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Nick Plummer ready for flocks of geese and pro scouts this spring WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Nick Plummer of Brother Rice is projected by some to be a first-round draft pick for this June's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Patrick McIntyre/Special to the Oakland Press
  • Patrick McIntyre/Special to the Oakland Press
  • Patrick McIntyre/Special to the Oakland Press
  • Patrick McIntyre/Special to the Oakland Press
  • Patrick McIntyre/Special to the Oakland Press

TROY – Even as a senior, Birmingham Brother Rice baseball player Nick Plummer isn’t completely excused from helping with field clean-up duties after home games.

But at least as a senior, Plummer has been “promoted” to a different job following home games at Brother Rice’s spectacular home field in Troy.

Instead of raking outfield dirt like he has the past three years, this year Plummer is in charge of nailing three wooden animal silhouettes to the outfield grass.

He places one in right field, hammers the two stakes that attaches the wooden silhouette into the ground, and then moves on to do the same in center and left field.

Of course, it all serves an important purpose.

“Those are to keep the geese away,” Plummer said. “I guess you can say it’s a lot better than raking.”

While Plummer doesn’t have to do any literal raking on the baseball field, he does so much figurative raking at the plate that he has become one of the top high school players in the nation and an early-round prospect for the Major League Baseball draft that starts on June 8.

And as has been proven already this spring, there are no wooden animals that can be nailed to Brother Rice’s field that will keep professional scouts from flocking to Brother Rice games.

“I remember my first year in 1998 they were around when (former player Tommy) Marx was throwing,” Brother Rice head coach Bob Riker said referring to pro scouts. “The only difference now is that they are here every day because Nick is an everyday player. They were looking at (Marx) primarily as a pitcher so they would come every fourth or fifth day. It wasn’t quite as big of a circus as it is here. But Nick has handled it well.”

Since having a monstrous summer following his junior season last year, Plummer has seen his stock skyrocket to the point where several draft pundits have pegged him as a first-round pick, rare for a high school player from a cold-weather state like Michigan.

In a January mock draft, bleacherreport.com had him going as high as No. 11 overall to the Cincinnati Reds.

Baseball America has Plummer ranked among the top-50 draft picks, and if Plummer’s draft stock holds in that range going into June, he’ll be a rich 18-year old already since the slot value the Miami Marlins have for signing the No. 50 pick is $1,196,800.

That is a lot of dough already for someone barely old enough to vote, and it would likely cause Plummer to say thanks but no thanks to his scholarship offer to play in college for Kentucky.

But rankings for the baseball draft prospects can fluctuate each day as fast as a shaky stock, and the big question is how much pundits will value Plummer once the draft approaches in a couple of months.

Because of that, scouts will present just about everywhere Plummer goes this spring to watch his every move, although Plummer insists he won’t pay attention to them during game action.

That has to be a near impossible task not to be at least somewhat tempted to do something special for scouts, such as hitting an airplane on the fly with a home run ball as one takes off from the tiny airport runway just beyond the outfield at Brother Rice’s field.

But Plummer is adamant scouts will be the last thing on his mind during games.

“I’ll notice when I come up to the field for batting practice and there are 50 scouts in the opposing dugout,” said Plummer, adding conversations with scouts before games don’t center much on baseball but more on getting to know him. “But I’m pretty good at zoning it out from there.”

The biggest reason why Plummer has made scouts drool over the past year is because of his offensive talents.

A sweet-swinging lefty who hits for power and average and has blazing speed, he batted over .500 last year and made the all-state Dream Team.

Plummer said baseball has been his primary love athletically since he was 4 years old, so that swing has been honed and crafted from a young age.

Plummer dabbled in other sports such as soccer and football, but made the decision as a sophomore in high school to focus solely on baseball and now here he is.

He isn’t a five-tool player quite yet, as he is working feverishly to polish up the one weakness in his game, which is his throwing arm in the outfield.

Riker said that is getting better and desire to improve in any way he can sure isn’t an issue for Plummer, who was the team’s No. 3 hitter as a freshman when he first started high school.

“He plays hard all the time and that wasn’t always the case,” Riker said. “He plays hard every single play. He runs out of the box every single ball and he is really into it. He’s been really vocal with the younger kids as far as being a leader.”

There is one final intriguing draft note to watch regarding Plummer.

While he understandably has no preference which team drafts him if he is fortunate enough to be drafted early, his favorite team is the Tigers.

Plummer didn’t budge when asked if it was a dream scenario to be drafted by the Tigers because, again, he’ll happily play for any organization.

But the smile on his face said it all when the topic of the Tigers drafting him came up.

For the record, the Tigers own the No. 22 pick in the first round and yes, there have been conversations between Plummer and people within the Tigers organization.

Hmmm.

It sure is going to be fun once June 8 rolls around.

Until then though, Plummer will do the best he can to deal with all the people ready to follow him all spring.

“It’s what you work for,” Plummer said. “Obviously I have gotten a lot of good smiles out of it and it’s crazy talking with parents when they ask, “Did you think you would ever be in this situation?’ You work for it but you never know until it hits you. It’s a blessing that everything has worked out the way it has.”

Last Updated: 4/11/2015 8:02:07 PM EST


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