School: Kent State University; Class: Junior
Position: LHP; B/T: R/L
Height: 6-3; Weight: 205
Previously Drafted: Toronto Blue Jays, 17th round, 2013
Background: Kent State University is one of the more underappreciated collegiate baseball programs in the country. If you don’t believe it, just check out a list of recent graduates: Tyler Skulina (fourth round, 2013), Taylor Williams (fourth round, 2013), Andrew Chaffin (first round, 2011), and Travis Shaw (who’s hitting .283/.343/.500 through his first 112 big league games).
And Lauer, a big 6-foot-3, 205-pound southpaw hailing from Northeast Ohio, is likely going to be the latest early round pick from the Golden Flashes.
The lefty has been a mainstay in the school’s rotation since stepping foot on the campus as a true freshman, but it’s his work over the past two seasons that’s been incredibly noteworthy: Over his last 181.1 innings of work, Lauer is sporting a 219-to-51 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 1.34 ERA.
For those that think he might not be able to handle pitching against elite competition, consider the following: in 39.2 innings with the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod Summer League last year, Lauer fanned 50, walked 18, and finished with a tidy 2.04 ERA.
Here’s a list of awards and recognitions he’s earned:
- 2016 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List
- 2015 ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-Region
- 2015 First Team All-MAC
- 2015 Academic All-MAC
Projection: Just to add a little context in terms of Lauer’s ridiculously dominant junior campaign, consider the following:
- Between 2011 and 2015, only four Division I left-handers – Jeff Degano, Brandon Finnegan, Kyle Freeland, and Danny Hultzen – have thrown 90+ innings, average more than 10.75 K/9 and fewer than 2.5 BB/9. Three of those players – Finnegan, Freeland, Hultzen – were high first round picks, and Degano was the Yankees’ second rounder last year.
So, needless to say, the Elyria, Ohio, native has a really good shot at hearing his name called in the opening half of round one. The control/command is solid, probably averaging around 2.8 to 3.2 walks per nine innings. His ability to miss bats, which has been at a premium at the collegiate level, will likely hover around 8.3 K/9 in the professional ranks.
Lauer has the ceiling of a good #3 arm.
Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Risk: Low to Moderate
Grade: First Round