Backtracking with Liebel

Long Beach State senior pitcher Andrew Liebel, a graduate of Damien High School, saw his named called by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round with the 95th pick. Liebel, a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but was a consistent eight-inning starter for the Dirtbags according to the scouting report on mlb.com

Liebel, who tranistioned from a relief role to a starting one, was 8-4 with a 2.22 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 117.1 innings pitched. The former Spartan was one of five Long Beach players to be selected in the second and third rounds.

Curtis goes to St. Louis

UCLA third baseman Jermaine Curtis, a graduate of Miller High School, joined the MLB Draft party a few minutes ago, as the St. Louis Cardinals took him in the fifth round with the 155th pick of the draft. Curtis, who could be moved to second base by the Cardinals, overcame a slow start to the 2008 season to hit .306 with two home runs and 26 RBI.

Curtis, a standout player with the Rebels, established himself as a high draft-pick with his performance last summer in the Cape Cod League, a summer league in Massachusetts that uses wood bats instead of the aluminum used at the college level. Curtis was an all-star selection in the Cape Cod, setting the stage for his selection by the 2006 World Series champions.

Kaiser grad Shirley gets mistrial on misdemeanor charges

The saga of Kaiser High School graduate Jason Shirley, who was drafted as a defensive tackle by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th round of the NFL draft in April, seems to be over for now. According to the Fresno Bee story, which you can click on here, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on a hit-and-run incident where Shirley was also cited for driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Shirley apparently has a hearing for a fourth misdemeanor, driving with a suspended license, on the docket for today. He also has a crazy blond mohawk, which you can check out in the link.

Chatwood stays close to home

The Angels made their first pick of the day, No. 74 late in the second round, a good one, as they selected Redlands East Valley pitcher/shortstop Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood, who has signed with UCLA, batted .523 with one home run and 23 RBI in 94 at-bats while compiling a 9-1 record on the mound with a 0.81 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched.

Chatwood going to the Angels certainly is fitting, as his coach at REV, Steve Hernandez, has been a scout in the Angels’ organization for the past 11 years. On another note, if the mlb.com Draft Tracker listing of Chatwood as a right-handed pitcher is any indication, the Angels will use the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder on the mound. I hope to find out more during a teleconference held by the Angels at 5 p.m. today.

Collier goes to Philly

Chino Hills centerfielder Zach Collier, one of the biggest upward movers going into this draft, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies with the 34th pick of the MLB Draft. Collier, a first-round supplemental pick that the Phillies received when Aaron Rowand left as a free agent, batted .450 with seven home runs and 24 RBI in 80 at-bats for the Huskies this season.

Skipworth picked 6th by Marlins

A big day for local prep baseball players at the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft started off early, as the Florida Marlins drafted Riverside Patriot catcher Kyle Skipworth with the 6th pick of the first round.

Skipworth, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound backstop, was an offensive machine for the Sunkist League-champion Warriors, batting a mind-boggling .543 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI in 94 at-bats. He also possesses a rocket arm and has shot up MLB draft boards in the past month.

Hernandez juggles responsibilities with Chatwood

The success of Redlands East Valley senior pitcher/shortstop Tyler Chatwood, and the legions of MLB scouts that followed him for every game, left Redlands East Valley coach Steve Hernandez in a weird spot. Truth is, Hernandez is one of those scouts.

Along with being the coach of the Wildcats, Hernandez has spent the last 11 years scouting for the Angels’ organization. With Chatwood expected to go in the first few rounds of Thursday’s MLB Draft, Hernandez found himself in an awkward position.

“I didn’t want to get involved because I didn’t want any conflicts of interest,” Hernandez said. “The Angels, just like the other 29 teams, have looked at Tyler and I didn’t want to be in a position of forming the organization’s views on him.”

While Hernandez did write one report on Chatwood, the majority of the scouting by the Angels has been done by Tim Corcoran.

This situation isn’t foreign to Hernandez, who dealt with similar situations at REV with Josh Coles in 2002 and Brett Martinez in 2003. But the interest in Coles, a seventh-round pick, and Martinez, a 21st-round selection, wasn’t nearly as strong as it has been with Chatwood.

“We had 10-20 scouts at every game watching him,” Hernandez said. “It reminds me of when I had Greg Colbrunn, Chris Stevens and Chuckie Carr at Fontana. He deserves all the attention though – he’s a special player.”

Chatwood is expected to go anywhere between the late-first and fifth rounds, according to Hernandez.