Draft : : State Preview
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Kentucky

Allan Simpson        
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 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.

Kentucky State-by-State List

Kentucky has evolved into one of the nation’s more productive states in terms of churning out talent for the draft in the last decade. From six selections overall as recently as 2005, Kentucky’s production spiked to 31 in 2010, and has approached that total in the years since.

Most of the resurgence stems from vastly-improved college programs at Kentucky and Louisville, and those schools will lead the charge again this year, with the Cardinals in line to challenge their single-season high of 10 draft picks three years ago. The Wildcats set their high-water mark a year ago with nine selections. Both those schools should impact the early rounds this year in a significant way, especially with some high-profile arms, but the state’s best projected draft is expected to be a high school talent, Warren East High left-hander Hunter Green, who has made a steady rise up draft boards this spring to become a candidate late in the first round.

WEAKNESS: Position players
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Central Hardin HS, Cecilia

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Dace Kime, rhp, University of Louisville.
Kime’s potential was evident from the day he enrolled at Louisville as an unsigned eighth-round pick in the 2010 draft, but it wasn’t until midway through this season, when the 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-hander secured a meaningful role in the Cardinals rotation, that his status as a top prospect for this year’s draft became more clearly defined.

WILD CARD: Adam Engel, of, University of Louisville.
If the athletic, 6-foot-3, 225-pound Engel, a one-time major college football recruit, hit consistently better, he would rank with almost any college outfield prospect in this year’s draft. He has top-of-the-scale speed, along with exceptional defensive skills in center field. If a team believes Engel’s mechanics can be adjusted for him to reach his full potential at the next level, he could be a surprise early-round selection.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Kentucky Connection:
Spencer Drake, rhp, Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC (Attended high school in Louisville)
Top 2014 Prospect: Nick Burdi, rhp, University of Louisville
Top 2015 Prospect: Kyle Cody, rhp, University of Kentucky


Draft History:
Drew Hall, lhp, Morehead State University (1984, Cubs/1st round, 3rd pick)
2008 Draft: Christian Friedrich, lhp, Eastern Kentucky University (Rockies/1st round, 25th pick)
2009 Draft: James Paxton, lhp, University of Kentucky (Blue Jays/1st round, 36th pick)
2010 Draft: Thomas Royse, rhp, University of Louisville (White Sox/3rd round)
2011 Draft: Alex Meyer, rhp, University of Kentucky (Nationals/1st round, 23rd pick)
2012 Draft: Matt Koch, rhp, University of Louisville (Mets/3rd round)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 4/1


Best Athlete:
Adam Engel, of, University of Louisville
Best Hitter: Tyler Young, 3b/2b, University of Louisville
Best Power: Ryan Huck, 1b/c, Western Kentucky University
Best Speed: Adam Engel, of, University of Louisville
Best Defender: Adam Engel, of, University of Louisville
Best Velocity: Trevor Gott, rhp, University of Kentucky
Best Breaking Stuff: Dace Kime, rhp, University of Louisville
Best Pitchability: Trevor Gott, rhp, University of Kentucky


OUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. HUNTER GREEN, lhp, Warren East HS, Bowling Green
With his lanky, projectable, athletic frame, Green’s talent was evident a year ago, when he ranked only as the second-best high school pitching prospect in the state at the time. With a more mature, confident approach to pitching, along with better command of his raw stuff, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Green has leap-frogged Woodford County High right-hander Clint Hollon, along with every other prospect in Kentucky, to emerge as a potential first-rounder in this year’s draft. Green had a shaky outing in unusually rough weather in his first appearance of the 2013 season, but got progressively better and didn’t allow a run in his next eight starts while compiling a 3-1, 0.15 record overall, along with 30 walks and 101 strikeouts in 46 innings. A lack of run support has cost him several wins. Unable to throw strikes consistently a year ago, Green has pounded the zone more routinely this spring with a fastball that has ranged anywhere from 87-95 mph, and gets good arm-side run coming from a low three-quarters angle. He also has demonstrated better feel for his sharp, biting curve and sinking changeup, though still needs to work out some wrinkles in his delivery that impact his command of those pitches. His arm works extremely free and easy, however, and Green profiles as a left-handed starter with plus pitchability.

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