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 ReportsTyler Kolek, Alex Jackson, Braxton Davidson, Michael Gettys & Jacob Gatewood
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, Cardinals Director of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz & Padres Scouting Director Billy Gasparino
Summer showcase season officially ends after this weekend's Under Armour All American Game at Wrigley Field (TV: MLB Network) but very little can happen in a short event mostly composed of players that have been scouted all summer. Last week, the scouting world was in southern California for another short event in the Perfect Game All American Classic (San Diego) and a longer, five-day event in the Area Code Games (Long Beach, CA). Here's some notes on who I thought gained and lost some momentum in the last week as clubs start to finalize follow lists for next spring. An overall Top 50 rankings for the 2014 MLB Draft will be coming later this week but here's a look behind the scenes at the sideways and downward movement since the last lists were released (linked above).
This one is the least exciting of the three categories but is worth pointing out. While being consistently solid throughout the summer season doesn't really have anything to do with long-term potential, it is notable when the summer is basically the only information we have. And if these players continue being consistent through next year's draft, then it becomes part of a narrative and is over a long enough period that it may reveal something about the player. North Carolina commit 1B Braxton Davidson has been the best overall bat in the class the entire summer with raw power, some physical projection, advanced plate discipline and feel to hit in games along with game performance. Davidson has worked his way into being a top 10 overall prospect in this class.
Ole Miss commit SS Tiquan Forbes still hasn't put it all together for a sustained period this summer but has shown all the elements to be a high-end follow that's in late first round territory right now. As one of the youngest players in the class with the defensive skills to potentially stick at shortstop, all kinds of projection in his 6'4 frame and a great feel to hit in games, you see the potential and can cut him some slack for inconsistent performance as younger and bigger guys tend to develop later. Three arms have been very consistent this summer: Florida commit RHP Grant Holmes, LSU commit LHP Mac Marshall and uncommitted NorCal RHP Luis Ortiz. Holmes and Ortiz have repeatedly hit the mid 90's, sat a bit lower and broken off plus breaking balls with some feel despite not needing and changeup and not offering a ton of physical projection. Marshall's velo has been down a tick late in the summer and his breaking ball has been inconsistent but the feel is there and his changeup keeps improving.
I don't like crushing high school kids for struggling in limited looks and there's still a lot of time to regain momentum. All of these guys mentioned below are top two round prospects for me that just have shown some weaknesses that will need to be addressed this fall and spring. I've written a ton about USC commit SS Jacob Gatewood and the short version is he won't be the top-rated high school player in the rankings I release later this week. He went 0-for-12 with 3 GIDPs and 3 Ks between four games against his peers in SoCal last week and while that can sometimes be dismissed, he still hasn't made the necessary adjustments with his swing. Gatewood still has the highest upside in the whole prep class but we've now seen enough that there's legitimate concerns about whether he'll get close to reaching it.
Dylan Cease hit 97 mph a few times in San Diego and has done it in the past but in this outing his breaking ball went from inconsistent to a problem. He's flashed a 55 curveball for me in a few different outings but even in those outing he threw a number of 30's and 40's. He only threw 30's and 40's in San Diego while his command wasn't there and now there's some though he should try throwing a slider. Touki Toussaint is another guy I've written a ton about and his stuff returned late in showcase season (92-95 mph, plus curveball, good splitter) but his command was non existent for most of his outings. He's back in that late first round discussion but, like Forbes, he needs to put it all together in one outing to remind scouts of his upside.
The two top prep catchers in my last ranking, Nebraska commit Jakson Reetz and Mississippi State commit Chase Vallot, both took a slight step backward last week although both have a good shot to regain their standing in October at the big wood bat tourney in Jupiter, FL. Reetz is a quick-twitch athletic two-way prospect with an above average arm, good power and a slightly unusual but effective line drive stroke. He put on some weight in the past few months and isn't quite as quick-twitch while his swing changed a good bit and is now a pure uppercut. Reetz won MVP honors in the PGAAC, is still making solid contact at the plate and would've had to add some weight eventually anyway, but a few negative developments in a short summer evaluation period isn't a great indicator. Vallot is still one of the top few catchers in the class like Reetz but his frame also expanded a bit and he looked a little less athletic in San Diego as well. Vallot is one of the youngest players in the prep class and late summer weight gain isn't a huge deal for a few reasons, but he'll need to address that over the fall/winter to move back into late first round contention.