State Report: Oklahoma

Historic year in Sooner State, led by amazing arms




Follow me on Twitter

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
Oklahoma has a historically good high school pitching crop this year, starting with the two best prep arms in the entire draft in Owasso's Dylan Bundy and Broken Arrow's Archie Bradley. Their dominance tended to overshadow fellow righthanders Michael Fulmer (Deer Creek), Mason Hope (Broken Arrow) and Adrian Houser (Locust Grove), but that trio also could go in the first five rounds.

The Sooner State's best college prospects all turned down 2010 draft offers: Oklahoma righthander Burch Smith and Oklahoma State righty Chris Marlowe were selected out of Texas junior colleges, while Oklahoma third baseman Garrett Buechele was a sophomore-eligible. Oklahoma jucos don't have a prospect along the lines of Western Oklahoma shortstop Andrelton Simmons or Connors State outfielder Marcus Knecht, who both went in the first three rounds a year ago.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Dylan Bundy, rhp, Owasso HS (National Rank: 2)
2. Archie Bradley, rhp, Broken Arrow HS (National Rank: 9)
3. Michael Fulmer, rhp, Deer Creek HS, Edmond (National Rank: 45)
4. Burch Smith, rhp, Oklahoma (National Rank: 91)
5. Chris Marlowe, rhp, Oklahoma State (National Rank: 99)
6. Mason Hope, rhp, Broken Arrow HS (National Rank: 127)
7. Adrian Houser, rhp, Locust Grove HS (National Rank: 135)
8. Garrett Buechele, 3b, Oklahoma (National Rank: 165)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

9. Ryan O'Sullivan, rhp, Oklahoma City
10. Brian Anderson, ss, Deer Creek HS, Edmond
11. Jonathan Gray, rhp, Eastern Oklahoma State JC
12. Tyler Ogle, c, Oklahoma
13. Mark Ginther, 3b, Oklahoma State
14. Cameron Seitzer, 1b, Oklahoma
15. Randy McCurry, rhp, Oklahoma State
16. Jordan John, lhp, Oklahoma
17. Mike Strong, lhp, Oklahoma State
18. Conor Costello, rhp, Santa Fe HS, Edmond
19. Matt Oberste, 3b, Connors State JC
20. Drew Stiner, c, Owasso HS
21. Zach Luevanos, c, Seminole State JC
22. Caleb Bushyhead, ss, Oklahoma
23. Dylan Delso, c, Broken Arrow HS
24. Michael Rocha, rhp, Oklahoma
25. Sean Johnson, rhp, Oral Roberts
26. Davis Duren, 2b, Oklahoma State
27. Nick Baligod, of, Oral Roberts
28. Drew Bowen, rhp, Oral Roberts
29. Kyle Brule, rhp, Oklahoma Baptist
30. Chris Ellison, of, Oklahoma
31. Zach Johnson, 1b, Oklahoma State
32. Jhiomar Veras, of, Western Oklahoma State JC
33. Chase Larsson, of, Cameron
34. Jordan Mings, 3b, Eastern Oklahoma State JC
35. Codey McElroy, 3b, Chattanooga HS
36. Hayden Sharp, rhp, Morris HS
37. Ryan Duke, rhp, Oklahoma
38. Chase Stevens, rhp, Seminole State JC
39. Kendall Mayer, rhp, Seminole State JC
40. Blake Barnes, rhp, Oklahoma State
41. Bobby Shore, rhp, Oklahoma
42. Brad Probst, rhp, Oklahoma State
43. Chris Munoz, 2b, Eastern Oklahoma JC
44. Kirk Walker, ss, Oklahoma City
45. Vance Woodruff, rhp, Southeastern Oklahoma State

SCOUTING REPORTS

Dylan Bundy, rhp

Owasso HS

This draft is deep in college arms, and one scouting director opined that Bundy has a better overall package than any of them. Bundy has operated at 94-97 mph for much of the spring, reaching triple digits on multiple occasions. If hitters try to sit on his fastball, he can make them look foolish with an upper-70s curveball, a high-80s cutter or a mid-80s changeup. The curveball and cutter are plus pitches, and the changeup is already an average offering. Bundy's feel for pitching is as impressive as his stuff. He has exceptional body control, allowing him to repeat his balanced, effortless delivery and locate his pitches with ease. He's not the tallest pitcher at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, but he's strong and throws downhill, so his size is not an issue. His makeup and work ethic are off the charts, too. Though he told teams in mid-May that his asking price was a six-year, $30 million contract—which would shatter Stephen Strasburg's draft-record $15.1 million deal—Bundy is too talented to fall too far in the draft. The Orioles signed his brother Bobby as an eighth-round pick in 2008 and could consider Dylan with the fourth overall choice. If Baltimore passes, he probably won't make it past the Diamondbacks at No. 7.

Archie Bradley, rhp

Broken Arrow HS

Just four Oklahoma high school pitchers have been drafted in the first round prior to 2011: Ronnie Walden, Jamey Wright, Matt Roney and Chad James. Dylan Bundy and Bradley will add to that list this June, and while Bundy has separated himself from Bradley (and every other prep pitcher in the nation) this spring, Bradley still should go in the upper half of the round. After showing a 92-95 mph fastball that touched 98 last summer, he wasn't at his best at the start of the season but was back in peak form by the time the state playoffs began in May. He touched 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun while striking out 14 and pitching a two-hit shutout in the Oklahoma 6-A state championship game against Owasso, then the nation's No. 1-ranked team. Bradley's hammer curveball can be just as devastating as his fastball, and he has some feel for a changeup. He has a clean delivery that he maintains well, though at times it can get out of whack. An athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, Bradley is also a top quarterback prospect who would play both baseball and football at Oklahoma in the unlikely event that he doesn't turn pro. Teams weren't taking his five-year, $20 million asking price seriously, though he could top the $5.25 million two-sport deal the Dodgers gave righthander/quarterback Zach Lee a year ago.

Michael Fulmer, rhp

Deer Creek HS, Edmond


Oklahoma has its best high school pitching crop ever, highlighted by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley and featuring three other arms who could go in the first five rounds. Fulmer is the best of the second tier and has improved his stock to the point where he could be a top-50 selection. After pitching at 87-91 mph on the showcase circuit last summer, he has boosted his fastball to the mid-90s and topped out at 97 mph this spring. He maintains his velocity, often showing some 93s and 94s in the late innings. His slider also has gotten harder, improving from 78-80 mph to 83-85. Like many high school pitchers, he'll need to refine a changeup. His arm works well, though he could firm up his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame.

Burch Smith, rhp

Oklahoma


The Indians selected Smith in each of the last two drafts, taking him in the 49th round in 2009 and in the 20th round a year ago. He'll go much higher this year after transferring from Howard (Texas) JC to Oklahoma, though he could have gone in the top three rounds in 2010 had he been more signable. Smith didn't pitch much until he was a high school senior, then served as the No. 4 starter on Howard's 2009 national championship team that went 65-1. Smith still isn't the most polished pitcher, but he throws 90-93 mph and reaches 95 with ease. He may find more velocity once he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame. He's doing a better job of throwing strikes this year, though his control needs more work, as does the rest of his arsenal. He throws two breaking balls, with his slider ranking ahead of his curveball, and has exhibited some feel for his changeup. If Smith continues to develop, he could become a No. 3 starter with a quality fastball and solid control and secondary pitches.

Chris Marlowe, rhp

Oklahoma State


Burch Smith (then at Howard JC) and Marlowe (Navarro JC) ranked as the top junior college prospects in Texas last year, and now they're the best college prospects in Oklahoma. Marlowe averaged 17.3 strikeouts per nine innings at Navarro, a rate that would have led all juco pitchers had he worked enough innings to qualify. He has been just as devastating at Oklahoma State, and his 15.5 whiffs per nine in the regular season would top NCAA Division I if he had enough innings. Both his fastball and curveball can be plus-plus pitches at times, though he relies on the latter too much. He pitches at 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 with his fastball, and he throws his curve at 83-84 mph. Though he's athletic, Marlowe isn't physical at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds. He has some effort in his delivery, which hampers his ability to throw strikes, and isn't as sharp when used on consecutive days. A 21st-round pick of the Blue Jays a year ago, Marlowe should be one of the first relievers drafted in 2011.

Mason Hope, rhp

Broken Arrow HS


Most of the time, a guy who can reach 94 mph with his fastball and back it up with a sharp breaking ball would be the top high school pitching prospect in his state and certainly on his team. That's not the case with Hope, the No. 2 starter on Broken Arrow's Oklahoma 6-A state championship team behind Archie Bradley, and the fourth-best arm in a loaded Sooner State prep class after Dylan Bundy, Bradley and Michael Fulmer. Athletic and projectable at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Hope usually pitches at 90-92 mph and could add velocity in the future. His curveball is a wipeout pitch at times. He lands hard on a stiff front leg in his delivery, which causes him to pitch up in the zone more than he should. Though his father Pat was a star pitcher at Oklahoma State in the mid-1980s, Hope has committed to archrival Oklahoma.

Adrian Houser, rhp

Locust Grove HS


Houser's last high school outing was one of his best. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with a 16-strikeout two-hitter in the Oklahoma 4-A quarterfinals, and two days later Locust Grove won its first baseball championship. Also a center fielder, he scored two of Locust Grove's four runs and threw out a runner at the plate in the semifinals, and made a nifty back-to-the-infield catch during the finale. An Oklahoma recruit, Houser has good size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and a quick arm capable of delivering 90-92 mph fastballs and topping out at 95. He also shows feel for a hard curveball but has a lot of work to do with his changeup. He uses his height and a high arm slot to throw on a steep downhill angle. Though he's athletic, Houser needs to do a better job of maintaining his delivery and command. His father Mike is the baseball coach at Locust Grove, and one of his cousins (Bob Davis) spent eights seasons in the big leagues as a big league catcher.


Garrett Buechele, 3b

Oklahoma


Buechele originally signed with Kansas, but changed his mind after the Jayhawks wanted to convert him into a catcher. After transferring to Oklahoma and sitting out 2008 in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, he has been one of the Sooners' best hitters for the last three years. The 6-foot, 205-pounder makes consistent contact, uses the whole field and has average power from the right side of the plate. He's a cerebral hitter with a good approach, no surprise considering that his father Steve played 11 years in the big leagues. While Buechele has good hands and instincts at third base, his arm is just decent and his speed is well below-average. He doesn't profile well defensively at any position, which detracts from his bat and his bloodlines. The Rangers drafted him in the 18th round a year ago, when he was a redshirt sophomore.

O'Sullivan Attractive Despite Layoff

Ryan O'Sullivan was supposed to be San Diego State's ace in 2011, following in the footsteps of Stephen Strasburg and Addison Reed. But O'Sullivan injured his elbow in his first inning of the 2010 season and didn't pitch again that year, then transferred to Oklahoma City for academic reasons, which also forced him to sit out this spring. O'Sullivan showcased his stuff in bullpen sessions at Oklahoma City and in front of dozens of scouts in workouts in his native California. A 6-foot-1, 195-pound righthander, he displayed a 92-94 mph fastball and 80-81 mph curveball. He has the same command but better stuff than his older brother Sean, a member of the Royals rotation. Scouts questions Ryan's work ethic but like his arm, and a team that overlooks his layoff could consider him as early as the fifth round. The Giants selected him in the 10th round out of high school three years ago.

Arkansas came away with commitments from three of the state's best high school prospects: Michael Fulmer, his Deer Creek teammate Brian Anderson and Santa Fe righthander Conor Costello. Anderson is the best prep position player in Oklahoma, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound athlete with the actions and above-average arm to stay at shortstop. He runs well and could grow into righthanded power potential once he adds strength. Triceps tendinitis limited Costello on the mound in 2010, but he was healthy this spring and his fastball jumped to 88-91 mph. He has a quick arm and more projection remaining in his slender 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame. He's a good athlete who also shows feel for sprinning a curveball.

Righthander Jonathan Gray was Oklahoma's top-rated high school prospect in 2010, when the Royals drafted him in the 13th round. Originally committed to Oklahoma, he switched to Eastern Oklahoma State JC so he would be eligible for this year's draft. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder is all about arm strength, as he has a 91-94 mph fastball and a hard slider. He's more strong than athletic and needs to iron out his delivery in order to improve his secondary pitches and control.

Oklahoma has had nine catchers drafted in the first 10 rounds, most recently Jackson Williams (sandwich round, Giants, 2007) and J.T. Wise (fifth round, Dodgers, 2009), and the Sooners should have another one this year in Tyler Ogle. The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder stands out most for his offensive ability. He makes consistent hard contact and has solid power from the right side of the plate, and he controls the strike zone well. He's a decent defender with fringy arm strength.

Mark Ginther has the size (6-foot-3, 202 pounds), athleticism, righthanded power and arm strength that scouts want in a third baseman. He looked like a potential top-three-rounds pick when he came out of Jenks High—where he quarterbacked the football team to two Oklahoma 6-A championships—but he has been too aggressive and inconsistent at the plate. He hurt his cause by hitting .215/.266/.323 with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has improved defensively in just his second season at the hot corner.

As a gifted line-drive hitter with gap power, Cameron Seitzer is reminiscent of his father Kevin, a two-time all-star who's now the Royals' batting coach. He has an advantage over his dad in that he bats lefthanded, but he's limited to first base, where his father played third. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder dropped from 16 homers in 2010 to four entering the NCAA playoffs this spring, and his power makes it hard to profile him as a regular at first. Seitzer has enough arm strength for the hot corner, but he doesn't move well enough to play there every day.

McCurry, John Make Comebacks From Elbow Surgery

Randy McCurry had a standout career at Tupelo (Okla.) HS, hitting .618 with 105 home runs, but his future is on the mound. (Those totals include fall results, so they aren't recognized as national records.) After blowing out his elbow while warming up for the first game of the 2010 season, McCurry had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire year. The 6-foot, 196-pound righthander has returned this spring to show a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 94 at times. He's still rebuilding arm strength, as his velocity has dipped to 88-91 on occasion, and rediscovering the feel for his slider. Scouts still worry about the violence in his delivery. A redshirt sophomore, McCurry probably would be a higher pick in 2012 after he puts his elbow reconstruction further behind him.

Another Tommy John survivor, lefthander Jordan John had his surgery just after his high school career ended in 2009. He redshirted at Oklahoma in 2010 and now, at age 21, he's a rare draft-eligible freshman. John has an ideal pitcher's build at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. His stuff is still on the way back, but he has found success throwing four pitches for strikes. A good athlete with a clean delivery, he gets good life on his 86-88 mph fastball and should add velocity as he matures.

Lefthander Mike Strong has been Oklahoma State's best starter in each of his two seasons since transferring from Iowa Western CC. Though he's just 6 feet and 187 pounds, he has a quick arm that produces an 88-92 mph fastball and a hard curveball. He throws strikes and has a chance to start in pro ball, though he profiles better as a reliever. He was selected in the last two drafts, by the White Sox in the 25th round in 2009 and by the Athletics in the 22nd round last year.

Matt Oberste was the Oklahoma high school coaches association male athlete of the year in 2009-10. He accounted for 31 touchdowns as a quarterback, averaged 16 points a game in basketball and hit .500 in baseball at Sallisaw High. Oklahoma State offered him an opportunity as a walk-on, but he opted to attend Connors State JC instead. Though he had a shoulder injury that limited him to DH for much of the season, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder ranked among the national juco leaders with 15 homers. A righthanded hitter, he has opposite-field power, good speed for his size and solid arm strength when healthy. He projects as a third baseman or corner outfielder.

Oklahoma has the two best high school pitchers in the entire draft in Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley, and each has a batterymate who's a legitimate prospect. Drew Stiner, Bundy's catcher at Owasso, has a well above-average arm and solid receiving skills. Scouts aren't as sold on the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder's bat speed and pull-happy approach from the right side of the plate, so he could wind up at Oklahoma State.

Dylan Delso, who caught Bradley and hard-throwing Mason Hope at Broken Arrow, is the opposite of Stiner in that his offense is ahead of his defense. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder's best tool is his righthanded power, though he'll have to prove he can make consistent contact against quality pitching. An Arizona State recruit, he has a fringy arm and must tighten up his receiving skills.

Oklahoma always has a few small-college players who put up huge numbers, and this year is no exception. Western Oklahoma State outfielder Jhiomar Veras led all NJCAA Division II players in hitting (.503) and homers (23) entering the D-II Juco World Series. He also tied for the D-II home run crown last year with 20. A former switch-hitter, he struggled from the left side and has became exclusively a righthanded hitter. A 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, he has some athleticism and speed to go with his power.

Cameron outfielder Chase Larsson led NCAA Division II in homers (29), RBIs (84), total bases (190) and slugging (1.000). He's a 6-foot-4, 220-pound lefthanded hitter whose bat will have to carry him in pro ball.