BOZICH | MLB prospect scoreboard: UK 4, U of L 2, IU 2 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | MLB prospect scoreboard: UK 4, U of L 2, IU 2

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville baseball team knows Omaha as well as Warren Buffett. The Cardinals are the only program to play in the last two College World Series.

Indiana has won back-to-back Big Ten titles – and beat U of L in the 2013 College World Series.

But if you’re looking for the local program with the most guys likely to play in the major leagues, that program is not Louisville. Indiana? Not yet.

It’s Kentucky.

That’s what the latest prospect rankings from MLB.com projects. MLB has released its Top 100 prospects in the game as well as the Top 20 prospects per team.

Here is the scoreboard:

Kentucky has one Top 100 prospect and four guys that made the lists for individual franchises. Louisville was shut out on the Top 100 lists but placed two players on the team lists. IU has two guys on the team lists and one Top 100 prospect (catcher Kyle Schwarber).

The most acclaimed local player on the list is former UK star Alex Meyer, a 6-foot-9 pitcher. Drafted by the Nationals in first round in 2011, Meyer was traded to the Minnesota Twins. MLB.com ranks him the Twins’ fourth-best prospect as well as the No. 31 guy in all of minor-league baseball. (Click here for link.)

Here is MLB’s scouting report on Meyer, who should be pitching in the big leagues by Sept. 1:

“Meyer's power arm and size have long piqued the interest of scouts. Like many tall pitchers, he struggled with command as an amateur but began to put everything together as a junior at Kentucky. The Nationals made Meyer a first-round selection in 2011, and they traded him to the Twins for Denard Span the next November.

“Meyer throws his fastball in the mid 90s and touches the upper 90s. The combination of his fastball's sink and the downhill angle his large frame creates allows him to produce plenty of ground balls. Meyer pairs his fastball with a sharp slider and a changeup.

“Meyer was sidelined for two months in 2013 with a minor shoulder injury, but he returned fully healthy and ended the year with an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League. If he can continue to repeat his delivery, Minnesota has all the makings of a front-line starter.”

The other three Kentucky prospects who were ranked are A.J. Reed (the 2014 college baseball player of the year who ranks No. 14 in Astros’ farm system); Trevor Gott, (No. 15 with Angels) and James Paxton (fourth with Mariners).

Louisville’s top overall prospect is Nick Burdi, the closer for the Cards’ College World Series teams. The Twins drafted him in June. Burdi is rankedthe 14thh best prospect in the Twins’ system.

Two bad outings have skewed his minor-league numbers. He walked four guys in his first pro appearance and later allowed two runs in a one-inning relief effort. Burdi has not been scored on in his other seven appearances.

Here is the MLB scouting report on Burdi:

“College closers are often quick-to-the-big leagues relievers, but not ninth-inning guys once they get there. Burdi has the chance to be a Major League closer, a reason some thought he could go in the first round, so the Twins were likely happy the hard-throwing right-hander was still available in the second round.

“At Louisville, Burdi consistently hit triple digits and sat in the upper-90s consistently. The heater has good movement and he couples it with a nasty slider that touches the low-90s. He does have a changeup, but don't expect to see it much in his pro career, as his two-pitch power are more than enough to get outs.

“There is some effort to Burdi's delivery and he's never going to have outstanding command, but he has everything a team wants to see in a pitcher to close out games.”

The other ranked prospect from U of L is Adam Engel, the Cards’ center fielder from their 2013 Omaha team. He’s ranked 14th with the White Sox.

Indiana’s top two players are both trying to get to Chicago, one to the White Sox (second baseman Micah Johnson) and one to the Cubs (catcher Kyle Schwarber).

Although Johnson is ranked third in the Sox system and Schwarber is No. 8 for the Cubs, Schwarber is considered more likely to have an impact in the big leagues. He was drafted fourth overall in June and ranks 79th in all of baseball.

Here is MLB’s scouting report on Schwarber: 

“Undrafted and relatively unknown coming out of a high school, Schwarber powered Indiana to its first College World Series appearance and first outright Big Ten Conference regular-season championship in 81 years in 2013, slugging a school-record 18 homers. He established himself as the best all-around college hitter in the '14 Draft class, and he signed with Chicago as the No. 4 overall pick for $3,125,000. “Though Schwarber went that high in part because he would sign a below-market deal, his fast start in pro ball showed that the Cubs didn't sacrifice much, if anything, in the way of talent.

“Schwarber combines strength and bat speed from the left side of the plate, giving him well-above-average power. He's also more than a masher, as he repeatedly barrels balls and controls the strike zone, so he should hit for a high average, as well.

“Schwarber's offensive ability could make him a star, regardless of his position. He primarily played catcher, but he also saw time in left field for the Hoosiers, and he split time between both spots as he broke into pro ball. Schwarber moves well for his size, and scouts love his work ethic, but they question whether he can throw or receive well enough to stick behind the plate.”

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