05/13/09 10:00 AM ET
Draft Report: Scouting for southpaws
Oklahoma State's Oliver taking long, winding road to pros
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
The Draft is less than four weeks away, and with time running short, teams are trying to get last looks at players all across the country. It seems every team says you can't have enough pitching, especially of the left-handed variety, so The Draft Report is focusing on the southpaws in this edition.
It starts with a pair of college lefties with power arsenals, then moves on to a high school left-hander who doesn't throw quite as hard as his collegiate counterparts but knows how to pitch. Throw in a college right-hander and it's a four-man rotation.
Of course, there can't be all these starters without a bullpen, so we've also got a hard-throwing college closer for consideration. Having arms without a batterymate doesn't make sense, so take a look at an intriguing college catcher in the Northeast.
Finally, this week's report finishes up with a pair of high school infielders, one on each coast.
Before the reports, if there ever was a week to check in on ol' No. 1, Stephen Strasburg, this is it. All he did in his last start was toss a 17-strikeout no-hitter. As if he needed to do anything else to prove he's the best the class has to offer.
Last outing: May 8
Opponent: Air Force
Result: 5-0 win
Game stats: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 17 K
Season stats: 11-0, 87 1/3 IP, 48 H, 12 ER, 17 BB, 164 K, .161 BAA, 1.24 ERA
Now, on to the reports.
The College Lefties
Andrew Oliver, LHP
Oliver made headlines when he was suspended by the NCAA for having a lawyer present during negotiations with the Twins following his selection out of high school, then had the suspension overturned in court so he could pitch for the Cowboys. He had his "A" game in a start at Texas A&M, where he beat Brooks Raley by throwing seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out 10. For the season, he's 5-6 with a 4.83 ERA over 14 starts. He's struck out 90 over 78 1/3 IP, but he's allowed 77 hits and 30 walks. Complete Report
James Paxton, LHP
University of Kentucky
In a start against the University of Alabama a few weeks ago, the southpaw got a no-decision when he allowed four runs over seven innings, but he also struck out 11 while walking only two. For the season, Paxton is just 5-2 with a 5.30 ERA, but he's got 109 strikeouts and 20 walks in 73 innings of work and seemed to be coming on of late. Complete Report
The High School Lefty
Robbie Erlin, LHP
Scotts Valley HS, Calif.
He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he's been putting up some big numbers. In a game at Sobrato HS in the Salinas Easter Tourney, Erlin tossed a no-hitter and struck out 15 in a 1-0 victory. Complete Report
The College Right-hander
Sam Dyson, RHP
University of South Carolina
It was a marquee matchup against Vandy's Mike Minor and while Dyson won the game and went 8 2/3 IP, he gave up five runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out seven. The draft-eligible sophomore has gone 7-4 but with a 5.70 ERA. Over 79 IP, he's given up 72 hits, but he's walked 31 while striking out 68, leaving some unsure what to make of him. Complete Report
The College Closer
Joe Kelly, RHP
The Riverside closer has been a bit of an enigma, but he was outstanding against San Diego in an outing in late April. The right-hander preserved a 2-1 lead with a scoreless ninth inning for the save. He's got nine of those on the season, but he also has a 5.33 ERA. Despite his plus fastball, he's allowed 29 hits over 25 1/3 IP while striking out only 18. Complete Report
The College Catcher
Tony Sanchez, C
Sanchez probably loved playing against the University of Miami the weekend of May 1 since he's from the Miami area. He went 3-for-9 and has emerged as one of the more interesting college backstops in the Draft class by hitting .362 with 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 49 games while showing good defensive skills behind the plate. Complete Report
The High School Infielders
Jonathan Meyer, SS/C
Simi Valley HS, Calif.
In a 5-0 win over Moorpark in late April, Meyer went 1-for-2 with a walk. A versatile player who plays shortstop, catches and serves as his team's closer, he has hit .350 with a .563 slugging percentage over 80 at-bats this season. He most likely will play third or catch at the next level. Complete Report
Chris Owings, SS
Gilbert HS, S.C.
The prep middle infielder had a solid game against Batesburg-Leesville in South Carolina on April 21, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and three steals. For the season, Owings has hit .400 with 14 extra-base hits in 70 at-bats. He's also stolen 22 bases without getting caught. 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.