Final Draft Tidbits
I love the draft, but I'm getting tired of writing about it. I have one more update for newsletter subscribers that should go out tomorrow, and I have a few final tidbits here for you. In no particular order:
Dennis Bigley, RHP, Oral Roberts (22nd round, Blue Jays)
Bigley went 11-3 with a 1.47 ERA this year with an 82/24 K/BB. In 104 innings, he gave up just 68 hits and one home run. While his K/BB, H/IP, and home run rate are all excellent, his K/IP was below average. Bigley used to throw hard, but his velocity is down in the 84-86 MPH range now, without an obvious injury. This is reflected in the below average K/IP. He does know how to pitch, and his ability to work the strike zone and keep the ball down gives him a chance to succeed even without the big fastball. So in that sense he is a sleeper as 22nd-round picks go, but there's a good chance he will top out in Double-A.
P.J. Finigan, RHP, Southern Illinois University (7th round, Detroit Tigers)
The best position player in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, Finigan was a pitcher/shortstop for Southern Illinois, but will use his strong arm on the mound as a pro. He went 9-3, 3.24 this year, with a 107/36 K/BB in 106 innings, with 95 hits allowed. His K/BB and K/IP were both safely better than average. He is not a big guy, standing just 6-0, but he gets his fastball past 90 MPH, throws strikes, and is quite athletic. I like him a lot in the seventh round and he should be tracked as a sleeper.
Jacob Butler, OF, University of Nevada (8th round, Toronto Blue Jays)
In 162 at-bats for Nevada, Butler hit .340 with a .464 OBP and .648 SLG, with 11 homers, 41 walks, and 25 strikeouts. He benefited from the offensive context, but even accounting for league factors he looks very promising. Note his BB/K/AB ratio, more walks than strikeouts is always a good sign. A senior, he represents good value in the 8th round and should make a lot of noise in the low minors.
Will Venable, OF, Princeton (7th round, San Diego Padres)
Venable hit .385 with a .437 OBP, .636 SLG, 9 homers, 13 walks, 22 strikeouts, and 10 steals in 143 at-bats. The son of former Major Leaguer Max Venable, Will is an excellent athlete who has been mostly a basketball player in college, but he has had success on the baseball diamond as well, and obviously has good bloodlines. Possessing athleticism and intelligence, he looks like a sleeper to me.