Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at email@example.com.
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Baseball America Scouting Reports On Draft Eligible Dirtbags
Here scouting reports on Dirtbags in the draft from Baseball America (no link - paid area - number before name is their ranking in the State of California):
On Dirtbags pitching in general:
Long Beach State has produced more premium pitching prospects in the last two drafts than any college in the country. With a 2.30 team ERA, this year's staff may be the most effective yet.
On Troy Tulowitzki:
1. TROY TULOWITZKI, ss (National Ranking: 4) School: Long Beach State. Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: Oct. 10, 1984. Previously Drafted: Never. Scouting Report: Tulowitzki compares favorably to Bobby Crosby, his predecessor as shortstop at Long Beach State who was a first-round pick in 2001 and the 2004 American League rookie of the year. They're about the same size and have similar speed and bat speed at the same stage, but scouts say Tulowitzki is a better athlete and should be a better player. He has more arm strength and range, and more power to all parts of the park, while Crosby was more automatic on routine plays and had more pull power. Crosby helped Tulowitzki by showing scouts that players built like Crosby and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Tulowitzki can be effective everyday shortstops. Tulowitzki has also won over scouts with his approach to the game. He plays with exceptional intensity and an unrivaled passion for the game. He broke the hamate bone in his hand and missed 20 games early this spring, and the 49ers slumped in his absence. He has no holes in his game and all his tools are close to big league-ready. He is a top defender who has adjusted well to the speed of the game. He has an above-average arm and good footwork, unlike as a freshman when he relied on his raw arm strength. He has added 35-40 pounds since enrolling at Long Beach, giving him a stronger body and the chance to be an offensive shortstop. He now projects to hit 25-30 homers a year in the big leagues. He has just 19 in three years at Long Beach State but plays his home games at Blair Field, one of the best pitcher's parks in college baseball. He hit four with a wood bat last summer for Team USA, tied for the team lead. Tulowitzki is regarded by most teams as a safe pick who almost certainly will return the investment a team makes in him.
On former Dirtbag Jered Weaver:
2. JERED WEAVER, rhp (National Ranking: 7) School: None. Hometown: Simi Valley, Calif. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: Oct. 4, 1982. Previously Drafted: Angels 2004 (1) Scouting Report: Weaver was an early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, but he fell due to signability issues and will find himself back in this year's pool if he doesn't come to terms with the Angels, who selected him with the 12th pick. He has until midnight May 31, the start of the closed period, to sign. Weaver is represented by Scott Boras, who contends the Angels agreed to give Weaver a deal in the neighborhood of the $10.5 guaranteed major league contract Mark Prior received from the Cubs as the second pick in 2001. The Angels say otherwise, and have reportedly offered a standard minor league contract with a $4 million bonus - which would be the largest bonus for a 2004 draftee but far short of what Boras was seeking. As a junior in 2004 at Long Beach State, Weaver posted numbers - 15-1, 1.62 with 213 strikeouts in 144 innings--that were roughly equivalent to Prior's spectacular 2001 season at Southern California. But Weaver's stuff is a step below Prior's. As a junior for the 49ers, Weaver was an intense competitor with an excellent feel for his craft. He could throw strikes with precision--in, out, up, down. He was so advanced in all areas of pitching that scouts said he could hold his own in the big leagues immediately. Like everyone at Long Beach, Weaver pitched off his fastball, which was clocked as high as 95 mph. He normally threw it at 91-92, but even at that speed it looked like 95 because of the deception in his delivery and his ability to locate it. His curve is just average. He throws two kinds of sliders, one with greater depth. While his brother Jeff, a 1998 first-rounder of the Tigers who now pitches for the Dodgers, is a sinker/slider pitcher and generates more armside movement with his pitches, Jered uses his whole repertoire much better. Because of the protracted holdout, Weaver hasn't pitched in almost a year. His only activity has been working out with a personal trainer and throwing bullpens at Long Beach State in April and May. He had not faced live hitters, so teams aren't sure whether he's the same guy with the same stuff and command.
On Cesar Ramos:
8. CESAR RAMOS, lhp (National Ranking: 33) School: Long Beach State. Hometown: Pico Rivera, Calif. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Birthdate: June 22, 1984. Previously Drafted: Devil Rays 2002 (6). Scouting Report: With three starters who have been drafted in the top two rounds the last two years - Abe Alvarez in 2003, Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas in 2004 - Ramos has struggled for attention at Long Beach State. He was an effective No. 3 starter both years [Cesar was actually the #2 starter last year], going 18-8, 2.51 after entering the program as a sixth-round pick out of high school. This year, Ramos has taken over the No. 1 spot in the 49ers rotation and become the winningest lefthander in school history, surpassing Alvarez, who has already debuted in the big leagues with the Red Sox. Both pitchers have similar styles, but scouts say Ramos uses his stuff better than Alvarez. Ramos has excellent command of four pitches and walked 13 in his first 116 innings this spring. He's not overpowering with a four-seam fastball that sits at 85-88 mph and touches 90. His two-seamer has even less velocity, but more movement. But he's sneaky fast, throwing on a downhill plane with pinpoint accuracy. He has a knack for burying his fastball under the hands of righthanded hitters. He also has an effective slider and curve, and a serviceable changeup he uses early in the count. Ramos is frequently compared to Cal State Fullerton lefty Ricky Romero, who should be the first lefthander drafted this year. Romero has better stuff across the board, but Ramos has better command and is more consistent. He could be one of the rare lefthanders drafted in the first round with a below-average fastball.
On Neil Jamison:
Senior RHP Neil Jamison (39) passed up an opportunity to go pro last year when he rejected an eighth-round offer from the Mets. He may not have hurt himself by returning to Long Beach for his senior year. As one of the nation's premier closers, he didn't allow an earned run in his first 24 innings this year. He saved 11 games, posted a 4-0 record and had walked just two batters while striking out 21. He is loose and athletic with two quality pitches: an aggressive 88-92 mph fastball and a 79-82 slider with depth. He has a feel for a changeup, but rarely used it in his current role. He has the makeup to close and could be effective in that role in the low minors, but projects as a big league set-up man because he doesn't have a pitch to put away quality lefthanded hitters. As a senior sign, he'll be attractive to a team that values performance over raw stuff.
On Marco Estrada:
RHP Marco Estrada (72) posted a 7-2, 2.32 record with 101 strikeouts in 101 innings as Long Beach State's Saturday starter. He has four solid pitches, with a fastball that touches 93 and the best curveball on the staff. But at 6 feet with little downhill plane, he is not expected to be picked before the sixth or seventh rounds.
Other Dirtbags listed without scouting reports:
101. Steve Hammond, lhp, Long Beach State U. 107. Sean Boatright, of, Long Beach State U. 140. Chris Jones, c, Long Beach State U.