Draft : : State Preview
Monday, June 04, 2012

State Preview: Maine

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.

Maine State-by-State List
2011 Maine Overview

Maine Overview:
State Draft Hopes Rest on Hard-Throwing Gibbs

In hard-throwing righthander Jeff Gibbs, the University of Maine had high hopes of producing its highest draft pick in at least 20 years—or at least since righthander Mike Collar was an eighth-rounder in 2003. Gibbs entered the spring as one of the hardest throwers in the college ranks, with a fastball that has been clocked in the past up to 97-98 mph.

Gibbs has had a difficult year on the mound, going 3-4, 8.40 with 108 base runners (42 walks, 66 hits) in 60 innings for the Black Bears, along with a team-high 56 strikeouts. Despite his poor performance, scouts continue to be fascinated with his chiseled 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame and impressive raw stuff.

Maine’s impact on the 2012 draft rides almost totally on the talent at the University of Maine, which produced five of the state’s seven draft picks over the last six years. The Black Bears, though, went 28-28 this season and failed to reach the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in six years—a stark contrast to the days when the Black Bears played an influential role in both the College World Series and the baseball draft. That was almost 30 years ago now.

From 1981-86, the Black Bears made five trips to Omaha. They also produced first- or second-round draft picks in three consecutive years from 1982-84, though one player, righthander Billy Swift, accounted for two of those selections on his own as he was an unsigned second-rounder in 1983 and a first-rounder (second overall) the following year.

The powerful Gibbs, one of six Canadians on the Maine roster, is the team’s best draft bet this season, although righthanders Shaun Coughlin and Stephen Perakslis, middle infielder Mike Fransoso and catcher Fran Whitten have also drawn a smattering of interest from scouts. A year from now, another Canadian, third baseman Alex Calbrick, projects to be the team’s top selection.

There have been only two players drafted out of Maine high schools in the last 11 years (one being Mt. Ararat High righthander Mark Rogers, the fifth overall pick in 2004), and that string is unlikely to change.

Maine in a nutshell:

University of Maine talent.
WEAKNESS: High-school talent.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2.


Matt Pare, c, Boston College (Attended high school in Portland).
Top 2013 Prospect: Alex Calbick, 3b, University of Maine.
Top 2014 Prospect: Brian Doran, of, University of Maine.


Draft History:
Billy Swift, rhp, University of Maine (1984, Mariners/1st round, 2nd pick).
2006 Draft: None drafted.
2007 Draft: None drafted.
2008 Draft: Billy Cather, of, University of Maine (Nationals/33rd round).
2009 Draft: Regan Flaherty, 1b, Deering HS, Portland (Mariners/28th round).
2010 Draft: None selected.
2011 Draft: Taylor Lewis, of, University of Maine (Pirates/10th round).


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


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


(Projected HIGH-Round Draft / Rounds 4-10)

1. JEFF GIBBS, rhp, University of Maine (Jr.)
With his impressive 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame and electric raw stuff, Gibbs has the size and arm strength to be an early-round draft pick, but scouts have been forced to view the whole picture when assessing Gibbs’ prospects for this year’s draft. For all his talent, Gibbs had difficulty this spring throwing strikes, and the impressive raw stuff he has flashed in the past—a fastball up to 97-98 mph, a power slider—was often compromised as he would let up a bit in his attempt to throw strikes more consistently. His fastball often backed up to the 90-92 mph range, and only occasionally reached 95-96. Typically, his pitches were up in the strike zone (evidenced by 66 hits in 60 innings, including 22 for extra bases) or outside the zone altogether (46 walks, 22 wild pitches, nine hit batsmen), and the result was a 3-4, 8.40 record. Scouts continue to be enamored with Gibbs, with some believing he could be a steal if he slides beyond the first 8-10 rounds, that some minor tinkering with his mechanics by an experienced pitching instructor at the pro level could be all that it takes to set him straight mechanically.

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