Kansas Jayhawks in the 08 MLB Draft

Here is bkmhoxx' rundown of Jayhawks who are eligable today for the MLB draft.  I will update with individual postings for each KU player selected today.  Be sure to hit read more, there are ten players profiled here! - James

These are the notes that i published before the season began.
I will add my current TAKE at the bottom of each players notes.

Erik Morrison SS (6'1, 195 lbs)
Morrison is a senior who was drafted in the 49th round in last years draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but declined their offer and came back for his senior season at KU. With a solid senior campaign, he should be able to drastically improve his draft slot. Morrison has some very nice tools and has very high upside. Defensively he has a plus arm I would grade to be about a 7. He is a good fielder with good hands. He will flash the leather a lot this year and show off his arm strength although it would help him to cut down on some of his errors (10) and keep his emotions in check. Offensively, Morrison shows a good swing with decent power (7 HR) and decent speed (6 SB). The issue with Erik will be whether or not he can keep his average (.296) at a respectable level or not. If he can eliminate just a few errors, get his average up n the .310-.320 range and show more improvement, Morrison could be looked at fairly early. My guess would be 8th round on the high side, 20th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: This year E-Mo got his avg. up to .308, he hit 7 HR again and showed more speed with 13 Steals. He did have 16 doubles which shows possible power development in his future. He did however go from 10 errors last year to 16 this year, with 19 walks and 38 K's. I guessed rounds 8-20 at the beginning of the season, and while he did get his average up a little higher, I think his errors and strikeouts may hold him back a little bit. I personally think he can remain at SS at the next level. Most of his errors were throwing errors which are concentration errors. He will be a low risk/high reward type player for a team to take a chance on. He has a chance to be the first Jayhawk taken (I think it will be Paul Smyth). I would guess Morrison to go somewhere in rounds 15-20.

Preston Land 1B (6'3, 236 lbs)
Land is a junior with pro body. Land has a good arm although he will rarely get to show it this year playing 1b. He has some fairly serious raw power that could very well develop into plus power at the professional level. Land even has pretty good speed for a guy his size. He may project as a first baseman in the pros. This all depends on how much his power develops this year. My guess would be 20th round on the high side, 40th round on the low side and my guess is that he would stick around for his senior year.

CURRENT TAKE: Land had another rough year (mainly the second half). He definitely cant stop the ship from sinking once the leak starts. You can just see it on his face after each at-bat. That being said, he still has his senior season to get it figured out. The scouts love him and WANT to see him succeed. He has a perfect build to be a monster masher type first baseman. This year he hit .221 with 5 HR, 16 Doubles, 31 RBI, 32 Walks and 62 K's. I guessed rounds 20-40 at the beginning but i wasnt expecting another down year from Land. I would be shocked if he got drafted at all this year, but i do expect big things from him next year. His chances are almost gone so he MUST produce next year. His leash should be short as it will be time to play someone younger.

Ryne Price C/RF (5'11, 190 lbs)
Ryne is a senior who plays 2 positions. He will play RF and he backed up at catcher last year. Ryne will likely do the same this year, possibly backing up at catcher a bit more. Ryne lives for the game of baseball and you can see it when you watch him play. He has a few things going for him that I think could get him some looks at the professional level. He is a leftie with plus power that could easily develop into decent HR totals. He has a great arm and he runs fairly well. I can easily see a professional team taking a chance on Ryne at the catching spot if not RF. This will be a big season for him to show that his defense behind the plate will improve quite a bit and his strikeouts will drop. If he can do those 2 things and continue to show his positives, I think he will have a shot. My guess would be 30th round on the high side, 45th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Ryno had a very nice year. He hit .305 with 11 HR, 17 Doubles, 60 RBI, 22 Walks, 58 K's and 9 Steals. Ryne shows plus power and is a fairly good hitter as well. He also has decent speed for a guy with his build. Im not sure he can catch at the next level or not. If he can be converted, then he will be a steal wherever he is drafted. If he plays RF, then he will have a much tougher road to the big show. I guessed rounds 30-45 at the beginning of the season but that was before he had such a great senior campaign. I would bump that up quite a bit now to somewhere around 20-25. He too has a decent chance to be the first Jayhawk drafted.

John Allman LF (6`2, 225 lbs)
Allman is a senior who has worked very hard to get where he is. He doesn't really possess the tools that a lot of guys with his resume have. Allman has a good bat and hits for average with some gap power although his kind of power probably wont ever translate into HR's. He plays a good LF with decent range and shows good hands. This year I think John will need to cut down on some of his strikeouts, continue to hit for a high average and show a little pop in his bat. If he does that my guess would be 25th round on the high side, 40th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Allman had a great senior year. His avg. was way up to .365. He hit 17 Doubles with 6 HR and 48 RBI. He had more walks with 35 but his K's went up as well to 32. I think John helped himself a touch by hitting for such a high avg. this year and his defense was gritty and quite amazing at times. My preseason prediction was rounds 25-40. I would guess Allman to be drafted somewhere very near round 30 this year. (He does have a chance to go as high as the 20th round depending on what teams see him developing into.

Nick Czyz LHP (6'2, 215 lbs)
Czyz is a junior. Hes a talented leftie with a fastball in the 86-90 range. He has a good off speed pitch and a good curve but neither are a very solid "out" pitch quite yet. If he can improve his command and find an "out" pitch, my guess would be 8th round on the high side, 15th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Czyz had a good year. He had a few bad outings which ruined a few of his numbers. He showed increased velocity on his fastball which came in in the low 90's while topping out at 93/94. His slider worked well and came in around 80/81. I would say that his slider is now officially an "out" pitch. He had a 6.12 ERA in 64.2 innings, giving up 74 hits, striking out 59 and walking 41. He definitely needs to improve his command and cut down on the walks but right now, he definitely shows signs of a good bullpen guy for the next level. I originally guessed rounds 8-15 and i would probably narrow that down to somewhere near the 15th round at this point. I do think Nick could come back and be a top pitcher in the Big 12 next year and really improve his draft status. It will depend how much money he is offered this year. He has a good chance to be the first Jayhawk drafted.

Sam Freeman LHP (5'11, 170 lbs)
Freeman is a JUCO transfer that was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 24th round. He's also a talented leftie with a fastball in the 88-92 range. He has an excellent off speed pitch and a plus slider. More than likely Freeman will be a weekend starter and if he can prove himself in the Big 12, he should move up the draft chart nicely. I would guess 8th round on the high side, 20th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Freeman had a rough year. He definitely shows flashes of his dominance but its few and far between. He has a stiff and rather herky-jerky motion and is very quick through his delivery. This is one reason he is so tough to hit as its tough to pick up the ball and it happens very fast. However he did show very poor command of hs pitches and control of the strike zone this year. Freeman had an 8.53 ERA in 31.2 innings, giving up 45 hits, 20 walks and getting 20 K's. With his delivery coupled with a nice fastball and a great slow curve, I can see teams drafting Freeman fairly high despite his season totals. I guessed rounds 8-20 before the season and i would fit him somewhere near round 20 this year, but more likely to be near the 30th. Freeman definitely needs to stay and iron out his command. He could be a top 10 rounds draftee next year for sure.

Hiarali Garcia RHP (6, 200 lbs)
Garcia is a senior. He throws from the right side with a fastball in the 90-93 range. He really needs to show a secondary pitch this year as his off speed pitches don't fool many hitters. With Garcia rating out at a 6 or 7 with his velocity, my guess would be 15th round on the high side, 25th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Garcia had a tough stretch this year but overall he proved to be a very nice pitcher. He had a 3.58 ERA in 37.2 innings, giving up 36 hits, 14 walks and 29 K's. For a guy that barely has a secondary pitch, that is pretty good. His fastball has nice velocity with a lot of life and doesnt allow the batters to settle in. Im not sure if Garcia has enough to get drafted but im sure hoping for him to be. I like how he pitches but does he have enough to get to the next level? I think my preseason prediction was a bit high. I could see Garcia going anytime after the 30th round or possibly not getting drafted at all.

Andres Esquibel RHP (6'2, 220 lbs)
Esquibel is a senior that has quite a bit of upside. His fastball sits at 88-91. He currently has only an average off speed pitch and an average slider. Esquibel pounds the strike zone and if he can develop a plus pitch or secondary pitch, he could prove to be very effective. My guess would be 20th round on the high side, 35th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Esquibel had a few bad outings this year that ruined his numbers. He had a 5.65 ERA in 73.1 innings, giving up 72 hits, 27 walks and striking out 45. He is a true "pitcher" that has good control and keeps the ball down. He doesnt have electric stuff but he does a good job on the mound. With 3 average pitches and good command, he will more than likely take his game to the next level. My preseason prediction was rounds 20-35. I would look for Esquibel to go off the board somewhere between those rounds. My guess would be more towards the 30-35 range.

Andy Marks LHP (6'2, 215 lbs)
Marks is a junior. Andy is coming off of labrum surgery and will get a slow start to the season trying to recover from that. Hes a talented leftie with a fastball in the 89-92 range. He has a plus off speed pitch and a plus curve but throws with a slower arm speed which makes his pitches easier to pick up for the batter. If he can have a healthy season, my guess would be 25th round on the high side, 40th round on the low side. I would expect Marks to come back next year and prove his health again and increase his arm speed and really move himself up the draft charts his senior year.

CURRENT TAKE: Marks had to have his shoulder worked on again. Im hoping things heal properly and we can get him back out on the mound next year. When healthy, Marks is a great addition to the pitching staff.

Paul Smyth RHP (5'11, 215 lbs)
Smyth is a junior. Hes a right hander with good movement on his cutter that comes in about 89-92. He gets more movement on his slower pitches that come in below 90. His arm angle is a big part of his success thus far. He has an average but improving slider and he is working on his off speed pitch as well. He also throws strikes but his weakness is the fact that I don't see an "out" pitch. I think Smyth can use this season to really find that "out" pitch and be a successful closer. If he can do this, my guess would be a late round draft pick maybe in the 50's. I would expect a team to take a chance on Smyth as he does have some possible upside as a bullpen guy to face right handers. I could see Smyth returning for his senior year and improving his draft slot and really finding that "out" pitch.

CURRENT TAKE: Smyth REALLY inproved his draft status this season proving to be KU's most reliable and clutch pitcher. He had a 3.73 ERA in 60.1 innings, giving up 67 hits, only 12 walks and striking out 51. He did hit 10 batters but i doubt tht hurts his status too much. I think most scouts really like Smyth and to lure him away from KU i could see him going in the 15th round and being offered a decent payday. I look for Smyth to be the first or second Jayhawk picked this year.

7 to 8 Jayhawks with a strong possibility of going in this draft.
That is proof in the pudding that Coach Price is slowly starting to get the recruits that he needs to build a team to get us back to Omaha. Im anxious about this next years recruiting class coupled with several of the freshman from this year that didnt play much. It will be a fun, young and talented team next year!


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