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.
Alec Grosser, rhp, Williams HS, Alexandria, Va.
Grosser has a athletic, projectable frame at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. He has long arms with a whippy, deceptive, three-quarter arm action. His fastball sits in the 89-91 mph range with good sinking life and he touched 93 mph at the Perfect Game National Showcase last summer. He got under his 74-76 mph slider there, but his build and present velocity are certainly interesting. Grosser is committed to George Mason.
Bryce Harman, lhp/1b, Byrd HS, Chesterfield, Va.
Harman draws looks with his professional build at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds. He has extremely strong hands and power potential as a lefthanded hitter. He hits from an upright, open stance and shows simple swing mechanics, but will need to keep his head more balanced in his load for better pitch recognition. He also is intriguing as a lefthanded pitcher, where he sits in the 87-89 mph range with a mid-70s curveball. Harman is committed to East Carolina.
Justin Holt, of, Gulfport (Miss.) HS
Holt stands out most for his speed. He ran the fourth-fastest 60-yard dash at the East Coast Professional Showcase (6.56 seconds). But speed and defense are his only weapons right now. He’s a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and could be a plus defender too, though his arm is well below average. What stood out most about Holt, for me, was the intensity he showed during batting practice at the showcase . . . but not in the batting cage, in center field. Holt was a freak in center field during BP, running balls down in both gaps like it was Game 7 of the World Series, and was obviously having a lot of fun doing it. That kind of energy and enthusiasm makes you want to give him every chance to improve. Holt is a smaller player at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds. He’s raw at the plate with very little strength to his swing and a pushy approach and, if it hasn’t happened already, a coach or scout will likely suggest having him try to hit from the left side of the plate to get an extra step closer to first base. Holt is committed to Nicholls State.
Joe Jimenez, rhp, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.
He obviously doesn’t have the same stuff, but Jimenez’s build evokes comparisons to Jose Fernandez with his big barrel chest and thick lower half. Jimenez stands 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and throws with an easy delivery from a low three-quarter arm slot. His fastball sits in the 89-91 mph range with heavy armside life and he owns the inner half of the plate. A wrist wrap in the back of his arm action inhibits his ability to stay on top of his 71-73 mph slurvy curveball and he also mixes in a mid-70s changeup. Jimenez is committed to Florida International.
Eric Nielsen, rhp, Dublin (Calif.) HS
Nielsen is a deep sleeper. I haven’t seen him since the summer before his junior year, but he stood out in a big way then. First off, he’s 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds. He was muscular, angular and looked like he walked out of a minor league clubhouse. His fastball was in the 90-92 mph range and topped out at 93 with late diving action. He showed poor control and was just a thrower, but the size and easy arm strength was certainly intriguing. He also plays basketball and is athletic for his size. But Nielsen will miss this season, as he’s scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on March 29. He is currently uncommitted.
Andy Ravel, rhp, Wilson HS, West Lawn, Pa.
I wrote a blog post on Ravel at the East Coast Professional Showcase, and he stood out to me there for his feel for pitching. His fastball sits in the 85-87 mph range with natural cutting action and he mixed in a 73-74 mph curveball, while flashing a slider and changeup both in the 78-79 mph range. The knock on Ravel is just that he doesn’t have his man strength yet. But that’s not a bad thing. At 6-foot-1 and just 165 pounds, there’s plenty of projection remaining for Ravel and he already has a lot of the other ingredients you look for in a pitcher: he throws strikes, works fast, mixes pitches and has a lot of confidence on the mound. If Ravel winds up at Kent State, I think he could be a stud in three years.