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John Sickels' Column: MLB Draft Board 26-50

John Sickels

John Sickels

John Sickels writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Here is Part Two of our Rotowire 2010 Draft Board, players 26 through 50. This is NOT a Mock Draft predicting where players will go; this is a look at the talent of the players expected to be selected early.

26) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Louisiana State University

Considered a lock for the upper half of the first round four months ago, Ranaudo has had a difficult spring, hampered by an elbow stress injury resulting in a sharp drop in velocity and weaker-than-normal command. He could still go in the first round if teams think he’s healthy or could get that way, and can regain his mid-90s fastball.

27) Jesse Hahn, RHP, Virginia Tech

A bout with painful kidney stones, followed by mechanical slippage and a sore forearm have cost Hahn some draft status in recent weeks, though he could still go in the first round. When healthy, he features an electric 95-99 MPH fastball and a promising curveball. His command was much better this year before he got hurt.

28) Asher Wojchiechowski, RHP, The Citadel

His name is hard to spell, but scouts have no trouble focusing on his 93-95 MPH fastball and hard slider, combined with good command. He will need to use his changeup more in the pros, but has the aptitude to adjust.

29) Zach Lee, RHP, McKinney HS, Texas

A very strong commitment to Louisiana State football clouds Lee’s draft status. On talent alone he is a first-round pick, with a mid-90s fastball, a hard slider, and good athleticism. He might or might not be drafted that early, depending on how teams assess his signability.

30) Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson HS, Texas

Like Lee, Jenkins is a two-way talent with a strong college option, in his case with Baylor football. Jenkins offers outstanding athleticism and above average arm strength, and is said to be more signable than Lee. He’s somewhat raw, but the upside is excellent.

31) Kellin Deglan, C, RE Mountain HS, Langley, British Columbia

Deglan’s stock continues to climb, as scouts grow more impressed with his offensive potential from the left side. The Canadian also draws praise for his defensive aptitude and excellent makeup. A Florida International commitment shouldn’t be a huge obstacle if he is drafted early enough.

32) Justin O’Conner, SS-C, Cowan HS, Muncie, Indiana

Scouts love O’Conner’s bat , expecting him to hit for both power and average. His position is unsettled; he has experience at both catcher and shortstop, although in pro ball he could fit behind the plate, at second base, third base, or perhaps outfield. The University of Arkansas is his college destination if he doesn’t sign.

33) James Paxton, LHP, Grand Prairie (Independent)

Paxton didn’t sign out of the University of Kentucky last year, but ended up in independent ball this spring after an NCAA dispute over his use of an agent. His status will depend on how he looks in his last couple of outings. At his best, he has a mid-90s fastball and a big-breaking curve, but his velocity has been down in his early innings.

34) Kolbrin Vitek, INF, Ball State University

Vitek is a rapid riser thanks to excellent college performance this spring, and will appeal to statistically inclined teams or clubs looking for a “safe” choice who won’t break the bonus budget. In pro ball he projects as a third baseman with average tools but very polished hitting skills and at least moderate power. 35) Sammy Solis, LHP, University of San Diego

Solis has excellent command of his 88-92 MPH fastball, combining it with a plus changeup and a decent curve. He throws strikes, has a superb feel for pitching, and won’t need a huge amount of minor league seasoning. He would be a “safe” pick for many clubs late in the first round.

36) Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M

Another intriguing college arm, Loux has a 90-94 MPH heater, and both his curveball and changeup are solid offerings. He had offseason elbow surgery, but has been very durable so far in 2010, showing no ill effects. Like Solis, he won’t need a lot of minor league time and can be quite dominant at times, though some scouts think he could be best-suited for relief.

37) Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland HS, Florida

The main negative for Cabrera is age: he turns 20 in October. Although he has a Miami Hurricanes scholarship, he’s likely signable in the early rounds. His best tools are power and arm strength, although there is mixed opinion about his ability to stay at shortstop as he matures physically.

38) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Minooka HS, Illinois

A firm University of Texas commitment means that Foltynewicz won’t come cheap. He’s very impressive for a cold-weather high school pitcher, hitting 93-95 MPH and showing a good curveball and changeup, though his command could use some refinement due to mechanical inconsistency.

39) Zach Cates, RHP, Northeast Texas Community College

A converted catcher, Cates has been clocked as high as 98 MPH this spring and has a good changeup. As you would expect, he is rather raw and needs experience, and he might not be a cheap sign away from Oklahoma State, but his ceiling is very impressive. He needs a better breaking ball.

40) Seth Blair, RHP, Arizona State University

Blair has emerged as the Sun Devils ace this year, thanks to his good breaking ball and changeup, and a fastball that’s improved this season, now into the 91-96 MPH range. He was seen as a fourth- or fifth-round option four months ago, but his stock has improved rapidly this spring and he could go in the back part of the first round now.

41) Chevez Clarke, OF, Marietta HS, Georgia

If you like pure tools, there are few better than Clarke, a Georgia Tech recruit with speed and power potential. His bat still needs some polish, but he’s improved his swing this spring and looks like a possible first rounder now. He also has an excellent glove.

42) Jarrett Parker, OF, University of Virginia

Parker is erratic, but at his best he has both speed and power plus good defensive skills in the outfield. Concerns about his handling of breaking balls will likely keep him out of the first round, but his overall tools will make sure that he goes before the third.

43) Jedd Gyorko, 3B, West Virginia University

Although not especially toolsy, Gyorko has outstanding command of the strike zone and has shown plenty of power in college. The main issue is defense: he will end up at third base or the corner outfield, but no one is exactly sure how the glove will shake out. That uncertainty will probably keep him out of the first round.

44) Marcus Knecht, OF, Connors State Junior College

A Canadian with excellent tools including power and speed, Knecht is thriving at the JC level after struggling in limited playing time as a freshman at Oklahoma State last year. He now has a North Carolina State commitment for 2011 if he doesn’t sign this year, but most observers think he’ll be signable if he goes where his talent indicates. His only below average tool is his arm.

45) Reggie Golden, OF, Wetumpka HS, Alabama

Although not a big guy at 5-foot-10, Golden is very strong and has plus power potential to go with his speed. An Alabama scholarship gives him some leverage, but he should be signable if drafted early enough. He has a strong arm to go with his offensive tools.

46) Chance Ruffin, RHP, University of Texas

The son of former major leaguer Bruce Ruffin, Chance has a low-90s fastball, but his wicked slider is his main out pitch and has enabled him to dominate college competition out of the Texas bullpen. He won’t need much development time, and draws frequent comparisons to former Longhorn Huston Street.

47) Hunter Morris, 1B, Auburn

The relative lack of polished power bats this year should help Morris get drafted early. His athletic tools aren’t bad for a first baseman, and no one doubts his superior power potential or his impressive production this spring.

48) Cam Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta HS, Georgia

Son of the former Braves pitcher Steve Bedrosian, Cam has a Louisiana State scholarship to backup his negotiating posture. Scouts are also fond of his 90-95 MPH fastball and big-breaking curve, but worry that his smallish 6-foot frame might not be up to the stress of starting at the pro level. That worry will keep him out of the first round, but he should be drafted soon after.

49) Mel Rojas, JR, OF, Wabash Valley Junior College

Another major league son, Rojas has exceptional tools including blazing speed and some power potential, but is somewhat raw despite his background. There is some buzz that he could sneak into the bottom half of the first round if his bonus demands are reasonable.

50) Chad Bettis, RHP, Texas Tech

Bettis has been used as both a starter and reliever this year, and there is some concern about his workload. His 92-95 MPH fastball and hard slider will still be attractive to scouts, and most believe that he could move very quickly to the majors if used in the bullpen, where he wouldn’t have to worry about improving his changeup.

OTHER TOP PROSPECTS TO WATCH ON DRAFT DAY: Robert Aviles, RHP, Suffren HS, New York; Delino DeShields Jr, 2B, Woodward Academy, McDonough, Georgia; Scott Frazier, RHP, Upland HS, California; Dan Klein, RHP, UCLA; Mike Kvasnicka, C, University of Minnesota; Jacob Petricka, RHP, Indiana State; Addison Reed, RHP, San Diego State; Eddie Rosario, OF, Guayama, Puerto Rico; DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Tatnall Academy, Macon, Georgia; Ryne Stanek, RHP, Blue Valley HS, Overland Park, Kansas; Drew Vettleson, OF, Central Kitsap HS, Tracyton, Washington; Austin Wates, OF, Virginia Tech;

Article first appeared 5/26/10