Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

State Preview: Oklahoma

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Oklahoma State

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: Allan Simpson/Ben Collman

Oklahoma State-by-State List
2011 Oklahoma Overview

Oklahoma Overview:
No Bundy/Bradley Star Power, But Still Plenty of Talent

The 2011 draft was One For the Ages in Oklahoma as the state featured the fourth and seventh overall picks in prep righthanders Dylan Bundy (Orioles) and Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks), two other high-school pitchers in the top two rounds (righthanders Michael Fulmer, Mets/44
th overall; Adrian Houser, Astros/69th overall) and seven picks in the first five rounds. Bundy and Bradley have quickly established themselves as two of the elite prospects in the minor leagues this spring.

Though the 2012 Oklahoma draft class does not have that kind of star power, it does feature two more players ticketed for the first round in Oklahoma State southpaw Andrew Heaney and Santa Fe High righthander Ty Hensley, and at least three more players who are possibilities in the top three or four rounds.

After being overshadowed by the wealth of high-school talent in the state a year ago, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State should become more factors in this draft. Heaney has been dominant as Oklahoma State’s ace, while Oklahoma’s hard-throwing relief duo of righthander Damien Magnifico (and his 103-mph fastball) and lefthander Steven Okert (up to 97) has attracted plenty of scouting attention. It just hasn’t translated into sustained success on the field, and neither school is assured an NCAA regional appearance.

NAIA power Oklahoma City has been as dominant as any college program in the state, and has done so with a significant contribution from ex-Oklahoma State catcher Dane Phillips, who could become the nation’s first non-Division I college player drafted.

Oklahoma’s deep junior-college ranks should also provide more than their share of talent, with the possibility of two pitchers in the first 10 rounds, and several more power arms lurking close behind. Eastern Oklahoma State alone features four arms that have been clocked this spring as high as 94 mph, and would have had a fifth in righthander Jonathan Gray had he elected not to transfer to Oklahoma for his sophomore season. Gray, a potential first-rounder in 2013, has been clocked up to 97 mph. Eastern, however, lost one of its power arms in late April when freshman righthander Koda Glover injured his elbow and will be lost to Tommy John surgery.

At the high school level, slugging catcher Taylor Hawkins has generated appeal with his considerable long-ball exploits. He slugged his 28th
 homer of the season as Carl Albert High won the Oklahoma 5-A state championship game. Hawkins leads a deep, impressive crop of catching prospects in the state.

The state is filled with top 2013 and 2014 prospects as well, including 2014 phenom shortstop Drew Ward, the top-ranked player in the class nationally.

Oklahoma in a nutshell:

Power arms, high-school catching.
WEAKNESS: Established high-school prospects after Ty Hensley.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Carl Albert HS, Midwest City.

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Steven Okert, lhp, University of Oklahoma.
Sometimes it just takes finding the right role for a pitcher to develop. Okert was a non-descript starter for two years in junior college, and in the first month of the 2012 season for the Sooners, before being switched to the bullpen as a potential solution for his command/performance issues. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound lefthander, a two-time Milwaukee Brewers draft pick, has blossomed in relief with at least a full-grade jump in his fastball velocity, which is now steadily in the mid-90s. Okert’s slider and changeup are solid secondary weapons. His command still needs fine-tuning but he throws hard with little effort, and has a clean arm action and injury history.

WILD CARD: Dane Phillips, c/of, Oklahoma City University.
Phillips spent two years at Oklahoma State, primarily as the Cowboys designated hitter, before deciding to transfer to Arkansas last summer. He attempted to gain immediate eligibility, ostensibly for academic reasons, while practicing with the Razorbacks all fall. When his eligibility request was subsequently turned down by the NCAA, he moved on quickly to NAIA powerhouse Oklahoma City, where he was eligible to play immediately this spring. Phillips led that team with a .416 average as it embarked on post-season play, and with the lack of lefthanded-hitting catchers at the big-league level with Phillips’ offensive tools, a team may jump on him in the draft—if it thinks Phillips has what it takes to hold his own behind the plate.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Oklahoma Connection:
Matt Reynolds, 3b, University of Arkansas (Attended high school in Tulsa).
Top 2013 Prospect: Jonathan Gray, rhp, University of Oklahoma.
Top 2014 Prospect: Drew Ward, ss, Leedey HS.


Draft History:
Mike Moore, rhp, Oral Roberts University (1981, Mariners/1st round, 1st pick).
2006 Draft: Brett Anderson, lhp, Stillwater HS (Diamondbacks, 2nd round).
2007 Draft: Pete Kozma, ss, Owasso HS (Cardinals/1st round, 18th pick).
2008 Draft: Jordy Mercer, ss, Oklahoma State University (Pirates/3rd round).
2009 Draft: Chad James, lhp, Yukon HS (Marlins/1st round, 17th pick).
2010 Draft: Andrelton Simmons, ss/rhp, Western Oklahoma JC (Braves/2nd round, 70th pick).
2011 Draft: Dylan Bundy, rhp, Owasso HS (Orioles/1st round, 4th pick).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 2/1.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 12/8.


Best Athlete:
Max White, of, University of Oklahoma.
Best Hitter: Dane Phillips, c/of, Oklahoma City University.
Best Power: Taylor Hawkins, c, Carl Albert HS, Midwest City.
Best Speed: Jarrett Higgins, of, Oklahoma State University.
Best Defender: Mark Ginther, 3b, Oklahoma State University.
Best Velocity: Damien Magnifico, rhp, University of Oklahoma.
Best Breaking Stuff: Ty Hensley, rhp, Santa Fe HS, Edmond.
Best Command: Andrew Heaney, lhp, Oklahoma State University.


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

1. ANDREW HEANEY, lhp, Oklahoma State University (Jr.)
Heaney was a part-time starter for the Cowboys his freshman and sophomore years, but has blossomed as a junior into one of the top starters in college baseball, not only in terms of performance (8-1, 1.59, 102 IP/65 H/19 BB/109 SO) but prospect status, as well. He should be the first college lefthander drafted, and it’s not inconceivable that he could be snapped up in the top 10-12 picks, especially if he continues to dominate down the stretch. Despite his slender 6-foot-3, 180-pound build, Heaney maintains his 90-94 mph velocity very well throughout starts. He has always had quality stuff for a lefthander, but it wasn’t until he settled in as a regular starter that he displayed much-improved command of his fastball-slider-changeup mix. His slider is not only an out-pitch, but he has the advanced ability to change the shape and angle on it, and even his release point like only a veteran might. Heaney has always had solid mechanics, dating back to his high-school days, and with minor tinkering since then now has a clean delivery with an unusually loose, quick, easy arm action—even as he will vary his delivery to give hitters a different look. He was a slender 6-foot-1 and 150 pounds when he enrolled at Oklahoma State, but has since added 25-30 pounds to his lean, wiry frame, and in the process, has improved the velocity on his fastball from the mid- to high-80s to the mid-90s. With Heaney’s advanced feel for pitching, scouts say that he could become one of the first players from the 2012 draft class to reach the big leagues.

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