On Monday, Baseball America released their list of the 50 best freshmen in all of college baseball going into the 2014 season. Kent State's Eric Lauer came up at #14 on that list after being drafted in the 17th round (505th overall pick) of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Heading into the draft, BA had Lauer as the 125th best draft-able prospect. A 6'3" 190-pound pitcher from Elyria, Ohio, Lauer is a true athlete and has a lot of room to grow and be to drafted even higher than that in his next go-round at the draft.
As the temperatures rose in the Midwest, so did Lauer's draft stock. He started flashing a 94 mph fastball while looking like he was playing catch. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder was an all-state wide receiver, and his athleticism translates well to the mound. He has a clean arm action and repeats his delivery, usually pitching at 90-92 mph with his fastball. There are mixed reports on his curveball, though some scouts say his arm speed and aptitude will result in a solid breaking ball. While his changeup also is a work in progress, he has more overall feel for pitching than most high schoolers. Lauer could be difficult to sign away from a commitment to Kent State, where he could blossom into a 2016 first-rounder under the tutelage of pitching coach Mike Birkbeck.
The only other left-handed pitching freshmen on the list rated higher than that are Garrett Williams (#6, Oklahoma State) and Matt Krook (#7, Oregon). The Golden Flashes start their season on Feb. 14 in a three-game series at Arizona.
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