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CREAM OF THE CROP
(Potential First Round Targets)
Background: A Miami native, Manoah has been a big presence in Morgantown since arriving on campus. After splitting time between the bullpen and rotation in each of his first two collegiate seasons, he transitioned to the rotation fulltime this spring after breaking out last summer where he led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts (48 in 33.1 IP). Manoah has been phenomenal as a junior, entering regional play with an 8-3 record with a 1.91 ERA, 11.93 K/9, while cutting his walk rate from 4.67 to 2.10 year-over-year. His brother Erik is a pitcher in the Angels organization.
Notes: Manoah has a XXL frame, and while many big-bodied pitchers have trouble repeating, he mitigates that risk by throwing exclusively from the stretch with a simple rock-and-throw delivery and clean arm action. He augments the effectiveness of his size by getting above average extension. He pounds zone and misses bats with three pitches. Changes eye level and locates to all quadrants. Easy velocity; holds mid-90s late into starts. Late life on fastball; explodes through zone. Plus slider with two-plane break and tilt is a swing and miss offering that he’s able to manipulate to either side of the plate. Shows comfort level with an average changeup, a firm offering at 85-to-88 mph with some tumble. A competitor with a loose personality; he appears unphased by the moment. While there is some reliever risk in the profile, Manoah’s improved command has quieted some of those concerns. He’s one of the few pitchers in this class with front of the rotation upside.
Background: After tossing 15.2 innings as a freshman for Arkansas last season, Rutledge transferred to San Jacinto (TX) and has established himself as the top Juco player in the draft. The big righty has flourished this season, going 9-2 with a 0.87 ERA on the bump with 134 strikeouts in 82.2 innings (14.59 K/9). He’s committed to Kentucky, though it appears increasingly unlikely that he’ll make it to Lexington.
Notes: At 6-foot-8, Rutledge works downhill, creating tough angles for hitters that are further amplified from a high ¾ arm slot. Utilizing a low maintenance delivery, Rutledge’s arm action is very short, firing darts from his ear and creating deception. He’s a bit of a short strider toward home plate, limiting his extension. His 70-grade fastball sits comfortably in the 94-to-97 mph range, touches 99 and explodes through the zone – velocity he’s been able to carry deep into games. His best secondary pitch a plus slider, a nasty biting offering at 85-to-88 mph that tunnels well with the fastball, drawing an abundance of swings and misses. The curveball flashes above average, with sharp downer action and moderate depth. The command was below average in an early season viewing, though the quality of the stuff creates sizable margin for error, and he’s displayed improved control this season, cutting his walk rate significantly.
Background: Though he was already regarded as one of the top prep arms in this draft class, Malone transferred from Porter Ridge (NC) to IMG Academy ahead of his senior year which only bolstered his visibility. While he flashed front line stuff on the showcase circuit, the North Carolina commit didn’t consistently harness his potential over the summer. In a mid-spring viewing in front of a deluge of scouting brass at the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, Malone absolutely shoved against La Mirada (CA), racking up eight strikeouts in a three-hit shutout, looking every bit the part of a first round pick in the process.
Notes: At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Malone has a prototypical pitcher’s body, with present strength and athletic flexibility. Working from a 3/4 arm slot, he gets downhill with his fastball that ranges from 93-to-96 mph. He does well to incorporate his lower half, driving off the mound to create easy velocity when his upper and lower halves are in sync. While he fills the zone with strikes in this showing, his arm will periodically drag, causing him to fall off the mound to the first base side, detrimentally impacting his fastball command. He’s shown a propensity for generating swinging strikes with his fastball. He utilizes three secondary offerings, the best of which is a plus low-80’s slider, a true put-away pitch with bite and tilt. The 74-to-76 mph curveball is consistently average and flashes better, with moderate depth and 11-to-5 movement. His changeup has shown marked improvement throughout the draft cycle, with increased separation off the fastball and significantly more arm-side run, looking like an average pitch and another neutralizing weapon in the arsenal.
Background: A standout on the gridiron (WR/QB), Priester turns heads for his athleticism and led Cary Grove to a state title in the fall. While he performed admirably throughout the summer showcase circuit, the stuff has ticked upward this spring, as did his draft stock. He’s committed to TCU.
Notes: Priester is athletically built, with a well-proportioned frame and slopping shoulders, though he has room for additional projection. He’s unhurried and methodical to start his delivery, but after pushing off the rubber the actions speed up through the release, periodically causing the upper and lower halves to be out of sync. When he’s on time, however, the arm action is clean, and he pumps velocity with relative ease. Over the summer, he sat in the 90-to-93 mph with sink and arm side run, and this spring he’s shown the ability to run his fastball up to 95-to-96 mph and hold the velocity deep into games. Priester shows feel for spin, with a plus curveball at 76-to-78 mph, 11-to-5 shape, sharp break and above average depth. Though seldomly used, the changeup shows above average potential, fading away from lefties. With an appealing mix of present stuff and remaining projection, Priester profiles as a mid-rotation starter.
Background: A Florida commit, Allan made all the rounds on the showcase circuit and got incrementally better as the summer progressed. In a pair of early summer viewings at the PG National and the Under Armour All-America game, Allen flashed electric stuff, though he wasn’t able to consistently harness it. He was locked in, however, at the PG All-American Game in San Diego, commanding his arsenal and needing just 15 pitches to strike out the side in his lone inning of work.
Notes: Allan is physically mature, limiting his projection. He gets high marks for his simple, repeatable delivery, and the ease in which he produces velocity. Working from a ¾ delivery, his fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s, though it has a tendency to straighten out. The curveball is among the best in the prep class, a sharp 12-to-6 hammer and a true out-pitch. His changeup is a firm, high 80’s pitch lacking ideal separation off the fastball, and in need additional refinement. Allen could be the top prep pitcher off the board, and projects as a mid-rotation innings eater.
Noah Song, RHP, Navy
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2019 MLB Draft) 22y, 0m
Background: A first round talent, Song’s profile is unique in that he’s a 22-year-old college senior with a pending two-year military obligation he’ll need to fulfill prior to starting his professional career. While the Naval Academy doesn’t play a particularly demanding schedule (SOS of 273), Song’s numbers this season were phenomenal, going 11-1, with a 1.44 ERA, while his leading the nation in both strikeouts (161) and K/9 (15.41). He’s the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year and a Golden Spikes Award finalist.
Notes: At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Song has a long, lean, and projectable frame that scouts can dream on. Working downhill from a high ¾ delivery, he attacks hitters with a deep arsenal. He’ll sit 94-to-96 with the fastball, touching 97 and showing life through the zone. He’ll throw a pair of sliders, the most effective being an 83-to-85 mph offering that shows good tilt, tunneling off the fastball to elicit swings-and-misses out of the zone with the latter being a short slider/cutter in the upper 80s that can bust lefties in on the hands. He turns over a mid-80s change piece, thrown with deceptive arm speed and the potential to develop into at least an above average pitch. A seldomly used curveball, thrown in the 74-to-76 mph range, has good depth but lags behind the other pitches. Song’s military commitment certainly clouds his outlook but could fit nicely for a team with the luxury of extra picks and a corresponding moderate-to-high risk appetite.
Background: Originally from Panama, Espino came stateside a few years ago and has developed into one of the best prep pitchers in the country while training at the Georgia Premier Academy. He was dominant over the summer, blowing premium velocity by the best high school hitters in the country, and showcasing a pair of quality breaking balls. He’s committed to LSU.
Notes: Although Espino is the hardest thrower in this draft class with quality breaking stuff, there is a wide range of opinions from evaluators on his outlook due to his long arm action and lack of projection, making him one of the more polarizing players in this draft cycle. Espino successfully incorporates his lower half, getting tremendous drive off the rubber and carrying his momentum in line toward home plate. His fastball can scrape triple digits, and regularly sat in the upper 90s throughout the summer. Both his curveball and his slider have showed at least above average potential, with the low-80s two-plane slider showing a tick more put away ability. While he consistently works in or around the zone, the command is below average, partially because his release point off of his low ¾ delivery is difficult to repeat. This factor, combined with the aforementioned arm action, give Espino more reliever risk than his prep peers. That said, there’s greater upside in his range of outcomes than the other arms in the high school class.
George Kirby, RHP, Elon Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/207 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2019 MLB Draft): 21y, 4m
Background: Working out of the bullpen for the Harwich Mariners last summer in the Cape Cod League, Kirby struck out 24 and walked just one in 13 innings over 10 appearances. He carried that momentum into the spring with the Phoenix, where he went 8-2, with a 2.75 ERA with 107 strikeouts and just six walks all season in route to being named the Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year.
Notes: Kirby is long and lean, with additional projection remaining in his frame. Working from a low ¾ delivery, he can touch 97 with his fastball, but he frequently sits in the low 90s with the effectiveness of the pitch plays up due to his ability to locate to each quadrant of the plate. He throws two different breaking balls; a curveball that flashes above average at 78-80 with 11-to-5 break and good depth, and a mid-80s slider with late break. A firm mid-80s changeup gives Kirby four usable pitches, though it’s inconsistent at present. His ability to find the strike zone with such frequency gives him one of the higher floors in the pitching class, but the lack of a true out pitch limits his ceiling..
Background: The son of World Series Champion Al Leiter, Jack is committed to Vanderbilt, where Coach Corbin has a track record of getting his recruits to campus. Leiter impressed evaluators on the showcase circuit and earned a spot on the USA Baseball 18U National Team, where he went 2-0 on the mound with a 0.00 ERA, punching out 20 and allowing just 2 hits in route to a gold medal at the Pan-American Championships.
Notes: Leiter possesses advanced pitchability, uncommon amongst his prep peers. Moderately sized at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he doesn’t wow evaluators with premium velocity, but there is deception in the delivery and significant separation between the heater and his secondaries that causes the ball to get on hitters in a hurry. We saw Leiter four times during this draft cycle, and he got progressively better in each outing. Most recently at the National High School Invitational in Cary NC, the fastball sat 90-to-94 mph, touching 95 mph twice, but flashed cutting action when at the lower end of that range. He excels at spinning his curveball, an out-pitch with depth and 12-to-6 break that he can command early in the count to steal a strike or bury in the dirt to put hitters away. While he works primarily off those two pitches, he’ll occasionally mix in a mid-80’s slider with short horizontal movement. Though he hasn’t had much need for his low-80s changeup against high school competition, he’s shown feel for it as a fringe-average offering with tumble. Based on ability, pedigree and his track record for success, Leiter is a first-round talent. If he were to make it to campus, he’d be draft eligible again as a sophomore in 2021.
Background: A Juco transfer from Louisburg College (NC), Johnson had logged just six innings on the mound before emerging as a potential first rounder for the Camels with a strong fall. After a hot start this spring, he cooled off considerably down the stretch with his ERA sitting at 4.72 as Campbell enters regional play.
Notes: For a player with little to no collegiate pitching experience, Johnson is less raw than one would expect, possessing a clean delivery that produces easy velocity and four pitches that play. The inexperience is evident in other ways, as he’ll periodically struggle to work out of jams, though he’ll eventually be able to trust his plus stuff to get the needed strikeout in those situations. The fastball can bump 98 mph and sits comfortably in the 93-to-95 mph range, though he’ll need to locate down in the zone more consistently in pro ball to be effective. At 85-to-87 mph with late sweep and mostly horizontal movement, the slider really plays, looking like a future plus pitch. The changeup shows potential as well, with deceptive arm action, arm-side fade and late tumble. While it lags significantly behind the other secondaries, his slow low 70’s curveball gives him a fourth usable pitch as a change of pace. Although his performance faded down the stretch, there’s enough appeal in the skillset and athleticism to justify a late-first/early-second round grade in a down year for college pitching.
JJ Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch (Cypress, TX)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2019 MLB Draft): 18y, 5m
Background: A Perfect Game All-American, Goss and teammate Matthew Thompson – both Day One talents – are currently leading Cypress Ranch deep into the Texas State Playoffs. Like Thompson, Goss is committed to Texas A&M.
Notes: An athletic righty with a projectable frame, Goss is more advanced than many of his prep peers, with feel for three pitches. The fastball sits 90-to-94 mph and he can hold it deep into starts. His go-to secondary is a low 80s slider with sweeping action and swing-and-miss capabilities, and he also shows a proclivity to turn over a changeup. At 82-to-84 mph, there’s good separation off the fastball with deceptive arm speed. Like most high school pitchers, his present command is below average, though it’s reasonable to project above average to plus going forward due to the fluid actions and repeatability of the delivery. The control is advanced for a prep kid, as he consistently fills the zone with strikes. After a strong spring, Goss has established himself as the best pitching prospect on his team. As such, he’s more likely to forgo college for pro ball than Thompson.
Josh Wolf, RHP, St. Thomas (Houston, TX)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/165 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2019 MLB Draft): 18y, 9m
Background: Perhaps no prep pitcher improved his draft stock within the cycle more than Wolf. After pitching in the 89-92 mph range early in the summer and looking likely to make it to college (Texas A&M), he dialed the velo all the way up to 97 in the spring, propelling himself into Day One consideration seemingly overnight.
Notes: While it’s unlikely that Wolf will develop into a hulking specimen, it’s reasonable to project an additional 10-to-15 pounds of muscle onto his frame. Working from a high ¾ slot, Wolf’s arm action is clean, and he can light-up radar guns with a low-to-moderate amount of effort. He pounds the zone with his fastball, a formable weapon after the velo jump with arm-side run. His curveball is among the best in the high school class, a future plus pitch with depth and 11-to-5 movement. He’ll periodically mix in a changeup, a pitch that shows average potential with late tumble.
BEST OF THE REST
(Potential Day One Targets)
Isaiah Campbell (RHP, Univ. of Arkansas | Video): As a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore last season, Campbell slid to the 24th round (Los Angeles Angels), ultimately opting to return to Fayetteville. With his stuff ticking upward this spring paired with the quieting of some durability concerns, Campbell should hear his name called significantly higher this year. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Campbell has the look of a future workhorse and MLB innings eater. Working from a high ¾ slot, his arm is fluid, generating easy 91-to-94 mph velocity that can touch 96. His mid-80s power slider has hard biting action. He’ll feature a split-change that shows glimpses of solid-average fading action away from lefties. The curveball has improved from a loopy low-70’s pitch last season, adding more shape and velo to a 78-to-80 mph pitch that is more difficult to square up.
Matt Canterino (RHP, Rice Univ. | Video | Video 2): Canterino has been a stalemate of the Owls rotation since his arrival on campus, logging 46 starts and 283 innings while finishing among the leaders in Conference USA in strikeouts each season, and he earned Pitcher of the Year honors this season. He was equally as impressive in the Cape Cod League last summer, pitching to a 2-1 record with a 2.59 ERA and 10.73 SO/9 over five starts. Despite the effort in his delivery, which concludes with a head-whack, he repeats it fairly well and maintains his release point and filling the zone with strikes. His fastball sits in the 90-to-92 range with occasional arm side run. His calling card is an above average 85-to-87 mph slider with depth and two-plane break. The curveball is behind the slider but offers a nice change of pace at 76-to-77 mph with 12-to-6 shape.
Bryce Osmond (RHP, Jenks (Jenks, OK) | Video): A standout shortstop as well, Osmond is one of the best prep athletes in the class and if he were to make it to Oklahoma State, he would provide value both on the mound and with the stick. As a professional, teams like the potential as a pitcher where he has made tremendous strides over the past year. With a projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame, Osmond has a quick arm and the athleticism is evident as he’s adept at mixing up his tempo while maintaining his mechanics. He can run the fastball up to 97 mph, and it will sit 92-to-94 mph with some sink. He’ll show a lot of confidence in his slider, a sharp 81-to-83 mph offering with depth and the potential to develop into a plus pitch. He’ll occasionally mix in a usable firm mid-80s changeup, but it’s presently behind the other two pitches.
Kendall Williams (RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) | Video | Video 2): At 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, Williams is an uber-projectable unmolded piece of clay. Committed to Vanderbilt, Williams and IMG Academy teammate Brennan Malone both have early round potential due to their present stuff with the promise for more. He gets downhill, and the high ¾ release point paired with his extension maximizes the effectiveness of his plane. His fastball sits in 91-to-93 mph, touching 94 and his mid-70s curveball with 11-to-5 action is capable of eliciting swings and misses. He’ll mix in an average low-80s changeup with arm side fade deceptive arm speed.
Jack Kochanowicz (RHP, Harriton (Bela Cynwyd, PA) | Video): Kochanowicz is extra-projectable at 6-foot-6 and 210-pounds, with significant room to add strength. He pitches from a controlled semi-windup, pausing at the top of a tall leg lift before driving forward. His arm works loose and easy through a high three-quarters slot. The fastball is 90-to-93 mph with steep downhill angle, showing lively late hop up in the zone that hints more velocity is on the come. Kochanowicz keeps his fastball around the zone well for such a tall young pitcher and has the clean delivery to keep developing command. He spins a hard curveball in the 75-to-78 mph range that had consistent depth and 11-to-5 shape. A commitment to the University of Virginia could make him a tough sign, but Kochanowicz’ projection and present two-pitch mix might be enough to convince a team to make a run at him out of high school. If he does make it to campus, the ingredients are here to develop into a high-round pick in three years.
Matthew Thompson (RHP, Cypress Ranch (Cypress, TX) | Video | Video 2): Thompson and Goss comprise a formidable duo in the high school ranks that rivals any tandem in the country. Like Goss, Thompson is committed to Texas A&M. He’s balanced and flexible in his athletic delivery, with a fast arm capable of producing mid-90s velocity, sitting 92-to-96 in a recent playoff start. His mid-70s curveball is a potential plus pitch with sharp 12-to-6 movement. His changeup is a usable third pitch, flashing average with late fade away from left-handed hitters.
Ricky DeVito (RHP, Seton Hall Univ.): DeVito went 6-3 with a 1.88 ERA as a sophomore in 2018, earning Big East Pitcher of the Year in the process. He didn’t fare as well as a junior, however, struggling with command and getting barreled with more regularity. Tall and lean, DeVito is projectable with a fastball sits 91-to-93 touching 94, with moderate arm-side run. His best secondary is a late fading changeup with deceptive arm speed capable of eliciting swings and misses. He also utilizes a power breaker, with low 80s velo, depth and 11-to-5 action.
Tyler Baum, RHP, North Carolina | Video): In a rotation rife with MLB Draft talent, Baum’s stock has risen above that of fellow Heels Austin Bergner and injured Luca Dalatri. While Baum lacks a true standout pitch, there is appeal in the totality of the profile, with three potential average or better pitches. He looks slighter than his listed 6-foot-2, 180-pound measurables, and doesn’t appear primed for additional development. A Third Team All-ACC honoree, Baum’s modest fastball sits 90-to-93 but it’s particularly effective when he’s spotting down at the corners. He’s shown feel to spin a curveball, his best pitch with downer 11-to-5 movement. His changeup flashes average, though his arm speed replication is inconsistent. In pro ball, Baum profiles as a #5 starter or situational reliever.
Drey Jamison (RHP, Ball State Univ. | Video): A unique profile, Jameson is a draft-eligible true sophomore who would be on the older side of the junior class, turning 22 in August. The MAC Pitcher of the Year, Jameson’s 146 strikeouts were good for third in the country at the commencement of regional play. Though he’s undersized at 6-feet, 165 pounds, Jameson has perhaps the quickest arm in this draft class and top shelf athleticism and flexibility in his actions, easily producing upper-90’s velocity. He’ll sit comfortably at 92-to-95 filling the zone with strikes, though his command within the zone is below average, and throws a pair of breaking balls, with the slider having a tick more future value than the curveball. The changeup is fringe-average, very firm at 88-to-89 and lacking ideal separation off the fastball. There is significant reliever risk in the profile, although the stuff is electric and conducive to a high leverage role.
Ryan Pepiot (RHP, Butler Univ.): Pepiot – whose 126 strikeouts currently rank him 9th in the nation – gets high marks for his pitchability and for possessing one of the better changeups in this draft. The fastball will sit 90-to-93, though he’ll occasionally reach back for more. Control has been an issue, as Pepiot walked over five hitters per nine this season. The aforementioned changeup is so effective due to the deception in the arm speed and arm-side movement. He throws a pair of breaking balls, with the mid-70s curveball being significantly ahead of the slider at present.
Alex McFarlane (RHP, Habersham Central (Mt. Airy, GA) | Video): Originally from the US Virgin Islands, McFarlane moved to Georgia ahead of his senior year in high school. Tall, lean and high waisted, he’s projectable with some effort in the delivery and length to the arm stroke. He’s proven the ability to run his fastball up to the mid-90s, but more often it’ll sit in the low-90s range that’ll flash both cut and run. The slider is easily his best secondary, with depth and tilt. Will also throw a curveball and changeup, though both are in need of additional refinement. A bit of a high upside project, he’s in need of development either at Miami (FL) where’s committed or within a player development program at the professional level.
Joseph Charles (RHP, The First Academy (Orlando, FL) | Video): A North Carolina commit, Charles is an athletic righty who can also swing it as an outfielder. He stands out for having one of the better fastballs in the prep class, though mechanical inconsistencies detrimentally impact his ability to throw strikes. A quick worker, there’s effort in the delivery and occasionally the upper and lower halves will become out of sync. He can run his fastball up to 98 mph but sits more comfortably in the 92-to-94 range. His curveball is a hard 12-to-6 breaker that he’ll bury in the dirt for swinging strikes but needs to improve his ability to get it over for a strike earlier in the count to steal a strike. Among his prep peers, Charles carries perhaps the most reliever risk in the class.
Riley Cornelio (RHP, Pine Creek HS (Colorado Springs, CO) | Video | Video 2 | Video 3): A TCU commit, Cornelio was a mainstay in the showcase circuit, and eventually earned a spot on the USA Baseball 18U team, pitching to a 1-0 record and 1.29 ERA and earning a gold medal in the Pan-American Championships. In three viewings from June-to-November, Cornelio sat anywhere from 89-to-93 with his fastball, though it’s reasonable to project more velocity is forthcoming as he continues to mature. He throws a power breaking ball in the 77-to-79 range, with 11-to-5 movement, and more seldomly used low 80s changeup that is a potential average pitch.
Jimmy Lewis (RHP, Lake Travis (Austin, TX) | Video): A teammate of Brett Baty’s at Lake Travis, Lewis has a shot to join the power hitting corner infielder as a Day One selection. At 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, Lewis is ultra-projectable while already possessing electric stuff. He gets good extension on his mid-90s fastball, setting hitters up before putting them away with his 77-to-78 mph curveball with above average depth. He’s shown come comfortability with a changeup that flashes average, though it lacks consistency. Committed to LSU, look for Lewis to come off the board in rounds 2-4.
Hunter Brown (RHP, Wayne State Univ. | Video): The top Division II player in the draft, Brown went 9-0, with a 2.21 ERA and 114 strikeouts over 85.1 innings for Wayne State. Working primarily from a high ¾ release, he pumps upper-90’s heat and can hold it deep into starts, while also mixing in a low-90s two-seamer with boring action. The slider shows plus potential, with mid-80s velocity, tilt and moderate depth, but the righty struggles to hit his release with the offering and it remains an inconsistent weapon for start to start (and even inning to inning). Brown is more control than command at present and, while he has one of the best fastballs in the entire class, the lack of a reliable third pitch and inconsistent execution could ultimately push into a relief role, where the already electric stuff could play up in shorter stints. For now, a team popping him early enough to get him believes in the size, stuff and durability enough to develop him as a starter, where he projects as a back-end arm with mid-rotation upside.
Ryne Nelson (RHP, Univ. of Oregon): A two-way player for his first two years in Eugene, Nelson slashed just .170/.301/.205 during that span, making the decision to concentrate on pitching an easy one. After closing out games for the Ducks last season, he attempted a move to the rotation this spring, but the experiment lasted just four starts and he was transitioned back to the pen. His fastball is one of the best in the class, touching 99 mph but a lack of movement results in the pitch finding more barrels than expected. His slider is a potential above average pitch, thrown in the mid-80s with horizontal cutting action. As a professional, he profiles best as a high leverage reliever, where his power stuff could allow him to move quickly.
Ryan Zeferjahn (RHP, Univ. of Kansas | Video): Zeferjahn is long limbed, 6-foot-5 with sloping shoulders. He works from a low ¾ release point that he doesn’t always repeat. He’ll sit in the 91-to-94 mph range with his fastball, but can reach back for 95-96 mph when needed, although there is noticeably more effort when doing so. His slurvy breaking ball has average potential, but he’ll often cast it, failing to get on top of the pitch. In his collegiate career, Zeferjahn has excelled at missing bats, striking out over 11 hitters per nine in each of his last two seasons. While he’s got a prototypical starters frame, he could be better suited for the bullpen where the stuff played up in shorter stints on in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Karl Kauffman (RHP, Univ. of Michigan | Video): At his best, Kauffman attacks with sinkers in the 92-to-94 mph range paired with an above average mid-80s slider that one National League scout said could get major leaguers out now. Seldomly, he’ll mix in a firm 85-to-87 mph changeup that has deceptive arm speed but lacks movement. Kaufmann has flashed the stuff to remain in the rotation as a professional, profiling as a back-end starter.
Evan Fitterer (RHP, Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, CA): A UCLA commit, Fitterer is older for this class and will turn 19 shortly after the draft. Working from a ¾ slot, he keeps hitters off balance with a four-pitch mix, all of which show average or better potential. He can bump 95 mph with his fastball, but it frequently sits in the 90-to-92 range with glove side movement. Fitterer throws a pair of usable breaking balls, with the curveball being a slightly better offering because he controls it better. He also shows feel for a changeup, though it’s seldomly used compared to the other secondaries.
Ryan Garcia (RHP, UCLA) | Video): After finding success while splitting time between the rotation and pen as a sophomore, Garcia excelled in the Cape Cod League last summer (2-0, 1.29). Carrying that momentum into the spring, Garcia was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year after going 8-0 on the bump with a 1.30 ERA and 95 strikeouts in just 69 innings. Though he’s undersized at 6-foot-0, 180 pounds, he’s got advanced pitchability, effectively sequencing his deep repertoire. While his fastball velocity is modest at 89-to-92 mph, it’s a high spin offering that produces swings and misses in the zone. At 82-to-84 mph, his power slider has tilt and late break while the changeup is thrown with deceptive arm speed and it fades to the arm side.
Andrew Schultz, RHP, Tennessee | Video): Pitching for Brewster on the Cape last summer and utilizing a long arm stroke and low ¾ path, Schultz sat in the low 90s with his fastball. After overhauling his delivery whereby he raised his release point and shortened his arm action, he routinely touched triple digits this spring, vaulting himself into consideration as high as the second round. The slider is inconsistent, but misses bats at 83-to-84 mph. His control and command are still well below average, but the uptick in velocity paired with a projectable frame enhance the appeal for a team looking for a high risk/high reward project.
Kenyon Yovan (RHP, Oregon | Video | Video 2): Like teammate Ryne Nelson, Yovan was a two-way player at Oregon but his future is undoubtedly on the mound. He spent parts of each of the last two summers with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, posting a 1.08 ERA over five relief appearances last year. Blood clots in his wrist have limited him to just two innings this spring. He was 91-to-94 over the summer with an 11-to-5 curveball with depth and a power slider in the 83-to-84 range. Given the lack of innings resulting from the injury, Yovan could potentially redshirt and return to Eugene next season.
Zack Hess, RHP, Louisiana State Univ. | Video | Video 2): As a freshman, Hess was a reliever on an LSU squad that made it to Omaha, and he was pretty effective in that role before transitioning to the rotation as the Friday guy for the Tigers last spring as a draft-eligible sophomore. The results were inconsistent, and he slid to the 34th round (Atlanta) in the draft as a result. He pitched better over the summer with the Collegiate National Team but was up-and-down again for the Tigers this season. Hess can run his fastball up to 97 mph when working out of the pen but sits in the low 90s when starting. He’ll elicit swings and misses with a biting 80-to-82 mph slider. He profiles best in pen, where he could develop into a high leverage reliever with two plus pitches.
Andrew Dalquist (RHP, Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, CA)): In a down year for in the Golden State amongst the prep pitching ranks, Dalquist has parlayed a clean, easy, repeatable delivery with an impressive spring to rise to the top of the class. Dalquist works off a low 90s fastball that can bump 95 and a downer curveball with moderate depth. A University of Arizona signee, Dalquist is more polish than stuff presently, and could contribute right away if he’s unable to be lured away from his commitment.
Will Rigney (RHP, Midway (Waco, TX) | Video): Rigney is big, projectable, and bow-legged, and also one of the better high school pitchers in a good Texas class. He gets out front with above average extension, staying controlled and in-line toward home plate. He’ll pitch to both sides of the plate with a fastball at 92-to-93 and throws a pair of breaking balls; a tight slider and a curveball with bigger shape, though the slider is more likely to elicit swings and misses. Committed to Baylor, Rigney missed time this spring with a forearm strain, increasing the chances he makes it to Waco.
Alec Marsh (RHP, Arizona State Univ. | Video): Marsh is broad shouldered with a well-proportioned frame, and minimal projection remaining. In a brief stint in the Cape Cod League last summer, Marsh was impressive, pitching to a 1.59 ERA and striking out 20 over 11.1 innings. Utilizing a low effort delivery, he works in the 89-to-93 mph range to elicit ground balls with his two-seamer, while he can dial it up to 95 with his four-seamer. He’s got a low-80s slider with depth that flashes two-plane break, looking like a future above average pitch. He’ll also mix in a curveball and occasional changeup, though both pitches need additional refinement. Touched for ten homeruns this season, hitting spots will be essential for Marsh’s success at the next level.
Brett Thomas (RHP, Riverwood (Atlanta, GA)): Although Thomas made the rounds on the showcase circuit, the arsenal was rather pedestrian with a fastball sitting 87-to-90 mph and an inconsistent breaking ball. The stuff has ticked upward this spring, dialing the heater up to 95 on occasion, while sitting more comfortably in the low 90s. The development in the power curveball has been a game changer. Coming in hot in the low-to-mid 80s range, the breaker tunnels with his fastball before dropping off the table, provoking silly swings. Committed to South Carolina, Thomas appeared primed to head to school when the draft cycle began, but strides made of the spring have clouded that likelihood.