It's no surprise that the University of Nebraska dominates the prospect landscape. The Huskers, who earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking this spring and have a good chance of making their first trip to the College World Series, have the state's top five prospects and a commitment from the best high school player.
Projected First-Round Picks
Possible Second- to Fifth-Round Picks
Adam Stern. East Carolina shortstop Lee Delfino is considered a slightly better prospect, but Stern could pass him as the first Canadian selected. Both figure to go near the fourth round. Stern is compared to Lenny Dykstra because he's a 5-foot-10, 178-pound sparkplug, but he lacks Dykstra's pop. He hit just .297 entering NCAA tournament play, the second-lowest average among Nebraska's regulars, but did bat .287 with wood in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has center-field range, the best outfield arm in the Big 12 Conference and is a plus runner.
Shane Komine. If Komine were even 6 feet tall, he'd probably be a first-round pick. As it is, he's 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds and his backhe fractured it as a kid and it still bothers him at timesworries scouts. He has gone 29-7 in three seasons, earning Big 12 Conference player-of-the-year award in 2000 and pitcher-of-the-year honors in 2001. He has big-time stuff, including an 89-94 mph fastball and a hard slider. He throws five pitches for strikes and is a master at changing speeds. An area scout will have to sell his scouting director on Komine, but there's a potential for a nice reward.
Others To Watch:
Nebraska has a monopoly on the state's talent, as the top five prospects play for the Huskers and the sixth-best is headed to Lincoln this fall. RHP Thom Ott has been inconsistent but has the stuff to be an effective pro reliever. At his best, he throws 90 mph and has a nasty slider. Sophomore 1B Matt Hopper hasn't matched his freshman production of 21 homers, though his power came back toward the end of the year. 1B Dan Johnson, a senior, set a school record with 24 homers and a Big 12 Conference mark with five longballs in the league tournament. He has tape-measure power from the left side, his lone tool, and he struggles against southpaws. OF Daniel Bruce, the state's best high school player, has offensive potential to go with average speed and arm strength. He's 5-foot-11 and a good student, so he probably won't get picked high enough to sign . . . Senior LHP Dan Gooris was a projected to go as high as the second round at the beginning of the 2000 season, then went in the eighth round to the Reds. He has slid further this spring, throwing only 82-86 mph because of poor mechanics. He has thrown in the low 90s in the past . . . Sophomore-eligible C Tim Gradoville is athletic and has a plus arm. He needs to get stronger to improve his offense.
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