Draft : : State Preview
Wednesday, June 01, 2011

State Preview: Indiana

Allan Simpson        

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.

Indiana State-by-State List

Indiana Overview:
Lots of Talent in Indiana in 2009-10, Lots of Question Marks in 2011

Indiana has been a major source of talent in the last two drafts, producing a total of four first-round picks and two sandwich selections.

The 2009 draft saw four Indiana college players selected among the top 46 picks, including three from Indiana University: righthander Eric Arnett (No. 26), catcher Josh Phegley (No. 38) and lefthander Matt Bashore (No. 46). Notre Dame outfielder A.J. Pollack (No. 17) was the first player taken.

That haul didn’t even begin to address righthander Drew Storen, a Stanford signee who played his high-school baseball in Brownsburg, Ind. He was the 10th pick overall in 2009, and became the first player in that class to surface in the big leagues.

A year ago, the first-rounders included Ball State’s Kolbrin Vitek (No. 20) and Muncie prep product Justin O’Conner (No. 31), both significant two-way talents. Moreover, the state kicked in with two second-rounders, as well, in Indiana State righthander Jacob Petricka (No. 63) and Ball State righthander Perci Garner (No. 77).

Not only will Indiana not produce that kind of talent this year, but there’s no clear consensus on the identity of the top 2-3 prospects in the state. The leading candidates to go off the board first all bring something of significance to the table, but they all have a notable weakness as well. That has caused scouts to evaluate them all in varying ways, leading to a variety of different opinions on their draft worth.

Consider Indiana power-hitting outfielder Alex Dickerson. He has generally been considered the top college prospect in the state since hitting .419-24-75 and winning the Big Ten Conference triple crown as a sophomore.

But Dickerson’s production at the plate slipped noticeably this season, to .367-9-49. Much of the falloff can be attributed to the change in bat standards at the college level, and by teams pitching around him more extensively, but some scouts have openly wondered if his swing is geared more towards aluminum. They also saw Dickerson wave through a lot of below-average fastballs this spring.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound California product can still put a charge in a ball with the best in the college ranks, but Dickerson must hit, and hit with power in order to justify an early-round selection as the rest of his tools (arm, speed, defense) are considered below average. Dickerson saw extensive time at DH in his Indiana career, and may need to improve his defensive skills even in left field just to avoid ending up at first base.

A second college outfielder, Valparaiso’s Kyle Gaedele, has the look of a big leaguer in his athletic 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, and will flash all five major-league tools. He has also excelled in summer competition in each of the last two summers, while using wood.

But Gaedele remains a puzzle to scouts, who say his baseball skills don’t quite measure up to his tools.

He has impressive power, but it stems mostly from his inclination to muscle balls out of the yard rather than being a by-product of raw bat speed. Gaedele also struggles to recognize breaking balls, a prime factor in his striking out 50 times this spring. And while Gaedele has shown the ability to play center field with his impressive speed, he doesn’t consistently get good jumps on balls, and his arm strength is better suited for a corner position.

Still, Gaedele has his share of supporters who are sold on his athleticism and raw power, and could be selected as early as the sandwich or second rounds. More and more scouts, however, have seen the flaws in his game and have downgraded him to a third- or fourth-rounder.

At the high-school level, the same dilemma exists. Six-foot-1, 240-pound Lawrence Central High righthander Christian Montgomery has been acknowledged as the top prospect in his class for the better part of two years because of his combination of a big frame, power arm and advanced feel for pitching. But as the 2011 draft nears, Montgomery may no longer even be the best pitcher on his own high-school team.

Montgomery has simply not been the same pitcher this spring as he has in the past. He appears to have a different delivery and arm slot, and his fastball, which once topped consistently in the mid-90s, often dipped into the high-80s. His breaking stuff and command also haven’t been as sharp.

Still, Montgomery could end up becoming the first Indiana prep player drafted because he has expressed little or no interest in attending college, while all of his primary competitors appear locked in on playing baseball in college. He could earn the No. 1 nod almost by default.

The mixed reviews that Dickerson, Gaedele and Montgomery have received this spring don’t bode well for Indiana producing another high-end talent in this year’s draft, and has actually opened the door for other prospects to emerge as the best potential drafts in the state.

On the college side, Notre Dame senior righthander Brian Dupra and Indiana junior lefthander Blake Monar are the top candidates to leapfrog Dickerson and/or Gaedele, and they would do so mostly on their merit as both pitchers have enjoyed solid 2011 seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Dupra, who was drafted in the 10th round a year ago, has always had a superior arm, but he also had a career 6.40 ERA entering this season. His fastball has been the same, steady 92-94 mph, topping at 95, but he has refined a couple of minor mechanical flaws in his delivery while learning to utilize his raw stuff more efficiently. Dupra went just 3-7 as a Friday starter for a 23-29 Notre Dame team, but more telling were his 29 walks and 93 strikeouts in 105 innings. With his improved performance, he could become one of the top senior signs in the entire draft.

Monar climbed up draft boards all spring with a solid bounce-back year after injuring his shoulder in his first start of 2010, and missing the balance of the season. He went 6-3, 3.52 for the Hoosiers and impressed scouts with his ability to spot his fastball, which peaked at 92 mph, along with his breaking ball and changeup.

Six-foot-5 Indiana State junior righthander Colin Rea is another pitcher projected to go in the top 10 rounds, but it is unlikely he will be one of the first players picked. He made significant strides as a prospect at his third school in three years, impressing scouts with a fastball up to 94 and a mid-80s slider. It’s possible he may have even better secondary stuff and mechanics than Petricka, who was a second-rounder from the same school a year ago.

The well-traveled Rea spent his freshman season in college at Northern Iowa in 2009, and transferred to St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC when that program was disbanded. With former Northern Iowa coach Rick Heller landing at Indians State, he quickly re-connected with Rea.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Cathedral High lefthander Dillon Peters has made the most of his opportunities this spring to evolve quickly into the top prep prospect in Indiana. Peters has been a standout since his freshman year and entered the year with a 29-2, 0.67 record, along with 344 strikeouts in 205 innings. One of his losses came in the 2010 state-championship game, when he lost 1-0 in nine innings to Carroll High, despite striking out a tournament record 16.

Peters has continued to pitch at a high level this season with a fastball that sits at 92, and peaks at 94, and his ability to throw three pitches for strikes. But his chances of possibly going in the top 2-3 rounds, where his talent warrants, are in doubt as teams are skeptical of his small frame and heavy college commitment to Texas.

Montgomery's teammate at Lawrence Central High, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthander Jared Ruxer, topped out at 93 mph this spring. Scouts were impressed with Ruxer’s frame, delivery and stuff.

Indiana in a Nutshell:

College outfielders.
WEAKNESS: Signable high-school talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Cathedral HS, Fishers.

Blake Monar, lhp, Indiana University. Monar suffered a serious shoulder injury in his first start a year ago, and there were concerns that his career may be in jeopardy. But he has rebounded nicely this spring with impressive command of three pitches, including a low-90s fastball.

PROSPECT ON THE DECLINE: Christian Montgomery, rhp, Lawrence Central HS, Indianapolis.
Montgomery has been the top prospect in his class through most of his high-school career in Indiana, but his delivery, stuff and command have not been up to par this season.

Dillon Peters, lhp, Cathedral HS, Fishers. His slight frame and firm college commitment to Texas are obvious drawbacks to his going in the top two or three rounds, but no one is more deserving of being selected with the top pick in the state. He throws three pitches for strikes, including a fastball up to 94 mph.

Alex Meyer, rhp, University of Kentucky (attended high school in Greensburg).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: Brad Schreiber, rhp, Purdue University.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT: Zac Ryan, rhp, Andrean HS, Valparaiso.

Draft History: Andy Benes, rhp, U. of Evansville (1988, Padres/1st round, 1st pick); Brian Bullington, rhp, Ball State U. (2002, Pirates/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Preston Mattingly, ss, Evansville Central HS (Dodgers/1st round, 31st pick).
2007 Draft: Jarrod Parker, rhp, Norwell HS, Bluffton (Diamondbacks/1st round, 9th pick).
2008 Draft: Josh Lindblom, rhp, Purdue U. (Dodgers/2nd round).
2009 Draft: A.J. Pollock, of, U. of Notre Dame (Diamondbacks/1st round, 17th pick).
2010 Draft: Kolbrin Vitek, 2b/rhp, Ball State U. (Red Sox/1st round/20th pick).

Best Hitter: Alex Dickerson, of, Indiana University.
Best Power: Alex Dickerson, of, Indiana University.
Best Speed: Kyle Gaedele, of, Valparaiso University.
Best Defender: Kyle Gaedele, of, Valparaiso University.
Best Velocity: Brian Dupra, rhp, University of Notre Dame.
Best Breaking Stuff: Dillon Peters, lhp, Cathedral HS, Fishers.


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

1. ALEX DICKERSON, of, Indiana University (Jr.)
One of top hitters/power threats in draft (47 HR/181 RBI in career); speed/defense/arm all below average.
2. DILLON PETERS, lhp, Cathedral HS, Fishers
Undersized LHP; big arm, 90-94 mph, sharp CU/+CU, 36-3 career record, 258 IP/447 SO, Texas signee.

(Projected HIGH-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)

3. KYLE GAEDELE, of, Valparaiso University (Jr.)
Impressive 6-4/220 frame, appears to have all five tools, but enigma to scouts as skills rarely play up to tools.
4. CHRISTIAN MONTGOMERY, rhp, Lawrence Central HS, Indianapolis
Power arm in 6-1/240 frame; FB 89-92/T-94, but flashed more velo in past, upper-70s CU, throws strikes.
5. BRIAN DUPRA, rhp, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Performed up to talent as college SR (105 IP/29 BB/93 SO); mixed pitches better, FB steady 90-94, +
6. BLAKE MONAR, lhp, Indiana University (So.)
Only 3 IP in 2010 because of shoulder in jury; ++ feel for pitching, FB 88-91, + CU is SO pitch, 6-3, 3.52.
7. MAX KUHN, ss/2b, Zionsville Community HS, Zionsville
Compares to ex-West Virginia IF Jedd Gyorko (SD/2nd round, 2010), powerful RH bat, fair speed/defender.
8. COLIN REA, rhp, Indiana State University (Jr.)
Well-traveled 6-5/205 RHP has arm strength (FB peaks at 94, 85 SL), easy delivery, solid secondary pitches.
9. JERRICK SUITER, rhp/c, Valparaiso HS
3-sport standout, + strong (6-4/215), fast arm; will benefit from pitching only, 90-93 FB, good spin on CU.

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