By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
The thinking had been throughout Western Nevada College's baseball season that if scouts were doing their homework, Kyle Farrell's stock would rise heading into today's Major League draft. Evidently, there have been plenty of scouts who have done their homework.
The right-handed pitcher could be drafted today. The Major League draft begins at 11 a.m. with the first round of the draft being televised by ESPN. The draft will continue through 6 p.m. today and will conclude on Friday.
WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said Farrell is projected to be taken anywhere from the fourth through seventh rounds.
"Fourth through seventh probably is the safest way to say it," Whittemore said. "My guess would be five or six."
The Major League draft now uses a loose salary cap in which the signing bonus that's generally offered to a player is determined by the "slot money" based on the round he's taken. Slot money for the fifth round is a $145,000 signing bonus while for the fourth round it's $200,000.
But players can still try to negotiate a sweeter deal. "He's going to have a great chance of demanding more than slot money I believe," Whittemore said.
Whittemore said the chance that Farrell, who just completed his freshman year, will sign with a Major League team is "90 percent-plus."
"He was just so consistent," Whittemore said. "He didn't really have a bad outing. He had 16 starts and didn't have a bad one."
Farrell has a changeup, fastball and curveball that are all considered outstanding. His fastball was consistently in the 88-91 mile per hour range and it topped out at 93.
Another WNC player who should be drafted is sophomore relief pitcher Jose Barajas. Whittemore said the chance that the right-handed pitcher will sign with a Major League team is "100 percent." Whittemore said Barajas is projected to go between the 12th and 20th rounds, which would command a signing bonus between $20,00 and $50,000.
Barajas has a fastball in the 88-90 range and a curveball on a Major League scale from 20-80 is 60-70.
"He's got a curveball that is well above average on the Major League scale," said Whittemore, adding that 80 is "Hall of Fame."
Another former WNC pitcher who could be drafted today is Arizona State's Stephen Sauer. The right-handed pitcher has battled tendinitis in the second half of the season, but is now pitching for the Sun Devils, who have advanced to the Super Regional.
Sauer is considered to be Arizona State's top pitching prospect for the big leagues and is projected to be taken between the sixth and 10th rounds. If Sauer is taken that high and decides to sign, he could command a signing bonus in the $100,000 range. Sauer has a fastball in the 88-92 range.
Other WNC players who could be drafted are Wildcat outfielders Brian Barnett and Jerome Pena, who both finished their freshmen years. But Whittemore said both should return to the Wildcats next year.
"I would think that Barnett would have a chance to get drafted and Pena," Whittemore said. "We're expecting them both back for next season."
Barnett had an impressive season, hitting 11 home runs with a wood bat in the tough Scenic West Athletic Conference. "He's got as much power as I've seen in the amateur ranks," Whittemore said.
Pena's strength is his arm, but he's also an outstanding all-around defensive and offensive player.
Among the high school players who have signed to come to WNC next season, Whittemore said Colby Sokol, a centerfielder from the Seattle area, is the most likely to be drafted.
Another local player who is virtually certain to be drafted is Galena's Rod Scurry, a right-handed pitcher, who just completed his career at the University of Nevada. Dayton's Matt Bowman, who has completed his junior year at Nevada, is eligible for the draft but it's considered that he has just a slight chance of being drafted.
The two biggest reasons why Bowman's stock isn't higher is his size and arm problems in the past.
"I haven't heard from anybody, I haven't talked to anybody this year," Bowman said. "I'm not too worried about it. I wasn't counting on it this year. I'm not too concerned about it."
Besides Bowman will have a great chance to impressive pro scouts when he plays this summer in the Cape Cod League, the nation's top summer college league.