State Report: Mid-Atlantic

Delaware, D.C., Maryland, West Virginia group has a couple of premium players this year






See also: Baseball America's Complete 2010 Draft Map


THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
While New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to the north, and Virginia and the Carolinas to the south have produced their share of baseball talent in recent years, the Mid-Atlantic—which includes Delaware, Maryland, Washington and West Virginia—has lagged behind. The four-state region has had an average of 22 players drafted in each of the last three drafts, but just eight of those picks in the three drafts combined came in the first 10 rounds.

That makes this a strong year, with two premium players coming out of West Virginia. The state has not produced a first-round pick since 1997, when the Athletics took righthander Chris Enochs 11th overall out of the state's flagship university. West Virginia University could have a first-rounder again this year in Jedd Gyorko, and the state has prep righthander J.R. Bradley should go in the first five rounds. That would be a double unseen in the state since 1999, when the Orioles took prep lefthander Josh Cenate in the supplemental first round and the Rays took prep righthander Seth McClung in the fifth.

The rest of the region is at its more usual level of talent, though the University of Maryland could make noise in future years with first-year head coach Eric Bakich generating optimism and significantly improved recruiting at the school. Signability is a frequent question for both high school and college prospects in the area, particularly those schools with strong academic reputations like Georgetown and George Washington.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Jedd Gyorko, 2b/3b, West Virginia (National Rank: 39)
2. J.R. Bradley, rhp, Nitro (W.Va.) HS (National Rank: 162)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

3. Erick Fernandez, c, Georgetown
4. Adam Kolarek, lhp, Maryland
5. Eric Cantrell, rhp, George Washington
6. Tim Adleman, rhp, Georgetown
7. Brett Harman, rhp, Maryland
8. Victor Gomez, c, Marshall
9. Eric Potter, lhp, Maryland
10. Tom Zebroski, ss, George Washington
11. Alex Ramsay, c, Severna Park (Md.) HS
12. Kyle Convissar, ss, Severna Park (Md.) HS
13. Ryan Cuneo, 1b, Delaware
14. Carlos Alonso, 3b, Delaware
15. Noah Mull, lhp, Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.)

SCOUTING REPORTS

Jedd Gyorko, ss
West Virginia

Gyorko is on teams' draft boards for one reason: his bat. His position on those boards comes down to where teams think he'll play. A shortstop for the Mountaineers, no one is giving him a chance to stay there as a pro. He's labeled as a bad-body guy at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds and will have to work hard to keep himself in shape. His arm is average and he gets mixed reviews on his infield actions. Some think he can play second base, while others say his range will be too short. Third base is an option, but his average power may not be enough for the profile there. He's an above-average hitter, though, thanks to a good, balanced approach at the plate, a good feel for the strike zone and an ability to hit to all fields. He hit .409 and .421 with 16 home runs in his first two seasons at West Virginia, and .381/.472/.750 this season with 19 home runs, 28 doubles, 43 walks and just 24 strikeouts. The consensus is that the bat is easy to believe in, and in a draft short on college hitters, Gyorko doesn't figure to be available when the second round begins.

J.R. Bradley, rhp
Nitro (W.Va.) HS

West Virginia's Jedd Gyorko isn't the only player generating interest in the Mountain State this season. Bradley, a prep righthander from outside Charleston, was also coming on strong. A lanky, projectable righthander at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, his fastball ranges from 88-92 mph, but sits at 89-90, and he can touch 93-94 a couple of times in a game. His secondary stuff is raw, but he has shown flashes that the pitches could be average. He has outstanding control for a high school arm. He reportedly has walked just two batters in the last two seasons. Bradley has drawn comparisons to another 2010 righty in Keenan Kish. Bradley offers more projection, but less polish than Kish. He is committed to North Carolina State but figures to be signable. Scouts can't reach a consensus on where Bradley will get drafted, but considering his projection and signability there is little chance he lasts past the fifth round.

Swimming In The Shallow End

There's a talent gap after Jedd Gyorko and J.R. Bradley, and the next group is made up mostly of college pitchers who don't show much more than one pitch. Righthander Eric Cantrell has a below-average fastball, but has had success with a good changeup. As George Washington's Friday starter he went 8-4, 3.67 with 114 strikeouts and 27 walks in 101 innings. He has a good pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, providing hope that he could develop more velocity.

Maryland's squad is young but has a couple of pitchers that might generate interest. Righthander Brett Harman has a fastball that ranges from 88-92 mph and a good slider. His command is solid and he has a good frame at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. He went 5-8, 4.50 in 86 innings this season with 91 strikeouts and 25 walks.
 
Adam Kolarek is an adrenaline guy who thrives off pitching in relief. He's physical at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and pitches at 89-91 mph with his fastball, which is slightly above-average for a lefthander. Kolarek's performance this spring didn't reflect his ability, as he went 1-4, 6.06 in 36 innings, but that was attributable in part to a failed attempt to use him as a starter at the beginning of the season. Kolarek also throws a changeup and curveball, but those pitches are below-average and need plenty of work.

The overall catching crop in this draft is mediocre, which could benefit Georgetown backstop Erick Fernandez. He hit .317/.408/.483 in 180 at-bats this season, but scouts consider his bat light for pro ball. He's a converted infielder who profiles as a catch and throw specialist with an above-average arm. He'll likely get picked in rounds 6-10, and he profiles as at least a backup with his defensive ability, and more if he hits.

Two more West Virginia college products might get a shot in catcher Victor Gomez and lefthander Noah Mull. Gomez had a great career at Marshall and batted .363/.397/.656 with 16 home runs this spring. He has good raw power and probably won't stay behind the plate as a pro. Scouts think he could struggle to hit for average in pro ball because of a long swing.

Mull put up good numbers against lesser competition for Division II Wheeling Jesuit. In 56 innings he went 7-1, 2.09 with 81 strikeouts and 21 walks. He's just 5-foot-10, but his fastball ranges from 87-92 mph and he adds a good, slurvy breaking ball.