The best MLB Draft prospects in the Big Ten

The Big Ten hasn’t always been the home to the most premier baseball talent, but the conference was well-represented ayear ago: Matt Shaw, Brice Matthews, Ryan Lasko, Mitch Jebb, and Max Anderson all went on Day 1, and Day 2 resulted in the likes of Brock Vradenburg, Isaiah Coupet, Emmett Olson, and Connor O’Halloran

This year isn’t as loaded as the last, but things are looking up with the addition of four programs from the now-defunct Pac-12, and the conference does boast a potential first-round pick in this class.

1. Brody Brecht, RHP — Iowa

15 78.1 3.33 128 49

Brecht possesses one of the most polarizing profiles in the class. A former Hawkeye wide receive, Brecht did not fully commit to baseball until Spring 2023.

The right-hander ha electric stuff, including a fastball  up to 101 mph and sitting mid-to-upper-90s. His best pitch is a big-league slider in the upper-80s with hellacious late break. He started to mix in a splitter this year that’s flashed, and projects well with further refinement.

Stuff aside, Brecht’s story is incomplete without discussing his struggles with control. His 14% BB rate in 2024 is actually the lowest of his collegiate career, but hitter’s counts and bases on balls bring role risk. On pure arm talent and athleticism he’s elite, however, and his ability to miss bats suggests a high floor as a high-leverage bullpen arm.

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2. Josh Kuroda-Grauer, SS — Rutgers

.428 .492 .590 5 23 18

The drop-off after Brecht is legit, as Kuroda-Grauer is the only other Big Ten prospect with a shot to go on Day. A lean, wiry shortstop, he is appealing to teams seeking up-the-middle profiles in a very corner-heavy college bat class.

The profile is carried by athleticism, bat-to-ball skills, and the glove. An aggressive hitter, Kuroda-Grauer is purely a contact hitter with plus bat-to-ball skills coming at the cost of a on-base rates. He doesn’t have monstrous power, but is the definition of a big-league infielder with a chance to be an average regular.

3. Connor Foley, RHP — Indiana

14 63 4.71 82 49

A bulky right-hander, Foley is a draft-eligible sophomore with loud stuff and upside.

Foley’s fastball has been up to 99 mph with hop, an absolute buzzsaw of a pitch that’s difficult to hit even when a hitter’s geared up for it. The secondaries include a horizontal, low-80s changeup, and a mid-80s gyro slider. Both have flashed average.

Foley has struggled with walks in his college career leaving his future role incertain, but there’s a reasonably high floor in relife and meaningful upside if he can develop into a long-term rotation piece . It’s the development scheme the Phillies took with George Klassen and the Yankees did the same with Chase Hampton.

4. Carter Mathison, OF — Indiana

.260 .378 .498 13 40 67

Mathison had a bit of a puzzling year for the Hoosiers. He’s an example of a hitter clubs may feel underperformed based o the underlying statistics. Mathison doesn’t chase, makes contact, and has above-average power from the left side. All that resulted in a subpar .879 OPS this year, however — down from the .964 mark a year ago — and an unflattering strikeout rate (23.6%).

Mathison struggled to consistently square up the ball, especially against left-handed pitching, something he’ll have to learn to manage better if he wants any shot to play regularly. He’s a corner glove so the bat will have to carry him, but the fact everything under the hood is pro-like suggests a tweak may help unlock his potential offensively.

Josh Caron, C — Nebraska
Marcus Morgan, RHP — Iowa
Sam Petersen, RHP — Iowa
Luke Sinnard, RHP — Indiana
Nick Mitchell, OF — Indiana
Henry Kaczmar, SS — Ohio State
Donovan Zsak, LHP — Rutgers
Camden Janik, C/OF — Illinois
Dylan Carey, 3B — Nebraska
Brock Tibbitts, C — Indiana
Tyler Cerny, SS — Indiana
Tony Santa Maria, 3B — Rugters
Logan Tabeling, RHP — Illinois
Jake Perry, 3B — Minnesota
Drew Christo, RHP — Nebraska
Gabe Swansen, OF — Nebraska
Gavin Bruni, LHP — Ohio State
Trey Lipsey, OF — Ohio State

Photo of Brody Brecht courtesy of Iowa Athletics
Photo of Josh Kuroda-Grauer courtesy of Rutgers Athletics
Photo of Connor Foley courtesy of Indiana University Athletics
Photo of Carter Mathison courtesy of Indiana University Athletics

Oliver Boctor
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