TigsTown Draft Notebook: Draft Showcase

As we streak towards draft day, many of the top high school players in the country are seeing their seasons wind down. One of the last chances high-level scouts will get a chance to see players will be at this week's National Pre-Draft Showcase in Iowa, which is hosted by Perfect Game. Several potential high-round players will be on hand to show their abilities to scouts.

Angel Morales started the year as Puerto Rico's top prospect, but the outfielder has since been passed on many boards by shortstop Nefi Soto, who committed to Oklahoma State. Morales has earned comparisons to Carlos Beltran at the same age, and is still a good bet to be gone by the second round.

Florida's Nevin Griffith and Iowa's Jon Gilmore are also expected to be in attendance. For Griffith, he has solidified himself as at least as a supplemental first-rounder with a fastball that has touched 96 to go with a power breaking ball. The fact that he has handled potential first-rounder Michael Burgess in three starts this year has also helped his cause. Gilmore is at a disadvantage because Iowa high schools don't start their season until later this month, but he did play in Iowa's Spring Wood Bat League and finished with a .375 average and five RBIs in 24 at-bats. The Wichita State signee is a good bet to go in the second round, if he's deemed signable in that area.

Denny Almonte (Florida Christian HS, Fla.) will also try to enhance his early-round standing at this event. Almonte has signed with South Florida, but likely won't make it to school due to an impressive array of raw tools that could pay huge dividends in time. One of the top catchers available this year is Yasmani Grandal (Miami Springs HS, Fla.), and he also will be on hand.

While there are players who are solid in their draft standing, others are trying to reestablish themselves after so-so performances this spring. Texas right-hander Paul Demny was an AFLAC All-American last summer, but the Texas A&M recruit has slid to where a good showing and his signability will play a large role on draft day.

Outfielder D. J. Jones (Gulf Shores HS, Al.) tends to get lost in the shuffle due to how loaded Alabama is this year in the prep ranks. The Auburn recruit hit .458 with 16 homers, 49 RBIs, and was 30-for-31 in stolen bases this year.

Two other names to watch are Canadian right-hander Leslie Williams and Florida left-hander Chris Hernandez. With fellow right-handers Phillippe Aumont and Kyle Lotzkar established as early-round picks, Williams is looking to follow suit, although he could also go out as an outfielder. Hernandez touches the low-90s with his fastball, and is signed to stay at home and pitch for Miami (Fla.).

Former Tiger Howard Johnson's son, Glen, will also attend. He is a shortstop out of South Fork High School in Florida, and has signed with Jacksonville.

INJURIES CONTINUE TO TAKE TOLL ON PREP CLASS
Two more prominent players took hits to their draft status due to injuries. Alabama's Hunter Morris broke a finger, but should be available to swing a bat soon enough to workout for teams who are interested in him. However, Illinois right-hander Cody Scarpetta won't be able to throw for four months after having surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right index finger. The Creighton signee could still go in the first five rounds, despite being sidelined.


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