Mitchell High lefthander Patrick Schuster—he of the four consecutive no-hitters this spring—finally gets drafted, by the Diamondbacks. Schuster has some funk in his delivery, but throws in the upper 80s to low 90s with a good breaking ball and finds ways to miss bats. This is lower than Schuster was expected to go based on talent, so it’s likely he’ll head to Florida, as part of their strong recruiting class.
It was a down year for Idaho, but two players from The Gem State shined in the 13th round. JC of Southern Idaho righthander Tyler Curtis has a big body and he’ll need to watch his weight, but offers a fastball that’s been up as high as 94 mph this spring. He was picked by the Marlins. Lewis-Clark senior outfielder Sean Halton put up some impressive numbers for the Warriors this year and has some power, though his swing is stiff and he’s limited to a corner outfield spot. The Brewers selected him with the 406th-overall pick.
Stanton College Prep righthander Garrett Bush was one of the few pitchers who looked good in Sebring at the FACA Baseball Classic. Bush has a classic, projectable build at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds with a loose arm and an idea of what he’s doing on the mound. He was 88-92 mph with his fastball that had good downhill plane and mixed in an 82 mph changeup and a 77 mph breaking ball. Bush is an Auburn recruit that was selected by the Orioles.
On talent, Monte Vista (Calif.) High righthander Mark Appel would have been selected much higher than where the Tigers popped him in the 15th round, with the 450th-overall selection. Appel has a lot of things going for him. He’s 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, he’s touched 94 mph and he’s a great athlete that also plays basketball. He doesn’t even turn 18 until July, so he’s got that going for him too. The reason he slipped this far down the draft is because he’s committed to Stanford, which is always a tough pry. Appel is a great student that comes from a conservative family that is said to not want the minor-league environment for their son right away.
Nebraska righthander Mike Nesseth is another player from our top 200 that slid to round 15. Nesseth and the Cornhuskers both suffered through a disappointing spring, as he failed to make the transition from the bullpen to the rotation and Nebraska had their first losing season since 1997. As a redshirt freshman reliever in 2008, Nesseth worked at 92-95 mph and touched 97 with his fastball. He also had a hard slider that overpowered hitters, and he showed both of those power pitches as a starter in the Northwoods League last summer. But he struggled in that role at Nebraska, moved back to the bullpen in mid-March and produced mixed results when he returned to the rotation five weeks later. Nesseth’s fastball has varied from 88-90 mph to the low 90s, peaking at 95 when he worked in relief. His slider and control also have regressed and lacked consistency. His changeup is still a work in progress and it remains to be seen whether he can put everything together to serve as a starter in pro ball. Nesseth uses his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame to work downhill from a low three-quarters angle. The Cornhuskers had him watch tapes of Kevin Brown and A.J. Burnett, but to no avail. With a good spring, Nesseth might have pitched his way into the back of the first round. The Angels are making some interesting picks on tough signability guys and they’ll likely monitor Nesseth during the summer in the Cape Cod League.
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