Jayson Schroeder, Hugh Smith Among Washington's Top MLB Draft Prospects
1. Jayson Schroeder, RHP, Juanita HS, Kirkland, Wash. (BA Rank: 72)
HS • 6-2 • 205 • R-R • Washington
The top high school prospect out of the Northwest this year, Schroeder is an immensely athletic, 6-foot-2 righthander with arm strength and a three-pitch mix that will have teams interested in him among the top 100 picks. A three-sport athlete, Schroeder was the best pitcher on the Royals team at last summer’s Area Code Games, where he threw strikes with all of his pitches and showed a potential wipeout curveball. This spring, Schroeder has picked up right where he left off, regularly sitting 92-93 mph with a fastball that includes both power and sink. He has also shown a second breaking ball this spring in a slider, and while both of his secondary offerings are currently fringe-average, many scouts think both could turn into plus pitches down the line thanks to his arm speed and feel for spin. Given his arm slot and strength, a power slider seems to be the pitch most evaluators are banking on as his future go-to offering. While he doesn’t have a ton of projection left to offer, his physicality and plus arm speed have teams believing he’ll throw even harder in the future.
2. Hugh Smith, RHP, Whitworth (Wash.) (BA Rank: 108)
4YR • Jr. • 6-10 • 214 • R-R • Never Drafted
Smith's driver license reads 5-foot-11, 145 pounds, which was an accurate description of his height and weight when he was 16. Five years later, however, he’s 6-foot-10, 215 pounds and has a chance to become one of the highest drafted Division III players in recent years. As a high school senior, Smith had grown to be a 6-foot-3 righthander who sat 81-84 mph but had good control and a solid feel for spotting his slider and changeup. His steady growth spurt continued after he arrived at Whitworth (Wash.) College and his fastball kept growing with it. Smith now sits 92-95 mph, touching 96, and he carries that velocity deep into games. His plus fastball has downward plane and plenty of late life, and he loves to run it in on the hands of righthanded hitters. He also has good feel for a slider that has above-average potential and an average changeup. He locates the changeup well and when he does miss, he almost always misses low and out of the zone, where it can’t come back to hurt him. He’s toyed with a cutter as well. Smith dominated his competition with a 6-1, 1.58 record and could hear his name called as early as the third or fourth round. His athleticism, rare body control for his size and present stuff makes him one of the highest upside pitchers in the Northwest.
3. A.J. Graffanino, SS, Washington (BA Rank: 249)
4YR • 6-2 • 170 • L-R • Indians '15 (26)
One of the most talented defenders in college baseball, Graffanino wasn’t able to showcase the leather as much this spring, as he missed almost the entirety of March and April with hamstring issues. When healthy, Graffanino is a quick-twitch infielder with range and average arm strength. There could easily be above-average arm strength in Graffanino’s tank, but scouts have rarely seen the 6-foot-2 shortstop completely air it out on throws. Some scouts believe Graffanino will need more polish defensively as a pro, as he tends to speed up the game and plays on a turf field at Husky Ballpark, where it’s easy to pick up bad defensive habits. Still, he projects as an above-average defender in the future. Offensively, his bat is light and although he’s hit better this spring in a shortened season, scouts have too frequently watched him try to slap the ball and get on base with above-average speed out of the lefthanded batter’s box. Graffanino came into Washington as a switch-hitter, but now hits exclusively from the left side.
4. Daniel Bies, RHP, Gonzaga (BA Rank: 278)
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-8 • 245 • R-R • Never Drafted
One of the biggest pitchers in the 2018 draft class, Bies is a 6-foot-8, 245-pound righhander who has a fastball up to 94 mph and an above-average breaking ball. Bies had Tommy John surgery in high school and redshirted during his first year with Gonzaga, but he has improved each season since 2016. Bies has turned into an above-average strike thrower after walking more than one batter per inning in a short 2016 season and then over five batters per nine innings in 2017. This spring, Bies has gone right after hitters with a solid-average fastball that plays up thanks to his size and the plane he’s able to get on the ball. He has struck out 104 hitters and walked just 21 through his first 97 innings. Bies was on teams’ radars last season, and although he didn’t get drafted, he has done enough to become a potential top-10 round selection in June.
5. Willie MacIver, C/3B, Washington (BA Rank: 314)
4YR • 6-2 • 212 • R-R • Never Drafted
MacIver missed the first month and a half of the season with a broken hamate bone, and he has struggled with the bat since returning to Pac-12 play, hitting .257/.339/.349 through his first 30 games. MacIver intrigues scouts as a strong, physical catcher behind the plate with with plus arm strength, but Washington has played him primarily at third base and first base. His tools profile much better behind the dish, but it’s been a challenge for area scouts to get looks at him in catcher’s gear. With just four collegiate home runs to his name, the bat doesn’t profile well at either corner infield position.
6. Joe DeMers, RHP, Washington (BA Rank: 317)
4YR • 6-2 • 231 • R-R • Never Drafted
A highly touted pitching prospect coming out of College Park (Pleasant Hill, Calif.) High, DeMers was ranked No. 126 on the BA 500 in 2015, but went undrafted and made it to campus at Washington. A decorated prep pitcher who had success with multiple Team USA clubs, including a perfect game with the 14U team in 2010 and a gold medal with the 18U team in 2013, DeMars touched 97 mph at times in high school but has never had the same electric arm in college. That’s not to say he hasn’t had success, as DeMers jumped into a starting role as a freshman, posted a 3.35 ERA as a sophomore and has lowered that to 2.34 through his first 13 starts this spring. In his second start of the season, DeMars threw a perfect game against UC Riverside, striking out nine batters on just 84 pitches. DeMars has had success by locating, mixing pitches and adding and subtracting velocity more than overpowering hitters, as his fastball hasn’t come close to the 97 mph he had in high school. Instead, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound righthander sits in the 88-91 mph range with his fastball, with a changeup and slider that he sequences effectively. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, an above-average offering with arm-side fading action. His slider has several shapes, one that is harder with tighter breaking action and a second that’s softer and looser with a more slurvry look. While none of his pitches are plus, DeMars has good feel to locate each of them and is confident throwing any of his pitches early in the count. A big-bodied pitcher since high school, DeMars hasn’t shown any progress trimming down, but scouts are impressed with his athleticism and the flexibility he shows in getting over his lower half. While he hasn’t turned into the electric arm that he once seemed capable of, DeMers nonetheless will interest teams thanks to his impressive pitchability and track record of success.
7. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Seattle (BA Rank: 321)
4YR • 6-3 • 218 • L-L • Brewers '17 (21)
Skubal put himself on the map after an electric freshman campaign with Seattle, when the 6-foot-3, 218-pound lefthander became the team’s ace with a plus fastball. He posted a 3.24 ERA as a freshman and was off to an even better start in 2016 before he went down with an injury and needed Tommy John surgery. Skubal returned to throw bullpens before the 2017 draft and was drafted by the Brewers in the 21st round, but he instead decided to return to Seattle for his redshirt junior year in 2018. Since recovering from Tommy John surgery, Skubal has struggled to throw strikes, with a walk rate that’s nearly doubled compared to his first year and a half at Seattle. In 73 innings, Skubal has walked 55 batters and hit another six. He’s still striking out batters—close to 12 per nine innings—and his fastball has been up to 95 mph, but the wildness is a real concern. He will flash a solid curveball and an average changeup, but both of those pitches are inconsistent.
8. Parker McFadden, RHP, Washington State (BA Rank: 443)
4YR • Jr. • 6-0 • 200 • R-R • Mariners '15 (20)
One of the hardest-throwers in college baseball, McFadden was a highly touted prospect out of high school—ranked No. 81 on the BA 500 in 2015. He will continue to draw interest because of his velocity, though he’s never quite figured out how to throw strikes. Through three seasons working mostly as a reliever with Washington State, McFadden has thrown 80.2 innings and struck out 89 batters, but he’s also walked 78. That sort of walk rate will be untenable in the professional game, but a team might want to take a shot on his arm strength that regularly produces mid-90s velocity. McFadden needs to iron out a delivery that has some violence and is very long in the back, which contributes to his below-average control. In terms of results, this spring has been McFadden’s most effective season with a 2.33 ERA through 27 innings with 41 strikeouts (13.67 K/9) and 25 walks (8.33 BB/9).
9. Damon Casetta-Stubbs, RHP, Kings Way Christian HS, Vancouver, Wash. (BA Rank: 474)
HS • 6-4 • 200 • R-R • Seattle
A big, 6-foot-4 righthander, Cosetta-Stubbs was one of the top pitchers on the Royals team at the 2017 Area Code Games, along with Jayson Schroeder. Committed to Seattle, Casetta-Stubbs, a Seattle signee, is a hard-throwing arm with a power sinker that has been up to 93 mph, although he more regularly sits in the 91-92 mph range.
10. Nick Meservey, LHP, Seattle (BA Rank: )
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-5 • 220 • L-L • Never Drafted
11. Tyler Oldenberg, LHP, Seattle (BA Rank: )
4YR • Jr. • 5-11 • 192 • L-L • Never Drafted
12. Joel Condreay, SS/RHP, Whitworth (Wash).
4YR • Sr. • 6-3 • 183 • L-R • Never Drafted
Condreay was Whitworth's top hitter and has a plus arm at shortstop, but he's more likely to be drafted as a pitcher, as he's shown a mid-90s fastball in his very limited work on the mound.