Breaking Down The Players Who Stood Out At The Minority Baseball Prospects All-American Games
Several of Baseball America’s top ranked players for the upcoming draft classes played in the Minority Baseball Prospects All-American games.
The two-day event in West Palm Beach, Fla. at the spring training home of the Nationals and Astros on Oct. 4-5 included multiple workouts followed by a futures game for underclassmen, then the All-American game for 2023 players.
The showcase included prominent players from the 2023 and 2024 classes like shortstops George Lombard Jr., Antonio Anderson and Erik Parker, as well as others who used the event to help elevate their profile.
These were some of the standout players from the MBP games.
Dillon Head, 2023 OF, Illinois
Head ranks No. 64 on Baseball America’s 2023 draft board and has some similarities to Brewers outfielder Sal Frelick, Milwaukee’s 2021 first-round pick out of Boston College and now the No. 68 player on the BA Top 100. Like Frelick, at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Head is a similarly-built, lefthanded-hitting center fielder with plus-plus speed, a high-contact bat, occasional sneaky pop for his size and good defense at a premium position. He showcased those skills in a quick look here, going 2-for-2 with a single up the middle and an infield single where he went home to first in 4.0 seconds, a 70-grade run time for a lefthanded hitter. He also threw out a runner at home trying to score from second on a single to center field. Head is committed to Clemson.
Nazzan Zanetello, 2023 SS/OF, Missouri
Zanetello has spent the last year as one of the top uncommitted players in the 2023 class up until he announced this month that he had committed to Arkansas. He’s a lean, athletic 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and can play in the middle of the diamond, with time at shortstop and center field. Zanetello performed well during the game, lining a high fastball for a single to center field and pulling a double to left field. He also got a good read off the bat while playing center field and showcased a strong arm during the workout.
George Lombard Jr., 2023 SS, Florida
Lombard Jr. has been one of the bigger arrow-up players going back to last year. He played in the underclass game a year ago, showing good actions on both sides of the ball, but this year he’s taller, stronger and faster, hitting the ball with more power and performing at a higher level. A Vanderbilt commit ranked No. 86 for the 2023 draft, Lombard didn’t get many at-bats here—he lined out to second base and walked—but he showed a quick, compact swing from the right side, took quality at-bats and drove the ball well to the middle of the field. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Lombard has a promising mix of pure hitting ability and power, especially from one of the younger players in the class.
Antonio Anderson, 2023 SS, Georgia
Anderson checks in at No. 39 on the 2023 draft rankings, making the Georgia Tech commit a projected day one pick. He’s one of the youngest players in the class and a talented switch-hitter. His swing stands out especially from the left side, with a fluid stroke that has good rhythm, balance and path through the zone. Anderson shows the patience to draw walks and the feel for the barrel that leads to him getting on base at a strong clip in games, with a single from the left side that he pulled to right field at the MBP All-American game. An average runner underway, Anderson should continue to develop at shortstop, though some scouts think he will end up elsewhere, with a strong arm to fit at third base.
Kyle Johnson, 2023 LHP, Virginia
Johnson showed a lot to like with a promising foundation to build from. His defense made a couple of errors behind him, but he otherwise struck out two batters during his one inning. A Duke commit, Johnson is 6-foot-1, 205 pounds with a smooth, controlled delivery with compact arm action. He pitched at 89-92 mph, showed feel to spin a mid-70s curveball and has shown feel for an upper-70s changeup as well. Between his delivery, three-pitch mix and ability to throw strikes, Johnson is an intriguing lefty to watch for the 2023 draft particularly if he has a velocity bump in the spring.
Tre Phelps, 2023 3B, Georgia
Phelps is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds with high-end bat speed and strength to produce big power from the right side. The Georgia commit showed that power in BP, then in the game drew a couple of walks. Some scouts think he might eventually shift to the outfield. He made one of the better defensive plays of the event, diving to his left to snare a sharp groundball that he fielded cleanly, got up and threw in time to get the out at first base.
Ariel Antigua, 2023 SS, Florida
It’s startling how Antigua is able to generate the type of power he does. He has a smaller, compact frame at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, but for the second straight year, he won the home run derby at the event. He takes a professional BP, driving the ball well the other way and showing over-the-fence power to his pull side. Antigua is a baseball rat and a smart player with soft, quick hands at shortstop and a strong arm. With those attributes and the way he’s built, Antigua would be an intriguing candidate to convert to catching—a position he has some background with—though at this event he didn’t go behind the plate.
David Ballenilla, 2023 SS, Massachusetts
Born in the Dominican Republic, Ballenilla trained there to try to sign as an international prospect but instead moved to Boston, where he’s an uncommitted 2023 with the talent to play at a Division 1 program. At 6 feet, 185 pounds, Ballenilla has smooth, easy actions at shortstop, where he has good body control, soft hands and moves his feet well. He’s a defensive-minded shortstop and righthanded hitter who loads with a big leg kick and doesn’t strike out much.
Erik Parker, 2024 SS, Georgia
The No. 14 player for 2024, Parker immediately draws attention for his super projectable build and athleticism. He’s 6-foot-3, 185 pounds with a high waist, long arms and broad shoulders on a lean, athletic frame with a ton of space to fill out. While some shortstops have slick movements but struggle to slow the game down and play under control in games, Parker’s defense looked better in game than pregame. He started a pair of 6-4-3 double plays, one where he dove to snare a sharp groundball behind the bag at second base before making a clean feed. A plus runner, Parker is a long-levered hitter still learning to sync up his swing consistently, but he has shown a good eye for the strike zone, went 1-for-2 in this game with a single through the right side where the runner on first was stealing and performed well throughout the summer, with gap power now and significantly more power upside as he layers more strength on in the coming years. He’s committed to South Carolina.
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Gian De Castro, 2024 3B/1B, Florida
De Castro looks like he should fit into the middle of a lineup at a Division 1 program. The uncommitted infielder has a huge frame at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and drives the ball with impact to the middle of the field. While De Castro stands out for his size and can sting the ball with authority, it’s his feel for hitting that stands out more than just his power. He has a smooth, compact swing from the left side, getting on plane early and generating loft. He’s a high-contact hitter coming off a strong 2022 and added to it at the MBP event, where he went 2-for-3 with a double to center field and a walk. He’s an offensive-minded player who has spent time at third base but might end up at first base in pro ball.
Samuel Richardson, 2024 3B, Mississippi
Richardson is in the conversation for the best raw power in the 2024 class. He’s strong throughout his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and has excellent bat speed, with the rare power at 17 to drive the ball out of big league parks from right-center over to his pull side. So it was little surprise when he won the home run derby among the underclassmen. It’s a power-over-hit profile and he will need more work to stick in the infield, but the upside is there for 60 to 70 power on the 20-80 scale. He’s a Missouri commit.
Elbert Craig, 2024 1B, Texas
Craig has an extra-large build at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds with big righthanded power to match. In BP he showed some of the best raw power of any player at the MBP event, driving the ball out of the park to his pull side with the strength to drive the ball deep into the gap the opposite way. He will overswing at times, but generally has kept his swing-and-miss rate in check against live pitching to allow his power to play in games. As a first baseman, the offensive bar for him is high, but the Texas A&M commit looks like he will factor into the middle of the Aggies lineup within a few years.
Isaiah Shivers, 2024 OF, New York
Shivers is one of the better uncommitted outfielders in the 2024 class. Shivers singled the opposite way against a left-on-left breaking ball, but he stands out more for his strength and power from the left side with a power-over-hit offensive profile. He’s 6-foot-1, 195 pounds with the defensive tools for a corner outfield spot.
Tyler Acevedo, 2024 SS, New York
A Mississippi commit, Acevedo is 5-foot-11, 185 pounds with a short, quick swing from the right side, driving the ball well to right-center field during BP. He has strong hands with gap power and the defensive actions to stick in the infield, with good turns on both ends of the double play pivot.