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'm slowly working though all of my notes from the Perfect Game National showcase in Minnesota and other events and games I've scouted the top high school players for the 2014 MLB Draft. I've been checking in on the premium message boards for many colleges and sharing reports on some of their top commits, answering questions and sharing thoughts on the talent in the program. Some of these guys are in my high school prospect rankings, linked above. To see the message board threads, click on the school's name.
1. Keaton McKinney, RHP, Ankeny HS (IA) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Big kid at 6'5/220 that worked 89-93 mph at PG National in Minnesota in June with very good 79-82 mph changeup that was plus at times, meaning a swing and miss pitch in the big leagues, very rare for a kid his age with a changeup. Keaton's 77-82 mph slurve has 3/4 tilt and above average potential. As a kid that size with that stuff, projection in his frame and some feel for command it would mean he's a definite first round pick, but there's a couple minor concerns here. McKinney isn't incredibly athletic and while his delivery is good, it's a little awkward but sometimes guys this age just take a little longer to grow into their frames and athleticism. My biggest concern, which is something at least 10 MLB clubs pay a lot of attention to is McKinney's arm action, in which his elbow loads very high in the back and gets a lot of stress put on it throughout his arm stroke. I'd say McKinney is a late first to third round pick depending on who you talk to as some scouts will differ a good bit, but either way I don't think he gets to campus.
2. Jonah Patten, RHP, Norwell HS (IN)
- I haven't seen Patten yet but have been told he's a top couple round guy to monitor and he goes to the same HS as former top 10 pick, current A's RHP Jarrod Parker. Patten is a 6'2/195 athletic righty with some projection that works 89-91, has hit 92 and has a four pitch mix that's generally average. I'd estimate he's a 3rd-5th round type talent right now, which is the borderline for turning pro, so his spring will dictate what he does.
3. Keith Grieshaber, SS, Marquette HS (MO)
- Grieshaber is a college shortstop that's probably more of a pro second baseman since he's just an average runner and his hands aren't elite. He's got longer limbs and more projection that you'd think for a guy listed at 6'1/180 with a good swing and surprising pop. He reminds me of a poor man's version of current Mariners SS Nick Franklin and probably fits in the 4th-6th rounds; could be a pro guy with a strong spring.
4. Jack Benninghoff, OF, Rockhurst HS (KS)
- Jack is a solid-average runner with an above average arm and a strong 6'0/185 physique. His bat speed and strength combine for power that could be fringy to average at maturity and he could play CF or maybe 2B in college but is likely a right fielder in the pros. There's a little effort to his swing and he can get a little uphill so he's probably a 5th-8th round type guy with a good chance to be an early factor on campus.
5. Blake Wiggins, 3B/C, Pulaski HS (AR)
- Wiggins has a solid line drive swing but is maxed-out physically at 6'2/195 and has just okay power. He has a solid average arm and a chance to play catcher in college but has a longer release that probably won't play in the pros. Blake can also play 3B or maybe 2B in college and his tools don't really profile in pro ball right now but he's the type of guy that could play 3-4 years in Fayetteville and be one of the top contributors.
6. Josh Ockimey, 1B, St John Neumann HS (PA)
- Josh is a big kid at 6'4/220 that fits at 1B defensively with below average speed and arm strength and just okay hands and footwork. His current raw power is similar to Grieshaber but Ockimey has good hitting tools and should end up with a more game power, mostly to his pull side. Like Wiggins, Ockimey isn't really a pro fit, should get to campus and contribute early and often for 3-4 years.
Chad Spanberger, C, Granite City HS (IL)
Nathan Rodriguez, C, El Dorado HS (CA)
Corey Herndon, RHP, Christian Brothers HS (TN)
Gavin LaValley, 1B, Carl Albert HS (OK)
Kyle Pate, LHP, Fayetteville HS (AR)
- Slam dunk #1 in this group and that likely won't change. I have him as the 4th best prep arm in the country and the top 4-5 are grouped pretty closely right now with Holmes as the only one that's committed to a college. Very tough to see Holmes getting out of the top 50 picks and even in a deep prep pitching class, he's a likely first rounder.
2. Jeremy Vasquez, 1B, Martin County HS (FL)
- He's a first base or maybe left field fit in college that's only 6'0 tall, pretty maxed-out physically and his power is below average on the major league scale. He's #2 here because he hits and hits and hits. If he had flashier physical tools, he'd be a definite pro prospect, but it looks like he'll get to campus and be at least as good as Preston Tucker, but Vasquez is a superior prospect at the sam juncture.
3. J.J. Schwarz, C, Palm Beach Gardens HS (FL)
- You could rank the rest of this class a bunch of different ways and I have the least feel for Schwarz of the next few guys but he has some tools and a chance to be a catcher at the pro level. He has a projectable 6'2 frame and an above average arm with some feel for catching along with a line drive stroke that could add power over time.
4. Taylor Lane, SS, Great Bridge HS (VA)
- He's a projectable 6'2 athlete with a chance to stick in the middle infield professionally but may fit at third base or center field. Solid average runner and more of a gap-to gap guy at the plate, so he isn't so dynamic that he'll get offered big money as is, but he could continue improving.
5. Dalton Guthrie, 2B, Venice HS (FL)
- 5'9 shortstop on multi state championship high school team is a 2B fit in college and pros and is a solid average runner with advanced feel to hit in games. Will get to campus and contribute, likely taking Casey Turgeon's spot.
6. Duke Stunkel, 1B, Dwyer HS (FL)
- Some similarities to Vasquez as a 1B or maybe college LF fit that lacks the current raw power to be a huge pro prospect right now. While Vasquez is a smaller guy with a premium bat, Stunkel is bigger at 6'5/210 and has a little more raw power now with more coming. Stunkel's ability to hit for average is harmed but his long limbs and steep angle to the ball but he has fluidity to his swing.
7. Kyle Kemp, RHP, Port Charlotte HS (FL)
- Husky 6'3/205 righty that works 87-91 with a low 70's curveball that flashes average potential. On good days, he'll show three average pitches and some feel, but can be more fringy to below average but always battles. He's recently started dropping down for a sidearm mid 80's fastball against righties.
8. Mike Rivera, C, Venice HS (FL)
- Chance to stick behind the plate with an average arm and quick release. Has some strength and raw power in compact 5'10/185 frame but hitting mechanics are a little weird and undermine hitting tools.
9. Alex Abbott, OF, Tift County HS (GA)
- He's a compact 6'0/190 lefty hitter that could play any of the three outfield positions long-term and it isn't clear yet which is his best fit. Abbott also has good feel for gap-to-gap line drives but is just an average runner.
10. Hunter Alexander, 3B/RHP, Clay HS (FL)
- Two way guy that was 87-89 touching 91 in a June showcase with a fringy curveball. He has a slightly awkward swing but has bat speed and strength, so he could end up contributing both ways.
11. Logan Browning, LHP, Lakeland Christian HS (FL)
- I haven't seen him pitch, but he's a 5'7 lefty than can get it into the low 90's.
Daniel Wentworth, 3B, Taylor County HS (FL)
Prince Tolbert, SS, Dallas County HS (AL)
Nestor Pena, OF, Int'l Baseball Academy HS (PR)
- Dynamic athlete that was thought of as strictly a pitcher but really stood out in PG National Showcase in June. Is a plus-plus runner with average or better raw power and big bat speed. He's a top two round prospect as a center fielder but also impresses on the mound, sitting 91-94 with an above average 78-80 mph curveball and a useable changeup. Seems like a good bet to go in the first round and likely doesn't get to campus.
- One of my favorite projection guys in this year's class. 6'5/180, super projectable and does it easy, sitting 88-91 and hitting 93 mph with an above average curveball, slider and changeup. Fits in late first to second round and likely doesn't get to campus.
3. Logan Moseley, SS, Mill Creek HS (GA)
- Solid college player with gap-to gap power, solid swing and fringy speed. Fits anywhere in the infield in college, hits well in games and recently decommitted from Miami.
4. Ryan Avidano, LHP, Starrs Mill HS (GA)
- 6'7 lefty that's very long with all kinds of plane but doesn't incorporate his lower half as much as he could. Sits 84-87 mph right now with a fringy 70-73 mph curveball that could be average in time.
5. Bo Tucker, LHP, Rome HS (GA)
- Projectable 6'5/210 lefty that sat 82-86 and hit 87 mph but there's more velocity on the way and the added arm speed should help his below average offspeed offerings.
Others guys in the class I haven't seen yet:
Keegan McGovern, SS, Coffee County HS (GA)
Josh Day, C, Lowndes HS (GA)
Henry Rowling, C, Walton HS (GA)
Max Ford, SS, Jefferson HS (GA)
- Comes from a powerhouse prep program in Atlanta suburbs that produced Orioles 1st rounder CF Josh Hart this year, Athletics 1st rounder 1B Matt Olson last year, Red Sox OF Brandon Jacobs, White Sox 2B Jeff Keppinger and Royals OF Jeff Francoeur among others in the past. Marshall is a projectable 6'3 lefty that sits 89-92 and hits 94 and flashes and above average breaking ball and changeup. His command and attitude can both be inconsistent, but the first round talent is here.
2. Greg Deichmann, SS, Brother Martin HS (LA) - #26 player in the HS class
- I'll be ranking the top hitters in the 2014 draft class this week and Deichmann will likely be in the top 10, so he's a longshot to get to campus. He's got good left-handed power that could produce double digit HR's in the big leagues, feel to hit to all fields and a chance to stick at shortstop professionally. His overall skillset is comparable to Alex Bregman, but Bregman is a little more polished defensively and grew into his tools at 19 (helped him get to campus) and Deichmann is left handed and grew into his tools at 17 (so he probably won't).
3. Bobby Bradley, 3B, Harrison Central HS (MS)
- I heard a lot of buzz on Bradley before June's PG National Showcase in Minneapolis and thought he could be an early round prospect, but he wasn't quite as athletic as I was expecting. He's a maxed-out 6'2/225 and could play 3B in college but is a 1B professionally. His power is good, a bit more than Deichmann, but given his body and position Bradley is a 4th-7th round type prospect, ideal for the most talented type of guy that usually gets to campus.
4. Alex Lange, RHP, Lee's Summit West HS (MO)
- Lange is a husky 6'3/210 righty that worked 88-92 in a two inning stint in Minneapolis (and hit 94 in a recent relief outing) with an average slider at 79-81 mph. He isn't a fantastic athlete, doesn't have much projection left and has some effort to his delivery. He's another guy in the 5th-8th round range that should get to campus and contribute as a freshman with weekend rotation upside.
5. Grayson Byrd, SS, King's Ridge Christian HS (GA)
- Byrd is another guy that looks like he should get to campus right now but his a 6'3/180 frame, above average speed and feel to hit the ball to all fields means that he could improve a lot by next year's draft. He's a little mechanical defensively and should lose a step as he fills out, so he might be a LF profile in pro ball but could play almost any position in college, though his arm isn't too strong right now. He has a good feel to hit and limited power, but again, if that comes on he could move to #2 on this list and go pro but is currently in that 5th-8th range.
6. Jake Latz, LHP, Lemont Township HS (IL)
- Latz is an athletic, 6'2/185 lefty with some projection that sat 85-88 hitting 89 in Minneapolis, but has hit 91 mph in the past. He has a clean arm action and delivery with solid command and a below average 72-73 mph curveball that could be average down the road.
Austin Bain, SS, Dutchtown HS (LA)
Mike Papierski, C, Lemont Township HS (IL)
Beau Jordan, OF, Barbe HS (LA)
Bryce Jordan, 1B, Barbe HS (LA)
Cameron Williams, RHP, Bastrop HS (TX)
1. Chase Vallot, C, St. Thomas More HS (LA) - #19 player in the HS class
- Best of the bunch as a catcher with an above average arm that can stick behind the plate professionally, is a very good athlete and already flashes some of the best power in the class. Tough to see this guy getting to campus.
2. Dale Burdick, SS, Summit HS (TN)
- A very good shortstop with a chance to play there professionally but may fit better at 2B. A very high end potential college shortstop with an all-around game, all fields approach with gap power and above average speed. Has a chance to go pro but would be a 3rd-6th round type guy since it's more very good feel with solid tools right now.
3. Joey Swinarski, LF, First Academy HS (FL)
- A little but more power than Vallot and an above average runner that likely ends up in left field professionally when he fills out 6'3/190 frame. Some uppercut to his swing and is the type that could rake in college but is only 4th-7th round type prospect out of HS due to bat path. On loaded HS team in Orlando-area that will get scouted a lot and I would think gets to campus and is a factor as a freshman, but still could turn pro. This is exactly the kind of prospect colleges want to recruit, that could be a standout in college and go in the top few rounds after three years if he produces but does it just weird enough that he's more of a mid-round guy out of high school.
4. Ryan Gridley, SS, Milton HS (GA)
- It's been the longest of this group since I saw Gridley and he's clearly 4th in this group but will get to campus and be a contributor. Also on a loaded HS team with arguably the top HS pitcher in the country (Dylan Cease) in the north Atlanta suburbs. Steady hands at shortstop but not a lot of power as a line drive hitter and 5'9/175 size limits his upside. He isn't the same player as Adam Frazier, but is in that general area, though Gridley could be a second baseman, too.
- I just saw Forbes in a HS tourney a few days ago along with the PG National in Minnesota a few weeks back and posted a video today for subscribers only from both events so you can see what I'm talking about. He's an above average to plus runner with good actions, solid footwork and an above average arm, so he looks like he could be a shortstop long-term. Since he's 6'4/175, if he adds a lot of weight, he'll move to 3B or CF professionally (would stick at SS in college) but he's narrow enough that he may stay pretty skinny. He's still growing into his frame and can be a little awkward at times and his swing has some unnecessary movement, but he has good power, the ability to square up pitches in games already and lots of projection. Scouts love guys like this and how he looks in the months before the draft will dictate where he goes, with almost anywhere in the first to second round being possible depending on how things play out. It's hard to see him getting to campus and he'll likely be in the top 10 (mid to late first round) in my upcoming high school rankings.
2. Foster Griffin, LHP, First Academy HS (FL) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Foster is on a loaded prep team in the Orlando area that will be scouted a lot, with teammates Virginia commit LHP/OF Adam Haseley and Mississippi State commit OF Joey Swinarski. All are top five round potential talents with Griffin the best of the bunch. I've already scouted Griffin twice recently and both times he sat 88-90, hitting 91 mph. He's a solid athlete with a clean delivery and arm action and good command. He's 6'5/195 and projects to add more velocity to go with an above average 76-79 mph changeup and a below average 71-74 mph curveball that shows average potential. He's got potential mid-rotation potential and fits in the late first to third round depending on how his spring goes, with him likely turning pro.
3. Tate Blackman, SS, Lake Brantley HS (FL)
- Tate is on another loaded prep team in the Orlando area that will be scouted a lot, with teammates Miami commit CF Carl Chester (potential first rounder) and Stetson commit SS Logan Warmoth. Blackman is very old for the class, turning 20 a few months after the draft which increases the chance he gets to campus since he would be eligible after his sophomore year since he'd be 21, missing freshman eligibility by just over a month. He's an above average runner that could fit at SS in college but is more of a 2B professionally. He hits well in games with above average bat speed and surprising power. He's a bit of a weird case that we'll have to follow up on with his signability in the spring to see how he wants to play it, but he fits in the 2nd-3rd round right now and most players offered that much money end up turning pro.
4. Brady Feigl, RHP, Central HS (MO)
- Feigl was one of my favorite sleepers in Minnesota, as a 6'5/200 projectable righty with three pitches, a clean arm/delivery and excellent plane. He worked 86-89 and hit 91 mph with an above average 77-78 mph changeup and solid average 76 mph slider. Like Forbes and Griffin, Feigl is a projection guy whose draft stock could move a good bit based on late spring performances but fits in the 3rd-5th rounds right now and is about a 50/50 chance to get to campus.
5. John Wesley Ray, RHP, Christian Brothers HS (TN)
- I saw Ray in a HS tourney last March and he's another projection guy but has less pure talent than the guys ahead of him on this list. Ray has a very strong and projectable 6'5/225 frame and sits 85-88 mph with a good breaking ball. He's the kind of guy that likely gets to campus may develop into a power in his first or second year of college.
Other guys in the class:
Kyle Watson, SS, DeSoto Central HS (MS)
Will Golsan, SS, New Hope HS (MS)
Joe Wainhouse, 1B, Kentridge HS (WA)
Will Stokes, RHP, West Lauderdale HS (MS)
Michael Fitzsimmons, 1B, Memphis University HS (TN)
Grayson Moyes, OF, Collierville HS (TN)
1. Kevin Bryant, CF, Wade Hampton HS (SC)
- Bryant's swing isn't perfect but it's fine and isn't too complicated so he can improve in this area down the road. He has plus bat speed and is a loose athlete that's an above average to plus runner with an average arm and feel for the game. He's the most likely right now of this class to turn pro as this type of athlete typically doesn't get to campus. Bryant has a gap-to-gap approach and not a ton of power but fits in the 2nd-4th round area and likely turns pro, though it isn't 100%.
2. Brandon Murray, RHP, Hobart HS (IN)
- The 6'4/200 Murray announced himself on the draft prospect radar loudly, hitting 98 mph with his first pitch at the PG National in Minnesota back in June. I'm not nuts about his arm action (though it isn't terrible) and he even admitted after his outing that he was trying to throw as hard as possible and his high effort delivery showed (he was looking at the ground at release). He worked 92-94 mph most of the outing once he shot all his bullets at the beginning but his offspeed was better than expected given his delivery. His 76-78 mph curveball is slurvy but was average at times while his 80-83 mph changeup was even better with solid average flashes. If he can tone down the delivery, he could find his way into the late first to second round area but is more in the 3rd-4th rounds right now. Murray's spring will dicate where he goes and how likely he is to get to campus.
3. Alex Destino, LHP, North Bumcombe HS (NC)
- I haven't seen Destino yet but heard about him a good bit during his junior year and he's been a very solid prospect at the two summer showcases he's been at. He's a big, 6'3/210 lefty that works 88-92 mph and has hit 93 that has three average to slightly above pitches depending on when you see him. He fits in rounds 2-4 if he can keep this up and seems a little better than 50% to turn pro.
4. Hunter Taylor, C, Nandua HS (VA)
- Taylor could be a really good college catcher with an average arm, good pop times and some feel behind the plate. The 6'1/210 backstop is maxed-out and a little soft physically but has good strength and some bat speed at the plate that, combined with a linear bat path helps him wear out the gaps with hard line drives.
5. Braden Webb, RHP, Owasso HS (OK)
- Webb has been tough to see this summer but has all the makings of an intriguing projection prospect that could take a step forward this spring. The 6'4/195 is very projectable and his fastball ranges from 87-91 mph depending on when you see him but since he's a good athlete with a solid delivery he could add velocity, though there is some effort to how he does it. He also throws a 74-76 mph curveball and 80-83 mph changeup that are both solid but the curveball is a better pitch right now.
6. Jeff Harding, RHP, Cambridge South HS (MD)
- Smallish, athletic righty is 5'11/195 and sits 90-93, hitting 94 mph with a good delivery though his breaking ball, a 74-76 mph curveball is below average and he doesn't have much feel for the pitch. He's a college type that could use his fastball to get a lot of outs late in games.
7. Clarke Schmidt, RHP, Allatoona HS (GA)
- Clarke will likely face his older brother, rising sophomore power righty for Clemson (Clate) in college as Clarke is talented but not a huge pro prospect right now. He's a skinny, athletic 6'1/160 righty with some projection and an aggressive delivery that sits 86-89 mph right now with a hard 77-79 mph slider that's above average at times. He doesn't throw hard enough or give enough projection to go in the top few rounds but could be an impact arm early on in college.
Others guys in the class:
D.J. Burt, OF, Fuquat-Varina HS (NC)
Seth Lancaster, SS, Hanahan HS (SC)
Jared Williams, SS, Gilbert HS (SC)
Clark Scolamiero, OF, Greenville HS (SC)
O'Kevius Conway, SS, Clinton HS (SC)
Tyler Johnson, RHP, Trinity Episcopal HS (VA)
1. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS (TN) - #25 player in the HS class
- The most famous guy in this class as he hit 94 last October in the same game that his older brother Jordan (Red Sox pick and Vandy commit that will have to make a decision in the next few weeks) hit 98 mph. Justus sits 89-92 and hits 94 with some life and an above average changeup. He also has advanced command and a breaking ball that's average at times. The issue is that he's only 6'0, so his plane and extension aren't ideal but he fits in the 2nd-3rd round range right now.
2. Liam Sabino, SS, Blair Academy HS (NJ)
- Oustanding hands and very good defender with above average arm and solid average speed. Doesn't have elite lateral quickness, so may be 2B professionally but would be a big standout defensive SS in college. Has a surprising amount of power to all fields and is streaky with the bat but shows flashes. 2nd to 4th round type prospect right now that likely turns pro, but if he floats a big signability number, he could get to campus.
3. Justin Bellinger, 1B, St. Sebastian's HS (MA)
- Has the best raw power in the class with plus pull power from the left side. Is also a solid athlete as good defender and fringy runner with an above average arm despite being 6'6/237. Problem is his swing has a lot of rotational torque and he has some trouble making contact in games. I'm told he comes from a wealthy family and will be a tough sign, with some clubs already skeptical if he deserves top few rounds money. Seems like a solid bet to get to campus, where he could be a superstar as these swing issues often don't matter until the upper minors.
4. Jeren Kendall, CF, Holmen HS (WI)
- Outstanding athlete and plus-plus runner with a fringy arm and solid instincts in center field. Kendall remind me some of Tony Kemp at the plate with a simple line drive/groundball approach from the left side with limited incorporation of his lower half and not much focus on driving the ball. Pro scouts see a lot of potential to work with his swing and his limited ABs being from Wisconsin is seen as a positive for clubs that focus on tools. Fits in 2nd-5th rounds depending on how well he performs this summer but the tools are there to be a pro prospect.
5. Kyle Wright, RHP, Buckhorn HS (AL)
- 6'3/190 righty that's a good athlete with projection, feel and more velo coming. Sits in the upper 80's and has hit 90 with a good slider and changeup. Wright and the guys below him are more good college types that could become bigger pro prospects in the next 11 months (and one or more likely will) but at this point look likely to get to campus.
6. Cody Reed, LHP, Ardmore HS (AL)
- 6'3/220 lefty that sits in the upper 80's and gets into the 90's at times with good upper 70's slider. Could have a little more velocity coming but is just a two pitch guy right now.
7. Brendan Spagnuolo, RHP, Chaminade HS (NY)
- Good athlete as average runner with some projection in 6'2/185 frame. Pitched at 87-89 and hit 91 in a June showcase with an above average 80-81 mph changeup, which is plenty to get swings and misses in college. The issue is his breaking ball is below average and his command is inconsistent so he's a 5th-8th round prospect but with a strong spring and some adjustments could be more of a prospect, but likely gets to campus where he'll have some time to make those changes.
8. Matthew Ruppenthal, RHP, Brother Rice HS (MI)
- 6'4/230 husky right hander that sits in the upper 80's and hits 91 with a four pitch mix and solid feel for command.
Others guys in the class:
Tristan Chari, C, Montgomery Bell HS (TN)
Cristian Maldonado, C, Pine Bush HS (NY)
Keenan Eaton, OF, Chaparral HS (CO)
Collin Snider, RHP, Riverdale HS (TN)
Joey Abraham, RHP, Central HS (AR)