Draft : : State Preview
Thursday, May 10, 2012

State Preview: Nevada

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

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.

Contributing: David Rawnsley

Nevada State-by-State List
2011 Nevada Overview

Nevada Overview:
Two-Way Star Gallo Tops Nevada Draft Crop

Teen prodigy Bryce Harper generated headlines with almost every step he took in 2010 at the College of Southern Nevada, while producing a monster season that resulted in his being an overwhelming selection as the top pick in that year’s draft.

Though Harper circumvented traditional draft-eligibility rules by skipping his final two years at Las Vegas High to enroll in a junior college, his selection set the wheels in motion for the city’s prep ranks to earn the distinction of producing a first-round pick in four consecutive drafts. Following Harper in 2010, Sierra Vista High shortstop Jake Hager was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 29th overall pick a year ago, and there is every reason to believe that Bishop Gorman High third baseman/righthander Joey Gallo will be taken in the first round this year and University of San Diego slugger Kris Bryant, a Bonanza High product, in 2013.

Even with the wealth of talent that the Las Vegas prep ranks have been producing on a steady basis, no player in the state’s history has had a more-decorated career than the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Gallo, who may have an equal chance of being drafted as a power-hitting third baseman or power-armed pitcher. Most of his accomplishments in a spectacular four-year career have come with the bat as he has hit .473 overall with 63 home runs, including a Las Vegas prep record 25 homers a year ago (eclipsing the mark of 22 set in 2010 by Bryant) and four in one game in April.

While Gallo has been primarily responsible for attracting scouts to the southern part of Nevada this spring, the College of Western Nevada’s Dylan Baker has done the same up north. A complete unknown to scouts prior to this season, Baker has been such an overnight revelation as a pitching prospect that he has zoomed to the top of the national junior-college prospect ranks. A fastball that has peaked at 100 mph will tend to do that.

In contrast to all the talent passing through Nevada’s junior-college and high-school programs, the state’s college ranks continue to be lighter on talent. Neither Nevada (27-21) nor a rebuilding Nevada-Las Vegas team (22-27) has had a particularly noteworthy year, though each has a prospect that could slip into the bottom end of the top 10 rounds in hard-hitting UNLV outfielder Brandon Bayardi and Nevada’s Carlos Escobar, a solid defensive catcher.

Nevada in a nutshell:

Nation’s best prep power bat, top JC arm.
WEAKNESS:College talent.
OVERALL RATING(1-to-5 scale): 4.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM:Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: John Sewald, of, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas. As scouts have come by to see his teammate Joey Gallo on a steady basis this spring, they have developed an increasing interest in and appreciation for Sewald, and his electrifying, speed-oriented game. His stock has climbed faster than any prep player in the state, and it’s possible that only Gallo will be drafted before him.

WILD CARD: Dylan Baker, rhp, College of Western Nevada. Just as the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Baker had virtually solidified his spot as the top junior-college prospect in the country, he had first challenging start of an otherwise-remarkable season on May 4 in a 14-13 loss to Salt Lake Community College, with first place at stake in the Scenic West Conference and a large number of prominent national-level scouts on hand. Though Baker wasn’t the losing pitcher in the high-scoring affair, he couldn’t hold an 11-4 lead in surrendering 11 runs altogether while walking five in 4-1/3 innings. His velocity also dipped to the 91-94 mph range, and he appeared fatigued. In Baker’s previous outing against Salt Lake in late March, he was thoroughly dominant in winning 1-0 with a fastball in the high-90s. In his first 10 starts of the season, Baker allowed just 16 hits; in his last three, he allowed 15, and it’s unclear how the first real blemish of his breakout season will impact his chances of remaining a candidate in the back end of the first round.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Nevada Connection:Joey Rickard, of, University of Arizona (Attended high school in Las Vegas).
Top 2013 Prospect:Chandler Blanchard, rhp, Coronado HS, Las Vegas.
Top2014 Prospect:Erick Fedde, rhp, University of Nevada-Las Vegas.


Draft History:
Bryce Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (2010, Nationals/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Kyle Smit, rhp, Spanish Springs HS, Sparks (Dodgers/5th round).
2007 Draft: Michael McDade, 1b, Silverado HS, Las Vegas (Blue Jays/6th round).
2008 Draft:Niko Vasquez, ss, Durango HS, Las Vegas (Cardinals/3rd round).
2009 Draft:Jeff Malm, 1b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (Rays/5th round).
2010 Draft:Bryce Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (Nationals/1st round, 1st pick).
2011 Draft: Jake Hager, ss, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas (Rays/1st round, 29th pick).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed:3/1.
High School Players Drafted/Signed:7/3.


Best Athlete:
Quinn Mack, of, College of Southern Nevada.
Best Hitter:Evan Van Hoosier, ss, Green Valley HS, Henderson.
Best Power:Joey Gallo, 3b/rhp, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.
Best Speed:John Sewald, of, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas.
Best Defender:Carlos Escobar, c, University of Nevada.
Best Velocity:Dylan Baker, rhp, College of Western Nevada.
Best Breaking Stuff:Dylan Baker, rhp, College of Western Nevada.
Best Pitchability: Tyler Spencer, rhp, College of Western Nevada.


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

1. JOEY GALLO, 3b/rhp, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
Gallo has starred for four years at Bishop Gorman High, leading that school to the latest three of its six consecutive Nevada 4-A titles, while hitting .400-plus every season and slugging a combined total of 63 homers. He is unquestionably one of the country’s top power threats, but also one of the more-difficult, premier-level high-school players to evaluate and there is almost certainly a wide range of opinions where major-league teams have him on their draft boards. He could just as easily be drafted in the first 10 picks as Gallo’s lefthanded power might be the single best offensive tool in the 2012 draft class. He has very good bat speed and outstanding leverage at contact, and smooth, loose extension through the ball. While he didn't hit the ball as well atNational High School Invitational at the USA Baseball complex in North Carolina in early April, he has been on fire since and finished the regular high-school season at .527-15-66 for a 34-2 Bishop Gorman team (both losses came in the NHSI). He went deep four times in a 27-0 win over Clark High on April 18 and also slugged two more homers in a first-round playoff game, when Bishop Gorman was unexpectedly beaten, 9-8, jeopardizing its chances for a seventh straight state title. Many scouts believe he has nearly as high a ceiling on the mound and there are clubs that would draft him primarily as a pitcher, although Gallo has thrown only 11 innings this year and has shown little, if any interest in pitching. But it’s hard to ignore a very loose, easy arm on a 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame with a fastball up 98 mph. An ideal major-league comparison to Gallo would be a lefthanded-hitting version of Troy Glaus, now retired but a prominent slugger in his day. The 6-foot-5 Glaus, the third overall pick in the 1997 draft out of UCLA, had the same power-bat/power-arm combination at the same age.

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