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.
Virginia State-by-State List
2011 Virginia Overview
Rebuilding Year, Cavaliers Still Set Draft Tone
University of Virginia is still in search of its first College World
Series championship, but few college programs in the country
accomplished more than the Cavaliers from 2009 to 2011. From a
school-record 49 wins in 2009, they eclipsed that mark with 51
victories in 2010, and raised the bar to 56 a year ago. Not even
two-time CWS champion South Carolina won as many games in any of
the departure of their top four hitters and all four starting
pitchers from a team that placed third nationally in 2011, this has
understandably been a rebuilding year for the Cavaliers. And yet they
have produced a solid 36-15 record (18-11 in Atlantic Coast
Conference play), and once again should play a prominent role in the
draft from a Virginia-wide perspective, although not to the degree of
last year, when they had eight selections, including the second pick
overall in lefthander Danny Hultzen.
Branden Kline, who was moved to the Friday role this spring for
Virginia after posting a school-record 18 saves a year ago, is
expected to be the first in-state player tabbed, although it may not
be any earlier than the sandwich round. Cavalier infielders Chris
Taylor and Stephen Bruno are then expected to go in the next 2-4
presence of Taylor and Bruno near the top of the draft board is
noteworthy as the 2012 Virginia draft crop is heavily slanted towards
pitching, and it’s possible that the two infielders will be the
only two position players snapped up in the first 10 rounds.
Meanwhile, as many as 8-10 arms could be popped in the same area.
the state’s top seven-ranked high-school prospects, six are
pitchers, though James River High lefthander Nathan Kirby, considered
a second- to third-round talent, will likely slip through the draft
altogether as he refused to sign a Major League Baseball directive
that requires 200 of the top prospects (as determined by the Major
League Scouting Bureau) to consent to pre-draft drug and medical
tests; he opted out ostensibly because he preferred not to mislead
scouts about his college intentions. That rejection all but paves his
way to attend college at Virginia.
crop of Virginia pitching prospects includes some of the hardest
throwers in the entire draft with the likes of Kline and fellow
college righthanders like Radford’s Eddie Butler, Virginia
Commonwealth’s Blake Hauser, Liberty’s Blake Forslund, George
Mason’s Brandon Kuter and Virginia Tech’s Patrick Scoggin, who
have all been clocked upwards of 95 mph this spring, or in the past
12 months. The ability to throw quality strikes with that kind of
superior raw stuff has been a separator, though, and Kline and Butler
are the only two who have shown the most consistent ability to do
both this spring. Appropriately, they rank 1-2 on the list of the
state’s top prospects for this year’s draft.
in a nutshell:
Depth of power arms.
Athletic position players.
HIGH SCHOOL TEAM:
James River HS, Midlothian.
ON THE RISE: Damion Carroll, rhp, King George HS. Not
only has the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Carroll vaulted up draft boards this
spring on the strength of a much-improved fastball that has peaked in
the mid-90s, but he stands an excellent chance of becoming the first
Virginia high-school player drafted. Carroll has few college options,
while most of the other top prospects in the Virginia prep class are
heavily committed to attending college—chief among them
Virginia-bound lefthander Nathan Kirby.
CARD: Blake Hauser, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth University. Hauser
showed all indications of ranking alongside Virginia’s Branden
Kline and Radford’s Eddie Butler as a triumvirate of hard-throwing
college righthanders knocking on the door of the first round, but his
performance in a closing role for VCU has been erratic most of the
spring. Still, 62 strikeouts in 32 innings and a .134 opponent
batting average speak graphically to Hauser’s level of dominance,
and a team could buy into his act on those numbers alone.
OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Virginia Connection:
(Attended high school in ).
Andy McGuire, ss/rhp, James Madison HS, Oakton.
Derek Fisher, of, University of Virginia.
Justin Upton, ss, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake (2005,
Diamondbackss/1st round, 1st pick);
Jeffress, rhp, Halifax County HS, South Boston (Brewers/1st round; 16th pick).
Kulbacki, of, James Madison University (Padres/1st round, 40th pick).
Adams, 2b, University of Virginia (Yankees/3rd round).
Carraway, rhp, University of Virginia (Mariners/12th round).
Jarrett Parker, of, University of Virginia (Giants/2nd round).
Hultzen, lhp, University of Virginia (Mariners/1st round, 2nd pick).
College Players Drafted/Signed:
School Players Drafted/Signed:
Taylor, ss, University of Virginia.
Stephen Bruno, if, University of Virginia.
Josh Henderson, of, First Baptist Christian HS, Suffolk
Chris Taylor, ss, University of Virginia.
Chris Taylor, ss, University of Virghinia.
Eddie Butler, rhp, Radford University; Blake Hauser, rhp, Virginia
Blake Hauser, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth University.
Wynkoop, lhp, Cape Henry Collegiate HS, Virginia Beach.
PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO
GROUP ONE (Projected
ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)
1. BRANDEN KLINE,
rhp, University of Virginia (Jr.)
a school record-tying 18 saves in 32 relief appearances, Kline was
one of the nation’s elite college closers in 2011. But with
Virginia needing to rebuild its rotation this season after losing its
entire starting staff, including lefthander Danny Hultzen (12-3,
1.37), the second pick in last year’s draft, the Cavaliers were in
need of an experienced arm to lead the way, and Kline was handed that
responsibility. He has responded by going 6-3, 3.89 with team-high
totals of 37 walks and 84 strikeouts in 81 innings—compared with a
4-1, 1.88 mark, with 22 walks and 56 strikeouts in 43 innings as a
sophomore. He got off to a slow start in his new role, but then went
through a stretch of 5-6 starts where he was nearly unhittable.
Kline's fastball has fluctuated anywhere from 88 to 95 mph, while his
slider has been steadier at 83-85 and his curve at 77-78. A changeup
that he incorporated into his role as a starter was 82-84 mph
initially, and when Kline is on his game, his stuff can be electric
and he commands all his pitches. Most scouts would let Kline start
out of the chute in pro ball, though acknowledge he’ll need to be
more consistent and continue to develop his change to remain in the
role. The last time Kline was primarily a starter was at a Frederick,
Md., high school, in 2009, when he was on his way to becoming a
sixth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox. He unexpectedly passed up an
offer to sign at the time and has easily enhanced his standing for
this year’s draft with his combination of a projectable, athletic
frame, superior stuff and success to date at the college level.
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