Drury finishes #1 in my final regular season rankings

Drury finishes #1 in my final regular season rankings

Image result for drury baseball

The back and forth action has come to an end, with Drury University standing at the top of my rankings. A team that at one point stood as low as #5 in my rankings and as high as #1 back on April 11th. A team that now represents the top seed in the GLVC West division is set to take on the start of the postseason.

The baseball season has a consistent roller coaster vibe every year. If you asked Drury they certainly had some ups and downs this year, but finishing at the top in the end has to be a bit of a surreal type feeling for the panthers.

Despite the high finished ranking the Panthers will need a complete team effort if Shane Benes isn’t able to go in the GLVC tournament. Benes hasn’t seen action since the middle of April.  The Panthers with Benes in the lineup for their first 32 games went 23-9, but since Benes’s absence they slowed to a 10-8 finish on the year.

Injuries are hardly ever able to be seen coming down the road, but when a key contributor to a ball club leaves it will take an entire squad to step in and fill that roll. I do think Coach Scott Nasby can get the troops ready for the conference tournament with or without Benes in the lineup.

My final rankings play out as:

                                                               Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Drury 33-17 3-2 2
2 Missouri Western 29-18 1-0 5
3 Central Missouri 32-16 2-1 1
4 Lindenwood 31-17 3-0 4
5 Southwest Baptist 30-19 0-3 3
6 NW Missouri St. 31-18 4-0 6
7 Missouri S & T 26-21 1-3 7
8 Missouri Southern 26-24 1-2 8
9 William Jewell 21-25 3-1 11
10 Maryville 25-25 3-1 9
11 Rockhurst 23-25 2-2 10
12 Truman 18-30 2-2 13
13 UMSL 16-30 1-3 12

 

Missouri Western is making a run for it late.

Missouri Western is making a run for it late.

Image result for missouri western baseball

The Griffins have been the true definition of a hot streak this year. Missouri Western started out the season 3 and 7 in their first 10 games only to go on to win their next 8 of 10 to put them back above 500.

Follow that up with losing 6 of their next 10 and then just now finishing off winning 9 of their last 10. The roller coaster ride for the Griffins has been an event most haven’t ever ridden before.

After mentioning all of that, now the situation rises that their final MIAA matchup of the year falls this weekend, giving them an entire weekend off before the MIAA playoffs start. Will they be able to turn it on again once the playoffs begin remains the question to be answered.

Missouri Western on the season has done their best to win games on the mound. Currently the 3rd best staff in the MIAA will need to be their calling card if they plan to go further than the first round of the playoffs. A week off before playoffs begin could be a great thing for their young arms.

My rankings for the 2nd to last week of the regular season:

                                                               Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Central Missouri 29-12 4-0 1
2 Drury 26-15 2-3 2
3 Southwest Baptist 28-14 1-3 3
4 Lindenwood 26-16 1-2 4
5 Missouri Western 25-17 4-0 6
6 NW Missouri St. 26-16 2-2 5
7 Missouri S & T 21-18 4-1 7
8 Missouri Southern 24-22 3-1 8
9 Maryville 22-20 2-2 9
10 Rockhurst 20-21 2-2 10
11 William Jewell 18-21 1-4 11
12 UMSL 15-23 2-3 12
13 Truman 14-28 2-3 13

2017 MLB Draft eligible Missouri Prospects. April Edition!

2017 MLB Draft eligible Missouri Prospects. April Edition!

Image result for Tanner Houck

The Minnesota Twins have been on the clock for a few months now determining who will be the next top selection in the Major League Baseball first year player draft. June 12th will be the day we see a whole new crop of players get spread throughout minor league systems a like.

Below I’ve listed my top 20 prospects from the state of Missouri that I believe have a chance to hear their name called between June 12th – 14th.

Each report includes a small blurb about each player with scouting grades that is based upon a 20-80 grade scale. Our friends at Fangraphs have explained in fine detail the overall grading scale which can be found clicking here.

Each prospect I have put into this list I feel has a great shot to make a case for himself to sign a pro contract. I definitely would love to discuss with anyone the order of ranking with which I listed each player.

1. Tanner Houck  RHP  Missouri Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’5 – 218 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Sinker Command
60/65 55/60 40/45 55/65 45/60
Houck represents the top selection from the state out of the University of Missouri. He will throw a mid 90’s FB, with a power CB. The CH is a work in progress, but I do expect Houck to be the first name called out of the state of Missouri
2 Jake Burger  3B  Missouri State Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’2 – 210 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 50/60 35/40 40/40 45/50
Burger has shown Major League type power during his time at Missouri State. However, multiple questions have been raised as to where he ends up on the defensive side. 3rd base may not be the long term option, but the bat will play. 60 future raw power is hard to pass up now a days.
3 Bryce Montes De Oca  RHP  Missouri Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’7 – 261 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider ChangeUp Command
60/65 50/60 40/55 40/55
At 6’7, 261 lbs Montes De Oca isn’t a small match for anyone in the game. Montes De Oca will bring a FB in the mid 90’s, a SL with good break and a CH that is developing. If Montes De Oca can learn to repeat his delivery more often and limit his walks he has a very high ceiling.
4 Jackson Rutledge  RHP  Rockwood Summit H.S. Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 6’8 – 255 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider ChangeUp Command
55/65 45/60 40/50 45/60
At 6 foot 8 inches and 255 lbs, Rutledge brings quite a bit of size to the mound for a young high school arm. Rutledge will sit 91-93 on his fastball with good arm side run. The slider I think could end up being his best pitch. I, also, think there is more velo in the tank to come.
5 Josh Fleming  LHP  Webster Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’1 – 185 B/T: L/L
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
55/60 45/50 45/55 50/60
Fleming has been shooting up draft boards with a FB sitting 91-94 that can be thrown well on both sides of the plate. CH is his second best pitch with a CB that is developing into a good 3rd pitch. Fleming is a guy who I think could go high based upon his limited innings and high upside.
6 Anthony Herron Jr.  RHP Missouri State  Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’1 – 210 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Slider Command
55/60 50/55 40/45 50/55 45/60
Herron Jr. has the stuff for the next level. His FB is heavy and hard. CB and SL at times are both break out pitches that make Herron jr. unhittable at times. Sitting out this spring could hurt Herron as far as on field expierience at higher level baseball, but the stuff on the mound plays.
7 Kyle Wilson  RHP Crowder CC  Video
Class RS Freshman Height/Weight 6’1 – 180 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
50/55 45/55 40/45 45/55
Wilson was red shirted last year at Crowder CC, which has turned out to be a nice refresher for the Freshman. Wilson can sit 90-94 on his FB with a decent feel for his offspeed. Wilson’s biggest need is consistency on the mound.
8 Doug Still  LHP  Missouri State Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’2 – 205 B/T: L/L
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
50/55 55/60 45/50 45/55
Still has the draft experience already to go along with a group of pitches he can use to get out of any situation. Still has good arm side run on his FB. Draft in the 2014 and 2015 MLB draft I expect this Missouri State Bear to be picked once again.
9 Miller Hogan  RHP St. Louis U  Video
Class Sophomore Height/Weight 6’2 – 200 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
45/60 45/50 40/45 50/55
Hogan is a draft eligible sophomore at St. Louis U. that will sit consistently 87-92 with an occasional 93 mixed in. He’s pitched his way into draft conversations. Supporting the bilikens with an ERA below 2, Hogan should another name taken from St. Louis U.
10 Shane Benes  SS/3B Drury  Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’2 – 222 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 55/60 40/45 50/55 50/55
Benes, a transfer from the University of Missouri, has tapped into his power source this season for the Drury Panthers. I believe Benes will move to 3B in the near future as he draws a Troy Glaus type comparison for me. Raw power and an arm to play at the next level.
11 Robbie Glendinning  2B/SS Missouri  Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’2 – 196 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/50 40/50 45/50 50/55
Glendinning, the Australian, came over the pond and lit up the junior college last year at Iowa Western. Transferring into Missouri to sub-plant the middle of the infield. Glendinning will bring solid contact at the plate and will support good enough glove to stay up the middle.
12 Max Hogan  3B  Missouri Southern Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 5’10 – 195 B/T: L/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 45/50 40/40 45/50 35/40
Hogan is ranked so high for me because of the bat. Lightening quick hands, a balanced stance at the plate, and a hitter’s mindset give Hogan a level above most college hitter’s tools. I see him more than likely moving across the diamond to 2B in the near future. Jason Kipnis anyone?
13 Wes Degener  CF Lindenwood Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’3 – 210 B/T: L/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 40/45 45/55 40/50 40/50
Degener is a ball player. He will be the scrappy type that will go out and get the job done. He has enough speed to stay in CF long term. His bat is his best tool among the five main ones. Quick hands and sweet stroke helped Degener become a starter right as he stepped on campus as a freshman.
14 Trey Turner  RHP Missouri State Video
Class Junior Height/Weight 6’1 – 195 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider ChangeUp Command
50/60 50/55 40/45 45/60
Turner came to Missouri State with the thought of being an OF. Since moving over the mound the RHP has lit up the radar and filled up the zone with strikes. 13 IP on the season to go along with an era of 2, 22 K’s and 4 BB’s. I think Turner could be a solid late pick for a great bullpen arm.
15 Ryan Colombo  RHP Drury  Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 6’1 – 172 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
45/55 45/55 40/45 50/60
Colombo is both an impressive arm and impressive bat. I like him more on the mound long term. Colombo will be crafted on the mound and will eat innings. I do think he’ll play pro next year, but it will take time for him to develop the proper arm slot to be effective at the upper levels
16 Justin Paulsen  1B Missouri State  Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 6’0 – 215 B/T: L/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
55/55 45/50 40/45 45/50 50/55
Paulsen is a scrappy ball player. He’s one that will go out and battle for each team he’s playing on. Hit tool is probably his best overall tool. He will add in some power occasionally, but long term I believe he ends up in the OF full time with some part time help at 1B.
17 Aaron Ashby  LHP Crowder CC  Video
Class Freshman Height/Weight 6’2 – 165 B/T: R/L
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
45/55 50/55 40/50 45/55
Ashby is a new face on the top prospects list for Missouri. Ashby will sit 87-89, touching 90 on the FB. He has a decent CB and some feel for his CH. 50 K’s so far on the season for the young left in 32 IP. If he continues to miss barrells I think his name could be called.
18 Justin Mitchell  C Platte County HS Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 5’11 – 200 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 50/60 40/45 45/50 45/50
Mitchell with a strong swing. Exit velocity will sit around 97 mph off the bat. Behind the plate, the Oklahoma signee has soft hands a quick release. Foot work will need some developing, but I think this small HS catcher could be another Tanner Murphy who was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 2012 MLB Draft.
19 Matt Russell  RHP Staley HS  Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 6’2 -190 B/T: R/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Slider Command
45/55 40/45 45/55 40/50 40/55
Russell is my 3rd HS pick in this top 20. I think he ends up in college, but does possess upside. The FB and CH are his best pitches, but with decent arm side run. CB and SL are still developing with spots of good late break. Russell has some raw characteristics to him which a team could find attractive long term.
20 Bryan Young  RHP Missouri State  Video
Class Senior Height/Weight 6’1 – 215 B/T: L/R
                    Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball ChangeUp Command
40/45 45/50 45/50 50/55
Young has been the closer for Missouri state for a few seasons now. Consistently shutting games down with his ability to move the ball in and out. He will not light up the radar, but he will miss bats with good off-speed usage. Young will be picked up this summer.

Thanks for reading!

Central Missouri regains top spot in Missouri DII

Central Missouri regains top spot in Missouri DII

Image result for central missouri baseball

I wrote about the Mules consistently early in the season as I believe was well deserved praise coming into the 2017 season ranked #2 in the preseason rankings. However, a few weekends this spring have been true battle tests for Central Missouri that haven’t always gone their way.

The Mules, after falling out of the one seed in my rankings reclaimed there title they had for almost 10 straight weeks  after going 3-1 this week and winning on the road at Southwest Baptist, something very few teams can speak for this year. (SBU is 18-5 at home this year).

Doing it in more ways than one is quickly becoming the recipe for Central Missouri’s success. The former MIAA champion has slowly risen up the leader board in the hitting categories for the MIAA as they sit at a team average of .320 (3rd in the MIAA) and lead in SB with 75 (Ranks 16th nationally).

Pitching has always been the Mules bread and butter this year which I believe should continue.  Supporting a MIAA leading team ERA of 3.74 and allowing opposes teams to only bat .246 off of them. Coach Kyle Crookes will have the Mules prepared as the final weeks of the season finish.

My rankings for this week:

                                                                Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 Central Missouri 25-12 3-1 2
2 Drury 24-12 1-3 1
3 Southwest Baptist 27-11 3-1 4
4 Lindenwood 25-14 3-0 5
5 NW Missouri St. 24-14 0-4 3
6 Missouri Western 21-17 4-0 9
7 Missouri S & T 17-17 2-2 6
8 Missouri Southern 21-21 1-3 7
9 Maryville 20-18 2-2 10
10 Rockhurst 18-19 1-3 8
11 William Jewell 16-17 2-2 11
12 UMSL 13-20 2-3 13
13 Truman 12-25 2-2 12

 

Drury takes over Missouri’s #1 ranking

Drury takes over Missouri’s #1 ranking

Image result for drury Shane Benes

This year division II baseball has been a complete mess in a rather fun way. Each week a new team steps up with a big series win to keep their name in the hat for a playoff ticket. As we approach under four weeks til the playoffs there are a few teams that seem to be separating themselves from the pack.

Drury being my top selection of teams pulling away from the others with an 8-2 record in their past 10 games which is tied with Northwest Missouri State and Southwest Baptist for the best record over the past 10 games. Drury truly separates themselves from the rest of the herd with an unmatched 16-4 record in their past 20 games. There isn’t another Division II program in Missouri who can claim such a run of wins as the panthers can.

Through 31 games the Panthers rank #1 in the GLVC for overall hitting, the are 6th best in the conference for pitching and third best in overall defense. Sitting near the top in all three major categories is the recipe for success.

At the plate the Panthers have been led my Division 1 transfer Shane Benes who recently set the all time school record with 12 homeruns on the season. Ryan Colombo, also, is need of some series recognition as he bats a dazzling .431 and pitches off the mound with an era of 2.14.

As the playoffs get closer and closer day by day, I anticipate each weekend series with such excitement as the pitches get more precious for each club. My Division II baseball rankings are below.

                                                             Division II
Rank Team 2017 Record Last Week Results Previous Rank
1 #25 Drury 23-9 4-1 2
2 Central Missouri 22-11 2-3 1
3 NW Missouri St. 24-10 4-0 3
4 Southwest Baptist 24-10 3-1 4
5 Lindenwood 22-14 4-0 5
6 Missouri S & T 15-15 3-1 8
7 Missouri Southern 20-18 1-3 7
8 Rockhurst 17-16 1-4 6
9 Missouri Western 17-17 2-2 9
10 Maryville 18-16 2-3 10
11 William Jewell 14-15 1-3 11
12 Truman 10-23 2-2 12
13 UMSL 10-18 1-3 13

GLVC sends 4 in Midwest Regional Predictions.

Image result for GLVC baseball

We are a little over a month away from the releasing of the regional playoff matchups for Division II. Division II baseball will assign six to eight teams to fall into eight regional playoff groups. Each regional site will participate in a double-elimination tournament.

The central region is one of the eight regional groups that will pull teams from the GAC, MIAA and NSIC conference. Last year the central region saw the two seed Central Missouri Mules move onto the world series and come only a few games away from winning the National Championship.

The GLVC conference appears on paper to be a much stronger conference this year. Often, years in the past it has been said to be the weaker conference in the midwest. However, the GLVC over the past few years has been a strong conference in getting a team into the World Series. Last year the GLVC saw Southern Indiana and Missouri S&T battle it out for a trip to the world series.

All that being mentioned I think it is a stronger conference this year than it has been even in past years. Teams can flat hit this year as Drury and Maryville lead the way in average and Illinois Springfield and Quincy lead in homeruns.

I think this conference gets four teams into the regional round. Here are my predictions:

School Overall Record Winning %
#1 #23 INDIANAPOLIS 20-9 0.690
#8 Trevecca Nazarene 12-15 0.444
#4 SAINT JOSEPH’S 17-9 0.654
#5 Findlay 16-7 0.696
#3 Drury 19-8 0.704
#6 Grand Valley State  15-11 0.577
#2 Northwood 19-7 0.731
#7 Quincy 17-10 0.630

Indianapolis is currently ranked #23 in Division 2 Baseball News’ Poll.

Emporia State holds top seed for my Central Region Predictions.

Image result for Emporia State baseball

We are a little over a month away from the releasing of the regional playoff matchups for Division II. Everything is still completely up in the air, but to the best ability that I can supply I am releasing my central regional predictions here.

Division II baseball will assign six to eight teams to fall into eight regional playoff groups. Each regional site will participate in a double-elimination tournament.

The central region is one of the eight regional groups that will pull teams from the GAC, MIAA and NSIC conference. Last year the central region saw the two seed Central Missouri Mules move onto the world series and come only a few games away from winning the National Championship.

This year I think Emporia State will be the top seed to be named in the Central Region. Emporia plays in the MIAA conference and currently ranks #4 in the nation for the Division II level. Emporia last year snuck in the playoffs as the eigth seed.

Emporia has changed the scene a bit this year getting off to a 24-7 record and batting .334 as a team while supporting a team era of 4.16 which may sound high, but currently sits third best era in the MIAA conference.

The break down for my central region playoff bracket fall with three teams representing the NSIC and MIAA, along with two schools to represent the GAC.

School Overall Record Winning %
#1 #15 Emporia State (MIAA) 24-7 0.774
#8 Arkansas Tech (GAC) 21-13 0.618
#4 #22 Central Missouri (MIAA) 20-8 0.714
#5 Augustana (NSIC) 18-11 0.621
#3 #17 Minnesota State Mankato (NSIC) 19-4 0.826
#6 #28 St. Cloud State (NSIC) 19-7 0.731
#2  #21 Southern Arkansas (GAC) 26-6 0.813
#7 Northeastern State (MIAA) 17-11 0.607

Emporia  Southern Arkansas, Central Missouri, Minnesota State Mankato, and St. Cloud State have rankings that denote where they fall in the national poll for Division II baseball, according to D2 Baseball News.