In the weeks leading
up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview
of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as
well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the
state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as
well as providing mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
South Dakota State-by-State List
Treinen Efforts, South Dakota State Misses First NCAA Berth
Slowly but surely,
South Dakota is making its presence felt as a relevant baseball
For the second year in
a row, South Dakota State went to the brink of landing its first NCAA
Division I tournament berth, before succumbing again to Oral Roberts
in the deciding game of the Summit Conference tournament.
The state should also
produce its highest draft pick in more than 30 years as South Dakota
State senior righthander Blake Treinen has a realistic shot of being
drafted in the top 5-6 rounds.
baseball continues to establish a foothold in the state after South
Dakota went years without a structured interscholastic program.
Most of the attention
this year was again focused on South Dakota State, and its strong
senior class, featuring Treinen. The Jack Rabbits (37-20) entered the
Summit Conference tournament hoping to upset perennial conference
power Oral Roberts, after securing an unexpected No. 1 seed a year
earlier and narrowly losing to the Golden Eagles in post-season play.
As a No. 2 seed this year, they gave Oral Roberts all it could handle
in the regular season, but again fell just short in the tournament as
the Golden Eagles gained their 14th straight trip to the
Oral Roberts won both
games in the tournament between the two teams, 7-1 and 5-4 (11
innings), and swept the three-game, regular-season series against the
Jack Rabbits, as well.
Still, the emerging
quality of the South Dakota State program, in only its seventh year
of Division I play, and with 26-year-old Ritchie Price as its head
coach, is noteworthy. Along with posting 102 wins during Price’s
three years at the helm, including a school-record 39 in 2010, South
Dakota State will also have at least one player drafted for the
fourth straight year in 2011.
Not only is Treinen a
sure thing to continue that draft string, but it’s possible that he
could become the highest-draft pick ever from the state, a
distinction currently held by former Jack Rabbits righthander Mike
Adamson, a fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1978.
Treinen has a unique
resume for a potential high-round pick as he didn’t throw a pitch
at the varsity level during his first three years in college.
A Kansas native,
Treinen played on the junior-varsity team as a freshman in 2007 at
local Baker College, an NAIA school, before subsequently transferring
to Arkansas. He did not pitch there in 2008, and transferred again a
year later to South Dakota State, where he was required to sit out
the 2009 season per NCAA transfer rules.
After he posted a 7-1,
6.09 record for the Jack Rabbits a year ago, with a fastball that
peaked at 94 mph, Treinen was drafted in the 23rd round by
the Florida Marlins. He initially agreeed to sign with the Marlins
for $20,000, but the club voided the contract because of what team
doctors determined to be a pre-existing shoulder injury.
Treinen has never had a
known shoulder injury, but with no options other than to return to
South Dakota State as a fifth-year senior, his snub by the Marlins
could prove to be a career break as Treinen dialed up his fastball
2-3 more notches to a high of 97. He also became a more-complete
pitcher this spring with the development of his slider and by
throwing strikes more consistently with his improved mechanics. He
went 7-3, 3.00 on the season with 25 walks and 84 strikeouts in 84
Though he turns 23 in
July, scouts believe that Treinen has areas as a pitcher that are
still developing, which might even enhance his value as a draft pick
more than a typical college senior pitcher.
Two other mainstays in
the South Dakota State program, righthander Trevor Vermuelen and
third baseman Jesse Sawyer, could also be drafted, though both saw
their production slip significantly as seniors.
Vermullen (9-1, 1.45,
10 SV in 2010; 2-4, 2.98, 10 SV in 2011) is a sidearm-style reliever
whose fastball tops out in the mid-80s, but his release point and
competitiveness should enable him to survive in the lower minors.
Sawyer hit .359-19-73 with 50 walks as a junior, but dipped to
.267-12-42 with 23 walks as a senior. He had trouble adjusting to the
new bats in college baseball, and didn’t drive balls as
Maybe the best news of
all for South Dakota State, going forward, is it doesn’t appear the
cupboard is dry. A pair of freshmen righthanders, Kolton Emory (7-1,
5.09) and Marcus Heemstra (3-1, 4.88), already have prospect-level
raw stuff and are both South Dakota natives, to boot. The 6-foot-9
Heemstra also played for the South Dakota State basketball team as a
freshman, though saw limited action.
South Dakota has a
long, rich history in American Legion baseball, and Rapid City
righthander Tanner Chieborad, playing for Post 22, put himself on the
prospect map recently when he went head-to-head with top Wyoming
prospect Brandon Nimmo and retired the potential first-rounder three
straight times, including once on a strikeout. Significantly, the
game attracted a couple of dozen scouts. Chieborad, a 6-foot-5,
200-pound Washington State signee, reportedly pitched in the 84-87
mph range, touching 89, and had a sharp, deep curveball as a
Chieborad is the
top-ranked high-school player in South Dakota. And while he may be no
more than a late-round selection, South Dakota has had only three
players drafted out of its high-school ranks in the last decade and
he would represent another indication of South Dakota’s growing
relevance in baseball.
South Dakota in a
Dakota State seniors.
High-school position players.
(1-to-5 scale): 4.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
South Dakota State.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL
TEAM: O’Gorman HS, Sioux Falls.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Wade Adamson, rhp, South Dakota State U. (1978, Reds/4th round).
2006 Draft: Ben
Jukich, lhp, Dakota Wesleyan U. (Athletics/13th round).
2007 Draft: Jake
Rogers, ss, South Dakota State U. (Nationals/22nd round).
2008 Draft: Craig
Parry, of, South Dakota State U. (Pirates/50th round).
2009 Draft: Cale
Thielbar, lhp, South Dakota State U. (Brewers/18th round).
2010 Draft: Blake
Treinen, rhp, South Dakota State U. (Marlins/23rd round).
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
1. BLAKE TREINEN,
rhp, South Dakota State University (Sr.)
Fifth-year SR, but
fresh arm; FB 92-94/T-97, power SL, developing CH; 2010 draft,