High School Top 100 Scouting Reports: Righthanders






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See also: Corner Infielders Scouting Reports
See also: Outfielders Scouting Reports


While this year's high school pitching crop doesn't quite have the depth of last year's group. there are still plenty of big arms that project to be selected in the top half of the first round. Here are scouting reports for the high school righthanders that made it onto Baseball America's Top 100 list. . .

Jameson Taillon, rhp, The Woodlands (Texas) HS 1
Born: Nov. 18, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 225. Commitment: Rice

Jameson Taillon (Photo by Alyson Boyer)
After absolutely dominating on the high school showcase circuit, Taillon led Team USA's 18U team to their first-ever gold medal run at the COPABE "AAA" Pan American Junior Championships by going 2-0, 0.00 with 28 strikeouts over 13.2 innings. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was a unanimous first-team All-American, as voted on by scouting directors, and is the No. 1 high school prospect in the country. Scouting directors also voted Taillon as having the best fastball in the class, the best breaking ball in the class, the best secondary pitch and being closest to the major leagues.

As overpowering as Taillon was last summer, he's taken his stuff up a notch this spring, regularly sitting mid-90s and even touching 99 on several occasions. His fastball has explosive life and he commands the pitch, which helped him strike out the side in both the Under Armour and Aflac All-American games. He throws both a slider and a curveball, but his curveball is the better of the two at this point, which is understandable, as he's only been throwing the slider for about a year. Thrown around 82-83 mph, Taillon's curve has sharp, hard, two-plane break and already grades out as an above-average major league offering.

Taillon is a physical specimen with broad shoulders, huge hands and thick thighs and calves. He throws from a three-quarter arm slot and has good body control and repeats his mechanics well for such a young player his size. He locates his fastball to all quadrants of the zone and throws his secondary pitches for strikes as well.

"He's pretty physically impressive," an American League area scout said. "He has a real projectable frame, could be a real big kid when he physically matures. I think he's probably tapped out, height wise, but when that frame fills in, he'll be a real big kid. I've seen him as high as 99 (mph). In his first start out, he was 94-98, didn't throw a fastball below 94 and his last 10 pitches—I think he threw between 75 and 80 pitches—and his last 10 were 95-97, so he maintains his velocity. He has a power curve that's a plus pitch as well and has some good run to his two-seam (fastball). And, actually, his changeup is pretty decent given how hard he throws. He doesn't use it very much because he doesn't need to. It can get a little firm sometimes—88 to 90—and it needs to be a little slower, but for a hard thrower like that, he's got some decent feel for it."

While Bryce Harper is still the best talent in the draft, Taillon has a legitimate chance to be the first high school righthander to go first overall in the draft.

"I would think so," the scout concurred. "With the combination of the arm strength and the body size, he's a pretty safe bet. His arm action is good, his mechanics are good . . . if you're looking for a pretty sure bet and a good product, he's got both of those things going for him. He's handled the exposure well, I think, and all the attention. He's pretty business-like in his approach before the game and his preparation and everything. I think he understands the opportunities in front of him and he goes about it in the right way, I think."

A.J. Cole, rhp, Oviedo (Fla.) HS 2
Born: Jan. 5, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Miami.

At 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, Cole oozes projection and has the kind of frame scouts love to see in a high school righthander.

"He's definitely a projection guy," an American League area scout said. "He's thin—he's got to put on some weight and gain some strength—but he's a projection guy that has a good arm."

Cole is a good athlete for a pitcher and his long legs helped him run a 7.2-second 60-yard dash at this summer's Tournament of Stars. His fastball was in the 92-95 range all summer, although there were reports that he touched 97.

Cole uses his height well and gets good downhill action on his fastball. He also throws a knuckle-curveball with sharp, 11-5 break that he can locate to either side of the plate. He'll occasionally throw a changeup, but it's clearly his third pitch and he doesn't use it much because he hasn't needed it yet.

"I only saw two pitches and a front of the rotation guy usually is going to have three pitches," the scout said. "It doesn't mean he doesn't have it, but it's hard to gauge him because it's so early in the season for him and the weather hasn't been well, so it's hard for him to get in a routine. He's shown a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball in the past. I'm sure he'll get back to that and, if he does, and can develop a third pitch, he could be a middle of the rotation guy, working toward that front part. But those pitches have to come along."

Karsten Whitson, rhp, Chipley (Fla.) HS 3
Born: Aug. 25, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. Commitment: Florida.

Karsten Whitson (Photo by Alyson Boyer)
At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Whitson has a great pitcher's build and a baby face that implies he'll continue to get fill out and get stronger. Even if he doesn't, Whitson is plenty good already. After going 7-3, 1.49 with 73 strikeouts over 42 innings last year for Chipley (Fla.) High, Whitson tore through the summer showcase circuit and finished the summer by winning a gold medal with Team USA's 18U National Team.

Whitson's fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range and gets as high as 95 and has good life and sink. He also mixes in a sharp slider that ranks as one of the best in the class with its sharp, late break, and a changeup typically in the 80-82 mph range.

"Karsten's got to be in the discussion for the best high school righthander in the country," a National League area scout said. "He looked better this spring than he did in the summer—better command, just all-around better. His fastball was up to 96 with a breaking ball that you could consider above-average right now.

"Mechanically, when I look at him, it scares me a little bit. He flies open a little bit with his front hip and then he's got a little bit of a shoulder roll up top. If he was a junior in college and he'd pitched with it for three years in college, it might not be as concerning. But, as a high school kid, it can concern you a little bit."

Dylan Covey, rhp, Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif. 4
Born: Aug. 14, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Commitment: San Diego.

Dylan Covey (Photo by Stacy Jo Grant)
Covey is one of the most distinctive pitching prospects seen in Southern California in many years. His flat-billed cap is pulled well down on his forehead, and his ill-fitting, low-slung uniform pants are an odd sight in relation to his enormous boat paddle pair of feet. In build and delivery, Covey resembles a lighter, younger version of Matt Cain.

Covey's stuff is eye-catching as well, but hard to connect with. In his first start of the season, his four-seam fastball pounded the strike zone at 93-94 mph with whispers of 96. An 81-82 slider is Covey's best secondary offering, exhibiting sharp, late, veering movement. Covey's 83 mph change and 77 mph curve are not as advanced as his fastball and slider, but those pitches have plus potential also.

Mechanically, Covey is fairly sound for a high schooler. Like many power pitchers, he drives off the edge of the rubber with a small forward leap, his front shoulder elevated above his back shoulder. Covey finishes extremely well, doing an excellent job of getting out over his front foot. Scouts have two technical concerns with Covey: in his delivery backstroke, his arm wraps behind his right leg, and he has a tendency to pull his front shoulder out and open when tired.

Perhaps the only negative surrounding Covey is his frame. At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he has commendably worked hard to improve his fitness. However, Covey does not possess the tall, lanky and projectable build scouts prefer in a righthanded high school pitcher. Despite that isolated issue, Covey profiles as a solid number two or three starter with the possibility of four plus pitches.

Kevin Gausman, rhp, Grandview HS, Aurora, Colo. 7
Born: Jan. 6, 1991. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 180. Commitment: Louisiana State.

Kevin Gausman (Photo by Stacy Jo Grant)
Despite being one of the older players in this year's high school class, Gausman still has plenty of projection left on his long, lean frame. Gausman, who was named to Baseball America's preseason All-American team, gets natural sink on his four-seam fastball that sits in the 90-93 mph range and peaks at 96. His secondary stuff—a 76 mph curveball, a vulcan changeup and a cutter-like slider—is still a work in progress, but he still projects as a first-round selection.

"He's got a really fast arm," an American League area scout said. "He's long, he's loose. We think he's got the type of frame where he's going to add some weight, but he's never going to be a real big guy. He's always going to have a lean, wiry build. But Justin Verlander has a thin, wiry build for me. I mean, he's strong, but he's in no means a beast, and he throws 100. I don't think this guy's going to throw 100, but I think he's going to pitch somewhere in the mid 90s I would say. I think that's a safe assumption. His breaking stuff is pretty good, he can spin a breaking ball all right. He competes. For my territory, he's the top guy out here, no question."

Gausman was one of the few players to play in both the Under Armour and Aflac All-American games and he was also on the Team USA 18U Junior National team that won gold medals against Cuba. Gausman also played on his school's basketball team, where he averaged 11.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. If he winds up at Louisiana State, Gausman would be draft-eligible again as a sophomore.

Stetson Allie, rhp/3b, St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio 11
Born: March 13, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 215. Commitment: North Carolina.

Stetson Allie (Photo by Mike Janes)
With broad shoulders, a barrel chest and big, strong thighs, Allie has a physically-imposing presence on the mound and the stuff to match. He fires fastballs in the mid-to-upper 90s and mixes in a mid-80s slider and an occasional changeup. On the showcase circuit and even in high school ball, Allie pitches in short stints and has a closer's mentality on the mound. Although there's not a lot of effort in his mechanics—especially for a player that throws as hard as he does—Allie does not have good control or command.

"He's going to have to refine that command of the strike zone a little bit," a National League area scout said. "But being a high school kid with that type of arm strength, he's definitely one of those kids that can be tough to turn away from because of just a little command problem.

"He's not exactly the most violent, but he has trouble repeating his delivery. I know talking to his dad, who's a former scout and everything, they've worked real hard this offseason smoothing everything out, and it's kind of paid some dividends as far as being a little more consistent with being around the zone. I think that's the main thing, is just repeating the delivery."

Allie's strength also shows up as a position player, where he profiles best as a third baseman. He has a patient approach at the plate and the strength to drive the ball out of the park—as he showed at the East Coast Professional Showcase when he hit a broken-bat home run. If Allie does end up honoring his commitment to North Carolina, he would be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2012.

"You put him over at third and he's not exactly the smoothest defender, but you've got a plus arm and plus power over there. The kid's got some serious raw power. He's a big, strong kid. He's got a ways to go as far as being a good hitter, but he has tools as a position player as well. He's one of those guys that could go in the top five rounds as either a position player or a pitcher."

Kaleb Cowart, rhp/3b, Cook HS, Adel, Ga. 13
Born: June 2, 1992. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Florida State.

As both a switch-hitter with power and a pitcher with a powerful repertoire, Cowart will be an interesting player to follow this spring. Coming up through Georgia's prestigious East Cobb program, Cowart has been on the prospect radar for a while now. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he is a gifted athlete with a pro frame.

As a hitter, Cowart keeps his weight back and shows good power, especially from the left side of the plate. He's an average runner but a fluid defender with quick actions at third base and a very strong arm.

His arm strength may lead clubs to prefer him on the mound. As a pitcher, he throws his fastball in the 92-94 mph range with room to grow. He has an above-average curveball and shows the makings of a changeup. Cowart, an Aflac All-American this summer, has an aggressive delivery. He has a quick arm and generates a lot of power with his strong legs.

A National League area scout prefers Cowart as a hitter, but admitted he thinks he's in the minority with that opinion.

"Me personally, I'd send the guy out to hit," the scout said. "It would be somewhat easy for him to go back to the mound. I just think it's hard to find guys like him that are switch-hitters that have arm strength and can play defense."

Cam Bedrosian, rhp, East Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, Ga. 15
Born: Dec. 17, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 205. Commitment: Louisiana State.

Cam Bedrosian (Photo by David Stoner)
Bedrosian is the son of Steve Bedrosian, who was also a righthanded pitcher that spent 14 seasons in the big leagues and won the NL Cy Young in 1987. Cam's build is a little shorter and more compact, but his stuff is impressive nonetheless. His fastball is in the 92-93 mph range and he throws a 75 mph curveball, a 79 mph changeup and a splitter with great movement at around 88 mph. He needs to improve his command of his secondary offerings, but it's coming around and—despite his stature—he isn't necessarily following his father's footsteps to a role in the bullpen.

"He's looked good," a National League area scout said about Bedrosian's early-season performance. "He's shown better command than he's shown in the past. I think with him, the two biggest questions are going to be, is he a reliever and (regarding) his size. He's a little on the short side, but he's very, very strong. I think he's one of those guys that you really shouldn't consider his height that much because of his strength and his lower half. He's a really strong kid. He's kind of an effort guy on the mound, but he's strong enough to hold his velocity and his breaking stuff is improving."          

Drew Cisco, rhp, Wando HS, Mount Pleasant, S.C. 16
Born: July 29, 1991. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Georgia.

Drew Cisco (Photo by Alyson Boyer)
Cisco doesn't have the raw arm strength of some of the other pitchers on this list, but he's clearly the most polished. That shouldn't come as a surprise, given that Cisco's grandfather is Galen Cisco, who pitched in the big leagues for seven seasons and then was a pitching coach for nearly 30 years. Drew's older brother, Mike, is a righthanded prospect in the Phillies' system.

While Cisco doesn't light up radar guys quite like the others at the top of this list, his stuff is still plenty good. His fastball sits in the 88-90 mph range, but he can throw it to all quadrants. Cisco has a clean, easy delivery, he works quickly and fills up the strike zone. In addition to his fastball, Cisco throws a 74-76 mph curveball and a changeup. He pitched well against the best competition the country had to offer all summer and put an exclamation point on it all with his showing at the World Wood Bat event in Jupiter, Fla., last October. While most pitchers in that event only threw two or three innings, Cisco went all seven for the Diamond Devils, shutting out an All-American Prospects team that included shortstop Yordy Cabrera and third baseman Nick Castellanos. Over the seven innings, Cisco allowed just four hits and struck out eight.

"Cisco, to me, is what Greg Maddux probably looked like in high school," a National League area scout said. "Everyone's going to discount him. Everyone's going to say he's too small, they're going to say he doesn't throw hard  enough but, I'll tell you what, he may end up being the best high school pitcher in this draft in five years. He's not going to get the respect he deserves and everyone's going to discount him for one way or another, but he may end up being the best guy from this draft class on the mound."

DeAndre Smelter, rhp, Tattnall Square Academy, Macon, Ga. 17
Born: Dec. 3, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Commitment: Georgia Tech.

There are things to like about Smelter, but there are also reasons to be cautious. On the plus side, Smelter has a nice, athletic frame and ran a 6.56-second 60-yard dash at Perfect Game's National Showcase last June. He has a fastball that sits in the 90-93 range and touches 94 with some sink and he's a good student with good makeup that is being coached this season by six-time all-star Kevin Brown.

Although he struck out the side during his inning of work at the Aflac All-American game (striking out Bryce Harper, Krey Bratsen and Austin Wilson), he showed some difficulty throwing strikes at other events over the summer. Perhaps the control problems stem from his delivery which, while deceptive, can be a little convoluted and has Smelter turning his back to home plate during his windup.

Smelter also throws a slider and a split-finger fastball that he uses as a changeup, but his secondary offerings are still a work in progress.

"His natural feel to throw a breaking pitch is concerning," a National League area scout said. "You don't see much of a feel to snap a ball off or to spin a baseball."

Robbie Aviles, rhp, Suffern (N.Y.) HS 20
Born: July 19, 1991. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 175. Commitment: Florida.

The son of former minor leaguer Brian Aviles, who pitched in the Braves' system from 1983-1987, Aviles is a very projectable righthander that leads a good crop of New York prospects this year.

Aviles' fastball sat in the 90-92 mph range over the summer showcase season, but was clocked at 90-94 in a recent high school game and added a perfect game to his achievements. His secondary stuff—a 79 mph curveball and a 82 mph changeup—shows average major league potential at times, but still needs to be sharpened up and become more consistent.

Aviles has an athletic pitcher's frame and an easy, three-quarters arm action. He gets little leg drive in his delivery and sometimes lands on a stiff front leg. Aviles also can show some head whack, which can lead to command troubles, but his athleticism leads evaluators to believe those are all correctable flaws. He projects as a mid-rotation starter that could go as high as the supplemental first round.

Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Barstow (Calif.) HS 25
Born: July 1, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 170. Commitment: Oregon.

Sanchez is proof that, if you're good, scouts will find you. Barstow is a small town in California's desert region, mostly known for being a common pit stop between Southern California and Las Vegas.

Sanchez has a lanky but athletic frame with a lot of projectability. He was the MVP of his freshman basketball team, but decided to focus solely on baseball after his freshman year. The decision has paid off, as he's now one of the best prospects in the country. As a junior, Sanchez recorded 79 strikeouts over 44 innings.

His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and touches 93. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and the ball comes out of his hand with ease. He has good feel for his secondary pitches—an 81 mph circle change and a curveball in the 75-78 range. The advanced feel for pitching may come from his upbringing. Sanchez's stepfather is Michael Shipley, a lefthander that was drafted by the Angels in both phases of the 1976 draft out of Barstow (Calif.) CC, but did not sign, instead choosing to transfer to Tulsa.

A.J. Vanegas, rhp, Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo, Calif. 26
Born: Aug. 16, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Commitment: Stanford.

Vanegas will be a tough sign away from his Stanford commitment, but projects as a second rounder now and could easily be a first-round guy three years from now.

He has a strong frame and threw his fastball in the 90-92 mph range, touching 93 this summer. He came out of the gate a little slowly this spring, but has a very strong track record of success.

In addition to his fastball, Vanegas also throws a slider around 84 mph that can get a little slurvey, a 75 mph curveball and a changeup with good fade.

Peter Tago, rhp, Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif. 28
Born: July 5, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 160. Commitment: UCLA.

Tago provides an ideal template for a righthanded pitching prospect. Tall, loose, lanky and eminently projectable at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Tago's bullwhip arm action is easy and almost poetically smooth.

In the first inning of a recent start, Tago's fastball ranged from 91-93 mph, and he added a 73-75 curveball. He ran into control problems in the opening frame when his arm slot dropped, causing the fastball to sail.

An observant coach no doubt corrected that flaw between innings, and Tago breezed through the remainder of his stint. After surrendering a leadoff triple in the fourth inning, Tago stepped down firmly on his accelerator pedal and pumped his velocity back up to the 91-93 range, getting out of the frame unscathed.

A top-three-round candidate for the June draft, Tago may need to add a third pitch, probably a changeup. His curve has excellent shape but needs tighter spin.

Mechanically, Tago is exceptionally clean for a high schooler. However, on his backstroke his arm gets down and behind his right leg, and he will need to use his legs more in his delivery finish. All of those issues should be easily addressed when Tago begins his pro career—probably this summer.

John Barbato, rhp, Varela HS, Miami 33
Born: July 11, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Florida.

Barbato is a good athlete that pitches for his father at Varela High in Miami. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthander throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Barbato has a quick arm and his fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range, but has gotten higher. He uses both a four-seam and two-seam fastball and likes to pitch inside to batters.

"He's shown good velocity—up to 94 (mph) and an ability to spin the breaking ball," an American League scout said earlier this season. "He has a tendency to be up in the zone—he's not locating in quality spots yet. But, again, it's early and the weather's been cold in Florida.  Pitchers aren't quite there yet with their breaking balls and offspeed stuff and the release point. The arm strength is there—he just needs to get in a rhythm and start locating better down in the zone, and I think everything will come together there for him because he does have the ability to spin it and does have the arm strength, and a delivery that should result in being able to throw quality strikes."

Taijuan Walker, rhp, Yucaipa (Calif.) HS 37
Born: Aug. 13, 1992. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Uncommitted.

Walker played shortstop next to Matt Davidson as a junior, but rapidly emerged as one of the top righthanded high school pitching prospects for the 2010 draft.

Tall, lanky, athletic and projectable at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Walker fires an explosive fastball that ranges from 91-94 mph. He adds a promising 77 mph curveball and wicked 85 mph slider. Walker also dabbles with an 87 mph cutter and a 78 changeup.

Walker's arm action is loose and easy, and he buggy whips the ball from a low three-quarters slot. Conversations with other scouts indicate that Walker pitched very little over the summer, and recorded velocities in the high 80s in the spring. Obviously, he has improved substantially in a short period of time.

Cody Buckel, rhp, Royal HS, Simi Valley, Calif. 38
Born: June 18, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Commitment: Pepperdine.

Buckel uses the most unique first warm up pitch seen in Southern California High School baseball in many years.  Beginning on the grass behind the mound, he races up the back slope of the hill, cascades down the front slope and then fires the ball toward the plate. That pitch has been clocked at 96 mph; unfortunately he is not permitted to use that tactic in a game. While not the classic tall, angular and projectable righthander scouts crave, at 6-foot, and 170 pounds, Buckel is an excellent athlete and flashes provocative stuff.

Buckel sits at 90-91 on his four-seam fastball, and can spike that pitch up to 93 occasionally.  He adds an excellent up-and-down, roller-coaster 75 curve. Buckel has worked hard to add a 84 slider and 76 change, but those offerings are still in the developmental stage. 

On a long term basis, Buckel profiles as a third or fourth starter, or a situational righthanded middle reliever. Local newspapers have played up Buckel's performing abilities, for he is a talented singer who has toyed with the idea of entering the entertainment field.
        
Robby Rowland, rhp, Cloverdale (Calif.) HS 42
Born: Dec. 15, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 205. Commitment: Oregon.

Rowland is a talented athlete. In addition to being one of the best pitchers in the country, he's also a standout basketball player. Rowland broke Cloverdale's all-time scoring record this season, amassing 2,548 career points—good for 26th all-time in California history, according to ESPN Rise's CalHiSports.com record book.

On the baseball field, Rowland has an imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-6 and 205 pounds. He sits in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball, but has touched as high as 94. He also throws a slider around 76 mph. As a great athlete with a big, strong frame, Rowland has projection remaining and, once he focuses on baseball year-round, could really take some big strides forward.

Rowland threw a perfect game on April 14. The most impressive part of it was that he struck out 13 batters over the seven innings and still needed just 71 pitches on the night.

He is also regarded as having good makeup and his father, Rich, was a 17th-round draft pick by the Tigers in 1988 and spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues as a catcher for the Tigers and Red Sox. Robby's brother, Richie, was a 40th-round selection by the Rockies in 2007, but did not sign and is now draft-eligible again at NAIA Campbellsville (Ky.).

Zach Lee, rhp, McKinney (Texas) HS 51
Born: Sept. 13, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Louisiana State (FB).

Lee is a tall, projectable righthander that is also the star quarterback for McKinney High, where he throws touchdown passes in bunches to wide receiver Matt Lipka—who is also a top 100 shortstop.

Lee's fastball sits in the 88-90 mph range and he has clean mechanics, but his secondary stuff—a slider and changeup—still need refinement.

"He's a big kid with long arms," an American League area scout said. "It's interesting because he's a quarterback, he's able to have that football throw then change it back to a baseball throwing motion when he's on the mound. He has a long arm motion, but the ball comes out of his hand well. He's 88-91 with a decent breaking ball and the changeup's OK. With the football aspect at LSU, I think a team's going to have to pay him to get out of that football scholarship, so he'll probably be going to school. I think probably playing the football has taken away from his development on the baseball field."

John Simms, rhp, College Park HS, The Woodlands, Texas 53
Born: Jan. 17, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Rice.

On talent alone, Simms is one of the draft's best pitchers, but he may fall down draft boards because he's also going to be one of the toughest players to sign.

Very academically-minded, Simms is committed to Rice, where he is interested in getting into the pre-med program. Simms is teammates with Taillon in the summer and the two friends have faced off against each other in high school ball several times over the years. Simms has won those games more often than Taillon. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has a fastball in the 91-92 mph range with explosive life and a power breaking ball, as well as a developing changeup.

     
Keenan Kish, rhp, Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa. 59
Born: Nov. 29, 1991. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 170. Commitment: Florida.

Kish is a talented two-way player that plays third base and also pitches. But from a pro standpoint, he's more projectable on the mound.

Kish presently throws his fastball in the 89-91 mph range, touching 92 and also mixes in a 80-81 mph changeup and a 71 mph curveball. He has an athletic frame with projection remaining and smooth mechanics that help him to throw a lot of strikes, although his arm action can get a little long in the back. In the 60-yard dash at this summer's Tournament of Stars, Kish posted a 6.7-second time, which is above-average for a position player, even better for a pitcher. Kish is a hard worker with good makeup and will play both ways if he makes it to Florida.

Tyler Shreve, rhp, East Valley HS, Redlands, Calif. 60
Born: Sept. 15, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Commitment: Utah (FB).

Shreve's stock took a huge tumble when he was kicked off his high school baseball team for allegedly assaulting his coach after the coach kicked him off the team. Before that, Shreve wasn't just one of the best pitchers in the country, he was also one of the top high school quarterback prospects in the nation.

Blessed with a perfectly athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pound build, Shreve is an Aflac All-American, but his experience in the San Diego game was a disappointment. Shreve appeared to be worn out and threw well below his capabilities, and his disgust with himself was apparent when he headed back to the dugout at the end of his stint.

During the recent MLB Invitational showcase in Compton, Shreve had returned to normal. At that event, he pounded home his heavy 91-93 mph fastball, added a 77 curve and a hard, late dropping 83-85 change. If he chooses baseball over football, Shreve will need to work the lower half of the strike zone more frequently and add some movement and finesse to his offerings. In addition, he will need to make a series of adjustments to his mechanics in order to hide the ball longer and create more of a downward plane in his delivery. As a pro, Shreve profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who throws hard and eats innings.

Gabriel Encinas, rhp, St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. 62
Born: Dec. 21, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 200. Commitment: Loyola Marymount.

Encinas made a lot of progress from where he was last year as a junior to where he was this summer on the showcase circuit. He has a tall and projectable body at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and works quickly and efficiently with his 88-90 mph fastball. Throwing from a three-quarter arm slot, Encinas gets good sink on the pitch and also mixes in a 73 mph changeup and a 71-74 mph curveball.

Mechanically, there are a few concerns with Encinas' delivery. He has a tendency to drift into bad habits, such as standing up on his toes as he drives to the plate, negating any potential leg drive. He also sometimes opens his front shoulder before his plant foot lands, leading to a loss in velocity.

Mike Foltynewicz, rhp, Minooka (Ill.) HS 63
Born: Oct. 7, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Commitment: Texas.

It's typical for players in colder-weather states to blossom later in the year than their peers from warmer climates, and that's exactly what Foltynewicz has done. On the summer circuit, Foltynewicz was sitting 88-91 mph with a 75-78 mph curveball, but his frame and easy mechanics hinted that more was to come, and he's taken as big a step forward as anybody this spring. With his powerful legs and smooth delivery, the Texas recruit has been sitting in the low to mid-90 mph range this spring, even getting as high as 96.

"He's shown some good velocity, there's no question about that," a National League area scout said. "I had 96 (mph) once and that was in his first start when he was only going to go a couple innings. Last week, when he knew he was going to try and go a complete game, he was up to 94."

Along with his improved fastball, Foltynewicz mixes in both a curveball and a slider, as well as a changeup.

"The secondary stuff is going to come," the scout said. "Right now he's throwing a couple (of) breaking balls. I think most people on our side of the fence think the slider has a better chance than the curveball. Both of them have a ways to go, but he shows flashes of a quality pitch. And his changeup, at least for me the other day, he started using it about the fifth inning and it had great life and solid deception, and it looked like it was going to be a solid pitch as well. He's shown enough in addition to the plus fastball that he's getting a lot of attention, that's for sure."

Standing 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Foltynewicz has big, strong thighs and a fluid, easy delivery. Even before the boost in velocity, scouts saw the arm speed they look for that hinted that there might be more in the tank.

Adam Plutko, rhp, Glendora (Calif.) HS 64
Born: Oct. 3, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Commitment: UCLA.

Plutko is perhaps the most confusing and confounding hurler in the loaded class of Southern California righthanded prep pitching prospects. The classic Midwestern quote, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute," could apply to Plutko's pitching performances. He sparkled at the Area Code Games in August of 2009. Plutko threw comfortably, firing an 89-92 fastball, a sharp 74 curve and a decent 75 changeup.

Other games and showcase outings have been less impressive. Plutko will show a tendency to aim or push the ball and his mechanics will disintegrate. At those times, his velocity will dip into the mid to high 80s and his command will disappear. At 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Plutko is not exceptionally physical or projectable. However, if he shows consistency in the spring season and his stuff reverts to his Area Code Game levels, Plutko will reestablish himself as a top prospect.

Jesus Valdez, rhp, Hueneme HS, Oxnard, Calif. 65
Born: March 27, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Arizona.

Valdez performed well this summer, establishing himself as one of Southern California's best pitching prospects. He has a lanky and projectable frame and throws his fastball in the 91-92 mph range. The pitch has explosive life through the zone and natural cut movement, allowing him to miss a lot of bats. Valdez adds in an excellent two-plane curveball between 74-75 mph.

He will mix in a 79 mph changeup occasionally, but it's clearly his third pitch, which is typical for a high school pitcher. He has a loose, buggy-whip arm action, but there is some funky movement to his delivery that may need to be cleaned up.

Connor Mason, rhp, Home schooled, Suwanee, Ga. 67
Born: May 26, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Rice.

Mason is a unique prospect in that he is home schooled. Mason sits in the 87-89 range with his fastball, but touches 90 and mixes in a 79-82 changeup with deception and a slow, 72-73 curveball, though he'll need to work on throwing all of his pitches with the same arm speed.

Mason has been successful on the international circuit. A two-year member of Team USA's Junior National Team, Mason is a combined 9-1, 2.67 with 53 strikeouts over 51 innings during his two gold-medal stints. Mason is academically-minded and scored a 1720 on his SAT, meaning he'll likely be a tough pry from his Rice commitment.

Bobby Wahl, rhp, West Springfield HS, Springfield, Va. 68
Born: March 21, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Mississippi.

Wahl has a strong frame and really uses his legs well to drive toward the plate. While his delivery draws comparisons to Roy Oswalt, Wahl has a bigger frame, but his stuff is not as explosive. His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range, touching 93, but he settles in more around 88-90.

In addition to his heater, Wahl also throws a 73-75 curveball that shows potential and he has a good feel for his 77-78 changeup. Wahl has a clean delivery and the ball comes out of his hand with ease.

Luke Jackson, rhp, Calvary Christian HS, Clearwater, Fla. 73
Born: Aug. 24, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Commitment: Miami.

Jackson has a loose, athletic frame. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range. It dipped down to the mid-80s at the East Coast Professional Showcase last summer, but he may have just been worn down a little bit, considering it was already August and Jackson is relatively new to pitching.

Jackson throws from a three-quarter arm slot and shows a 78-79 mph curveball with flashes of sharp 11-5 break. Jackson is unique because, instead of being a quarterback like many other righthanders, his second sport of choice is soccer.

"He was up to 92 when I saw him," an American League area scout said. "He's got a loose arm and I don't believe he's pitched all that much in his career. He's a projectable kid. He has a good arm, he can spin it and he's from a small program down there, so you've got to dream on him a little, as far as what he brings to the table with his athleticism. But he maybe has a fresher arm and the ability to spin a breaking ball. He gets kind of between a slurve and a curve and I think the slurve has a little more power than the curve. What he calls the slurve is the better pitch for him. He's a young kid that's throwing four different pitches and just trying to figure it out. It's up to the next level—whether it's Miami or the minor leagues—to maybe just develop three pitches for him."

Taylor Morton, rhp, Bartlett (Tenn.) HS 80
Born: Dec. 18, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Commitment: Tennessee.

Morton has a solid frame and a nice, three-pitch mix. His fastball was in the 90-92 mph early in his outings this summer and would then settle into the 88-90 range, but he's been up a little higher this spring. He mixes in a 72-74 curveball and a 77-78 changeup with good fade—a pitch he threw three times in a row at this summer's Tournament of Stars to strike out Bryce Harper.

"For me, Morton's probably next to Allie as the best righthanded arm in my area," a National League scout said. "And Morton may end up being better than Allie because he's an above-average athlete with an ability to repeat his delivery and command the strike zone. He's pitching up to 95 and has a chance to have two or three average to above-average big league pitches. He'll sit 90-91. I've seen that, but I've seen days where he'll be 92-93. He's one of those projectable bodies, one of those projectable frames."

Tyrell Jenkins, rhp, Henderson (Texas) HS 81
Born: July 20, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 180. Commitment: Baylor (FB).

Jenkins is a freak athlete with a body to dream on. He's a thin 6-foot-4 with long arms and legs, giving him a huge wingspan and a lot of whip in his arm.

As one of the youngest players in this year's class, he's still raw at this point, but that's typical of two-sport players and Jenkins is also a talented quarterback that is committed to Baylor for football.

But Jenkins has great upside and was, admittedly, too low on Baseball America's Top 100 list. He has been up to 93 mph with his fastball and shows flashes of a solid curveball.

Tyler Skulina, rhp, Walsh Jesuit HS, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 82
Born: Sept. 18, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 250. Commitment: Virginia.

Skulina has one of the biggest frames in this year's high school class. Despite his large frame, Skulina is a pretty good athlete. He ran a 7.15-second 60-yard dash at this summer's Tournament of Stars and fields his position well.

Skulina sat at 88-92 mph with his fastball, touching 93 this summer, although he has been in the mid-90s previously. Skulina's secondary stuff—a slider and a changeup—needs a lot of work, and he's more of a thrower than a pitcher at this point.

"I think he's going to get a lot of attention just because of his build," a National League area scout said. "When you're 6-6, 230, you're going to catch some eyes. I think his offspeed stuff is definitely below-average currently. That's definitely his weak point. You've got to project at this point if he's going to be able to pitch with an average fastball. There's probably going to be some split camps on him. Some guys are going to project more than others. He's kind of those guys that's up in the air, kind of depending on what he comes out this spring and does."

He has solid mechanics but a long arm motion in the back.

"He's kind of a thrower at this point. He's a little stiff through his windup and on his release," the scout said. "He needs to kind of soften up everything. He doesn't exactly have the most rhythm."

Daryl Norris, rhp, Fairhope (Ala.) HS 85
Born: June 12, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 210. Commitment: Mississippi State.

Norris has been on the prospect map for a while, but really shined this summer at the East Coast Professional Showcase. At that event, Norris sat 89-92 mph with his fastball. He mixed in a 77-79 breaking ball and an 81-82 changeup and threw all of his pitches for strikes. He's reportedly touched some 94s this spring and is relatively new to pitching, having been considered a better prospect previously as a corner infielder.

Norris repeated his delivery well and got good downhill plane on his fastball for his size. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound righthander also puts his arm strength to use on the football field, where he was an all-state quarterback last fall. One the down side, Norris is maxed-out physically with a thick lower half. He's a key two-way recruit for Mississippi State.

Adam Duke, rhp, Spanish Fork (Utah) HS 87
Born: May 6, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Commitment: Oregon State.

Although not quite as polished, Duke is cut from the same cloth as Drew Cisco, although he has shown a little more arm strength. Duke sits at 89-92 mph with his fastball and has touched as high as 94. He throws from a three-quarters arm angle and his fastball gets late tailing action and jumps in on hitters. Like Cisco, he'll likely generate a lot of groundballs and broken bats when he starts facing more hitters holding wood bats.

Duke mixes his secondary pitches well and can throw all of his pitches for strikes. He has a very good curveball that has late snap and good depth and a changeup with some fade.

Duke is a bulldog on the mound. He works fast, sets up hitters well and shows excellent poise and maturity. He is a good athlete that has no problems fielding his position.

Andrew Smith, rhp, Roswell (Ga.) HS 89
Born: Nov. 5, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Commitment: North Carolina.

Smith is a gamer that pitches with a lot of confidence on the mound. He shined at the Under Armour game and consistently pounded the strike zone on this summer's showcase circuit, firing 88-90 mph fastballs that touch 93, a mid-70s curveball and a vulcan changeup.

Smith kind of curls up in his delivery, but repeats it well and can throw his fastball to both sides of the plate and will throw any pitch in any count. He induces a lot of weak contact and takes pride in getting ahead of hitters and keeping his pitch count low.

Austin Kubitza, rhp, Heritage HS, Colleyville, Texas 96
Born: Nov. 16, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 185. Commitment: Rice.

Kubitza has a tall, projectable frame. He throws his fastball in the 88-90 mph range and a short slider between 78-82. Kubitza has smooth mechanics, especially for a taller pitcher, but throws across his body a little bit.

He usually gets good downhill plane on his fastball, but his stuff isn't overpowering enough yet to throw it past hitters up in the zone. That should come though as he continues to mature and fill out—which could be in college, as he'll be a tough pry away from Rice.

Scott Frazier, rhp, Upland (Calif.) HS 98
Born: Dec. 3, 1991. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 205. Commitment: Pepperdine.

Scott Frazier (Photo by Alyson Boyer)
Frazier has a big, strong frame and uses it to his advantage. He stays on top of the ball, driving it down into the strike zone. He has a quick, loose arm and throws from the same slot on each pitch, but does tend to slow his arm down a bit on offspeed stuff.

Frazier throws both a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, a curveball and a straight changeup. His fastball sits in the 88-90 mph range. His curveball was clocked between 70-78 and can be a bit loopy, but his changeup has nice late drop. 

Contributing: Dave Perkin