State Reports: Indiana




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Indiana's best prospect, Greensburg High righthander Alex Meyer, could wait a long time to hear his name called because he's considered such a tough sign that many teams didn't bother to follow him closely this spring. The top two picks will be a pair of college relievers, Purdue's Josh Lindblom and Notre Dame's Kyle Weiland. There's a quick dropoff in talent after that, even with a pair of small-college righthanders, Indiana Wesleyan's Brandon Moore and Indianapolis' Brandon Braboy, adding some depth. The only position player of note is Purdue first baseman Ryne White.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Alex Meyer, rhp, Greensburg HS (National Rank: 25)
2. Josh Lindblom, rhp, Purdue (National Rank: 71)
3. Kyle Weiland, rhp, Notre Dame (National Rank: 88)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

4. Ryne White, 1b, Purdue
5. David Phelps, rhp, Notre Dame
6. Brandon Moore, rhp, Indiana Wesleyan
7. Blake Monar, lhp, South Spencer HS, Rockport
8. Brandon Braboy, rhp, Indianapolis
9. Brett Graffy, rhp, Notre Dame
10. Sam Elam, lhp, Notre Dame
11. Matt Bischoff, rhp, Purdue
12. Brad Hook, 1b, Franklin Community HS, Franklin
13. Ryan Wright, ss, Homestead HS, Fort Wayne
14. Dean Anna, ss, Ball State
15. Andrew Means, of, Indiana
16. Evan Sharpley, 1b, Notre Dame
17. Kyle Heyne, rhp, Ball State
18. Wade Korpi, lhp, Notre Dame
19. Chad Dawson, rhp, Indiana State
20. Zach Rodeghero, of, Valparaiso

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Alex Meyer, rhp, Greensburg HS (National Rank: 25)

Meyer created a huge stir at the Perfect Game National showcase last summer. He hadn't planned on attending the event, but his summer team was already in Cincinnati so he stopped by to pitch two innings. Meyer threw his fastball from 92-95 mph, and his hard breaking ball was even nastier. Just like that, he was tabbed as a potential first-rounder for the 2008 draft. This spring, Meyer has continued to show the talent to go in the bottom of the first round, but clubs don't think he'll sign even if he does go that high. He's advised by the Scott Boras Corp., and seems destined to attend Kentucky, so it's unlikely a team will gamble a premium draft choice on him. Meyer throws his pitches on a steep downward plane, thanks to his 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame. Unlike many big pitchers, he doesn't have much difficulty keeping his mechanics in sync and repeating his delivery, the result of the athleticism that makes him an all-conference center for his high school basketball team. If Meyer does opt for the Wildcats over pro ball, it's easy to envision him in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

2. Josh Lindblom, rhp, Purdue (National Rank: 71)

The highest-drafted player from 2005 who still has yet to turn pro, Lindblom turned down $300,000 as a third-round pick of the Astros. After spending one year at Tennessee and two at Purdue, he'll likely go one round higher this June. Lindblom scuffled as a starter before the Boilermakers made him a reliever late in the season. Now that he no longer has to pace himself, Lindblom throws at 94-95 mph with heavy life as he goes full bore for one or two innings. His hard curveball has improved, and he has quickened his delivery as well. He also mixes in an occasional splitter. Lindblom throws strikes but works out of a higher arm slot, making his pitches easier to see and more hittable than they seemingly should be. He has a resilient arm and workhorse build at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, but his stuff has been so much more electric out of the pen, suggesting that is his best role as a pro.

3. Kyle Weiland, rhp, Notre Dame (National Rank: 88)

Weiland has a good chance to go in the first three rounds as a reliever, but he might be starting for Notre Dame if he hadn't fallen and broken his collarbone the December before his sophomore season. After he saved 16 games as a freshman, the Fighting Irish ticketed him for their rotation in 2007. However he had a hard time making the transition to starting while recovering from the injury. Weiland enjoyed immediate success after returning to the bullpen, where he could focus on his 91-94 mph fastball and 80-82 mph slider. He owns school records for single-season and career (25) saves. The slider gives him a second plus pitch at times, though he can fall in love with it too much. Six-foot-3 and 180 pounds, he throws strikes but sometimes battles the location of his pitches in the zone. Weiland's stuff was down slightly a month before the draft, and he hit three batters in one inning against Pittsburgh.

White Finds More Power

First baseman Ryne White is far and away the most advanced hitter in the state. He batted .333 this spring after finishing third in NCAA Division I with a .452 batting average in 2007, but he did increase his power (from eight to 12 homers) and continued to control the strike zone (35 walks, 21 strikeouts). White has a quick bat, tremendous hand-eye coordination and a whole-field approach. He made adjustments this year to get more power out of his stroke. He's short for a first baseman at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, but he has an average arm and could get a pro opportunity in the outfield, where he played as a freshman.

Another player who couldn't match his gaudy sophomore numbers is rigthhander David Phelps, who last year joined Aaron Heilman as the only pitchers in Notre Dame history with triple-digit strikeouts and a sub-2.00 ERA. Phelps hasn't commanded his curveball and changeup as well in 2008, but he's still 6-foot-3 with a quick arm and a 90-93 mph fastball. Like White, Phelps will go somewhere in the first eight rounds. His brother Mike pitches in the Cubs system.

Righthander Brandon Moore threw a 10-inning complete-game victory with 14 strikeouts at the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series, where Indiana Wesleyan finished second. Not only does Moore have a 90-93 mph fastball and the ability to spin a good 78-80 mph curve, but scouts also like his frame (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and arm action.

Righthander Brandon Braboy is another small-college starter who emerged this spring. NCAA Division II Indianapolis recruited him from Rend Lake (Ill.) CC as a shortstop, but he has found a home on the mound as his fastball consistently touched 94-95 mph this spring. Though he's just 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, he generates his plus velocity more with arm speed than effort. His breaking ball and his command are still raw, but his arm strength is hard to ignore.

Few high school pitchers have a better pair of breaking pitches than lefthander Blake Monar does. His 12-to-6 curveball receives the most notoriety, and his slider is a potential out pitch as well. Monar's fastball is less impressive, parking in the mid-80s, and at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he doesn't project to add much velocity. He's committed to Indiana, and he may not be signable if he doesn't go in the first five rounds.

Righthander Brett Graffy and lefty Sam Elam entered the year with lofty draft aspirations, then combined to pitch just 12 innings for Notre Dame. Graffy, who touched 95 mph in his last Cape Cod League outing last summer, gets more run on his fastball and pitches in the high 80s when he drops down to a three-quarters arm slot. His splitter is a promising second pitch. Control never has been Graffy's strongest suit, and when he couldn't throw strikes he lost his role in the Fighting Irish bullpen.

Elam's control is even more iffy than Graffy's, and it went away in 2008. In his lone inning of work, Elam walked four and threw four wild pitches. His only other appearance came in an exhibition against low Class A South Bend, during which he beaned a batter. He has good raw stuff for a lefthander, with a low-90s fastball and a hard breaking ball, and he can find the zone when he's working out in the bullpen. A team could get a bargain if it could straighten Elam out.

Brad Hook is Indiana's best high school hitter. He has more well-rounded tools than most first basemen, as he was a four-year starter at quarterback and had a strong spring on the mound, but it's his lefthanded power potential that makes him attractive. He has loose hands and a quick bat. If he follows through on his college commitment, he'll be the third lefty slugger from Indiana to suit up for South Alabama in recent years, following Adam Lind and Jeff Cunningham.

Football players Andrew Means and Evan Sharpley rank among the state's top college position players. Means, who caught 48 passes for Indiana in the fall, has more tools than skills in baseball. He's a ripped 6-foot-1, 215-pound center fielder with plus-plus speed, though he needs to use his strength to drive more balls and must refine his approach at the plate. Sharpley, who started two games at quarterback for Notre Dame last fall, packs a lot of raw power in his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame. He homered 13 times in just 136 at-bats, but he also swings and misses too much (47 strikeouts) and hasn't developed his skills either. Signability is a concern with both players.

Two of the state's best pitching prospects were hurt this spring, torpedoing their draft plans. Kokomo High lefthander Bryce Robinson had shoulder surgery last September and barely pitched this spring. When he did take the mound, he didn't approach his previous low-90s velocity, so he'll almost certainly wind up going to Georgia Tech.

Evansville sophomore-eligible righthander Wade Kapteyn came down with tendinitis in the middle finger on his pitching hand, which hampered him throughout the season. He lost velocity on his fastball and curveball, and teams will wait to make a run at him in 2009.