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
Idaho State-by-State List
Even With Coaching
Change, Lewis-Clark State Still Sets Tone For State
It’s been 27 years
since Lewis-Clark State won its first NAIA World Series, and the team
hasn’t stopped making headlines since. As L-C State goes, so go the
fortunes of baseball in Idaho.
Though the Warriors
haven’t won a national title in three years, they’ve captured the
remarkable total of 16 over the years, possibly the greatest
domination by one team in any college sport. They were thwarted a
year ago, even though they entered the 10-team competition as
probative favorites with a gaudy 47-3 record—not only a school
record, but an NAIA record for highest winning percentage (.940).
The team still found a
way to grab national headlines in 2010, however, when long-time coach
Ed Cheff, the mastermind of L-C State’s dynasty, chose to step down
following the season after 34 years on the job. His record of
1,704-430 left him trailing only Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson
for most wins in history at one institution.
Gone though Cheff is, the
Warriors continue to march on, using precisely the same formula for
success that Cheff utilized throughout his lengthy coaching career.
The L-C State program has
long been a bastion for assembling transfers from junior-college
programs, and players that fell out of favor at other four-year
programs, and the fact that the Warriors had 114 players drafted in
the Cheff era, including 14 future big leaguers, speaks to their
tried-and-true method for building a winner at the NAIA level, and
churning out a steady procession of draftable players in remote
Almost every player on
the current L-C State roster is a transfer of some sort, and at least
four of them, all pitchers, will factor somewhat prominently into
this year’s draft.
Headlining the list of
draftable talent is senior righthander Zach Arneson, a former Cal
State Bakersfield player who was drafted in the 21st round
a year ago by the San Francisco Giants. In his only season with the
Warriors, Arneson (2-1, 3.12, 3 SV) found his niche in a closing
role, where he was able to focus on his two primary pitches—a
steady 94-96 mph fastball and 85-88 mph cutter—and abandon his
Lefthander Tyler Barrett,
a transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, sat out the 2010
season at L-C-State, because it was determined he wasn’t ready to
compete at the four-year level. But he proved more than able this
season, going 7-2, 2.70 with 72 strikeouts in 63 innings as one of
the team’s top starters. Though his command remains inconsistent,
Barnett’s fastball was consistently in the 89-91 mph range, topping
Senior righthanders Cody
Fassold, a former Washington junior-college player, and Casey
Edelbrock, a transfer from California’s Chico State, have also
flashed plus stuff, and should be two more Warriors who will be
For all its success at
the NAIA level, Lewis-Clark has enjoyed a decided home-field
advantage through the years by hosting the national tournament every
year since 2000, and also from 1984-91. Of their 16 championships, 14
have come before partisan crowds. Moreover, as a condition of hosting
the event, the Warriors are guaranteed a spot in the 10-team field.
While this year’s club
entered the World Series at 37-15 and as a No. 7 seed, and wasn’t
considered a vintage squad by L-C State’s lofty standards, it has
obviously been a year of transition for the program with athletic
director and long-time Cheff assistant Gary Picone taking the
coaching reins. The program also had to overcome the loss of
promising lefthander Zach Hull, the only sophomore on the roster.
Hull began the 2011 season with a 3-0 record and hadn’t allowed a
run in his three starts when he was killed in a traffic accident.
While Lewis-Clark State
commands most of the attention in Idaho as there are no Division I
baseball programs in the state, Southern Idaho has also been a steady
talent-producer through the years at the junior-college level. It
generally provides 2-3 draft picks a year, and among that team’s
more noteworthy prospects are lefthanded-hitting catcher Parker Morin
and hard-throwing righthander Travis Huber.
Morin, a sound defensive
catcher, stands the better chance of the two of being drafted in the
top 10 rounds because he started hitting with more power this season.
Huber, a Florida Marlins draft pick in 2010, attracted his share of
attention, as well, and should be selected shortly after Morin. Huber
was clocked at 93 mph in relief a year ago, and settled more into the
89-91 range this season as a starter, though developed better command
with his change in roles.
Idaho’s best shot at
producing an elite-round pick in this year’s draft evaporated in
January, when Bonneville High lefthander Porter Clayton elected to
forego his senior year and enrolled at the University of Oregon. The
6-foot-4, 215-pound Clayton was projected to go as early as the
second or third rounds after going 10-1, 0.42 with 135 strikeouts in
68 innings as a junior, when his fastball was clocked up to 94 mph.
departure leaves 6-foot-3 Twin Falls High righthander Cy Sneed as the
only Idaho high-school player with a realistic shot of being drafted.
Sneed recently pitched his team to the Idaho 4-A title, pitching
complete games, two days apart, in both the state semi-final and
final games. Sneed is a combined 31-0 in his high school and American
Legion careers over the last two years, but isn’t expected to be a
high enough pick to pass up an opportunity to pitch in college at
Idaho in a Nutshell:
Lewis-Clark State talent.
(1-to-5 scale): 3.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
TEAM: Southern Idaho.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM:
Twin Falls HS.
PROSPECT ON THE RISE:
Parker Morin, c, JC of Southern Idaho. Always regarded as a sound
defender, Morin improved his draft value this spring by hitting with
PROSPECT ON THE
DECLINE: No candidate.
WILD CARD: No
PROSPECT, Idaho Connection: Josh Osich, lhp, Oregon State
University (Attended high school in Boise).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT:
Brandon Brown, lhp, Eagle HS.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT:
Joey Martarano, if/rhp, Fruitland HS.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Mike Garman, rhp, Caldwell HS (1967, Red Sox/1st round,
2006 Draft: Justin
Fuller, ss, Lewis-Clark State U. (Dodgers/11th round).
2007 Draft: Beau
Mills, 3b, Lewis-Clark State U. (Indians/1st round, 13th pick).
2008 Draft: Kyle
Greene, 3b, Lewis-Clark State U. (Diamondbacks/11th round).
2009 Draft: Tyler
Curtis, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho (Marlins/13th round).
2010 Draft: Kawika
Emsley-Pai, c, Lewis-Clark State U. (Diamondbacks/10th round).
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS
ONE and TWO
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
ZACH ARNESON, rhp, Lewis-Clark State University (Sr.)
arm action, 2-pitch stuff (94-96, 85-88 cutter) better suited for
short role, struggles with command.
PARKER MORIN, c, JC of Southern Idaho (So.)
catch/throw skills are his calling card; better body, signs of LH
power (.372-3-41) boosted draft value.
TRAVIS HUBER, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho (So.)
as starter this spring (6-3, 3.75, 58 IP/51 SO), but profiles as
reliever with power arm (90-93 FB, + SL).