2017 Draft Thread

Discussion about the June amateur draft, college baseball, high school baseball, etc.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Fri May 19, 2017 7:12 pm

UK, have you heard of any high bonus demands yet this year?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Fri May 19, 2017 7:37 pm

davell wrote:UK, have you heard of any high bonus demands yet this year?


Nothing on a national level, for the Midwest U
Il, WI, Ia and MN.

Carlson is signable, fwiw.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Fri May 19, 2017 7:41 pm

UK wrote:
davell wrote:UK, have you heard of any high bonus demands yet this year?


Nothing on a national level, for the Midwest U
Il, WI, Ia and MN.

Carlson is signable, fwiw.


Cool. Curious, why is Crouse a complete no for the Cubs? Too animated or just too much of a project?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Fri May 19, 2017 7:44 pm

Off-topic:

2018 OF Jarred Kelenic (OF from WI) is the best player I've scouted in 13 years. It was previously Odorizzi.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Fri May 19, 2017 7:47 pm

davell wrote:
UK wrote:
davell wrote:UK, have you heard of any high bonus demands yet this year?


Nothing on a national level, for the Midwest U
Il, WI, Ia and MN.

Carlson is signable, fwiw.


Cool. Curious, why is Crouse a complete no for the Cubs? Too animated or just too much of a project?


I really like Crouse, he has the best swing and miss among the prep pitchers but there's some concerns with repeating that as well as the recoil.

With their 1st pick, I don't know if they want that much of a floor.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sat May 20, 2017 2:27 am

davell wrote:UK, have you heard of any high bonus demands yet this year?


Michael a Mercado is definitely making it to Stanford.

Jake Eder (Vandy) and Jeremiah Estrada (UCLA) are tough signs - though I've heard Estrada can be had.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby Regular Show » Sat May 20, 2017 3:22 am

CaliforniaRaisin wrote:
Transmogrified Tiger wrote:College hitters who bash the bejeezus out of the ball always have my attention.


Yep. Hiura would be my dream come true.


Yeah, I'm also down for selecting Hiura if he falls that far. I don't know where he fits or works defensively. He definitely needs TJ surgery on his throwing arm right?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Sat May 20, 2017 3:41 am

Regular Show wrote:
CaliforniaRaisin wrote:
Transmogrified Tiger wrote:College hitters who bash the bejeezus out of the ball always have my attention.


Yep. Hiura would be my dream come true.


Yeah, I'm also down for selecting Hiura if he falls that far. I don't know where he fits or works defensively. He definitely needs TJ surgery on his throwing arm right?


Agreed, if the best hitter in the draft falls to 27, you have to get him. I think it's very slim he drops that far.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sat May 20, 2017 4:58 am

Regular Show wrote:
CaliforniaRaisin wrote:
Transmogrified Tiger wrote:College hitters who bash the bejeezus out of the ball always have my attention.


Yep. Hiura would be my dream come true.


Yeah, I'm also down for selecting Hiura if he falls that far. I don't know where he fits or works defensively. He definitely needs TJ surgery on his throwing arm right?


There have been hints but nothing has been confirmed. He sprained his UCL, re-injured it after trying to just rest it and then got a PRP shot. He still hasn't played in the field since the original injury.

Even if he needs TJS, I'd take the best college hitter in the draft and wait for him to heal up. It's not a pitcher elbow injury.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Sat May 20, 2017 4:47 pm

If you guys want a report on a particular player, let me know.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Sat May 20, 2017 5:27 pm

UK wrote:If you guys want a report on a particular player, let me know.


UK, what can you give us on Logan Warmoth?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby TomtheBombadil » Sat May 20, 2017 7:54 pm

UK wrote:If you guys want a report on a particular player, let me know.


What do you hear on Evan White the Kentucky 1B?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby Tryptamine » Sun May 21, 2017 4:36 am

As of right now, assuming no one slides like crazy(Hiura,Romero), I think I'd prefer the Cubs take two of the Tanner Houck,Nate Pearson,Nate Allen trio. Also, If Jeren Kendall continues to slide he'd be super intriguing at #27 even if contact issues are perhaps the biggest red flag for me.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Sun May 21, 2017 5:16 am

Tryptamine wrote:As of right now, assuming no one slides like crazy(Hiura,Romero), I think I'd prefer the Cubs take two of the Tanner Houck,Nate Pearson,Nate Allen trio. Also, If Jeren Kendall continues to slide he'd be super intriguing at #27 even if contact issues are perhaps the biggest red flag for me.


I think Romero will be there. Law thinks he'll go 2nd or 3rd round now. Personally, I've got a feeling Hiura goes early, top 15. Kendall does seem to be sliding, but I doubt he falls outside the top 20. Adell falling in BA's latest mock really intrigues me, but I'm guessing that's a monetary thing and I don't think I'd be comfortable blowing most of the budget for BOTH those picks on him.

I think my group for 27 and 30 is Little, Pearson, and Schmidt(screw it, I'll roll the dice)for pitching. With Allen, Ramos, Holmes, and maybe Warmoth, for position guys.

If Hiura or Kendall fall, I'd be all over them. Same with Peterson and probably Canning, on the pitching side. Doesn't seem as if any of those 4 are there though.

In the 2nd, I'd love to nab Romero, Crowe, or Beck.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby CaliforniaRaisin » Sun May 21, 2017 5:24 am

TomtheBombadil wrote:
UK wrote:If you guys want a report on a particular player, let me know.


What do you hear on Evan White the Kentucky 1B?


FYI, I've read that some teams want to move him to the outfield even though he's a good defender at first.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Sun May 21, 2017 12:59 pm

davell wrote:
UK wrote:If you guys want a report on a particular player, let me know.


UK, what can you give us on Logan Warmoth?



Headed into the season, following a very good summer in the Cape Cod League, UNC shortstop Logan Warmoth looked like a pretty good bet to come off the board in the top 3-4 rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft. Fast forward to three months pre-draft and Warmoth is making a case to be a first round selection thanks to a rapidly developing hit tool and increased power production and projection.

Leading UNC in several hitting categories thus far with a .333/.422/.576 slash line and five home runs, Warmoth has most notably improved in the power area, as his five home runs already are more than 2016's entire total of four. There really aren't any glaring deficiencies to his game at the moment, though some scouts are wary of a potential move to second base down the road due to an average throwing arm from shortstop. Regardless of the arm strength concerns Warmoth is an above average athlete with quality hands, footwork and overall defensive actions at the shortstop position, which all play together to form one of the better defensive shortstops in college baseball currently.

Offensively, Warmoth has made notable gains in terms of physical strength and that has shown up in a big way offensively. The strength has allowed his raw power to jump into the above average range, and it's showing up more and more in game situations. In my viewing vs. Georgia Tech, Warmoth had the shot of the day, launching a ball deep over the left field fence (and over the indoor football facility) at a pivotal point in the game. It was a big time shot for a 6-foot-4, 240-pound slugger, let alone a 6-foot, 190-pound middle infielder. The bat-to-ball skills are sound as well, and he shows the ability to manipulate the barrel around the zone while maintaining a positive launch and driving the ball on a line into the air.

There are some profile limitations, and as mentioned he may have to move to second base in the future, but on the whole Warmoth looks like a top two rounder right now, especially in a draft class that is a touch down in terms of college position players.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Sun May 21, 2017 1:05 pm

Evan White:

Generally speaking, when a player has question marks surrounding his future position in professional baseball it’s considered a knock on his profile. With Evan White of Kentucky, however, it means that he’s such a good athlete playing a traditionally lesser-athletic position, that his draft profile becomes even more intriguing when considering what he might be able to do defensively in pro ball.

White currently plays first base for the Wildcats and is arguably the best defensive first baseman the SEC has seen in quite some time, but the athleticism is such that scouts have projected him to be a quality defender in the outfield as well, with some even questioning if he could be an average center fielder if given the opportunity.

Offensively, White is currently hitting just shy of .400 (.397) with an overall slash line of .397/.493/.672 (granted, in about half of his team’s games played due to two separate hamstring pull incidents). The looseness and explosiveness of his swing is outstanding, with evaluators everywhere projecting that he will hit at a high clip at the next level. He’s able to use all fields and makes hard contact on pitches of all varieties in any location. The approach is quality as well, as he doesn’t expand often and his innate bat-to-ball ability keeps his strikeout rate down as well.

There are some concerns as to just how much power he’ll hit for at the next level, though. The swing is a bit linear and more geared for gap-to-gap contact than the over-the-fence variety, but he’s very strong with tons of bat speed and should get to average game power in time.

The overall profile here is dependent on which position he ends up playing. If he’s able to move off of first base the pressure on him to hit for big power alleviates somewhat, but even in a corner outfield spot power is expected out of such a profile. Either way, White is likely one of the safer prospects in this class due to the excellence of his hit tool and the athleticism he possesses


Personally,

I like him as a 1B, I don't know if he can play CF. If the Cubs feel that he can then, grab him. Obviously, him at 1B doesn't work for the Cubs. I project a Wally Joyner type career from him more than Erstad.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Sun May 21, 2017 7:03 pm

Thanks UK. Different type of question, but who are a few pitchers you think the Cubs could consider in the 2nd or 3rd? If its too broad, how about just college guys?
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Mon May 22, 2017 2:27 pm

davell wrote:Thanks UK. Different type of question, but who are a few pitchers you think the Cubs could consider in the 2nd or 3rd? If its too broad, how about just college guys?


Blaine Knight – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-3/165
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: June 28, 1996
College: Arkansas
Hometown: Bryant, Ark.
Projected Draft Round: 2-4

One of the more surprising helium guys coming out of the fall and leading into the 2017 season was Arkansas sophomore Blaine Knight, a righthander from Bryant, Arkansas. A draft-eligible sophomore who had a very good freshman season in 2016, Knight went 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 18 appearances a year ago, seven of which were starts. He threw 48 1/3 innings and struck out 46 hitters along the way as compared to only 14 walks.

At 6-foot-3, 165-pounds Knight is still the picture of projection with a slender, long-limbed frame that has only just begun to pack on muscle. It's a very easy delivery on the mound, coiling and uncoiling well generating torque and driving downhill, and showing the type of loose, easy arm action that projects both increased velocity in the future as well as maintaining a starter's workload as he continues forward.

Coming into the season we had heard that Knight was touching 96-97 mph with his fastball and pairing it with a dynamic, swing-and-miss changeup that projected as a potentially plus pitch down the road. His slider would flash solid average but settle into the fringy category most of the time, sometimes getting a bit slurvy and lacking plus bite. Recently at the Frisco College Classic Knight worked 91-93 mph for most of his six innings on the mound, peaking at 94 early on and did a very good job commanding the fastball. He allowed a single run in those six frames to go along with 10 strikeouts against a potent Arizona lineup.

Interestingly enough, it wasn't the changeup that stood out, seeing as Knight barely threw it, if at all. He leaned heavily on his slider, which varied in shape between 11-to-5 and 10-to-4, and was able to spin it well for strikes and did a good job using it late in counts to put away hitters. It's an interesting dynamic that he uses the slider as much as he does, seeing as the prevailing thought was that the changeup is his best pitch. It could potentially bode well for his development as a true three average-or-better pitch starter, with the focus on developing the pitch that currently may lag behind the other two. He also showed a curveball, a bit bigger in shape and slower, he was able to throw for strikes when he wanted to as well.

At the end of the day Knight could end up with two plus pitches and a third average offering, all with a projectable body and repeatable arm stroke and delivery, which, when looked at as a whole, looks like a potential very high draft choice in June.

Corbin Martin – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/200
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Dec. 28, 1995
College: Texas A&M
Hometown: Cypress, Texas


Texas A&M righthander Corbin Martin is a bit of a mystery despite being a well-known name during his prep days at Cy-Ranch in Texas. Undrafted out of high school, Martin focused as much of his time on hitting as he did on the mound and was even listed as a primary outfielder on his Perfect Game profile. During his senior year he hit .389-9-30 while going 8-0 on the mound with a 1.21 ERA and 62 strikeouts in just 52 innings. The athleticism is obvious with the physically built Martin and it’s something that shows currently and factors into the equation of scouts' evaluations.

Upon joining the Aggies in the fall of 2015 Martin has been used almost exclusively out of the bullpen (aside from three starts last season) though the athleticism and arsenal suggest he could start at the next level while logging additional innings under his belt. The results have been mixed to this point in his career while in College Station as he’s struck out 78 batters in 60 1/3 innings, but he’s also walked 41 and has allowed 59 base hits. Jump into his summer seasons (he spent 2015 in Alaska and 2016 on the Cape) and he struck out 56 while walking only 16 (12 came in Alaska) and allowed a mere two earned runs in 41 innings pitched. While the results at school haven’t been consistent he did have an excellent showing on the Cape which helped establish himself as one of the most intriguing arms in the country.

If you’re looking for adjective to describe what Martin’s right arm produces 'electric' would be the one as the arm action is extremely fast through the backside and produces plus velocity without showing max effort at release. The fastball routinely sits in the mid-90s and bumps higher on occasion, and though he wouldn’t necessarily pitch in that velocity range should he be converted to a starter at the next level, he’ll still show an above average fastball. The velocity alone is noteworthy and he’s shown riding life through the zone in the past, although Martin was generating some hard and late cutting life to his glove side a couple of weeks ago at the Shriners College Classic in Houston, making the pitch that much more effective against righthanded hitters.

The arsenal runs deeper than just his fastball as he owns a pair of breaking pitches that will flash at least above average, if not plus, on any given offering and both show swing-and-miss potential. The big 12-to-6 curveball has been Martin’s go-to in the past and it’s sharp once again in 2017 showing plenty of depth and hard bite, along with tight rotation and a mimicked release point. His slider is a second swing-and-miss pitch which is thrown slightly harder than his mid-80s curveball but shows solid tilt and late life. He seldom throws his low-80s changeup but it’s a viable pitch and gives him four which can be thrown for strikes, further suggesting a potential starting role.

Martin generates one of the biggest arsenals in all of collegiate baseball and when he’s on he has proven to be nearly unhittable. He’s truly a weapon for Coach Rob Childress at the back end of the bullpen, especially as conference play is set to begin, though scouts may have different plans for his future endeavors given the arm action, strong frame and overall athleticism.

Joe Perez – RHP/3B

Height/Weight: 6-3/205
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Aug. 12, 1999
High School: Archbishop McCarthy
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Travel Team: Elite Squad
Commitment: Miami


Perez went into this spring as an uncertainly for the draft, as he's been a primary third baseman for his entire baseball life. While he's pitched in 14 Perfect Game events beginning as a 12-year old in 2012, working in the mid-70s at the 2012 13u BCS Finals, he only threw 8 2/3 innings in relief as a junior for the Florida 6A State Champion Archbishop McCarthy High School. Perez did hit .375-4-37 last spring and has put on huge power displays at high level events such as the 2016 PG National Showcase and the 2016 Area Code Games but would have been considered a fringe draft and more likely to go to college as strictly a position player.

Perez's second plus tool, in addition to his power, is his arm strength, however, and he has always intrigued scouts in his short forays to the mound. He topped out at 91 mph in the summer after his freshman year and regularly topped out at 94-96 mph in short stints last summer, although he would lose his velocity uniformly quickly. Perez has shown a potential second plus pitch in a hard slurve-type breaking ball in the 80-82 mph range that has sharp downer biting action.

The issue thus far in projecting Perez as a pitcher was a biproduct of his relative lack of experience and emphasis on pitching; his mechanics made him very inconsistent with both his command and his stuff. Perez starts his delivery from the far first base side of the rubber and opens his front side very early in a rotation heavy delivery, all factors that hurt his direction to the plate. In addition, Perez has plenty of effort and head violence in his release. It was a straight reliever profile, with a big caveat "if he throws enough strikes."

Early reports from Florida indicate that Perez' increased focus on pitching has shown immediate benefits and scouts are even talking about the potential for him to develop as a starter if he continues to improve at the same rate. There has been no questioning the raw stuff. Perez has been working in the 92-95 mph range and maintaining his stuff much better, while touching 97-98 mph at times. The breaking ball continues to be a potential swing-and-miss pitch.

As opposed to some strong-armed pitchers who are quickly shuffled into the "reliever only" category, Perez does have the advantage of high-level athleticism to help him make the physical adjustments in his delivery. He is also very young for the 2017 class and won't turn 18 years old until August, making him a full year younger than some of his peers among top prospects in this high school class. And if academic achievement can translate learning on the field and specifically the mound, Perez will have another advantage in that he's a 4.0-plus student in the classroom.


Jake Eder – LHP

Height/Weight: 6-4/210
Bats/Throws: L/L
Birthdate: Oct. 9, 1998
High School: Calvary Christian
Hometown: Ocean Ridge, Fla.
Travel Team: FTB Tucci
Commitment: Vanderbilt


Jake Eder has undoubtedly been frustrating plenty of both area and national scouts over the past year. All the ingredients are there physically for the 28th-ranked player in the Perfect Game national rankings. He has a long limbed and still projectable 6-foot-4, 210-pound build. His arm action is very loose and free and smooth coming through. He has individual innings and even outings where he's been bumping the mid-90s with life on his fastball and working to spots. His changeup is a much improved pitch and he will show just enough flashes of a solid curveball to cause optimism for the future.

But it hasn't been consistent at all. For every outing like the one Eder had at the WWBA World Championship last August, where he was touching 94 mph and his curveball was a sharp downward breaker, there is an outing where the curveball is loopy and soft. For every outing where Eder is working both corners with his fastball and is ahead in counts, there are others where the strike zone is a moving target. At the Area Code Games last summer Eder pitched twice and managed to put together one of each outing.

As with most pitchers, that inconsistency pretty much comes down to mechanics and the ability to repeat a release point. Eder's arm action is long in back and his stride out front with his long legs is long as well. Eder also tends to lean his upper body back at the top of his delivery, tilting his lead shoulder upward. Getting everything timed up and in sync from the moment Eder's body and arm start moving forward to when he releases the ball has been an issue. Usually it's been a matter of Eder's arm being late coming through. His fastball tends to miss up arm side when he's out of sync, while getting out front early causes him to "cast" his curveball, in scout terminology, instead of getting out front and over the pitch at release.

Eder was a relative latecomer to the top prospect community and obviously has lots of time to make adjustments and grow into his mechanics. If a team does pop him high enough in June, it will be a team that buys into the patience factor and the very high physical ceiling. If that doesn't happen, it's easy to see Eder, who is a solid student with a Vanderbilt ride, becoming an elite level draft pick in 2020.

Colton Hock – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-5/235
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: March 15, 1996
College: Stanford
Hometown: Bloomsburg, Pa.


The Cardinal closer, Colton Hock has yet to surrender a run this year in seven appearances out of the bullpen spanning 12 innings, collecting four saves in the process. He’s a much-ballyhooed reliever who has quite the track record of success, including a 2.03 ERA in nearly 58 innings a season ago.

He’s an XL-framed prospect at 6-foot-5, 235-pounds, but retains a lot of athleticism and looseness throughout his body that is most notable through his delivery. The delivery works well throughout and he’s able to repeat it consistently, along with a quick arm that works up to a high three-quarters slot release point.

He works consistently in the low-90s with his fastball, sitting more in the 91-93 mph range so far this season after working up to 95-96 mph in the Cape Cod League last summer, with explosive life out of the hand that can allow the fastball’s 55 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) velocity to potentially play up a half grade. He complements the fastball with (or maybe his fastball complements) a dynamic, swing-and-miss curveball that earns easy plus grades from evaluators. With 12-to-6 shape and hammer depth, Hock is able to command the pitch well and as a result it often plays up beyond plus grades, giving him a legitimate weapon with which to attack hitters.

It’ll be an interesting dynamic to see if any team is willing to try and convert Hock to a starter, seeing as he has the size and delivery to potentially make that work (and it was attempted on the Cape), but even if not, he’s a very physical righthanded reliever with the potential for two plus pitches and command that will undoubtedly help out the back end of a bullpen. Similar to Rice’s Glenn Otto, those types of prospects are usually rounds 2-4 selections.



Glenn Otto – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-5/240
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: March 11, 1996
College: Rice
Hometown: Spring, Texas
Projected Draft Round: 2-4

An immensely physical prospect, Glenn Otto of Rice checks in at 6-foot-5 and tips the scales at 240 pounds, absolutely looking the part of the traditional Texas power pitcher mold. His velocity fits that mold too, sitting in the mid-90s out of the bullpen in his role as the Rice closer, bumping up to 98 mph when necessary.

Mechanically, Otto works from a three-quarters arm slot that is very short and quick through the back, hiding the ball extremely well from hitters before releasing with full extension, which allows his already dynamic fastball to play up even more, despite offering below average life on the pitch.

His secondary pitch is a power curveball, thrown in the low- to mid-80s with 12-to-6 shape and big-time snap and depth, projecting as a plus pitch. He’s able to throw it for strikes as well as down and out of the zone as a chase pitch, giving him a very impressive complement to his power fastball.

Otto fits the archetype of the hard-throwing college reliever with two potentially plus pitches and a very good track record of success, and those types of prospects usually come off the board in the 2-4 round range. There is some risk here in that the command is below average and Otto will walk his fair share of guys, but the upside of a back-end bullpen piece with physicality and power stuff is enticing nonetheless.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Mon May 22, 2017 2:48 pm

Hagen Danner – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Sept. 30, 1998
High School: Huntington Beach
Hometown: Huntington Beach
Travel Team: EvoShield Canes
Commitment: UCLA
Projected Draft Round: 2

Hagan Danner's baseball legacy literally dates back to 2011 when he and fellow top prospect Nick Pratto, who would later join Danner at Huntington Beach High School, were the stars of the Ocean View Little League team that defeated Japan 2-1 to win the Little League World Series. Perhaps not surprisingly, Danner and Pratto were the stars of that game, with Danner's solo home run providing the team's first run and Pratto's two-out single in the bottom of the sixth inning being the game winner.

Since then, Danner has been consistently ranked among the top prospects in the 2017 class as a two-way standout, but for much of that time as a position player who played multiple positions around the field. When this scout saw him play in 2014 he was already a physically mature athlete who was stronger than most of his peers. Perhaps because of this physical maturity, Danner seemed to level off for a few years in his athleticism and overall skill level, not an uncommon thing to happen to any athlete who matures young.

Over the last eight months, however, Danner has significantly improved in many areas. He's concentrated more on catching over other positions and has made himself into a much better defensive player behind the plate. He looks leaner and more athletic in general and is now listed at 10 pounds lighter, a difference that is a big plus. Perhaps the biggest difference has been on the mound, where Danner's long-term future appears to be.

The increased athleticism has meant a looser arm and more consistency to Danner's delivery, with a corresponding uptick in stuff and command. Danner's arm action is not a prototypical catcher's arm action on the mound, it is long and loose and flowing from a high three-quarters arm slot. Late last summer and into the fall Danner was consistently throwing 91-94 mph on his fastball and spotted it very well to all quadrants of the plate. His curveball has taken an even more significant step forward, now showing very consistent spin and depth at 75-77 mph and has become a weapon to use at different counts instead of when just ahead of a hitter. His low-80s changeup is a work in progress but has potential.

A loose-armed potential mid-rotation starter and projected second round pick might not have been on Danner's mind back when he was a 12-year old Little League hero, but it's still a very good spot to be in as an 18-year old.

Jeremiah Estrada – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-1/185
Bats/Throws: B/R
Birthdate: Nov. 1, 1998
High School: Palm Desert
Hometown: La Quinta, Calif.
Travel Team: CBA Marucci
Commitment: UCLA
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

Jeremiah Estrada had a notable and steady improvement throughout last summer. He started off the summer circuit at the Perfect Game National Showcase in June and put on a solid performance there that earned him a spot in the PG All-American Game in August. The following report was filed after the National:

Medium athletic build, lots of room to get stronger. Long extended arm action in back, smooth and fast coming through, gets over his front side well and creates leverage, medium effort on release. Fastball up to 93 mph, gets some cutting action on his fastball at times, works downhill with his fastball. Has a full complement of secondary pitches, gets good tilt to his slider and occasional depth on his slider, maintains arm speed well on his changeup. Consistency on his secondary pitches will be key to his future. The arm strength and aggressiveness are there.

From that strong start, Estrada pretty much improved across the board over the next few months. His fastball went from the low-90s to topping out at 94-96 mph every outing and working steadily in the 92-94 mph range throughout his pitch counts, an important distinction for a young righthander who does not have a physical build and resembles the middle infielder he is in high school when not pitching.

Early in the summer, Estrada seemed in between a curveball and a slider at times and didn't maintain the kind of consistency one would like to see. As the summer progressed, he went more and more to a hard curveball in the mid- to upper-70s that became a strikeout pitch for him against quality hitters. He also further developed his changeup into a pitch that he had confidence in at different points in the count.

One more thing became very evident in multiple looks at Estrada from coast to coast and in different settings: he pitched much better in extended outings. Not only was his command better in extended outings, his velocity was actually better as well.

Estrada has had a very successful high school career, going 22-7, 0.94 through his first two plus seasons, including 2-1, 1.48 with 39 strikeouts in 23 innings this spring. Reports out of California indicate that his stuff isn't quite at the level it was late last summer, sitting mostly 88-92 with a curveball that will show plus at times. But if Estrada follows his precedent of last summer, he's just beginning to warm up.

Luke Heimlich – LHP

Height/Weight: 6-1/197
Bats/Throws: L/L
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 1996
College: Oregon State
Hometown: Puyallup, Wash.
Projected Draft Round: 1S-3

If his 2014 junior season stats at Puyallup High School were any indication of things to come then Heimlich’s sensational 2017 season shouldn’t be too unexpected. After going 11-0 with a 0.66 ERA and 106 strikeouts in just 78 innings pitched, Heimlich decided to forgo the MLB Draft and enroll at Oregon State for the spring semester, jumping from the 2015 class to join the 2014 ensemble of talent which he was age appropriate for anyway as he pitched his freshman collegiate season at the age of 19.

Perhaps known more for his pitchability and overall command than for the velocity he’s showing this spring, Heimlich arrived on campus with a fastball that routinely worked in the upper-80s and showed the feel and aptitude for pitching that the Beavers coaching staff was expecting. He worked primarily out of the bullpen as a true freshman with 29 appearances and just two starts with sound numbers across the board. Jump forward to the 2017 season however, his second in the starting rotation, and his numbers are anything but ordinary, partly due to the significant rise in his fastball velocity.

Now working rather comfortably in the low-90s and touching as high as 94 or 95 mph on any given start, Heimlich has seen his K/9 rise from a 6.54 mark in 2016 to over right around 9.0 this spring as he’s punched out 55 batters in 52 innings, a span in which he’s walked just 10. The athleticism shows in his delivery, and though there’s some effort to his release, it in no way inhibits what he brings to the mound as he’s proven capable of not only pounding the strike zone but maintaining the fastball velocity deep into an outing. Heimlich’s arm stroke is both quick and clean as the fastball can jump up on hitters quicker than the velocity indicates thanks to the feel and confidence he shows in the secondaries.

Heimlich’s curveball and changeup are two pitches he can get over the plate for strikes on a regular basis, whether it’s early in the count or in a put-away type situation. His curveball is the go-to pitch of his two secondaries as it offers solid depth to the bottom of the strike zone and he does a nice job to replicate his delivery on the pitch. His most recent performance, a complete game, one-run outing over Stanford, embodies what has become almost expected this season by the Oregon State faithful as Heimlich threw 83 of his 114 pitches for strikes (72 percent) and improved to 5-0 on the year.

Heimlich has the arsenal for starting at the next level and though not physically imposing on the mound, he maintains his repertoire and pounds the strike zone, something size can’t teach. He generates plane and works down in the zone and has been the best pitcher on arguably the best pitching staff in the entire country.


Peter Solomon – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-4/201
Bats/Throws: R-R
Birthdate: Aug. 16, 1996
College: Notre Dame
Hometown: Ellicott City, Md.
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

Peter Solomon is going to be a tricky arm for scouts to dissect and evaluate for this June’s draft as there hasn’t been much consistency from appearance to appearance for the athletic righthander, though when he’s on he looks like a no doubt first round talent. With an ideal and still very projectable frame for a righthanded starting pitcher at 6-foot-4, 201-pounds, Solomon has bounced between the rotation and bullpen both last spring and in 2017, just as he did on the Cape where he finished the summer as one of the most electric arms in the league.

Command has been Solomon’s biggest problem to this point in his career but there’s no doubting the pure stuff he’s able to produce with his electric right arm. With both the delivery and arm action to succeed as a starting pitcher, plus the physical projection that remains, Solomon could very well pitch with a plus fastball long-term. He has no problem lighting up the guns right now as flashing 96s is rather routine and he can live very comfortably in the 92-95 mph range for a handful of innings at a time.

The delivery is both balanced and methodical with tempo throughout and there’s no true outlier in his mechanics that lead to any real concern as much as it is an inconsistency in his arm stroke through the back side. While clean and effortless, Solomon's arm stroke through the back is long and could be a bigger reason for his misses. When everything is in sync though Solomon pounds his fastball downhill to the lower third of the strike zone with minimal effort and has the type of fastball that can work through a lineup at least once, unscathed, while showing some ability to work to either side of the plate.

You obviously need more than just a fastball to succeed at the higher levels and Solomon possesses both a slider and curveball, a pair of pitches that will show above average life right now and could develop even more in the future. His slider is a consistent 83-85 mph pitch that offers short and very tight spin with late two-plane tilt and 10-to-4 shape, a pitch he can locate to the back foot of lefthanded hitters and serves as a put-away offering. There may not be a ton of difference in velocity between the slider and curveball but Solomon is able to generate quality depth and 11-to-5 shape on his curveball and is yet another swing-and-miss pitch when all is right.

There’s no doubting what Solomon brings to the table and with a slight mechanical tweak at the next level a team could absolutely strike gold and get a steal with Solomon. The arsenal is as impressive as any arm in the 2017 draft and if the consistency continues to come along this spring don’t be surprised if Solomon continues to climb draft boards.

Mitchell Stone – LHP

Height/Weight: 6-9/240
Bats/Throws: L/L
Birthdate: May 29, 1998
High School: Deer Creek
Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Travel Team: FTB Tucci
Commitment: Oklahoma State
Projected Draft Round: 2-4

A gargantuan lefthander, and a 2016 Perfect Game All-American, Deer Creek High School's Mitchell Stone has endeared himself to evaluators over the last year thanks in several parts to his size, stuff and ease of operation. It's rather uncanny just how well he's able to repeat his delivery, given that the vast majority of pitchers (even major leaguers) of his size struggle with that task tremendously.

Stone's delivery is about as simple as one can be given his extremely long body and limbs, and as stated above, he makes it work and repeats it well. It's a simple step back into the delivery with a medium-height leg raise, balancing and gathering well over the rubber before driving downhill to the plate. He steps over with his lead leg and lands mostly online, though what slight crossfire he creates doesn't inhibit his ability to get over his front side or throw strikes. The arm action is loose and clean as well working well through the back up to a high three-quarters slot, which, when coupled with his size, allows him to create tremendous plane to the plate.

His fastball consistently sits in the 88-91 mph range, bumping some 92's along the way. The pitch features average arm-side life and likewise average velocity, but what allows it to be extremely effective is the plane he creates, making the pitch come in at a seemingly impossibly steep angle at times. His curveball is his go-to secondary pitch, showing average pretty consistently and working in the mid-70s. It's a 1-to-7 shaped true curveball with excellent depth, though it lacks that true hammer snap that evaluators like to see. He'll also mix in a changeup in the upper-70s with good fading action, flashing average potential, though he does have a tendency to guide it a bit and will leave it up in zone as a result.

On the whole, Stone offers an extremely large presence with a pretty easy delivery and good strike-throwing ability to go along with his collection of solid average pitches. There isn't much projection remaining given his already well-built and filled out frame, along with average arm speed, but he's still a huge lefthander with good stuff and feel. The draft projection is likely somewhere in the 2-4 round range.

Jacob Heatherly – LHP

Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Bats/Throws: L/L
Birthdate: May 20, 1998
High School: Cullman
Hometown: Cullman, Ala.
Travel Team: Georgia Jackets
Commitment: Alabama
Projected Draft Round: 1S-2

Jacob Heatherly is one of the older pitchers in the 2017 prospect class, with his 19th birthday approaching in late May. He is also one of the more mature pitchers, both in his physical strength and development, which is outstanding, and in his raw stuff and his approach to pitching.

Physical maturity can be a double-edged sword when evaluating a high school pitcher, where "projection" is a word that most scouts are anxious to both use and embrace. But good scouts also know that when a pitcher already is close to where he needs to be with his stuff and strength that it being a sure thing can take precedence.

Heatherly has been seen frequently by the national scouting community on last summer's circuit, culminating in a very good showing at the PG All-American Classic, and this spring while pitching for nationally ranked Cullman High School. His stuff has been extremely consistent during that entire time. Heatherly works in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball, occasionally touching 95, with the pitch being mostly straight but thrown well to spots. Heatherly does a particularly good job of throwing his fastball in on righthanded hitters and can work all quadrants with the pitch effectively.

Heatherly throws two breaking balls, with his 77 mph power curveball being by far the better pitch, with tight spin and occasionally big two-plane shape. His softer 71 mph curveball won't have any utility at the next level and will likely be replaced by a cutter or hard slider to complement the power curveball. Heatherly also throws a credible changeup that should continue to grow as a potential weapon.

That Heatherly is a good athlete who fields his position well and can swing the bat fits in with his overall package as a pretty finished product. In fact, one of the entertaining side stories of the NHSI in Cary, North Carolina, in late March was when Heatherly faced off against fellow PG All-American Hans Crouse. Crouse thought he would fool Heatherly with a changeup his first time up, which Heatherly, hitting cleanup, promptly lined for a double. Next time up, Crouse dialed up a mid-90s heater which Heatherly also lined for a hit. Crouse eventually had the last laugh, getting a game winning hit himself off a Cullman reliever after also picking up a hit on Heatherly.

The team that picks Heatherly, most likely in the 35-50 range, will get getting a young pitcher who should be able to move through the lower levels pretty quickly and efficiently. That is a big bonus for a high school pitcher and plenty enough to compensate for the relative lack of projection.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Mon May 22, 2017 3:47 pm

Thanks so much UK, you are the man!
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Mon May 22, 2017 3:59 pm

davell wrote:Thanks so much UK, you are the man!


There will be a few more later.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby davell » Mon May 22, 2017 4:04 pm

UK wrote:
davell wrote:Thanks so much UK, you are the man!


There will be a few more later.


Awesome
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Mon May 22, 2017 4:04 pm

Fwiw, my favorite of the collegiate pitchers to go around there is Morgan Cooper of Texas.
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Re: 2017 Draft Thread

Postby UK » Mon May 22, 2017 9:28 pm

Tanner Burns – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-0/205
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Dec. 28, 1998
High School: Decatur
Hometown: Decatur, Ala.
Travel Team: FTB Tucci
Commitment: Auburn
Projected Draft Round: 1-2

A strong-armed righthander who has been known for his advanced arm strength for some time now, Decatur High School’s Tanner Burns really burst onto the national draft scene at the Perfect Game National last summer, where he topped out at 95 mph and flashed a dynamic, swing-and-miss breaking ball. As such, Burns was selected to the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

A well-built 6-foot, 205-pound athlete, Burns doesn’t possess the intimidating size of many fireballing righthanded pitchers, but he’s very strong throughout his build and somewhat makes up for his lack of height by doing a consistent job of getting on top of the baseball from a high three-quarters arm slot, and managing to create some downhill plane to the plate when working down in the strike zone. The fastball comes out of his hand easily and he shows the ability to hold his velocity, which this spring has usually sat in the 92-95 mph range and has touched a bit higher in some starts.

The primary off-speed pitch for Burns is a very sharp, very firm breaking ball, actually a curveball despite being thrown in typical slider velocity range. When he’s on top of the pitch it has nasty, sharp downward snap with the ability to miss bats with relative ease, projecting as a plus pitch long term. He’s been working on a changeup as well and does demonstrate some feel for the pitch, doing a good job maintaining his arm speed and at the very least showing an improvable third pitch.

There is some violence presently in his delivery, and though the pure stuff is among some of the best in the class, the combination of his moderate size and said delivery violence may push him down the board a bit from the top. As of this writing, Burns is ranked No. 66 in the PG draft rankings but could see his name tick up a bit from there in the next update.

Seth Corry – LHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Bats/Throws: L/L
Birthdate: Nov. 3, 1998
High School: Lone Peak
Hometown: Highland, Utah
Travel Team: Utah Marshalls
Commitment: Brigham Young
Projected Draft Round: 2

There is very little in terms of raw stuff separating four of the top high school lefthanders in the 2017 draft class, Seth Corry, MacKenzie Gore, D.L. Hall and Jacob Heatherly. All are very good athletes who are around 6-foot-2 and who work in the 91-94 mph range – with Hall occasionally working a bit above that – and throw a quality curveball. In addition, all four were Perfect Game All-Americans. So why is Corry consistently about a round or so below the other three southpaws?

It pretty much boils down to two things. One is simply the number of quality looks that national level scouts get at a player. Gore (North Carolina), Hall (Georgia) and Heatherly (Alabama) all live in warm weather states and are easy to fly in and see, often in double up situations for a scout. Highland, Utah, Corry's hometown, sits at nearly 5,000 feet in elevation and some of his games this spring have been impacted by snow. In fact, the forecast for Friday, April 28, includes a 45 percent chance of snow. The Salt Lake City airport is not on any national scout's favorite list.

More important, though, is the amount of experience a pitcher has on the mound and its direct by-product, consistency.

Corry, an All-State player at safety, suffered a knee injury on the football field late in 2015 and missed much of the 2016 high school spring season and only logged 15 innings on the mound. While he was healthy enough to pitch at the 2016 PG National Showcase last June, he pitched sparingly on the national stage last summer. This spring Corry has thrown only 23 total innings (4-0, 1.52, 46 strikeouts), although he has a number of starts remaining.

As a result of that lack of mound experience, Corry's command tends to come and go. He's plenty athletic enough to repeat his delivery, which is smooth and low effort, especially for the velocity he generates. He just needs to repeat it more. It's likely that the trio cited above all threw 100-120 innings combined last spring and summer. Corry probably only threw about 40.

Last year's Area Code Games were a case in point. Corry threw twice at the heavily scouted event. In his first outing, he barely made it through one inning and threw 40-plus pitches to get that done. While he was never far out of the zone, getting strikes was a struggle. In his second outing, he threw like a first rounder, hitting his spots with two present plus pitches in his fastball and curveball.

There are still plenty of national scouts who haven't seen Corry yet this spring and are waiting until better weather in early May to make their decisions. There is a significant chance with warmer weather and more innings under his belt that Corry could take a leap up draft lists and catch up to his fellow PG All-American southpaws.

Blayne Enlow – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-4/180
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: March 21, 1999
High School: St. Amant
Hometown: Sorrento, La.
Travel Team: USA National 18u
Commitment: Louisiana State
Projected Draft Round: 1-2

In a high school pitching class that is full of mid-90s fastballs and present strong athletes, Louisiana's Blayne Enlow stands out as one of the most projectable pitchers in the class. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 180-pounds, although he might weigh in at a bit more than that, with broad shoulders and a long and lanky build that has years to go before it's filled out.

Enlow's delivery also lends to his overall projection. It's a very easy set of mechanics with low effort and loose extension out front to release. He creates big angle from a high three-quarters arm slot that is natural and easy and his delivery is well timed and in sync. It's really just a matter of getting stronger with the same mechanics and release; when that happens the velocity will take a natural tick upward. Enlow topped out at 94 mph last summer but works mostly at 91-92 and even went through stretches early this season while he was building arm strength, according to scouts who saw him, when he was more 88-90. But there is definitely more there in his arm and body.

Enlow's delivery has also proven to give him advanced command of all his pitches. Maybe the only time Enlow struggled on the national circuit last summer was one inning when he started nibbling with his fastball at the Tournament of Stars and got behind a few hitters. His team's pitching coach was dispatched to the mound with the message "Your stuff is too good to nibble, just challenge hitters!" Enlow made the quick adjustment and cruised from that point forward.

Perhaps the best indicator of Enlow's future projection is the outstanding velocity he gets on a true curveball that ranks among the best righthanded curveballs in the 2017 high school class. He throws the pitch 80-83 with extremely tight spin and big and sharp 11-to-5 shape to it. That shape is helped by Enlow's already big downhill angle to the plate.

In this scout's nearly three decades of watching high school pitchers, one of the best indicators of future velocity gain on one's fastball has proven to be how hard one throws a true curveball. Young physically immature pitchers who can throw a true curveball – not a slider or simple hand position slurve – within 10 mph of their present fastballs are just going to throw harder. This is something that comes up in conversation among veteran scouts pretty regularly. Enlow qualifies as well as any pitcher in the 2017 class.

Kyle Hurt – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-4/205
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: May 30, 1998
High School: Torrey Pines
Hometown: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Travel Team: San Diego Show
Commitment: Southern California
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

The team drafting California high school righthander Kyle Hurt can almost follow a thought process that they are getting a young college pitcher instead of a high school hurler who is still maturing and learning his craft.

Hurt is a physically mature 6-foot-4, 205-pound athlete who will turn 19 years old two weeks before the draft, so his basics point to a more advanced high school arm. But he is also one of the most mature high school pitchers in the class in his ability to repeat his delivery and work three quality pitches in the strike zone.

Since Hurt threw at the 2013 14u PG MLK Championship as a freshman, topping out at 78 mph, he has thrown in a total of 25 Perfect Game events, mostly with the San Diego Show. He's experienced a very steady increase in raw stuff over that time, finishing up his freshman year topping out at 84 mph and touching 90 mph for the first time at 2015 PG Junior National Showcase. While Hurt topped out at 95 mph at the 2016 PG All-American Classic last August, he generally pitches at 91-93 mph today.

Going back to that first PG experience as a freshman, Hurt also threw both a curveball and a changeup at that event and has thrown them ever since. That he has been throwing a changeup consistently during his entire high school career is noteworthy, as very few high school pitchers have invested much time in that pitch, and especially big, hard throwing righthanders. Hurt's changeup is a very good pitch, probably second to fellow All-American Alex Scherff's among righthanded changeups in the 2017 class.

Hurt's breaking ball also has a chance to be a plus offering, especially factoring in the very high percentage of strikes he throws with it and his ability to vary it's velocity and shape. Hurt generally works it in the 76-78 mph range and will change the shape on it with feel, shortening it up at times when he's looking for more of a swing and miss pitch than a ground ball pitch.

There were times last summer when Hurt looked like a college pitcher throwing to high school hitters, using his three pitches and strike throwing ability to have some very easy and quick outings against the top hitters in the country.

Hurt missed three or four starts this spring with a leg injury which is causing some scouts to have to double back to see him, but it hasn't seemed to effect his performance or stuff. Threw 42 innings, Hurt has a 3-1, 1.16 record, with only 20 hits and eight walks allowed against 49 strikeouts.

Michael Baumann-RHP

Height/Weight: 6-4/225
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Sept. 10, 1995
College: Jacksonville
Hometown: Mahtomedi, Minn.
Projected Draft Round: 2-4

You don’t have to look too hard or too far for that matter when trying to find a comp for Jacksonville hurler Michael Baumann. Former Dolphin ace and first-round pick by the Dodgers, Chris Anderson (also a Minnesota native) is a common starting place for scouts as it’s a name brought up more than once when looking at Baumann. Aside from the school, both pitchers have taken a similar path to their junior seasons while showing big stuff along the way.

A physically built righthander who made his way to Jacksonville via Mahtomedi High School in Minnesota, Baumann immediately jumped into the thick of things and performed beyond expectations as he captured both the ASUN Pitcher and Freshman of the Year awards. All he did was go 7-1 with a 2.24 ERA and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and in the process established himself on 2017 draft lists. Last spring as a sophomore Baumann saw his ERA and walk totals rise, like Anderson, before departing for the Y-D Red Sox in the Cape Cod League which is only fitting as that’s the team Anderson also played for. Though both pitchers struggled to repeat on the Cape each showed intriguing raw stuff which is simply too hard to ignore.

Jump to 2017 and Baumann appears to have returned to his freshman form as he’s working with a 3.09 ERA over 10 starts, is averaging 10.5 strikeouts per game, and has walked just 23 in 58 1/3 innings of work. Even more impressive than the stat line though is the premium fastball Baumann can create over the course of an outing without exuding high levels of effort at any point.

His fastball has lived comfortably within the 91-94 mph range throughout the spring, like what he showed on the Cape, though he can bump 95-96 early in a contest. Baumann’s arm action is plenty loose and full through the backside, which can lead to inconsistencies in his release point, but when everything is in sync it’s one of the easier fastballs in college baseball.

His fastball is one above average pitch and his slider is another that shows flashes as it can be used as a swing-and-miss offering. A consistent mid-80s pitch, Baumann’s slider shows short but late tilting life through the zone and has proven to be a weapon, especially when up in the count. He’ll flash both a curveball and changeup but it’s the fastball/slider combo that serves as his go-to.





Wil Crowe – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/245
Bats/Throws: R-R
Birthdate: Sept. 9, 1994
College: South Carolina
Hometown: Sevierville, Tenn.
Projected Draft Round: 1S-3

One half of one of the better 1-2 punches in college baseball for the first half of the season (along with since-injured Clarke Schmidt), South Carolina’s Will Crowe has been very solid for the Gamecocks in 2017. He’s currently 4-4 with an ERA of 3.56 in 68 1/3 innings, to go along with 63 strikeouts across those innings, though his WHIP is elevated at 1.32.

An extremely strong, physical prospect at 6-foot-2, 245-pounds, Crowe’s physicality definitely fits the archetype of the durable, innings-eater starting pitcher, though with a Tommy John surgery on his medical record teams are going to be cautious when evaluating just how durable he’s likely to be long-term.

His fastball works in the low- to mid-90s in most starts, generally in the 91-95 mph range, with the ability to reach back for the higher reaches of that range as needed throughout the game. The fastball is relatively straight, with occasional cut, which allows hitters to square it up a bit more easily than one would expect given the plus raw velocity. Fastball command will be especially important to Crowe’s future success given the lack of movement, but fastball command isn’t all that much of a concern with Crowe.

His breaking ball sits in the low-80s with slurvier action, thrown like a curveball but caught in between traditional curveball and slider shape, though it’s still a potentially above average offering long term. He’s able to throw it for a strike as well as get swings and misses on the pitch. He’ll also work in a low-80s changeup, though it’s a distant third pitch at this time, but there is some nascent feel for the offering that could allow it to take a step forward in professional baseball.

Tyler Johnson – RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/205
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: Aug. 21, 1995
College: South Carolina
Hometown: Midlothian, Virg.
Projected Draft Round: 3-5

The closer for a South Carolina squad who at one point this season was loaded with hard throwers, Tyler Johnson is the hardest throwing of them all. Though he was sidelined with soreness at one point this year, which cost him a few weeks of time on the mound, the junior righthander is back now and fully healthy.

Thus far this season, Johnson has accrued a 2.51 ERA across 14 1/3 innings pitched, with 23 strikeouts in those innings along with seven saves to lead the Gamecocks. He’s got good size and overall physicality, with moderate physical projection remaining, though in terms of velocity projection there’s plenty of present velocity.

He’s primarily a fastball-only reliever, which undoubtedly causes some concern with scouts when evaluating and projecting, but in college baseball this works just fine when one can throw as hard as Johnson does. Routinely touching 99 mph with some reports of him breaking triple digits, Johnson is among the hardest throwers overall in this draft class, with that one dominating pitch enough for him to be one of the preeminent closers, as well.

He’ll show a slider that flashes as an average second pitch for him, but will undoubtedly need further development in professional baseball. Regardless, a second pitch is absolutely needed for him to find success at the next level, despite his plus-plus velocity. Either way, Johnson is a dominant college reliever who throws harder than just about everyone else in the draft class, and is likely to be selected on day two of the MLB draft on that arm strength alone. He has the potential to fit well at the back end of an MLB bullpen eventually, provided that second pitch can come along.

Just how high he’ll climb boards will depend on his consistency as he certainly has the frame and arsenal to grab scout’s attention.
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