Youngest And Oldest Players In The 2014 Draft

In 2011, Rany Jazayerli (currently of Grantland and formerly of Baseball Prospectus) wrote a pair of seminal articles looking at the correlation between draft day age and the success of a players career. Jazayerli found that “when it comes to high school hitters, young draft picks are a massive market inefficiency” for the drafts he analyzed (1965-1996).

While much time has passed since that studied time period and Jazayerli only analyzed high school hitters, looking the ages of all draft demographics can be instructive. Some teams, especially the advanced teams, had been analyzing draft day age for years, but this study shed further light on the topic.

Here are the youngest and oldest players from the high school, junior college and college demographics in the BA 500 for the 2014 draft, but first, let’s establish the baselines.

Below are the median birthdays and draft day ages for each demographic. While Baseball America couldn’t obtain the birthdays of every player in the top 500, the vast majority (96 percent) are included in the data set. It should be noted that the college average only includes players in their third year out of high school or players who were draft-eligible sophomores, including the few-dozen seniors that fill the back half of the top 500 would alter the overall college median significantly.

Players Total Player Dates % Player Pool With Birthday Data Median Birthday Median Draft Day Age
HS 214 205 96% 1/3/96 18.43
JC 40 33 83% 2/21/94 20.30
COL 246 241 98% 1/8/93 21.42
Total 500 479 96%

13 Youngest High School Position Players In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
493 Luis Alvarado, ss/of/rhp, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. 1/5/97 17.42
46 Ti’Quan Forbes, ss, Columbia (Miss.) HS 8/26/96 17.79
47 Chase Vallot, c, St. Thomas More HS, Lafayette, La. 8/21/96 17.80
44 Marcus Wilson, of, Serra HS, Gardena, Calif. 8/15/96 17.82
149 K.J. Harrison, c, Punahou HS, Honolulu 8/11/96 17.83
132 Isiah Gilliam, 1b, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. 7/23/96 17.88
473 Jodd Carter, of, Hilo (Hawaii) HS 7/20/96 17.89
153 Kevin Padlo, 3b, Murrieta Valley HS, Murietta, Calif. 7/15/96 17.90
84 Cole Tucker, ss, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix 7/3/96 17.93
35 Braxton Davidson, 1b/of, Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C. 6/18/96 17.98
248 Hunter Taylor, c, Nandua HS, Onley, Va. 6/8/96 18.00
85 Bobby Bradley, 1b, Harrison Central HS, Gulfport, Miss. 5/29/96 18.03
145 Isan Diaz, ss, Springfield (Mass.) Central HS 5/27/96 18.04

Although 13 seems like an arbitrary number, it was selected because BA had the birthdates for 205 prep players. Splitting the group into quartiles gave 13 players from each prep demographic. The youngest player in the top 500 (Luis Alvarado) hails from Puerto Rico. With a January 1997 birthday, Alvarado’s age would be nearly average in the 2015 class. Three of the more lean, projectable bodies (Ti’Quan Forbes, Marcus Wilson and Cole Tucker) of high school position players are among the youngest in the prep class, underscoring how much stronger they could get. Isiah Gilliam, who reclassified in the spring to become a member of the 2014 class, would have been old for the 2015 class (nearly 19) had he not made the change.

13 Youngest High School Pitchers In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
33 Jacob Bukauskas, rhp, Stone Bridge HS, Ashburn, Va. 10/11/96 17.66
319 Zach Pop, rhp, Notre Dame SS, Brampton, Ontario 9/20/96 17.72
494 Daniel Gooden, lhp, Griffin (Ga.) HS 8/18/96 17.81
222 Mitch Hart, rhp, Granite Bay HS, Sacramento, Calif. 8/17/96 17.81
1 Brady Aiken, lhp, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego 8/16/96 17.81
261 Peter Solomon, rhp, Mount St. Joseph HS, Baltimore 8/16/96 17.81
311 Gabe Gonzalez, rhp, Arbor View HS, Las Vegas 8/16/96 17.81
116 Garrett Cave, rhp, South Sumter HS, Bushnell, Fla. 7/18/96 17.89
213 Sam Hentges, lhp/1b, Mounds View HS, Arden Hills, Minn. 7/18/96 17.89
405 Weston Davis, rhp, Manatee (Fla.) HS 7/6/96 17.93
23 Spencer Adams, rhp, White County HS, Cleveland, Ga. 6/26/96 17.95
225 Cre Finfrock, rhp, Martin County HS, Stuart, Fla. 6/26/96 17.95
231 Zach Shannon, rhp, Anderson HS, Cincinnati 6/27/96 17.95

Jacob Bukauskas, who has spent only three years in high school and reclassified in the offseason, is the youngest prep arm, making his premium 93-96 mph velocity that touches 98 even much more impressive than it is on face value. The second youngest is Zach Pop from Canada, which starts its academic clock on a different schedule than the United States. The No. 1 player in the class, lefthander Brady Aiken, won’t turn 18 until nearly the end of the minor league season. Righthanders Spencer Adams and Mitch Hart have lean, athletic and projectable bodies, as well as the advantage of being 17 on draft day.

13 Oldest High School Position Players In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
189 Coltin Gerhart, of, Vista Murrieta HS, Murrieta, Calif. 8/11/94 19.83
440 Darius Day, of, Simeon HS, Chicago 8/24/94 19.79
106 Tate Blackman, ss, Lake Brantley HS, Altamonte Springs, Fla. 9/7/94 19.76
353 Will Toffey, 3b, Salibsbury (Conn.) HS 12/31/94 19.44
418 Roberto Gonzalez, of, University High, Orlando 3/14/95 19.24
59 Matthew Railey, of, North Florida Christian HS, Tallahassee, Fla. 3/16/95 19.24
283 Eric Thomas, of, Langham Creek HS, Houston 3/30/95 19.20
382 Benito Santiago, c, Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Academy 3/31/95 19.19
221 Clay Casey, of, Desoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss. 5/14/95 19.07
81 Trace Loehr, ss, Putnam HS, Milwaukie, Ore. 5/23/95 19.05
404 Greg Deichmann, 2b/3b, Brother Martin HS, New Orleans 5/31/95 19.03
477 Austin Murphy, of, Episcopal HS, Jacksonville 6/1/95 19.02
175 Roy Morales Rivera, c, Colegio Angel David HS, Rio Piedras, P.R. 6/25/95 18.96

The three oldest high school position players (Coltin Gerhart, Darius Day and Tate Blackman), who will be 20 by the end of the minor league season, are roughly half a year shy of the junior college median. When evaluating high school players who are old for the class, that is the framework some scouts use to contextualize for the player’s age, comparing the player more to the junior college ranks than his high school peers.

13 Oldest HS Pitchers in Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
60 Cameron Varga, rhp, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Cincinnati 8/19/94 19.81
68 Austin DeCarr, rhp, Salisbury (Conn.) School 3/14/95 19.24
53 Carson Sands, lhp, North Florida Christian HS, Tallahassee, Fla. 3/28/95 19.20
416 Bennett Sousa, lhp, Benjamin School, North Palm Beach, Fla. 4/6/95 19.18
495 Braden Webb, rhp, Owasso (Okla.) HS 4/25/95 19.13
452 Austin Bain, rhp, Dutchtown HS, Geismar, La. 5/2/95 19.11
169 Ryder Ryan, rhp, North Mecklenburg HS, Huntersville, N.C. 5/11/95 19.08
263 Bryan Dobzanski, rhp, Delsea Regional HS, Franklinville, N.J. 6/13/95 18.99
42 Joey Gatto, rhp, St. Augustine Prep, Hammonton, N.J. 6/14/95 18.99
242 Gage Burland, rhp, East Valley (Wash.) HS 6/27/95 18.95
401 Josh Pennington, rhp, Lower Cape May Regional HS, Cape May, N.J. 7/6/95 18.93
121 Justin Steele, lhp, George County HS, Lucedale, Miss. 7/11/95 18.92
28 Foster Griffin, lhp, The First Academy, Orlando 7/27/95 18.87

This group includes five players who are considerations for the top two rounds and are ranked in the top 68 in the class.

8 Youngest Junior College Players In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
324 Josh Palacios, rhp, San Jacinto (Texas) JC 7/30/95 18.863
309 Grayson Huffman, rhp, Grayson County (Texas) JC 5/6/95 19.096
195 Brent Honeywell, rhp, Walters State (Tenn.) CC 3/31/95 19.195
341 Zach Winn, rhp, Howard (Texas) JC 9/9/94 19.751
209 Grayson Jones, rhp, Shelton State (Ala.) CC 8/22/94 19.800
184 Tanner Scott, lhp, Howard (Texas) JC 7/22/94 19.885
183 Patrick Weigel, rhp, Oxnard (Calif.) JC 7/8/94 19.923
277 Brock Dykxhoorn, rhp, Central Arizona JC 7/2/94 19.939

San Jacinto JC freshman righthander Josh Palacios wouldn’t be in the oldest quartile of high school players.

12 Youngest College Position Players In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
107 Taylor Gushue, c, Florida 12/19/93 20.47
247 Nick Vilter, ss, UC Riverside 10/6/93 20.68
103 Jordan Luplow, of, Fresno State 9/26/93 20.70
230 Gunnar Heidt, ss, College of Charleston 9/12/93 20.74
437 Jordan Edgerton, 3b, UNC Pembroke 8/30/93 20.78
56 Sam Travis, 1b, Indiana 8/27/93 20.79
31 Derek Fisher, of Virginia 8/21/93 20.80
307 Ryan O’Hearn, 1b, Sam Houston State 7/26/93 20.87
93 Dylan Davis, of, Oregon State 7/20/93 20.89
244 Brian O’Keefe, c, St. Joseph’s 7/15/93 20.90
299 Blake Drake, of, Concordia (Ore.) 7/11/93 20.92
329 Austin Bousfield, of, Mississippi 7/5/93 20.93

Taylor Gushue is just a few months older than the junior college median after graduating early from high school to attend Florida.

12 Youngest College Pitchers In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School
DOB Digital Age
79 James Norwood, rhp, Saint Louis 12/24/93 20.46
384 Trevor Megill, rhp, Loyola Marymount 12/5/93 20.51
308 Derick Velazquez, rhp, Fresno State 11/28/93 20.53
82 Austin Gomber, lhp, Florida Atlantic 11/23/93 20.55
136 Sam Coonrod, rhp, Southern Illinois 11/22/93 20.55
58 Matt Imhof, lhp, Cal Poly 10/26/93 20.62
197 Zach Thompson, rhp, Texas-Arlington 10/23/93 20.63
500 Brandon Bonilla, lhp, Grand Canyon 10/21/93 20.64
441 Jeremy Null, rhp, Western Carolina 8/27/93 20.79
142 Max Povse, rhp, UNC Greensboro 8/23/93 20.80
38 Luke Weaver, rhp, Florida State 8/21/93 20.80
253 Jared Miller, lhp, Vanderbilt 8/21/93 20.80

James Norwood and Trevor Megill are nearly one year younger than the college median age.

12 Oldest College Players In Top 500
Rank Name, Position, School DOB Digital Age
388 Sean Carley, rhp, West Virginia 12/28/90 23.45
421 Joey Epperson, of, UC Santa Barbara 2/2/91 23.35
408 Clinton Freeman, 1b, East Tennessee State 5/25/91 23.05
499 Krey Bratsen, of, Texas A&M 6/12/91 23.00
240 Dustin DeMuth, 3b, Indiana 7/30/91 22.87
370 Dustin Isaacs, rhp, Georgia Tech 8/7/91 22.84
367 Brad Haynal, c, San Diego State 8/21/91 22.81
290 Karsten Whitson, rhp, Florida 8/25/91 22.79
291 Matthew Grimes, rhp, Georgia Tech 9/4/91 22.77
229 Ben Wetzler, lhp, Oregon State 9/12/91 22.75
443 Eric Dorsh, rhp, Kent State 9/23/91 22.72
462 Nathan Thornhill, rhp, Texas 9/26/91 22.71

The few dozen seniors in the back half of the top 500 are almost all older than 22, with a few exceptions. Righthander Sean Carley (23.45) is the oldest player in the top 500. Carley’s current age is older than the median age level at all three high Class A leagues (22.7-23.2) and three others (Joey Epperson, Clinton Freeman and Krey Bratsen) are older than the median age at one high Class A league.

High School | #Brady Aiken #Clinton Freeman #James Norwood #Joey Epperson #Josh Palacios #Krey Bratsen #Taylor Gushue #Trevor Megill

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