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Draft : : State Preview
State Preview: North Dakota
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012

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 scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.



Contributing: Allan Simpson

North Dakota State-by-State List
2011 North Dakota Overview

North Dakota Overview:
Trio of Anderson Arms Gives North Dakota Draft Ranks a Lift

North Dakota won't have an impact on the draft, although upper-Midwest scouts certainly had a much easier time this spring seeing the state’s prospects that warranted attention.

The re-opening of the Metrodome in neighboring Minnesota and the corresponding renewal of early-season spring tournaments and games in that indoor venue was a boon to scouts after the Metrodome had been closed in 2011 following the collapse of its roof during a snowstorm the previous winter. In addition, historically-warm weather in the northern states led to few cancelations during the spring season, creating oddities such as North Dakota State actually playing all 56 of its regularly-scheduled games.

The Bison responded to a disruption-free spring by becoming the dominant college program in the state, posting a 38-18 record as it began Summit League tournament play as a No. 3 seed. Moreover, it defeated in-state rival North Dakota four straight times, contributing to that school’s final 17-35 mark.

North Dakota State’s success stemmed mostly from a solid pitching staff, led by a trio of hard throwing, draft-eligible righthanders in junior John Straka (7-4, 2.61, 103 IP, 14 BB/89 SO), fifth-year senior Luke Anderson (8-3, 3.67) and junior Simon Anderson (2-1, 2.08). All were clocked in the 88-92 mph range.

If two Andersons weren’t enough for the Bison, that team also featured senior outfielder Nick Anderson (.320-4-38), and little Mayville State also contributed to the Anderson madness in the state this spring with its own pitcher of note by the same name, Nick Anderson, a senior righthander who featured outstanding command of fringy-average stuff and went 5-2, 3.27 with only two walks vs. 40 strikeouts in 33 innings.

None of the Andersons are related, though all the pitchers shared something in common that all are big righthanders from Minnesota. Most important, each generated at least some appeal this spring from scouts.

The two best college prospects in the state, though, may have been a pair of promising freshmen in North Dakota State righthander David Ernst and North Dakota two-way player Jeff Campbell. Ernst (6-0, 3.92) has the arm strength and athleticism to develop into a legitimate draft by his junior year, while the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Campbell, a Florida high-school product, could also join Ernst in two years as a legit prospect after hitting .314-11-41 while going 3-7, 6.16 on the mound in 68 innings.

North Dakota in a nutshell:

STRENGTH:
North Dakota State pitching.
WEAKNESS: High-school talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
North Dakota State.
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Williston State.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: West Fargo HS.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, North Dakota Connection:
Matt Strahm, lhp, Neosho County (Kan.) CC (Attended high school in West Fargo).
Top 2013 Prospect: Tim Colwell, of, North Dakota State University.
Top 2014 Prospect: David Ernst, rhp, North Dakota State University.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Zac Elgie, 1b, Minot HS (2008, Athletics/12th round).
2006 Draft: No selection.
2007 Draft: No selection.
2008 Draft: Zac Elgie, 1b, Minot HS (Athletics/12th round).
2009 Draft: Ryan Bollinger, 1b, Magic City HS, Minot (Phillies/47th round).
2010 Draft: Andy Leer, ss, Mary University (Twins/25th round).
2011 Draft: Alex Kreis, rhp, Jamestown University (Nationals/35th round).

2011 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
1/1.
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0.

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Riley Beck, of, University of North Dakota.
Best Hitter: Nick Colwell, 1b, North Dakota State University.
Best Power: Zach Wentz, rhp/3b, North Dakota State University.
Best Speed: Riley Beck, of, University North Dakota.
Best Defender: Riley Beck, of, University of North Dakota.
Best Velocity: Luke Anderson, rhp, North Dakota State University.
Best Breaking Stuff: John Straka, rhp, North Dakota State University.
Best Command: Nick Anderson, rhp, Mayville State University.

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

None

3 PROSPECTS TO WATCH

SIMON ANDERSON, rhp, North Dakota State University (Jr.)
North Dakota State had the rare luxury for a northern school to have a 6-foot-5, 215-pound righthander throwing in the low-90s as the team’s set-up man, as Anderson (2-1, 2.08, 2 SV) filled that role for closer Kyle Kingsley (5-3, 1.93, 5 SV). Anderson has limited pitching experience as he was a three-sport standout in high school in Bemidji, Minn., and threw only 35 innings in his first two seasons with the Bison and 16 more in the West Coast League last summer. While he generates his velocity with little effort and could well have some more power in his arm, Anderson is still working on his command and slider, although both showed improvement throughout the spring.


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