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College Top 50 Prospects

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Adley Rutschman (Photo by John Peterson/Getty Images)

By Teddy Cahill and Carlos Collazo

The college top 50 was compiled in consultation with major league scouts, front office executives, scouting directors and other professional evaluators. The list is an attempt to gauge the industry’s consensus on the 2019 college draft talent at the current moment, but with so much time between now and the draft, much is sure to change. However, this does provide a general overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the 2019 college class. The list also only accounts for four-year universities. Junior college prospects will be added when we merge our high school and college lists into one draft list.

After releasing our High School Top 50 Draft Prospects last week, today Baseball America releases the first comprehensive talent ranking of the 2019 college crop — the College Top 50 Draft Prospects.

Major League scouts have a much longer history with these players than the prep class for obvious reasons, and teams got plenty of looks at the college group over the past few months as most of the top players competed on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and in various summer leagues.

Overall, scouts believe the 2019 college class is solid among position players and below-average in regards to pitching. When looking at the split between hitters and pitchers from last year to this year, it’s the exact opposite. Last year at this time, BA’s top 50 consisted of 30 pitchers and 20 hitters. The 2019 top 50 currently has 20 pitchers and 30 hitters, however.

While righthanded pitchers are still the most common position group (when splitting into C, corner INF, middle INF, OF, RHP and LHP position groups), they represent just 28 percent of the list, compared to 42 percent at this point last year.

There are significantly more infielders in the top 50 this year, with 20 infielders making up 40 percent of the current list, compared to just nine infielders (18 percent) in 2018.

The full positional breakdown for both years can be found below.

2019 Positional Group Breakdown

  • Catcher: 2 (4%)
  • Corner Infield: 7 (14%)
  • Middle Infield: 13 (26%)
  • Outfield: 8 (16%)
  • Righthanded Pitchers: 14 (28%)
  • Lefthanded Pitchers: 6 (12%)

2018 Positional Group Breakdown

  • Catcher: 0 (0%)
  • Corner Infield: 4 (8%)
  • Middle Infield: 5 (10%)
  • Outfield: 11 (22%)
  • Righthanded Pitchers: 21 (42%)
  • Lefthanded Pitchers: 9 (18%)

The specific strength of this year’s college class is with catchers, with consensus No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman holding down the top spot and Baylor backstop Shea Langeliers checking in at No. 3. You would have to go back to the 2011 draft to get as much college catching talent at the top of the class, when Bryce Harper ranked No. 1 as a catcher out of JC of Southern Nevada and Yasmani Grandal clocked in at No. 13 out of Miami.

In between Rutschman and Langeliers is the 2018 Golden Spikes award winner, California first baseman Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn might be the best all-around hitter in the class and has a chance to be drafted among the first five picks in the draft.

Aside from Brendan McKay, who garnered significant interest because of his two-way abilities as both a hitter and pitcher, no first baseman has managed to be drafted in the top five since Pat Burrell (No. 1, Phillies) in 1998. If Burrell’s status as the University of Miami’s third baseman eliminates him, then you would have to go back to San Diego State first baseman Travis Lee (No. 2, Twins) in 1996 to find a college first baseman selected in the top five.

Full scouting reports on each of the top 50 college prospects for the 2019 draft can be found below, as well as related video for numerous players.

Updated on: 10/17/2018 See Full List
  1. 1
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    Adley Rutschman

    Oregon State C
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 185 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Mariners '16 (40)
    Scouting Report: The consensus top college prospect, Rutschman led Oregon State to a College World Series title during his sophomore season while leading the Beavers in hitting. He then joined USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team shortly after his college season and led all USA hitters in each triple slash category. Rutschman has been on scouts’ radars since he was in high school, where he had impressive raw power, touched 94 mph off the mound and was also an elite kicker—he served as the Beavers’ place kicker during his freshman season before turning his focus completely to baseball. After polishing his game in all facets in Corvallis, Rutschman has no holes in his game, with plus defensive tools ranging from receiving ability to a strong, accurate arm. He’s a plus hitter from both sides of the plate with a long track record of hitting, and he’s also a fierce leader on the field and the favorite to become the first overall pick next June.

  2. 2
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    Notes:

    Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 214 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: The 2018 Golden Spikes award winner, Vaughn put up one of the best offensive campaigns in Cal’s history, with a .402/.531/.819 slash line and 23 home runs—tying the Cal record previously set by Xavier Nady in 1999. He had a quiet summer with the Collegiate National Team, but scouts and coaches alike rave about Vaughn’s feel to hit, which is coupled with a preternatural feel for the strike zone and tremendous raw power. He’s walked 63 times compared to 42 strikeouts in two seasons with Cal, and he’s also a solid defender at first base. Vaughn should get drafted near the top of the first round as he is arguably the best all-around hitter in the 2019 draft class.

  3. 3
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    Notes:

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 190 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Blue Jays '16 (34)
    Scouting Report: In a typical draft class, the Baylor backstop would be a safe bet as the top catcher in the class, but Langeliers has to deal with Rutschman ahead of him in the 2019 group. Still, Langeliers has a solid, all-around toolset with no weaknesses in his game aside from being a below-average runner—which is the least important tool for a pro catcher. He projects as a solid-average hitter with average power, and even more juice to the pull-side, with a strong defensive skill set behind the plate. Langeliers has above-average receiving and blocking ability as well as a strong, accurate arm, which he used to throw out almost 70 percent of basestealers last spring.

  4. 4
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    Notes:

    Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 250 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: A big, physical lefthander with tantalizing upside as a high schooler in the 2016 draft class, Stinson has steadily climbed closer and closer to his ceiling during his collegiate career. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound southpaw significantly lowered his walk rate from his freshman to sophomore season and also impressed scouts as the top arm on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer. Armed with a plus fastball and slider—which some scouts label a grade higher at plus-plus—Stinson has the potential to be an innings-eating workhorse in the starting rotation. However, he’ll need to establish a track record of success as a starter next spring to convince scouts, as he’s pitched more frequently out of the bullpen to this point, and teams wonder about his athleticism and ability to repeat his delivery. He’s got some of the best stuff in the class and is trending in the right direction, but will need to put it all together during his junior season.

  5. 5
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    Josh Jung

    Texas Tech 3B
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 215 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: The Big 12 Freshman of the Year after a solid 2017 campaign with Texas Tech, Jung took a step forward during his sophomore season this spring, posting a .392/.491/.639 slash line and doubling his home run output from six to 12. A physical, 6-foot-2, 215-pound third baseman, Jung has a solid, backside-heavy approach at the plate with plenty of strength and bat speed. More power should come for him down the road as he learns how to pull the ball more aggressively, but for now Jung seems content to keep his hands inside the ball and drive it the other way. Defensively, opinions range from below-average to plus on Jung’s work at the hot corner, as he’s more capable coming in on balls than moving laterally. He has below-average quickness but solid hands and a strong arm.

  6. 6
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    Notes:

    Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 225 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Rays '16 (11)
    Scouting Report: An elbow injury limited Thompson to just 31 innings of work this spring, but the 6-foot-2, 225-pound lefthander impressed scouts in a brief, three-appearance look with the Collegiate National Team, where he sat in the low 90s and complimented his fastball with an 82-84 mph, high-spin rate slider. Thompson also throws a fringe-average curveball and solid changeup, which give him the tools to become a middle-of-the-rotation starter if he stays healthy and lowers a walk rate that’s been just under five batters per nine innings at Kentucky. Scouts like Thompson’s athleticism and delivery, which allow them to be optimistic about the walk rate trending in the right direction. He could go high in the first round with a solid junior campaign.

  7. 7
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    Tyler Dyson

    Florida RHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 210 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Dyson opened the spring as Florida’s Sunday starter, pitching behind Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar in the rotation. A nagging shoulder injury limited him in the second half of the season, but he was able to get back on the mound and pitched well in the Cape Cod League. At his best, Dyson can be as electric as his former Gators teammates. He can run his fastball into the mid-90s and mixes in a sharp slider and an effective changeup. Listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he has the size, stuff and control to start. Dyson still needs to improve his consistency—he loses his crispness for an inning at times and things go sideways—and prove his durability in the rotation for a full spring. But if he can put it all together, Dyson can front the Gators’ rotation and follow the well-worn path from Gainesville to the first round.

  8. 8
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    Nick Lodolo

    Texas Christian LHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 180 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Pirates '16 (1s)
    Scouting Report: The Pirates drafted Lodolo 41st overall in 2016 but he decided not to sign, opting instead to play for TCU. He immediately joined the Horned Frogs’ rotation, where he has been solid, but not dominant, over the last two years. Lodolo has a long, lean, projectable frame at 6-foot-6, 185 pounds. His lively fastball sits in the low 90s and he uses his height to throw it from a steep downhill angle. He mixes in a sharp curveball and a changeup. He can create plenty of swings and misses (he averaged 10.87 strikeouts per nine innings last spring) but he also has been hit more than would be expected for a pitcher with his stuff (9.35 hits per nine innings). Lodolo’s upside is significant, and with a strong spring he could be the top college pitcher off the board.

  9. 9
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    Will Holland

    Auburn SS
    Notes:

    Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 181 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Holland is toolsy and in 2018 established a strong track record for performance as one of the top hitters for the Tigers. He’s an aggressive hitter, but he can put a charge into the ball. He has more power than his 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame suggests, and he produces a lot of hard-hit balls. He is a plus runner who knows how to use his speed on the bases. Holland can make highlight reel plays at shortstop and has both the range and arm strength for the position. Much like he is at the plate, he is still a bit raw defensively, but his tools will play at shortstop if he can smooth out some of the rough edges.

  10. 10
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    Alek Manoah

    West Virginia RHP
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 260 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Manoah has mostly worked out of the bullpen over the last two years for West Virginia, but this summer he was one of the best starters on the Cape. Manoah strikes an imposing figure on the mound at a listed 6-foot-7, 270 pounds and has the fastball to match. He pitches in the mid-90s and can touch 98 mph in shorter stints. His slider is his best secondary pitch and has the makings of a plus offering. He also mixes in a good changeup. Manoah fills the strike zone and holds his velocity well, giving plenty of indications that he can remain in the rotation. He figures to become one of the highest drafted players in West Virginia history, with a chance to become the program’s first first-rounder since 1997.

  11. 11
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    Ryne Nelson

    Oregon RHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 182 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Nelson was a two-way player at Oregon this spring, playing shortstop and closing games for the Ducks. He has one of the most electric arms in the country. He touched 99 mph this spring and focused on pitching this summer in the Cape Cod League. Nelson has a power arm and electric stuff. His fastball reached 95 mph in the Cape Cod all-star game, and he mixes in a sharp, hard slider as well as a changeup. Listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he has a long, lean, athletic frame and a clean delivery. Nelson has never started but is expected to do so at Oregon next spring, and scouts are eager to see how he handles the role. Even if he ultimately fits better in the bullpen, he’ll still likely be one of the premium arms for the 2019 draft, which is short on slam-dunk starters.

  12. 12
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    Bryson Stott

    Nevada-Las Vegas SS
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 195 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: One of the top shortstops in the 2019 class, Stott has hit well in two years with Nevada-Las Vegas in the Mountain West Conference, posting a combined .333 /.405/.474 slash line during his first two years. Stott joined the Collegiate National Team this summer and impressed the coaching staff with his defensive work up the middle, with improved footwork as well as solid body control and accurate throws to the bag. He showed solid feel for the barrel, but scouts were disappointed with the amount of impact Stott generated with an approach that was too frequently slap-heavy. The look raised some concern for his overall offensive package, but Stott does have a solid wood-bat track record outside of Team USA, in both the Cape Cod and Northwoods Summer Leagues.

  13. 13
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    Braden Shewmake

    Texas A&M SS/2B
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 190 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: A lanky, 6-foot-4, 190-pound infielder, Shewmake can play any infield position, but started all 61 games at shortstop for Texas A&M last spring. He’s been an extremely consistent hitter in the SEC, posting a combined .327/.384/.492 slash line over two seasons, though that hitter did not show up for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer. Scouts believe there’s still more in the bat for Shewmake, especially as he adds more weight and strength to his frame, but others note he’s been wiry throughout his collegiate career and wonder how much he’ll be able to tack on. Finding the best defensive home for Shewmake will be a challenge for scouts, as he could profile as a third baseman with solid glovework if additional power comes. Evaluators also haven’t ruled out a move to the outfield, where his above-average speed could play well. Most believe he’ll outgrow shortstop.

  14. 14
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    J.J. Bleday

    Vanderbilt OF
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Padres '16 (39)
    Scouting Report: A two-year starter at Vanderbilt, Bleday led the Commodores in hitting this spring and he followed it up with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Bleday is listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and looks the part of a right fielder. He has good pitch recognition and does a good job of consistently barreling the ball. The lefthanded hitter has a balanced swing, produces good bat speed and got to his plus raw power better this summer than he has previously. Bleday has plus arm strength and covers ground in the outfield. Players with his profile don’t often go in the first round, but if he makes a jump with his power, like Oregon State’s Trevor Larnach did this spring, he could become an exception to the rule.

  15. 15
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    Logan Wyatt

    Louisville 1B
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 225 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Wyatt this spring took over as Louisville’s starting first baseman, replacing Brendan McKay. Wyatt isn’t a two-way superstar like the 2017 Player of the Year, but he did a good job filling McKay’s hole in the lineup and was the Cardinals’ leading hitter. He carried that momentum into the summer, where he led the Cape Cod League in walks (29) and ranked second in on-base percentage. Wyatt is an extremely disciplined hitter and this spring walked 63 times and struck out 37. The lefthanded hitter is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and his power will come as he refines his swing and learns to tap into his raw juice. He’s limited defensively to first base, but if his power comes, he’ll profile well at the position.

  16. 16
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    Michael Busch

    North Carolina 1B
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 207 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Busch this spring was a key piece of North Carolina’s College World Series team and continued to stand out at the plate over the summer in the Cape Cod League. Busch has an excellent feel for hitting. The lefthanded hitter this year walked more than he struck out and consistently barrels up balls. He generates impressive bat speed, which leads to plus power that he gets to well in games. Busch’s biggest drawback is that he’s a slightly undersized first baseman at a listed 6-foot, 207 pounds. He may not be limited to first base, however, as some evaluators believe he could move around the infield or to an outfield corner. But if he keeps hitting the way he did this year his size and position won’t matter.

  17. 17
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    Kyle Stowers

    Stanford OF
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 200 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: Stowers this spring emerged as one of the power threats in Stanford’s lineup, and his excellent summer in the Cape Cod League helped him significantly raise his profile. The lefthanded hitter has a smooth swing and generates impressive bat speed. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and has above-average power. That power does come with a healthy dose of swing and miss, and he struck out in 23 percent of his plate appearances over the summer. Stowers has mostly played in the outfield corners and his speed and arm strength fit well there, though he is also a solid defender at first base. Stowers has also pitched sparingly for Stanford, but his future is as a hitter.

  18. 18
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    Matt Wallner

    Southern Mississippi OF/RHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 220 | B-T: L-R
    Commit/Drafted: Twins '16 (32)
    Scouting Report: Listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Wallner, the 2017 Freshman of the Year, has impressive physical tools and makes the most of them. He has plus raw power but will have to become more consistent at the plate to get the most out of it. He this summer struck out in more than 25 percent of his plate appearances on the Cape and will need to cut down on his swing and miss. Wallner has above-average speed and a plus arm and looks the part of a prototypical right fielder. He also has pitched for Southern Miss, and his arm strength plays well on the mound, where he runs his fastball into the mid-90s and mixes in a slider. He’s expected this spring to pitch more but his future is still likely as an outfielder.

  19. 19
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    Will Wilson

    North Carolina State SS
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 175 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: An All-ACC first team selection after posting a .307/.376/.588 slash line with 15 home runs this past spring, Wilson became the first member of the Wolfpack to be named ACC player of the week three separate times. The 6-foot, 175-pound infielder has great bat-to-ball skills and instincts, projecting as an offensive-oriented second baseman at the next level with a track record of hitting that dates back to his high school days. Wilson’s below-average speed make him a better fit for the keystone, where he’s solid with the glove and could be at least an average defender. His feel for hitting and above-average power potential are the main tools that will get him drafted, perhaps as high as the first round if he has a strong junior season.

  20. 20
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    Logan Davidson

    Clemson SS
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 185 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Phillies '16 (30)
    Scouting Report: Over the last two years, Davidson has built a dichotomous track record. At Clemson, he has raked and looked like a future first-rounder. But hitting with wood bats in the Cape Cod League, he has struggled in back-to-back years. If Davidson goes in the top three rounds of the 2019 draft, as expected, his poor Cape performance will have few precedents since 2000. His adjusted OPS+ of 58 (where 100 is average) would be the third-lowest for a player with at least 100 at-bats on the Cape the summer before his draft year in the past 19 years. Despite his poor summer performance, Davidson’s standout tools remain attractive to scouts. Long and lean at a listed 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, the switch-hitter has above-average power and enough athleticism to give him a chance at shortstop. His swing has some length to it, which, along with an inconsistent approach, leads to his high strikeout rate. Davidson has improved at shortstop over the last year, but he’ll need to further refine his infield actions and range to stick. With another solid offensive season at Clemson, he will probably go in the first round, but a pair of discouraging summers have raised questions.

  21. 21
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    Mason Feole

    Connecticut LHP
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 194 | B-T: L-L
    Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
    Scouting Report: A 6-foot-1, 195-pound lefthander with a funky, unorthodox delivery, Feole struck out 120 batters in 100.1 innings for Connecticut this spring. He then joined USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team during the summer and struck out nine batters in 11 innings, holding batters to just a .097 opponent average. Feole throws an 89-93 mph fastball that plays up given the deception in his delivery, and he also has a mid-70s, 12-to-6 curveball that could become a plus offering. Feole has had success as a starter with the Huskies, but without improving his head whack, walk rate (4.38 walks per nine innings last spring), or developing a third pitch, scouts think he’s destined for the bullpen. Still, his present two-pitch mix could be an asset in a relief role at the next level.

  22. 22
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    Greg Jones

    UNC Wilmington SS/OF
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 170 | B-T: B-R
    Commit/Drafted: Orioles '17 (17)
    Scouting Report: Jones has elite speed and his game is built around it both offensively and defensively. He is a switch hitter and is at his best when he stays back and sprays line drives to all fields. He has more power as a righthanded hitter and while he’ll probably always have below-average pop, he has room to fill out his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame and, when he does, he should start driving the ball with more authority. He is aggressive at the plate and there are concerns about how much he swings and misses. Jones has mostly played shortstop but this summer also saw time in center field. Observers preferred him in center field, where he runs down balls with ease and has a plus arm. His hands and infield actions will need work if he is to stay at shortstop. Even with some concerns about the rough edges of his game, Jones’ raw tools remain exciting.

  23. 23
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    Michael Toglia

    UCLA 1B/OF
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 200 | B-T: B-L
    Commit/Drafted: Rockies '16 (35)
    Scouting Report: Toglia was a well-regarded recruit coming out of the Washington prep ranks, and he’s built a solid track record for hitting throughout his college career. Listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Toglia has a big, projectable frame and is a switch hitter. He has an easy swing with natural loft, and when he’s in sync his power comes easily. He’s a patient hitter, sometimes to a fault, and his power comes with a fair amount of swing and miss. Toglia has mostly played first base over the last year and he has the ability to become an above-average defender at the position. He also has experience as a corner outfielder and he could play left field in pro ball, but his range is limited in the outfield.

  24. 24
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    Zack Hess

    Louisiana State RHP
    Video
    Notes:

    Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 216 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Braves '18 (34)
    Scouting Report: Hess transitioned to the starting rotation this spring with Louisiana State, but didn’t have the results he was looking for. After striking out 12.3 batters per nine with a 3.12 ERA as a freshman out of the bullpen, Hess’ strikeout rate dropped to 10.4 and his ERA surged to 5.05 this spring as a starter. Because of that—and his pronounced head whack—scouts believe he’ll be a reliever at the next level, which is why he lasted until the 34th round as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2018. With a low- to mid-90s fastball and a low-80s slider with sharp bite, the 6-foot-6 righthander could be a weapon out of the bullpen. He did look much better this summer with the Collegiate National Team, however, showing both improved command and noticeable progress with a low-80s changeup.

  25. 25
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    Notes:

    Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 215 | B-T: R-R
    Commit/Drafted: Mariners '16 (32)
    Scouting Report: A first team All-Pac-12 selection after a second consecutive strong year on the mound for the Ducks—while also transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation—Yovan has been a two-way player with Oregon but is a better pro prospect as a pitcher. A 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander, Yovan has an athletic delivery with a long stride as well as a handful of solid pitches, headlined by an above-average low-90s fastball that he locates well to both sides of the plate. His trio of secondary offerings grade out as average, but include a curveball, slider and changeup. Scouts are excited to see what Yovan looks like as a full-time starter this spring after his successful transition from the bullpen in 2018, and they believe he has the size, athleticism and pitchability to handle the role, though his stuff ticks up out of the bullpen. Most teams are also optimistic he’ll take additional steps forward on the mound when he puts down the bat for good.

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