Peter Alonso, 1B, University of Florida
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Alonso may not look like your typical first baseman but the bat gives hope that he might be able to outhit his lack of prototypical size. From his stops in the Northwoods League to SEC play, all Alonso has done is hit balls hard. The approach is simple from the right side with a slightly open stance and his hands at his shoulder. He utilizes a short stride to get the swing started and keeps his head still. The bat speed is plus and he has good feel for the barrel. His power comes from a good combination of strength and bat speed. It is mainly pull side at present but should extend to all fields eventually. Defensively, Alonso has quick feet and soft enough hands to handle first base in the future, not a Kotchman type defender at first but will be average. —James Fisher
Zack Burdi, RHP, University of Louisville
Louisville’s lockdown closer this spring, Burdi’s build and dominating velocity epitomize how scouts draw up a back-of-the-bullpen big-league prospect. He looks larger than his 6-foot-3,-205 pound listing suggests: Extra-broad features in his upper-half hang wide over the strong legs and core of a power pitcher. Burdi has the best two raw pitches in the class, with a fastball in the upper 90s (frequently scratching 100), backed up by a true slider that tops out as hard as 90-91. His fastball is a true 80-grade pitch, just as notable for its explosive arm-side finish as its triple-digit velocity. Similarly, the slider is a no-doubt swing-and-miss pitch, with sharp two-plane tilt that overwhelms hitters by playing off his fastball. Burdi mixes in a changeup around 90-91 as well—which is unusual for a young power arm, but exciting in terms of his athleticism and feel to pitch. While definitely a third pitch, it’s a competent part of his arsenal that he can get run down and to his arm-side as a wrinkle off the fastball and slider.
While Burdi is mobile and athletic for his size and build, there’s effort to the delivery’s finish. He sprays the zone with his pitches without much command to quadrants over the plate, but with his stuff he doesn’t have to be too fine. He throws from the stretch with a low leg-lift, generating power from a strong back-leg drive and long stride to the plate. His arm gets long and hooked in the back of an off-line takeaway, but works strong and explosively through a low three-quarters slot. Because of Burdi’s athleticism and ability to throw three distinct power pitches, there have been rumblings of him converting to a starting role at the pro level. He’s dominated down the stretch for the Cardinals in a closer’s role, though, and the likely first-rounder’s quickest path to the big leagues will be overpowering hitters in shorter stints. —Adam McInturff
Chris Okey, C, Clemson University
There are many college catchers in the upper-portions of this year’s draft. Okey might be the safest bet of any to remain at the position, while also possessing the bat to play every day at a premium spot. His ceiling may have less impact in it than other catchers in the class, but he’s a polished performer with the chance to be an everyday big-league backstop. Okey has a long track record of success, with two stints with USA Baseball as an amateur. He’s been a mainstay in Clemson’s lineup since setting foot on campus as a freshman, and was a 31st-round selection out of a Florida high school.
While his raw arm-strength is closer to average, he’s a mobile, flexible receiver with enough quickness on throws to profile behind the plate. He hits from a deep crouch with his upper-half bent, getting to his swing’s launch position with a quiet load that doesn’t take away his ability to see the ball deep. He’s showed more overall patience at the plate as a junior, walking 20 more times in 2016 than he did as a sophomore. Okey is a durably-built 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, with a muscular build that looks to have the strength to handle the rigors of catching at the pro level. At the plate, Okey has shown issue covering certain parts of the strike zone, though his strength and uppercut swing plane come together for average power. Scouts have noted his overall offensive profile is likely that of a bottom-third hitter in a big-league lineup. –Adam McInturff
Justin Dunn, RHP, Boston College
Dunn is one of the college pitchers continuing to move up draft boards close to June, even through his late-season starts in NCAA regional play. His athletic arm action and plus raw stuff made him a high follow in the Northeast coming off the Cape, but he’s become a definite first-round pick and national-level prospect since transitioning to Boston College’s rotation. In six starts, he struck out 32 and walked 12—all while showing he’s able to hold his stuff in later innings of a start despite a slighter frame for a righty.
Dunn generates premium velocity from a fairly free-and-easy mechanics. He side-steps into a semi-windup with a tall leg-lift, finishing on-line through his delivery thanks to a strong, athletic landing to the target. While there isn’t much rigidity to his arm-circle out of the glove, he plunges down and out during his takeaway—though a lightning-quick, high-three-quarters arm-stroke is still easily able to catch up in the front of his delivery. His fastball has reached the upper-90s in a bullpen role, and routinely hits 94-95 through starts, touching as high as 96 through long stretches. His fast arm gives the pitch plus movement, accelerating quickly on hitters with late burst. Command-wise, he’ll fall out of his delivery at times and run the pitch up and to the arm side, but flashes enthusing ability to angle the ball down when his mechanics are right. His mid-80s slider generates swings and misses with quality arm-speed and two-plane depth, and has the look of an above-average pitch at the professional level. He’s shown feel for a changeup, while also possessing the athleticism and arm-speed to continue developing the pitch at the next level.
Now considered a legitimate starting pitching prospect, Dunn’s athleticism and stuff in a rotation role intrigue scouts—as does the fact he’s a “fresher” Northeast arm with less wear-and-tear than many college starters. His power two-pitch mix gives him the fallback of a later-innings bullpen piece, though he’s shown down the stretch he has the ingredients of a smaller-bodied middle-rotation starter with a live arm, loosely in a Yordano Ventura mold. After two dominant starts against Georgia Tech and Tulane, he could sneak into the first 20 picks of the draft. —Adam McInturff
Connor Justus, SS, Georgia Tech
Justus' offense took a step forward between his sophomore and junior seasons, and consequently the Georgia Tech shortstop might crack the top three or four rounds. His frame is more compact and square than many leaner professional shortstops, but Justus also has more thump in his bat than most middle infielders. He hits from a wide base with a slight leg-kick through the load, his swing featuring loose bat-whip that allows him to drive the ball to the pull-side with more authority than his size and profile would suggest. A reliable—if less-than flashy—defender, Justus may eventually move off the position, but he's solid on what does get to. He's able to throw on the run and across his body on the charge. A high-floor player, Justus has the ceiling of a regular on the strength of his hitting ability, perhaps at second base. Otherwise, the bursts of pop in his bat and infield versatility fit a utility profile. —Adam McInturff
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