In the weeks leading
up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview
of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as
well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the
state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as
well as providing mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
North Carolina State-by-State List
North Carolina’s Own Improving Standards, It’s a Thin Year Again
one of the nation’s steadily-improving talent sources, North
Carolina produced at least two first-round picks in each baseball
draft from 2005-09. That number slipped to one in 2010, but it was a
noteworthy selection: University of North Carolina righthander Matt
Harvey, the seventh pick overall.
other player with a connection to the state was taken with the first
100 picks, however, and that downward trend may be repeating itself
in 2011, to a degree, as there has been little buzz among
national-level scouts for North Carolina prospects. In fact, the
state may not produce a first-rounder at all this year.
flies in the face of the state’s growing reputation as a top
producer of college talent, with only California, Florida and Texas
consistently producing more players from that demographic in recent
years. UNC shortstop Levin Michael is the state’s most-draftable
college talent, and he may be just a sandwich pick, although he has
some late first-round support.
North Carolina high-school class, which held out significant promise
last fall for becoming one of the deepest crops in the state in
years, has also not panned out as hoped. Where once it was believed
it would yield anywhere from 8-10 prospects in the first 10 rounds,
the reality has set in that there may be only four prep players going
off the board in that area.
top two high-school talents, Pinecrest High righthander Dillon Maples
and Providence High catcher Brett Austin, have pretty much held form
at Nos. 1 and 2, and are both serious candidates to be selected
before the start of the second round. Beyond that duo, only Dixon
High righthander/power hitter Rookie Davis and Holly Springs High
lefthander Carlos Rodon are solid bets now to go in the top 10
University of North Carolina has produced three first-round picks in
the last two years (Harvey a year ago; Dustin Ackley and Alex White
in 2009), and Michael, who entered college a year ahead of schedule
and is playing his third different infield position in three years,
is the school’s only hope to have that streak continue. He has
handled his transition to shortstop quite seamlessly, while also
remaining an offensive force for the Tar Heels. Catcher Jacob
Stallings is the only other UNC player given a shot to go in the
first 10- rounds.
Carolina made four straight College World Series appearances from
2006-09. It hasn’t been quite as big a factor in college circles
this year, or last, but at 41-12 (17-10 in the Atlantic Coast
Conference), it may have exceeded expectations this season with a
talented group of underclassmen carrying the team.
neither East Carolina nor North Carolina State is having a
particularly noteworthy season, even by their own modest standards,
those schools may have the greatest impact on the early rounds of the
draft. Each of those schools is expected to provide three players in
the top 10 rounds, led by N.C. State righthander Cory Mazzoni.
Despite a 3-6, 3.93 record that pales beside most of the other top
college arms in an extraordinarily deep draft for college pitchers,
Mazzoni may be claimed as early as the second round. His fastball,
which has peaked at 95-96 mph in most outings, has spoken loudly.
the college player that has made the greatest strides this spring
might be Davidson lefthander Chris Lamb, who has made a significant
move up draft boards despite posting just a 1-7, 3.75 record. He has
proven to be especially tough on lefthanded hitters, though, with his
86-92 mph fastball, two solid secondary pitches and deceptive
delivery, In 82 innings, he has walked just 19 while striking out 85.
draft-eligible college pitcher in the state, though, has come close
to dominating his competition quite like 6-foot-6 Mt. Olive College
righthander Carter Capps, who is 12-0, 1.59 on the season and
recently set an NCAA Division II record for most consecutive wins
(22). He was also undefeated a year ago, going 10-0 as a red-shirt
have been somewhat slow to embrace Capps as an elite-level prospect,
not knowing whether to project him as a third-rounder or
eight-rounder, because he is still relatively new to pitching—he
enrolled in college as a catcher, and red-shirted a year in order to
learn the finer points of his new craft—and projects as a reliever
at the next level, though has been only a starter in college.
Nonetheless, with his size and a fastball that has peaked at 97 mph,
he is not expected to last long.
year ago, Pinecrest High righthander James Baldwin III became the
highest pick from the North Carolina prep ranks, going in the fourth
round to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That school could produce the top
pick again as Maples is expected to be the first high-school player
drafted in the state.
the fathers of both players were significant draft picks themselves
as righthanded pitchers out of the same school—Tim Maples as a
second-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1979, James Baldwin as
a fourth-rounder of the Chicago White Sox in 1990. The latter went on
to pitch 10 years in the big leagues.
represents North Carolina’s best bet to advance. Even a year ago,
when Maples and Baldwin were on the same staff, Maples, a junior, was
a much-more heralded prospect than his teammate, Baldwin, as his
fastball was clocked consistently then in the mid-90s. He has
maintained that velocity since then in summer and fall competition,
and this spring in high school.
of the best prep talent in the state spent last summer and fall
playing for the North-Carolina-based Dirtbags, one of the nation’s
elite travel teams. That club, a perennial contender at Perfect Game
national tournaments, shared the championship at last fall’s World
Wood Bat Association World Championship, played in Jupiter, Fla. It
was expected that several players off that club would make greater
inroads on this year’s draft, but most, with the exception of
Maples and Austin, didn’t perform this spring to the level that
the new coach at Forsyth Country Day High, Dirtbags coach Andy Partin
assembled at least five of his summer-league players on his school
team, all major Division I signees. The team played a rugged 2011
schedule that included a season-opening game against Pinecrest High
that pitted summer-league teammates Maples and Adam Griffin, against
one another. With some 50 scouts in attendance, Maples outdueled
Griffin, but both pitchers were clocked in the mid-90s. Griffin
didn’t maintain that velocity through the spring, and his stock
Carolina in a Nutshell:
Depth of college talent.
High-end college talent.
RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.
COLLEGE TEAM: North Carolina.
JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Pitt.
HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM: Providence HS,
ON THE RISE: Chris
Lamb, lhp, Davidson College. Lamb
can be as deceiving to hit, especially for lefthanded batters, as his
1-7, 3.75 record can be to the naked eye. Scouts, though, have seen
vast improvement in the funky lefty, who has three quality pitches in
his 86-92 mph fastball, splitter and changeup.
ON THE DECLINE: Shawn Armstrong, rhp, East Carolina University. The
6-foot-5 Armstrong has the best pure arm on the ECU staff, but has
struggled to find consistency throughout his college career. Used as
both a starter and in relief this season, he has gone 3-1, 3.79 with
17 walks and 44 strikeouts in 38 innings, with a fastball up to 96
mph. But his inability to command his stuff or repeat that velocity
on a recurring basis has hurt his development.
Tobias, ss, Southeast Guilford HS, Greensboro. On
the basis of his two best tools, his speed and natural hitting
ability, Tobias would normally be a serious contender to be the first
high-school player drafted in the state. But he is heavily committed
to attending college at Florida, where both his parents graduated,
and his lack of arm strength, his weakest tool, will almost certainly
push him off shortstop at the next level, probably to second base or
the outfield. Those two issues alone will, in all probability,
compromise his draft value.
OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, North Carolina Connection:
Brian Goodwin, of, Miami-Dade (Fla.) JC (attended high school in
Rocky Mount; college at North Carolina).
2012 PROSPECT: Corey Seager, ss,
Northwest Cabarrus HS, Kannapolis.
2013 PROSPECT: Colin Moran, 3b,
University of North Carolina.
History: B.J. Surhoff, c, U. of
North Carolina (1985, Brewers/1st round, 1st pick); Brien Taylor, lhp, East Carteret HS, Beaufort (1991,
Yankees/1st round, 1st pick); Josh Hamilton, of, Athens Drive HS, Raleigh (1999, Devil
Rays/1st round, 1st pick).
Draft: Andrew Miller, lhp, U. of
North Carolina (Tigers/1st round, 6th pick).
Draft: Madison Bumgarner, lhp, South
Caldwell HS, Lenoir (Giants/1st round, 10th pick).
Draft: Allan Dykstra, 1b, Wake
Forest (Padres/1st round, 23rd pick).
Draft: Dustin Ackley, of, U. of
North Carolina (Mariners/1st round, 2nd pick).
Draft: Matt Harvey, rhp, U. of North
Carolina (Mets/1st round, 7th pick).
Hitter: Pratt Maynard, c/1b, North
Power: Rookie Davis, 1b/3b, Dixon
HS, Sneads Ferry.
Speed: Josh Tobias, ss, Southeast
Guilford HS, Greensboro.
Defender: Jacob Stallings, c,
University of North Carolina.
Velocity: Dillon Maples, rhp,
Pinecrest HS, West End.
Breaking Stuff: Cory Mazzoni, rhp,
North Carolina State University.
PROSPECTS, GROUP ONE and TWO
ONE (Projected ELITE-Round Draft /
LEVI MICHAEL, ss, University of North Carolina (Jr.)
athleticism/6.6 speed have enabled him to settle in at SS; solid
offensive skills (.312-4-45, 44 BB, 14 SB).
MAPLES, rhp, Pinecrest HS, West End
quick arm, nasty raw stuff, 91-94 FB/T-97, + 80-mph power CU; some
effort; father ex-minor league RHP.
BRETT AUSTIN, c, Providence HS, Matthews
versatile athlete; switch-hitter, + bat speed on both sides, calm/L-D
approach, quick feet defensively, + arm.
CORY MAZZONI, rhp, North Carolina State University (Jr.)
nos. (92 IP/27 BB/105 SO) more telling than 3-6 record; clean arm, FB
at 92-95/T-96, + 81-84 SL.
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
CARTER CAPPS, rhp, Mt. Olive College (So.)
in career as starter, stuff (91-92 FB, + SL) profiles more for relief
(97 FB in short bursts, no third pitch).
PRATT MAYNARD, c, North Carolina State University (Jr.)
bat with + on-base potential (.336-5-38, 30 BB); athletic enough to
catch, + arm, but footwork/skills raw.
ROOKIE DAVIS, rhp/3b, Dixon HS, Sneads Ferry
6-5/230 build, potential 2-way college star; FB up to 95 mph, fair
CU, quick/compact arm, big HR power.
CARLOS RODON, lhp, Holly Springs HS
6-2/210 frame, + easy delivery/arm action, ball comes out easy, FB
89-93, sharp 78 CU, good CH.
MICHAEL WRIGHT, rhp, East Carolina University (Jr.)
RHP always had + stuff (FB 90-95, SL as out pitch), just needed to
harness it (5-3, 3.06, 21 BB/63 SO).
CHRIS LAMB, lhp, Davidson College (Jr.)
LHP, late bloomer; limited success (1-7, 3.75), but + tough to hit
with 86-92 FB, + CH, + splitter.
HAROLD RIGGINS, 1b, North Carolina State University (Jr.)
pull power evident in BP, not in games (.318-3-28); OK athlete in
6-3/230 frame, but 1B is best option.
JOSH TOBIAS, ss, Southeast Guilford HS, Greensboro
+ switch-hitter, + power/speed combo, 6.35 runner, leadoff hitter, +
base runner, .434-6-19/35 SBs.
JACOB STALLINGS, c, University of North Carolina (Jr.)
actions in 6-5/185 C, son of Vandy BKB coach; solid arm/receiver, bat
starting to come (.269-2-32).
ZACH HOUCHINS, ss/3b, Louisburg JC (Fr.)
past LHP Ethan Carter, South Carolina transfer, as team’s best
prospect; + arm/actions in field; OK bat.
SHAWN ARMSTRONG, rhp, East Carolina University (Jr.)
SO has more upside than Wright (No. 9), but ++ inconsistent; FB at
96, + cutter at 87 when on his game.
TYLER MOLINARO, 1b/of, Pitt CC (So.)
power bat in state JC ranks (.393-12-46); serious juice in LH swing,
6-2/220 frame; headed for UNC-W.
ZACH WRIGHT, c, East Carolina University (Jr.)
raw pop in 6-2/200 catcher (.292-12-35), shortened swing, still holes
(46 SO); + arm, just OK defender.