With the MLB amateur draft set to kick off its three-day celebration on June 7, I though it would be a fun time to take a look back at some interesting names to remember from the ’09 draft.
Kyle Heckathorn | RHP | Milwaukee: The knock on Heckathorn coming out of college was that he had never dominated despite very good stuff. That has changed in pro ball. The right-hander has a power-pitcher’s frame at 6’6” and 225 lbs. He has a fastball that can reach the mid-90s, as well as a slider that can be plus at times, and a good change-up. He also has pretty good control for a power pitcher and gets a good number of ground balls. In college, he wasn’t very good at pitch selection but he’s been helped by working with pro catchers and coaches, who have really sharpened his understanding of his craft. One caution, though: He is succeeding in low-A ball, so it will be nice to see him at higher levels, perhaps later this year.
Ryan Wheeler | 1B | Arizona: How is this for debut numbers from 2009: .361/.462/.540 in 263 at-bats. Sure, Wheeler was an advanced college hitter beating up on younger pitchers, but he’s at it again in 2010… this time in high-A ball. The left-handed hitter is batting .310/.364/.434 in 226 at-bats in the powerful California League. Wheeler isn’t showing a ton of over-the-fence power right now, but he has good raw pop and he has 17 doubles on the year. A report by Baseball America likened his potential to that of the Reds’ Joey Votto.
Brad Boxberger | RHP | Cincinnati: I’m fairly certain you’re familiar with the Reds’ first draft pick from 2009… a guy by the name of Mike Leake? Well, Boxberger didn’t zoom right from college to the Majors, but he is already is double-A and is one of the fastest-moving draftees not named after a bodily function. The right-hander has given up 47 hits and just 17 walks in 49.1 innings of work. He’s also recorded 57 strikeouts and has a solid ground-ball rate, which has helped him give up just two homers this season. He has a little bit of work to do to improve against left-handed hitters but an improved curveball could give Boxberger the edge that he needs. He repertoire also features a low-90s fastball, plus slider, and a change-up.
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