McKay notes that this year's crop of prospects is a little light, especially at the college level, and that he'd be surprised if any Northwest players go in the first two rounds. He identifies LHP Nick Haughian of Washington and RHP Stephen Fife of Utah (a transfer from Bellevue C.C.) as the top college prospects, and likely to be drafted in rounds 3-5. I asked McKay if either had the skill and maturity to start in high-A or AA ball, and he doubted that they would. "Command of their pitches is always the deciding factor for pitchers to be moved to high-A or AA from the draft," McKay said. "Neither would be considered that polished yet."
On the high school side, McKay has good things to say about Kelso High School (Wa.) right-hander Trevor May: "He has what scouts say are 3 average (major league average) pitches with the likely chance for each to ‘project' to be better as he matures. He's over 90 with his fastball, and at times up to 93. He has good spin, depth, and feel for the curve ball and a very advanced change-up for his age. And he pitched well this spring, and that always helps." May led Kelso to the Washington state championship game. He has signed with the University of Washington, but McKay thinks May will make the jump to pro ball if he goes in the first 10 rounds.
Baseball Northwest also projects Tigard High School (Ore.) outfielder Ty Morrison to land in rounds 3-5. Morrison has great speed and a great arm, and his hitting started catching up to his other skills in the spring. Morrison has committed to Oregon (which is starting its baseball program up next year), but may choose to go pro if chosen this high.
As far as sleepers go, McKay says it's a great year for sleepers in the high school ranks because scouts didn't have as many college players to evaluate in the Northwest. He says the top "under the radar" prospect is RHP Sam Gavigilo of Ashland High School (Ore.), who pitched his team to a state championship. He also mentioned infielder Jarek Cunningham of Mt. Spokane High School (Wa.), an Arizona State signee who played only a couple of games after knee surgery, and Eric Armstrong of Franklin Pierce High School (Wa.), who is passing up a scholarship to play quarterback at Eastern Washington to pursue a baseball career. Armstrong has committed to Washington State.
Even though there may not be many Northwest players going high in the draft, McKay says that this is a fairly deep draft for high school kids in the area. And he acknowledges that Oregon State's back-to-back NCAA championships have helped change the perception about baseball in the Pacific Northwest. "I think Oregon State does by far the best job developing talent (in the Northwest), not just winning games. They've made a big impression on evaluators about the talent level up here." But with the increased interest from scouts in players from the region, it may be the high school kids who reap the benefits most in this year's draft.