State Report: Missouri




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
The Show-Me State boasts two of the best righthanders in the entire draft, but where—of even if—they'll go in the first round remains uncertain. Missouri's Kyle Gibson ranked fourth on our Top 200 Prospects list before coming down with a stress fracture in his forearm. Jacob Turner is the consensus best high school righty in the nation, but he gave pro teams pause with a reported $7 million asking price. Catcher Trevor Coleman and outfielder Aaron Senne, Gibson's teammates, were supposed to be the state's top position players. Both had disappointing seasons, though, allowing Missouri State slugger Ben Carlson to surpass them.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Kyle Gibson, rhp, Missouri (National Rank: 4)
2. Jacob Turner, rhp, Westminster Christian Academy (National Rank: 5)
3. Buddy Baumann, lhp, Missouri State (National Rank: 179)
4. Ben Carlson, of/1b, Missouri State (National Rank: 199)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

5. Nick Wooley, rhp, William Woods
6. Trevor Coleman, c, Missouri
7. Greg Folgia, of, Missouri
8. Aaron Senne, of, Missouri
9. Drew Levi, of, Oakville HS, St. Louis
10. Matt Sample, rhp, Crowder JC
11. Tim Clubb, rhp, Missouri State
12. Dave Sever, rhp, Saint Louis
13. Brayden Drake, 3b, Missouri State
14. Aaron Meade, lhp, Missouri State
15. Ryan Humphrey, of, St. Louis CC-Meramec
16. Brannon Champagne, of, St. Charles West HS
17. Josh Goodin, rhp, William Woods
18. Jim Klocke, c, Southeast Missouri State
19. Dallas Hord, c, Missouri State
20. Ryan Lollis, of, Missouri
21. Nathan Goro, 3b, Lafayette HS, Wildwood
22. Andy Heifner, rhp, St. Charles West HS
23. Luke Voit, c, Lafayette HS, Wildwood
24. Vincent Spilker, rhp, Raytown HS
25. Bubby Williams, c, Crowder JC

SCOUTING REPORTS

KYLE GIBSON, RHP, MISSOURI

Gibson doesn't have the arm strength of recent Missouri first-round picks Max Scherzer (2006, Diamondbacks) or Aaron Crow (2008, Nationals), but he may wind up being the best pitcher of the three. He relies on two-seam fastballs more than four-seamers, usually pitching at 88-91 mph with good sink and tailing action, though he can reach back for 94 mph when needed. He has two of the better secondary pitches in the draft, a crisp 82-85 mph slider and a deceptive changeup with fade that can generate swings and misses. All of his offerings play up because he has excellent command and pitchability. He repeats his smooth delivery easily, and his 6-foot-6, 208-pound frame allows him to throw on a steep downhill plane. If there's a knock on Gibson, it's that he hasn't added much velocity during his three years with the Tigers, but that hasn't stopped him from succeeding as soon as he stepped on campus. He led Team USA's college team with five wins last summer, including a victory in the gold-medal game at the the FISU World Championships. Gibson was a lock to go in the first 10 picks before doctors diagnosed a stress fracture in his pitching forearm days before the draft.

JACOB TURNER, RHP, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, ST. LOUIS

Already considered a mid-first-round talent entering the season, Turner was generating serious momentum a month before the draft. He had edged ahead of Shelby Miller (Texas) and Zack Wheeler (Georgia) as the top high school righthander in the draft, and was gaining ground on Kyle Gibson as the best pitching prospect in Missouri. Whether his draft position will reflect that status remains to be seen, as he's advised by the Scott Boras Corp. and reportedly will seek to match the record guarantee given to a high school pitcher: $7 million for Josh Beckett (Marlins, 1999) and Rick Porcello (Tigers, 2007). While Turner isn't quite at the same level Beckett and Porcello were when they came out of high school, he's quite talented. The 6-foot-5, 205 pounder has such an easy three-quarters delivery that it makes his 92-94 mph fastball (which tops out at 98) seem even faster. He has good aptitude for spinning a big-breaking curveball, and he has the makings of a good changeup. All three pitches were working when he struck out five straight hitters at the Aflac All-American Game last summer. The biggest quibble with Turner is that he sometimes doesn't command his curveball, but his delivery is repeatable and he does a good job of staying on top of the pitch, so he should gain more consistency with experience. He has benefited from the tutelage of former big leaguers Andy Benes, Mike Matheny and Todd Worrell, who have sons who have played at Westminster Christian. Said Worrell, the team's pitching coach: "He's got the whole package . . . As a pitcher, he's 6-5 with a perfect pitcher's body and a live arm." Turner has committed to North Carolina, just like last year's premium prep pitcher from Missouri, Tim Melville did before signing with the Royals for $1.25 million.

BUDDY BAUMANN, LHP, MISSOURI STATE

Baumann battled his control last spring as a sophomore but straightened it out in the Cape Cod League, where he won the all-star game. He had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in the fall but bounced back quickly—and strongly, winning Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of the year honors by going 11-1, 3.23 with 101 strikeouts in 86 innings. Baumann is small (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) and doesn't overpower hitters, but he can pitch. He's willing to work inside with his fastball, which sits at 89-91 mph early in games and dips to 86-89 in the later innings. He gets good life on his pitches from a three-quarters delivery, and he can drop down lower to confound hitters. His curveball and changeup are solid, and he does a nice job of mixing his pitches to keep batters off balance. He'll vary the shape and speed of his curve, making him even tougher to decipher. "If he were 6-foot-1," one scout said, "he could go in the second round." He's more likely to go in the fifth or sixth.

BEN CARLSON, OF/1B, MISSOURI STATE

Carlson stands out for his size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) and strength, which he has shown off by leading the Missouri Valley Conference in homers in each of the last two season. The younger brother of Tigers minor league first baseman Chris Carlson, Ben has effortless lefthanded power and the ball jumps off his bat. Though his average dropped from .379 a year ago to .301 this spring, he makes good contact for a slugger and shows patience at the plate. Carlson has spent most of his time in right field this season after playing first base as a freshman and DHing as a sophomore. He injured his elbow in summer ball in 2007 and had Tommy John surgery following the 2008 season. Though he's reasonably athletic for his size, he's a below-average runner who will move back to first base in pro ball. A team looking for a proven college slugger could pop him in the fourth or fifth round.

Third School A Charm For Wooley

Righthander Nick Wooley blossomed at William Woods, his third school in three years. After stops at Rend Lake (Ill.) CC and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, he has shown one of the best curveballs in the Midwest, a tight 12-to-6 hammer. He also has an 88-91 mph fastball, though it lacks life and sits up in the zone when he pushes it into the low 90s. He has a skinny 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, so scouts worry about his durability.

Catcher Trevor Coleman had a chance to go in the first three rounds after an all-star summer in the Cape Cod League, but he slumped offensively and defensively this spring. The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder is a switch-hitter with the strength to do some damage at the plate, but he doesn't put the barrel on the ball consistently and hit just .260 with six homers as a junior. Coleman's catch-and-throw skills weren't as sharp as usual this spring. He has caught past and projected first-rounders Max Scherzer (in workouts before he went to independent baseball), Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson, and has the tools to be at least a solid defender. He missed 12 games with ankle and hand injuries but returned in time for NCAA regionals.

Though he's undersized at 5-foot-10 and 194 pounds, Greg Folgia swung the biggest bat in the Missouri lineup this season, hitting .326 with team highs in homers (12) and RBIs (70). Folgia, a switch-hitter who won the Atlantic Collegiate  League batting title last summer at .388, has gap power and uses his average speed well on the bases. A center fielder in college, he may not be quick enough to play there in pro ball and could return to second base, where he played as a sophomore. He spent most of his freshman season as a pitcher and does have a strong arm, with a fastball clocked up to 92 mph.

Aaron Senne looks the part of a right fielder, as he's a 6-foot-2, 207-pounder with raw lefthanded power and arm strength. But his swing is too complicated with too many moving parts, and he batted just .305 with six homers this spring. Drafted in the 13th round out of a Minnesota high school by the Twins in 2006, he may not go much higher this time around after projecting as a possible third-rounder.

Outfielder Drew Levi is the state's best high school position player. He's a strong 6-foot-2, 200-pounder with a promising lefthanded bat and solid speed and arm strength. He's raw, so he'll need time to develop. He may be signable because he has committed to Jefferson (Mo.) CC rather than a four-year school.

Missouri's top junior college prospect is righthander Matt Sample, a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder who can throw 92-94 mph with little effort. He has little in the way of command or secondary pitches, so he'll be a project for whichever club drafts him. A 49th-round pick of the Rangers in 2008, he'll attend Arkansas State if he doesn't turn pro.

The Rays drafted righthander Tim Clubb in the 42nd round as a sophomore-eligible last year and monitored him closely in the Cape Cod League, but ultimately couldn't sign him. After leading Missouri State in wins his first two seasons and capturing the Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of the year award in 2008, Clubb wasn't as effective this spring and wound up in the bullpen. That will probably be his role in pro ball. His 83-86 mph cutter/slider remains his best pitch, but the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder lost command and velocity on his fastball (down to 87-88).