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Commentary on Scattered Draft Picks of Interest

Here are some thoughts about four fairly obscure draft picks that interest me for one reason or another. The only one of these guys considered a serious prospect right now is Erik Lis, but the others all deserve to be watched as possible late-round surprises based on their college performance.

Jason Delaney, OF, Boston College (Pittsburgh, 12th round)
Outfielder hit .337 with .418 OBP and .538 SLG, with 13 steals, 28 walks, and 28 strikeouts in 199 at-bats for BC. A right-handed hitting senior, listed at 6-3, 215, he doesn't have a tremendous set of physical tools, but has hit well at the college level and has some raw power. College statistics are always difficult to interpret, but his strikeout rate is reasonably low for a power hitter, which is a good sign and a hint that he might keep hitting at higher levels. We'll see.

David Henninger, RHP, Messiah College (Kansas City Royals, 21st round)
Comes from a small college in Pennsylvania. I noticed him for two reasons: he's very tall and thin at 6-8, 210, yet is athletic enough that he played center on the basketball team. He also has a good statistical set: 2.19 ERA with a 52/11 K/BB in 37 innings. His walk rate is pretty low for a pitcher his size. All sorts of caveats apply to these small college guys, but sometimes these late-round picks can surprise you, and finding a 6-8 strike-thrower in the 21st round at least qualifies as an interesting pick.

Erik Lis, 1B, University of Evansville (Minnesota Twins, 9th round)
Lis was projected as a possible fourth round pick going into the college season, but an erratic spring knocked him down by five rounds. He finished at .322 with a .398 OBP and .564 SLG, including 12 homers, 26 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 211 at-bats. Lis had a great year in the 2004 wood-bat Texas Collegiate summer league, but had some contact problems this spring. This shows up in his strikeout rate, which is rather high. However his power from the left side is legitimate, and if he can improve his contact rates he could be quite a surprise.

Jason Twomley, OF, University of Massachusetts (Red Sox, 24th round)
Another senior outfielder with a power bat, Twomley hit .314 with a .467 OBP and .700 SLG this year for UMass, contributing 16 homers, 34 walks, 31 strikeouts, and 13 steals in 140 at-bats. His walk rate was high, and he was one of the more dangerous left-handed hitting outfielders in college ball. His stock suffered due to his age (23 in September), senior status, questions about how much his power will translate to wood, and concerns that he's not athletic enough. All those are good things to be worried about, but he showed enough with the bat this year to at least qualify as a sleeper on paper.