Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: New Jersey

Frankie Piliere        
Photo: Perfect Game
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 i?n 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.



New Jersey State-by-State List

When New Jersey makes its presence known in the draft, it tends to do so with a bang. It’s never going to provide an enormous amount of depth, but there have been years where the state has given baseball some of its most talented early round picks in recent years, including players like Mike Trout, Todd Frazier, and Rick Porcello. The state is no stranger to first-rounders either. There have been six players taken in the supplemental first round or higher out of New Jersey since 2006.

Barring unforeseen events, the state is going to have another first-rounder in 2013 in prep left-hander, Robert Kaminsky. There’s a steep drop-off in terms of early round talent after the St. Joseph’s standout. But, with the strong squad Seton Hall has put together this year, as well as Rider, there will be a solid group of college players taken picked up in the later rounds of this year’s draft. And, as there always seems to be, there’s a quality group of high school talent that could go in the top ten rounds.


STRENGTH:
High-end prep talent
WEAKNESS:College talent
OVERALL RATING(1-to-5 scale): 3

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
Seton Hall
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Gloucester County College
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: St. Joseph’s Regional

Best Out-of-State Prospect, New Jersey Connection:
Artie Lewicki, rhp, Virginia (attended St. Joseph’s Regional HS)
Top2014 Prospect: Liam Sabino, ss, Blair Academy, Blairstown
Top 2015 Prospect: John Murphy, rhp Gloucester Catholic, Merchantville

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Jeff Kunkel, ss, Rider University (1983, Rangers/ 1st round, 3rd pick). Willie Banks, rhp, St. Anthony’s HS (1987, Twins/ Rangers/ 1st round, 3rd pick)
2008 Draft: Jason Knapp, rhp, North Hunterdon HS, Annandale (Phillies/2nd round)
2009 Draft: Mike Trout, of, Millville HS (Angels/1st round, 25th pick)
2010 Draft: J.C. Menna, rhp, Brookdale CC (A’s/14th round)
2011 Draft: Kevin Comer, rhp, Seneca HS (Blue Jays/1st round, 57th pick)
2012 Draft:Pat Light, rhp, Monmouth University (Red Sox/Supplemental 1st round, 37th pick)

2012 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
5/5
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed:0/0
High School Players Drafted/Signed:4/0


TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS 1 and 2

GROU
P 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. ROBERT KAMINSKY, lhp, St. Joseph’s Regional HS, Englewood Cliffs
Kaminsky has become the consummate professional performer at a very young age. He’s pitched on the big stage and succeeded at events such as the PG National and PG All-American Classic, and has seemingly had no problem pitching in front of massive scouting turnouts this spring. He’s been as high as 95 mph with his fastball and has pitched consistently at 90-93 mph in most of his recent spring outings. His hard, sharp curveball has also been graded as a 70 pitch by many scouts this spring. The polish, consistency, and advanced pitching aptitude that we learned the young left-hander had last summer just continues to thoroughly impress scouts of the highest levels this spring. No high school pitcher in the country shows a better feel for a plus breaking ball than he does. On top of that, scouts consistently come away impressed with the maturity and highest quality makeup that Kaminsky displays. Most seem to believe that the University of North Carolina commit is likely to go off the board anywhere between the 15th and 30th overall picks, although he has the talent to be taken among the top 5-10 overall picks. Read more on Kaminsky in David Rawnsley’s Draft Focus preview.


GRO
UP 2 (rounds 4-10)

2. MATTHEW THAISS, c, Jackson Memorial HS, Jackson
Thaiss has seen his stock steadily rise this spring, as some scouts believe his bat has taken a step forward. But, most of his value is still in his ability behind the dish. The 6-foot, 198-pound Thaiss has a strong, durable frame that fits the catching position quite well, and his arm strength certainly fits there as well. He flashes some of the best pop times in the class, showing a time of 1.87 seconds at last year’s National Showcase. The agility and maneuverability behind the plate also stand out, as Thaiss shows all the requisite actions to be a pro level receiver. He gets ride of the ball very quickly, and could be an elite thrower with some tweaks. The Virginia commit also flashes some left-handed power in batting practice, but is mostly a line drive hitter in game action. And, as he refines his swing mechanics he should only continue to improve offensively. As stated, scouts have seen progress from him this spring, which could get him drafted in the 5-7 round range.

3.  CHRIS OAKLEY, rhp, St. Augustine Prep, Egg Harbor Township
Chris Oakley has been on the prospect scene for quite some time now, dating back to the 2011 PG Junior National Showcase when he reached 90 mph coming out of just his sophomore season. Fast forward to the present and Oakley has been a PG All-American and performed on the highest level of showcase competition. But, his extra long, 6-foot-8 frame will always make him a difficult player to evaluate. He’s been up to 94 mph this spring and had stretches of improved command, but as you’d expect with a player of his size, there are some bouts of mechanic inconsistency. His 74-77 mph curveball has flashed more depth at times this spring, but the secondary arsenal in general still needs development. Oakley mostly lives at 88-92 mph with his fastball right now, but likely projects to eventually live closer to 91-93 mph, touching several ticks higher, once his body fills out and he fully utilizes his height in his delivery. Oakley is committed to the University of North Carolina, and is a likely candidate to go in the 4-8 round range come June.

4. JERRY MULDERIG, rhp, Rider University (Jr.)
Mulderig has been an object of fascination for scouts this spring. He’s an outfielder by trade, and an outfielder with legitimate tools. At 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, the athletic and strong build caught the eye of scouts before his arm did. And, through 46 games this spring for Rider, the lefty swinging Pennsylvania native is hitting .354 with two home runs and 16 stolen bases. But, as impressive as that skill-set might appear on paper, it’s his ability on the mound that has kept scouts coming back this spring. The numbers certainly don’t stand out, as he’s posted a 4.50 ERA in eight appearances, allowing 14 hits and six walks over 16 innings. He has also struck out 12 in that span. But, after having his first taste of pitching come only last season, his conversion is still impressive. Mulderig has been as high as 95 mph with his fastball, and works mostly at 91-93 mph. He also flashes a very good changeup in the mid-80s, which appears to be his best secondary offering at the moment. The breaking ball is a work in progress. But, as athletic as he is, and considering his tall frame and lack of mound experience, his power arm is going to intrigue a lot of teams. And, we could see him go off the board as high as rounds 6-8.

5. JOE DUDEK, 1b, Christian Brothers Academy, Wall Township
Dudek is committed to the University of North Carolina, and it’s safe to say the Tar Heels have a good feel for recruiting and developing left-handed draft prospects in recent years. Colin Moran and Dustin Ackley could speak to that. Of course, Dudek is not those guys yet, but he has the swing and frame to get there eventually. He already shows excellent plate discipline, a projectable frame, and a fluid swing that should allow his power stroke to continue to develop down the road. He shows better than average bat speed, and uses the whole field very well. There will probably be teams willing to buy into his quality left-handed swing right now, and he could go off the board between rounds 8-10.


PROSPECTS TO WATCH

JARRET DeHART, of, Shawnee HS, Medford
DeHart, who is committed to LSU, is a high quality athlete with a strong frame. He flashes above average bat speed, and uses his lower half very well. There’s already a good idea there of how to drive the ball out of the ballpark, but the approach and mechanics need some development. DeHart also shows some speed and ability in the outfield. He’s a bit of a wildcard that some teams may be willing to discuss as high as the ninth or 10th round.

MICHAEL SHAWARYN, rhp, Gloucester Catholic, Carneys Point
Shawaryn is two-sport athlete, who also stars on the basketball court for Gloucester Catholic. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-hander also missed nearly his entire junior season due to an elbow injury. To his credit, he’s worked his way back since then, showing up in Jupiter last fall working at 89-92 mph with his fastball and locating well. The velocity has mostly been around 88-90 this spring for the Maryland commit, showing good two-seam action and command. He locates his secondaries well, although he pitches aggressively with his fastball, but they still require some development. There’s more velocity on the way for Shawaryn, and he could be a high upside roll on the dice for a team in the first 10 rounds.
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