The state of Michigan has no shortage of baseball fans, but its long, frigid winters conspire to keep the state’s baseball players indoors and off the diamond for significant portions of the year. This disadvantage relative to warm states is made obvious in the MLB Draft, where no player from a Michigan high school or college has been selected in the first round since 2000. Michigan’s last high school player taken in the first round was left-handed pitcher Ryan Anderson in 1997, and the last prep position player from the state selected in the top round was Derek Jeter, in 1992.
The 2015 MLB draft is now fewer than two weeks away, and there’s a very good chance that by the time June 8th comes to a close, Nick Plummer will have ended his state’s lengthy first-round drought. In a little more than a year, Plummer, who plays for Brother Rice in Bloomfield Hills, went from a relatively unknown University of Michigan commit, to a key member of Kentucky’s recruiting class, to a top-20 talent and potential first round pick. He burst onto the national scene with a series of strong performances on the summer showcase circuit, displaying a quick left-handed swing, patience at the plate, solid speed, and the chance to hit for both average and power as a pro.
Last Saturday, after Plummer’s Warriors fell 5-4 to the Parkway Christian Eagles, the young outfielder discussed his final high-school season, the process of picking a college team, what it’s like being scouted, and the possibility of playing for his hometown Tigers.
On His Season, and His Team
It’s going pretty well. Starting to get back and find my swing a little bit more, but you know as a team we’re struggling a little bit, just not competing the way we should. But we’ll all see how it comes together for our games Monday (15-0 win) and Tuesday (12-2 win). I want to win a state championship. If we were to go to states it would be June 13th. I want to go out with a bang, and I really want to win a state championship here. The seniors that we had last year hadn’t won one, and I’d really like to win at least one here. I feel really good. I feel strong, I feel fast, and my arm feels good. I’m just ready to get the season on, see how far we can take it, and then start a pro career.
On How He Got Into Baseball
I started playing when I was four years old in YMCA ball, and it just kept on growing on me. My mom did a really good job of raising me. She let me play whatever sports I wanted to, and baseball just kind of grew on me. It came easy for me, and I always had fun playing it, and I just stuck with it. I was kind of driven, and my mom always told me, you know, if you’re gonna do something, you gotta push at it. And she did a really good job with giving me advice and everything. But it was pretty much on my shoulders, and that’s what I decided to do, and see how far I could take it.
On Other Sports
I have an older brother who is 25, and he played rugby in college. I played quarterback my freshman and sophomore year (behind University of Michigan QB Alex Malzone). Me and him (Malzone) are really good buddies, but I just decided that football wasn’t the thing for me. I loved it. Enjoyed it for a little bit, but just decided that baseball is where I wanted to take it, and I think obviously I made the right decision.
On Committing to Michigan, Then Kentucky
I visited Michigan at the end of my sophomore year. I had done a showcase, and coach (Erik) Bakich asked me if I could talk to him, and I came the next day after the showcase. He offered me and I figured I was gonna get 75% or something, and they ended up giving me a full ride. It was something I just couldn’t beat. You know, it’s Michigan, and it was my first offer. I was getting no looks throughout my freshman and sophomore year. It was a great decision at the time. I decided that at the end of my junior year, when I saw my skills progress a little bit more and I became a more mature, better player, that another school would be the right choice. I had seen a few of the (SEC) games, and it is a different pace. I just decided to open my options up, and I ended up talking to Kentucky two weeks after I decommitted. I ended up loving it down there, and it’s only six hours away from my house, so my parents could come down. The coaches over at Kentucky are great guys, Coach Bo (Assistant Coach Brad Bohannon) and Coach Hendu (Head Coach Gary Henderson). They really know baseball down there, and it’s SEC baseball, you know? You’re playing against the best of the best.
On What He Liked Most About the Showcase Circuit
It’s hard to pinpoint it. If I had to say anything, I’d say probably the East Coast Pro was a lot of fun. It was very well directed, the program. And I’d just say my whole entire summer, the way it worked out. After we lost to West Bloomfield, I met with my advisor and he told me if you want to get your name out you gotta make East Coast Pro, make Area Code, and play at them. I ended up making both of them, and being fortunate enough to play in both of them, and then I got the invite for the Under Armour All-American game when I was down at the Area Code games.
On Being Scouted
This winter I had I think 30 teams in my house, so it was a busy winter. I was going through workouts and hitting, and then having in-home meetings with scouts. But it’s all been awesome, and I’m thankful for being able to be a part of the process. It’s fun, and it’s busy, but that’s why you play for it.
On Getting Special Attention From Any Particular Organization
Not really. It’s kind of been pretty even keel, and that’s why this for me is fun, because I don’t know where I could go in the draft. It’s really gonna be a crapshoot, and June 8th is gonna be crazy, and I’m gonna be thinking a lot about it. But at the end of the day we’ll see what club I end up on, and hopefully everything goes the way it should and I get to start a pro career.
On Bonus Demands and What He Needs to Improve
You know, I haven’t really thought about it yet. It all depends where I go, but I’m pretty positive with that, and I just kind of want to play pro ball, so we’ll see how it all works out. I just know that for me, it’s just getting to play more. The more I play just naturally the better I’ll get.
On it Being Tough to Come From Northern States
It is, and they (scouts) put a lot of emphasis on that. But when I get out and I play, and I get my reps in, it’ll all turn out pretty well.
On the Possibility of Playing For the Tigers
You know, before I went to the Negro League Awards, I hadn’t put a lot of emphasis on Detroit. But after doing that, and being able to talk with some of the guys, I actually have been thinking about going to the Tigers. Obviously I’m not in control of that, but if it were to happen, that’d be absolutely awesome. We’ll see how it goes down, but yeah, that’d be sweet.
On Possibly Being the First In-State Prep First Rounder Since Jeter
I don’t know about all that. That’s uh...that’s awesome. But yeah...that’d be pretty cool.