Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Giants, A's draft picks have drawbacks

As great theater goes, the Major League Baseball draft from Studio 42 on the MLB Network on Tuesday lacked all the bells, whistles and Kipers we’ve come to expect from, say, the NFL and NBA.

There was only four minutes between rounds. No teams trading up or down. No Giants or Jets fans cheering or complaining or both.

But it was as simple as pitch, hit and catch and I was just fine with that. Other than having to hear Bud Selig talk out of both sides of his mouth, it was good TV.

The Giants, with their first-round pick, the sixth overall, took 19-year-old Georgia high school right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler.  He is listed as 6-foot-4, 175-pounds everywhere except his My Space website, where is 6-5, 190 and his mood on Tuesday was “crunk,” not to be confused with Kruk, I suppose.

But brace yourself San Francisco Giants fans. Wheeler is a Raiders fan … his high school team is nicknamed the Raiders.

According to the Baseball America 2009 Draft Preview issue, Wheeler is listed in the top three in “best arm,” “best fastball” and “best command” in player tools categories among high schoolers. He can throw in the mid 90s and has a power breaking ball – or “slurve.” He’ll need a change-up and he didn’t sound terribly bright in his MLB Network interview but he should have a bright future. He needs to decide whether he wants to go to college at Kennesaw State or go to work in the Golden State. Duh?

The A’s, with so much young pitching in their organization, took a position player with their first-round selection, 13th overall. They took 6-foot-3, 180-pound USC Trojans shortstop Grant Green, who is coached by former Redwood High star Chad Kreuter. The 21-year-old Green, in Baseball America, is rated third as college “best athlete” available in this year’s draft. He was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round coming out of high school in Anaheim Hills, but they evidently didn’t meet his demands so he didn’t sign with them. He went to USC instead and last summer was named the top prospect in the Cape Cod League. Green struggled early this season at USC, but he has skills comparable to Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki. He is advertised as a potential major league middle infielder who could hit 15-20 home runs a year.

Now comes the bad news: Green is represented by super agent Scott Boras. Better start saving up, A’s.


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