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2010 Draft Preview Episode 8: Persons of Interest no. 2

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I'm in an awful hurry this morning, so I hope you'll forgive the condensed nature of the post and scouting reports I am about to offer you. 

First, though, I would just like to rant a bit about last night's game. I haven't looked in the game thread, and probably won't, honestly, so it's probably been covered, but still: why can't this team fucking hit?! Brett Meyers. Really, guys? Brett Meyers. 

Meyers threw 30+ pitches in the first inning last night, yet somehow still managed to last 6 innings and throw only 103 pitches total. The offense looked so good in that first frame, and I actually dared to think they might finally be coming out of this inexplicable tailspin we've seen them in for the, well, come to think of it, for most of the season. Then suddenly after Meyers escaped from the jam, they all just went right back to sleep again. It's more than just disappointing, or frustrating; it's embarrassing. Now the Cards are facing down Small Wander and his Curveball of Doom and Cy Norris; I don't even want to consider it, but there's a very real chance they could get swept by this Houston club. And that would be well beyond embarrassing. 

Some quick hits on some interesting players after the jump. 

Christian Yelich, 1B, Westlake High School (California) 

Yelich is a tall, lanky first baseman with a sweet left-handed swing that projects for both excellent average and power down the road. There's a ton of projection left with Yelich at this point, as he's already 6'4" but only weighs in the 180-190 lb. range. He moves very well for a guy who plays first, and there is some thought he could move over to third base or out to left field as a pro. He has just enough arm to play third and certainly looks the part of an outfielder, but even staying at first his bat is plenty good to get him drafted fairly early. 

He's committed to Miami, which could make him a tougher sign, but my personal feeling is that some team will pop him in round two or three and go over slot to bring him into pro ball. 

Dominic Ficociello, 3B, Fullerton High School (California)

Another high school infielder with tons of projection, Ficociello is a switch-hitting third baseman with a big-time arm. His arm strength rates as plus or even plus-plus already; think Scott Rolen territory. The rest of his defensive package, unfortunately, doesn't quite match up with Rolen's, at least not yet, but there's no reason to believe he won't stick at third. There had been some talk of him ending up in right field down the line somewhere, as his arm would fit perfectly, but he probably doesn't move well enough to cover the ground in the outfield. 

Ficociello can hit from both sides of the plate, with much better power from the left side. He shows a pretty good idea of the strike zone already for a high-schooler, and has excellent hands. He's athletic, but doesn't really have great wheels, and could slow down even more as he fills out. He's committed to Arkansas, but appears (and I stress appears; it's impossible to really know these things), to be an easier sign than either Alvord or Yelich, particularly if taken in an earlier round. 

Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel

A big, strong righty with a power repertoire, Wojciechowski (boy, I'm not looking forward to having to type that very often), wasn't really on a whole lot of draft radars coming into this season. With a strong spring, though, he's moving up into consideration for as high as a supplemental first round pick. He also looks to be a fairly easy sign, making him a good fit for any of several teams with extra picks in the first couple rounds who may need to save a bit on at least one or two of their selections. 

Wojci- Asher throws a fastball in the low 90s, popping 94 fairly regularly, and has a strong slider as well. He doesn't have much of a third pitch and would need to develop one if he is to be a starter as a pro. He certainly has the sort of frame that projects as a starter at 6'4" and 225, but he's also a good candidate for relief work as a professional. In that role he could go strictly with his strengths and add a tick or two to his fastball. Throwing just fastball/slider I could see him moving quickly through a system and making it to the big leagues as a setup man or closer down the road. He has decent command, enough for setup work now, but would need to sharpen it in order to be considered for a closer's spot somewhere. He reminds me a bit of Mitchell Boggs, but with probably just a tick better control. 

Drew Cisco, RHP, Wando High School (South Carolina)

When you think of drafting a pitcher out of high school, the image that comes to mind is usually something much like what the Cardinals got last year in Shelby Miller. Blazing stuff, iffy command, tons of strikeouts; for better or worse, the mental picture is always vaguely Nuke Laloosh-ish. Cisco is nothing at all like that. 

Cisco is an average stuff, pitchability sort of righthander, with a fastball in the 88-92 range and a solid curveball and changeup. He has outstanding control and decent command already, and gets outstanding results in spite of his pedestrian raw stuff. He mixes his pitches, changes speeds, keeps hitters off balance...hmm, can you think of any other cliches I've left out? Bottom line: he isn't going to wow you with his stuff, and he's probably already close to being maxed out physically, so what you see is what you get. Fortunately, what you get is pretty good. He has those athletic bloodlines teams seem to be so enamoured of as well, as several members of his family have played baseball at the professional level. 

I think Ian Kennedy is a good comp for Cisco, though Kennedy wasn't quite as polished coming out of high school as what Cisco already is. 

Seth Blair, RHP, Arizona State

Blair is a lot like Joe Kelly, who the Cardinals selected in the third round last year, in that he's a lanky slinger who can get the ball up to the plate in one godalmighty big hurry. Blair's fastball has been clocked as high as 98 at times, though he typically sits more in the 90-94 range in his starts. He also has a big curveball that can be a plus for him at times, though he often throws it too hard and it turns into a big slurve. There are plenty of reports of him featuring a changeup that is occasionally effective as well, but I haven't seen one in the limited video I've seen of him. Still, when in doubt, trust the pros, so he has a changeup that will occasionally show good tumbling action but is wildly inconsistent. 

Also a lot like Joe Kelly, the main thing holding Blair back at this point is his command. (Or lack thereof.) His fastball is electric, but he has trouble putting it where he means to even when he throws strikes. His release point comes and goes as well, making his entire repertoire an adventure. His arm action is long and slingy, and there is concern it will need to be tightened up is he is ever going to harness his stuff more effectively. (Again, think Joe Kelly.) 

I like Blair, a lot. His stuff is remarkable, and he could represent the same sort of challenge the Cards took with Kelly last year. There was plenty of talk at the time of that pick that Kelly would stay in the bullpen and move quickly through the Cards' system (I was one of that chorus), but the Cardinals moved him into a starting role and are attempting to develop his power arm in the rotation. Blair could present a similar project, though he has the benefit of already being a starter in college to offer a leg up. He has the same electric arm and need for refinement, and I would be very excited to see him in the system. 

That's all I've got time for, folks. Take care, and I'll have a game thread up around 6:30 or so. 

The Baron's Playlist for the 12th of May, 2010

"Bloodstream" - Evangelicals (Also, I need someone to tell me I'm not crazy and the melody to this does sound a little like "Holiday Road.") 

"I Know I'll See You" - A Place to Bury Strangers (MooCow, you'll like this one.) 

"Ohio!" - Boxer the Horse

"S.A.L.T." - The Orb

"The Fastest Man Alive" - Sound Team

"Can't Explain" - Love

"Tyler" - The Toadies