State Preview: North Dakota

Draft : : State Preview
David Rawnsley        
Published: Sunday, May 29, 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.

North Dakota State-by-State List

North Dakota Overview:
Ones That Got Away Offer Best Hope for North Dakota in This Year’s Draft

It’s been an unusually long, harsh winter for baseball fans in the Upper Midwest this year, and those in North Dakota haven’t had much to get excited about this spring, either.

If anything, the highlight of the 2011 season has been the performances of two former North Dakota prep standouts, Arizona’s Cole Frenzel and Kansas’ Zac Elgie, both first basemen, who have played well for out-of-state schools.

Frenzel, from Dickinson, N.D., has blossomed as a draft-eligible sophomore for the Wildcats, hitting .359-3-42 with 29 walks. Although scouts would like to see more power from the 6-foot, 225-pound lefthanded hitter, his bat and power potential could land him in the top 10 rounds.

Elgie is from Minot, and holds the distinction of being the highest draft pick ever selected directly out of a North Dakota high school (12th round, 2008/Athletics). He was the Jayhawks co-leader in home runs this spring, while hitting .297-7-37 overall. Elgie’s offensive game hasn’t developed quite as quickly as Frenzel’s, and looks to be more of a 10-20th-round pick in this year’s draft, if he indicates he’s interested in going out as a junior.

Closer to home, the state’s top-high school prospect for the draft, righthander/infielder David Ernst of Fargo South High, has enjoyed another fine season for the state’s top-ranked high-school team, after being named the state player of the year as a junior (8-0, 0.75; .436-3-30). Ernst is a mid-level prospect as he throws in the upper-80s with a sound 77-mph downer curveball; he also stands out as a hitter.

Perhaps most telling about Ernst is his decision to stay close to home to attend college at North Dakota State, when other, perhaps more appealing options were probably available to him at any number of other higher-profile Midwest schools.

Against the backdrop of the bad weather that plagued the state throughout the winter and into the early spring, North Dakota State’s 2011 season got off on the wrong foot when it lost its first 13 games as part of a 17-game road trip to open the season. The Bison righted the ship somewhat thereafter and took a 21-30 record into the Summit Conference tournament.

The University of North Dakota, meanwhile, finished the regular season with a 10-33 mark, although it did manage to win its first two games of the Great West Conference tournament as the host team.

Neither of those schools is expected to be any kind of factor in the draft. Six-foot-7 North Dakota State junior righthander Anthony Kliniskie projected to be the state’s top college draft pick at the start of the season, based on his encouraging showing last summer in the New England Collegiate League, but he barely got out of the gate this season for the Bison. He threw just eight innings during the regular season.

North Dakota in a Nutshell:

STRENGTH:
None.
WEAKNESS: General.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 1.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
North Dakota State.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM: Fargo South HS.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, North Dakota Connection:
Cole Frenzel, 1b, University of Arizona (attended high school in Dickinson).

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, University of Mary (Twins/25th round)

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

None

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