2007 Draft Mailbag: Brackman Ranking Too Low?
Should Brackman be higher? (Photo/PackPride)
Should Brackman be higher? (Photo/PackPride)
Senior Correspondent
Posted Jan 28, 2007


The questions keep rolling in about the 2007 MLB Draft. Todd Morgan returns to answer questions about Grand Rapids CC, Andrew Brackman and more...

Todd,
Thanks for posting that email and your reply. I was wondering if there are any kids from Grand Rapids CC that would get drafted. I know that they are a powerhouse in the JC. I heard about this LHP Brandon Ritchie from there that is throwing in the mid to low 90's. Any thoughts? Thanks again, also do you have your own website on the MLB Draft?

-Justin

After a bit of research, it looks like Ritchie is the only good bet to be drafted out of GRCC this year. He had an outside shot last year but nobody called his name. My guess is that he'd be a Day Two pick right now. His fastball has touched 90 mph in games, but so far I haven't seen any scouting report that says he's hitting 90 consistently. In fact, most have him in the 85-88 range. If he gets it up to 90 consistently he has a shot at going in the first 20 rounds. Grand Rapids does indeed have a nice program, but it isn't quite on the level of Walters State in Tennessee or San Jacinto in Texas.

To address your final question, no, I don't have my own website on the draft. I’m neck deep in a Master’s program at the University of San Francisco, so my draft coverage could never be that comprehensive. Scout provides a good place to feature the work I have time for.

Why no love for Andrew Brackman? Isn't he a "lock" in the top 5?
-Gopats998

How could you say that Brackman will fall that far? According to Baseball America, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
-Ryan

Thanks for the mock draft article. I enjoyed reading it but don’t get your take on Wolfpack right-hander Andrew Brackman. Why do you think he’ll fall when everyone else thinks he’s a stud right now?
-Danny

Lots of questions about Andrew Brackman, so I’ll address them all at once.

Like I said in Brackman's profile, I don't see any performance to go along with the lofty rankings. He's listed anywhere from 2nd to 7th among draft prospects right now, which would seem to make him a good bet to go in the top five picks... until one considers that last year both Daniel Bard and Ian Kennedy were ranked in the top five prior to the start of the college season. Things change as the season progresses, often very quickly.

Brackman has potential, I won't argue that. But aside from his size and an occasionally electric fastball, what has he done that sets him apart from the other guys at the top of the draft class? He went 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA with a 32/19 K/BB in 29 IP last year, and made just seven starts before being shut down with a stress fracture in his hip. Mark Mulder, another tall, lanky pitcher, had the same injury and it pretty much derailed two seasons for him. Brackman's dealing with it and he's still in college.

Lastly, Brackman went onto pitch in the Cape Cod League, where he threw 17 innings but walked nine batters against 11 strikeouts. His ERA was strong at 1.06, but is that enough to get him picked in the top five? Not in my book. He's going to have to have a dominant, injury-free season for the Wolfpack in order to justify his current ranking. He has the pphysical ability, but as he hasn't ever made more than seven starts in a season I'll remain skeptical until he proves me wrong.

What do you make of Cameron Rupp and where will he go? Best HS player I haven't heard of who will shoot up the boards? Last one… Drew Storen, college or pros?
-Gopats998

Cameron Rupp is huge. That's what I make of him. He is built like a football player - another Bobby Estalella in the making if he keeps hitting the weights. Hopefully his conditioning will translate to baseball better than Estalella's. Right now Rupp has impressive power but is questionable as a defender. His draft position will depend on where teams see him playing the future. As a first-baseman, he's a good prospect but not great. As a catcher, he's in top three rounds. Scouting reports on him agree that he has a great arm but shaky throwing mechanics, as well as a tendency to get pull-happy at the plate. He's also rumored to be a very hard worker, which bodes well for his development. I'll predict that his power forces a team to pop him before the end of the third round.

Considering his unique name it's likely you've heard of him already, but Sequoyah Stonecipher is a really exciting guy to watch. At 6'1, 185 he exudes athleticism, and his play in the field is reminiscent of Lenny Dykstra. He flies from gap to gap in center, tracks down just about anything hit over his head and has a strong, accurate arm that has been clocked in the mid-80s during game situations. Offensively he projects as a leadoff type, with the upside to become a #3 hitter if his power develops.

I can see him finding his way into the top two or three rounds this year, then having a Matt Sulentic-like pro debut but with a lot more speed. Add his Barry Zito-ish charm (he's a surfer and an artist whose work has been displayed at several galleries in the San Diego area) and we're talking potential media darling.

Storen is an interesting case. He has an advanced feel for his curve and has gained velocity on his fastball in each of the last two years. He's up to the 90-92 mph range consistently despite being somewhat undersized at 6'1, 160 lbs. That said, he's one of many prep righthanders with similar size and stuff, and with his academic savvy (he has a 4.0 GPA) he should probably honor his commitment to Stanford and try to separate himself from other draft prospects by developing his talents on someone else's dime.

Todd,
Just wondering if you think Matt LaPorta will rebound this year and raise his draft stock back into the first round vicinity?

-Kar

l Ah, the Power Gator. LaPorta looks like he’s healthy right now, which means he will probably put together a good season at Florida. His showing on the Cape last summer revealed a problem with breaking pitches, so he has that and his injury history to overcome in order to get back into first round contention. Oh, and he’s still being advised by Scott Boras, so there’s that too. A 2007 campaign consisting of a .300+ average and 25-30 homers will probably get him back into the first or sandwich rounds, but my guess is that he’ll slide a bit further than that. It all depends on the aforementioned factors – his health especially.

How do you rank the college closers this year – give me the top five?
-A.J.

Josh Fields is getting a lot of love from the media right now, but I like Daniel Moskos a bit better. And of course, if Cole St. Clair winds up in Rice’s bullpen, he’s got to be in the conversation. Right now, based on future success in the majors (not necessarily as closers) I’d rank the college relievers like this:

Daniel Moskos, Clemson
Josh Fields, Georgia
Brett Cecil, Maryland
Eddie Kunz, Oregon State
Wynn Pelzer, South Carolina

Blair Erickson at U.C. Irvine was the top-ranked closer entering 2006 but had a tough season. He may work his way back into the top tier of closers. Casey Weathers of Vanderbilt is another guy who could shoot up the closer ranks this year, so keep an eye on him as well.

More questions? Email Todd.


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