PG Junior National Hitter Rankings

Kiley brings us rankings, scouting reports and a video of the top bats from last week's Perfect Game Junior National Showcase, a gathering of some of the top prep prospects for the 2015 MLB Draft.

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

Be sure to check out my pre-showcase notes, top prospects that didn't attend, an introduction of the PG Junior National Showcase and the pitchers scouting reports, linked above.

Top 10 Hitting Prospects

1. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL), 6'0/170, R/R, Florida State commit, 2015 Draft Day Age: 18.83

Scouting Report: Rodgers is a guy I saw for the first time a few weeks back but had heard a good bit about before then from, ahem, advisors with their eyes on the top high school underclassmen. He is aged like one of the youngest players in the 2014 class and compares well to that group, even being younger than almost all of them Rodgers took by far the best infield at shortstop for the underclassmen event and would've been one of the top few at the 2014 event as well. He's a solid average runner that has better quickness and footwork defensively than his long speed suggests along with the above average arm to give him a chance to stick at short long-term or second base at worst. Rodgers also has a frame that will add some upper body strength and while he was out on his front foot for much of his BP at this event, for his last swing he hit one off the wall in left-center, a shot none of the 2014-eligible shortstops could beat. Rodgers was average at the plate for the games in Minneapolis, but squared the ball up in the at bats I saw a few weeks ago, some shown in the video above. Rodgers loads his hands a little deeper than I like, but he makes up for it with a fluid stroke and takes a linear, direct path to the ball.

2. Satchel McElroy, CF, Clear Creek HS (TX), 5'11/165, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: The son of former big league reliever Chuck, Satchel has really loud bat speed, surprising strength for his size and almost broke the event record in the 60, running a 6.44. He's got a projectable, long-limbed build and already has as much punch as almost anyone at the showcase. His hitting mechanics are fine but his smoothness and bat speed really take over and he shows some feel for hitting in games.

3. Johnathan India, SS, American Heritage HS (FL), 5'11/175, R/R, Florida commit

Quick Take: India is another guy like Rodgers that has a chance to stick at short and will be a second baseman at worst, but odds are India will eventually end up at second base. He has the arm, hands and actions to stay at short but his lower half is already a little thick and he's more of a present fringe average to below average runner which limits his range. India also has a bit less power and projection than Rodgers but a similarly advanced and fluid contact stroke. He had a couple extra base hits in the two games following the workout and India compares closely as a player with another Gator commit that just went in the first round: Christian Arroyo.

4. Mike Hickman, C, Seven Lakes HS (TX), 6'2/195, L/R, Oklahoma commit

Quick Take: Hickman has a wide base and high handed setup at the plate as part of a power approach. He shows some feel to go to the opposite field and pulled a home run to right field in the game. Hickman has a maxed-out frame, is a below average runner and has a slight hitch in his throwing motion, but his above average arm strength still gives him mostly sub-2.00 pop times. He isn't a fantastic athlete, doesn't have any projection and isn't a slam dunk catcher long-term, but the now skills and chance to play a premium position help Hickman stand out.

5. Wyatt Cross, C, Legacy HS (CO), 6'3/190, L/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Cross already flashes wood bat over-the-wall power to his pull gap with present bat speed and strength from the left side. His swing that's geared for power and he's got some projection left in his frame. Cross has a solid-average arm and a quick release that enables consistent sub 2.00 pop times to second. He's a fringy runner and is young enough he could grow into 3B or RF long term.

6. Tristan Metten, 2B, Prestonwood Christian HS (TX), 6'0/180, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Metten has a lot of similarities to the player below him in these rankings and they played on the same team in the showcase. Metten ran a 6.78 time in the 60 and should be able to stick in the infield, but likely isn't a shortstop. Where the medium-framer Metten stood out was at the plate where his bat speed and loose, compact swing produced a few bombs in BP and one in the game. He still has a little projection left and has a lower effort approach than Jones, so I give Metten the edge.

7. Jahmal Jones, SS/2B, Wesleyan HS (GA), 6'0/205, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Jones ran an electric bat speed/foot speed combo, with a 6.62 time in the 60 and a high effort swing that lashed liners into the gap that could be homers with some slight adjustments. He's isn't quite as quick laterally as you'd think, so he's more of a 2B type for me off of this look, but he his actions and hands could play at shortstop. He hit fine in the games, but doesn't have much projection and I'd like to see him tone down his swing some, but the raw tools are here.

8. Julian Infante, 3B, Westminster Christian HS (FL), 6'3/195, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Infante is a guy I first saw two seasons ago when Infante was the freshman starting at third base that moved then prep teammate and current Hurricane David Thompson to left field. Infante's got some similarities to India, a fellow South Florida prep standout. Infante can also play shortstop now, but will likely move to third base, where he could be above average defensively. Infante has a little less feel for hitting than India and about the same present power, but has more projection and should add more power down the road.

9. David Chabut, SS, Loganville HS (GA), 5'11/165, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Chabut is a high school teammate of Clint Frazier and has hitting mechanics that are slightly reminiscent of the #5 overall pick in the recent draft. Chabut has a very fluid, athletic swing with a contact-oriented, gap-to-gap approach that should develop some over-the-fence power as he adds some strength. He's also got true actions at shortstop and the quickness and arm to stick, but is only an average runner right now. There's a lot of similarities here to Brendan Rodgers.

10. Chris Cullen, 3B, West Forsyth HS (GA), 6'4/190, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Cullen has a slightly mechanical but surprisingly smooth swing for his size and as much power as Cross. Cullen also worked out behind the plate and has a quick release and good arm, but looks like a better fit at 3B. He's an average runner and has the hands and actions to be above average defensive third baseman but his length makes me worry he might have some trouble making contact.

11. Jimmy Herron, CF, La Salle HS (PA), 6'1/180, R/L, no college commitment

Quick Take: Herron is an easy plus runner, posting a 6.54 at the event in the 60 and has a loose, contact-oriented gap to gap swing. He has some slight mechanical adjustments to make at the plate and his arm is below average but acceptable for center. Herron has a live body with bat speed and feel, hitting a double to the opposite field in a game.

12. Zack Kone, SS, Pine Crest HS (FL), 6'2/175, R/R, Duke commit

Quick Take: Kone is one of those guys, along with the two guys below him on this list, that have projection and some present athleticism, but offer the upside to add strength and grow into their frames in the next two years. Kone has the elements with sound actions and a good arm to fit at shortstop, but may end up more of a third baseman in the end, with some similarities to fellow south Florida prospect Julian Infante. Kone is more of a gap-to-gap guy now but has present bat speed and should develop more power down the road.

13. Mitchell Hansen, OF, Plano HS (TX), 6'4/195, L/L, no college commitment

Quick Take: Hansen is a pure athletic projection bet as a multi-sport athlete with above average speed, tons of projection and feel to hit to all fields. The present power and strength isn't quite there yet but should come down the road. His arm is below average and he'll eventually fit in a left field most likely, so the bat will have to carry him.

14. Grant Sloan, 3B, Zionsville HS (IN), 6'4/190, R/R, no college commitment

Quick Take: Sloan is another long athlete with projection and some athleticism and present feel. He isn't as smooth at the plate or as fast as Hansen, but has good ahnds and has a good chance to stick at third base. Like Hansen, you could project average raw power as Sloan fills out his lanky frame and Sloan also hit a triple to the opposite field gap in the game as proof of his feel to hit in games.

15. Nick Shumpert, SS, Highlands Ranch HS (CO), 5'11/175, R/R, Kentucky commit

Quick Take: Nick is the son of former big league infielder Terry Shumpert and was another player to run a quick time in the 60, coming in at 6.70. He has a Julio Franco-inspired setup to his swing, which doesn't play into his strength of putting the ball in play and is more of a gap-to-gap power guy right now. Defensively, he's got a real shot to stick at shortstop with an above average arm, good hands and quick feet.

The Next 10 Hitting Prospects

16. Dominic DiCaprio, C, Stoneman Douglas HS (FL), 6'0/200, R/R, no college commitment

17. Jonah Garrison, IF, Edgewater HS (FL), 6'0/180, R/R, Miami commit

18. Matt Vierling, 3B/RF, Christian Brothers HS (MO), 6'3/180, R/R, no college commitment

19. T.J. Hopkins, OF, Summerville HS (SC), 6'2/175, R/R, College Of Charleston commit

20. Matt Anderson, C, Evans HS (GA), 5'11/170, R/R, no college commitment

21. James Terrell, 2B, St. Patrick-St. Vincent HS (CA), 6'0/150, R/R, no college commitment

22. Chris Botsoe, OF, Hinsdale Central HS (IL), 5'11/165, R/R, Louisville commit

23. A.J. Graffanino, SS/2B, Northwest Christian HS (AZ), 6'0/155, L/R, no college commitment

24. Eriq White, 2B, Shiloh HS (GA), 5'9/162, R/R, no college commitment

25. Ramon Alejo, SS/2B, Boone HS (FL), 5'11/165, R/R, Ole Miss commit

There's even more hitters I liked (like Pennsylvania prep 3B Travis Blankenhorn and Florida prep OF Chris Chatfield and Bryan Scheker) and they could end up being in the top few rounds in 2015, but one was specifically worth pointing out: Canadian 1B Josh Naylor. Scouts were debating whether he was like Cubs farmhand 1B Dan Vogelbach or just a bad-bodied (listed 6'0, 225 pounds) first baseman with a handsy swing and some power. I'll need to see more to have a strong opinion, but at this age, I'm not ready to rank a guy that looks like that unless he has at least plus power, which Naylor does not and probably will not.


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