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Draft : : State Preview
State Preview: Maine
Allan Simpson        
Published: Sunday, June 05, 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.

Maine State-by-State List

Maine Overview:
Still Not Heyday of Maine Baseball, But Encouraging 2011 Season for Black Bears

There were the days when the University of Maine played an influential role in both the College World Series and the baseball draft. That was almost 30 years ago now.

From 1981-86, the Black Bears made five trips to Omaha. They also produced first- or second-round draft picks in three consecutive years from 1982-84, though one player, righthander Billy Swift, accounted for two of those selections on his own as he was an unsigned second-rounder in 1983 and a first-rounder (second overall) the following year.

The 2011 season may hardly remind long-time followers of the Maine program of those halcyon days of the early-80s, but the Black Bears made their first NCAA regional appearance in five seasons this year (16th overall) and they could produce their first draft pick in the top 10 rounds in eight years.

Outfielder Taylor Lewis hit only .288-3-27 this season for a 32-22 Black Bears team, but led the club in stolen bases (20), walks (27) and runs scored (44)—all categories that are telling of the kind of talent Lewis is. He is a scrappy, line-drive oriented, lefthanded-hitting leadoff man with 6.5-second speed in the 60. Lewis is strong and athletic, and scouts believe he will eventually tap into his full offensive potential. His above-average speed also enables him to play a strong center field, though his arm strength is a drawback.

Six-foot-4 Black Bears righthander Keith Bilodeau (10-2, 2.87) could factor into the middle rounds on the strength of an 89-91 mph fastball and average curve. But the best talent on the current Maine roster may lie in its contingent of six Canadians, most of whom played prominent roles as freshmen and sophomores.

None of those players is eligible for this year’s draft, but ace righthander Jeff Gibbs, a sophomore from Toronto whose fastball has peaked at 97 mph, could be the highest Maine draft pick in at least 20 years in 2012. Freshman third baseman Alex Calbick (Burnaby, B.C.) projects to be the team’s top selection in 2013.

There have been only two players drafted out of Maine high schools in the last 10 years (one being Mt. Ararat High righthander Mark Rogers, the fifth overall pick in 2004), and that string is unlikely to change.

Maine in a Nutshell:

STRENGTH:
University of Maine talent.
WEAKNESS: High-school talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Maine.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Lewiston.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Maine Connection:
None.
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: Jeff Gibbs, rhp, University of Maine.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT: Alex Calbick, 3b, University of Maine.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Draft History: Billy Swift, rhp, U. of Maine (1984, Mariners/1st round, 2nd pick).
2006 Draft: None drafted.
2007 Draft: None drafted.
2008 Draft: Billy Cather, of, U. of Maine (Nationals/33rd round).
2009 Draft: Regan Flaherty, 1b, Deering HS, Portland (Mariners/28th round).
2010 Draft: None selected.

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

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

1. TAYLOR LEWIS, of, University of Maine (Jr.)
Scrappy LH-hitting leadoff type, 6.5 speed in 60; hit just .288-3-27, but strong/athletic, bat could develop.



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