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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – MAC

Typically we start with the hitters because I’m an incredibly biased baseball fan and “writer” who grew up during the steroid era predisposed, right or wrong, to love offense. There’s no way we can do that with this year’s collection of MAC prospects. The top four pitchers in the conference – Eric Lauer, Nick Deeg, Zach Plesac, and Keegan Akin – are all fantastic draft prospects. The only difficulty here is picking a favorite.

Akin, the lefty with an above-average slider, deceptive delivery, and up-and-down control, might fit best in the bullpen over the long haul. Or maybe he’s the guy you view as having the highest ceiling thanks to a fastball that he can dial up to 95 when needed. Plesac has the obvious bloodlines working in his favor, but it’s his unusual athleticism and deep reservoir of offspeed pitches that make him a favorite of mine. He’s third on my list only because of a lost coin flip to Deeg, another lefthander with above-average velocity (86-92, 94 peak) and an average or better breaking ball (his curve took off this summer after firming up from a loopier 71-74 to an improved 79-81 bender). Deeg got the edge over fellow lefty Akin despite the latter’s better peripherals to date because of a more advanced change (a low-80s offering with average or better upside) and an interesting but as yet underdeveloped mid-80s cutter. His size advantage (6-5, 220 for Deeg, 6-1, 200 for Akin) certainly didn’t hurt either.

As much as I like all three of those pitchers, there’s still a decent-sized gap between Eric Lauer and the field. Lauer, the third lefthander in my MAC top four, combines the best of all of the prospects below him on the rankings. There isn’t a box that he doesn’t check when looking for a potentially quick-moving above-average mid-rotation big league starting pitcher. He’s an athletic (like Plesac) lefthander (like Deeg/Akin), with good size (like Deeg/Plesac), very strong performance indicators (10.78 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9), above-average heat (88-94) that he commands like a pro, and a complete assortment of offspeed pitches (74-77 CB, 78-82 SL, emerging CU) he can throw in any count. One could quibble by noting there’s no singular knockout pitch here – maybe with continued work one of his secondaries can become a consistent plus pitch, but certainly not presently – so maybe Lauer’s best case scenario outcome isn’t quite that of some of his peers across the country, but that’s a nitpick for a still impressive ceiling/high floor starting arm. Maybe you don’t love him – I kind of do, clearly…but maybe you don’t – but he’s still a prospect that’s hard not to at least like.

Lauer, Deeg, Plesac, and Akin are the four best prospects here, but they are far from the only prospects of note. I’m 100% ready to invest in all the Mike Kaelin stock I can afford. How can you not love a big fastball (up to 95) from a smaller righty (5-9, 185) who happens to be coming off a season where he whiffed 12.14 batters per nine? Beyond even those five, there are plenty of other pitching prospects worth knowing, especially those with advanced changeups. For whatever reason, the change seems like the pitch in the MAC this year. Nick Jensen-Clagg, Steven Calhoun (who also happens to be 6-7, 205 pounds), and Adam Aldred all throw really good ones. Sam Delaplane (94 peak and good SL, listed at 5-11, 175 pounds, and 10.80 K/9 last season) is a little bit like the Michigan version of Kaelin. I happen to like Sean Renzi and deep sleeper Kyle Slack as big men with some upside left to be unsheathed.

Despite the emphasis on pitching here, there are a handful of interesting MAC position players in need of more attention at the national level. Jarett Rindfleisch is a steady defender with a big arm, real power upside, and a decent approach at the plate. I’m not yet sure what exactly to make of Alex Borglin, but everything I know about him I like. He’s a great athlete who can run (but hasn’t done much of it yet), and flash some impressive leather at short. I’ve heard his arm could necessitate a move to second or possibly even center, so that’s something to watch. Mitch Longo has some “scouty” questions to answer this spring, but I’m sold on the bat. A little bit further down the list are names like Manny DeJesus (two plus tools in his CF range and speed, not to mention an ideal leadoff approach), Deion Tansel (handles the bat well and makes all the plays at short), and Zach McKinstry (draft-eligible sophomore with an advanced hit tool, ample speed, and impressive defensive gifts) , each intriguing in his own right.

Hitters

  1. Ball State JR C Jarett Rindfleisch
  2. Central Michigan JR SS Alex Borglin
  3. Ohio JR OF Mitch Longo
  4. Miami (Ohio) SR 3B/OF Chad Sedio
  5. Ball State JR OF Alex Call
  6. Ohio SR OF Manny DeJesus
  7. Toledo SR SS/2B Deion Tansel
  8. Northern Illinois SR SS Brian Sisler
  9. Central Michigan SO SS Zach McKinstry
  10. Eastern Michigan JR 1B John Montgomery
  11. Central Michigan SR OF Logan Regnier
  12. Western Michigan JR 3B Grant Miller
  13. Miami (Ohio) JR 2B Steve Sada
  14. Miami (Ohio) rJR 3B Adam Yacek
  15. Ball State SR 2B Ryan Spaulding
  16. Miami (Ohio) SR OF Jake Romano
  17. Eastern Michigan rJR C/OF Michael Mioduszewski
  18. Eastern Michigan rJR SS/OF Marquise Gill
  19. Kent State SR 1B/3B Zarley Zalewski
  20. Kent State JR 1B/OF Conner Simonetti
  21. Central Michigan rSR SS Joe Houlihan
  22. Buffalo SR SS Bobby Sheppard
  23. Ohio rSR C Cody Gaertner
  24. Buffalo rSO 2B Ben Haefner
  25. Ohio SR 1B John Adryan
  26. Ball State JR 1B/C Caleb Stayton
  27. Northern Illinois SR C Johnny Zubek
  28. Eastern Michigan SR 1B/3B Mitchell McGeein
  29. Toledo rSR OF/SS Dan Zuchowski
  30. Ball State JR SS/RHP Alex Maloney
  31. Central Michigan SR 1B Zack Fields

Pitchers

  1. Kent State JR LHP Eric Lauer
  2. Central Michigan JR LHP Nick Deeg
  3. Ball State JR RHP Zach Plesac
  4. Western Michigan JR LHP Keegan Akin
  5. Buffalo rJR RHP Mike Kaelin
  6. Kent State JR RHP Andy Ravel
  7. Kent State SR RHP Nick Jensen-Clagg
  8. Eastern Michigan JR RHP Sam Delaplane
  9. Toledo JR LHP Steven Calhoun
  10. Miami (Ohio) rJR LHP Ryan Marske
  11. Central Michigan SR LHP Adam Aldred
  12. Western Michigan SR RHP Gabe Berman
  13. Central Michigan SR RHP Sean Renzi
  14. Bowling Green rJR LHP Andrew Lacinak
  15. Central Michigan JR RHP Jordan Grosjean
  16. Miami (Ohio) JR RHP Jacob Banks
  17. Ohio JR RHP Jake Rudnicki
  18. Toledo SR RHP Kyle Slack
  19. Western Michigan SR LHP Derek Schneider
  20. Ball State JR RHP BJ Butler
  21. Buffalo JR RHP Alec Tuohy
  22. Northern Illinois JR RHP Andrew Frankenreider
  23. Buffalo JR RHP Brent Cleland
  24. Eastern Michigan JR RHP Kevin Shul
  25. Ohio SR RHP Jake Miller

Ball State

JR RHP Zach Plesac (2016)
JR RHP BJ Butler (2016)
rJR LHP Kevin Marnon (2016)
JR SS/RHP Alex Maloney (2016)
JR C Jarett Rindfleisch (2016)
JR OF Alex Call (2016)
SR 2B Ryan Spaulding (2016)
JR 3B Sean Kennedy (2016)
JR 1B/C Caleb Stayton (2016)
SR OF Scott Tyler (2016)
JR OF Matt Eppers (2016)
SO RHP/3B Colin Brockhouse (2017)
SO RHP Brendan Burns (2017)
SO LHP Trevor Henderson (2017)

High Priority Follows: Zach Plesac, BJ Butler, Alex Maloney, Jarett Rindfleisch, Alex Call, Ryan Spaulding, Sean Kennedy, Caleb Stayton, Matt Eppers

Bowling Green

rJR LHP Andrew Lacinak (2016)
SR RHP Devin Daugherty (2016)
SR OF Matt Smith (2016)
SR OF Kory Brown (2016)
rJR C Tyler Greiner (2016)
rJR 3B/1B Nick Glanzman (2016)
SO RHP Zac Carey (2017)
SO LHP Kody Brown (2017)
SO 3B/RHP Cody Callaway (2017)
SO 1B Randy Righter (2017)
FR OF Blake Jenkins (2018)
FR 1B/OF Logan Giddings (2018)
FR 3B/OF Cameron Daugherty (2018)
FR RHP Matt Szabo (2018)
FR RHP Chase Antle (2018)
FR RHP Brad Croy (2018)

High Priority Follows: Andrew Lacinak, Matt Smith

Buffalo

rJR RHP Mike Kaelin (2016)
SR LHP Ben Hartz (2016)
JR RHP Brent Cleland (2016)
JR RHP Alec Tuohy (2016)
SR SS Bobby Sheppard (2016)
JR 3B Chris Kwitzer (2016)
JR OF Vinny Mallaro (2016)
SR OF Mike Abrunzo (2016)
rSO 2B Ben Haefner (2016)
SO 1B Charlie Sobieraski (2017)
SO INF Ben Vey (2017)

High Priority Follows: Mike Kaelin, Ben Hartz, Brent Cleland, Alec Tuohy, Bobby Sheppard, Ben Haefner

Central Michigan

JR LHP Nick Deeg (2016)
SR LHP Josh Pierce (2016)
SR RHP Connor Kelly (2016)
SR LHP Adam Aldred (2016)
SR LHP Jimmy McNamara (2016)
SR RHP Sean Renzi (2016)
SR RHP Jason Gamble (2016)
JR RHP Jordan Grosjean (2016)
rSR SS Joe Houlihan (2016)
SR OF Logan Regnier (2016)
SR 1B Zack Fields (2016)
SR C Dylan Goodwin (2016)
rJR OF Adam Colllins (2016)
JR SS Alex Borglin (2016)
SO SS Zach McKinstry (2016)
JR C Robert Greenman (2016)
SR INF Morgan Oliver (2016)
rFR RHP Patrick Leatherman (2017)
SO RHP Sean Martens (2017)
SO OF/1B Daniel Jipping (2017)
rFR OF/C Dazon Cole (2017)
FR LHP Grant Wolfram (2018)
FR OF Daniel Robinson (2018)
FR RHP Michael Brettell (2018)
FR C Evan Kratt (2018)
FR INF Jarrod Watkins (2018)
FR INF Jason Sullivan (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nick Deeg, Connor Kelly, Adam Aldred, Sean Renzi, Jordan Grosjean, Joe Houlihan, Logan Regnier, Zack Fields, Alex Borglin, Zach McKinstry, Robert Greenman, Morgan Oliver

Eastern Michigan

SR LHP Devon Bronson (2016)
SR LHP Michael Marsinek (2016)
JR RHP Sam Delaplane (2016)
JR RHP Matthew Beaton (2016)
JR RHP Kevin Shul (2016)
SR 1B/3B Mitchell McGeein (2016)
SR RHP Nick Jensen-Clagg (2016)
rSO RHP Zach Spangler (2016)
rSR RHP Eli Martin (2016)
rSR LHP Tim Faix (2016)
JR LHP Jared Skolnicki (2016)
SR 1B/3B Zarley Zalewski (2016)
JR 2B Dom Iero (2016)
JR 1B/OF Conner Simonetti (2016)
rJR C/OF Michael Mioduszewski (2016)
JR C/OF Jeremy Stidham (2016)
rJR SS/OF Marquise Gill (2016)
SR OF Jordan Peterson (2016)
JR 1B John Montgomery (2016)
SR OF Jackson Martin (2016)
SO RHP Brent Mattson (2017)
SO RHP Antonio Jacobs (2017)
SO OF Brennan Williams (2017)
FR LHP Tyler Butzin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Sam Delaplane, Matthew Beaton, Kevin Shul, Mitchell McGeein, Michael Mioduszewski, Marquise Gill, Jordan Peterson, John Montgomery

Kent State

JR LHP Eric Lauer (2016)
JR RHP Andy Ravel (2016)
SR RHP Nick Jensen-Clagg (2016)
rSO RHP Zach Spangler (2016)
rSR RHP Eli Martin (2016)
rSR LHP Tim Faix (2016)
JR LHP Jared Skolnicki (2016)
SR 1B/3B Zarley Zalewski (2016)
JR 2B Dom Iero (2016)
JR 1B/OF Conner Simonetti (2016)
rSR OF Alex Miklos (2016)
JR 2B/SS Sam Hurt (2016)
rJR OF Luke Burch (2016)
JR 2B/SS Zach Beckner (2016)
rSR OF Jacob Neuschaefer (2016)
SO RHP Zach Willeman (2017)
SO RHP Chris Martin (2017)
SO LHP Eli Kraus (2017)
SO 3B Dylan Rosa (2017)
FR C Peter Schuler (2018)
FR SS Josh Hollander (2018)
FR LHP Connor Wollersheim (2018)
FR RHP Joey Murray (2018)
FR RHP Austin Havekost (2018)

High Priority Follows: Eric Lauer, Andy Ravel, Nick Jensen-Clagg, Jared Skolnicki, Zarley Zalewski, Conner Simonetti, Luke Burch

Miami (Ohio)

rJR LHP Ryan Marske (2016)
JR RHP Brad Schwartz (2016)
JR RHP Jacob Banks (2016)
SR 3B/OF Chad Sedio (2016)
SR OF Jake Romano (2016)
SR OF Gary Russo (2016)
rJR 3B Adam Yacek (2016)
JR 2B Steve Sada (2016)
rSO C Spencer Dull (2016)
SO RHP Gus Graham (2017)
FR LHP Zach Spears (2018)
FR RHP Cole Gnetz (2018)
FR RHP Michael Hendricks (2018)
FR C Hayden Senger (2018)
FR OF Dallas Hall (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ryan Marske, Jacob Banks, Chad Sedio, Jake Romano, Adam Yacek, Steve Sada, Spencer Dull

Northern Illinois

JR RHP Andrew Frankenreider (2016)
rJR LHP Jordan Ruckman (2016)
SR LHP Ryan Olson (2016)
SR SS Brian Sisler (2016)
SR OF Stephen Letz (2016)
rSR C Tony Brandner (2016)
SR C Johnny Zubek (2016)
rSR OF Alex Smith (2016)
rJR OF Brandon Mallder (2016)
rJR 3B/OF Tommy Hook (2016)
SR 2B Justin Fletcher (2016)
SO RHP Donovin Sims (2017)
SO SS/2B Brad Wood (2017)
FR 3B Joseph Boyle (2017)
FR OF Malique Ziegler (2017)

High Priority Follows: Andrew Frankenreider, Brian Sisler, Stephen Letz, Tony Brandner

Ohio

SR RHP Jake Miller (2016)
rSO RHP Jake Roehn (2016)
JR RHP Jake Rudnicki (2016)
rSO LHP Gerry Salisbury (2016)
SR RHP Connor Sitz (2016)
JR RHP Tom Colletti (2016)
SR OF Manny DeJesus (2016)
JR OF Mitch Longo (2016)
rSR C Cody Gaertner (2016)
SR 1B John Adryan (2016)
rJR OF Nate Squires (2016)
JR 3B Ty Black (2016)
FR 1B Rudy Rott (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jake Miller, Jake Rudnicki, Tom Colletti, Manny DeJesus, Mitch Longo, Cody Gaertner, John Adryan

Toledo

SR RHP Kyle Slack (2016)
SR RHP Caleb Schillace (2016)
JR RHP Sam Shutes (2016)
JR LHP Steven Calhoun (2016)
SR LHP Ross Achter (2016)
SR RHP/OF John Martillotta (2016)
JR RHP/OF Jordan Kesson (2016)
SR SS/2B Deion Tansel (2016)
rSR OF/SS Dan Zuchowski (2016)
SR OF Ryan Callahan (2016)
JR OF Jake Krupar (2016)
SO OF AJ Montoya (2017)
SO C/1B Dalton Bollinger (2017)

High Priority Follows: Kyle Slack, Steven Calhoun, Ross Achter, Jordan Kesson, Deion Tansel, Dan Zuchowski

Western Michigan

JR LHP Keegan Akin (2016)
SR LHP Derek Schneider (2016)
SR RHP Pat Haynes (2016)
SR RHP Gabe Berman (2016)
JR 3B Grant Miller (2016)
JR SS Steve Pastora (2016)
SR C Mitchell Ho (2016)
SO LHP Jacob Piechota (2017)
SO LHP/OF Tanner Allison (2017)
FR OF Nate Grys (2018)
FR INF Connor Smith (2018)

High Priority Follows: Keegan Akin, Derek Schneider, Gabe Berman, Grant Miller

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4 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    I just wanted to put Nick Patten from the University of Delaware on your watch list. You mentioned Nick Liggett in your write-up for UD and Nick Patten (freshman) secured the starting first-baseman position to start the season. Please read his bio at http://www.bluehens.com.

    Thank you.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Linda says:

    Rob:

    I forgot to mention that you listed Nick Patten on you “Top 20 high school first basemen” list last high school season. He played at IMG Academy.

    Thank you for considering.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Excellent, thank you. I just added him to my notes which guarantees a) that I’ll be following him throughout his career as a Blue Hen (my rule of thumb with players I keep tabs on is simple: once you’re on the list, you’re there until draft day or graduation, whichever comes first), and b) he’ll get mentioned any time I update CAA/Delaware prospect lists on the site. Very cool to see he’s won the first base job. Appreciate you bringing him to my attention…again! I hate when players slip through the cracks from HS to college, so the reminder that I mentioned him before was particularly helpful. Best of luck to him this year. Enjoy it!

  3. […] Big 12 Big East Big South Big West Colonial Conference USA Horizon Independents Ivy Metro Atlantic MAC Mid-Eastern Missouri Valley Mountain West Northeast Ohio Valley Pac-12 Patriot SEC Southern […]

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