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2017 Blizzard MLB Draft Preview

06/07/2017, 9:15pm CDT
By Adam Barta, Minnesota Blizzard

A preview of both potential current high school and college players that may be taken in the MLB draft

Blizzard Elite Tryouts 2017-2018 season

RHP Sam Carlson, Burnsville HS - Florida commit

Blizzard: 2009 - 2017 

Carlson, who has put a considerable amount of time in the weight room working on flexibility and mobility the last 18 months, has upped his projectability to first-round status.  He has a fastball that sits easily in the 93-95 range and will run it up to 95 in games and was as high as 96 in his first pro workout this winter at the Blizzard Baseball Academy.  His primary secondary pitch is his change-up, an above average major league pitch with split-like depth and a developing slider that he has learned this past winter.  With an already good curve ball, Carlson has enough in his arsenal to be a potential big-league starter.

Carlson on how the Blizzard has helped him get to the next level ... 

Blizzard has helped shape the player I am today.  Since I joined when I was 12 years old I have grown a lot as a player and person which has really prepared me for the draft.  

On how past Blizzard players have helped him in the college and pro process ... 

Logan Shore has really helped me out a ton.  He has provided me with a resource that I can lean on since he has been through it all.  I can't thank him enough.

Carlson's message on player's considering the Blizzard program ... 

If you are thinking about playing for the Blizzard, ask yourself, could you live with the regret of not putting yourself in a position for happiness and success?  It is the best program up here and that's not even debatable.

Mike Baumann with former Blizzard coach, Justin Gominsky

RHP Mike Baumann, Jacksonville U., Junior

Blizzard: 2012-2013

Baumann's projectability this past year has shot through the roof running it up to 96-97 and striking out 10 per nine innings pitched.  His 97 strikeouts in 87.1 innings lead his team and his 70 hits allowed has put him in a position to be a top-10 round pick.  Baumann, who stands 6'5" 225lbs was the ASUN 2015 Pitcher of the Year and set Jacksonville's all-time strike out record this year at 224 and also led the league this year in strikeouts.

OF Jacob Rhinesmith, Indian Hills CC, Sophomore

Blizzard: 2012-2015  

A person could make an argument that Rhinesmith was the best hitter that has come through the doors.  The Shakopee native hit three-hole on every team he played on and raked.  A 6.5 60 runner and top defensive outfielder, this sweet swinging lefty has some snap in his bat.  He is committed to Western Kentucky next year but might not make it there as he may be the highest drafted Blizzard position player in this year's draft.  He played at Indian Hills CC, one of the top junior colleges in the country.

Rhinesmith on how Blizzard has helped him at the next level ...

Blizzard has helped me tremendously!  The biggest thing about the Blizzard to me is that they treat you like family.  Adam treats like you one of his kids.  Seeing other Blizzard players getting drafted in the top 10 rounds when I was in high school really showed me that if I work hard like them, I can reach my dream of playing professional baseball.

Rhinesmith on how some Blizzard alum have helped him at the next level ...

Travis Neubeck (2013 Blizzard grad) impacted me a lot even though I never played with him.  When I went down to Indian Hills on my (recruiting) visit, he was the one who showed me around the campus.  He was a Blizzard guy and told me "If you want to get better, then this is the school for you."  Travis graduated that year and was drafted.  The year after that, I took his #20 at Indian Hills.

Rhinesmith's advice to players considering trying out for the Blizzard ...

Some advice I would give to Blizzard players would be playing for the Blizzard program was the best decision of my life.  If I didn't join the Blizzard program, I would have never been half of the baseball player I am today.  I knew this program was special when the first meeting I attended we discussed the Blizzard Big 5 and "Be Humble" was mentioned.  The biggest thing is that the entire staff treats you like family.  Adam will let you use the facilities any time you want.  Not one of the coaches are doing it for the money.  They are doing it because they love the sport and you can tell once you join the Blizzard family.

Minnesota's Jake Stevenson (L) and Jacob Rhinesmith (R)

RHP Jake Matthys, Angelo State University, Senior

Blizzard: 2008-2014

Despite a 3-3 record for one of the top Division II teams in the country, Angelo State, Matthys' above average slider and average fastball (89-92) has put him in a position to be a mid to late round draft pick.  His tenacity and fearlessness in any situation has made his make-up off the charts.  After an above showing in the Cape Cod League in 2016, Matthys should be on several teams draft boards.  Watch out for the Rockies to take this solid RHP sometime on Day 2 or 3!

Matthys on how Blizzard has helped him prepare him for the next level ...

Blizzard has helped me prepare for the draft by making it possible to play baseball year round against better competition, playing with some of the best players in Minnesota which allowed us to push one another.  We had the best instruction in Minnesota and it helped me take my game to the next level and it gave me an opportunity to play college baseball and hopefully pro ball.

Matthys on trying out for the Blizzard

Playing for the Minnesota Blizzard was one of the best decisions I ever made.  It won't only make you a better baseball player, it will make you a better person.  You will make friends who will be there long after Blizzard ball is over.

INF Drew Fearing, North Dakota St. University, Junior

Blizzard: 2011-2014

Fearing might a better senior sign as he probably needs to up his power numbers to be on draft boards.  His sophomore campaign saw him win All-Summit League 1st team honors while leading his team in practically every category and was also on the Brooks Wallace Watch List for Shortstop of the Year.  However, a Fiedler Part II, Fearing's ability to win and work ethic, don't underestimate the punch in one of the Summit League's top players.

Watch out for teammate, junior outfielder Logan Busch (Blizzard 2013) as a potential draft pick.

Fearing on Blizzard helping him reach the next level ...

The Blizzard has allowed me to play and compete with the best players in the Midwest.  Barta and former Blizzard players are always a call away and that has made the college pro process a lot easier.  

Fearing on Blizzard alum and how they have helped ...

One thing that always impressed me with the Blizzard alumni was how humble and helpful they were.  If I had a question about anything, I would call Fiedler and he would be more than willing to answer my questions whether it was baseball related or not.

Fearing on how Blizzard helped him get to the next level ...

I wouldn't be at North Dakota State if it wasn't for Barta and the Blizzard program and I can't thank him and the Blizzard program for all they have done.  #BlueLove

OF Alex Boxwell, University of Minnesota, Junior

Blizzard 2013-2014

Alex Boxwell was injured for parts of the MN Gophers season and it impacted his stats a bit but 'Box' might have the most tools on his team.  He is an above average runner and an average MLB outfielder right now.  He can really hit and showed it as he led the Minnesota Gophers in home runs (6) in the spring of 2017.  While Boxwell might not see his name called early in the draft, watch for teams to take a chance on him late for his high-ceiling tools.

The best of the rest ...

Toby Hanson (Blizzard: 2005-2007)

Hanson hit .317 for the Gophers this season and had a team-leading 57 RBI and 112 total bases and was second in home runs (5).  A sweet swinging lefty, this Junior left-handed stick has hit-ability.

Tyler Hanson (Blizzard 2007-2011)

Hanson allowed 43 hits in 46 innings while striking out 35.  With a fastball that is 87-92 and a good slider, his reliability and ability to throw strikes make him an attractive commodity as a senior sign.

Aaron Rozek (Blizzard: 2008-2013)

Rozek led his team in ERA (1.53) and appearances (16) and struck out 38 in 26 innings.  In his first two years, Rozek was a cool 83-85 with a good CH but has been 89-91 in short stints with a much-improved slider and an very serviceable change.  This senior could be a steal on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.

Dylan Dresel (Blizzard: 2006-2013)

Dresel has hit 23 home runs in his first three years as a Maverick.  Dresel also won Blizzard's "Joe Loftus" Top Hitter Award in 2013, beating out such players as Alex Call (3rd Round, White Sox), Logan Shore (2nd Round, Athletics) and Matt Fiedler (9th Round, St. Louis Cardinals) so it is no surprise that Dresel has mashed for power house Mankato State in 2017.  It's a 50/50 on whether "DD" will get taken in the MLB draft but certainly is worth considering after putting up one of the top offensive years in recent history with nationally-ranked Mankato.

Nehwon Norkeh (Blizzard 2011-2013)

A freakish and toolsy beast, Norkeh has been compared to a young Vlad Guerrero by former Twins player and coach, Al Newman.  His stint at Angelo State and transfer to Tennessee Wesleyan has put him in a position to be the Blizzard mystery pick in this year's draft.

Dylan Criquet-Danielson (Blizzard: 2012-2017)

A young, toolsy player, "DCD" has great ability and projectability.  And while his future is more than likely going to be at Oklahoma, he was one of the Blizzard's most scouted players this past year.  With lightning fast hands at the plate, athleticism and defensive ability, Oklahoma is getting a close-to-ready player for the spring of 2018.

Criquet Danielson on college and pro exposure with the Blizzard ... 

The amount of exposure the Blizzard program provides by competing in many local and national-level tournaments allowed me to be seen and scouted by several MLB organizations.  

In my opinion, the Blizzard organization runs the best baseball program of its kind in the state of Minnesota.  During my six years in the program, I had the privilege to know and work with some of the most knowledgeable, passionate, kind and respectful coaches and human beings I have ever met.

DCD on players considering the Blizzard program ... 

I would definitely recommend this program to any baseball player who is committed to better himself and take his game to a new level.  If you are a dedicated and hardworking individual, you owe yourself the chance to try this program.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Bubba Horton (Blizzard: 2012-2017)

While this freakishly good left-handed pitcher, Bubba Horton, probably won't be going in this year's draft, this future Gopher is going to be an impact player for Minneosota the next three years.  His 85-91 mph fastball with a big-league average change has put him in a position to see plenty of innings his freshman year.  Remember the name!  Big "BUBBA HORTON".  You'll see his name called on Draft Day in 2020.

(far right) Dylan Dresel

2018 Blizzard Elite and Fall Tryout Information

Date Time Age Group Location Notes
June 25 9am / 1pm 13u / 14u Rich Valley Baseball Complex
June 26 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 / 3:45 14u Call Back Games Rich Valley Baseball Complex
June 27 9am (15u) / 1pm / 3:45 15u / 13u Call Backs Rich Valley Baseball Complex
June 28 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 / 3:45 15u Call Back Games Rich Valley Baseball Complex
June 29 Make-Up Day (if needed)
July 2 9am 10u / 11u / 12u Rich Valley Baseball Complex
July 3 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 / 3:45 Call Back Games Rich Valley Baseball Complex
July 9 9am 17u / 18u Century College
July 10 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 Var Call Back Games Century College
July 11 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 Var Call Back Games Century College
July 12 Rain Day / Make-Up Rich Valley Baseball Complex
July 13 Rain Day / Make-Up Century College
July 16 9am 16u Century College
July 17 9am / 11:15 / 1:30 / 3:45 16u Call Back Games Century College
July 18 Rain Day / Make-Up Rich Valley Baseball Complex
July 19 Rain Day / Make-Up Rich Valley Baseball Complex
July 20 Rain Day / Make-Up Rich Valley Baseball Complex
end of July (TBA) *PARENT MEETINGS Blizzard Baseball Academy
9am 10u, 11u, 12u, 13u Silver
10am 14u, 15u, 16u, Varsity Silver
11am 10u, 11u, 12u Gold
12n 13u, 14u, 15u Gold
1pm 16u, Varsity Gold
2:30pm 11u, 12u, 13u Elite
4pm 14u, 15u Elite
5:30pm 16u Elite
7pm Varsity Elite
8:30pm (if needed) Varsity Elite

*Parent Meeting Times will be confirmed once teams are posted July 20th

Field address, what to bring and what to expect at tryouts

Age Level

Age cut-off is April 30th, 2019 (or whatever your age is on April 30th, 2019) For example, if you are 14 years old right now and your birthday is March 3rd, 2019, you are considered a 15u because you turn 15 before April 30th, 2019.

Rich Valley Baseball Complex
1841 105th St E, Inver Grove Heights 55077

Century College
3300 Century Ave N White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Roseville Legion Field
700 County Road C West in Roseville

What to bring ...

Tryouts are a relatively long day so make sure you bring water, snack and sun screen.  Please wear a full uniform including spikes and glove.  Each player will receive a hat at the tryout.  If you have your own bat, bring it otherwise we will have some there for you to borrow.

What to expect ...

Expect a lot of kids, good competition and a good baseball setting.  Each player will run a 60 yard dash (40 yard for 10u-13u), go through defensive work including outfield, infield, catcher pop times, batting practice and bullpens.

After Day 1, we will post call back rosters immediately the same day on our website ( and you will return (if need be) to play a scrimmage where pitchers throw a controlled inning against hitters.

Posting Rosters ...

We will post rosters no later than July 22nd on our website. 

Players who cannot make tryouts or who have to leave early ...

If you are a player who cannot make a tryout, you should come to the next closest age group to be graded out.  Please email me at: with your situation and we will make it work.  We also have designated days on our "Tryout Dates" to choose from. 

If you have to leave early for a tournament, please let us know and we'll make sure we get you out of there as soon as possible - no problem !

Tryout Day 1 - Hitting, Fielding, Running and Pitching



Each player will receive between 7 – 10 pitches from a coach.

Scoring will be judged on mechanics including:

  1. Set-up
  2. Swing
  3. Balance
  • Ability to make solid contact
  • Superior power
  • Overall athletic ability and talent


Each player will receive 5 – 8 ground balls hit at them, to their left, right and on the run

Scoring will be judged on mechanics including:

  1. Footwork and Hands
  2. Proper throwing technique / body control
  3. Quickness / lateral movements
  4. Accuracy
  • Athletic ability and hustle
  • Superior arm strength


Each Player will receive 4 – 8 fly balls hit at them, to their right and left

  • Ability to judge fly balls, athleticism and hustle
  • Range to the left, right, in and back
  • Catching the ball hit at player, to the right and left

Fielding the ball on the ground and make a proper and quick transfer

  • Superior arm strength


Each player will receive 10 – 20 pitches / or throw one inning

  • Mechanics – must show the ability to have consistent mechanics from the wind-up and stretch position
  • Velocity– player should have above average velocity relative to age group
  • Movement and Action– player (relative to age) should show ability to have movement on fastball and action on secondary pitches
  • Location – player should have the ability to throw all pitches in the strike zone


Each player will receive 5 balls thrown from an evaluator and/or pitcher

  • Catching and Receiving – player should be able to catch the ball without struggling and should be able to show the ability to frame pitches in and around the strike zone
  • Arm Strength – player should have above-average arm strength relative to age group and have the ability to throw to 2nd base with relative ease and little or no arch
  • Blocking– player should not move out of the way of a bounced ball and should make an effort to display proper blocking technique and hustle


  • Players 14u-18u will run timed 60 yard dashes
  • Players 13u and under will run a 40 yard dash (if time permits)

Player should sign up online by AT LEAST one day before their tryout.


When players arrive, they must check in at the check-in tent and get their player # and get their picture taken.  Please arrive at least 45 minutes before tryouts.  All players will receive a Blizzard hat at tryouts.

Age Level

Age cut-off is April 30th, 2019 (or whatever your age is on April 30th, 2019) For example, if you are 14 years old right now and your birthday is March 3rd, 2019, you are considered a 15u because you turn 15 before April 30th, 2019.

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