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Wilson Karaman​

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.

Lewis boasts a bag full of raw tools (emphasis: raw), and he shows enough flashes of them in-game to project on the side of optimism for eventual translation of tools into premium talent. There’s some golden retriever puppy effect to him, where he hasn’t quite learned how to harness his quick-twitch athleticism or refine it into controlled fluidity, but that day will come. He has the physical tools to play shortstop, though the fielding actions are quite raw along with a combination of arm strength that is more alright than asset and spotty mechanics on the run may ultimately force him to center field.

Hagen Danner, RHP, Huntington Beach High School (CA)
Projectable frame, fluid, present strength with more to come; tall on the rubber, stays tall into high leg kick, steep and unbalanced, spine tilt with high, closed front shoulder; deep arm action, plus arm speed to high three-quarters slot, creates moderate deception and quality plane; mild lower-half deceleration to strike, can lose upper-lower sync, projection to smooth out into repeatable progression; clean deceleration; fastball 91-92 (t93), projection for a couple more ticks; hard, boring pitch, can pound it to the bottom of the zone, flashes glove-side command, showed cut variant at 88-90; curveball 75-79, 11-5 shape, two-plane movement, quality depth with late snap, works it into the zone effectively, advanced feel to manipulate shape, potential to work in and out of zone, plus projection; handful of changeups in bullpen sessions, mild fade, quality angle with room to develop; stiff, mechanical swing, complex load, rigid back elbow, reasonably short into the zone; leg kick, front side sets early and limits ability to adjust off-speed, highly leveraged swing, hips clear early, uppercut with extension to high two-handed finish, pull-side stroke looks to lift and separate.

Danner’s physicality, projection, and present raw stuff makes him a highly intriguing prep arm with quality age-to-level polish. He also boasts above-average raw power with a swing geared to bring it into games, though there is some stiffness in the load and the bat is not on plane for much time at all with present swing mechanics. Prefer him as a pitcher.

Nick Pratto, RF/LHP, Huntington Beach (CA)
Large frame, present strength, broad shoulders, projection for additional muscle mass; wide and balanced lower half, good early rhythm into moderate leg kick, fluid hips; strong forearms and wrists, generates quality torque; efficient into the zone, above-average bat speed, moderate barrel control, timing can get late to trigger; all-fields power, projection to plus or better raw at maturity, tools to get to most of it in game, advanced approach, picks up spin and controls the zone effectively; 4.5 on a headfirst dive into first, takes a few steps to get up to speed, fringe-average present top speed in the outfield, below-average projection; couple solid reads and routes in right, poor angle anticipation off the wall; plus arm strength, accurate; borderline present athleticism for right field, probably projects to first base as he matures physically.

On the mound, balanced takeaway into a high leg kick, closed front side, hips start to open early, sweeps leg to inverted strike; clean arm action, some length in arm swing to high three-quarters slot, generates quality plane, struggled to sync drive and arm swing, timing off for most of outing; fluid delivery with clean deceleration and finish; fastball up to 91, some tail and sink, poor glove-side command, yanked pitch consistently, pitch flattens up in the zone, life to miss bats when he stays on top; changeup with quality fade and tumble, mild slowdown with arm speed, tunnels pretty well off fastball, decent velo separation, moderate swing-miss potential; struggled to snap off slider, rounder shape, worked a couple from outside the zone in for strikes, flashed solid depth.

Pratto has natural hitting instincts and intriguingly projectable physicality that suggests potential for above-average future hit and power tools. While he showed some ability to run decisive routes in right and control his body well on the run, he lacks great running speed and may end up ticketed to first base as he fills out. The fastball shows life and the mechanics hold some promise on the mound, but I roundly preferred his potential in the batter’s box.

Steve Givarz

CJ Van Eyk, RHP, Steinbrenner HS (Lutz, FL)
Seen in a 2 IP relief appearance on 3/2; also seen in a 5 IP start on 3/7. Athletic body, has fair projection remaining. Pitches from a full wind-up; compact arm action with above-average arm speed; three-quarters slot. Has some crossfire in delivery; will quick pitch as well; stays in a consistent direction. Fastball 91-92, T94; lacks movement but is firm; crossfire adds deception; command could be average in future; spotted balls well; held velocity through game; could still hit 92 in fifth. Curve 74-78; 10/4-11/5 shape; hard, downer action; inconsistent shape; good depth and is able to throw for strikes; tended to get on side of ball which causes inconsistent shape. Change 81-83; more feel than one would think for a prep kid; has arm speed on it; just can't control the pitch at present. 1.27-1.33 to plate; held composure even as he was being hit early in game. Struggled with finishing innings and walks overall.

Kade McClure, RHP, University of Louisville
Seen in a 3.2 IP start on 2/18. Extra-large body; lacks physical projection; evened, muscled out body. Pitches from a full wind-up; loose arm action; three-quarters slot; lacks deception. FB 90-92, T93; lacked movement; hittable in the zone; batters got long look at pitch out of hand. Slider 79-82; slurvy; late action; has quality depth with tilt; confidence in pitch; using it in payoff counts to both RHH and LHH. Change 83-84; showed some feel for offering but was hardly utilized in game; lacked strike-throwing ability in it; lacked movement. 1.25-1.33 in stretch. Athletic pitcher; potential for above-average fastball with average slider.

Brian Shaffer, RHP, University of Maryland
Seen in a 5 IP start on 2/17. Lean, even body; minor physical projection remaining. Slight crossfire in his delivery adds deception; compact arm action; low-three-quarters slot; some deception. Fastball 90-92, T93; dipped into 88-90 later in game; mild tailing action; effective for strikes. Slider 78-81; go-to offering; soft action with early break; has good depth but not a sharp offering; could stand to tighten the pitch up; 76-77 had larger break but still wasn't sharp; could throw to both sides for strikes. Change 83-86; can toss it in and has quality arm speed on it; lacked movement but located for strikes against LHH. 1.03-1.14 in SS.

Lincoln Henzman, RHP, University of Louisville
Seen in a 2.2 IP relief appearance on 2/18. Large frame with a large, muscular body; lacks remaining projection. Smooth, high arm action with above-average arm speed; three-quarters slot; big leg kick in delivery; easy, low-effort delivery. FB 90-92, T93; has good sink; able to spot arm-side; projects to average control. Slider 83-86; quality depth and tilt; hard, late action; used to both LHH and RHH as out pitch. Change 84-85; has split-finger action with fade and sink; struggled with control but has a feel for offering. Intriguing arm; drafted as a sophomore in 31st rd. by Seattle last season.

Colin Brockhouse, RHP, Ball State University
Seen in a 4.1 IP relief app on 2/17. Lacks much projection remaining but could improve slightly with focus on pitching full-time. Pitches from a half wind-up; stab arm action with a slight reach around; above-average arm speed; three-quarters slot. Fastball 91-93, T94; riding life up in zone; jumped on hitters; loose in the zone; able to generate swing/miss in zone. Curve 78-82; 11/5 shape; had hard action and bite; struggled to locate; more a finishing pitch than one he would throw for strikes. Change 82-83; sparingly used; turned them over with arm speed but weren't in zone and lacked movement; won't be part of primary arsenal. Has good energy on mound and a live arm; drafted as a sophomore in 37th rd by Pittsburgh in 2016.

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I find it hard to tell from the pitcher profiles especially how much of a prospect many of them are. Most have a good fastball and a couple of other pitches, some of which are questionable. It would help to give an indication of whether someone has starting pitcher potential, and if not, why not.

They would also be more useful with a little more information on how a player's talent might stack up - even something like back half of the first round or 3rd-5th rounder would be useful.
Good suggestion. We can do that in a broad way going forward.
We are purposely avoiding grades as that is more for eyewitness reports and these are notes and observations. We did mistakenly take out the roles for these guys so I will add them in.

Shaffer and McClure to me are both swingman/longmen 6-7th starters.

Brockhouse and Henzman are to me both middle inning relievers, with Henzman having more of a chance for a setup role given his Arsenal over Brockhouse.

For Van Eyk I'm not sure yet, I will be seeing more of him but I like his chances overall to start over other guys I have seen.
Thank you for this! I am really enjoying these articles.

Any chance of seeing some mock drafts this year? I know that these articles are superior in terms of information, but I really like as much draft coverage as I can get.