State Reports: Upper Rockies

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Idaho carries the freight for the Upper Rockies when it comes to the draft, and Lewis-Clark State, the 16-time NAIA national champion, carries the freight for Idaho. However, this year's Warriors were more of a team effort than last year's Beau Mills-led club. Mills set NAIA records for home runs and RBIs last season before becoming the Indians' first-round pick. The Warriors relied more on pitching this season and don't have a true star, but righthander Matt Fitts, who was draft-eligible a year ago as well, should squeeze into the first five or six rounds this time around. Montana and Wyoming figure to continue their tradition of being non-factors come draft time.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Matt Fitts, rhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State (National Rank: 195)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

2. Ryan Woods, rhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
3. Kyle Greene, 1b, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
4. Paul Martin, of, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
5. Blaine Hardy, lhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
6. Jason Barry, College of Idaho
7. Riley Bevill, rhp, Borah (Idaho) HS
8. Justin Smith, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho
9. Brent Wyatt, ss/of, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
10. Ryan Hutchinson, of, Campbell County HS, Gillette, Wyo.
11. Jason Braun, rhp, Corban College
12. Devin Scott, of, Skyview HS, Billings, Mont.

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Matt Fitts, rhp, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State (National Rank: 195)

As an eligible sophomore, Fitts didn't sign last year as the Astros' 15th-round pick, returning to Lewis-Clark State to help the Warriors try to win yet another NAIA national championship. He has won all 11 of his decisions and won the super-regional clincher for the Warriors. A high school teammate of UC Davis closer Justin Fitzgerald, and yet another Northern California prep product who figures to go high out of college this year, Fitts profiles as a back of the rotation starter. A Long Beach State transfer, Fitts has athleticism in his compact 6-foot-2 frame that allows him to throw quality strikes with three average pitches. His fastball is unremarkable but sits in the 91-92 mph range deep into pitch counts. He's not afraid to pitch inside, with 22 HBPs in just 14 starts. His slider is a swing-and-miss pitch at the college level and could use a bit more depth for pro ball to be a strikeout pitch. His changeup gives him a solid third offering. Fitts can be a bit home run prone and won't be an ace but should move quickly.

Warriors Rule Again

Lewis-Clark State won yet another NAIA national title and should produce several players who are drafted. The sleeper on the club is Ryan Woods, a 5-foot-11 righthanded reliever who rivals Fitts for having the best stuff on the team. A transfer from Edmonds (Wash.) CC, he's peaked at 93 mph with a violent delivery that he struggles to repeat. He's a slinger using a low three-quarters delivery to get life on his fastball. Despite his low arm slot, he does a solid job of keeping on top of his hard, slurvy breaking ball, which at times is a plus pitch.

He's no Beau Mills, but Kyle Greene put up Mills-like numbers with a .428/.509/.838 line with 19 homers, 30 doubles and 94 RBIs. Like Mills, he's played both corner infield spots and he has a fringe-average arm and enough athleticism to give third a whirl as a pro. He's a solid hitter with strength who may lack the bat speed to hit for significant power with wood.

Some scouts have seen Paul Martin good, with a pro body at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and solid-average run and throwing tools. Martin didn't hit (.306) as well as he'd need to for him to go out early.

Lefthander Blaine Hardy throws strikes with a fastball that reaches 90 mph but more frequently sits in the 86-87 range. His breaking balls are short for the lefthanded reliever role and he fits better as a senior sign.

Wyoming's top prospect is athletic outfielder Ryan Hutchinson, an all-state basketball player at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds who has signed to play baseball at Iowa Western CC. His best present tool is his above-average speed, and he's predictably raw offensively.