State Report: Michigan

College talent makes up for weak high school class






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
The University of Michigan carries much of the load for the entire state this year, with the four top prospects in the Wolverine State. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre's strong play since coming back from a broken thumb gives him a chance to become the state's first first-rounder since the Yankees reached for David Parrish 10 years ago.

The college crop also has good depth, a stark contrast to a depleted high school group. A year after Daniel Fields received a $1.625 million bonus as a sixth-round pick from the Tigers, no prepster projects to go in the first 15 rounds and there might not be a single one signed.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Ryan LaMarre, of, Michigan (National Rank: 32)
2. Tyler Burgoon, rhp, Michigan (National Rank: 158)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

3. Alan Oaks, rhp, Michigan
4. Matt Miller, rhp, Michigan
5. Eli Boike, of, Michigan State
6. Jonathan Roof, ss, Michigan State
7. A.J. Achter, rhp, Michigan State
8. Chris Berset, c, Michigan
9. Myles Smith, rhp, Divine Child HS, Dearborn
10. Alex Lakatos, rhp, Forest Hills Central HS, Grand Rapids
11. Korey Hall, of, St. Mary's Prep, Orchard Lake
12. Dale Cornstubble, c, Central Michigan
13. Ryan LaPensee, of, Wayne State
14. Jeff Holm, 1b, Michigan State
15. Randon Henika, ss, Jackson CC

SCOUTING REPORTS

Ryan LaMarre, of

Michigan


Since breaking his thumb diving for a fly ball in the third game of the season and missing the next 18 games, LaMarre has returned with a vengeance and played himself into first-round consideration. He's one of the best college athletes available, a 6-foot-2, 206-pounder with plus-plus speed. Though the injury has cost him some strength in his wrist and left him basically swinging with one hand, he has consistently squared balls up and batted .424/.455/.660. He has enough bat speed and lift in his righthanded stroke to project as a plus hitter with slightly above-average power. His tools and performance have erased memories of a weak summer in the Cape Cod League in 2009. While he drew just four walks in 35 games this spring, he has shown solid plate discipline in the past. Though the Wolverines eased LaMarre back into their lineup as a left fielder, he's a legitimate center fielder with a decent arm. Area scouts love his makeup, raving about his gamer mentality, work ethic and value as a teammate.

Tyler Burgoon, rhp

Michigan


Five-foot-10, 160-pound righthanders aren't usually prospects, but Burgoon isn't the usual 5-foot-10, 160-pound righty. He has an exceedingly quick arm and a clean delivery, allowing him to maintain a 92-93 mph fastball with sink and armside run. He also has a wipeout slider that tops out at 85, and he throws both pitches for strikes. The 2009 Cape Cod League reliever of the year, he put on a show for scouts who came to watch Wolverines outfielder Ryan LaMarre in a series against Ohio State. Burgoon worked in all three games, sitting at 93 mph and touching 95 during a 3 2/3-inning stint in the middle contest and coming back with a 91 mph fastball and 80 mph slider on day three. Michigan tried Burgoon in its rotation earlier in the season before deciding he was more valuable in relief, and that will be his role in pro ball. He could go in the first five rounds to a team looking for a reliever who can advance quickly to the majors.

Oaks Finds Brighter Future On Mound

Alan Oaks was the best high school hitter in Michigan and a Tigers 50th-round draft pick as an outfielder in 2006. He was predominantly an outfielder in his first three seasons with the Wolverines and clubbed a regional-winning homer off David Price as freshman, but he never made consistent contact at the plate. Michigan used him as a two-way player last year, and he became a full-time pitcher and its Friday night starter this spring. Though the righthander tired down the stretch after tripling his previous career high with 92 innings, scouts say he's legitimate and might have been a top-five-round pick had he moved to the mound earlier in his career. In the first half of the season, Oaks worked in the low 90s and touched 94 mph with his fastball while flashing an average slider and changeup. He uses his high-three-quarters arm slot and 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame to work down in the strike zone. He threw too many sliders, however, and topped out at 91 with diminished command and secondary pitches by the end of the year. Once he gets more innings under his belt, his build should lend itself to durability. He has enough stuff to make it as a starter, or profiles well as a late-inning reliever.

While Oaks exceeded expectations at Michigan, Matt Miller went in the other direction. He's 6-foot-6, 217 pounds and has a 92-94 mph fastball, but he went just 3-3, 5.12 and fell out of the rotation. Miller has a long arm action that makes it easy to see his fastball, which also gets straight at times. His slider is inconsistent and he doesn't command it well. Still, his size and arm strength could get him drafted in the first 10 rounds.

Michigan State won 34 games this season, its most since 2002, when it matched a school record with five draftees. The Spartans could equal that mark this year, with outfielder Eli Boike, shortstop Jonathan Roof and righthander A.J. Achter all expected to go close to the 10th round.

The athletic Boike is a good senior sign. He's a 6-foot-1, 190-pound lefthanded hitter with some pop to the opposite field, slightly above-average speed and a plus arm in right field. He set career highs in almost every category this spring, batting .384/.453/.611 with eight homers.

Roof has extensive baseball bloodlines, as his father Gene and uncle Phil played in the major leagues and his brothers Eric and Shawn play in the Tigers system. Jonathan is the top defensive shortstop in the Big 10 Conference, with solid range, a strong arm and quality instincts. He'd go higher in the draft if scouts had more faith in his bat, but they worry that the 6-foot-1, 165-pounder lacks the strength to do much damage with wood. He's an average runner.

Achter lacks a true plus pitch, but he does a nice job of mixing three offerings. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound righthander's best weapon is his changeup, and he sets it up with an 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92. His overhand curveball has its moments, but it got slurvy toward the end of the season. He did a much better job of throwing strikes this spring.

Righthander Myles Smith has a quick arm and can hit 92 mph with his fastball, but he's not ready for pro ball. His heater sat in the mid-80s for much of the spring, and he has trouble throwing a breaking ball from his low three-quarters arm slot. He's also a quality defender at shortstop, but the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is too frail to do much damage with the bat. He won't get drafted high enough to divert him from attending Missouri.