Defending big school baseball champion Stillwater is favored to win it all again this year thanks in large part to having two extremely dominant pitchers.
Drew Gilbert and Will Frisch, both seniors who are committed to play at Oregon State University, have the Stillwater Ponies sitting atop the Class 4A baseball rankings with a 21-2 record – and they're just one win from making a return trip to the state tournament.
In 35 innings this season, Gilbert has allowed just nine hits while striking out 73 batters. He also has two no-hitters to his name: the first with 16 strikeouts April 16 against Cretin-Derham Hall, and the second being a 18-strikeout gem to beat Henry Sibley in the section tournament.
How many runs has Gilbert allowed?
One. He's allowed ONE run. And it was unearned, so he has a 0.00 ERA. Pretty good, eh?
Frisch, a right-hander, has also pitched 35 innings this season and has 66 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA.
According to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press, major league scouts recently clocked Frisch's fastball at 98 mph. Walters adds:
"The pair, which has signed with reigning NCAA champion Oregon State, is expected to be chosen within the top 10 rounds of the draft. How high they will be drafted will depend on their eagerness to sign professionally. That, of course, will depend on the size of signing bonuses."
If Walters is correct and neither pitcher is drafted in the first or second round on Monday, they could each hear their name called when rounds 3-10 take place on Tuesday. Actually, they might not hear their names called if they're drafted because they're scheduled to play at CHS Field in St. Paul at 4 p.m. with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
If they don't sign with whoever drafts them they'll be eligible to be selected again in the future, possibly as first-round picks if they continue to develop.
Only three Minnesota high school players have been taken in the first round (the likes of Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor were taken in the first round while in college):
- Joe Mauer (Cretin-Derham Hall) – 1st overall to the Twins 2001
- Tom Nevers (Edina) – 21st overall to the Astros in 1990
- Chris Schwab (Cretin-Derham Hall) – 18th overall to the Expos in 1993
Two years ago, Burnsville High School pitcher Sam Carlson was taken in the second round by the Mariners. He's still considered a big-time prospect but hasn't pitched since late 2017 due to elbow problems that led to Tommy John surgery. He's expected to pitch competitively again by 2020.
Round 1 of the MLB Draft begins at 6 p.m. Monday. The Twins have the 13th overall pick.