Friday, January 15, 2010

Season 7 Draft Review -- Jackson Rockets

Jackson has been under the same ownership since season 3, has always been in the playoff hunt reaching 3 of the last 4 seasons and is in the thick of it once again. A very solid organization. The don't have the strongest of farm systems, but there is some talent sprinkled throughout it; and with 4 first round picks, Jackson had a real shot at infusing some nice talent into their system. Let's see how they did.

Going at Jackson's first selection, Tyrone Bigley demonstrates some serious defensive chops. Has the range and glove to be a plus defensive SS, but probably doesn't have the arm; however he would certainly have enough arm for CF so look for a move there as he progresses. If he does move to CF, Bigley could turn into a defensive force out there with above average range and what would be a plus arm from CF. Bigley is a switch-hitter who is far more comfortable from the right-side. Does have some pop with the bat, but his real asset is his base running ability. Not a super star at the plate, but his offense is more than serviceable considering how good his defensive game is.

The second of four 1st rounders: Neftali Lee may just be the best of the bunch. In what was a clear attempt to address up-the-middle defense, Jackson grabbed a potential GG caliber 2B in Lee. Oodles of speed and a great idea of what he's doing at the plate, Lee is another switch-hitter who is more comfortable from his natural right side. Lee should make the Majors on the strength of his defense alone, but he has a chance to play every day if he can reach his potential at the plate. Considering the lack of depth in this season's draft, Lee was a very good pick.

With the next two 1st round picks, Jackson took pitchers in Doiner Bournigal and Artie Milton. Bot have the potential to start and be solid back-of-the-rotation guys, though each may find themselves pushed into the pen where they may be more effective given each has some question about their control. One thing that isn't in question is Bournigal's change-up. He comes with good velocity and brings an above average fastball, but his out pitch is one of the most devastating change-ups you'll ever see. Milton is more a candidate to make it as a start as he is a bit less hittable than Bournigal. Milton flashes an above average 4-seamer, slider, and change, but he needs all 3 to develop to their full potential in order to have a realistic shot at being a consistent ML starter.

Jackson was able to find players who have the potential to contribute in some for or fashion at the ML level with their first 8 picks. None project to be super-stars, but still when you can 8 prospects all of whom have a decent shot at being a Major Leaguer, you've had a nice draft. For that, Jackson earns a B/B+.

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