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Regional HS Preview: Northwest
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Game High School Baseball Preview Index
Northwest Region: Idaho, Oregon, Washington
McGuire and Driver provide the Northwest with early round draft intrigue while Idaho boasts a relatively strong class
As Jeff Dahn notes in his corresponding Northwest feature, the state of Washington is surprisingly strong when it comes to producing high draft picks. This year that is especially true, as C Reese McGuire appears to be a near lock for the first round, while RHP Dustin Driver has a chance to join him as well.
McGuire isn't just the main story in terms of draft storylines however. As he is a member of the 2012 Washginton 4A state champions, Kentwood HS. The Conquerors lived up to their nickname last season, ripping off 19 straight wins to start the season. They then dropped two of their final three regular season games, after having already clinched a district championship. They then rolled through the playoffs with relative ease, winning every game by at least three runs on their way to a state championship. They graduated ten players from that squad, with 6-foot-6 RHP/3B Taylor Jones being the biggest loss. But with Reese McGuire still around for one last run, Kentwood enters the year as the team to beat.
While the region's traditional top producer of talent has a pair of high level prospects in this draft, the state of Idaho will make an unusually big impact as well. In a state that is typically a non-factor for the draft, there are two prospects who will get considerable interest. The question surrounding the state's top prospect, PG All-American 3B Joey Martarano, is whether he is interested in signing a professional baseball contract or pursuing a football career at Boise State. If he indicates an interest in signing, he could be a big draw this spring. He is joined by power hitting OF Mason Smith, a power hitting corner outfielder with a Utah commitment. IF Mitchell Bevecqua would have been the state's top prospect in most graduating classes, but he enters the season as Idaho's third ranked prospect for the 2013 draft.
With Idaho and Washington enjoying strong 2013 graduating classes during a year when most of the country is lighter on talent, Oregon is still looking for it's top 2013 prospect to emerge from the field. Based on his showing at PG's 2013 MLK 18u Championship, C Gunner Pollman may be the guy to do just that. Consistent with the rest of the country, and inconsistent with the rest of the northwest, Oregon's 2014 class is looking stronger than it's 2013 edition. LHP Christian Martinek and MIF Trace Loehr both appear to have the potential to develop into high level prospects, though both still have some work to do to reach that point.
Northwest High School Dream
Based on present tools
C - Reese McGuire, Sr., Kentwood (WA)
this is the deepest position in the region, with all due respect to potential first rounder Dustin Driver, this might as well be called the Reese McGuire Region. His elite defensive tools and quality left handed bat blow away some very good competition from the likes of Logan Ice, Stefan Van Horn, Gunner Pollman and Brendan Illies.
1B - William King, Sr., Anacortes (WA)
Physically imposing and also projectable, King stands at 6-foo-4 and 195 pounds with a smooth left handed swing and the ability to hit for power. He also shows good agility around the first base bag, giving him a well rounded profile for the position. Others considered include: Reid Penney and Joe Wainhouse.
MIF - Nate Mondou, Sr., Wright Academy (WA)
The most polished hitter in the region also happens to play up the middle as a high school second basemen. That offensive production from the second base spot can really give a big boost to an offense, and while his defensive ability doesn't stand out the way his bat does, he handles the position more than enough to justify having his top of the order bat in the lineup.
MIF - Trace Loehr, Jr., Putnam (OR)
The young and undersized Loehr really stands out for his athleticism and all around quick twitch ability. Good defensive actions up the middle, solid arm strength. Drives the ball with surprising authority for his size with good gap power and the speed to stretch his doubles into triples on occasion. Chance to keep developing as well as he adds strength, giving him some upside. Others considered: Michael Sexton, Trever Morrison, Mitch Bevecqua and Seaver Whalen.
3B - Joey Martarano, Sr., Fruitland (ID)
Martarano is a stand out in two sports, as the PG All-American is also committed to play linebacker at Boise State and seems to have just as much potential in both sports. He boasts a physically imposing build and a game that takes advantage of his plus strength in all phases with a power bat and strong arm.
OF - Mason Smith, Sr., Rocky Mountain (ID)
The power stands out for the top hitter on the top team in Idaho. Smith has shown off his ability to drive the baseball with authority at numerous national level events, utilizing his ability to create backspin allowing balls to carry well off of his bat. That power will make scouts more comfortable with his profile, as he likely projects for a corner position.
OF - Jack Meggs, Sr., Bellvue (WA)
While the thin athletically built outfielder projects well with the bat, his outfield defense in centerfield already stands out. He has good range, a solid arm with good instincts for the position and it all comes together for a very advanced defensive outfield package for the high school ranks.
OF - Ryan Littlefield, Sr., WF West (WA)
Littlefield's offensive potential gets him the nod for the final spot in the outfield. While his run and throw tools are just average, his long powerful swing provides pop to the Dream Team lineup.
UT - Brendan Illies, So., C/RHP, Puyallup (WA)
It's rare to see a sophomore make the Dream Team, and even moreso when his primary position is the same as the region's top prospect (Reese McGuire). Illies has already run his fastball up to 88 mph, doing so the summer after his freshman season, and also shows big potential with the bat. He has a chance to become the top prospect in the region over the next few years if he continues to develop. OF/RHP Ian Hamilton is the top 2013 two-way prospect in the state and seemed to be the favorite to ascend to the spot this year before Illies' emergence.
P - Dustin Driver, RHP, Sr., Wenatchee (WA)
The top pitching prospect in the region enters his senior season with his sights set on the first round of the MLB draft. While it's far from a foregone conclusion, it's a very real possibility, which says a lot about his ability given the fact that he is a 6-foot-2 right handed high school pitcher...a profile that makes such a lofty draft status unusual. But his aggressive pitching style and power arm combined with good pitchability and the ease with which scouts can project his breaking ball make him an obvious choice as the staff ace on the Northwest Dream Team.
P - Branden Kelliher, RHP, Jr., Lake Stevens (WA)
While he may get overlooked by some because of his size, Kelliher has shown time and again that he can really pitch. He ran his fastball up to 92 mph at the 2012 WWBA World Championship and has shown good command over his extensive travel ball career. He's also shown the ability to spin a mid 70s curveball and flashes potential with his upper 70s changeup (up to 80).
P - Christian Martinek, LHP, Jr., Portland Jesuit (OR)
Absolutely looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Martinek generates low 90s velocity with a loose easy arm action. His fastball is well on it's way to being plus, though the offspeed stuff is still a work in progress his present ability is already quite good and he has a chance to continue to climb.
P - John Pomeroy, RHP, Sr., Mossyrock (WA)
Not only can the 6-foot-5 hurler run his fastball well into the 90s (up to 93 at 2012 Area Code Games), but he also combines with good feel for his upper 70s changeup. He's performed consistently in the past and the Oregon State commit should get some draft interest this spring.
P - Andrew Summerville, LHP, Jr., Lakeside (WA)
A close call for the final spot on the Northwest Dream Team's pitching staff. Pitching in this region is a bit junior heavy this year outside of Dustin Driver, and so it's no surprise that the final spot included several candidates from the 2014 class. The southpaw Summerville edges out Ky Dye, Gage Burland and Dylan White.
Northwest Region Best
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