I'd like to lead off by recognizing this article by Zachary Levine. I may not have been a journalism major in college, but I have made it a hobby to read some of the best sports writing around. Books, newspaper articles, whatever I an find. The best stories are novel without seeming forced. They take a simple approach that no one else is taking. It's the kind of thing that we rarely see in newspapers lately, but Levine did just that. This was an excellent concept that was well-executed.
Here are three Day Three picks that have the best shot at seeing the majors. Travis Blankenship (31st round) could be the next Astros LOOGY and could be ready fairly quickly, as he's a pretty advanced college pitcher. Michael Ness (33rd round) is a Duke grad who doesn't throw very hard but has good control. He also seems to be a ground ball pitcher, which means his high 80's fastball can be playable at higher levels.
One thing to note: the Astros drafted 15 high school players in the final 20 rounds. For comparison, Houston drafted seven high school players during that same rounds of the 2009 draft. The only one of those that signed was Raul Rivera, a first baseman out of Puerto Rico. In 2008, they selected nine high schoolers in the final 20 rounds and signed one of them, catcher Rene Garcia out of Puerto Rico. So, it's safe to say not many of the high schoolers from Day Three will sign. Based on the great work Astros County has done in the past couple of days, it looks like DeMarcus Henderson (43rd round), a high school shortstop from Mississippi, and Ian Vasquez, a shortstop from Pennsylvania, are the two most probably high school players to sign. But, they're both a coin flip at this point. I said yesterday that if the Astros get one of those high schoolers to sign, I'd be happy. I'll stick by that for now.
I have no idea how good Josh Magee is as a baseball player. He was the Birmingham News' Player of the Week for his performance with the Hoover High football team last Nov. 19, after he caught six passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The writeup here makes me like him even more. He's a pancake aficionado! He admits that he eats 30 a week and mixes blueberries with chocolate chips in his. I guess that means they're somewhat healthy...At 5-foot-11, 168 pounds, the son of former big leaguer Wendell Magee probably doesn't have the best shot to sign, but I'm sure hoping that he does.We need more aficionados in the system.
While we're at it, here's another scouting report on Mike Kvasnicka. The author, John Klima, tends to have a slightly different scouting opinion on guys than you see with most of the other prospectors. Let me posit a reason why. Yes, Kvasnicka does have a nice natural uppercut to his swing at times (especially from the right side). That should mean more power potential, right? Trouble is, I really don't like what his lower half is doing in that swing. It's just not engaged enough after he strides. On the plus side, you can tell from Klima's video that he does change his hitting approach to make solid contact and/or protect the plate. That's pretty advanced for a hitter and I can understand why the Astros would like him for that. I don't buy 60 power potential, but that's why I'm not paid to scout professionally.
It also appears that Mike Foltynewicz should sign pretty quickly. There have been some reports that he's already been signed. That might be true. If so, I bet the Astros are trying to get DDJ and Kvasnicka signed so they can hold one big press conference to bring in their top three picks. That leaves the Astros plenty of time to negotiate with Vasquez, Plutka and Jones. Let's see if they get two of those three.