Bloomington Bees 1997 Brassball Champions

Bee's Wax

Vol 7.  Issue 5
February 2001

We make it your “bee’s wax” to know what’s happening in Bees Baseball.

The Best Stories and Best Picks in the 2001 BRASSball Draft

BRASSball’s annual crap shoot is in the books and we seem to have perfected a pretty good model of running this with minimal time commitments and as much speed and fun as possible.  As usual, we had our annual interruption by a comical presence from a foreign land.  Our pal Floyd, whom we believed to be from England from his colorful characterizations and epithets, showed us that great spirit of international fellowship by insulting us profanely and repeatedly as we minded our own business in our little corner of cyberspace and held our little draft.  This followed last year’s intrusion by a gentleman from South America who frantically implored us repeatedly (in both English and Portuguese) for our urgent help on some matter.  The mind boggles at what entertainment or condemnation that next year’s chat room interloper will bring.  BRASSball drafts are never boring!

I thought I would also take a few moments to pass on my views of some of the better picks in this year’s draft.  I don’t really have a clear criteria for this, except to say that in general, they are players who I think have very high potential and were perhaps not selected as early as their eventual MLB talents or successes might warrant as one might look back at this draft in a few years.  In short, perhaps it’s best to say that they are players who I think might well make it big and whose teams did an excellent job in selecting them.

1.      Jon Rauch, P, CHI-AL (AM)               selected by Toledo at #2 (1st Round)

The surprise one day may be that he lasted until pick#2 in this draft.  The sky is the limit for this guy, which is approximately where his delivery starts actually with his 6’11” frame.

2.      Paul Wilson, P, TAM                       selected by Bloomington at #15 (1st Round)

Wilson finally looks to be recovered from his incredible string of injuries and mishaps.  It’s easy to forget that he was commonly regarded as the top minor league pitching prospect for about three years running.  He figures to be even stronger and sharper next year.  He’s lost a bit, but if he fills his potential, he could have a long major league career.

3.      Ben Christiansen, P, CHI-NL (AM)      selected by Metropolis at #18 (1st Round)

This guy has big league stuff and it’s nasty.  So is he apparently, what with his well-documented case of unsportsmanlike conduct in a college incident that has him still facing civil liability.   It won’t be long before he figures to start a big league career that could lead him to being a star for years to come.

4.      Keith Reed, OF, BAL (AM)       selected by Hessville at # 25 (1st Comp. Round)

Those comparisons to a young Joe Carter are not without considerable merit.  This guy has worked for everything he has gotten and didn’t come up through the typical warm-weather college feeder factories.  The Orioles have an old and fading outfield.  It shouldn’t be long before Mr. Reed takes his place in it and in the middle of their lineup.

5.      Luke Prokopec, P, LA (AM)                selected by Gem City at # 51 (2nd Comp. Round)

Signed as a 16-year old out of Australia and saw his career flame out after three years as an infielder who had a great arm, but could not hit.  The Dodgers made a pitcher out of him and even as he continues to learn his craft, he has posted gaudy numbers thanks to his poise and awesome stuff.   He made it to the big leagues last year at age 22 and six professional years under his belt already.  Luke could be a special one at the rate he is going and if he stays healthy.

6.      Scott Strickland, P, MTL                   selected by St. Croix #59 (3rd Round)

This guy has filthy stuff that he is just learning to control.   Still needs to find a pitch to use to get out lefty hitters, but righties almost can’t tough him now.  When he puts that last piece in place, you could be looking at the next dominant NL closer in Mr. Strickland.

7.      Chin-Hui Tsao, P, COL (AM)             selected by Brooklyn at #117 (5th Round)

Okay, he stayed on the board probably because his name is unpronounceable and he is on the Rockies system.  But this guy has been absolutely dominant so far in his minor league career and is one of the most polished and accomplished pitchers toiling in the minors today.  Who knows if he will pass the Coors test one day, or even get a chance.  But he has star potential and is showing it every time out to the mound.  Superb return on a 5th Round selection.

8.      Adam Wainwright, P, ATL (AM)                selected by North Georgia at #149 (6th Round)

He’s a long way away and he’s just 18, but he has dominating stuff and he knows how to use it.  The Braves have an outstanding track record with developing high school pitchers and this guy is already polished well beyond his years.  He has the making of being a dominant major league starter, if things go right for him.   A steal in the 6th Round.

9.      Joe Torres, P, ANA (AM)                      selected by Wauwatosa at #190 (8th Round)

This one surprised me as much as any in the draft.  I kept wondering when this guy would go.  He was worth a first round pick in my book.  The 18-year old lefty can throw the ball through a wall and has excellent poise and mound presence.  He’s cracked A ball already and will move fast if he keeps it up.  Has the makings of a #1 starter in the bigs and nabbing him in the 8th Round may well one day look like an act of genius.

10.  Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B, MIN                 reclaimed by Racine at #194 (8th Round)

Resilient player who bounced back with a bang after struggling in his first trip to the bigs.  This guy could well be another Mark Grace and every BRASSball team who passed on him for 7 rounds may be kicking themselves one day.  Strat has rated him as a ‘1’ at first base defensively twice now, with limited cards.  He also has a great hitting eye and gap power.  He was the hitting hero for this year’s USA Olympic team. He just needs another chance for the Twins at a position that is wide open for them.   If he gets it, he could have a long career in the bigs.