ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Evaluators Like Academy Standout
The Major League Baseball draft begins today, and it seems unlikely that New Mexico will have another first-round selection to follow Cleveland’s Blake Swihart last year.
A small handful of prep players could hear their names called during the draft, but most eyes will be fixated on Albuquerque Academy’s Alex Bregman, widely believed to be the state’s best prospect at any level.
The shortstop/catcher is not projected as a first-round choice, although his stock remains extremely high.
He missed the majority of the 2012 prep season with a broken middle finger on his right (throwing) hand. But Bregman, in the months leading up to the season, accumulated tremendous currency with scouts through his stellar performances in national and international events.
Bregman has received high marks from evaluators for his swing mechanics, and is widely considered one of the country’s top offensive talents among this year’s high school crop.
A lingering question is where the 6-foot, 185-pound Bregman would play at the next level. Some believe he can be a tidy fit at catcher, others believe he’s best suited to play second base.
If Bregman chooses not to sign, he’ll play collegiately for LSU.
However, like Swihart — whose continued, passionate support to play for the University of Texas surely scared some teams away in last year’s draft before Boston scooped him up at No. 26 overall — Bregman has said repeatedly that he badly wants to wear LSU colors.
A look at other prospects who could be drafted:
♦ Jered Meek, Carlsbad: Meek, a pitcher/shortstop, is built a little like Bregman (5-11, 185) and was 5A’s player of the year. He doesn’t quite have the pop that Bregman possesses, but handles the bat extremely well. He has signed with UNM.
♦ Shilo McCall, Piedra Vista: The Arkansas-bound McCall is New Mexico’s Gatorade player of the year. He can hit with power, and at 6-2, 210, he’s an attractive, athletic — and fast — physical prospect. The Panthers’ Shane Woodson, also an outfielder, could also be in the mix this week.
♦ Cullen O’Dwyer, Eldorado: The switch-hitting O’Dwyer (signed with Arizona State) knows how to handle a bat, and, with his baseball savvy and solid throwing arm from the outfield, could get the call.
♦ Taylor Duree, Sandia: The Matadors’ pitcher, who has signed with the Lobos, is a real wildcard. When he’s on, get’s got electric stuff, including a fastball in the 90 mph range. At 165-170 pounds, however, Duree (who stands 6-2) may need to add some bulk. He’s got great upside.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal