Tuesday, August 13, 2013

High School Pitching Prospects 2014 MLB Draft

The 2014 Draft Class is shaping up to be a very strong one, in large part to the elite crop of prep arms. This group of high school pitchers might be the best one in recent draft history. Most of the top guys were on display at the PG All-American Game this week, where pitching truly dominated the event. The East and West squads combined for 34strikeouts in the game.  Furthermore ten hurlers hit 94 or higher on the radar gun (Kolek, Toussaint, Holmes, Cease, Ortiz, Medeiros, Reid-Foley, Sheffield, Murray, and Shannon). In fact, all of them except Sheffield reached 95 or greater. Tyler Kolek had the livest fastball and hit 98.  To put that in perspective, during last year's game, Kohl Stewart was the only pitcher to hit 94. He went on to be the 4th overall pick in the draft and the top high school player selected.

Top High School Pitching Prospects

1. Ty Kolek RHP -Shepherd TX- 6'5" 245 Lbs.
Bluff: Kolek generated a lot of buzz when he hit 100 mph early in the summer showcase tour and emerged as the top prep arm in the country. He reportedly sat 93-97 at PG National. His curve and change also show promise of developing into plus pitches that he could add to his arsenal. Kolek doesn't offer much projection and he will have to keep conditioning in check.
2. Touki Toussaint RHP- Coral Springs Christian FL- 6'3" 185 Lbs.
Bluff: Last fall in Jupiter Touissaint impressed scouts to the point where their was talk that he could become the first right-handed prep pitcher ever to go 1-1. His fastball had heavy life and topped out at 97. He also flashed a smooth 12-6 curve ball that had the makings of a plus-plus pitch. This spring Touissaint's stuff took a step backwards and he sat more in the 89-93 range. His fastball command was also lacking because he is relatively new to pitching (and baseball). But if looks anything close to what he did at the WWBA last October, where he recorded all 18 outs by way of the K,  he is a near lock to go in the top ten picks.
3. Grant Holmes RHP- Conway SC- 6'1" 205 Lbs.
Bluff: There are a lot of concerns about the projection that Holmes offers, but his present stuff may be good enough for him to go off the board in the top half of the first round. He features an outstanding three pitch mix that is highlighted by a hard low 80's curveball that has sharp late break. At the East Coast Pro Showcase his fastball ran between 92-96 and his he flashed a solid change.
4. Dylan Cease RHP- Milton HS GA- 6'2" 180 Lbs.
Bluff: Cease has some of the most impressive fastball velocity of the class, and reportedly ran his heater up to 97 at the PG National in Minneapolis. His curveball has shown promise at times, but sometimes he leaves his elbow up and loses command of it. He had a lot of issues throwing his curve for strikes at the All-American Game.  His projectability and stuff is slightly ahead of Holmes, but his command is not quite as good.
5. Luis Ortiz RHP- Sanger HS CA- 6'3" 220 Lbs.
Bluff: Ortiz is physically maxed out and pretty old for the class, but his stuff good enough for him to go as early as in the top 20 picks next year. He only pitches from the set, but his delivery is athletic and he throws his fastball in the low 90's and can touch 95. His slider could also be a plus offering.
6. Sean Reid-Foley RHP- Sandalwood HS FL-6'3" 205 Lbs.
Bluff: Foley shows a good feel for pitching and has some power stuff. He sits in the low 90's with his fastball but has bumped 95. His breaking ball flashes potential as well, although it is a bit slurvey.
7. Mac Marshall LHP- Parkview HS GA- 6'2" 185 Lbs.
Bluff: Marshall has a big ceiling with a fastball that has touched 94 with good life, a power curve, and a slider with tight break. His makeup has been called into question at times. He looked tired by the time the East Coast Pro showcase rolled around and was down to 89-92.
8. Kodi Medeiros LHP- Waiakea HS HI-  HS  6'0" 185 Lbs.
Bluff: Medeiros is very undersized and is only a two pitch guy at this point, so their are legitimate concerns that he might wind up as a reliever in the long term. However, his elite fastball-slider combination offer as much upside as any southpaw in the high school ranks. He throws from a low-three quarter arm slot that generates a lot of deception and was up to 94 at the Area Code Games. His two seam fastball has tremendous life. His slider has nasty sweeping movement that is as good of a breaking ball that can be found in this class.
9. Michael Kopech RHP-Mt. Pleasant TX-6'4" 190 Lbs.
Bluff: Kopech is an extremely projectable righthander with great arm action and was up to 94 at PG National. His fastball has nice late tailing action. He has also shown the ability to spin a decent curve. He also has a developing changeup and slider in his arsenal.
10. Brady Aiken LHP-Cathederal Catholic HS CA- 6'4" 215 Lbs.
Bluff: With a heater that sits in the 88-90 range, his stuff is not overpowering, but Aiken has a great feel for pitching. He commands it well, and it does how pretty good life. His can spin a curve too, with quality 10-4 break. He showed imrroved velocity and was up to 93 at PG All-American Game.
11. Justus Sheffield RHP-Tullahoma TN- 6'0" 185 Lbs.
Bluff: Sheffield isn't very physical but he has a pretty good knack for pitching. His fastball isn't quite as electric as his older brother's, but he still works comfortably in the 88-92 range. He was up to 94 at the East Coast Pro and flashed a plus change up and above average breaking ball.
12. Keaton McKinney RHP Ankeny HS IA -6'5" 220 Lbs.
Bluff: McKinney is a physical presence with a heater that sits in the low 90's and touches 93. His bread- and-butter however, is his changeup. He throws it with great arm speed and nice fade, and has a lot of control over the pitch.
13. Joey Gatto RHP- St. Augestine NJ- 6'5" 220 Lbs.
Bluff: Gatto is a big kid with a big time fastball. He was up to 94 at the PG National. His secondary pitches have improved significantly.
14. Ryan Castellani- Brophy Prep HS AZ- 6'4" 200 Lbs.
Bluff: Castellani has long limbs and the ideal pitchers frame. He only throws in the 88-91 range know, but his frame suggests that he could offer a few ticks more velocity as he continues to fill out. Castellani delivery seems effortless and he throws under control.
15. Cobi Johnson- Mitchell HS FL-6'4" 190 Lbs.
Bluff: Cobi has big league bloodlines, as his dad pitched for the White Sox, Athletics, and Blue Jays. He also flashes a solid three-pitch-mix. His fastball operates in the low 90's and he could add a few ticks as he fills out his lanky frame. His change up has also developed a lot in the last calendar year and shows the potential to be plus.

Best Fastball: Tyler Kolek
Best Change Up: Keaton McKinney
Best Curveball: Touki Toussaint
Best Slider: Kodi Medeiros
Best Control: Brady Aiken

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