Reviewing the 2007 Draft: NL Third Round

For the next two weeks, in honor of the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft on June 5-6, I will be devoting my posts to a review of the 2007 draft. Today, let’s take a look at how some of the key National League third round picks are faring in their first full season in professional baseball. We are starting to get into a territory where the quality of picks really begins to think out.

Tony Thomas (Chicago) had an excellent offensive junior season at Florida State University and a solid pro debut in 2007, but his numbers are average this year while playing at High-A ball. The second baseman currently has a line of .269/.317/.401 with three homers and nine stolen bases in 182 at-bats. Thomas has walked only seven percent of the time and he has struck out at a rate of 25 percent.

Brian Friday (Pittsburgh), a Rice University grad, is showing the makings of a solid big league utility player, or possible starter. So far this season, in High-A ball, he is hitting .309/.388/.433 with one homer in 194 at-bats. Friday’s base running needs a little work as he has been successful in only 50 percent of his attempts (eight for 16). He has walked 9.8 percent of the time, with a strikeout rate of 16.2 percent.

Steven Souza (Washington), a prep third baseman, is holding his own in A-ball. He currently has a line of .266/.348/.392 with two homers and eight stolen bases in 79 at-bats, but he hasn’t played since May 6. He has walked 9.2 percent of the time, but has struck out at a rate of 32.9 percent.

Despite being drafted out of college, Jonathan Lucroy (Milwaukee) has moved relatively slowly and is currently playing in A-ball, where he has a line of .314/.389/.524 with eight homers and six stolen bases in 185 at-bats. The catcher’s bat appears ready for a promotion but his defence might be holding him back.

Lars Davis (Colorado), a Canadian catcher, has struggled offensively in A-ball. He is currently hitting .215/.277/.323 with three homers in 93 at-bats. Davis has walked 6.2 percent of the time, with a strikeout rate of 28.6 percent.

Right-hander Scott Carroll (Cincinnati) began the year in A-ball and posted a 3.75 ERA in 48 innings, with 50 hits allowed, 16 walks and 24 strikeouts. He was recently promoted to High-A ball and has made one start. Carroll allowed five runs in 5.2 innings of work.

Jameson Smith (Florida), drafted out of community college, has struggled with the bat in A-ball. The 21-year-old catcher is hitting .221/.357/.279 with no homers in 68 at-bats. The left-handed batter is only 2-for-14 (.143) against southpaws. He has as many walks as hits (15) this season.

Left-hander Eric Niesen (New York) currently has a 5.20 ERA in 45 High-A ball innings. He has allowed 52 hits. Niesen has posted rates of 5.60 K/9 and 3.80 BB/9.

Shortstop Brandon Hicks (Atlanta), drafted out of Texas A&M University, is showing surprising power with 11 homers in 148 at-bats. He has hit four in his last 10 games. He currently has a line of .257/.358/.588. He has walked 13 percent of the time, but struck out at a rate of 42.1 percent.

Matt Spencer (Philadelphia) has struggled to hit for average as a pro after signing out of Arizona State University. He currently has a line of .249/.300/.370 with four homers in 181 at-bats in High A-ball. Spencer has walked 7.9 percent of the time but has struck out at a rate of 22.4 percent.

The Mets just did not have a lot of luck drafting college relievers in 2007. Stephen Clyne (New York) currently has a 10.42 ERA in 19 High-A ball innings. He has allowed 26 hits and 10 walks.

Both Cincinnati and Arizona took interesting, young Puerto Rican infielders – Neftali Soto and Reynaldo Navarro – but both have been playing in Extended Spring Training so far this season.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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