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March 4, 2014

Draft Ten Pack

The Prep Edition

by Nick J. Faleris and BP Prospect Staff

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Prep Spotlight: Nick Gordon (SS/RHP, Olympia (Orlando, FL))

After an uneven first few games, Gordon has exploded offensively over the past two weeks. His season line now sits at .435/.519/.870, which includes 10 hits over 23 at-bats and more than half of those hits going for extra bases (two home runs, two doubles, and a triple). The FSU commit has hung a noteworthy amount of muscle on his frame over the winter months, addressing one of the few concerns surrounding his profile: a lack of physicality. With a chance to play a good defensive shortstop, with legit plus-or-better arm strength and solid lower-half agility, Gordon could be setting himself up for top 10 selection if he continues this torrid pace at the plate throughout the next couple of months. In a draft heavy on college arms and power prep arms, it’s tough to ask for a prep position player to work his way that high on a draft board. Gordon has the chance to do it, with the upside of a plus-or-better stick, double-digit home run pop and a plus defensive profile. –Nick J. Faleris

More Prep Notes

Michael Kopech (RHP, Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant, TX))
Scouting Video

A bit of an enigma on the summer circuit, Kopech flashed dominant stuff at times (such as in the above video) while struggling to throw strikes and maintain his mechanics throughout his outings. Based on arsenal, projection, and upside, he was one of the most interesting right-handed starters in the class entering the 2014 season, and his first few starts have him looking to make an early play for first-round selection. In his first regular season start, Kopech threw four perfect innings, striking out nine in the process and seeing his fastball sit comfortably in the low 90s and kissing the mids. At its best, the curve is a hard mid- to upper-70s power breaker with plus depth, and he’ll mix in a distinct slider and a change, to boot. –Nick J. Faleris

Sean Reid-Foley (RHP, Sandalwood (Jacksonville, FL)
Scouting Video

Reid-Foley continues to chew through the competition down in the Sunshine State, and could be putting himself in the discussion for top prep arm in the class. In his most recent start, the Florida State commit took the hill against Mandarin and proceeded to carve his way through six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one hit-by-pitch while recording 16 of his 18 outs via strikeouts. High school stats are not overly important when it comes to scouting the draft, but one can’t help but be impressed by the line that Reid-Foley has put together over his first three league starts: 16 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 37 SO, 3 HBP. The stuff remains consistent, with a low- to mid-90s heater leading the way and three quality secondaries (slider, curve, change) in tow. –Nick J. Faleris

Grant Holmes (RHP, Conway (Conway, SC))
Scouting Video

Holmes established himself early as one of the top power arms in the class, routinely sitting in the low- to mid-90s through the summer/fall scouting circuit and flashing a low-80s power slider that could also grade as a plus or better offering, long term. Early reports this spring have Holmes’ velo climbing even higher, touching 98 mph in a short-stint scrimmage. It’s a strong solid build with a high-effort delivery that has some scouts pointing the Florida commit toward a future closer role. Over multi-inning starts, however, Holmes has shown an ability to turn over lineups and maintain his secondaries, even if the velocity sits closer to 90-93 than it does 94-96. He is a potential first-round arm that with a strong spring could carve out a top 10 spot in a pitching-heavy draft. –Nick J. Faleris

Luke Bonfield (OF, IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL))
Scouting Video

Bonfield is a premium high school bat from New Jersey who transferred to top program IMG Academy to play his senior season. An Arkansas commit, Bonfield was ranked no. 3 in New Jersey and no. 59 overall by Perfect Game before the season. He has an advanced approach with the ability to barrel up balls and makes consistent hard contact. Bonfield possesses the potential for his line drives to carry with added bat speed and size, which his frame should hold. He has a big load, similar to that of Hanley Ramirez, but does an excellent job of getting it down early and keeping his weight back. Can get a bit rotational at times but showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields, hitting an opposite-field HR in one of the games I saw him play. Right now, he’s an average runner, or maybe a tick above average, which will keep him in the corner OF spots with an average arm. –Steffan Segui

Taylor Lane (3B/SS, IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL))
Scouting Video

Similar to Bonfield, Lane transferred into IMG Academy this season from out of state. He will stay in state for college and attend Florida if he doesn’t get signed away to pro ball first. Ranked no. 195 by Perfect Game, Lane comes from Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake, VA, same school that produced the Upton brothers. His upright setup and rotational mechanics somewhat resemble those of Justin. Lane is currently 6-foot-2 with a medium build and looks as if he could fill out substantially. Has a solid idea at the plate but a late start and small hand hitch give him the tendency to swing through pitches. His quick hands and good bat speed could produce above-average power when he fills out. He is a solid-average runner and has plenty of arm and quickness that will allow him to stay on the left side of the infield. His eventual size and range however, will likely push him to third. –Steffan Segui

Dylan Cease (RHP, Milton (Milton, GA))
Scouting Video

Cease showcased big velocity all summer, before tiring some in late August, and backed up the heater with a fringe-average curve that often flashed plus but lacked consistency in execution. The story remains the same thus far in 2014, with the Vandy commit popping in the 94-97 mph range early and often after a restful winter. With so much velocity at the prep ranks this year, it will be important for arms like Cease to show consistent secondaries and an ability to maintain into the middle innings in order to provide some separation from the pack come draft day. Cease is off to a good start and will look to carry that momentum through the spring. –Nick J. Faleris

Touki Toussaint (RHP, Coral Springs (Coral Springs, FL))
Scouting Video

Perhaps the highest upside prep arm in the class, Toussaint has the potential to boast a plus or better fastball, plus-plus curve, average changeup, and plus short slider/cutter if things break right. His biggest obstacle over the last nine months has been finding the ability to command his pitches on a regular basis, as it was not uncommon to see the big righty quickly dispatch of a couple batters before lapsing into bouts of wildness and extending his innings. Thus far the velocity has crept into the mid-90s this spring, which is consistent with what we’ve seen since last June. He remains a candidate to come off the board in the first round, but could slip if he is not able to show more consistency this spring than we’ve seen in recent viewings. –Nick J. Faleris

Tyler Kolek (RHP, Shepherd (Shepherd, TX))
Scouting Video

Entering the spring, Kolek was guaranteed top-five-overall hype so long as he showed the same velocity he had on display during several stops on the summer scouting circuit. In limited action thus far, the TCU commit has done just that, hitting 99 mph and sitting comfortably in the 95-97 range. The secondaries continue to lag, but if he can find the handle on a slider that has shown some promise, he could be first prep name called come June. Heck, even without the developed secondaries he is certain to get early first round consideration off the velocity and workhorse build—he stands 6-foot-5, 250 with big firm hands and country strength throughout. High level decision-makers will be checking in throughout the spring, though the early velocity returns may mean those selecting later in the round are perusing goods that will never be available to them. –Nick J. Faleris

Milton Ramos (SS, American Heritage (Plantation, FL))
Scouting Video

As with Nick Gordon, evaluators in near unanimity view Ramos as a future shortstop, with questions about his future offensive projection centering on physicality. Ramos hasn’t seen the same visible increase in strength that Gordon has, but is nonetheless stinging the ball to start the 2014 campaign, which is helping alleviate concerns. Through six games the FAU commit is hitting .476/.560/1.000, with half of his 10 hits going for extra bases (two home runs, two triples, and a double). He has also showcased his plus speed and solid baserunning, stretching extras and going three of four on attempted steals. Insert your typical “early season, small sample size” conditionals here, but do so while noting Ramos is doing what he needs to in order to begin carving out an early-round spot for himself come June. –Nick J. Faleris

Nick J. Faleris is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

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