Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Three Notre Dame Baseball Players Ranked Among Nation's Top Prospects

Feb. 8, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – When fans come out to see Notre Dame baseball games during the 2001 season, they will have the chance to watch three of the nation’s top professional prospects-all playing for the Irish.

Based on Baseball America’s annual listing of the top prospects in college baseball, Notre Dame ranks among the nation’s top teams by virtue of having three players among the top 50 on that prospects list: senior righthanded pitcher Aaron Heilman (No. 7), sophomore rightfielder Brian Stavisky (No. 17) and junior catcher Paul O’Toole (No. 46).

Notre Dame-currently ranked ninth in BA’s national poll-joined the nation’s number-one ranked team, Georgia Tech (three), as the only schools with multiple players among the top 28 prospects while the Irish and Yellow Jackets (four) are the only teams with three-plus players in the top 46.

Notre Dame’s three prospects among the top 50 are more than the totals from 25 of the nation’s 30 Division I conferences, with just the ACC (9), the SEC (8), the Pacific 10 (5) and the Missouri Valley (4) conferences having more than three players among the top-50 prospects (the Big-12 has three on that list).

Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) also is listed as the No. 14 overall prospect (when including high-schoolers, seventh among all pitchers) and he is listed fourth among all college pitchers, behind his former 1999 Team USA teammates Mark Prior (Vanderbilt transfer from USC, 2nd) and Josh Karp (UCLA, 3rd), plus Middle Tennessee State’s Dewon Brazleton (5th).

Sophomore rightfielder Brian Stavisky

Heilman also was tabbed by BA for having college baseball’s “best pure slider” while ranking among the top three for “best overall control.”

Other top-10 prospects include Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira (1st), LSU transfer (from Washington) outfielder Todd Linden (4th) and Auburn outfielder Gabe Gross (6th).

Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) is the eighth position player listed, behind Teixeira, Linden and Gross, plus Long Beach State SS Bobby Crosby, San Francisco 1B/3B Taggert Bozied, LSU 2B Mike Fontenot and Southwest Missouri 1B Ryan Howard.

O’Toole (Lakewood, Ohio) is the 22nd position player and third catcher on the list, behind Georgia C/1B Doc Brooks (21st) and Oklahoma State’s Ryan Budde (28th).

Heilman combines with Evansville righthander Preston Larrison (9th) to give Indiana schools two players among the top 12 prospects (California schools have four players in the top 12 while there are two currently playing at schools in Tennessee, one of which is a USC transfer).

Junior catcher Paul O’Toole

Heilman is not the only Indiana native on the list, as Ball State righthander Justin Wechsler (a native of Anderson, Ind.) is listed 37th. Only four states-Florida (with five) and California, Texas and Missouri (three each)-can claim more than two natives among the top 37 prospects.

In addition to Wechsler, five other players from teams on Notre Dame’s 2001 schedule were included on BA’s list of college baseball’s top 100 prospects for 2001: New Mexico OF Donny Sevieri (66th), Fresno State RHP Zach Minor (81st), Mississippi State RHP Tanner Brock (88th) and St. John’s OF Charlie Bilezikjian (97th)

The top 50 prospects included two junior college players and one from an NAIA school, with the 47 Division I players hailing from 19 different conferences and 35 schools. Twenty-five different home states were represented among the top-50-rated players.

Baseball America Draft Preview 2001 – Top 100 College Prospects
(final preseason ratings)

Player, Position School Hometown Class B-T Ht. Wt. Last Drafted
1. Mark Teixeira, 3b Georgia Tech Severna Park, MD Jr. B-R 6-2 215 Red Sox ’98 (9)
2. Mark Prior, p Vanderbilt San Diego, CA Jr. R-R 6-5 220 Yankees ’98 (1)
3. Josh Karp, p UCLA Bothell, WA Jr. R-R 6-5 195 Braves ’98 (8)
4. Todd Linden, of LSU Bremerton, WA Jr. B-R 6-2 218 Never drafted
5. Dewon Brazelton, p Middle Tenn. St. Tullahoma, TN Jr. R-R 6-6 210 Never drafted
6. Gabe Gross, of Auburn Dothan, AL Jr. L-R 6-3 205 Never drafted
7. Aaron Heilman, p Notre Dame Logansport, IN Sr. R-R 6-5 215 Twins ’00 (1)
8. Bobby Crosby, ss, Long Beach State Cypress, CA Jr. R-R 6-3 190 Angels ’98 (34)
9. Preston Larrison, p Evansville Aurora, IL Jr. R-R 6-4 215 Devil Rays ’98 (20)
10. Mike Gosling, p Stanford Salt Lake City, UT Jr. L-L 6-2 210 Twins ’98 (14)
11. Taggert Bozied, 1b/3b San Francisco Arvada, CO Sr. R-R 6-3 210 Twins ’00 (2)
12. Len DiNardo, p Stetson High Springs, FL Jr. L-L 6-4 190 Red Sox ’98 (10)
13. Rhett Parrott, p Georgia Tech Dalton, GA Jr. R-R 6-2 185 Brewers ’98 (4)
14. Jon Switzer, p Arizona State Houston, TX Jr. L-L 6-2 180 Pirates ’98 (26)
15. Mike Fontenot, 2b LSU Slidell, LA So. L-R 5-8 180 Devil Rays ’99 (21)
16. Ryan Howard, 1b SW Missouri State St. Louis, MO Jr. L-L 6-4 215 Never drafted
17. Brian Stavisky, of Notre Dame Port Allegheny, PA So. L-R 6-3 230 Expos ’99 (12)
18. Patrick Boyd, of Clemson Palm Harbor, FL Sr. B-R 6-3 205 Pirates ’00 (4)
19. Shelley Duncan, of Arizona Tucson, AZ Jr. R-R 6-5 210 Never drafted
20. Tim Merritt, ss/of South Alabama Cantonment, FL Jr. R-R 6-0 180 Never drafted
21. Doc Brooks, c/of Georgia Phoenix City, AL Jr. R-R 6-0 190 Tigers ’98 (15)
22. Tyrell Godwin, of North Carolina Council, NC Sr. L-R 6-0 195 Rangers ’00 (1)
23. Brian Sager, p Georgia Tech Branford, CT Jr. R-R 6-5 215 Diamondbacks ’98 (13)
24. Josh Brey, p Liberty Allentown, PA Jr. B-L 6-0 180 Never drafted
25. Trevor Hutchinson, p California Del Mar, CA Jr. R-R 6-5 210 Phillies ’98 (35)
26. Ben Crockett, p Harvard Topsfield, MA Jr. R-R 6-3 195 Never drafted
27. Lee Delfino, ss East Carolina Pickering, ONT Jr. R-R 6-1 180 Blue Jays ’98 (5)
28. Ryan Budde, c Oklahoma State Midwest City, OK. Jr. R-R 5-10 182 Mets ’98 (12)
29. Khalil Greene, 3b Clemson Key West, FL Jr. R-R 5-11 195 Never drafted
30. Matt Coenen, p Charleston Southern St. Michaels, MD Jr. L-L 6-5 230 Never drafted
31. Adam Peterson, rhp Wichita State Abrams, WI Jr. R-R 6-2 190 Royals ’00 (15)
32. Jake Gautreau, 3b Tulane McAllen, TX Jr. L-R 6-0 180 Never drafted
33. Kenny Baugh, p Rice Houston, TX Sr. R-R 6-4 195 Athletics ’00 (5)
34. Aaron Sheffield, p, Young Harris (Ga.) JC Marietta, GA So. R-R 6-3 205 Devil Rays ’99 (26)
35. John-Ford Griffin, of Florida State Sarasota, FL Jr. L-L 6-2 185 Never drafted
36. Justin Wechsler, p Ball State Anderson, IN Jr. R-R 6-1 200 Never drafted
37. Chris Burke, 2b Tennessee Louisville, KY Jr. R-R 5-11 180 Never drafted
38. Kurt Birkins, p Los Angeles Pierce JC West Hills, CA So. L-L 6-2 180 Orioles ’00 (33)
39. Mike Rodriguez, of Miami Cooper City, FL Jr. L-L 5-10 175 Devil Rays ’98 (17)
40. Steve Kelly, p Georgia Tech Fairfield, OH Jr. R-R 6-1 190 White Sox ’98 (5)
41. Dallas McPherson, p The Citadel Randleman, NC Jr. L-R 6-4 215 Braves ’98 (44)
42. Shane Komine, p Nebraska Honolulu, HI Jr. R-R 5-10 165 Never drafted
43. Chris Smith, of/p Cumberland (Tenn.) Wantagh, NY Jr. L-L 6-1 190 Pirates ’98 (11)
44. Jon Skaggs, p Rice Sugar Land, TX Sr. R-R 6-5 220 Orioles ’00 (4)
45. Wyatt Allen, p Tennessee Nashville, TN Jr. R-R 6-4 195 Pirates ’98 (32)
46. Paul O’Toole, c Notre Dame Lakewood, OH Jr. L-R 6-2 210 Never drafted
47. Billy Brian, p Louisiana State Covington, LA Jr. R-R 6-5 231 Royals ’00 (25)
48. Richard Lewis, 2b Georgia Tech Marietta, GA Jr. R-R 6-1 180 Never drafted
49. Kelly Shoppach, c Baylor Fort Worth, TX Jr. R-R 5-11 210 Never drafted
50. Ben Keiter, p Wichita State Arvada, CO Jr. R-R 6-3 206 Devil Rays ’98 (10)