2011 MLB Draft Preview: Top-5 HS Arms

The 2011 MLB Draft is only three months away and teams are already salivating over what appears to be a very strong pool of talent from which to choose. Our MLB Draft Expert John Anderson has been speaking with scouts and coaches around the country in preparation for the draft. He continues his 2011 draft coverage with a look at the current top-five high school pitching prospects.

1. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS, Columbia, SC
A South Carolina commit, Guerrieri has been the fastest-rising pitcher in this year's draft amongst the high school ranks. He has hit 97 MPH a number of times this spring and regularly sits at 93-95. Guerrieri has a plus slider that two scouts have said may be his out-pitch in the big leagues. His changeup is developing and scouts are excited to project him as he fills out his 6'3'', 190 pound frame. The key for Guerrieri is consistency as he can look like a top-5 pick for three innings and then lose all command in the fourth inning.

2. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS, Owasso, OK
A National League scout believes the 6'1'', 205 pound righty has the stuff to be a number 1 or 2 starter in the majors. Power is Bundy's calling card as he has a plus fastball, at 93-95 MPH and a plus power curve. His fastball has great sink and his curve has been dominant this year. Scouts love his mechanics and his loose arm action. Committed to the University of Texas, Bundy already has a no-hitter this year.

3. Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS, Broken Arrow, OK
Bradley was dominant last summer on the All-Star circuit and has had a solid start to his 2011 season. He has a fastball in the 92-95 MPH range, a plus hard knuckle curveball with great bite and mental toughness that scouts rave about. With clean mechanics and solid command, scouts project him to be a frontline starter in the bigs and an AL scout believes his fastball and curve are near major league ready now. Bradley is a top QB prospect as well and the 6'3'', 225 pound senior has committed to play baseball and football at the University of Oklahoma.

4. Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, TN
The 6'3'', 180 pound lefty started his season last week and went 6.2 hitless innings with 15 strikeouts. He has easy arm action and a fastball that sits at 91-93 MPH that reached 95 last week. Norris has a solid breaking ball and scouts are impressed with how his changeup is developing. Scouts do feel the Clemson recruit needs to be more consistent with his command but one AL scout said it is rare to see with lefty with this type of arm at Norris' age.

5. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS, Tampa, FL
Fernandez fled Cuba in 2008 and has quickly established himself as a top prospect. The University of South Florida commit has a power fastball at 92-94 MPH with late life, a hard curveball and a promising slider. Scouts love his makeup and the fact that he is confident in all his pitches and will throw any pitch at any count. Conditioning is a concern as the 6'3'' 225 pound rightly has tipped the scales at 260 pounds in the past and he is a 19-year-old senior, but scouts love his arm and maturity and he looks to be a definite first round pick.

On The Rise

Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O' Dowd HS, Oakland, CA
Joe is Tyson Ross' younger brother and the younger Ross is possibly working his way in to the top 5 of high school arms. He is very athletic and projects well. He has smoother mechanics than Tyson but does land stiffly on his plant leg much like the A's prospect. He has been sitting in the low 90s but has been consistently hitting 94 MPH this spring. Scouts believe his slider will be a plus pitch and his changeup is developing well. Scouts want to see the 6'2'', 180 pound UCLA commit be more consistent with his stuff, but they love his arm and his projection.

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