The 2002 class of players in Joplin wasn’t quite as prospect-laden as the players from 2003 (Top-10 coming later in week), but there were still some good ones and quite a few draft picks. Jeff Francoeur was the only first-rounder who made it to Joplin and although he made the team last year, he will decline an invitation to play for Team USA if it is offered again.
Keep in mind that these are merely my evaluations as to the pro prospectus of these players. It has nothing to do with whether they should make Team USA or as to their projected collegiate success.
Top-10 Prospects from Class of 2002 1. Jeff Francoeur, OF, Parkview (GA) HS 6-4, 190 R/R
Francoeur was the 23rd overall pick as Atlanta’s first-rounder and he has a baseball/football scholarship to Clemson. He ran the second fastest 60 yard-dashes (6.43, 6.56) among a fast group of players. Francoeur also displayed a true centerfielder’s range and a rightfielder’s arm. Francoeur showed his raw power at times and when he shortens his swing and adjusts to wood, his bat could really come on in pro ball.
2. Stephen Head, 1B, Hillcrest Christian (MS) HS 6-3, 210 L/L
This is a sleeper for me. Head was not drafted out of high school this year and is headed for Ole Miss. I think he could turn into a very high pick in three years. Head has a classic, sweet lefthanded swing, but with the ability to generate bat-speed out of his trigger and to cover the upper zone. Defensively, he is very smooth at first base and has gold glove-type hands. Head will also pitch for Ole Miss.
3. Tyler Bullock, C, Paschal (TX) HS 6-3, 225 R/R
Bullock wasn’t drafted and will head to Baylor. Though his signability was a question mark, more than a few scouts shook their heads watching him in Joplin. Bullock has a lot of power in his right bat and advanced receiving skills. Projection is a question mark because he’s physically mature.
4. Mark Sauls, RHP/3B, Bay (FL) HS 6-4, 220 R/R
Sauls was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round as a pitcher and has signed with Florida State. I’m not so sure I don’t like him better as a hitter at this point. Sauls was in the mid-80s on the mound, with the makings of a big league curveball. He also has a power right bat and enough tools to play third base despite a lack of speed.
5. Brad Corley, OF, Pleasure Ridge Park (KY) HS 6-2, 190 R/R
Corley is committed to Mississippi State and was drafted in the 16th round by the Colorado Rockies. It remains to be seen if he signs . Corley has all-around solid tools and an excellent baseball body. He showed power to the opposite field and corner outfield tools.
6. Thomas Thornton, LHP, Middleboro (MA) HS 6-7, 220 L/L
Thornton is committed to Notre Dame, which may be what led to his going undrafted. Very projectable at 6-7, his arm works quite well and he shows the makings of good off-speed. Thornton was in the mid-high-80s in Joplin. His command was off-and-on and that is what the Notre Dame coaches will work on. Thornton is very coordinated at his size.
7. Taylor Teagarden, C, Creekview (TX) HS 6-1, 195 R/R
Teagarden was drafted in the 22nd round by the Cubs, and seems likely to attend Texas. He’s a very polished catcher with athletic receiving skills. He also showed the ability to make adjustments at the plate and use the whole field. I can see him helping the Longhorns early and if he develops a power game at all, he can turn into a high draft in 3-4 years.
8. Jarrad Page, OF, San Leandro (CA) HS 6-1, 204 S/R
Page has a football scholarship to UCLA, but the Brewers drafted him in the 5th round. They’ve made an initial offer of $600,000 for him to play both baseball and college football. Page has obvious defensive tools including a centerfielder’s range and a potential right field arm. He made some outstanding plays going back. There is raw power on both sides of the plate, but not a lot of discipline or plate coverage.
9. Nick Starnes, RHP, Graham (NC) HS 6-2, 175 R/R
Starnes is a projectable righty headed to UNC-Greensboro. The Braves took him in the 9th round. He threw in the high-80’s and at times showed a big league curve and change-up. With his body and arm-action, I think he has a chance to throw a lot harder one day. Starnes needs to be more consistent with his command.
10. Brett Andrade, RHP, Foothill (CA) HS 6-4, 180 R/R
Andrade was undrafted, but is to me a very nice projection. He throws mostly in the mid-80s now, but his quick arm and lanky body promise more velocity by the time he’s physically mature. He fell in love with his change-up too much and could tighten up his slider. Andrade will go to Long Beach State in the fall.