|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
Once again, Idaho’s Lewis-Clark State was too good for most of its NAIA
competition. The Warriors went 29-2 against NAIA foes and were 42-7
overall heading into the NAIA World Series, which is played at their
home field in Lewiston, Idaho. The Warriors have the two best prospects in
this sparsely populated part of the country, but it’s a down year for
Idaho overall. Wyoming, meanwhile, could have three players drafted, even
though no high school baseball is played there.
1. Justin Fuller, ss/2b, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
2. Todd Privett, lhp, JC of Southern Idaho
3. Chris Kissock, rhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
4. Dusty Harvard, of, Natrona Valley HS, Casper, Wyo.
5. Forest Cannon, rhp, Eagle (Idaho) HS
6. Nick Carr, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho (CONTROL: Mets)
7. Jordan Latham, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho (CONTROL: Pirates)
8. Zach Widenaar, of, Miles (Mont.) CC
9. Austin Weilep, rhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
10. Mark Thompson, of, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
11. Travis Georgius, c, Coeur d’Alene HS, Hayden Lake, Idaho
12. Matt Vogel, of, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
13. Troy Grundy, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho
14. Brian Hill, lhp, Central HS, Cheyenne, Wyo.
15. Brett Fanning, of, Central HS, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Lewis-Clark Dominates Area Again
Lewis-Clark’s top draft prospect, and best player, is senior infielder Justin Fuller,
who was hitting .361-5-46 going into the NAIA World Series and led the
Warriors in RBIs and doubles while playing shortstop. Scouts who
believe Fuller can stay in the middle infield and give them a solid
lefthanded bat may jump up into the first 10 rounds to snag the Alaska
native, who grew up in the state capital, Juneau, but went to
Seattle-area Lynnwood (Wash.) High to play high school baseball. He has
solid tools other than his line-drive bat. His arm and range at
shortstop are adequate for pro ball, but he profiles better at second
base. He’ll turn 23 in July and will go as far (and as fast) as his bat
will take him.
The Warrior with the highest upside might be Canadian righthander Chris Kissock,
a skinny 21-year-old with a 6-foot-3, 180-pound pitcher’s body. He has
room to fill out and has decent present stuff, reaching the low 90s out
of a low three-quarters arm slot. His ball gets good sink when he’s
mechanically right, though he needs to add strength to better repeat
his delivery. He combats lefthanded hitters with both a split-finger
fastball and a changeup. His arm slot makes it difficult for him to
stay on top of his breaking ball.
No other Warriors are expected to go on the draft’s first day, as players such as righthander Austin Weilep and outfielders Mark Thompson and Matt Vogel, the team’s top basestealer and hitter, are considered organizational talents at best.
area’s better arms were at the College of Southern Idaho, with four of
the junior college’s pitchers under control to major league
organizations. Sophomore righthander Troy Grundy and sophomore lefthander Todd Privett,
however, were not under control. Privett is the club’s best prospect, a
lefthander who runs his fastball up to 91-92 mph at times. He dominated
this spring, allowing a .168 opponent average and striking out 75 in 68
innings. His teammate and brother Zack also pitches but has less stuff.
Todd Privett has a loose arm and has shown the ability to spin a
breaking ball. Grundy was the team’s ace in 2005 and signed with
Louisiana State, but he has been limited by injuries and
ineffectiveness in 2006.
The club also has two of Idaho’s top prospects from a deep 2005 high school class. Freshmen righthanders Nick Carr (Mets) and Jordan Latham
(Pirates), both draft-and-follow choices a year ago, made substantial
contributions this season,with Latham working in the bullpen and Carr
slotting in behind Privett in the rotation. Both righthanders have
shown fastballs in the low 90s.
Righthander Forest Cannon
is the state’s top high school talent and has committed to UC Santa
Barbara. A 4.0 student at Eagle High and his class’ valedictorian,
Cannon could take a detour to junior college because scouts see him as
a good draft-and-follow candidate. He pitched in the Area Code Games
last summer and is coached by Frank Wright, who coached Mark Langston
in high school in Santa Clara, Calif. Cannon has shown arm strength
with a fastball in the 89-91 mph range at times, but his slider is too
short for him to be drafted in the first 15-20 rounds. He also throws a
changeup and chose UCSB over Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon State.
The area’s top prep position player is Wyoming outfielder Dusty Harvard.
The athletic Harvard, who played football and basketball and ran track
in high school, has committed to Oklahoma State and is the first player
from the Casper area to sign with a Division I baseball program since
1986. Wyoming and Colorado State recruited him to play football.
Harvard has some pop from the left side and is an above-average runner
who should be able to play center field in college. His toughness and
strong character are also strengths. Wyoming also has a pair of solid
college prospects in New Mexico signees Brian Hill, a lefthander, and outfielder Bret Fanning. Both attend Cheyenne’s Central High.
Idaho’s top prep hitter is catcher Travis Georgius,
who has the bat speed to generate some power. His approach is raw,
though, and he needs better balance in his swing. He’s raw defensively
as well, with decent arm strength, and is considered a good
draft-and-follow candidate, though he also might attend Lewis-Clark
Even Montana has a player who has attracted interest, outfielder Zach Weidenaar.
He was drafted in 2003 by the Royals in the 48th round out of Bozeman
High. Weidenaar chose instead to go to Wyoming to play football, but
left after one year when he didní•â‚¬â„•t play. He decided to take another
shot at baseball and was at Northern Colorado in 2005 before coming
back to Montana to play at Miles Community College, and he needed the
playing time after getting just 97 at-bats for the Bears.
younger brother Nate was drafted by the Braves last year in the 48th
round, and Zach should go much higher. Heí•â‚¬â„•s a plus runner, covering 60
yards in 6.7 seconds, and at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, he has strength in
his swing. A right (throwing) shoulder injury hampered him this spring,
limiting him to DH duty and sapping some of his power. He still hit
better than .400 in a wood-bat league against iffy competition.