Scouting Reports: Wisconsin




2007 MLB Draft For the third time in four years, Wisconsin should have a player selected in the first three rounds, as Wisconsin-Stevens Point righthander Jordan Zimmerman is set to follow in the footsteps of high school pitchers Erik Cordier (second round, Royals, 2004) and Tony Butler (third round, Mariners, 2006).

THIS YEAR'S CROP
*****One for the books
****Banner year
***Solid, not spectacular
**Not up to par
*Nothing to see here
Carthage, a small college in Kenosha, joined the Pointers to give the state two teams at the Division III College World Series. Two of three best high school prospects can be found on the Tremper High pitching staff, with righty Andrew Paulauskas overtaking lefty Nick Rice in the minds of scouts.

National Top 200 Prospects

1. Jordan Zimmerman, rhp, Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Other Prospects Of Note

2. Andrew Paulauskas, rhp, Tremper HS, Kenosha
3. Cullen Sexton, rhp, Stevens Point (Wis.) Area HS
4. Nick Rice, lhp, Tremper HS, Kenosha, Wis.
5. Ryan Kussmaul, rhp, Madison Area Tech (Wis.) JC (CONTROL: Marlins)
6. Matt Mehne, rhp, Wisconsin-Stevens Point
7. Collin Kuhn, of, Beaver Dam (Wis.) HS
8. Cal Stanke, rhp, Wisconsin-Oshosh
9. Jacob Husing, rhp, Carthage (Wis.) College
10. David Casey, 1b, Whitefish Bay (Wis.) HS

Scouting Reports

1. Jordan Zimmerman, rhp (National rank: 97)
School: Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: 5/23/86.
Scouting Report: Zimmerman jumped up prospect lists last summer, when he led the Northwoods League in ERA (1.01) and strikeouts (92 in 80 innings) and ranked as the circuit's top prospect. Scouts haven't had an easy time following him this spring, however. Zimmerman broke his jaw in two places when he was struck by a batted ball while pitching live batting practice during an offseason workout. He missed three games and lost 10 pounds, and having wisdom teeth pulled during the season didn't help him regain his strength. Bad early-season weather also made it difficult to keep him on a regular schedule. Zimmerman's stuff was improving as the season went on, and he was consistently working in the low 90s and showing a quality slider as Wisconsin-Stevens Point entered the NCAA Division III playoffs. He also throws a changeup with promising action and uses a loopy curveball as a fourth pitch. Zimmerman regularly touched 93-95 in the Northwoods League, and scouts expect him to show that velocity more often as he adds more strength to his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame. He could go as high as the second round, but the third round is more likely. (UPDATE: Zimmerman earned MVP honors at the Division III College World Series, becoming the first player ever to receive that award without his team reaching the title game. He pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 10 strikeouts against Emory (Ga.), and batted .615 with two homers in four games as a DH.)

Tremper Has Pair Of Aces

Tremper High has two of the state's three best prep pitching prospects, and they both took part in a memorable 20-inning game. Lefthander Nick Rice started a contest against Horlick High (Racine) with six shutout innings, and Andrew Paulauskas followed with nine more in a game Tremper eventually won 3-2, with all the scoring coming in the 20th.

Rice was more highly regarded entering the spring, but Paulauskas has passed him. Though he's still raw like most Wisconsin high schoolers are, Paulauskas has a quick arm and a projectable 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He has shown a 90-91 mph fastball late in games, as well as the makings of a breaking ball. He has committed to Madison Area Tech Junior College.

Rice is lefthanded and has a bigger body (6-foot-6, 180 pounds), but his velocity has been down this spring. He topped out around 88 mph after flashing a 91-92 mph fastball in the past, and his arm speed seems to have decreased. He may not be signable away from Southern Illinois.

Stevens Point has a talented pitcher on its high school scene as well. Righthander Cullen Sexton is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound athlete who led his football team to the state Division 1 semifinals as a quarterback. He sustained a concussion and a pinched nerve in his shoulder playing football, so he got off to a slow start this spring. But he's still projectable and owns an 86-88 mph fastball that touches 90. He'll be a tough sign because he's the top student in his high school class and has a scholarship from Minnesota.

Ryan Kussmaul, the top juco prospect in Wisconsin, didn't sign with the Marlins as a 42nd-round draft-and-follow. He's another projectable righthander at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, and he has a clean arm action and a fastball that can reach 91 mph. His slider is a work in progress.