2008 MLB Draft Preview: Wichita State

No. 8 Wichita State Knocks Off Kansas, 7-3

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior right fielder Ryne Price hit his seventh home run of the season, while sophomore Paul Smyth struck out five in three innings of work, but it was not enough. Conor Gillaspe’s RBI ground out in the top of the fifth broke a three-all tie and lifted No. 8 Wichita State to a 7-3 triumph over Kansas Tuesday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.

The Shockers improve to 21-3 on the season, while KU falls to 18-13

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Originally posted on RockChalkTalk.com on Tuesday, 4/1

The Shockers have a few top tier draft picks on this team. Several of which id expect to make it to the show (MLB). It isn’t a super deep team when it comes to pro prospects, but what the Shockers do so well is MAKE professional players out of hard working kids. So I would expect for many more to come out of the woodwork as the year progresses and to be there as a prospect next season. Let me go over who I am going to be keeping my eyes on Tuesday.

3B Conor Gillaspie, JR, 6’1, 200
Gillaspie is quite simply, an awesome baseball player. He is a second team All-American. Last year he hit .325 with 6 HR, 63 RBI, 24 Doubles and 12 Steals as a sophomore. Gillaspie has a great bat and plays great defense. He doesn’t have a lot of HR’s but he has quite a bit of pop in his bat. So far this year he is hitting .435 with 2 HR, 30 RBI, 7 steals, 6 Doubles and 6 Triples and only 4 Errors at third. He is athletic with a great bat and glove. I think he will be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but could sneak into the late first round or supplementary first round. I can’t wait to see his swing.

AMAN’S TAKE: Im not sure if i just caught Gillaspie on a rough night or what, but he didnt really impress me that much. He obviously has a nice swing but on this night it wasnt to be. He went 1-4 with 3 RBI and a walk. He had a check swing ground out to first, another ground out to first, and a ground out to second. His only hit was an infield single to second. He managed to knock a run in on several of those ground outs so even his RBI total is a bit misleading. Gillaspie obviously is a great contact hitter that will suceed at the next level and i would still guess him to be picked somewhere in the top 5 rounds. On this night , however, i cant say i was all that impressed.

C Tyler Weber, 6’3, 220, SR
Weber is a gold glove caliber catcher and he also has a nice bat. Those 2 things are very rare to have in combination for a catcher. Last year Weber hit .297 with 11 HR and 49 RBI. So far this year he is a hitting machine, batting .373 with 2 HR, 22 RBI, 6 Doubles, 1 Triple and ZERO errors. Amazing numbers for a catcher with his defensive abilities. I would expect his average to come back to earth and finish a bit above .300. I will be anxious to see him work behind the plate tonight.

AMAN’S TAKE: Weber DID impress me. He looked very good behind the plate with great catching skills and a nice arm. He was 1-4 with an RBI but did show some nice pop and some very nice swings. He had a fly out to CF, a ground out to 3B, a strikeout and a double to LF. I think this guy will be able to hit in the minors and beyond and his work behind the plate should get him some notice. I would guess him to go somewhere near the 5th round or somewhere in that area.

SS/RHP Dusty Coleman, 6’2, 185, SO
Coleman is a fine young shortstop with tons of potential. He hit .264 with 10 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HR, 19 RBI and 7 steals as a freshman. Those are some crazy good freshman numbers for any position, let alone a shortstop. He also is a pitcher with a very hefty arm and could possibly be a closer at some point. So far this year he is at .367 with 5 HR, 32 RBI, 7 Doubles, 1 Triple, 6 Steals and 5 Errors. As a sophomore, he is well on his way to being an All-American and a high draft pick next year. Im excited to see his bat and his arm.

AMAN’S TAKE: Coleman was another player that had a rough night at the plate and failed to show me much. He was 0-5 with an RBI and a run scored. He had 3 ground outs and 2 K’s in this one. Coleman being only a sophomore, did have a nice cut and showed good defense as well so if he can continue with his current numbers, id still guess him to be an early round pick after next season.

OF Ryan Jones, 6′, 185, SO

Jones didnt get much time last year and he went through the typical struggles of a freshman but this year he has come out in a frenzy. He is hitting .352 with 14 RBI, 4 Doubles, 3 Triples and 7 Steals. I think he is hiding some power in there somewhere and the power coupled with his athletic frame and speed will result in a very nice outfielder.

AMAN’S TAKE: Jones didn’t get to show me much of anything tonight as far as looking at his power development. He was 1-3 in this one with his only hit being a bunt single. He also struck out once and grounded out to 3B, 2B and Pitcher. Jones also is only a sophomore, so we have until the end of at least next year to determine what his draft status could end up.

OF Andy Dirks, 6’0, 195, SR
Dirks is a true leadoff guy. Last year he batted .320 with 3 HR, 31 RBI and 19 SB. He knows how to hit the ball and he knows how to get on base and then once he is on base, he knows how to steal and score. This year he is at .333 with 3 HR, 14 RBI, 3 Doubles, 2 Triples and 9 Steals. He should be exciting to watch tonight.

AMAN’S TAKE: Dirks is exactly what i described him as. An on-base machine and a prototype leadoff hitter. Dirks had 3 walks and 2 K’s in this game and you can just tell he likes to work the count, get his teammates plenty of pitches to see, wait on his pitches to hit and if he doesn’t get anything, then gladly take a walk. He was fun to watch and i think he for sure translates to the next level. I would guess somewhere in that 15-20th round vicinity.

OF Ken Williams Jr., 6’2, 198, JR
Williams is a transfer from Arizona and was drafted in the 36th round in 2004 by the White Sox. Rightfully so as his father is the General Manager of the Chicago White Sox. Williams is very athletic and seems to be putting things together this year batting .367 with 7 RBI, 5 Doubles, 2 Triples and 4 Steals. Im anxious to see if he has the tools to turn into something special.

AMAN’S TAKE: Williams is a very athletic speed demon with a nice bat as well. He doesnt have a ton of power just yet, but his game is built around speed. He went 2-4 in this one with an RBI and 2 runs scored. He doubled down the LF line, singled to CF and then struck out twice. He has a bit of bad body language and may have a slight attitude problem but its hard to really tell in such a short sample size. That was just a feeling i got. I do think Williams will benefit from staying through his senior year, but that will be determined this summer if the White Sox chose to draft him again. He needs to learn how to steal bases and not just rely on his speed and i think he could use some time to work on more gap power. He could definitely turn into something special if these assets develop for him.

Good for the Jayhawks but bad for prospect watching, we wont face any of the big 3 tonight on the mound.

RHP Aaron Shafer, 6’4, 205, JR
Shafer is one of the top pitchers in the country. He is a bulldog on the mound and is a 2nd team All-American. He has pitched 36.1 innings and has a 2.23 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 12. Shafer wont pitch tonight but who knows about when we play down there? He will be a pick in the top 2 rounds of the draft.
DNP

LHP Anthony Capra, 6’1, 200, JR
Capra is one of the top lefties in the country and is a 3rd team All-American. He has an outstanding fastball with a great breaking ball and a change. He has a microscopic 1.17 ERA in 23 innings with 34 K’s and 5 walks. He may actually be better than Shafer but he doesnt possess the same size. He will be a top 3-4 round pick this summer. Once again, not pitching tonight so maybe next time?
DNP

LHP Rob Musgrave, 6’2, 195, SR

Musgrave is the last of the big 3. He is another one of the top lefties in the country. Musgrave throws 3 pitches very well and is very consistent. He is also a 3rd team All-American. This year he has a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings with 40 K’s and 6 Walks. He too will be in that top 5 rounds somewhere and he wont pitch tonight either.
DNP

RHP Tyler Fleming, 6’3, 180, JR

Fleming is a transfer from Cowley College. He was drafted in the 39th in 07 by Texas and in the 20th in 06 by Texas. He has a nice fastball, a slider and a change. This year he has a fraction of an ERA at 1.71 in 26.1 innings with 14 K’s and 3 walks. Fleming is another good pitcher and i wouldnt expect to see him tonight either, unless WSU somehow gets in a bind.

TAKE: Fleiming did pitch in this game but it wasnt because WSU was in a bind, it was so he could shut the door and he did just that. He faced 5 batters, gave up zero hits, 1 walk and he struck out 3 and let me tell you, Fleming looked good. He is not a power pitcher. His fastball was around 86 and he had a slider around 83 but these pitches just set up his curve. His curve was very nice with a ton of break and noone could even touch it. His curve came in around 71. I would expect Fleming to be drafted in the top 10-15 rounds but he could chose to stay for his senior year and try to get into that top 2-3 rounds after next season.

RHP Andy Womack, 6’2, 180, SR
Womack has gone through some injuries but has the ability to be one of the top relievers in the nation if healthy. He is currently sporting a 5.30 ERA in 8.1 innings with 9 K’s and 5 walks so it appears something isnt right thus far and he may even be injured right now. I will see what i can find out tonight.
DNP

RHP Khol Nanney, 6’2, 185, SR

Nanney has had an amazing year thus far with an ERA of 0.90 in 10 innings with 11 K’s and only 1 walk. I will be anxious to see if he is as dominant as his numbers portray.
DNP

Logan Hoch and Tim Kelley both pitched very well but im not quite sure where they are in the prospect world at this point. Hoch faced 9 batters and struck out 6 of them but i couldn’t quite get a grip on why he was so effective. The Wichita St. pitchers do a great job of nibbling the corners, changing speeds and keeping the hitters off balance and constantly guessing.