RHP Karsten Whitson, Chipley HS, FL
Karsten got a ton of viewS from pro scouts. He was at all of the showcases, Under Armour Game and won gold for U 18 USA team. He has a fastball that sits in the 91-94 MPH range. His fastball has good sink to it, and he can move it to both sides of the plate. His slider is a swing and miss pitch it and sits around 80-83 - a plus pitch today and may become a plus-plus pitch. Very rare for high school pitchers, Whitson already has an average changeup. His control is good, as he is always around the plate. He can throw all of his pitches for strikes. He is big and durable for a high school pitcher, yet, he still has room for projection in his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. He can get too upright when he pitches that may affect his control. He will need to keep repeating his mechanics. He has the size, stuff and poise to be a top of the rotation starter.
RHP DeAndre Smelter, Tattnall Square Academy HS, GA
Smelter is one of the most athletic pitchers in the draft. He has plus speed that gave him offers to play football to big time schools, but Smelter turned them down to focus on baseball. He is coached by former Padres pitcher Kevin Brown. Smelter fastball sits 91-93 with some run to it and tops out at 95. He has a slider that sits in the 82-84 mph and has gotten it up to 87. Smelter is also learning a split-fingered fastball. The reason why he is in the second round is his control. During the season, he was not throwing enough strikes. To help out his control, he will need to work on his mechanics. He alos had some forearm tightness during the season. He said it was from using his split. He has an untapped power in his arm and not focusing on football will make his stuff even better. He has a commitment to play for Georgia Tech, the same school Brown went to.
SS Matt Lipka, McKinney HS, TX
He does not get all the hype at his own school. That belongs to Zach Lee. Lee is one of the top pitchers in the draft and is a top QB that is going to LSU. Lipka is no slouch either. Lipka is a two-time All State WR in Texas and was getting tons of offers to big time football programs. Lipka is a good hitter that uses all part of the field. He has a quick bat, with a line drive stroke. He has average power. He has the range and arm to stay at the SS position. He has plus speed and may be one of the fastest high school players in the draft. He was being pull happy at the beginning of the season. He did not get a lot of reps at the SS position because he was a pitcher for his high school team. He will need to work on his fundamentals at the SS position. He has a commitment to play at Alabama.
RHP Nick Tepesch, Missouri
Missouri is starting to become a pitching factory with players like Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow, and Kyle Gibson. Now Tepesch will add to the list. Tepesch fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and tops at 95. He has a good changeup and has an average cutter. He has a lot of projection in his 6-foot-5 frame that will make him a harder thrower. He had problems with his control this year. When he tries to throw hard, his control would get worse. He started the season throwing in the high-80s, but now it is back to his normal speed. If he gets drafted, he will need to fix his mechanics. He has recoil and he lands on his front leg too hard. He has first round talent with the tools and body to be a top of the rotation pitcher.
C Blake Forsythe, Tennessee
Brother of Padres third baseman Logan Forsythe. Blake came off his sophomore season hitting .347, 15 HR, and an OBP of .486, which is top 10 in Tennessee history. He went on to play for Team USA where he hit .293, 2 HR, OBP .500 (21 BB, 16 K). He also got great reviews of his defense at catcher. Then is junior season begun. He started off slow and stared to press. It started to affect his strikeouts and his glove. Forsythe has a good bat and can drive the ball well. He has raw power. He is known, like Logan, for having a good eye and is known for taking walks. He has a plus arm at catcher and is known for throwing base runners out. Speed is not part of his game. He is known to chase off-speed pitches that leads to strikeouts. His blocking and receiving skills are average and will need to keep on improving. He came in as one of the top catchers in the draft. Padres will be looking at last year's production and may get a steal if he come back to his old self.
Players that might fall to later rounds due to sign ability or injuries.
RHP Zach Lee, McKinney HS, TX
Lee is already known in the sports world as one of the top high school quarterbacks that is signed to play for LSU. He has fastball that sits in the 90-93 mph range. He has a good slider and it may become a plus pitch. He already has good feel for the changeup. He has nice clean mechanics and control. He can throw all of his pitches for strikes. He has a lot of projection on his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. It going to cost a lot of money to get him to skip college to go play baseball.
Likely first round picks by the Padres" and/or "possible alternatives by the Padres
3b Nick Castellanos, Archbishop McCarthy HS, FL: Castellanos came in as a one of the top high school position players in the coming draft. He did not disappoint. He went 4-for-4, all doubles, in the Under Armour game in Chicago. Then he won gold for the USA U18 Team where his average was .327. Castellanos has nice hands that give him an effortless swing. They say he has a power stroke. Not known for high school players, he lets the ball travel deep to the plate so he can hit to all parts of the field. He played shortstop in high school, but he will move to third as a pro. He has a good arm, agility and range to stay at the hot corner. He has power, but it will improve when he fills out his 6-foot-4, 200-pound, lanky frame. He has a tick above-average speed right now. His speed will likely be average when he fills out. He is projected to hit for average and power in the majors. Scouts are comparing him to Scott Rolen. He has a commitment to Miami.
RHP Aaron Sanchez, Barstow HS, CA: Barstow is not really a place to find top HS talent. Believe me, I have been there. Sanchez started to get buzz around the high school summer games and Aflac All American game. Sanchez has a fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and tops out at 93. He has a good curveball with some bite. He will need to work on his changeup. He does have some control problems because of a change to his arm slot. His fastball can be a little straight when he is maxing out. He value is in his projection at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds. He will throw harder when he fills out. He is a raw high school pitcher that can be a real good prospect with some work.
Angelo Gumbs, Torrance HS, CA: He started to get some looks at the summer league. He is a shortstop for his team but his value is in center field. He has quick bat and has raw power. He has good speed and it is better when he is underway. He has good baseball instincts on the base paths. He is a plus glove and a plus arm. He does get pull happy, and at the beginning of the season, he had problems with the off-speed stuff. He has changed his approach by keeping his hands back to have a quicker stroke. He does not have projection in his 6-foot, 195-pound frame but he is already good as is. Gumbs is a good athlete that just needs playing time to see how good he really is.
RHP Taijuan Walker, Yucaipa HS, CA: Walker is a two-sport athlete like Smelter, Lee, and Lipka, but Walker's sport was not football, it was basketball. Walker averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds a game. Walker has now focused on baseball. He has a fastball ranges from 91- 94 and sits at 92-93 range. He top out at 95. He has good movement on his fastball and can keep his velocity deep into games. He has a curveball that has been good at times and sometime not. He has a slider that is a work in progress. His delivery is why his control is average to below average. He need to have a more consistent release point. He is still raw as a pitcher because he spent a lot of time playing the shortstop position. He has a lot of projection in his 6-foot-5 195-pound frame and will throw harder. Is Walker a player that will climb through the system quickly? No. He is a project player that has the stuff, projection and athletic ability to be a special Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards
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