06/07/2004 7:00 PM ET
Bucs target power arms, speed
Day 1 of draft nets nine pitchers, nine position players
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com
|Catcher Neil Walker is the Pirates' No. 1 pick. (courtesy Walker family)
PITTSBURGH -- Day 1 of the annual First-Year Player Draft is in the books. For the third consecutive year, Pittsburgh Pirates Director of Scouting Ed Creech sat down with MLB.com to give a quick, one-line assessment of each of the Bucs' first 18 picks.
1. NEIL WALKER, C, Pine Richland High School, PA
Creech: "He's got a power bat at a premium position. For us, this is an exciting time to have a bat like that at catcher. We think he is going to be a potential power bat for a long time."
2. BRIAN BIXLER , SS, Eastern Michigan
Creech: "He is an athletic shortstop who can fly. This guy can really run. We think he is going to be a base stealer, an offensive guy like that. He can play some defense also."
3. EDWARD PRASCH, 3B, Milton High School, GA
Creech: "Solid bat. We think he is going to grow into his power. We really like his bat."
4. JOSEPH BAUSERMAN, RHP, Lincoln High School, FL
Creech: "He is a power arm. We have seen this guy up to 96 [mph] with a power breaking ball. He's got a good arm."
5. KYLE BLOOM, LHP, Illinois State
Creech: "Control-type pitcher with a solid curveball. "
6. ATLEE JOHNSON, OF, Tallahassee Community College
Creech: "He was the Florida Junior College Player of the Year. A strong arm and bat. He should grow into his power."
7. JASON QUARLES, RHP, Southern University A&M
Pine Richland HS
Position: C B/T: S/R
H: 6-3 W: 205
Born: 1985-09-10 Class: HS
SOLID FRAME. STRONG AS A BULL. EXCELLENT PHYSICAL MAKE-UP. BROAD SHOULDERS. MUSCULAR ARMS & LEGS. OUTSTANDING ALL-AROUND ATHLETE. SOME GROWTH POTENTIAL. LINE DRIVE CONTACT FROM LEFT SIDE. QUICK BAT. POTENTIAL PWR. ARM NEAR AVG. SOFT, QUICK HANDS. POTENTIAL PLUS GLOVE, FRAMES WELL. RUNS GAME. AGGRESSIVE ON PATHS. SON OF FORMER MAJOR LEAGUER TOM WALKER. BAT, PWR & GLOVE POTENTIAL.
Creech: "He has a power arm and a power curveball. I've seen this guy up to 97 [mph]."
8. ERIC RIDENER, RHP, Taravella High School,
Creech: "Another right-handed power arm with a power slider. I've seen this guy up in the mid-90's this year."
9. CHRISTOPHER COVINGTON, CF, Brookwood High School,
Creech: "A center fielder who can fly. He has a strong arm and some pop. He has a chance to be an exciting player."
10. DEREK HANKINS , RHP, University of Memphis
Creech: "Three-pitch pitcher with a good changeup and curveball."
11. MATTHEW GUILLORY , RHP, University of Louisiana
Creech: "Right-hander with a four-pitch mix: two breaking balls, a changeup and a fastball."
12. JUAN PADRON , 3B, Clear Creek High School,
Creech: "High ceiling. Plus power and plus defense."
13. BRETT GRANDSTRAND , SS, Coastal Carolina University
Creech: "Solid glove and arm, with some bat potential. He's also a solid runner."
14. JERMAL LOMACK , 2B, Prairie View A&M
Creech: "A second baseman who can fly. We see him as a middle infielder with offensive potential stealing bases. He's a pesky type of a guy."
15. JOHN SLONE , C, Miami University (OH)
Creech: "We like his bat. We think he is going to be a solid hitter with good defensive skills."
16. RYAN HERBORT , RHP, Northwest Whitfield High School, GA
Creech: "Another potential power arm. The breaking stuff needs to come but we think he's got some ceiling."
17. Matthew Bishop, RHP, East Carolina University
Creech: "He was the closer with East Carolina and he only walked one guy. He throws a split and a slider, and obviously has good control."
18. Cory Luebke,LHP , Marion High School, OH
Creech: "A left-handed pitcher with an easy arm and a good curveball. He's got to [develop] a little bit but we think he's got some potential."
Creech also gave MLB.com his overall assessment of Day 1 of the draft:
"We feel confident just like the other 29 teams who are patting themselves on the back. This was the reward for a long, hard season of work," said Creech, adding that he liked the power arms and speedsters among the first 18 picks.
"We've got a chance to have some power arms in this draft. They just happened to be there. Tools are tools, and those kinds of tools play: power arms and speed. Speed kills and power arms strike guys out. When you can get guys like that, you want to try to take them."
Ed Eagle is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.