Draft Tracker: March 13
Here are scouting reports on four players from around the country who have improved their draft stock over the first few weeks of the season . . .
Jonathan Gray, rhp, Oklahoma
Sooners lefthander Dillon Overton entered the season as the higher-ranked prospect, but it didn't take long for Gray to leapfrog him. Gray has a power pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4 and 239 pounds. A 10th-round pick by the Yankees out of Eastern Oklahoma State JC in 2011, he's vaulted himself into the top half of the first round by touching triple digits on the radar gun early this season.
Gray's fastball sits in the 94-97 mph range, but gets as high as 100, as BA's Aaron Fitt detailed on the College Blog
and on his Twitter feed, writing: "Jonathan Gray sure looked like a top-10 #mlbdraft pick today. 94-100, and easy, good slider and change. Sign me up."
"He's a big, strong, physical kid that's got a good arm," a National League crosschecker said. "He's fun to watch. His physical strength helps him hold his velocity and right now his pure stuff is better than his ability to use it, but it's as good of pure pure stuff as you could hope to see."
His fastball has a little more movement in the 93-95 mph range, but the ability to dial it up to 98-100 is a weapon and makes all of his other stuff play up. Gray's slider flashes the potential to grade out just as highly as his fastball.
"It's a total wipeout pitch at times," the scout said.
His changeup is his third pitch and could be an average offering. There aren't any major red flags with Gray's delivery and with continued development and consistency, he has ace potential. Over his first four weeks, Gray is 3-1, 2.03 with 27 strikeouts and eight walks over 27 innings.
Matt Krook, lhp, St. Ignatius College Preparatory HS, San Francisco
Pitchers have a way of quickly elevating their stock. It's easier to do when you're 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, lefthanded and come out of the gate touching 95 mph. That's exactly what Krook did and he quickly created some buzz among scouts.
"He came out smokin', 90-94," a National League scout said. "And he throws a curveball and a slider and both of them are solid-average to plus pitches. Everything is hard, the stuff is outstanding and it's a really good body."
It's a big jump for Krook, who was mostly in the 87-89 mph range this summer. He touched 92 mph at the Area Code Games, but didn't hold his velocity deep into his outings and battled his control at times. While there is a little effort to his delivery, he is holding his velocity better this spring.
Krook will need to add a changeup to his arsenal at the next level, but with his size, athleticism and stuff, he'll be given every opportunity to remain a starter. He also has good makeup, but signability could be a question as academics are important to his family and he is committed to Oregon.
Christian Arroyo, ss, Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.
Arroyo just missed being included on Baseball America's list of Top 100 high school prospects last fall, but he should have been on there. That was evident when scouting directors voted Arroyo as a second-team preseason All-American.
Scott Brosius, the head coach for USA Baseball's 18-and-under team last summer—and a 11-year big leaguer—knows how important Arroyo is to a team. After all, the Florida recruit was Team USA's starting shortstop this summer as they won gold medals in the IBAF Junior AAA/18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.
Arroyo hit .341/.414/.439 over 46 plate appearances for the team with four doubles.
"Some guys will have tools that just jump off the page at you, right when you see them, and that can be good or bad, because that may or may not lead to a long career. " Brosius said. "And then there's other guys that, the more you watch them, the more impressed you become and the more they grow on you. And that's, for me, who Christian was.
"He doesn't have one specific tool that just completely blows you away, but he does everything real well. He's very solid in all aspects and he's very intelligent out there, too. He's in the right place at the right time and he was pretty clutch for us, as well."
Ryan Cordell, of, Liberty
Cordell was a relative unknown at Valley Christian Academy in Roseville, Calif., but led the state in home runs during his senior year with 14. He signed a letter of intent with Liberty two days before graduating from high school and has steadily improved in college.
Now a junior, Cordell—who bats and throws righthanded—is off to a hot start with the Flames. Through the team's first 15 games, he is hitting .355/.382/.548 with four doubles, two home runs and five stolen bases in six attempts. This is coming off a summer where Cordell was the top prospect in the Great Lakes League
, where he hit .336/.371/.632 for Licking County.
When Cordell first arrived at Liberty, he had a lanky build at 6-foot-3 and 165 pounds. He's worked hard in the weight room the past few years and now has a muscular, athletic frame at 195 pounds. He has been crosschecked already this year, should be a single-digit pick and could even be the highest Liberty position player drafted since Renard Brown was a second-round pick by the Mariners in 1982.
"He's really athletic," an American League scout said. "He's a little raw for a college guy, but he can run and he's got raw power and when he connects, it's pretty good. He's interesting."