It's time to look at the players from the 2003 draft that are eligible for the draft & follow process. For more detailed information about the DFE (Draft, Follow & Evaluate) process, please visit my story from two years ago:
Also, for a review on the 2003 draft, please visit this story:
From that story under the "ones who got away," it was quickly brought to my attention that Luke Cannon does indeed attend a Junior College at the University of North Central Texas, which I previously misidentified as a four-year institution. However, Brent Weaver has since attended Oklahoma State and Luis Pardo has gone to Florida International, making them ineligible for the DFE process. Here's the official list of "those who got away:"
1. Garrett Bussiere (14-draft round)-C-attending University of California-Berkeley
2. Taylor Meier (21)-RHP-attending Central Florida University
3. Jon Mungle (23)-OF-returned to Mississippi State
4. Joe Ayers (36)-SS-attending Stanford
5. Brent Weaver (38)-RHP-attending Oklahoma State University
6. Zach Kohan (42)-IF-attending the University of San Francisco
7. Daryl Maday (43)-RHP-attending the University of Arkansas
8. Ryan Zink (47)-RHP-attending the University of Illinois-Chicago
9. Luis Pardo (50)-RHP-attending Florida International University
And onto the DFE candidates for 2004:
1. Luke Cannon (13-draft round)-OF-University of North Central Texas
Cannon is an exciting power hitter that throws and bats left-handed. Last year he batted .386 with an impressive .790 slugging percentage. He hit 14 home runs and 21 doubles, and a total of 39 extra base hits. Cannon has committed to play for Texas State University next year if he doesn't sign with the Brewers or some other team this spring or summer. This year he is off to another good starting hitting .365 with a .510 on-base percentage and 5 home runs in 52 at bats.
2. Joel Rivera (16)-CF-no JC, withdrew from Brookdale Community College
While Rivera withdrew from Brookdale CC, the Brewers are still interested in adding him to their system, although they will wait until the Junior College season has ended and handle him just like all of their other DFE candidates. Rivera would seem to have little to no leverage now. Overall he has a good, tall frame with plenty of room to add strength. He has good overall tools, with his speed & arm strength highlighting his abilities. He needs to refine his overall game which will require repetitions on the field to do just that. Hopefully he'll join a semi-pro or club team just to make sure he stays in playing shape.
3. Jared Theodorakos (25)-LHP-Baylor University
Theodorakos is rehabilitating from a shoulder injury from last season that required surgery. He has returned to Baylor as a fifth-year senior yet the Brewers control his signing rights. He currently is throwing in intrasquad games building his arm strength back up, and according to his Head Coach Steve Smith Theodorakos' velocity is at about 80% of where it was before. He should see some time this spring with the Baylor Bears. When healthy he throws in the 88-91 range with a good slider and a decent changeup. He needs to keep his conditioning & mechanics in check to avoid recurring problems with his throwing shoulder.
4. Hasan Rasheed (26)-CF-Lake City Community College
Rasheed was drafted for his speed. He's extremely fast, and despite his small frame (5'6", 165) he has decent upper body strength that can produce surprising gap power. However, he's extremely raw, and needs to work on the finer aspects of his game. While he's a blazer, he gets caught stealing more than he should, takes poor routes to fly balls and strikes out too much. These are all issues that can be worked out with the proper instruction & repetitions, as Rasheed's upside is more than worth the trouble.
5. Sheldon Catchot (31)-LHP-Chipola Junior College
Shorter yet strong lefty pitcher at 5'11", 175 that is also playing right field for Chipola. Catchot has very promising stuff, and can touch the low-90s with his fastball. He needs to work on his consistency and overall command, especially with his secondary offerings. The Brewers convinced him to go to Chipola instead of Southeastern Louisiana so he would be eligible for the DFE process.
6. Chad Miller (33)-1B-Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Big, slugging 1B prospect. Due to his size (6'3", 215) & athleticism, Miller might be limited to 1B, although he did play 3B in high school. His swing can get long as he gets power hungry, but the proper instruction & patience should help correct that. It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers he puts up in the Arizona desert this spring, as it could be a good gauge of what to expect if he signs and starts his pro career at the Brewers' rookie affiliate in Arizona. Through 18 games Miller is hitting .239 with 1 home run.
7. Justin Wilson (37)-LHP-Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Justin is the nephew of Head Coach Doyle Wilson and the Brewers' West Coast Crosschecker, Ric Wilson. The Brewers have been interested in Justin for several years now, although he hasn't been able to stay healthy for very long while at Chandler-Gilbert. At 6'2", 200 pounds, he has a very strong frame, and is expected to throw in the low-90s when healthy. He has also flashed a pretty good curveball and changeup. Health is obviously the key, and hopefully Wilson can stay on the mound his spring so the Brewers' patience can finally pay off. So far, not so good, as Wilson has yet to take the mound in 18 games.
8. Wesley Yeary (39)-RHP-Daytona Beach Community College
Shorter righty at 6'0", 185 pounds. From Daytona Beach's pitching coach Pat Leach: "Wes is a great kid with a great arm. He will show 88-91 with the fastball and a hard 78-83 mph slider. He is inconsistent with both pitches right now but is beginning to develop some feel for his delivery which will result in more velocity, and most importantly, command. His changeup is a work in progress as well. Wes has a natural easy arm with great arm speed."
9. Robert Hinton (40)-RHP-Manatee Community College
Robert Hinton's father is former big league pitcher Rich Hinton. Nice sized right-handed pitcher at 6'2", 195 pounds. He can throw in the upper 80s and his best pitch is a slider which he throws in the 79-81 range. He also throws a curveball and changeup. Hinton is a good competitor and shows good control. From his Head Coach at Manatee CC, Tim Hill: "Better command of his fastball and change will improve his effectiveness greatly. He's a great kid with a great attitude and an excellent student in the classroom."
10. Peter (Evan) Baubles (41)-C-Santa Fe Community College
Baubles is a lean, athletic backstop that is still growing into his body. He is very quick & active behind the plate with soft hands and promising overall defensive skills. At the plate he is aggressive with a quick yet short stroke.
11. Rayner Robles-Encarnacion (44)-2B/3B-Chipola Junior College
Exciting offensive prospect with good to great bat speed. Could hit for power as well as a high average down the road. At 6'2", 195, he has a strong, live body that could allow him to stay at 2B. If not 2B, his arm should be able the move to the hot corner.
12. Tim Grubbs (45)-RHP-likely returning to Lake City Community College
At 6'4", 180 pounds, Grubbs has the perfect pitcher's body. He's working hard to put on weight and his Head Coach, Tom Clark, expects his fastball to jump from the high 80s to the low 90s this spring with increased strength & more experience. Coach Clark also hopes the added strength will also improve Grubbs' durability & stamina. He also throws a decent curveball & changeup.
13. Clay Blevins (46)-C-Cowley County Community College
Blevins has good size for a catcher at 6'1" and has the added advantage of batting left-handed. Splits time between catching & DH since Cowley College has two talented catchers, but his bat is a fixture in Cowley's lineup each & every game. He is also a team leader, handles the pitching staff well and has a strong arm. If Blevins doesn't sign this spring or summer, he has committed to play for Oklahoma State next season. Through 11 games Blevins is hitting .333 with 5 doubles.
14. Calvin Thompson (48)-CF-Oakton Community College
From his Head Coach at Oakton CC, Mike Pinto, who compared Thompson's body type to a young Mike Cameron: "First off, he has plus major league speed. He has the ability to make difficult catches look easy and at times just outruns the ball. Calvin's arm strength is another strong tool. He shows signs of power and with age and maturity could show power at the major league level. This spring Calvin needs to improve on his jumps and routes to flyballs. He needs to work on effectively driving the pitch away to the opposite field and his ability to make consistent hard contact." Oakton's season starts this Sunday, March 14.
15. Michael (Justin) Sarka (49)-RHP-Gulf Coast Community College
At 6'4", 223 pounds, Sarka has great size for a young pitcher, with long limbs and a strong lower half. He throws both a 2-seam and a 4-seam fastball, has good control and has shown an advanced feel for pitching. He has also shown himself to be very open to instruction, intent on getting better. From his Head Coach, Daren Mazerowski: "He has an 85-88 mph fastball with very good movement. He also has a very nice slider that will continue to get better as he learns to repeat his delivery." Through 13 inning pitched Sarka has a 2.88 ERA, allowing 9 hits & 3 walks while striking out 10.
15 candidates in all, a good number especially considering that the Brewers did a great job signing 26 of their 50 draft picks from last June. 17 of those were among the team's first 20 picks, and they still have the opportunity to sign two more of those top-20 selections in Luke Cannon and Joel Rivera. Only one pick from the first day of the draft, Garrett Bussiere, completely got away so far.
All of the DFE eligible players have until a week before this June's draft to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers, unless their season takes them past the June 1st deadline. In that case, the Brewers would have 72 hours from the end of that player's season to get him signed before he's eligible to re-enter the draft which starts Tuesday, June 8.
Under Jack Zduriencik, Manny Parra and Dana Eveland are the Brewers most notable draft & follow signees. Manny Parra epitomized the process after his dramatic jump in velocity during the spring of 2002. Dana Eveland is probably a little more realistic high expectation for the process. Eveland was already throwing in the low-90s, and took his repertoire to the Pioneer League where he was named the circuit's best relief pitcher.
Given their limited financial resources, it remains especially important for the Brewers to be creative in it's pursuit to add as much talent to it's system as possible. Last year they signed 5 of their 12 candidates, and I know at this point in time the Brewers scouting department is following all 15 of their current candidates with great interest.
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