State Report: Upper Rockies
Talent is as thin as the air in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming
See also: Baseball America's Complete 2010 Draft Map
|THIS YEAR'S CROP
||One for the books
||Solid, not spectacular
||Not up to par
||Nothing to see here
This is traditionally a thin region that generates its selections from whatever the Idaho colleges provide. As usual, the top players out of the state hail from perennial NAIA power Lewis-Clark State, though there are no premium prospects this year. Montana and Wyoming have produced just eight draft picks over the past decade and don't have any players likely to be selected this year.
|NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS
1. Tyler Knigge, rhp, Lewis-Clark State
2. Kawika Emsley-Pai, c, Lewis-Clark State
3. Brian Burke, 1b, Lewis-Clark State
4. Cody Fassold, rhp, Lewis-Clark State
5. Tyler Lichty, rhp, Lewis-Clark State
7. Travis Huber, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho
8. J.D. Leckenby, rhp, Buhl (Idaho) HS
9. Cody Andersen, 1b, Shelley (Idaho) HS
10. Preston Olson, rhp, JC of Southern Idaho
Lewis-Clark State was the No. 1 seed in the NAIA World Series, serving as host of the event for the 11th straight year and playing to add to the school's NAIA-record 16 World Series titles.
The Warriors' top player is staff ace Tyler Knigge
. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Knigge has a durable frame and went 9-0, 2.59 with 66 strikeouts and 16 walks over 56 innings. He flashes plus stuff, getting his fastball up to 93 mph, but needs to sharpen his command and show more confidence on the mound.
Switch-hitting catcher Kawika Emsley-Pai
was highly touted out of high school in Washington as a teammate of Travis Snider. He spent his freshman season at Texas before transferring to Lewis-Clark. Emsley-Pai hasn't hit as scouts expected him to coming out of high school, and he's no longer athletic enough to play center field. He had back issues this year that kept him from catching every day, so his medical reports will play a role in where he gets drafted.
Senior first baseman Brian Burke
is regarded as one of the toughest players in the Northwest. Scouts love his makeup and retell the stories of him taking two years off between high school and college to work and help out his family. That makes him older, even for a college prospect, however. The Lancaster, Calif. native played two seasons at Cypress (Calif.) JC and spent last year at Kansas Wesleyan. He can also catch and play third base, so he has a little defensive versatility for a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder. Burke bats and throws righthanded and has some strength, but his swing is also a little stiff.
Righthander Cody Fassold
is the same pitcher he was last year at Lower Columba CC in Washington: 88-92 mph with a slider and an occasional changeup.
Southern Idaho's top prospect is 6-foot-3 righthander Travis Huber
, a freshman with a power arm out of the bullpen. He sits 88-90 mph and touches 92 with a sharp slider. Fellow righthander Preston Olson
could also get a shot because he's a lean 6-foot-6 and has touched 90 mph, although he's typically in the 86-88 range.
The best high school player in Idaho is righthander J.D. Leckenby
, who is committed to Washington State. He's tall and projectable and can touch 90 mph, but will likely head to college. Cody Andersen
has a great pro frame at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, so he looks the part. He also plays football. He's a switch-hitter with some strength, but he doesn't have a clearly defined position. He has also expressed interest in going on a Mormon mission, so teams might hold off on signing him.