East Coast Professional Showcase Top 10 Prospects

LONG BEACH—While the events of the subject matter in this blog post took place on the east coast, I'm submitting the words from the complete other side of the country. With the East Coast Pro Showcase wrapping up its fourth and final day of action on Monday afternoon and the Area Code Games beginning Tuesday morning at Blair Field—Long Beach State University's home field—I left Lakeland, caught a plane in Orlando at 5:45 p.m. EST and reached my hotel in Long Beach at 10:45 p.m. PST Monday night.

However, during my cross-continental flight, I was able to take advantage of the four hour travel time and a lucky seat in the exit row. With plenty of room to lay out my notes and plenty of time to look over them, I compiled a recap of the entire East Coast Pro Showcase, including a list of the top 10 hitters and top 10 pitchers with a few scouting reports sprinkled in.

Throughout the weekend, I made it a point to ask scouts about the general conception of the 2009 class at this year's East Coast Pro Showcase in comparison to years past. Each conversation I had seemed to go in the same direction, highlighting three main points:

Lack of top line talent:

"I just don't see those one or two guys that stick out as top tier players head and shoulders above the rest—like Tim Beckham did last year," one American League scout said.

(It should be noted that the 18U national team—who lost to Korea in the gold medal game of the IBAF World Championships yesterday in Edmonton, Canada— boasts a roster with many of the top tier players in the 2009 class that would have been participants in Lakeland.)

Velocity void:

"We just aren't seeing velocities light up the (radar) gun like we did last year," another American League scout said.

The highest velocity reading that I recorded all weekend was 94 mph—which only two players (Cameron Bedrosian, East Coweta HS, Senoia, Ga. and Michael Heller, Cardinal Mooney HS, Bradenton, Fla.) touched.

Lack of depth:

"This group just isn't as deep with true draft guys," a National League scout said. "There are a lot of players who are interesting and could maybe go either way (college or pro), but not as many of those guys who are impact drafts."

Naturally, my next question for the scouts was:

"So, who is the top guy here?"

Whether answering with a quality poker face or with honest confusion, I routinely received responses including big thought provoking sighs followed by a grouping of five or so players—but no favorite. Thus, I didn't feel that bad when wrestling with how I would rank the players from the event. However, for the fan favorite "Top 10 list" sake, I churned out my groupings of the top prospects from the event:

Top 10 Hitting Prospects
Player Pos. School
Luke Bailey c Troup County HS, LaGrange, Ga.
Bobby Borchering 1b/3b Bishop Verot HS, Alva, Fla.
Brian Goodwin cf Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS
Wil Myers c/3b Wesleyan Christian Academy, Thomasville, N.C.
Stephen Perez ss Gulliver Prep HS, Miami, Fla.
Scooter Gennett if/cf Sarasota (Fla.) HS
LeVon Washington of/2b Buchholz HS, Gainesville, Fla.
Richie Shaffer 3b/rhp Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.
Michael Zunino c Mariner HS, Cape Coral, Fla.
Telvin Nash 1b/of Griffin (Ga.) HS

At the top of the position player list is Bailey, and he is probably the best overall prospect as well. Playing the premium position of catcher, the 6-feet-1, 195-pound Bailey is a good defensive backstop with a tremendous arm and athleticism. His body is strong and durable—perfect for playing behind the plate—and he showed scouts in-game pop times between 1.8 and 2.0 seconds. Offensively, Bailey has real sock in his bat and a chance to hit for above-average power. He also has a good approach at the plate, using the whole field and makes consistent contact.

The 6-feet-4, 200-pound Borchering and 6-feet-2, 225-pound Nash are on the list for their present pro-bodies and ability to hit, especially for power. Both players are physical specimens and showed the best raw power in the showcase in both batting practice and the game. Both Borchering and Nash also showed advanced approaches at the plate and the ability to hit for average as well.

Goodwin and Washington stood out with their pure athleticism and above-average speed. Both players have game impacting speed as they each have been clocked in the 60-yard dash at 6.6 seconds or better, and out of the batter's box and down to first base in 4.1 seconds or better. Goodwin also showed good instincts in centerfield, getting jumps and taking proper routes. He also squared up on balls at the plate consistently throughout the event.

Myers, 6-feet-3, 185 pounds and Richie Shaffer, 6-feet-3, 190 pounds are very similar players in that they both have tremendous projectable pro-bodies, above-average arms, above-average power and athleticism. Myers spent time at catcher and struggled, but he may be a project worth investing in as he seems to have the body and athleticism to adapt to the position. However, if that doesn't work out, he could probably play third base—the same position that Shaffer plays.

Perez is a smooth fielding middle infielder with a solid arm. He was the best defensive shortstop at the event and made multiple big league plays over the weekend. He is also a switch-hitter with some ability at the plate as well.

Gennett is a really fun player to watch, and when talking to scouts, seems to be a lock to make the big leagues. He does almost everything well and plays the game very hard. While it's uncertain which position he will play (probably somewhere in the infield), Gennett has great baseball instincts and a set of usable tools as well.

Zunino is another very strong catcher with an above-average arm and defense. He also swings the bat well and with juice. He has consistently improved his play from the beginning of the summer and has positioned himself in the "close-follow" category.

Top 10 Pitching Prospects
Player Pos. School
Zack Wheeler rhp East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.
Brody Colvin rhp St. Thomas Moore HS, Lafayette, La.
David Renfroe rhp South Panola HS, Batesville, Miss.
Zack Von Rosenberg rhp Zackary (La.) HS
Keyvius Sampson rhp Forest HS, Ocala, Fla.
Michael Heller rhp Cardinal Mooney HS, Bradenton, Fla.
Zach Dotson lhp Effingham County HS, Springfield, Ga.
Patrick Schuster lhp Mitchell HS, Holiday, Fla.
Chris Jenkins rhp Westfield (N.J.) HS
Derek Law rhp Seton LaSalle HS, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Here is a chart detailing the repertoire and velocities of each of the pitchers in the top 10 list. A complete spreadsheet, exactly like this one, of every pitcher that threw at the event will be available on BA's Prospects Plus website later today.

Velocities For The Top 10 Pitchers
Player Pos.
FB Low FB High FB Max CB SL CH
Zack Wheeler rhp
89 91 93   78 84
Brody Colvin rhp 89 91 93   76 83
David Renfroe rhp 89 91 92 74 79  
Zack Von Rosenberg rhp 89 90 93 76   80
Keyvius Sampson rhp 89 91 93 72   84
Michael Heller rhp 88 91 94 76 80 85
Zach Dotson lhp 87 88 91 77   75
Patrick Schuster lhp
86 88 89 70 75 79
Chris Jenkins rhp
90 92 93   78 76
Derek Law rhp
86 87 89 75 80 81

Wheeler tops the chart as he is a very projectable and athletic 6-feet-4, 185-pounds. His fastball was one of the best pitches at the event as it was not only hard but also had late sinking life as well. Wheeler's best secondary pitch is a sharp slider with downward movement and has the makings to be an out-pitch.

When looking at the list, you may notice that Law's velocities aren't quite the same caliber as the rest of the group, and putting Law on this chart might be a reach. However, he showed possibly the breaking ball in the showcase—an 80 mph slider with sharp spike action that drew many swings and misses. Law is listed at 6-feet-4, 180-pounds and has projection. His delivery isn't conventional as he shows his back to the batter, drops his arm straight down and slightly hitches, but he has deception and four pitches. It will be interesting to see where Law is next spring.

There are a few players to mention who are not on these lists but performed very well over the weekend. Reed Gragnani (Godwin HS, Richmond, Va.) is a 5-feet-11, 180-pound second baseman who played good defense and tore the cover off the baseball at the plate.

Tarran Senay from South Park (Pa.) HS, Adam Norton from Andrean HS, Highland, Ind. and Jayce Boyd from Tate HS, Cantonment, Fla. all impressed those in attendance with their athleticism, strength and ability at the plate.

Tucker Barnhart from Brownsburg (Ind.) HS also played very well at catcher, throwing out multiple runners. He hit the ball well, especially from the left side.

There's the scoop on the East Coast. Check back tomorrow for the beginnings of my eight-day stay in California.