The Top MLB Draft Prospects In Florida
1. Brady Singer, RHP, Florida (BA Rank: 4)
4YR • 6-5 • 180 • R-R • Blue Jays '15 (2)
The latest in a developing tradition of talented Florida starting pitchers is righthander Brady Singer, who was one of the earliest players to establish himself at the top of the 2018 draft class with one of the most spotless track records in the country. Singer has a long history of success in the SEC and has improved—at least statistically—every season. After getting just one start as a freshman in 2016, Singer moved into a prominent role in Florida’s rotation in 2017 alongside Alex Faedo (who was taken No. 18 by the Tigers in the 2017 draft). As a sophomore, Singer led the Gators with 126 innings, posted a 3.21 ERA over 19 starts and struck out 21 batters in two starts during the 2017 College World Series, which Florida won. Even before Singer’s time in Gainesville, he was a prominent draft prospect, ranking as the No. 54 prospect on the 2015 BA 500. He was selected by the Blue Jays with the 56th pick of the MLB Draft but didn’t sign. Now, he’ll have a chance to go much higher as a starting pitcher with a strong track record and two plus pitches. Singer’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s with impressive natural movement and he also has a sharp slider that has been a weapon for him in the past. Singer’s slider can be inconsistent at times, however, because of his low arm slot, which is a point of concern for some evaluators. While Singer doesn’t throw many changeups currently, scouts think he has the ability to develop at least an average changeup in pro ball, when he would be able to throw it more frequently. Teams more skeptical of Singer will see a two-pitch starter with a concerning arm slot that might lead to the bullpen, while less critical scouting departments might see a potential middle-of-the-rotation arm who has impressive strike-throwing ability and more high-level track record than any pitcher in a deep 2018 class.
2. Jonathan India, 3B, Florida (BA Rank: 6)
4YR • 6-0 • 185 • R-R • Brewers '15 (26)
Scouts have admired the way India plays the game and his overall package of tools since he was a standout shortstop at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla. India was ranked as the No. 82 player in the 2015 class, but after the Brewers drafted him in the 26th round he made his way to Gainesville. India was solid, but unspectacular, in his first two season with the Gators, missing some time with injury during his sophomore campaign in which he hit 274/.354/.429 with 23 strikeouts and 42 walks. He’s improved his draft stock substantially this spring, hitting .420/.551/.840 with 13 home runs and more walks (34) than strikeouts (30) through his first 40 games. He is among the nation’s top-10 hitters in each triple-slash category and scouts have been extremely happy to see his raw power translate more into games this year. His ultimate role will depend on his defensive position. He played a decent amount of innings at shortstop early this year, but most of his time with Florida has been at third base, where he has solid hands and an average arm. He’s likely a third baseman or a second baseman at the next level, with the flexibility to move to shortstop in a pinch or for a team that doesn’t prioritize shortstop defense. If third base is the destination, he has more than enough bat to profile there, especially if this year’s power display is here to stay.
3. Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida (BA Rank: 8)
4YR • Rs.-So. • 6-2 • 188 • L-L • Mets '15 (26)
The top college lefthander in the 2018 draft class, McClanahan possesses some of the best raw stuff of any draft-eligible player in the country led by a fastball that can reach 100 mph. That number would have seemed absurd after seeing McClanahan prior to his senior season at Cape Coral (Fla.) High, when he was throwing a mid-80s fastball. But McClanahan went through a massive growth spurt around that time, going from 5-foot-6 to the 6-foot-2 he’s currently listed at and touched 94 mph at times during the spring of 2015. Three years later, and through his first 10 starts of the 2018 season with South Florida, McClanahan is regularly in the mid- to upper 90s with his fastball and has used that pitch to help him lead the country in strikeouts per nine innings (15.02), with 94 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. At just 188 pounds with a lean frame that could still add more weight, McClanahan doesn’t get that sort of velocity with a huge, muscular build but instead with a lightning quick arm out of a low, three-quarter slot in a delivery that some scouts describe as high-effort. In addition to his fastball, McClanahan has a mid-80s changeup and a slider, both of which project as plus pitches down the line although the changeup is currently more consistent than the breaking ball. McClanahan isn’t without warts, however, as he already had Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him during the 2016 season, and is regularly erratic to the plate. McClanahan has a history of being more of a thrower than a pitcher at this point, with more than five walks per nine innings through his first 10 starts in 2018. Durability will be a question mark with McClanahan as well, as many college pitchers around him on draft boards have a much longer track record of performance and summer history. Still, the pure stuff he offers from the left side is a rare commodity and one that teams at the top of the first round will likely pounce at given the opportunity this June. McClanahan offers the potential of a top-of-the-rotation southpaw if everything breaks right and he improves his control and command. Assuming good health, a worst-case scenario for McClanahan would likely be taking on the role of a shutdown reliever.
4. Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne, Fla. (BA Rank: 9)
HS • 6-6 • 200 • R-R • Mississippi State
Over the summer, Stewart was known almost exclusively for his otherworldly curveball, which was a 70-grade offering at the time and routinely registered spin rates above 3,000 revolutions per minute. Stewart’s curveball was so impressive, in fact, that TrackMan honored the righthander at the Perfect Game All-America Classic in San Diego and said his breaking ball was among the most impressive pitches the company has ever tracked, at any level. At 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, that performance alone was impressive. But this spring Stewart took a step forward, improving a fastball that once sat in the upper 80s to low 90s and has now reached 97-98 mph multiple times this spring, giving Stewart a chance at potentially two 70-grade pitches. On top of the stuff, Stewart brings impressive athleticism to the table and a good feel for the strike zone. Scouts have been impressed with how consistently Stewart is able to land his sweeping, low-80s breaker for a strike, especially considering the massive depth the pitch possesses. Stewart has also shown the ability to manipulate the offering depending on the situation. That sort of feel leaves some scouts projecting a changeup that could be at least average down the line. Stewart has thrown a changeup at times, but given his other offerings, he hasn’t needed to use a third pitch enough to give scouts much of a feel for it. An impressive golfer as well, Stewart could have a collegiate future on the links, but his skill on the mound should prevent him from ever reaching Mississippi State’s campus in the first place.
5. Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida (BA Rank: 17)
4YR • 6-4 • 170 • R-R • Tigers '15 (40)
Kowar would be the Friday night starter at almost any other school in the country, but instead serves as Florida’s “1b” starter behind righthander Brady Singer. Kowar was a top high school prospect coming out of North Carolina in 2015, ranking No. 99 on the BA 500, but was seen as a tough sign and made it to Gainesville after the Tigers selected him in the 40th round. A 6-foot-6, 185-pound righthander, Kowar has improved every year with Florida and has an ideal frame with plenty of room to add more weight. Kowar has a clean arm action that he uses to throw a low to mid-90s fastball and a changeup that is currently a 60-grade offering. He is comfortable using his changeup against both righties and lefties, as the pitch has terrific fading action with fastball arm speed and routinely comes across in the low 80s. Kowar’s breaking ball is behind his fastball and changeup. He tinkered with a slider in the fall prior to the 2018 season, but scrapped the pitch and reverted to a curveball that ranges from the mid- to upper 70s with three-quarter breaking action that occasionally has good depth and shows signs of a third average pitch. The curveball has been too inconsistent for area scouts to throw an average grade on it currently, as it tends to blend into a sluvry offering when he gets on the side of the pitch. But teams who have seen it at its best might believe he can eventually figure it out and add a third average pitch to his repertoire. Kowar has a few medical concerns in his past, as he’s dealt with multiple collapsed lungs, one of which caused him to miss the second half of his freshman season. Given his current stuff and the projection he still has with a lanky and athletic body, in addition to his developing SEC track record, he should give Florida a second first-round pitcher selected and there are teams who prefer Kowar to his rotation mate.
6. Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson (BA Rank: 19)
4YR • 6-6 • 225 • R-R • Never Drafted
Gilbert made a name for himself with an impressive showing in the Cape Cod League last summer, with a 1.72 ERA and 31 strikeouts to just four walks. He was also the Atlantic Sun pitcher of the year after a sophomore season at Stetson in which he went 10-0, 2.02 with 107 strikeouts and 26 walks. Looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Stetson alumni Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber, Gilbert has the size at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds to potentially become a future workhorse in a major league rotation. His stuff hasn’t been quite as good for scouts this spring as it was during the summer, when he was regularly in the mid-90s with a heavy, power fastball. The pitch still has good life and downward action, but it’s been regularly in the low 90s throughout his outings and his breaking balls—Gilbert throws a spike-grip curveball and a slider—haven’t been sharp enough for scouts to grade out as above-average or plus. While the stuff hasn’t been quite as loud, the results for Gilbert are still there, as he strikes out batters in spades (he had 101 strikeouts in 70 innings through his first 10 starts) and has improved his strike throwing as well. Even with the velocity sitting in the low 90s, Gilbert’s fastball plays up thanks to its action and the elite extension tGilbert gets in his delivery, which is likely above the current major league average. A team that takes Gilbert will have to hope he can improve his secondaries if they envision a frontline starter down the line. He’s shown flashes of above-average breaking balls in the past, but a 60-grade fastball that could be a plus-plus offering with returned velocity is the main selling point for the big righthander.
7. Mason Denaburg, RHP/C, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 22)
HS • 6-3 • 190 • R-R • Florida
Perhaps the most athletic pitcher in the class, Denaburg was one of the harder-throwing high school arms during the summer showcase season in 2017, touching 97 mph in short stints and serving as a reliever for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team. A former two-way player, Denaburg would be a legitimate pro prospect as a catcher with a strong throwing arm and raw power with the bat. However, his stuff on the mound is too intriguing for pro teams to keep him in gear and Denaburg scrapped catching this spring with Merritt Island (Fla.) High to focus on improving as a pitcher. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander made a big jump after his first start of the season, when he matched up with Eau Gallie High (Melbourne, Fla.) righthander Carter Stewart in a highly-attended Prep Baseball Report tournament. In that game, Denaburg touched 97 mph in the first inning and settled into the low 90s, regularly touching 94 mph while also showing a much-improved curveball in the upper 70s that looked like a plus pitch. Over the summer, Denaburg was extremely fastball-heavy and scouts couldn’t get a good feel for his secondary offerings. The breaking ball that he showed in February gave scouts a reason to get excited. He threw a hard slider with a spike grip during the summer, but discovered a different grip when throwing bullpens and flat ground sessions during the offseason. Denaburg also throws an occasional low-80s changeup that shows promise. After the PBR event, Denaburg was more inconsistent and eventually shut things down altogether with biceps tendinitis that has caused him to miss approximately one month. The status of that injury will further complicate things as teams try to decide whether he is best served as a starter or a reliever long term, although his arm strength, athleticism and feel for spin give him a ceiling as a middle-of-the-rotation arm.
8. Connor Scott, OF/LHP, Plant HS, Tampa (BA Rank: 23)
HS • 6-4 • 180 • L-L • Florida
Scott draws some comparisons to current top Astros outfield prospect Kyle Tucker, who attended the same Plant HS in Tampa that Scott currently attends. Scott and Tucker have comparable swing paths and similar 6-foot-4, 180-pound frames, as well as the speed and athleticism that allow them both the be strong defensive outfielders. Scott wasn’t seen as much as scouts would have like on the summer showcase circuit, however, as he had his appendix removed and was forced to watch a few of the bigger showcases rather than take part. He got back on the field in the fall and started getting into a rhythm before impressing scouts during the spring, as he grew into more power and performed in front of a front office personnel in Florida who didn’t need to travel far from spring training facilities to see him. A toolsy player, Scott is at least a plus runner, with many evaluators throwing a double-plus grade on his speed to go along with a plus arm. There are questions whether he’ll be able to stay in center field or need to move to a corner as he continues to add weight, but he has enough arm strength for any outfield position. In fact, some scouts prefer Scott on the mound, where he’s in the low 90s as a lefthanded pitcher who fills up the strike zone and also has feel to spin a curveball and throw a changeup. Most teams appear to prefer the upside he offers as a potential impact hitter, however, with his speed and developing power leading to an intriguing all-around package. But having a fallback option as a pitcher should only help Scott’s draft stock. Some teams look at Scott as a no-doubt first rounder, while others see him going in the supplemental first round or later, and his lack of summer track record likely plays into that division.
9. Triston Casas, 1B/3B, American Heritage School, Plantation, Fla. (BA Rank: 25)
HS • 6-4 • 238 • L-R • Miami
One of the top power-hitting players in the class, Casas has established an impressive track record as a corner infielder who was originally supposed to be in the 2019 draft class before reclassifying to become eligible this June. A two-time member of USA Baseball’s 18U National Team, Casas was named the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s player of the year in 2017, after leading the U-18 World Cup field with three home runs and 13 RBI, pushing Team USA to a gold-medal victory over Korea. He was also named the MVP of the tournament. Casas has 70-grade raw power out of a 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame that he has maintained well over the offseason, and he might be a bit lighter now after trimming up prior to his final season with American Heritage High in Plantation, Fla. His power plays to all fields, and Casas has enough to drive balls out of the park even when he doesn’t make solid contact. The Miami commit has a patient, selective approach at the plate and was among the more difficult player to pitch to on the summer showcase circuit according to a number of pitchers, although he has shown some of the swing-and-miss tendencies that can coincide with long arms. A surprisingly good athlete for his size, Casas has plus arm strength, which gives him an outside shot to play third base, where he plays for American Heritage. Most scouts believe he’ll inevitably slide to first base, however, which is a tough position to draft out of high school. But it is also challenging to find a hitter in the draft class with a better combination of hitting ability, plate discipline, power and track record against quality arms than Casas provides.
10. Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy (BA Rank: 28)
HS • 6-1 • 190 • B-R • Florida Stata
De Sedas has become one of the most polarizing players in the 2018 class due to a spring season that has been much worse than scouts were hoping to see. A switch-hitting shortstop who naturally swings from the right side, De Sedas showed all of the tools that gave him a chance to go in the top of the first round over the summer, with power from both sides, advanced defensive actions and plus arm strength. The hit tool was always the biggest question with De Sedas, who attends the same Montverde (Fla.) Academy that his idol, Francisco Lindor, attended. The reports of his swing this spring have not been encouraging, as the physical Florida State commit has length to his swing from both sides and tends to get loopy at times, with poor timing and fewer adjustments than evaluators want to see. There is some hope that he figures it out, as he has mainly been hitting from the left side this spring and has been doing that for only about two years. De Sedas showed more than enough for teams to buy into him as a legit switch-hitter with plus power from either side last summer. There’s also the concern that De Sedas will outgrow shortstop, as his body is already filled out and he’s a below-average runner. The footwork, throwing ability and glove actions are all there to give him a chance to be an above-average defender at the position, but he’ll have to maintain his body to do so. There’s real risk with De Sedas given his spring play, but there are also few infielders with higher upside than him given his raw power from both sides and the chance to stick at shortstop.
11. Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep, Coconut Creek, Fla. (BA Rank: 43)
HS • 5-10 • 155 • B-R • Vanderbilt
Pound for pound, Edwards might be the most skilled player in the class. The problem is that he’s just 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds. A twitchy, switch-hitting infielder, Edwards possesses some of the quickest hands and footwork in the class, turning the double play from shortstop and second base with aplomb. A true, top of the scale runner, Edwards has more than enough range to handle shortstop, but scouts are mixed on whether he has the arm strength to stick at the position, with grades ranging from fringe-average to average. He makes the most of what he has, taking good angles on balls, cutting down ground and using his advanced footwork to put him in ideal throwing positions. He has the athleticism and instincts to make throws from multiple angles and a quick exchange. His speed also plays well on the bases, where he is an aggressive runner. He’s been clocked regularly in the 3.9-second range from the lefthanded batter’s box to first base—good enough for an 80-grade time—and his hand-eye coordination and quick, simple swing gives him great barrel control. He has good feel to hit from both sides of the plate and should hit for a high average when factoring in his speed, although his power is well below-average with little reason to project more. Power and size won’t ever be in Edwards’ favor, but he is a player who can impact the game on offense and defense because of his speed and the chance to be an above-average defender at a premium position.
12. Tyler Frank, SS/2B, Florida Atlantic (BA Rank: 67)
4YR • 6-0 • 185 • R-R • Never Drafted
Frank was prep teammates with Jonathan India and Lucius Fox, forming one of the best high school infields ever. Frank has gone on to find success at Florida Atlantic, where he has been an indispensable player since arriving on campus. He moved behind the plate as a freshman to fill a hole when FAU’s starting catcher was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and as a sophomore moved back to his natural shortstop. After a strong season, he became the first Owl since 2005 to be invited to USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and became a regular for the team, playing third base and left field. Frank is a steady hitter with a mature approach at the plate. He makes consistent contact and has solid raw power that presently plays as doubles pop and should turn into more homers in time. He is a fringy runner. Frank’s versatility helps his profile and he can play nearly anywhere on the diamond. He fits best as an offensive second baseman, but could also end up as a super-utility player.
13. Elijah Cabell, OF, TNXL Academy, Altamonte Springs, Fla. (BA Rank: 70)
HS • 6-2 • 190 • R-R • Louisiana State
A Louisiana State commit playing for TNXL Academy in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Cabell is one of the many high-upside prep outfielders in the 2018 class, with some loud tools but also questions about his plate discipline and feel to hit. With plus raw power, plus speed and a plus arm, Cabell has three tools that garner immediate attention. But depending on when evaluators saw him over the summer and in the spring, they could walk away with vastly different opinions on what sort of player he will wind up being. Cabell’s batting practices are always solid, and he has impressive bat speed, loose wrists and strength that allows him to hit with authority to all fields, but he’ll swing and miss regularly in games. Some evaluators question not only his pitch selection but also his vision, which is a big concern. In the outfield, Cabell has the tools that might allow him to stick in center, but he will likely move to a corner as he continues to physically develop, where his arm—one of the strongest and most accurate in the high school class—should allow him to thrive. Where Cabell is drafted will ultimately depend on the quality of looks a specific team has with him, as he barreled high-end prep pitchers this spring and over the summer, but also looked overwhelmed at times against pitchers who scouts would label as non-prospects. During the Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C., Cabell had the second-highest average exit velocity of the event at 98.2 mph. He cuts himself off at times in his swing and gets uphill and steep, so if he’s able to get more direct to the ball in the future, his hit tool concerns might begin to subside and allow him to take advantage of his power more frequently.
14. Cole Sands, RHP, Florida State (BA Rank: 74)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 215 • R-R • Astros '15 (22)
Sands was drafted in the 22nd round by the Astros out of high school but unlike his older brother, Carson Sands, a Cubs minor leaguer, he opted not to sign and instead went on to play for his hometown Seminoles. Sands has spent his college career in Florida State’s rotation and this season moved to the front of the rotation after ace Tyler Holton was injured on Opening Day. Sands has compiled a solid college track record, including a strong performance in the Cape Cod League. Sands throws his fastball in the low 90s, reaching 95 mph with sinking action. He throws his sharp slider for strikes and he has improved his changeup into a viable third offering. Sands comes right after hitters and locates his fastball well. Listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Sands has good size and has been a reliable starter throughout his career. He missed two starts in April due to bicep tendonitis but returned to the mound in the season’s final month.
20. Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State (BA Rank: 78)
4YR • 6-3 • 205 • B-R • Never Drafted
A Clemson commit who shifted to Florida State when former Tigers head coach Jack Leggett departed, Raleigh made a loud first impression with the Seminoles in 2016. The thick-bodied switch-hitter slugged 10 homers and was a BA Freshman All-American that season, but he slipped considerably his sophomore year, batting just .227 and struggling at times defensively. Now in his third season, Raleigh has seemingly rebounded at the plate, with nine homers and a .313/.446/.534 slash line through 176 at-bats. Raleigh has above-average raw power, but his struggles as a sophomore and his lack of track record with a wood bat leave some scouts skeptical he'll be able to consistently tap into it. Raleigh is an average receiver with an average throwing arm. He projects to stick behind the plate at the next level, but his value is primarily tied to his power potential. While his stock isn't as high as it was in 2016, Raleigh's strong junior season has restored at least some of the confidence in his offensive skill set.
15. Slade Cecconi, RHP, Trinity Prep, Winter Park, Fla. (BA Rank: 79)
HS • 6-4 • 193 • R-R • Miami
The 6-foot-4 Miami commit has proven to be one of the biggest enigmas in the 2018 draft class for major league teams this spring. After several loud performances last summer at Perfect Game’s National Showcase and in USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars, Cecconi was thought by many scouts to be in the top tier of elite prep pitchers. He was up to 97 mph with a fastball that had power and natural heavy sinking action, a mid-80s slider with tight sweeping action that could be projected as a plus offering, a curveball with 11-to-5 shape in the 76-80 mph range and feel to mix in a changeup as well. With a fast, albeit slightly long, arm action, a frame that could add even more weight, an advanced mix of pitches and feel to spin the baseball, Cecconi showed all of the ingredients necessary to become a future top-of-the-rotation arm. Cecconi hasn’t been seen much this spring, however, as he dealt with a minor injury for much of the early weeks and was rumored to make his first start at USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational—though he didn’t pitch at that event, either. He’s thrown some bullpens for scouts later in the season, but teams have less off-the-field information on him than they would like after dealing with obstacles when trying to reach him in the offseason. Considering his odd spring and offseason, he might be ticketed to Coral Gables, where he could wind up being one of the best pitchers in college baseball and turn himself into a high-end first-round pick as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2020.
16. Raynel Delgado, 3B/SS, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale (BA Rank: 83)
HS • 6-2 • 195 • B-R • Florida International
A switch-hitting shortstop committed to Florida International, Delgado intrigues scouts thanks to his impressive bat, power from both sides and more feel to hit from either side than many young switch-hitters show at the same age. He’s already pretty physical, which allows him to hit for power in-game, and he’s shown that pop at big events like USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational in March. Defensively, he has smooth actions and impressive footwork that should give him a chance to stick at shortstop, but there are many scouts who believe his below-average speed will move him to another position, with third or second base being the most likely. He has the arm strength to handle third and his hands and footwork should be enough for second base as well. A team drafting him will be taking the bat though, with future plus power from both sides.
17. Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Fivay HS, Hudson, Fla. (BA Rank: 84)
HS • 6-4 • 210 • L-R • Mississippi
Hoglund had one of the most impressive spring seasons in a loaded state of Florida, impressing scouts and scouting directors alike with some of the best control of any high school player in the country. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Mississippi commit struck out 105 batters and walked just two through 10 starts, with both of his walks coming in his final game. Hoglund was known as an elite strike-thrower going back to his travel-ball days, but an uptick in his fastball velocity this spring rose him up draft boards significantly. He touched 96 mph multiple times and pitched throughout the spring in the 90-95 mph range, navigating the lower end of that range with extreme ease to his delivery. Scouts call Hoglund’s delivery one of the cleanest in the draft class, and he would be among the elite high school arms if his breaking ball were a bit sharper. The secondary offering tends to get long, but it has improved this spring and he can obviously land the pitch for strikes. Still, it’s currently hard to project the breaking ball as a plus pitch in the future. If Hoglund were to get to campus he could be an impact two-way player, as he has an impressive bat as well. But ultimately he should go in the first few rounds of the draft thanks to 60-grade future command—an extremely rare trait for a prep pitcher.
18. Blaze Alexander, SS, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (BA Rank: 85)
HS • 6-0 • 160 • R-R • South Carolina
His name is fitting, as Blaze Alexander is the hardest-throwing infielder in the 2018 class. He clocked a now-legendary 99 mph throw from shortstop to first base last summer during the Perfect Game National Showcase. Alexander, whose father, Chuck, played in the Indians organization from 1988-91, is a flashy shortstop who is capable of playing all over the infield thanks to his advanced internal clock, athleticism, body control, quick hands and obvious plus-plus arm strength. Most scouts say Alexander has a good chance to play shortstop at the next level, and he has the elite confidence to make it happen on top of all the physical tools. Offensively, Alexander has above-average or plus bat speed that leads to real pull power despite a smaller, 6-foot, 160-pound frame. He has twitchiness in the box and takes aggressive swings to get the most out of his power—leading to some swing and miss during the summer—but he made good adjustments in simplifying both his handset and his load this spring. Scouts are impressed with his ability to make adjustments in the box, but there are still some questions about the impact he’ll make down the line with the bat. He’s an average runner who is committed to South Carolina, and if he makes it to campus and develops a track record hitting in the SEC then he could become a first-round pick thanks to his elite defensive ability.
19. Lyon Richardson, RHP, Jensen Beach (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 91)
HS • 6-2 • 185 • B-R • Florida
An athletic two-way player who is committed to Florida, Richardson has shown explosive stuff on the mound this spring, getting his fastball into the 97-98 mph range. That sort of velocity has been inconsistent, however, as some scouts have also seen him in the 89-93 mph range, touching 94, with a breaking ball that’s fringy and in between the shape of a curveball and slider. On other days, he’ll pop those elite fastball velocities and also throw a plus, power curveball that lands in the low 80s. Because of his athleticism and pure stuff, he’ll get a look from some teams in the second round, but he doesn’t have the same track record or physical projection—he stands 6-foot-2, 185 pounds—as some of the other high-end high school arms in the class. He’s been hitting with a wood bat this spring and could be a dynamic two-way player for the Gators as a switch-hitting outfielder and pitcher if he gets to Gainesville, although pro teams appear to prefer his upside on the mound.
21. Kerry Wright, RHP, Montverde (Fla.) Academy (BA Rank: 115)
HS • 6-5 • 235 • R-R • Louisville
Wright is a physical Florida righthander who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in around 230 pounds. Working with Montverde (Fla.) Academy’s nutrition and training staff, Wright has shed some of the poor weight he carried previously, going from an offensive line-type build to a cleaned up machine. That body improvement has allowed his stuff to improve this spring, as he went from 87-91 mph with his fastball to now regularly being in the 90-96 mph range with consistent 92 mph offerings. In addition to his solid-average fastball, Wright throws a 78-82 mph slider that breaks late with tight spin—a future plus breaking ball. In addition to his physical attributes and pure stuff, Wright is extremely young for his high school class.
22. J.P. Gates, LHP/1B, Nature Coast Tech HS, Spring Hill, Fla. (BA Rank: 133)
HS • 6-2 • 190 • L-L • Miami
Gates in one of the rare high-floor high school prospects, as an advanced lefthander without a lot of future projection because of a physically mature body and lack of quick-twitch athleticism. A Miami commit, Gates would be a two-way player with the Hurricanes and has some power in his bat, but most major league teams see him as a pitcher in pro ball. He’s regularly in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball and throws strikes frequently thanks to a delivery that he repeats well and leads to future plus command grades. His best offering is a wipeout slider in the upper 70s and low 80s that has late-breaking action and has been a consistent weapon throughout the summer, fall and spring. In addition to his slider, Gates will throw a 50-grade, low-80s changeup that he keeps down in the zone.
23. Kendrick Calilao, OF, The First Academy, Orlando (BA Rank: 137)
HS • 6-1 • 195 • R-R • Florida
One of the best pure hitters in the class, Calilao doesn’t come loaded with supplemental tools, but he has an extremely simple, short and repeatable swing that leads to hard, consistent contact. For some area scouts, Calilao is one of the premier bats in Florida. Committed to the in-state Gators, Calilao currently has a line drive approach and sprays the ball all over the field. He doesn’t have much raw power currently, but with his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and ability to barrel the baseball in any part of the strike zone, scouts believe he will develop above-average power in the future. A below-average runner, Calilao has been working with a running coach to improve, but he projects to stick in a corner outfield spot. He has a plus arm, giving him the tools to stick in right field. He’s also shown impressive athleticism and route-running ability that could allow him to be a solid defender at the position, despite a lack of foot speed.
24. Cory Acton, 3B/2B/OF, American Heritage School, Plantation, Fla. (BA Rank: 147)
HS • 6-1 • 165 • L-R • Florida
Acton is an advanced high school hitter who has been on the national scene for years, hitting in the middle of an American Heritage lineup that has included Mark Vientos—a second-round selection in 2017—and Triston Casas, who is a likely first-rounder in 2018. Acton isn’t simply a prospect who’s gotten attention because of the players around him, however, as his hitting ability and plate discipline stacks up with the top prep hitters in the class. Acton has good bat speed and natural timing at the plate, with the rhythm and barrel awareness that allows him to lace hard line drives all over the field. His hands are quiet and he’s explosive to the ball with a compact swing that allows him to consistently be on time against both premium velocity and offspeed offerings. Where Acton fits defensively is the biggest question, as he’s played third base, shortstop, second and outfield in high school. Most pro teams envision him as either a third baseman—where his above-average arm strength will play—or as an offensive-oriented second baseman with below-average speed.
25. Frank German, RHP, North Florida (BA Rank: 156)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 195 • R-R • Never Drafted
German has risen up draft boards this year by dominating. The Atlantic Sun has produced pitcher after pitcher, but few have posted a 1.36 ERA like German has this year. He has an easily plus fastball that sits 92-94 mph and touches 96 mph. His development as a pro will depend on improving the consistency of his slurvy breaking ball. It’s at least an average pitch, but with a little more consistency, it could end up being above-average if he can tighten the shape of it. The curveball generally is more slurve than curve, but every now and then he tightens it up to a harder, 11-to-5 offering that flashes above-average. German has a strong frame and solid delivery with athleticism and good strikethrowing that could propel him into the fourth or fifth rounds.
26. Levi Kelly, RHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (BA Rank: 167)
HS • 6-4 • 200 • R-R • Louisiana State
Kelly transferred to IMG Academy this spring to play with Blaze Alexander and several other talented 2018 prep prospects. This spring, Kelly’s velocity has returned to the range that scouts have seen in the past, as the 6-foot-4 Louisiana State commit was in the upper 80s and low 90s over the summer but has regularly touched 95-96 mph this spring. He consistently pitches in the 91-92 mph range, though his fastball is fairly flat without natural movement. He has a fringe-average slider to go along with his fastball, though scouts note that both of those offerings would play up in the bullpen. With some effort in his delivery and a slight head whack, a reliever profile is what many scouts write down for Kelly, but his natural arm strength is exciting wherever he lands.
27. Addison Barger, SS/C, King HS, Tampa (BA Rank: 178)
HS • 6-0 • 175 • L-R • Florida
One of the best all-around players in the Tampa area, Barger has solid tools across the board but didn’t have a single plus tool until his arm strength improved this spring. It’s a 60-grade arm currently, but Barger gets the most out of the rest of his toolset as a sure-fielding shortstop with plus bat speed and feel to hit that gives him average raw power. Barger makes all the routine plays at shortstop and should do enough to stick at the position until someone with more tools comes along and pushes him to second base. He’s a smart player who understands the game and makes adjustments at a level that encourages scouts about his on-field makeup. There’s not a ton of upside with Barger because of his lack of any plus tool, but scouts have compared him to the Logan Warmoths of the world—someone who could end up at college and drastically improve his prospect status. A Florida commit, Barger has no real holes in his game and a hit tool that drives mid-90s velocity with regularity.
28. Adrian Del Castillo, C, Gulliver Schools, Pinecrest, Fla. (BA Rank: 196)
HS • 6-0 • 195 • L-R • Miami
An offensive-oriented catcher, Del Castillo is a pure, lefthanded hitter who has long shown a knack for finding the barrel and has had a loud spring season. He’s a strong hitter with above-average power out of a 6-foot, 195-pound frame. Defensively, there are real questions, as Del Castillo’s bat has always been ahead of his glove. He has some elements to turn into a solid-average defender behind the plate with a plus arm, but his pop times are better in practice than games because of a slow exchange. He needs to iron out his blocking and receiving as well. He has enough bat to profile in a corner outfield spot, and he runs well for a catcher, so that could be a future defensive home as well.
29. J.J. Schwarz, 1B/C, Florida (BA Rank: 198)
4YR • Sr. • 6-1 • 205 • R-R • Rays '17 (38)
Schwarz has been a prominent player dating back to his high school days, when he played on USA Baseball’s gold-medal winning 18U national team in 2013. He was an All-American as a freshman at Florida in 2015, when he hit .332/.398/.629 with 18 home runs. He didn’t reach those statistical heights again until this spring, but he’s been a constant presence in the heart of Florida’s lineup for the last four seasons. Schwarz, a righthanded hitter, has above-average power. That comes with a fair amount of swing and miss and there are questions about just how much he’ll hit in pro ball. Schwarz has a lot of experience handling elite pitching at Florida and he’s improved defensively in the last year. But his lack of athleticism behind the plate makes him a fringy defender and many scouts believe he’s better suited for first base, where he largely played last year. Regardless of where he ends up defensively, most of Schwarz’s value is tied to his bat.
30. Jackson Lueck, OF, Florida State (BA Rank: 214)
4YR • Jr. • 6-1 • 190 • B-R • Never Drafted
An athletic, switch-hitting outfielder from Orlando, Lueck was part of a deep freshman class at Florida State that included catcher Cal Raleigh and pitchers Cole Sands and Tyler Holton. Lueck made an immediate impact at the plate for the Seminoles, leading the team with a .379/.494/.576 slash line his freshman year and following it up with a similarly strong sophomore campaign. Lueck has at least a 50 grade on his bat using the 20-to-80 scouting scale, although some holes in his swing have been exposed in his junior year as he’s swung and missed at a high frequency. He finished the regular season batting .245/.364/.490 with a career-high 14 home runs, which could explain his increased strikeout numbers as bigger swings tend to lead to more empty swings. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Lueck has some projection in his frame and could grow into more power. A below-average defender, Lueck profiles as a corner outfielder at the next level and will go as high as his bat can take him.
31. Bryce Reagan, SS, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (BA Rank: 220)
HS • 6-2 • 190 • S-R • Texas
A switch-hitting infielder committed to Texas, Reagan would have been one of the best prospects out of New Hampshire this spring but transferred to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to play alongside Blaze Alexander. The move allowed Reagan to face much better competition, but also meant he had to split time at shortstop with Alexander, who is the superior defender. Reagan has a solid arm that would likely be enough for the position with good footwork as well, but scouts think he’ll be a better fit at third base or second base in the future. He is a below-average runner. His swing from the left side is more advanced than his righthanded swing. From the left side he is more fluid and natural, compared to a stiffer swing from the right side. He showed real talent with the bat during the summer, including a loud East Coast Pro showcase performance. He has a strong work ethic and passion for the game. From a professional perspective, scouts saw less out of his bat than they wanted and he looked more like just another solid player in Florida compared to a big fish in a smaller pond back in New Hampshire. A team that believes in his bat could still buy him out of a strong Texas commit.
32. Andrew Perez, LHP, South Florida (BA Rank: 233)
4YR • 6-1 • 217 • L-L • Never Drafted
South Florida’s closer, Perez has posted a 2.65 ERA in 34 innings this season and been seen regularly thanks to the presence of highly-touted lefthander Shane McClanahan. Perez is a talented southpaw in his own right, though he’s definitely a relief arm whereas McClanahan only might be. The 6-foot-1, 217-pound lefty throws a fastball that has been up to 95 regularly towards the end of the season, sitting in the 93-94 mph range in one inning starts and dropping down to 91-92 if he throws multiple innings. Perez’ breaking ball has also improved this spring, though it’s still just an average, 75-81 mph hard slurve, though Perez dubs it a slider. Perez could go in the latter half of the top 10 rounds thanks to a strikeout rate that’s been higher than 10 batters per nine innings each year in the American Athletic Conference and a significantly improved walk rate this spring.
33. J.J. Montgomery, RHP, Central Florida (BA Rank: 241)
4YR • 6-1 • 200 • R-R • Never Drafted
Montgomery’s older brother Christian was selected in the 11th round out of high school by the Mets in 2011, but J.J. has a chance to go higher after a strong season with Central Florida. Splitting time evenly between starting and reliever, Montgomery posted a 2.49 ERA through 16 games and 61 innings, with 72 strikeouts and 18 walks. He profiles better as a reliever at the next level, with a fastball that’s better out of the bullpen, touching 95-96 mph. He has a fringe-average slider in the 79-83 mph range, and as a starter he also used a cutter and a 81-82 mph changeup at times, but had a tendency to slow his arm down with these pitches.
34. Tyler Holton, LHP, Florida State (BA Rank: 247)
4YR • 6-2 • 200 • L-L • Marlins '17 (35)
If Holton were righthanded, there’s a chance he isn’t on this list at all. Holton throws a well below-average fastball that sits in the mid-80s and tops out at 89 mph, and he has thrown just 4.2 innings this spring after tearing his UCL in February. Because he’s left-handed, however, teams will more easily overlook his lack of pure stuff. If healthy, he would have ranked among the top 200 prospects in the draft class because of an impressive resume in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Holton was named first team all-ACC in 2017 and was a second team All-American after posting a 2.34 ERA in 119 innings with 144 strikeouts and 33 walks. Holton was also the best starter for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2017, when he posted a 0.69 ERA over in 13 innings with 14 strikeouts and just two walks. Without an average fastball, Holton excels because of his ability to effectively spot pitches in and out of the zone. He also has a plus changeup and a curveball that was showing improvement over the summer. His changeup is his only plus offering, but each of his pitches will play down at the next level because no professional hitter will be challenged by his fastball. There is a professional precedent in Brewers lefthander Brent Suter–who averages 86 mph with his fastball—and Holton has been compared to him at times. Suter is three inches taller, however, and there are more medical questions with Holton as well.
35. Nick Pogue, RHP, Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne, Fla. (BA Rank: 251)
HS • 6-5 • 215 • R-R • Florida
Perhaps the best No. 2 pitcher in the high school ranks, Pogue has been the 1b to Carter Stewart for Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.) High this spring and bears a striking resemblance to the likely first-round pick with a 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame. Pogue’s current stuff isn’t quite as loud as Stewart’s, although Pogue consistently throws in the 91-93 mph range with a heavy, sinking fastball that has good angle. He also has the makings of an above-average, 77-81 mph curveball with 12-to-6 shape that shows late-breaking action and depth at times, but the pitch remains inconsistent. He’s flashed a low-80s changeup with solid armspeed, giving him three viable offerings down the line. He might be best served enrolling at Florida, where he can sharpen his secondary pitches as well as his command. He has the traits of a starting pitcher at the next level and scouts have seen him frequently this spring.
36. Nelson Maldonado, OF, Florida (BA Rank: 253)
4YR • 5-10 • 190 • R-R • Never Drafted
Maldonado was the leading hitter on the Gators’ 2017 national championship team and he’s put together another solid season in 2018. Maldonado has excellent plate discipline, understanding of the strike zone and barrel control. Those attributes have helped him walk more than he’s struck out during his career and made him a consistent presence in the Gators’ lineup. The righthanded hitter has average power and shows it most when he can turn on the ball. Maldonado has mostly served as Florida’s designated hitter and profiles best in left field in pro ball. Without premium tools, there’s a lot of pressure on Maldonado’s hitability to carry him, but an analytically inclined team figures to value his skillset enough to call his name in the top 10 rounds.
37. Matheu Nelson, C, Calvary Christian HS, Clearwater, Fla. (BA Rank: 260)
HS • 5-11 • 195 • R-R • Florida State
A solid, all-around catcher committed to Florida State, Nelson impressed scouts over the summer with solid-average arm strength that has a chance to be plus in the future thanks to an above-average release. Scouts believe he will be a solid or above-average defensive catcher, with the ability to throw with both strength and accuracy from his knees. Offensively, Nelson has a compact, level swing with average bat speed that’s more suited for spraying doubles to all fields than hitting home runs. He has present strength in his compact, 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame, but it’s hard to project him with much more than average power in the future.
38. Michael Byrne, RHP, Florida (BA Rank: 264)
4YR • 6-2 • 205 • R-R • Never Drafted
Byrne in 2017 was thrust into the closer’s role for Florida and thrived. He had an All-American season as he led the nation with 19 saves and helped the Gators win the national championship. Byrne does not fit the typical closer’s profile, however. His fastball sits 90-92 mph, but he does an exceptional job of spotting it and keep it down in the zone. His slider is his primary secondary pitch and he also has a changeup, but he rarely shows it in short stints. Byrne has excellent pitchability and a feel for his craft. Without plus stuff he has to be fine to succeed and he doesn’t fit today’s profile for a reliever, but after excelling over the last two years in the Southeastern Conference and in the Cape Cod League, he’ll be given a chance to prove himself in pro ball.
39. Brandon Schrepf, OF/RHP, Gulf Breeze (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 266)
HS • 6-3 • 180 • R-R • South Florida
A 6-foot-3 outfielder with some athleticism and strength, Schrepf had a loud fall with the bat, homering at multiple events including the Florida Diamond Club showcase and Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Association World Championships. A South Florida commit, Schrepf has loose and quick hands that give him above-average bat speed, but he’ll need to clean up some of the moving parts in his load to hit better pitching at the next level. Schrepft starts his swing with a significant leg kick and also has a lot of bat waggle and hand movement up until contact, which leads to poor impact at times. When he does square the ball up, Schrepf shows above-average power, and he has a frame that should be able to add more strength as he continues to develop. An average runner, Schrepf is quicker underway than out of the box. He has solid-average arm strength and is likely a corner outfielder in the future.
40. Bryce Tucker, LHP, Central Florida (BA Rank: 270)
4YR • 6-3 • 205 • L-L • Never Drafted
A deceptive lefthanded reliever with some funk in his delivery, Tucker has had success as Central Florida’s closer in each of the last two seasons. He had a phenomenal sophomore campaign in 2017, when he posted a 1.66 ERA in 38 innings with 55 strikeouts and 12 walks. His performance hasn’t been as polished this spring, as Tucker’s walk rate has jumped significantly, although his ERA is still solid and he is striking out batters at an encouraging clip. Tucker throws a fastball in the 88-92 mph range and the pitch plays up thanks to a delivery that has the lefthander crouched and his upper half tilted toward first base through his release. Tucker also throws a curveball in the mid- to upper 70s. His control issues date back to his time with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer, when he walked six batters in 10 innings—though he still struck out 18. He fields his position well and also has a quick pickoff move to first base.
41. C.J. Alexander, 3B, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: 279)
JC • So. • 6-5 • 215 • L-R • Never Drafted
The older brother of Blaze Alexander, C.J. is a solid prospect in his own right, although he’s an entirely different player than his defensive-oriented younger brother. Alexander transferred from Ball State after playing sparingly in two seasons, and he has improved his draft stock tremendously thanks to a strong spring with State JC of Florida as well as an impressive summer when he ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League. This spring, he hit .405/.488/.785, leading the Manatees in slugging percentage and home runs (15). Power is Alexander’s carrying tool and he has 70-grade raw power with a fluid lefthanded swing. The Central Florida commit did a nice job of cutting down his strikeouts this spring and has shown enough ability at third base to have a chance to stick at the hot corner in pro ball. His plus arm strength would easily play at the position, although some evaluators worry that his size—6-foot-5, 215 pounds—will push him to first base or a corner outfield spot. A fringe-average runner currently, his speed could continue to diminish in the future.
42. Chance Huff, RHP, Niceville (Fla.) Senior HS (BA Rank: 280)
HS • 6-4 • 205 • R-R • Vanderbilt
A big, strong righthander out of Niceville (Fla.) Senior High—the same high school that produced Brewers righthander Jimmy Nelson—Huff has drawn comparisons to Phil Bickford thanks to his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. Huff’s stuff isn’t as loud as Bickford’s was out of high school, and he certainly won’t be a first round selection, but Huff has a fastball in the 88-93 mph range and an easy arm action. He’s athletic for his size and has life on his fastball, as well as an above-average breaking ball. A Vanderbilt commit, Huff could be a tough sign.
43. Rylan Thomas, 1B, Central Florida (BA Rank: 288)
4YR • So. • 5-11 • 235 • R-R • Mets '16 (26)
A BA Freshman All-American after an impressive first year with Central Florida in which he hit .303/.359/.530 with 14 home runs, Thomas has improved across the board during his draft-eligible sophomore season this spring. He hit .348/.447/.594 through 54 games with 13 home runs, cut his strikeout rate from 33 percent to 23 percent, more than doubled his walk rate—from 5.79 BB% in 2017 compared to 13.73 BB% in 2018—and has consistently put up big exit velocity numbers. Thomas has easy 60-grade raw power, but is more of a power-over-hit bat with very little defensive value. A right-right first baseman, Thomas is a below-average defender at the position and will likely see a lot of time in a DH role in pro ball. As a draft-eligible sophomore with big numbers and a tool teams covet, Thomas is expected to be a tough sign but there should be teams intrigued enough with his power and progress to take the bait.
44. Chase Costello, RHP, Pompano Beach (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 289)
HS • 6-4 • 193 • R-R • Louisiana State
Costello popped up on the national scene in the summer of 2017 thanks to an intriguing combination of size, stuff and pitchability. A 6-foot-4 Louisiana State commit, Costello filled up the strike zone with low-90s fastballs at Perfect Game’s National Showcase last June and again impressed area scouts and high-level decision makers at the East Coast Pro showcase later during the summer. In addition to a fastball that he spots regularly, Costello throws a sharp, 78-82 mph slider that he is comfortable throwing low and way to righthanders and to his arm side against lefties. The pitch is at least an average offering and scouts project it to be a plus breaking ball. He also throws an occasional changeup that scouts project as above-average or plus as well. Costello’s stuff has taken a step back this spring, however, as his fastball has been closer to 87-91 mph than sitting in the low 90s and touching 94-95 mph like it was last summer. Because of that, Costello could easily wind up at Louisiana State, where he’ll have a chance to further tap into his natural raw talent.
45. David Luethje, RHP, Vero Beach (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 303)
HS • 6-5 • 185 • R-R • Florida
Luethje is a lanky, 6-foot-5, 185-pound righthander who was seen at a massive prep tournament in Merritt Island, Fla., early this spring. At the event, Luethje was upstaged by big arms like Mason Denaburg and Carter Stewart, but the Florida commit showed come intriguing upside with an upper-80s fastball that featured natural arm-side run. He also showcased a fringe-average breaking ball in the mid- to upper 70s. His breaking ball blends in shape between a curveball and a slider, as it has standard, three-quarter shape at times, but drops into a more horizontal, 10-to-4 breaker with loose bite when his arm slot drops. Luethje has reached the low 90s in shorter stints and teams think that he might eventually throw in the low to mid-90s regularly thanks to the ease of his delivery and a tall frame that should continue to fill out.
46. Franco Aleman, RHP, Alonso HS, Tampa (BA Rank: 304)
HS • 6-6 • 215 • R-R • Florida International
Originally from Cuba, Aleman is a huge, 6-foot-6, 215-pound righthander who goes to Alonso High in Tampa, Fla., the same school that produced 2017 first round draft pick Alex Faedo (after a three-year career with Florida) and Jose Fernandez—one of the best major league pitchers to be drafted from high school in recent years. Aleman isn’t at that level just yet, but has a chance to develop into a power arm. He’s been up to 94 mph this spring. He’s mostly settled into the 87-91 mph range as the spring has progressed and has a longer arm stroke with below-average athleticism and arm speed. His slider has been fringe-average at times, but is often worse than that and scouts have some concerns about him figuring out a breaking ball thanks to his long levers. He still has some projection given his size and strength, and as he develops better body control has a chance to improve his secondary offerings as well. Aleman is committed to Florida International, but a team might take him in the second half of the top 10 on his arm strength.
47. Deacon Liput, SS/2B, Florida (BA Rank: 307)
4YR • Jr. • 5-9 • 190 • L-R • Dodgers '17 (29)
A three-year starter at Florida, Liput missed the first 14 games of the season after getting suspended from the team for undisclosed reasons during the fall. The suspension has raised some red flags for area scouts in Florida, but Liput has proven to be a capable defensive second baseman—he was named to the 2017 SEC All-Defensive team—and has taken his hitting to another level in a delayed junior campaign. Through 40 games, Liput hit .289/.365/.464 with six home runs and 11 doubles. Liput’s carrying tool is his speed, as a plus runner who stole double-digit bases in each of his first two seasons and stole his first seven this spring without being caught. Liput’s profile isn’t the strongest as a college second baseman without much power, a mediocre wood bat track record and issues with his suspension, but he could be elevated up boards in a down year for college hitters thanks to his performance this spring.
48. Aldrich DeJongh, OF, Hillsborough (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: 348)
JC • So. • 5-7 • 175 • L-R • Never Drafted
DeJongh is a plus-plus runner who has worked hard on his defense and has done a good job of turning himself into an average defender in center field. He hit .376/.425/.593 for Hillsborough this season with 33 steals in 40 attempts. At the plate, DeJongh has a small strike zone (he’s 5-foot-7, 175 pounds) but that same small stature limits his power potential. He has shown gap power and the lefthanded hitter has improved his pitch selection.
49. Andrew Eyster, OF, Santa Fe (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: 358)
JC • Fr. • 6-3 • 190 • R-R • D-backs '17 (27)
A 27th round draft pick by the D-backs in 2017, Eyster instead elected to go to Santa Fe (Fla.) JC where he led the team in every major offensive category, hitting .412/.476/.745 with 13 home runs, six triples and 17 doubles in 49 games. Eyster has a great frame at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and has present 60-grade raw power that could improve has he continues to fill out. He was previously a better runner, and is just average now after having his knee scoped, but profiles as a solid corner outfielder with athleticism. It’s fairly safe to say he should go higher than the 27th round this spring and multiple clubs should be in on him in the top 10 rounds.
50. Hueston Morrill, SS, Suwannee HS, Live Oak, Fla. (BA Rank: 366)
HS • 6-0 • 168 • R-R • Oklahoma State
A two-way player at Suwannee High (Live Oaks, Fla.)—the same high school that 2017 fifth-round Tigers selection Sam McMillan attended—Morrill has more upside as a shortstop with solid tools at the position, with impressive glove work and a strong arm. He had a loud showing at Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Association World Championship during the fall, pitching in the 91-93 mph range in short stints with a 2,600 spin rate breaking ball and impressive exit velocities. Morrill is committed to Oklahoma State, where he could end up and improve his draft stock as he continues to add strength and develop more power.
51. Lency Delgado, SS/3B, Doral Academy Charter HS, Miami (BA Rank: 367)
HS • 6-3 • 210 • R-R • Florida International
A big-bodied, 6-foot-3, 210-pound infielder, Delgado has impressive body control and hands for a player of his size, though most scouts think he’ll be a third baseman rather than a shortstop in the future. The Florida International signee has plenty of arm for the position with plus arm strength and he also has above-average raw power in the bat that should profile at the position as well. Delgado has a long swing and some chase at the plate that he’ll need to improve in the future. Defensively, Delgado has good footwork and showed impressive body control and athleticism in the field, making off-balance, accurate throws on the run that should give him a chance to be an above-average defender at the position.
52. Alec Sanchez, OF/INF, Providence HS, Jacksonville (BA Rank: 379)
HS • 5-11 • 195 • L-R • Florida State
A 5-foot-11, 195-pound infielder/outfielder, Sanchez played in the dirt throughout the summer—at second base and shortstop—but moved to center field this spring with Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) High. With a below-average arm, Sanchez profiles better in center or at second base, but his carrying tool is his bat. Sanchez scorched line drives at seemingly every event he attended throughout the summer and has excellent feel for the barrel. His ability was most apparent at the Florida Diamond Club showcase, where Sanchez had multiple three-hit games against some of the best arms in the state. He has a large leg kick in his load, which doesn’t seem to hamper his timing in the slightest. Sanchez is an average runner and has posted multiple home-to-first times in the 4.25-second range. Teams might want to see how he develops at Florida State, as he doesn’t have a ton of power and is a tough defensive profile, although his hit tool is legit.
53. Edmond Americaan, OF, Chipola (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: 389)
JC • So. • 6-1 • 170 • L-L • Rangers '17 (34)
Americaan was a 34th-round pick of the Rangers last year and a 28th-round pick of the Diamondbacks out of high school. He’ll almost assuredly go three-for-three on being drafted this year as the Curacao native is a plus runner who covers plenty of ground in center field but needs to do a better job with his reads and routes. There’s plenty of athleticism and an above-average arm. The lefthanded hitter has a line-drive approach with below-average power that profiles as a top-of-the-order table-setter or a bottom-of-the-order bat. He hit .409/.492/.558 for Chipola this season with 28 walks and 11 hit-by-pitches to help boost his on-base percentage.
54. Robby Martin, OF, Jefferson HS, Tampa (BA Rank: 390)
HS • 6-3 • 185 • L-R • Florida State
A team who takes Martin in the top 10 rounds is buying an impressive, plus run tool and hoping he can make strides with his offensive development. Currently the Florida State commits operates with a slap-and-run approach at the plate, but he has a carrying tool and a chance to turn into a solid defender in center field. There’s some work that needs to be done defensively as well. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound lefthanded-hitting outfielder’s routes aren’t crisp, but there’s nothing that’s glaringly bad that his speed can’t help make up for. If he does have to move to a corner outfield position, his value would fall tremendously given the amount of work that needs to be done with his bat and lack of power.
55. Austin Knight, SS, The Bolles School, Jacksonville (BA Rank: 398)
HS • 6-2 • 185 • R-R • Tennessee
A solid player across the board who attends The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. (the same school that Hall of Famer Chipper Jones attended), Knight is a slender, 6-foot-2, 185-pound shortstop whose best tool is his plus running ability. Committed to Tennessee, Knight figures to be a difficult sign where he’s expected to go off the board, but he has solid body control in the infield and a loose swing with life in the bat. Knight has some movement in his setup, with a hand-drop in his load with an uppercut swing but he has some elements to become a solid hitter. He showed a below-average arm throughout the summer showcase events, but is a reliable and steady player during games, with a grinder-mentality.
56. Brandon Howlett, 3B/SS, Jenkins HS, Lakeland, Fla. (BA Rank: 399)
HS • 6-1 • 205 • R-R • Florida State
A split-camp player, Howlett has performed on big stages since he was an underclassmen and brings intriguing raw power to the table with a chance to be a solid third baseman. However he’s routinely shown swing and miss issues, and wears sports goggles in-game, which raises real concern about his eyesight. He didn’t throw well from the left side of the infield over the summer, but that seemed to be more injury-related than skill, as he shut things down in the offseason and then came out this spring and showed a average arm. He has the actions to stick at third base with solid hands and raw power that profiles well there, but will he ever get to it enough during games? That’s the question teams will be left trying to figure out.
57. Saul Gonzalez, RHP, Montverde (Fla.) Acedmy (BA Rank: 401)
HS • 6-7 • 230 • R-R • Alabama State
A big, 6-foot-7, 230-pound righthander, Gonzalez is an arm strength power pitcher with a fastball that has been up to 95-96 mph this spring. Scouts think that he can eventually throw in the upper 90s, but he has a long arm stroke and no breaking ball to speak of presently. During games this spring, Gonzalez pitched off of his fastball almost exclusively and would throw just one breaking ball in some looks. He’s also a below-average athlete. An Alabama State commit, Gonzalez is thought to be a tough sign, and while a team might bite on a future 70-grade fastball, it could be a tough sell without much in the way of secondary offerings.
58. Gregory Veliz, RHP, Miami (BA Rank: 407)
4YR • DE-So. • 6-2 • 205 • R-R • Never Drafted
A two-way prospect out of high school in 2016 who ranked No. 304 on the 2016 BA500, scouts liked Veliz better as a pitcher who could get his fastball up to 98 mph. Veliz preferred hitting though, and attended Miami. His arm still won out in college, as Veliz managed just a .108/.233/.162 slash line in 15 games as a hitter. After throwing 61 innings during his freshman season in 2016 with a 3.38 ERA, Veliz has managed just 17 innings this spring after missing most of March and April with an arm injury. Veliz returned to the mound on May 12 and threw one inning to close out a win against Virginia Tech, retiring the side on nine pitches, but has been predominantly a starter with the Hurricanes. Veliz pitches in the low 90s with his fastball and has a slider in the low to mid-80s but has poor control. A draft-eligible sophomore, it would be surprising for Veliz to sign this season after missing so much time, but he did post a 13.5 K/9 in his 17 innings, so a team might take a gamble.
59. Romy Gonzalez, 2B, Miami (BA Rank: 410)
4YR • Jr. • 6-2 • 200 • R-R • Never Drafted
Gonzalez led Miami in runs (35), RBIs (30) and stolen bases (22) this spring, spending time in right field, at third base and at DH. Last summer in the Cape Cod League, Gonzalez played all four infield positions for the Orleans Firebirds, and hit .318/.342/.509 with 10 stolen bases. Gonzalez projects as a utility type player, though he probably profiles best at second base. He’s aggressive in the batter’s box and has poor strike zone awareness, with a career strikeout rate with Miami of 24 percent. The strikeout issues were even more apparent in the Cape, where Gonzalez whiffed 36 times and walked five times in 110 at-bats. There is some power in the tank as well—Gonzalez hit 11 home runs during his sophomore season in 2017 and four in the Cape, but managed just four this spring. Gonzalez does a number of things well and is an efficient base runner, but the bat might not be good enough to profile as an everyday player just yet.
60. Andrew Cabezas, RHP, Miami (BA Rank: 421)
4YR • Jr. • 6-0 • 180 • R-R • Indians '15 (34)
A well-regarded prospect coming out of high school in 2015, Cabezas was a then-undersized righthander who had three solid offerings including a fastball, slider and changeup. His frame is exactly the same three years later at 6-foot, 180-pounds and after a terrific season in 2017 out of the bullpen—with a 2.15 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 23 walks—Cabezas moved into a starting role this spring. His strikeout rate hasn’t quite held up to the 2017 level, as Cabezas fanned 79 batters in 75 innings and his walk rate has also jumped over to more than five batters per nine innings for the first time in his collegiate career. Cabezas throws a fastball in the low 90s with exceptional late life, and uses a slider as an out-pitch. His performance in college suggest that he’d also be better in a bullpen role as a professional.
61. Max Guzman, C/1B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: 439)
JC • So. • 6-0 • 215 • R-R • Never Drafted
Guzman has been one of the most productive junior college hitters in Florida the past two seasons. This year he hit .420/.554/.750 with 15 home runs and 39 walks compared to 34 strikeouts. Guzman’s swing has allowed him to generate consistent plus raw power that he’s managed to get to in games. His swing also gives him a shot to be an average hitter. What keeps Guzman from being drafted higher is his lack of a clear position. He’s a well-below-average catcher and is below-average at first base as well. He best fits with an American League team where he can bounce between first base and designated hitter.
62. Robbie Peto, RHP, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: 441)
JC • R-Fr. • 6-4 • 215 • R-R • Angels '16 (30)
Peto was a highly regarded prep arm out of high school, but got to campus in Chapel Hill after the Dodgers selected him in the 30th round of the 2016 draft. After not getting playing time at UNC, Peto transferred to State JC of Florida where he’s battled lower back issues and had less impressive stuff than previously advertised. Peto has thrown a fastball in the 90-94 range with exceptional riding life in the past, with a good breaking ball as well, but this spring he sat 90-91 with a well below-average breaking ball. He was also less than effective when he was healthy, posting a 5.23 ERA in 41.1 innings, striking out 47 batters (10.23 K/9) and walking 20 (4.35 BB/9). Peto is committed to Stetson and could take advantage of a program that has done a tremendous job developing pitchers to improve his draft stock next season. He’ll need to show he can stay healthy and get through a full season but the natural ability is still in there.
63. Zach Young, RHP, Sebastian (Fla.) River HS (BA Rank: 451)
HS • 6-1 • 160 • R-R • South Alabama
A South Alabama commit, Young is a slight, 6-foot-1, 160-pound righthander who has been in the 90-91 mph range this spring, but touched as high as 93-94 at times in the past. Scouts who have seen him describe his slider as a fringy secondary offering, and that coupled with his size means he’s likely a better fit to go to college for three years and see how he develops physically. There are evaluators who are higher on the slider, but even then it’s a two-pitch, undersized profile.
64. Zach Attianese, LHP, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: 455)
JC • So. • 6-2 • 190 • L-L • Florida State
A North Carolina commit out of high school, Attianese played with the Tar Heels in 2017, but saw action in just nine games and 2.2 innings. He transferred to State JC of Florida and was the top pitcher on the team this spring, with a 2.66 ERA that was the lowest of any pitcher on the staff with more than ten innings of work. The 6-foot-2 lefthander struck out 94 batters and walked just 18 in 88 innings of work, using a fastball in the 87-90 mph range, as well as a plus curveball and solid-average changeup. Attianese is committed to Florida State and could be a tough sign if he’s not taken in the top ten rounds—he has an outside shot to go there as he’s been seen for several years now and is a polished lefthander.
65. Giovanni DiGiacomo, OF, Canterbury School, Fort Myers, Fla. (BA Rank: 465)
HS • 6-1 • 185 • L-L • Louisiana State
A 70-grade runner, speed is DiGiacomo’s carrying tool, and with a Louisiana State commit it naturally makes sense to think of all the speedy center fielders the program has produced, including Mike Mahtook, Andrew Stevenson, Jake Fraley and current center fielder Zach Watson. If DiGiacomo makes it to campus, he seems like a natural fit to be one of the next players in line for that sort of role, as a potentially plus defender with a bat that needs to improve. He will likely go after the tenth round of the draft, but could turn himself into a much better pro prospect with a few years with the Tigers and an improved approach at the plate. Presently DiGiacomo has a slap-and-run approach thanks to routinely plus-plus run times from home-to-first out of the lefthanded batter’s box. DiGiacomo has below-average arm strength, but has shown the ability to run crisp routes and has impressive athleticism as well. With Canterbury High (Fort Myers, Fla.), DiGiacomo played with the likes of Sam Keating (2017 fourth round pick) and Cooper Swanson and helped lead the team to its third straight Florida 3-A state championship this spring.
66. Jacob Young, OF, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: 466)
HS • 6-0 • 155 • R-R • Florida
A plus-plus runner, Young is an athletic infield/outfielder committed to Florida. He’s played second base at times this spring, though scouts see him as a fringe-average defender there. He fits better in center field, where his speed will allow him to track down deep fly balls in the gaps, though his fringe-average arm strength should prevent him from playing right field. He has a muscular, tapered build but is just 6-foot, 155 pounds with a bat that is more of a project than a present strength.
USA Baseball Sets Field For 2020 National High School Invitational
The 16-team field for the 2020 National High School Invitational (NHSI) was announced Thursday afternoon.
67. Cre Finfrock, RHP, Central Florida (BA Rank: 483)
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-1 • 197 • R-R • Brewers '14 (26)
Finfrock started for two years at Central Florida with some success before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016 and missing the entire 2017 season. A redshirt junior, Finfrock started seven games this spring and pitched in nine appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 3.56 ERA with a 50 strikeouts and 29 walks in 48 innings of work. A strict reliever at the next level, Finfrock has a poor, short arm action and a fastball that ticks up to 94-95 out of the bullpen but sits at 90-92 as a starter. The arm action is bad enough that teams are worried that another injury is only waiting to happen, but a team might want to take a shot on his natural arm strength after the tenth round.
68. Brady Allen, OF/LHP, Jenkins HS, Lakeland, Fla. (BA Rank: 486)
HS • 6-1 • 210 • R-L • South Carolina
A two-way player committed to South Carolina, Allen plays center field for Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.) High and also pitches, throwing in the 88-89 mph range from the left side. As a position player, Allen is a fringy defender who has some natural athleticism, but has also thickened up and added a lot of strength over the offseason, which has caused him to stiffen up. He’s shown some real swing and miss concerns as well, in front of a huge crowd of scouts at the National High School Invitational this March. He could profile as a corner bat, but hasn’t shown the power or hit tool to match that defensive position at this point and might be better served to make it to campus and improve on both sides of the ball. He shouldn’t figure into most teams draft boards until after the first 10 rounds.
69. Jaren Shelby, OF, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: 493)
JC • So. • 5-11 • 190 • R-R • Never Drafted
Shelby is the youngest son of former big leaguer John Shelby. He’ll likely become the fourth Shelby son to be drafted, joining John T. (2005 5th round, White Sox), Jeremy (2010 38th round, Orioles) and JaVon (2013 5th round, Athletics). Shelby is signed to go to Kentucky next year where his older brother John T. is now a coach. He is hitting .343/.490/.602 for State College (Fla.) JC this year with 11 home runs and 35 stolen bases. Shelby isn’t a true burner, as he’s a 55 runner, but he knows how to pick his spots to steal. Shelby’s below-average arm fits best in left field. There’s too much swing-and-miss in his game, but he does draw walks and there’s average power potential as well.
70. Brooks Wilson, RHP, Stetson (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-2 • 200 • L-R • Rangers '17 (24)
71. Cobi Johnson, RHP, Florida State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-4 • 195 • R-R • Angels '17 (29)
72. Ryan Fernandez, RHP, Hillsborough (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-0 • 175 • R-R • Never Drafted
73. Alec Barger, RHP, Polk State (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
74. Taylor Blatch, RHP, Keiser (Fla.) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr.
75. Eddie Jimenez, RHP, Southeastern (Fla.) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr.
Jimenez is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in NAIA with a fastball that's been clocked in the mid-90s.
76. Andrew Karp, RHP, Florida State (BA Rank: N/A)
77. David Villar, INF, South Florida (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-0 • 205 • R-R • Never Drafted
78. Kyle Marman, RHP, Florida Atlantic (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr.
79. Nick Horvath, OF/LHP, Florida (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 5-10 • 200 • R-L • Never Drafted
A solid senior sign as a center fielder, Horvath threw just 3.2 innings for the Gators this spring, and will be drafted as a position player after the 10th round. He’s good enough instinctually to catch anything he can get to in center, but he has a below-average arm and would likely move to left field if his bat carries him into Double-A or higher. He has no power and is more of a low-level organizational player after four-year career with Florida.
80. Luis Tuero, SS/2B, Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • - • 6-0 • 170 • L-R • Miami
81. Eric Kennedy, OF, Calvary Christian HS, Clearwater, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-0 • 195 • L-R • Texas
A plus runner in the outfield, Kennedy can play all three outfield positions and has had success with the bat in Florida as a top-of-the-order hitter. He steals bases well and was clocked in the 60-yard-dash at 6.40 seconds—a 70-grade run time.
82. Caleb Roberts, C/3B, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 195 • L-R • North Carolina
83. Luca Tresh, C, Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 195 • R-R • North Carolina State
84. Cameron Gray, OF, Marianna (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-3 • 185 • L-L • South Florida
85. Bailey Mantilla, LHP, American Heritage School, Plantation, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 225 • L-L • Miami
86. Kristofer Armstrong, MIF/OF/RHP, The Benjamin School, North Palm Beach, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-4 • 205 • B-B • Florida
87. Christian Scott, RHP/1B/3B, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-4 • 190 • R-R • Florida
88. Roberto Pena, 3B/RHP, Flanagan HS, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 200 • R-R • Florida
89. Mark Potter, RHP, Central Florida JC (BA Rank: N/A)
Potter has been in the mid 90s with his fastball and a developing slider.
90. Darin Kilfoyl, RHP, St. John's River (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
91. Hunter Perdue, RHP, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So.
92. Tyler Keysor, RHP, Eastern Florida State JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So.
93. Josh Crouch, C, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • Fr.
A converted catcher with good hand-eye coordination and a line-drive, contact swing, Crouch has some work to do in cleaning up his defensive skills behind the plate.
94. Austin James, SS, State JC of Florida (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So.
95. Matt Sellers, RHP, Hillsborough (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
96. Pat Doudican, LHP, Polk State (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So.
97. Chavez Fernander, RHP, Polk State (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
A righthander with a solid arm, Fernander has been up to 94 at his best and improved as the season wore on.
98. Tanner Thomas, OF, Tallahassee (Fla.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So.
99. Benjamin Specht, RHP, Evangelical Christian HS, Fort Myers, Fla. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-1 • 205 • R-R • Florida
A pitchability righthander, Specht has touched 93 mph.
100. Kyle Dentmon, C, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-0 • 195 • R-R • Air Force