Top Prospects In Tennessee
1. Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS (BA Rank: 16)
HS • 6-2 • 210 • R-L •
The son of 19-year major league veteran David Weathers, Ryan is an advanced lefthanded pitcher out of Tennessee who offers a high floor for a prep arm. Weathers has three pitches that are at least average with a fastball, curveball and changeup. Scouts had to wait for a chance to see him this spring as Weathers is also a high-level basketball player and helped lead Lorretto High to its first ever state championship this season. When he did take the mound, Weathers pitched with a low-90s fastball that got up to 95 mph at its best with a curveball that appeared to be a tick better than it was last summer. Some scouts have put a 60-grade on the mid-70s breaking ball this spring after it was more 50-55 during the showcase circuit and with USA Baseball’s 18U team. He can also turn to an average changeup when he needs it as well. Weathers spots all of his pitches effectively—some evaluators believe he can develop future plus command—and his fastball plays up with heavy sinking action as well. With major league bloodlines and a well-rounded arsenal, Weathers figures to be a middle of the first-round pick, though he’ll need to maintain his body as he develops.
2. Ryder Green, OF, Knoxville Christian Academy (BA Rank: 98)
HS • 6-2 • 205 • R-R •
The top Tennessee prospect after lefthander Ryan Weathers, Green is a strong, toolsy outfielder committed to Vanderbilt who has a chance to go among the first few rounds because of his exceptional power potential. He hit several long home runs at big events including the East Coast Pro showcase last summer and hit with a wood bat throughout the spring with double-digit home runs as well. He also brings a strong throwing arm to the table. A solid runner, some scouts give him a plus grade on his speed, while others think solid-average is more accurate. Green will likely move to a corner outfield spot in the future but has played shortstop and third base in the past, as well as center field. His reads and route running need work, but he has the athleticism and arm to become a solid defender. The biggest question with Green will be the swing-and-miss tendencies he showed last summer, using an all-or-nothing swing at times. There’s some rawness to iron out of Green’s game, but he is among the best righthanded-hitting power hitters in the high school class.
3. Reid Schaller, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 152)
4YR • DE-So. • 6-3 • 210 • R-R •
Schaller missed last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, returning healthy this spring as a redshirt freshman. He came out firing, running his fastball up to 99 mph. Schaller has a fast arm and produces big velocity, consistently sitting 94-97 out of the bullpen. His slider is his main secondary offering and flashes above-average potential but hasn’t been consistent. He also has a seldom-used changeup. He throws his fastball for strikes and works it to both sides of the plate. Schaller, listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, is the rare draft-eligible freshman. His high-effort delivery and arm action mean he will likely stay in the bullpen in pro ball.
4. Zach Linginfelter, RHP, Tennessee (BA Rank: 166)
4YR • 6-5 • 215 • L-R •
Linginfelter has bounced back and forth between the bullpen and rotation for Tennessee, but when he’s repeating his somewhat energetic delivery, he can dominate. He did just that in a late-season start against Missouri, when he struck out 14 in seven innings. Linginfelter’s 92-97 mph fastball is explosive enough to overpower hitters. It has good late life and some arm-side run. He’ll also mix in an average breaking ball at times. But at other times the velocity tails off, largely because of delivery issues, the fastball straightens out and he struggles to find the strike zone. Linginfelter’s below-average control did improve as the season wore on and his final numbers (3-4, 3.93 with 71 strikeouts and 38 walks in 55 innings) could entice a team to pay the draft-eligible sophomore. It’s more likely than not he’ll make it back to Tennessee for one more year. With some more refinement, he could go much higher in next year’s draft.
5. Patrick Raby, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 190)
4YR • 6-3 • 235 • R-R •
Despite three successful years of starting in the Southeastern Conference—including one full spring as Vanderbilt's Friday starter—Raby is not the caliber of prospect as past Vandy aces such as Tyler Beede or Carson Fulmer. Raby's best attributes are his sturdy, 6-foot-3, 230-pound starter's frame, his above-average command and his pitcher's IQ. He does a lot of little things well on the mound, but in terms of pure stuff, the righthander is lacking. While never a flamethrower, Raby's fastball velocity has dipped this year from 88-92 mph to sitting primarily in the upper 80s, and neither his low-80s changeup nor mid-70s curveball project to be better than average. With fringy stuff across the board, Raby doesn't have a high ceiling, but he's a safe college righthander with a workhorse frame and a strike-throwing ability that gives him the chance to stick as a fifth starter or bullpen swing man.
6. Ethan Smith, RHP, Mount Juliet (Tenn.) HS (BA Rank: 210)
HS • 6-3 • 200 • R-R •
Smith is a relatively polished high school righthander with enough fastball (90-93 mph), an average slider and advanced control for his age. He likes to mess with hitters’ timing by varying the pace of his delivery and he’s shown plenty of feel for setting up and staying ahead of hitters. However, the Vanderbilt signee doesn’t have much projection left and at 19-years-old, he’s old for the draft class. Scouts might prefer to wait two years and see how he fares at Vanderbilt before cutting him a big check.
7. Connor Kaiser, SS, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 211)
4YR • Jr. • 6-4 • 205 • R-R •
There’s nothing flashy about Kaiser, but he’s a reliable shortstop who has average range and an above-average arm with a long track record of modest success while playing in the Southeastern Conference, which makes him a useful day two pick. Kaiser has a good frame with solid strength. He has the swing of a power hitter with a large load and a big leg kick to shift his weight. But the balls leaving the bat are more frequently ground balls and line drives than big flies. He had three home runs at the end of the regular season to go with a .284/.388/.402 stat line. He was also productive in the Cape Cod League last summer (.300/.403/.470).
8. Jonathan Bowlan, RHP, Memphis (BA Rank: 230)
4YR • Jr. • 6-6 • 237 • R-R •
Bowlan is a massive, 6-foot-6, 260-pound righthander who went from being a part-time starter/reliever as a sophomore to a weekend starter as a junior. He’s pitched better than his 2-9, 3.71 record would indicate. He’s allowed 93 hits in 85 innings, but he’s only walked 18 while striking out 104. His stuff has stayed firm as a starter and he sits 91-94 and touches 95 with a three-pitch mix while carrying that velocity deep into games. His changeup and slider are both below-average pitches right now, but they flash potential to be at least average offerings eventually. Bowlan has the frame to be a durable back-end starter and unlike a lot of big-boned pitchers, he already has solid body control and above-average control for his age.
9. Ethan Paul, INF, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: 324)
4YR • 5-10 • 185 • L-R •
Paul, a Washington native, has been a regular in Vanderbilt’s lineup since arriving on campus. The lefthanded hitter has a compact swing and produces more power than his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame suggests. But his profile is almost entirely tied up in his hitability and this spring he’s scuffled offensively. There’s a lot of swing and miss in his game and he doesn’t offer above-average speed or power. Paul is limited to second base, where he is a solid defender. He’s a heady player with good instincts that help his tools play up, but he’ll have to close some of the holes in his game to be an everyday player at the next level.
10. Andy Rivera, RHP, Middle Tennessee State (BA Rank: 427)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 210 • R-R •
Rivera threw just five innings in 2018 after having an emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his bicep following his second start of the season. The top prospect from the South Florida Collegiate League in 2017, Rivera has shown immense upside when healthy. He throws a fastball in the low to mid-90s that has exceptional running life thanks to a low three-quarter arm slot. In addition to his fastball, Rivera uses a 79-82 mph slurvy breaking ball that has flashed above-average and a firm, fading changeup in the mid- to upper 80s. Rivera was touching 96 mph this spring before his injury forced him to miss the remainder of the season. It’s unclear if teams have seen enough from him to take a shot on Rivera high in the draft, but the pure stuff is certainly there.
11. Hunter Wolfe, SS, Walters State (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: 432)
JC • R-So. • 6-0 • 185 • R-R •
Wolfe turned down decent money from the Pirates as a 12th-round pick last year. He hit .429/.536/.679 for Walters State (Tenn.) JC this year with more walks than strikeouts and 39 steals in 43 attempts. He’s a toolsy shortstop with plus speed, a plus—if sometimes scattershot—arm and his swing works relatively well. His hands may not fit at shortstop long-term, but there’s enough tools to be a useful second or third baseman in pro ball.
12. Alex Hayes, RHP, Walters State (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-3 • 205 • R-R •
Haynes has plenty of arm strength with a fastball that touches 94-95 mph. He dominated out of the pen for Walters State this season, striking out 54 and walking 12 in 33.2 innings. He went 5-0, 2.67.
13. Reed Schaller, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • R-Fr. • 6-3 • 210 • R-R •
Schaller has plenty of effort and missed all of 2017 with an arm injury, but he has a plus fastball that has touched 96-97 mph at its best. His secondaries are less advanced, but he has premium velocity and does with modest effort.
14. Stephen Scott, OF/C, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-11 • 190 • L-R •
Scott's ability to catch (he's split time there and in the outfield) and a late-season power surge (six home runs in an eight-game span) that pushed him to a team-best 12 home runs and a .250/.403/.569 slash line helped his draft stock. He's coming off the heels of a strong summer with a wood bat that could push him into Day 3.
15. Chandler Day, RHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-5 • 180 • R-R •
Day's fastball has never progressed as scouts had hoped when he was in high school. But he does still touch 93-94 mph in glimpses although it quickly tails off to 88-90. He's had some success this year (1-1, 3.41 with 44 strikeouts in 34.1 innings).
16. Chase Chambers, 1B, Tennessee Tech (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-1 • 250 • L-L •
Chambers is a massive lefthanded-hitting first baseman who hit .400/.498/.652 this year with 15 home runs, making him a possible senior sign.
17. Hayden Lehman, RHP, Walters State (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-1 • 205 • R-R •
Lehman is a thick-bodied righthander who has struck out 119 in 86.2 innings while going 13-3, 4.47. He sits 89-93 mph with a potentially average breaking ball.
18. Austin Henry, 2B, Walters State (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • RS-So. • 6-0 • 200 • R-R •
Henry hits a ton of line drives with a less-than-ideal swing. He's a below-average runner but has shown he can be a fringe-average second baseman.
19. Paxton Stover, LHP, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 5-11 • 190 • L-L •
Stover is a lefty senior sign who sits in the high 80s.
20. Tate Kolwyck, SS, Arlington (Tenn.) HS, (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-0 • 190 • R-R •
A high school quarterback as well as a shortstop, Kolwyck has some athleticism and feel for the game. He swings and misses too much, but there is real power potential in his bat.
21. Alonzo Jones, 2B/OF, Vanderbilt (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-10 • 195 • B-R •
Jones was seen as one of the better prep bats in the 2015 draft, but three years later, he's failed to hit as a Commodore. He missed most of May with an oblique injury and was hitting .236/.328/.382. Teams who loved him coming out of high school may still be interested and he's still a plus runner, but his draft stock is significantly lower than it was three years ago.
22. Dylan King, RHP, Belmont (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-4 • 215 • R-R •
King impressed in the Cape Cod League last summer, where he touched 96, but he missed almost the entire season with Tommy John surgery.
23. Duncan Pence, 3B, Walters State (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-3 • 200 • R-R •
Pence seemed like a star when he was a high school sophomore but his tools haven't developed as fast or as far as expected since then. He hit .383/.454/.694 with 14 home runs for Walters State this season.
24. Andrew Benefield, SS, Siegel HS, Murfressboro, Tenn. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-3 • 200 • R-R •
Benefield has strength in his swing but will have to move from shortstop eventually.
25. Andrew Swanson, OF, Dyersburg (Tenn.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-4 • 220 • R-R •
Swanson has a pro build and plus speed. But after hitting .360 with 15 home runs as a freshman, he slumped to .291 with four home runs this season.
26. Kevin Stroschein, OF, Tennessee Tech (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. •