Prospects In Person: University of Nebraska

April 15, 2024

The University of Nebraska visiting Bainton Field for a weekend series of Big Ten baseball finally provided an opportunity to take a look at a Top 25 team here in New Jersey, where it can often be difficult to catch teams at that level.

While a sneaky-talented Rutgers team ended up winning two out of three, it still provided for an opportunity to see some Cornhuskers players who are on the radar for the upcoming 2024 MLB Draft, including an alum of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series.

Dylan Carey, SS/3B (No. 311, FSS Plus 2024 MLB Draft prospects)

Alongside rising catcher Josh Caron, Carey was the main attraction for the ‘Huskers, neatly tucked away towards the bottom of their lineup and in their last BP group. Ranked at No. 311 in FSS Plus analyst Joe Doyle’s just-released Top 400 rankings for the 2024 MLB Draft, he wrote: “He’s shown the defensive prowess and athleticism folks liked in high school in the Big 10, and the bat has come on strong on campus too. Carey hits the ball hard and can play gap to gap.

“There’s definitely some swing and miss in the profile, especially against spin, but Carey more than makes up for those warts by punishing mistakes. He projects to stay on the dirt and if the bat can continue to blossom, has a shot at becoming a regular at the next level.”

Carey played shortstop and third base during the weekend, and is likely a better fit at the hot corner with his big six-foot-two, 205-pound frame. He has some interesting family history in the Draft with his uncle, Dan Carey, and grandfather Dave Carey, going in 1967 and 1971, respectively, to the Mets and Expos.

Dylan Carey will likely hear his name called as well, and the bat will likely need to carry him once he gets there. Bigger swing, and can understand the swing-and-miss concerns, but there’s also the power you’d expect from that frame when it’s all working. Sat on a curveball to hit a long home run on Sunday.

Drew Christo, RHP (No. 374, 2024 MLB Draft)

It feels like Christo has been on the radar forever now, at least dating back to when he was a two-sport star when he came through the Future Stars Series with the Nebraska Prospects. He was, quite literally, Nebraska’s best prospect on the prep side heading into college, where he elected to stay close to home with the ‘Huskers.

Every bit of six-foot-five and 235 pounds, Christo showed flashes in what was an unfortunately abbreviated outing, pulled after just 45 pitches got him through two-plus innings in which he allowed a run on two hits and three walks and struck out just one, albeit Rutgers best hitter, Josh Kuroda-Grauer.

Christo showed four pitches in his outing, and sat 90-92 miles per hour on the gun, touching 94. Prototypical power righty without a ton of college innings under his belt; he’s got just 57 1/3 frames at the NCAA level, including 35 1/3 this year as he’s finally transitioned to a starting role.

With that said, it’s hard to see him in that role at the next level given his current usage, but he’d make for an effective middle reliever for a team looking to grab him in the mid to late-rounds. Always been a big upside play, and that still feels somewhat untapped.

Brett Sears, RHP

Sears is, at minimum, a stellar find for Nebraska after playing two seasons at Western Illinois and one year at Iowa Central CC. He’s blossomed into one of the top D1 pitchers from a statistical standpoint in the country in his second year with the ‘Huskers, sitting fourth in the nation with a 1.32 ERA that actually climbed a bit on Friday, when he allowed two runs over six innings on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts against Rutgers.

The six-foot, 205-pound righty will be 24 at the time of the Draft this year, and is probably on the UDFA radar as a result even given the video-game numbers. The reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week heading into that outing, Sears sat 88-90 and touched 91 on the gun, and flashed some nice secondary offerings, including a changeup that sat down Kuroda-Grauer.

Obvious feel to pitch here, and it’s a pretty polished product; ability work in and out and locate was impressive. Opportunities might be limited without lighting up the gun, but another guy who’s earned, at minimum, a look.

Mike Ashmore
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