Jeremy Eierman Headlines Missouri's Best 2018 MLB Draft Prospects
1. Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State (BA Rank: 26)
4YR • Jr. • 6-1 • 205 • R-R •
The son of former Red Sox minor league outfielder John Eierman and the younger brother of former Rays minor league outfielder Johnny Eierman, Jeremy Eierman has one of the longest track records of success of any college player in this year's draft class. He hit .296/.336/.504 as Missouri State’s everyday shortstop as a freshman, and was even better as a sophomore, when he hit .313/.431/.675 with 23 home runs, which was fifth best in Division I. Eierman's solid but less spectacular junior year has paled in comparison, as he's not hitting for the same power. Scouts also have to factor in the fact he hasn't hit with wood. He hit .125/.182/.225 with strikeouts in 25 percent of his at-bats for USA Baseball last summer and .185/.258/.277 in two summers in the Cape Cod League. But Eierman is still the best college shortstop in the class with plus speed, a plus arm (some scouts throw a 70 on it) and plus power potential. Eierman has excellent bat speed, but he generates that with a significant load that requires him to get started in his swing a little earlier. He modified his stance this year with a deeper squat, but it's made him more vulnerable to being pitched inside. On the basepaths, Eierman uses his speed well—as of late April he had been successful on 18 of 20 stolen base attempts. Defensively, Eierman has the tools to stick at shortstop thanks to his arm and his ability to throw from multiple angles. His range is average, but his hands work well. He also could be a plus defender at second or third base with the bat to handle a position switch.
2. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Crowder (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: 106)
JC • 6-2 • 185 • R-L •
Ashby, the nephew of ex-big league pitcher and fellow Crowder (Mo.) alumnus Andy Ashby, has posted some of the most absurd statistics in baseball this year. Ashby arrived at Crowder as an 83-86 mph lefty with a decent breaking ball without the strength to always repeat his delivery. He walked eight and allowed six runs in 0.2 innings in his collegiate debut, but by the end of the season he threw a complete game to beat Seminole State (Okla.) JC to get Crowder to the NJCAA World Series. This year, Ashby’s stuff has gotten better and better. The Tennessee signee was 88-91 with a plus curveball early in the season, but as the weather warmed up, he consistently sat 90-94 mph with his above-average fastball. It’s his plus curveball that hitters can’t touch. He can throw it back-to-back-to-back, baffling hitters even when they are looking for it. At one point, Ashby allowed one hit in a 19-inning stretch, as he recorded strikeouts for 45 of those 57 outs. Ashby’s control does waver—he’s walking 5.2 per nine innings—but he also generates loads of swings and misses. He leads all Division I junior college pitchers with 156 strikeouts (and 19 strikeouts per nine innings) to go with an 11-2, 2.29 record. Ashby has gotten stronger, but he still has a skinny frame that could fill out further. He works a lot of deep counts because of his control, which explains why he has worked into the eighth inning only once all season as of mid-May. His best pitching is likely still ahead of him, but his present breaking ball and plenty of fastball should be enough to get him drafted in the third or fourth round.
3. Dylan Coleman, RHP, Missouri State (BA Rank: 131)
4YR • Jr. • 6-6 • 240 • R-R •
An athletic, 6-foot-6 righthander with a track record of success and an ability to generate easy velocity, Coleman is a high-upside arm out of Missouri State. He struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings and reached double digits in strikeouts in four of his first 14 outings this season. His 91-95 mph fastball will touch 97-98 almost every outing and has plenty of downhill plane. Early in the game when he’s letting it loose, Coleman shows the ability to generate moderate arm side run. His 80-82 mph slider flashes plus as well, as he can get some late tilt on it. He struggles to maintain his velocity deeper into games, as both his velocity and control back up as he wears down. In later innings, he’ll often sit 90-91 mph. Some scouts project him moving to the bullpen because of that, while other evaluators believe he has the stuff to remain in the rotation. If he does move to the bullpen, scouts see him as someone who could one day throw 100 mph.
4. Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, Missouri (BA Rank: 154)
4YR • R-Jr. • 6-7 • 261 • R-R •
Montes de Oca had to wait quite a while to get going at Missouri. After barely pitching as a freshman, he redshirted the following year to have ulnar nerve transposition surgery, which could be considered a follow-up to the Tommy John surgery he had in high school. Since then, Montes de Oca has proved that his massive fastball is back, and he’s done a good job of improving his control. He was drafted by the Nationals in the 15th round last year, which was one round later than when the White Sox took him in the 14th round out of high school in 2014. Instead of signing with the Nationals, Montes de Oca opted to return to Missouri and began his redshirt junior season by striking out 12, throwing the first seven innings of a no-hitter against Maryland Baltimore County. He also held Auburn to one hit in six scoreless innings, but after being scratched from a start against Florida because of a stiff neck, he bounced back-and-forth between the Tigers’ bullpen and weekend rotation. Montes de Oca’s lengthy medical history turns off some teams and the massive, 6-foot-7, 245-pound righthander doesn’t always maintain his delivery, which explains his five walks per nine innings. Even with those control issues, he’s 6-4, 3.21 and has held opposing hitters to a .174 average this season while striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings. As a starter, he sits 94-97 mph and touches 98-99 pretty much every time out. He’s ticked 100 mph at times. In addition to his plus-plus fastball, his slurvy, 85-86 mph slider is a plus pitch thanks to its power, even if its shape is less than ideal. Montes de Oca’s control troubles may lead to an eventual move to the bullpen if a pro team isn’t extremely patient, but as a reliever, he could be a fast mover thanks to two plus pitches.
5. Michael Plassmeyer, LHP, Missouri (BA Rank: 301)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 199 • L-L •
Plassmeyer is a back-of-the-rotation starter who has earned notice as a useful draftee because of his reliability and plus control. Plassmeyer gained a tick to his fastball this year, although he still sits at a modest 86-90 mph although he’ll now bump 92 early in outings. He’s also improved his slider this year, refining it into an average offering. His changeup is a below-average pitch at this point. Plassmeyer went 5-4, 3.05 during Missouri’s regular season, with 103 strikeouts in 93 innings.
6. Jason Rackers, RHP, Jefferson (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: 337)
JC • Fr. • 6-5 • 220 • R-R •
A 6-foot-7 basketball/baseball star in high school, Rackers got off to a slow start this spring, although his reduced velocity (87-90) could in part be blamed away by the brutal weather he and his teammates faced. As the sun came back out and the temperature warmed, Rackers’ fastball heated up as well. He’s helped lead Jefferson County (Missouri) to the NJCAA World Series with a 10-1, 2.68 season and racked up 95 strikeouts while walking 22 in 74 innings. Rackers is able to throw his 90-93 mph fastball and his below-average slider for strikes. He needs to improve the depth and bite of his slider and he has work to do on sequencing and pitch location—he’s in the zone, but doesn’t hit his spots.
7. Nick Schmidt, RHP, Holt HS, Wentzville, Mo. (BA Rank: 464)
HS • 6-3 • 205 • R-R •
A Missouri State signee, Schmidt is a still maturing righthander with a clean delivery and thick, but immature body. His slider and curveball are both more promising than his fastball, as he has demonstrated excellent feel for spin. He hasn’t fully mastered his ability to locate either breaking ball, but both of the breaking balls have plus potential. Schmidt’s fastball sits 87-91 mph and he’ll touch 93.
8. Miller Hogan, RHP, Saint Louis (BA Rank: 468)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 190 • R-R •
A 32nd-round pick of the Brewers last season as a draft-eligible sophomore, Hogan has been an extremely reliable starter for three years for the Billikens, including a 10-3, 2.19 record with 129 strikeouts in 101.2 innings that earned him A-10 Pitcher of the Year honors. What you see is what you get with Hogan, as he doesn’t have much projection left, but hitters don’t really get a good look at him as he mixes pitches with the aplomb of a veteran. He sits 85-92 mph, but those lower registers of his fastball velocity are to thrown with a heavy sinker that has excellent sink. He mixes that pitch will by elevating four-seam fastballs up to 92-94 mph at his best. He also has a slider, a cutter and a splitter and he’ll loop in a slow curveball as a surprise. Hogan is all about feel, messing with hitters’ timing and mixing pitches, but he has shown he knows what he’s doing.
9. Lucas Krull, LHP, Jefferson (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-3 • 165 • L-L •
To call Krull a risky pick is to downplay the risk. It’s very possible a team could draft Krull and watch him walk batter after batter, year after year. But Krull also has the kind of arm that’s hard to find. He’s a 6-foot-7 lefthander with a 91-96 mph fastball and a hard, 12-to-6 plus curveball that he locates better than his fastball. Krull struck out 14 batters per nine innings this year, but he also walked 38 in 16 innings. His control of his fastball is bottom-of-the-scale bad, but it’s a pitch that’s hard to square up and he did show modest improvement in his control as the season wore on.
10. Brett Hammit, SS, Nixa (Mo.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
11. Kevin Hardin, 1B, Maplewood (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
Hardin has legitimate feel to hit go to with power potential. He's a long way away, but there's a lot of potential in his bat.
12. Brandon Sulzer, RHP, Smithville (Mo.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
Sulzer wasn't always at his best this spring, but the Kentucky signee has shown a fastball that touches 94 mph at its best.
13. Caleb Marquez, C, Blue Springs (Mo.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
Marquez is also a football prospect as a tight end. He's an athletic catcher who needs plenty of reps behind the plate, but has above-average athleticism for the position.
14. Luke Mann, RHP/3B, Vianney HS, Kirkwood, Mo. (BA Rank: N/A)
15. Brett Bond, C, Missouri (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-1 • 216 • B-R •
Bond has some power, but his receiving hasn't impressed evaluators.
16. Trey Harris, OF, Missouri (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 5-10 • 219 • R-R •
Harris is a potential senior sign as an outfielder with average power. He hit .316/.413/.516 with 11 home runs and 12 steals.
17. Kevin Graham, 3B/1B, Westminster HS, St. Louis (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • - • 6-1 • 170 • L-R •
18. Mike Million, OF, Missouri Southern State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-9 • 190 • R-R •
19. Kobe Morris, INF, Crowder (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-3 • 190 • L-R •
20. Wes Degener, OF, Lindenwood (Mo.) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-3 • 210 • L-L •
Degener is a .371 career hitter in four years at Lindenwood with some modest lefthanded pop. He does a lot of things relatively well although the potential senior sign doesn't have a true above-average tool.
21. Sam Stewart, RHP, Jefferson (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • • • • - •
22. Connor Clein, RHP, St. Louis (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • • • R-R •
Klein could slip into a day three pick as a righthander with an average fastball and below-average secondaries. He was 3-2, 3.78 with 58 strikeouts in 34 innings this season.
23. Sam Grace, RHP, Howell North HS, St. Louis (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • • • • - •
Grace showed some solid velocity early, but struggled to maintain it.
. Bryce Bartlett, RHP, Crowder (Mo.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • • • • - •
. Liam Henry, LHP/OF, Park Hills HS, Kansas City, Mo. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • - • • • - •
. Christian Franklin, OF, Rockhurst HS, Kansas City, Mo. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • - • • • - •
. Allante Hall, C, Blue Springs (Mo.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • - • • • - •