Draft : : State Preview
Monday, May 07, 2012

State Preview: North Carolina

Allan Simpson        

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

North Carolina State-by-State List
2011 North Carolina Overview

North Carolina Overview:
Duke’s Stroman Singlehandedly Upstages Carolina

Talk about turning the tables! The University of North Carolina and Duke University, arch-rivals in basketball but normally at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to college baseball, are doing a role reversal in this year’s baseball draft.

The Tar Heels, who can claim the top pick in North Carolina in each of the last three drafts, while also making five trips to the College World Series and producing five first-rounders in the last six years, are so lean in draftable talent this year that they may not have a selection in the first five rounds. Duke, by contrast, has never produced a draft pick higher than the third round in its modest baseball history, but Blue Devils fireballing righthander Marcus Stroman should change that as he is a near slam-dunk to be both a first-rounder, and the first player drafted from the state.

With a limited contribution from the Tar Heels, this will predictably not be a banner year for talent in the state of North Carolina, which has been making steady inroads nationally on the draft in recent years. But in keeping with the unlikely rise of a Duke player to the top of this year’s draft rankings, it has been a breakthrough season on a number of fronts in North Carolina—specifically at Appalachian State (34-10), which has the best record of any college team in the state while unexpectedly rising to the top of the Southern Conference standings, and even Campbell (34-14), which set school records for both consecutive wins (18) and most wins in a season in its first year in the Big South Conference. Appalachian State is also threatening a school record for single-season wins, and may end up threatening its own mark for most drafted players in one year (four, in 2009).

Even at the junior-college level, there has been renewed life this season at Louisburg College, a once-storied program that has been transformed overnight from a losing record in 2011 to a sparkling 47-7 mark (entering post-season play), and has the possibility of having as many as three draft picks in the first 10 rounds.

North Carolina’s prep ranks are noteworthy for two players (righthander Ty Buttrey, shortstop Corey Seager) that could be snapped up by the second round. It’s also noteworthy for a state that has a reputation for hanging on to its own, that six of the top eight-ranked high-school players are committed to out-of-state colleges, including both Buttrey (Arkansas) and Seager (South Carolina).

So all in all, it’s been a different kind of spring in North Carolina.

North Carolina in a nutshell:

Talent from non-traditional sources.
WEAKNESS:University of North Carolina talent, depth of high-school talent.
OVERALL RATING(1-to-5 scale): 3.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM:Providence HS, Charlotte.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: ANTHONY TZAMTZIS, rhp, North Carolina State University.In just his fifth start of the 2012 season on April 27, Tzamtzis went head-to-head with Duke righthander Marcus Stroman, the state’s top-rated talent, and outpitched him, spinning the first 7-2/3 innings of a 4-0 shutout while striking out a career-high nine. His fastball topped out at 95 mph, his slider at 84, and that outing alone may have vaulted Tzamtzis, a red-shirt sophomore who missed the 2011 season while recuperating from Tommy John surgery, into the first 10 rounds.

WILD CARD: STEVE NYISZTOR, ss, Louisburg JC. Nyisztor showed every indication of becoming a first-round pick in this year’s draft when he had a dominant freshman season for Rutgers in 2010, and followed up with an MVP season that summer in the Northwoods League. But his promising career soon unraveled through a series of off-field mis-steps, and Nyisztor ended up at Louisburg College in January, hoping for one last opportunity to resurrect his career at the pro level. He has shown flashes of his old form at the plate, in the field and on the bases, but it’s unclear how much his past transgressions will impact him in the draft.

Best Out-of-State Prospect, North Carolina Connection: Richie Shaffer, 3b, Clemson University (Attended high school in Charlotte).
Top 2013 Prospect:Colin Moran, 3b, University of North Carolina.
Top2014 Prospect:Carlos Rodon, lhp, North Carolina State University.


Draft History:
B.J. Surhoff, c, University of North Carolina (1985, Brewers/1st round, 1st pick); Brien Taylor, lhp, East Carteret HS, Beaufort (1991, Yankees/1st round, 1st pick); Josh Hamilton, of, Athens Drive HS, Raleigh (1999, Devil Rays/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Andrew Miller, lhp, University of North Carolina (Tigers/1st round, 6th pick).
2007 Draft: Madison Bumgarner, lhp, South Caldwell HS, Lenoir (Giants/1st round, 10th pick).
2008 Draft: Allan Dykstra, 1b, Wake Forest University (Padres/1st round, 23rd pick).
2009 Draft: Dustin Ackley, of, University of North Carolina (Mariners/1st round, 2nd pick).
2010 Draft: Matt Harvey, rhp, University of North Carolina (Mets/1st round, 7th pick).
2011 Draft: Levi Michael, ss, University of North Carolina (Twins/1st round, 30th pick).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed:2/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed:17/6.


Best Athlete:
Marcus Stroman, rhp, Duke University.
Best Hitter:Max Schrock, ss, Cardinal Gibbons HS, Raleigh.
Best Power:Mac Williamson, of, Wake Forest University.
Best Speed:Marcus Stroman, rhp, Duke University.
Best Defender:Chris Diaz, ss, North Carolina State University.
Best Velocity:Marcus Stroman, rhp, Duke University.
Best Breaking Stuff:Marcus Stroman, rhp, Duke University.
Best Pitchability: Tim Cooney, lhp, Wake Forest University.


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

1. MARCUS STROMAN, rhp, Duke University (Jr.)
The old saying that big things often come in small packages perfectly applies to the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Stroman and his pitching acumen. Despite his smaller frame, Stroman has electric stuff with a fastball at 95-99 mph and a dynamite slider, and he has pretty much convinced scouts that he is the exception to the industry’s aversion to short righthanders. Stroman had mixed success as a pitcher in his first two years at Duke as he tried to juggle his responsibilities on the mound with a regular workload in the field, typically at second base, as Blue Devils coaches, understandably, wanted to take full advantage of Stroman’s multiple array of skills. His juggling act also included bouncing back and forth from starting to closing. Able to concentrate in summer ball only on pitching, or more specifically as a closer, Stroman was nothing short of sensational in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2010, and more recently in the Cape and with Team USA in 2011. In his two summers on the Cape, he reeled off 33 consecutive scoreless innings, and yet was even more dominant with USA Baseball’s college-national team last summer, allowing no hits and just two base runners in eight more scoreless innings of work, while striking out 17 of the 27 hitters he faced. This season at Duke, Stroman has focused on pitching only for the first time in his college career, and has been used exclusively in a starting role. Through his first 11 appearances, he is only 4-4, 2.25, but his secondary numbers (81 IP, 22 BB/112 SO) speak more graphically to his level of dominance. Most scouts see Stroman as a reliever going forward, and he almost certainly would reach the big leagues quicker in that role, but his success this spring could lead to him at least beginning his pro career as a starter.

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