Thursday could be a very wild day for South Elgin pitcher Ryan Nutof.
The Michigan recruit will be playing against St. Charles North in a Class 4A Schaumburg Sectional semifinal game. If he’s fortunate, he could also be drafted that day by one of several Major League Baseball teams who’ve been showing interest in him throughout this season.
“It would be great if it was Thursday,” Nutof said. “That would mean one of the first two rounds.
“I don’t know that that’s possible from talking with the teams and what they’ve said. It would be tough to get into the first two rounds, but probably [could happen] the second day from what they’ve said.”
The top Illinois high school prospects for the draft include Libertyville catcher Evan Skoug, who is 96th on Baseball America’s list of the top 500 national hopefuls; Grant catcher Simeon Lucas (182nd); Lemont lefty Jake Latz (208th); Lemont catcher/third baseman Mike Papierski (411th) and Simeon outfielder Darius Day (440th).
Nutof has thought about what might happen if he pitches in the game and he does get drafted on Day 1.
“I’m going to give my phone to my mom, I guess, and if I’m pitching she’ll have to get me,” he said.
Then he added, laughing, “Maybe it’s possible to call timeout and talk to them on the phone about where you’ve been drafted.”
The Texas Rangers probably have shown the most interest in Nutof. The right-hander recently threw at a Midwest area day for prospects at Benet conducted by the Rangers. It’s a baseball version of a the pro day workouts utilized by NFL teams to scout college football prospects.
Members of the Rangers front office and minor league system were in attendance.
“This was probably more of a meet-and-greet thing where I probably threw around 20 pitches,” Nutof said. “The Rangers have been to every one of my games this year.”
The White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Rays have also shown a lot of interest.
Nutof last fall played for the Reds’ amateur scout team, and had played in the New Balance Area Code Games in August for the White Sox entry in the eight-team, week-long tournament.
“It was a real good fall,” he said. “It took me a lot of places and was a real benefit.”
Nutof has a 7-0 record this year with a 0.24 earned run average and 90 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. He no-hit Wheaton North in the regional semifinals last week. Last year, Nutof went 5-1 with a 0.76 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 37 innings.
The pro talk occurs against a college backdrop. Nutof has signed a letter of intent to pitch for Michigan.
“Our family got an awful lot of Michigan apparel after that,” Nutof said. “I’m assuming the college route, but if the pro offer is right, it’s possible it could be different.”
College players who are staying in their program do not get drafted until after their junior year, so Nutof would have to wait three years to be re-drafted if he does not immediately enter pro ball. A lot can happen in that time period.