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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Summit

For a variety of reasons, some valid (other non-site baseball obligations) most not (classic case of letting perfect become the enemy of good leading to delays), I don’t always say exactly what I want to say when I want to say it on this platform. When that happens, I try to at least hint at what I want to say. Like, if I’m not quite ready to unveil a complete ranking of a conference or a position or even an overall big board but I still want a certain opinion about a player out there for public consumption, I’ll try to find a way to work it in somehow. I do that more with high school prospects because the research piece there is never truly done – for example, I’ve yet to do a complete HS board but anybody can read between the lines who I’d have number one by now – but occasionally it happens at the college level.

Clayton Taylor is an excellent draft prospect. He was the top position player on last year’s Summit list and he retains that very spot in 2016. I’ve championed Taylor’s cause for a few years now, but now I’m willing to go all-in on his electric bat speed and promising defensive tools. It was that last point that kept me from falling completely in love with him before, but enough people who know things have assured me he’s athletic enough to handle second (and short in a pinch) with a strong enough arm and solid instincts for third. With his bat, that’ll work just fine. Power, patience, production, athleticism, size, defensive upside…Taylor checks every box. Now comes the part where I’m not yet ready to say what I want to say, but I’ll do what I can to say it anyway: the next batch of updated college position rankings could see Taylor rate as the top D1 third base prospect in the country. I’d have Lucas Erceg at the top with some (unfinished) combination of Taylor, Bobby Dalbec (for now…), Sheldon Neuse, and old favorite Greg Deichmann making up the next tier. Getting that on the record now before everybody – or not: whatever, doesn’t matter, maybe I’m alone on this one – jumps on the bandwagon come June. Clayton Taylor can play.

Cole Gruber joins Taylor in what may be the country’s best pair of senior-sign hitters in one lineup. Gruber has always hit and has the bat speed to give confidence that he’ll keep doing so going forward, but his true calling card is his combination of speed and range in CF. When the first word out of one’s mouth after watching a prospect patrol center is “easy,” then you know you’ve got a keeper. Count me in as a big fan of his game, both aesthetically in the here and now and how it will translate to the pros.

Neither Brent Williams nor Adam McGinnis will blow you away with their defensive work, but both have the chance to be serviceable behind the plate while having an average or better offensive impact at it. Of course, when I say they have a chance that’s not something to be taken lightly. Projecting prospects is, as we all know, a game of percentages, and I’d put the best possible outcome path for both Williams and McGinnis lower than most prospects that rank so highly on a conference prospect list. Williams’s bat is plenty intriguing and his reputation as a patient hitter is appealing, but positive early scouting buzz is a long way from doing it consistently at the D1 level; that, in turn, is a long way from doing it well enough to get drafted and eventually promoted along as a professional. McGinnis’s bat does even less for me at the moment, but his defensive versatility – he’s a good athlete with average speed and a strong arm, so a four-corners/catcher utility future can’t be ruled out – makes him stand out in a conference filled with interesting yet flawed prospects.

Interesting yet flawed describes the Summit League’s pitching prospects as well. Kyler Stout, a redshirt-sophomore at Oral Roberts, takes the top spot despite only tossing 10.2 innings last year and around 35 total his first two seasons. The aggressive ranking is a testament to the importance of a pitcher knowing how to consistently locate his fastball. Stout commands his 88-92 fastball really well, so at the top he sits. His main challengers for the spot include Joe Mortillaro (good low-90s FB with sink), Preston Church (upper-80s lefty with deception), Brian VanderWoude (changeup specialist), and Parker Trewin (leverages his slider for lots of whiffs, but already 24 years old). The most fascinating names for me this spring are Tyler Fox (85-90 FB with three offspeed pitches he can throw at any time) and Nick Milligan (power righty up to 94 who piles up both strikeouts and walks). Interesting by flawed, indeed.

Hitters

  1. Nebraska-Omaha SR 3B/SS Clayton Taylor
  2. Nebraska-Omaha SR OF Cole Gruber
  3. Oral Roberts rJR C/1B Brent Williams
  4. Western Illinois JR C Adam McGinnis
  5. Oral Roberts rSO OF Noah Cummings
  6. North Dakota State JR OF Ben Petersen
  7. Fort Wayne SR OF Brandon Soat
  8. Oral Roberts JR 3B Chase Stafford
  9. Oral Roberts JR 3B/OF Rolando Martinez
  10. Nebraska-Omaha SR OF Alex Schultz
  11. Fort Wayne SR OF Evan VanSumeren
  12. North Dakota State SR C/OF Taylor Sanders
  13. Fort Wayne rSR 2B/SS Greg Kaiser
  14. South Dakota State JR 1B Matt Johnson
  15. Fort Wayne rSO 1B/C Brock Logan
  16. North Dakota State SR C Juan Gamez
  17. Fort Wayne SR 1B Kendall Whitman
  18. Oral Roberts rJR OF/2B Nick Rotola
  19. North Dakota State rJR C JT Core
  20. Western Illinois JR SS/1B Chris Tschida
  21. South Dakota State SR OF Paul Jacobson

Pitchers

  1. Oral Roberts rSO RHP Kyler Stout
  2. South Dakota State SR RHP Andrew Clemen
  3. Western Illinois SR RHP Joe Mortillaro
  4. Western Illinois JR LHP Preston Church
  5. South Dakota State JR RHP Ryan Froom
  6. North Dakota State SR RHP Brian VanderWoude
  7. North Dakota State rSR LHP Parker Trewin
  8. Nebraska-Omaha SR RHP Tyler Fox
  9. Western Illinois SR RHP Nick Milligan
  10. Fort Wayne rSO RHP Brandon Phelps
  11. South Dakota State JR RHP Ethan Kenkel
  12. North Dakota State JR RHP Alex Rogers
  13. Oral Roberts rSR RHP Nathan Garza
  14. Fort Wayne rJR RHP Jake Weber

Fort Wayne

rJR RHP Jake Weber (2016)
rSR LHP Brandon Pease (2016)
SR RHP Trevor Storie (2016)
SR RHP Kyle Orwig (2016)
rSO RHP Brandon Phelps (2016)
SR OF Brandon Soat (2016)
rSR 2B/SS Greg Kaiser (2016)
SR 1B Kendall Whitman (2016)
SR OF Evan VanSumeren (2016)
rSR OF Shane Trevino (2016)
rSO 1B/C Brock Logan (2016)
rSO 3B/C Shannon Baker (2016)
SO RHP Evan Miller (2017)
FR RHP Brayton Cooper (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jake Weber, Brandon Pease, Kyle Orwig, Brandon Phelps, Brandon Soat, Greg Kaiser, Kendall Whitman, Evan VanSumeren, Shane Trevino, Brock Logan, Shannon Baker

Nebraska-Omaha

SR RHP Tyler Fox (2016)
SR RHP Marcus Ethen (2016)
JR RHP Brett Sasse (2016)
JR RHP Shane Meltz (2016)
JR RHP Eric Moreno (2016)
JR RHP Skyler Sylvester (2016)
SR OF Cole Gruber (2016)
SR OF Alex Schultz (2016)
SR 3B/SS Clayton Taylor (2016)
rSO 1B Ryan Cate (2016)
SO RHP Corey Binger (2017)
SO LHP Brad Olsen (2017)
SO OF Cole Patterson (2017)
FR INF Jack Kalina (2018)

High Priority Follows: Tyler Fox, Cole Gruber, Alex Schultz, Clayton Taylor

North Dakota State

JR RHP Alex Rogers (2016)
SR RHP Brian VanderWoude (2016)
JR RHP Adam Lambrecht (2016)
rJR RHP Sean Terres (2016)
JR RHP Reed Pfannenstein (2016)
JR RHP Kevin Folman (2016)
rSR LHP Parker Trewin (2016)
SR C/OF Taylor Sanders (2016)
SR C Juan Gamez (2016)
rJR C JT Core (2016)
SR 2B Andy Wicklund (2016)
rSO OF Logan Busch (2016)
JR OF Ben Petersen (2016)
SR 3B Paul Funk (2016)
SR INF Danny Regan (2016)
SO LHP Blake Stockert (2017)
SO RHP Colin Baumgard (2017)
SO 1B/C Brayden Resch (2017)
SO OF Jayse McLean (2017)
SO 2B Drew Fearing (2017)
SO 1B Mason Pierzchalski (2017)
FR RHP/OF Blake Tritch (2018)
FR LHP/OF Parker Harms (2018)
FR OF Alec Abercrombie (2018)

High Priority Follows: Alex Rogers, Brian VanderWoude, Sean Terres, Parker Trewin, Taylor Sanders, Juan Gamez, JT Core, Ben Petersen

Oral Roberts

rSR RHP Nathan Garza (2016)
rSO RHP Kyler Stout (2016)
JR RHP Logan Michaels (2016)
rSR RHP Nick Wood (2016)
JR RHP Grant Glaze (2016)
rJR C/RHP Holden Cammack (2016)
rJR C/1B Brent Williams (2016)
rSR SS Trevin Sonnier (2016)
rJR OF/2B Nick Rotola (2016)
JR 3B/OF Rolando Martinez (2016)
JR 3B Chase Stafford (2016)
rSO OF Noah Cummings (2016)
SO RHP Bryce Howe (2017)
SO LHP Taylor Varnell (2017)
SO C Matt Whatley (2017)
SO SS Nick Roark (2017)
FR RHP/1B Josh McMinn (2018)
FR LHP Trevor McCutchin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nathan Garza, Kyler Stout, Brent Williams, Nick Totola, Rolando Martinez, Chase Stafford, Noah Cummings

South Dakota State

SR RHP Andrew Clemen (2016)
SR RHP Derringer Huff (2016)
JR RHP Ethan Kenkel (2016)
JR LHP Landon Busch (2016)
JR RHP Ryan Froom (2016)
SR RHP Joe Erickson (2016)
SR OF Paul Jacobson (2016)
SR SS Jesse Munsterman (2016)
JR 1B Matt Johnson (2016)
SO 3B Tony Kjolsing (2017)
SO C Luke Ringhofer (2017)
SO OF Anthony Schneider (2017)
SO OF Philip Jacobson (2017)
SO 3B Newt Johnson (2017)
FR RHP Will McAffer (2018)
FR OF Marcus Hahn (2018)

High Priority Follows: Andrew Clemen, Derringer Huff, Ethan Kenkel, Landon Busch, Ryan Froom, Paul Jacobson, Jesse Munsterman, Matt Johnson

Western Illinois

SR RHP Joe Mortillaro (2016)
rJR LHP Aaron Michel (2016)
SR RHP Nick Milligan (2016)
JR LHP Preston Church (2016)
JR RHP Robbie Nunn (2016)
SR OF Erik Maki (2016)
SR C Mark Garton (2016)
JR C Adam McGinnis (2016)
JR SS/1B Chris Tschida (2016)
SO LHP JT Baksha (2017)
SO RHP Colan Borchers (2017)
SO LHP Pete Minella (2017)
SO RHP Sam Cottingham-Beard (2017)
SO SS Kendall King (2017)
SO 2B Colton Pogue (2017)
FR INF Deion Thompson (2018)
FR INF Drue Galassi (2018)
FR C CJ Shaeffer (2018)

High Priority Follows: Joe Mortillaro, Aaron Michel, Nick Milligan, Preston Church, Robbie Nunn, Mark Garton, Adam McGinnis, Chris Tschida

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Summit League 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Nebraska-Omaha rJR C Alex Mortensen
Fort Wayne JR 1B Kendall Whitman
Fort Wayne rJR 2B Greg Kaiser
Nebraska-Omaha JR SS Clayton Taylor
Oral Roberts JR 3B Rolando Martinez
Fort Wayne JR OF Evan VanSumeren
Nebraska-Omaha JR OF Alex Schultz
Nebraska-Omaha JR OF Cole Gruber

Oral Roberts JR RHP Guillermo Trujillo
South Dakota State SR RHP Adam Bray
Oral Roberts rSR RHP Kurt Giller
Oral Roberts SR RHP Jacob McDavid
North Dakota State rSR RHP Parker Trewin

Two players last year were drafted out of the Summit League. I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but the possibility of topping that number seems likely this June. The conference has a good number of hitters coming off of strong seasons who also happen to be off to strong starts in 2015. It’s not the toolsiest bunch, but there are some organizational players here that deserve to be drafted. Once the ink dries on a pro contract, anything can happen. Nebraska-Omaha JR SS/2B Clayton Taylor is the top potential/production prospect in my book thanks to his athletic 6-4, 190 pound frame and consistent positive offensive contributions.

The Summit could also see a few pitchers go off the board with the staff at Oral Roberts being a one-stop shop for a few potential quality draftable arms. JR RHP Guillermo Trujillo is a hard thrower (88-94 FB, 95 peak) with a nice changeup who could see his stuff play up in a professional relief role. rSR RHP Kurt Giller has been a solid college performer since 2012 with enough fastball (88-92 FB) to get a look beyond college. SR RHP Jacob McDavid has room to put on more weight (6-5, 190) to pump up his fastball (92 peak) another grade. South Dakota State SR RHP Adam Bray is a personal favorite as a seriously smart young pitcher with advanced command and an above-average curve.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Nebraska-Omaha JR SS/2B Clayton Taylor
  2. Oral Roberts JR 3B Rolando Martinez
  3. Fort Wayne JR OF Evan VanSumeren
  4. Nebraska-Omaha JR OF Alex Schultz
  5. Nebraska-Omaha JR OF Cole Gruber
  6. Nebraska-Omaha rJR C/OF Alex Mortensen
  7. Western Illinois SR C JJ Reimer
  8. Fort Wayne JR 1B Kendall Whitman
  9. South Dakota State JR OF Zach Coppola
  10. Fort Wayne rJR 2B Greg Kaiser
  11. Oral Roberts SR 2B Matt Brandy

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Oral Roberts JR RHP Guillermo Trujillo
  2. South Dakota State SR RHP Adam Bray
  3. Oral Roberts rSR RHP Kurt Giller
  4. Oral Roberts SR RHP Jacob McDavid
  5. North Dakota State rSR RHP Parker Trewin
  6. Western Illinois JR RHP Joe Mortillaro
  7. Western Illinois SR LHP Tom Constand
  8. South Dakota State SR RHP Chad Hodges
  9. South Dakota State SR RHP JD Moore
  10. North Dakota State SR RHP David Ernst
  11. North Dakota State JR RHP Brian VanderWoude
  12. Oral Roberts rJR RHP Nathan Garza
  13. North Dakota State SR RHP Jay Flaa
  14. North Dakota State SR LHP Trent Keefer
  15. Nebraska-Omaha JR RHP Tyler Fox
  16. Fort Wayne SR RHP Ryan Wells
  17. Nebraska-Omaha rJR RHP Zach Williamsen