Pre-PG Showcase Prep Prospect Notes

Before he brings us notes from the PG Junior National and National showcases he attended this week, Kiley brings us some notes on the top players not at these events.

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Mechanics Of Evaluation Series: Age Part One, Age Part Two & Projecting

Perfect Game puts on two big national showcases in the MetroDome (or whatever it's called now) just after the draft ends to kick off the next year's draft season. Before PG National, the 2014 Draft/rising high school senior showcase that runs for 5 days, they had the Junior National, a shorter two day event featuring mostly 2015 and some 2016 Draft prospects. Obviously, it's still early as we have a full year until the 2014 Draft happens, so going a year beyond that with high school kids who are 15 and 16 right now is a good bit in the future, but some of the top names in a prep draft class will emerge around this time. I'll save the rankings for my next few articles and instead cover the top players who weren't at either event, to give you a fuller picture of the 2014/2015 prep draft classes.

While the National attracted almost every single 2014 Draft prospect that I had an early-round grade on, the Junior National was missing a few elite names from the 2015 crop that either I've already seen or are so advanced I've spoken with some scouts about them. The biggest name is CF Daz Cameron (Eagle's Landing HS in Atlanta, no college commitment), who I've seen briefly and will see again in the coming months, that most scouts feel is the clear best in the class and has #1 overall pick potential. He's a true five tool center fielder that's physical, has projection and has shown tools at a very early age; he's also the son of former big leaguer Mike Cameron.

The two other high-end hitters not in attendance also have a solid pedigree as CF Kyle Tucker (Plant HS in Tampa, Florida commit) comes from a powerhouse program, is the little brother of Gator standout/Astros farmhand Preston Tucker and the 6'3, 175 pound center fielder Kyle has an advanced power/speed combination while LF Daniel Reyes (Mater Academy HS in Miami, Florida commit) was starting as a freshman for his high school team with advanced hit and power tools playing next to eventual 2012 Draft #6 overall pick Albert Almora, who patrolled center.

Among the arms that weren't here is Tucker's high school teammate RHP Jake Woodford (yet another Florida commit), who caught scout's attention this spring in a relief appearance sitting 89-91 and hitting 92 with an average 80 mph slider versus eventual White Sox 2nd rounder RHP Tyler Danish. Woodford has a 6'4, 205 pound frame one scout said reminded him of Gerrit Cole and another suggested Kevin Millwood. Two more Florida-based 2015 arms have stood out for me: LHP Thomas Szapucki (Dwyer HS in West Palm Beach, another Florida commit) that one scout told me he saw hit 93 mph this spring with life and a good curveball and RHP Logan Crouse (Bloomingdale HS in Tampa, Florida State commit) whose younger brother Cody was drafted by the Mets this year but the 6'6, 190 pound Logan sits 85-89 mph already with a feel for three pitches.

Two standout arms in California are RHP Kyle Molnar (Aliso Niguel HS in Orange County, UCLA commit) who sits 90-92 mph with feel for three pitches at 6'2, 175 pounds and RHP Soloman Bates (Serra HS in Los Angeles, USC commit) who recently transferred to the same high school as 2013 Mets 11th overall pick 1B Dominic Smith and is a super athletic and smooth arm in the mid-to-upper 80's. RHP Chris Andritsos (Woodlands HS in Houston, no commit) set some records as a 6'3, 220 pound power-hitting first baseman but his swing is uphill and he's been into the low 90's on the mound where he has more potential. LHP Max Wotell (Marvin Ridge HS in North Carolina, no commit) is a 6'3 lefty with a clean arm action that has been in the upper 80's with an advanced curveball.

Lastly, the buzz name entering the Junior National event was 6'5, 240 pound RHP Ronnie Rossomando from Bunnell HS in Connecticut (UConn commit). I heard his name from an area scout late in the season that said he's seen Rossomando up to 93 mph in his sophomore season and that the massive righty's potential may be the highest of any amateur prospect in the northeast. Rossomando had to back out of the event last minute and still hasn't been seen by many evaluators, but will surely pop up on the showcase circuit at some point this summer.

It's absurdly early to rank them, but it's worth mentioning a couple 2016s that stood out in Minneapolis and also a few I've seen recently. RHP Reid Schaller (Lebanon HS in Indiana) is a 6'2 righty that sat 88-89 mph with a smooth arm action and some command. RHP Dakota Donovan (Pine View HS in Utah) is a 6'5, 200 pound righty that showed home run power to his pull side and sat 84-86 mph with a smooth delivery and feel for a 73 mph curveball. OF/RHP Seth Beer (King's Ridge Christian HS in Atlanta) is another two way talent that stood out most with a professional line drive cut from the left side and produced solid contact in-game. RHP Anthony Molina (West Broward HS, Miami commit) hit 91 in a recent tournament I attended with advanced feel for a mid-70's curveball. LHP Jonathan Gettys (Gainesville HS in Georgia) is the little brother of CF/RHP Michael, who will be very high in my 2014 rankings and I saw them both face 2013 Rangers 1st rounder SS Travis Demeritte this spring. The rising sophomore Jonathan worked 85-88 mph with a fluid motion and mixed in a firm 73 mph curveball.

I marveled at the ability of the Perfect Game staff to get nearly every 2014 draft prospect I had notes on to their event. A couple players didn't make it, mostly for reasons outside of PG's control, that I had on my 2014 draft preview, however. SS Jacob Gatewood (Clovs HS in Northern California, USC commit) could be the top player in the class with 2012 Astros #1 overall pick Carlos Correa type upside, but had to cancel last minute for a family issue. RHP Cobi Johnson (Mitchell HS in Tampa, Florida State commit) took a huge step forward this spring and has some first round buzz, but his father who is a pro pitching coach, opted to have Cobi not throw until the East Coast Pro Showcase later in the summer.

LHP Alex Destino (North Buncombe HS in North Carolina, South Carolina commit) is a 6'3 lefty with three pitches that has hit 90 mph and didn't make it to the event, same as RHP Jonah Patten (Norwell HS in Indiana, Arkansas commit). Two arms are rehabbing injuries and couldn't make it but could be showing up later in showcase season are RHP Bryce Montes De Oca (Lawrence HS in Kansas, Missouri commit) who is coming back from Tommy John surgery but is a 6'7 monster that has been in the mid 90's at times while RHP Kyle Marsh (Spruce Creek HS near Daytona, UCF commit) is a smaller guy at 6'2, 180 that flashes above average stuff but is rehabbing a mid-season knee injury.

I know of a some lesser prospects that weren't at the PG events, but those listed above were the only ones I think have top round type potential (obviously more will emerge) that weren't here. Almost every player mentioned above were invited and couldn't attend, so big kudos to the PG staff for putting on a great event. My rankings, videos and scouting reports of the Junior National and National will come in the next few days and probably keep coming the next few weeks and months as I scouted hundreds of players.

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