During the spring, we use Draft Tracker to spotlight players with momentum in the draft. Earlier this year for example, we wrote about Texas prep catcher Steve Bean, UCLA outfielder Jeff Gelalich, Mississippi high school outfielder D.J. Davis, Xavier converted pitcher Seth Willoughby and Washington high school righthander Mitchell Gueller, among others.
While Draft Tracker is usually a subscriber-only feature, here is a sneak peek for everyone at five players who will be among our Nos. 101-200 prospects:
Mitch Nay, 3b, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.
Nay started the year slowly. Scouts said he was pressing, trying to put his team on his back and trying too hard at the plate. He struggled offensively and defensively early in the year, but really turned things on over the last month.
“He’s flying up draft boards,” one scout said. “He’s a really good kid with a high ceiling to him. It’ll be interesting to see how he does at teams’ workouts because he hasn’t seen a lot of good competition out here.”
Nay has a good frame at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. Arizona State’s recruiting class is loaded for next year, but Nay is unlikely to wind up on campus, as he could go as high as the back half of the first round. He shows above-average power potential, as well as a plus arm.
Some scouts wonder how much Nay will hit. He did make adjustments this season, realizing that pitchers were throwing him him more curveballs and changeups. He’ll have to work to stay at third base, but could handle a move to right field because of his arm strength. Nay moves well laterally but has below-average speed.
Max White, of, Williston (Fla.) HS
White is frequently compared to fellow prep Florida outfielder Brett Phillips as athletic, speedy center fielders. White is more of a wiry athlete at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and has a good profile for the position as a lefthanded speedster with range and arm strength.
White emerged as a prospect as a sophomore as both a pitcher and hitter, but left shoulder surgery limited him to just five games as a junior and has made him more of a prospect as a hitter. His arm strength has started to return this season, and he has registered some low 90s readings in short stints on the mound.
Scouts like White’s tools in center, as he is a consistent 6.5-second runner over 60 yards with improving instincts. He is adding strength and has shown batting practice power with surprising bat speed, but scouts have to project on his bat. He has a somewhat raw approach at the plate and hasn’t faced a lot of advanced pitching this spring.
Scouts have compared him to players such as former Florida outfielder Matt den Dekker (now with the Mets) all the way to Steve Finley if his power develops. He isn’t a consensus supplemental pick, but he could go that high to the right team if it considers him signable. The Dodgers, Padres and Blue Jays all have had serious heat in to see White of late.
The Gators have White, Miami’s Lewis Brinson and Orlando’s Jesse Winker all as outfield recruits and conceivably could lose all three to the draft, which would be a tough blow.
Jamie Jarmon, of, Indian River HS, Dagsboro, Del.
With a population of fewer than a million, Delaware hasn’t produced many high school prospects. The last prep to be taken in the first 10 rounds was shortstop Derrik Gibson, a second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2008, and the most significant high school prospect outside of Delino DeShields was Ian Snell.
A team that thinks Jarmon can stick in center field could pop him in the first five rounds, but they will have to be patient. He’s a good athlete and may have a chance to play football in college, but his tools are raw and he lacks baseball instincts right now. He has run a 6.8-second 60-yard dash, but he doesn’t get out of the box quickly and most scouts think his speed plays average to a tick above. He’s physical and strong at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and has average power that is acceptable on a corner, but he’ll have more value if he sticks in center.
He’s had an up-and-down spring from a performance standpoint and tends to tinker with his stance too much, but he has bat speed. Early on, he was in a deep crouch and swung uphill, and he tends to struggle with offspeed stuff too.
“It’s not universal love, but somebody is going to reach for him,” an American League crosschecker said. “Guys see an athlete that might be able to play center field. He shows flashes of performing with the bat and is a physical, strong kid.”
Steven Okert, lhp, Oklahoma
Baylor was undefeated in Big 12 Conference play heading into Oklahoma last weekend, but Okert helped the Sooners sweep the Bears, winning the first game of a doubleheader with four outs of scoreless relief and then saving the nightcap by retiring five straight hitters.
The Brewers drafted Okert out of Grayson County (Texas) CC last year. At 6-foot-2 and 219 pounds, he will have to watch his weight, though he has worked to firm up his body this year. His fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range and has been clocked as high as 97.
Okert has started and relieved, but profiles better in the bullpen, where his stuff plays up. He flashes an above-average slider and destroys lefthanded batters, but righthanders tend to see him well.
David Hill, rhp, El Modena HS, Orange, Calif.
A strong spring for El Modena helped Hill emerge as something of a pop-up prospect this spring, and he signed with Long Beach State in the last two weeks. He has an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame and the makings of a good delivery, but sometimes he throws across his body, causing him to pull fastballs into the lefthanded batter’s box and his breaking ball to get sweepy.
When he stays on line, he can be very good, showing a fastball that sits average and bumps 93 mph. His 80-83 mph slider also projects as an average pitch, and he has feel for a changeup that could give him a third average offering in time. Hill could be drafted in the top five rounds.
Contributing: Conor Glassey, John Manuel, Nathan Rode, Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt.