Every year since 1965, Major League Baseball has conducted its annual amateur draft, selecting players from both the high school and college ranks who have the potential to develop into stars in MLB.
While drafting is certainly not an exact science, millions of dollars are spent each year in scouting and development, with the hope that the young players of today will be the franchise players of tomorrow.
In early June 2012, once again all eyes will be focused on the MLB Draft. Here are five players that are worth watching.
5. Tom Murphy: Catcher, University of Buffalo
Nowadays, finding a catcher that can hit as well as field his position is a rare commodity. Tom Murphy just may be one of those rare breeds of player.
As a sophomore in 2011, Murphy was the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year for the University of Buffalo, with a .384 batting average, .446 on-base percentage, a .626 slugging percentage and 10 HR. Murphy hits for power to all fields and possesses an outstanding throwing arm. Murphy’s stock come draft day could be high indeed.
4. David Thompson: 3B, Westminster Christian HS, Florida
Westminster Christian High School in Miami, Florida has already produced major league stars Alex Rodriguez, Doug Mientiewicz, and J.P. Arencibia. It’s entirely possible that current Westminster third baseman David Thompson could join that list as well.
Thompson already has a very quick bat, good plate discipline and developing power, and despite his commitment to the University of Miami, Thompson will be one the highly coveted prep infielder in this June’s draft.
3. Branden Kline: SP, University of Virginia
In 2011, young right-hander Branden Kline was invaluable to the Virginia Cavaliers. With his 4-1 record, 17 saves and a 2.16 ERA during the regular season, Kline helped his college team gain entry into the College World Series as a sophomore.
This season, Kline has been converted into a starter, and with a solid four-pitch repertoire including a mid-90s fastball, Kline will definitely get a lot of looks from several teams early in the MLB Draft.
2. David Dahl: OF, Oak Mountain HS, Alabama
Several scouts have outfielder David Dahl rated as one of the top three high school outfielders in the upcoming MLB Draft, and for good reason.
In his junior year, Dahl hit a robust .449 with 2 HR and 29 RBI. Dahl followed that up with a tremendous week of play in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C. last summer before a bout with mononucleosis shut him down for the remainder of the year.
Dahl also projects as one of the best defensive outfielders in the draft, with a great throwing and tremendous. Signability could be an issue, however—Dahl has verbally committed to Auburn University.
1. Michael Roth: LHP, University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina has a rich tradition of sending players on to play Major League Baseball, and current pitcher Michael Roth could join that list as well.
Roth put together a sophomore season that had scouts salivating—a 14-3 record, 1.06 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 145 innings. Roth’s final victory of the season was sweet indeed, leading his Gamecocks to their second straight College World Series championship.
Roth doesn’t possess a blazing fastball, but with an array of better than average secondary pitches, Roth fits the mold of a crafty left-hander who could clearly carve out an outstanding career in MLB.
This is a guest post submitted by Mike Wright. Mike played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports. He works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class wood bats, such as their premier maple baseball bats, for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Mike loves writing on different sports topics and is honored to contribute here.