03/08/09 10:00 AM EST
Draft Report: Welcome back
Southern California hosts expected top pick, high school prospects
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
There's no better place to start than the top. So that's exactly where the first edition of The 2009 Draft Report will begin.
Before a single inning had even been played in the 2009 amateur season, there was a consensus that San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg was the odds-on favorite to be the top pick in the June Draft. So it would be inappropriate not to include him in the first batch of reports about the best the class of 2009 has to offer.
Each week, TDR will take a look at high school and college players who could go early in this June's Draft, criss-crossing the country, much like the hard-working scouts that are the backbone of the sport these days.
Strasburg has been the de facto top pick pretty much since last year's Draft came to an end. A strong performance in the Olympics as the only collegian to attend certainly didn't hurt. And if his first few starts in 2009 -- 20 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 4 BB, 45 K -- are any indication, he's not going to slip.
The bulk of this week's report comes from the California high school ranks. The unofficial kickoff event to the Draft season, for the second straight year, was the Urban Youth Academy Showcase, held in Compton in early February. Five of the eight reports this week come from that one-day event. There's one high schooler on the other side of the country, in Florida, as well. And, just for good measure, we've thrown in a college outfielder from a tournament in Alabama.
Stephen Strasburg, RHP
San Diego State
The presumptive top pick in the Draft, as of right now, Strasburg opened his season with a win against Bethune-Cookman in the Urban Youth Academy Invitational, where he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits while walking two and striking out 11. He followed that up by striking out 16 over 6 2/3 IP in a win against Nevada -- he reportedly hit 102 mph on seven different occasions in that start -- then he struck out 18 in start No. 3. Complete Report
Coca Cola Classic
Jordan Henry, OF
University of Mississippi
The report on the speedy center fielder came from the Coca Cola Classic, held in Mobile, Alabama. Against Liberty, he went 1-for-5 with a stolen base. In six total games, Henry has gone 4-for-19, though he does have a .464 OBP and three steals. Complete report
Urban Youth Academy Showcase
Matt Davidson, 3B
Yucaiipa HS, Yucaipa Calif.
Hitters didn't stand out all that much at the UYA showcase, but Davidson is a prep third baseman who's been on radars for quite some time. His power potential is what most will be interested in and he did win the 2008 Aflac All-American Game home run derby last summer. Complete Report
Matt Hobgood, RHP
Norco HS, Norco, Calif.
A strong, physical right-hander, Hobgood stood out in a pitching-heavy event with two plus pitches and outstanding mound presence. Complete Report
Jiovanni Mier, SS
Bonita HS, La Verne, CA
While the SoCal prep shortstop looked OK with the bat, he really stood out at the UYA showcase with his glovework up the middle. Complete Report
Brooks Pounders, RHP
Temecula Valley HS, Temecula, Calif.
At first glance, Pounders doesn't look like the kind of prep pitcher scouts would like, but he showed four pitches he could throw for strikes at the UYA Showcase. Complete Report
Tyler Skaggs, LHP
Santa Monica HS, Santa Monica, CA
Perhaps the top lefty at the UYA Showcase, he's got the prototypical pitcher's body and two above-average to plus pitches right now. Complete Report
Bobby Borchering, 3B
Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, Fla
In an early game against Gulliver Prep, this switch-hitting third baseman with a quick bat had a pair of hits, including a home run. While his team is off to a 3-4 start, Borchering has hit .500 (7-for-14) with a double and three homers. Complete Report
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.