Bolstering The Bullpen
“With our first selection, Eddie Kunz, we feel like he has a chance to be a quick mover out of the bullpen,” amateur scouting director Rudy Terrasas said. “We like that he has a power fastball with good sink and a power slider to go with it.”
Said Minaya: “So far we’ve done pretty well with relievers. And I think relievers are so important in the game right now that if you get a chance to get a guy who can help out at the major leagues, you have to consider that. I’m not afraid to take on relievers. When I was in Montreal that time we took Chad Cordero. We took Joe Smith in the third round. We’re not going to be afraid to take what we think is a quality reliever.”
And so there it is. It is amazing how important the bullpen has gotten in the past few years. Here are their complete picks with Baseball America's scouting reports:
1st round (sup) Eddie Kunz rhp Oregon State OR
Kunz will get drafted in the first three rounds and could move quickly as a college reliever with a plus fastball. He was a set-up man for the Beavers' 2006 national championship team and has replaced the departed Kevin Gunderson as the team's closer in 2007. While Gunderson thrived on command, lefthanded funk and moxie, Kunz has plus stuff and closer-quality velocity. He's a behemoth at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and will have to watch his body and his weight as a pro. His loose arm and low arm angle produce 94-96 mph fastballs, and some scouts think a cleaner body and more consistent mechanics would give him even more velo. Kunz throws a changeup to lefthanders that's effective, and at times his change is ahead of his flat slider.
1st round (sup) Nathan Vineyard lhp Woodland HS, Cartersville, Ga. GA
Like fellow Georgia high school lefty Josh Smoker, Vineyard has been on the map as a prospect for several years. His performance has been far less consistent than Smoker's, but he re-established himself as a potential high-round pick last fall when he dealt in front of more than 100 scouts in the featured game of a World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla. His delivery is loose and easy and the ball jumps out of his hand. His fastball comes in at 88-91 mph, but because he leans heavily on his plus slider, there's reason to believe he will add velocity once he learns to pitch off his fastball. His slider has late break with good depth and tilt. He'll throw it in any count and can spot it down in the zone or bury it as a chase pitch. Vineyard profiles as a No. 4 starter or set-up man in the big leagues and could be drafted as high as the supplemental round.
2nd round Scott Moviel rhp St. Edward HS, Berea, Ohio OH
The Andrew Brackman comparisons are obvious. Product of an Ohio high school? Check. Signed to play in college at North Carolina State? Check. Huge body that has scouts dreaming of a monster frontline starter? Check. Unlike Brackman, Moviel doesn't have a basketball scholarship, but he has played the sport in high school. He's an intimidating 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds and athletic for his size. He has a 91-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94, and he has tightened up a curveball that was loopy a year ago. Brackman had similar stuff when he came out of Cincinnati's Moeller High three years ago, though his breaking ball was better. As with any large pitcher, there are concerns as to how well Moviel will repeat his delivery and command his pitches. His mechanics don't have any major flaws, though he could do a better job of staying on top of his pitches. Because his older brothers Paul (in the Devil Rays system) and Greg (in the Mariners organization) went backward in college, Moviel is considered signable, especially if he goes in the top three rounds as expected.
2nd round Brant Rustich rhp UCLA CA
3rd round Eric Niesen lhp Wake Forest NC
3rd Stephen Clyne rhp Clemson SC
Clyne began experiencing arm trouble when he was still in high school, and in an effort to avoid surgery, elected to redshirt his freshman season in 2003. His arm never got back to normal, and he had Tommy John surgery, costing him all of 2004. It wasn't until last fall that he began to show the stuff that made him a coveted recruit. As a fifth-year senior, Clyne would create bidding interest among multiple teams if Clemson's season ended after the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, but the Tigers were a lock to go to regional play, so Clyne will hope to make his money in the draft. He's shown the stuff to warrant a third- to fifth-round selection, with two hard pitches and the profile of a setup man or middle reliever in the big leagues. Clyne's fastball sits between 91-94 mph with plus sink at times, and his slider can be filthy, registering anywhere from 80-84 mph on radar guns. He has limited feel for his changeup, and Clyne has a tendency to pitch tentatively, and doesn't always seem to have conviction in his stuff. He's around the zone, with solid-average command.
4th round Richard Lucas 3b Wolfson HS, Jacksonville, Fla. FL
5th round Zach Lutz 3b Alvernia College PA
Their first six picks are not so surprisingly pitching. If they weren't going to try and pick up a middle infielder, they might as well went with pitching since they are pretty well covered elsewhere. Their first three picks sound very intriguing with them picking up some high ceiling arms including the poor man's Andrew Brackman. I expect them to sign these guys quickly and get them pitching in the system by the end of the month.
No, the issue is the rest of the late-inning bullpen corps. Scott Schoeneweis has been a disaster lately, and the question now, after he lost the game in the 10th and his ERA ballooned to 7.17, is just how many more chances Willie Randolph is going to give him in important situations.
Randolph went to him in a 3-3 game in the 10th last night because he wanted lefty-lefty matchups with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, if necessary. The strategy backfired when Utley doubled home Rollins to break the tie, and it surely has the manager re-evaluating his use of Schoeneweis.
They almost have to consider using one of their AAA starters in the bullpen until Sosa and can be put into the bullpen when Pedro comes back.