MINNEAPOLIS–Georgia has become the cradle of high school outfielders.
Over the last five drafts, Georgia has had the most first-round or supplemental first-round outfielders (eight) selected of any state, and 26 percent of all high school outfielders picked in those drafts came from Georgia. A high school outfielder from the Peach State has been selected in the first or supplemental first round in each of the last five drafts.
After his strong showing at the Perfect Game National Showcase, Gainesville (Ga.) High outfielder/righthander Michael Gettys has a chance to continue that impressive streak. Gainesville High has produced plenty of talent–including Micah Owings, a second-rounder in 2002 who did not sign and went to college instead–but it has never produced a first-rounder.
“If you project a little bit on the bat, Gettys is a legitimate five-tool player,” said a National League scout at the event. “He is downright explosive.”
Michael and his brother Jonathan, a rising sophomore lefthander who has been up to 88 mph, helped Gainesville High rank as high as No. 6 in the Baseball America High School Top 25 this spring, and the Red Elephants finished 28-5. Gettys will spend this summer playing travel ball for the Georgia-based Team Elite as well attending numerous showcases, including the Perfect Game All-American Classic in early August and the Under Armour All-American game in late August.
“I trained hard starting in the fall, and I don’t stop working out,” Gettys said. “I wanted to be the best player at the showcase. I wanted to run the best 60, throw the best from the outfield, hit the best and be one of the best pitchers there.”
Gettys’ went a long way toward fulfilling those lofty goals, as he excelled in every phase of the event. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound specimen ran an official 6.43-second 60-yard-dash, which was the fourth-best time at the event behind outfielders Carl Chester (6.28) and Denz’l Chapman (6.31) and infielder Jack Flaherty (6.37).
“I do a ton of sprints and a lot of leg work,” Gettys said. “I focus a lot of attention on my legs and do a lot of squats, which really helps my speed.”
The 17-year-old Gettys is a powerful and explosive runner who eats up ground with every stride. During game action, he produced home-to-first times around 4.10 seconds from the right side. His speed played on the bases, and he showed good instincts by taking second on a single to right field when the throw went to home.
“I like hitting into the gap and running,” Gettys said. “I love to get on first and steal on the first pitch. I want to show that I am aggressive and that I can steal against the best catchers.”
Gettys, who said he long tosses about three times a week, achieved one of his goals by throwing 100 mph from the outfield, which broke an event record set by 2013 Reds supplemental first-round pick Michael Lorenzen.
“I didn’t believe them when they told me that,” Gettys said. “I said ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
Some scouts believe his arm is at least a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale and project it to be a future 70. But his round of batting practice didn’t start on a strong note, as he whiffed on his first swing.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I have had this great workout but I just swung and missed. I need to square one up,’ ” he said.
Gettys sent the next pitch at least 10 rows into the left-center-field bleachers, and he went on to finish among the players with the most batting practice dingers. He has quick hands and explosive bat speed, and also had good in-game at bats, hitting a few line drives for base hits. He said his stance is modeled after his favorite player, Mike Trout, and he hits with a squared, spread stance and keeps his hands high with a level right arm.
Gettys, who is committed to Georgia, has an aggressive approach. “I get a lot of offspeed pitches at the plate.” he said. “I want to improve my approach at the plate and I have to learn how to pick out my pitch.”
Gettys, who dropped all other sports after his freshman year to focus on baseball, has put on 25 pounds in each of the last two years to reach his current 205-pound weight. His said he hopes to put on another 10 pounds of muscle by the end of next spring, which would be a similar profile to 2013 first-round pick Hunter Renfroe (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) and Trout (6-foot-1, 220 pounds). He has a strong, wide back and developed shoulders tapering to a trim waist, with muscular legs that are built for power and speed.
The two-way talent also showed his strong arm on the mound, throwing an inning on Friday. His fastball sat in the 91-94 mph range, and he throws a hard curveball featuring slider-like action and three-quarters tilt. He showed good feel for the pitch, and he also mixed in a changeup.
• Third baseman/outfielder Monte Harrison, who also pitches, was one of the top athletes at the event, and he already has scholarship offers in football, basketball and baseball. He is a physical specimen with a muscular 6-foot-3, 200-pound body. The Lee’s Summit West (Mo.) High product is drawing the attention of top programs like Ohio State and Oregon as a wide receiver. Harrison showed a plus arm in the outfield, clocked at 97 mph. He is a powerful runner who was clocked at 6.65 second in the 60-yard dash. Compared to many of his peers at the event, Harrison has significantly fewer baseball reps, but he showed balance and bat speed at the plate.
• Shortstop/righthander Nick Gordon, the son of former major leaguer Tom and younger brother of Dodgers shortstop Dee, showed aptitude as a two-way player. On the mound, Nick was 89-91 mph, touching 92 with feel for a curveball that could become an above-average pitch. The lefthanded-hitting Gordon ran a 6.68-second 60 and showed goods hands and actions in the field. The thin-framed, 6-foot-2, 170-pound Gordon attends Olympia High (Orlando, Fla.), where he played with 2012 supplemental first-round picks Walker Weickel and Jesse Winker.
• Athletic outfielder/lefthander Alex Verdugo of Sahuaro High in Tucson showed well on the mound and at the plate. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Verdugo sat in the upper 80s in his first inning of work, touching 91 mph. He had reportedly been up to 94 in prior weeks. He has a smooth, easy delivery and hides the ball well. Verdugo, who normally pitches from a high three-quarters arm slot, showed the ability to vary his slot against lefthanded hitters. He throws two breakings balls, a slider and curveball with 1-to-7 action and good depth. He was clocked at 96 mph from the outfield and showed good bat speed and a natural feel for hitting in game action.
• Six-foot-four, 205-pound lefthander/outfielder Brady Aiken, a UCLA commit from Cathedral Catholic High in San Diego, sat in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball, touching 92. He showed some feel for a mph curveball with 1-to-7 tilt and mixed in a changeup. Aiken gets good downhill plane from his three-quarters arm slot. During game action, Aiken unleashed an impressive throw from deep center field that was worthy of at least a plus grade, with one scout saying that he would give it a 70.
• Infielder Gregory Deichmann had an impressive showing with the bat. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Brother Martin High (Metairie, La.) who is committed to Louisiana State, showed good bat speed and hit two batting practice home runs. The lefthanded hitter stroked two of the hardest-hit balls during the entire event: a double hit to dead center field and a foul ball that went just to the side of the right-field foul pole and landed in the Metrodome upper deck. Deichmann ran a 6.72-second 60 and showed good actions in the field.
• Arkansas commit Keaton McKinney, a righthander from Ankeny (Ark.) High, sat 89-92 mph, touching 93 with some armside run from a three-quarters arm slot. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound McKinney showed feel for a changeup and threw a 77-79 mph breaking ball with tight rotation.
• The Maroon team featured back-to-back power righthanders in Andrew Karp (West Orange High, Winter Garden, Fla.) and Alex Lange, a teammate of Harrison’s at Lee’s Summit West. Karp, a 6-foot-2, 190 pound righthander Florida State commit, featured a 90-92 mph fastball that touched 93 from a high three-quarters arm slot. His curveball showed the makings of being an average pitch, and his changeup was his third pitch. Lange hides his 89-92 mph fastball well and gets good downhill plane from his three-quarters arm slot. Lange has a quick arm with a compact arm action, but there is some effort to his delivery. The Louisiana State commit showed feel for a slider that could become an average pitch. He also threw a changeup.