Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

State Preview: Colorado

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

Colorado State-by-State List
2011 Colorado Overview

Colorado Overview:
Banner Draft Year For Former Colorado Prep Standouts

Colorado’s influence on the 2012 draft will be profound—perhaps more than any other state from the standpoint of producing high-school talent that has been developed in out-of-state colleges. Louisiana State righthander Kevin Gausman, a legitimate candidate to go first overall? A Colorado high-school product. Missouri State righthander Pierce Johnson, a possible first-rounder? A Colorado high-school product.

The same Colorado ties apply to Creighton lefthander Ty Blach, St. Edward’s (Texas) righthander Stephen Johnson, Iowa Western CC outfielder Tanner Kreitemeier, Kentucky lefthander Taylor Rogers and Stanford outfielder Jake Stewart—all legitimate candidates to go in the first 10 rounds of this year’s draft.

Because Colorado doesn’t have a dominant Division I baseball program, most of the better prep talent is routinely siphoned off by college programs around the country. As a result, Colorado rarely gets its due for producing the volume of baseball talent that is typically churned out of the state’s high schools each year. Over the last eight drafts, a total of 160 players (an average of 20 per year) were selected that played baseball at Colorado high schools.

It’s all about perception vs. reality, and Colorado’s reputation as a baseball state undoubtedly suffers because of the paucity of meaningful Division I baseball institutions in the state. Colorado’s only remaining D-I baseball programs are the Air Force Academy and Northern Colorado. The often-raw, late-spring weather conditions that blanket Colorado typically play havoc with baseball schedules, and is the chief culprit in mainstream colleges like Colorado and Colorado State abandoning their programs through the years.

Righthander Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, and third baseman Jeff King, the top selection in 1986, further accentuate the point. Hochevar grew up in Colorado and attended high school in Wray, but spent his college career at Tennessee. King, a Colorado Springs product, developed his baseball skills at Arkansas.

From a 2012 draft standpoint, Colorado’s crop of in-state talent is leaner than normal, though numerous players still have significant commitments to out-of-state colleges. Ryan Burr, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander who participated in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic, has been recruited to play at Arizona State. Six-foot-7 righthander Ryan Warner, regarded as the state’s No. 2 prep prospect, has committed to North Carolina State.

Not all the young talent in Colorado escaped the state over the last two or three years as outfielder Jeff Popick, a local product, played an instrumental role in leading Division II Colorado Mesa (previously Mesa State) to a 39-14 record this spring and an easy Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular-season title, though the Mavericks season ended unexpectedly when they were knocked out of the RMAC tournament. Popick led the team in batting, homers and RBIs.

Colorado in a nutshell:

Out-of-state talent developed in local high schools.
WEAKNESS: College talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

Colorado Mesa.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Cherry Creek HS, Greenwood Village.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Colorado Connection:
Kevin Gausman, rhp, Louisiana State University (Attended high school in Aurora).
Top 2013 Prospect: Derek Beauprez, 1b/rhp, Cherry Creek HS, Greenwood Village.
Top 2014 Prospect: David Peterson, lhp, Regis Jesuit HS, Denver.


Draft History:
Luke Hochevar, rhp, Wray (2006, Royals/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Luke Hochevar, rhp, Wray (Royals/1st round, 1st pick).
2007 Draft: Colin Allen, rhp, Lamar CC (Orioles/22nd round).
2008 Draft: Tyler Sample, rhp, Mullen HS, Denver (Royals/3rd round).
2009 Draft: Geoff Baldwin, 1b, Grand Junction HS (Royals/10th round).
2010 Draft: Kevin Gausman, rhp, Grandview Prep, Aurora (Dodgers/6th round).
2011 Draft: Greg Bird, c, Grandview Prep, Aurora (Yankees/5th round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 3/2.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 5/1.


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


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

1. RYAN BURR, rhp, Highlands Ranch HS
Burr popped up on the radar very early for a Colorado prospect, and scouts have been able to get a solid read on him over the past three years, particularly as a 2011 Perfect Game All-American and member of the Connie Mack World Series champion Midland (Ohio) Redskins. He is a strong, mature pitching prospect at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, with a solid feel for three pitches. His fastball has grown from an 85-87 mph offering during the fall of his sophomore year, when first scouted by Perfect Game, to a 90-94 mph heater today. But Burr’s best pitch is his 77-mph curve with tight spin, which he can vary the shape on almost at will between a sharp, 12-to-6 downer and bigger, 10-to-4 sweeper. He also throws a developing 82-85 mph change. As a senior for Highlands Ranch, he has gone 5-1, 1.85 with 34 walks and 95 strikeouts in 53 innings. Burr can be an intimidating presence on the mound with his big frame and extremely-poised demeanor, and has frequently been compared throughout high school to Oklahoma’s top prep prospect, righthander Ty Hensley.

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