By Jim Callis
(Talent Ranking: *** out of five) Righthander Erik Cordier looked like a sure first-rounder in his first outing of the spring. He has cooled off but still should go in the second or third round, which would make him the state's highest pick since the Giants took Wisconsin-Oshkosh lefty Jack Taschner in the second round in 1999.
Projected First-Round Picks
Second- To Fifth-Round Talent
• Erik Cordier, rhp
Cordier won one game and walked 32 in 21 innings as a high school junior, but he made a name for himself on the showcase circuit. He starred at the Area Code Games and the Perfect Game World Showcase. In his first game as a senior, he showed off three plus pitches (89-95 mph fastball, curveball, changeup) in front of 15 scouts. Cordier's secondary pitches haven't been as impressive since, especially his curve, but he has regularly thrown 90-92 mph and touched 94. His 6-foot-3, 197-pound frame offers room for projection, and his arm works well. The prize of North Carolina State's recruiting class, Cordier solidified his status as a second- or third-rounder at a Perfect Game Predraft Showcase in mid-May. He was the most impressive performer on hand, topping out at 94 and flashing a plus changeup.
Others To Watch
• 1B Tyler Beranek is the state's top position player but looks much better in batting practice than he does in games. He's 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and capable of crushing balls, but he doesn't make consistent contact. He's a good athlete for his size. He missed most of his junior season with mononucleosis and has committed to Nevada-Las Vegas, one of college baseball's biggest launching pads.
• Brookfield Central High boasts two promising hitters in C Brandon Hall and 1B Ryan Schweikert. Hall had Tommy John surgery in 2003 but has recovered his arm strength. He's not much of an athlete and doesn't move well behind the plate, so his bat will have to carry him—and it just might. Schweikert, also a football prospect as a 6-foot-4, 215-pound tight end, is a one-tool power hitter at this point. Both are planning on attending junior colleges and could be draft-and-follow candidates.
• Wisconsin's top college prospect is RHP/1B Brady Endl, who rebounded from a disappointing junior season. Six-foot-five and 220 pounds, he simplified his repertoire and improved his fastball (from 85-86 mph to 87-90) and his curveball in the process. He ranks among NCAA Division III leaders in homers and victories and has outstanding numbers as a hitter (.419-17-59 in 44 games) and a pitcher (10-1, 2.18, 93 strikeouts in 78 innings). He'll stay on the mound full-time as a pro.
• On the subject of two-way standouts, RHP/3B Ben Stanczyk is the Horizon League player of the year (.378-8-38 in 46 games) and pitcher of the year (6-3, 3.61, 86 strikeouts in 87 innings). But scouts view him as just a good college player and aren't overwhelmed by any of his tools at third base or on the mound. After touching 92 mph in the past, he was down to 86-87 as a starter this year. He gets hitters out with the run on his fastball and by varying his arm slots.
• SS Grant Berkovitz is the best athlete among the state's position players, with solid-average speed and a good arm. He lacks strength and bat speed, which could lead to a future on the mound.
• RHP Dusty Brabender frustrates scouts. He's 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, and his arm works well. But his delivery is ugly—he flies open and drags his arm—and he's been either unable or unwilling to make adjustments. His velocity dipped from 87-90 mph last summer to 84-86 this spring, and his curveball has been ordinary. He'll probably wind up at Minnesota rather than turn pro.
• LHP Jordan Timm was Wisconsin's top college prospect in 2003 and Baltimore's unsigned 15th-round draft pick but has regressed as a senior. Though his performance has been fine (7-4, 2.38, 98 strikeouts in 83 innings), his velocity dips to 84-86 mph two innings into a game. He has made strides with his slurve and changeup, but more velocity is expected out of a 6-foot-6, 235-pounder.
• Timm's batterymate, C Korey Feiner, could be taken ahead of him. He has catch-and-throw and leadership skills, along with some pop and an aptitude for getting on base.