Scouting Reports: Minnesota

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The Gopher State won’t produce an early-round pick for the second
consecutive draft, though University of Minnesota righthander Josh
Oslin should go higher than last year’s first choice, high school
outfielder Aaron Senne (13th round). Minnesota’s small colleges have
more than their share of prospects in 2007, though there may not be a
high school player who gets selected high enough to turn pro.

1. Josh Oslin, rhp, Minnesota
2. Gary Perinar, rhp, Minnesota
3. Nick Fellman, rhp, Minnesota State-Mankato
4. Andrew Schmiesing, of, St. Olaf (Minn.)
5. Dustin Klabunde, rhp, McLeod West HS, Brownton, Minn.
6. Jon Bjelland, lhp, Minnesota State-Mankato (SIGNED: Diamondbacks)
7. Ben Barrone, c, Winona State (Minn.)
8. Tyler Rank, c, Mayo HS, Rochester, Minn.
9. Erik Knutson, of, Marshall HS, Rochester, Minn.
10. Dane Secott, rhp, Minnesota State-Mankato
11. Mike Kvasnicka, c, Lakeville (Minn.) North HS
12. Seth Rosin, rhp, Mounds View HS, Arden Hills, Minn.
13. Matt Nohelty, of, Minnesota
14. Mike Mee, of, Minnesota
15. Dan Lyons, ss, Minnesota


Oslin, Perinar Switch Roles

Josh Oslin
moved from the rotation to the closer’s role for Minnesota and had more
success than he did in his first two years. Oslin posted a 2.53 ERA and
11 saves, and he picked up the win by retiring all five batters he
faced as the Golden Gophers upset national seed San Diego in NCAA
regional play. Still projectable at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Oslin has
good command of a 90-91 mph fastball. He relies almost exclusively on
heaters low in the strike zone, and he also has a downer curveball.

Golden Gophers righthander Gary Perinar
was much more dominant out of the bullpen in his first two seasons than
he was as a starter this year. He got just one out in a season-ending
loss to Fresno State in the NCAA regionals, and scouts believe he’ll
regain his edge when he returns to a relief role. He’s still throwing a
heavy, low-90s fastball, but his slider has gotten softer. His command
is the biggest long-term concern, as he never has thrown strikes on a
consistent basis.

Minnesota State-Mankato has three pitching prospects. Righthander Nick Fellman
led NCAA Division II with 18 saves in 2006 and added 14 this year.
Six-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he works with a 90-91 mph fastball and a
good slider. Lefty Jon Bjelland, who began his
college career at Butler in 2003 and redshirted in 2004, signed with
the Diamondbacks as a fifth-year senior free agent. Six-foot-5 and 215
pounds, he ranked among the D-II leaders in wins (11-0), ERA (2.16),
strikeouts (95) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.1). He repeats his
delivery, giving him good command of an 86-89 mph fastball and a 75-77
mph slurve. Righty Dane Secott matched Bjelland’s
strikeout ratio, thanks to an average fastball and a good changeup. But
he uses a lot of effort to generate velocity with his 6-foot, 180-pound

Outfielder Andrew Schmiesing is easily
the best athlete in the state. He’s a 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver
who tied a St. Olaf record with nine touchdown catches last fall, and
he’s also a gifted outfielder. His long frame helps him generate easy
power to all fields, and he’s an above-average runner capable of
playing center field. It may be tough to sign Schmiesing as a junior
because he wants to return for his final football season and is a
pre-med student. His father Mike was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles
as a running back after playing at St. Olaf.

Catcher Ben Barrone
is yet another small-college standout. The NCAA Division II national
player of the year, he led D-II with 27 homers (despite Winona State
losing 16 games to weather) and a 1.089 slugging percentage. Barrone,
who spent a year each at Des Moines Area (Iowa) Community College and
Minnesota State-Mankato before joining the Warriors, has a solid arm to
go with his power and served as Winona State’s closer. He proved he
could hit with wood bats last summer, hitting five homers in his first
five games after arriving in the Northwoods League as a temp player.

Righthander Dustin Klabunde,
the best high school prospect in the state, is a projectable 6-foot-3,
180-pounder who can touch the low 90s with his fastball. Though raw,
he’s a good athlete who set the career scoring record for McLeod West’s
basketball team and had offers to play small-college hoops. He’s firmly
committed to Minnesota and considered unsignable.

The best prep position player in Minnesota is catcher Tyler Rank.
At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he offers a lot of lefthanded power. He has
a whole-field approach, arm strength and the athleticism to earn
all-state honors as a football linebacker and running back. It’s
unlikely he can be signed away from a scholarship to Nebraska.