Scouting Reports: Mid-Atlantic

***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Given the overall depth of this year’s draft class, there are not many pockets of the country where prospects can’t be found. But after Brett Cecil, Maryland’s homegrown lefthander who could be taken in the first round, the Mid-Atlantic doesn’t have much to offer.

Navy righthander Mitch Harris is another intriguing player from Maryland, while Delaware’s best draft-eligible player is University of Delaware outfielder Bryan Hagerich, who piqued interest as an underclassman for his tools and athleticism but ultimately looks like a senior sign. Maryland righthander Ryan Moorer looked like he was making a push into the top five rounds near midseason, but he backed up. After Cecil, however, he was one of few second-tier players generating any interest. West Virginia is even thinner.

St. John’s College High, one of Washington, D.C.’s top prep teams, has an interesting righthander in senior Connor Hoehn, and juniors L.J. Hoes and Scott Silverstein enter the summer as potential high-round choices in 2008, but otherwise there’s not much to see.

“(Adam) White is going to be the first guy picked and if he was taken in the 10th round, I wouldn’t be surprised,” said an area scout with an American League team, summing up West Virginia’s class. “I don’t remember it being quite this thin. There’s always the one guy that you think is going to go pretty good, but that type of player never really came on this year.

“If I didn’t have the state of Virginia, it really would have been a slow spring.”

National Top 200 Prospects

1. Brett Cecil, lhp, Maryland
2. Mitch Harris, rhp, Navy

Other Prospects Of Note

3. Connor Hoehn, rhp, St. John’s College HS, Washington, D.C.
4. Patrick Arnold, rhp, Huntington (W.Va.) HS
5. Adam White, of, West Virginia
6. Ryan Moorer, rhp, Maryland
7. Joseph Yermal, rhp, McDonough HS, Bel Air, Md.
8. Steve Lombardozzi, 2b, Atholton High, Columbia, Md.
9. Tyler Kuhn, 2b, West Virginia
10. Mike McGuire, rhp, Delaware
11. Ryan Rivers, rhp, Eastern Technical HS, Baltimore
12. Bryan Hagerich, of, Delaware
13. Levi Maxwell, rhp, West Virginia

Scouting Reports

Brett Cecil1. Brett Cecil, lhp (National rank: 25)
School: Maryland. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 225. Birthdate: 7/2/86.
Scouting Report: Cecil’s delivery and stuff have improved significantly since his days at DeMatha High (Hyattsville, Md.), where he was a one-and-a-half-pitch, soft-bodied lefty. His draft stock climbed significantly last year when he nearly doubled Maryland’s previous saves record with 13 as a sophomore. He then ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Cape Cod League, posting a 40-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings. Cecil’s body, arm action and stuff have all improved significantly during his college career. While Cecil was used primarily in relief during college, he took a turn in the Terrapins rotation late this season and his future figures to be as a starter. He has four pitches, solid-average command and durability. His fastball has been up to 94 mph and sits near 91. His slider can touch 86 with good tilt and depth. His repertoire includes a a curveball, changeup and split-finger fastball, and the changeup has enough fade and deception to become a usable third offering, especially against righthanded hitters. He should find a spot safely in the back end of the first round.

2. Mitch Harris, rhp (National rank: 156)
School: Navy. Class: Jr.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: 11/7/85.
Scouting Report: Because Naval Academy students are required to serve five years in active duty once they begin classes their junior year, Harris is somewhat of an untouchable commodity. Based on talent alone, the tall, durable, athletic righthander could be drafted as high as the third round, but was not expected to break his commitment unless he was taken in the first. He has a solid-average fastball that has been up to 94 mph. He uses it to get ahead of hitters and shows some ability to spot it on both corners, though his command is fringy overall. He throws a hard breaking ball that has some late tilt, but he also has a cutter, and the two pitches tend to morph into one, lacking true shape and depth. He has some feel for a changeup. He does not hold runners on base well. Harris also is Navy’s top hitter, leading the Patriot League with eight home runs this spring and ranking second in OPS. Scouts laud Harris for his competitiveness and are generally intrigued in him as a prospect on the mound. He could be 23 before he ever gets to pitch professionally, however.

Intriguing Tools In Mid-Atlantic

The Terrapins knew they got a reliable weekend starter when one of Massachusetts’ top prep prospects out of the Class of 2004, righthander Ryan Moorer, committed to Maryland. He was a high school teammate of first-rounder Jeff Allison. Moorer got off to a strong start this year but regressed as the season wore on. His velocity and command both went backward and he finished with a 3-6, 5.43 record, a .312 opponent average and 36 strikeouts and 29 walks in 68 innings. Moorer occasionally flashed a fastball that touched 93 mph and a sharp breaking ball. Late in the season his fastball sat near 87 and he wasn’t missing bats. He could still be drafted in the top 10 rounds by the club that likes the looseness of his arm action and believes it can help him put it all together.

Outfielder Bryan Hagerich has been somewhat of a tease for scouts since he showed up on Delaware’s campus with an athletic, muscular body. He runs well and shows plus power in batting practice, but he hasn’t made much progress in putting his tools to use, with lots of empty swings. He was considered a bargain senior sign this year. Teammate Mike McGuire came within two outs of the eighth no-hitter in program history when Delaware shut out Old Dominion in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. The junior righthander allowed one hit and struck out seven in his longest outing as a Blue Hen, and at 6-foot-7 he has attracted enough attention to be drafted in the eighth to 15th round, then followed during the summer to gauge his durability. He had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in July last year, but was bumping 91 mph with his fastball this spring.

Adam White is an 80 runner on the 20-80 scale and can really cover ground in center field. His downside is at the plate, as White doesn’t hit the top half of the ball with consistency and has poor swing mechanics. He’s the antithesis of infielder Tyler Kuhn, who makes consistent contact but lacks bat speed and doesn’t possess a plus tool. He could have some value as an extra infielder who puts the ball in play, but might not be taken high enough to compel him to sign as an eligible sophomore this year.

Patrick Arnold is West Virginia’s best prep prospect, but he had not taken a step forward in his feel for pitching, nor had his stuff shown significant development. Though he’s unrefined, Arnold’s fastball can climb into the low 90s, and his 71-74 mph breaking ball shows average shape and depth. While several clubs were content to allow Arnold to head off to North Carolina State, those that saw him late in the season might have seen enough to consider drafting him in the sixth to eighth round, provided he expressed interest in signing in that range.

Scouts from the West Coast and a handful of national crosscheckers got a good look at righthander Connor Hoehn when his St. John’s College High team spent a week competing in the Phil Nevin National Classic in Anaheim over Easter break. Hoehn has an aggressive approach and two solid-average pitches in his fastball and slider. He works from a low three-quarters arm slot, which helps him get good sink on his fastball, but he also tends to drop his arm too low, getting underneath his slider. He profiles as a set-up man and could be taken as high as the fourth or fifth round.

Steve Lombardozzi Jr.’s  father was a member of the Twins’ 1987 World Series champions, and father and son have similar profiles. Steve Jr. is an athletic infielder who plays the game with grit and hustle and has flashed above-average bat speed. He hasn’t made the consistent hard contact or developed his other tools enough to be considered in the top eight rounds, and he could elect to attend a junior college in Florida, where he’ll be worth keeping an eye on.

A pair of raw high school righties with upside are Joseph Yermal and Ryan Rivers. Yermal has plenty of arm strength and a nice delivery, but neither he nor Rivers has shown enough present ability with their feel for pitching and secondary stuff to warrant a spot in the top eight rounds.