Baseball America Draft Tracker Returns!

April 7, 2009

Baseball America Staff Report

Early Movers & Shakers

The weather is getting warmer, clocks have sprung forward an hour and baseball is underway. College baseball is about three weeks into the season and high school play is just getting underway, but already players are creating some early draft buzz one way or another. From now until June 9, we'll use the Draft Tracker to spotlight players that are moving up or down teams' draft boards.

Early Risers

Joe Gardner, rhp & Mark Haddow, of, UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara righthander Joe Gardner really started to get his name out there last summer when he pitched for the Peninsula Oilers in the Alaska Baseball League. Over 10 appearances, Gardner went 6-0, 0.92 with 38 strikeouts and 18 walks over 49 innings. Gardner has a big, 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame and features a lively, 90-94 mph four-seam fastball, an 84 mph sinker with promise and an effective slider that sits at around 77 mph. He does need to clean up a few mechanical issues, though. He has a high leg kick and then lands on a stiff front leg, causing some arm recoil and his arm sometimes has a bit of a wrap in the back. After transferring in from Ohlone (Calif.) JC, Gardner's gotten off to a great start this season with the Gauchos. Over his first three starts, Gardner is 1-0, 1.66 with 27 strikeouts and six walks in 21 innings.

The Gauchos are getting some offense from their solidly-built outfielder Mark Haddow. At an athletic 6-foot-2 and 215-pounds, Haddow has some big raw tools. On UCSB's scout day this fall, he ran a 6.69-second 60-yard dash, flashed an above-average arm and put on a show in batting practice. The draft-eligible sophomore didn't see a lot of action last season, but is off to an exciting start this year, hitting .387/.441/.677 with two doubles, two triples and a home run over his first 31 at-bats. He's also 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. If he maintains this type of production, he could vault himself into the top three rounds, ala Cal Poly's Grant Desme in 2007 (drafted 73rd overall by the A's) or Azusa Pacific's Kirk Nieuwenhuis last year (drafted 100th overall by the Mets).

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