Scouting Baseball's 2014 MLB Draft Content
Evaluations & Rankings: Pre-PG Showcase Notes, PG Junior National Hitter Rankings, PG Junior National Pitcher Rankings, Top Five High School PItchers With Full Video & Reports, Top Five High School Hitters With Full Video & Reports, SEC Commit Scouting Reports, Pac-12 Commit Scouting Reports, Big 10 Commit Scouting Reports, Big 12 Commit Scouting Reports & ACC Commit Scouting Reports
Marginal Prospects Podcasts: Post Showcase Class Breakdown with BA's Clint Longenecker & PG's Frankie Piliere, Early Cape Cod League & Pop Up Prep Names, ECU righty Jeff Hoffman interview & Cardinal Director of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz
I've covered my impressions of this class in the intros to some of the articles linked above, but the short version is that this year's high school class in improved over the 2013 crop. The prep pitching is significantly better and the hitter class is at least as good and probably a little better, making it an above average high school crop overall, though there's still over 10 months until the draft so a lot can happen. I'll be referencing the players' ages a good bit below and it may appear I'm making too much of it or mentioning it too often. Take a look at this ground-breaking two-part series at Baseball Prospectus by Rany Jazayerli breaking down why it matters so much. These players are ranked based on my evaluations and those of scouts with MLB organizations, projecting future ability by balancing upside and chance to hit that ceiling. The college compliment to this list will be coming on Monday.
1. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (CA)
Quick Take: Lanky, projectable shortstop likely moves to third base professionally but would be above average there defensively and has easy plus raw power for a complete package that, with some offensive adjustments, could rival 2012 #1 overall pick SS Carlos Correa (Astros).
2. Alex Jackson, C/RF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
Quick Take: Rumor is that this dynamic talent with a plus arm and lightning-quick release from behind the plate will move to the outfield long-term to save his health like Bryce Harper. Jackson isn't a Harper-level talent but has special bat speed and above average power: enough to go in the top 10 picks even as an outfielder, in the mold of Padres 2013 1st rounder Hunter Renfroe.
3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)
6'5/245, Draft Day Age: 18.48, No college commitment, Full Report & Video
Quick Take: Scouts were tossing around Jonathan Gray comparisons (2013 #3 overall pick, Rockies) when the XL-framed righty hit 100 mph a few months ago with a plus high-70's curveball. He works in the 93-96 mph area more often, has a usable changeup and is a good athlete for his size given his age.
4. Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS (GA)
6'2/180, Draft Day Age: 18.44, No college commitment, Full Report & Video
Quick Take: Cease isn't that big or projectable but will sit 93-95 and hit 97 mph with a well-synced delivery, mix in a mid-70's curveball that's plus at times along with a changeup that's at least average.
5. Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)
Quick Take: Holmes is another righty like Cease that is from the southeast, isn't that big and doesn't have any projection left but is athletic and strongly-built with big time stuff: he sits 93-95 and hits 96 mph with a wicked 82-85 mph plus curveball and a solid changeup.
6. Ti'quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS (MS)
Quick Take: A relative unknown a few months ago has captured scouts' imaginations as a super projectable athlete that's the youngest of the top prospects in the class. He's still slightly awkward at times, but has good pop already and collects hits in bunches in games along with a chance to stick at shortstop due to his plus speed, great actions and an above average arm.
7. Michael Gettys, CF/RHP, Gainesville HS (GA)
Quick Take: Known primarily as a pitcher entering the summer, Gettys showed plus-plus speed, arm strength and bat speed to go with at least average power in a June showcase before working 91-94 mph with an above average breaking ball on the mound. Most scouts prefer his upside as a hitter and there's questions about his ability to hit off-speed stuff but he could move up this list with a strong spring at the plate.
8. Braxton Davidson, 1B/RF, T.C. Roberson HS (NC)
Quick Take: Davidson is the safest bet on this list: he already has above average raw power with an upper body that should add even more strength to go with elite feel at the plate that already racks up extra base hits to all fields in bunches. He could fit in right field for now and he's one of the younger players in the class.
9. Jack Flaherty, 3B, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Quick Take: A well-known prospect from the school that produced 2012 first rounders RHP Lucas Giolito (Nationals) and Max Fried (Padres) that has a wide skill base. Flaherty is projectable and very athletic for his size with good feel to hit to all fields and projecting for at least average game power and defense at third but likely better.
10. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS (FL)
6'3/185, Draft Day Age: 17.96, No college commitment, Full Report & Video
Quick Take: The most famous name in this class got considerable buzz when he sat 92-95 and hit 97 mph with a knockout plus-plus curveball last October and Toussaint is still young for the class but his stuff has backed up some this summer. His stuff has been more average to above average but it's still way too early to drop him that far.
11. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (CA)
6'3/220, Draft Day Age: 18.71, No college commitment, Full Report & Video
Quick Take: Ortiz is maxed-out physically and is one of the older players in the class but still has lots to like about him. He dropped a lot of weight over the past year and consistently sits 92-95 mph with an 82-85 mph slider that's plus at times from a smooth delivery.
12. Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS (FL)
6'4/185, Draft Day Age: 18.58, Florida State commit
Quick Take: Johnson has been a little tough for scouts to see so far as he's only pitched a few innings this summer to save his arm, wise counsel from his father: Blue Jays pitching coordinator Dane Johnson. I've been told Cobi has been sitting 90-93 and hitting 95 mph with a curveball that flashes plus potential from a smooth delivery and a super projectable 6'4 frame.
13. Nick Gordon, SS/RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
Quick Take: Gordon is probably the second most famous player in this class behind Toussaint as he's at most national events and has elite bloodlines from father Tom (former MLB closer) and brother Dee (Dodgers shortstop). Gordon has been up to 94 mph with an above average curve on the mound but is a better prospect as a lefty-hitting shortstop with good pop, feel to hit and defensive skills.
14. Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)
Quick Take: Marshall comes from a powerhouse Atlanta-area program that's produced RF Jeff Francoeur and first rounders in the past two years, 1B Matt Olson (Athletics) and CF Josh Hart (Orioles). Marshall sits 90-92 and has hit 94 mph with his fastball while his off-speed pitches are inconsistent but his 75-79 mph downer curveball and 79-82 mph changeup are both above average at times with potential for more.
15. Carl Chester, CF, Lake Brantley HS (FL)
Quick Take: Chester comes from the school that produced Mariners SS Nick Franklin and has another top round prospect for this year's draft, IF Tate Blackman, as one of the stronger teams in a completely loaded Orlando high school scene. Chester is a plus to plus-plus runner with great feel to hit in games and solid gap power.
16. Derek Hill, CF, Elk Grove HS (CA)
6'2/170, R/R, Draft Day Age: 18.43, No college commitment
Quick Take: Hill comes from the same school as 2013 bonus babies 1B Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays, $850,000) and C Dom Nunez (Rockies, $800,000) and may make more money than both of them. He's had among the best game at-bats early in showcase season but also shows easy plus speed and a fluid swing with a direct bat path.
17. Jakson Reetz, C/RHP, Norris HS (NE)
6'1/195, R/R, Draft Day Age: 18.43, Nebraska commit
Quick Take: Reetz is a great athlete with solid average speed and has a chance to stick behind the plate with an above average arm and very quick release. At the plate, he's more a contact hitter that is very productive in games though he flashes more power in BP that could find it's way into his game swing down the line. He's also not bad on the mound, sitting 88-91 with an above average 77-80 mph slider.
18. Zach Shannon, RF/RHP, Anderson HS (OH)
6'2/220, R/R, Draft Day Age: 17.96, Ohio State commit
Quick Take: Shannon has a plus arm in right field and works 91-94 mph with a plus 78-81 mph slider on the mound but has an ugly arm action so scouts prefer him as a hitter. Shannon is young for the class, has a live bat with above average bat speed, feel to hit in games, at least average raw power but a slightly mechanical swing.
19. Chase Vallot, C, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
Quick Take: Vallot is just five days older than Forbes in the competition for youngest player in the class and also brings a lot of tools to the table. He has an ability to stick behind the plate with an above average arm and a powerful, sturdy frame that already generates average raw power with a good mix of bat speed and strength.
20. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL)
6'3/205, Draft Day Age: 18.84, Florida State commit
Quick Take: He's old for the class and some scouts don't like his high back elbow but Reid-Foley has been one of the most consistent arms so far this summer. He sits 91-94 mph with a 76-80 mph slurve that is above average to plus with a good delivery and feel to spot his power stuff.
21. Sean Bouchard, 3B, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
6'3/190, R/R, Draft Day Age: 18.06, UCLA commit
Quick Take: Bouchard is teammates with #29 prospect and fellow UCLA commit LHP Brady Aiken from a powerhouse San Diego area prep team that also produced 2013 4th rounder LHP Stephen Gonsalves (Twins). Bouchard has above average speed, easy actions at third and an average arm to go with a good mix of bat speed, strength and projection that allow you to project average power to profile as an everyday player.
22. Marcus Wilson, CF, Serra HS (CA)
6'3/175, R/R, Draft Day Age: 17.81, Arizona State commit
Quick Take: Wilson is another projection bet that's very young for the class with a very projectable, long-limbed, broad-shouldered frame that's he's still growing into. He posted plus-plus run times in the 60 and in games and shows some feel to hit in games with gap power than should improve with age.
23. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (HI)
6'0/180, Draft Day Age: 18.03, No college commitment
Quick Take: Medeiros is the best high school prospect from Hawaii in some times and really turned heads at the June's PG National in Minnesota, sitting 90-93 and hitting 94 with an above average to plus 78-80 mph breaking ball. He's unique and sure to be polarizing this spring: young for the class and athletic with an easy delivery but is undersized and throws from a low three quarters angle with nascent feel for a changeup.
24. Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (GA)
Quick Take: Adams is one of my favorite projection bets in this year's class, with a near ideal frame, athleticism, delivery and arm action to go with advanced feel for his off-speed stuff. Adams will sit 89-92 mph in short stints with and above average slider and changeup. His velocity will dip some in deeper outings but many first round arms have been much worse at this same juncture without as promising signs for improvement.
25. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS (TN)
Quick Take: Sheffield is very well-known as he worked 90-94 mph in a heavily-scouted outing last October in the same game that his older brother RHP Jordan (Red Sox draftee will be a freshman at Vandy this year) used as his coming out party, hitting 98 mph in relief of his little brother. Justus' upside is limited by his size but he's athletic with advanced command, typically working 89-92 mph with an above average 78-80 mph changeup and a solid average breaking ball.
26. Greg Deichmann, SS, Brother Martin HS (LA)
Quick Take: Deichmann has shown impressive and middling performances already this summer. He puts on a nice BP display with lefty power that projects for average to go with above average speed and a glove that likely settles at third base long-term. He's hit a couple homers in heavily-scouted games already this summer but also has struck out a lot and is one of the older players in the class.
27. Mitch Hart, RHP, Granite Bay HS (CA)
6'4/175, Draft Day Age: 17.80, USC commit
Quick Take: Hart is another solid projection play in this class, as one of the younger player in the class with good command and a long, lean frame that should add strength down the road. He'll sit 88-92 with occasional sinking life, two above average off-speed pitches in a 78-80 mph slider and 80-82 mph changeup and a curveball that's average and changes hitters' eye level.
28. Trenton Kemp, CF, Buchanan HS (CA)
6'2/185, R/R, Draft Day Age: 18.68, Fresno State commit
Quick Take: Kemp is long-limbed, strong and projectable, with a chance for average raw power and is a plus to plus-plus runner that can stick in center field. He would be higher based on those tools but he's still a little raw hitting in games and could move up or down this list a good bit this spring.
29. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
Quick Take: Aiken has been scouted a lot, coming from a top program as mentioned above and is a big lefty among the youngest in the class, so there's a lot to like. His stuff is more average now, working 88-92 with a solid curveball and changeup but the feel to pitch is good and he's not a bad prospect as a right fielder with good athleticism, some power and a plus arm
30. Ryan Castellani, RHP, Brophy Prep HS (AZ)
6'4/200, Draft Day Age: 18.18, UCLA commit
Quick Take: Castellani is a well-known prospect who was in the low 90's as a sophomore and is a long-limbed, projectable athlete with a good swing, though he's a much better prospect on the mound. He clearly isn't trying to light up radar guns and looks like he's playing catch at 89-91 mph with solid average stuff and above average command.
The Next 10 Prospects (Listed Alphabetically)
Bryce Carter, C, Cascia Hall HS (OK), Stanford commit
Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA), Clemson commit
Joey Gatto, RHP, St. Augustine HS (NJ), North Carolina commit
Roberto Gonzalez, CF, University HS (FL), UCF commit
Foster Griffin, LHP, First Academy HS (FL), Ole Miss commit
Slade Heggen, C, Loyola Sacred Heart HS (MT), Oregon commit
Keaton McKinney, RHP, Ankeny HS (IA), Arkansas commit
Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills HS (OH), North Carolina commit
Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Osceola HS (FL), Stanford commit