2008 Preseason High School All-Americans

The best of the '08 prep class

C   Kyle Skipworth   1B   Eric Hosmer
Kyle Skipworth   Eric Hosmer
The ability to play catcher and hit lefthanded are two premium aspects of baseball. Skipworth can do both very well. He has plus bat speed, good power, soft hands and an above-average arm. Skipworth's only knock is the size of his still maturing body. If he continues to grow, it could become more difficult for him to catch.   Hosmer is to the '08 high school class hitters as Melville is to the pitchers. He has all the physical tools to go along with an approach to the game most college players don't possess. A sweet lefthanded swing with plus-plus raw power, strike zone discipline and bat speed to spare give Hosmer tools comparable to Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman.
2B   Cutter Dykstra   3B   Harold Martinez
Cutter Dykstra   Harold Martinez
Son of Lenny, Dykstra is the same type bulldog player his father was for the Phillies. Consistently running sub-6.6-second 60-yard dashes, speed is Dykstra's best tool. But beyond his athleticism, his line-drive stroke and ability to pepper the alleys with doubles could make him a high-round pick this June. Not a natural infielder, Dykstra could end up in the outfield before his playing days are over.   Only Martinez' profile trumps Hosmer's in South Florida amateur baseball circles. He's been targeted as Miami's next great infielder since his days as a Little Leaguer, and one look at his lean, athletic frame makes many a believer. The hour is now upon him, and Martinez hopes to use his smooth righthanded swing and easy defensive actions to turn the hype into a successful senior season.
SS   Tim Beckham   OF   Robbie Grossman
Tim Beckham   Robbie Grossman
After taking home Aflac's MVP honor last August in San Diego, Beckham was anointed the nation's No. 1 high school player. He has five projectable plus tools that make him a cinch first-rounder this June. He is very athletic and already shows signs of big-league shortstop actions. His versatility, smooth running ability and exceptional approach at the plate have drawn comparisons to B.J. and Justin Upton.   Grossman was the catalyst of Texas' Class 5-A championship team as a junior in 2007, so this spring means more than just playing for draft stock for the speedy center fielder. Defending the title won't be easy, but Grossman's combination of leadoff skills and surprising power are tough to shut down. He led the junior national team with a .450 average during Team USA's showing last summer in Mexico.
OF   Xavier Avery   OF   Isaac Galloway
Xavier Avery   Isaac Galloway
While Avery was busy honing his swing this winter, many of the nation's top football programs were clamoring for his services. He committed in February to play running back at Georgia, but his blazing speed and untapped raw power might be intriguing enough to persuade him to go in favor of pro baseball. A lefthanded-hitting center fielder with exceptional grades on the field and in the classroom, his kind doesn't come around often.   Galloway didn't have the benefit of playing on a National Championship high school team last year as Hicks did, but is every bit as talented as his fellow senior from Long Beach. He'll show five quality tools and a slightly more disciplined plan at the plate, to go along with easy speed in the outfield. He could grow to become a middle of the order power threat.
UTIL   Aaron Hicks   LHP   Kyle Lobstein
Aaron Hicks   Kyle Lobstein
One of the most intriguing athletes in this class, Hicks is a legitimate two-way prospect. Tabbed as a five-tool player, Hicks has a 70 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale, switch-hits and can fly around the bases. The dilemma scouts must decide this spring is at which position he best fits as a professional. His 95 mph fastball and devastating 84 mph breaking ball make his electrifying arm look irresistible on the mound.   Picture-perfect mechanics and a durable, 6-foot-3 frame have some scouts whispering comparisons to Andy Pettitte after watching Lobstein at his craft. As the top lefthanded pitcher of the high school class, Lobstein has feel for and command of three pitches, including a deceptive curveball and low-90s heater that still hasn't fully reached its potential.
RHP   Gerritt Cole   LHP   Robbie Ross
Gerritt Cole   Robbie Ross
As many former high-profile prospects can attest, it isn't always the best omen to be anointed the country's hardest throwing high school hurler, but Cole comes to the mound with ridiculous arm strength. Throwing from a low-three-quarters arm slot, Cole's fastball has been up to 97 mph and awes any spectator, but his slider and changeup are inconsistent.   Like Gray, Ross is an undersized pistol of a pitcher with two plus offerings. He generates low-90s velocity from a compact delivery and when he freezes hitters with his two-plane breaking ball, it's easy to see why many have compared him to Billy Wagner. It's a banner year for high school prospects in the Bluegrass State, and Ross hopes to lead the way to June's draft.
RHP   Tim Melville   RHP   Sonny Gray
Tim Melville   Sonny Gray
Melville is closest to being the consensus top prep pitcher. He has a big, strong body that belies his athleticism and polished mix of pitches. He can dial his fastball up to the mid-90s, has shown a consistent power breaking ball, feel for a changeup and does it all effortlessly. It looks like an arm injury that limited his action as an underclassman is behind him.   It's possible that Gray offers two of the best present pitches in this class. At 6-feet, you won't believe your eyes—or the radar gun readings—when the diminutive Vanderbilt signee delivers heavy, mid-90s fastballs with regularity. Gray's hammer curveball kept getting better as last summer went on, and at times graded as a second well-above-average offering.