Draft Tracker: May 18
Amir Garrett, lhp, Findlay Prep, Las Vegas
Garrett's story will get a fuller treatment soon, but suffice it to say that other than Bubba Starling, he's the draft's most intriguing two-sport athlete. Garrett didn't start playing organized basketball until his freshman year in high school (he's on his third school in four years) but started playing varsity from day one. He's grown into a 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward who has explosive leaping ability, leading to a bevy of YouTube clips
. He's ranked NO. 97 on ESPN's Top 100 high school hoops list and has committed to St. John's.
Garrett also has played baseball, though he did not play this spring for Findlay. He played last year at Los Angeles' Leuzinger High, leading it to a CIF basketball championship before playing for the baseball team as a pitcher. While playing travel ball in basketball last summer, Garrett made time to pitch in the Tournament of Stars, flashing upper 80s velocity from the windup but dipping 8-10 mph from the stretch.
However, his athleticism has allowed him to make great strides this spring even though he hasn't played for a team. Garrett started working with Jaeger Sports' Jim Vatcher, a former big league outfielder, in December on a throwing program. It incorporates yoga, long-toss and resistance training, and with the help of family friend Keith Royal, Garrett started throwing bullpens and stretching his arm out. When basketball season ended, he ramped up his baseball workouts, with JC of Southern Nevada pitching coach Nick Aiello overseeing many of them.
"The first time I saw him throw, I thought of (Aroldis) Chapman," Aiello said. "He has a similar arm stroke. His first pitch in his first bullpen I saw had to be 90. But he needed to learn to use his lower half. Mechanics, just learning fundamental pitching mechanics, has been job No. 1. He's done a great job of making adjustments and learning. He's such a good kid, so coachable. I told him the other day, 'You look like a baseball player now.' "
Scouts saw Garrett throw on May 4; various accounts put the total at anywhere from 18 to 37 scouts. This Twitpic
has 18. It was just Garrett, a catcher and the scouts, and Garrett sat 90-94 while touching 96 mph, while flashing a changeup with life in the lower 80s, Aiello said. Aiello was disappointed with is curveball, which he says "has been a 12-6 downer every other time he's thrown it except that day. I think he just got a little nervous, probably for the first time in his life. But he's got a high three-quarters slot and he gets some tilt on the breaking ball. It can be sharp and hard."
Since the workout, Garrett's father Darrow said, "My phone has not been the same since. I've just had so many calls from people in baseball. My phone whines now." Garrett throws again for scouts May 24, and likely once more after that before the draft, possibly with workouts for individual clubs to follow. He's among the draft's biggest wild cards with his combination of upside, options and inexperience.
Brandon Magee, of, Arizona State
Arizona State is currently ranked eighth in the nation despite the fact that their three biggest prospects coming into the season (Johnny Ruettiger, Zack MacPhee and Zach Wilson) are all under performing. The Sun Devil scouts seem to be most interested in has spent most of the year on the bench.
"They're all interested in him and it's hard not to be," Arizona State assistant coach Travis Jewett said. "I think there's some straight-ahead speed. I don't know how it turns around the bases, but he can run. And there's just power coming out of his ears. What's going to have to be decided is, is it usable power? Is it game power? It's BP power for sure—it's the best of anybody we've seen in the country. You better have the basket full when he's hitting, because he's going to put 'em in the street."
Magee has a compact but chiseled physique at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds. He's also a linebacker on the football team and was second on the team with 73 tackles, but he has a better chance to make a future for himself on a baseball diamond and indications are that he wants to play.
He hasn't gotten that chance at Arizona State. With only 28 total collegiate at-bats under his belt, Magee is raw and it will take some patience and instruction at the next level. Scouts want to give him that chance and have echoed Jewett's praise.
"You watch him take batting practice and it's as good as anybody in the country," a National League area scout said. "It's a good swing. It's not a muscled-up, football swing, it's a good swing. This guy's a stud. To say he can play center field is a stretch, but he goes and tracks down baseballs during batting practice and he gets after it. He can obviously run. I have no idea what he can run baseball-time-wise because he never gets on the field. . . He has a chance to be special and I can't believe he can't get on the field; it blows my mind."
Ryan O'Sullivan, rhp, Oklahoma City
O'Sullivan, who was a 10th-round pick by the Giants out of Valhalla High in El Cajon, Calif. in 2008, is the younger brother of Royals righthander Sean O'Sullivan.
Ryan started his collegiate career at San Diego State, where he was the Aztecs' opening day shortstop as a freshman in 2009.
He hit .264/.377/.420 and pitched in 11 games, going 4-4, 6.79 with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks over 56 innings. Despite the poor results, the plan was to use the 6-foot-1, 195-pound righthander on the mound more as a sophomore.
O'Sullivan was throwing well leading up to the 2010 season—touching 95 mph with late life—but experienced some pain in his elbow just 15 pitches into the first game of the season and didn't pitch again that year.
O'Sullivan initially planned to transfer to Florida International, where transfer rules would have caused him to sit out a year. Instead, he chose to attend NAIA Oklahoma City but didn't get an academic release from San Diego State, so he was ineligible to pitch this year anyway.
Currently, O'Sullivan is back home in California and has been working out for scouts, throwing some bullpen sessions and getting into a couple pickup games organized by ABD Academy executive director Mike Spiers.
O'Sullivan's latest game was on May 16 and he's showing good stuff, but his track record makes him a bit of a wild card this year. He'll likely be picked in the top 10 rounds and could go as high as the fourth.
"He looks good," said a scout who saw O'Sullivan's latest outing. "He was very similar to what he was in high school. He's been 92-94 and he's got a really good curveball at 80-81 mph."
Tyler Marlette, c, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.
Catchers get overdrafted when they prove they can catch and throw. Until his bat breaks out in pro ball, Steve Baron of the Mariners will be the big example for scouts of the catch-and-throw player whose bat wasn't ready for prime time. The Mariners took Baron 33rd overall in 2009, and Baron is still feeling his way through low Class A offensively two years later.
Marlette doesn't catch or throw at Baron's level—few do—but he has a chance to jump into the supplemental round, as Baron did before him. Evaluators like Marlette's fast-twitch athletic ability behind the plate, and the biggest concerns about him seem to concern his size (he's 5-foot-11, 195 pounds) and just how well he'll receive. He also has a tendency to lose his front side in his swing, opening his hips early and yanking everything to his pull side. But he has shown excellent bat speed, both in past showcase events such as the Aflac all-star game—he homered off Ricky Jacquez at Petco Park and was named the MVP—and at the Power Showcase.
Then in April, when he got hot in front of the right crosscheckers and other high-level scouts. He has above-average arm strength as well, and earns praise for his grinder mentality. "He's going to go good," one evaluator said of the Central Florida signee. "I don't know what he's looking for, but he's got tools and plays hard, and there's not a lot of catchers."
Kyle McMillen, rhp, Kent State
Lefthander Andrew Chafin isn't the only arm on the team getting noticed by scouts. McMillen came to school as a two-way player and hit .354/.420/.520 last year. He also showed some power in the Cape Cod League last summer, but a broken hamate bone in his right wrist this fall led the team to using him exclusively on the mound this year.
McMillen has always had arm strength and pitching coach Mike Birkbeck has done a great job turning him from a thrower into a pitcher. McMillen has added a hard slider to his repertoire, which has really made him tough to hit. As is often the case with college relievers, he's been tough for scouts to see—especially with the success of Kent State's starters this year. When he does pitch, he's been lights out: 0-2, 1.80 with 26 strikeouts, 10 walks and 15 saves over 25 innings.
"I've only seen him sparingly, but I love that guy," an American League area scout said. "I've seen him up to 94 with his fastball and he has a wipeout slider. You could see him go as high as the comp round."
Contributing: Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt & John Manuel