Photo: New Mexico

MLB Draft Preview: New Mexico

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.



New Mexico State-by-State List

As one of the handful of top hitting prospects in the 2013 draft class, University of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson could threaten to become the highest draft pick in state history. Former big-league righthander Duane Ward, the ninth pick overall in 1982, presently holds that distinction.

Peterson easily ranks as the state’s best projected draft, but two hard-throwing righthanders, New Mexico JC’s Nic Pivetta and Peterson’s teammate, Sam Wolff, have created some early-round buzz on the strength of fastballs in the low- to mid-90s. Beyond that trio, the talent in New Mexico thins out quickly, though there is a realistic chance that this year’s draft could wind up producing double the number of selections as 2012, when seven players overall were chosen. There is plenty of depth at both New Mexico and New Mexico JC for that to occur.


STRENGTH:
Draftable talent at University of New Mexico, New Mexico JC
WEAKNESS: High-school talent
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
New Mexico
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: New Mexico JC
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Farmington HS

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Sam Wolff, rhp, University of New Mexico.
Wolff has gone just 4-5 in two years as a starter for the Lobos, but is commanding attention in this year’s draft as early as the fourth or fifth rounds. Not only is he a college senior, a highly-desired demographic with the new bonus rules that went into place in last year’s draft, but with a fastball that has touched 99 mph, he’s also one of the hardest throwers available—a desired trait under any circumstance.

WILD CARDS: Mitchell Garver, c, University of New Mexico; Marcus Greene, c, New Mexico JC; Tanner Rust, c, New Mexico State.
With a distinct shortage of quality college catchers available for the taking in the early rounds of this year’s draft, all three have swung the bats at an accelerated clip for the position and could be snapped up sooner than their overall talent might warrant. Rust (.406-7-41) leads New Mexico State in batting, Greene (.393-10-46) tops New Mexico JC in homers and Garver (.372-1-37) has batted in the cleanup spot for New Mexico all season.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, New Mexico Connection:
Sam Wilson, lhp/of, Lamar (Colo.) CC (Attended high school in Albuquerque/college at University of New Mexico)
Top 2014 Prospect: Ryan Padilla, of, University of New Mexico
Top 2015 Prospect: Taylor Duree, rhp, University of New Mexico

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Duane Ward, rhp, Farmington HS (1982, Braves/1st round, 9th pick)
2008 Draft: Bobby LaFromboise, lhp, University of New Mexico (Mariners/8th round)
2009 Draft: Max Walla, of, Albuquerque Academy (Brewers/2nd round)
2010 Draft: Rafael Neda, c, University of New Mexico (Brewers/10th round)
2011 Draft: Blake Swihart, c, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho (Red Sox/1st round, 26th pick)
2012 Draft: Shilo McCall, of, Piedra Vista HS, Farmington (Giants/9th round)

2011 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
3/3
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 4/1


TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS 1 and 2

GROUP O
NE (rounds 1-3)

1. D.J. PETERSON, 3b, University of New Mexico.
Drafted in the 33rd round by the Seattle Mariners in 2010 out of an Arizona high school, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Peterson has improved by leaps and bounds in his three years at New Mexico, and is now one of the elite hitters in the 2013 draft class. He hit a robust .419-17-78 (33 BB/29 SO) as a sophomore for the Lobos, led USA Baseball’s college-national team in homers last summer and has continued to swing the bat at a fast clip this spring as his .406 average, 20 doubles, 13 homers and 53 RBI (as of late April) are all club-leading figures by wide margins. Peterson has a smooth, balanced, disciplined swing that transitions easily to wood and enables him to generate easy raw power. He has shown no difficulty turning around high-velocity fastballs or recognizing the best breaking stuff in the college game. He also has a very mature approach to hitting and has become very adept at grinding out at-bats in his quest to find a pitch he can drive, or simply draw a walk. The remainder of Peterson’s tools aren't as strong, but he’s a better runner underway than he is generally given credit for. Defensively, he has adequate actions and a playable arm at third, but his hands and footwork are a little short and he may not be long for that position, with first base or an outfield corner likely destinations. Where Peterson might end up in the field is almost incidental to where he might be drafted as teams know they are buying an advanced bat with significant home run potential.



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