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Late Draft finds just as precious to clubs

Late Draft finds just as precious to clubs

Late Draft finds just as precious to clubs
NEW YORK -- Most of the attention for the second day of the Draft tends to center around players who were thought to be first-day talents but slid to Day 2 because of signability or injury issues.

There certainly were a fair share of those on Tuesday, starting with big-splash second-round pick Josh Bell and continuing with high school lefty Daniel Norris on the signability side and Josh Osich, John Stilson (both of whom scouts feel could be steals) and Matthew Purke on the injury side. But as intriguing as those selections are, the second -- and the third -- days of the Draft are really all about the scouts and their ability to find talent.

Look around Major League rosters. They are chock full of players taken in later rounds of the Draft, players who weren't the top prospects in their respective classes but have blossomed into big leaguers. This year will be no different, with value likely to be found in Round 2 and beyond. A number of scouts were polled to come up with some of the more interesting selections from the early stages of Day 2 beyond the "big" names mentioned above. The following is a sampling of their responses, with the round each player was taken in parentheses.

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Justin Bianco, OF, D-backs (3): This Pittsburgh-area high schooler gets high marks for how he plays the game. He's got all five tools, even if they're not plus, and should add strength as he matures. He's drawn comparisons to Trot Nixon.

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Jeff Soptic, RHP, White Sox (3): If you want arm strength, then this Johnson County Community College product is your guy. He has a loose arm and a clean delivery and can crank it up to 100 mph with his fastball, and he has the makings of a very good slider. Even if the changeup never comes, that's more than enough to be a very good short reliever at the next level.

Ryan O'Sullivan, RHP, Dodgers (4): Sean's brother hasn't taken the most direct path, but there's a lot to like. An injury forced him off the mound in 2010, then he left San Diego State for academic reasons. Similar issues kept him from pitching this spring in junior college, but he was running it up to 95 mph in workouts and has a good feel for pitching much like his brother does.

Kyle Simon, RHP, Orioles (4): The University of Arizona product really knows how to pitch. While his fastball doesn't blow anyone away, he has plus life -- his ball really sinks -- and outstanding control. He could be a ground-ball machine as a big league starter.

Brandon Loy, SS, Tigers (5): The University of Texas shortstop gets very good grades for his defensive acumen -- he's a college shortstop who definitely will stay at the premium position. He steadily improved as his Longhorns career went on, and he's the type who makes those around him better. The bat got better this year, and he could be a very good bat-control type with a very good glove at the next level.

Tyler Grimes, SS, Twins (5): Coming out of Wichita State, Grimes is a toolsy shortstop with the chance to stay at the position. He's got terrific hands and arm strength, though he made errors when he got sloppy and lost focus. If he can adjust his approach at the plate and focus on being a line-drive hitter instead of hitting for power, he could be an everyday shortstop in the future.

Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Blue Jays (6): The University of Florida product has a big arm and can get the fastball up into the mid-90s. He's got a pretty good breaking ball at times, and while most feel he's a reliever, at least one scout thought maybe he has the chance to start.

Ross Stripling, RHP, Rockies (9): Pitching on the same Texas A&M staff as the aforementioned Stilson, Stripling was a very effective starter, with an 88- to 92-mph fastball, good downhill plane and a plus curve as an out pitch.

Adam Paulencu, RHP, Giants (13): Hailing from Vancouver Island University, Paulencu has good movement on his low-90s fastball. Giants scouts get extra credit for this selection as it took a two-hour ferry ride to Vancouver Island to see him pitch.

There's sure to be more to come on Day 3, with more diamonds in the rough to uncover. Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at noon ET Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Don't miss it: You never know where the next big leaguer will come from.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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