It's a good year for college pitching overall and lefthanders in particular. While Matt Purke, the 2010 Freshman of the Year and a 2009 first-round pick, has had an injury-plagued season and is one of the draft's biggest wild cards, Danny Hultzen has taken up the slack, moving into consideration for the No. 1 overall pick. This group has velocity (Josh Osich, Purke), pitchability (Sean Gilmartin, Tyler Anderson) and plenty of upside (Purke, Jed Bradley, Daniel Norris).
Hultzen was a late riser at St. Albans High in Washington, D.C., three years ago, but teams correctly figured they wouldn't be able to sign him away from his Virginia commitment. The Diamondbacks took a shot in the 10th round, but he headed to Charlottesville and immediately became the Friday starter. He was a Freshman All-American in 2009 as a two-way player, batting .327 and going 9-1, 2.17, and was a second team All-American in 2010, going 10-1, 2.83. Considered a first-round prospect coming into 2011, Hultzen has pitched himself into consideration for the No. 1 pick, going 9-1, 1.19 with 112 strikeouts and 12 walks in 76 innings as UVa has spent most of the season at No. 1. Hultzen has a strong frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and offers two plus pitches and above-average command. After working mostly at 88-91 mph his first two college seasons, Hultzen now sits around 93 and touches 96. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and he commands it well and gets good fade thanks to a low three-quarters arm slot. His slider also shows flashes of being an above-average pitch. His arm slot can make it difficult to find consistency in the pitch, but scouts say he's now closer to the higher arm slot he showed in high school than the low three-quarters he had the last two years at UVa. A good athlete, Hultzen has seen time as a first baseman and DH in all three of his college seasons, though the Cavaliers have limited his at-bats in the last two years. He could be the safest bet among the top prospects in the country and isn't likely to make it past the first five picks.
Bradley was not drafted out of high school in Huntsville, Ala., but has pitched in the Yellow Jackets weekend rotation for the better part of the last three seasons as he has filled out his 6-foot-4 frame, going from 180-190 pounds when he came to school to a sturdy 224. A rotation stalwart his last two seasons, Bradley was at his best last summer, when he ranked as the Cape Cod League's No. 4 prospect while tying for the league lead in strikeouts. While he's not generally thought of as overpowering, Bradley knows how to miss bats. Scouts love his pitcher's frame, and he has a clean, loose arm. Bradley's fastball sits anywhere from 88-94 mph. In better starts, he's at the higher end of that range, touching 95. His low 80s slider gives him a second plus pitch, and his changeup sits around 80 mph with fade. He had yet to give up a home run this season, and he earns high marks for his confidence and work ethic. Scouts have noticed Bradley's stuff has not been as sharp out of the stretch this spring, and his changeup has lacked consistency, but he's still expected to be drafted among the first 10 picks.
3. Daniel Norris
Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.
Norris entered 2011 as the top high school lefthander in the country, and he has done nothing to change that assessment. He spent last summer dealing for the East Cobb Yankees and then gave up football, where he played quarterback, to focus on baseball as a senior. Norris has shown three potential plus pitches, with a fastball that reaches 96 mph but generally rests in the 89-93 mph range, a curveball and changeup. He throws the changeup with good arm speed and has plenty of hand speed to spin a breaking ball, and he has also toyed with a slider. Norris features a clean arm and plenty of athleticism, though like many high school pitchers he has inconsistent mechanics, tipping when he's throwing a fastball or breaking ball. He has the athleticism to make adjustments quickly, and he had already improved his arm action in recent months, making it more compact. Scouts laud his makeup and passion for the game. A Clemson recruit, Norris has strong present stuff and room to improve.
4. Tyler Anderson
Anderson came to Oregon from Spring Valley High in Las Vegas in 2009, the Ducks' first season back after a 29-year hiatus, and stepped right into the rotation. He became Oregon's all-time leader in strikeouts this season. He's a good athlete who has gotten bigger and stronger and now stands 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. Anderson's biggest selling point is his feel for pitching. He takes a businesslike approach to carving up hitters and commands five pitches for strikes. He throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, and it sits in the 89-93 mph range with above-average movement. His slider is his best breaking pitch, and he'll mix in a curveball. His bread-and-butter secondary offering is an above-average changeup. Anderson has a funky leg kick in his delivery. It doesn't affect his ability to throw strikes and adds deception for the batter. After being drafted in the 50th round in 2008 by the Twins, Anderson should be a first-rounder this time around and has the polish and work ethic to move quickly.
Purke opened the year ranked right behind Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but where he'll go in the draft is now wide open. He left an April 16 start against San Diego State after his fastball dropped to 82 mph in the fifth inning, and was diagnosed with shoulder bursitis four days later by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Purke didn't pitch again in the next four weeks, though Texas Christian hoped to have him back in time for NCAA regionals. The 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he agreed to a $6 million deal with the Rangers, but Major League Baseball (which controlled the club's finances at the time) wouldn't approve the deal because of the team's financial problems. So Purke joined the Horned Frogs and led them to their first-ever College World Series berth in 2010, leading NCAA Division I in wins while going 16-0, 3.02 and winning Baseball America's Freshman of the Year award. He took the summer and fall off and was hampered this season by back and blister issues. Some scouts believe his shoulder problems came because he didn't build up enough arm strength. Others blame his delivery, as the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder slings the ball from a low three-quarters arm slot. His mechanics deteriorated this spring, as he worked from an even lower angle and threw across his body more than usual, causing his stuff to flatten out. When he's healthy, Purke pitches off a lively 91-94 mph fastball that reaches 96 and backs it up with an above-average slider. His changeup has the potential to become a solid third pitch, and he has average command. He exhibited his competitiveness by gutting through eight starts and going 4-1, 1.55. With concerns about his health and signability—he possesses added leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore—it's unclear where Purke might go. He may have to re-establish his value in summer ball, as Anthony Ranaudo did a year ago after a disappointing spring at Louisiana State. He rebounded in the Cape Cod League and got a $2.55 million bonus from the Red Sox as the 39th pick.
6. Henry Owens
Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
The top high school pitching prospect in Southern California by a landslide, Owens has a long track record of success against top competition in the biggest showcases and high school games. His 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame, easy arm action, deception, composure and advanced feel for pitching make him a potential late first-round or sandwich pick this June. Scouts have been waiting for his velocity to jump up from the 87-90 mph range for two years, and this spring it has bumped 94, though he still pitches at 88-91. He entered the spring with a loopy curveball as his second pitch, but his offspeed stuff has improved as the season progressed. His curveball has firmed up a bit, and midway through the spring he started throwing a slider and a low-80s cutter, demonstrating better feel for his craft. He also has a promising changeup, though he seldom uses it against overmatched high school hitters. Despite his size and arm action, scouts aren't convinced Owens has a ton of projection, and his lack of current plus stuff creates reservations.
7. Andrew Chafin
After missing all of 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Chafin has bounced back so well that he should become the fourth Kent State pitcher (following Dustin Hermanson, Travis Miller and John Van Benschoten) selected in the first or sandwich round. Chafin dominated as a reliever in 2009 and has done the same as a starter this spring, going 5-1, 1.60 with 87 strikeouts in 67 innings through mid-May. His 81-83 mph slider can be unhittable and earns some 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he commands a 90-95 mph fastball to both sides of the plate. When he was unable to throw a breaking ball during his rehab, he worked on a changeup, which now shows signs of becoming an average pitch. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder repeats his delivery well and throws strikes. Chafin's only setback this spring came when he developed a tired arm after making nine consecutive starts, but his stuff looked crisp again when he took a week off and returned in a relief role. He has the stuff and makeup to become a No. 2 starter or a closer.
8. Josh Osich
Scouts have always loved Osich's arm strength and body, and he was a seventh-round pick of the Angels last year, even though he didn't throw a pitch following Tommy John surgery. After showing what he can do when healthy, he should go significantly higher this time around. A key component to Oregon State's weekend rotation, Osich matched his career innings pitched total for the Beavers in the fifth inning of his no-hitter against UCLA on April 30. His repertoire mostly consists of a 93-94 mph heater that he can dial up to 97 and a changeup, though he started mixing in a breaking ball this spring. His changeup and command have both improved, and the breaking ball took his game to a new level. His power arsenal, injury history and age (22) mean a team will likely put Osich on a fast track to the big leagues as a reliever, where he has the stuff, work ethic and mental toughness to succeed.
9. Sean Gilmartin
Gilmartin isn't flashy, but his total package should take him off the board in the first 50 picks as one of the draft's safest selections. A two-way talent out of a California high school, he attended a camp at Florida State and wound up being one of the Seminoles' rare cross-country recruits. He has pitched on Fridays for three seasons and helped lead Florida State to the College World Series last season, though he struggled putting hitters away in the second half of the season and last summer with USA Baseball's college national team. Gilmartin has improved significantly in the last year and become a scouts' darling with his combination of good size (6-foot-2, 192 pounds), clean arm action and solid athleticism. He has pushed his fastball into the average velocity range at 88-91 mph, his changeup remains a plus pitch and his slider has improved to average. Gilmartin knows how to use his stuff, particularly his changeup, how to set up hitters and how to keep them off-balance. His 8-1, 1.36 season includes four double-digit strikeout efforts. Scouts compare Gilmartin to Vanderbilt southpaw Mike Minor, who went seventh overall to the Braves in 2009 and reached the majors a season later.
10. Chris Reed
Last year was the first time since 1999 that Stanford didn't have a player selected in the first five rounds of the draft. That won't happen again this year because of Reed, who could go as high as the sandwich round. Reed is listed at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, but scouts say he has grown and gained strength from last year to this year. His fastball varies from 89-91 mph some nights to 92-94 on others, and he has touched 96. He'll show a power slider and above-average changeup, but all of his stuff needs more consistency. That should come with experience. Reed has totaled just 60 innings at Stanford and has started only one game. His size, athleticism and three-pitch mix will tempt teams to give him a shot as a starter in pro ball.
Conley moved from Washington State's closer role last year to the Friday night starter this year. He has an aggressive, almost Dontrelle Willis-like delivery. His fastball typically sits in the 88-93 mph range, but he can touch 95 and has been as high as 97 when he was used in relief as a sophomore. His two-seam fastball has heavy sink and his changeup has good fade. He throws a slider, but it has a long way to go. It has rolling action instead of sharp snap and he mostly relies on locating his fastball, changing speeds and inducing weak contact. With his peerless work ethic and outstanding makeup, Conley has embraced a leadership role this year. Still, evaluators are split on his future role. Some believe his lack of a breaking ball will limit him to a bullpen role. Supporters say the sink on his fastball, the confidence in his changeup and his strong work ethic will allow him to remain as a starter as his breaking ball develops.
12. Charlie Lowell
In Lowell and Brian Flynn, Wichita State has two big-bodied lefthanders who will get selected in the early rounds of the 2011 draft. Lowell is the better prospect because he's more polished and has had more consistent success. He set a Missouri state record by finishing his high school career with 57 straight scoreless innings in 2008, and has experienced few speed bumps with the Shockers. He missed six weeks with a strained forearm a year ago, but returned before the end of the season and ranked as the top prospect in the Jayhawk League during the summer. Six-foot-4 and 245 pounds, Lowell delivers 90-95 mph fastballs on a tough angle to the plate. His hard slider is a solid second pitch, and he also uses a serviceable changeup. He generally repeats his delivery well and throws strikes, though his command is no better than average.
13. Dillon Peters, Cathedral HS, Indianapolis
14. Brian Flynn, Wichita State
15. Kylin Turnbull, Santa Barbara (Calif.) CC
16. Grayson Garvin, Vanderbilt
17. Kevin Matthews, Richmond Hill (Ga.) HS
18. Bryce Bandilla, Arizona
19. Nick Maronde, Florida
20. Adam Morgan, Alabama
21. Daniel Camarena, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego
22. Cody Kukuk, Free State HS, Lawrence, Kan.
23. Blake Snell, Shorewood HS, Shoreline, Wash.
24. Carlos Rodon, Holly Springs (N.C.) HS
25. Ryan Carpenter, Gonzaga
26. Amir Garrett, Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.
27. Jake Cave, Kecoughtan HS, Hampton, Va.
28. Chris Lamb, Davidson
29. Will Lamb, Clemson
30. Anthony Cingriani, Rice
31. Roberto Padilla, San Jose State
32. Sam Stafford, Texas
33. Trent Howard, Central Michigan
The biggest strength of the draft is the depth of premium velocity, and it's true at both the high school and college levels. Teams should have the opportunity to get righties with plus fastballs into the fifth- and sixth-round range. Gerrit Cole was a first-rounder three years ago and may go No. 1 overall this time around. Teammate Trevor Bauer has outperformed him but is smaller and less conventional. Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley and Taylor Guerrieri lead a parade of prep arms that reach the mid-90s with consistency.
Cole had one of the best arms in the 2008 draft, when the Yankees drafted him in the first round, but he opted to attend UCLA. In three years with the Bruins, he has matured on and off the field, becoming a clubhouse leader as well as an ace for UCLA's national runner-up team as a sophomore. This spring, he has consistently shown the best pure stuff of any pitcher in this draft, and he has pounded the strike zone, though he struggled to command the inner half during a rough three-outing stretch in April, leading to a fairly pedestrian 5-5, 3.25 mark for the season. At his best, Cole throws three pitches that rate 70 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale. His four-seam fastball sits in the 94-97 range and tops out at 99, and he shows a 92-93 two-seamer that scouts would like to see him use more. His power slider ranges from 86-90 mph with good depth, and he has developed his 85-87 changeup into a third plus to plus-plus pitch this year. In high school, some scouts were concerned about the effort in Cole's delivery, but he has smoothed it out; it's now clean, repeatable and simple. He has a physical, durable frame and a competitive but composed mound demeanor—another change from his prep days. Scouts think Cole could rocket to the majors as a closer throwing 98-100 mph, but the consensus is that he has all the makings of a frontline starter.
2. Trevor Bauer
After graduating high school early to enroll at UCLA in the spring of 2009, Bauer quickly found his way into the Bruins' weekend rotation, and went on to break school records for career wins (30 and counting) and strikeouts (411) by the middle of his junior year. Bauer is as unconventional as he is dominant. He takes an intellectual approach to his craft, studying advanced concepts like biomechanics, effective velocity and pitch tunneling. He is a long-toss devotee who works with rubber tubes before and during his starts. He idolizes and patterns himself after another slight righthander with electric stuff: Tim Lincecum. Like Lincecum, he generates premium velocity using extreme torque, and while some scouts worry about the head movement and recoil in his delivery, others say his arm action is loose and his mechanics add deception. Bauer has the deepest repertoire of any pitcher in the draft. On his worst days, he still holds 91-93 mph fastball velocity deep into games, and he often tops out at 95-96. He has exceptional feel for a sharp, downer curveball that rates as plus to plus-plus. His changeup is above-average, and he mixes in an occasional split-finger and flashes a slider. He also throws what he calls a "reverse slider," which runs in on lefthanded hitters at 85-87 mph—and some scouts say that is plus, too. Bauer relishes striking hitters out, so he throws a lot of pitches. He usually works deep into games (and threw five straight complete games in April and May). That workload concerns some scouts, but others think his arm is in exceptional shape and point out that he conditions himself to throw a lot. He has top-of-the-rotation upside and could move quickly, but he is adamant about continuing his own training regimen in pro ball, which will turn some clubs off.
3. Dylan Bundy
Owasso (Okla.) HS
This draft is deep in college arms, and one scouting director opined that Bundy has a better overall package than any of them. Bundy has operated at 94-97 mph for much of the spring, reaching triple digits on multiple occasions. If hitters try to sit on his fastball, he can make them look foolish with an upper-70s curveball, a high-80s cutter or a mid-80s changeup. The curveball and cutter are plus pitches, and the changeup is already an average offering. Bundy's feel for pitching is as impressive as his stuff. He has exceptional body control, allowing him to repeat his balanced, effortless delivery and locate his pitches with ease. He's not the tallest pitcher at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, but he's strong and throws downhill, so his size is not an issue. His makeup and work ethic are off the charts, too. The Orioles signed his brother Bobby as an eighth-round pick in 2008 and could consider Dylan with the fourth overall choice. If Baltimore passes, he probably won't make it past the Diamondbacks at No. 7.
Gray was BA's No. 52 draft prospect as a high school senior in 2008, but a broken ankle, 5-foot-11 frame and Vanderbilt commitment pushed him down the draft until the Cubs took him in the 27th round. He figures to go 26 rounds higher after three seasons with the Commodores. He has added plenty of polish, throwing higher-quality strikes with similar stuff as he showed as a high schooler. His fastball often gets better during games, sitting from 90-95 mph, touching 97 when he needs it. His size keeps him from getting tremendous plane on his fastball, but he has the velocity to pitch up in the zone. High fastballs help set up his best pitch, a power curveball at 82-84 with downer action. His changeup has come along but remains a distant third pitch. Scouts laud his preparation and competitiveness, so while he's tempting as a closer for his two-pitch mix, many scouts expect him to remain a starter. He could stand to repeat his delivery more regularly, and scouts haven't seen much of his change as they'd like. Those are the only chinks in Gray's otherwise impressive armor.
5. Taylor Jungmann
As a freshman in 2009, Jungmann won 11 games and pitched a complete-game five-hitter against Louisiana State in the College World Series finals. As a sophomore, he was the ace of a Texas staff that led NCAA Division I with a 2.45 ERA. Jungmann has taken another step this spring, leading all D-I pitchers with 11 victories and three shutouts while ranking second in opponent average (.160) and third in ERA (0.92) in mid-May. He pitches at 91-93 mph and tops out at 95 with his fastball, and he has done a better job of using his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame to command his heater down in the strike zone. He has improved the sharpness and command of his slider as well. His changeup is average at times but more of a work in progress, though he can get lefthanders out with the sink and life on his fastball. Jungmann excels under pressure—he's 6-0 in NCAA tournament play—and has demonstrated the ability to win without his best stuff. He has some effort and a short stride in his delivery, but he has cleaned it up since high school and it doesn't impede his ability to throw strikes.
6. Taylor Guerrieri
Spring Valley HS, Columbia, S.C.
Guerrieri will be one of the toughest calls for clubs in the first round. He has one of the draft's best arms, and among preps he ranks behind only Oklahomans Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in pure stuff. Guerrieri has a pitcher's body at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with long arms, coat-hanger shoulders and present strength. Getting his "man strength," to use the scouting term, has allowed him to maintain his delivery better, and his stuff has improved as a result. At his best, Guerrieri's fastball touches 98 mph and sits in the 93-96 range. He throws his curveball with power as well at 80-83 mph. He flashes a changeup and a cutter in side sessions but rarely uses them in games. Like most high school pitchers, his velocity can vary from start to start, but he still sits 91-93 on his off days. His athleticism and strength allow him to repeat his delivery well, though his command is a question. A South Carolina signee, Guerrieri could go in the first 10 picks if teams are sold on his makeup, but many are not. He's on his second high school thanks to off-field incidents at North Augusta (S.C.) High, and scouts continue to research his decision-making.
7. Archie Bradley
Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
Just four Oklahoma high school pitchers have been drafted in the first round prior to 2011: Ronnie Walden, Jamey Wright, Matt Roney and Chad James. Dylan Bundy and Bradley will add to that list this June, and while Bundy has separated himself from Bradley (and every other prep pitcher in the nation) this spring, Bradley still should go in the upper half of the round. After showing a 92-95 mph fastball that touched 98 last summer, he wasn't at his best at the start of the season but was back in peak form by the time the state playoffs began in May. His hammer curveball can be just as devastating as his fastball, and he has some feel for a changeup. He has a clean delivery that he maintains well, though at times it can get out of whack. An athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, Bradley is also a top quarterback prospect who would play both baseball and football at Oklahoma in the unlikely event that he doesn't turn pro.
8. Matt Barnes
Barnes was an under-the-radar prospect and went undrafted coming out of high school in Connecticut, but after three years at UConn he has firmly established himself as a first-round talent. Barnes shined last summer, ranking as the Cape Cod League's No. 3 prospect during a stint with Wareham and going 3-0, 1.42 with 26 strikeouts in 19 innings for Team USA. Barnes added 6-8 mph on his fastball before his sophomore year, jumping his velocity to its current 92-96 mph range and 98 peak, which he holds deep into games. He has a loose arm and minimal effort in his delivery. Barnes gets good armside run on his two-seamer, and he also throws a cutter. He throws a sharp-breaking curveball that's plus at times and an average mid-80s changeup. Barnes is at his best when he eliminates his slider from his repertoire. His secondary stuff, along with his command and mechanics, need work, as he tends to alter his release point and miss high in the zone. Scouts love Barnes' 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, and they still think he could add about 20 pounds.
9. Jose Fernandez
Alonso HS, Tampa
Even in a strong year in Florida last year, Fernandez stood out, and opposing hitters were measured by how they fared against him. He almost didn't get to pitch this season, as he was temporarily suspended pending an investigation into how much high school baseball he played in Cuba. It took two attempts for Fernandez, his mother and his sister to escape the island nation, and he's motivated on and off the field. One scout termed his demeanor as "high-level confidence." Fernandez has those who doubt his age, and he'll be 19 before the mid-August signing date. He throws three swing-and-miss pitches: a fastball that sits 90-95 mph with heavy sink at times and a pair of breaking balls. Scouts aren't sure if Fernandez means to throw both a slider and a curve, but his slider can be sharp and his curve at times has 12-to-6 break. He's shown flashes of a changeup as well and could wind up as a four-pitch workhorse. Sturdy at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Fernandez has a mature body and will have to work to maintain his conditioning.
10. Alex Meyer
The Red Sox offered Meyer $2 million as a 20th-round pick out of high school three years ago. While he had the arm strength to merit first-round money, most scouts believed he would need time to improve his secondary pitches, command and maturity. They were proven correct when he went 6-7, 6.34 in his first two seasons at Kentucky. Meyer started making the transition from pitcher to thrower this year, and as a result he could go in the first 10 picks. He's as intimidating as ever, a 6-foot-9, 220-pounder who works at 95-96 mph and can scrape triple digits with his fastball. His slider gives him a second plus-plus pitch at times, though it's still more of a chase pitch than a true strike. He also has unveiled an effective changeup. The Wildcats have helped Meyer repeat his delivery better, though that's still an issue at times because his levers are so long. His command may never be more than average, but it's a lot better than it was in high school. So too is his ability to compete. Meyer still isn't a finished product, but the huge strides he has made this spring have been encouraging.
11. John Stilson
Stilson set a Texarkana (Texas) JC record by winning 12 games as a freshman in 2009, then led NCAA Division I in ERA (0.80) and ranked second in strikeout per nine inning (13.5) in his first season at Texas A&M last spring. He has made another successful transition this year, moving from the bullpen back into the rotation and serving as the Aggies' ace. His fastball ranges from 91-94 mph, and it touched 96 when he worked as a reliever. He has incredible feel for a dynamite changeup that outranks his heater as his best pitch. He throws a hard breaking ball, and he has the ability to vary the angle and shape of the pitch to make it a slider or a curveball. Six-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Stilson is a quality athlete who also starred in football and basketball in high school and played shortstop at Texarkana. He's an intense competitor who relishes the responsibility that comes with being a Friday starter or a closer. Stilson's delivery is the only reason he isn't mentioned with the top tier of college pitching prospects. He catapults off the mound and throws with some effort, but that doesn't prevent him from filling the strike zone. If the team that drafts him puts him back in the bullpen, he could be the first player from the 2011 draft to reach the majors. But Stilson has legitimate value as a No. 2 or 3 starter, and he'll probably get an initial opportunity to thrive in that role in pro ball.
12. Robert Stephenson
Alhambra HS, Martinez, Calif.
Stephenson has a long and loose 6-foot-2 frame, and he's not done growing yet so scouts see projection as he matures. He had a busy summer on the showcase circuit and then started off his senior season by throwing back-to-back no-hitters. His fastball sat in the the 90-92 mph range last summer, and he took things up a notch this spring, sitting 93-95 and touching 97. Stephenson has a smooth, athletic delivery and produces good hand speed. This has helped his curveball improve along with his fastball, and he's now throwing the pitch in the 78-80 mph range and commanding it well. He also mixes in an occasional changeup. Stephenson is just as gifted in the classroom as he is on the pitcher's mound, and he's Washington's biggest recruit in a long time. He has been working with Huskies assistant coach Jordon Twohig since he was 13, but the program's recent struggles and Stephenson's status as a possible first rounder make it unlikely he winds up on campus.
13. Dillon Howard
Searcy (Ark.) HS
Howard established himself as the top prospect in Arkansas early on, earning all-state honors as a sophomore, and has maintained that through his senior season. He has a strong track record in showcases and summer ball. He hasn't had a boffo senior season but has maintained his status as a potential late first-round or sandwich pick. At his best, Howard throws a fastball with above-average life and velocity. It can sit 92-94 and at times has heavy sink. Command can be an issue, but he's a solid athlete whose arm works well, so scouts can project average big league fastball command. He's played catcher, shortstop and third base in high school and is a baseball rat who has passion for the game. His secondary pitches, a curveball and changeup, have their moments but have been inconsistent this season. He has more feel for his secondary offerings than many prep pitchers, which has some scouts surprised that he hasn't had a more dominant season. Some have raised concerns about his mound demeanor and energy level, but it's unlikely he falls far enough for his Arkansas commitment to come into play.
14. Tyler Beede
Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass.
Beede won a state championship as a sophomore at Auburn (Mass.) High, and then transferred to Lawrence, one of the top prep schools in the state. Since then, he has been all over the showcase circuit and developed into New England's best prep prospect. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Beede has an ideal pitcher's frame. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he pitches at 88-93 mph and touches 95. He has good arm speed on his changeup, and he has a firm curveball that's average but has good shape. Beede is also developing a slider, though he hasn't used it in game action. There were concerns about his mechanics and arm action in the past, but he has smoothed them out this year, repeating his delivery well and getting good extension out front. His father, Walter, was a 13th-round pick of the Cubs out of a Massachusetts high school in 1981 and had a short stint in the minor leagues, when he played with Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid. Beede has advanced command, feel and offspeed stuff, and scouts are impressed with his approach to the game. He has committed to Vanderbilt and could be a tough sign.
15. Joe Ross
Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland
Like Robert Stephenson, Ross' stuff has also been a little bit better this spring than it was on the showcase circuit this summer. Ross, whose older brother Tyson is a righthander for the Athletics, sat in the 91-93 mph range with his fastball this summer. This spring he's been as high as 96. The pitch has good life and comes out easily from Ross' smooth delivery. He has a hard curveball in the 78-80 mph range with 11-5 break and flashes a good changeup. While he doesn't have his brother's size, he still has a nice pitcher's frame at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. There are some concerns about the health of Ross' arm this spring, which date back to last summer when Ross missed some time with elbow tenderness. If healthy, Ross is the total package. He is a quality athlete and he's also a very good student, so he'll likely be a tough pry away from his UCLA commitment.
16. Jorge Lopez
Academia de Milagrosa, Cayey, P.R.
Lopez is the best prospect in Puerto Rico and should be the island's highest-drafted pitcher ever. A volleyball player and track participant in the past, Lopez is a fine athlete who has plenty of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. He's lanky, long and loose, with a fastball that sits 89-91 mph and touches 93 regularly. Lopez also stands out for having one of the best breaking balls scouts can recall for a Puerto Rican pitcher. He has flashed an above-average curve, which doesn't have true 12-to-6 rotation but isn't far off. At times it's short and tight, and he has a feel for it that belies his age and inexperience. Lopez's athletic ability has scouts optimistic about his ability to pick up larger improvements such as a changeup as well as nuances like fielding his position. He'll have to get stronger to make good on the projections scouts have for him.
17. Kyle Winkler
With Matt Purke ailing, Winkler has replaced him as Texas Christian's ace. Hitters have a tough time squaring Winkler's pitches up, especially his 91-95 mph fastball with heavy sink. He has added velocity this spring, not only to his heater but also to his slider, which reaches the mid-80s. His breaking ball is more effective when he throws in the low 80s, and some scouts would like to see him break out the hard curveball he used in high school. His improved changeup gives him a solid third pitch that he should throw more often, and his command also has taken a step forward. If Winkler had ideal pitcher size rather than checking in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, he'd be a mid-first-rounder. His delivery isn't the smoothest, but it's also deceptive and doesn't feature a terrible amount of effort. Scouts have noted his competitive streak for years, going back to when he led the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the 2006 Pan American Youth Championships with a 1.15 ERA.
18. Michael Fulmer
Deer Creek HS, Edmond, Okla.
Oklahoma has its best high school pitching crop ever, highlighted by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley and featuring three other arms who could go in the first five rounds. Fulmer is the best of the second tier and has improved his stock to the point where he could be a top-50 selection. After pitching at 87-91 mph on the showcase circuit last summer, he has boosted his fastball to the mid-90s and topped out at 97 mph this spring. He maintains his velocity, often showing some 93s and 94s in the late innings. His slider also has gotten harder, improving from 78-80 mph to 83-85. Like many high school pitchers, he'll need to refine a changeup. His arm works well, though he could firm up his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame.
19. Dillon Maples
Pinecrest HS, Southern Pines, N.C.
Maples has had the benefit of professional insight. His father, Tim, was a second-round pick of the Orioles in 1979, and his pitching coach at Pinecrest is James Baldwin, the former White Sox all-star. Scouts got a good look at Maples during his junior season when they went to see Baldwin's son, outfielder James Baldwin III, who signed with the Dodgers as a fourth-rounder. Maples' best assets are athleticism and arm strength. Also a standout kicker on the football team, he stands at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with a strong lower half. His fastball sits 91-94 mph and has touched the mid-90s throughout the season. His curveball is an above-average pitch that has left his competition in the state overmatched. He lacks command of his fastball and actually does a better job of spotting his curveball. He has shown a changeup in warm-ups but doesn't need it in games, so the pitch will need development. Maples has a short arm action and questionable mechanics that lead to his below-average command. Scouts say his athleticism will allow him to make the necessary adjustments. He is committed to North Carolina, where he would play baseball and have a chance to walk on as a kicker for the football team.
20. Kyle Crick
Sherman (Texas) HS
Crick played mostly first base for Sherman as a junior a year ago, but began to realize his future was on the mound when he hit 94 mph with his fastball on the showcase circuit during the summer. He since has emerged as the top pitching prospect in the Texas high school ranks this spring. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, he consistently has dealt in the low 90s, peaking at 97 mph and featuring late life on his heater. His mid-70s curveball is a plus pitch at times, though it lacks command and consistency because he overthrows it. Crick also will flash an above-average slider and fiddles around with a splitter and a changeup, but he's essentially still in the early stages of learning to pitch. He's mainly an arm-strength guy right now, but it's impressive arm strength. There's effort in the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder's delivery, and he'd do a better job of living in the strike zone if he took a more direct line toward the plate.
21. Tony Zych
Zych led the Cape Cod League with 12 saves last summer, when scouts voted him the circuit's top prospect after he dealt 97 mph fastballs during the all-star game. After using him sporadically as a starter in his first two seasons, Louisville has kept him in the bullpen this spring and he has thrived. He has worked at 94-97 mph all season, with a high of 99. His fastball gets on hitters quickly thanks to some funk in his delivery. Zych's arm action isn't pretty and puts some stress on his shoulder, but it adds to his deception and doesn't hamper his control. He's an athletic 6-foot-3, 188-pounder whom the Cardinals recruited as a two-way player who could contribute in the middle infield, where he saw some action as a freshman. Zych has the mental toughness to handle late-inning assignments and shouldn't require much time in the minors. Whether he becomes a closer or set-up man depends on how consistent his mid-80s slider becomes. He doesn't miss as many bats as he should because his fastball can get straight and his slider can flatten out.
22. Anthony Meo
Meo was part of a stacked 2008 prep class in Connecticut and Rhode Island, a group that included Vanderbilt's Jason Esposito and UConn stars Matt Barnes and George Springer. Meo threw 91-92 mph in high school but has bumped his fastball up to 96 mph in college, regularly sitting in the 93-94 range. He's quick-armed and live-bodied at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, with a lean frame that hasn't added much weight over the years. His curveball is quick and short with downer break, and he's starting to harness the command of both pitches. Meo's changeup remains "underdeveloped," as one scout put it, and while his delivery isn't maximum effort, it's not smooth either. He throws strikes but doesn't locate enough to have the command clubs look for in starters. He should go out in the first two rounds as a starter but likely will wind up as a reliever.
23. Hudson Boyd
Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, Fla.
Boyd transfered from South Fort Myers High to Bishop Verot as he teamed with similarly beefy first baseman Dan Vogelbach. Together, they led their team to a 25-4 record through mid-May, with Boyd 10-0 with 112 strikeouts. His delivery and 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame have elicited comparisons to Jonathan Broxton and Bartolo Colon, and scouts intend those as positives. Boyd projects as a mid-rotation workhorse who will work with two plus pitches. He maintains the velocity on his fastball deep into games, topping out at 95-96 mph and sitting in the 90-94 range. His breaking ball also is plus, a power curve that scrapes 80 mph with tight rotation and sharp break. Boyd's changeup can be too firm at times, but he hasn't needed it much in high school.
24. Madison Boer
Boer has the type of frame scouts look for in starting pitchers. He's big and strong at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds and he's a good athlete that ran a 6.7-second 60-yard dash for scouts in the fall. The athleticism helps give Boer a clean and efficient delivery and helps him maintain stamina throughout game. His fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range, but there could be more in there—he's touched 96 before in relief stints. Boer has a good slider, but it's the splitter he added to this year that has helped the most. He throws the pitch with two different grips. If he needs to throw it for a strike, he'll keep the ball closer to his fingertips, throwing it like a changeup. But he can also put the ball deeper into his hand to get more depth on the pitch if he's trying to get a hitter to chase.
25. Erik Johnson
Johnson has a big, 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame and sometimes has trouble maintaining his mechanics. His delivery can get a little rigid and he loses his arm slot at times, though he's been better about getting it back than he was last year. Johnson is quick to the plate and sits in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball and tops out at 95. His best secondary offering is a hard slider that he can throw for strikes or use as a wipeout pitch and he also mixes in a slow, show-me curveball and a changeup that is inconsistent, but shows flashes of being a quality pitch. Johnson sometimes tries to be too fine with his fastball instead of trusting that he can overpower hitters with it. While he needs to sharpen his fastball command, Johnson has shown a good enough feel for pitching to get by and go deep into games without it.
26. Andrew Gagnon
Long Beach State
Though he has yet to post a winning season in college, Gagnon has improved each year at Long Beach, lowering his ERA from 6.28 to 3.28 to 2.73. He showed good feel for pitching in the Cape Cod League last summer, leading the circuit with five wins, and he carried that momentum into his junior year. Gagnon has a prototypical 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame and an easy arm action, but his delivery can get a bit too mechanical at times, and scouts would like to see him loosen up and just throw. He pitches heavily off a lively 90-93 mph fastball that has peaked at 94 this spring, and he pounds both sides of the strike zone with it. Gagnon has worked to improve his feel for his breaking stuff, as he throws both a slider and a curveball, and for much of his career they tended to blend into each other. At his best, he shows a 79-82 hammer curveball and an 82-85 slider, each with distinct shapes. His 82-85 changeup is also an average pitch. Gagnon is still learning to put hitters away with his secondary stuff (he has 183 strikeouts in 245 career innings) and still learning to win, but he has the ingredients to be a workhorse mid- to late-rotation starter in the big leagues.
27. Evan Marshall
The state of Kansas could have as many as seven college pitchers taken in the first 10 rounds, and Marshall has become the top righthanded prospect in the group after excelling as a set-up man this spring. He began last season in Kansas State's rotation, but his stuff has played up significantly this year when he has come out of the bullpen. After pitching in the high 80s as a starter, he has worked at 93-94 mph while teaming with James Allen to give the Wildcats the best bullpen tandem in the Big 12 Conference. His hard slider gives him a second plus pitch, and his lack of a reliable changeup isn't a handicap as a reliever. Marshall isn't big at 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, and he throws with some effort, often flying open in his delivery. He still throws strikes, and he has a loose, resilient arm that has allowed him to top out at 96 mph even when used on consecutive days. He profiles more as a set-up man than a closer but should get to the majors quickly.
28. Burch Smith
The Indians selected Smith in each of the last two drafts, taking him in the 49th round in 2009 and in the 20th round a year ago. He'll go much higher this year after transferring from Howard (Texas) JC to Oklahoma, though he could have gone in the top three rounds in 2010 had he been more signable. Smith didn't pitch much until he was a high school senior, then served as the No. 4 starter on Howard's 2009 national championship team that went 65-1. Smith still isn't the most polished pitcher, but he throws 90-93 mph and reaches 95 with ease. He may find more velocity once he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame. He's doing a better job of throwing strikes this year, though his control needs more work, as does the rest of his arsenal. He throws two breaking balls, with his slider ranking ahead of his curveball, and has exhibited some feel for his changeup. If Smith continues to develop, he could become a No. 3 starter with a quality fastball and solid control and secondary pitches.
29. Bryan Brickhouse
The Woodlands (Texas) HS
Brickhouse is the latest strong-armed pitcher to come out of The Woodlands, which also spawned first-rounders Kyle Drabek (2006) and Jameson Taillon (2010). He won't go quite as high in the draft, and the Tar Heel State native may not be signable away from a North Carolina scholarship if he doesn't. Brickhouse will show good stuff at times, but he doesn't always maintain it past a few innings or throw strikes with it. He has two plus pitches in a 90-93 mph fastball that peaks at 95 and a spike curveball with 11-5 break. The curve sometimes morphs into a slider, and he has the beginnings of a changeup. Six-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he's not particularly big or athletic. He has effort in his delivery and doesn't always stay on top of his pitches. If he can develop consistency, Brickhouse might be a No. 3 starter. He also profiles well as a late-inning reliever who could focus on attacking hitters with his fastball and breaking ball.
30. Michael Kelly
West Boca Raton (Fla.) HS
Kelly has powered West Boca deep into its regional playoffs with his bat and his arm. Scouts want him as a pitcher, and his frame is as ideal as any pitcher in the country. He's a fairly fluid athlete who is growing into his 6-foot-5, 210-pound body. Kelly entered the year with great expectations and didn't live up to them early, struggling mechanically to stay tall in his delivery and with inconsistent velocity. His body and stuff elicit comparisons to A.J. Cole, who entered 2010 as the top arm in Florida's prep ranks and wound up a fourth-rounder while still signing for $2 million. Kelly's fastball is a shade below Cole's, topping out at 94 and regularly sitting in the 89-92 mph range. He also throws a curveball and changeup that project to be average pitches but are fringe-average at present. His curve flashes the depth to be a plus pitch if he can firm up his delivery and get better extension out front. Kelly, like Cole, doesn't always attack hitters aggressively like scouts want him to, but he has gotten better as the season progressed.
31. Joe Musgrove
Grossmont HS, El Cajon, Calif.
Musgrove has improved his stock as much as any prep player in Southern California this spring. He was solid but unspectacular at the Southern California Invitational Showcase at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in February, working in the 88-91 mph range. Since then, his velocity has jumped, and many scouts now regard him as the best high school righthander in the region's thin crop. Musgrove, a San Diego State commit, has a physical 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame and an easy delivery. For most of this spring his fastball has sat comfortably in the 90-92 mph range with heavy sink, and he can reach back for 93-94 when he needs to. At his best, some scouts say they saw him touch 97-98, to go along with a hammer curveball in the 76-82 mph range. Usually, though, he throws a three-quarters slurve in the 77-80 range. Musgrove also mixes in a split-change. A former offensive and defensive lineman for the Grossmont football team, Musgrove is a tenacious competitor. He still has to work on repeating his delivery more consistently and fine-tuning his secondary stuff, but it's easy to dream on him becoming a big league workhorse starter.
32. Noe Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton
33. Kyle McMillen, Kent State
34. Chris Marlowe, Oklahoma State
35. Jeff Soptic, Johnson County (Kan.) CC
36. Matt Andriese, UC Riverside
37. Logan Verrett, Baylor
38. Kevin Comer, Seneca HS, Tabernacle, N.J.
39. Colton Murray, Kansas
40. Matt Summers, UC Irvine
41. Scott McGough, Oregon
42. Kyle Smith, Santaluces HS, West Palm Beach, Fla.
43. Navery Moore, Vanderbilt
44. Jeff Ames, Lower Columbia (Wash.) JC
45. Cory Mazzoni, North Carolina State
46. J.R. Graham, Santa Clara
47. Lenny Linsky, Hawaii
48. Nick Burdi, Downers Grove (Ill.) South HS
49. Mason Hope, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
50. Jake Reed, Helix Charter HS, La Mesa, Calif.
51. Brooks Pinckard, Baylor
52. John Curtiss, Carroll HS, Southlake, Texas
53. Adrian Houser, Locust Grove (Okla.) HS
54. Hawtin Buchanan, Biloxi (Miss.) HS
55. Cole Wiper, Newport HS, Bellevue, Wash.
56. Clay Holmes, Slocomb (Ala.) HS
57. Matt Price, South Carolina
58. Carson Smith, Texas State
59. Carter Capps, Mount Olive (N.C.)
60. Jack Armstrong Jr., Vanderbilt
61. Kyle McMyne, Villanova
62. Austin Wood, Southern California
63. Cole Green, Texas
64. Tyler Pill, Cal State Fullerton
65. Mark Pope, Georgia Tech
66. Michael Cederoth, Steele Canyon HS, Spring Valley, Calif.
67. Taylor Hill, Vanderbilt
68. Ian Gardeck, Angelina (Texas) JC
69. Sam Gaviglio, Oregon State
70. David Goforth, Mississippi
71. Matt Stites, Missouri
72. Dylan Davis, Redmond (Wash.) HS
73. Kyle Simon, Arizona
74. Mike Wright, East Carolina
75. Ricky Jacquez, Franklin HS, El Paso
76. Blake Treinen, South Dakota State
77. Tayler Scott, Notre Dame Prep HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.
78. Nick Tropeano, Stony Brook
79. Devin Jones, Mississippi State
80. Jesus Valdez, Oxnard (Calif.) CC
81. Ray Black, Pittsburgh
82. Kenny Giles, Yavapai (Ariz.) JC
83. Thomas Robson, Delta (B.C.) SS
84. Anthony DeSclafani, Florida
85. Cody Hebner, Green River (Wash.) CC
86. Aaron Nola, Catholic HS, Baton Rouge
87. Brandon Woodruff, Wheeler (Miss.) HS
88. Ben Paullus, Memphis
89. Matt Ramsey, Tennessee
90. Ryan Woolley, Alabama-Birmingham
91. Dixon Anderson, California
92. Colin O'Connell, Cal State Fullerton
93. Rookie Davis, Dixon HS, Sneads Ferry, N.C.
94. Gandy Stubblefield, Lufkin (Texas) HS
95. Pat Connaughton, St. John's Prep, Danvers, Mass.
96. Ross Stripling, Texas A&M
97. Chris Jensen, San Diego