Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Draft Preview: Michigan

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: John Haskell Photography

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

Michigan State-by-State List
2011 Michigan Overview

Michigan Overview:
Prepsters Alleman, Hill Show Considerable Promise On Mound

The presence of high-school pitchers Justin Alleman and Evan Hill could make it a special 2012 draft class for Michigan, but it may take three years for anyone to take notice. Alleman, a righthander, and Hill, a lefthander, are both projectable and athletic, and show good present-day stuff along with great overall potential. Both pose signability difficulties, however, with each looking for early-round money to sway them away from commitments to Michigan State and Michigan, respectively.

Those schools have promising recruiting classes, made up largely of home-grown talent, although the decision by Michigan to not renew the contract of 10-year coach Rich Maloney could jeopardize the college intentions of some of the Wolverines incoming recruits.

In addition to Alleman, Michigan State has commitments from notable local products like outfielder Cam Gibson (son of Spartans legend Kirk Gibson, now manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks) and righthander Alex Rapanos. Michigan’s recruiting class includes shortstops Travis Maezes and Jacob Cronenworth, and righthander Cam Wysocki, in addition to Hill. All of these players have the potential to be drafted as they rank among the top 10 prep prospects in the state, but most are expected to attend college.

Michigan State ended a two-year drought for the state by receiving an at-large bid to this year’s NCAA tournament, but Michigan never recovered from a disastrous 2011 season, when it went 17-37 (7-16 in the Big Ten), by going only 22-33 (8-15 in conference), leading to the departure of Maloney.

Central Michigan (34-19) was the only other Division I college in Michigan to post a .500 record overall, and appropriately the Chippewas will join Michigan State as the top college contributors in Michigan to this year’s draft.

Michigan in a nutshell:

In-state recruiting classes.
WEAKNESS: High-end talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.

Michigan State.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Brother Rice HS, Birmingham.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Evan Hill, lhp, Mt. Pleasant HS.
In the minds of some scouts, Hill has emerged as the top prospect in Michigan, though his improvement this spring may not be reflected in the draft as he is considered highly unsignable if he is not taken in the first round. At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Hill is athletic and has an effortless delivery. He also has a solid feel for three pitches, including a high-80s fastball that occasionally tops at 90-91 mph.

WILD CARD: Torsten Boss, of/3b, Michigan State University.
Based on an uneven performance last summer in the Cape Cod League, Boss entered the 2012 season with more questions than answers. Most scouts agree that he has addressed concerns over his bat as he has shown the ability to catch up to high-end fastballs this spring, but there are still issues where he will play in the field. If a team believes he can hold his own at third base, that will enhance his value significantly.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Michigan Connection:
Victor Roache, of, Georgia Southern University (Attended high school in Ypsilanti).
Top 2013 Prospect: Mike O’Neil, of, University of Michigan.
Top 2014 Prospect: Matt Ruppenthal, rhp, Brother Rice HS, Bloomfield Hills.


Draft History:
Mark Mulder, lhp, Michigan State U. (1998, Athletics/1st round, 2nd pick).
2006 Draft: Dan O’Brien, lhp, Western Michigan University (Blue Jays/8th round).
2007 Draft: Jeff Fischer, rhp, Eastern Michigan University (Rockies/10th round).
2008 Draft: Ethan Hollingsworth, rhp, Western Michigan University (Rockies/4th round).
2009 Draft: Daniel Fields, ss, University of Detroit Jesuit HS (Tigers/6th round).
2010 Draft: Ryan LaMarre, of, University of Michigan (Reds/2nd round).
2011 Draft: Trent Howard, lhp, Central Michigan University (Orioles/7th round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 1/1.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 9/1.


Best Athlete:
Torsten Boss, of/3b, Michigan State University.
Best Hitter: Torsten Boss, of/3b, Michigan State University.
Best Power: Torsten Boss, of/3b, Michigan State University.
Best Speed: Pat Biondi, of, University of Michigan.
Best Defender: Ryan Jones, 2b, Michigan State University.
Best Velocity: Justin Alleman, rhp, Holt HS.
Best Breaking Stuff: Zach Cooper, rhp, Central Michigan University.
Best Pitchability: Tony Bucciferro, rhp, Michigan State University.


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


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

1. EVAN HILL, lhp, Mt. Pleasant HS
Hill has been rising quickly up draft boards this spring as scouts have taken a keen liking to his extremely projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame and a fastball that has sat consistently in the upper-80s while touching 90-91 mph. His curve and changeup also show promise, and like righthander Justin Alleman, the player he leapfrogged late in the spring to become Michigan’s No. 1 prospect, he is expected to throw consistently harder as he continues to fill out his lean, athletic frame. Hill, like Alleman, is also considered a very tough sign, and may actually be more likely of the two to honor his commitment to Michigan if he is not a premium pick, possibly anything but a first-rounder. With Hill pitching for the Wolverines and Alleman for Michigan State, Michigan could produce a pair of premium college arms three years from now, if both pitchers continue to progress as expected.

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