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 mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
North Dakota State-by-State List
That Got Away Offer Best Hope for North Dakota in This Year’s Draft
It’s been an unusually
long, harsh winter for baseball fans in the Upper Midwest this year,
and those in North Dakota haven’t had much to get excited about
this spring, either.
If anything, the
highlight of the 2011 season has been the performances of two former
North Dakota prep standouts, Arizona’s Cole Frenzel and Kansas’
Zac Elgie, both first basemen, who have played well for out-of-state
Frenzel, from Dickinson,
N.D., has blossomed as a draft-eligible sophomore for the Wildcats,
hitting .359-3-42 with 29 walks. Although scouts would like to see
more power from the 6-foot, 225-pound lefthanded hitter, his bat and
power potential could land him in the top 10 rounds.
Elgie is from Minot, and
holds the distinction of being the highest draft pick ever selected
directly out of a North Dakota high school (12th round,
2008/Athletics). He was the Jayhawks co-leader in home runs this
spring, while hitting .297-7-37 overall. Elgie’s offensive game
hasn’t developed quite as quickly as Frenzel’s, and looks to be
more of a 10-20th-round pick in this year’s draft, if he
indicates he’s interested in going out as a junior.
Closer to home, the
state’s top-high school prospect for the draft,
righthander/infielder David Ernst of Fargo South High, has enjoyed
another fine season for the state’s top-ranked high-school team,
after being named the state player of the year as a junior (8-0,
0.75; .436-3-30). Ernst is a mid-level prospect as he throws in the
upper-80s with a sound 77-mph downer curveball; he also stands out as
Perhaps most telling
about Ernst is his decision to stay close to home to attend college
at North Dakota State, when other, perhaps more appealing options
were probably available to him at any number of other higher-profile
Against the backdrop of
the bad weather that plagued the state throughout the winter and into
the early spring, North Dakota State’s 2011 season got off on the
wrong foot when it lost its first 13 games as part of a 17-game road
trip to open the season. The Bison righted the ship somewhat
thereafter and took a 21-30 record into the Summit Conference
The University of North
Dakota, meanwhile, finished the regular season with a 10-33 mark,
although it did manage to win its first two games of the Great West
Conference tournament as the host team.
Neither of those schools
is expected to be any kind of factor in the draft. Six-foot-7 North
Dakota State junior righthander Anthony Kliniskie projected to be the
state’s top college draft pick at the start of the season, based on
his encouraging showing last summer in the New England Collegiate
League, but he barely got out of the gate this season for the Bison.
He threw just eight innings during the regular season.
North Dakota in a
(1-to-5 scale): 1.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
North Dakota State.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM:
Fargo South HS.
PROSPECT, North Dakota Connection: Cole Frenzel, 1b, University
of Arizona (attended high school in Dickinson).
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Draft History: Zac
Elgie, 1b, Minot HS (2008, Athletics/12th round).
2006 Draft: No
2007 Draft: No
2008 Draft: Zac
Elgie, 1b, Minot HS (Athletics/12th round).
2009 Draft: Ryan
Bollinger, 1b, Magic City HS, Minot (Phillies/47th round).
2010 Draft: Andy
Leer, ss, University of Mary (Twins/25th round)
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS
ONE and TWO