High-SchoolMinnesota: High School Baseball

ESPNHS Baseball Players of the Week

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
10:10
AM ET
(After games of Tuesday, May 22)

One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.

EAST

Ben Hartz, Shady Side Academy (Pittsburgh)
The senior pitcher-first baseman led the Indians on the mound and at the plate in a 4-3 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AA first-round 4-3 playoff victory over Waynesburg (Pa.). Hartz struck out 14 batters in a four-hit effort and helped his own cause with two hits and a pair of RBIs. The four-year starter has been impressive his last three seasons with a combined .520 batting average, 77 RBIs, 16 pitching wins and 150 strikeouts.

SOUTHEAST

Blaine Crain, Spanish Fort (Ala.)
Crain was named MVP of the Class 5A state championship series after going 3-for-6 with two RBIs to help Spanish Fort defeat Southside (Gadsden, Ala.) in a two-game sweep. It was Spanish Fort's third straight state title. Crain, who had a game-winning RBI in the team’s victory that sent them to the state finals, played despite very difficult personal circumstances. Six weeks ago, his father, Kurt, a former All-American linebacker at Auburn and an assistant football coach at South Alabama, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

MIDWEST

Eric Veglahn, La Crescent (Minn.)
The senior left-handed pitcher had an inning to remember in a 4-1 victory over Hayfield (Minn.), striking out five batters to close out the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. He fanned the first two batters, but the next two strikeout victims reached base on passed balls by the catcher. He then wrapped up the victory with his fourth and fifth strikeouts of the inning plus the 12th and 13th of the game.

MIDLANDS

Tate Matheny, Westminster Christian (Town & Country, Mo.)
The son of new St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny is in the midst of a monster senior season. Earlier this week, in Westminster’s 3-0 win over Orchard Farm (St. Charles, Mo.) in the Class 3 sectional tourney, Matheny belted a two-run homer, his 11th of the season. Last week in a 11-1 romp in five innings against MICDS of St. Louis, Matheny went 3-for-3 with a double and homer. Prior to the game against Orchard Farm, he was batting .614 with 10 homers, 10 triples, 52 runs scored and 47 RBIs. Matheny’s team also improved to 26-3 after that win and upped its winning streak to 23 games.

WEST

Troy Conyers, El Capitan (Lakeside, Calif.)
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound left-handed pitcher struck out 16 and pitched a four-hitter in El Capitan’s 7-1 win last week against Monte Vista (Spring Valley, Calif.). Conyers also went 1-for-3 with a double at the plate. He pitched a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in his previous start and has led the Vaqueros to a 27-5 record and No. 37 FAB 50 national ranking. Heading into this week, Conyers was batting .395 with 24 RBIs and had an 8-1 mound record with 114 strikeouts and a 0.72 ERA. He was the San Diego Union-Tribune Player of the Year as a junior and has signed with the University of San Diego.

MLB Draft Stock Watch: Brown earns praise

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
10:37
AM ET
Ty HensleyScott Kurtz/ESPNHSSanta Fe (Edmond, Okla.) senior right-hander Ty Hensley has turned himself into a potential top 20 pick in this year's MLB draft.
Each Friday from now until the end of May, Jason A. Churchill, who covers the MLB draft for ESPN Insider, will look at the high school prospects whose stock is up and whose stock is down heading into the draft, which begins on June 4.

A number of top prep prospects are finishing up their seasons. So at this point, their stock is only changing due either to growing signability concerns or the improved stock of those still playing. It’s fluid, but it can only take one team’s assessment of a player to change his draft stock.

Here’s an overall look at which prospects have helped and hurt their draft prospects since last week.

STOCK UP

Mitch Brown, RHP, Century (Rochester, Minn.)
Brown's stock is up significantly from a year ago thanks to improved velocity, command and a more consistent delivery that promotes better arm action and deception. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound San Diego commit has been up to 95 mph, and his high-80s cutter is an added weapon. He began the season as a likely Day 2 pick -- perhaps somewhere between rounds four and six -- but has pitched his way into the sandwich-round conversation and may not get past the hometown Twins at No. 42.

Alec Rash, RHP, ADM (Adel, Iowa)
Rash flashed low-to-mid 90s heat in bullpen sessions for scouts as he prepared to start his season (Iowa high school baseball starts in May) and is rising up the charts as a result. Scouts saw 90-92 last summer, but he has added velocity between seasons. He's committed to the University of Missouri, but he could land as high as the compensation round. He gets good plane on his heater and his breaking ball has flashed as an above-average pitch. It would be a surprise if he lasted beyond the second round.

Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)
Hensley has the physical tools of a first-round power arm, and that's exactly where ESPN Insider's Keith Law has him going in his latest mock draft. Hensley could potentially go as high as No. 9 to the Miami Marlins, a club that loves to take high school power arms and ride out the upside. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Hensley is committed to Ole Miss, but there's a good chance he doesn’t step foot on campus.

D.J. Davis, Stone County (Wiggins, Miss.)
Davis' signability helps his case -- he's not signed to a Division I school and will attend Meridian Community College and re-enter the draft next June should he not sign this summer. But his 80-grade speed, plus defense in center and improved showing at the plate not only has sent his stock soaring but it may get Davis into the first round. He's a left-handed stick who has displayed selectivity and added pop in 2012 and appears destined to be off the board in the top 30 picks.

Others Trending Up
Giovanni Brusa, OF, St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calf.)
Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)

STOCK DOWN

Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.)
Eflin may see his stock drop slightly due to a late injury. Eflin missed about a month with a strained triceps and returned last week to mixed reviews. There's a chance the 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander, with his 91-95 mph fastball and polished feel for pitching, could again rise into the top 15 if the triceps issue proves to be a one-time problem.

Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo (Calif.)
Virant could be the victim of so many other prospects gaining steam, including a number of prep and college arms. He's not the most projectable of arms, but he could add strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame that could help him add velocity and improve his ceiling from No. 3 starter to potential No. 2 or better. Former first-round pick Tyler Skaggs, now a top prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, brought a similar profile to the 2009 draft.

Matt Olson, 1B, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Olson has big-time raw power and performed well this spring, but is limited to first base and there are other bat-first or bat-only prospects at the prep level that carry higher grades, including Mitch Nay of Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) and Joey Gallo of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Olson has a simple swing, but he doesn't incorporate his lower half much and employs a near dead-hand start, which could limit his power against good pitching.

Jason A. Churchill covers scouting, player development and the MLB draft for ESPN Insider, as well as Prospect Insider, where he's the founder and executive editor. You can follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider and email him at churchill@prospectinsider.com.

ESPNHS Baseball Players of the Week

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
9:59
AM ET
(After games of Tuesday, May 1)

One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.

EAST

Clark Siebels, York (Yorktown, Va.)
The senior right-handed pitcher helped the Falcons improve to 13-1 for the season in a 6-1 win over rival Poquoson (Va.). Siebels ran his record to 7-0 this season by allowing only two hits, after yielding no hits the first five innings, and struck out 11 in 6.2 innings. Siebels also went 3-for-4 at the plate. He had only pitched one game before this season, but it was a no-hitter last spring against Churchland (Portsmouth, Va.)

SOUTHEAST

Kyle Miller, Estero (Fla.)
The 6-foot-3 senior pitcher/shortstop has been a main reason why the Wildcats have risen to No. 35 in this week’s POWERADE FAB 50. In a 12-0 win last week over Lely (Naples, Fla.) that gave Estero a Class 5A district title, Miller went 2-for-3 with a homer and also pitched a one-hitter with seven strikeouts. The shutout lowered his ERA to 0.27 for the season. He also enters this week’s regional quarterfinals against Cape Coral (Fla.) with 91 strikeouts and just six walks allowed. Miller has signed with Florida Atlantic University.

MIDWEST

Jake Flemmer, Orono (Long Lake, Minn.)
The sophomore catcher became only the third reported state player to record a six-hit game in a 14-8, eight-inning victory over Dassel-Cokato (Cokato, Minn.). The left-handed hitter also had finished his previous game with a single to give him seven straight hits -- all singles. Flemmer's record-tying effort boosted his season average to .639.

MIDLANDS

Eric Gutierrez, Sharyland (Mission, Texas)
As a junior, Gutierrez was Sharyland’s MVP as he hit .566 with 58 RBIs and had a 0.98 ERA for a 28-1 team. It’s hard to imagine a higher batting average, but after he stayed hot by going 2-for-2 with a run scored in last week’s Class 5A playoff win over McAllen (Texas) his batting average stood at .632. In his previous game, Gutierrez went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and another recent game saw him go 3-for-3 with six RBIs. As a pitcher, Gutierrez entered this week’s playoff matchup against Winn (Eagle Pass, Texas) with a 6-1 record and 1.42 ERA. With Gutierrez leading the way, Sharyland also has piled up a 25-3 record and was No. 15 in this week’s Midlands Region Top 20.

WEST

Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Rated the nation’s No. 1 third baseman in the ESPN 100, Gallo has been rounding the corners frequently on home runs in recent weeks. Gallo capped last week by homering in a 13-1 win over Sierra Vista (Las Vegas). He also hit one homer with four RBIs in a 10-0 triumph against Western (Las Vegas) and started the week with two homers and five RBIs when the Gaels beat Spring Valley (Las Vegas) 9-5. Over a six-game stretch entering this week, Gallo had hit nine home runs, which includes his epic total of four in one game on April 18 against Clark (Las Vegas).

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