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. Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Plays on East Cobb Braves travel team (a powerhouse program) with Dalton Ewing and Georgia Tech commit LF Kel Johnson, all top five round type prospects that play in the talent-rich Atlanta suburbs. Chavis (18.8) is the best of the bunch for me, with Johnson (18.9) and Ewing (19.1) both backing up after being considered top guys in the class, and all of their ages on Draft Day showing they've consistently been older than their competition. Chavis has a squatty 5'11/175 frame but is deceptively fast with above average speed and an average arm. He looks like a 3B fit in pro ball but could play SS or 2B in college and may be tried at catcher as well, though he has no experience there. Chavis is very strong and generates average raw power that consistently shows up in games with a lot of strength and bat speed from a compact swing. He fits in the 2nd-3rd round and likely turns pro in that range but could be a big time standout if he makes it to campus.
2. Dalton Ewing, OF, Milton HS (GA)
- Ewing has backed up since being considered one of the top guys in this class, but will be scouted a lot this spring with my #2 prep pitcher in the country Dylan Cease on the same high school team in a loaded suburban Atlanta group. Ewing is 6'1/180 athlete with above average speed with a plus arm that is probably a center fielder but may fit in right field for pro ball down the road. He has a slightly awkward swing that's very level and has limited power, so pro scouts see him as a tweener that fits in the 3rd-6th round on talent depending on how his spring goes. He's in that same talent range as Clemson freshman Steve Duggar and UNC freshman Skye Bolt as southeast-based outfielders with good tools that scouts can't get completely on board out of high school then realized their mistakes quickly after early college success. Ewing has a good chance to turn down the marginal money I think he'll be offered to go to school as his advanced age means he'd be eligible after his sophomore year.
3. Drew Wharton, OF, Peachtree Ridge HS (GA)
- I really liked Wharton's swing when I saw him last month and he lacks the now tools to be a big draft prospect but has projection with smoothness and a 6'3/185 projectable frame to possibly move into Ewing's draft range this spring. Wharton is an average runner with a below average arm, so he's limited to left field in the pros and he really has to hit to get scout's attention. As I mentioned, he has a fluid cut with a level bat path and good bat speed but he's just generating gap-to-gap power now. If he grows into his frame and gains some power, I could see him overtaking Ewing in some scouts eyes, but he's a 5th-7th round talent right now and a strong spring could make him more of a 50/50 chance to get to campus in the 3rd-5th round range.
Chase Pinder, OF, Poquoson HS (VA)
Charlie Barnes, LHP, Sumter HS (SC)
Katon Harwood, RHP, T.C. Roberson HS (NC)
Adam Renwick, SS, Dorman HS (SC)
1. Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS (FL) - #12 player in the HS class
- Son of a minor league pitching coach, Johnson has been handled carefully to not be overused but has been 90-93 hitting 95 at times with an above average curveball. In addition, he's a lanky, projectable and athletic 6'4/180, so he could easily end up as the top player in this class, also a likely first or early second rounder as it stands today.
- Son of former MLB closer Tom "Flash" Gordon has been huge talent known by scouts for years now. At his best, he's 90-94 with an above average curve on the mound, but he's better as a shortstop. He has a chance to be a shortstop in the pros like his little brother Dee but is already bigger and should get bigger, with good power for his 6'2/170 frame. Looks right now like a first or early second rounder and a longshot to get to campus.
3. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL) - #20 player in the HS class
- Has been very good for about 4-6 months now, recently sitting 91-94 with an above average curveball in the high 70's. Could still fit anywhere form late first to third round depending on the next year.
4. Carson Sands, LHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)
- Older prep arm from Tallahassee area is already very advanced with 88-91 mph fastball, average curveball and above changeup with good feel. Fits in the 2nd-3rd round range right now.
5. Andrew Karp, RHP, West Orange HS (FL)
- Yet another power arm from 6'2/190 righty that works 89-93 with above average changeup and fringy to average curveball. There's some length to his arm action that causes command issues and he fits in 2nd-4th round range right now.
6. Matt Railey, CF, North Florida Christian HS (FL)
- Has shown big tools as early as October 2012 as one of the few underclassmen at the Diamond Club showcase in Lakeland. Physically imposing 5'11/190 that's very strong/cut with strength and bat speed along with above average speed and could have average raw power. Inconsistent in games but look/tools could get looks as high as 2nd round but will be polarizing with scouts.
7. Drew Carlton, RHP, George Jenkins HS (FL)
- The first guy with a good chance to get to campus, who I first saw as a sophomore hit 91 mph with four pitches and advanced feel. He works 86-89 and can get into the low 90's with average stuff and advanced feel that could get into a weekend rotation spot if he continues improving
Others guys in the class:
Bret Maxwell, C, Northeast HS (FL)
Darren Miller, SS, Key West HS (FL)
Taylor Walls, 2B, Crisp County HS (GA)
Deion Sellers, OF, Cedar Grove HS (GA)
Jackson Owens, SS, Lake Dallas HS (TX)
1. Kel Johnson, LF, Home Schooled (GA) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Kel is a very well-known prospect that is advised by Scott Boras, hit some huge homers last summer at big time events and was one of two amateur competitors in the HR Derby at the MLB All Star Game this year. He's regressed some since he was one of the top guys in class at a young age (he's one of the older guys in his class, turning 19 soon after the draft) and is still a top 3 rounds guy, but is more of a one-dimensional prospect now. He's a fringy runner with a below average arm and doesn't have the hands to play 1B, so he's left field only but the calling card here is the bat. Johnson has a lot of unnecessary pre-swing hand movement that's his timing mechanism. He has a smooth, athletic swing with above average bat speed and strength that create above average raw power. Johnson was awful at the two events I went to this spring but I was told he was much better at another even I wasn't at. I have him in the 2nd-4th rounds depending on how his game hitting develops and seems like a longshot to get to campus.
2. Daniel Gooden, LHP, Griffin HS (GA)
- Just missed the 10 extra names list that Kel Johnson was on and is a real threat to go in the top 3 rounds, coming from the same Atlanta-area high school as former #1 overall pick Tim Beckham (now in AAA with the Rays). 6'3/205 athletic lefty with a clean arm action and solid delivery to go with projection and average stuff that should improve. When I last saw him, he sat 89-93 mph over two innings with a 75-77 mph curveball that's inconsistent but flashes average potential. There some effort to his delivery and his command is just okay right now, so he could be more in the 3rd-4th round range come next spring, giving him a chance to get to campus. He's also a switch hitter but has a much better swing from the left side and could contribute both ways if he gets to campus, which I don't expect him to.
3. Jared Datoc, RHP, Pace Academy HS (GA)
- He's a fire hydrant type max-effort reliever at 5'9/190, working 86-89 and hitting 90 mph most times out with a breaking ball that is average at times. He's a good athlete for his body type and has a solid swing and arm strength, so you could stick him in right field or even try him behind the plate. Seems likely to get to campus and could be a two-way contributor early.
4. Patrick Wiseman, RHP, Pope HS (GA)
- Huge 6'5/220 righty that's 88-91 hitting 92 mph last October but was topping out at 88 in his first event this summer. He could still easily regain and surpass that velo from last October with his size.
Others guys in the class:
Blake Jackson, 3B, Houston County HS (GA)
Kyle McPherson, SS, Western Branch HS (VA)
1. Carl Chester, CF, Lake Brantley HS (FL) - #15 player in the HS class
- Chester is a personal favorite of mine in this whole draft class. I think he'll go in the top 50 picks and I don't think there's much a chance he gets to campus. Chester is a 65 to 70 runner on the 20-80 scale, could hit double digit homers at maturity, has an average arm and good feel for defense in center. His calling card is an advanced right handed bat and the overall package is comparable to 25th overall pick last June, Oakland's pick, Texas prep CF Billy McKinney.
2. Justin Smith, OF, Bartram Trail HS (FL)
- Smith is an above average to plus runner at 6'2/205 and has an average arm that could fit in center field along with a chance for average raw power. His swing looks a little weird sometimes but he could still win scouts over this summer, with his stock ranging from the second to fourth round right now. In that range, school is unlikely unless he has a particularly high signability number (which he likely has decided on yet).
3. Keven Pimentel, RHP, Shoreham-Wading River HS (NY)
- Was 90-93 hitting 94 in June at a showcase and apparently hit 96 mph a few weeks earlier. Good frame at 6'3/215 and solid delivery with average curveball and usable changeup could fit in 2nd-4th rounds with a good spring.
4. John Jones, C, East River HS (FL)
- Very solid catching prospect is on the border of freshman impact college guy or pro prospect. Switch-hitter that shows enough skills to possibly catch long-term along with some feel to hit and a little bit of power. He won't go in the top few rounds but catchers always get overdrafted and he could fit in the 4th-6th round for the right team.
5. Jesse Lepore, RHP, Trinity Catholic HS (FL)
- Great pitcher's frame at 6'4/195 but has some funk to his delivery that helps contribute to inconsistency in stuff. At his best, he's 90-92 with an above average curveball and solid average changeup but in other outings has been 87-89 with fringy stuff. Which Lepore we see in the spring will decide if he gets to campus.
6. Brian Gonzalez, 1B/LHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
- Two-way guy has power potential from the right side and is up to 91 from the left side with a four pitch mix playing for one of the top prep programs in the country.
7. Kirvin Moesquit, SS, Highlands Christian HS (FL)
- Switch-hitting 5'10/165 shortstop is plus runner and can play SS in college, though may be more of 2B professionally. Has limited power but has a simple swing and gap-to-gap approach to make the most of what he has at the plate.
Others guys in the class:
Luke Spangler, LHP, Cape Coral HS (FL)
Michael Mediavilla, LHP, Mater Academy HS (FL)
Nick Bottari, C, Shoreham-Wading River HS (NY)
Peter Crociitto, 1B, South Fork HS (FL)
Felix Mercado, OF, Carlos Beltran Academy (PR)
Devin Meyer, RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS (FL)
Ryan Alvarez, OF, Christopher Columbus HS (FL)
1. Braxton Davidson, 1B, T.C. Roberson HS (NC) - #8 player in the HS class
- Davidson is the other guy that definitely isn't getting to campus and very likely is a first rounder and one of my favorite prospects in this class. He's likely a first baseman but is a fringy runner with an above average arm that could play right field before he finishes filling out his 6'3/215 frame. He has above average raw power from the left side that should end up plus and takes very professional at bats with great feel of the strike zone. In addition, he's one of the younger players in the class, not turning 18 until after the draft and has been known to scouts for years.
2. Jack Flaherty, 3B, Harvard Westlake HS (CA), Full Scouting Report - #9 player in the HS class
- Flaherty has a very smooth swing for a young kid that's his size and that's the separator for him. There were a number of guys at PG National that were about Flaherty's size that have all kinds of projection and some now skills, but most of them are still awkward and gangly at the plate, where any inefficiency can now be exposed by peers that all throw 90 mph. Flaherty has a great feel for contact and a fluid, sound cut that he can use to serve balls anywhere on the field. Flaherty's arms create a good length for his hands to travel and he doesn't have the plus bat speed of Alex Jackson (#2 prep hitter in the class) or Jacob Gatewood (#1), but his athleticism, direct bat path and above average bat speed are enough to project him as a 50 or 55 hitter on the 20-80 scouting scale. Flaherty's raw power is a 45 to fringe average right now but big, athletic projectable kids with feel for power to the opposite field in games at a young age have an excellent track record of success, even if they may take a little longer to reach their potential. Eventually, I think there will be 55 game power (20-23 homers annually in MLB) in his mid-to-late 20's and with the low bar for everyday third baseman in the big leagues right now, an average defender with an above average bat would be welcome; that's how Colin Moran almost went #1 overall this spring.
3. Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills Christian HS (OH) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Varga is a very unusual prospect. I saw him a sophomore when he was at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, he was committed to the Gators as two-way player and scouts saw first round potential as a shortstop. Then his family moved to Ohio, he switched his commitment to UNC and he maintains he has no interest in hitting professionally. Varga is the oldest player in the class, turning 20 in August after the draft, but missing college freshman draft eligibility by a month. As a pitcher, he's a first round talent, sitting 91-94 and hitting 95 mph with an curveball that's plus at times and a solid changeup. I don't have a great feel for what happens here as he could be an impact bat if he wants to hit in college (I don't think he does) and would be eligible after two seasons, something prospects in these cases say make them more likely to go to school.
4. Joey Gatto, RHP, St. Augustine HS (NJ) - Made 10 Names That Just Missed HS Top 30 Rankings
- Gatto has some similarities to Varga by being old for the class making him sophomore eligible if he gets to school, prototypical size (6'5/210) and big league stuff (90-93 touching 94 mph with solid average curveball). Gatto has more advanced command and a little less stuff than Varga but still projects in the pros as a solid innings eater than could fit in the top few rounds.
5. Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS (FL)
- He hasn't gone to a lot of the events so far this summer but I caught him early at the East Coast Pro Showcase tryouts and like Wall a good bit as a prospect. He's a solid infielder that's likely a 2B professionally but can play almost anywhere in college. He's got an advanced lefty stroke and some power, mostly to his pull side. Wall is in that 3rd-5th round range where it's a tossup is he gets to school and he's in a completely loaded Orlando prep class at a school that produced first rounder Dante Bichette Jr two years ago, so he should be scouted plenty.
6. Ryder Ryan, 3B, North Mecklenburg HS (NC)
- Ryan is a very well-known prospect that was considered one of the best in this draft class all the way back as a prep sophomore when he was a precocious, power-hitting catcher. He's plateaued a bit the past two years and has moved to third base, though he is just okay there and may end up in right field or first base professionally as a fringy runner with an above average arm and a 6'3/205 frame. His swing is solid and there's potentially average raw power or slightly more, but his swing can get a little uphill at times. He's also a solid pitcher that sits around 90 with a slider that normally at least average. I'm nit-picking here some since I'm holding Ryan to the standard of the high first rounder he was projected to be a few years ago. He's a 3rd-5th round type right now and would likely be a freshman starter if he gets to campus.
7. Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Stone Bridge HS (VA)
- 6'1/175 righty just reclassified to 2014 draft class last week and was one of the best pitchers at a 2015/16 class national showcase I saw a few weeks ago, sitting 89-91 and hitting 93 mph. His fastball can get a little flat and he backed it up with a slider that was mostly fringy to average but flashed above average once he settled in at 79-81 mph. Jacob's 78-79 changeup also flashed average potential. That's a solid athlete with limited projection and plane but with three average or better pitches now and he won't turn 18 until October after the draft, making him the youngest prep player in the class. I would have him in the 3rd-5th round range right now. He said he reclassified to get to campus earlier and from my understanding won't be draft eligible, similar to now junior C at Florida Taylor Gushue who will be draft eligible for the first time this year. If it turns out Bukauskas is subject to the draft, he'll have to listen to the roughly $500,000 he would be offered if that round projection holds, but I'd bet it's better than 50/50 he gets to campus in that case. He's the type of guys that could be in the weekend rotation by his sophomore year at latest.
8. Hunter Williams, 1B, Cosby HS (VA)
- In contrast to Davidson, Williams is the type of 1B that could get to campus. He is a big 6'3/215 kid with solid average raw power mostly to his pull side and some feel to hit. He's a fringy at best first baseman and below average runner that could be a middle of the order college bat that goes in the top 5 rounds after three productive years but isn't really a big pro prospect right now as an all bat type of guy.
9. Brooks Kennedy, 2B, South Mecklenburg HS (NC)
- Kennedy can play shortstop in college but is a professional fit at second base with good hands a fringy arm and plus speed. He is what he is as a smaller (5'11/175) guy that relies on speed and consistent line drives that could become more of a pro prospect with a solid college career.
10. Hansen Butler, RHP, High Point Central HS (NC)
- Butler isn't really a pro prospect righty now as a smallish (5'11/178) righty reliever with an unusual max effort delivery that generates some deception from an over-the-top arm slot. He's a solid athlete and can be a useful college reliever, working 88-91 mph and primarily using his fastball.
Other guys in the class:
Mitch Keller, RHP, Xavier HS (IA)
Jackson Bellenkes, RHP, Northwest Guilford HS (NC)
Brock Deatherage, OF, Western Alamance HS (NC)
Zack Gahagan, SS, North Henderson HS (NC)
Jason Morgan, RHP, Chancellor HS (VA)
Nick Raquet, LHP, State College Area HS (PA)
Brett Daniels, 3B, Fuquay-Varina HS (NC)
1. Tommy DeJuneas, 2B, Providence HS (NC)
- Tommy comes from the same powerhouse program that produced current Wolfpack C Brett Austin (unsigned 1st rounder by Padres in 2011), former Clemson 3B Richie Shaffer (1st rounder by Rays in 2012) and current Red Sox minor league RHP Ty Buttrey (4th rounder by Red Sox in 2012, signed over-slot deal for $1.3 million bonus). It goes without saying that Tommy isn't in that same area talent-wise, but he definitely brings some stuff to the table. He has a fluid cut and some projection to his 6'1/180 frame so there's a good shot he adds more power to his more gap-to-gap approach. DeJuneas primarily plays 2B now but has an above average arm and solid average speed so he could play CF in college too and may be a RF professionally. He's not really a pro guy right now but has good skills, so he's a good guy for a high end college to target as a guy that could develop pro tools after a year or two.
Austin Staley, RHP, Wilkes Central HS (NC)
Josh McClain, SS, Alexander Central HS (NC)
Storm Edwards, OF, West Henderson HS (NC)
Nick Owens, SS, Charlotte Christian HS (NC)
Harris Yett, C, South Mecklenburg HS (NC)
Logan Beehler, RHP, Ardrey Kell HS (NC)
1. Bennett Sousa, LHP, Benjamin HS (FL)
- His velo has been down a bit this summer (87-91 touching 92 mph) from what scouts told me he was this spring (90-92 mph at this best). Athletic 6'3/185 lefty that has a nice swing from the left side and would be two-way player in college but is better on the mound. His delivery could be cleaned up some and he's still got physical projection so the stuff and command could still progress, but the spring will dictate his stock. His curveball was slurvy and below average when I saw it but I could see it being average in another outing and he didn't throw a changeup but I'm told it's shown average potential. He's a college guy from what he's shown this summer right now but he's got lots of time to improve, has shown it before and big, projectable athletic lefties are at a premium, so I expect him to progress enough to be a 2nd-4th round type prospect and likely turn pro.
2. Adam Haseley, LHP/CF, First Academy HS (FL)
- Premium two-way left-handed athlete at 6'2/180 that is an easy plus runner, can play center field and has a very easy, clean delivery on the mound. He works the gaps at the plate with a little pop and bat speed and his swing is a little awkward but could improve with some coaching attention as he's focused mostly on pitching thus far. He's better on the mound for me, sitting 87-90 mph most times out with occasional life and his best pitch is a 77-80 mph slider that's above average at times. He rarely uses a 78-81 mph changeup that's solid average as well. Given then athleticism and clean arm/delivery, he very well could add a tick or two of velocity this spring and would then be a top 3-4 round type and is still probably in the top 5 rounds right now. Haseley is exactly the kind of high-impact guy you want to recruit and he goes to a private school in Orlando, so if his asking price is high and he doesn't improve much this spring, he could find his way to campus. He will be scouted a lot as the Orlando area is loaded this year and his HS team has two other high-end 2014 prospects, 6'5 LHP Foster Griffin (Ole Miss, just missed my HS top 30) and power-hitting OF Joey Swinarski (Mississippi State).
3. Tommy Doyle, RHP, Flint Hill HS (VA)
- One of my sleepers in this class is a 6'6/210 righty that's pretty athletic and has a good arm action and solid delivery. There's a good bit of projection left in his frame and he already sits 89-91 hitting 92 with occasional two-seam life on his fastball. His 76-79 mph curveball is solid average at times and his 81-83 mph changeup is solid average at times as well. His stuff is already as good as the more-heralded Casey (below) but there's a good chance his stuff improves due to his frame while the delivery/command is in the same ballpark, though not quite as good.
4. Derek Casey, RHP, Hanover HS (VA)
- Fluid athlete with quick arm at 6'1/185 that lacks a lot of physical projection but has good delivery and plane to the plate, though his arm action is just okay for me. 87-91 hitting 92 mph when I saw him in June, but has been higher a tick higher in the past. His other two pitches are a 74-77 mph curveball and 79-81 mph changeup which were both fringy in June but have been more average to slightly better at other times. He's advanced but doesn't give the size to get much better, so he's more of a high-end college guy that could be in the weekend rotation as a freshman unless he gains a few ticks on his fastball, but is a 4th-6th rounder right now.
5. Devon Fisher, C, Greenbrier Christian HS (VA)
- 6'1/190 catcher that I haven't seen yet but I'm told he's athletic, shows ability to stay behind the plate with solid catch and throw skills. He has a sound swing with some raw power but is still progressing with his feel to hit in games. High school catching is always overdrafted, so he'll have a lot of opportunities to go in the 2nd-4th rounds next spring if he can make some progress.
6. Jack Gerstenmaier, SS, Freeman HS (VA)
- Really like his swing much better than Cody as it's a linear approach to produce line drives without that much less power than Cody. Gerstenmaier keeps his hands inside the ball and has the approach a guy of this type should have. He hit pretty well in the games I've seen and could play SS in college but fits more at 2B/3B professionally. Probably not a huge pro type unless he gets bigger/stronger this spring, which is still possible, but he's more of 5th-8th rounder right now that is a high-end college guy.
7. Charlie Cody, 3B, Great Bridge HS (VA)
- Has bat speed, strength, gap power, produces pretty well in games, a live body, above average speed, at least an average arm, good hands and defensive actions and plays a good third base with a chance to play 2B at 6'1/180. That said, I don't like his swing as it's a little grooved and he takes a very steep angle to the ball that creates length and sacrifices contact for power and his is still below average. I could see a club taking him in the 3rd-4th rounds and tweaking his swing if he hits this spring, but certainly possible he ends up getting to school and possibly being a standout. From the same high school as Michael Cuddyer and Justin Upton and teammate SS Taylor Lane is another top 2014 committed to Florida.
8. Pavin Smith, 1B, Palm Beach Gardens HS (FL)
- Lanky 6'3/190 lefty hitter that's a LF/1B fit but is a good athlete with a smooth swing and a gap to gap approach. Isn't really a pro type of guy so should get to campus, contribute as a freshman and has the potential to go in the top 5-7 rounds after 3-4 years on campus.
9. Sean Collins, RHP, Weddington HS (NC)
- Super projectable 6'4/185 righty with just an okay arm action (elbow gets high in the back) and delivery (slightly stiff and has the signature UVA face-down finish) which lowers his odds to add velocity/command. Sits 85-88 mph but the offspeed stuff is advanced with a changeup at 75 that flashes average potential and a curveball at 69-71 mph that could be above average. Unless he makes a ton of progress he gets to campus and is exactly the kind of guy that could take a huge step forward in the coming years.
Christian Lowry, OF, Hickory HS (VA)