Reminder: Draftbook. One dollar. Limited time. Do it.
The draft is still eight months away, but I figured now was a good time to give you some names to get familiar with. We’ll start with the weakest of the groups and work to the strongest, and then I’ll give you my overall way too early top 50 in a month or so.
The prep pitching class this year is deep in quantity, but the top of the class may not be quite as good as it was the last two years. There’s a lot of velocity here, but the class is a bit short on quality left-handed arms and we haven’t seen much consistency out of the secondary stuff at this point. There’s some very intriguing arms in this group, but if you’re looking for a Luc Giolito or a Kohl Stewart, I don’t see that quality of an option at the top. I think/hope that will change over the spring, though.
1. Grant Holmes / RHP / Conway H.S. (S.C.) — Holmes was the most impressive pitcher I saw over the summer, consistently hitting 93 on the gun with his fastball and showed a plus-plus breaking ball and an above-average change. There are some who are concerned that Holmes doesn’t have a ton of projection yet, but I think Holmes has a chance to be a top of the rotation starter at the professional level.
2. Tyler Kolek / RHP / Shepherd H.S. (Tex.) — Kolek has become one of the more famous names in this class, and for good reason. He has consistently been clocked in the high 90′s — occasionally hitting triple-digits — and he’s shown an above-average breaking ball and some feel for a change as well. It remains to be seen if Kolek has the secondary offerings to be an ace, but that kind of velocity and size will be very intriguing to clubs come June.
3. Brady Aiken / LHP / Cathedral Catholic H.S. (Calif.) — Consistency has been an issue with Aiken, but he’s been good every time I’ve seen him pitch; sitting in the low 90′s with projection for more, an above average breaking-ball and good feel for pitching.
4. Justus Sheffield / LHP / Tullahoma H.S. (Tenn.) — The younger brother of 2013 prospect/Vanderbilt commit Jordan; Sheffield doesn’t have the velocity of his brother but does feature three above-average secondary pitches and more athleticism.
5. Louis Ortiz / RHP / Sanger HS (Calif.) — Ortiz fastball sits in the low 90′s and will touch 95 with one of the quickest arms in the class, and also shows a plus slider and an above-average change with good feel as well.
6. Dylan Cease / RHP / Milton H.S. (Ga.) — Only Kolek showed more consistent high velocity than Cease, but consistency with his secondary stuff and some violence in his delivery and arm action have some scouts concerned that he might be a reliever at the next level.
7. Mac Marshall / LHP / Parkview H.S. (Ga.) — Marshall sits in the 89-91 range but there’s projection for more and he has good feel for an above-average curveball and change.
8. Scott Blewett / RHP / Charles W. Baker H.S. (N.Y.) — Blewett has one of the more projectable (6-6, 210) frames in the class, and will show a 90-93 fastball along with an 11-5 curveball that flashes plus and an above-average change.
9. Touki Toussaint / RHP / Coral Springs H.S. (Fla.) – Toussaint is one of the more famous names in the class after his impressive showings over the fall of 2012 where his fastball touched 96 and he showed a hammer of curveball, but his command was not good this summer and his stuff has regressed slightly.
10. Sean Reid-Foley / RHP / Sandalwood H.S. (Fla.) — Reid-Foley has touched 95 with his fastball this fall and shown as much consistency as any pitcher this ‘off-season’, showing feel for pitching and an above-average slurve and change.
11. Keaton McKinney / RHP / Ankeny H.S. (Ia.) — The most impressive pitch in McKinney’s arsenal is a change-up that will flash plus-plus with excellent arm speed, but scouts have some concerns about the arm action and his inconsistent breaking-ball that is more slurve than curve or slider.
12. Cobi Johnson / RHP / Mitchell H.S. (Fla.) — Johnson has a 90-93 mile per hour fastball and flashed a plus breaking-ball and average change from a projectable frame and good feel for pitching.
13. Joey Gatto / RHP / St. Augustine H.S. (N.J.) — Gatto was not good in Chicago for the Under-Armour game, but was very good at the Metropolitan Classic with an above-average breaking ball and good command for his fastball with downward plane.
14. Cameron Varga / RHP / Cincinnati Hills H.S. (Oh.) — Varga didn’t participate at all this summer, but has touched 95 with his fastball and has shown a plus curveball and decent change.
And three more:
Kodi Meideros / LHP / Waiakea H.S. (Hi.) — I usually don’t do notes about the three more to watch section, but I think Meideros deserves mentioning. He’s got a plus fastball and a filthy slider, but his arm action and lack of a third offering makes me think he’s a reliever at the professional level.
Ryan Castellani / RHP / Brophy Prep (Ariz.)
Michael Kopech / RHP / Mt. Pleasant H.S. (Tex.)