June 4, 2013
Perfect Game Presents
MLB Draft Prospect Reports 51-100
Perfect Game's Draft Prospects 26-50 and 1-25 will be published on Wednesday, followed by a final mock draft on Thursday. You can find all of the amateur draft coverage available at BP through the central hub here.
51. DUSTIN PETERSON, ss, Gilbert HS (Ariz.)
Peterson is the younger brother of University of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson, considered one of the 2-3 best hitting prospects in the 2013 draft class and a near-lock to go in the first round. Almost every Arizona scout whiffed on the elder Peterson’s potential with the bat in 2010 when he played at Gilbert High, and they appear determined not to make the same mistake on Dustin, who has many of his brother’s offensive skills and by all accounts is a more complete talent at comparable stages of their careers. He, too, has a strong, quick swing with plenty of thunder in his bat, can consistently square up balls to the gaps, and projects to hit for true home-run power as he fills out his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame.
Through games of late April, Peterson was hitting a resounding .549-10-39. In addition to being on par with his brother as a hitter, Peterson is seen as the more athletic of the two, and also possesses softer hands and greater arm strength and moves more freely in the field. Peterson has a fair chance to stay in the middle of the field at the next level, at least initially, but big-league teams would be investing in his bat and power potential and acknowledge that his worth would not be compromised if he eventually shifts to a corner. Unlike his brother, who was lightly recruited by in-state colleges, was a token 33rd-round pick of the Seattle Mariners three years ago out of the same high school, and chose to pursue a college career in neighboring New Mexico, Dustin is committed to attend Arizona State.
52. TRAVIS DEMERITTE, 3b, Winder Barrow HS, Statham (Ga.)
The versatile third baseman/right-handed pitcher has had an outstanding spring both at the plate and on the mound for 18-4 Winder Barrow High School. Demeritte has benefited from the proximity of Clint Frazier in particular, as scouts have been remarking that Demeritte’s raw bat speed is only a shade below Frazier’s, high praise that is indicative of where Demeritte’s draft stock has gone over the last couple of months.
53. CHAD PINDER, 3b/ss, Virginia Tech (Jr.)
In a draft class full of high-risk college players, Pinder makes a compelling case in the early rounds as a safe bet. The 6-foot-2, 192 pound infielder has been a consistent performer for Virginia Tech for three years now, and placed himself on the map as an elite draft pick last summer in Cape Cod. A third baseman with excellent hands and range, Pinder may profile better up the middle, specifically at second base, as a pro. He’s more of an average hitter than a player who is going to put up big power numbers, and he certainly has the skill set to play up the middle. His swing is short and quick to the ball, and he’s proven he can recognize and handle quality breaking pitches. He’s also shown scouts an excellent batting eye and a decent rate of contact. He’s a step above average speed-wise as well. That well-rounded skill-set, plus another high quality spring in 2013, should keep Pinder inside the top two rounds.
54. TREVOR WILLIAMS, rhp, Arizona State University
Williams was dominant out of the ASU bullpen as a freshman and made an easy transition to a starting role as a sophomore, going 12-2, 2.05 with 13 walks and 59 strikeouts in 110 innings. When his velocity topped out at 95-96 mph in the first month of the 2013 season and he came out throwing strikes with three other pitches, there were high expectations that he would factor into the draft as a safe late first-round pick. But the 6-foot-3, 230-pound right-hander hasn't sustained his early-season pace, and was 5-3, 3.30 through his first 11 starts, with 13 walks and 55 strikeouts in 79 innings. Scouts have picked up a subtle mechanical adjustment in Williams’ otherwise smooth delivery, which has been ostensibly aimed at generating more power in his secondary pitches as he always has lacked a true swing-and-miss offering. In the process, he has lost velocity on his fastball, which has been typically 91-93 mph in the early innings to 88-91 throughout, and there hasn't been much improvement in his breaking stuff, though his 78-82 mph slider remains steady. Williams continues to throw strikes at a steady pace with his clean arm action, but may no longer command his stuff as well as he needs to for a pitcher who lacks overpowering raw stuff, and hitters have taken to making contact earlier in counts than in the past. As a result, his draft status has taken a modest hit, though he should still be an attractive target in the second or third rounds because of his impressive track record.
55. JOSH HART, of, Parkview HS, Lilburn (Ga.)
The speedy Hart has added some noticeable strength this spring and is driving the ball more frequently than he has in the past, including a drive at the Perfect Game High School Showdown in early April that almost left City of Palms Park at the 387-foot sign in right centerfield. That could get him up into the second round for many teams, as the speed, defense and game skills all play at a high level.
56. DUSTIN DRIVER, rhp, Wenatchee HS (Wash.)
Despite his obvious arm strength, Driver is fighting the historical apprehension of organizations to take 6-foot-1 right handers early, especially those coming out of the high school ranks. Driver has worked on several different breaking balls over the past year and has yet to develop one into the kind of put-away pitch that he'd need to warrant first round consideration. That said, his aggressive pitching style, arm strength and quality fastball-changeup combo should keep him in the top three rounds. He can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and works comfortably at 91-93 with good command to both sides. He showed promise with a cutter and slider late last summer, though both versions were still in the incubation stages, while his curveball is also a solid present pitch with some promise for the future.
57. KENT EMANUEL, lhp, University of North Carolina
Emanuel’s fastball rarely touches, much less tops 90 mph, but the 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander is considered a solid second-round candidate for this year’s draft on the strength of his extremely polished approach and exceptional feel for pitching, along with an impressive track record of success at the college level. In three seasons at Carolina, Emanuel has assembled a tidy 26-6, 1.99 mark overall with 63 walks and 256 strikeouts in a combined 293 innings. He has excelled without an above-average pitch in his repertoire, though he has excellent command of four solid-average pitches, including a fastball that generally resides at 87-89 mph but will occasionally reach 91-92. A 19th-round pick in 2010 out of a Georgia high school, Emanuel gets excellent deception and extension in his long, athletic frame, but it’s his ability to add and subtract from his pitches like a veteran, along with his poise and presence on the mound, that sets him apart. He profiles only as a bottom-of-the-rotation starter at the next level, but has a high probability of reaching his ceiling.
58. CHRIS OKEY, c, Eustis HS (Fla.)
Of all the top high school prospects in Florida, Okey has probably done the most to solidify and improve his draft stock this spring. He’s hit .423-4-24, showing more power both in games and in workouts/batting practice than scouts thought was there in his 6-foot, 180-pound frame. He’s also excelled in other parts of the game, walking 16 times against only six strikeouts while stealing bases at a perfect 15-for-15 clip. The irony of that last number is that Okey has allowed only 10 runners to steal, while throwing out seven, in 25 games this spring.
59. JACOB BRENTZ, lhp, Parkway South HS, Ballwin, Missouri
Brentz’ evolution from a power-hitting outfielder being recruited by SEC schools to a mid-90s left-handed pitching prospect has been well documented, and is one of the most interesting sub-stories in the 2013 draft class. He has pitched in the PG Iowa Spring league over the past two months instead of playing for the Parkway South High School team, where he threw only three innings as a junior. Brentz’ spring has been somewhat uneven, completely understandable for an athlete with such limited pitching experience. He’s topped out at 97 mph with plus life at times and has consistently thrown in the 92-94 mph range. His changeup has also flashed as a plus pitch at times, and he has shown signs that his curveball can develop with more repetitions and a better feel for throwing it hard instead of slowing his arm on the pitch. At other times Brentz’ command has wavered and his off-speed stuff has not been a factor. Whoever does draft Brentz will be getting one of the best arms in the country but also one that will need a larger than normal amount of patience.
60. CAVAN BIGGIO, 3b/2b, St. Thomas HS, Houston (Texas)
A 2012 PG All-American, Biggio has had an outstanding spring and has converted many scouts who had doubts about whether his hit tool could overshadow his less impressive run and throw tools and his lack of a defined future position. He’s hitting .405-7-33 on the spring with an astounding 37-to-8 walk-to-strikeout ratio on the 24-6 St. Thomas team. There is ongoing intrigue and speculation about what role the hometown Astros might have in Biggio’s landing place, but his stock has risen enough this spring that scouts wonder whether he'll even last to the Astros' second pick at no. 40.
61. BLAKE TAYLOR, lhp, Dana Point HS (Calif.)
Taylor was a bit under the radar coming into the 2012 Area Code Games, after having sat out his junior season while transferring. That changed after his initial appearance, a quick 1-2-3 inning in which he topped out at 92 mph and spun a quality breaking ball. He threw another pair of quality innings, though he wasn't quite as electric as the one-inning appetizer suggested he would be. As the season has gone on, he's seen his velocity increase, having topped out at 95 mph. His curveball features plus spin and hard bite, and he's flashed a changeup that has good arm speed, but lacks enough velocity differential from his fastball to remain effective at the next level, though he has a good start on developing it. His development rate and young age relative to his graduating class suggest that Taylor still offers remaining projection, thus most view him as a high-upside lefty.
62. ANDREW KNAPP, c, California (Jr.)
A switch hitter with pop from both sides, Knapp was a 41st round pick of the Athletics coming out of Granite Bay High School in 2010. Knapp was used primarily as a DH up until this spring, and while he's still somewhat raw behind the plate, he offers solid catch and throw tools, suggesting he may have a chance to stick there with development. His power bat could make him a potential impact player if he can reach his upside as a switch hitting catcher with power from both sides. Teams that are bullish on the possibility will be interested in him early on, and he's helped himself out by hitting .351/.428/.541 through 40 games.
63. ALEX BALOG, rhp, University of San Francisco (Jr.)
Balog has followed a similar path of former teammate Kyle Zimmer (5th overall pick, 2012), enrolling at the University of San Francisco as a primary first baseman. A few years later he has emerged as a quality pitching prospect with the requisite size and stuff. He hasn't quite taken the step forward this spring that was hoped after his strong showing last summer with Team USA. However, he has done a good job of working out of trouble and eating through innings in spite of being hit more than expected given his raw stuff. While his stock is down at this point, Balog has good upside for the draft round that corresponds with this ranking position and could represent a good upside gamble.
64. JORDAN PAROUBECK, of, San Mateo Serra HS (Calif.)
Paroubeck has one of the highest ceilings in the state. He has a large, athletic frame that projects for significant strength gains, and he already boasts tremendous bat speed from both sides of the plate. Paroubeck has little experience playing outside of the bay area, and while he put on one of the best displays in batting practice at the 2012 Area Code Games, crushing the ball with authority from both sides, he didn't do much in his game at-bats against high level pitching. He also was recently overmatched by left handed pitcher Matt Krook in a head-to-head matchup this spring. So while you can really dream on the upside, Paroubeck is a bit of wild card for top-two-round consideration. No question he has talent to burn (also a well above average runner with good instincts and a solid arm), but he remains a bit of a mystery with his limited resume and a development trajectory that isn't very well known to scouts. But his peak ceiling is that of a five tool player who may be able to stick in centerfield, and if a club is confident that their player development staff can get him anywhere near that peak, they will likely give him serious first round consideration.
65. COLBY SUGGS, rhp, University of Arkansas (Jr.)
Suggs got off to a very slow start this spring as a strained oblique muscle led to command issues that resulted in 15 walks in his first 10 innings pitched. He’s since settled down and walked only 1 hitter in his last six innings and stands at 0-0, 1.72, with 10 saves (15-2/3 innings, 9 hits, 16 walks, 21 strikeouts) on the year. As a college closer Suggs presents all the normal challenges for scouts to evaluate in that demographic, made all the more difficult due to the fact that Suggs and his mid to upper-90s fastball have thrown just over 100 innings in his college career, spring and summer baseball combined. With his burly 6-foot, 225-pound build, his hyper-aggressive pitching style and two power pitches, no one is suggesting that Suggs fill any role but the short inning reliever.
66. TYLER SKULINA, rhp, Kent State University
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Skulina was a high-profile prospect in 2010, entering his senior season of high school, but fell to the 46th round of that year’s draft because of a minor back injury that impacted his velocity, and firm college commitment to Virginia. Skulina ended up spending just one semester with the Cavaliers before transferring to Kent State, near his northern Ohio home. Though he had to sit out his freshman year with the Golden Flashes because of NCAA transfer rules, Skulina was a force a year ago as a sophomore, winning 11 games while leading Kent State to its first College World Series appearance. He has been more inconsistent this spring as Kent State’s Friday starter, going 5-3, 3.78 in his first 13 starts, with 31 walks and 86 strikeouts in 79 innings. But the strong, durable right-hander has had a handful of outings where he has showcased all the ingredients scouts look for in a first-rounder—and future big-league starter—with three solid-average to plus pitches, all delivered with a pronounced downhill tilt from a tough three-quarter angle. His fastball has been a steady 95-96 mph throughout with tailing movement into right-handed hitters, and he has complemented it with two quality breaking balls, including a hard, biting low-80s slider. Skulina has a better, more-balanced delivery than in high school, but is still prone to games when his velocity dips to 90-91 mph, he’ll struggle with his control and command, and hitters have little difficulty seeing his pitches and squaring him up. His inconsistency, along with the lack of an established changeup, will probably keep him out of the first round, but he should be a factor in the second.
67. DILLON OVERTON, lhp, University of Oklahoma (Jr.)
Overton’s overall status is up in the air after he went down with an inflamed elbow after a mid-week throwing session April 22. Initial reports were that he would miss two to four weeks and he has not pitched since. Prior to that, the Oklahoma native had been the portrait of durable for the Sooners for almost three years, belying his very slender 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame. Overton went 8-4, 2.30 over 74 innings as a freshman in 2011, working mostly out of the bullpen with seven spot starts, then posted a 6-3, 3.15 record in 124 innings as a sophomore working mostly as a starter. Prior to this season, Overton was being compared to Miami Marlins 2012 first round pick, left handed pitcher Andrew Heaney from Oklahoma State, and it looked like he could slip into the bottom of the first round with a strong spring. He had posted a 8-2, 2.54 mark in 71 innings (65 hits, 16 walks, 66 strikeouts) working in tandem with Jonathan Gray as one of the best college starting pitching duos in the country.
At his best, Overton pitches in the 89-92 mph range, touching the 93-94 mph range with an effective low-80s slider and changeup, and profiles as a third or fourth type starter on a big league staff. His draft status had likely slipped a bit before his injury as scouts noted that his raw stuff was not as consistently firm as it had been in the past, and there was concern that it could slip even further having to work every fifth day as a professional due to his lack of physical strength. Still, Overton was considered a safe pick by many as a polished college southpaw with three present pitches and good command who could move quickly through a minor league system. How Overton’s elbow responds to treatment over the next few weeks will determine whether that is still the case.
68. JUSTIN WILLIAMS, of, Terrebonne HS, Houma (La.)
Williams has been one of the most difficult players in the country to scout this spring, part of the reason that his name isn’t mentioned as frequently in national scouting circles as one might expect. Williams plays shortstop in high school and not his natural corner outfield position, plus he plays for a team that finished the season 10-18. Already one of the most pitched around players on the summer and fall travel circuit, Williams has rarely seen any pitches to hit this spring as well. A perfect summary of his spring came in the first game of his district playoffs. With Terrebonne High School up 7-1 in the fifth inning with one out and the bases empty, the opposing coach walked Williams intentionally for the second time in the game. The next hitter grounded into a double play to end the inning, the opposing team rallied and eventually won 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh. Local media accounts of the game said that Williams put on a BP show after the game, including over a dozen long home runs, for the scouts who were at the game.
69. TUCKER NEUHAUS, 3b/ss, Wharton HS, Tampa (Fla.)
Neuhaus established his prospect credentials at the Florida Diamond Club event last October, a showcase type event organized by the Florida Scouts Association. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound left handed hitter blasted a long home run and a double in the game and put on a similar display in batting practice. Unfortunately, Neuhaus has had nothing but adversity since, beginning when his older brother, Ty, a catcher at Hillsborough CC, was tragically killed in car accident in December. This spring has seen Neuhaus miss time with an illness, a head injury caused by a ground ball and a quad muscle issue, giving him few chances to show his full range of tools in game situations.
Scouts who like Neuhaus the most feel his bat is worthy of first-round consideration, although that is not a unanimous opinion due to how infrequently he has been evaluated. Neuhaus currently plays shortstop, and signed with Louisville in part because he was told he could continue to play that position in college, but scouts agree that he will likely move immediately to third base as a professional.
70. OSCAR MERCADO, ss, Gaither HS, Tampa (Fla.)
Mercado has a very long resume with national level scouts and may have to tap on that background after an uninspiring spring that has seen him hit .293-0-13 and make an uncharacteristic number of errors in the field.
71. CODY REED, lhp, Northwest Mississippi CC
Little did scouts know that when East Central shortstop Tim Anderson began making waves as a legitimate early-round talent for this year’s draft in February that a second Mississippi junior-college player would explode on the scene a month later. Reed’s rise to prominence is the more surprising development of the two as his exploits caught everyone completely off guard. In the fall, his fastball was in the 86-88 mph range, occasionally peaking at 90, but it blew up as the 2013 season unfolded, improving to 91-92 mph initially, and then up to 94-95 in his March and April starts, when droves of 40-50 scouts regularly began showing up at his games. As the velocity on Reed’s fastball spiked, so did the speed of his slider, which improved from 76-77 mph early in the season to 79-81.
Being 6-foot-5 and left-handed has only added to Reed’s allure, and scouts have not only been impressed with his raw stuff but his easy arm action and surprisingly good command. On the season, Reed is 6-2, 3.21 with 29 walks and 80 strikeouts in 53 innings. Scouts are understandably leery of Reed’s sudden rise to prominence and they had good reason to be in his latest loss, on April 13, when he gave up eight hits and walked seven in 5-1/3 innings, but they saw all the promise that the intriguing Reed has to offer in his next outing when he spun a 1-0, one-hit shutout, walked none and struck out 15.
72. CARLOS SALAZAR, rhp, Kerman HS (Calif.)
A year ago, Salazar was an unknown outside of the Central Valley. Salazar resides in a small farm town near Fresno, after an anonymously dominant junior spring, he suffered a foot injury that caused him to miss most of the summer. He remained under the radar until he returned from the injury in the fall and created a local buzz that spread. The Ohio Warhawks offered him a spot on their roster for the 2012 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, where Salazar appeased a large crowd of scouts, nearly all of whom were getting their first look, by touching 96 mph.
There's no doubt about how powerful Salazar's arm is, having touched 97 mph at the preseason showcase at the Urban Youth Academy in February, and he also flashed a quality breaking ball at the event. He had shown big velocity and the potential for a quality changeup, but his breaking ball was a major question mark. While he's shown flashes with the breaking ball this spring, he's still raw in several areas of his game, leaving his long-term role as a starter/reliever up in the air. If he can convince teams that he is a starter long term, he has a chance to work his way into the first round. The compensation or second round seems most likely at this point, as he's a high risk/high reward proposition.
73. JACOBY JONES, 2b/cf, Louisiana State (Jr.)
Jones came to LSU from a Mississippi high school after one of the most prolific high school careers on record, capped off by being a Perfect Game All-American in 2009. He immediately moved into the starting lineup for the Tigers and hit .338-4-32 as a freshman and looked destined to be a 2013 first round draft choice. Things have not gone as smoothly since then for Jones, however. He hit only .253-4-29 as a sophomore with only 15 walks and 47 strikeouts, then followed that up with very similar numbers in the Cape Cod League, hitting .253-5-18 with 10 walks and an alarming 55 strikeouts.
Despite his still-pedestrian (for his raw talent) .275-3-19 production this spring, Jones has dramatically improved his contact rate and approach at the plate this spring, having almost doubled his career walk total with 25 while cutting down on his strikeouts. Tool-wise, Jones matches up with just about any position player in the 2013 draft. He was a high school shortstop with plus arm strength, but has played mostly second base and occasionally centerfield in college. He won the home run derby at the 2012 Cape Cod All-Star Game and can put on big power shows in batting practice. Scouts know that if the light ever comes on with Jones at the plate that he has potential All-Star level tools. That alone should guarantee that Jones gets drafted within the top three rounds. What happens after than is anyone’s guess.
74. CORD SANDBERG, of, Manatee HS, Bradenton (Fla.)
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Sandberg stands out athletically, not only in Florida, but on the national level as well. A 4-star quarterback with a scholarship to Mississippi State, Sandberg completed 70-percent of his passes last fall for 2,674 yards with 35 touchdowns and only one interception. He also ran for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns on a 13-1 Manatee team that lost in the state championship game. Some scouts have compared him to Georgia’s Austin Meadows as an athlete, with Sandberg having a bit more present strength and a bit less speed and quick-twitch fiber. A Perfect Game All-American, Sandberg showed a surprising degree of baseball skill last summer considering his lack of baseball repetitions, especially with his powerful left handed swing. Unfortunately, scouts have not seen the tools translate into performance this spring. If football wasn’t in the picture, Sandberg’s athleticism alone would guarantee him 2-3 round consideration from the teams that value raw high ceiling talent. What happens with football in the equation remains to be seen.
75. A.J. PUK, lhp/1b, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids (Iowa)
The multi-talented Puk has been a ubiquitous presence at Perfect Game events since the beginning of his freshman year and is probably the best known and most heavily scouted Iowa high school product since Ryan Sweeney. Puk’s gradual and steady improvement as a left handed pitcher over the past four years, along with his highly projectable 6-foot-7, 220-pound build, led many to believe and hope that he could have a breakout spring and start touching the 93-95 mph range on his fastball that most believe is in his future. A combination of the poor weather and Puk’s well-known tendency to start slowly in the spring has prevented that from happening, although he did top out at 92 mph at the PG Pre-Draft Showcase on May 13. A further complicating factor for Puk’s draft status is that he has prospect level tools as a hitter that have developed in tandem with his talents on the mound.
76. TEDDY STANKIEWICZ, rhp, Seminole State CC (Fr.)
Stankiewicz was drafted in the second round (75th overall) a year ago out of a Texas high school, but never agreed to terms with the New York Mets. In the process, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander became the highest pick from the 2012 high-school ranks not to sign. Stankiewicz also subsequently elected not to fulfill his scholarship commitment to Arkansas, and instead enrolled in junior college at Seminole State, which makes him eligible to re-enter this year’s draft. By all accounts, he should at least re-emerge as a second-rounder. Stankiewicz has made strides with a fastball that has ranged from 90-96 mph, as opposed to 87-91 earlier in the season, and he has held his velocity more consistently deeper into games.
But the real difference-maker for Stankiewicz has been his changeup, a below-average pitch out of high school but now a dominant, swing-and-miss complement to his fastball at 80-83 mph. He’ll also flash two quality breaking balls, a 75-78 mph curve and 80-83 mph slider, and will often emphasize one over the other in a given outing, depending on which one is working most effectively. He just needs to tighten the rotation on both pitches to establish more consistency. With just seven walks, plus 58 strikeouts, in his first 54 innings this spring, Stankiewicz has continued to work with above-average control and command of all his pitches. Along with his loose, lean build and a conventional delivery with a high three-quarters release point, he has all the ingredients to profile as a solid, middle-of-the-rotation starter in pro ball.
77. A.J. VANEGAS, rhp, Stanford University (Jr.)
After turning down the Padres as a seventh rounder out of high school in 2010, Vanegas has electric stuff, but his college career has been dampened a bit by nagging injuries. At his best, Vanegas can run his fastball into the mid-90s and back it with a power slider, giving him a pair of plus offerings that are the foundation for his high ceiling. He's posted good strikeout rates throughout his career, but he's also issued his share of walks. The question ultimately becomes whether he can harness his powerful raw stuff, stay healthy, and make the transition from the bullpen to a starting role. He's another Stanford wild card, joining high upside teammate outfielder Austin Wilson as a tandem of prospects that have been keeping scouts awake at night this spring.
78. RYAN MCMAHON, 3b, Mater Dei HS (Calif.)
The lanky 6-foot-3 left-handed slugging third basemen is already showing moderate in-game power to all fields, and his athletic frame portends for significant increases in physical strength with natural physical maturation. Which is to say that he has all of the ingredients for developing plus power. If McMahon can remain at third base after he fills out it would enhance his long term value further. With the potential to develop into an impact hitter, adding defensive positional value to the equation would make him really interesting. Even if he doesn't stick at third, his bat may develop enough to where it's not an issue. He's a player who could land in the first round if a team is convinced that he'll be able to hit and hold down third base at the big league level. And if they're right he'll be a steal.
79. TREY MASEK, rhp, Texas Tech University (Jr.)
When this Perfect Game Draft Focus profile was written by Frankie Piliere back at the start of the college season in February, Masek was about to get off to perhaps the quickest start in all of college baseball. He posted a 3-0, 0.22 record in his first 40 innings, allowing only 22 hits. Masek then missed a couple of starts with a sore shoulder, putting question marks in scout’s minds as Masek was making the conversion to full-time starter this spring. His velocity and stuff have been consistent with is previously established levels since coming back, although his command has been a bit off and his performance less dominating. He’ll be a wild card for the top three rounds heading into the stretch run.
80. JAN HERNANDEZ, ss, Carlos Beltran Academy, San Lorenzo (Puerto Rico)
Hernandez became the second Puerto Rican after 2012 top draft pick Carlos Correa to be named a Perfect Game All-American, and there was some early speculation that he could move on to become the island’s next first-round pick in this year’s draft. While Hernandez put on a very good showing at the Excellence Games despite being pitched around consistently (seven walks in four games), including hitting the event’s only home run, he seems to fit best in the second or third rounds. The consensus is that the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Hernandez will have to move off shortstop to third base immediately in professional baseball, although his easy plus arm strength and overall athleticism should make him an above average defender at that position.
81. ROB ZASTRYZNY, lhp, University of Missouri (Jr.)
Missouri’s first season in the SEC has been rough going, as the Tigers have posted a 7-17 conference mark and are 15-28 overall. Despite having a 2-9, 3.93 record (75 innings, 79 hits, 21 walks, 71 strikeouts) as Missouri’s Friday night starter, Zastryzny has seen his draft stock steadily rise through the course of the spring and could hear his name heard as early as the second round. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw was undrafted out of Corpus Christi, Texas high school despite going 17-1, 0.20 with 198 strikeouts his senior year. He stepped into the Missouri rotation early in his freshman year and has built his upper-80s fastball into a pitch that now tops out at 94 mph with excellent sinking and running life at times. Zastryzny’s best secondary pitch is a low-80s changeup that has very good arm speed and matches his fastball in life and in his ability to spot the ball low in the zone. His third pitch is a curveball that is a workable offering in setting up hitters, but it is not currently a swing-and-miss pitch.
82. THOMAS MILONE, of, Masuk HS (Conn.)
At least in terms of statistical performance, Milone has not been overwhelming in front of scouts this spring. His competition or lack thereof also make the scouting conditions less than idea. But, scouts have been attracted to his exciting raw tools since last summer. He shows an above average bat, as well as an average arm in center field, and 60 foot speed on the 20-80 scale. What might be the difference maker for Milone, though, is his power. He’s quick to the ball and has a lot of lift in his swing, and consistently generates backspin on the baseball.
That said, Milone projects to have at least average or a notch above average left-handed power at the big league level. There are some mechanical issues that professional coaches will likely want to tidy up in his swing, like the twitch in his wrist during his load. Quieting his mechanics somewhat may allow his very fast hands to go to work a little more consistently. Right now, he also appears to have the tools to remain in center, and gets a good first step on balls in the gap. There was early spring buzz that he could go as high as the compensation round, but it seems more likely now that the speedy center fielder goes off the board between rounds three and five.
83. MICHAEL O'NEILL, of, University of Michigan (Jr.)
Baseball loves bloodlines, which aids the cause of O'Neill who is the nephew of former big leaguer Paul. Michael O'Neill has a similar, well-rounded tool-set as his uncle, although is much more fleet of foot with his speed grading out at 55/60 on the scouting scale as evidenced by his 23 stolen bases this year in 27 attempts. At 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, O'Neill is a right handed hitter that doesn't get cheated at the plate. He can be somewhat of a free swinger (11-to-39 strikeout-to-walk ratio), and is susceptible to breaking balls low and away, but has the bat speed to catch up with any fastball and drive them hard to the gaps. He continues to be very productive at the plate with a knack for providing the big hit in key situations. He is hitting .361/.402/500 this year after hitting .262 on the Cape last summer on his way to being named the league's no. 23 prospect. Given his combination of tools and skills, along with his big league bloodlines, O'Neill is expected to be a solid third-round pick come June.
84. TYLER O’NEILL, c/ss, Garibaldi HS, Maple Ridge, B.C. (Canada)
O’Neill’s ability to swing the bat—both for average and power—is what sets him apart from almost any high-school hitter in the 2013 draft. But his inability to lock in on a set position probably has him on the outside of the first round looking in. Scouts still have hopes that the short, powerfully-built O’Neill, whose father is an 11-time Canadian weight-lifting champion, will find his way as a catcher, but a hernia that prevented him from squatting comfortably a year ago impaired his development behind the plate, and a sore elbow this spring while with Canada’s junior-national team on a barnstorming tour to Florida relegated him to mostly a DH role. Even when healthy, the 6-foot, 215-pound O’Neill has been somewhat reluctant to catch, though he has the raw arm strength desired in the position. The versatile O’Neill settled in as an all-star shortstop when unable to catch as a junior, but his lack of flexibility and grinder-like approach in the field makes him a better fit as an offensive second baseman (along the lines of stocky Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla), or corner outfielder.
In British Columbia baseball circles, O’Neill has drawn constant comparisons to another former top Langley Blaze prospect, Brett Lawrie, an offensive-oriented player who enhanced his first-round candidacy in 2008 by moving behind the plate—though that experiment ended early in his pro career, and Lawrie has since settled in as a third baseman with the Toronto Blue Jays. Scouts who saw both players as high-school seniors say O’Neill is more advanced than Lawrie in most areas. Not only is he stronger and faster, and also possesses a stronger arm, but O’Neill had a much better year with the bat. With a short, quick, compact swing, O’Neill handles wood with ease; his raw power, in particular, has emerged this spring, especially with his ability to drive balls long distances to the opposite field. On Blaze’s 23-game exhibition trek to spring-training bases in Arizona in March, where 40-60 scouts typically gathered for most games, O’Neill hit a resounding .714 with five homers. O’Neill committed to Oregon State, but his growing stature as a prospect this spring makes it increasingly unlikely that he will ever play a game at the collegiate level.
85. AARON BROWN, lhp/of, Pepperdine University (So.)
Brown is a draft eligible sophomore who splits time between the mound and in the outfield. He missed some time early in the year with an oblique strain, adding to the unpredictability of an already volatile profile as a two-way sophomore. He has hit well in 33 at-bats (.333/.353/.455), but he's generally viewed as a primary left handed pitcher by the scouting community. He features a low-90s fastball that can touch the mid-90s on occasion. His lack of strikeouts indicate that his slider still hasn't developed into an out pitch, which he will need in order to be more than an innings eater at the upper levels of the pro game. But as an athletic lefty who possesses the requisite size and velocity and an insurance policy as an outfielder, there will likely be a lot of interest in the second round.
86. ERIC LAUER, lhp, Midview HS, Elyria (Ohio)
With a dominating performance as a senior at Midview High, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Lauer has scaled to the top of the heap this spring among an impressive crop of Ohio high school pitchers. Through his first six starts, he was 5-0, 0.00, while limiting opponents to a .054 average. He had yet to give up more than two hits in any outing, and in 35 innings overall, had walked just three while striking out 68. All the ingredients for success were already firmly in place for Lauer as he has a quick arm, an advanced feel for his secondary stuff and a clean, polished delivery for a young left-hander. His fastball has been a steady 90-91 mph this spring, peaking at 93, and he has thrown his breaking ball, a curve with occasional sharp break, and straight change for strikes more consistently. With Lauer’s athletic, projectable frame, it’s easy for scouts to project continued improvement, and the lanky left-hander may face a dilemma in this year’s draft, coming out now as a projected third-rounder, or attending Kent State, and coming out in three years as a potential first-rounder—especially with that school’s reputation for churning out top-notch pitching prospects.
87. JIMMIE SHERFY, rhp, Oregon (Jr.)
In spite of having big stuff and a strong performance this spring, Sherfy's profile pushes him down the list a couple of spots. Not only is projected as a reliever long term, but his draft stock also suffers a bit from the stigma of being an undersized righty. However, he features two legitimate plus pitches, in a mid-90s fastball that's reportedly been as high as 97 this spring, and a power slider. If he were able to maintain that type of stuff over a full start and develop a third pitch we might be talking about him as a first rounder, but he's one of the better relief pitching prospects in this draft and he's been lights out coming out of the Ducks bullpen this spring. The combination of talent and performance makes him difficult to overlook.
88. GARRETT WILLIAMS, lhp, Calvary Baptist HS, Shreveport (La.)
Williams entered the spring as one of the fastest rising high school pitching prospects in the country. He missed much of the 2012 high school season with an oblique injury, but rounded into shape by the Area Code Games in early August where he was one of the top handful of prospects at that event, with most scouts feeling that his curveball was the best breaking pitch they saw that week. Williams then went on to play a lead role on the Gold Medal winning USA 18u National Team, going 1-0, 1.26, with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.
With a 90-92 mph fastball, a nasty upper-70s curveball that was a potential plus pitch, and above average athleticism, Williams looked like he could move into first round status with a strong spring. Things haven’t worked out that way according to scouts. Command was an issue early, and then Williams’ velocity dropped into the mid- to upper-80s, occasionally touching 90 mph, as the season progressed. Calvary Baptist then traveled to Las Vegas to play nationally ranked Bishop Gorman on April 5 and Williams was knocked around for 16 runs (only 7 earned) in 2-1/3 innings in a 18-1 route. It’s hard to determine where Williams’ draft stock is now, with the added concern for scouts that he is a 4.0 student with a scholarship to Oklahoma State.
89. JARED KING, of, Kansas State University (Jr.)
King has a realistic chance of being drafted in the late second or third round, especially by a team that has a long history on him from previous college seasons and the Cape Cod League. He was hampered early in the season by a sore hamstring that caused him to miss only a couple of games and has affected his play in others. At his best and healthiest, King is one of the better all-around offensive players in college baseball. He’s a switch-hitter who led the Big 12 in hitting as a sophomore (.377-7-47) and has extra base power from both sides of the plate. King also has a polished approach at the plate (49 walks vs. 45 strikeouts the past two years) and the speed to steal double figure bases as a professional. There also might be some family bragging rights on the line in June, as King’s older brother, former KSU shortstop Jason King, was a fourth-round draft pick (137th overall) of the Tigers in 2011, a mark that King could easily surpass.
90. ROWDY TELLEZ, 1b/dh, Elk Grove HS (Calif.)
Tellez and Kevin Franklin have similar profiles: massive raw power with long term positional uncertainty. Franklin has a chance to stick at 3B, while Tellez's best case scenario would be to develop into a solid defensive 1B. Tellez makes up a lot of that ground by being a left handed hitter with equal power, but Franklin remains a slightly better prospect at this point, despite the similar high ceiling power corner profiles.
91. DACE KIME, rhp, University of Louisville
Kime turned down an eighth-round offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 out of Ohio’s Defiance High, but didn’t firmly re-establish himself as a top prospect for this year’s draft until adding a cutter/slider to his repertoire this season. He began pitching much more effectively overall with that pitch, and eventually was inserted into Louisville’s weekend rotation as the Sunday starter—replacing his best friend, ex-Defiance High right-hander Anthony Kidston, who injured his shoulder. His stock for the draft has only taken off since. Prior to his emergence this spring, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-hander had worked in almost every role possible on the Cardinals staff, with moderate success.
With Defiance High’s reputation for turning out pitchers with power curveballs, current big leaguers Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese among them, Kime arrived at Louisville with a hard, overhand curve as his primary breaking pitch. But its shape was so big that he struggled for two years to harness the pitch, and his newfound slider quickly became a difference maker for him, especially with his ability to command it. He quickly settled into a starting role with a second dominant pitch to complement his lively, consistent 92-95 mph fastball, and he also mixed in an occasional curve and change. Through 22 appearances (6 starts), Kime was 5-1, 3.06 with 12 walks and 67 strikeouts in 53 innings—a marked upgrade from 2012, when he walked 22 and struck out 42 in 41 innings, all in relief. With his improved stuff and more-dependable command to go with his big, durable frame, Kime now has all the ingredients to move onto pro ball as a starter.
92. MASON SMITH, of, Rocky Mountain HS, Meridian (Idaho)
While he's begun to develop strength, Smith isn't overly physical yet and still projects to get stronger. Couple that with the amount of playable power he's already showing and he's likely to come off the board in rounds 2-4 despite lacking a standout defensive tool to play a premium position. Smith has a history with scouts, as his resume includes the 2011 PG Junior National, 2011 PG National Games, 2011 PG Northwest Showcase, the 2012 18u Team USA trials and the 2012 Area Code Games. His development has benefited from that experience and he's shown enough development that organizations are taking a very hard look at him as a legitimate top five round pick out of high school, something that is very rare in Idaho. The last high school player selected in the top five rounds out of Idaho was big league reliever Bobby Jenks, who was a fifth round pick in 2000.
93. ANDREW CHURCH, rhp, Basic HS, Las Vegas (Nev.)
Having just been declared eligible for his senior season last week, Church hasn't been seen as much this spring as a legitimate Group 1 prospect would otherwise have been seen, yet. That is about to change, as he has reported seen his velocity climb into the mid-90s during bullpen sessions this spring. His hammer curveball that became a plus pitch for him as early as last summer and was a weapon for him when he locked up with Alabama's Kevin Davis in a great pitchers’ duel during the semifinals of the 17u PG World Series in Arizona last July.
Church’s changeup is also quite solid for a prep arm and he has an idea how to utilize and command his impressive arsenal. His stuff and ceiling is of the caliber that it could be argued he should be more of a 1a than the no. 2 prospect on this list, and would have been the top prospect had it not been for the impressive breakout of Shipley this spring. Keep an eye on Church over the final weeks leading up to the draft, as his late start to the season will give him limited opportunities to pitch in front of MLB decision makers this spring, but he has the stuff to make a strong impression during those opportunities, and he could make a late push into the top two rounds as a result.
94. DOMINIC NUNEZ, c/2b, Elk Grove HS (Calif.)
Nunez' value relative to this year's draft enjoyed a significant boost thanks to him making the full-time conversion to catching. Previously a middle infielder, Nunez is more quick than he is fast, with a strong arm and a quick release. At the plate he is equally short and quick to the ball, with enough power to reach double digit home runs over a full season. His aggressive, instinctive approach to the game are also valuable attributes that serve him well taking charge behind the plate.
95. SAM MOLL, lhp, Memphis University
Even with his already being an athletic left-hander with a strong, quick arm and electric stuff, scouts wanted to see more from the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Moll to hopefully profile him as something other than an under-sized reliever, and perhaps even justify his worth as a possible early-round pick in the 2013 draft. After going a lackluster 5-5, 3.34 with 42 walks and 59 strikeouts in 94 innings as a sophomore starter at Memphis, Moll gave scouts plenty to chew on last summer in the Cape Cod League when he posted an eye-popping 2-43 walk-to-strikeout ratio while bumping up the velocity on his fastball to 94-95 mph—a marked upgrade from the mid-80s as a high school senior.
Not only did Moll have excellent control and command of his fastball low in the strike zone, he also got good tailing and cutting action on the pitch. For added measure, he moved more to a hard, tight slider from a curve as his go-to, swing-and-miss breaking pitch, and displayed a poised, competitive demeanor on the mound. Moll has been like a new pitcher this spring at Memphis, going 7-3, 2.45 with 86 strikeouts in 73 innings, and even though his control hasn’t been quite as pinpoint sharp as last summer, he has walked just 26—a significant upgrade from a year ago. His fastball has peaked at 96, though has been a more common 92-94 (vs. 88-90 in 2012), and he has tightened his 77-80 mph slider while even incorporating a changeup into his repertoire. With all his improvement, Moll has elevated his draft value to a possible second- or third-rounder.
96. SCOTT FRAZIER, rhp, Pepperdine University (Jr.)
The massive 6-foot-7 right hander is still developing his command, which tends to happen much later for pitcher's with such long levers to control while attempting to repeat their delivery. Frazier was a fifth round pick out of high school in 2010, and features impressive raw stuff when healthy. He can run his fastball into the mid-90s and create hard sink by using his length to create downhill leverage. He backs it with a power slider that features plus bite in the upper-80s at its best, though the pitch is still a work in progress and he still doesn't command it well enough to be a legitimate out pitch. If he can take that step in his development he has a chance to take off. Whether he can do that remains to be seen, though having stayed healthy all college season so far is a positive step in the right direction in itself.
97. COREY LITTRELL, lhp, University of Kentucky
With a quality four-pitch mix, solid feel for pitching and a track record of success, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Littrell entered the 2013 season as the top prospect among Kentucky’s deep crop of college arms. This season Littrell has posted a 5-5, 3.92 record, along with 31 walks and 70 strikeouts in 87 innings. In 2012, as one of the best, most-polished pitchers in the Southeastern Conference, he went 8-2, 2.66 with 23 walks and 80 strikeouts in 91 innings. The velocity on Littrell’s fastball has typically been 88-91 mph this spring, down a tick on average, but it has also dipped to the mid-80s, on occasion, whereas a year ago it would flash a 94. His changeup has evolved into his best, most-dependable pitch, though his low-80s slider remains a dominant offering against left-handed hitters. He also has a second, distinct second breaking ball in his curve. Though Littrell hasn’t been as consistently sharp this spring, his reputation as a quality left-hander with advanced pitchability skills remains largely intact.
98. RYON HEALY, 1b, Oregon (Jr.)
The top power bat in this year's draft class, Healy is rivaled only by Oregon State sophomore outfielder Michael Conforto for best power in the state, regardless of class. While he's seen time at third base, his natural position is first base. That profile puts a lot of pressure on the bat, but his impressive offensive tools and power surge this spring will give organizations enough confidence in the bat to make him a top three round pick, possibly working his way into the second round. His approach at the plate is controlled aggression, he takes violent hacks at hittable pitches and also recognizing when to take or fight off pitcher's pitches. He's always put on impressive power displays during batting practice, and as he's advanced as a pure hitter it has begun to translate into games on a regular basis.
99. CLINTON HOLLON, rhp, Woodford County HS, Lexington (Ky.)
With a fastball at 95-96 mph, Hollon established himself as a potential early first-round pick for the 2013 draft by his sophomore year at Woodford County High. But the 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander suffered a setback in his development at last summer’s East Coast Showcase, when he was sidelined with tendinitis in his elbow and subsequently shut down for several weeks. After undertaking a strength-training program to restore the health in his elbow, Hollon was back to 100 percent this spring as a high school senior. His fastball was still 92-94 mph, and occasionally peaked at 95 this spring. His power slider also has the potential to be a dominant pitch, and has a good feel for a changeup. Hollon is very athletic and has significant arm speed.
100. MATT McPHEARSON, of, Riverdale Baptist, Columbia (Md.)
McPhearson has come on strong after battling the injury bug early this spring, and has clearly put himself in contention for the top three rounds in June. His blazing speed and plus defensive ability have drawn comparisons to Phillies center fielder Ben Revere. He already has a good idea of how to utilize his speed, putting the ball in play, keeping the ball on the ground, and hitting hard line drives to all parts of the field.