Draft : : State Preview
Wednesday, May 09, 2012

State Preview: Hawaii

Allan Simpson        

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.

Hawaii State-by-State List
2011 Hawaii Overview

Hawaii Overview:
Thin Year in Hawaii At Both College, Prep Levels

Hawaii has had an up-and-down draft history, but one of the more-noteworthy developments occurred a year ago when University of Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong was selected with the 22nd
-pick overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. In the process, Wong became the first native Hawaiian ever to attend college on the islands and emerge as a first-round draft pick.

Interestingly enough, Wong’s younger brother Kean, a catcher for undefeated Waiakea High, is targeted to be the top pick from Hawaii a year from now.

Sandwiched between the Wong brothers and their impact on the draft, though, is 2012, and this year may be one of the leanest in state history as there is a distinct possibility that not a single player, college or high school, will be taken in the first 10 rounds. University of Hawaii outfielder Breland Almadova has the best shot among the available college talent, while small statured Baldwin High shortstop Brandon Kaupe appears to have overtaken righthander/shortstop Trey Kamachi as the most talented high school player.

A year ago, an impressive total of seven Hawaii high-school players were drafted, though none signed.

To the misfortune of the University of Hawaii, both Kaupe and Kamachi are earmarked for Arizona colleges (Kaupe to Central Arizona JC, Kamachi to Arizona State) on the chance they do not sign. However, the younger Wong and his Waiakea High teammate, senior lefthander Quintin Torres-Costa, the third-ranked prospect in this year’s prep class, have college commitments to stay home and play for the Rainbows, who recently took over first-place in the Western Athletic Conference and are primed to grab an NCAA tournament berth, which would be their third in the last 19 years.

Hawaii in a nutshell:

University of Hawaii talent.
WEAKNESS: High-school talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 1.


Jordan Negrini, 3b, Yavapai (Ariz.) JC (Attended high school in Kihei).
Top 2013 Prospect: Kean Wong, of, Waiakea HS, Hilo.
Top 2014 Prospect: Scott Squier, lhp, University of Hawaii.


Draft History:
Mike Campbell, rhp, University of Hawaii (1985, Mariners/1st round, 7th pick).
2006 Draft: Steven Wright, rhp, University of Hawaii (Indians/2nd round).
2007 Draft: Tyler Davis, rhp, University of Hawaii (Padres/21st round).
2008 Draft: Dustin Antolin, rhp, Mililani HS (Blue Jays/11th round).
2009 Draft: Vinnie Catricala, 3b, University of Hawaii (Mariners/10th round).
2010 Draft: Josh Slaats, rhp, University of Hawaii (Rockies/5th round).
2011 Draft: Kolten Wong, 2b, University of Hawaii (Cardinals/1st round, 22nd pick).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 7/0.




BRELAND ALMADOVA, of, University of Hawaii (Jr.)
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Almadova was the rage of the West Coast League last summer, leading the league in hitting for most of the summer before a late slump dropped his average to .328. He displayed legitimate leadoff-type skills with a league-best 6.4 time in the 60, and his quick-twitch actions and bunting ability, along with his ability to drive balls to the gaps with his strong frame. He had 17 extra-base hits, along with 17 stolen bases. Unfortunately, Almadova hasn't been as strong this spring as he has hit just .266-3-19, with nine stolen bases, for a 28-18 Hawaii team. Almadova’s superior speed has played well defensively, however, and he has excelled at running balls down in the gaps, his arm is also an asset. While Almadova still ranks as the top college talent in Hawaii, the gap has closed between himself and UH shortstop Pi’kea Kitamura (.302-0-23), also a defensive specialist who has swung a much-better bat this spring. Had he not broken an ankle prior to the start of the season, 6-foot-6 righthander Conner Little, a 49th-round pick of the Miami Marlins a year ago, might have also challenged Almadova.

BRANDON KAUPE, ss, Baldwin HS, Wailuku
Scouts from the mainland got an early look at the top high-school talent in Hawaii, and left with the impression that the 5-foot-5, 175-pound Kaupe was the best talent in this year’s class. Despite his obvious lack of size, Kaupe showcased impressive speed and solid actions at shortstop, though he probably faces a shift across the bag to second base as he advances. Kaupe also showed some ability as a switch-hitter to drive balls.

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