Draft : : State Preview
Monday, May 21, 2012

State Preview: Indiana

Patrick Ebert        

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: Allan Simpson

Indiana State-by-State List
2011 Indiana Overview

Indiana Overview:
Talented Purdue Team Looks To Snap Big Ten Drought

The challenges that Northern-based college baseball teams face, compared to their southern counterparts, are well documented. The NCAA took the lead in trying to level the playing field several years ago by instituting a uniform mid-February start date for Division I teams, but programs in the Big Ten Conference and other surrounding lower-profile conferences still feel disadvantaged when it comes to luring top-notch talent, or even hanging on to home-bred players.

Such hardships hardly seem to apply to Purdue, though. The Boilermakers have enjoyed one of the best seasons in years by a northern-based team, winning their first Big Ten Conference regular-season title in 103 years while breaking the school record for wins in a season with 41 (entering Big Ten tournament play), which they tied a year ago.

Purdue should also impact the draft like no Boilermaker team before with the possibility of three players—third baseman Cameron Perkins, catcher Kevin Plawecki and closer Nick Wittgren—that could be selected in the top five rounds, and it is noteworthy that all three are Indiana high-school products.

While Purdue has enjoyed a historic 2012 season, especially against the backdrop of the hardships that northern-based teams continue to face, it has been a significant season by Indiana college teams generally as Indiana State captured its first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title in 27 years, and Indiana made a late charge to finish second to Purdue in the Big Ten.

Though the Sycamores are a long way off from eclipsing their own school record for wins in a season, they matched Purdue’s season total of 41 wins and could have three players of their own selected in the first 10 rounds, led by catcher Jeremy Lucas, who has made significant improvements this season, both offensively and defensively, to improve his draft status.

On top of everything else from a positive nature that has occurred in the state this spring, Indiana could have three college catchers taken in the top 10 rounds as Plawecki and Lucas are expected to be joined by Notre Dame's Joe Hudson. Plawecki is considered the better offensive talent of the three, Hudson the best defender and Lucas the one that blends the two facets the best. Hudson should be the only Notre Dame player to make an impact in this year’s draft, but an emerging Irish program should make significant inroads on the draft in the next two years.

The traditionally-underappreciated Indiana high-school ranks, meanwhile, are not expected to be as big of a factor in this year’s draft, especially with most of the top prospects seen as signability risks. Righthander Luke Stephenson stands out among the top prep prospects and warrants being selected in the top five rounds based on talent, but his commitment to Vanderbilt clouds his draft status. The 2013 Indiana prep class already looks stronger as athletic, 6-foot-6 lefthander/outfielder Trey Ball is considered one of the top prospects in the country.

Indiana in a nutshell:

College catchers.
WEAKNESS: High school positional players.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Indianapolis Cathedral.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Jeremy Lucas, c, Indiana State.
Lucas was ranked No. 64 among the Northwoods League's top 75 prospects last summer, and received praise for his ability to make consistent contact, while hitting .302, and for improvements behind the plate. He has added power to his swing this spring, slugging nine home runs while hitting .363, and has made the most overall progress among Indiana’s college catching triumvirate of Lucas, Purdue’s Kevin Plawecki and Notre Dame’s Joe Hudson.

WILD CARD: Luke Stephenson, rhp, Triton Central HS, Fairland.
If Stephenson slips past the top five rounds in this year’s draft, it won't be because of talent. At a strong, sturdy 6-foot-2 and 190 pound, Stephenson has an athletic frame, and a live arm with the ability to routinely top out at 92-93 mph. His commitment to Vanderbilt causes uncertainty among scouts regarding his signability as the Commodores have a knack for getting their top recruits on campus.

Nolan Sanburn, rhp University of Arkansas (Attended high school in Kokomo).
Top 2013 Prospect: Trey Ball, lhp/of, New Castle HS.
Top 2014 Prospect: Jonah Patten, rhp, Norwell HS, Bluffton.


Draft History:
Andy Benes, rhp, University of Evansville (1988, Padres/1st round, 1st pick); Brian Bullington, rhp, Ball State University (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 University (Dodgers/2nd round).
2009 Draft: A.J. Pollock, of, University of Notre Dame (Diamondbacks/1st round, 17th pick).
2010 Draft: Kolbrin Vitek, 2b/rhp, Ball State University (Red Sox/1st round/20th pick).
2011 Draft: Alex Dickerson, 1b/of, University of Indiana (Pirates/3rd round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 6/1.


Best Athlete:
Micah Johnson, 2b, University of Indiana.
Best Hitter: Kevin Plawecki, c, Purdue University.
Best Power: Cameron Perkins, 3b, Purdue University.
Best Speed: Eric Stamets, ss, University of Evansville.
Best Defender: Joe Hudson, c, University of Notre Dame.
Best Velocity: Luke Stephenson, rhp, Triton Central HS, Fairland.
Best Breaking Stuff: Nick Wittgren, rhp, Purdue University.
Best Command: Nick Wittgren, rhp, Purdue University.


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

1. KEVIN PLAWECKI, c, Purdue University (Jr.)
When Plawecki enrolled at Purdue, he was considered a defensive-minded catcher with the potential to develop into a middle-of-the-order run producer. His bat definitely has stepped forward as he now has a very sound approach to hitting, and the ability to consistently square up balls and drive them to the gaps. His power continues to emerge in concert with his improvement as a hitter. On the spring, he is hitting .361-5-40 with a team-high 20 doubles. Most remarkable perhaps, he has an impressive 24-to-8 walk-to-strikeout ratio and a .459 on-base percentage. In addition to his offensive prowess, Plawecki has developed into a vocal, take-charge catcher and is the visible leader of the Boilermakers. His leadership qualities serve him well behind the plate, as does his strong, flexible 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame. He shows good lateral movement and improving blocking skills, and his quick release overcomes the lack of ideal arm strength for the position.

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