9 Standout Underclass MLB Draft Prospects From Jupiter
JUPITER, Fla. — The 23rd annual Perfect Game WWBA World Championship was held last week at Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training facility for the Marlins and Cardinals.
On Friday, we examined 36 high schoolers in the upcoming MLB Draft class who caught scouts' attention.
Today, we're turning our attention to the underclassmen that most impressed in a crowded, talented field.
Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoore HS, Flossmoor, Ill. (2023)
Travel Team: MLB Breakthrough Series 2022
While Head went just 3-for-16 (.188) in six games during Jupiter, he flashed a handful of tools during MLB Breakthrough Series’ first game of the tournament, going 2-for-2 with a home run to right field and a sharp single the other way to left. After showing power and solid ability to use the entire field, Head showed plus running ability on the bases, stealing second quickly after reaching on his single. In center field, he also showed off a strong arm that looked plus on a throw from center to third base, creating a close play out of what initially looked like a routine tag up from the baserunner. Head is listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds and has a lean, wiry frame with a simple setup and direct swing path. Given the tools he flashed in just one game, he’ll certainly be a name to watch out for in the 2023 class.
Justin Best, OF, Combine Academy, Lincolnton, N.C. (2023)
Travel Team: 3N2 Sticks Baseball - Brewster
Commitment: Florida State
Best is currently ranked as the No. 45 high school prospect in the 2023 class, and went 6-for-11 (.545) with a triple, a double and four walks in Jupiter for 3N2 Sticks. Best is a lefthanded-hitting outfielder with a 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame that’s lean and strong now, with plenty of physical projection remaining. He looks like a player who will grow into solid strength and power in the future, and he already showed an advanced approach at the plate. His most impressive at-bat was an 11-pitch walk, where Best got down in a 1-2 count and proceeded to foul off five pitches before working the count full and eventually taking his free pass to first. While he has some strength, Best clearly utilizes a two-strike approach and showed the vision to lay off borderline fastballs off the plate and spit on offspeed offerings in the dirt.
Chase Mobley, RHP, Plant City (Fla.) HS (2024)
Travel Team: Canes Prospects
Commitment: Florida State
Remember Chase Mobley’s name because he showed some of the better current stuff and physique of any pitcher at Jupiter, despite being 15 years old and a member of the 2024 draft class. Mobley took the start for Canes Prospects in a great matchup against lefthander Oliver Santos and BPA, and threw five shutout innings, while allowing two hits, striking out five and throwing 67% of his pitches for strikes. Mobley has a fantastic pitcher’s frame, at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds with plenty of room for more weight and strength in the future. His arm is extremely loose and easy, though he does have some length and hooking action in the back of his arm stroke. He touched 93 mph in the third inning, but sat around 89-92, with a curveball in the lower-to-mid 70s and a 78-80 mph changeup. The change is well ahead of his breaking ball for now, with impressive depth and tumble and low spin rates in the 1,100-1,200 rpm range. Mobley didn’t show a sharp breaking ball—he would slow his arm speed down on the pitch and it came in with lazy spin and lacked sharp, late bite but the shape was solid and could be improved with more power and confidence in the future. This outing showed a pitcher with a lower spin profile overall, but he has lots of positive indicators between his frame, extremely loose delivery, athleticism fielding his position and current velocity and feel for his changeup.
John Walsh, RHP, Alexandria (La.) HS (2023)
Travel Team: Knights Knation/Dodgers Scout Team
Walsh started for Knights Knation against MVP Beast 2022 on the third day of Jupiter, and after coming out of the gate a bit scattered, settled down and found the strike zone in his next two innings. He threw three total frames and struck out four batters, while walking a pair and allowing one hit and one run. Walsh doesn’t have a ton of physical projection, with a solid frame listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, but he showed good arm speed and a fairly loose and fluid arm action out of a quick, up-tempo delivery. He worked a pair of 1-2-3 innings in the second and third with a fastball that was in the 88-90 mph range and got whiffs up in the zone. The pitch generated more swings and misses than velocity alone would suggest, and he also threw a 78-79 mph changeup with confidence and arm speed that was a swing-and-miss offering to lefthanded hitters. The pitch featured solid tumbling action and was ahead of a 74-80 mph curveball that presently had a lazy, rolling break and backed up on his arm side.
Zander Mueth, RHP, Belleville (Ill.) East HS (2023)
Travel Team: Reds Scout Team
Mueth was a heavily talked-about underclass arm who took the ball for the Reds Scout team on day three and threw three no-hit innings while striking out three and walking none. He has a tall and lanky, 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame and ran his heater up to 95 mph with a lengthy and loose arm action. Mueth delivers the ball from a lower, three-quarter slot and also shows a 79-80 mph slider that has potential with solid biting action at times. He’s currently ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the 2023 class and already having been up to the mid 90s consistently, could throw incredibly hard in a year’s time.
Travis Sykora, SS/RHP, Round Rock (Texas) HS (2023)
Travel Team: Premier Baseball Scout Team
Sykora showed some of the most impressive arm talent of Jupiter on the fourth day of the event, hopping on the mound to face just one batter in relief, but pumping 96-97 mph fastballs in his brief stint. He has an extra-large frame and is listed at 6-foot-5, 217 pounds and works with a short arm action, three-quarter slot, high leg kick and some effort. While Sykora moves reasonably well on the mound, he looked even better as an athlete while handling shortstop responsibilities for the majority of the game. Despite his size, Sykora made several impressive body control plays at the position, and unsurprisingly showed an impressive arm while throwing across the diamond. He didn’t do much with the bat in this look—and swung and missed on a few fastballs in on his hands—but given his size it wouldn’t be a surprise to see big power potential out of his righthanded bat as well. Sykora ranks as the No. 19 prospect in the 2023 prep class and committed to Texas shortly after Jupiter.
Dylan Questad, RHP, Waterford (Wisc.) HS (2023)
Travel Team: FTB/Philadelphia Phillies Scout Team 2022
Questad is a short righthander committed to Arkansas who showed an easy delivery and a swing-and-miss changeup. While not the biggest pitcher—listed at 6-foot, 192 pounds—Questad had an ease to his operation, with a simple delivery, smooth arm action, three-quarter slot and in-line finish directly to the plate. He touched 93 mph with his fastball but mostly pitched in the 90-92 mph range, with some running life on the pitch. Questad will need to improve the power and shape of his breaking ball, a 78-79 mph bender that hangs up at times and rolls out of his hand, but his 81-82 mph changeup consistently generated whiffs and was thrown with excellent arm speed.
Chance Mako, RHP, East Rowan HS, Salisbury, N.C. (2023)
Travel Team: South Charlotte Panthers 2022
Commitment: North Carolina State
Mako ranks as the No. 47 prep prospect in the 2023 class and showed solid stuff in a two-inning, no-hit effort for South Charlotte Panthers on the fourth day of Jupiter. He ran his fastball up to 93 mph, sat in the 89-91 mph range and struck out four batters while walking just two. Mako has an ultra-projectable frame at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds and already throws with impressive arm speed, though there is plenty of effort and recoil in his delivery. In addition to his fastball, Mako showed a 79-80 mph slider that has some potential with solid tilt presently.
Arjun Nimmala, 2B, Strawberry Crest HS, Dover, Fla. (2023)
Travel Team: Ostingers Baseball Academy 2022
Commitment: Florida State
Nimmala has stood out for his offensive potential and ability to drive the ball as one of the younger players in the 2023 class, but his defensive ability was what impressed during Ostingers’ championship matchup against the Dirtbags Scout Team. Sure, Nimmala was responsible for the game-winning, walkoff single up the middle that secured Ostingers’ championship, but they remained in the game in no small part thanks to his consistent defensive work at second base. He was the turn man on a pair of 6-4-3 double plays that got the team out of potential binds, and he also showed confidence moving to both his fore hand and back hand on solidly hit ground balls, with consistent and confident throws throughout the game. Nimmala ranks as the No. 13 prep player in the 2023 class.