North Carolina RHP Alex White and 1B/OF Dustin Ackley led the Tar Heels to two wins and a College World Series appearance over the weekend, while Florida closer Billy Bullock failed to hold a lead versus Southern Miss. LSU and Arkansas won twice, and RHP Mike Leake and LHP Josh Spence pitched Arizona State into the CWS with two solid performances.
Here's what scouts had to say about it all:
• "White really showed me something that I hadn't seen a lot of," said an NL club's area scout. "Long-term, I think he's right there with [Fort Worth Cats RHP] [Aaron] Crow and should go top 10. His slider was a little better today and he threw more strikes with his fastball -- he threw more fastballs in general, at least early. It wasn't a dominating, stellar performance, but it was good, and nice to see.
•"Dustin Ackley, though, boy -- he's a solid, solid player. His best tool is his makeup -- he's a bunch of above-average tools rolled into one doggone good package. And if he's running around in center tracking down fly balls, I like him a lot. And he can really hit. That homer was death to East Carolina [on Sunday] and he hit it where it was pitched. Very impressive swing, very impressive game he plays."
•"Mitchell is an interesting case," one assistant scouting director said of Louisiana State right fielder Jared Mitchell. "He hasn't focused on baseball full time until now, so he's someone you can expect some rapid development from, even at 21 years of age. He's got a good approach at the plate and a good line-drive swing, but he needs to get better against left-handers -- he bails and is all-or-nothing against them. But he's athletic, has a good arm and counters the strikeouts by taking his share of walks. He reminds me of a patient Jacque Jones or a left-handed version of Mike Cameron in terms of offensive skills. He didn't do a lot this weekend, but he stayed within himself, defended and ran the bases well."
•"D.J. needs more time," the same scout said of LSU second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, a draft-eligible sophomore. "He's got tools but needs to find a position, and I don't know that second is right for him. He can hit and should develop more power with experience, but he could really benefit from another year here."
• "Bullock threw hard, but he was fastball-fastball-fastball, and not much command," one scout said of Billy Bullock's outing Sunday, in which he allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth. "He's still a really nice eighth- or ninth-inning arm, and if his slider continues to improve like it has during the season, he's a potential closer with that velocity. His control is also below-average, but he's streaky with it."
• "Leake is just a good, solid right-handed pitcher with command of three or four quality pitches," said an AL club's West Coast area scout from Tempe, Ariz. "He's done this all year, and now you see him doing it versus better competition. He was 89 to 92 [mph] with the fastball, had command of it early despite Clemson getting to him in the seventh. He wasn't sharp, but he uses everything he has."
• "Kipnis is a nice little player," the scout said of Arizona State center fielder Jason Kipnis, a fourth-round pick of the Padres last June. "I don't know about his future in center, but there's enough there offensively to see him being a regular for a while. He controls the strike zone and has some strength."
One executive's view of the 2009 draft
With rumors flying around about everything from bonuses to clubs looking for players that will sign for slot, I asked one NL club's VP of scouting and player development his opinion on the draft.
"It's not a bad class," he said from the start. "But it's not one you want to stretch your budget for in terms of bonuses unless you're a club with money to spare. But those that aren't drafting high but have a pick in the right spot after the first 20 and maybe an extra pick, too, they're going to get two top-10 or -15 players, if they want to spend. This is what's wrong with the draft.
"The teams that need the help are drafting in the top 10, but since they can't afford the best players sometimes, they pass, sending that player to a 'have' team. It's why there is a lot of talk about trading draft picks.
"Come the end of the draft, many of the have-nots will have draft classes that pale in comparison to those that had fewer picks and drafted 20 slots lower. That's not the end result we all want with the draft. Baseball has to look at that and the slotting system and make some changes."