State Report: Indiana

Hoosier prospects come with question marks




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THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Rating compares this year's group to what a state typically produces, not to other states
After producing four first-round picks (A.J. Pollock, Eric Arnett, Kolbrin Vitek, Justin O'Conner) and two sandwich-rounders (Josh Phegley, Matt Bashore) in the last two drafts, Indiana isn't as bountiful this time around. Indiana outfielder Alex Dickerson may be a supplemental first-rounder, though he didn't quite live up to expectations, and neither did Valparaiso outfielder Kyle Gaedele.

The Hoosier State also has several interesting prep pitching prospects, led by lefthander Dillon Peters, but they all come with some question marks.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Alex Dickerson, of, Indiana (National Rank: 42)
2. Kyle Gaedele, of, Valparaiso (National Rank: 87)
3. Dillon Peters, lhp, Cathedral HS, Fishers (National Rank: 104)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

4. Brian Dupra, rhp, Notre Dame
5. Colin Rea, rhp, Indiana State
6. A.J. Reed, lhp, Terre Haute South HS
7. Blake Monar, lhp, Indiana
8. Jared Ruxer, rhp, Lawrence Central HS, Indianapolis
9. Jerrick Suiter, rhp, Valparaiso HS
10. Christian Montgomery, rhp, Lawrence Central HS, Indianapolis
11. Taylor Dennis, rhp, Southern Indiana
12. Cody Fick, 3b, Evansville
13. Max Kuhn, 2b, Zionsville Community HS
14. Max Andresen, c, Penn HS, Mishawaka
15. Blake Drake, rhp, Indiana State
16. Greg Wallace, of, Evansville
17. Cole Johnson, rhp, Notre Dame
18. Justin Blinn, of, Southern Indiana
19. Ian Nielsen, of, Taylor
20. Cody Elliott, of, Ball State

SCOUTING REPORTS

Alex Dickerson, of

Indiana


Dickerson established his hitting credentials by winning the Big Ten Conference triple crown (.419-24-75) as a sophomore, then batting .500 in a nine-game stint in the Cape Cod League before moving on to Team USA. He hasn't put up the same numbers this spring, as he has battled back problems and teams have pitched around him. He's still one of the better bats available in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefthander has pure hitting ability, average to plus power to all parts of the ballpark and an advanced approach. He tied Indiana's career home run record with 47 when he went deep in his final game of the season. Pitchers rarely have challenged Dickerson on the inner half, and scouts have lauded his willingness to use the opposite field. He's a below-average runner with substandard range and a fringy arm in left field, and he's going to have to work harder on defense to avoid a move to first base or DH. His back issues don't help in that regard, and he had surgery to repair a bulging disc while he was in high school.

Kyle Gaedele, of

Valparaiso


The shortest player in major league history, 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel, got one at-bat as a publicity stunt concocted by Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck. Gaedel was roughly half the size of his great-nephew Kyle, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder who's a lock to surpass former major leaguer Lloyd McClendon (eighth round, 1980) as the highest-drafted player ever from Valparaiso. Gaedel has a major league body, though his tools stand out more than his skills. He has plus raw power but he generates it more with pure strength than with bat speed. His righthanded swing gets long at times and he shows inconsistent recognition of breaking balls. Gaedel helped his cause by performing well with wood bats in the Northwoods League last summer. He's more than just a bat, as he has plus speed and a chance to play center field. It's more likely he'll fit on a corner, and his fringy arm fits better in left field. Gaedel generates mixed opinions. His biggest backers think he's a supplemental first-round talent, while others see him as a fourth-rounder.

Dillon Peters, lhp

Cathedral HS, Indianapolis


Peters has moved to the head of the class of an interesting group of Indiana high school pitchers, but he probably won't be drafted as high as his stuff alone would merit. His body (listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, though scouts think he's a couple of inches shorter) and strong commitment to Texas are concerns, though his biggest supporters liken him to Robbie Ross, a Rangers second-round pick in 2008. Peters' fastball runs from 90-94 mph, his hard curveball gives him a solid No. 2 pitch and his changeup is more advanced than with most high schoolers. His mechanics have a lot of effort and not much deception. His control is inconsistent and he gets little extension in his delivery, leading some scouts to wonder about how effective his fastball will be against pro hitters. Peters may not sign for less than first-round money, so there's no telling where he might go in the draft.

Dupra Makes A Turnaround

After hitting 96 mph in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2009, righthander Brian Dupra was supposed to be the state's top pitching prospect last year. Instead, he lost his stuff and his confidence and slid to the Tigers in the 11th round. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder made a huge turnaround this year and established himself as one of the better senior signs available in the entire draft. He turned in 11 quality starts in 15 outings, posting a 3.10 ERA that was less than half of the 6.40 ERA mark he had to show for the first three years of his college career. Dupra's fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 95 into the late innings, and scouts think it will play up if he comes out of the bullpen as projected in pro ball. He has more of a true slider than a slurve now, keeping hitters from sitting on his fastball, though it still needs more consistency. His command has improved too, and his changeup is effective enough that he'll probably get the chance to make it as a starter after he signs.

Rigthhander Colin Rea's freshman season at Northern Iowa was the last in the program's history, and after a year at St. Petersburg (Fla.) CC, he reunited with former Panthers coach Rick Heller at Indiana State. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder has opened eyes with his arm strength, and he has better secondary pitches and mechanics than former Sycamore Jacob Petricka, a second-rounder last year. Six-foot-5 and 205 pounds, Rea has an 88-92 mph sinker that peaks at 94. He has a mid-80s slider that morphs into an 88-89 mph cutter at times, and his curveball and changeup also have their moments. With his easy arm action and repeatable delivery, he should fill the strike zone, but he nibbles at the plate and doesn't challenge hitters like he should.

A.J. Reed set a Vigo County home run record with 18 as a junior, and when he came out throwing in the mid-80s this spring, some scouts wondered if he had a brighter future as a power-hitting first baseman. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound lefthander ended those thoughts when he started throwing 90-94 mph as the weather warmed up. Reed slings the ball from a low arm slot, and might find more velocity if he raises his arm angle. His slider also has added power, though it lacks consistency. He has committed to Kentucky.

A year ago, lefthander Blake Monar's career as a pitcher appeared finished. He injured his shoulder in Indiana's season opener and served as a reserve outfielder, then spent the summer lifting weights and honing his swing. But his arm bounced back in the fall, allowing him to return to the mound. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder's out pitch always has been his curveball, and he sets it up with an 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92. His changeup is effective at times, though he'll need better command to remain a starter rather than becoming a lefty specialist. Despite his comeback, his medical history still concerns some teams.

Christian Montgomery entered the year with a first-round grade from the Major League Scouting Bureau, but scouts considered him the second-best righthander at Lawrence Central High as the draft approached. They preferred Jared Ruxer, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder with a better body, delivery and makeup. Ruxer has good life on an 88-91 mph fastball that tops out at 93. He also has a hard curveball but doesn't command it as well as his heater. He could be tough to sign away from Louisville.

Montgomery created great expectations last summer, when he displayed a 90-95 mph fastball and an upper-70s curveball while on the showcase circuit. He touched 94 mph in his first start of 2011 but pitched in the mid-80s and topped out at 89 for most of the spring. He doesn't throw quality strikes with his fastball, and his breaking ball is now below-average. Scouts don't like his work ethic and worry that his 6-foot-1, 240-pound frame could get softer. He hasn't committed to a four-year school and is ticketed for Chipola (Fla.) JC.

Righthander Jerrick Suiter's athletic prowess drew interest from college programs in multiple sports. Indiana offered him a baseball scholarship and the chance to walk on its basketball team, but he opted to sign with Texas Christian, where he'll try to make the football team as a walk-on wide receiver. The Horned Frogs may give him a chance to contribute on the diamond as a two-way player, but they and pro teams value his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame on the mound. His speed and delivery haven't been as good as they were last summer, when he showed a 90-94 mph fastball and feel for three pitches. He has pitched more at 86-89 mph this spring, and his breaking ball and changeup (which has splitter action) haven't been as sharp. Scouts don't think pro teams can sign Suiter away from TCU, where he could blossom into a first-round pick for 2014.

Righthander Taylor Dennis was named MVP of the NCAA Division II College World Series in 2010 after winning two starts to lead Southern Indiana to its first-ever national title. Wiry and athletic at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, he has a quick arm that delivers hard sinkers up to 94 mph. His slider is a fringy second pitch.