Prep Baseball Report

Top 10 Stories of 2017: No. 5 MLB Draft

Matt Huck
Midwest Area Scout/JUCO Wire Editor

Over the next few weeks we will close out 2017 by counting down the Top 10 stories and profiles of the calendar year. Our top ten stories will take a look at some of the highlights at Prep Baseball Report through the lens of the Badger State, including title runs, top prospects, newsworthy milestones and more.

The No. 5 story in Wisconsin for 2017 is the MLB Draft featuring Day 1 picks Jeren Kendall (Holmen, 2014) and Daulton Varsho (Marshfield, 2014). The 2016 MLB Draft featured two Wisconsin high school players to go on day 1 in Gavin Lux and Ben Rortvedt. The 2017 draft was headlined by two former Wisconsin high school players.  

Here is our story recapping Day 1 of the MLB Draft

Day one of the MLB Draft is complete with two players with Wisconsin ties being taken. Vanderbilt center fielder Jeren Kendall (Holmen, 2014) was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 23rd overall in the first round. That makes it two years in a row the Dodgers have selected a player with Wisconsin ties with their first pick. Last year the Dodgers took SS Gavin Lux out of Indian Trail HS in Kenosha. Daulton Varsho (Marshfield, 2014) was taken in 68th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt University (Holmen), 2014
1st round, 23rd overall, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kendall was in the running at 1-1 after a big summer with USA Baseball, but started to fall this spring after a rise in his strikeout rate. Despite the strikeouts Kendall still posted a .307 batting average with 10 doubles, 5 triples, 15 home runs, and 53 RBIs. Kendall also swiped 20 bases in 24 attempts.

Report from HS: 2/3/14 - 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, athletically built, left handed hitting outfielder, build shows strength, solid upper half into tapered waist. What stands out for Kendall is the ease at which he plays the game. The Super 60 might not have been Kendall’s best showing but the fleet footed outfielder still showed that he has the tools to play at a pro level. Defensively Kendall showed some of the most natural outfield actions of the group, he move with ease and his feet work extremely fluid, Kendall also ran a 6.66 in the 60. Defensively he profiles as an advanced centerfield defender. Offensively he hits from the left side with a quiet simple approach. Kendall’s bread and butter is using his hands to produce opposite field line drives. His swing is dominated by his hands and shows excellent balance. Kendall has excellent plate coverage over the outer half and seems very comfortable handling any pitch in that area. As long as the weather holds up this year Kendall definitely gave scouts a reason to flock to Holmen, WI this spring.

Daulton Varsho, C, UW-Milwaukee (Marshfield), 2014
Comp B, 68th Overall, Arizona Diamondbacks

Varsho is the son of former big leaguer Gary Varsho. Last summer Daulton had a stellar performance in the Northwoods League where he hit .321 with 15 doubles and 15 home runs. This left-handed hitting catcher hit .362 with 11 home runs and a .490 on base percentage. Most impressively Varsho walked 46 times against just 39 strikeouts. He has an advanced feel for hitting, but some scouts question his frame and where he fits defensively.