Taylor Walls, SS, Florida State University
Seen in 2 games at SS from 3/14-3/15. From both sides; hits from an even stance with good rhythm and a slight crouch, hands close to chest. Average bat speed from both sides; more contact oriented and lacks juice from the right side. From the left side has more line-drive approach and can lift balls. Extremely patient; waits pitchers out; leadoff mentality; will take walks; takes in all counts; will take until he gets a strike most of the time; is vulnerable to better arms. Lacks raw power from the right side; all power from the left; more doubles power; should play to full utility given hitting ability. Average runner; 4.20 (LH) 4.32 (RH). Average arm strength; can be a little short for plays deeper in the hole; but is accurate enough. Good hands; struggled with plays to his right; but makes plays around him with good feet and hands. Average to below-average tools across the board; see as a utility defender.
Brody Rodning, LHP, Minnesota State University (D2)
Seen in a 5 IP start on 3/3. Pitches from a full windup with a compact arm action; gets extended and deep after hand break; lots of depth; three-quarters slot. Has crossfire; not an easy or simple delivery; had struggles repeating delivery in outing. Fastball 90-91, T92; quality arm-side tail; crossfire adds deception; has a history of throwing strikes; just didn't have quality control in this outing. Curve 74-77 T79; long, large break; not sharp but has quality depth and action; somewhat slurvy; better vs LHH for strikes and finish. Change 80-81; not comfortable with offering; could be a change of pace pitch in future; but lacked feel at this stage; very raw. 1.27-1.33 in slide step; 1.92 with leg kick. Interesting D2 arm; has pedigree and quality FB/CB combination; see as a lefty bullpen option.
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Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic High (CA)
Elite physicality, quick-twitch athleticism, has some growing into his body to do, can struggle at times—particularly in the field—to harness his quickness and strength; plus range at short, quick feet, top-shelf mobility, fielding actions will get a little quick and jabby, electric field-and-transfer, shows quality footwork around the bag; above-average arm strength, sloppy mechanics, below-average accuracy on the move; lacks innate smoothness and feel of a shortstop, athleticism to give it a go anyway; high leg kick, balanced off back side, simple load, creates torque, plus bat speed; lower half gets too quick, back knee will fold and he’ll lose his hips, becomes an arms swing; leverage to the pull side, bat speed and strength projection for above-average, potentially plus raw depending on how he fills out; advanced approach, flashes command of the zone, patient hitter, average or better hit and power tool potential; plus-plus runner, 4.04 from the right side, very quickly into second gear, stole second comfortably on a 1.27 pitcher and 2.0 pop; disruptive baserunner, aggressive, manufactures extra bases and pressures defenses.
Alex Faedo, RHP, University of Florida
Seen in a 8 2/3 IP start on 2/24. Athletic body; lacks remaining physical projection due to age as well as current body mass. Pitches from a full-wind; compact arm action with a high elbow in the back; slight reach in the back; above-average arm speed; three-quarters slot; has crossfire; not the most athletic delivery and somewhat awkward but repeats it well and makes it work. Fastball 90-92, T94; velo dropped to 88-90 later in game; average arm-side life; uses it against righties well. Slider 83-85; future plus offering; late darting action; can get big at times and lose sharp break but should be a consistent plus pitch in future; used to both sides. Change 87-88; has quality arm speed; but lacks movement; has right idea against LHH in throwing on outer half away; should improve to an average offering down the road. 1.14-1.20 to the plate. Missed fall due to arthroscopic knee surgery on both knees; has not regained prior velocity; will have to be monitored going forward; if velo comes back is a middle of the rotation candidate.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills High School (CA)
Long and lean, loose, athletic, narrow frame with moderate projection; muscle development will be wiry rather than bulk, room to wear another 15-20 pounds without compromising physicality; raw delivery, measured takeaway, consistent early rhythm, spine tilt, unbalanced at fulcrum; slingshot arm action, early wrap, high elbow in the back, scapular stress, elite arm speed to three-quarters slot; hips stay closed off, moderate stride, significant inversion at strike, cross-fire, can struggle to stay on line and on time; effort through drive, moderate head whack, cuts off finish; slow unpacking out of the stretch, 1.33-1.51, runners had no trouble timing him.
Notes on players from the World Wood Bat Association Championships.
Wilberto Rivera, RHP, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Naranjito, PR
Rivera has gained notoriety over the past few months as a notable player to watch in advance of the next draft. He has a lot of things you like to look for in young arms including athleticism, size, and explosiveness. Standing 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he still has quite a bit of room for physical growth, especially in his lower half. Wilberto pitches from a full windup with a quick, deep but loose arm action, with good arm speed from a three-quarters slot. His fastball ranged from 93-95, touching 96. In prior outings this summer, he would struggle to command his arsenal as he would lose his balance and overall delivery. In Jupiter his delivery showed slight improvement, which led to more control over his fastball and being able to put away opposing hitters. His command is a work in progress as he was still rather loose in the zone, but still generated six strikeouts over three innings, as well as 14 swings-and-misses with his fastball. His curveball is a 75-76 offering with 11/5 shape, but he has struggled with the pitch in my viewings. At times it shows impressive depth and consistent shape, but is far too inconsistent currently and lacks premium action.
Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS, Burnsville, MN
While Minnesota is traditionally not a strong baseball state, Carlson and 2016 third-rounder Nick Hanson have made a case for themselves as power arms to keep an eye on. Similar to Rivera, Carlson has a lot of positives going for him including his overall athleticism, arsenal, size, and his clean delivery. Standing 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, he is still lean and has potential for added good weight. Pitching from a full windup, Carlson has a simple pump-and-go delivery with a clean, loose arm action from a three-quarters slot. His fastball averaged 91-93, touching 94 with late life, jumping on hitters. He commanded the pitch especially well, spotting to both sides of the plate. His curveball, which was 78-79, had consistent 11/5 shape with above-average depth and bite, although he struggled to command the pitch at the necessary times. His changeup could be a potential plus offering; coming in between 81-83, he shows advanced feel for it, while showcasing above-average depth and break. He is able to replicate the arm speed necessary and with further advancement could be even better.