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Local products, sure, but any Michigan HS players in this year’s MLB draft? Probably not

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY , June 9, 2020, 3:27 pm

When Major League Baseball’s draft takes center stage Wednesday, there are bound to be some familiar names called off early.

There will probably be some products of Michigan high schools — guys who’ve gone on to solid collegiate careers — taken in the abbreviated draft’s five rounds.

The MLB First-Year Player (or Rule 4) Draft begins with the first round at 7 p.m. Wednesday night (TV: MLB Network and ESPN), and finishes up with Rounds 2-5 Thursday (TV: MLB Network and ESPN2) starting at 5 p.m. A total of 160 players will be selected, starting with the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Tigers.

What there’s less likely to be is anyone selected directly out of high school around here.

It shouldn’t be tremendously surprising.

It’s been a general trend over the last decade that more and more college players are selected — around 75 percent of players taken — and fewer high schoolers, anyway. And this season it was bound to be an even more stark contrast, since college players got around a month of game action in, and most high schoolers never took the field, forcing scouts to rely on reports from last spring and summer.

You add in the shortening of the draft from 40 to five rounds, and the odds of any Michigan high schooler being taken go from slim to verging on none.

The numbers over the last 20 years bear that out.

Since the 2000 draft, there have been 95 Michigan high school players taken in the Major League Baseball June draft, but only 10 of those have been taken in the top 10 rounds, and only four — Birmingham Brother Rice’s Nick Plummer (1st round 2015), Remus Chippewa Hills’ Billy Killian (3rd round 2004), Lake Orion’s Randall Frye (4th round 2002) and Detroit Western International’s William Holmes (5th round 2018) — have gone in the top five rounds.

Another 36 were selected between rounds 30 and 39, and 19 more went in Round 40 or after — and MLB did away with the last 10 rounds (41-50) starting in 2012.

Of those 55 taken after Round 30 since 2000, nearly half (23) of them were selected by the Tigers, as a boon to local players and programs.

Below, we’ve got a listing of some of the players with local roots who may hear their names called in this year’s draft, as well as a look back at the recent history of high school picks from Michigan.

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Jeff Criswell, RHP, Michigan [DRAFTED: Round 2 (58) to Oakland]

A Portage Central grad, Criswell was selected in the 35th round of the 2017 draft by the Tigers. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Criswell started 17 games as a sophomore in 2019, ranking as one fo the best No. 3 starters in the country as the Wolverines made the College World Series — slotting behind a pair of second-round picks last year, Karl Kauffmann (Birmingham Brother Rice) and Tommy Henry (Portage Northern) — then moved into the role as U-M’s Friday night starter as a junior.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 58

Sam Weatherly, RHP, Clemson [DRAFTED: Round 3 (81) to Colorado]

A Howell grad, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Weatherly was selected in the 27th round of the 2017 draft by the Blue Jays. A two-way player in high school, he has been both a reliever and starter for the Tigers, ranking among the Division I leaders in three different pitching categories in four appearances as the Friday starter this spring.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 85

Mason Erla, RHP, Michigan State

After blowing out a knee in football at Cass City, the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Erla wasn’t drafted out of high school, but has developed into a reliable starter for the Spartans, posting a 2-0 record and 1.04 ERA in four starts this spring, earning second-team All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball. He’s just 17 strikeouts shy of cracking the top 10 list in MSU history.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 91

Zavier Warren, SS, Central Michigan [DRAFTED: Round 3 (92) to Brewers]

The Birmingham Groves product was a third-team All-American in 2019, and could become the first CMU player taken in the draft’s first four rounds since 1986 (Escanaba grad Kevin Tapani, 2nd round), and the first Groves player drafted since Colin Kaline in 2011. A switch-hitter with gap-to-gap power, Warren set the CMU record for doubles (22) last season. Could end up at third or second base.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 106

Jordan Nwogu, OF, Michigan [DRAFTED: Round 3 (88) to Cubs]

A two-sport star at Ann Arbor Pioneer, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Nwogu played just across the road collegiately, with his prodigious power making him one of the most consistent offensive performers for the Wolverines in their trip to the College World Series last year, and in this abbreviated spring.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 108

Joey Wiemer, OF, Cincinnati [DRAFTED: Round 4 (121) to Brewers]

A graduate of Temperance Bedford, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wiemer has raw power in both his bat and his arm (hitting 98 mph off the mound), but hasn’t necessarily translated it into production just yet.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 167

Blake Dunn, OF, Western Michigan

Dunn lettered in four sports at Saugatuck High School, where he scored 827 points in football — making him the second-leading scorer in MHSAA history — and won six state titles in the hurdles.

MLB.com prospect ranking: No. 172

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High schoolers who have an outside shot to possibly hear their names called in the draft:

Werner Blakely, SS, Detroit Edison (commitment: Auburn) [DRAFTED: Round 4 (111) to Angels]

Logan Wood, LHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (commitment: Michigan)

Nolan McCarthy, SS, Portage Northern (commitment: Kentucky)

Parker Pilat, SS, Detroit Country Day (commitment: Wake Forest)

Noah Stout, OF, Rochester (commitment: Clemson)

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First Michigan HS pick (by year) since 2000

2019 — 12th round (Chris Mokma, Holland Christian to the Marlins)

2018 — 5th round (William Holmes, Detroit Western International to the Angels)

2017 — 11th round (Obie Ricumstrict, Mt. Pleasant to the Rangers)

2016 — None

2015 — 1st round (Nick Plummer, Birmingham Brother Rice to Cardinals)

2014 — 29th round (Dazon Cole, West Bloomfield to Braves)

2013 — 20th round (Jackson Lamb, Temperance Bedford to Rangers)

2012 — 18th round (Justin Alleman, Holt to Royals)

2011 — 7th round (Eric Haase, Dearborn Divine Child to Indians)

2010 — 19th round (Mark Brown, Detroit King to Indians)

2009 — 6th round (Daniel Fields, U-D Jesuit to Tigers)

2008 — 15th round (Damarii Saunderson, Northville to Phillies)

2007 — 25th round (Colin Kaline, Birmingham Groves to Tigers)

2006 — 50th round (Alan Oaks, Dearborn Divine Child to Tigers)

2005 — 18th round (Brandon Garner, Yale to Cardinals)

2004 — 3rd round (Billy Killian, Remus Chippewa Hills to Padres)

2003 — 46th round (James O’Neill, Milford to Indians)

2002 — 4th round (Randall Frye, Lake Orion to Mariners)

2001 — 6th round (Justin Ockerman, Garden City to Mariners)

2000 — 23rd round (Brandon Harmsen, Jenison to Indians)

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Highest Michigan HS picks since 2000

2015 — 1st round (Nick Plummer, Birmingham Brother Rice to Cardinals)

2004 — 3rd round (Billy Killian, Remus Chippewa Hills to Padres)

2002 — 4th round (Randall Frye, Lake Orion to Mariners)

2018 — 5th round (William Holmes, Detroit Western International to the Angels)

2001 — 6th round (Justin Ockerman, Garden City to Mariners)

2002 — 6th round (Chris Getz, Grosse Pointe South to White Sox)

2004 — 6th round (Jermaine Brock, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills to Mariners)

2009 — 6th round (Daniel Fields, U-D Jesuit to Tigers)

2011 — 7th round (Eric Haase, Dearborn Divine Child to Indians)

2009 — 10th round (Derek Dennis, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central to Rays)

2017 — 11th round (Obie Ricumstrict, Mt. Pleasant to the Rangers)

2009 — 12th round (Kyle Jensen, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to Marlins)

2019 — 12th round (Chris Mokma, Holland Christian to the Marlins)

2019 — 14th round (Adam Berghorst, Zeeland East to Rangers)

2008 — 15th round (Damarii Saunderson, Northville to Phillies)

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Total Michigan HS picks since 2000

2019 — 12th round (Chris Mokma, Holland Christian to the Marlins)

2019 — 14th round (Adam Berghorst, Zeeland East to Rangers)

2019 — 22nd round (Cameron Wagoner, Tecumseh to Rangers)

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2018 — 5th round (William Holmes, Detroit Western International to the Angels)

2018 — 33rd round (Bryce Bush, Warren De La Salle to White Sox)

2018 — 34th round (Spencer Schwellenbach, Saginaw Heritage to Indians)

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2017 — 11th round (Obie Ricumstrict, Mt. Pleasant to the Rangers)

2017 — 27th round (Sam Weatherly, Howell to Blue Jays)

2017 — 35th round (Jeff Criswell, Portage Central to Tigers)

2017 — 36th round (Jesse Heikkinen, Holt to Tigers)

2017 — 38th round (Steve Mann, Detroit Country Day to Tigers)

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2015 — 1st round (Nick Plummer, Birmingham Brother Rice to Cardinals)

2015 — 20th round (Luke Shilling, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep to Rangers)

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2014 — 29th round (Dazon Cole, West Bloomfield to Braves)

2014 — 31st round (Grant Reuss, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood to Tigers)

2014 — 34th round (Sammy Stevens, Birmingham Brother Rice to Tigers)

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2013 — 20th round (Jackson Lamb, Temperance Bedford to Rangers)

2013 — 30th round (Sterling Sharp, North Farmington to Braves)

2013 — 31st round (Johnny Slater, Southfield-Lathrup to Braves)

2013 — 37th round (Nick Deeg, Lake Orion to Tigers)

2013 — 38th round (Harrison Wenson, U-D Jesuit to Tigers)

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2012 — 18th round (Justin Alleman, Holt to Royals)

2012 — 35th round (Brett Sunde, Madison Heights Bishop Foley to Athletics)

2012 — 38th round (Cam Gibson, Grosse Pointe South to Diamondbacks)

2012 — 38th round (Zack Fields, Annapolis to Rangers)

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2011 — 7th round (Eric Haase, Dearborn Divine Child to Indians)

2011 — 20th round (Joel Seddon, St. Clair to Blue Jays)

2011 — 24th round (Zach Fish, Richland Gull Lake to Rangers)

2011 — 38th round (Blaise Salter, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to Tigers)

2011 — 40th round (Ryan Krill, Portage Central to Tigers)

2011 — 41st round (Jimmy Pickens, Birmingham Brother Rice to Tigers)

2011 — 43rd round (Greg Fettes, Madison Heights Lamphere to Tigers)

2011 — 49th round (Brett Impemba, Macomb Dakota to Tigers)

2011 — 49th round (Mick VanVossen, Grand Rapids Forest Hills central to Rangers)

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2010 — 19th round (Mark Brown, Detroit King to Indians)

2010 — 33rd round (David Garner, Niles to Tigers)

2010 — 45th round (Jake Morton, Hudsonville to Tigers)

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2009 — 10th round (Derek Dennis, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central to Rays)

2009 — 12th round (Kyle Jensen, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to Marlins)

2009 — 18th round (Michael Shaaf, Saginaw Arthur Hill to Rangers)

2009 — 21st round (Zak Wasserman, Stevensville Lakeshore to Giants)

2009 — 23rd round (Kyle Breault, Northville to Nationals)

2009 — 25th round (Victor Roache, Ypsilanti Lincoln to Tigers)

2009 — 27th round (Brian Justice, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to Blue Jays)

2009 — 35th round (Patrick Biondi, Dearborn Divine Child to Tigers)

2009 — 40th round (Asaad Ali, Niles to Angels)

2009 — 47th round (Tyler Higgins, Mt. Pleasant to Rangers)

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2008 — 15th round (Damarii Saunderson, Northville to Phillies)

2008 — 30th round (Rick Dodridge, Ogemaw Heights to Royals)

2008 — 30th round (D.J. Henderson, Detroit Southeastern to Phillies)

2008 — 31st round (Trevor Cousineau, Davison to Indians)

2008 — 33rd round (James Simpson, Dowagiac to Phillies)

2008 — 36th round (Jon Berti, Troy to Athletics)

2008 — 47th round (Randon Henika, Essexville Garber to Indians)

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2007 — 25th round (Colin Kaline, Birmingham Groves to Tigers)

2007 — 32nd round (Daniel Killian, Remus Chippewa Hills to Nationals)

2007 — 34th round (Ryan Sharpley, Marshall to White Sox)

2007 — 37th round (Toby Matchulat, Redford Union to Tigers)

2007 — 41st round (D.J. LeMahieu, Birmingham Brother Rice to Tigers)

2007 — 44th round (Kolby Wood, Berrien Springs to Tigers)

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2006 — 50th round (Alan Oaks, Dearborn Divine Child to Tigers)

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2005 — 18th round (Brandon Garner, Yale to Cardinals)

2005 — 23rd round (Derrick Mitchell, Paw Paw to Phillies)

2005 — 30th round (Neil Medchill, Lake Orion to Angels)

2005 — 34th round (Adam Abraham, Grosse Pointe South to Marlins)

2005 — 38th round (Zach Putnam, Ann Arbor Pioneer to Tigers)

2005 — 42nd round (Ben Rodewald, East Kentwood to Tigers)

2005 — 45th round (Daniel Towe, Charlotte to Padres)

2005 — 49th round (Cody Allen, Coleman to Reds)

2005 — 50th round (Jeffery Whitlow, Birmingham Detroit Country Day to Tigers)

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2004 — 3rd round (Billy Killian, Remus Chippewa Hills to Padres)

2004 — 6th round (Jermaine Brock, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills to Mariners)

2004 — 31st round (Doug Pickens, Birmingham Brother Rice to Indians)

2004 — 39th round (William Jostock, Lapeer West to Royals)

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2003 — 46th round (James O’Neill, Milford to Indians)

2003 — 47th round (Daniel Kapala, Royal Oak Shrine to Mariners)

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2002 — 4th round (Randall Frye, Lake Orion to Mariners)

2002 — 6th round (Chris Getz, Grosse Pointe South to White Sox)

2002 — 12th round (Jayson Ruhlman, L’Anse Creuse to White Sox)

2002 — 23rd round (Aaron Tennyson, Milan to Indians)

2002 — 27th round (R.C. Dickerson, Kalamazoo Central to Mariners)

2002 — 30th round (Michael Geddes, Jenison to Devil Rays)

2002 — 38th round (Alex Muszynski, Alpena to Orioles)

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2001 — 6th round (Justin Ockerman, Garden City to Mariners)

2001 — 20th round (Brian Miller, Charlotte to White Sox)

2001 — 22nd round (Jon Koch, Berrien Springs to Pirates)

2001 — 25th round (Charlie Haeger, Detroit Catholic Central to White Sox)

2001 — 33rd round (Dan Fyvie, Fenton to Athletics)

2001 — 35th round (Michael Moljewski, Warren De La Salle to White Sox)

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2000 — 23rd round (Brandon Harmsen, Jenison to Indians)

2000 — 25th round (Nate McLouth, Whitehall to Pirates)

2000 — 28th round (Jeff Opalewski, Saginaw Heritage to Indians)

2000 — 34th round (Chris Way, Birmingham Groves to Mariners)

2000 — 35th round (Ryan Cremeans, Adrian to Tigers)

2000 — 50th round (Aaron Rowe, Novi to Brewers)