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Another Helium Candidate?

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Jeremy Cho -- The Michigan Daily
Jeremy Cho -- The Michigan Daily

The Midwest isn't generally a hotbed for draft prospects, but here in the Heartland, we are not without our fair share of talent. In fact, this year is actually considered to be one of the better years in recent memory. Alex Wimmers, Stetson Allie, and Justin O'Conner have been the main three that are getting most of the attention. In addition to Kolbrin Vitek on the helium watch list, University of Michigan junior outfielder Ryan LaMarre could possibly hear his name read as a first-day selection (top 50). You know the drill -- follow the jump to understand why LaMarre was projected to go 23rd overall to the Marlins in Baseball America's recent mock draft.

 

Ryan LaMarre   Position: OF  School: University of Michigan   State: MI   

Year: Jr.   Height: 6’2’’   Weight: 205

 

After missing 21 games with a broken thumb earlier this spring, LaMarre has made up for lost time. The junior outfielder is hitting .402/.444/.645 so far this season and provides very good defense to compliment his well-balanced game. The right-handed hitting LaMarre is a former hockey player, and exudes the same amount of grit on the field. He's just a very fun player to watch, and I've talked to a few scouts who think he's one of those players who you're going to underestimate, but he'll turn around and do something you didn't think he was capable of. LaMarre has done just that during his career at Michigan. He's flashed glimpses of all facets of the game. I'll start with his swing. The first thing that I like about LaMarre's swing is how his hips lead into his hands. By that, I mean his hips open up while his shoulders are still closed and his hands stay back. At the point of contact, he does a solid job of staying compact and tucking his elbow into his body -- otherwise known as forming the 'Power L' position as taught in rotational hitting. His hands are very quiet, maybe a little too quiet, but I think they work well because of his swing. The bat speed is good and the momentum he generates leads to easy post-contact extension. Currently playing left field for the Wolverines, LaMarre has played all three outfield positions in his collegiate career. He's not going to have the power to stay in left, but I do think he's the type of player that has the athleticism and work ethic to develop into a Ty Wiggington-esque player and learn multiple positions. All five tools grade out as average or better. He's not a burner on the base paths, but he's a outstanding base runner, constantly taking the extra base, and could develop into a 15-20 stolen base guy with his instincts. Physically, he has very strong hips and core. There is room to add strength in his shoulders, which leads me to think his power isn't fully developed yet. Overall, he doesn't have the flash that will draw much excitement as other first rounders. But, he's a polished all-around player that has a very good chance at providing solid play for a major league team someday.