Thursday, January 14, 2010

Season 7 Draft Review -- San Juan Chinchillas

The current ownership of San Juan came into the league in Season 5, and they've done a great job keeping the team competitive while going through the steep learning curve that is HBD and building some nice talent in the minors. This owner may be new, but the way he's building his team it won't be long before the fighting Chinchillas are playoff bound. With 4 first rounders -- that's right, FOUR first round picks -- San Juan has a golden opportunity to add some serious talent to their farm. Let's see how they did in the Season 7 draft.

At pick 19, San Juan got what is arguably the steal of the draft. I honestly don't know how Rafael Abreau fell this far. His durability suggests that he may only see between 130 and 140 games a season, but the production the big league club should see from him is well worth it. Considered a C when the draft took place, San Juan has already moved him from behind the plate to 1B/DH. Given the opportunity to develop his glove by playing 1B, Abreau could be a more than serviceable defensive 1B in the big leagues. Abreau's real talent is the absolute punishment he doles out at the plate. A powerful RH hitter, Abreau shows an advanced approach at the plate even though he's only 19 yrs old. Dangerous against righties, but Abreau's real talent shines when getting to face lefties. This kid is the real deal at the plate. Just amazing that he fell to 19.

The Chinchillas' didn't stop with Abreau though. Getting to pick at 20 as well, San Juan selected Hal Catalanotto. Cat shows all the ability to turn into a solid and reliable professional hitter at the big league level. Great speed, but isn't as good on the basepaths as he could be considering his speed. It looks like Cat is going to be given every chance to develop as a 2B in the minors, but really he's probably better off in LF. A less than average defensive 2B -- he'd turn into an above average LF guy, and has the offensive ability to transfer his game to the outfield. Another very solid pick.

The third of the 1st rounders: Jordan Salmon is a very solid reliever prospect. Probably doesn't have the durability to go back-to-back enough to be a closer, he certainly has closer stuff. Has a lot of pitches in his bag for a reliever, will be interesting to see if the San Juan coaching staff can get Salmon to focus on developing his fastball and sinker, both of which flash above average potential. It is very difficult for batters from either side to get good contact, so while he may not have the dominant velocity and pitches needed to get strikeouts, Salmon can force weak grounders almost at will. Not a closer, but a good pick nonetheless.

18 yr old Allie Price needs to hit his potential to have a chance at being a successful Major League starting pitcher, but he does have that potential. Throws hard, and has a dominant sinker that he backs with a forkball, curve, and change -- all of which have potential to be above average. When Price is on, it is just one groundball after another. His outlandish SO rates in Rookie Ball probably won't continue as he progresses, and probably will be a little hitable at the upper minors and Major League level; however, Price has the ability to frustrate an offense by forcing one weak groundball after another. Needs time to develop, but the patience to do so could reward the parent club big time.

A very, very good draft for San Juan. Easily an A. It's only a matter of time...

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