State Report: Dakotas

Rare premium prospect pops up

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***** 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
Scouts don't usually have much reason to trek to the Dakotas, but they did this year. South Dakota State righthander Blake Treinen hit 97 mph with his fastball, making him one of the draft's most intriguing senior signs and giving him the chance to be the region's highest-drafted player ever. Both Dakotas also have a high school prospect of note, though righthanders Tanner Chieborad and David Ernst are expected to attend college.


1. Blake Treinen, rhp, South Dakota State (National Rank: 190)


2. Tanner Chleborad, rhp, Rapid City (S.D.) HS
3. David Ernst, rhp, Fargo (N.D.) South HS
4. Jason Schmidt, ss/rhp, Mount Marty (S.D.)
5. Alex Kreis, rhp, Jamestown (N.D.)
6. Tanner Lorenz, rhp, Minot State (N.D.)
7. Trevor Vermuelen, rhp, South Dakota State


Blake Treinen, rhp

South Dakota State

Treinen's story is the most improbable among Baseball America's Top 200 Draft Prospects. He didn't play in an official game in the first three years of his college career, which began in 2007 with a stint on the junior varsity team at Baker (Kan.), an NAIA program. He attended Arkansas but didn't play baseball the next year, then had to sit out 2009 after transferring to South Dakota State. Treinen shocked scouts with his raw arm strength last spring, touching 94 mph, and has been even better in 2011. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has sat at 92-94 mph with his fastball, maintaining that velocity late into starts, and topped out at 97. His slider also has improved, showing the potential to become a plus pitch, and he has refined his control and command as well. His changeup is usable but will require more work in pro ball. Treinen planned on signing with the Marlins as a 23rd-round pick last year, but Florida backed away after a physical led to questions about his shoulder. Treinen has never had arm problems and has much less mileage on his arm than a typical 22-year-old pitcher. He has a chance to become the highest-drafted player ever from the Dakotas, a distinction currently held by fellow South Dakota State righthander Wade Adamson, a Twins fourth-round pick in 1978.

Best Yet To Come For Chleborad, Ernst

Righthander Tanner Chleborad is projectable as a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder with good mechanics. After throwing in the low 80s last summer, he's now up to 86-89 mph with his fastball. His secondary pitches are well below-average, so he needs to develop at Washington State rather than turn pro.

David Ernst capped his high school career by throwing a no-hitter in the North Dakota Class A championship game. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound righthander usually pitches at 85-88 mph, though he did touch 91 in his first outing this spring. His parents are wealthy and he's a good student, so there's virtually no chance he can be lured away from attending North Dakota State.

Jason Schmidt was named Great Plains Athletic Conference player of the year, in large part because his 13 homers were more than seven of the 11 other teams in the NAIA league totaled. The 6-foot-2, 186-pounder has a sound lefthanded swing, pop to all fields and decent speed. He may not have enough range to stick at shortstop, but he's athletic enough to handle second or third base or an outfield corner. His arm is not in question, as he doubles as a reliever whose fastball sits at 87-90 mph and reaches 93. If he's drafted, Schmidt will be the first Mount Marty player ever selected.