State Report: Ohio

Premium talent and depth in the Buckeye State






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
With righthanders Stetson Allie and Alex Wimmers, Ohio should have its first pair of first-round picks since Chad Billingsley and Mitch Maier in 2003. In between, the state hasn't had anyone drafted before the sandwich round (Emmanuel Burriss in 2006, Cory Luebke in 2007).

The draft overall is down in terms of position players, but the Buckeye State can offer a talented high school catcher in Allie's batterymate Alex Lavisky, and one of college baseball's best athletes in Ohio outfielder Gauntlett Eldemire.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Stetson Allie, rhp, St. Edward HS, Lakewood (National Rank: 8)
2. Alex Wimmers, rhp, Ohio State (National Rank: 21)
3. Alex Lavisky, c, St. Edward HS, Lakewood (National Rank: 89)
4. Gauntlett Eldemire, of, Ohio (National Rank: 93)
5. Matt Suschak, rhp, Toledo (National Rank: 151)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

6. Tommy Shirley, lhp, Xavier
7. Dan Burkhart, c, Ohio State
8. Brett Weibley, rhp, Kent State
9. Robert Maddox, of, Ohio
10. Brian Garman, lhp, Cincinnati
11. Adam Eaton, of, Miami
12. Joel Bender, lhp, Oak Hills HS, Cincinnati
13. Tyler Skulina, rhp, Walsh Jesuit HS, Cuyahoga Falls
14. Dace Kime, rhp, Defiance HS
15. Jared Hoying, of/ss, Toledo
16. Johnny Fasola, rhp, Walsh Jesuit HS, Cuyahoga Falls
17. Michael Stephens, of, Ohio State
18. Robert Sabo, rhp, Kent State
19. Eric Marzec, rhp, Youngstown State
20. Dusty Isaacs, rhp, Lebanon HS
21. Ben Klafczynski, of, Kent State
22. Anthony Gallas, of, Kent State
23. David Whitehead, rhp, Moeller HS, Cincinnati
24. Zach Hurley, of, Ohio State
25. Matthew Johnson, 2b, Wooster
26. Burny Mitchem, rhp, Dayton
27. Brennan Smith, rhp, Bowling Green State
28. Dan Jensen, rhp, Cincinnati
29. Jordan Jankowski, rhp, Miami (Ohio)
30. Aiden Lucas, rhp, Denison

SCOUTING REPORTS

Stetson Allie, rhp

St. Edward HS, Lakewood


Based on his mid-90s fastball and hard slider, Allie entered 2010 as a likely first-round pick, but he had a reputation as more thrower than pitcher. He took a significant step forward in May, dialing his heater up to 98-99 mph and his slider up to 88-89 while showing more polish than ever before in consecutive starts, giving him a chance to go in the top 10 picks. He wasn't as electric or under control as much in his next two outings, so he'll probably go closer to the middle or end of the first round. His father Danny is a former scout and his coach at St. Edward, and he let Stetson throw 143 pitches in a complete-game win in the state Division I regional finals, in which he struck out nine but walked seven and hit two batters. Though he'll struggle with his control and command, the only pitcher in this draft with comparable pure stuff is Jameson Taillon. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Allie has cleaned up his delivery and command, and he maintains his overpowering stuff into the late innings. He had expressed a desire to hit, and he does have some of the best raw power in the draft. He famously hit a broken-bat homer at the East Coast Professional Showcase last summer, though his swing has gotten long this spring. With his size, power and arm strength, he could be an early-round pick as a third baseman, but he now accepts that his future is on the mound. A North Carolina recruit, he'll be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2012 if he doesn't turn pro this summer.

Alex Wimmers, rhp

Ohio State

Only a hamstring injury has been able to stop Wimmers this spring, as he won each of his first nine starts for the Buckeyes before missing the first three weekends in May. He also starred in 2009, sharing Big Ten Conference pitcher-of-the-year honors before leading Bourne to its first-ever Cape Cod League championship. Scouts said Wimmers had the most polished arsenal on the Cape, and few pitchers in this draft can match the depth of his repertoire. He has the best changeup in the 2010 draft crop, and one area scout said it's the best he has ever seen from an amateur. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94, and he could add a little more velocity if he builds arm strength by using it more in pro ball. His third pitch is a curveball that he easily throws for strikes. He's an athletic, 6-foot-2, 195-pounder who holds the record for career batting average (.457) at Cincinnati's storied Moeller High—the alma mater of Buddy Bell, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.

Alex Lavisky, c

St. Edward HS, Lakewood

Lavisky and batterymate Stetson Allie could be the highest-drafted pair of high school teammates in the 2010 draft. Allie has pitched his way solidly into the first round, while Lavisky's all-around ability and makeup have created interest as early as the sandwich round. More likely, he'll go around the third. He's a strong, 6-foot-1, 210-pounder with plus power from the right side of the plate. He has a sound swing, though there are potential issues with his timing and bat speed that may hamper his ability to hit for a high average. Because Allie has an electric and sometimes erratic arm, Lavisky has gotten plenty of experience receiving pro-quality stuff and has developed into a quality receiver. He has slightly above-average arm strength and makes accurate throws, though he could stand to shorten his release. St. Edward's starting quarterback before he decided to give up football last fall, Lavisky is a better athlete than most catchers and has strong leadership skills. He's not afraid to get on the talented Allie when needed. Lavisky has committed to Georgia Tech and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2012 if he attends college.

Gauntlett Eldemire, of

Ohio

Eldemire's value is in the eye of beholder. On sheer physical ability, he could be a first-round pick. He's one of the best college athletes in the draft, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder with above-average raw power and speed. That ability has translated onto the field, as he hit .398/.496/.726 with 16 homers and 16 steals this spring. Some scouts wonder how well his game will play at the pro level. He has natural strength and leverage, but he gears up for power and takes a big cut at the plate, which leads to strikeouts. He's unproven with wood bats, having hit .136 in seven games in the Great Lakes League in 2008 and bowing out of the Team USA trials last summer with a stress fracture in his left leg. Though he was clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash last fall, he goes from the right side of the plate to first base in a more pedestrian 4.3 seconds. He's more quick than instinctive in center field, and he tends to airmail throws with an arm that grades as playable. Eldemire has more upside than most college players, but he also is more raw than most college players. His tools package is enticing enough that he shouldn't last past three rounds.

Matt Suschak, rhp

Toledo

Suschak didn't attract much attention in his first two years at Toledo. His fastball jumped from the high 80s in his freshman season to the low 90s a year ago, but he had no success on the mound, going a combined 2-4, 11.01. A different Suschak has emerged this spring, and this one likely will get drafted in the first five rounds. For the first two months of the season, when the Rockets brought him out of the bullpen, his fastball resided at 92-95 mph and touched 96. He backed it up with a hard breaking ball alternately described as a curveball or slider, and also showed glimpses of a changeup. Though his 6-foot-4, 203-pound frame is built for durability and Toledo moved him into its rotation in late April, his future is as a reliever. He was much more effective in that role, with a 1.40 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings, compared to a 5.60 ERA and 30 whiffs in 35 innings in six starts.

Shirley Intrigues With Size, Arm Strength

Tommy Shirley went 2-7, 7.60 in his first two seasons before emerging this spring as an intriguing lefthander in a draft short on quality southpaws. He throws a heavy 88-91 mph fastball that tops out at 93, using his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame to leverage his heater down in the zone. He works both sides of the plate with his fastball and isn't afraid to challenge righthanders on the inner half. He has a rough finish to his delivery, landing on a stiff front leg, which costs him feel for his secondary pitches. He's trying to figure out a slider but is a one-pitch pitcher for now. His size and arm strength could get him into the first 10 rounds.

Ohio State signed catcher Dan Burkhart before starting to recruit his Moeller High (Cincinnati) batterymate, Alex Wimmers. After hitting 10 homers as a sophomore, Burkhart has hit just one in 277 at-bats between the Cape Cod League and his junior season at Ohio State. Though he has a good lefthanded swing and a fine sense of the strike zone, he lacks bat speed and can't turn around good fastballs. A good receiver with a fringe-average arm, he threw out 44 percent of basestealers this spring. Some scouts wonder if his 5-foot-11, 205-pound body could go south on him in a few years. Burkhart didn't have the season scouts hoped for, but a lefthanded-hitting catcher who provides sound defense figures to go in the top 10 rounds.

Brett Weibley hit 96 mph when he was solely a pitcher in the Cape Cod last summer, but he wasn't impressive on the mound when he doubled as a part-time third baseman for Kent State this spring. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound righthander ranged from 86-90 to 91-93 mph this spring and had trouble with his breaking ball and control. His changeup is more effective than his slurvy slider, and he has a lot of effort in his delivery. Weibley didn't pitch in high school and could make a big step forward once he focuses solely on the mound.

Robert Maddox outhomered Gauntlett Eldemire at Ohio this spring, leading the Mid-American Conference with 21 home runs. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder offers raw lefthanded power and not much else. He crushes fastballs but struggles against offspeed and breaking pitches and is vulnerable against lefthanders. A below-average runner and defender, he moved from first base to left field and may be best suited to DH.

Brian Garman has been in and out of Cincinnati's rotation the last three years, and he figures to be a reliever as a pro. When he comes out of the pen, the 5-foot-11, 202-pound lefthander has a 90-92 mph fastball and can reach the mid-80s with his slider. He has a short, quick arm action and throws strikes. He usually commands his fastball well, though when he tires as a starter he'll leave it up in the strike zone. Though he's small, his strong frame should make him a durable reliever. He's the best senior sign in Ohio this year.

At 5-foot-9 and 163 pounds, outfielder Adam Eaton is smaller than Garman. But outside of Gauntlett Eldemire, Eaton has the best tools in the state, and he knows how to use them better than Eldemire does. Eaton is a lefthanded hitter with good on-base skills, and his solid speed plays up in the bases and in center field. He has surprising pop for his size and solid arm strength. Scouts worry about how well he profiles because of his size and may target him more as a senior sign for 2011, but Eaton plays the game well.

Jared Hoying is a riddle. Scouts don't like his ugly lefthanded swing, which doesn't incorporate his lower half, but acknowledge his strength and tremendous bat speed. The combination results in a hitter who runs hot and cold, as evidenced by his career .284 average and 34 homers in three seasons. He has had success with wood bats, leading the Great Lakes League with a .750 slugging percentage last summer. Hoying has average speed and a strong arm, though repeated throwing errors dictated a move from shortstop to center field at midseason. The 6-foot-3, 189-pounder projects as a third baseman or right fielder in pro ball.

Prep Prospects Could Be College-Bound

Ohio had a promising high school class, but outside of St. Edward batterymates Steston Allie and Alex Lavisky, no one lived up to expectations. Lefthander Joel Bender and righthanders Tyler Skulina and Dace Kime battled minor maladies and rarely pitched as well as they did last summer, making it unlikely that teams will buy them away from quality college programs.

Bender pitched at 85-88 mph and couldn't find his breaking ball in front of an audience of crosscheckers at midseason. He was back up to 88-91 mph and flashed an effective curveball before coming down with a mild case of tendinitis at the end of the spring. but the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder likely is headed to Louisville.

Skulina had elbow issues at the end of last summer and back problems this spring, and at times his fastball dropped to the mid-80s. Once healthy, he pushed his fastball up to 90-93 mph and his career record to 26-0 through the Division II regional playoffs. He has a power slider that's inconsistent, and scouts say his arm action is long and his 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame is a little soft. He's committed to Virginia.

Kime is a product of the same Defiance program that spawned Chad Billingsley and Jonathon Niese. Kime had shoulder tightness last summer and felt a twinge in his bicep when he dove into a base this spring. He recovered to throw 86-91 mph and show the nastiest curveball in the state. His curve breaks so much that it's a chase pitch now and not an offering he can command for strikes, which will be a problem once he leaves high school. Like Bender, he's a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder and a Louisville recruit.