It’s never too early to start talking about the draft, and even though the 2021 edition was moved to July, we’re still just ten months away. Having recently moved to Dallas, Texas, I’ll be covering the Big 12 draft prospects (among others) for Prospects Worldwide, and I’ve spent the summer getting my hands dirty with the conference.
It’s always about projection this early in the draft process, but in 2021 that’s even more the case because we don’t have a full sophomore season to lean back on. That means for most players, aside from four brief weeks of action and whatever summer ball they played, we really just have their freshman seasons to look back on. Naturally, there are more arms that stand out at this point because it’s easier to spot upticks in stuff than improved plate discipline or power. That’s certainly the case in the Big 12, where nine out of the ten names on this list are pitchers. Overall, though, it’s a weak year for the conference at least for now, with only one first round prospect at this point (Ty Madden) and only four or five that fit into the top five rounds for now.
1. RHP Ty Madden, Texas
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6’3″, 215 lbs. Born 2/21/2000. Hometown: Cypress, TX
2019-2020: 7-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 63/28 K/BB in 67.1 IP.
Easily the top prospect in the Big 12 for now, Ty Madden will take over for Bryce Elder (5th round, Braves) in leading a very talented Texas staff. The Houston-area native was strong as a freshman in 2019 (3.40 ERA, 37/24 K/BB) but took it to another level in the shortened 2020 season, putting up a 1.80 ERA and a 26/4 strikeout to walk ratio over 25 innings against a pretty strong non-conference schedule that included a gutsy quality start against a loaded Arkansas lineup. That was sandwiched around a strong run through the Cape Cod League as an underclassman in 2019 (3.33 ERA, 28/14 K/BB in 27 IP), and he’s looking to 2020 to put it all together.
Madden has a great pitcher’s frame at 6’3″ and with a low to mid 90’s fastball that can reach 96, he has the velocity to match. His best pitch might be his slider, though, bringing mid 80’s velocity and showing late, sharp bite that misses bats in bunches. He has great feel for the pitch and can manipulate its angle, which will serve him very well as his game continues to mature. Furthermore, he can morph it into a solid average curveball, though the breaking ball is at its best when it’s a true slider. Lastly, he does bring a solid changeup that can flash above average at times, rounding out his arsenal.
All of that points to a career as a starter for Madden, but he will likely need a strong, full season in the Longhorns rotation in 2021 in order to prove it. His arm action is a bit funky, with a short stabbing motion in the back before he turns and fires to the plate. His strike throwing improved considerably from 2019 (13% BB rate) to 2020 (4.1%), to the point where scouts peg him with at least average command, which partially assuages those arm action concerns. The other side, of course, is injury risk, though he’s proven durable for Texas so far. Still, he’ll need to prove he can hold his velocity and command over a full season in the rotation to truly make scouts comfortable, as he won’t get the benefit of the doubt that guys with cleaner, more traditional arm actions receive.
2. LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State
Bat: L. Throw: L. 6’3″, 220 lbs. Born 9/1/1999. Hometown: Conway, AR
2019-2020: 9-3, 2.85 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 112/30 K/BB in 110.2 IP.
While Ty Madden remains the top prospect in the Big 12, Jordan Wicks is easily the fastest riser. The Conway, Arkansas native announced his presence with a very effective freshman season for Kansas State with a 3.61 ERA and an 86/26 strikeout to walk ratio over 84.2 innings, but it’s what he’s done since then that has made scouts sit up and pay attention. Combining his shortened 2020 season with Kansas State with an exceptional run through the Northwoods League, Wicks is 5-0 with a 0.39 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, and a 55/9 strikeout to walk ratio across 46 innings this calendar year – that’ll play.
There’s really not much to dislike with Wicks at all. Coming from a durable 6’3″ frame, he throws with clean arm action and gets a little bit of crossfire from a closed off delivery, hiding the ball well along the way. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and peaks around 93, nothing crazy but enough given the rest of his profile. His changeup is a plus pitch that has fooled hitters throughout his college career, coming in with great fading action to the arm side that plays especially well off his delivery. There’s a pair of breaking balls as well, though at this point, they play better off his other stuff than on their own.
The changeup is certainly his weapon, but his above average command combined with his deception makes everything play up significantly. Wicks’ name is gaining steam fast and he could be challenging Madden by the spring, with a pretty high floor already as a back-end starter. An uptick in either his velocity or his breaking stuff could push him into the back of the first round conversation, and an uptick in both (which is very plausible given his clean delivery and high spin rates) will put him right smack in the middle of it.
3. RHP Brandon Birdsell, Texas Tech
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6’2″, 210 lbs. Born 3/23/2000. Hometown: Willis, TX
2019-2020 (@ TX A&M/San Jac. CC): 6-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 51/13 K/BB in 35 IP.
Brandon Birdsell was part of the best rotation in junior college baseball in 2019, with his San Jacinto rotation-mates Luke Little (Cubs, 4th round) and Mitchell Parker (Nationals, 5th round) both getting drafted. Birdsell was talented enough to warrant a draft selection as well and some saw him as the best prospect in that rotation, but he instead set his sights on building his stock across the state at Texas Tech. Having lost Clayton Beeter (Dodgers, comp round), Bryce Bonnin (Reds, third round), and John McMillon (Royals, undrafted), the Red Raiders rotation is wide open, and Birdsell is one of the frontrunners to stand out on yet another talented pitching staff in Lubbock.
If anything, the 6’2″ right hander has a power arm. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and has been trending upwards, hitting 97 in his final start of the abbreviated 2020 season. He backs that up with a rapidly improving slider that has tightened into an above average pitch, and it was a true weapon for him at San Jac. He’s also steadily refining his changeup, and with a durable frame, smooth delivery, and solid strike throwing ability, he is looking more and more like a mid-rotation starter. Having thrown just 35 innings in his college career so far, there isn’t much of a track record here, but what he has shown in a small sample is as good as any arm in the Big 12. Going out and maintaining his positive trajectory in Lubbock in 2021 could send him flying up draft boards. Like Madden, he’s also from the Houston area, albeit a bit farther out.
4. RHP Micah Dallas, Texas Tech
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6’2″, 205 lbs. Born 4/14/2000. Hometown: Aubrey, TX
2019-2020: 8-2, 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 107/29 K/BB in 91.2 IP.
Brandon Birdsell won’t be the only one looking to jump into that wide-open Texas Tech rotation. Micah Dallas was strong as a freshman in 2019 (7-2, 4.03 ERA, 84/28 K/BB) but was bumped back to the bullpen in 2020, where he was absolutely untouchable. In five relief appearances averaging more than three innings apiece, he struck out 23 batters over 15.2 innings while allowing just nine baserunners, including four shutout innings against Stanford. With Beeter and Bonnin gone, it’s hard not to see him reclaiming that weekend rotation spot alongside the newcomer Birdsell.
The North Texas native is fun to watch. His fastball sits in the low 90’s, topping out around 93, but you’re more likely to see him work off his offspeed pitches. His power slider is an above average pitch and he’ll throw it in any count, inducing some ugly swings and misses as hitters struggle to pick it up out of his hand. He’ll also use a solid average changeup that keeps lefties at bay, again with the conviction to use it whenever he sees fit. Dallas pounds the strike zone with an aggressive bulldog mentality that makes all of his pitches play up, which also helps is average command play up into above average control.
There are some reliever questions with Dallas, who has a stockier build at 6’2″ and throws with some effort. His delivery might need to be cleaned up a bit, but even at present he fills the strike zone very effectively. That bulldog mentality will fit really well in the bullpen should he be forced into that role, where he could more sustainably rely on that slider/changeup combination, but he won’t turn 21 until April and has plenty of time to refine his game. With his demeanor, power slider, and feel for pitching, he has every chance to do so. I’m probably one of the higher guys on Dallas at this point.
5. RHP Kolby Kubichek, Texas
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6′, 180 lbs. Born 11/28/1999. Hometown: Bryan, TX
2019-2020: 2-2, 5.21 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 23/17 K/BB in 27.2 IP.
Kolby Kubichek may have grown up in the heart of Aggieland, but he gives us our second Longhorn arm in the top four. While his college track record leaves something to be desired at this point, he piqued scouts interests with an exceptional run through the Cape Cod League as an underclassman in 2019, putting up a 1.77 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, and a 41/12 strikeout to walk ratio over 35.2 innings against elite, older competition. Like his rotation-mate, the top ranked Ty Madden, he has a bit of an unconventional profile, and that’s exactly why scouts will be watching his starts in Austin very closely this year.
This is a very interesting pitcher to break down. Kubichek’s best pitch is his fastball, but it only sits around 90 and tops out around 92. He’s an old school pitcher that comes straight over top with his release point, which puts excellent sinking action on the pitch while running inside to right handed batters. When located, it’s extremely difficult to square up and do damage on, and it played especially well against wood bats on the Cape. His next best pitch is a rapidly improving changeup that he really gained feel for that summer, bringing great sinking and fading action that is extremely difficult to differentiate from his sinker. Lastly, he brings in a slider and a curveball that are more ordinary at this point.
There is really a lot to like with Kubichek, the overall package remains just a little bit light if you want to project him as a bona fide starting pitcher, at least for now. He’s tacked some strength onto his smaller six foot frame, but he still remains just little bit undersized. His command has improved, but it still remains average at this point and when you only throw 90, you’re going to need to hit your spots very consistently to survive in pro ball, even if your sinker has great movement. Lastly, the lack of a plus breaking ball limits his ceiling a little bit. He’s not going to get any bigger, so if scouts are going to be confident in projecting him as a starter on draft day, he’ll probably want to see either an uptick in his stuff or his command this spring. Still, there are no glaring holes in the profile, and he remains a very well-rounded pitcher who does a lot of things well on the mound.
6. RHP Riley Cornelio, Texas Christian
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6’3″, 195 lbs. Born 6/6/2000. Hometown: Monument, CO
2020: 1-0, 0.87 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 6/7 K/BB in 10.1 IP.
Big 12 fans know that this list wouldn’t be complete without a TCU arm to follow in the footsteps of Nick Lodolo, Durbin Feltman, Brandon Finnegan, and the countless other arms I don’t need to name, and those who follow the draft will recognize Riley Cornelio’s name. Cornelio was a top draft prospect coming out of the Colorado Springs high school ranks in 2019, and thanks to a June birthday that made him very old for his class, he’s draft eligible again as a sophomore in 2021. That means he’ll have to put in a lot of work proving himself this year, because with the shortened 2020 season, he only has 10.1 college innings to his name with some very interesting numbers. Facing 40 batters, he allowed just three hits (.094 opponents AVG) but walked seven while striking out six and allowed three runs, only one of which was earned. In this case, the scouting profile fits in perfectly with the numbers.
Cornelio is a lanky 6’3″ righty with wicked stuff, but he’s still learning how to harness it. The fastball sits in the low to mid 90’s and tops out around 95, getting nice riding action along the way that routinely misses barrels. His curveball is a true plus pitch at its best, bringing wipeout action that played up immediately against college hitters last year. However, it can flatten out at times when he leaves it up, which is fairly often. There’s a changeup, though for now it’s his third pitch.
Cornelio creates a lot of deception with a crossfire delivery that hides the ball well, but a byproduct of starting so closed off and unfurling his body is that he regularly loses his arm slot and release point. That severely impacts his command, which probably grades out at a 40 at this point. As a two pitch pitcher with poor command, he carries tremendous relief risk, though as a draft eligible sophomore that has thrown 10.1 college innings, he hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself anyways. That’s the downside of being old for your class. Given his lack of experience, it would not be surprising for him to come out in 2021 with a cleaner operation, in which case he could shoot up draft boards. For now though, we’ll have to wait and see, but that fastball/curveball combination is wicked.
7. CF Eric Kennedy, Texas
Bat: L. Throw: R. 5’11”, 200 lbs. Born 9/15/1999. Hometown: Tampa, FL
2019-2020: 3 HR, .305/.381/.403, 17 SB, 35/30 K/BB in 66 games.
The top position player prospect in the Big 12, Kennedy is also our third Longhorn on the list. There really isn’t much going on in terms of impact bats in this conference, especially if you’re looking for power, so the contact-oriented Kennedy rises to the top just based on his consistency. After hitting .310/.382/.418 with a very strong 23/21 strikeout to walk ratio as a true freshman in 2019, he followed it up with a solid, albeit unspectacular, start to the 2020 season with a .288/.380/.356 line and eight stolen bases through 17 games.
Kennedy isn’t a power hitter, but he does a lot of everything else well. The Tampa native is a plus runner, and he deploys that speed very well on the bases, swiping nine bags in eleven attempts as a freshman before going a perfect eight for eight as a sophomore. That speed will enable him to stick in center field as well, where his strong arm makes him a valuable overall defender. At the plate, he’s hit over power, employing a quick left handed swing to drive the ball around the yard and to the gaps. His patient approach combined with strong bat to ball skills means there is very little swing and miss in his game, and it gives him a high floor as someone who will for sure hit in pro ball. Whether you see Kennedy as anything more than a fourth outfielder, though, likely depends on how you project his power. At 5’11”, he’s not the biggest guy in the world, and he hasn’t shown much even in the way of simple extra base power so far at Texas. Given his very strong feel for hitting, some swing changes to give him more extension could help him profile for 5-10 home runs per year or more, and he’ll have a chance to show more pure offensive impact in 2021.
8. RHP Ryan Bergert, West Virginia
Bat: R. Throw: R. 6’2″, 200 lbs. Born 3/8/2000. Hometown: Canton, OH
2019-2020: 4-1, 2.30 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 68/19 K/BB in 58.2 IP.
Here is a guy who has just dominated everywhere he’s gone. As a true freshman at WVU in 2019, Ryan Bergert came out and posted a 1.80 ERA and a sharp 38/8 strikeout to walk ratio across 34 innings, and he followed that up with a 2.92 mark and a 30/11 K/BB in 24.2 innings in 2020. This summer, he was one of the best pitchers in the Northwoods League, too, with a 2.33 ERA and a 31/10 strikeout to walk ratio across 27 innings. Names like Madden, Kubichek, and Dallas are more recognizable in this Lone Star-centered conference but Bergert is quietly positioning himself as one of the best pitchers available.
Bergert’s numbers stand out, but he has the stuff to match. The 6’2″ righty usually works around 90, but he can reach back for 94-95 at times and his high spin rates help it play faster. He also adds in a really sharp curveball that doesn’t always have the finish he would like, but which flashes plus at his best. The Canton, Ohio native primarily works off those two pitches, but there is still some projection remaining in his frame and his above average command helps him profile as a starting pitcher. He’s going to want to refine that changeup a bit and an uptick in velocity would be nice as well, but you can’t argue with his track record against strong competition and he’s a sleeper to watch for the 2021 draft.
9. LHP Dalton Fowler, Oklahoma
Bat: L. Throw: L. 6’5″, 190 lbs. Born 1/7/2000. Hometown: Arlington, TN
2019-2020 (@ NW Miss. CC): 10-2, 3.33 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 127/53 K/BB in 83.2 IP.
Despite losing all three weekend starters to the draft last year in Cade Cavalli (Nationals, first round), Levi Prater (Cardinals, third round), and Dane Acker (A’s, fourth round), plus its top pitching recruit in Dax Fulton (Marlins, second round), Oklahoma is bringing in a really talented pitching staff this year. A big reason for that is Northwest Mississippi CC transfer Dalton Fowler, who actually is actually a fairly similar pitcher to Fulton. Fowler was very inconsistent as a freshman in Senatobia, but was off to a hot start in 2020 with 39 strikeouts to just 20 baserunners allowed in 19 innings, and he could have been a sixth to tenth round draft pick in a normal draft. Instead, the Memphis-area native will head west to Norman and look to put it all together.
Like top recruit turned Miami Marlin Dax Fulton, Dalton Fowler is a lanky fastball-curveball lefty. He’s variously listed at 6’5″ or 6’6″ and at less than 200 pounds, he’s a true stringbean. Fowler’s fastball sits in the low 90’s and he’s gotten better at maintaining that velocity, so scouts are looking to see if he can push the upper end as well as he continues to fill out that big frame. In the past, his curveball has fluctuated between below average and above average, but he’s gotten more consistent with the pitch and is flashing more above average breakers. There’s a changeup as well that’s coming along, and his command has improved from 40 grade to 45 grade. There is still considerable work to be done, but Fowler is extremely projectable and slowly but steadily trending in the right direction, and if Oklahoma’s coaching staff can help him put it all together, he has real impact starter potential. Consider him the high ceiling, low floor name in this group.
10. SS Hueston Morrill, Oklahoma State
Bat: R. Throw: R. 5’11”, 165 lbs. Born 11/27/1999. Hometown: Live Oak, FL
2019-2020: 4 HR, .276/.388/.406, 18 SB, 78/47 K/BB in 76 games.
Eight of the top nine prospects in the Big 12 are pitchers, but here at ten we’ll get to one more hitter, Oklahoma State’s jack-of-all-trades Hueston Morrill. Morrill, who like the other hitter on this list, Eric Kennedy, is a native Floridian, made an immediate impact in Stillwater with a .282/.390/.386 line and 12 stolen bases over 58 games as a true freshman in 2019. After a so-so run through the Cape Cod League that summer (.238/.299/.300, 26/6 K/BB), he started to show some pop as a sophomore with a slightly less balanced .258/.383/.470 line and a couple home runs in 18 games. Now, a very shallow crop of Big 12 position players gives him a chance to stand out in front of area scouts.
Morrill doesn’t have a standout tool, rather he does a lot of things very well, and steps forward in any area could send him flying up draft boards. Though his hit tool probably grades out as fringe-average at this point, he’s a patient hitter that works counts and draws walks, making evaluators comfortable with a 50 grade in that area. While he’s a bit undersized at 5’11” and 165 pounds, he has shown nice gap power throughout his career and was starting to tap into more impact as a sophomore in 2020. The swing can get a bit long at times, but he leaves the barrel in the zone for a long time and that enables him to make consistent hard contact.
Additionally, Morrill is a good runner with 18 stolen bases in 21 tries so far with the Cowboys. On the other side of the ball, he played second base as a freshman then moved over to shortstop as a sophomore, and he has the quickness and arm strength to stick there. In fact, he actually showed a low 90’s fastball in high school and drew some interest as a right handed pitcher, which illustrates his upside at shortstop. Right now, because both his hit and power tools are fringy, he profiles more as a utility infielder than anything else, but continuing to tap that power like he’s capable of and tightening up his bat to ball skills a little bit could make a big difference.
Other Interesting Options
Kansas State: The Wildcats bring two interesting arms to the table this year in Carson Seymour and Connor McCullough. Seymour was draft-eligible last season, but he had just 28 collegiate innings under his belt and team’s weren’t comfortable with his track record in a five round draft. The 6’6″, 260 pound righty had seen a dramatic improvement in his stuff and hit 99 with his fastball while flashing two plus breaking balls in a slider and a curveball. However, the quality of his stuff was inconsistent and his command remained unrefined, and he’ll go into 2021 looking to prove he’s for real. McCullough, who like Seymour (Dartmouth) transferred from another four year school (Arkansas), dominated the Cape Cod League as an underclassman in 2019 with a 1.72 ERA and a 42/14 strikeout to walk ratio over 36.2 innings. He doesn’t have the same size or overpowering stuff as Seymour, tossing a fastball around 90 to go with a high spin curveball and a solid changeup. McCullough does beat Seymour when it comes to consistency and command, though, giving him less risk than his high upside counterpart.
Oklahoma: The Sooners have three more names I’m interested in right now. Right hander Wyatt Olds shook off a mediocre freshman season to post a 1.89 ERA and a 29/8 strikeout to walk ratio over 19 innings as a sophomore, and that was against as tough of a non-conference slate as you’re going to get. He has a really funky delivery in which he reaches as far back as he can, bends his torso forward as if he’s going to come submarine, then comes back up to sling the ball from a high sidearm slot. The result is excellent extension that makes the ball extremely difficult to pick up, and that makes his low 90’s fastball and frisbee slider play up. His command has improved at Oklahoma, but it’s still fringy and he likely profiles as a reliever. Ben Abram is absolutely massive at 6’7″ and 255 pounds, coming in with average stuff but great pitchability. He commands his 90-ish fastball, above average 12-6 curveball, and decent slider and changeup very well, and with that durable frame, he profiles well as a #5 starter. Any small uptick in his velocity could send him moving up boards. On the other side of the ball, we have draft-eligible sophomore Connor Beichler, an undersized 5’9″, 155 pound second baseman with an extremely disciplined approach at the plate. He uses a line drive swing to spray the ball around the field, though he understandably doesn’t profile for a ton of power. He’s also reported to have a very strong work ethic.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have an interesting sleeper that I’ll be watching this spring in Clemson/junior college transfer Justin Wrobleski. He’s a 6’1″ lefty with a low 90’s fastball that tops out around 95, and his loose arm puts plenty of run on the ball to make it tough to square up. Wrobleski adds in an above average slider that pairs well with his fastball in addition to a decent changeup, but he doesn’t have much of a track record and needs to tighten up his command. Lefties with the potential for two plus pitches will always garner attention though. There’s also righthander Kale Davis, who sits around 90 with his fastball and adds an above average curveball. At 6’4″, he has a great pitcher’s frame, and he has better command than Wrobleski. Scouts will be looking for any uptick in velocity in 2021.
Texas: The Longhorns had three of the top five players on this list, and they still have more to watch even after promising righty Kamron Fields transferred to Texas Southern. Right hander Mason Bryant has as high of a ceiling as anybody on this list, standing 6’5″ and coming in with a mid 90’s fastball. He also adds an above average slider, but for now, the Austin native has very little track record in the Big 12, having thrown 12 total innings with a 9.75 ERA. His command is well below average at this point and he has a lot of work to do if he wants to get drafted as a starter. Right hander Dawson Merryman, unlike Bryant, has no chance to start in pro ball as a two pitch sidearmer. He tosses his fastball in the low 90’s, which is faster than many sidearmers, and can sling a frisbee slider across the plate as well. Hailing from the small town of Greenwood, Texas, which is just outside Midland, he’s a solid strike thrower and could move quickly through the minors. We also have right hander Andre Duplantier, the cousin of Diamondbacks pitcher and Rice alum Jon Duplantier, is around 90 with his fastball, adds a solid curveball, and was strong as a freshman last year with a 2.00 ERA and a 13/3 strikeout to walk ratio in nine innings. He lacks a plus carrying tool, but he does a lot of things well and could sneak up on some people.
Texas Christian: Behind Cornelio, the Horned Frogs have a nice crop of players to watch. Right hander Johnny Ray could have gone in the sixth to tenth round last year had it been a normal draft, putting up a 2.53 ERA and a 21/8 strikeout to walk ratio over 21.1 innings. Nothing here is plus, but he’s solid average across the board with a low 90’s fastball, a good slider, and an average curveball and changeup to go with average command. Getting more innings under his belt and proving his strike throwing ability could put him in a similar range in 2021. Righty Marcelo Perez has my attention, though he’s a bit undersized at 5’10”. The Laredo, Texas native brings a low 90’s fastball, an above average slider with really nice, late bite, and a solid changeup, and he pumps it all out with relative ease. However, his lack of height and extension lead to a lot of relief questions. Outfielder Porter Brown hit just .237/.351/.316 over his first two seasons in Fort Worth, but in a conference without a ton of big bats, he stands out for his speed and plate discipline. Though he’s just 5’11”, his line drive bat profiles to add some impact as he gets more at bats under his belt.
Texas Tech: Perhaps the deepest team in this conference when it comes to draft prospects, the Red Raiders had two of the top three names on this list and bring plenty more. Austin Becker was a big name on the 2017 summer showcase circuit leading up to the 2018 draft, but his command regressed in the spring, and his stay at Vanderbilt lasted just four innings in 2019. Transferring to Texas Tech, he struggled mightily with his command in 2020 and will now miss the 2021 season with Tommy John surgery. At his best, though, the 6’5″ righty shows a mid to upper 90’s fastball and an above average curveball and changeup, but he’ll have a lot of ground to make up once he comes back healthy. Mason Montgomery is a 6’2″ lefty that has caught some eyes, showing a low 90’s fastball with more in the tank. With a clean delivery and improving strike throwing ability, he’s trending in the right direction and of course, he’s left handed. We have Dylan Neuse, younger brother of A’s infielder Sheldon Neuse, who was draft eligible in 2020 but was not selected in the five round event despite a .355/.438/.487 slash line in 19 games. Just 5’9″, he has an explosive right handed swing that produces a lot of hard contact, but he can lose some of that leverage when he gets power conscious and likely profiles more as a contact hitter in pro ball. With plus speed to go with strong plate discipline, he could make a nice super-utility man. Max Marusak is even faster than Neuse, but the Amarillo native has hit just .244/.304/.341 in 55 games in Lubbock. His blazing speed will always keep him on the radar, but he makes a lot of weak contact and does not draw many walks. Scouts hope the skinny six footer can build on his strong bat to ball skills and innate athleticism in 2021.
West Virginia: I just have one name for you here to follow up Ryan Bergert, and that’s Jackson Wolf. An Ohio native like his rotation-mate, Wolf exploded with a 1.05 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, and a 27/5 strikeout to walk ratio over 25.2 innings in 2020, but went undrafted despite being eligible. He’s a 6’7″ lefty (immediate underline for scouts) that only sits in the upper 80’s with his fastball, occasionally creeping above 90, but he gets such great extension that it looks like he’s throwing 95. He has a fringy breaking ball and average command, so it’s unlikely he’ll remain a starter in pro ball, but I’m interested to see how much that fastball can tick up in relief.