For the next two weeks, in honor of the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft on June 5-6, I will be devoting my posts to a review of the 2007 draft. Today, let’s take a look at how some of the key National League supplemental first round picks are faring in their first full season in professional baseball.
Nick Noonan (San Francisco) was considered an advanced high school hitter when he was drafted and he has held his own this season in A-ball. He is currently hitting .283/.310/.429 with two homers in 191 at-bats. He needs to show more patience, though, having walked only 3.2 percent of the time, while striking out at a rate of 17.6 percent.
Jon Gilmore (Atlanta) did not receive a call up to full-season ball until May and he has struggled with the bat. The 19-year-old third baseman is hitting .143/.172/.143 in 56 at-bats. He has struck out at a rate of 17.9 percent.
Clayton Mortensen (St. Louis), 23, has been solid since beginning his pro career. Currently in High-A ball, Mortensen has a 4.12 ERA in 54.2 innings and has allowed 53 hits. He has rates of 6.75 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9. He has done an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground and has induced more than 2.6 groundballs for each flyball.
The Dodgers usually prefer raw high schoolers with high draft picks, but the club took James Adkins and he is on the fast-track. Currently pitching in High-A ball, Adkins has a 4.07 ERA in 48.2 innings. He has allowed 49 hits and rates of 8.14 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9. Adkins has struggled in his last two outings by allowing seven earned runs in nine innings of work over two starts.
Eddie Kunz (New York NL) is a groundball machine, inducing more than eight grounders for each flyball in his debut. This season, in Double-A, the 6-5, 265 pound reliever is inducing groundballs at a rate of 3.25 per flyball. His ERA is a little high at 4.43 (He has allowed five earned runs in his last two outs spanning two innings) and Kunz has allowed 24 hits, but he has yet to allow a homer in his pro career.
Michael Burgess (Washington) slid out of first round consideration because a number of scouts doubted the prepster’s ability to hit pro pitching. He hit .318 in his pro debut and has held his own so far this season. Currently, he is hitting .258/.323/.516 with 11 homers in 182 at-bats. Burgess has walked 8.6 percent of the time and has struck out at a rate of 33.9 percent, a number that obviously needs to shrink.
After he hit .286 in his pro debut last season, Charlie Culberson (San Francisco) was promoted to full-season ball to begin to 2008 but he has struggled. The 19-year-old is hitting .156/.233/.220 in 109 at-bats. Culberson has walked 5.2 percent of the time and struck out at a rate of 24.8 percent.
Josh Smoker (Washington) has appeared in only two pro games and has been held back in extended spring training, but he should play in the New York Penn League this summer. The 19-year-old southpaw is talented, but raw. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud (Philadelphia) also has yet to appear in full-season ball this season.