State Preview: New Hampshire

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, June 04, 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.

New Hampshire State-by-State List

New Hampshire Overview:
Noteworthy Year in New Hampshire; Records, Win Streaks, Draftable Talent

New Hampshire will never be confused with some of the nation’s top-talent producing states in the Sun Belt area of the country, but this has been a banner year for baseball in the state—both at the college and high-school levels, in a multitude of ways.

Dartmouth, the state’s only Division I college program, won a school-record 30 games, though was upset in the Ivy League’s best-of-3 championship series, falling one game shy of its third straight league. NCAA Division II power Franklin Pierce (43-17) also had one its best seasons in school history, but pulled up just a game short of making its sixth D-II World Series appearance in the last nine years.

At the high-school level, three-time Class I state champion Portsmouth High broke the national record of 75 wins in a row, set by Homer (Mich.) High in 2005. The team stretched the mark to 80 in a row by completing its regular-season schedule at 16-0.

New Hampshire could also produce its highest draft pick since 2006, when lefthander Jeff Locke, a top prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Braves. Six-foot-5, 215-pound righthander Jordan Cote from Winnisquam Regional High has been picking up steam all spring, and could be a factor as early as the fourth- to sixth rounds.

Cote put himself on the map a year ago by throwing a no-hitter in the state Class M championship game to complete a perfect season at 11-0, 0.66 with 113 strikeouts in 63 innings. He entered his senior year with a 25-1, 0.96 career mark, and added to those credentials by going 5-1, 0.73 with 72 strikeouts in his first 38 innings.

While scouts have been impressed with Cote’s big, projectable frame and clean arm action, they remain unconvinced that he has dominated with pure raw stuff, believing that the weak competition he has faced in New Hampshire has been a bigger contributing factor. Cote’s fastball has been a steady 90-92 mph, topping at 93, but it is often flat and lacks electricity. His secondary stuff, which consists of a slurvy breaking ball and undeveloped changeup, is also just marginal. Given his incomplete package, a team that invests an early-round pick in Cote will need to be convinced that he’ll throw much harder down the road.

Though Cote is nowhere as polished a pitcher as veteran big leaguer Chris Carpenter was in 1993, when he became the highest-draft pick ever from New Hampshire’s high-school ranks (Blue Jays, 15th pick overall), Cote bears a lot of similarities to Carpenter.

Even with its impressive win streak, Portsmouth High does not have a draftable prospect of note, though has two players that have committed to Division I schools in the Northeast.

The impressive seasons enjoyed by Dartmouth and Franklin Pierce should result in both schools being a factor in the draft, with each likely to produce at least one pick in the first 10 rounds.

Dartmouth’s best bet is righthander Kyle Hendricks, a 6-foot-3, loose-armed Californian who posted a 5-3, 2.47 record with 11 walks and 70 strikeouts in 62 innings. His fastball can reach 95 mph, but it also can be 90, and straight. Hendricks has good pitchability with three workable off-speed pitches, in addition to his fastball.

Franklin Pierce’s best prospects are red-shirt sophomore righthander Ryan Thompson and junior catcher Mike Dowd. Thompson, a Canadian who pitched sparingly as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Connecticut, had an impressive season (11-1, 1.23, 95 IP/63 H/13 BB/114 SO) with a fastball up to 94 mph, but the pitch was more often a pedestrian 88-92 range, and accompanied by a fringy breaking ball.

The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Dowd has short, stocky frame that may work against him, along with ordinary receiving and blocking skills, but he has an exceptional arm behind the plate that may earn him a shot in the top in the top 8-10 rounds. He hit .340-3-37 on the season.

Dowd is not to be confused with Dartmouth catcher Chris O’Dowd, the state’s top prospect for the 2012 draft. O’Dowd (.329-7-23) is the son of Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd.

New Hampshire in a Nutshell:

STRENGTH:
College players.
WEAKNESS: High-school depth.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Dartmouth.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM: Portsmouth.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, New Hampshire Connection:
Billy Ferriter, of, University of Connecticut (attended high school in Nashua).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT: Chris O’Dowd, c, Dartmouth College.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT: Mitch Horacek, lhp, Dartmouth College.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Draft History: Chris Carpenter, rhp, Trinity HS, Manchester (1993, Blue Jays/1st round, 15th pick).
2006 Draft: Jeff Locke, lhp, Kennett HS, Center Conway (Braves/2nd round).
2007 Draft: Keith Renaud, rhp, Franklin Pierce College (Mariners/10th round).
2008 Draft: Damon Wright, of, Dartmouth College (Giants/25th round).
2009 Draft: Nick Santomauro, of, Dartmouth (Mets/10th round).
2010 Draft: Jose Macias, rhp, Franklin Pierce College (Athletics/18th round).

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

GROUP TWO
(Projected MID-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)

1. JORDAN COTE, rhp, Winnisquam Regional HS, Tilton
Projectable 6-5/215 RHP; career 30-2, 0.92; easy/clean arm action, looks to add velo/movement to 90-93 FB.
2. KYLE HENDRICKS, rhp, Dartmouth College (Jr.)
+ size (6-3/190), athleticism; + pitchability, 4 pitch-repertoire; FB touches 95, but also dips to 90 and straight.
3. MIKE DOWD, c, Franklin Pierce College (Jr.)
Has huge arm behind plate, but only + tool; stocky 5-9/185 frame, receiving/blocking skills shaky; .340-3-37.

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