Top MLB Draft Prospects In Ohio With Scouting Reports
1. Austin Becker, RHP, Big Walnut HS, Sunbury, Ohio (BA Rank: 65)
HS • 6-6 • 185 • R-R •
Becker is a high-upside Ohio righthander committed to Vanderbilt who has been on scouts’ radars for some time thanks to his travel ball accomplishments and an exciting three-pitch mix. Listed at 6-foot-6, Becker has reached 96 mph with his fastball, although he more regularly pitches in the upper 80s and low 90s throughout his starts. He also has a curveball and changeup that have both shown the looks of plus offerings, but aren’t as consistent as scouts would like to see. He throws a mid-70s breaking ball that shows occasional two-plane break at the higher velocity ranges, but he regularly gets on the side of the pitch. His changeup is a firm, mid-80s offering without significant separation from his fastball, but it remains effective thanks to Becker’s arm speed and the pitch’s tumble in the bottom of the zone. With long arms and legs, Becker has had some strike-throwing questions at times, but for the most part he does a nice job of keeping the moving parts in his delivery in sync. He also has a quick pickoff move and makes more plays in front of the mound than many prep arms. With his projectable build and plus arm speed there’s a lot to dream on with Becker, and if he does make it to Vanderbilt it would be easy to envision him developing into a first-round talent.
2. Nick Northcut, 3B/RHP, Mason (Ohio) HS (BA Rank: 69)
HS • 6-0 • 200 • R-R •
Northcut would be an impressive two-way player if he gets to Vanderbilt, but he could easily go in the top three rounds this June thanks to his impressive power and feel for hitting. A third baseman with a high-maintenance body that will need to be kept in check as he develops, Northcut is old for the high school class, but possesses plus power with some evaluators giving him future 70-grade power. Northcut has more than enough arm to handle third base—he reaches the low 90s on the mound—and also has quick reactions and soft hands despite lacking more than short-area quickness. With a chance to stick at third base and provide solid defense at the position, Northcut’s bat looks even more intriguing as one of the more powerful prep hitters who didn’t show much swing and miss during the showcase circuit.
3. Ryan Feltner, RHP, Ohio State (BA Rank: 197)
4YR • 6-4 • 190 • R-R •
Feltner was well regarded as a prep at Cleveland-area powerhouse Walsh Jesuit High and he was drafted in the 25th round by the Blue Jays. He opted to instead enroll at Ohio State, where he had mixed results his first two seasons. He in 2017 had a breakout summer in the Cape Cod League, where he held opponents to only one unearned run in 13 appearances and was named reliever of the year. He carried that momentum into his junior year in Columbus and has found success in Ohio State’s rotation. Feltner generates easy velocity and throws his fastball 93-97 mph. His fastball is fairly straight, however, and he gets squared up more often than would be expected. He mixes in a split-changeup, which he throws to both righties and lefties, and a fringy slider. He has done a better job in the last year of commanding his fastball, but he is still averaging four walks per nine innings—a rate that will need to continue to improve. Feltner, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, has the size, stuff and arm action to start. But after finding success at the back of the bullpen, he may be better suited for short stints.
4. Joey Murray, RHP, Kent State (BA Rank: 273)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 185 • R-R •
Murray is a favorite of scouts and coaches because of his ability to generate swings and misses with very modest velocity. He’s had one of the best seasons in college baseball, posting a 8-1, 1.63 line during the regular season with only 44 hits allowed and 132 strikeouts in 88.1 innings. Murray’s fastball sits 87-90 mph, but he blows away hitters like he’s throwing 97 mph. Murray draws comparisons to former MAC pitcher of the year Josh Collmenter, who has had a nine-year big league career after sliding to the 15th round because of his modest fastball. Murray has exceptional deception, but it’s hard to give the 6-foot-2 righthander anything more than an average grade on his fastball because of its lack of velocity. His curveball and slider are both fringe-average pitches, but his swings and misses mainly come from the fastball. He doesn’t really mix in much of a changeup yet. Murray’s lack of velocity limits how highly he will be picked, but unlike Collmenter, he could jump into day two.
5. Zane Collins, LHP, Wright State (BA Rank: 297)
4YR • 6-2 • 215 • L-L •
Collins emerged as a key member of Wright State’s rotation as a sophomore and he carried that momentum into a solid summer in the Cape Cod League, where he was named an all-star. His fastball typically sits around 90 mph and he throws it with plenty of sinking action. The movement he gets on the pitch, combined with his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, help him produce a lot of groundball outs. He also mixes in a curveball and changeup. Collins stood out on the Cape for his pitchability and control, but he’s this spring struggled in that area and is averaging nearly six walks per nine innings. As a somewhat-raw lefthander who performed well on the Cape, Collins still has an attractive skillset even after a subpar spring.
6. Conor Grammes, INF/RHP, Xavier (BA Rank: 388)
4YR • De-So. • 6-1 • 195 • R-R •
Grammes was recruited to Xavier as a hitter but when the Musketeers’ coaching staff saw him pitch during his senior season of high school they decided to give him a chance as a two-way player. He’s been a regular in the lineup at Xavier, while also working out of the bullpen. He remains raw on the mound but has run his fastball into the upper 90s. He has an average breaking ball, though he struggles to throw strikes with the pitch. He has an energetic delivery that he’ll have to work to smooth out to allow him to be more consistent. Grammes has had more success at the plate for the Musketeers and has some pop in his bat. But his professional future is as a reliever, thanks to his powerful arm. Grammes is a draft-eligible sophomore.
7. Ryan Weiss, RHP, Wright State (BA Rank: 459)
4YR • R-So • 6-4 • 205 • R-R •
Weiss, a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore, has been Wright State’s ace for two seasons. His surface-level stats this spring (9-2, 3.44) haven’t matched his 2017 season (8-1, 2.13), but he’s striking out more batters and walking fewer. Weiss competes with an aggressive, attacking approach. He mixes an average curve and slurvy slider that often blends with his curvevball. His fastball sits 91-93 mph and he can touch 95.
8. Cole Ayers, RHP, Loveland (Ohio) HS (BA Rank: 476)
HS • 6-2 • 187 • R-R •
Ayers will likely make it to Kentucky, but he has the building blocks to be a starting pitcher in pro ball. The righthander has a fast arm, an 89-91 mph fastball that shows some arm-side run and an 82-84 knuckle change that has the action of a hard slider. He mixes in a changeup that is less advanced and needs a lot more work and he has the ability to modestly manipulate his two-seam fastball.
9. Austin Havekost, RHP, Kent State (BA Rank: 496)
4YR • DE-So. • 6-4 • 210 • -R •
Havekost redshirted as a freshman in 2016 and has since emerged as a key arm out of the Kent State bullpen. Listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, he throws his fastball in the low 90s and touches 95 mph. He mixes in a sharp split-change and a slider. He pounds the strike zone with both offspeed offerings and pitches with above-average control.
10. Lane Flamm, RHP, New Richmond (Ohio) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 5-10 • 168 • L-R •
Flamm has one of the better breaking balls among the Ohio prep ranks and an 88-92 mph fastball.
11. Zach Spears, LHP, Miami (Ohio) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-7 • 237 • -L •
Spears has been a very durable member of Miami’s rotation for three seasons, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider he’s 6-foot-7, 237 pounds. Spears doesn’t have an above-average pitch to turn to, but he’s had some success (2-3, 3.68 with 68 strikeouts in 58.2 innings as of late April) because he’s able to mix and match a fastball, curveball and changeup and has least average control. Pitching from a low 3/4 arm slot, his 88-93 mph fastball is just good enough to keep hitters from getting too comfortable. and should help him get his name called either late on day two or early on day three of the draft.
12. Nick Ernst, RHP, Miami (Ohio) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. •
Nick Ernst looked like he was on his way to a breakout junior season as he shut down Arizona State in Miami’s season opener, but he left his next start with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Ernst could head back to the Redhawks for his senior season, but he could still be drafted by a team intrigued by his 90-94 mph fastball and promising slider.
13. Jacob Hulcher, RHP, Northwest Ohio (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. •
Hulcher doesn't throw as hard as his teammate Austin Gridley, but he is a 6-foot-7 with a 88-92 mph fastball and a power curve and he had success this season, going 3-2, 1.96 with 58 strikeouts in 46 innings.
14. Rudy Rott, 1B, Ohio (BA Rank: N/A)
As a first baseman with a less-than-ideal frame, Rott may have to wait until his senior season to get drafted, but he did show feel to hit and power this year. He hit .355/.444/.654 with 15 hpme runs this season.
15. Tim Dalporto, C, Kent State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-3 • 190 • R-R •
Dalporto has played his way into potentially being a senior sign as a catcher who can hit. He hit .319/.378/.500 this year.
16. Manny Rodriguez, SS, Cincinnati (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 5-10 • 161 • R-R •
Rodriguez is error-prone, but he's got the fluidity and range to stick at shorttop in pro ball. His bat is more of a question, but he hit .292/.374/.589 this year with 12 home runs.
17. Peyton Burdick, OF, Wright State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • R-So • 6-0 • 210 • R-R •
Burdick has sone bat speed and production (.351/.441/.569) to slip into the third day of the draft.
18. Caleb Sampen, RHP, Wright State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • R-So. • 6-2 • 185 • R-R •
Sampen flashes above-average velocity and was effective this season, going 5-0, 3.15 as a swingman for Wright State.
20. Joey Thomas, C, Cincinnati (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-1 • 197 • R-R •
Thomas is solid enough defensively to be a senior-sign catcher despite hitting .252/.322/.308 this season.
21. Nick Thwaits, RHP, Fort Recovery (Ohio) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
Thwaits has shown a 90-93 mph fastball and a slider with potential.
22. Mike Wielansky, 2B/SS, Wooster (Ohio) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 175 • R-R •
Wielansky has been one of the best hitters in Division III for multiple seasons. He hit .401/.508/.665 this year.