There wasn’t much in terms of offensive fireworks on display at the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park on Sunday night, as the East won a 3-1 contest that was more about the impressive hurlers than position players. That being said, there was some firepower on display before the game, with several hitters for both the East and West Squad showing first-round potential during batting practice – and to a lesser extent the Home Run Derby.
Here’s a closer inspection of the hitters involved in Sunday’s showcase, and a look at why so many have a chance to become special players in the not-so-distant future.
Khalil Lee | OF | Flint Hill HS (Va.)
Ht/Wt:5-10/170 | B/T: L/L | Commitment: Liberty
Snapshot: Was among the most impressive athletes during pre-game fielding and was also one of the few who was willing to hit the ball the other way during BP.
Game Notes: Lee has the look of a prototypical leadoff hitter, and though he went hitless during the game he did make hard contact to the opposite field off of West-starter Reggie Lawson. If it became necessary to move him to a corner outfield he has the arm strength to handle right, but his current athleticism suggests that won’t be necessary. There’s very little power projection here, but an average hit tool and plus speed can give you a competent starting center fielder.
Joe Rizzo | 3B | Oakton HS (Va.)
Ht/Wt:5-11/215| B/T: L/R | Commitment: South Carolina
Snapshot: Showed big power during BP and was a semifinalist in the pre-game Home Run Derby.
Game Notes: Rizzo’s feel for hitting is impressive, and in addition to the impressive power from the left side, he showed a willingness to work counts into his favor and the ability to hit the ball hard the other way. He’s not a stalwart defensively, but the arm strength was strong and the bat would be able to play if he had to move across the diamond.
Carlos A. Cortes | 2B/OF | Oviedo HS (Fla.)
Ht/Wt:5-8/185 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: South Carolina
Snapshot: Throws with his left-hand from the outfield and with his right-hand in the infield, which automatically makes him one of my favorite prospects ever.
Game Notes: Cortes took home the MVP Sunday night; going 2-for-4 and making a sensational diving catch from right field. The switch-throw is a fun anecdote, but this is a legit top-of-the-order prospect with feel for hitting and plus speed along with impressive in-game instincts.
Drew Mendoza | SS | Lake Minneola HS (Fla.)
Ht/Wt:6-4/195 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Florida State
Snapshot: Showed plus bat speed during BP and drove the ball hard to the pull-side. Walkup music was Taylor Swift.
Game Notes: Mendoza played third base mostly due to the fact that there were so many shortstops here, but because of his size it might be his landing spot anyway. Based on the look Sunday, the bat should play there as Mendoza has above-average power potential thanks to his strong wrists, and the athleticism along with the strong arm would make him an asset at the hot corner.
Herbert Iser | C/1B | Osceola HS (Fla.)
Ht/Wt:6-3/220 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Miami
Snapshot: Showed big power potential in my look at the Area Code Games, but where will he play?
Game Notes: Many believe Iser is the best catching prospect in this year’s class, but I’m not sure the frame suggests he’ll be able to stick behind the plate based on the size. The arm strength is strong though, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone gave the young man a chance to play right field, where Iser’s plus power would make him a potential all-star. Someone will likely give him a chance to catch, but I would fast-track the bat.
Alex Kirilloff | 1B | Plum HS (Penn.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/195 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Liberty
Snapshot: Power potential is impressive; as evidenced by his winning the Home Run Derby.
Game Notes: Kirilloff has the athleticism to play in the outfield, and showed as much with an easy stolen base on Sunday night. The power is the calling card here, but there’s some feel for the strike zone as well, and his bat speed suggests that he can have at least an average hit tool despite the length in his swing.
Max Guzman | 3B | Calvary Christian HS (Fla.)
Ht/Wt:6-0/215 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Florida International
Snapshot: Hit some tape-measure shots in BP, but there are some timing issues with the swing.
Game Notes: Guzman had more raw power than any right-handed hitter in the event, and he hit a couple of balls that I thought might leave the state during his BP session. The swing was very violent though, and the length and out-of-control nature suggest that consistent contact will be an issue. He showed decent hands and some arm strength with carry to his throws, so he should be able to stay at third base – though the speed was only average on Sunday.
Luis Curbelo | SS | Puerto Rican Baseball Academy
Ht/Wt:6-3/185 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Miami
Snapshot: Showed soft hands and quick instincts in the infield, some bat speed and feel for contact during BP.
Game Notes: Curbelo has the skillset that suggests he’ll be able to move quickly through a system, with good feel for the barrel and a smooth, consistent swing path that has enough loft to suggest average power. He may have to move to the other side of second base, but a team will give Curbelo every chance to play shortstop and see if the offense can play up from a premium position.
Nolan Jones | SS/3B | Holy Ghost Prep (Penn.)
Ht/Wt:6-4/195 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Virginia
Snapshot: Will almost assuredly have to move from shortstop at some point, but the offensive potential is impressive.
Game Notes: Jones is a two-way prospect that has been clocked up to 92 on the mound, but his future is very likely in the infield. The left-handed hitting infielder showed a line-drive stroke that can spray the ball to every part of the field, keeping his hands in as well as any prospect I saw. It’s not unheard of for someone his height to stick at shortstop, but more than likely he moves to the hot corner where the arm strength will still play.
Alexis Torres | SS | Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Ht/Wt:6-0/170 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Miami
Snapshot: The best defensive infielder I saw on Sunday, both in-game and during “infield.”
Game Notes: I had heard great things about Torres’ defensive prowess before the game, and my expectations were met. His hands are elite, and while the arm strength won’t remind anyone of Andrelton Simmons, it’s more than adequate to stay up the middle. The offensive upside is limited, but when you’re a borderline plus-plus defender, you have a chance to become a big league regular.
Brandon McIlwain | OF | Council Rock North (Penn.)
Ht/Wt:6-1/205 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: South Carolina
Snapshot: Everything here is raw, but did make hard contact in BP to the opposite field.
Game Notes: There were a lot of raw prospects on display, but McIlwain was certainly the rawest – and in turn one of the most intriguing. There’s a chance for three 60 tools in his speed, glove and power, but the hit tool has a long way to go to even project the chance for average. We may never get a chance to see it, as McIlwain is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country with a commitment to play football for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.
Francisco Thomas | SS | Osceola HS (Fla.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/195 | B/T: S/R | Commitment: N/A
Snapshot: Showed big-time bat speed before game from a big-league ready frame.
Game Notes: The aforementioned bat speed was definitely the calling card with Thomas, and though there’s some balance issues it gives him the chance to hit for average if he can shorten the swing. There’s a chance for above-average power from both sides of the plate, and the athleticism suggests he could play shortstop for the short to medium-term. If he was to move it’d likely be to third base, and the bat could play there – though obviously the upside is much higher if he can stay at the premium position.
Grant Bodison | SS | Mauldin HS (S.C.)
Ht/Wt:6-3/195 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: South Carolina
Snapshot: Won the Rawlings defensive player of the year at the award banquet on Saturday, made the catch you all saw on Sportscenter this summer for three months.
Game Notes: If you’ve heard of Bodison, it’s because of that spectacular catch he made over his shoulder, but there’s much more to this young man’s game. He’s a plus runner with a strong throwing arm, and while there isn’t much power projection here his quick wrists and short swing give him a chance to get on base, and once on base he’s an asset that will make pitchers pay close attention.
Mario Feliciano | C | Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.)
Ht/Wt:6-0/190 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: N.A.
Snapshot: Showed some raw pop in BP, appears to be athletic enough to handle another position if necessary.
Game Notes: It’s a very strong year for Puerto Rican baseball, and as a catcher with a chance for above-average power, Feliciano has a chance to be among the highest drafted next June. He’s a present above-average runner with an athletic frame, so if he does have to move behind the plate he should be able to handle a corner outfield position. Someone will give him a chance to stick behind the dish, and while the receiving skills aren’t quite there yet the arm strength and footwork suggest he can be competent there.
Luke Berryhill | C | River Ridge HS (Ga.)
Ht/Wt:6-1/195 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Georgia Southern
Snapshot: Strong throwing arm and quick instincts suggest he’ll be able to stick behind the plate
Game Notes: There are some players who just appear to “get it,” and Berryhill looks like he’s one of those players. There’s no standout tool here, but there’s a chance for average hit and power tools, and though he’s likely to lose speed, he’s a good athlete who did a solid job of blocking balls in the dirt. If you like catchers with a high floor and don’t mind a lack of ceiling, Berryhill is your type of catcher.
Mickey Moniak | OF | La Costa Canyon HS (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/185 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: UCLA
Snapshot: Plus runner with excellent instincts on display pre-game, made the catch at the ACG’s you’ll see on Sportscenter for the next three months.
Game notes: Moniak will be compared to Blake Rutherford – more on him soon – all season, and while he doesn’t have Rutherford’s offensive upside, there are some who believe he’s the better all-around player. He’s a lock to stick in center with excellent instincts and a quick first-step, and his line-drive swing along with his feel for the barrel gives him a chance for a plus hit tool. That might not be Rutherford, but it’s pretty darn good.
Jaren Shelby | OF | Tates Creek HS (Kent.)
Ht/Wt:5-11/185 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: N/A
Snapshot: Ball jumped off his bat during BP and showed a strong throwing arm. One of the finalists for the Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award.
Game notes: Even though Shelby struggled in-game, he was still one of the most impressive hitting prospects I saw on Sunday. The son of former big leaguer John Shelby, the younger Shelby had one of my favorite right-handed swings; rotational but short to the ball as he hit line drive after line drive in his session. I would have liked to see him hit the ball to right field – and I’m not sure he’ll be able to stay in center despite possessing decent speed – but that’s nitpicking. Shelby is a legit day-one prospect.
Dominic Fletcher | OF | Cypress HS (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:5-10/185 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Arkansas
Snapshot: A cannon for a throwing arm along with plus-plus bat speed. Some questions as to whether he’ll be able to stay in center field.
Game notes: Fletcher’s arm was plus-plus, showing impressive velocity along with accuracy that will keep even the fleetest of foot at their respective bases. The bat speed was also impressive, though the swing likely needs to be toned down, and if he’s going to hit for power he’ll need to add some loft. The tools are loud, but everything here is very much a work in progress.
Blake Rutherford | OF | Chaminade College Prep (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/195 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: UCLA
Snapshot: The best player on the field on Sunday, finished second in home run derby. Intro music was second-best Drake song (Right Above It).
Game notes: Blake Rutherford can really, really hit. He hit a ball on Sunday that would have left several ballparks to dead centerfield, and though he didn’t win the home run derby he did hit some of the more impressive dingers in the event. I get the questions about where he’ll play defensively – I’d give him every chance to stay in center – but in terms of pure offensive potential, this is the best hitter I’ve seen this summer.
Avery Tuck | OF | Steele Canyon HS (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:6-5/195 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: San Diego State
Snapshot: Some work to be done, but has as much projection as any hitter in the event. Won the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Of The Year on Saturday.
Game notes: I named my article series “Some Projection Left,” so you should not be surprised that someone like Tuck with loads of projection is intriguing to me. The bat speed and frame suggest plus – maybe even plus-plus – power as he gets stronger, and the plus arm will play well in right field. He’s years away from contributing, but the upside here is very tantalizing.
Cole Stobbe | SS | Millard West (Neb.)
Ht/Wt:6-1/180 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Arkansas
Snapshot: Showed the same solid swing throughout BP, potential for fringe-average power and solid speed.
Game notes: Stobbe doesn’t offer the typical projection that you see from so many middle-infielders in this event, as he’s maxed out physically and doesn’t offer much in terms of future power. That’s not necessarily a detriment though, as Stobbe showed solid defensive instincts along with above-average speed, and he repeated his swing well while showing gap-to-gap power before the game. If there’s a “fast-track” shortstop from this year’s event, it’s probably Stobbe.
Nonie Williams | SS | Homeschooled
Ht/Wt:6-1/190 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: N/A
Snapshot: Reclassified from ’17 draft class. One of the fastest players on display on Sunday.
Game notes: These events already have a significance, but when you’re homeschooled and reclassify your draft class, there’s definitely added weight. Williams went 0-for-1 on Sunday, but he did show plus-plus speed and a strong arm defensively, and the swing path suggests that he’ll be able to make consistent contact, though expecting power at this point is a fool’s errand.
Ben Rortvedt | C | Verona Area HS (Wisc.)
Ht/Wt:5-10/190 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Arkansas
Snapshot: Present power on display, was a semi-finalist in the homerun derby, defensive questions remain.
Game notes: Rortvedt had one of my favorite pre-game sessions, consistently making hard contact and surprising me with his in-game power despite size that wouldn’t suggest it. He showed a strong arm with a quick release, and if a team believes he can stick behind the plate he’s a potential first round pick. That’s a fairly large if right now, as the receiving skills are a work-in-progress, and a move to the outfield isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Blake Sabol | C | Aliso Niguel HS (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:6-4/190 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Southern California
Snapshot: Showed line-drive swing during BP and should add strength to his frame, will he be too big to stay behind the plate?
Game notes: If it seems like “will he be able to catch” is a recurring theme, it is, but it’s a recurring theme in every draft class. Catching is really hard. Sabol certainly has the quick release and arm strength to stick behind the plate, but at 6-foot-4 he may outgrow the position. That would put a fairly large dent in Sabol’s value, as he’s a potential day-one guy behind the plate, but the average hit and power tools I saw Sunday suggest he wouldn’t be a regular at first, and there may not be enough speed to handle a corner outfield position.
Nicholas Quintana | SS | Arbor View HS (Nev.)
Ht/Wt:5-11/185 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Arizona
Snapshot: Gets “gamer” reputation from scouts but that undersells the talent here.
Game notes: Sometimes when we hear things like “grit” and “hustle” it’s used in place of things that mean much more like “talent,” but that’s not the case with Quintana. That’s not to say he’s not those things – he showed the in-game intensity scouts love to see – but he also showed above-average pop to all parts of the field, and a strong throwing arm that should allow him to stay on the left side of the infield despite the lack of speed.
David Hamilton | SS | San Marcos HS (Tex.)
Ht/Wt:5-11/167 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Texas
Snapshot: Speed and arm suggests a middle of the diamond player; offensive profile still in doubt.
Game notes: Hamilton can fly – he’s been timed in the 6.4 second range in his 60 yard dash – and that speed along with a strong throwing arm make him a candidate to stay up the middle, be it shortstop or centerfield. There’s almost no power projection here however, and though he appears to have some feel for the barrel, the overall offensive upside was below average. With his speed, though, it doesn’t need to be much more than that to carve out a major league career.
Ben Baird | SS | Agoura HS (Calif.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/180 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Washington
Snapshot: Hard contact throughout BP, may outgrow shortstop.
Game notes: There may not be a plus tool at Baird’s disposal, but when all is said and done there’s a chance he ends with five average to above-average ones to work with. His bat speed is above-average, and his line-drive swing sprayed the ball to all parts of Petco. Outside of the lack of a plus tool, the issue with Baird is that he may need to move to third base – or a corner outfield spot in a worst-case scenario – and while the bat may play there, he’s obviously much more valuable as an offensively-inclined shortstop.
Walker Robbins | 1B | George County HS (Miss.)
Ht/Wt:6-3/215 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Mississippi State
Snapshot: Really struggled throwing the baseball during pre-game, but showed one of the best swings during BP.
Game notes: Robbins is actually a two-way prospect with an above-average fastball, so it was more of a mechanical issue with his throws than an issue of ability. The takeaway here is the bat however, as Robbins swing was borderline picturesque with quick wrists, above-average bat speed and solid plane that suggests he can hit for both average and power at the professional level.
Gavin Lux | SS | Indian Trail Academy (Wisc.)
Ht/Wt:6-2/175 | B/T: L/R | Commitment: Arizona State
Snapshot: The quickest hands on display Sunday. Power projection and could stay in middle infield.
Game notes: As mentioned in the snapshot, Lux’s hands are fantastic, allowing him to get through the zone quickly with a swing that has a natural loft that suggests above-average power as he gains good weight. He also was one of the few players who was willing to hit the ball the other way during BP, and despite his 0-for-3 showing, he took quality at bats. Like Baird – and pretty much every other high school shortstop ever – there’s a chance he could outgrow the position, but if a team believes he can stay up the middle and he shows this same offensive upside all spring, he has a great chance of going early come June.
Tyler Fitzgerald | SS | Rochester HS (Ill.)
Ht/Wt:6-3/185 | B/T: R/R | Commitment: Louisville
Snapshot: Present defensive ability is impressive, with a chance to hit for average.
Game notes: Fitzgerald was the most advanced defensive shortstop on the West roster, and his plus speed along with quality footwork and an above-average throwing arm give him a great chance of making the position his home. The swing isn’t yet conducive to power because of his lack of strength and loft, but he’s likely to put on some muscle, and some added natural uppercut could see that tool improve. Because the swing is short though, he does have the ability to hit for average, and his ability to keep his hands in allows him to hit the ball hard to the opposite field.