Morning Coffee Is On MLB Draft Watch

[Update]: I seem to have co-opted the piece that 40AS had on the subject, so sorry for that guys, I hadn't checked to see what was scheduled before I wrote this. However, it is worth noting that the only junior who is a major threat to leave is Brandon Belt, who is projected to go somewhere between the 7th and 12th rounds ($). He may be enticed to leave if he goes in one of the higher rounds and gets a good bonus, but a lot of scouts are put off by his unorthodox batting stance and I'm sure the last couple days haven't helped him much, as he's struggled to catch up to mediocre fastballs. I think Belt probably comes back. Kyle Lusson, David Hernandez, and Russell Moldenhauer are all eligible, but I don't see any of them going high enough to leave, although if any of them do, it probably won't make an impact on the team next year.

In the article linked above, the word on Everett Williams is that he is almost guaranteed to be gone, which isn't really surprising given that a lot of mock drafts have him going in the first round. Jake Cowan, a junior college right-hander committed to the Longhorns is probably also gone as well. Lake Travis' Cohl Walla is also apparently a Top 200 prospect who could end up going between the rounds four and ten.

While I'm at it, just consider this your Draft Open Thread, as well: it got started at 5 pm CT, but ESPN will be running their draft special at 8 pm ET.

Here is the live DraftCaster if you are so inclined.

Horns_bullet_mediumDay of trepidation. For followers of Texas athletics, there is nothing like the MLB Draft. Not only do Longhorn fans have to worry about which draft-eligible juniors (and possibly sophomores) might be drafted high enough to depart for professional baseball, but they also have to worry about which high school recruits will actually make it to campus. Last year, the Longhorns lost center fielder Robbie Grossman when the Pirates paid him an above-slot bonus and, as usual, the Longhorns once again have several players who might not make it into the 40 Acres. A player simply dropping in the draft due to signability concerns may not be enough to keep them from signing a contract, as organizations looking to aggressively build their minor-league system, like the Pirates, may pay above-slot bonuses to entice players likely headed to college to sign.

Horns_bullet_mediumBe very afraid. The following three teams are the most likely to end up signing professional contracts, as they all rank so highly nationally that they will probably end up having to turn down a lot of money to make it to Texas.

  • Colton Cain, Waxahachie, 1B/P: The most likely player to sign a professional contract is Colton Cain, a 6-3, 225-pounder. The stud lefty has hit 95 mph on the radar gun this year, on top of prodigious power at the plate. During a game against Red Oak in April, Cain threw a no-hitter, striking out 19 opposing hitters in the process. Oh yeah, and he also had a fine day at the plate with a double, home run, and three runs batted in. I had trouble finding season-ending statistics for Cain, but as of April 20, he was hitting .419 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. His ERA at the time was 1.53, with 103 strikeouts in 47 innings. Though Cain isn't listed as a first-round pick on mymlbdraft.com or by Sporting News, Real Baseball Intelligence has him ranked as the second-best first baseman in the draft (behind only North Carolina stud Dustin Ackley) and a mid to late first-round draft pick. MLB Draft Site has him going in the third round. Whatever the case, Cain will almost certainly be a first-day pick and will have some serious thinking to do about his future. Ultimately, the decision may come down to the money offered, because, as Cain says, it's going to take a lot of money to keep him away from Texas, as the big left-hander likes Texas "a lot."
  • Everett Williams, McCallum, OF: MLB Draft Site lists McCallum's Williams as a higher pick than Cain -- going in the first round at no. 24. Known as a toolsy center fielder with good, not great, speed, Williams is known as a player who tries to pull the ball too much, leading to lot

     

    s of swings and misses, and doesn't have a great arm, which may lead to him dropping in the draft, good news for Texas fans. However, Williams has a lot of pop for a 5-10, 175-pounder, which may lead a team to take a chance on him early. Unless someone like the Angels fall in love with Williams, as MLB Draft Site projects, the questions surrounding Williams about his ability to make contact may be enough for him to make it to Texas.
  • Jonathan Walsh, Coppell, C: A big kid at 6-3, 210 pounds, the switch-hitting catcher is already an excellent defensive player with a sweet swing from both sides of the plate and above average athleticism for his position. MLB Draft Site has him going to the Angels at the end of the third round. Since Walsh would be blocked for a year by Cameron Rupp, it might make more sense for him to sign with the team that drafts him so he can spend 2010 developing his skills as a professional. Ranked as a top-five high school catcher and higher than Colton Cain on VYPE's Hot 20 Baseball and Softball Players, Walsh is projected to go in rounds 3-5, with the combination of his switch-hitting ability, athleticism, and defensive abilities making him extremely appealing.

     

Horns_bullet_mediumDon't worry too much. The following recruit seems to have learned from the mistake his father made. I'll have a full preview at some point of each of the other three commits not listed: RHP Josh Urban, OF Jordan Weymouth, RHP/OF Cohl Walla, and RHP Keifer Nuncio.

  • Hoby Milner, Paschal, LHP: A lanky (6-2, 160) pitcher with a high-80s, low-90s fastball, Texas coach Tommy Harmon calls Milner the best left-handed pitcher in the state, citing his excellent control and poise on the mound. The good news for the Longhorns is that Milner's father turned down a chance to play college baseball before injuries derailed his career after two games and is now urging his son to attend Texas. Projected as a 5th or 6th round pick in the draft, like Colton Cain, Milner says that he wants to go to Texas to gain strength and potentially make even more money after three years as a Longhorn. Thanks, Dad!

Horns_bullet_mediumBrown not Cibolo Steele's only top 2011 prospect. Though teammate Malcolm Brown plays the much more glorious position of running back, defensive tackle Marquise Anderson's work in the trenches certainly does not pale in comparison to the exploits of the talented Brown. Listed at 6-3, Anderson is a strong 260 pounds and exceptional technique for his age ($), using his hands violently and understanding leverage. After missing time due to an MCL injury during his sophomore, Anderson should be ready for a breakout campaign as a junior.

Anderson has already made the trip up to Norman ($) to take in the OU campus and lists the Sooners as a favorite. As far as summer camps are concerned, he wants to make it to Austin next weekend, but might not be able to make it because his brother's graduation will occur on the same day. Anderson has expressed an interest in seeing more of the Texas campus (UT is his "favorite college" ($)), as well as visiting Texas A&M and Baylor.

Horns_bullet_mediumMore Stony Point talent. There's no shortage of talent on the Stony Point football team and the defensive line is no exception, even after losing Tevin Mims to graduation. Anchoring the middle of the defense is Jordan Wade at 6-4 and 260 pounds. Even though he's a defensive tackle, Wade has the speed of a defensive end ($), having run a sub-4.8 40 this spring. In fact, the Stony Point coaches have considered moving him outside ($) to that position for his junior season.

Coach Craig Chessher says that Wade carries his 260 pounds extremely well and believes that Wade will be make it to around 275 pounds when he enrolls at the college of his choice. Recall that Chessher correctly predicted that Mims would add good weight during the spring. Wade is another candidate to do the same, as his baseball obligations (he hit over .400 in the four spot for Stony Point) have kept him out of the weight room. In fact, baseball was the first love for Wade, who has received some interest from major league organizations. It took friends and coaches to convince Wade to play football as a freshman. Chessher says that it wasn't until the middle of his sophomore season ($) that the light came on for him and he developed a passion for the game.

The usual suspects top the early list for Wade: Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He says that all three schools are looking at him as a baseball player as well, but Wade will probably have to commit to a sport in college and given the need for defensive tackles at every level of the game, that sport will probably be football, as he's ranked no. 17 on current 2011 LSR.

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