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February 11, 2014

Draft Ten Pack

High School Winter Workouts

by Nick J. Faleris, Todd Gold and David Rawnsley


As part of Baseball Prospectus’ increased draft coverage in 2014, we are excited to introduce an addition to the “Ten Pack” series: the MLB Draft Edition. Each Tuesday we will touch on 10 draft-eligible players, sometimes a few more, with a combination of stock updates, scouting notes, and video. This week we open the series with scouting notes from three of the top prep winter showcases, each taking place annually in early February. I was in attendance at the Prep Baseball Super 60, which focuses on some of the top Midwest talent at the high school ranks. Our partners at Perfect Game had Todd Gold in attendance at the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau’s SoCal Invitational, and David Rawnsley in Cedar Rapids for the Perfect Game Pitcher/Catcher Indoor Showcase.

Simeon Lucas, C, Grant Community (Fox Lake, IL)
Scouting Video
Lucas continues to see his stock rise, as he carried his momentum from the fall to his Super 60 workout on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. He produced consistent loud contact through batting practice, launching several balls on a line to the net hanging a couple hundred feet away, giving scouts more of what they have come to expect from the offense-minded backstop. Where we saw a step forward, however, was behind the plate, where Lucas’ pop times hovered around 2.00 throughout his catch-and-throw workout, while he simultaneously demonstrated improved footwork both to second and on his block and back-pick drills. While catching bullpen sessions for the pitchers, Lucas drew a couple of arms that regularly buried their breaking balls, which turned out to be a blessing. Scouts walked away generally impressed with his lateral movements and blocking. The jury is still out, but the Super 60 was another good day for Lucas from a draft stock standpoint. –Nick J. Faleris

Marcus Wilson, OF, JSerra (Los Angeles, CA)
One of the highest-ceiling prospects in the 2014 draft, Wilson had a big showing at the MLSB SoCal Invitational Showcase over the weekend. Highly projectable physically, Wilson looks the part of a future big leaguer at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, with a long limbed rangy frame, high waist and plenty of room for added muscle mass. He is a plus present runner and ran a 6.44 60-yard dash in Compton. He has solid present power, best to the pull side but capable across the field, and it shows up frequently in games and projects to develop significantly as he gets stronger. Earns high marks in the work ethic category and while he lacks finer-point skill development at present, he has progressed in this regard and his skills should eventually catch up to the high-end tools. Wilson enters the spring as a likely sandwich round or second round pick, where he would offer tremendous value, but he has the talent to play his way into the first round this spring. –Todd Gold

Tanner Houck, RHP, Collinsville (Collinsville, IL)
Scouting Video
Houck had an impressive bullpen session in front of a few dozen area scouts and upper-level evaluators at the Super 60, popping the second-highest fastball velocity with multiple 93 mph readings and otherwise comfortably registering 92s with a slight crossfire delivery. The Missouri commit pounded the lower-U of the zone on a good downhill plane with some dance. His curve shifted between an 11-to-5 and 12-to-6 breaker, as the projectable righty continues to work to find consistent feel for the offering. He also showed a too-firm change in the 83 to 85 mph range. Houck’s arm has a tendency to drag, leading to inconsistent placement in the zone and a release point and arm slot that can vary pitch to pitch. The performance should help Houck firm up prominent placement on Midwest follow lists this spring, with a chance to come off the board early on day two if he can show further secondary development and a little more consistency in execution this spring. –Nick J. Faleris

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Related Content:  Draft,  Prospects,  Scouting

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