Scouting Reports: Nevada

2007 MLB Draft Las Vegas figures to produce another player who could be picked in the first two rounds of the draft in Bishop Gorman High's Taylor Cole, a shortstop who just happens to throw 94 mph with a clean, easy arm action and good delivery. Cole had to be plenty good to vault past the excellent junior college talent in the state this spring, as the Community College of Southern
*****One for the books
****Banner year
***Solid, not spectacular
**Not up to par
*Nothing to see here
Nevada continues to produce good prospects. This year's juco story, though, was former walk-on Cole Rohrbough, who led a deep pitching staff at Western Nevada that beat CCSN and went all the way to Grand Junction, Colo., for the Junior College World Series.

National Top 200 Prospects

1. Taylor Cole, rhp, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
2. Cole Rohrbough, lhp, Western Nevada CC
3. Chad Robinson, rhp, CC of Southern Nevada
4. Colby Shreve, rhp, CC of Southern Nevada

Other Prospects Of Note

5. Stephen Sauer, rhp, Western Nevada CC
6. Kevin Skogley, lhp, Nevada-Las Vegas
7. Ryan Rodriguez, rhp, Nevada
8. Konrad Schmidt, c, Nevada
9. Craig Heyer, lhp, Nevada-Las Vegas
10. Mike McDade, c, Silverado HS, Las Vegas
11. Braeden Schlehuber, c, CC of Southern Nevada
12. Ty Manumaleuna, 3b/1b, CC of Southern Nevada (CONTROL: Phillies)
13. Chase Leavitt, 2b/of, CC of Southern Nevada
14. Calvin Beamon, of, Nevada-Las Vegas
15. Tyler Lavigne, rhp, CC of Southern Nevada
16. Brad Carlson, of, Western Nevada CC
17. Tony Thompson, rhp/3b, Galena HS, Reno
18. Easton Gust, ss, CC of Southern Nevada
19. Mike Blazek, rhp/ss, Arbor View HS, Las Vegas
19. Brian Barnett, 3b, McQueen HS, Reno
20. Justin Baca, rhp, Sierra Vista HS, Las Vegas
21. Kevin Rath, lhp, Sliverado HS, Reno
22. Rod Scurry, rhp, Nevada
23. Justin Garcia, rhp, Western Nevada CC

Scouting Reports

1. Taylor Cole, rhp (National rank: 79)
School: Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas. Class: Sr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Birthdate: 8/20/89.
Scouting Report: Cole leaped past Colby Shreve in some minds as the best prospect in Nevada, and like Shreve he had made his name as much for his hitting as for his pitching entering the season. Already one of the state's top prospects last year as a shortstop with athleticism, plus speed (6.7-second 60 times) and some hitting ability, he emerged as a bona fide pitching prospect last summer, helping his team reach the American Legion World Series. Once he realized he had professional potential, Cole hit the weight room with a professional trainer and got into outstanding shape for his senior season. He's a fast-twitch athlete with a quick arm that pumps fastballs up to 95 mph, though the pitch sits more in the 89-93 range. His slider and late-sinking changeup are inconsistent, but both pitches improved during the season. At 17, Cole is younger than most draft-eligible prospects, with time to fill out both his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame and repertoire. He's committed to Brigham Young but has convinced most local scouts he's signable in the first five rounds and will put off his Mormon mission until after his pro career.

2. Cole Rohrbough, lhp (National rank: 94)
School: Western Nevada CC. Class: So.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 223. Birthdate: 5/23/87.
Scouting Report: Rohrbough was somewhat unknown in high school back in Oregon, as he'd flash power stuff from the left side but went just 7-5 as a senior and struggled with inconsistent command. The Braves drafted-and-followed him to Western Nevada Community College, in the wood-bat Scenic West Athletic Conference, and he blossomed, working with the same pitching coach (Dennis Banks) who helps tutor Devil Rays farmhand Jacob McGee in the offseason. While he's not McGee, Rohrbough has flashed a pair of plus pitches, with a fastball that has touched 94 and sits in the 88-91 mph range consistently. He curveball is his out pitch; it's a power spike with excellent depth, and he's shown the ability to throw it for strikes more frequently. He's also shown the makings of a good changeup. The Braves were expected to make a strong run at Rohrbough once WNCC was done in the NJCAA World Series.

3. Chad Robinson, rhp (National rank: 153)
School: CC of Southern Nevada. Class: --
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 210. Birthdate: 11/13/87.
Scouting Report: Rumors of Robinson's signing were swirling soon after his Community College of Southern Nevada team was eliminated in a regional playoff series by Western Nevada. Scouts crowded in to see the series thanks to Robinson's teammate, righthander Colby Shreve, who was not under control to any clubs, giving them an excuse to evaluate Robinson and Braves draft-and-follow Cole Rohrbough. However, if they wanted to see Robinson, they went away disappointed, as he didn't pitch in the entire three-game series. That's despite a low-90s fastball fastball that has reached 95 mph this spring as Robinson showed he was healthy following labrum surgery he had as a high school junior. Robinson has a loose arm and good size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), but his labrum surgery isn't the only red flag. His best secondary pitch is a split-finger fastball; scouts would rather see him use his changeup and curveball more, and his secondary stuff was better early in the spring than it was late. He also didn't perform as well this spring, averaging more than 4.5 walks/9 IP and posting a 3.30 ERA in a wood-bat league (the team ERA was 2.59). The Brewers signed Robinson to a $500,000 bonus in late May.

4. Colby Shreve, rhp (National rank: 165)
School: CC of Southern Nevada. Class: --
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Birthdate: 1/5/88.
Scouting Report: Shreve was a two-way player for Las Vegas' Bonanza High, highly sought after for his curveball on the mound and solid, short swing from the right side of the plate. He committed to Nevada-Las Vegas but was disappointed when he wasn't drafted at all last year, so he changed his mind and went the junior-college route. He's not under control and could be the first junior-college player picked nationally. It appears the snub motivated him, as he emerged stronger and throwing harder after working in "The Box," a wood-contained resistance-training machine built by a local Las Vegas chiropractor. Shreve has increased his velocity significantly, growing into his 6-foot-5 frame and firing some 95s along the way, sitting at 90-94 mph for several innings with his fastball. His slider showed average depth and command, and his overall feel was surprisingly good for his experience level. As the season wore on, Shreve's velocity dipped into the 89-90 mph range, and he didn't even earn a start in Southern Nevada's regional playoff loss to rival Western Nevada. A good student, Shreve will have the option of going to a Division I program if the draft doesn't work out, or he could return to Southern Nevada for his sophomore season.

Varied Talent In Silver State

Nevada-Las Vegas finished 24-36, due in part to veterans who didn't come through as hoped, such as senior outfielder and former Texas transfer Calvin Beamon (just .298/.375/.397), whose athleticism and speed have never translated consistently into baseball skills. Lefty Kevin Skogley is the better prospect and a similar tease. He had a 15-strikeout effort against San Diego State, tying a school record, on a day when his fastball rarely topped 90 but Aztecs hitters kept chasing his slider out of the zone. He threw harder more consistently last year and has touched 94 mph in shorter stints, but his fastball lacks movement and deception. Skogley allowed a .326 average to opposing hitters and was passed in performance by the team's workhorse, Craig Heyer, whose fastball is a bit more consistent in the 89-91 mph range. Heyer also throws more strikes with his low-80s slider and keeps the ball in the ballpark more consistently.

Nevada slugged its way to the Western Athletic Conference tournament title game, falling short against Fresno State. Senior righthander Ryan Rodriguez got rocked in his final college start, trying to pitch on two days' rest after dominating Hawaii in the tournament opener. Still, Rodriguez pitched his way into first 10 rounds consideration with excellent control of a fringe-average fastball, solid slider, good change and split-finger fastball. He broke the career wins and strikeouts records that Yankees righthander Darrell Rasner set in three seasons with the Wolf Pack. His batterymate, fifth-year senior Konrad Schmidt, has a solid righthanded bat and has enough catch-and-throw skills to be a serviceable pro catcher. Six-foot-7 righthander Rod Scurry, son of the ex-big league lefthander, tops out at 90 mph and remains raw despite his bloodlines.

In the state's strong junior college ranks--both top programs play in the wood-bat Scenic West Athletic Conference--scouts found several players not under control who have a chance to go early. Western Nevada's Stephen Sauer, an Arizona State recruit, has a lively fastball in the 88-91 mph range and a swing-and-miss slider. Fellow righty Justin Garcia, the third member of WNCC's rotation, has fringier stuff but spots his fastball, curveball and changeup well and should contribute if he moves on as planned to UNLV. The Wildcats' top position player prospect is outfielder Brad Carlson, who runs 60 yards in 6.8 seconds, has solid arm strength, good range in center field and an improving line-drive swing thanks to strong hands.

Southern Nevada had more prospects but lost its regional to Western Nevada. Three Coyotes hitters could get popped, with only one--the league's home run leader, Ty Manumaleuna--under control right now. He's still young and inexperienced and hasn't tapped completely into his raw power. He's a lefthanded bat, though, and agile enough to give third base a chance. His cousin Brandon is an NFL tight end.

CCSN leadoff man Chase Leavitt, an athletic Arkansas signee, graduated from high school in 2002 and spent time on a Morman mission. He is a lefthanded line-drive hitter with above-average speed who could be a utility player down the line.

The top prospect on the team, however, might be catcher Braeden Schlehuber, especially if he can hit. He has more exciting tools and a more complete package than his teammates. His plus arm produces 1.9-second pop times to second base and allows him to touch 93 mph off the mound. His bat got off to a slow start, then came on to produce three homers, second on the team (Manumaleuna's seven led the wood-bat league). He's just 18 and has a good pro body with room to fill out in his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame.

Speaking of catchers, the top high school hitter in the state is 6-foot-2, 260-pound Mike McDade, a switch-hitting masher who lacks a true position. McDade's body already has gone south, drawing Prince Fielder comparisons. McDade was the state player of the year after hitting 14 home runs this spring and has a plus arm behind the plate. He'll have to get in better shape to stay at catcher long-term.

Another power hitter in the state, Brian Barnett, was also approaching double digits in home runs with a bat that reminded some of former Nevada star Kevin Kouzmanoff, though the consensus regarded that as optimistic. The Western Nevada recruit has some arm strength and was a prep quarterback, though scouts question his athletic ability and a future position for the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder. He's unlikely to be drafted in the first 10 rounds.

Both McDade and Barnett are more ready to start pro careers than Kansas signee Tony Thompson , who could be a two-way player in college, with the hit tools his best attribute. He's a third baseman who could move behind the plate. A pair of prep righties, Mike Blazek and Justin Baca, have flashed low-90s velocity, but both were used heavily in the spring and lost velocity as the year went on. Blazek is signed with Nevada; Baca committed to Nevada-Las Vegas, where his brother Marc led the team in saves and ERA as a sophomore reliever.