State Preview: Wyoming

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, May 28, 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.

Wyoming State-by-State List

Wyoming Overview:
In Top Prospect Nimmo, Wyoming Finally Has Someone to Get Excited About

Wyoming has been one of the nation’s most-neglected states throughout the 46-year history of the baseball draft, but there’s plenty to get excited about this spring as outfielder Brandon Nimmo has positioned himself as one of the top prospects in the country.

With the draft just around the corner, Nimmo projects as a solid supplemental first-round pick. Should that happen, he would become the highest draft pick ever from Wyoming. Former University of Wyoming outfielder Bill Ewing has held that distinction since 1976, when he was the NCAA Division I home-run leader. Ewing was picked in the fourth round of that year’s draft by the California Angels.

The University of Wyoming has long since abandoned its baseball program, and with no formal college or high-school baseball programs in the state, the flow of meaningful baseball talent from the state has been almost non-existent.

That’s why Nimmo’s presence as an elite prospect has been widely heralded. He has managed to make huge strides in the game, even though his high school, Cheyenne East, doesn’t field a baseball program.

Despite his remote Wyoming upbringing, Nimmo is actually a very polished product for his age. Most of his exposure to the game has come while playing with Cheyenne’s Post 6 American Legion team, which has won consecutive state titles and nine of the last 10. Nimmo has led that team in hitting the last three years, and batted .448-15-84 with 35 stolen bases in 35 attempts in 2010 as Post 6 went 67-12 to set a program record for most wins in a season.

The Post 6 team, with Nimmo as its feature attraction, traveled in April to Arizona, where it played a number of games on major-league spring training fields. Nimmo’s presence gave a large numbers of scouts their first opportunity to see him perform since last year. By the third week of May, Nimmo had already played in 16 games of Legion competition. He was hitting .500-1-20 with 13 extra-base hits and had nine stolen bases in 10 attempts.

Representatives from more than 20 big-league clubs have trekked to Wyoming this spring, not so much to see Nimmo play, but to meet with the young outfielder and his family face to face, to gauge his interest in the upcoming draft. Nimmo has a college commitment to the University of Arkansas hanging in the balance.

On the occasions they have seen Nimmo play, scouts have been impressed with his complete package. He has a live, athletic, projectable frame, and playable tools across the board.

Nimmo has a sound, fundamental approach to hitting, with a smooth, easy stroke, and should become an accomplished hitter at the pro level. He lacks present power, but it should be just a matter of time before he grows into his tall, lean body for his power potential to evolve. With his superior speed and arm strength, and defensive savvy, he profiles as a future center fielder in the mould of ex-major league outfielder Jim Edmonds.

Nimmo plays the game extremely hard and has excellent makeup. He also is a very driven player, and that became evident in September, 2009, when he injured his ACL playing football and underwent reconstructive knee surgery. With six strenuous months of rehab, he was back to normal and has shown no ill effects from the injury since.

In Wyoming’s modest draft history, only 12 high-school players have ever been drafted—none higher than Michael Beaver, a righthander from Worland High, selected in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966.

Not only will Nimmo be drafted, but there is a good chance, with all the exposure the team has received over the last two years, that two of his Legion Post 6 teammates, outfielder Tanner Renner and catcher Cody Farrell, both also classmates at Cheyenne East, will be picked as well, though much later in the draft.

Wyoming in a Nutshell:

Brandon Nimmo.
WEAKNESS: Depth of talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 5.

Ryan Hutchison, of, Western Kentucky University (attended high school in Gillette).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: No established candidate.
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: No established candidate.

Draft History: Bill Ewing, of, U. of Wyoming (1976, Angels/4th round).
2006 Draft: Dusty Harvard, of, Natrona County HS, Casper (Giants/28th round).
2007 Draft: Billy McHenry, 2b, Cheyenne HS (Rockies/50th round).
2008 Draft: No selection.
2009 Draft: No selection.
2010 Draft: No selection.


(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)

1. BRANDON NIMMO, of, Cheyenne East HS, Cheyenne
Complete package; + hitter with + stroke/approach, power will come; all tools to excel in CF (arm, ++ speed).

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