While it certainly is a far cry from last year, here is a look at the status of the Sun Devils in the draft:
Mike Leake, 8th Overall, 1st Round Cincinnati Reds
Leake became the 25th Sun Devil to be taken in the first round and the highest pick since Ryan Mills was taken sixth in 1998. The only surprise about this pick was how early in the first round Leake went. The Reds went with a sure bet and Leake could be on a fast track to the big leagues. Obviously, Leake will not return to Tempe and will sign with the Reds following the College World Series. Leake was drafted in the sixth round out of high school, so his choice to go to college paid off.
Jason Kipnis, 63rd Overall, 2nd Round Cleveland Indians
While one team from Ohio took the Pac 10 Pitcher of the Year, the other took the Pac 10 Pitcher of the Year. Kipnis’ choice to return to college for his junior season certainly paid off as he moved up two rounds in the draft. Like Leake, Kipnis’ career is over at Arizona State, but at what position he starts his pro career is up in the air. Most scout’s don’t believe Kipnis is an everyday outfielder and some believe he is best suited at second base. He has average tools across the board, but his ability to play defense and get on base while playing well about his tool set.
Josh Spence, 110th Overall, 3rd Round Los Angeles Angels
Spence burst onto the scene in his first and likely his only season at ASU. Barring a huge surprise, Spence will enter the Angels system. The Angels are getting a very crafty lefthander that has more pitches than healthy fingers. The Australian was taken by Angels scouting director and former Sun Devil Eddie Bane. Spence proved his toughness this season by returning from an injury that was supposed to keep him out for the rest of the season. He has a rubber arm and could be a mid-rotation lefty if he makes the big leagues.
Carlos Ramirez, 261st Overall, 8th Round Los Angeles Angels
Eddie Bane struck the Devils again and took Ramirez in the 8th round. Ramirez caught every game for the Devils in what will likely be his only season in Tempe. Ramirez will get to stay with Josh Spence and improved his draft stock greatly in his one season at ASU. The catcher was taken in the 34th round last year and jumped all the way to the 8th round in a very good year that earned him 1st team All-Pac 10.
Jared McDonald, 643rd Overall, 21st Round Chicago White Sox
An interesting pick here and the first big decision to make for a Sun Devil, as McDonald struggled with the bat in his first year at ASU. The guy can play defense and is a natural shortstop that played all over for the Devils this season. McDonald has the tools to be a fine hitter, but another year in college could do him well. But is there more playing time at ASU next season? He won’t play shortstop, could see time at first, but would likely have to make a transition to the outfield to be an everyday player. That could make McDonald sign with the White Sox right there, but would benefit from another year on campus.
Players that could get drafted tomorrow in final 20 rounds: Kole Calhoun, Jason Franzblau, Raoul Torrez, Mike Murphy:
Calhoun and Torrez will more than likely back at ASU next season for their senior years after not getting taken in the first 30 rounds of the draft. There was really no doubt Raoul Torrez would return, but Calhoun was a surprise non-selection. Franzblau and Murphy are both seniors and may both go undrafted. Murphy will more than likely not be selected, because he lost his senior season to an injury. Franzblau will likely be a reliever in the pro game and could hear his name called late on Thursday, but will get a contract if he isn’t drafted.
2010 Signing Class:
Nolan Arenado, 59th Overall, 2nd Round, Colorado Rockies
Arenado is the top player in Pat Murphy’s recruiting class and like most top players before him, won’t set foot on campus at ASU. Arenando is a strong, versatile player that can mash at the plate. Arenando will start at third base in the Rockies system, but also can catch. It will be a real surprise if the Rockies and Arenado don’t come to terms.
Jake Barrett, 99th Overall, 3rd Round, Toronto Blue Jays
Local product Jake Barrett was an arm that the Devils wanted to see on campus next season to try and replace the losses of Mike Leake and Josh Spence, only to see him taken ahead of Spence. After the draft Barrett was asked if he will sign or attend ASU and he said he was unsure and had two great opportunities ahead of him. In college, Barrett would be used as a two way player, because he has a big power bat. That being said, it still is unlikely the power righty that throws in the mid-90s will ever take the mound at Packard Stadium. The Desert Ridge star hasn’t completely ruled out college, but 3rd round money will be hard to pass up.
Deven Marrero, 509th Overall, 17th Round, Cincinnati Reds
This is where it will begin to get interesting for Murphy. Marrero, a smooth fielding and gifted shortstop, will be likely Murphy’s top priority of keeping committed to college. However, Marrero was slated to go in the top 250 picks, but slid all the way to the 17th round. The Devils were hoping to keep Barrett and likely to lose Marrero in the draft, but it could be reversed. Marrero in most interviews seems set on pro ball, but his slip in the draft might lead him to come to ASU. Murphy calls him the top high school shortstop in the country and is a natural born leader that knows what it takes to win a championship. If Marrero comes to ASU, Drew Maggi may move to a different position, because Marrero is that good of a fielder.
Chad Thompson, 525th Overall, 17th Round, New York Yankees
Thompson, is a 6-8 righty that is a right handed power arm and is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Baseball America ranked him as the 23rd best high school player in the country, but fell in the draft due to his injury. Thompson was supposed to be a very high selection in the draft, but fell to the 17th round. It will be interesting to see the type of offer the Yanks give a guy that has a long road to recovery. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thompson at Arizona State, giving him time to get healthy and rebuild his arm. If Thompson comes to ASU, it may be very unlikely that he can pitch next season. In the long run if he comes to college, it could be a steal for ASU if he recovers from what could be a career threatening injury. Ultimately, since he had the surgery just a few weeks ago, it will be up to the Sun Devil staff to show that ASU is a better place to recover than in the Yankee system.
Tyler Bernard, 603rd Overall, 20th Round, Oakland Athletics
Bernard is another shortstop in this class, but is a good enough athlete to play multiple positions, as he was a quarterback on his football team. He really came on in his senior season in high school and will have a tough decision to make. He would be a valuable player to add to the Sun Devil roster next season, because he can play all over the field and is a pitcher. There are no early indications on which way Bernard is leaning, but my best guess is that he ends up coming to ASU.
Merrill Kelly, 665th Overall, 22nd Round, Cleveland Indians
Kelly said that he stopped watching the draft after the 12th round and is asking for $250,000 or he is heading to ASU. The Yavapai College transfer is unlikely to get that kind of money as a 22nd round pick and is an important keep for the Devils if he comes to school. He will factor into the pitching rotation right away. Kelly is a late signing by Murphy and will be needed, especially with Barrett likely not coming to Tempe. Expect Kelly to show up and be a Sun Devil next season.
Xorge Carrillo, 875th Overall, 29th Round, Cleveland Indians
A very similar story to Carlos Ramirez is catcher Xorge Carrillo. A Juco transfer that even played on the same Northwoods League team as Ramirez is slated to take over behind the plate next season in Tempe. While he has less power than his predecessor, Carrillo is extremely gifted defensively and has a very strong arm. Scouts compare him to a Bengie Molina type behind the plate in both his defense and his body type. Most scouts were surprised the Tribe too the Central Arizona College transfer this high, but it is still unlikely that he will opt for pro ball. If he does, it could but the Devils in a world of hurt behind the plate, with just Austin Barnes returning.
Players Likely to get drafted on Day 3: Jacob Morris and Jimmy Patterson
Two surprises that weren’t drafter were outfielder Jacob Morris and pitcher Jimmy Patterson. ASU really wanted to keep both and it looks like they will. I am very surprised to see neither player selected in the top thirty rounds. Patterson is a transfer from Central Arizona College, like Josh Spence, and will be needed to replace Leake and Spence next season. Patterson has a great fastball, curveball mix and was the #1 pitcher and three hole hitter for CAC. Morris is a five tool outfielder that could see time replacing Kipnis next year. He is a strong player that Murphy said can change games with his speed. He is an AFLAC All-American and was rated the 58th best player in the country by Baseball America. What probably kept him from being drafted on the first two days are his problems with his swing that often leads to timing issues. If he irons those out in college, he could become a big time player for ASU.
Going Pro: Leake, Kipnis, Spence, Ramirez, Arenado, Barrett, Thompson
Going to College: McDonald, Calhoun, Marrero, Bernard, Carillo, Kelly, Morris, Patterson