By the third day of the NHSI, many of the top arms had already thrown, but a few underclassmen and lesser-known 2014 prospects still made an impression. The top tier of arms were discussed in recaps of the first two days and the position players are forthcoming.
• As a senior outfielder without plus speed who is listed at 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Ernie De La Trinidad does not have a profile that typically gets taken out of the high school ranks. But the lefthanded-hitting Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) outfielder committed to Arizona showed well in Cary.
“If I was a college coach I would be all over him,” a National League crosschecker said. “He has a chance to be an impact player for the Wildcats.”
With a quick first step and above-average stride turnover, De La Trinidad covered the gaps well in center and has at least an average arm. He shows feel to hit and a quick stroke from a wide setup that created a lot of hard contact, especially to his pull side, which allowed him to hit a pair of triples. De La Trinidad is a high-energy player who posted average to tick-above run times to first. He has some strength to his body and was a star defensive back on the football team.
• Junior second baseman Luke Maddox’s speed enables a slash-and-dash approach that played well at the top of the Gainesville (Ga.) High lineup. The long, sleek and athletic 5-foot-11, 165-pound Maddox posted a .615/.643/.615 line by hitting hard line drives and ground balls to the right side of the infield. The uncommitted lefthanded hitter posted run times of 4.01 and 4.02, as well as a 3.65 on a jailbreak bunt.
• With very broad shoulders and a V-shaped torso leading to a high, trim waist, 6-foot-3, 185-pound ThunderRidge High (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) infielder Brody Westmoreland looks the part in a uniform. Currently a shortstop, Westmoreland is committed to San Diego State and his father, John, is an assistant coach on the squad after playing in the Padres minor league system. The righthanded-hitting Westmoreland posted run times north of 4.50 and did not hit well, with six strikeouts in 16 plate appearances. But he has some arm strength as the team’s quarterback, and his body alone garners the attention of evaluators.
• With a much different body composition than the most recent Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.) High prospects (Twins righthander Hudson Boyd and Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach), junior righthander Thaddeus Ward is a name for next year with broad shoulders and a long, lean and lanky physique at 6-foot-3, 160-pounds. He struck out five in as many innings against two walks versus Orange (Calif.) Lutheran without allowing an earned run.
On a cold day, the Floridian improved as the outing went on, starting at 84-87 mph in the first before pitching at 86-89 in the later innings. He topped out at 91 mph on the day and hit 90 mph in the fifth inning a few times. Ward offers a deceptive delivery with a high leg and hip turn that hides his head behind his lead shoulder. He has a loose, quick arm although there is a stab in the back. Working from the far first base side of the rubber, the Central Florida commit threw fastball strikes to both sides of the plate and had some arm-side run and sink, as well as occasional plane when on top. Ward showed advanced feel for a breaking ball with projectable shape and depth in the mid-70s as well as a changeup.
• Garvin Alston Jr., is a tall, lean and projectable lefthander with very long extremities at 6-foot-3, 165-pounds. The Mountain Pointe lefthander is the son of the former big leaguer and current Athletics pitching and rehab coordinator of the same name. Although his fastball sat in the low-80s and touched 84 mph, Alston offers considerable projection. He offered some behind deception and downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot, locating well. The Arizona commit’s breaking ball showed 1-7 tilt and depth.
• Senior Milton (Ga.) High outfielder Dalton Ewing showed some tools. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Ewing has a lean, athletic build and high waist and posted above-average times to first from the right side, as well as a running 3.70 on a jailbreak bunt. Ewing also has at least an average arm from the outfield. He made loud contact with an inside-out swing that has some length. The uncommitted Ewing is old for the class and will be 19 next month.
• Although Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Academy catcher Benito Santiago has an arm that can produce plus pop times and aptitude as a receiver, he struggled at the plate. The Tennessee commit has an inside-out stroke that makes better contact up the middle and to the opposite field. He struck out in one-third of his plate appearances, including one in the game when Touki Toussaint was pitching (with a lot of scouting heat in attendance) where he swung and missed on three consecutive fastballs. His swing path and 5-foot-9, 166-pound build limit his power potential, although he did have an opposite field triple to the left-center field gap. The lefthanded-hitting Santiago is athletic for a catcher and is close to an average runner. As the battery mate for Toussaint, Santiago will likely get plenty of looks from evaluators the rest of the spring. Santiago is old for the class and will be 19 next week.
• Regis Jesuit (Denver) middle infielder Max George is a scrappy, instinctual player with feel to hit. George squared up a lot of balls and went .600/.600/.733 in 16 plate appearances. With a quick swing and direct, line-drive bat path, George is a pull-oriented hitter with some length to his load who hit a pair of doubles. He posted run times around average from the right side of the plate. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Oregon State commit has a strong lower half and likely fits best as a second baseman long term.