Before we get to our actual DRB community prospects list and the candidates for the number two slot I do feel the need to point out that 2007 third round pick Nick Barnese ranks as the sixth best prospect in the Appalachian League, the only Rays player listed in the top 20.
Moving on to our project one thing was clear from yesterday's results; everyone loves Longoria. 26 of the 35 votes were for the Durham third baseman, and since this is pretty pointless if I don't actually give information on the players, popular or not, here's a scouting report on Evan along with the three paths a player can take and my comparisons at each stop.
After emerging last summer with an MVP performance in the Cape Cod League, Longoria cemented his status as a premium draft prospect with a strong spring and enters the draft as the consensus choice as the best of a weak crop of hitters. While his name's similarity to that of "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria attracted attention, Longoria is not related to her. He wasn't drafted out of high school or a year later at Rio Hondo (Calif.) Junior College, but his game and body have matured since then. Longoria has grown two inches and 25 pounds since junior college, adding strength to a smooth swing that generates solid-average power. He has excellent hands that translate well both at the plate and in the field. Longoria's bat speed gives him at least average power, and it allows him to let balls get deep and use the entire field. While he filled in at shortstop last spring for the injured Troy Tulowitzki, the eventual No. 7 overall pick of the Rockies, Longoria has played mostly third base in 2006 and is a solid defender there with plenty of arm strength. He also could play second base, where he'd be an above-average offensive player.
Boom - Chase Utley (offensive production)
Medium - Aaron Hill
Bust - Joe Randa
After the jump we look at the five prospects vying for the second slot.
Projected 08 Level:AA
The other half of the first round poster children, Price has yet to partake in a Rays sanctioned game, but none the less his draft status and ace potential put him on the initial slew of candidates.
Projected 08 Level: AA/AAA
Vero Beach (21 GS)- 116.2 IP 86 H 8 HR 145 SO 39 BB 2.93 ERA
Montgomery (5 GS)- 23.1 IP 19 H 2 HR 30 SO 13 BB 4.24 ERA
McGee out dueled fellow top lefty prospect Clay Kershaw not once but twice down the pivotal stretch and alongside fellow top arms Christopher Mason and Wade Davis lead Montgomery to it's second consecutive Southern League title. His fastball is ethereal and perhaps for the pure potential alone he could make a case for the first or second slot in the organizational food chain.
Projected 08 Level: AA/AAA
Vero Beach (13 GS) - 78.1 IP 54 H 5 HR 88 K 21 BB 1.84 ERA
Montgomery (14 GS) - 80 IP 74 H 3 HR 81 K 30 BB 3.15 ERA
Another third of the Montgomery trio, Davis is more polished than McGee in terms of using his non-fastball pitches, although I'm not sure that any of his pitches can match the effectiveness of that McGee heater.
Projected 08 Level: AAA
Montgomery (527 AB) - .260/.328/.433/.761 17 HR 81 RBIs 55 BB 94 K
Although the Cajun God did struggle for most of the year, you wonder if perhaps some of it was Longoria withdrawal. Brignac maintains his hacky ways, but with a patient hitter like Longoria complementing his style you have to wonder if he grew too accustomed to the Batman / Robin approach.
Projected 08 Level: MLB
Durham (25 GS) - 131 IP 144 H 13 HR 123 K 46 BB 3.98 ERA
"Big Red" had his most healthy season to date and finished strong down the stretch, giving hope that come April Niemann will be taking the mound for Tampa every fifth day.