High-schoolers prepare for draft

Two top Minnesota players signed with Nebraska, but they could go pro after the MLB draft.

Mounds View High School senior Max Knutson pitches to Roseville Area High School on May 25, 2013, at Midway Stadium in St. Paul.

Bridget Bennett

Mounds View High School senior Max Knutson pitches to Roseville Area High School on May 25, 2013, at Midway Stadium in St. Paul.

Dane Mizutani

Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis have dominated recent headlines as the “Big Three” basketball recruits from Minnesota. But on the diamond, colleges and scouts have flocked to a less well-known trio of local prospects.

Ryan Boldt, Logan Shore and Max Knutson are the best high school baseball prospects in Minnesota, and the Gophers didn’t ink any of them to a scholarship.

Boldt and Knutson committed to play at Nebraska, and Shore committed to Florida.

The three players all rank in Baseball America’s Top 250 prospects list for the 2013 MLB draft June 6-8. Though they’ve all signed letters of intent to play in college, they will have an opportunity to forego their  scholarships and make the jump to the next level.

If Boldt and Knutson stay with Nebraska, they could terrorize the Gophers in the Big Ten for the foreseeable future.  

Boldt, a senior outfielder at Red Wing High School, is the top-ranked prospect in Minnesota. But he missed most of his senior season after partially tearing the meniscus in his right knee in the first game. 

“It’s all about getting healthy and back to the level I used to be at,” Boldt said. “It’s going to be a slow process, but I should be back by the middle of August.”

Boldt garnered attention from college scouts despite his knee injury, but he said the Gophers never offered a scholarship.

“They never reached out to me,” Boldt said, adding he was a little surprised with the lack of interest.

Boldt visited Nebraska at the start of his junior year and said the campus and athletics facilities caught his eye.

Knutson, a stud senior pitcher at Mounds View High School, also said Nebraska’s facilities factored into his decision.

He said Nebraska pushed the hardest for his services, but the Gophers recruited him as well. Arizona, Arizona State, Florida and Florida State were also interested.

Knutson said it was an honor to get so much attention from his hometown school, but  Nebraska was a better fit.

“It was a no-brainer for me to go to Nebraska,” Knutson said. “There’s an incredible coaching staff there, and the facilities are unbelievable.”

Though the Gophers missed out on the top-three prospects in the state, the program still boasts a formidable class of recruits.

They’ll need those recruits to step up as they will lose seven seniors to graduation and likely lose pitchers Tom Windle and DJ Snelten to professional baseball.

Knutson said it will take a perfect fit to pull him from Nebraska to the pros, but Boldt said he’ll weigh his options after the draft.

“I just want to finish out my senior year,” said Boldt, who is graduating the day after the draft, “and then cross that bridge.”