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Tuesday, June 5, 2012
MLB Draft preview

By Matt Ehalt

The Big Apple won't be leaving its mark on this year's MLB baseball draft.

When the three-day event starts Monday, there won't be many New York City players getting their names called, according to a scout familiar with the area. That has been the trend for New York City over the past couple of years.

"It's always one or two guys that have a chance and I think the tough part is they are a little bit unknown as to what they can do against good competition," the scout said. "I think it's still a great baseball area, it's just also an area with a lot of unknowns."

With the draft just days away, four players to keep an eye on from Monday to Wednesday are George Washington teammates Nelson Rodriguez and Fernelys Sanchez, and Grand Street Campus' pair of Jose Cuas and Kevin Martir.

Here's a breakdown from the scout about these top prospects and an overview of how they could fare when the draft begins.

Catcher Nelson Rodriguez, George Washington (Central Arizona CC)

"He's a solid player and it will be interesting to see what happens with him. He's a power-hitting catcher/first baseman who's got really good size and strength. He won the home run hitting competition prior to the Aflac All-American Classic. He'll probably be the guy you want to highlight in the NYC group. He's got an above-average arm. People want to find out how to optimize his bat in the lineup. Is it first base? Is it working on development behind the plate? That's the question with Nelson? You're getting bat over defense right now."

Outfielder Fernelys Sanchez, George Washington (Central Arizona CC)


"He's been hurt for a significant stretch (broken leg) so that's hindered where he'll go in the draft. You like the speed and the body and the athleticism. It may be the most physical athlete when you take a look at it all and he can really run. Not necessarily out of the box but on a 60-yard dash he can run, an elite level runner. He needed to prove this year he could hit and when you have the injury and he doesn't get a ton of at-bats in the spring, that kind of hurts seeing what level you're getting. The knock on him is the bat."

DRAFT STATUS OF THE PAIR:
"It all depends on their signability. I think they are gearing toward junior college and they still have an option, it's just not LSU or Florida State or something like that. I think it comes down to the signability and what they are willing to turn down to go and pursue other options."

Shortstop Jose Cuas, Grand Street Campus (Maryland)

"It's his defense. He's a smooth fielder, projectable body. His arm is just enough, it's not average-plus, just average. He might end up as more of a second baseman unless he gets more strength. Fluid actions. All the ingredients. The bat is a little bit light and a little bit below average. It's not a guy that you're interested in because of hitting ability at this point."

Catcher Kevin Martir, Grand Street Campus (Maryland)

"You have a physical catcher with a strong, durable body and an average arm. Some power in his bat. Not enough tools to really jump pout and make you ready to sign out of high school but just overall solid and I think the big thing about him is he looks the part of a catcher and he's strong."

DRAFT STATUS OF THE PAIR:
"Both of those guys probably have a better chance of going to school than being selected high and signing out of high school."