Today we announced the signing of our 2nd round pick, James Darnell from the University of South Carolina.
After a huge sophomore year in which he hit .341/.457/.632 and a summer on the Cape that resulted in eight homers and a .492 slg, James was considered a top talent coming into the 2008 season. Due to this, he was an early follow for us as we put together preliminary "target" players for the 2008 draft.
We spent a lot of time scouting James this spring, and the toughest part in his particular situation wasn't the evaluation of the player. After all, his plus raw power to all fields, his athleticism, and his energy on the field at all times didn't require a lot of imagination. Rather, the tough part was trying to figure out where he was going to go in the draft. Though his numbers weren't quite as good this year as his sophomore year, our reports throughout the spring season indicated that the only significant change was a drop in batting average which came from an early season slump. Needless to say, we were thrilled to get him with our 2nd round pick and didn't hesitate to play over slot to get him signed.
James took batting practice here at Petco today (hit a homer on his first swing) and will be reporting to Eugene.