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Draft 2008: Day Two Picks of Interest

Realistically, most of the Major League players out of this draft class have already been drafted. However, there is still some talent to be found, and perhaps even some great talent (Matt Holliday was 7th round selection, and Albert Pujols a 13th). Here are some noteworthy picks from day two:

  • Paul Gran, a third baseman from Washington State, was picked by the Marlins
  • Jordan Danks, an outfielder from Texas, was selected by the White Sox. He was in consideration for watch list. He does a little bit of everything and may have some power potential, thanks to his 6'5" frame.
  • Eric Thames, #19 on my watch list, was selected by the Blue Jays
  • Cleveland selected OF Tim Fedroff, a draft-eligible sophomore. He has been a real good hitter in college, and I was not completely sure if he was draft eligible. He got consideration for my watch list.
  • The Rangers selected Mike Bianucci, and outfielder from Auburn. At first glance, he did not jump out at me, but with a closer look he nearly made my watch list. Bianucci showed the ability to hit for average with some power and speed in college, and it translated into success in the Cape Cod League as well.
  • The Tigers took Andy Dirks, an outfielder from Wichita State. He has good speed and plate discipline, and has played for a winning program. He does not have star potential, but I have an easy time seeing him as a quality fourth outfielder.
  • The Diamondbacks selected Pat McAnaney, a left-hander from Virginia. McAnaney was productive his whole career at Virginia, though he never really was the staff ace thanks to Jacob Thompson. Still, I am surprised a lefty as productive as he was in the ACC lasted this long.
  • Matt Hague, an outfielder from Oklahoma State (and formerly the UW), was picked by the Pirates
  • Nick Haughian, a lefty from Washington, was picked only two slots after Hague by the Orioles.
  • LHP Dan Jennings, a University of Nebraska product, was selected by the Marlins. Jennings does not have overpowering stuff, but I still thought he was one of the better lefties available in this rather weak college crop of starting pitchers.
  • The Tigers picked Anthony Shawler, a righty from Old Dominion that has posted big strikeout numbers the last couple years in their starting rotation. He had a sub-par junior year, and it would not surprise me if he decided to go back for his senior season and see if he could improve his draft stock.
  • The Padres selected RHP Kyle Thebeau from Texas A&M. Though I did not put him on my watch list, I liked him. His WHIP and BAA were rather pedestrian, but he only gave up 2 home runs in nearly 70 innings pitched this season, and he struck out a ton of batters. San Diego got great value here.
  • The Nationals selected LHP Tom Milone from USC. He had not done much until this year, where he had a fantastic showing in the Cape Cod League and followed it with a pretty good season in the Pac-10. He is a candidate to return to school, because another year like this one would likely improve his draft status.
  • The Yankees took D.J. Mitchell out of Clemson. According to scouting reports, Mitchell does not have tremendous stuff, but he competes well on the mound. Statistically, he was among the best in the Cape Cod League and the ACC this past season. Even without the world's greatest stuff, I am a little surprised that he lasted this long.
  • The Indians picked Donnie Webb, an outfielder from Oklahoma State. Webb had one of the best seasons of any college player in the nation, but this was his first year in Division I after two years in community college. It makes him a bit of a wild card. The lack of a track record is all that kept him off of my watch list, so he could certainly be the real deal.
  • Jacob Priday, a senior outfielder from Missouri, was picked by the Astros. If he were a year younger, he may have been on my watch list. Still, he has a long track record of success and fairly steady progression at Missouri. I like what he has to offer, especially at this stage in the draft.
  • Faithful followers of my blog may remember Dominic de la Osa from last year's watch list. He returned for his senior season at Vanderbilt and it turned out to be a little disappointing. It ultimately hurt his draft stock, as he went in the 10th round last year to the Tigers, and now is an 11th round choice by the Twins. He has good power, but I wonder if he can hit with a wooden bat after a very poor showing in the Cape Cod League, and a senior season in which he posted a rather high strikeout total.
  • The Mariners selected Kenn Kasparek, a pitcher from the University of Texas. He missed all of last year with an elbow injury, but he is tall and has been rather productive on the mound. I like his potential, and I thought he had the look of an M's pitching prospect. In my opinion, he is the third best player the M's have drafted so far, only behind their top two picks. That says something about the value of Kasparek, and the value of the other players the M's have been picking.
  • Matt Clark, a first baseman from LSU, was picked by the Padres. He hit well in the Cape Cod League and then had a really good junior season that ended with him being nominated one of the 50 finalists for the Golden Spikes award. Once Allan Dykstra went off the board (ironically to the Padres), this was the first baseman I hoped that the M's would take. Even though I like the Kasparek pick, I would have preferred Clark.
  • The Nationals selected Blake Stouffer, an infielder from Texas A&M. He was in the mix for a spot on last year's watch list.
  • The Brewers picked Rob Wooten, a reliever from North Carolina. I think this a steal for Milwaukee this late. Wooten was only a closer this year thanks to Andrew Carignan, who is now in the A's farm system and looking really good. Still, Wooten has pitched at a high level his whole college career and he had an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod League. Since he is a senior he is a bit older, but he was still one of the last players left off of my watch list. In fact, if the M's were not so desperate for a first baseman, I may have put him on over Nate Frieman. This guy definitely has Major League potential, and I am really surprised that he lasted this long.
  • The Yankees took Florida State outfielder Jack Rye. He is a senior who has consistently produced at a high level his whole college career. Nothing stands out about him, but the whole package he offers is a great value at this point in the draft.
  • Jordan Merry, a UW pitcher, was picked by the White Sox. I thought Merry was the best pro prospect on the Huskies staff, and one of the better ones in the Pac-10 this year.
  • Michael Schwimer, #20 on my watch list, finally is selected! He goes to the Phillies.
  • UW outfielder Mike Conley was selected by the Dodgers. I thought Conley was the best prospect on Huskies this year, but I figured he would not go very high. Considering his a left-handed outfielder with a little pop, I thought he would have been a great second day pick for the Mariners.
  • Ryan Keedy, a senior first baseman from UAB, goes to the Cubs. I wasn't super high on him, but he was one of the better first baseman still available.
  • The Yankees took another first baseman the Mariners would have been wise to draft, Luke Anders. Luke has been awfully good in the Big 12 the last couple years, and he has flashed some good power.
  • The Phillies selected Jim Murphy, a first baseman from WSU.
  • The Yankees selected perhaps the most interesting prospect of all this year, Pat Venditte. He is a senior from Creighton that switch-pitches! He really is two pitchers in one. He has two separate wind-ups (he is more overhand from the right side, sidearm from the left side), and even features different pitches with the different arms. His numbers were quite solid at Creighton too, so he is more than a gimmick. They were good enough to earn a selection as on of the 50 finalists for the Golden Spikes award. It appears that Venditte was announced as a right-handed pitcher, but I am sure the Yankees will have him pitch with both hands and see what happens. I am really rooting for this guy to make the majors, even though he is Yankee property now.
  • The Reds took Byron Wiley, an outfielder from Kansas State. I was fairly high on Wiley coming into this season, based on his track record of progression and success. However, he was horrible this season. Wiley certainly should go back to college for his senior season and try to rebound and raise his draft status.
  • The A's selected Preston Guilmet, a righty from Arizona. He was the Pac-10 pitcher of the year in 2007 as a sophomore, but regressed quite a bit this year. I do not think he is as good as his sophomore numbers suggest, but there is still no way he should have lasted this long in the draft. He would likely benefit from going back to college for his senior season.
  • Daniel Edwards, a solid reliever for Kansas State the last couple years, was selected by the Phillies. I have been following him for a couple of years now, and I think he should have gone much earlier today. Edwards posted a sub-1.00 WHIP with good strikeout and home run rates in the Big 12 this year.
  • The Marlins selected RHP Elih Villanueva from Florida State. He had a big year for the Seminoles, but did not get much publicity, partly because he was a junior college transfer. He first got noticed by Florida State thanks to an impressive showing in the Cape Cod League a few years ago. I think he has some talent, and I certainly would have taken a chance on him many rounds before this.
  • Nate Freiman is a Texas Ranger! Everyone on my list has finally been drafted. This is the longest it has ever taken. I figured it would take Freiman and Schwimer the longest to get drafted, but I am surprised Freiman lasted this long. The height is a concern, but his short stroke counteracts the problem, and he produced in the ACC and Cape Cod League! I sifted through just about every first baseman that I found interesting, figuring the Mariners would have to pick one of them, and they did not. Unbelievable.
  • The Atlanta Braves picked an outfielder out of Georgia Southern named Chris Shehan. He was named one of the 50 finalists for the Golden Spikes award, and deservedly so with over 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases, a batting average north of .400, and an on-base percentage north of .500. He had an epic season, and he was on my watch list until I looked at his strikeout total, which was also surprisingly epic for his high batting average. Still, that kind of production cannot be ignored.
  • Cole White, an outfielder for the Army, was picked by the Pirates. I first noticed White last year, and I gave him legitimate consideration for my watch list each of the past two years. His numbers are quite good, but become more remarkable when it is considered that he plays in the CAA, which is the most pitcher-friendly conference in Division I baseball, and also an underrated baseball conference in general. I was starting to wonder if he would get drafted, and I am pleased that he did. He probably will not hit for much power, but I will follow his professional career. Hopefully he gives baseball a chance.
The 2008 Draft is complete. Speculation and projection is over for now, and it is time to see these players play in some professional games. Most think this draft does not have a ton of star power, and it may not. But, judging by how late some players I really liked went, there may be a large share of players who make noise from later rounds. It looks like this draft was rather deep with solid talent, which helped make it a little more unpredictable than many. As always, time will write the story of this draft, no matter how hard anyone else tries to.