State Preview: Rhode Island

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, June 04, 2011

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.

Rhode Island State-by-State List

Rhode Island Overview:
Thin Rhode Island Draft Crop; Cranston High School Monopolizes Attention

It hasn’t been a very eventful baseball season in Rhode Island, either at the college or high-school levels. Most of the attention has centered on Cranston West High.

That school, state champions in 2006 and 2007, advanced to the state Division I championship series (slated to begin June 6), but of more relevance to the 2011 draft, it has produced the two players with Rhode Island connections that should factor most prominently into the draft.

Coastal Carolina righthander Anthony Meo, a potential late first-rounder, is a 2008 graduate of Cranston West High, and played a key role in his alma mater’s drive to its successive state titles. The state’s best high-school prospect in the current class, catcher Jeff Diehl, also attends Cranston West, and has been a factor in his team’s surge to another potential state championship.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Diehl is an athletic catcher with good catch-and-throw skills, but a questionable bat limits his draft appeal. It’s possible he may outgrow his current position, but his bat will need to come on significantly for him to be a consideration at a corner position down the road. Diehl is considerable very signable because he is a non-qualifier, and conceivably could work his way into the first 10 rounds.

The talent at the college level is very thin, and it’s possible that no one will be drafted. The consensus best prospect at that level is another catcher, Brown senior Matt Colantonio. He topped his team in batting this season (.301-1-13), but is considered more of a defensive specialist.

Rhode Island in a Nutshell:

STRENGTH:
Catchers.
WEAKNESS: Draftable talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Rhode Island.
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: CC of Rhode Island.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Cranston West HS, Cranston.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Rhode Island Connection:
Anthony Meo, rhp, Coastal Carolina University (attended high school in Cranston).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: Kevin Brown, ss/of, Bryant University.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT: Lucas Whitehill, rhp, Brown University.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History: Bill Almon, ss, Brown U. (1974, Padres/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Steve Holmes, rhp, U. of Rhode Island (Mets/5th round).
2007 Draft: Devin Thomas, c, Brown U. (Tigers/7th round).
2008 Draft: Ryan Westmoreland, of, Portsmouth HS (Red Sox/5th round).
2009 Draft: Eric Smith, rhp, U. of Rhode Island (Diamondbacks/2nd round).
2010 Draft: Jeff Vigurs, c, Bryant U. (Cubs/22nd round).

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUP ONE and TWO

GROUP TWO
(Projected MID-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)

1. JEFF DIEHL, c, Cranston West HS, Cranston
Athletic 6-4/195 C, sound catching/receiving skills; suspect bat, may outgrow position; very signable.

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