Haislet top prospect in Hawaii MLB talent pool
The two-day, MLB First-Year Player Draft that starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. local time
The annual First-Year Players Draft by Major League Baseball's 30 teams starts tomorrow.
Local scouts do not consider the Hawaii talent pool to be strong. Hawaii Rainbow center fielder Brandon Haislet probably is the top prospect.
From www.mlb.com these are the basic categories of players eligible to be drafted:
» High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college.
» College players from four-year schools who have either completed their junior or senior seasons or are at least 21 years old.
» Junior college players regardless of how many years of school they have completed.
A team generally retains the rights to sign a selected player until 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time) on August 15, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis.
The activity revolving around Hawaii players may be limited this year in the two-day, Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft that starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. local time.
That is the consensus of five local scouts who prefer not to be named before the draft.
"I think it will be mostly UH players. I don't see any high school player drafted before the 20th round. It is going to be light," said one scout. "Next year Hawaii is going to be all over the place with the talent in this year's (high school) junior class. We may have the most drafted in history."
Another scout said, "As far as this year, it's not real exciting as far as Hawaii is concerned. We have some kids with ability, but for one reason or another they didn't fit profiles."
A veteran scout was even more blunt. He said, "It's very bad. This is the worst year in a long time. I think we have hit rock bottom. There might be some late draft choices. The high school guys who are marginal won't get a chance because there is no more draft and follow."
Draft and follow, the rule that allowed teams to control rights to a high school or junior college player until one week before the next draft, has been eliminated.
Two Hawaii Rainbow juniors, center fielder Brandon Haislet and second baseman Jon Hee, have received interest.
Haislet had a .335 batting average with 18 doubles, two triples, four homers and 39 RBIs, second best for UH. He led team with 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
Haislet was invited by Dodgers area scout Hank Jones to be among 40 players at a workout at Dodgers Stadium on Monday.
"It was very interesting to see what a big league park is like and to get insights on what the scouts are looking for," Haislet said.
"Right now, I definitely want to come back. But if the round and the price is right, of course I have to consider going."
"I definitely think I can come back and, with the coaching here, I can improve on some things and have a senior season that would improve my stock. "I definitely enjoyed my first year at UH."
Haislet said he is on track to graduate next spring with a degree in anthropology.
Hee had a banner year, hitting .345 with 14 doubles. He committed just five errors in 263 chances for a .981 fielding average.
"I know Haislet's name is up there, but I don't know how high," said one scout. "I would be surprised if Hee is drafted."
There is also an injury issue with Hee's left shoulder.
"The shoulder is still being evaluated," said Hee, who is not going to play summer ball.
As far as the draft is concerned, Hee said, "I'm not real sure, just waiting to see what happens. I'm not really sure what the situation will be like. I'm just going to react."
What round he is picked could be a determining factor for Hee.
UH coach Mike Trapasso thinks Haislet will be the only junior taken. Trapasso thinks Hee will play pro ball in the future, but if his second baseman has a procedure this summer to fix his shoulder, pro ball will have to wait.
"I've had a lot of calls about Ian Harrington and Tyler Davis, and I want to see Justin Frash get a chance. Justin needs the opportunity because he can hit," Trapasso said.
Frash had the second-highest batting average (.346) to go with 19 doubles, three triples, three homers, 35 RBIs and led UH with 48 walks.
Harrington, a left-hander with a good breaking ball, was 7-8 with a 4.25 earned run average.
Davis, a right-handed reliever, posted a 6-2 record with a 4.06 ERA.
Regarding the 15 recruits who have signed to play for the Rainbows next year, Trapasso said, "As always, we have our fingers crossed and we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Joshua Slaats, a right-hander from California High School in San Ramon, Calif., is Trapasso's top concern.
"Joshua wants to come to school and put a pretty high price (to sign) out there," Trapasso said.
He also thinks four other high school pitching recruits 6-foot-4 or taller with good arms, Tim Moore, Mike Griffin, Sean Soto and Alex Capaul, might be selected.
Keoni Ruth, a Kamehameha graduate who played for Concordia-Irvine this year after transferring from San Diego, is hoping to be selected for the third time.
"I've talked to seven teams, the Padres, Mets, Cardinals, Orioles, Giants, Cubs and Marlins," said Ruth, an infielder.
He was picked in the 17th round in 2003 by Kansas City and in the 17th round again last year by the Chicago Cubs.
However, a shoulder injury suffered in the West Coast Conference playoffs took too long to heal and Ruth returned to school. He has one semester left to get his degree in sociology.
One scout said he would not be surprised if Colby Ho was drafted. The third baseman from Kaiser was taken in the 48th round last year by Kansas City, but opted to attend Merced College.
Ho hit .386 with 13 doubles, a triple, three homers and knocked in 37 runs this year. He was named to the All-Northern California All-Star team.
Star-Bulletin reporter Dave Reardon contributed to this story