Draft : : State Preview
Thursday, May 02, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Nevada

Todd Gold        
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.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.



Nevada State-by-State List


After graduating Joey Gallo, it would be difficult for there not to be a hangover in draft talent to at least some extent this year. While there isn't quite that level of a dynamic prospect, the void left by Gallo's matriculation to the professional ranks is filled by a pair of highly intriguing pitching prospects. Nevada right handed pitcher Braden Shipley is likely to come off the board higher than Gallo did a year ago (39th overall), and HS right-hander Andrew Church has the type of ceiling to follow in his footsteps as the type of player who quickly out-performs his draft position.

The high school class isn't as strong as it was a year ago, as not only is there not a prospect with a pedigree quite like Gallo, there also doesn't appear to be a pleasant surprise in the mold of Zach Quintana (3rd round/Brewers). There is depth in the high school ranks, as Bishop Gorman High School outfielders Kenny Meimerstorf and Jarrell Latham are both interesting prospects, and Coronado High School features a strong one-two punch on the mound in right handed pitchers Dylan Meyers and Chandler Blanchard. Factor in slick fielding shortstop Garrett Hampson of Reno High School and it's a class with solid depth (in a year when most of the country is a bit more shallow than usual). But as far as impact potential goes, it's a class that will have to be propped up by Andrew Church, a medium framed right-hander, who despite having legit stuff, has had limited opportunities to be seen by crosscheckers this spring.


STRENGTH:
High end pitching
WEAKNESS: Division I college talent
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
University of Nevada
BEST JUNIOR COLLEGE TEAM:
College of Southern Nevada

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: BRADEN SHIPLEY, rhp, University of Nevada.
While his success this spring should come as no surprise, given his sophomore campaign a year ago and strong showing in the Alaskan Summer League, Shipley has continued to progress with each year after being lightly recruited out of North Medford (Ore.) High School primarily as a shortstop who could also pitch. With the progress he's made, Shipley has emerged as one of the best pitchers in college baseball and looks to be squarely in the mix for the first round.

WILD CARD: KAYDEN PORTER, 1b/rhp, College of Southern Nevada.
The physical and overpowering two-way freshman who had a stellar prep career at Spanish Fork (Utah) High School that was highlighted by being selected to the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic has struggled with the transition to college thus far. While he features massive raw power at the plate and a mid- to upper-90s fastball, he hasn't yet translated those tools into on-field success this season at the College of Southern Nevada. There will likely be some interest in drafting him this year anyway, though it remains to be seen if he would be willing to sign as a lower pick, after showing little such interest coming out of high school a year ago.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Nevada Connection:
Kris Bryant, 3b, University of San Diego

Top 2014 Prospect: Austin Byler, 3b, University of Nevada
Top 2015 Prospect: Joey Armstrong, mif, UNLV

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History: Bryce Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (2010, Nationals/1st round, 1st pick)
2008 Draft: Niko Vasquez, ss, Durango HS, Las Vegas (Cardinals/3rd round)
2009 Draft: Jeff Malm, 1b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (Rays/5th round)
2010 Draft: Bryce Harper, c, College of Southern Nevada (Nationals/1st round, 1st pick)
2011 Draft: Jake Hager, ss, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas (Rays/1st round, 29th pick)

2012 Draft: Joey Gallo, 3b, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (Rangers/1st round, 39th pick)

2012 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
2/1
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed:
1/1
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 7/4

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Evan Van Hoosier, mif, College of Southern Nevada
Best Hitter:
Evan Van Hoosier, mif, College of Southern Nevada
Best Power:
Brandon Bayardi, of, UNLV
Best Speed: 
Conor Harber, of/rhp, Western Nevada CC
Best Defender:
Garrett Hampson, ss, Reno HS
Best Velocity:
Braden Shipley, rhp, University of Nevada
Best Breaking Stuff:
Andrew Church, rhp, Basic HS, Las Vegas
Best Command:
Braden Shipley, rhp, University of Nevada

TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS 1 and 2

GROUP 1
(rounds 1-3)

1. BRADEN SHIPLEY, rhp, University of Nevada (Jr.)

Lightly recruited out of high school in Oregon, Shipley began his collegiate career as a two-way player, getting 44 starts at shortstop as a freshman (compared to just two on the mound) before transitioning to pitching full-time last year. He can touch the requisite high velocities for a first round prospect, though he generally settles into the low-90s with an under control delivery and starter's approach to navigating opposing lineups, saving his quality secondaries until the second and third trips through the order. He mixes his fastball with a quality mid-80s changeup and a good high-70s curveball that shows a lot of potential. After a strong campaign last year, which saw him go 9-4 with a 2.20 ERA, Shipley was named WAC pitcher of the year before being ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Alaskan Summer League. So far, Shipley has followed up that strong summer in Alaska with an even stronger junior season at Nevada. His stuff isn't quite as electric as the power arms that are projected for the top five picks, but Shipley's stuff is strong in its own right and his ability to utilize it will likely make him a first round pick.

2. ANDREW CHURCH, rhp, Basic HS, Las Vegas
Having just been declared eligible for his senior season last week, Church hasn't been seen as much this spring as a legitimate Group 1 prospect would otherwise have been seen, yet. That is about to change, as he has reported seen his velocity climb into the mid-90s during bullpen sessions this spring. His hammer curveball that became a plus pitch for him as early as last summer and was a weapon for him when he locked up with Alabama's Kevin Davis in a great pitchers duel during the semifinals of the 17u PG World Series in Arizona last July. His changeup is also quite solid for a prep arm and he has an idea how to utilize and command his impressive arsenal. His stuff and ceiling is of the caliber that it could be argued he should be more of a 1a than the No. 2 prospect on this list, and would have been the top prospect had it not been for the impressive breakout of Shipley this spring. Keep an eye on Church over the final weeks leading up to the draft, as his late start to the season will give him limited opportunities to pitch in front of MLB decision makers this spring, but he has the stuff to make a strong impression during those opportunities, and he could make a late push into the top two rounds as a result.

GROUP 2 (rounds 4-10)


3. GARRETT HAMPSON, mif, Reno HS

While he doesn't have much of a track record on the national scene, Hampson is a multi-sport athlete who has drawn a lot of interest this spring. His defensive play in the middle infield in a draft that is light on middle infielders has caused his stock to climb as the draft process has worn on and the scarcity at the shortstop position has become more and more clear. He runs well and has a solid hit tool as well, giving him a solid prospect profile.
While he lacks any true impact level tool, he offers quality in the right areas for his position and can become a valuable asset to an organization as a result.

4. THOMAS PANNONE, lhp/of, CC of Southern Nevada (Fr.)
Highly-publicized Kayden Porter, who holds the Utah prep record for career homers and owns a fastball that has been clocked up to 98 mph, was supposed to be the out-of-state recruit who made a splash on both sides of the ball this spring as a freshman for Southern Nevada. But Porter has been upstaged thus far by Pannone, another two-way talent who has unwittingly become one of the most unlikely success stories in this year’s draft class. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Pannone was the only player drafted a year ago (Cubs/32nd round) out of the Rhode Island high-school ranks, but had such little confidence that he would play a meaningful role in college as a freshman outfielder at Miami, that he passed up his partial scholarship to that school for a shot at playing every day at Southern Nevada. Pannone quickly earned a starting job in the outfield, but a little more than a month into the season Pannone was given a shot to show off his raw arm strength on the mound for two innings in a blow-out win. That chance opportunity may have turned his career in a whole new direction. Pannone earned a second shot on the mound a week later, earning his first win, and quickly emerged as one of the top junior-college pitching prospects in the region. His fastball has consistently reached 91-92 mph with good life, and he’s shown the capacity to throw three pitches for strikes with a free and easy motion.

5. BUDDY BORDEN, rhp, UNLV (Jr.)

The 6-foot-3 right hander has put together a strong season for UNLV, going 7-1 through his first 13 starts and posting a tidy 2.16 ERA. More importantly he's shown improved command this spring, which accounts for his recent rise in draft stock. He shows feel for his curveball to go with his arm strength and large frame, and if he continues to improve he has a chance to provide good value as a top 10 round pick. While his strikeout rate has taken a step backward this year to go with his reduced walk rate, it's been in part a result of learning to become more efficient with his pitch count and work deeper into games, an area of improvement that has also helped his draft stock as it suggest that he can remain a starter in the professional ranks, which adds value.


6. DEVONTE GERMAN, rhp,
While he's somewhat raw as a two-sport athlete, the 6-foot-5 right hander has enough upside that he may wind up pitching professionally rather than attending the University of Nevada. While he doesn't yet boast big velocity, he has a projectable arm action and can get his fastball into the 90s already. There is a lot of development still to go and he's a high risk/high reward prospect, but he has the upside to significantly outperform his projected draft position.

7. BRANDON BAYARDI, of, UNLV (Sr.)
After starting every game for the Rebels as a freshman in 2010, Bayardi has gone on to a a decorated collegiate career, having been named All-Mountain West first team the past two seasons and appears poised to extend that streak to three years with the way this season has gone thus far. While the Rebels don't have many homers as a team, Bayardi is one of just three players to have left the yard all season, again leads the team with seven. He also shows solid playable speed in the outfield, and is by all appearances a very solid draft prospect. After turning down the Twins as a 36th round pick a year ago, Bayardi is hitting .324/.410/.514 this spring, and could be in line to come off the board sooner this time around.


8. EVAN VAN HOOSIER, 2b, CC of Southern Nevada (Fr.)
Van Hoosier’s older brother Jordan led CSN in hitting a year ago, and Evan, a 26th-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in last year’s draft out of a local high school, has largely followed in his footsteps as a freshman by stroking the ball at a steady .333 clip (second on the team), while drilling four homers and stealing a team-high 13 bases. The 6-foot, 190-pound Van Hoosier has an advanced approach at the plate, with the strike-zone discipline desired in a leadoff hitter, and the ability to attack balls in the zone and raw strength to drive them hard to the gaps, a trait desired in a middle-of-the-order bat. With 6.65-second speed in the 60, along with good range and sure, soft hands and improving arm strength at second base, Van Hoosier has all the remaining tools to warrant going in the top 10 rounds this year as an offensive-oriented second baseman.


PROSPECTS TO WATCH


CONOR HARBER, of/rhp, CC of Western Nevada (Fr.)
A multi-sport athlete playing at a remote Oregon high school, Harber pretty much got lost in the shuffle in last year’s draft, and it has taken until this spring, as a standout junior-college freshman, for scouts to fully appreciate his five-tool potential. Harber has been very visible playing in center field and hitting in the 3-hole all season long for Western Nevada, and has excelled on both sides of the ball. He leads the Wildcats in batting (.402), runs (40), doubles (12), triples (11) and stolen bases (15), and while he has gone deep just once, it’s just a matter of time before the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Harber grows into his power potential with his superior bat speed. Harber also has 6.5-second speed in the 60, along with sound base-running instincts, and his arm strength is another of his above-average tools. Playing almost exclusively in center field this spring, Harber unquestionably profiles as an outfielder at the next level, but his powerful arm has enabled him to thrive on the mound in limited looks. With a fastball up to 93 mph, he has struck out 15 in eight innings. While Harber’s tools have come clearly into focus this year, his chances of becoming a factor in the draft may not improve much as he reportedly has a very high price tag.

BRENT MCMINN, rhp, University of Nevada (Jr.)
While the junior who is pitching for his third college program in as many years, hasn't gotten many looks, his stuff is quite loud. He's only thrown 2 1/3 innings this spring (in four appearances) and the results haven't exactly been the harbinger of big things to come. While he hasn't learned to harness it yet, his stuff is overpowering. His fastball sat 94-96 and he backed it with a quality curveball. He has the kind of raw stuff you simply can't teach, though he has a long way to go in learning how to pitch with it. A club could take a flier on him this season if he's interested in signing as a later round pick this year, otherwise he'll be a darkhorse to watch out for this summer as the 2014 draft preparations get underway.

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