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Jayhawk Baseball 2009 MLB draft preview

This draft preview comes courtesy of Bkmhoxx, thanks a ton for the insight bkm and to everyone else enjoy!!

The Ritch Price era at Kansas has brought us many highlights throughout the recent years. Most of which have not happened very often for Kansas baseball fans. One of those is fielding a team with good talent and a chance to move on to the next level and play professional baseball. In the recent past, we have seen 2-3 players get that opportunity at the end of each college season. Two years ago we had two players land in the top 10 rounds and last year we had a whopping 6 players total that ended up hearing their names called or signing a professional contract.

This year will be no different. I'd expect 4-5 players to be drafted (possibly as many as 8). I will attempt to breakdown where these Jayhawks may fit into the 2009 MLB draft. The draft will be televised in prime time this year for the first time. It will be Tuesday night (June 9th) at 5pm for rounds 1-3 only. Wednesday, June 10th at 11am will be rounds 4-30 and on Thursday, June 11th (11am) for rounds 31-50. No Jayhawks will be drafted on Tuesday night but i would expect several to be drafted on Wednesday at some point. Each players breakdowns are as followed:

Full breakdown after the jump...

LHP) JR. Schaeffer Hall, 6'2, 200 (4.18, 92.2 ip, 104 hits, 10 bb, 65 k, 9HR)

This is what i wrote about Hall in my season preview:
Hall will be the Friday starter to begin the season. He is a control pitcher that throws 3 pitches for strikes. He has a good breaking pitch and a great change up. He has been drafted twice and definitely has the capability to fulfill this role as staff ace, but he will need to be very tough on Friday nights or someone else may push him for this spot.

I think Schaeffer will be the first Jayhawk taken on Wednesday afternoon. He was drafted out of HS in the 28th round by the Texas Rangers and after his freshman year of Junior College in the 23rd round by the Cleveland Indians.  Hall has been on the radar of MLB scouts for several years. He is the rare and perfect example of a pitcher with very little velocity but with 3 solid pitches (a plus changeup), great command and great control. Coach Price likes to compare him to the ageless wonder for the Phillies, Jamie Moyer. Hall gives up slightly more than 1 hit/inning, doesnt get many strikeouts but he walks almost no one and keeps the ball down inducing a ton of ground ball outs and weak hits. Hitters rarely get a good look at a bad pitch and rarely make good contact with his pitches. Hall also has decent size and is a lefty. After throwing his no-hitter in the first game of the season, and flirting with a couple others, along with beating some of the top teams in the nation and going up against some of the top pitchers in this draft, Shaeffer should get picked somewhere between rounds 10-18. I would expect Shaeffer to sign a contract and begin his professional career as I'm not sure his stock can get much higher than it is right now.

RHP) SO. Brett Bochy, 6'2, 190 (4.34, 37.1 ip, 34 hits, 16 bb, 54 K, 4 HR)

This is what i wrote about Bochy in my season preview:
Son of long time MLB manager Bruce Bochy (now with SF Giants). Brett is pitching very good right now and could prove to be a much needed asset out of the bullpen.

I think Bochy has a chance to be the 2nd or 3rd Jayhawk taken on Wednesday. Bochy is a red shirt sophomore so he is draft eligible because of his age. He had a very strong year out of the pen and has great bloodlines. Bochy kept his hits under one per inning, showed good poise and command and also showed that he could be a shut down pitcher with 54 K's in only 37 innings. He has the size to add more velocity and shows potential to be a nice bullpen piece. He throws a good breaking ball and a nice slider and really attacks the hitters. Bochy should get drafted in rounds 17-25. It will all depend on his talks with MLB teams in pre-draft conversations. If he is a strong commit to coming back to school next year, then he could slide or go undrafted completely. There is a decent chance that Bochy too could sign a contract and begin his professional career. This will depend a bit on what team drafts him, how much he is offered and how much he likes college. I think we have a chance at losing Bochy early but I could also see him returning next year.

SS) JR. David Narodowski, 5'10, 193 (.354, 19 doubles, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 33 bb, 46 K, 6 SB)
This was my preseason preview of Nardo:
David is flat-out "show time" on defense. He has amazing lateral speed with a good arm and he runs through the ball when he fields it. I have seen this kid get to some balls that just aren't reachable by very many players. So he's all defense right? Wrong. This kid can hit the ball. He hits to all fields and has a shocking amount of power for a guy his size. He was a great find for this coaching staff to get this kid to transfer to Kansas. I would expect him to really surprise the Big 12 this year.

Narodowski "Nardo" has really helped himself in this year's post season. He showed a lot more power and tore through the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA regional in North Carolina. He showed an amazing skill set on defense this year (a few too many silly errors here and there). I could see him moved to 2b at the next level because he doesnt really posses a cannon of an arm. Offensively, he shows plenty of power with his 19 doubles and 8 homeruns. He strikes out a little bit much but he also walks quite a bit. He has decent speed as well and already works, looks and acts like a professional athlete. With Nardo's post-season success and power showing, I think he really moved himself up the draft charts. I would expect Nardo to be selected in rounds 20-30 and I have this feeling that he will sign and unfortunately be done with his Jayhawk career.

C) SR. Buck Afenir, 6'1, 205 (.333, 12 doubles, 10 hr, 63 rbi, 18 bb, 50 k)
This is what i wrote for his preview:
Buck was All Big 12 Honorable Mention last year and should rack up stronger awards again this year. Afenir is a team leader, hard worker and a clutch hitter. He has a strong arm behind the plate but still needs to improve his accuracy and release quickness. With the bat, he needs to improve his pitch recognition and draw more walks. He does posses some decent power however and is a threat for opposing pitchers. I think Buck should be able to raise his average to the .270 range this year and really be a leader for this young Jayhawk team.

Afenir is a bit of a wild-card in this draft. Seniors dont hold much bargaining power and therefore usually fall to much later in the draft and sign much cheaper contracts as a whole. Buck however is at a premium position, showed much improvement defensively and throwing out runners, showed much more ability to hit and get on base to go along with his already decent power. He still strikes out too much and his walks are too low but his average shows positive signs at a difficult position. Buck has shown to be a good leader and work well with a pitching staff. He has shown durability and toughness along with being able to block pitches. He is a clutch hitter but lacks quickness and swings at the occasional bad pitch. The teams that think Buck can stay at catcher and continue to improve his plate discipline will be looking at Buck towards the middle of this draft. The question will be, when does one of those teams actually pull the trigger and draft him? My guesstimate would be in rounds 25-35 but i really hope someone takes a chance on him a bit earlier.

RHP) SR. Paul Smyth, 6', 215 (5.40, 30 ip, 34 hits, 10 bb, 19 k, 6 HR)
My season preview for Smyth:
Smyth should be in line to get many accolades this season and be on many lists for many more. Smyth is a strike-thrower with a cutter in the 90-92 range. He also has a decent slider to go along with it. He has an odd arm angle that is difficult for most batters to hit. Smyth will have a chance to be one of the dominant pitchers in the league this year and if this young pitching staff can get the ball into his hands, I will expect great things from him.

Smyth ran into the injury bug a little bit this year and i think it really caused him to struggle throughout the middle portion of the season. He did show decent signs of progress at the end of the year however. He was in line to be one of the first Jayhawks taken this year but his lack of strikeouts and the injury will move him down quite a bit. Smyth has a cut fastball in the 88-92 range with a decent off speed pitch and a decent slider. His cutter gets a lot of movement and is very tough for right-handers to hit. With his arm angle and his potential upside, he is definitely worth a team taking a chance on. It will all depend on if his injury potential scares any teams away. I'd guess Smyth to go in rounds 30-40.

1B) SR, Preston Land, 6'3, 236 (.222, 8 doubles, 3 hr, 21 rbi, 24 bb, 69 k)
My season preview for Preston:
Land will get his last chance to do what everyone thinks he is capable of doing. He will truly need to start off the season strong as he will be pushed by a big time recruit in Zac Elgie. Scouts love Preston and want him to succeed as he did as a freshman. He packs so much raw power and has a great pro body. He also has decent speed and a good arm and plays good defense. He just needs to get out of that funk he has when the bat is in his hands. If he doesn't show any signs of change, then I would expect Elgie to begin stealing more and more starts away from Land as the season progresses.

Land consistently took steps backward each year since his amazing freshman campaign. His averages went way down, his power disappeared, he walked less and he struck out way too often. That said, if you see him swing the bat and play defense, he will make any scout drool. He is full of power potential and athleticism. He can dig out the worst thrown balls to first with great ease and when he does hit the ball, wow! It would not surprise me at all to see Preston get picked in the late rounds of this draft or even do what John Allman did last year and sign a free agent contract after the draft is over. It also wouldnt surprise me if Preston doesnt get any looks whatsoever, but I just think some organization out there may take a chance on Land and see if they can help him correct his offensive struggles. Sometimes a change of scenery is a good thing. Preston would be in rounds 45-50 or a free agent.

Brian Heere and Robby Price would shock me if selected this year but if either of them can work out a deal to go in the top 10 rounds then i could see a slight chance that one of them might sign. Both seem to be prototypical college ballplayers that would want to play as much college ball as possible and to continue their education. Robby has his Senior season and playing his last year for his father to look forward to and Heere im quite sure will strive to get his degree before testing any professional baseball opportunities.

Also keep an eye on Tanner Poppe. He should be sporting a Jayhawk uniform next year but will be one of the top tier players in this draft and has a chance to be picked in the first 3-5 rounds. Poppe was listed in BA's top 200 (#185). Hes a monster at 6'5, 220 and he can throw some gas. Also recruited by Oklahoma for football but he signed with Kansas. He is a very solid commit and likely will not sign but some teams out there will take a chance and throw some money at him anyways. He may get some very nice cash offered to him in the form of an above slot bonus because the kid has some of the best projectability in this class. He is very smart and his mom is a Jayhawk so I'd expect to see him here next spring.

Enjoy the draft everyone!
Aman Reaka