With Ethan tackling some of the more well-known prospects for the 2017 draft, I’m going to cover some deeper possible picks, especially in the realm of Division II pitching. Each year, between 30-50 D-II players are drafted, and the Mariners usually select one or two players. The success of Dan Altavilla (5th round in 2014, Mercyhurst) and solid performance so far in the minors by Brandon Miller (6th round in 2016, Millersville), both of whom were Division II standouts, might tempt Jerry to dip back into that pool in this year’s draft. I’m going to work my way through the divisions, highlighting the most intriguing names from each school. So far I’ve tackled the Atlantic Region, which includes powerhouse Mercyhurst and the Central/East regions; today I’m looking closer to home, with the Midwest/West regions.
Justin Childers, 1B/INF, Ohio Dominican (Jr.)
Childers owns a career slash line at ODU of .363/.439/.587, but this year put up a line of .451/.526/.846, good enough to garner him the GLIAC Player of the Year award (the first in ODU’s history), the NCBWA’s Midwest Region Player of the Year award for the second time in three years, and a nomination for the Tino Martinez DII Player of the Year award. He finishes close on the heels of standout Trevor Rucker with his 14 home runs, 17 doubles and five triples. This year, Childers added a new dimension to his game, stealing 18 bases—double his college career total.
Tyler Jandron, LHP, Northwood University (Jr.)
Jandron is the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year and is another finalist for the Brett Tomko award after pitching 91 innings this year with a K/9 of 10. He struck out 102 batters and walked 30, which isn’t as sparkling as we’ve seen some of these other K:BB ratios, but he’s allowed just three home runs. 6’2” and left-handed with some whippy arm action is an appealing mix, though. The only real video I could find of him was from three years ago, as a HS senior, pitching off a makeshift plywood mound in an ice rink in what is the most charmingly Midwestern thing ever. Here he is picking up the final strikeout to lead his team to their first-ever GLIAC championship:
Cameron Santos, SS/MIF, Chico State (Jr.)
Santos seems to have grown an inch every year: his HS Perfect Game profile lists him as 5’8”, then Chico State listed him at 5’9” last year, and this year he’s shot up to 5’10”. He’s also listed about 30 pounds heavier than he was in high school, although that’s not helping him develop much power; he still has just two home runs this year. What Santos is elite at is getting on base. In 192 plate appearances, he has 31 walks to just 19 strikeouts and has 69 hits (obligatory “nice”).
Also, side note, how cool is this Chico State “We Don’t Say” campaign? (Santos is featured.) I would love to see more schools start affirming as athletic departments that casual language matters.
Garett King, RHP, California Baptist (Jr.)
King got drafted by the Mets in 2014 but opted to go to college instead. Good choice, Garett. Cal Baptist has a track record of having pitchers drafted, and King was the recipient of some preseason buzz on both Hero Sports and Minor League Ball. You can see him in action in high school when he was first drafted here; his high-80s velocity might have come up a tick or two now that he’s added weight to his self-described “string bean” frame. The 6’4” righty’s plus pitch is a curveball, which he uses to put away batters: in 77.1 innings he recorded 85 strikeouts. He walked just 17 and posted a 2.33 ERA. This year he threw the first no-hitter since Cal Baptist became a DII school, striking out 15 in a complete-game effort. One of his strongest points, however, if you read the Minor League Ball interview, is his maturity and high baseball IQ. King is definitely on the radar for several teams and it will be interesting to see where he’s selected; Hero Sports predicts third or fourth round.