State Report: Ohio




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Ohio normally supplies a few intriguing high school players in the first 10 rounds, but that hasn't been the case for the last couple of years. The strength this year comes from the college crop, though only Ohio's Marc Krauss looks like a good bet for the first five rounds. Kent State won the Mid-America Conference and has four of the state's top nine prospects, though righthanders Kyle Smith and Brad Stillings fell short of expectations.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Marc Krauss, of/3b, Ohio (National Rank: 56)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

2. Justin Collop, rhp, Toledo
3. Kyle Smith, rhp, Kent State
4. Brad Stillings, rhp, Kent State
5. Mike Spina, 3b, Cincinnati
6. Jon Pokorny, lhp, Kent State
7. Michael Hamann, rhp, Danbury HS, Lakeside-Marblehead
8. Lance Durham, 1b, Cincinnati
9. Anthony Gallas, of, Kent State
10. Jake Hale, rhp, Ohio State
11. Jordan Petraitis, 3b, Miami (Ohio)
12. Jamaal Hollis, rhp, Miami (Ohio)
13. Ryan Robowski, lhp, Ohio Dominican
14. Jason Bagoly, c, Austintown-Fitch HS, Austintown
15. Justin Jamison, rhp, Strongsville HS
16. Tommy Nurre, 1b, Miami (Ohio)
17. Jared Humphreys, of, Kent State
18. Jason Patton, of, Kent State
19. Chase Stewart, rhp, Miami (Ohio)
20. Quentin Cate, 3b, Wright State
21. Ryan Shay, ss, Bowling Green State
22. Cory Klenke, ss, Coldwater HS
23. Christian Lockett, rhp, Lincoln HS, Gahanna
24. Zach Hurley, of, Ohio State
25. Greg Rohan, 1b, Kent State
26. Tom Farmer, rhp, Akron
27. Danny Rosenbaum, lhp, Xavier
28. Jonathan Kountis, rhp, Ohio Dominican
29. Alan Morrison, lhp, Kent State
30. Hayden Johnston, of, Ohio

SCOUTING REPORTS

MARC KRAUSS, OF/3B, OHIO

After starring in his first two years at Ohio and in the Great Lakes League in between, Krauss went to the Cape Cod League last summer and left as a premium prospect. He led the Cape in RBIs (34) and on-base percentage (.473) and has continued to raise his profile this spring, batting .402 and leading the Mid-American Conference with 27 homers and 70 RBIs. A lefthanded hitter, Krauss has a quick bat and advanced approach, as he has a discerning eye and uses the entire field. He consistently squares balls on the barrel of the bat. Some scouts wonder how much power he'll have with wood, but the consensus is he should have average pop as a pro. Though he's more athletic than most 6-foot-3, 220-pounders and has played some third base, he'll have to be a left fielder at the next level. He has arm strength but his hands, range and quickness are just adequate. Krauss' bat will have to carry him, but it's good enough to do so. As one of the best college hitters in a thin year for them, he could get taken as early as the second round.

Collop Moves To Head Of Pitching Class

In a major upset, righthander Justin Collop moved past Kent State's Kyle Smith and Brad Stillings as the state's best pitching prospect—despite posting a career-worst 6.51 ERA as a junior. Collop, who came to Toledo on an academic scholarship, has seen his stuff steadily improve over the last three seasons. An athletic 6-foot-2, 177-pounder with a fast arm, he has three legitimate pitches when he's on. His fastball usually sits at 88-92 mph and touches 94, and his slider and splitter both have their moments. He lost the command of his secondary pitches in the second half of the season and got pounded.

Kent State had a pair of righthanders with aspirations of going in the first two rounds. The consensus was that while Brad Stillings had better present stuff, Kyle Smith had a higher ceiling. But the debate as to who was better was tabled in late April, when shoulder tendinitis sidelined Smith. He made two more appearances the rest of the season, but didn't show his usual quality stuff: an 88-92 mph two-seam fastball with good sink and a knockout slider. He also throws a changeup. Smith is a good athlete for a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder. Whichever team drafts him probably will monitor him during the summer before deciding whether to sign him in August.

Righthander Brad Stillings entered 2009 as a potential top-two-rounds pick, and he maintained that status through April 10, when he no-hit Toledo to improve to 5-0, 2.89. But he faltered badly afterward, going 1-4, 14.42 over his final six starts. He gave up three straight homers in the Mid-American Conference tournament, then surrendered nine runs in 2 1/3 innings against Arizona State in NCAA regional play. When he was pitching well, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder had a 91-94 mph fastball that touched 96, an effective slider and changeup, and the ability to locate his pitches. But in the final two months, he couldn't command his slider at all, allowing hitters to tee off on his fastball.

With Smith going down with shoulder problems and Stillings falling apart down the stretch, lefthander Jon Pokorny could become the first Kent State pitcher drafted this year. Batters have a tough time squaring up the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder, who has an 88-90 mph fastball and a curveball that eats up lefties. He's a two-pitch guy who'll remain a reliever in pro ball, though he loses 2-3 mph velocity off both his pitches when he works on consecutive days.

Third baseman Mike Spina broke Kevin Youkilis' Cincinnati single-season home run record with 21 in 2008, then upped the mark to 23 this spring. Spina has a lot in common with Youkilis: a similar build (6 feet, 209 pounds), a quality righthanded bat, the ability to work counts and entry into pro ball as a senior sign. Spina has more raw power than Youkilis did at the same stage of his career, though he's not as athletic or gifted defensively. He has enough arm strength and decent enough hands to be an adequate third baseman in pro ball. Undrafted in two years at Florida CC, Spina was selected in the 45th round by the Twins last June.

Another juco transfer broke another of Youkilis' records this spring. First baseman Lance Durham, whose father Leon was a big league all-star with the Cubs, surpassed Youkilis' single-season mark with 99 hits and set another school record with a .427 average. A lefthanded hitter who hooks a lot of balls but keeps more than his share in fair territory, Durham crushes fastballs and has trouble with offspeed pitches. He has a good approach and a discerning eye, though he can get too patient at times. Durham doesn't always turn his raw power loose, but when he does, he can drive the ball. He hit the longest ball in the history of Cincinnati's Marge Schott Stadium, an April 29 shot against Xavier that traveled an estimated 500 feet and landed on top of the school's basketball arena. Durham doesn't exactly have a pro body at 5-foot-10 and 233 pounds, and his speed, arm and range are all below average. But his bat and his bloodlines should get him drafted in the first 10-15 rounds. A 45th-round pick by the Tigers out of high school in 2006, Durham went undrafted in two seasons at Kaskaskia (Ill.) JC.

Righthander Michael Hamann is the best high school prospect in Ohio this year, but he probably won't be the first one drafted because he's strongly committed to Toledo. One scout compared him to current Rockets ace Justin Collop because Hamann has a similar build (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) and a variety of solid pitches. He works with an 87-89 mph fastball that touches 91, and a promising curveball and changeup. He's more polished than most high school pitchers and is a good athlete who also lettered in basketball and cross country.

Outfielder Anthony Gallas looks the part of a pro player with his 6-foot-2, 215-pound build and his righthanded power. He's a streaky hitter who gets himself out too often by chasing pitches. He has fringy speed and average arm strength, but he's not a good defender and will remain in left field as a pro.

Though senior righthander Jake Hale ranked second in NCAA Division I with an Ohio State-record 18 saves this spring, area scouts don't love him. They question his work ethic and makeup, and while they like his slider, they think he throws it way too often. The 6-foot-7, 200-pounder works in the high 80s and touches 91 mph with his fastball. He has been drafted twice previously, in the 24th round out high school by the Indians in 2005 and in the 20th round as a draft-eligible sophomore by the Blue Jays in 2007.

Senior Jordan Petraitis has the body and tools to be a successful third baseman, though he'll have to turn on more pitches and produce more home runs in pro ball. The 6-foot-3, 201-pounder has strength in his righthanded swing but doesn't drive the ball as much as scouts would like. A former shortstop, he has a strong arm and solid range at the hot corner.

Righthander Jamaal Hollis has impressive arm strength and his fastball sits at 90-92 mph. Yet the 6-foot-1, 211-pounder has remained in the bullpen and worked just 52 innings in three years at Miami (Ohio) because his secondary pitches are inconsistent. He works mostly with his heater and doesn't trust his curveball or changeup.

Catcher Jason Bagoly is a physical 6-foot-4, 220-pounder with an intriguing righthanded bat. He has power and arm strength, though he struggles receiving and isn't a lock to remain behind the plate. A Kent State recruit, he's the nephew of Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer.

Righthander Justin Jamison should be the first Ohio high school player drafted this year because he offers the best combination of ability and signability, despite his commitment to Ohio State. He's a 6-foot-8, 225-pounder who can hit 93 mph with his fastball but still is learning the art of pitching. Also a basketball standout, he has trouble maintaining consistency with his mechanics, command and secondary pitches.