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2014

 2014
Draft Tracker
 

6/11/14

Jim Callis, the Draft guru, has announced around 3 p.m. this afternoon that Derek Hill reached agreement with the Tigers and will receive a $2 million signing bonus. Hill is the second Elk Grove prepster to turn pro, with J.D. Davis reaching agreement yesterday (see below) with Houston.

For more on Hill, Baseball Sacramento's Player of the Year, and his draft day experience, go here. 


6/10/14

Some of the local draftees from last week's MLB First-Year Player Draft have inked their contracts and are off to their first pro experience. They include:

J.D. Davis: Has confirmed that Houston's 3rd Round selection has reached agreement with the Astros. MLB's assigned slot value for the 75th overall pick is $748,600. The Astros' paid him $10,000 above slot, J.D. confirmed this afternoon. He is preparing to meet with team officials in Houston tomorrow and sign the contract and then it's off to New York, where he will play third base for Tri-City ValleyCats, the Astros' short-season Single-A team in Troy, New York.

For more on Davis' draft day experience and his three-yeaer career at Fullerton State, visit the Spotlight feature.

~ ~ ~

Phillies scout Joey Davis informs us that Rhys Hoskins (Sacramento State) just penned his deal with Philadelphia at the ballpark, and is now headed on a bus to Williamsport where he will play in the New York-Penn League this summer. Williamsport is where Rhys' fellow Jesuit teammate Zach Green and Cal catcher Andrew Knapp (Granite Bay High) played last summer. Hoskins' first game is slated for June 13.

A Louisville Slugger All-American in 2014, Hoskins  batted .319 for the Hornets with 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 53 runs batted in for the Western Athletic Conference champions and was named WAC Player of the Year. Philadelphia drafted him on Friday. The assigned bonus for the 142nd overall pick is $349,700.

UPDATE 6/16/14: Hoskins signed for slot or $349,700.

~ ~ ~

California Sports Management player agent Ryan Royster confirms that two of his guys have reached agreement, including Steven Patterson (UC Davis) taken in the 10th Round by the Indians. Area scout Don Lyle signed Patterson over the weekend for $10,000. Royster also noted that catcher Blake Grant-Parks, who played for Cal State Monterey Bay this season, has signed with Tampa Bay, also for $10,000. Grant-Parks prepped at Yuba City, then played at Sierra College.

Royster, a McClatchy and UC Davis product, was drafted by the Mariners in the 13th Round of the 2008 Draft, and he played three years in their organization. He hails from baseball royalty, as his uncle Jerry Royster played 16 seasons in the majors, and managed the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. Ryan's cousin Greg Vaughn played 15 years in the big leagues, including a World Series appearance with San Diego in 1998 when he hit two home runs. Royster has been affiliated for two years with CSM, a local firm co-founded in 2007 by attorney Greg Maroni, a certified MLBPA Player Agent.

~ ~ ~

(Click through to read all the features and reporting on locals in the 2014 Draft)

2014 MLB Draft of Local Prospects

Rd 

No. 

Team 

Player 

School 

Pos. 

23 

Detroit 

Derek Hill 

Elk Grove High 

CF 

75 

Houston 

J.D. Davis 

Fullerton State/Elk Grove High 

3b 

118 

San Francisco 

Logan Webb 

Rocklin High 

RHP 

142 

Philadelphia 

Rhys Hoskins 

Sac State / Jesuit 

1b 

10 

308 

Cleveland 

Steven Patterson 

UC Davis 

2b 

16 

470 

Minnesota 

Tyler Kuresa 

UC Santa Barbara/ Oakmont 

1b 

23 

688 

San Francisco 

Jordan Johnson 

CSU Northridge/Franklin High 

RHP 

27 

805 

New York Mets 

Alex Palsha 

Sacramento State 

RHP 

28 

830 

Minnesota 

Austin Diemer 

Fullerton State/Rocklin High 

OF 

29 

860 

Minnesota 

Cameron Avila-Leeper 

Grant High 

LHP 

30 

913 

Atlanta 

Jared James 

Sacramento City / McClatchy 

OF 

31 

917 

Miami 

Kyle Porter 

Cal / Oak Ridge High 

LHP 

31 

942 

Oakland 

Tyler Schimpf 

Capital Christian 

RHP 

33 

968 

San Francisco 

Jared Deacon 

Fullerton State/Elk Grove High 

35 

1048 

San Francisco 

Mitch Hart  

Granite Bay High 

RHP 

39 

1169 

Arizona 

Patrick Armstrong  

UNLV/Sacramento City 

 

LF 

39 

1177 

Tampa Bay 

Blake Grant-Parks 

Cal St. MontereyBay /Sierra/
Yuba City High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated   6/9/14

 

 


 
June 5 -- Day One

Tigers Take DHillWith 23rd Overall Pick  

Hill
Derek Hill with the Commish Bud Selig after being selected No.23 Overall by Detroit at the MLB Draft

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac 

Elk Grove High outfielder Derek Hill was taken in the 1st Round of the MLB Draft by the  Detroit Tigers  with the 23rd overall pick.

Asked for was his reaction when he heard his name called, Hill said: “I was absolutely baffled, pretty much. It was really exciting and really humbling.”

Hill had been projected to go as high as No.14 by the Giants. But they took Tyler Beede, rhp, Vanderbilt. Asked if he was getting a bit antsy having to wait until the low ‘20s, Hill sighed, “No, I was just being nice and patient because I knew my time would come eventually.” 

Hill becomes the first local high school player taken in the first round since Tony Torcato (Woodland High) was selected by San Francisco in 1998. 

Hill worked out for the Tigers at Comerica Field earlier this week and got a chance to shag flies and talk with boyhood idol, Torii Hunter, one of the most accomplished outfielders of his generation.

Detroit area scout Scott Cerney told Elk Grove had coach Jeff Carlson that after the Tigers worked out Hill at their stadium President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski spent time talking with Derek Hill. “The GM just fell in love with him,” Carlson related about his conversation with Cerney, who after a long time in scouting just registered his initial first-rounder. “Just his attitude and presence. That’s what sold (Dombrowski) the most on Derek Hill.”

Tonight, Hill could be seen in MLB.tv Studio 42 decked out in his GQ-styling gray suit with blue shirt and gold kerchief (Elk Grove colors, no doubt), talking with former pro Harold Reynolds and TV interviewer, Sam Ryan. He appeared as cool and collected there as he does on the ballfield. His proud parents sat behind him at the event.

Derek’s father Orsino Hill, a major league scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was in the MLB.tv Studio 42 to watch his son get called by Detroit.  “It’s a thrill. It’s kinda hard to believe it, but it feels like Christmas,” he said. “He’s put in a lot of hard work to this point. I’m just proud of him.”

Asked if he was disappointed his own team, the Dodgers, passed on him, the senior Hill said “No, not really. At the end of the day, as an employee, we want what’s best for the organization. Grant Holmes (RHP) is a quality pitcher with power stuff. I have no issues with Grant Holmes. I’m really excited we got an arm like that.”

The senior Hill finished by saying, “We’ve got quality baseball in Sacramento and Elk Grove.” 

Not only is Derek Hill the son of a 12-year minor leaguer, but he’s also cousin to Darryl Strawberry (New York Mets, San Francisco Giants). Earlier today Strawberry texted him "You're next in line," Hill related to Sam Ryan of MLB.tv in his first interview after being selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

This season, while batting third for the Herd all season, Hill hit an even .500 with 11 doubles, seven triples and 30 runs batted in. His on-base percentage was .586 while he slugged at .765. For good measure, he stole 21 bases. He led his team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, and if not for a stubborn Davis team, Elk Grove (26-6) may have claimed the title again this season. 

For his three-year career, Hill batted .458, compiling 114 total hits, 20 doubles, 15 triples and three round-trippers, along with 76 RBI. 

For two years Hill played under the shadow of Dom Nunez and Rowdy Tellez, two of the great high school players to emerge from Sacramento area in a long time. Last year, Nunez was taken in the 6th Round by the Rockies and Tellez slid to Toronto in the 30th Round due to “signability” issues.  

~ ~ ~

7:43 p.m.

We reached the first-round propect at MLB.tv Studio 42 and got this reaction from the high school senior who was just selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 23rd overall pick in the MLB Draft. 

“Just chillin’ out here in Studio 42, (having a) good time.”

Asked what was his reaction when he heard his name called: “I was absolutely baffled, pretty much. It was really exciting and really humbling."

Hill had been projected to be selected as high as #14 by the Giants. Asked if he was getting a bit antsy when finally taken at #23, he sighed and said, “No, I was just being nice and patient because I knew my time would come eventually.”

Complimented on his GQ- gray suit with blue shirt and gold kerchief (Elk Grove colors, no doubt), he laughed, “I tried, I tried.”

Told that we now have a reason to someday go out and watch Detroit Tigers baseball, the always ebullient Derek Hill replied, “One day, one day.” 

~ ~ ~

6:34 p.m.

We had a chance to speak proud papa Orsino Hill, a major league scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who was in the MLB.tv Studio 42 to watch his son's name get called by Detroit with the 23rd overall pick. Here's his comment:

“It’s a thrill. It’s kinda hard to believe it, but it feels like Christmas. He’s put in a lot of hard work to this point. I’m just proud of him.”

Derek had a workout with the Tigers this week. Torii Hunter “was one of his childhood idols,” Orsino said. “He’s all smiles.”

Asked if he was disappointed his own team, the Dodgers, passed on him, the senior Hill said “No, not really. At the end of the day, as an employee, we want what’s best for the organization. Grant Holmes (RHP) is a quality pitcher with power stuff. I have no issues with Grant Holmes. I’m really excited we got an arm like that.”

His final word. “We’ve got quality baseball in Sacramento and Elk Grove.”

His son Derek Hill just proved it with a first round selection in the MLB Draft.

For more on our Draft Preview, go to 2014 MLB Draft page.

~ ~ ~
6:24 p.m.

Elk Grove’s CF Derek Hill is taken in the 1st Round of the MLB Draft by the
Detroit Tigers with the 23rd overall pick.

Hill becomes the first local high school player taken in the first round since Tony Torcato was seleccted by San Francisco in 1998.

Earlier today he heard from his cousin Darryl Strawberry (Mets/Giants), who told him "You're next in line," Hill told Sam Ryan of MLB.tv after learning the Tigers took him with their first pick.

"I can't wait to get out there and get after it," he told her.

Derek Hill--cool in the batter's box--cool on TV. Definitely a first-rounder.

~ ~ ~

Cleveland Indians area scout Don Lyle had a big get with the Tribe's selection of Bradley Zimmer as their first-round selection with the 21st pick. Zimmer, a University of San Francisco outfielder, was high on Lyle's list all season long. Local college baseball fans had an opportunity to see Zimmer up close when USF played Sacramento State on April 2 at Raley Field. Zimmer's older brother, Kyle, a USF pitcher, was taken in the first round in 2012.

In 1993, Lyle--then with San Diego--had another big local prize when the Padres drafted Derrek Lee of El Camino High in the first round. Derrek is the son of Leon Lee, "Sacramento's Mr. Baseball."


June 6, Day Two

3rd Round  J.D. Davis , (Fullerton State/Elk Grove High) taken #75, Houston Astros.

The former Elk Grove Player of the Year  in 2011 (Sacramento Bee and BaseballSacramento.com) put together another impressive year at the plate for Cal State Fullerton. Davis hit a team-leading .338 average and .523 slugging percentage with 16 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 43 RBI. His sixth homer was a grand slam that propelled the Titans to a regional playoff win over Nebraska last week. Davis also recorded six saves. He was twice selected Big West All-Conference First Team, and last summer  was named the 2013 Cape League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player for the Eastern Division after leading the squad to a 9-3 victory over the West.    Davis was drafted in the fifth round (180th overall) by Tampa Bay.

The assigned bonus slot for the 75th selection is nearly $750,000.  Davis' advisor is Elk Grove alumnus Matt Hannaford, who works directly with big-time agent, Dan Lozano, who has represented Albert Pujlos, Joey Votto , Jimmy Rollins , Manny Machado among others.

 

Spotlight4_Header

by editor Rick Cabral

Davis Surprised by Astros Selection in 3rd Round 2014 Draft
Fullerton State Experience "Paid Off"

 

JDDavis  
J.D. Davis
Courtesy Fullerton State Baseball.

J.D. Davis had been waiting for this moment all of his athletic life. The Cal State Fullerton slugger admits he “lost a little sleep last night,” but awoke to a wonderful surprise this morning: he was the first player selected on Day Two of the MLB First-Year Player Draft when Houston took him with the 75th overall pick.

The Davis family “looked at the screen, saw a picture of me and I went ‘Oh, geez. Wow!’ It was a good moment.”  

To finish this Spotlight feature, click through.

4th Round: Logan Webb , RHP, Rocklin High, was selected #118 by San Francisco. The high school righthander drew big-time attention down the stretch, as scouts were intrigued by his mid-90s fastball, which dominated the Division I playoffs for the Thunder, including an 11-strikeout performance against Oak Ridge High. His record was just 4-3 this season, but posted 73 strikeouts and 0.49 ERA. Down he's in the Giants farm system.


5th Round: Rhys Hoskins  , 1b, (Jesuit/Sacramento State) was selected #142 in the 5th Round by Philadelphia. Hoskins had a strong start and big finish this season, leading Sacramento State to a Western Athletic Conference crown and tournament championship. The Louisville Slugger All-American (Third Team) selection batted .319 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 53 runs batted in for the WAC champions. Phillies scout Joey Davis also signed another Jesuit infielder, Zach Green in the 3rd Round in 2012.

Asked to describe the experience, he said “It’s awesome. It’s a surreal feeling that I don’t think has set in yet.” Hoskins celebrated with family and teammates when he learned the news. “It was real cool to be able to share it with them. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Hoskins is the poster-boy for the neo-Hornets baseball program that’s placed an emphasis on recruiting top local talent. It paid off big-time this year with a WAC championship, first trip to the NCAA Division I Regionals and now another top draft selection in Hoskins. “That was my goal in going here (Sac State) to help put it on the map. I think the program is going to take off; I can’t wait to see it.”

Just the third Sac State athlete to be named WAC Baseball Player of the Year, Rhys is the highest-drafted Hornet since Tim Wheeler was selected in the first round in 2009 and the fourth-highest drafted player in program history. Sacramento State has now had at least one player selected in the draft in eight straight years.

“Very exciting day for our program,” said Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen.  “He’s a great kid. I think his best baseball is ahead of him. He’s a big part of what we (accomplished) the last three years. He’s truly representative of our university.”

Phillies' scout Davis said Hoskins' combination of talent plus positive personal makeup were the key to the high draft selection. "I f you find (a prospect) with the talent and the real good makeup I get real excited. I’m all in.”

Additionally, Davis says Hoskins bat is what swayed them. “The power is probably the number one thing. He’s got a real strong body and will make a big target at first base. For a big guy, he’s hit for a good average. And he doesn’t strike out a lot. That’s real important.” 


10th Round UC Davis' second baseman Steven Patterson was selected by Cleveland with the 308th pick. This is the final local player to be drafted on Day Two. Patterson batted .326 with .436 on-base percentage and .451 slugging percentage for the Aggies this season.

This concludes Day Two of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. More to come tomorrow with the 11th through 40th Rounds on the final day of the draft.


June 7, Day Three

Tyler Kuresa, 1b, UC Santa Barbara/Oakmont High. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior hit .287 with nine home runs and 44 RBI for the Gauchos. In his junior season with the Gauchos, Kuresa established himself as one of the premier power hitters on the west coast, ranking second in the Big West in home runs (nine) and fifth in slugging percentage (.495). He had a three-homer day on Mar. 21. The Twins selected Kuresa in the 11th round out of high school, and the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 14th round last year. 

Jordan Johnson, RHP, CSU Northridge / Franklin High: Johnson returned for his first full season at CSUN after injuries the previous two years (Tommy John surgery). He appeared in 15 games, made 12 starts and finished the year with a 3-6 record and a 4.33 ERA. In 72.2 innings, Johnson struck out 39 batters and walked 15.  Johnson was drafted out of high school by the Colorado Rockies in the 42nd round of the 2011 Draft. He pitched for Mike Cody in his final year as head coach at Franklin.

Alex Palsha, RHP, Sacramento State: In 59 innings, the long reliever posted a 6-1 record and broke the program single-season record with a 1.82 earned run average (minimum 50 innings pitched). He also established a new program record with 37 appearances in 2014. Called "our second closer" by Sac Stater Coach Reggie Christiansen, had four saves, and a team high 8.65 strikeouts per nine innings. He totaled 57 strikeouts and just 28 walks. 

Austin Diemer, Cal State Fullerton/Rocklin High: Diemer batted .250 in 57 games for the Titans in 2014. He scored 29 runs and was tied for fourth on the team with seven doubles and tied for second on the squad with two triples. He was also second on the team as he drew 30 walks and stole five bases. Diemer named to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII First Team for the second consecutive season in 2014. He was also named the 2013 Big West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was a member of the Big West Conference All-Academic Team. He had a .280 career batting average and tallied 99 hits, 13 doubles and four triples. He stole 14 bases in 19 attempts and had 34 RBI.

Jared James, OF, Sacramento City/McClatchy: The swift outfielder batted a team-leading .351 average with 10 doubles, five triples and three home runs. He walked 34 times and had 13 stole bases for the Panthers, which advanced to the playoffs. He was an All-Big 8 Conference selection. His father, Dion, was a first-round selection by Milwaukee in the 1980 draft, and older brother Justin was taken from Sacramento City College in the 13th Round of the 2011 draft by the Yankees.

Kyle Porter, LHP, Cal/Oak Ridge: Due to a series of nagging injuries, Porter struggled to regain his freshman form in 2012 and 2013, but came back this season to pick up six more wins, including defeating Cal Poly on the road, striking out 11 batters versus Utah and shutting out Oregon on two hits in Eugene. He concluded his Bear career with 15 wins. He went 6-0 during his freshman year in 2011, earning Freshman All-America honors after giving the Bears their first CWS series win since 1980 when he defeated Texas A&M, 7-3, in Omaha. He had also given Cal a win over Baylor in the Houston Regional.

Tyler Schimpf , RHP, Capital Christian: The 6'4" pitcher hurled the game of his life, when he tossed a three-hit shutout with 16-strikeouts for Capital Christian in the section title game. Schimpf, who went 8-1 with a 1.12 ERA and struck out 100 batters in his senior season. He has a scholarship offer to Texas.

Jared Deacon, C, Cal State Fullerton/Elk Grove High: Deacon was the main backstop for a Fullerton pitching staff that set a new school record with a collective 2.24 ERA. He made 38 starts and was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List. Deacon hit .225 for the season but picked up his production late in the year to help Fullerton make their push toward their 23rd consecutive postseason.

Mitch Hart , RHP, Granite Bay High. Like Logan Webb, Hart was considered an intriguing pitching prospect, The USC-commit finished with a 2-5 record and 2.57 ERA. But his final start in 2014 may have been his best. Against Davis in the play-in game, he limited the Blue Devils to six hits, one run and fanned six during a 7-inning performance (Davis prevailed in nine innings and went on to win the Section Division I title). For the season Hart fanned 48 hitters in 49 innings and maintained a solid 4-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Patrick Armstrong, UNLV/Sacramento City: Armstrong hit .303 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and a team-high 49 RBI for the Runnin’ Rebels (36-25). He slugged at a .509 percentage. He was a frontline starter for the Sac City Panthers. A walk-on as a junior, Armstrong earned All-Mountain West First Team honors as a senior. He finished with a career-batting average of .332. In his career, Armstrong recorded 89 RBI, 15 home runs, 28 doubles and scored 69 runs.

Blake Grant-Parks, C, Cal St. Monterey Bay / Sierra /Yuba City High: The righthander hit .268 and fielded at a .987 percentage for the Otters in 2014. Last year, he was a key cog in the Sierra College team that played for a Super Regional.

 




June 3 - 2014 Draft Preview


Major league baseball’s amateur draft begins on Thursday with teams selecting in the first two rounds. While there are a number of four-year college and high school stars from our ranks considered to be top prospects, few if any will be drafted from the local community colleges, according to Baseball America, which just published its Top 500.

Nearly all spring, the talk locally has centered on Elk Grove High senior, Derek Hill, and whether he will go in the first round.

Baseball America’s scouting report on Hill notes: Combining well above-average speed with defensive instincts makes Hill the top defensive center fielder in the draft class. He has plus range and made highlight reel grabs on the showcase circuit. The Oregon commit has at least an average arm with a quick release that is also accurate.

Hill_ElkGrove_cabral
For First Round Prospect Derek Hill, it's all about speed.

Speed is the mainstay for Hill, who posted a 6.3 in the 60-yard dash last summer, and the editors at BA report his speed could make him an impact basestealer. They on to report Hill has a quick righthanded stroke and works inside the ball, showing strike zone awareness. Hill rarely swings and misses in the zone, but will expand the zone against secondary stuff. His swing is geared more toward line drives with below-average over-the-fence power.

Each of the scouts we approached believe Hill will be taken in the first round.
Continue to 2014 Draft Preview.



Other local area players who could be drafted early include:

J.D. Davis  , 1b/DH, Fullerton State: The former Elk Grove Player of the Year  in 2011 (Sacramento Bee and BaseballSacramento.com) put together another impressive year at the plate for Cal State Fullerton. Davis hit a team-leading .338 average and .523 slugging percentage with 16 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 43 RBI. His sixth homer was a grand slam that propelled the Titans to a regional playoff win over Nebraska last week. Davis also recorded six saves. He was twice selected Big West All-Conference First Team, and last summer  was named the 2013 Cape League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player for the Eastern Division after leading the squad to a 9-3 victory over the West.  Davis was drafted in the fifth round (180th overall) by Tampa Bay, and according to BaseballAmerica should be taken much higher this time around at the 118th overall pick.

Rhys Hoskins  , 1b, Sacramento State: Hoskins had a strong start and big finish this season, leading Sacramento State to a Western Athletic Conference crown and tournament championship. The Louisville Slugger All-American (Third Team) selection batted .319 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 53 runs batted in for the WAC champions. BaseballAmerica, which rates Hoskins at #278, reports he’s a slow-twitch athlete who has plus raw power thanks to his strength and feel for hitting. He’s a smart hitter and hard worker. Likely Hoskins will be drafted as a first baseman, his normal position the past two years with the Hornets, but he also played left field his freshman season. 

SSU_Hoskins_Hits_cabral
Rhys Hoskins, who hit his 8th home run against Oregon State at home, led Sacramento State to a WAC Championship in 2014, hitting 12 HR and 53 RBI.


Logan Webb, RHP, Rocklin High: The high school righthander drew big-time attention down the stretch, as scouts were intrigued by his mid-90s fastball, which dominated the Division I playoffs for the Thunder, including an 11-strikeout performance against Oak Ridge High. His record was just 4-3 this season, but his 73 strikeouts and 0.49 ERA have some drooling. Some scouts raised eyebrows over Webb’s significant increase in velocity over one year, but admit he offers tremendous upside. Webb, who has not committed to a college, has the velocity and athleticism that could push him as high as the third round if teams believe he is signable, according to Baseball America’s scouting report (#214).

 

Rocklin_Webb_cabral
Rocklin pitcher Logan Webb topped 94 with his fastball agains Oak Ridge.


Mitch Hart  , RHP, Granite Bay High: Like Webb, Hart is considered an intriguing pitching prospect, and Baseball America has rated him near the middle of the Top 500 (#222). The USC-commit also underwhelmed with a 2-5 record and 2.57 ERA. His final start in 2014 may have been his best. Against Davis in the play-in game, he limited the Blue Devils to six hits, one run and fanned six during a 7-inning performance (Davis prevailed in nine innings and went on to win the Section Division I title). For the season Hart fanned 48 hitters in 49 innings and maintained a solid 4-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. According to BA: Hart lacks a present plus pitch to get scouts too excited. He sits in the 89-90 mph range, popping some 92s along the way, and has shown the ability to throw strikes with a solid-average changeup. If it all comes together, both pitches could project to above-average down the road.



Other prospects from the local area expected to be drafted include:

Tyler Schimpf  , RHP, Capital Christian: The 6'4" Texas-bound pitcher hurled the game of his life, when he tossed a three-hit shutout with 16-strikeouts for Capital Christian in the section title game. Schimpf, who went 8-1 with a 1.12 ERA and struck out 100 batters in his senior season, is rated #293 by Baseball America.

Matt Trask  , RHP, Davis High: The 6’2”, 230-pound UCLA-bound Trask led the Davis Blue Devils to a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title, producing a 6-1 record and threw six innings of no-hit ball against Rocklin in the playoffs. According to Baseball America, Scouts laud Trask’s advanced pitchability…His fastball sits at 88-91 mph, touching 92 and occasionally higher, and he delivers it to all four quadrants of the plate. His 76-77 mph changeup, his best pitch, earns plus grades for its fade, as well as his arm speed and feel for using it against any hitter. Trask’s maxed-out body and fringy slow curveball, which flashes average, may push him down the draft enough to make signing him too difficult. 

Trask_Davis_cabral
Matt Trask pitched Davis to a section title in 2014.

Tyler Kuresa, 1b, UC Santa Barbara. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior first hit .287 with nine home runs and 44 RBI for th Gauchos. Baseball America, which rated him at #379, says he's more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a true slugger; he has a rhythm swing, and most scouts say he has slider bat speed, looking like a star against below-average fastballs but struggling to catch up to good velocity. He has an opposite-field approach and rarely turns on balls with authority. But Kuresa is a true plus defender at first base, with a solid-average arm.

Cameron Avila-Leeper, LHP, Grant High: Another pitching prospect from the Sacramento area, Avila-Leeper, who just barely made Baseball America’s Top 500 (#488). They report: he could be the smallest pitcher drafted this year at a listed 5-foot-10, 145 pounds. If he gets picked, it will be because he’s shown a quick arm with a fastball in the 88-90 mph range, though he struggles to hold that velocity. He has shown the ability spin a breaking ball and throws strikes. He’s also considered signable.

Others who may get the call this week from a professional team include:

Alex Palsha, RHP, Sacramento State: In 59 innings, the long reliever posted a 6-1 record with the second-lowest ERA on the staff (1.82). Palsha--who Coach Christiansen called "our second closer" next to sophomore Sutter McLoughlin--had four saves, and a team high 8.65 strikeouts per nine innings. Palsha, Christiansen says, should go in the Top 10 Rounds of the draft.

Brennan Leitao, RHP, Sacramento State: Leitao started more games (18) and pitched more innings (115) than anyone on the Hornets staff in 2014. He finished with a team-leading nine wins (9-4) and his 2.15 ERA led all starters. Leitao, one scout told us, is a year away from being pro ready, despite his notable achievements this year. But that was just one team.

Kyle Moses, OF, Sacramento State: Finished second in hitting for the Hornets with a .330 average. He came on strong in the second half of the season, batting leadoff toward the end, and with his deer-like speed represented a stolen base threat, as his team-leading 13 thefts demonstrated.

Kevin Barker, OF, UC Davis: Barker, a junior, hit .335 for the Aggies this season, posting a team-leading 63 hits with 10 doubles.

Aggies teammate, Steven Patterson, OF, batted .326 with .436 on-base percentage and .451 slugging percentage, and drew the attention of scouts all season.

One thing to remember about the draft—it’s not an exact science. “Signability” is key in today’s draft, with bonus slots tightly configured now by Major League Baseball.

Additionally, over the years there have been boatloads of first-rounders who never made it to the big leagues. And many late-rounders—including Hall of Famer Mike Piazza who was taken in the 62nd Round in 1988 mostly as a “pity pick” by the Los Angeles Dodgers—enjoyed long, productive careers in major league baseball.


5/16/14

Early Draft News

by Rick Cabral

Derek Hill, senior outfielder for the Elk Grove Thundering Herd, is projected to be a first-round selection in the upcoming Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

In Baseball America's latest 2014 Draft Preview 2.0, Hill is projected to be taken 20th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays. As BA noted, the Dodgers, picking at Nunber 22, are an intriguing possibility, seeing that Derek's father Orsino Hill is a scout for Los Angeles.

The senior Hill spent 12 seasons in minor league baseball, rising as high as Triple-A.

“It’s an interesting proposition,” Mr. Hill admits about his son being a possible first-round pick and he being a professional baseball scout for the Dodgers. “It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy so much watching Derek play. He’s blessed with a lot of talent,” the father proudly admits, remembering watching his son since T-Ball.

Asked to pinpoint Derek’s greatest assets for the upcoming draft, Orsino says it’s “his intangibles—he just knows how to play the game. He’s very athletic, but he understands the game. And at the higher levels, that’s what separates you.”

The senior Hill played eight seasons in Triple-A, batting .268 for the Reds, Expos, Cubs, White Sox, Athletics and Angels.

“I tell (Derek), ‘I was a good player, but you’re better than I was,’” he says with a chuckle. “’Take it and run with it.’”

As an area scout for the Dodgers Orsino Hill has watched a multitude of talented players, but these last two years he’s played an unusual dual role: scout and father. He admits it’s been “funny” how his fellow scouts have behaved around him. “We just kind of leave it out there. It’s been an interesting year.”

This year, he’s looking forward to the MLB draft for a more personal reason.

Elk Grove teammates Dom Nunez (6th Round Colorado) and Rowdy Tellez (30th Round  Toronto) were drafted and signed in 2013. Herd slugger J.D. Davis, a junior this season at Cal State Fullerton, was picked by Tampa Bay in the 5th Round of 2011 Draft.

On June 5, the first day of the draft, Derek Hill will be in Studio 42 at MLB.tv participating in the draft day celebration along with the nation's other elite ballplayers awaiting their names to be called. If Hill is selected in the first round, he would be the 13th high school player from the local area.

The last local high school player to be selected in the first round was Tony Torcato, first baseman from Woodland, taken 19th overall in the 1998 draft by San Francisco. The last first round pick from the Sacramento area was Tim Wheeler of Sacramento State (and El Camino High), selected 32nd overall in 2009.

Following is a list of local area high school players taken in the 1st Round of the Regular* MLB Draft since it was instituted in 1965: 

1998 

Tony Torcato 

3B 

Woodland 

19th overall 

San Francisco 

1993 

Derrek Lee 

1B 

El Camino High 

14th overall 

San Diego 

1983 

Ricky Jordan 

1B 

Grant High 

22nd overall 

Philadelphia 

1980 

Dion James 

OF 

McClatchy 

25th overall 

Milwaukee 

1977 

Drungo Hazewood 

C 

Sac High 

19th overall 

Baltimore 

1974 

Butch Edge 

RHP 

El Camino 

6 th overall 

Milwaukee 

1972 

Mike Ondina 

OF 

Cordova 

12th overall 

Chi. White Sox 

1972 

Joel Bishop 

SS 

McClatchy 

16th overall 

Boston 

1972 

Jerry Manuel 

SS 

Cordova 

20th overall 

Detroit 

1971 

Taylor Duncan 

SS 

Grant 

10th overall 

Atlanta 

1967 

Andy Finlay 

OF 

Burbank 

12th overall 

Atlanta 

1966 

Leron Lee 

OF 

Grant 

7 th overall 

St. Louis

* In prior years, Majoe League Baseball conducted various “supplemental” drafts held in summer and winter. The MLB Amateur Draft that exists today was known then as “the regular” draft.

 

 Updated 6/16/14
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2014
(except where others hold the copyright)

 

 

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