State Report: Nebraska

Rare college pick for first five rounds




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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
The Cornhusker State hasn't had a college position player drafted in the first five rounds since Alex Gordon went No. 2 overall in 2005, but that streak should end thanks to another Nebraska third baseman, Cody Asche. As usual, Nebraska and Creighton will produce the majority of the state's draft picks, and the top high school prospects will attend college rather than turn pro.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Cody Asche, 3b, Nebraska (National Rank: 116)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

2. Trever Adams, of, Creighton
3. Jonas Dufek, rhp, Creighton
4. Joe Holtmeyer, rhp, Nebraska-Omaha
5. A.J. Ladwig, rhp, Millard West HS, Omaha
6. Casey Hauptman, rhp, Nebraska
7. Blake Headley, 3b, Millard South HS, Omaha
8. Andre Kinder, lhp, Peru State
9. Taylor Doggett, of, Lincoln Southeast HS
10. Sean Yost, rhp, Nebraska

SCOUTING REPORTS

Cody Asche, 3b

Nebraska


While many college hitters have had trouble adjusting to less lively bats this spring, Asche has thrived. After totaling 19 doubles and 12 homers in his first two years at Nebraska, he drilled 27 and 12 in 2011. His season almost was derailed before it started, as he missed fall practice with stretched ligaments in the arch of his foot, but the injury responded to rest and rehabilitation. Asche's best tool is his lefthanded power, which rates a 55 or 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has good hand-eye coordination and a sound approach, so he should hit for a solid average as well. Six-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Asche is a decent runner once he gets going. He also has average arm strength, but lacks soft hands and quick feet, so he'll probably have to move off third base in pro ball. He's athletic enough to try the outfield, and some scouts wonder if his tools might translate well behind the plate.

Seniors Spark Bluejays

Creighton won its first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title since 2005 and its first MVC tournament championship since 2007, led by a pair of seniors who went undrafted a year ago. Outfielder Trever Adams has been the Bluejays' most dangerous hitter since transferring from Hutchinson (Kan.) CC. Strong and compact at 6 feet and 200 pounds, he had no trouble adjusting to the new bats. He carried a .392 average, a MVC-best 14 homers and a 42-game on-base streak into the NCAA regional playoffs. The righthanded hitter can get overly aggressive at the plate at times. His bat, power, speed and arm are all solid tools, and he profiles well as a right fielder.

Jonas Dufek won two games and MVP honors at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, then improved to 12-1, 2.08 by beating Georgia with a 10-strikeout complete game in Creighton's NCAA regional opener. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound righthander's stuff and command improved this season. He boosted his fastball from 87-89 mph a year ago to 89-91, tightened his slider and did a better job of locating both pitches. He has a loose arm and a sound delivery.

After leading NCAA Division II in strikeouts (152) and whiffs per nine innings (15.7) and then holding his own in the Cape Cod League in 2010, Joe Holtmeyer had early-round aspirations for the draft. But he changed his delivery in the Cape, going from a three-quarters arm slot to more over the top, and his stuff has suffered. Last year, the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder had a 91-93 mph fastball and a sharp curveball. Now he's pitching with more effort in his delivery, sitting mostly at 86-88 mph with his heater and using a slower curve. He's still racking up strikeouts, many of them with a changeup that has splitter action. He'll still get drafted, but it probably won't be in the first 10 rounds and he's not drawing Joe Blanton comparisons any longer.

Nebraska's best prep talent is projectable righthander A.J. Ladwig. He's a 6-foot-5, 185-pounder with a loose arm, clean delivery and a mid-80s fastball that peaks at 88. He also throws a slider/cutter and has good command for a high schooler. He's not ready for pro ball yet, so he'll attend Wichita State.