Baseball America

Personal Sleepers, Part 1

Going through my notes file of all the 2013 high school players I’ve seen over the past several months, here are six players, listed alphabetically, who didn’t make Baseball America’s High School Top 100 ($) list, or the list of 50 players who just missed ($), but who are still guys that I really liked when I saw them. Some will be drafted out of high school, others may have to go prove themselves in college, but these are all guys who drew my attention for one reason or another.

Angel Alicea-Nieves, 3b/rhp, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

Alicea-Nieves is an intriguing two-way player from the same small high school that produced Indians’ 2011 first-round shortstop Francisco Lindor. A Puerto Rican, like Lindor, Alicea-Nieves stands 6 feet and 175 pounds. He’s a solid-average runner with an above-average arm. He shows solid defensive actions at third base and a nice, fluid righthanded swing. On the mound, he sits in the 88-89 mph range and touches 90 with well below-average secondary stuff. He is committed to Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC.

Shaun Anderson, rhp, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.

I got my first look at Anderson at USA Baseball’s inaugural National High School Invitational and then saw him a couple more times on the summer showcase circuit. He has a solid, 6-foot-3, 235-pound build that is pretty well maxed out. His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range and he mixes in a 77-79 mph slider and a 78-81 mph changeup. He shows a good delivery for his size and projects as a workhorse mid-rotation type in pro ball. He has a quick arm and the slider shows good potential at times. Anderson is committed to Florida.

Phil Bickford, rhp, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, Calif.
Bickford has a nice lean frame at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds. He was 86-88 this summer and threw across his body a little bit, but reportedly touched the mid-90s this spring and sat 90-91. When I saw him this summer, he mixed in an 81-83 mph changeup as his best secondary pitch and struggled to get on top of his slurvy breaking ball. He is committed to Cal State Fullerton.

Ryne Birk, ss, Seven Lakes HS, Fort Bend County, Texas
Birk is undersized at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, but stood out to me when he was playing with the Houston Banditos last fall at the World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla. He stood out because of his sweet, compact lefthanded swing and intriuging strength for his size. In my brief look, he looked more like a second baseman at the next level. Birk is committed to Texas A&M.

Layne Bruner, lhp, Montesano (Wash.) HS
Bruner was on the D-Backs NW Scout Team in Jupiter. He has a lean, lanky frame at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds and a loose, athletic delivery. His fastball sat in the 84-87 mph range, but there’s projection there and he could take that up a tick or two as he continues to fill out and get stronger. Bruner also showed nice depth on his curveball and is committed to Washington State.

Kendall Coleman, of, Rockwall (Texas) HS
Coleman stands out with his lean 6-foot-4, 185-pound build. He doesn’t have nearly the same athleticism or tools, but his body reminded me of Lewis Brinson. Coleman, who is committed to Iowa, bats and throws lefthanded. With his below-average speed and arm strength, he is limited to a corner outfield spot, so it will come down to his bat. His swing looks a little long and uphill at times, but he makes loud contact when he connects. I would be patient with him because of his frame and lefthanded bat.