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MLB Blizzard Draft Preview 2018

06/04/2018, 1:45pm CDT
By Adam Barta, Minnesota Blizzard

Look for these Blizzard Alum and a few dark horses to get drafted tomorrow

Blizzard MLB Draft Preview 2018

As the draft approaches, the Minnesota Blizzard has some interesting prospects both in college and high school who might hear their name called tomorrow in the Major League Baseball 2018 draft. 

Since 2008, the Blizzard Baseball Academy has had 43 players who have been drafted or signed to play with a professional organization. 

Mostly recently in 2017, RHP Sam Carlson (Burnsville) was taken in the 2nd Round by the Seattle Mariners while Mike Baumann (Mahtomedi) was taken in the 3rd Round by the Baltimore Orioles.  In addition, the Blizzard had two former Blizzard RHPs - Jordan Risse (St. Scholastica) and Dominic Reed (St. Thomas) who signed free-agent contracts with Sioux City and Traverse City, respectively.

Here is a list of BLIZZARD ALUM who have either been drafted or signed professionally since 2008.

Below are some former Blizzard players who you should be aware of before this week's MLB Draft.

In addition, don't forget about Blizzard Tryouts coming up beginning at the end of June for ages 9u-18u!  Play with the best in the state against the best in the country.  Blizzard Baseball.

C Nick Juaire (Lakeville North HS)

C Nick Juaire (TCU Commit) is among the top catchers in Blizzard program history.  Similar to Blizzard Alum and current pro, Aaron Gretz (Sioux Falls Canaries), Juaire is a plus defender with a big league arm (1.8 pop).  Juaire, who is a switch-hitter, has significantly more pop from the left side, but is good enough from the right side to hit from both sides for a long time to come.  Solid make up, tireless worker and hard-nosed player are all attributes that may contribute to him being picked in the top 10 rounds tomorrow.

RHP Aidan Maldonado (Rosemount HS)

DRAFTED / 38th Round - Milwaukee Brewers

RHP Aidan Maldonado (Illinois commit) is one of the top handful of pitching prospects in MN. His athleticism on the mound allows for a smooth, effortless delivery and gives him the ability to command multiple pitches in the zone.  He works 92-94mph with his fastball, topping at 95.  Pairing that with his sharp breaking slider and good change-up may see this RHP taken in the top 10 rounds this week.

RHP/SS Seth Halvorsen (Hertiage Christian Academy)

DRAFTED / 30th Round - Minnesota Twins

RHP/SS Seth Halvorsen (Missouri commit) - the Blizzard's 6th player named as the Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year - is a tooled-up athlete that has a chance to be a two-way player in college (SS/RHP).  While he is a smooth infielder with bat speed and pop, his pro prospects lean more towards the mound.  It's there that his athleticism shows with a simple, repeatable delivery and quick arm.  His fastball sits 92-95mph and he is able to run it up to 96/97.  That velocity along with a good slider and developing change-up make for a potential early round selection.

LHP Kellen Rholl (Angelo State University)

DRAFTED / 25th Round - Cleveland Indians

LHP Kellen Rholl (Angelo State University) became the closer this year for Angelo State, a perennial top-30 D-II school in Texas.  The LHP notched 10 saves for the Rams while racking up 40 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.  His low-90's fastball and above-average breaking ball making him an intriguing senior-sign.

OF Jacob Rhinesmith (Western Kentucky U.)

DRAFTED / 18th Round - Washington Nationals
OF Jacob Rhinesmith (Western Kentucky U.)
has one of the sweetest left-handed swings to come through the Blizzard program.  Rhinesmith played CF and hit 3-hole for Western Kentucky, tying for third in home runs (14) and finishing in the top-15 in RBI (43) in Conference USA.  Combining the swing with solid defense in the outfield gives this junior an opportunity to be a mid-round or better pick in the coming days.

OF Alex Boxwell (U of Minnesota)

OF Alex Boxwell (U of Minnesota) had a major impact on getting the University of Minnesota to their first-ever Super Regional this past weekend earning all-tournament honors.  Despite playing one season with the Blizzard, Boxwell contributed in a large way in his short time hitting in the middle of the order and patrolling center field.  Look for him to be a great senior sign in the next couple of days.

The best of the rest ...

RHP Tommy Springer (Eastview HS), Missouri commit

The big righty is likely headed to Missouri, but a projectable frame, FB at 88-91 and good curve ball give him an outside shot at being a late round pick. 

DH-1B Toby Hanson, Minnesota (Blizzard: 2005-2007)

Hanson, another All-Tournament team Regional selection, is one of the more interesting left-handed sticks in Minnesota.  While he has not hit with as much power this year, he can really hit from the left side and has been at his best under pressure in the Regional.

LHP Aaron Rozek, Minnesota State, Mankato (Blizzard: 2008-2013)
Free Agent Signee / Southern Illinois Miners

Rozek 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..

INF Drew Fearing, North Dakota State University (Blizzard: 2011-2014)

Fearing's senior campaign saw him as one of the top middle infield combos in the country and one of the better offensive players on the squad.  A Matt Fiedler Part II (Blizzard Alum, St. Louis Cardinals), Fearing has the ability to win and with his work ethic, don't underestimate the punch in one of the Summit League's top players.

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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