Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Season 7 Draft Review -- Durham Radicals

Durham has struggled a bit to get things going since the beginning of Cobbfather and that continued in Season 6, leaving Durham picking 2nd in the draft. With the amount of high-end talent that is about to make it to the ML level (if not already there), it's very possible Durham won't find itself picking high for much longer. With that, let's review their draft for season 7.

With their first pick, Durham selected OF Shawon Stoops. Stoops has solid, but not great, plate discipline; however, every other aspect of his offensive game is very, very good. His durability calls into question whether or not he'll see more than 140 games, but he should have an impact in the games he does play. Stoops was drafted as a RF but projects more to play LF, though given the Durham park's propensity for the HR, it doesn't really take much athleticism to turn your head and watch the ball land in the seats so it may not matter which COF position he plays. If/When Stoops reaches the majors, plenty of his hits will wind up in the outfield bleachers of Durham Athletic Park.

2nd rounder Marvin Jaha is a very solid pitching prospect. A hard throwing lefty with a very good ability to force ground balls and very, very good control, Jaha has the durability to be a starter, but does have some stamina concerns. Look for him to be developed as a starter in the minors, but he may ultimately project better as reliever, and he would have good value in that role. 3rd rounder Chico Nieto is another hard thrower (this time from the right side) with a very good ability to induce ground balls. While Nieto possesses a plus sinker and backs it with a solid slider (he also has decent curve and change) he has trouble commanding his pitches and is a little wild. With his stamina and durability concerns, Nieto projects to be a much more reliable reliever than starter, though it's very likely he'll be groomed as a starter at least until AA. With his effectiveness against hitters from either side of the plate, he should be a solid ML reliever if not a back-of-the-rotation starter.

4th rounder Doug Austin was a very solid pick. At the very least, Austin should be able to hit LH pitching in the Majors. A bit limited defensively, Austin does at least have the ability to play a COF position though his arm probably isn't suited for RF on an everyday basis. With the potential to develop a good eye at the plate and decent contact skills, Austin should be able to contribute at the ML level and if used against lefties as part of a platoon he may turn out to be a very solid contributor at that.

10th rounder Dioner Ramirez is my sleeper pick for Durham. Needs time to develop, but should be able to play any position on the field (except catcher), and does show some promise against LH pitching. Won't be a world beater, but there should be room on an ML roster for a player with Ramirez's skillset -- assuming his agent doesn't price him out of the market in his free agency years.

Overall, Durham had a solid draft. There were better players available that Stoops at #2, but he's a good player who's offensive abilities will only be enhanced by Durham's park. I grade the draft out as a B-. It could have been better, but picking up potential ML level players in the first 4 rounds is a good draft.

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