Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

State Preview: Wisconsin

Patrick Ebert        
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: Allan Simpson

Wisconsin State-by-State List
2011 Wisconsin Overview

Wisconsin Overview:
Dairyland slugger Mikolas stands out in prep class

Unlike the past few years, Wisconsin's influence in the draft lies in the prep ranks. Kenosha slugging first baseman Nathan Mikolas has been pegged as a top-10-round pick since early in his high-school career, while Chippewa Falls righthander Kyle Cody could also sneak into the same range based on his lofty potential.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the state's only Division I program, is expected to have only one meaningful draft pick, closer Jordan Guth, who should be selected anytime after the top 10 rounds. Another promising righthander, Josh Uhen, is poised to become a premium pick next year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2011, which limited him to just 10 innings this spring.

Though Wisconsin high schools rarely produce an abundance of draftable talent, the decided lack of D-I colleges in the state that field baseball teams has often led many of Wisconsin's better prep prospects to look for greener pastures, particularly in warmer-weather climates. There is no out-of-state college that has tapped into Wisconsin talent more than Jacksonville University, which features two prominent Wisconsin-bred players for this year’s draft in outfielder Dan Gulbransen and first baseman Adam Brett Walker. Neither play was drafted out of high school three years ago.

The power-hitting Walker (.343-12-42), who has been on a tear lately after starting the season slowly, is expected to be taken in the top two or three rounds, while the less-physical but more well-rounded Gulbransen (.324-6-33)should also go in the top 10 rounds. A third Wisconsin product of note at Jacksonville, freshman righthander Alex McRae (4-7, 3.43), is one of the team's most reliable starting pitchers.

The strength of college baseball in Wisconsin has historically been at the NCAA Division III level. Wisconsin-Whitewater (2005) and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1985, 1984) have both won national championships in the past, and though Wisconsin schools are perennial threats to win the event, held annually in Appleton, no team advanced to this year’s D-III World Series. There also isn’t a prominent draft pick at any of Wisconsin’s contingent of D-III schools this year, either, as there often has been in the past, including current Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman.

Wisconsin in a nutshell:

High-school talent.
WEAKNESS: High-end talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

Wisconsin-La Crosse.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Bradford HS, Kenosha.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Wisconsin Connection:
Adam Brett Walker, of/1b, Jacksonsville University (Attended high school in Milwaukee).
Top 2013 Prospect: Josh Uhen, rhp, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Top 2014 Prospect: Not yet determined.


Draft History:
Kevin Brandt, of, Nekoosa HS (1979, Twins/1st round, 11th pick).
2006 Draft: Anthony Butler, lhp, Oak Creek HS (Mariners/3rd round).
2007 Draft: Jordan Zimmermann, rhp, U. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (Nationals/2nd round).
2008 Draft: Adam Frost, ss, St. Norbert’s College (Tigers/21st round).
2009 Draft: Kevin James, lhp, Whitefish Bay HS, Milwaukee (Rays/9th round).
2010 Draft: Tyler Jones, rhp, Madison JC (White Sox/21st round).
2011 Draft: Cody Koback, of, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (Red Sox/10th round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 2/0.


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


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

1. NATHAN MIKOLAS, 1b/of, Bradford HS, Kenosha
After getting pitched around extensively as a high-school sophomore, rarely getting a pitch to hit, Mikolas decided to participate in Perfect Game's Wisconsin Spring League last year prior to joining Georgia’s nationally-renowned East Cobb program for its extensive summer schedule to receive more experience against increased levels of competition. He has returned to his high-school team this spring, and has played an important role as that team has become the top prep team in the state. Mikolas has one of the more-mature approaches to hitting in the country, with a disciplined eye at the plate. He rarely gets fooled. He also exhibits very good bat speed and consistently squares up balls with good pull power and the ability to smoke line drives from gap-to-gap. At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Mikolas isn't an especially imposing specimen, but with pronounced sloped shoulders and long, strong arms and legs he looks like a professional hitter. He profiles best at first base, and may see extensive time as a DH as he continues to progress. He has committed to play in college at Louisville, but is also a candidate in rounds 4-8 in the draft.

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