Illinois MLB Draft: Day 2 Recap

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Day 2 of the 2017 MLB Draft is complete. The day started out with the first high school player off the board in Mundelein LHP Brendan Murphy going in the fourth round to the Milwaukee Brewers. Tonight we break down all the prospects with Illinois ties taken on Day 2. For a recap of Day 1 CLICK HERE.

Brendan Murphy, LHP, Mundelein, 2017
4th round, 114th overall, Milwaukee Brewers

As expected Murphy was the first high schooler off the board this year. The ceiling on his selection was the thought to be the third round. He is committed to Arizona State, but all signs point to him signing with the Brewers.

Report: 4.12.17 - Arizona State commit. Currently ranked No. 85 in the PBR Draft 100. Big crowd of scouts in attendance to see him with multiple crosscheckers. Pitched his normal high school outing going six innings striking out 9, allowing two hits, and two walks. 6-foot-4, 205-pound left-handed pitcher with a lanky frame, and room to fill out especially in the lower half. Fastball sat 89-91 mph through five innings. Hit multiple 92s in the first two frames. Only tailed off in the sixth when he was 87-89 mph. Slider has short breaking action at 78-79 mph. Changeup showed both downer and cutting action at times, sat 81-82 mph. Good balance and tempo throughout delivery, easy effort. Projects as a starter and will add some velocity as he continues to fill out.

Josh Fleming, LHP, Webster University (Columbia), 2014
5th round, 139th overall, Tampa Bay Rays

Fleming posted an 8-1 record with a .68 ERA for the Gorlocks this season. In 92.2 innings pitched Fleming allowed just 54 hits, 12 walks, while striking out 115.

Jake Latz, LHP, Kent State (Lemont), 2014
5th round, 164th overall, Texas Rangers

Latz was one of the most decorated high school players in recent memory. He was the No. 1 ranked player in the Illinois Class of 2014, he was named the PBR Player of the Year in 2014, won the state championship game on the mound for Lemont, was committed to LSU, and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th round. Fast forward to 2017, Latz has only thrown 8.1 innings of college baseball and sat out this season at Kent State due to NCAA transfer rules. The scouts flocked to Ohio to get looks at Latz during practices and eventually went in the 5th round.

Report from HS: 5/31/14 - Ranked No. 6 in Illinois’ 2014 class, No. 20 overall. LSU recruit.  6-foot-2, 190-pound frame.  Room to get stronger, but already a pro build.  Works from third base side of the rubber.  Over the winter, Latz was throwing a bit across his body, with his stride direction falling towards first base, and landing slightly closed at times.  It cut his hips off and affected his command in bullpens, where he would lose pitches to his arm side at times.  On Saturday this was no longer an issue.  He’s cleaned up his delivery and direction towards home.  His delivery out of the windup shows smooth tempo throughout, and cleaning up his lower half seemed to give him even better extension out front, giving him the ability to manipulate the baseball, especially with his off speed. He rocks back over the rubber and loads well on his backside before driving towards home.  His arm action is clean and fluid throughout, showing the ability to overthrow late in the count, but still maintain command.  Latz dominated Lincoln-Way West after giving up his first earned runs of the year in the second inning.  From the fourth to the seventh he struck out 10 of 13 batters faced, allowing only one single.  His fastball sat mostly 89-91 in the first, sprinkling in a few at 87-88.  He came out possibly overthrowing a bit, leaving some pitches up, but after they regained the lead he settled down in the 86-88 range for the duration of the game.  Every inning when he needed it, he reached back for 89-90 especially in two strike counts.  His fastball stays true to his glove side, and shows some run to his arm side, but even when it stays straight at the lower end of his velocity range it has late life and gets on hitters quick.  His curveball improved as the game went along as well.  Early on it was 77-78 and he spiked it a few times.  It actually showed better shape and two-plane break in the later innings at 73-76.  What really set Latz apart today was 78-80 mph changeup.  He hasn’t needed to use it much this year, but after the third he threw it around 8-10 times, inducing weak contact, and a few swings and misses.  The pitch was thrown with identical arm speed as his fastball, and has late arm side run with nasty downward action at times.  With all three pitches working hitter’s didn’t have a chance.  Latz had two three pitch sequences in the sixth that were unfair.  To one hitter he went 89 fastball 77 swing and miss change down, and 90 for the strikeout up.  Another he went 86 fastball, 78 swing and miss change down, 74 down and in curveball to a right handed hitter for the strikeout.  He struck out four in the seventh thanks to a 2-strike curveball bouncing away, and his last fastball of the game registered 89 for his 13th and final strikeout.  He threw 79 of 107 pitches for strikes (74%), and threw first pitch strikes to 20 of 28 hitters.  On pro scouting scale right now, he shows below average to average fastball velocity (possibly closer to average due him being left handed) and two secondary offerings that are above average right now flashing plus.  Two changeups that produced swings and misses had late screwball action that definitely were plus.  The last four frames were the most dominant and impressive pitching performance I’ve witnessed in Illinois this season, it was a pleasure to watch.  His performances of late may leave him with a tough decision after Thursday’s MLB draft.

Chad Spanberger, 1B, Arkansas (Granite City), 2014
6th round, 176th overall, Colorado Rockies

Spanberger saw a late rise after going 8-19 with 5 home runs and 10 RBIs for Arkansas in the SEC Tournament.

Report from HS: 2/2/14 - At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Spanberger is an impressive physical specimen. He looks like a college football middle linebacker with strong, defined shoulders and lower half. And like a middle linebacker, his forte is hitting. Only it’s baseballs ... with legitimate pull-side power, and from the left side. When he squares the ball up, it sounds differently than most. While some pro scouts question whether he will stick behind the plate, the Arkansas recruit has drawn considerable interest for his pure left-handed juice. Spanberger registered 95 mph exit velocity at the Super 60, and at times showed off his offensive prowess in his two rounds of batting practice. He also had pop times ranging between 1.99-2.05 while being clocked 77 mph from the crouch and ran a 7.25 60.

Mason McCoy, SS Iowa (Washington), 2013
6th round, 188th overall, Baltimore Orioles

Nick Maton, SS, Lincoln Land CC (Glenwood), 2015
7th round, 203rd overall, Philadelphia Phillies

After being drafted in the 40th round out of high school by Oakland Maton started his college career at Eastern Illinois, before transferring to Lincoln Land. He is committed to Missouri, but look for him to sign after going in the 7th round. Maton’s older brother Phil just made his MLB Debut with the Padres this weekend, and his younger brother Jacob Maton is the No. 2 ranked player in the Illinois Class of 2018. 

Report from HS: 1st Team All State: Glenwood’s starting shortstop and ace righthander posted incredible numbers at the plate and on the mound in 2015. Maton hit .457 with 23 extra-base hits (11 doubles, eight triples, four home runs), while posting 28 RBI, and 45 runs scored. He also stole 20 bases, and posted an impressive .584 on base percentage, showing plate discipline with 30 walks and only eight strikeouts on the year. On the mound, Maton led the Titans going 8-0 with a 0.67 ERA in 52.1 innings pitched. He only allowed 23 hits, struck out 92 and walked 14. Glenwood finished the year 34-5 ranked No. 22 in the final PBR Power 25 poll. For his efforts, Maton was drafted in the 40th round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. He will attend Eastern Illinois if he does not begin a professional career.

Evan Skoug, C, Texas Christian (Libertyville), 2014
7th round, 207th overall, Chicago White Sox

Report from HS: 5/6/14 - Ranked No. 3 in Illinois’ 2014 class, No. 5 overall. Texas Christian recruit. Draft interest is seemingly picking up steam, as there were a handful of higher-ups in attendance. … Skoug should put me on his payroll, because over the course of two years in the spring, summer and fall, Skoug is hitting like .800 when I am in attendance. His bat, however, is no fluke. In 10 years scouting in Illinois, he very well may be the best left-handed bat I’ve seen in Illinois. He has advanced plate discipline, power to all fields, has an explosive yet controlled swing with no excess moving parts. And he never gets cheated in the box. In two games against Mundelein, he went 4-for-5 with two walks. In the first game, he went 3-for-3 with an opposite-field homer into the teeth of the wind. He also hit a homer on Wednesday to centerfield, but it was waived off because the pitcher was called for a balk.

Brad Bass, RHP, Notre Dame (Lincoln-Way Central), 2014
7th round, 215th overall, Detroit Tigers

Report from HS: 5/17/14 - Ranked No. 2 in Illinois’ 2014 class, No. 3 overall. Notre Dame recruit, one of the top draft prospects in the Midwest. Highly projectable and athletic 6-foot-6, 215-pound frame, extremely athletic feet and arm for size.  Simple, repeatable delivery, balanced throughout. Should be a consistent strike-thrower at the next levels.  Delivery shows minimal effort, and height provides a good downward angle on fastball. Fails to load out of the stretch at times, getting quick with hips and lower half, affecting command. Fastball sat 87-88 touching 90 mph once in the first inning. Fastball sat 84-87 in final three innings. Threw slider in the 78-80 mph range. Slider varied at times showing depth, other times with cutter-like action and not much depth, when he dropped arm slot a bit and got around it. Missed away to right handers with slider, did a better job of staying on top and getting vertical plane on slider to left handed hitters. More of a contact pitch to miss barrels than a swing and miss pitch on this day. Two of three strikeouts came on sliders. Flashed changeup with good arm speed and arm side run in warm ups, seldom used in game action. Threw 90 pitches in four innings and exited presumably due to pitch count, but not helped out by several Lincoln-Way Central errors which extended innings. Should dominate more with stuff, even if it was down a tick from what he has previously shown.  

Connor Ryan, RHP, UIC (Lockport), 2013
8th round, 227th overall, Cincinnati Reds

Report from HS: 1/13/13 - Slender right handed pitcher, projectable frame, 6-foot-1, 175-pounds. Arm works well, clean and repeatable, high ¾ arm slot, arm shows quickness. Tall and fall delivery with easy effort, smooth rhythm, directional delivery stays on line, athletic finish. Showed a four and two seam fastball, four seam sat 83-85 mph with control and little movement. Two seamer showed late hard arm side run at 82-83 mph, also thrown with command. Changeup showed plus deception, thrown with excellent arm speed, commanded the zone with run and sink at 76-79. Slider needs polish, sat 72-74 mph with minimal action, flashed a 75 with late sharp action.

Connor Riley, RHP USC-Aiken (Marmion), 2013
8th round, 227th overall, Los Angeles Angels

Report from HS: 10/14/12 - The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Riley had an impressive showing, as the right-hander demonstrated advanced pitchability. Riley pounded the lower-half of the strike zone with three pitches, including a tight 73-74 mph slider that had sharp two-plane break. Riley’s slider looks to be a go-to pitch, which compliments his 82-84 mph fastball that exhibited arm-side life. He also throws a firm 79 mph changeup with some sink. Riley is mechanically sound and works with rhythm and tempo, and showed the ability to repeat.

Rylan Bannon, 3B, Xavier (Joliet Catholic), 2014
8th round, 250th overall, Los Angeles Dodgers

Report from HS: 2/18/13 - Athletic frame with some length, lean build, 5-foot-10, 150-pound infielder. Defensively shows solid actions, soft hands, and excellent body control. Arm works from a high ¾ arm slot, short arm action, shows accuracy, arm shows carry, 79 mph across the diamond. Exchange is quick and clean, tends to throw off back side. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, smooth load, uses short stride. Bat path is short, gets some extension, hits with rhythm. Bat speed is present, 85 mph exit velocity, works the middle of the field well, consistent contact, shows barrel awareness.

Mike Papierski, C, Louisiana State (Lemont), 2014
9th round, 271st overall, Houston Astros

Report from HS: 5/31/14 - Papierski is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound switch-hitting catcher who has showcased power from both sides of the plate.  His first three at bats, all left handed, produced two walks and a fly out to right field on a good pitch to hit.  He shows advanced plate discipline and feel for the strike zone with an extremely patient approach.  Hitting .385 on the year with 6 home runs, 9 doubles, and 2 triples.  Has also walked 26 times for an incredible .525 OBP and an out of this world 1.250 OPS for all the sabermetric nerds out there like myself.  Both setups look identical, where he hits from an open stance with good rhythm getting back to square before he starts his swing.  I’ve only seen two games, but he looks to pull more left-handed, and looks to shoot up the middle from the right side.  I’ve seen more line drive plane in the right-handed swing, while the left-handed shows a little more loft/upper cut. Was extremely impressed early on with his two line-drive singles off Kyle Ostrowski’s upper 80’s velocity, while hitting from the right side.  On Saturday, his last at bat nearly broke the umpire’s knee cap, as he lined a ball that registered 96 mph off the bat past the pitcher up the middle.  Defensively, he has shown 1.9-2.0 pop times at past events.  On Saturday between innings it was more in the 2.1-2.3 range, and a few throws were off line.  Throws were in the 73-76 mph range, but there is definitely more in the tank there as he wasn’t cutting it loose.    He was not challenged in game, but his arm action is sound with a quick release.  His frame is a pitcher’s dream, as he provides a large, agile target to throw to.  Did a very good job picking up feet and getting over/down to block breaking balls in the dirt late in the count.  Hips show mobility to sit low and provide a good target, despite large frame.  Hands are soft receiving, does a good job of keeping wrist firm, sticking several curves and changes in the bottom half of the strike zone.  Seems to call his own game as well, and shows an advanced feel for setting up hitters (also nice to have Latz on auto-pilot).  Leadership intangibles show on the field as well, knows when to talk to his pitcher, and have not seen him press at the plate or try to do too much despite the obvious microscope he’s been playing under all season.

Alex Troop, LHP, Michigan State (Marmion), 2014
9th round, 283rd overall, Washington Nationals

Report from HS: 4/7/14 - Michigan State commit. Troop has been getting attention from pro scouts simply because of what his future might hold. He’s a long and lanky 6-foot-4, 195-pounds and can clearly handle more body mass. He has above average athleticism and shows the ability to repeat his delivery which will also bode well for adding future velocity. Delivery is athletic, showed he can be a hang and read lefty from the stretch, while also showing the ability to slide step. Occasionally got to his heels out of his balance position, leaving the ball up in the zone, more of a tendency to do this out of the stretch. Arm action has length from a high ¾ slot, slight wrist curl upon separation. Creates downhill angle on his fastball, pitched more vertically with fastball than horizontally, stayed mostly to his arm side half of the plate, pitched at 85-87 mph for most of his outing touching 88 mph twice. Showed excellent feel for both secondary pitches. Curveball had tight action at 75-77 mph, showed the ability to throw it for strikes as well as getting chases out of the zone, well above average depth on steep plane, showed swing and miss abilities. Changeup had advanced fading action to his arm side, feel for the zone, only threw to right handed hitters, 78-80 mph, got multiple swing and misses. Troop’s arsenal worked predominantly out of a middle arm side window showing the ability to change speeds spinning and fading the baseball, going forward Troop will need to command the glove side of the plate with his fastball more and expand the zone laterally to left handed hitters.

Zach Reks, OF, Kentucky (Sandburg), 2012
10th round, 310th overall, Los Angeles Dodgers

Brian Glowicki, RHP, Minnesota (Downers Grove South), 2013
10th round, 315th overall, Chicago Cubs