Draft : : State Preview
Thursday, May 17, 2012

State Preview: Idaho

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Northwest Nazarene

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.

Idaho State-by-State List
2011 Idaho Overview

Idaho Overview:
A Rarity, Mighty Lewis-Clark State Overshadowed At College Level

It’s been four years since Lewis-Clark State last won an NAIA World Series, and this year may represent only the second time in a decade that the Warriors won’t produce the first draft pick in Idaho. In fact, two other Idaho college players may be picked this year before the initial L-C State player is tabbed.

The Warriors still have a very respectable 41-12 record and as the permanent host of the event on their Lewiston campus, are a perennial favorite to win the NAIA national title, something they have accomplished the remarkable total of 16 times in the last 28 years, possibly the greatest domination by one team in any college sport.

But the talent on this year’s team isn’t vintage by Lewis-Clark State’s lofty standards, and the school is not a lock to produce even a draft pick in the first 20 rounds—an unheard of development in the program’s rich recent history. Senior righthander Austin Pentecost and speedy 24-year-old outfielder Jordan Payne are considered the team’s best potential drafts.

In the likely absence of even a mid-round selection from Lewis-Clark State, hard-throwing Northwest Nazarene righthander Zeb Sneed and athletic College of Idaho outfielder Izaac Garsez have moved to the forefront among college players.

Sneed’s brother Cy was a 35th
-round pick of the Texas Rangers a year ago, and was the only player drafted from the Idaho high-school ranks in 2011. He is now attending college at Dallas Baptist. Things won’t change much this year at the prep level as only one player, Eagle High lefthander Brandon Brown, a University of Oregon recruit, is given a chance of being drafted.

The College of Southern Idaho has produced a steady diet of draftable talent through the years at the junior-college level, and should be represented again with at least two candidates. Six-foot-7, 190-pound freshman righthander Gary Koopman hasn't been as dominant as hoped after showing considerable promise last fall. Sophomore outfielder Chase Harris enhanced his chances in the draft with a big 2012 season, hitting .407-7-60 with 30 stolen bases to earn Scenic Valley Conference player-of-the-year honors. Harris flashed average speed, power and arm strength, but is considered a marginal prospect overall, and appears destined for a college career in the short term at New Mexico.

Idaho in a nutshell:

(1-to-5 scale): 2.

Lewis-Clark State.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Rocky Mountain HS, Meridian.

Kyle Johnson, of, Washington State University (Attended high school in Coeur d’Alene).
Top 2013 Prospect: Joe Martarano, 3b, Fruitland HS.
Top 2014 Prospect: Kolby De Haas, c, Coeur d’Alene HS.


Draft History:
Mike Garman, rhp, Caldwell HS (1967, Red Sox/1st round, 3rd pick).
2006 Draft: Justin Fuller, ss, Lewis-Clark State University (Dodgers/11th round).
2007 Draft: Beau Mills, 3b, Lewis-Clark State University (Indians/1st round, 13th pick).
2008 Draft: Kyle Greene, 3b, Lewis-Clark State University (Diamondbacks/11th round).
2009 Draft: Tyler Curtis, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho (Marlins/13th round).
2010 Draft: Kawika Emsley-Pai, c, Lewis-Clark State University (Diamondbacks/10th round).
2011 Draft: Zach Arneson, rhp, Lewis-Clark State University (Yankees/9th round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0.


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


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

1. ZEB SNEED, rhp, Northwest Nazarene University (Jr.)
Sneed’s younger brother Cy was drafted in the 35th round a year ago by the Texas Rangers (the only Idaho high-school player drafted in 2011), but Zeb remained a relative unknown until last summer while pitching for the Jayhawk League’s Hayesville Heat, when he caught the attention of Midwest scouts with an electric arm and a fastball that reached 97. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Sneed quickly became a marked man in Idaho this spring, as his 92-94 fastball has occasionally reached 95-96 mph. His split-finger fastball may be his most-dominant pitch, but he rarely throws it because it has such violent action that no catcher on the Northwest Nazarene roster could catch it. Though the ball comes easily out of Sneed’s hand, he has a lot of delivery-related issues and struggles to throw strikes. As a result, he produced just a 7-4, 5.00 record this spring with 46 walks and 61 strikeouts in 67 innings. Primarily a starter in college, Sneed responded better in summer ball when used in short bursts, and that would appear to be his optimal role down the road. With a more compact, repeatable delivery, along with more bulk on his lean frame, scouts say Sneed might reach the high-90s one day.


IZAAC GARSEZ, of, College of Idaho
The College of Idaho stole some of Lewis-Clark State’s thunder in 1998 (when it was known then as Albertson College) by winning the NAIA World Series, and the Coyotes (41-19) could do so again this year as a rare second Idaho entry in the NAIA national tournament. No player has been more responsible for the team’s success than Garsez, a senior who hit .396-8-52 and led the Coyotes in batting, homers, runs (75), triples (12) and stolen bases (29). He also went 1-0, 1.08 with 11 strikeouts in eight innings on the mound. Garsez is surprisingly athletic in his compact 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame, as his bat has strength and quickness and he throws well enough to settle into right field at the next level.

AUSTIN PENTACOST, rhp, Lewis-Clark State University (Sr.)
Lewis-Clark State’s best potential draft is the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Pentacost, who has gone 6-3, 2.78 with 38 walks and 66 strikeouts in 74 innings as a senior starter. He utilizes a fastball that sits at 90-92 mph and tops at 93, plus a breaking ball and a splitter.

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