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.
Nevada State-by-State List
No Bryce Harper in Spotlight, Nevada High Schools Regain Focus
With teen prodigy Bryce
Harper generating headlines with almost every step he took in 2010 at
the College of Southern Nevada, he was almost the sole focus of
scouts in Nevada a year ago. All the hype was justified as Harper
assembled a monster season for a rare 17-year-old junior -college
player on his way to becoming an overwhelming selection as the top
pick in last year’s draft.
Had Harper not chosen to
circumvent the normal draft process by skipping his final two years
of high school and enrolling in a junior college, he would normally
have been eligible for this year’s draft as a senior out of Las
With no player in this
year’s Nevada draft class coming even close to Harper’s
larger-than-life stature, things have returned pretty much to normal
for scouts this spring. That is, the spotlight has pretty much
shifted back to the strong high-school ranks in and around Las
Vegas—specifically at Bishop Gorman High, which recently stormed to
its sixth straight 4-A championship. The Gaels dismantled Green
Valley High 10-0 in the final, in the process tying that school’s
record for most consecutive state titles won, set more than a decade
Bishop Gorman coach Nick Day played on four of those state-title
teams at Green Valley, from 1993-96, and effectively turned the
tables on his old school with Bishop Gorman’s latest state crown.
The Gaels are already prohibitive favorites to make it seven in a row
in 2012 as junior third baseman/righthander Joey Gallo, the state
player of the year, is only a junior and one of several key players
Gallo broke the state
single-season home run record this season, slamming 25 and eclipsing
the mark of 22 set a set a year ago by Rancho High’s Kris Bryant
(now a top freshman slugger at the University of San Diego). While
the powerful Gallo hit .471-25-76 and is understandably a top
prospect for next year’s draft, some scouts believe that his higher
upside may actually be on the mound. He was 3-2, 1.12 with 29
strikeouts in 19 innings this spring, and his fastball was clocked in
For the 2011 draft, the
state’s elite prep prospect is Sierra Vista High shortstop Jake
Hager, who has elevated himself squarely into the sandwich- to
second-round range with a strong senior year. He hit .547-11-57 with
28 stolen bases and scored 75 runs in a leadoff role for Sierra
Vista, which held the No. 1 ranking in the state as late as early May
with a 29-1 record, only to lose five of its last nine games.
The athletic Hager, an
Arizona State recruit, appears to have all the tools to remain at
shortstop over the long haul. He has easy, loose actions with plenty
of range and arm strength. He also has an excellent approach at the
plate, can handle any kind of pitching and turn on the best fastballs
he has faced.
His Sierra Vista
teammate, catcher Scott Tomassetti (.449-15-70), also took a big leap
forward as a prospect, and could nudge his way into the top 10 rounds
on the strength of his combination of power and arm strength.
No one in Nevada,
however, may have progressed faster this spring than 6-foot-5,
190-pound lefthander Amir Garrett, one of the nation’s foremost
basketball recruits. Garrett has committed to play hoops at St.
John’s, but has continued to tantalize scouts with a lively arm and
fastball that has jumped more than 10 mph in velocity over the last
year, and is now clocked from 94-96.
Though basketball is his
game, Garrett has a baseball background. He was a summer-league
teammate of Harper growing up, and high-school teammate of Hager and
Tomassetti at Sierra Vista High before transferring to a high school
in Lawndale, Calif., to accentuate his blossoming basketball career.
He has since transferred
back to Findley Prep, a national prep basketball power in suburban
Las Vegas, and been vigorously learning the finer points of pitching,
mostly with his own private instruction. While some scouts believe
Garrett is a potential fourth- to sixth-round talent, given his
superior athleticism and arm strength, others say he is much too high
a risk because of his commitment to basketball and lack of secondary
pitches or command. There are also reports that Garrett has a
near-seven figures price tag.
Beyond Hager, and
possibly Garrett and Tomassetti, the Nevada high-school ranks offer
little else in terms of high-end talent. Even Bishop Gorman, for all
its success, may be hard-pressed to offer a significant draft,
although 6-foot-5, 215-pound catcher Erik Van Meetren (.491-10-49)
could work his way into the picture. He has had a productive senior
Harper stole almost all
of the headlines at the junior-college level a year ago for his play
on the field, after hitting .443-31-98 (almost exclusively with
wood), but most of the news since he left the program after his
freshman season has been negative, stemming from the departure of CSN
coach Tim Chambers, who left to take the vacant coaching job at
CSN reached out to Bishop
Gorman High, thinking it had a sure thing in coach Chris Sheff to
fill Chambers’ shoes, but Sheff lasted four turbulent months on the
job before being fired.
Green Valley High coach
Nick Garritano was then brought on board to restore some sense of
normalcy to the CSN program. He succeeded, for the most part, but it
was almost immediately hit with sanctions that will cost the school
10 baseball scholarships (from a normal 24) in each of the next two
The state’s other
junior-college team, Western Nevada, was clearly the superior of the
two programs this spring, posting a gaudy 37-3 record in Scenic West
Conference play, including a 9-0 record in head-to-head competition
against its southern rival. CWN eventually succumbed against national
No. 1 Central Arizona in its bid for a berth in the Junior College
Including Harper, CSN had
nine players drafted a year ago, many in the early- to mid-rounds.
Yet even with significant roster turnover, the Coyotes should have
several more players drafted this year—many of whom were transfers
from four- and two-year colleges. Lefthander Chipper Smith, the
team’s go-to pitcher, was a transfer from California’s College of
the Canyons, while Matt Dunbar, a lefthanded closer, is a Cal Poly
Pomona transfer bound for Arizona State in 2012.
Perhaps the most
intriguing prospect on the CSN roster for this year’s draft is
another player named, appropriately, Harper—Cameron (no relation to
Bryce), a freshman outfielder. Young Cameron led the Coyotes in
homers (8) and RBIs (41), but was plagued throughout the 2011 season
by inconsistency at the plate.
The player given the best
chance at succeeding Bryce Harper as the state’s best
junior-college draft is 6-foot-5 Western Nevada righthander Chris
Garrison, a transfer from Oregon. Garrison was used mostly in an
unconventional long-relief role and led CWN in wins and saves, while
going 8-4, 2.64. He saved five games.
In contrast to all the
talent that has passed through Nevada junior-college and high-school
programs the last two years, the state’s college ranks have been
relatively barren of talent. It was a down year at Nevada (23-29),
and UNLV, under Chambers’ direction, got off to a hot start,
winning 16 of its first 19 games, but failed to sustain that pace and
limped into the six-team Mountain West Conference post-season
tournament as a No. 5 seed.
UNLV’s fast start had a
positive spin as it showcased the superior pitching skills of junior
righthander Tanner Peters. He quickly emerged as the state’s best
four-year prospect and largely retained that honor through the
balance of the season.
As a 6-foot righthander
with just an average fastball, though, Peters (9-3, 1.36, 112 IP/23
BB/99 SO) may be hard-pressed to be selected in the first 10 rounds.
But he has an extremely advanced feel for pitching and that asset
should earn him a significant shot at pro ball—not to mention his
being selected the Mountain West pitcher of the year over some of the
stalwart arms at Texas Christian.
Nevada in a Nutshell:
STRENGTH: Depth of
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
TEAM: Western Nevada.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM:
Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.
PROSPECT ON THE RISE:
Amir Garrett, lhp, Findley Prep, Henderson. Garrett is far
better known at this point as a basketball prospect, but the 6-foot-5
lefthander has piqued the curiosity of baseball scouts with his
lively arm and mid-90s fastball.
PROSPECT ON THE
DECLINE: Sam Wolff, rhp, College of Southern Nevada. One of the
better prospects to come out of South Dakota in recent years, Wolff
began his college career with considerable promise at the University
of San Diego. He lasted only a year there, though, and his fastball
has regressed since from the mid-90s to high-80s.
WILD CARD: Cameron
Harper, of, College of Southern Nevada. Not to be confused with
Bryce Harper (no relation), Cameron has the frame and some very
intriguing tools, particularly power and speed, that will make a team
dream on his future upside.
PROSPECT, Nevada Connection: Tyler Anderson, lhp, University of
Oregon (attended high school in Las Vegas).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT:
Joey Gallo, 3b/rhp, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT:
Kenny Meimerstorf, of, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Bryce Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (2010, Nationals/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Kyle
Smit, rhp, Spanish Springs HS, Sparks (Dodgers/5th round).
2007 Draft: Michael
McDade, 1b, Silverado HS, Las Vegas (Blue Jays/6th round).
2008 Draft: Niko
Vasquez, ss, Durango HS, Las Vegas (Cardinals/3rd round).
2009 Draft: Jeff
Malm, 1b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (Rays/5th round).
2010 Draft: Bryce
Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (2010, Nationals/1st round, 1st pick).
Best Hitter: Jake
Hager, ss, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas.
Best Power: Cameron
Harper, of, College of Southern Nevada.
Best Speed: Jake
Hager, ss, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas.
Best Defender: Jake
Hager, ss, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas.
Best Velocity: Amir
Garrett, lhp, Findley Prep, Henderson.
Best Breaking Stuff:
Tanner Peters, rhp, University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS
ONE and TWO
GROUP ONE (Projected
ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)
1. JAKE HAGER, ss,
Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas
Fringe first-rounder; has
all the tools to excel at plate (.547-11-57), on bases (28 SB), in
field (range, arm).
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
2. AMIR GARRETT, lhp,
Findley Prep, Henderson
6-5 lefty with ++ live
arm/frame; made huge strides with 95 FB, but + raw; ++ BKB player/St.
3. CHRIS GARRISON,
rhp, College of Western Nevada (So.)
Oregon transfer; 6-5
frame with ++ tilt on 87-90 FB; + CU/CH; led CWN in wins (8), SV (5)
in long relief.
4. MATT DUNBAR, lhp,
College of Southern Nevada (So.)
Began year as closer,
then excelled in starter role (5-3, 3.62, 5 SV); velo found extra
gear (86-90 to 91-94).
5. TANNER PETERS, rhp,
University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Jr.)
As Peters went, so went
UNLV; untouchable early/pinpoint command of 4 pitches (9-3, 1.36), FB
6. CAMERON HARPER, of,
College of Southern Nevada (Fr.)
Teams can dream on his
powerful frame, power/speed package; raw stage of development, has
holes in swing.
7. SCOTT TOMASSETTI,
c, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas
Benefitted from exposure
as Hager teammate (No. 1); impressive frame with 2 + tools (power,
8. CHIPPER SMITH, lhp,
College of Southern Nevada (So.)
FB at 86-88 much of
spring, but also been up to 93 in past; needs to get arm slot back up
to regain lost velo.
9. NICK MELINO, of,
University of Nevada (Jr.)
Demonstrated ability to
hit with wood; bat is best tool, but may be SR sign as speed/arm are