Mark Diapoules – One of the last draft and follows and an interesting sleeper. Diapoules posted some nifty numbers at the Quad Cities, striking out nearly a batter per inning (52 in 55.2) while getting two ground-outs for every air-out. Diapoules was promoted to his home town of Palm Beach, and his hit, strikeout and walk rates all trended in the wrong direction, but he didn’t embarrass himself. A tall and lean bodied hurler, Diapoules can touch 93, but gets better sink on his fastball when he’s throwing it in the 86-91 MPH range. He throws from a high 3/4 arm slot and is said to have effortless mechanics. Diapoules also throws a tight slider and a change-up, both with average potential. He still has some projectability to his body and could be someone that blossoms into an above average major league starter. He will need to refine his command a little bit to take it to the next level. I look for him to start his season playing again for the home crowds at Palm Beach.
Anthony Ferrara – Ferrara was a well-known prep prospect for some time and was thought to be a potential first rounder, but his draft stock took a tumble when fears about the health of his shoulder arose. Dr. Jim Andrews prescribed rest rather than surgery. He throws a 89-91 MPH fastball but has been clocked as high as 95 in shorter stints. Ferrara also has a curve and a change with the potential to be average or a little better. Ferrara was assigned to the GCL this past season, and there struck out 36 in 30 innings. Getting a high upside arm like Ferrara’s in the 7th round of the draft could prove to be a real steal. We probably won’t see him again until the short season squads start, it’s most likely Johnson City for his next stop.
Deryk Hooker – The kid has been a strikeout machine since being drafted in the 7th round in 2007, with 120 of them in just 96 professional innings. He’s also shown exceptional command of the plate, with a sterling 4:1 K:BB ratio. Following his 2007 debut where he shredded the Gulf Coast League (8.4 BB%, 35.9 K%, 1.92 FIP in 31.0 IP), Hooker was similarly dominant in the Appy in 2008 (7.9 BB%, 31.1 K%, 2.65 FIP in 42.2 IP). Upon being promoted to the Quad Cities, Hooker’s rates took a hit (6.5 BB%, 19.4 K%, 3.80 FIP in 22.1 IP), but he remained solid. At 6-4, Hooker throws from a downhill plane with a heater in the 89-92 range, touching 94. He also has a true 12-6 yakker and the makings of a solid average changeup, which explains the results. Now for the bad: Depending on who you talk to, Hooker’s mechanics are iffy to horrid. He’ll fly open on his right side and is also said to throw across his body. The first flaw is easily fixed, the second could relegate his ceiling to relief. Look for Hooker to put up solid numbers again for the Quad Cities.