1. *Brett Myers, rhp, Englewood HS, Jacksonville
RHPs Brett Myers and Bobby Bradley established themselves from the start as the premier high school pitchers in Florida--and two of the best in the country--and haven't disappointed. Though totally different physically and in approach, both project in the top half of the first round . . . The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Myers is a power pitcher in every sense with excellent arm action. He has a strong, physically mature body and routinely is clocked at 94 mph. He also has a 77-78-mph curve with a tight spin and 10-to-4 bite, and a solid change with good sink when thrown down in the zone. He has a work-in-progress split-finger that he rarely throws in games. A former amateur boxer, Myers pitches aggressively and goes after hitters. He has committed to Florida but has indicated he would prefer to sign . . . Bradley is short and slight but may get more out of his raw talent than anyone in the country. He has smooth, easy actions and runs his fastball up to 94 mph, though he pitches more comfortably from 88-92. What sets Bradley apart from other high school pitchers--and most college pitchers--is a dominating 78-81-mph hammer curveball. He throws it consistently for strikes and can vary the location and break by simply adjusting his finger on the ball. While the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Bradley is not as intimidating as Myers, his curve is a great equalizer. It should enable him to excel in the pro ranks immediately. His makeup resembles Rick Ankiel, another Florida sensation from 1997 who already ranks as the best pitcher in the minors. Bradley competes and knows how to win. He has signed with Florida State . . . LHP Ryan Gloger ranked with Myers and Bradley at the start of the year but slipped with his commitment to Stanford, making him a difficult sign. He is from the same prep pitching factory that produced big leaguer Brad Radke, former first-rounders Geoff Goetz and Sam Marsonek, and Florida State RHP Nick Stocks, another first-round candidate this year. Though three inches taller than Goetz, the sixth player drafted in 1997, Gloger is cut from the same mold. His arm action is looser and smoother. He has three plus pitches: an 88-90-mph fastball, an above-average curve and change . . . Expectations have been high for 6-foot-6 RHP Matt McClendon since he was a supplemental first-round pick in 1996 and became the highest unsigned pick from that draft. He has never consistently dominated at the college level. His strikeouts and hits totals were disappointing for his first two seasons and this year, before he missed six weeks at season's end with a strained pectoral muscle. McClendon projected as a top 10 pick at the start of the year on the strength of an outstanding pitcher's body and 93-94-mph fastball. He continued to show little feel or command of a breaking ball during the season and relied too much on his fastball. He cut up Cape Cod League hitters using wood bats last summer, giving scouts hope that he'll be a better pitcher in pro ball. He could be a No. 1 or 2 starter if it comes together for him . . . With McClendon's status uncertain, Stocks, a draft-eligible sophomore, may be Florida's best college prospect. Stocks missed his freshman year after Tommy John surgery but has bounced back better than ever. Throwing from a three-quarters arm angle, he had the best breaking ball in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year, a hard, late-breaking slurve. He mixed in a solid 91-92-mph fastball well, occasionally touching 95. His changeup is still developing . . . Outgoing Miami assistant Turtle Thomas was hailed as the premier recruiter in college baseball, and his latest prodigies all have a chance of being among the top 100 picks . . . SS Bobby Hill will be one of three or four college position players taken in the first round. Scouts debate whether Hill will be a second baseman or shortstop. He moves well laterally to play short, but may lack the arm strength to consistently make the long throw from the hole. He also went through a fielding slump for several weeks this spring and made several errors on in-between hops, high choppers and slow rollers. A switch-hitter with doubles power and an excellent runner, he has a lot of upside on offense . . . RHP Alex Santos was drafted in the third round a year ago by the Dodgers. He elected to pitch for Team USA and return for his junior year. He slumped in the second half this year and missed a start with a ribcage strain. Santos lacks physical presence but knows how to pitch when he's on top of his game. He competes well and spots a 91-92-mph fastball and above-average breaking ball with precision . . . RHP David Gil, previously overshadowed by Santos, stepped up in his absence and may have overtaken him as a prospect. Gil throws harder, and at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds has a more ideal pitcher's body. At times, he showed command of four pitches, including a 93-mph fastball with good sink and an above-average slider . . . C Russ Jacobson was one of the most improved players in college. His season ended abruptly May 8, when he was hit by a pitch that broke his hand. It was a clean break; Jacobson was expected to be in a cast for six weeks. He missed time behind the plate earlier in the year when he took a foul tip that bruised his shoulder. The 6-foot-4 Jacobson is a pure defensive catcher in all aspects and had significantly improved his throwing accuracy from a year ago. He also made major strides as a hitter . . . Six-foot-5, 215 pound 3B/OF Neil Jenkins has the physical package to be a first-round pick. A corner infielder in high school, Jenkins projects as a prototype right fielder in the mold of Manny Ramirez. He hit several tape-measure home runs this spring while batting .561. He has outstanding bat speed and above-average arm strength . . . Were it not for his squatty build, 5-foot-11 RHP Terry Byron might be a first-round pick. He has outstanding arm strength, often reaching 95 mph. He has a quality slider but lacks a third pitch. A product of the Virgin Islands, Byron has indicated a strong desire to continue his education at Louisiana State before turning pro and may be a tough sign . . . Switch-hitting SS Mackeel Rodgers was little known to scouts before this year. He moved to the U.S. from the Caribbean and had played little baseball before settling in this year at Jackson High. He has excellent tools, especially above-average speed and arm strength. He shows signs of being able to hit with power from both sides of the plate . . . RHP Ryan Kibler has improved dramatically this spring. He's gotten bigger, pushing his velocity up to 91-92 mph. His fastball has good sinking action, making it tough on righthanded hitters. He is one of the key players in another strong Florida recruiting class. He may be a tough sign as both his parents are Gainesville graduates . . . LHP Matt Lynch holds most of his school's football passing records, yet he was more dominating on the baseball field this spring. He has two plus pitches: a moving 90-mph fastball and solid curve. Like Jenkins, he has committed to Florida State . . . C J.R. House ranks as one of the more intriguing players in the draft. A two-sport star, he played his high school football in West Virginia and set a state record with 10 touchdown passes in the championship game as he led Nitro High to a state title. He is keeping his college football options open until his status in the baseball draft becomes clear. He has outstanding bat speed and piled up huge offensive numbers after returning to Florida for the baseball season. He also runs well. Scouts question his defensive skills, particularly his arm accuracy . . . With a battery of RHP Kiki Bengochea and C Chris Jaile, Miami's Columbus High had one of the top high school teams in the country. Bengochea has smooth mechanics and two solid pitches, including a 90-mph fastball. Jaile is an outstanding defensive catcher with an exceptionally quick arm who struggles with the bat . . . Miami's Monsignor Pace High had a formidable battery of its own in LHP Dennis Ulacia and C Jorge Maduro. Ulacia helped his draft standing in the state playoffs when he outdueled Tampa Jesuit's Ryan Gloger 1-0, striking out 18 and walking none. He hit 89-90 mph with every fastball. While Ulacia is sound mechanically, scouts don't like his stocky frame and the maximum effort he gives with every delivery. Maduro is a solid receiver with good bat speed and a strong arm . . . Jacksonville, which finished second to Florida Atlantic in the Trans America Athletic Conference, may have the league's two best prospects in RHPs Nick Regilio and Scott Porter. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Regilio, who missed several weeks this spring to have his tonsils removed, has a loose arm with an easy, three-quarters arm slot and tops out at 93 mph. After losing his stuff after three or four innings as a starter, Porter found a home in the bullpen. His two-pitch repertoire--an 89-91 fastball and an average slider--should keep him in that role . . . Scouts targeted Marshall McDougall as an offensive second baseman even before he made national headlines by hitting a record six home runs in a game against Maryland. At 6 feet, 200 pounds, he has above-average power for a middle infielder, quick feet and decent hands. He may lack the speed desired for the position . . . While OF Matt Diaz has hit more than 20 home runs in each of his first two seasons at Florida State, scouts still question whether his power is legitimate. A quality college hitter, Diaz hits a lot of balls to the opposite field, which plays well at FSU's cozy Dick Howser Stadium. His outfield skills are just average. The draft-eligible sophomore will likely return to school for another year . . . Six-foot-4, 230-pound 1B Dustin Brisson can put on a show in batting practice with big-time lefthanded power, but holes in his swing are exposed in games. He's made strides this year by adding 100 points to his average and cutting his strikeouts. Brisson will be Central Florida's lone legitimate draft pick this year, after 10 Knights were picked in 1998 . . . Florida's high school ranks have a number of players who could factor into the early rounds of the draft, if not the first two or three . . . 1B/OF Ellis Debrow, tucked away on the Panhandle, was best known as a football player entering the spring but showed scouts well-rounded athletic ability . . . Matt Ford is a stylish lefthander with an outstanding changeup and a fastball in the 86-88-mph range that tops out at 89 . . . Unlike Ford, who should be a relatively easy sign, SS Sheldon Fulse is considered one of the draft's more unsignable players--he has committed to Vanderbilt. Fulse is an excellent athlete who can run and has shown surprising power from both sides of the plate. He could excel as either a shortstop or center fielder . . . Scouts regarded Florida's junior college crop as the most fertile in the country this spring. The list starts with Indian River's Terry Byron, who is eligible for the draft because he was not picked a year ago . . . On the other hand, Okaloosa-Walton RHPs Charley Kegley and Andrew Earley may not be available because they were selected as draft-and-follows by the Brewers and Tigers and had until May 26 to sign. Kegley was clocked this spring up to 96 mph. He lacked consistency with his breaking stuff. Earley is an Oil Can Boyd lookalike who touched 94, even with his slight frame
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