2018 Draft Notebook: Jeremy Eierman Goes Deep In Greenville
GREENVILLE, N.C.—A handful of decision-makers and at least a dozen scouts were in attendance for Saturday’s East Carolina-Missouri State matchup this weekend, presumably to get a few early looks at Missouri State shortstop Jeremy Eierman.
Eierman is one of the top college bats available for this year’s draft class, but was off to a slow start to begin the season, hitting just .125/.182/.225 with 10 strikeouts and just two walks. Because of that, he was one of the players falling in our first draft tracker of the season, and fell from No. 17 to No. 27 on our most recently updated top 300 draft prospects list.
Over the weekend, Eierman did some things to ease that fall, including hitting his first home run of the season in his final at-bat against ECU and going 4-for-11 with three walks and two strikeouts across all three games in Greenville (against Pepperdine and St. Joseph’s in addition to the Pirates).
That performance improved his season line to .206/.341/.353 for the season, and while those numbers are far from electrifying, it’s a big step in the right direction for Eierman at this point, particularly with the evaluators who were watching his every plate appearance Saturday night.
In the video above, you can get a look at batting practice from Eierman from last summer, as well as infield reps from the top-ranked college shortstop from this game and several live at-bats, including his first home run of the year—a no-doubt shot to left field.
Defensively, Eierman didn’t have many opportunities at shortstop in this game, but did show off an arm that appeared plus, receiving a cut off throw from left field and making a strong, accurate throw to first base to double up a runner who had advanced on a hit-and-run. Eierman was a decent distance into the left field, behind second base when he caught the relay, and his throw to the bag was online and strong. He also swallowed up a ground ball up the middle that took a moderately challenging short hop near second base, making an easy and routine flip to second base.
At the plate, Eierman sets up with an extremely wide stance and has almost no leg kick in his load, instead shifting his weight back and barely lifting his front foot off the ground as he readies for contact. As he shifts his weight, his hands drop from around helmet height to just below his back shoulder, and he has a level to slightly uppercut bat path with a high and short two-handed finish. While there’s some head movement as Eierman loads and strides to the ball, he’s generally fairly steady and follows the ball to contact well. There’s some stiffness to the swing and a wide lower half might contribute to that, but he regularly looked balanced throughout his swing, with the exception of a few pitches on the outer half of the plate where he got into trouble lunging or falling over the dish in his follow through. Eierman’s bat speed is significantly more impressive in-game than in batting practice and he has obvious strength that allows for plus power.
While Eierman will never be a significant stolen base threat, he showed solid instincts on the bases Saturday after singling to left field by advancing to second on a throw to the plate. He went 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts this weekend and is now 4-for-5 on the season.
After 16 Years, Virginia's Coaching Staff Continuity Ends
Until this week, Virginia had the longest-tenured coaching staff in college baseball's largest conferences.
Other Players From The Weekend
Dylan Coleman | RHP | Missouri State
Coleman, who is currently ranked in the BA 300, started for the Bears Saturday against ECU and threw seven solid innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out batters and walking four on 109 pitches.
The big, 6-foot-6 righthander opened the game with a 95 mph fastball and sat in the low-to-mid 90s for the through five innings, regularly hitting 95 and 96, including one pitch that showed up as 97 mph on ECU’s scoreboard, but 96 mph on Baseball America’s radar gun. The board and the gun were pretty close in velocity readings throughout the evening.
Coleman throws from a three-quarter slot and begins his windup slow, with a decent amount of tilt as he begins to drive down off of the rubber before speeding everything up and finishing with good arm speed and minimal effort and head whack in his finish. In general, Coleman finished in line to the plate with his landing foot and maintained his velocity throughout the game before a noticeable drop off in the sixth inning where he threw three straight 90 mph fastballs to start the frame. His final two innings were in the 90-91 mph range, though he did throw two 93 mph fastballs in the seventh.
Coleman’s best secondary offering was a low 80s slider that has tight spin and late break, which he used effectively both inside the zone for swings and misses and as a chase pitch out of the zone. Coleman also threw an upper 70s curveball that was looser with more shape and earlier break and more effective as a change-of-pace pitch thrown into the zone for a strike rather than an out-pitch. It was significantly behind the slider though later in the outing the two pitches tended to blend together more.
The lack of a present changeup hurts Coleman at the moment, particularly against lefthanded hitters—who were responsible for five of the six hits Coleman allowed and two of the four walks. He threw two changeups in the fourth inning, both at 87 mph but spiked them both into the dirt and didn’t go back to the offering for the rest of the game. He’ll need to improve the change to have success against lefthanded hitters, as four of the five hits he had allowed in his first two starts of the season came against lefties.
In total, Coleman has a number of appealing starter traits, with a big frame, easy delivery, an above-average fastball with solid cutting action and an above-average slider that could be a plus pitch.
On the season, Coleman is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings with 28 strikeouts to 10 walks and a .159 batting average against.
D.J. Artis | OF | Liberty
Baseball America got a brief look at speedy Liberty center fielder D.J. Artis in Chapel Hill Friday night, though it was the least eventful day for the outfielder at the plate.
Still it was enough to get some insight into Artis’ approach, which is extremely passive, but incredibly effective as Artis has hit over .350 in each of his first two seasons with Liberty, with 114 walks to just 58 strikeouts—good for an on-base percentage over .500.
Artis is listed at 5-foot-11 and crouches down even further in the box to give himself a small strike zone, and took three straight balls from North Carolina sophomore righthander Tyler Baum in his first at-bat of the evening. After taking a 3-0 strike, Artis watched another ball and trotted to first base for another of many walks he’s sure to draw this season.
In his second at-bat Artis struck out looking on an 81 mph breaking ball on the outside corner and flew out to left in his third and final at-bat of the game. Artis has some tools as a plus runner who is a no-doubt center fielder at the next level according to some scouts, but showed a below-average arm in infield/outfield Friday afternoon and has a busy swing that is more hit over power currently, though there is some pop in the tank. Artis’ approach could get exposed more regularly at the next level, but he has a solid track record of hitting and has whippy bat speed that should allow him to make the necessary adjustments.
He’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start to the season, hitting .256/.408/.410, but his patient approach allows him to add value to any lineup, whether the hits are falling or not.
Tre Todd | C/OF | Liberty
Todd transferred to Liberty after a phenomenal season with Harford (Md.) JC in 2017 in which he hit .408/.577/.856 with 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases.
He’s hit the ground running in the Big South, with three home runs in 11 games (include a massive homer Friday night against Baum) and a .389/.645/.889 triple slash including a 2-for-5 showing against UNC last weekend with seven walks. His statistical performance will be heavily scrutinized from his JuCo days and rightly so, but performing against a talented Tar Heel team will only help his draft stock, as will leading Division I hitters in on-base percentage—which he’s doing after three weeks with a .660 OBP, including 18 walks (3rd in the nation).
Todd has real defensive questions and has started just one game at catcher for Liberty this season, getting the bulk of his playing time in left field where he’s a well-below average defender according to some scouts. He’s also a 30-grade runner (on the 20-80 scouting scale) despite what his previous stolen base numbers would have you think, so much of his value is tied to the bat, but he has legitimate plus power and is putting up quite the resume so far this season. Figuring out where Todd could play defensively at the next level and what tools he has behind the plate will be something area scouts bear down on with the junior as the season progresses.