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June 03, 1993|DANA HADDAD

Baseball scouts play the talent game like Las Vegas gamblers play poker, and today they will put all of their chips on the table and reveal their hands--major league baseball's amateur draft starts today.

Most scouts wouldn't make a peep this week when asked to speculate about the fortunes of Valley-area players. But Bill Hughes, Valley resident and associate scout of the Florida Marlins, agreed to reveal his samplings of his evaluation of four-year college players from the area who are most likely to be drafted.

The following are the candidates and the scout's remarks:

Ryan McGuire (El Camino Real High), junior All-American first baseman at UCLA. He batted .376, had a .778 slugging percentage, 26 home runs, more runs batted in (91) than hits (83), and a .993 fielding percentage.

Hughes: "He's the best player from the area--bar none. He'll go high. He plays in the best conference in the country and they still couldn't stop him.

"The thing I like about Ryan is he is a smart player. He knows how to make adjustments and make them fast. The aptitude is there. Another key is he learned to utilize his strength to pull the ball and drive it with power in college."

Andrew Lorraine (Hart), junior left-handed pitcher at Stanford. He had an 8-6 record and a 4.15 earned-run average while allowing 143 hits in 123 2/3 innings in 16 appearances.

Hughes: "He is a lefty who knows how to pitch. Left-handed pitching is something that pro teams look for and he's certainly one of the best lefties on the West Coast, and that's an indication that he'll go pretty high.

"He also pitches with good command against tough competition."

Mark Loretta (St. Francis), senior shortstop at Northwestern. He was named Big Ten Conference player of the year and first-team All-American after carrying a .406 batting average. Twenty-one of his 75 hits went for extra bases, and he had 34 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and only seven strikeouts in 184 at-bats.

Hughes: "I haven't seen him in three or four years. He was a solid middle infielder who needed to get stronger and mature, like most high school kids."

Casey Burrill (Hart), senior catcher at USC. He came back from reconstructive shoulder surgery to earn second-team All-American honors with a .408 average, 13 home runs, 18 doubles and 52 RBIs.

Hughes: "The arm is not quite what it used to be, but it's accurate and it's playable. The question was durability, and I think he proved his durability by catching almost every game.

"A lot of people don't have to gamble on a senior. I don't see Casey going as high as some of the others--probably somewhere in the first five rounds--but I definitely see him getting a chance to play."

Roland De La Maza (St. Genevieve), senior right-handed pitcher at Cal State Sacramento. He finished 11-2 with two shutouts and a 3.17 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings. He allowed only 20 extra-base hits against 465 batters and did not make an error.

Hughes: "Sometimes right-handers don't throw hard enough to get drafted. But sometimes, as (college) seniors, they prove they know how to pitch. As a scout, you want to project a guy's velocity getting stronger. But scouts make mistakes. This is not a science, and there's no substitute for a guy who knows how to win."

Dan Chergey (Westlake), right-handed pitcher at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He broke a number of school records during an 11-2 senior season that included eight complete games. But he also finished with a 3.97 ERA and yielded 117 hits in 113 2/3 innings.

Hughes: "It's really tough for seniors to go high because their options are limited and professional teams don't want to waste a pick too early. This happens even to really good seniors. But even if they get drafted in low rounds, they should be happy just to have an opportunity to play."


On the mend: With reconstructive elbow surgery in his past and an ERA of 51.00 on his 1993 stat sheet, it would be difficult not to jump to the conclusion that Pat Treend, The Times' Valley player of the year in 1990 at El Camino Real, is washed up.

Treend (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), however, said his right arm is better than ever after what he called "Tommy John" surgery by Dr. Frank Jobe, who resurrected the career of Tommy John, a former Dodger and Angel, with an innovative elbow operation.

"It's beyond words how much stronger my arm is--unbelievable," said Treend, who underwent the surgery in December, 1991. "There's absolutely no pain when I throw. Before, pain just seemed natural."

Treend, a redshirt sophomore at UC Santa Barbara, was 0-1 and allowed 17 earned runs in three innings before he withdrew from the program in the latter part of this season. He has two years of eligibility left and said he plans to transfer to UCLA, USC or Pepperdine. He attributes his inflated numbers to the fact he has had to learn to pitch again and said he left the Gaucho program because he disagreed with its rehabilitation procedures.

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