Featured Photo: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights (Nagocdoches, Texas)
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Check out our 2018 Draft Spotlight Library for more notes on the top prospects in the 2018 MLB Draft Class.
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Guest contributor Michael Robbins got recent looks on some top prep talents from the Lonestar State. Below are spotlights on three potential early-round targets.
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, (Central Heights (Nagocdoches, Texas))
Ht/Wt: 6’5”/230 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 6m
A large framed prep right-hander, Rodriguez has broad shoulders and long limbs. Athletically, Rodriguez is a tick below average, but he remains balanced and online throughout his delivery, creating downhill plane from an over the top release point. His arm action starts long, hiding the ball behind his back, then progressing into compact circle which adds some deception, especially to same-side hitters. His stride length is adequate, though there is room for more leg drive which could allow the stuff to play up as he develops.
Rodriguez possesses a plus fastball that sat at a heavy 92-to-94 mph for four innings in his most recent outing, and peaked at 96 mph. His velocity dipped to 90-to-92 mph in the fifth, but it was an unusual outing with abundant time between trips to the mound that may have contributed to the decline. Rodriguez has two breaking ball offerings: a curveball that was 77-to-80 mph with 11-to-4 shape, and an 83-to-84 mph slider with cutting movement, the latter pitch he only showed in warmups. He also displayed a changeup in warmups but did not offer it in the game. Rodriguez has pitchability with the fastball, and the feel to spin the curveball. While he only showed two offerings, he projects to have four usable pitches as he continues to develop.
Multiple GMs were on hand to see Rodriguez, and it’s likely that he’ll be the next in line of large bodied Texas prep right-handers to be popped in the early rounds, and as early as the first. –Michael Robbins, May 7, 2018
Jordan Groshans, SS/3B, Magnolia (Magnolia, Texas)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 6m
At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Groshans is athletically built, with a high-waisted lower half and physical, sloping shoulders. His set up in the box is a crouched stance with shoulder height hand placement, and he employs a significant leg kick, allowing the hands to tip the bat as a timing mechanism. Heavy on his front foot, Groshans hits with momentum into the swing. He is very a strong at contact, and it shows in the 60 raw power that many area scouts believe he possesses. Although the power is legitimate, there is some present swing and miss in Groshans’ game, which places the hit tool at below average.
Athletically, Groshans is adequate, although there is stiffness in his hips, limiting his range and making it unlikely that he’ll stick at shortstop long term. He has enough arm strength to stick on the left side, where he’s shown the hands to be an above-average defender at third base.
Groshans’ raw power profiles best at the hot corner as well, though he may have enough pop to slide over to first base if needed. The power plays in both in batting practice and in games, but he will have to improve his contact rate in order to become a true middle of the order bat. A Kansas commit, Groshans could come off the board late in day one of the draft. –Michael Robbins, May 7, 2018
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia (Magnolia (Texas)
Ht/Wt: 6’5”/220 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 17y, 9m
Though not yet 18, Kloffenstein has a mature build with room for more growth in the lower half. He displays a short but clean arm action that allows for some deception. Unlike some short-armers, Kloffenstein does not allow his arm to get stuck behind his body, and he’s able to repeat his up tempo delivery with minimal crossfire.
In a playoff start on Friday, Kloffenstein featured a fastball from 88-to-92 mph, and maxed out at 94 mph. The pitch was mostly straight, but he flashed interesting cutting action in the later innings. Early in this outing, Kloffenstein struggled to command the fastball, but settled in as the game progressed. His other offerings include a slider, which he tunnels well with the fastball, at 80-to-83 mph, a change of pace curveball at 76-to-78 mph, and a low 80’s changeup with good sinking life.
In this viewing, his best opportunity for swings and misses was with the slider down in the zone. Coupled with the fastball, he has two pitches to sequence off one another which are average at worst. Add in development of the slower curveball and changeup, and the stuff profiles as a mid-to-back end starter. –Michael Robbins, May 7, 2018