decided to transfer home for his senior season just to get on the field. He said he knew he could play at the major-league level, but added, 'Obviously, I couldn't leave it in the hands of N.C. State.' Moore has been working out for several clubs. He said the most interest came from the Nationals, Cubs, Giants and Braves. He worked out for six teams, showing them throws from the outfield and running the 60-meter dash. 'But I really felt, with the relationships I had with the area scouts, it didn't surprise me (being drafted by the Nationals).'

Moore led Catawba in most offensive categories. He finished his senior year with a .410 average to go with 16 home runs, 59 runs batted in and 20 doubles. He scored 77 runs. 'He came back a better player,' Gantt said. 'He gave us everything we expected. He helped us get to the regionals and that was the best thing. He helped the team.' Moore's run total was the fourth best total in a season at Catawba. His .790 slugging percentage has him ranked seventh in school history. Moore had 52 walks and a .542 on-base percentage, both of which are second all-time for a season."

I'd also like to point out that two of the names I trust the most in MLB Draft coverage, John Sickels from and Andy Seiler from, have said great things about this draft today. Sickels summed up his Nationals Draft Review today with the simple statement "Overall, I love this draft" while Seiler gave the Nats an A- grade and the #2 overall slot (behind the Red Sox).