Boston - Smaller States Feature Big Talent (Western States)
As we saw in the first part of the Smaller States Feature Big Talent article, the 2011 draft is loaded with talented players from all over the country. Here is a breakdown of the Central and Western states that feature big talent from atypical draft states.
Illinois- In 2010, Illinois featured one of the best pitchers in the country, in Mike Foltynewicz. After Foltynewicz however, there was a major drop off in talent. 2011 will be different for Illinois, led by two big RHPs in Joey Ceja and Nick Burdi. Ceja and Burdi are both committed to Louisville, along with fellow in-state products Joe Filomeno and Mason Snyder. Jeff Boehm, Jeff Schalk, Jakob Junis, Tim Barry, Sean Renzi, and Jeremy Scheck round out a potential big year for Illinois.
Louisiana- Louisiana comes into the year with a clear top two prospects. Carson Baranik and Connor Castellano, Under Armour All-Americans, both impressed at the PG National Showcase at Tropicana Field. Baranik sat in the low 90s and Castellano showed his smooth left handed swing. There is a lot more to find in Louisiana, including Breck Kline, Chaz Hebert, Tyler Moore, Evan Powell, John Clay Reeves, Aaron Nola, and Alex Massey.
Oklahoma- Arguably armed with two of the top five pitchers in the nation, Oklahoma is geared for a big year. Dual sport athlete Archie Bradley is a big RHP with an easy low-mid 90s fastball. Bradley is also committed to play football at Oklahoma. RHP Dylan Bundy will join Bradley in San Diego for the AFLAC All-American Game. Bundy sits low 90s and has excellent off speed stuff. Oklahoma also features two Under Armour All-Americans in C Drew Stiner and RHP Adrian Houser. Mason Hope, Dylan Delso, and Conor Costello add depth to a state primed for a banner year.
Kansas- Ryne Stanek led the way for Kansas in 2010, being drafted 99th overall by the Seattle Mariners. OF/RHP Bubba Starling has a good chance to better Stanek in 2011. Starling has impressed on the summer circuit and is a legit two-way prospect. Starling however, is committed to Nebraska as one of the top QB recruits in the nation. Outfielder Dakota Smith is a blazer on the base paths, running a 6.55 in the 60 at the National Showcase. LHP Cody Kukuk also impressed at the showcase, sitting 86-88. The next tier of talent in Kansas includes Grant LaTerza, Nathan Arnold, and Nathan Williams.
Washington- Washington had a great year in 2010, with Josh Sale, Drew Vettleson, and Ryan Brett all being selected high in the draft. There might not be as much high end talent in 2011, but it features something the 2010 class did not, a frontline pitcher in Dylan Davis. Davis is a 6’0 RHP who touched 95 at Tropicana. Davis will represent Washington at the AFLAC game. A number of players could emerge as the number two prospect in the state, including Michael McCall, Michael Conforto, Cole Wiper, Jared Fisher, Kyle Olson, and Spencer O’Neil.
The Best of the Rest
Arkansas- Dillon Howard (Searcy HS)
New Mexico- Blake Swihart (Cleveland HS)
Missouri- Johnny Eierman (Warsaw HS)
Iowa- Derrick Loveless (Solon HS)
North Dakota- David Ernst (Fargo HS)
Idaho- Porter Clayton (Bonneville HS)
Wyoming- Brandon Nimmo (East HS)
Utah- Kavin Keyes (Alta HS)
Colorado- Greg Bird (Grandview HS)
Nevada- Brett Harrison (Green Valley HS)