Wildcat Draft Preview: Mulvey a Top Prospect
June 5, 2006
VILLANOVA, Pa. - When the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft begins this Tuesday, Wildcat junior starting pitcher Kevin Mulvey (Parlin, N.J./Bishop George Ahr) has a chance to be one of the top selections in the two-day, 50-round draft. Mulvey, a right-handed power pitcher, completed his junior season at Villanova as one of the top pitchers in the Big East Conference, and now is considered one of the top professional prospects in the league.
"It is a feather in the cap for the whole university to have a professional prospect that is regarded as highly as Kevin is," Villanova head coach Joe Godri said. "A few years ago Brian Slocum was a high draft pick and that helped us get a player like Kevin. When one of our players is projected at a level where Kevin is at, it makes a statement about the success a player can have and the good things that can happen if they come to Villanova University and play in the Big East Conference. There is simply nothing better for a coach than to see a player come in as a freshman, mature as a player and a person during his time here and then have chance to play professionally."
In its Draft Preview edition, Baseball America rated Mulvey among its top 30 prospects, including No. 22 out of all pitchers. The draft preview featured a capsule on each of the top 200 prospects in the draft, with Mulvey being called the "top arm in the Northeast" and a pitcher who "always works around the zone and is not afraid to attack hitters."
Mulvey features a dominating fastball that has been clocked as high as 94 and consistently is in a range between 89-92. He sets that up with a slider to right-handed pitchers and an improved curveball and changeup that he uses to get lefties out. In 92.1 innings pitched this season, opposing left-handed hitters batted just .214 in 117 at-bats.
"Kevin has unlimited potential because he is not just a guy that throws hard," Godri said. "Through his own hard work, Kevin has developed into a truly complete pitcher. His offspeed pitchers are as good as anyone's that we see around the country each year. You can be excited about the fastball and the slider, but I know that the pro scouts who watched him were just as impressed with his curveball. Kevin can be a true major league starter with a repertoire like that; he is going to come to the table with four pitches and he is not just a thrower. Those are the qualities that are what the professional scouts and executives are excited about."
As talented a pitcher as any who have worn the Villanova uniform, Mulvey's 222 career strikeouts for the Wildcats is the most in school history over a three-year period. In just three years, he ranks second in program history in strikeouts, seventh in innings pitched (244.0) and is tied for 10th in victories (14).
"Taking aside the talent that he has, what I am going to remember about Kevin and what we will miss the most is the type of person he is. Kevin is a quality person who is always at the ballpark and rooting on his teammates. Every day that he was here he was all about Villanova baseball, and anytime we tried to make some adjustments with him he was all about the team. That is a unique characteristic about him that I hope he never loses. He is a great person and first and foremost that is what he meant to the Villanova program."
As a junior this season, Mulvey made 14 starts and logged 92.1 innings pitched. He needed just three more innings to establish a single-season team record, and he compiled 88 strikeouts for the season against just 23 walks. Mulvey pitched five complete games and led the pitching staff with a 3.61 ERA, but owned just three victories on the season. Villanova scored zero or one run in five of his 14 starts, including a four-game stretch in which the Wildcats scored just five runs total in 30 innings pitched by Mulvey. In postseason awards, Mulvey has been named a second team All-Big East selection and the Philadelphia Diamond Five Pitcher of the Year.
Mulvey came to Villanova after being drafted in the 34th round by the St. Louis Cardinals out of high school. At Bishop George Ahr High School, Mulvey was a two-time All-Area and All-State pick who notched 100 strikeouts and a miniscule 0.88 ERA during his senior season. Mulvey was named a High School All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was the Wildcats top recruit in the 2004 incoming class.
Joining Mulvey as professional draft prospects on the Wildcats are senior first baseman Jeremy Hunt (Tampa, Fla.) and senior centerfielder Kris Molloy (Hillsborough, N.J.). Both players earned All-Big East honors and were named to the Philadelphia Diamond Five team.
"I would put Jeremy in a group of about five hitters we see throughout the year that are better pure hitters than the rest of the competition," Godri said. "It Jeremy had been on the radar a little bit earlier there would have been more hype around him, but in my mind he has really developed into a professional hitter. It looks like things should go his way in the draft, and whichever team winds up with him is going to be getting a player that is heading into the peak of his career. He is someone that I want to keep an eye on for the future."
In his second season with the Wildcats after transferring from St. Petersburg College, Hunt emerged as one of the top power-hitters in the nation. He led the Big East with 15 home runs and a .743 slugging percentage, while leading Villanova in seven other offensive categories. His season home run total was the fourth-highest in school history, while his .385 batting average, 56 runs batted in and .481 on-base percentage were the highest in Godri's five-year head-coaching tenure.
Hunt closed the season on a 19-game hitting streak and reached base safely in each of the last 33 games on the season. He saved his best efforts for critical Big East games, batting a torrid .415 and reaching base more than half the time at a .509 clip against league competition. Hunt was named second team All-Big East and the Philadelphia Diamond Five Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, Molloy showcased all of the tools that made him a top recruit at Villanova as a transfer from the University of Massachusetts after the 2003 season. Molloy was second on the team with a .356 batting average and 14 stolen bases this season, while once again providing flawless and often spectacular defense in centerfield. Molloy, considered to be the team's fastest runner, had eight bunt singles and a .410 on-base percentage. He struck out just 18 times in 205 plate appearances and showed power to the gaps as well. Molloy had four doubles, five triples and two home runs on the season, with the five three-base hits matching the most in a season by a Villanova hitter in the last 20 years.
"I have my fingers crossed that things will go well in the draft for Kris," Godri said. "There simply is not a better defensive guy in the outfield. In this day and age you look at a player's physical stature and I think sometimes the defensive part gets overlooked, but the fact of the matter is that Kris saves runs for the pitching staff. I hope that he is given an opportunity to show that. I know that if he gets drafted the pitching staff will love him and I feel confident that the coaches will feel the same way."
Molloy, considered to be the top defensive outfielder in the Northeast region, ranked third on the team in putouts with 149 and had three outfield assists. He was a third team All-Big East selection and earned a spot on the Philadelphia Diamond Five team.
Since 2002, nine Villanova players have been chosen by major league teams in the First-Year Player Draft, including two (Mulvey and Freddie Thon) who were drafted out of high school before coming to the Main Line.
The standout among the recent group of draftees is right-handed pitcher Brian Slocum, a 2002 draft pick of the Cleveland Indians who made his major league debut with the parent club earlier this season. In all, 53 former Villanova players have reached the major leagues, with all but six coming prior to 1980.
The Major League Baseball Amateur Draft consists of all 30 teams making picks over 50 rounds. The initial 20 rounds will be held Tuesday, June 6, with the final 30 rounds on tap for Wednesday. Live access of the draft is available from www.mlb.com and a complete wrap up of all Wildcat draftees will be available on www.villanova.com on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
Baseball America Top 100 Prospects
Baseball America Capsule on Kevin Mulvey
Mulvey, the top arm in the Northeast, could be a perfect fit for the Phillies, who have made an effort to target top local talent, such as Glen Mills, Pa., native Mike Costanzo--their top pick last year (second round) out of Coastal Carolina. Mulvey, who hails from Parlin, N.J., has been a weekend starter since he arrived at Villanova and has seen his stock rise this season even while posting rather pedestrian 3-8, 3.61 numbers. Scouts are impressed with his command of three average or better pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball, a slider that is effective against right-handed hitters and a curveball that some scouts like even better than the slider. He also has good feel for a changeup that can be used to get lefties out. Mulvey has loose, easy arm action and clean mechanics, and he has learned to eliminate distractions from umpires and defensive lapses behind him that tended to rattle him early in his college career. He always works around the zone and is not afraid to attack hitters. Mulvey doesn't figure to last past the Phillies at No. 37 overall and could go before that.