SYRACUSE, N.Y.—On a surprisingly chilly day in upstate New York that left most evaluators wearing jackets in the 60-degree weather, the first day of the East Coast Professional Showcase was truncated because of rain in the evening.
Here are a few notes from the action.
• Lefthanded-hitting outfielder Kyle Tucker (Plant HS, Tampa), the younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, has been billed as one of the top hitters in the class. Despite his pedigree and talent, Tucker has not impacted the baseball in game action as frequently or as loudly as many evaluators expected heading into the summer, having not gotten a hit in 14 plate appearances at the Tournament of Stars while striking out five times (36 percent). Tucker showed above-average raw power in batting practice, hitting a pair of BP home runs, including one to his pull side that cleared the large net (at least 20 feet tall) that sits behind the right field wall. The Florida commit struck out in his first plate appearance on two swinging strikes that were both fastballs (92 and 93 mph) from righthander Mike Nikorak. He grounded out in his next plate appearance, running a 4.25 to first. On a full count in his third and final plate appearance, Tucker shot a hard line drive hit to right center field on a breaking ball from Wesley Rodriguez, who shows feel for his breaking ball. Tucker will play in both All-America Games in August.
• Middle infielder Lucius Fox Jr., showed his speed and hit well in game action Wednesday. The American Heritage High (Delray Beach, Fla.) product ran a plus time in the 60-yard dash. The switch-hitter showed an up-the-middle approach and quick, line drive-oriented swing with a direct and level bat path, peppering the pitching L screen with hard line drives. This up-the-middle orientation translated to game action as the Bahamas native went 3-for-3 at the top of the Rays lineup. He served a single into center field on an 88-mph fastball from Nikorak in his first plate appearance. Fox hit righthanded in his next trip up against Brendon Little and produced one of the hardest hit balls of the day, squaring up a 91-mph fastball and driving it to the right center field gap for a double. He again squared up 91 his next time up on a single to left center field. The North Carolina State commit has a long, lean and athletic build at 6-foot, 160 pounds with room to get stronger. Fox is young for the class and won’t be 18 until after the draft. The athletic Fox showed well on the body control play in front of him and showed a loose arm that threw from a low slot on the run. His arm and actions likely fit best at second base in the long run.
• Outfielder Daniel Reyes (Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.), who was a participant in Major League Baseball’s Junior Select Home Run Derby during All-Star weekend in Minneapolis, showed those batting practice skills Wednesday. The righthanded-hitting 6-foot-2, 205-pound Reyes has a large frame with a strong, physical build. The ball makes a different sound off his bat and jumps off his bat with a quick, easy stroke. Reyes showed above-average raw power while hitting batting practice home runs to his pull side. After swinging through a 92 mph fastball from Nikorak, Reyes, who is an average runner underway, grounded out to third base, posting a 4.39. Reyes, who started in right field, made a highlight reel catch when John Aiello drove a deep fly ball to right field that Reyes jumped at the wall to snare from being a home run. The Florida commit continued to show athleticism and spatial awareness in making a solid play when he caught a fly ball that drifted close to the wall in foul ground in right field. His arm likely fits best in left field.
• The school that won the state of Florida in 2014 and produced lefthander Carson Sands, who signed with the Cubs for the 57th largest bonus in the draft ($1.1 million), will have another lefthander that will receive significant draft interest. Cole Ragans (North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, Fla.) produced one of the top pitching outings of the day, although the 16-year-old is a member of the 2016 class. Ragans retired four of the seven hitters he faced via strikeouts, generating five swings and misses. He walked one with a flyout and strikeout to his ledger. Ragans demonstrated strike-throwing ability and feel for pitching, as well as sequencing a true three-pitch mix. His fastball ranged from 88-90, touching 91 with angle from a three-quarters arm slot. From the third base side of the rubber, Ragans has an easy delivery. The Florida State commit showed feel for spinning a breaking ball with significant depth and tilt that he varied the shape of. Ragans has feel of a changeup and showed the ability to throw the offering to lefthanded hitters.
• Infielder Cornelius Randolph of Griffin (Ga.) High hit a home run in the first game of the event. Randolph, who has lefthanded thump with above-average bat speed, pulled a 93 mph fastball beyond the right field wall. The Clemson commit has a strong, physical build with a powerful lower half at 6-foot, 190-pounds and is young for the class.