Draft : : State Preview
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Draft Preview: Pennsylvania

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

Pennsylvania State-by-State List
2011 Pennsylvania Overview

Pennsylvania Overview:
Typical Year for Pennsylvania With Little Talent in D-I Programs

Once again, the best talent in Pennsyvlania this year is concentrated in the high school crop, with Garnet Valley High third baseman/shortstop Joe DeCarlo and Twin Valley High righthander Jared Price projected to go 1-2.

The talent in the Pennsylvania Division I college crop is sparse, and the possibility exists that no player will be drafted in the first 10 rounds, though Penn State lefthander Joe Kurrasch, a transfer from the University of California, is given a fair chance of slipping into the back end. Predictably, none of Pennsylvania’s D-I teams came close to advancing to the 64-team NCAA tournament, with only Penn State (29-26) and Villanova (28-27) even producing records above .500.

Similar to recent years, the best college baseball in the state has been played at the small-college levels. West Chester University (44-10) advanced to the NCAA Division II World Series, Point Park College (52-9) advanced to the NAIA World Series and Lackawanna College (46-10) advanced to the National Junior College Division II World Series. Keystone College (37-8) narrowly missed making a return visit to the Division III World Series, losing out in regional play. Not surprisingly, those teams could impact the draft in their own way to a greater degree than any of the state’s Division I programs.

Lackawanna lefthander Chris Kirsch, for starters, has a good chance to become the first non-high-school player drafted from Pennsylvania, while West Chester second baseman Joe Wendle could be the first four-year player selected. And Keystone, despite its Division III designation, could end up making a greater overall impact than any team with senior righthander Blaine O’Brien, sophomore righthander Rob Rogers and senior second baseman Esteban Meletiche all possibilities in the top 12-15 rounds.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not like Pennsylvania pulls up a little short each year in producing its fair share of talent. It’s just that most of the elite-level prospects with state connections inevitably end up at out-of-state colleges. And there’s nothing new on that front this year as the state’s top nine prep prospects, led by DeCarlo (Georgia) and Price (Maryland), are earmarked again for non-Pennsylvania colleges, if they don’t sign professional contracts in the meantime. It’s possible none will.

Pennsylvania actually stacks up favorably with many other talent-producing states around the country. Among players being produced in the nation’s prep ranks each year, 260 in the eight-year period from 2004-11 that went on to be drafted came from Pennsylvania, placing the state 11th
 overall nationally. Most of that talent, however, ends up either signing professionally or heads off to out-of-state college teams, where the weather is a little warmer and the competition a little stiffer.

Pennsylvania in a nutshell:

Small-college talent.
WEAKNESS: Division I players.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3.

West Chester.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Chris Kirsch, lhp, Lackawanna JC.
Kirsch has surprised scouts twice before by not agreeing to terms, when all the indicators pointed to his being an easy sign. But there should be little reason for Kirsch not to come out this time after a dominant season at the junior-college level (10-1, 1.80), while showing scouts almost all they want to see in a projectable 6-foot-3 lefthander.

WILD CARD: Danny Rosenbaum, 3b, Chestnut Hill Academy, Lafayette Hill.
Scouts haven’t had a fair opportunity to evaluate Rosenbaum in a normal high-school environment this spring as he was ineligible to play for his high-school team, having played as an eighth-grader for Chestnut Hill Academy, and effectively using up his four years of high-school eligibility a year ago. He has spent the spring playing in a local amateur league with older players.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Pennsylvania Connection:
Travis Jankowski, of, Stony Brook University (Attended high school in Lancaster).
Top 2013 Prospect: Alex Haines, lhp, Seton Hill University.
Top 2014 Prospect: Boo Vasquez, of, University of Pittsburgh.


Draft History:
Al Chambers, 1b, John Harris HS, Harrisburg (1979, Mariners/1st round, 1st pick); Shawn Abner, of, Mechanicsburg HS (1984, Mets/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Kevin Mulvey, rhp, Villanova University (Mets/2nd round).
2007 Draft: Devin Mesoraco, c, Punxsutawney HS (Reds/1st round, 15th pick).
2008 Draft: Drew O’Neil, rhp, Penn State University (White Sox/4th round).
2009 Draft: Darin Gorski, lhp, Kutztown University (Mets/7th round).
2010 Draft: Jesse Biddle, lhp, Germantown Friends Academy (Phillies/1st round, 27th pick).
2011 Draft: Cam Gallagher, c, Manheim Township HS, Lancaster (Royals/2nd round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 15/5.


Best Athlete:
Esteban Meletiche, 2b, Keystone College.
Best Hitter: Joe DeCarlo, 3b, Garnet Valley HS, Glen Mills.
Best Power: Jordan Steranka, 1b/3b, Penn State University.
Best Speed: Esteban Meletiche, 2b, Keystone College.
Best Defender: Joe Wendle, 2b, West Chester University.
Best Velocity: Jared Price, rhp, Twin Valley HS, Mohnton.
Best Breaking Stuff: Jake Drossner, lhp, Council Rock North HS, Richboro.
Best Pitchability: Joe Kurrasch, lhp, Penn State University.


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

1. JOE DeCARLO, 3b/ss, Garnet Valley HS, Glen Mills
DeCarlo is one of the most-obscure top high-school prospects in the 2012 class, mainly because he played all last summer for the Cincinnati-based Midland Redskins, the 2011 Connie Mack World Series champions, and didn’t take time off to participate in any national-level showcase events that scouts frequented. But national-level scouts have quickly determined this spring that there is very little fundamentally different between the 6-foot-1, 205-pound DeCarlo and other top prep third basemen around the country, such as southern California’s Daniel Robertson, who has been pegged by some teams as a possible sandwich pick. DeCarlo is a powerful righthanded hitter with a very sound approach at the plate and polished swing mechanics. He is a line-drive machine with plus raw bat speed. His power comes more from just being strong and squaring up balls consistently, and stems more from creating lift and length in his swing, much as Robertson does. DeCarlo plays mostly shortstop at the high-school level, but projects best at third base at the next level. He has very good footwork defensively at that position, with soft hands and a solid-average to plus arm across the diamond. He can also touch 90 mph off the mound. DeCarlo has signed with Georgia and should have no problem adjusting to Southeastern Conference pitching should he decide to skip pro ball and go to school.

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