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
Tyler Kolek has been the top prep arm in the class since he hit 99 mph at a tryout for the Area Code Games in early June and has kept that spot with a solid summer. His velo had been in the low to mid 90's, hitting 96 this summer (still among the best in the class) but he hit a couple 98's and a 99 in the Perfect Game All American Classic this weekend. Kolek saved his best velo in a nationally-televised inning with over 200 scouts in attendance at Petco Park, also mixing in a plus curveball. Along with Kolek, Grant Holmes (Florida commit) has been in that elite top tier of prep arms and also continued to impress in his inning, working 93-95 mph with a plus hook as well. I had slightly preferred Dylan Cease to Holmes from some earlier events but may flip the two in my next rankings. Cease showed some of his best velo, sitting 95-97 early in his inning before settling in at 93-96 mph but had real issues with finishing his curveball and leaving the ball up in the zone.
The southeast is loaded with prep arms again this year, with Cease and Holmes as the top two, but they were joined in the game by lefties Mac Marshall of Georgia (LSU commit), Justus Sheffield of Tennessee (Vanderbilt commit) and Foster Griffin of Florida (Ole Miss commit) joined by Florida-bred righties Cobi Johnson (Florida State commit), Touki Toussaint and Sean Reid-Foley (Florida State commit). Marshall's velo has been down a little bit this summer and his breaking ball hasn't been as sharp, but his pitchabilty and changeup have improved and I commented during the game that if he puts all those elements together this spring, he'll go in the first round. The 6'0 Sheffield continued his steady dominance with athleticism and four pitches that all flash above average potential along with advanced feel while the 6'5 Griffin showed a little less now stuff but has more upside.
Johnson has been tough to see this summer as he's been smartly saving his arm, but he flashed the three potential above average pitches, athleticism and projection I've heard about for over a year. Toussaint has had an up-and-down summer but showed his best pure stuff in this game, working 92-95 mph with a plus curve and good splitter. If he can get his command back this spring, he's an easy first rounder. Reid-Foley's stuff was the best it's been all summer in his inning, working 93-96 with an above average to plus slider, a new curveball and a usable changeup. I'm not nuts about his arm action but he has all the making of a first round arm if this stuff is there next spring.Four more arms had performances worth mentioning here: California's LHP Brady Aiken (UCLA commit), New Jersey's RHP Joey Gatto (UNC commit), Hawaii LHP Kodi Medeiros and Iowa RHP Keaton McKinney (Arkansas commit). Aiken looked about the same as he has for the past year but his velo ticked up in the short outing (89-93 mph) and in combination with his youth (17.8 on draft day), feel for his devliery and size gives scouts some hope that it could stick. Gatto was more ordinary earlier in the week at Area Codes but his velo was up in his inning, sitting 91-93 mph with a mostly fringy curveball that flashed above average potential. Medeiros was the talk of the event according to the hitters that faced the lefty that sling a plus fastball/slider combo from a low slot that will give scouts the convenient excuse to go to Hawaii multiple times this spring. McKinney is a big kid with solid stuff that hit 94 mph and relied on an easy plus changeup that's one of the better present off-speed pitches in the whole draft class.
It's a little tougher to have big takeaways from the hitters in a short one-game look where everyone gets a chance to play, but my view of a few prospects evolved from the game. Michael Gettys (Georgia commit) is a dynamic talent with plus-plus bat speed, foot speed and arm strength that's hit 95 mph on the mound but is a better prospect as a hitter for me. The concern is on his game hitting ability and in his three plate appearances in the game, he looked improved in this respect. In his last at bat, Gettys took a plus slider in on his hands from Zach Shannon to the opposite field for a hustle double, exactly the hard contact against tough off-speed stuff that scouts were looking for. With some of the other top bats in the class backing up as scouts see more game ABs (cough, Jacob Gatewood), Gettys is showing some ability to improve and he still has a good backup plan on the mound.
I covered in one of the Area Codes hitter notes pieces that Nebraska commit C Jakson Reetz had changed his swing for the worse. I mentioned this to a scout that said he had seen the same thing and was also a little concerned about it combined with the stiffness in his setup. We agreed that Reetz has an innate feel for the bat head and he again squared some pitches up in the game and won MVP, but he also looked a little less athletic in general than he did a few months ago. A second scout commented that Reetz is a guy whose swing changes a good bit week to week and this could just be a phase. He won't face much good pitching this spring, so Reetz athleticism and bat path may dictate his draft stock.
The best batting practice power displays came from Georgia 3B Michael Chavis (Clemson commit), Massachusetts 1B Justin Bellinger (Vanderbilt commit), North Carolina RF/1B Braxton Davidson (UNC commit) and Canadian RF Gareth Morgan. Chavis has a squatty, thick frame but quick hands and a lot of strength that creates above average raw power and gives him a chance to hit for average and stick at third base. He'll fit in the top two rounds if he can continue producing at the plate, even though he doesn't look like a lot of high prep draft picks. Bellinger will be a tough evaluation this spring as he won't face much competition and struggled a lot in games this summer due in part to an aggressive pull approach and a swing that can get long, keeping him from getting to his plus raw power in games. He looks like one of the top talents that will get to campus with some holes in his game and bonus expectations that allegedly are already pretty high. Davidson is the safest bat in the class and his advanced approach and plus raw power potential along with enough athleticism to fit in right field for now may get him into the top 10 picks come June. Morgan showed the best raw power in BP, a 60 or 65 present grade on the 20-80 scale along with a pro looking 6'4/220 frame but his arm, speed and bat all leave a lot to be desired right now.