Feb. 22, 2000
The Notre Dame baseball team is set to embark on its 2000 season with a national ranking in two of the three major polls-the only school from the Midwest or Northeast in either poll-while several Irish players have received preseason honors from various publications and organizations:
- Notre Dame was ranked 20th in the Baseball America preseason poll, marking the highest preseason ranking for the Irish since 1994. Notre Dame currently occupies the 23rd spot in the latest BA poll (Feb. 21), heading into the season-opening game versus Air Force (Feb. 24 in Millington, Tenn., with a start time of 3:30 central).
- The Irish were ranked 25th in the Collegiate Baseball magazine preseason poll and have maintained that spot in the latest poll.
- Notre Dame received the 26th-most votes in the preseason USA Today Baseball Weekly Coaches Poll and received the 30th-most votes in this week’s version of that poll.
- Junior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) was named a first team preseason All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Heilman and Stanford’s Jason Young were the only pitchers named first team by both publications (each listed five first-team pitchers).
- Baseball America lists Heilman as the No. 9 professional prospect among draft-eligible college players (he is listed 15th overall, including high school seniors). Heilman ranks fourth on that list among draft-eligible college pitchers.
- Heilman also was tabbed by both Baseball America and the BIG EAST Conference coaches as the preseason BIG EAST pitcher of the year.
- Baseball America lists Heilman and Young among the three pitching prospects with the best breaking ball (both throw sliders). The magazine also singled out Heilman and Young as the pitchers who are “closest to the major leagues.”
- Baseball America lists Notre Dame freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) as the top newcomer in the BIG EAST Conference and the preseason BIG EAST freshman of the year. The magazine also projects Stavisky as the nation’s No. 5-rated prospect among current college freshmen, behind Clemson shortstop Jeff Baker, Florida third baseman Pat Osborne, Texas A&M first baseman Travis Wong and Stanford outfielder Jason Cooper.
- Baseball America’s list of the “best tools” among BIG EAST players includes four from Notre Dame: Stavisky (“best raw power”), Heilman (“best fastball”), sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley (“fastest runner”) and senior Jeff Felker (“best defensive first baseman”).
- Baseball America picked Notre Dame to win the 2000 BIG EAST regular-season title, followed by Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The BIG EAST coaches preseason poll forecasted Rutgers as the 2000 champion (76 voting points, five first-place votes), narrowly edging Notre Dame (74, 3), followed by St. John’s (69, 2), Seton hall, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
** Full lists of preseason and current polls, plus preseason All-America teams, etc. to follow **
BASEBALL AMERICA MAGAZINE 2000 BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL
|Rank||Team||’99 Record||Final ’99 Rank||Updated ’00 Rank||Current ’00 Record|
|2.||Cal State Fullerton||50-14||6||4||5-5|
Others in current poll (2/21): 13. North Carolina (9-0), 22. Long Beach State (6-3), 24. East Carolina (6-1), 25. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-1).
COLLEGIATE BASEBALL NEWSPAPER’S NCAA DIVISION I PRE-SEASON POLL
|Rank||School ’99 Record||Points||’99 Final Rank||Updated ’00 Rank||Current ’00 Record|
|2.||Cal. St. Fullerton (50-14)||477||6||7||5-5|
|5.||Miami, Fla. (50-13)||469||1||11||8-5|
|6.||Florida State (57-14)||467||2||1||9-2|
|8.||Louisiana St. (41-24-1)||460||14||3||6-1|
|9.||Georgia Tech. (38-20)||459||NR||6||5-1|
|14.||Wichita St. (59-14)||442||16||14||0-0|
|15.||Southern Calif. (36-26)||439||12||16||6-3|
|18.||Texas Tech. (42-17)||433||22||—|
|20.||North Carolina (41-18)||426||28||4||9-0|
|21.||Texas A&M (52-18)||425||7||—|
|22.||Long Beach St. (35-25)||422||29||22||6-3|
|23.||Oklahoma St. (46-21)||419||8||24||6-3|
|25.||Notre Dame (43-18)||413||NR||25||0-0|
Others receiving votes in current poll (2/21): 18. South Carolina (6-3), 19. Arizona State (12-4), 20. East Carolina (8-0), 23. Fresno State (8-2).
Others receiving votes in preseason poll: Pepperdine (46-16, 410, 19), 27. Minnesota (46-18, 406, 25), 28. Arizona St. (39-21, 403, NR), 29. South Alabama (39-20, 398, NR), 30. Oral Roberts (46-15, 396, NR), 31. Wake Forest (47-16, 394, 10), 32. Arkansas (42-23, 390, 17), 33. Nevada (38-20, 388, 26), 34. South Carolina (35-23, 385, NR), 35. Illinois (34-22, 381, NR), 36. Florida Atlantic (54-9, 379, 20), 37. Ohio St. (50-14, 373,11), 38. California (27-31, 370, NR), 39. Nebraska (42-18, 365, NR), 40. Mississippi (34-28, 362, NR).
USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY 2000 PRESEASON COACHES POLL
|Team (1st place)||Record||Pts.||Final ’99 rank||Updated ’00 Rank||Current ’00 Record|
|1.||Stanford (35)||50-15||1043||3||2 (981)||7-4|
|2.||Cal State Fullerton (1)||50-14||949||6||15 (484)||5-5|
|3.||Alabama (1)||53-16||916||4||7 (706)||4-3|
|4.||Miami (5)||50-13||914||1||10 (584)||8-5|
|5.||Florida State||57-14||848||2||1 (900)||9-2|
|8.||Georgia Tech||38-20||638||NR||6 (743)||5-1|
|11.||Southern California||36-26||572||13||14 (495)||6-3|
|12.||Wichita State||59-14||555||15||11 (563)||0-0|
|22.||Arizona State||39-21||162||NR||16 (460)||12-4|
|23.||Long Beach State||35-25||160||NR||20 (310)||6-3|
NR – Not ranked
Other receiving votes in current poll (2/21): 4. North Carolina (857, 9-0), South Carolina (398, 8-0), 21. Florida International (249, 12-0), 23. Fresno State (122, 8-2), 24. Kentucky (84, 7-0), 25. Louisiana Lafayette (65, 8-1), Mississippi State (59), Florida (51), Oklahoma State (49), Texas Tech (47), Notre Dame (44), East Carolina (44), Central Florida (43), Virginia Commonwealth (39), Mississippi (38), Louisiana-Monroe (34), Nevada (34), Oklahoma (28), Wake Forest (27), Stetson (19), Arkansas (16), Ohio State (15), Florida Atlantic (14), New Orleans (13), The Citadel (13), Loyola Marymount (13), Nebraska (11), North Carolina State (10), Jacksonville (7), Michigan (4), Tennessee (4), Arizona (4), Illinois (3), Rutgers (1), Ball State (1), Creighton (1), Richmond (1), Lamar (1).
Other receiving votes in preseason poll (points): Notre Dame (118), North Carolina (102), Loyola Marymount (74), Arkansas (56), South Carolina (46), Ohio State (44), Pepperdine (42), Mississippi State (36), Florida Atlantic (29), Central Florida (28), Minnesota (27), North Carolina State (16), California (14), Michigan (12), Illinois (12), Nevada (10), East Carolina (10), Louisiana-Lafayette (9), Tennessee (8), Nebraska (7), Kentucky (5), Oral Roberts (5), Georgia (5), Florida International (5), St. John’s (4), South Alabama (3), Mississippi (3), Fresno State (3), Southwest Missouri State (2), Rutgers (2).
BASEBALL AMERICA 2000 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS
Scouting directors of Major League Baseball clubs vote on the team and make their selections based on performance, talent and major league potential. Preseason favorite for Player of the Year: California third baseman Xavier Nady.
|C||Dane Sardinha, Pepperdine||Jr.||.365||260||51||95||26||2||15||63||19||44||3|
|1B||Taggert Bozied, San Francisco||Jr.||.412||204||71||84||13||2||30||82||40||25||7|
|2B||Chase Utley, UCLA||Jr.||.317||271||66||86||13||2||16||56||26||43||5|
|3B||Xavier Nady, California||Jr.||.374||227||56||85||17||1||23||62||35||27||5|
|SS||Tommy Murphy, Fla. Atlantic||Jr.||.330||209||57||69||18||2||11||37||33||58||13|
|OF||Patrick Boyd, Clemson||Jr.||.390||246||78||96||22||1||17||70||45||50||20|
|OF||Tyrell Godwin, North Carolina||Jr.||.371||221||56||82||13||5||7||58||23||31||29|
|OF||Daylan Holt, Texas A&M||Jr.||.341||287||78||98||22||3||34||105||35||53||9|
|DH||Mark Teixeira, Ga. Tech (3B)||So.||.387||225||61||87||18||0||13||65||39||27||11|
|P||Chris Bootcheck, Auburn||Jr.||8-6||5.57||22/21||2||0||128||159||38||125|
|P||Ben Diggins, Arizona||So.||8-5||6.86||19/14||2||2||85||86||57||86|
|P||Aaron Heilman, ND||Jr.||11-2||3.14||20/14||6||3||109||89||37||118|
|P||Josh Karp, UCLA||So.||8-3||4.26||16/13||0||0||87||84||44||79|
|P||Jason Young, Stanford||Jr.||12-3||3.43||21/21||9||0||155||128||55||178|
|C||Mike Tonis, California||Jr.||.384||211||55||81||17||1||17||60||40||33||8|
|1B||Garrett Atkins, UCLA||Jr.||.375||256||64||96||18||1||14||41||34||25||2|
|2B||James Jurries, Tulane||So.||.374||278||90||104||22||4||20||79||29||44||18|
|3B||Lance Niekro, Fla. Southern||So.||.368||209||53||77||16||0||8||44||16||23||21|
|SS||Tim Hummel, Old Dominion||Jr.||.368||212||58||78||21||3||5||62||37||32||21|
|OF||Joe Borchard, Stanford||Jr.||.372||247||64||92||16||1||11||56||45||49||7|
|OF||Shelley Duncan, Arizona||So.||.294||211||47||62||13||0||20||68||32||53||3|
|OF||Bill Scott, UCLA||Jr.||.380||242||66||92||19||0||28||86||39||61||0|
|DH||Manny Crespo, Miami (OF)||Jr.||.364||173||49||63||11||0||12||54||31||34||12|
|P||Mark Prior, USC*||So.||4-8||4.59||13/13||1||0||82||107||23||71|
|P||Brian Sager, Stanford||So.||6-0||4.17||19/14||1||0||86||90||41||72|
|P||Matt Smith, Oklahoma State||Jr.||9-6||3.09||20/18||3||0||114||102||44||144|
|P||Brion Treadway, UNC Charlotte||Jr.||2-3||5.36||21/0||0||3||47||45||30||57|
|P||Justin Wayne, Stanford||Jr.||10-1||4.94||21/21||1||0||118||117||43||135|
|C||John Wilson, Kentucky||Jr.||.360||225||59||81||16||2||23||56||27||33||4|
|1B||Kevin Brown, Miami||Jr.||.319||216||63||69||14||0||22||66||44||67||4|
|2B||Dominic Rich, Auburn||Jr.||.320||266||68||85||15||3||2||47||55||37||15|
|3B||Aaron Sisk, New Mexico||Jr.||.348||256||67||89||22||1||20||76||32||52||4|
|SS||Seth Davidson, USC||Jr.||.345||238||51||82||11||4||1||35||23||26||9|
|OF||David DeJesus, Rutgers||Jr.||.373||233||85||87||20||6||8||45||29||28||20|
|OF||Jason Grove, Washington St.||Jr.||.393||173||54||68||10||1||18||61||31||44||2|
|OF||Edmund Muth, Stanford||Sr.||.305||187||39||57||13||4||6||30||20||35||8|
|DH||Pat Magness, Wichita State||Sr.||.364||250||60||91||15||0||18||94||68||49||2|
|P||Beau Hale, Texas||Jr.||1-0||5.79||18/0||0||0||37||36||27||36|
|P||Charlie Isaacson, Arkansas||So.||9-0||3.16||16/14||2||0||100||72||53||97|
|P||Adam Johnson, CS Fullerton||Jr.||10-4||3.55||17/16||3||1||117||104||47||136|
|P||Kevin McGerry, St. John’s||Jr.||8-3||4.06||17/16||4||0||106||91||23||124|
|P||Ryan Snare, North Carolina||Jr.||6-5||2.94||17/14||2||0||80||73||46||82|
* Transferred from Vanderbilt
COLLEGIATE BASEBALL MAGAZINE 2000 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS
RHP – Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame (11-2, 3.14 ERA, 6 CG, 118 K, 37 BB in 109 IP).
RHP – David Gil, Miami (Fla.) (12-0, 3.19 ERA, 103 K, 36 BB in 93 IP).
RHP – Jon McDonald, Florida St. (9-3, 3.57 ERA, 123 K, 51 BB in 116 IP).
LHP – Matt Smith, Oklahoma St. (9-6, 3.09 ERA, 144 K, 44 BB in 113.6 IP).
RHP- Jason Young, Stanford (12-3, 3.43 ERA, 10 CG, 178 K, 55 BB in 154.6 IP).
RHP- Adam Johnson, Cal. St. Fullerton (10-4, 3.55 ERA, 136 K, 47 BB in 116.3 IP).
Relief – Brandon Belanger, Tulane (16 SV, 2.45 ERA, 3-5 record, 68 K, 15 BB).
C – John Wilson, Kentucky (.360, 23 HR, 16 2B, 56 RBI, great arm).
1B – Don Price, Nevada (.351, 27 HR, 89 RBI).
2B – Marshall McDougall, Florida State (.419, 28 HR, 26 2B, 106 RBI, 22 SB).
SS – Kelly Eddlemon, Sam Houston St. (.416, 26 HR, 24 2B, 95 RBI).
3B – Taggert Bozied, San Francisco (.412, 30 HR, 13 2B, 82 RBI).
3B – Xavier Nady, California (.374, 23 HR, 17 2B, 62 RBI).
OF – Daylan Holt, Texas A&M (.341, 34 HR, 22 2B, 105 RBI).
OF – Bill Scott, UCLA (.380, 28 HR, 19 2B, 86 RBI).
OF – Jeff Stallings, Oral Roberts (.417, 19 2B, 42 RBI, 49 SB).
UT – Larry Bowles, Virginia Tech. (.390, 14 HR, 17 2B, 58 RBI, 10-3 as pitcher, 4.27 ERA, 94 K).
LHP – Cory Vance (Georgia Tech), RHP – Jason Anderson (Illinois), Henry Bonilla (Tulane), Kyle Crowell (Houston), Brandon Sloan (Wichita State), Relief – Chris Russ (Texas A&M), Derrick DePriest (North Carolina), C – Mike Tonis (California), Dane Sardinha (Pepperdine), 1B – Jeremy Brown (Alabama), 2B – James Jurries (Tulane), SS – Seth Davidson (Southern California), Keoni DeRenne (Arizona), 3B – Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, OF – Patrick Boyd (Clemson), Tyrell Godwin (North Carolina), Joe Borchard (Stanford), Jason Grove (Washington State), UT – Hayden Gliemmo (Auburn).
RHP – Justin Wayne (Stanford), Charlie Isaacson (Arkansas), Scott Sturkie (Coastal Carolina), Blair Varnes (Florida St.), Chris Bootcheck (Auburn), Kip Bouknight (South Carolina), Daniel Haren (Pepperdine), Jay Adams (Pepperdine), Jeff Nichols (Rice), Kenny Baugh (Rice), LHP – Greg Montalbano (Northeastern), Relief – Brandon Roberson (Texas Tech), Dan Adams (Kent), C – Ryan Duncheon (Illinois St.), Brad Cresse (LSU) David Parrish (Michigan), 1B – Brad Hawpe (LSU), Pat Magness (Wichita St.), Garrett Atkins (UCLA), Lee Chapman (Eastern Kentucky), 2B – David Bacani, (Cal. St. Fullerton), Chase Utley (UCLA), D.J. Svihlik (Illinois), SS – Jeremy Kurella (Northwestern), Tim Hummel (Old Dominion), 3B – Koyie Hill (Wichita St.), Josh Pride (Middle Tennessee), Aaron Sisk (New Mexico), OF – Ryan Neill (Oral Roberts), Mike Scott (Connecticut), Shelley Duncan (Arizona), Jason Gray (Rice), UT – Jason Dubois (Virginia Commonwealth).
2000 BIG EAST BASEBALL COACHES PRESEASON PREDICTIONS
|Team (1st-Place Votes)||Pts.||1999 Record|
|1.||Rutgers (5)||76||37-21 (19-7 BIG EAST)|
|2.||Notre Dame (3)||74||43-18 (20-5)|
|3.||St. John’s (2)||69||32-22-2 (13-11-1)|
|4.||Seton Hall||50||32-19-1 (14-11)|
|5.||West Virginia||48||29-28 (12-13)|
|7.||Boston College||34||26-21-1 (10-15-1)|
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Mike Scott, Connecticut, Sophomore, Outfielder, 5-10, 160, Darien, Conn./Darien
PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame, Junior, RHP, 6-4, 210, Logansport, Ind./Logansport**
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
RHP -Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame, Jr.**
11-2, 3.14 ERA, 109.0 IP, 118 SO, .217 Opp. BA
RHP -Keith Stamler, St. John’s, Jr.
6-6, 4.65 ERA, 89.0 IP, 68 SO, .270 Opp. BA
RHP -Kevin McGerry, St. John’s, Jr.
8-3, 4.06 ERA, 106.1 IP, 124 SO, .229 Opp. BA
C -Brian Esposito, Connecticut, Jr.
.343, 62 H, 30 R, 10 2B, 6 HR, 36 RBI, .519 Slug %
IF – Jake Daubert, Rutgers, Jr.
.346, 80 H, 53 R, 22 2B, 8 HR, 68 RBI
IF – Darren Fenster, Rutgers, Sr.
.424, 95 H, 64 R, 18 2B, 57 RBI, 152 assists
IF – Mike O’Brien, Rutgers, Sr.
.330, 69 H, 42 R, 19 2B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, .560 Slug %
IF – Rob Cafiero, Villanova, So.
.361, 69 H, 40 R, 15 2B, 10 HR, 72 RBI, 323 putouts
IF – Matt Longo, Villanova, Jr.**
.361, 69 H, 64 R, 16 2B, 9 HR, 57 RBI
OF -Neal McCarthy, Boston College, So.
.376, 82 H, 65 R, 22 2B, 17 HR, 69 RBI
OF -Mike Scott, Connecticut, So.**
.420, 120 H, 87 R, 21 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 64 RBI
OF -David DeJesus, Rutgers, Jr.
.373, 87 H, 85 R, 20 2B, 45 RBI, 20 SB
DH – Steve Langone, Boston College, Jr.
.332, 62 H, 60 R, 13 HR, 46 RBI, 23 BB
UTIL -Clarke Caudill, Connecticut, Sr.
.354, 70 H, 50 R, 20 2B, 46 RBI, 10 SB
** – unanimous selection
A tie created an additional infield position.
BASEBALL AMERICA PRESEASON PREDICTIONS
THE BIG EAST CONFERENCE – HOW THEY’LL FINISH
1999 records listed. National ranking in parentheses.
|1.||Notre Dame (20)||20-5||43-18|
|3.||St. John’s (55)||13-11||32-22|
|4.||Seton Hall (73)||14-11||32-19|
|5.||West Virginia (77)||12-13||29-28|
Projected NCAA Teams (3): Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John’s.
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
C-Brian Esposito, Jr., Connecticut (.343-6-36). 1B-Brian Leighton, Jr., Seton Hall (.401-7-48). 2B-Matt Longo, Jr., Villanova (.361-9-57). 3B-Jake Daubert, Jr., Rutgers (.346-8-68). SS-Darren Fenster, Sr., Rutgers (.424-2-57). OF-David DeJesus, Jr., Rutgers (.373-8-45), Neal McCarthy, So., Boston College (.376-17-69 at Providence), Mike Scott, So., Connecticut (.420-5-64, *13 3B at Providence). DH-Rob Cafiero, So., Villanova (.361-10-72). Util-Steve Langone, Sr., Boston College (.332-13-46, 8-4, 4.43). P-Aaron Heilman, Jr., Notre Dame (11-2, 3.14, 109 IP/118 SO), Kevin McGerry, Jr., St. John’s (8-3, 4.06, 106 IP/*124 SO), Jim Wilson, Jr., Rutgers (8-3, 4.04). RP-Kevin Zaug, Jr., St. John’s (5-2, 6.45).
Player of the Year: David DeJesus, of, Rutgers.
Pitcher of the Year: Aaron Heilman, rhp, Notre Dame.
Freshman of the Year: Brian Stavisky, of, Notre Dame.
TOP PROSPECTS:1. Aaron Heilman, RHP, Notre Dame. 2. Kevin McGerry, RHP, St. John’s. 3. David DeJesus, OF, Rutgers. 4. Brian Esposito, C, Connecticut. 5. Keith Stamler, RHP, St. John’s (6-6, 4.65).
TOP NEWCOMERS: 1. Brian Stavisky, of, Notre Dame (Fr., HS-Port Allegany, Pa., 12th round, 1999 draft). 2. Billy Ryan, 3b, St. John’s (Fr., HS-Brooklyn, N.Y.). 3. Tim McCabe, 3b, West Virginia (Fr., HS-Wexford, Pa., 25th round, 1999 draft).
BEST TOOLS: Best Pure Hitter-Matt Longo, Villanova. Best Raw Power-Brian Stavisky, Notre Dame, Fastest Runner-Steve Stanley, cf, Notre Dame, Best Baserunner-David DeJesus, Rutgers, Best Defensive Catcher-Brian Esposito, Connecticut, Catcher/Best Arm-Esposito, Best Defensive First Baseman-Jeff Felker, Notre Dame, Best Defensive Second Baseman-Matt Galante, St. John’s, Best Defensive Third Baseman-Jake Daubert, Rutgers, Best Defensive Shortstop-Darren Fenster, Rutger, Infielder/Best Arm-Anthony Calabrese, Seton Hall, Best Defensive Outfielder-DeJesus. Outfielder/Best Arm-DeJesus, Best Fastball-Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame, Best Breaking Ball-Kevin McGerry, St. John’s, Best Control-McGerry.
BASEBALL AMERICA Class of 2000: Top 25 Prospects
Compiled by David Rawnsley and Allan Simpson
1. Xavier Nady 3b California – A polished hitter and worthy successor to recent top picks Pat Burrell, J.D. Drew and Eric Munson.
2. Ben Diggins rhp Arizona – A compensation pick as a high school hitter, now he’s the hardest-throwing pitcher in the draft.
3. Patrick Boyd of Clemson – Shawn Green tools, but he must stay healthy and show scouts fire and passion.
4. Scott Heard c Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego – Defensive star hopes to follow California first-round prep catchers Jason Kendall and Mike Lieberthal.
5. Chris Bootcheck rhp Auburn – Tall, lanky and athletic, Bootcheck is a rare college pitcher who still has physical projection left.
6. Tyrell Godwin of North Carolina – Scouts will bear down on his instincts this spring, his athletic credentials are the best in the country.
7. Corey Smith ss Piscataway (N.J.) HS – His performance has been inconsistent, but raw bat speed and strength give him a high ceiling.
8. Joe Torres lhp Gateway HS, Kissimmee, Fla. – Torres is an easy choice as the top southpaw in a mediocre year for lefthanded pitching.
9. Matt Harrington rhp Palmdale (Calif.) HS – His velocity has increased in the past six months from the low 90s to as high as 96-97 mph.
10. Jason Young rhp Stanford – Potentially the latest in a line of Stanford first-rounders leads the best rotation in college baseball.
11. Daylan Holt of Texas A&M – Can the reigning NCAA home run champ become the fourth college hitter to top 40 in a season?
12. David Espinosa ss Gulliver Prep, Miami – Switch-hitter with 6.5 speed who throws 94 off the mound, his team may be the nation’s best.
13. Dane Sardinha c Pepperdine – Sardinha has to prove his bat will play after a disappointing summer in the Cape Cod League.
14. Dave Krynzel of Green Valley HS, Henderson, Nev. – He has sub-6.4 speed but isn’t one-dimensional, with a plus arm and pop in his bat.
15. Aaron Heilman rhp Notre Dame – A heavy, low 90s sinker should be even more effective against hitterswielding wood.
16. Jason Stokes 1b Coppell (Texas) HS – Some clubs love this 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete with enormous power potential.
17. Joe Borchard of Stanford – Football could affect his immediate baseball plans, but he is a prototype power-hitting right fielder.
18. Mike Davern rhp Brea-Olinda HS, Brea, Calif. – He fits the scout’s ideal mold: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, athletic, with a low to mid-90s fastball.
19. Justin Wayne rhp Stanford – No. 2 in the Stanford rotation, he could join Sardinha as the first Hawaiian first-rounders ever.
20. Taggert Bozied 1b/3b San Francisco – Top power prospect will play third base this spring but projects to first base as a pro.
21. Lance Niekro 3b Florida Southern – Last summer’s Cape Cod League, this draft-eligible sophomore is the first Niekro who can hit.
22. Matt Smith lhp Oklahoma State – Another product of Green Valley High, Smith hopes to bounce back from a tired arm last summer.
23. Matt Wheatland rhp Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego – He could join Heard as the third pair of first-round high school teammates in draft history.
24. Nick Masset rhp Pinellas Park (Fla.) HS – Strong performance at the Perfect Game Showcase may have vaulted him into the first round.
25. Brion Treadway rhp UNC Charlotte – Despite 2-3, 5.07 numbers in ’99, he’s the real deal and proved it on Cape Cod.
BASEBALL AMERICA – College Class of 2000: Best Tools
By David Rawnsley
Best 1999 Season: OF Daylan Holt (7) led the NCAA with 34 home runs and fell one RBI short (105) of leading in that category as well. 3B Xavier Nady’s (1) spring season (.374-23-62) earned him first-team All-America honors. He really blossomed during the summer with Team USA (.414-17-43). RHP Jason Young (6) led the nation with 178 strikeouts and saved some of his strongest performances for the postseason. But the best overall performance was turned in by 2B Marshall McDougall (92), who hit six home runs with 16 RBIs in one game on his way to a .419-28-106 season.
Best Athlete: OF Tyrell Godwin (5) played football at North Carolina for two years before deciding to pursue baseball full time. He has an excellent combination of speed and strength. RHP/DH Ben Diggins’ (2) raw power ranks with anyone’s in the game, when he’s not on the mound throwing in the upper 90s. OF Patrick Boyd (3) is a potential five-tool talent if he can stay healthy. Six-foot-10 RHP Chris Young (77) is one of the nation’s best two-sport stars.
Best Pure Hitter: Nady combines the ability to drive the ball over the fence with a solid, high-average approach at the plate. Boyd has that smooth, easy swing that only angular lefthanders seem able to master. OF Manny Crespo (24) learned his hitting mechanics well from his dad, a minor league instructor in the Marlins organization.
Best Power: There is no shortage of power hitters in college this year. Holt edges 1B Taggert Bozied (12), 1B Kevin Brown (74), 1B Pat Magness (57), Nady and OF Bill Scott (27) for top honors, but Diggins might have more raw power than any of them.
Fastest Runner: Godwin has 6.4 speed in the 60 and blazing acceleration, but he is still learning the instincts and reads he needs to use his speed on the bases and in the outfield. SS Tommy Murphy (18) and OF Rich Thompson (71) run in the 6.5 range.
Best Defensive Player: Murphy has all the tools to become an above-average big league hortstop, including well-above-average range and arm strength. SSs Seth Davidson (25), Keoni DeRenne (75) and Chase Voshell (65) are also fine defensive middle infielders. C Dane Sardinha (8) has excellent athleticism behind the plate. Holt and Joe Borchard (10) have two of the best throwing arms from the outfield, while Jeff Duncan (44) chases balls down in center field with the best.
Hardest Thrower: For pure velocity, no one tops Diggins, who touches 96-97 mph regularly and may eventually hit triple digits as he matures. RHP Beau Hale’s (17) fastball reaches 95 mph, but can be straight and relatively easy to hit. RHP Aaron Heilman’s (9) low-90s fastball is in the middle of the pack as far as velocity, but it has outstanding movement.
Best Breaking Ball: Young’s slider has excellent two-plane break and gets sharp biting action. Heilman also throws a plus slider that is closer to a true pro-style hard slider. Sliders predominate, but LHP Ryan Snare’s (21) curveball puts him near the top of the list of college lefthanders.
Best Command: Young and RHP Chris Bootcheck (4) have good command of all their pitches, especially for hard throwers. Six-foot-7 RHP Jeff Carlsen (52) looks like a power pitcher, but has the command of a finesse pitcher.
Most Intriguing Background: Godwin’s combination of superior athletic skills and top-notch academic achievement make him potentially an ideal role model for young athletes. 3B Lance Niekro (13) is the son of Joe and the nephew of Phil Niekro, who won 539 big leagues games between them. C David Parrish (56) is the son of Lance Parrish. C John Wilson (34) has overcome being shot by his father as a high school senior to become a top prospect.
Closest To The Majors: Nady won’t need much of a minor league apprenticeship with the bat, especially if he is drafted by an organization with an immediate need at third base. Heilman and Young both have the movement and command of their pitches to move quickly.
Best Two-Way Player: Diggins was considered primarily a position player when he was the 32nd pick in the nation two years ago, but is a candidate for the No. 1 pick as a pitcher this year. DH/LHP Danny Borrell (53) is one of the top returning power hitters (.365-20-73) and should expand his responsibilities on the mound (1-2, 6.39 in 25 innings) from 1999. OF/LHP Jason Grove (31) and SS/RHP John Nelson (45) will both be given the expanded jobs of closing for their teams this spring.