This year’s Major League Baseball draft is no different than the previous two in that Vanderbilt has a player expected to be taken in the first round.
What makes Mike Minor different than previous Commodores’ draft choices, though, is the change. The left-hander’s ability to throw a change-up often and effectively is a big part of what makes him so attractive to MLB franchises.
“Someone who has a feel for it is a commodity,” VU coach Tim Corbin said. “You can get hitters to make contact either not at all or well out in front of the plate. In professional baseball you have some many power hitters, and that’s one way to negate that power.
“It’s one of the things we liked about him coming out of high school. … Without question, I think he’s a first-round draft pick, and I think he’ll be pitching at a very high level relatively soon.”
The draft will begin 5 p.m. (CDT) Tuesday and will be conducted over three days. The first three rounds will take place Tuesday evening, Rounds 4-30 will take place Wednesday beginning 11 a.m., and the final 20 rounds will take place Thursday beginning 10:30 a.m.
Vanderbilt has had two players taken in the first round each of the last two years, including pitchers David Price (first overall) and Casey Weathers (eighth overall) in 2007.
Currently, three former VU pitchers – Price, Jensen Lewis and Jeremy Sowers – are pitching in the Major Leagues.
The Commodores aren’t the only ones locally with highly regarded pitchers this year, though.
Lipscomb’s Rex Brothers is a likely first-round choice as well. Brothers, unlike Minor, is a pure power pitcher.
Trevecca Nazarene’s Tim Dunn is not rated as highly, but figures to be a good prospect as well.
“This is my 27th year coaching college baseball, and there are times when there is relatively little buzz about a layer and he ends up getting picked pretty high, and then there are times when a guy seems like a sure-fire pick and nothing happens for him,” Belmont coach Dave Jarvis said. “You never really know.”
Belmont does not offer a pitching prospect, but has power hitter Derek Wiley, a senior who set the Atlantic Sun Conference career home run record.
Wiley was drafted last year, but not early enough to convince him to leave school, so he returned for his senior season and hit 17 home runs for the second straight year.
“What he showed is consistency with his power,” Jarvis said.
A rundown of players from area colleges (with their 2009 statistics) who potentially will be drafted during this week’s Major League Baseball draft:
Mike Minor, P, Jr. 6-6, 3.90 ERA, 114 K, 37 BB
Likely will be the Commodores’ fifth first-rounder in a three-year span.
Caleb Cotham, P, RS-Soph., 7-5, 4.10 ERA, 84 K, 27 BB
Showed real command early, toughness when injured late.
Steven Liddle, OF, RS-Soph., .348 avg., 22 2B, 10 HR, 51 RBI
A multi-tool player, who is a consistent performer at the plate and in the field.
Drew Hayes, P, Jr., 4-3, 5.56 ERA, 51 K, 30 BB
Was effective as both a starter and reliver at times this season.
Others: Russell Brewer, P, RS-Soph.; Andrew Giobbi, C/IF, RS-Jr.; Brain Harris, IF, RS-Jr.
Derek Wiley, IF, Sr. .308 avg., 17 HR, 51 RBI, .625 slugging
Displayed consistent power with back-to-back seasons with 17 home runs.
Others: Daniel Wagner, IF, Jr.
Tim Dunn, P, Jr. 12-0, 181 ERA, 81 K, 34 BB
A 24-1 record over the last two seasons, one in junior college, speaks to his command and ability to win.
Wesley Griggs, P, Sr., 6-8, 4.89 ERA, 79 K, 40 BB
A bit of a hard-luck starter in 2009, was more impressive statistically in 2008.
Rex Brothers, P, Jr., 5-5, 3.26 ERA, 132 K, 43 BB
An accomplished power pitcher always makes for a highly regarded prospect.