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Interesting College Pitchers for 2009 Draft, Part Two

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James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky
   Paxton has an unattractive 5.40 ERA, but this is around average for his context, and his other numbers are sharp: 97/17 K/BB in 65 innings, 68 hits allowed, giving him K/IP, K/BB, and H/IP marks that are all very strong for the context in which he's pitching. His biggest weakness is a high home run rate, with 10 dingers given up. Paxton is 6-4, 215 and has been clocked as high as 95 MPH. He's from Canada and is a bit raw compared to some other college pitchers, but has a very high ceiling. He could go anywhere in the first or second round.

Brooks Raley, LHP, Texas A&M
    Raley is having a statistically dominant season, going 7-1, 1.96 with an 84/19 K/BB in 78 innings, 51 hits allowed. He's also playing great as an outfielder, hitting .318/.443/.459 with 33 walks and 21 steals in 157 at-bats, demonstrating athleticism though scouts prefer him on the mound. His fastball is average at 87-89 MPH, but his curveball, slider, and changeup are all solid, and his control is very good. His athleticism and command should help him stay healthy. His lack of a plus fastball, as well as his sophomore status and resultant leverage, make it very unclear where he will fall on draft day.

Jason Stoffel, RHP, Arizona
    Stoffel has struggled a bit with his command this year. He has a 5.59 ERA with a 41/19 K/BB in 39 innings, 36 hits allowed, collecting eight saves. His K/IP is very good for context, and even his ERA isn't bad given that the overall ERA in Arizona games is about 6.20. At his best, Stoffel buzzes hitters with a mid-90s fastball and a hard curveball, but he hasn't always been at his best this year. This reminds me of what happened to Mariners prospect Josh Fields at the University of Georgia, who had a similar slump in his junior year. Teams still like Stoffel, but where he gets drafted will likely depend on what his bonus demands are.

Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford
    Storen has shown excellent command this year, posting a 42/4 K/BB in 28 innings. His K/IP is outstanding, and his 3.21 ERA and 25 hits allowed are very solid for context. He's picked up six saves, but his arsenal should be diverse enough to be a starter in pro ball: 90-94 MPH fastball, good curveball, and a changeup that needs polish but is promising when he uses it. His control is obviously excellent, and he fits well as a "safe" pick late in the first round or in the supplemental round.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State
     The buildup about Strasburg is actually getting a bit ridiculous. The numbers are awesome: 10-0, 1.38, 147/18 K/BB in 78 innings, 48 hits allowed. The scouting reports are awesome: upper 90s to 100 MPH fastball, excellent secondary pitches, excellent command. But people are now throwing around Tom Seaver comparisons and calling Strasburg a once-in-40-years prospect. I don't mean to downplay him at all; he's legitimately terrific, and the Nationals are fools if they don't make every possible effort to sign him, but he's still a pitcher and as such is risky by nature. The contrarian part of my mind is starting to rebel somewhat against the hype.

Ben Tootle, RHP, Jacksonville State
    Another hard thrower, Tootle can get up to 99 MPH and this is reflected with 47 strikeouts in 40 innings, a fine ratio in the context of Jacksonville State. On the other hand, his command needs work: he's walked 26 leading to a 4.54 ERA. He's somewhat raw but could go anywhere in the second half of the first round or in the supplemental round.

Kendal Volz, RHP, Baylor
     Volz's performance hasn't quite matched his potential yet. He's 3-5, 4.00 with a 71/33 K/BB in 74 innings, 73 hits allowed. His components are above average for context, but he lacks consistency. At his best, he has a 97 MPH fastball and a plus slider, but both his velocity and control will slip when his mechanics aren't right. His ceiling is impressive but he's still polishing up his game, and like several of these guys he could go later in the first round.

Alex White, RHP, North Carolina
   White has a 3.36 ERA with a 77/26 K/BB in 70 innings so far, with 56 hits allowed. His components are very good though not exceptional. He has a fine body at 6-3, 200, a fine fastball at 89-94 MPH, an a very fine slider. His curveball and changeup will need some polish in pro ball. His command is generally solid, though not terrific. All in all, White is basically, well, solid, and would be another safe pick in the second half of the round.

Alex Wilson, RHP, Texas A&M
    His headline stats doesn't stand out at 4.48 ERA and a 5-5 record for a 30-16 team, but his 95/16 K/BB in 64 innings is excellent, and he's not been overly hittable with 59 hits allowed and a .239 batting average against, solid for context. Wilson has a 90-95 MPH fastball and a very good slider, but his curveball and changeup can be inconsistent. He is a Tommy John survivor but appears fully recovered, and could end up being a very nice pick for someone in the back end of the first round or in the supplemental round.