Photo: Patrick Family

State Preview: Rhode Island

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, June 02, 2012

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.


Rhode Island State-by-State List
2011 Rhode Island Overview

Rhode Island Overview:
Slim Pickings Again in Rhode Island College, Prep Ranks

Rhode Island hasn’t produced a draft pick any higher than the 22nd
 round the last two years, and little is expected to change this year as there isn’t an obvious draftable talent at either the college or high-school levels.

University of Rhode Island record-setting shortstop Mike LeBel might have been a solid senior pick in a draft that suddenly has a placed a premium on college seniors with new draft rules in place, but he hurt his (non-throwing) shoulder in mid-March, underwent shoulder surgery and was lost for the season. Bryant righthander Peter Kelich had a big junior season in leading his team to a Northeast Conference regular-season title, while also earning conference pitcher-of-the-year honors for himself by going 8-3, 1.81, but he simply doesn't throw very hard. Almost by default, that leaves Bryant outfielder Kevin Brown as the top talent in the Rhode Island college ranks.

At the high school level, Bishop Hendricken High outfielder Tom Pannone and right handed pitcher Justin Patrick of Cumberland are acknowledged as the top prep talents in the state. Pannone has superior hitting skills and he genuinely drew his share of attention from scouts, and Patrick has promise given his size and projectability, but neither is expected to be drafted high enough to be bought out of scholarships to Miami and South Florida respectively.

The most-noteworthy development that will impact Rhode Island from a draft standpoint will probably be the selection of University of South Carolina outfielder Evan Marzilli, possibly as early as the third round. He is a product of a Rhode Island high school. A year ago, essentially the same scenario unfolded as another South Carolina college player with Rhode Island connections, Coastal Carolina righthander Anthony Meo, was drafted in the second round.

Rhode Island in a nutshell:

STRENGTH:
Bryant University talent.
WEAKNESS: Depth of talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 1.

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Bryant.
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: CC of Rhode Island.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: North Providence HS.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Rhode Island Connection:
Evan Marzilli, of, University of South Carolina (Attended high school in Cranston).
Top 2013 Prospect: Jeff Roy, of, University of Rhode Island.
Top 2014 Prospect: Kevin McAvoy, rhp, Bryant University.

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Bill Almon, ss, Brown University (1974, Padres/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Steve Holmes, rhp, University of Rhode Island (Mets/5th round).
2007 Draft: Devin Thomas, c, Brown University (Tigers/7th round).
2008 Draft: Ryan Westmoreland, of, Portsmouth HS (Red Sox/5th round).
2009 Draft: Eric Smith, rhp, University of Rhode Island (Diamondbacks/2nd round).
2010 Draft: Jeff Vigurs, c, Bryant University (Cubs/22nd round).
2011 Draft: Matt Colantonio, c, Brown University (Padres/22nd round).

2011 DRAFT OVERVIEW

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

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO

None

PROSPECT TO WATCH

KEVIN BROWN, of Bryant University (Jr.)
Brown made a solid contribution to Bryant winning the Northeast Conference regular-season title this spring, just as he was a central figure for Keene as it won a New England Collegiate League championship last summer. He hit .325-8-29 with a league-best 33 runs scored for Keene, and hit .281-9-35 this spring for Bryant, leading the Bulldogs in homers and RBIs. The lefthanded-hitting Brown is more ball player than prospect, but his value is enhanced because of his ability to hit in and adapt to any of the top four spots in the batting order. His ability to both hit and hit with power, display solid strike-zone disciple and run the 60 in 6.9 seconds makes him a valuable offensive player.

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