|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
Wisconsin’s prep ranks have more than their usual allotment of prospects, starting with a pair of lanky pitchers in R.J. Seidel and Tony Butler. The four-year colleges are unusually thin, however, and may not produce a pick on the first day of the draft. Mike Goetz has wrapped up the NCAA Division I batting title but is a one-tool player.
|National Top 200 Prospects
1. R.J. Seidel, rhp, Central HS, LaCrosse
|Other Players Of Note
2. Tony Butler, lhp, Oak Creek HS
3. Chris Roberts, ss, West HS, Oshkosh
4. Blaine Rutledge, inf, Madison Area Tech JC
5. Chad Pierce, c, Fond du Lac HS
6. Brett Scarpetta, rhp, Madison Area Tech JC (CONTROL: Braves)
7. Wes Munson, 3b, Fond du Lac HS
8. Mike Goetz, of, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
9. Joe Muraski, lhp/of, D.C. Everest HS, Rothschild
10. Ben Ihde, 1b, Neenah HS
1. R.J. Seidel, rhp (National rank: 172)
School: Central HS. Class: Sr.
Hometown: LaCrosse, Wis.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: 9/3/87.
Scouting Report: Wisconsin has more high school depth than usual this year, and much of it is ticketed for the University of Arkansas. The prize of the crop is Seidel, who along with Oak Creek lefthander Tony Butler and Fond du Lac catcher Chad Pierce has committed to the Razorbacks. Seidel is the most projectable pitcher in the upper Midwest, an athletic 6-foot-6, 185-pounder whose arm works so easily. His fastball presently ranges from 85-90 mph, but as he fills out his velocity could zoom up to the mid-90s. His curveball should become at least an average pitch, and he already has shown some mastery of a changeup. He’s also a football quarterback and a basketball forward for Central High, and scouts’ main concern is that he doesn’t dominate as much as he should against inferior competition in any of his three sports. Though he has a good chance to be a higher draft pick three years from now, Seidel is believed to be signable at least through the first five rounds.
State’s Top Talent Could Be Headed To College
Like Seidel, Tony Butler is tall (6-foot-7) and headed to Arkansas. Though he’s not as athletic or projectable as Seidel, he’s the top lefthanded pitching prospect in the upper Midwest. He has an 86-87 mph fastball that tops out at 90, and his curveball is a good second pitch. His arm action isn’t fluid, putting a lot of stress on his shoulder and making it difficult for him to maintain his velocity deep into games.
Talented but raw, Chris Roberts and Chad Pierce would be decent draft-and-follows if they weren’t committed to four-year colleges. The best athlete in Wisconsin, Roberts still could go in the first 10 rounds despite a scholarship from Michigan State. He has a nice lefthanded swing, bat speed and power potential, though his approach is geared to hitting everything out of the park. He has the feet and actions to stick at shortstop, but his stiff hands and fringy arm make the outfield his likely destination. Another Arkansas recruit, Pierce has some pop in his bat to go with catch-and-throw skills. Scouts want to see him make more consistent contact and firm up his 6-foot, 210-pound frame.
Coming out of high school, Blaine Rutledge had offers to play in the United States Hockey League, a developmental circuit. One area scout compares him to Matt Stairs for his lefthanded bat, disciplined approach and lack of defensive skills. Rutledge can hit and is a gamer, but he’ll have to move from third base to either first base or left field as a pro.
With a .493 average and his season complete, outfielder Mike Goetz has an insurmountable lead in the NCAA Division I batting race. He reached base safely in all 57 games and put together separate hitting streaks of 32 and 27 games. The Horizon League player of the year, he uses an opposite-field, contact-oriented approach. The rest of his tools are mediocre, as he has fringy speed and below-average power, arm strength and defensive skills.