Scouting Reports: Washington
Washington had a topsy-turvy spring in terms of draft prospects, with players rising and falling from month to month.
Injuries to players like Keaton Hayenga and Kawika Emsley-Pai, played a part. So did surprise performances, such as Huskies lefthander Nick Hagadone adding 10 mph to his fastball since last year.
|*****||One for the
|**||Not up to
|*||Nothing to see
And so did disappointing springs, like the one prep righty Greg Peavey--the top prospect in the state entering the year--experienced. Peavey performed well but didn't throw as hard as he had in the past, leaving the door open for Hagadone to become the top prospect.
Nick Hagadone, lhp, Washington
Mattair, ss/3b, Southridge (Wash.) HS
Peavey, rhp, Hudson’s Bay HS, Vancouver,
4. Julian Sampson, rhp, Skyline (Wash.)
5. Clayton Mortensen, rhp,
6. Steven Souza, 3b, Cascade HS, Everett, Wash.
7. Keaton Hayenga, rhp, Eastlake HS, Redmond, Wash.
8. Matt Hague, of/3b, Washington
9. David Marks, of, Edmonds (Wash.) CC
10. Mason Tobin, rhp, Everett (Wash.) CC (CONTROL: Braves)
10. Geoff Brown, lhp, Jackson HS, Mill Creek, Wash.
11. Kellen Kiilsgaard, of, Auburn (Wash.) HS
12. Brandon McKerney, rhp, Washington
13. Michael Lee, rhp, Bellevue (Wash.) CC (CONTROL: Yankees)
14. Darin Holcomb, 3b, Gonzaga
15. Troy Scott, ss, Auburn (Wash.) HS
16. Daniel Cox, ss, Washington
17. Wayne Daman, rhp, Washington State
18. Kawika Emsley-Pai, c/of, Jackson HS, Mill Creek, Wash.
19. Julien Pollard, 2b, Washington HS
20. Jared Prince, of/rhp, Washington State
|1. Nick Hagadone,
lhp (National rank:
Report: Hagadone was a big-bodied lefthander with a low-
to mid-80s fastball and solid breaking ball his first two seasons at
Washington, and he entered the 2007 season as the Huskies' Friday
starter despite having made just five career starts. He has
dramatically increased his arm strength and velocity, as his physical
ability and improved mechanics came together perfectly. Coach Ken
Knudson moved Hagadone back to the bullpen after two starts, and his
velocity jumped, as did his performance (1.88 ERA, 10 saves). Hagadone
was throwing in the 90-93 mph range and had several outings when he hit
94-95 mph repeatedly. He also features a power slider that's at least
an average pitch. While
his delivery isn't textbook and his fastball tends to flatten out, he's
deceptive, keeps the ball down (one home run allowed) and has some feel
for pitching. His changeup also has average potential, and Hagadone
likely will be given a chance to start in pro
|2. Travis Mattair,
ss/3b (National rank:
Southridge (Wash.) HS. Class:
Report: While Washington prep righthanders Greg Peavey
and Julien Sampson (breaking ball went backward) vexed scouts this
spring, Mattair came off the basketball court and onto the baseball
diamond and emerged as the state's top high school prospect. He's
athletic to a fault, in that he's never focused on baseball, and he was
good enough as a basketball point guard to attract Division II
scholarship interest. His power potential makes him a much better
prospect in baseball. He has leverage and obvious strength in his swing
and has shown power to all fields. His lack of experience was exposed
at showcase events by pitchers with consistently better stuff than any
he had seen in southeast Washington, but scouts are confident his
athleticism will allow him to adjust once he focuses on baseball. He's
a shortstop now who profiles as a third baseman as a pro. He's
committed to Oregon
|3. Greg Peavey, rhp
Hudson’s Bay HS, Vancouver, Wash. Class:
Report: Few high school players have had an amateur
career like Peavey's. He was hitting 90 mph when he was 14, played in
the 2000 Little League World Series and was a member of USA Baseball's
youth and junior national teams. He has hit 94 mph regularly with his
fastball, complementing it with a quality hard slider that has reached
the low 80s. The slider's a plus pitch, with depth to go with its
velocity. However, scouts agree Peavey pitched better as both a
sophomore and junior, and few see much projection left in his 6-foot-2,
195-pound frame. "He is what he is" was a common refrain. Peavey's
max-effort delivery may be difficult to tame. Some thought he was
pitching for the radar gun this spring, resulting in increased effort
in his delivery as well as decreased velocity. Peavey's first-round
expectations and Scott Boras representation complicate his signability,
leaving Oregon State hopeful its recruit might actually end up on
|4. Julian Sampson,
rhp (National rank:
Skyline (Wash.) HS. Class:
Report: Sampson rivals Vancouver's Greg Peavey as the
top high school pitcher in Washington, a title Washington State signee
Keaton Hayenga was on his way to securing before he tore his labrum
sliding into third base. Sampson and Hayenga are much more similar to
each other than to Peavey, who has a long national track record.
Sampson, like Hayenga, has a projectable pro body (6-foot-5, 200
pounds) and has played high school basketball. He has shown pretty good
present stuff, with a fastball that sits in the 90-92 mph range. He has
easy velocity and a loose arm, making it easy to project future heat.
While Sampson, a University of Washington signee, has flashed
brilliance this spring, he has generally not been at his best mostly
due to his choice of breaking ball. In the past, he flashed a slider
with above-average tilt and velocity, a flat-out filthy pitch last
summer and fall on the showcase circuit. This spring, though, he has
more frequently used a slower, looping curveball that doesn't have much
potential. A team that has seen Sampson good still could pop him as
high as the second round because of his velocity, athleticism and
Keaton Busts Shoulder
Mortensen, rhp (National rank:
Report: Scouts in the Pacific Northwest are more than
familiar with Mortensen, who went to high school in Idaho and spent two
seasons at Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College. The Devil Rays
drafted him in the 25th round in 2005, but he chose to go to Gonzaga
instead and wasn't drafted after a disastrous 6-8, 5.89 campaign. Until
this season, the gangly Mortensen was all projection and little
production. His velocity took a jump (up to 92 mph) last summer in the
West Coast Collegiate League, but his command remained spotty. He was
shellacked at Arizona in his first start this season, but since then
has had some of the best stuff in the West. Mortensen features a heavy
90-94 mph fastball with excellent sink. His secondary stuff grades as
average now, with future plus grades as well: a hard slider and
changeup featuring deceptive arm speed. His command is below-average.
He's a senior sign with upside, though, and could go as high as the
Righthander Keaton Hayenga
was pushing himself into consideration for the early rounds of the draft, pushing Peavey and Sampson for the title of best prep pitcher in Washington, before a left shoulder injury required labrum surgery. Hayenga had shown fastball velocity up to 92-93 mph from a projectable, athletic frame. He was an all-state basketball player as well as baseball player, though he signed to play baseball at Washington State. He's considered the school's most important recruit in years, and because of his shoulder injury has a chance to make it to Pullman.
Another Washington State signee, third baseman Stephen Souza
, was attracting attention as the next-best hitter in the state after Mattair. Souza has plus bat speed and leverage in his swing, with a pro body and sufficient athleticism. His run and throw tools grade as average. Some scouts question his maturity and makeup, and many more wonder if he has the hands to stick in the infield. It won't matter if his bat plays as his supporters contend it will, with power to all fields. Organizations that don't mind raw, toolsy players--the Pirates and Nationals come to mind--could take Souza in the first five rounds.
Jackson High in Mill Creek, No. 2 in the nation last year with outfielder Travis Snider going in the first round to the Blue Jays, was again drawing plenty of attention from scouts. However, it was unclear if any Jackson players would go in a single-digit round, and the team went 0-2 in the state playoffs. Lefthander Geoff Brown
had the best chance, with an athletic body and low three-quarters delivery generating upper-80s velocity and a sweepy slider. He's a Washington signee who has shown some 90s in the past but not enough this spring. Jackson's best-known player, athletic Kawika Emsley-Pai
, had not played in the field all spring due to a back injury. He was a Texas signee but no longer is tied to the Longhorns and may go the junior-college route. Emsley-Pai's value is tied to his willingness to catch; he does it easy behind the plate but isn't a grinder and prefers to play outfield.
Auburn High also has several players who could get drafted, with the best talent being Stanford football/baseball recruit Kellen Kiilsgaard
, who ranks among the state's top athletes. He has surprising power despite his split duties. His teammate, Washington recruit Troy Scott
, has a loose swing that needs to tighten up but may have the footwork and hands to remain in the infield, though his arm is short for shortstop.Hitters To Go
The University of Washington closed the season strong, taking series victories against Oregon State and California among others, and the surge was sparked in part by sophomore-eligible shortstop Dan Cox
. He's had back problems in the past and won't stay at shortstop as a pro. He hardly stayed there at Washington, moving in and out of the lineup for two seasons. However, he has a smooth lefthanded swing that generates gap power and some true pull power. He doesn't run particularly well and will go as far as his bat takes him, probably as a third baseman at first.
When Cox played alongside third baseman Matt Hague
on the left side, Washington's pitchers probably weren't thrilled, as neither has above-average defensive skills. For some scouts, though, Hague has three plus tools: bat, power and arm. The arm strength is not in question; Hague's 60 arm (on the 20-80 scale) would allow him to play right field if he has the range for it. Offensively, Hague's track record is mixed. He hit .419 as a freshman and slugged .710, then hasn't approached those numbers since. His 13 homers this spring were tied for second in the Pac-10 through the end of the regular season, and he controls the strike zone well. He's not for all tastes and would maximize his value if he could stay at third. The consensus is he can't due to hard hands and a lack of agility.
Gonzaga's Darin Holcomb
, who shined last summer in the West Coast Collegiate League, plays a better third than Hague but lacks his power. He doesn't have a standout tool, yet scouts looked up to see him hitting .369 this spring with more walks than strikeouts. Washington State outfielder Jared Prince
, a first-team All-Freshman selection a year ago, beat out Holcomb as the WCCL's top prospect last summer, then had a miserable sophomore season. After pitching and hitting last spring, Prince just hit due to a shoulder injury, and the draft-eligible sophomore was expected to have postseason exploratory surgery.
While Cox was a late pop-up as a hitter, two junior college hitters hit from day one this spring and never stopped. Edmonds left fielder David Marks
blossomed into first-10-rounds consideration by dominating his wood-bat juco league (he was hitting .490 with six home runs at one point) after hitting less than .200 as a freshman. Marks has strength in his swing and bat speed, with his hitting and raw power his only above-average tools. His dominating season was interrupted by a hamstring pull that made it hard to evaluate him as the draft approached.
The two JC pitchers scouts were following the most in the state were both committed to NAIA schools. Righthander Mason Tobin
, a Braves draft-and-follow committed to Embry-Riddle (Fla.), had shown a pretty good slider to go with 90-92 mph fastball velocity. At times his heater has hard sink. He was consistent this spring, winning nine games for Everett, and at 6-foot-2 he has a decent pro frame. While his arm works easy, he lacks consistency with his slider and often relies on the fastball. Bellevue's Michael Lee
is more of a projection pick, and the Yankees draft-and-follow battled pneumonia this year that held back his velocity. Lee topped out at 86 mph this spring after scraping 89 last year. He misses bats with his fastball and has a projectable frame. He's committed to Oklahoma City.