Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Michigan

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Michigan
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.

Michigan State-by-State List

While not a huge annual contributor to the draft, the state of Michigan has done a nice job in recent years supplying a handful of players to the professional ranks.  High school players have become harder to pry away from college, as the University of Michigan in particular has done a very good and underrated job not only getting, but keeping the top players from the state on campus.  The most recent of which were freshmen Evan Hill and Travis Maezes, as Maezes; Hill has gone 7-3 with a 3.51 ERA while Maezes is third on the team in batting with a .316 average.

Michigan State also continue to improve largely thanks to in-state talent, finishing the regular season 33-17 heading into the Big Ten Conference tournament.  They too had freshmen with significant performances leading to their success, including right handed pitcher Justin Alleman securing seven saves as the Spartans' closer and Cam Gibson's .325/.387/.393 season.

While those players will prove to be significant factors in future drafts, Michigan outfielder Michael O'Neill is a solid third-round pick for this year's draft.  There is once again plenty of interesting talent among the prep ranks, although Michigan's aforementioned ability to get players on campus makes it unclear if these players will be drafted in a round relative to where there talents warrants.

 High school talent
WEAKNESS: College prospects
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3


BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Michigan Connection:
 Myles Smith, rhp, Lee (Tenn.) University (Divine Child High School)
Top 2014 Prospect: Matthew Ruppenthal, rhp, Brother Rice High School
Top 2015 Prospect: Evan Hill, lhp, University of Michigan


Draft History: Mark Mulder, lhp, Michigan State U. (1998, Athletics/1st round, 2nd pick)

2008 Draft: Ethan Hollingsworth, rhp, Western Michigan University (Rockies/4th round)
2009 Draft: Daniel Fields, ss, University of Detroit Jesuit HS (Tigers/6th round)
2010 Draft: Ryan LaMarre, of, University of Michigan (Reds/2nd round)
2011 Draft: Trent Howard, lhp, Central Michigan University (Orioles/7th round)
2012 Draft: Torsten Boss, 3b/of, Michigan State (Orioles/8th round)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: None
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 4/0


GROUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. MICHAEL O'NEILL, of, University of Michigan (Jr.)
Baseball loves bloodlines, which aids the cause of O'Neill who is the nephew of former big leaguer Paul. Michael O'Neill has a similar, well-rounded tool-set as his uncle, although is much more fleet of foot with his speed grading out at 55/60 on the scouting scale as evidenced by his 23 stolen bases this year in 27 attempts. At 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, O'Neill is a right handed hitter that doesn't get cheated at the plate. He can be somewhat of a free swinger (11-to-39 strikeout-to-walk ratio), and is susceptible to breaking balls low and away, but has the bat speed to catch up with any fastball and drive them hard to the gaps. He continues to be very productive at the plate with a knack for providing the big hit in key situations. He is hitting .361/.402/500 this year after hitting .262 on the Cape last summer on his way to being named the league's No. 23 prospect. Given his combination of tools and skills, along with his big league bloodlines, O'Neill is expected to be a solid third-round pick come June. Click here to read Frankie Piliere's Draft Focus report on O'Neill.

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