Originally Posted by SKIPPER 11
I read that he could be up as early as this year
This guy thinks so:
MLB draft: Draftees who will be in the majors soon
June 5, 2008
Luke Hochevar made his debut last September. Greg Reynolds was called up this year to start for the Rockies. Evan Longoria's anticipated debut came this year, too. Brandon Morrow earned a spot with the Mariners as a reliever out of spring training last year. Andrew Miller first appeared for the Tigers on August 30, 2006, just months out of college. Clayton Kershaw, 20 years old, is now starting for the Dodgers.
These were six of the first seven players chosen in the 2006 MLB draft, and the fact that now, just two years later, they're playing big roles in the major leagues shows how drafting and player development has changed. There's more attention paid to the draft now, by fans and media, and because of that, there's even more pressure on general managers to draft wisely and to get their draftees to the big leagues quickly.
With that in mind, there's the question of speed-to-the-majors. Today's MLB draft is not nearly as deep in top-level talent as some recent drafts -- like the '06 crop -- but there are guys who could find their way into major league action quickly, especially if they wind up in the right situation.
These are not necessarily the best players in the draft. Pedro Alvarez, one of the draft's best hitters, is not on the following list because he still needs to work on hitting lefties. Same with slugger Yonder Alonso. Buster Posey is not here simply because he is a catcher, and catchers typically need more minor league time.
Other players might have more talent than those listed here, but these likely first-rounders are the players we should see playing at the major league level soon.
1. Joshua Fields, RHP, Georgia; drafted 20th by the Seattle Mariners. The Braves made Fields a second-round pick last year (No. 69 overall), but failed to sign him. If they had, he probably would have made the big league club this spring. Instead, as the closer in his senior season for the Bulldogs, he recorded 16 saves and a 2.27 ERA this year, with impressive strikeout numbers: 56 in 31 2/3 innings. He did walk 18 batters, but gave up only 12 hits. He has a 97-mph fastball and a good curve. Many teams are wary of drafting college relievers, but Fields is 22 and has proved he has a closer's mentality. He could be big league ready immediately.
2. Andrew Cashner, RHP, TCU; drafted 19th by the Chicago Cubs. Like Fields, Cashner is a hard-throwing (96-98 mph) relief pitcher with big strikeout numbers and some control issues (80 strikeouts and 27 walks in 54 1/3 innings). He complements his fastball with a hard, high-80s slider, but he also has a curve and a changeup in his repertoire. At his size -- he's 6-6 -- Cashner could be converted back into a starter, his role for two years at Angelina Junior College (alma mater of Clay Buchholz). Of course, if that's the plan with Cashner, he'll need more time in the minors. But, as a reliever, his fastball ensures a quick path to the bigs.
3. Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina; drafted 11th by the Texas Rangers. Smoak should be a top-notch power hitter and a pretty good first baseman at the next level. He is a switch hitter, with equal power from both sides. He is very disciplined (57 walks and 28 strikeouts) and a good enough hitter to take pitches the opposite way. When he gets something he can pull, though, look out.
4. Brett Wallace
, 3B, Arizona State; drafted 13th by the St. Louis Cardinals
. Wallace's favorite movie is The Natural, which is fitting because he's as pure a young hitter as you'll find. He was the Pac-10 player of the year in 2007 and 2008, winning the conference's triple crown both years (.414, 21 homers, 81 RBI in 59 games in 2008). His swing is odd, but he controls it and has a knack for getting on base -- he had 45 walks and 14 hit-by-pitches this year. He's big, but he lost 25 pounds before the season and moved from first to third base, adding 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts. His bat more than makes up for any fielding issues and, with his swing, he could be in the big leagues next spring.
5. Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri; drafted 9th by the Washington Nationals. Crow is probably the best pitcher in the draft, a starter who throws in the mid-90s and finished the year 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA. At one point, he had a string of 43 consecutive scoreless innings. He probably could help a team out of the bullpen, which would have him higher on this list, but no team is going to rush him for bullpen help. Still, he could make the transition to major league starter quickly. Though his offspeed stuff is not devastating, he has tremendous control, having walked just 38 batters in 107 1/3 innings this year.
6. Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin (Ga.) HS; drafted 1st by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays took Beckham with the No. 1 pick, and they'll probably give him time to develop as a middle infielder, where prospect Reid Brignac is nearing the bigs and would figure to be Beckham's eventual double-play partner. Beckham is the top high school talent available, a dynamic athlete who could also wind up in the outfield, like Rays ex-shortstop B.J. Upton.
7. Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia; drafted 8th by the Chicago White Sox Yes, there are two shortstops from Georgia named Beckham in this draft, and this one isn't bad, either. Beckham is a good athlete, though he might be a better second or third baseman at the next level. He has a funky swing, but he hit .397 with 24 home runs, and has plate discipline -- 47 walks and just 29 strikeouts in 242 at-bats. He also can hit with wood bats, winning last year's Cape Cod League home run championship. If he makes a quick transition in the field, and if his swing holds up against better pitching, he will reach the majors soon.
Sean Deveney is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at sdeveney@Sportingnews.com