State Reports: Arizona




While last year was considered a down year in Arizona, the state produced its first high school first-round pick—righthander Tim Alderson to the Giants—since Brandon Wood in 2003. This year's high school class in the state is solid at the top but not particularly deep, while the junior-college ranks seem deep in future college players but not in top professional players.

THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
On the other hand, the state's two Division I schools, Arizona and Arizona State, will be as big a factor as any D-I school in the country. Two scouts said they had turned in more than 20 players from the two teams, and their season-ending series attracted as many scouts as most conference tournaments. The Wildcats and Sun Devils could both produce a pair of players who get picked before the second round.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Brett Wallace, 3b/1b, Arizona State (National Rank: 20)
2. Ryan Perry, rhp, Arizona (National Rank: 26)
3. Ike Davis, 1b/of, Arizona State (National Rank: 30)
4. Kyle Lobstein, lhp, Coconino HS, Flagstaff (National Rank: 45)
5. Daniel Schlereth, lhp, Arizona (National Rank: 60)
6. Jaff Decker, of/1b, Sunrise Mountain HS, Peoria (National Rank: 62)
7. Petey Paramore, c, Arizona State (National Rank: 114)
8. T.J. Steele, of, Arizona (National Rank: 115)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

9. Eric Berger, lhp, Arizona
10. Jason Kipnis, of, Arizona State
11. Stephen Sauer, rhp, Arizona State
12. Preston Guilmet, rhp, Arizona
13. Shane Dyer, rhp, South Mountain JC
14. Reyes Dorado, rhp, Arizona State
15. Maverick Lasker, rhp/3b, O'Connor HS, Glendale
16. Ronnie Welty, of, Chandler-Gilbert CC
17. Kyle Yates, rhp, Yavapai JC
18. Ryan Carpenter, lhp, Cactus HS, Glendale
19. Danny Coulombe, lhp, Chaparral HS, Scottsdale
20. Jon Gaston, of, Arizona
21. Marcel Champagnie, ss/of, Arizona State
22. Mike Colla, rhp, Arizona
23. Riccio Torrez, 2b/3b, Brophy Prep, Phoenix
24. Kiel Roling, c, Arizona State
25. Taylor Lewis, rhp, Yavapai JC
26. Travis Jones, c, Sabino HS, Tucson
27. Josh Spence, lhp, Central Arizona JC
28. Mark Hawkenson, rhp, Red Mountain HS, Mesa
29. Carlos Ramirez, c, Chandler-Gilbert CC
30. Rene Garcia, rhp, Pima CC
31. Brad Glenn, 3b/of, Arizona
32. David Coulon, lhp, Arizona
33. Justin Harper, rhp, Yavapai JC
34. Jared McDonald, ss/2b, Pima CC
35. Kayvon Bahramzadeh, rhp/1b, Catalina Foothills HS, Tucson
36. Andy Hunter, rhp, Catalina Foothills HS, Tucson
37. Drew Palen, rhp, Scottsdale JC
38. Brent Klinger, rhp, Glendale JC
39. Jordan Whatcott, rhp, South Mountain JC
40. Matt Summers, of/rhp, Chaparral HS, Scottsdale
41. Josh Satow, lhp, Arizona State
42. Diallo Fon, of, Arizona
43. Chase Lehr, rhp, Glendale JC
44. Kyle Frasard, ss, Scottsdale JC
45. Seth Furmanek, c/of, Chandler-Gilbert JC
46. Tommy Rafferty, rhp, Arizona State
47. Nick Carillo, 1b/rhp, O'Connor HS, Glendale
48. Royce Bolinger, rhp/of, Chaparral HS, Scottsdale
49. Rick Anton, lhp, Yavapai JC
50. Bobby Egeberg, of, Estrella Foothills HS, Goodyear

SCOUTING REPORTS

1. Brett Wallace, 3B, Arizona State (20)

Four of the top hitters in the college draft class—Wallace, Stanford's Jason Castro, California's David Cooper and South Carolina's Jay Darnell—played together for NorCal Baseball's travel team in high school. Wallace was a bad-bodied third baseman then, tipping the scales at close to 260 pounds. Many scouts still see him as a bad-body third baseman waiting to move to first, but others see more. Many see the best natural hitter in the West. Wallace has a strong swing with above-average bat speed; his swing path stays in the zone a long time and he has outstanding plate discipline. Defensively, Wallace had made just eight errors at third in 50 games, and he has at least average arm strength to go with nifty feet. While he's cleaned up his body, he still has huge thighs that make it hard for him to get low enough to properly field groundballs. Scouts that think he could stay at third compare him to 2007 Indians first-rounder Beau Mills, who also had questionable skills at third. Those that don't care for him cite his body and the short careers of players built similarly, such as Bob Hamelin. Wallace's bat should get him drafted in the first round regardless, and most scouts give him at least above-average raw power grades.

2. Ryan Perry, rhp, Arizona (National Rank: 26)

Arizona coaches started getting excited about Perry last spring, when his velocity jumped into the mid-90s, but they had to wait on him after Perry was injured in a motorcycle accident, falling onto his left (non-throwing) arm and breaking a bone. He recovered in time to take the Cape Cod League by storm, pushing his fastball up to 98 mph in the league all-star game and sitting at 94-96 as a starter with a loose arm action. He started his junior season high on draft boards and in Arizona's rotation but got lit up early as a starter. Scouts say Perry's fastball, while a plus-plus pitch for to its velocity, lacks deception and hitters sit on it, especially when he's starting and struggles to locate his offspeed stuff. When he's going well, he adds a second plus pitch in a slider that one scout compared to that of Phillies closer Brad Lidge. Perry's changeup shows enough potential to make scouts consider him as a starter, but he's been much more effective out of the bullpen. His fastball lacks life and needs the extra velocity he gets out of the bullpen. He's still expected to go in the first round, and most clubs figure to give him a chance to start because his arm is so good.

3. Ike Davis, 1b/of, Arizona State (National Rank: 30)

The son of former big league reliever Ron Davis, Ike was not a scouts' favorite coming into his junior season. A decorated high school career that included a star turn with Team USA's youth national squad and an MVP award at the 2004 Aflac Classic, and his pitching family pedigree, had most scouts regarding him as a pitcher out of high school. He decided to go to Arizona State rather than sign as a Rays 19th-round pick, and he started on the mound and batted cleanup in his first game as a Sun Devil. He struggled with wood in the Alaska League in 2006 and in the Cape in 2007, when he cut his summer short to have right wrist surgery. He returned to the mound as a closer in 2008 and played first base to keep his arm fresh. He also worked to incorporate his lower half more and was having a banner season, leading the Sun Devils in the triple crown categories as well as saves, before missing time with a ribcage injury. Davis has excellent raw power, comparing to former ASU star Jeff Larish, but he's a much better defender with a better swing and better pitch recognition. Davis is above-average at first base and should be able to play an outfield corner as well due to his plus arm; his below-average speed could limit him to left.

4. Kyle Lobstein, lhp, Coconino HS, Flagstaff (National Rank: 45)

Lobstein emerged on the summer showcase circuit last year, showing off the cleanest arm and delivery of any starting pitcher in the '08 draft class. BA ranked him as the No. 2 prospect at the Tournament of Stars, where he popped up from under the radar to make USA Baseball's junior national team. He followed that with a turn as the No. 1 prospect at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, and he committed to Arizona as a two-way player. He flashed an average fastball that bumped 92 mph, a promising curveball with great spin and a solid-average circle changeup. His arm still works just as well this spring, and his 6-foot-3, 185-pound athletic frame remains projectable, but Lobstein hasn't dominated inferior northern Arizona competition, and scouts' ardor for him had cooled. His fastball was topping out at 90 mph and usually sitting at 87-88, fringe-average even for a lefthander. Despite his clean arm, his velocity hasn't jumped, and neither of his secondary pitches have been quite as sharp as they were last summer. Several scouts echoed the same phrase for Lobstein: He just hasn't turned the corner. Some scouts wonder if he has enough killer instinct but cautioned that Lobstein could just be pitching to the level of his competition. A team with extra picks is expected to gamble on Lobstein toward the back of the first round or in the supplemental round, but area scouts cautioned that it could take a seven-figure signing bonus to keep Lobstein from pitching (and hitting) for the Wildcats next spring.

5. Daniel Schlereth, lhp, Arizona (National Rank: 60)

The son of former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN commentator Mark Schlereth, Daniel Schlereth was an eighth-round pick last year as a draft-eligible sophomore, having missed a year due to Tommy John surgery. Schlereth didn't sign and has come back improved as part of a devastating Arizona bullpen with three of the nation's best power arms. While teammate Ryan Perry figures to be drafted higher this year (and sophomore closer Jason Stoffel should go higher next year), Schlereth was making a case to go in the first two rounds by showing improved command and stuff from 2007. Schlereth finds the strike zone more consistently with his 90-94 mph fastball and at times has more velocity, sometimes sitting 94-96. His power breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch, and he's done a better job of throwing it for strikes. After a failed bid as a starter earlier in his career, Schlereth has shown the guts to challenge hitters with his stuff in a relief role and could be the rare lefthanded closer as a pro. The biggest question will be whether or not he can maintain his stuff while improving his control. He'll never have command with the effort he puts into his delivery, but he still doesn't throw as many quality strikes as he'll need to at higher levels. He's expected to be drafted in the first three rounds.

6. Jaff Decker, of/1b, Sunrise Mountain HS, Peoria (National Rank: 62)

Decker looks like a younger version of Matt Stairs with a compact, strong body, and he's earned comparisons to the Canadian slugger as well, though Decker throws lefthanded. Scouts mean the comparison as a compliment, because Decker can really hit. The best thing about being a 5-foot-10 slugger is that Decker is short to the ball and has an easy feel for hitting, generating easy above-average power with a quick, strong swing. He's a baseball player and grinder who has become an area scout's favorite. His arm is his next-best tool after his bat, as he's thrown a no-hitter this spring, occasionally visits the low-90s with his fastball and spins a solid-average breaking ball. If he doesn't make it as a hitter, he definitely has a shot to become a lefthanded reliever, and if he winds up at Arizona State he could become a three-year, two-way star. His body leaves no room for projection, but he has one of the better now bats in the high school draft class. Decker's a second-round bat but probably fits lower on most boards due to his small stature.

7. Petey Paramore, c, Arizona State (National Rank: 114)

Paramore was highly regarded coming out of high school but turned down the Mets, who drafted him in the 22nd round in 2005. He became an almost instant starter at Arizona State, where he spent most of his first two seasons sharing time with Kiel Roling as the catcher. Paramore shouldered more of the load in 2008 and earns praise from scouts for his ability to lead a pitching staff, as a quiet receiver and for blocking balls in the dirt. He has good hands but could improve his footwork on his throws. Paramore's arm once rated as above-average, but he's more fringe-average this spring, leaving scouts wondering about his arm's health. Offensively, he has a patient approach with a discerning eye, putting him in frequent hitter's counts, and he should draw his share of walks as a pro. He has some strength but lacks the bat speed to hit for more than fringe-average power. He struggled with wood last summer, going 7-for-63 (.111) for Team USA. Some scouts see many of Jason Varitek's traits in Paramore, though not Varitek's offensive upside. His polish and defensive ability could still get him drafted in the first three rounds.

8. T.J. Steele, of, Arizona (National Rank: 115)

Steele played at Canyon del Oro High, a powerhouse program in Tucson that is the alma mater of big leaguers such as Chris and Shelley Duncan and Ian Kinsler, among others. He stayed in Tucson for college and has been a three-year starter at Arizona. Steele's athletic ability stands out in a college class short on such players. He's a plus runner with good range in center field; combined with his instincts and adequate arm, he's an above-average defender. Steele has raw power potential and good instincts to go with his speed on the bases, and potentially could be a middle-of-the-order, 20-homers, 20-steals threat. However, Steele's bat lacks refinement, mostly due to too much aggressiveness and too little pitch recognition. Miscast as a leadoff hitter, Steele gets himself out early in counts too often and isn't patient enough to bring his plus raw power to the fore. Steele isn't the average college draft pick in several ways and should take more time to develop than most. But in a year nearly devoid of college outfielders with upside, he stands out.

Division I Bonanza

After Arizona State's Big Three draft picks of Davis, Wallace and Paramore, scouts still had six to 10 players left to possibly draft, and the same is true of Arizona after the trio of Perry, Schlereth and Steele. Neither team is expected to challenge Cal State Fullerton (2005) and Rice ('07) for the record of 14 players selected in a single draft (first set by Arizona State in 1982), but it also would be a surprise for either school to fall short of double digits.

Early in the season, the next Sun Devil picked would have been a righthander, either Stephen Sauer or Reyes Dorado. A transfer from Riverside (Calif.) CC, Dorado was showing premium stuff early, with a 94 mph fastball and mid-80s slider with depth. However, the 6-footer wore down under a heavy workload and was laboring to bump 90 as the season wore on. Sauer also struggled under a heavy workload, according to scouts, losing the life on his pitches. In the first half, the Western Nevada transfer sat at 88-91 mph with sink and a swing-and-miss downer breaking ball to go with a solid straight change and get-it-over slurve.

As they tired, fifth-year senior Tommy Rafferty emerged as Arizona State's most effective reliever, though he's more of a command-and-control college pitcher than a pro prospect. His best pitch is his solid-average changeup, which may have the potential to be a plus pitch, and he touches 90 mph with his heater. Senior lefty Josh Satow was never a huge prospect to begin with and had a rough senior season after a dominant 13-3, 2.76 junior year. The 5-foot-9 changeup artist had an ERA close to 5.00 and was not showing the pinpoint control he needs to thrive.

Another Sun Devil who was much better in 2007, junior catcher Kiel Roling shares duties behind the plate with Paramore and suffers by comparison. He's big and physical at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, and lacks athleticism behind the plate, grading out as below-average defensively in all areas. He's an offensive player who had less than half as many homers (seven vs. 15) as he hit as a sophomore.

Scouts who saw Arizona State early also were impressed by Kentucky transfer Jason Kipnis, who got off to a rousing start, showing surprising power. Most area scouts compare him to former ASU star Colin Curtis as a tweener, though they liked Curtis' hit tool better. Kipnis' power falls short due to a bat wrap that will slow him down with wood. He has enough arm and speed to play all three outfield spots and a patient approach at the plate while being aggressive on the basepaths with his average speed. He fits into the sixth- to 10th-round range for most clubs. Kipnis redshirted at Kentucky as a freshman and was kicked off the Wildcats club as a sophomore but has impressed with his work ethic at ASU.

Perhaps Arizona State's most intriguing prospect, shortstop/outfielder Marcel Champagnie has prompted a split opinion among scouts. A Canadian who was a Twins draft-and-follow last spring, he emerged as an offensive force early before shaky defense at short dropped him into a utility role. He flashes above-average speed (4.2 seconds to first from the right side), but more often churns out below-average times, a sign of poor effort. He has strength in his hands and gap power. His defense was poor enough to cost him his regular job, but two scouts thought he had enough of a chance to stay in the infield to at least send him to pro ball as a second baseman, if not a shortstop.

While Arizona State won the Pac-10 with all its talent, Arizona still earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and finished strong, winning the season-ending series with the Sun Devils. Junior lefty Eric Berger started and won the deciding game of that series and should be drafted right around the ninth round, where he went last year after not pitching all spring. Berger is still coming back from Tommy John surgery that cost him the '07 season. Berger's fastball sat in the 89-90 mph range most of the season, but he was bumping some 92s later in the year. He works up with the fastball and down with a mid- to upper 70s curveball and was trying to regain the feel for his changeup. When he's at his best, his curveball has depth and is a swing-and-miss pitch, and he could move up closer to the fifth round unless his price tag gets too high.

Arizona's better arms were in the bullpen, with sophomore Jason Stoffel, a potential first-rounder in 2009, and relievers Perry and Schlereth. Ace starter Preston Guilmet profiles well as a middle reliever thanks to a plus slider and good split-finger fastball, and he works in the bottom half of the strike zone thanks to an unconventional, over-the-top release point. However, his fastball grades as below-average at 86-87 mph. He's performed, though, and earns points with his tremendous makeup. He academically oriented and also has started training horses this spring as part of his coursework.

Righty Mike Colla and senior lefty David Coulon have better arms than Guilmet but lack his knack for pitching. Coulon has had flashes of success, but his velocity was down this year in the 86-88 mph range. He's sat at average in the past with a solid-average changeup and curveball, yet never has shown even average command. The physical Colla has a 90-92 mph fastball with fringy secondary stuff and a lack of pitchability.

Arizona's position players offer mostly mediocrity after the dynamic Steele. Jon Gaston should be the first one picked due to his present strength, decent athleticism and lefthanded bat. He's not athletic but runs and throws average. Brad Glenn has tried his hand at third base but fits better defensively in left. He has more raw power and can crush fastballs if he's looking for them but lacks the athleticism to hit for a consistent average. Athletic outfielder Diallo Fon, a redshirt sophomore who transferred in from Vanderbilt, got off to a hot start but was consistently out of the lineup as the season went on, as he remains raw offensively.

Prep Ranks Shy After Lobstein, Decker

Kyle Lobstein entered the year as Arizona's top prep draft prospect and retained that distinction despite his so-so spring. Jaff Decker remained the state's best player even though his team faltered in the playoffs. The rest of the draft class offers mostly good college players, with a few players worth following.

Phoenix Brophy Prep infielder Riccio Torrez began the season as a preseason All-American after playing for USA Baseball's junior national team, going 6-for-14 to help the Americans win the bronze medal at the junior Pan Am championships in Mexico. An Arizona State signee, Torrez was panned this spring by scouts; three flatly called him a "college guy" as he lost some quickness and moved off shortstop to third base. He has a strong arm and strength in his swing but didn't perform this spring as he had in the past. He didn't measure up well in comparison to other prep infielders in the Four Corners area such as Nevada's Niko Vasquez and Colorado's Andy Burns.

Finding a consensus pick for the third prep talent was difficult. For most scouts the choice was between Torrez, lefty Danny Coulombe of Chaparral High and righthander Maverick Lasker. Coulombe was considered a tough sign, with a commitment to Southern California, and has a somewhat slight but projectable 6-foot, 165-pound body. His fastball sits in anywhere from 85-90 mph, depending on the day, and has good life. His bread-and-butter is a curveball scouts grade as average to plus, with plus potential as he fills out, and a solid changeup as well. The curve allowed him to have one 20-strikeout game and he went 9-0, 0.75 overall with 138 strikeouts. One scout said he was ahead of Arizona's Daniel Schlereth at the same stage of development, yet expected Coulombe to go to school.

Lasker, a San Diego State recruit, had a better chance to sign and had garnered some interest in the fourth- to sixth-round range early before an injury. He's physical at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, and has some projection left. He was considered a better prospect as a hitter prior to the season but came out strong on the mound this spring, touching 93 mph and showing a loose arm. He compensates for a fairly straight fastball with good arm speed on his changeup and by flashing a potential plus breaking ball. However, he had to sit out several weeks on the mound with biceps tendinitis, clouding his draft status.

Righties Kayvon Bahramzadeh and Mark Hawkenson have shown power arms at times, and Hawkenson flashed a 94 on several occasions. He's an Arizona recruit with a quick, loose arm but lacking in polish. He doesn't repeat his delivery and lacks balance over the rubber. A four-year starter, Bahramzadeh flashes 91-92 mph fastballs with good sink and life. His low-elbow delivery worries some scouts, and he's got enough power as a first baseman to contribute in college.

Bahramzadeh was the top player on a Catalina Foothills High team with five Division I recruits, including righthander Andy Hunter, a Gonzaga recruit, and Southern California signee Ashton Kent, who also was an all-state prep soccer player. Hunter leads a strong contingent of Gonzaga recruits who should get to campus. Early on, Hunter was showing 91 mph fastballs out of a projectable 6-foot-4 frame, but his velocity was in the mid-80s much of the spring.

Lefthander Ryan Carpenter throws harder now than Hunter, sitting 88-91 and touching 92 mph, and has a big pro body at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds. Another Gonzaga recruit, he had some high-strikeout starts that generated interest, but some scouts questioned Carpenter's competitiveness. Fellow Gonzaga recruit Nick Carillo has raw power potential and arm strength and will contribute both ways for the Bulldogs, as will righthander/outfielder Royce Bolinger. Carillo's considered raw for pro ball, while Bolinger has polish on the mound while lacking a present plus pitch. He's athletic enough to stick in the outfield and has a solid bat.

Another two-way player, Matt Summers, also fits better in college, even though his fastball has reached the low 90s. He's more a thrower than a pitcher, and while he has loft power offensively, his metal-bat swing isn't conducive to pro ball at this point. Tucson's Travis Jones had shown raw power and a solid catcher's body while hitting 15 homers this spring, and he's committed to Arizona. Jones also could wind up at Pima CC if he decides against committing to three years of college.

Outfielder Bobby Egeberg was one of the state's fastest players, running a 6.58-second 60 time in a January Baseball Factory showcase. His long swing kept him from having the present hitting ability to enter pro ball.

Jucos Nostalgic For '06

The Arizona JC ranks had a seminal year back in 2006, when Yavapai lost in the NJCAA championship game. The best player in the state's JCs the last two years, Central Arizona lefthander Josh Spence, isn't expected to be a high pick because of his below-average fastball, which peaks at 86-87 mph. Scouts still love Spence for his tremendous makeup, feel for pitching and quality secondary pitches, which include a 78 mph curveball and Bugs Bunny changeup. Both are plus pitches and he has above-average command. He's won 27 games the last two years and pitched Central Arizona to this year's NJCAA World Series, where he took his second loss of the year. The Australian Spence also has committed to Arizona State, which makes it less likely he'll be drafted high.

Yavapai righthander Kirby Yates, whose older brother Tyler pitches in the big leagues for the Pirates, emerged as his team's top pitcher, and there are similarities him and his brother in terms of stuff. However, Kirby Yates stands just 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, while his brother is much taller and more physical. The younger Yates has touched 93 mph with his fastball and has shown a good curveball at times. Scouts also like his makeup. Since he's a third-year sophomore (he redshirted last season), Yates was drafted out of high school back in 2005 (Red Sox, 26th round) and is more ready for pro ball now.

Yates has surpassed teammate Justin Harper, who entered the year as the state's top juco prospect but endured a poor season, posting a 7.06 ERA in a wood-bat league. As a starter early in the year, he worried too much about velocity, saw his stuff flatten out and got hammered. Harper was better late in a relief role, punching his fastball back into the 91-92 mph range (scouts saw him touch 95 last year), and at times he has a power slider. He won't go nearly as high as he could have, however, with a better season. Harper has committed to San Diego State. Yavapai righty Taylor Lewis, the team's third consistent starter aside from Yates and thumbing lefty Rick Anton, also could go out as he's touched 92 mph and has an arm that works well.

Other Arizona junior college pitchers who could get picked include Pima CC's Rene Garcia, who at times has thrown a 91-93 mph fastball with a hard slider. A 2004 draftee out of Arizona's Sunnyside High, he has had arm problems in junior college and is already 22. He threw a no-hitter against Cochise (Ariz.) JC but generally lacks the command to be a starter—he walked eight in the no-hitter.

Righties Shane Dyer and Jordan Whatcott also could be drafted, and Dyer should go higher than most of his juco peers. Whatcott, a Utah signee, showed an average (88-91 mph) fastball early with a good breaking ball and athleticism before wearing down under the strain of pulling double duty at South Mountain JC; he also played second base. Dyer's delivery (he turns his back to the batter) scares off some scouts and limits him to the bullpen as a pro, but his stuff is better than Whatcott's, as he touches 92 mph and has a better, hard breaking ball. He has a pro body at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds and is committed to Nebraska.

Others who could be drafted include Glendale righthanders Brent Klinger, with a fastball that has touched 94 and a projectable, 6-foot-4, 185-pound body, and Chase Lehr, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder with a solid-average fastball and some projection but spotty command; and Scottsdale closer Drew Palen, who also touched some 94s and was durable this spring, pitching in 30 games. At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he also has a pro body and varies his arm slot, which may explain his inconsistent command and breaking ball.

The JC hitters offer less than the pitchers, with no consensus top prospect. For some, it's Pima's Jared McDonald, a juco shortstop and likely pro second baseman who dominated the league, batting .467 with 11 home runs. He's committed to Michigan State, a surprise and perhaps a sign that he's not an elite player, as most of the top players in the conference commit to Arizona or Arizona State. He's a contact hitter with some similarities to Adam Kennedy, with an unorthodox lefthanded swing, spray approach and solid athleticism.

His competition for top position player honors comes from Chandler-Gilbert CC, with outfielder Ronnie Welty and catcher Carlos Ramirez. Welty, at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, looks the part and hit well this spring, challenging McDonald for league honors by hitting .459. He also has above-average arm strength and runs at least average if not a tick above. One league coach compared him to Hunter Pence for his ability to produce despite a gangly frame and less-than-ideal swing mechanics, and scouts are divided on him, with some wanting to see him perform against four-year college pitchers before they bite.

Ramirez is a big league catcher to some scouts already, due to his excellent footwork, quick hands and consistency defensively. While he delivers 1.95-second pop times to second base, he does it with his footwork and quick release, despite a below-average arm. Ramirez doesn't have tremendous offensive upside but he has a polished approach and gap power. Scouts expect him to step in as a starter at Arizona State next season.

Another Chandler-Gilbert player, two-way talent Seth Furmanek, could be a pro catcher but took one for the team this spring, pitching and playing in the field. He's a solid hitter but figures to go to Oral Roberts and improve his stock as a full-time catcher. The other hitter who had drummed up some interest was Scottsdale's Kyle Frasard, a shortstop with infield actions, enough arm to at least be a college shortstop and surprising power that led to 10 homers this spring.