With every passing day we’re hurtling headlong toward the biggest day of the year for prospect watchers: the MLB Rule 4 draft. We’re going through the ABL team by team, seeing which former players are eligible to be drafted this year, and today we’re going to have a peek at the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. The Pilots have one of the most exciting draft classes in the league this year, so let’s see who they’ve got.
The biggest names on the list have to be a pair of Pilot pitchers out of the University of Kentucky: James Paxton and Logan Darnell. Paxton is a big, hard-throwing southpaw with a fastball that he can run up to about 98 mph, settling in at about 95. He compliments this with a power slider and a changeup. We mentioned this the other day when we updated the Pro Prospects list, but Paxton somehow rubbed the NCAA the wrong way and instead of butting heads with them all year long, he opted out of his senior season at UK and went to work in the independent leagues (this does not nullify him for the MLB draft).
His teammate Darnell took over the role of staff ace for the Wildcats after he proved he could make the move from the pen with a stellar Glacier Pilots season last year. Baseball America named him the sixth-best prospect in the ABL for his efforts. Darnell is also a lefty; he doesn’t throw as hard (topping out at 91-92) but he has a three-quarters delivery that helps him generate some interesting movement.
And what about Drew Heid? He’s not your prototypical outfielder by any means; if you looked at the guy you’d think he’d be a light-hitting middle infielder with no power. You’d be wrong. Everywhere he’s gone, the guy has hit the cover off everything. I don’t know how far he’ll go in baseball but a guy who hits .400 every season in any league, whether it’s in college or in the wood-bat leagues, is going to get drafted.
Luke Yoder could be an interesting draft choice; he’s got age to both his advantage and disadvantage. Disadvantage because he’s not got a lot of projectability left in him; as far as raw talent goes it’s pretty much what you see is what you get. The advantage is that he could probably climb through the minors pretty fast and possibly be battling for a roster spot in the bigs before you know it.
Finally, I have to be pulling for Bryn Calhoun. The kid’s from Sitka, I’m from Wrangell, we have that Southeast AK bond. I don’t know that he’s day 1 material but I’m going to be rooting for him to get the chance to go pro.
So those are the “headliners” who I’ve identified, but that’s by no means the end of the list. Following is a complete list of all draft-eligible Glacier Pilots alumni I’ve been able to identify. As always, please let me know if I’ve made any omissions or errors.
|Brown||David||RHP||Long Beach State||Pilots||2008|
|Jones||Jonathan||OF||Long Beach State||Pilots||2008|
|Yoder||Luke||OF||Cal Poly||Pilots||2007, 08|