Image credit: Jack Haferkamp (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
The following is part four in our series highlighting prep standouts from the summer and fall circuit. The list below is not a ranking, but an attempt to highlight top performers and the most interesting prospects in this year’s evaluation periods.
The 25 players listed below are in alphabetical order. This is the final piece in our four-part series.
Thomas Bridges, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.
Commit: Texas Christian
An undersized righthander with a 5-foot-11, 178-pound frame, Bridges showed solid command of a three-pitch mix in his efficient four-inning outing at the Area Code Games. He threw his fastball in the 87-90 mph range, though he has been up to 92 with the pitch at peak velocity elsewhere, and showed good feel to mix and match with his heater, a 79-84 mph spike-grip curveball and a low-80s fading changeup. He pitched heavily off the curveball at times, but the pitch had consistently solid biting action and he used it to generate 7 whiffs in this look. Bridges has a deliberate tempo in his delivery and he throws from a higher, three-quarters arm slot with a soft plunging action in the back of his arm stroke.
England Bryan, RHP/C, Middle Tennessee Christian HS, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
A physical righthanded pitcher and catcher with a thick, 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, Bryan showed exciting pure stuff on the mound in a short outing at Perfect Game’s National showcase this summer. He has a high-effort delivery and works from the first base side of the rubber with a crossfire landing and spin off to the first base side in his finish, which include a bit of head whack. In this look Bryan threw a fastball in the 90-95 mph range and touched 96, and the pitch featured turbo sinking action and generated six whiffs on 11 swings. On top of the big fastball, Bryan threw a solid slider in the 81-84 mph range that had sweeping, 10-to-4 shape and spin in the 2,100-2,400 rpm range as well as an 85-89 mph split changeup with hard tumbling life. Bryan is a bit scattered currently and has some reliever risk given his effort and overall control, but there’s a loud three-pitch mix here.
Conrad Cason, SS/RHP, Greater Atlanta Christian HS, Norcross, Ga.
Commit: Mississippi State
Georgia seems to be a breeding ground for two-way athletes with immense upside as hitters and pitchers. Recent players of this demographic include Michael Harris, Bubba Chandler and Taie Peete. The latest appears to be Cason, who is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound shortstop and righthander who also plays basketball and football. He has a fastball that was up to 94 mph this summer and at Perfect Game’s National showcase he pitched in the low 90s with a bit of cutting action on the pitch, though he is scattered overall on the mound with a tendency to overthrow at times. He throws a breaking ball in the 76-80 mph range, which is slurvy for the most part and blends between slider and a curveball, but flashes above-average potential on his best offerings. He has also thrown a mid-80s straight changeup. Cason is a plus runner whose plus arm will be an asset at shortstop, and he also has exciting power potential—particularly as he continues to fill out a great frame—though he has some swing-and-miss tendencies with a bat path that gets lengthy at times. He was a solid performer with the bat in 2023 with strong swing decisions, and he did a nice job adjusting with two strikes and also flashed opposite field in-game power production. In 23 Perfect Game tournament games, Cason hit .352/.463/.741 with four home runs, two triples, five doubles and seven stolen bases.
Max Charles, OF/BHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
Commit: Grand Canyon
An outfielder and pitcher, Charles has the unique ability to pitch as both a righthander and a lefthander and did both at the Area Code Games. He throws a bit harder as a righty than a lefty, with a fastball in the 88-90 mph range from the right side early compared to an 86-87 mph fastball from the left side. He throws a slurvy breaking ball from both sides in the 76-79 mph range that needs to be sharpened and has a bit more of a true curveball look from the left side. Charles also mixed in a 79-83 mph changeup that he threw from both sides, though he lacks feel with the pitch as both a righty and lefty. Charles is also a switch-hitter, and he has some raw power in the tank with a strong, 6-foot-1, 213-pound frame and long levers that create leverage, but he has below-average contact skills and an aggressive approach that leads to a lot of swings on balls out of the zone.
Ryan Costello, 1B, Ranney HS, Tinton Falls, N.J.
Commit: Louisiana State
Costello is a physical lefthanded hitter with broad, muscular shoulders and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. He showed big power upside during the showcase circuit, including a home run to right field that he pulled off the bat at 101 mph. He got his foot planted early on a 91 mph fastball that was left middle-middle and deposited it to the pull side with ease. Costello was a big-time performer in a lot of the events he played in this summer. In 35 Perfect Game tournament games he slashed .477/.568/.773 with five home runs and 19 walks to six strikeouts. As his strikeout-to-walk ratio might suggest, Costello has made solid swing decisions this summer and makes a solid amount of contact as well.
Derek Curiel, OF, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
Commit: Louisiana State
Curiel entered the summer with massive expectations as one of the top-ranked players in the class and a lefthanded hitter with a tremendous track record of performance. It was a bit of a down circuit for the 6-foot-2, 175-pound outfielder, who hit just .269/.409/.308 in 21 games logged with Synergy, but had a .386/.511/.486 slash line in 27 Perfect Game tournament games. Curiel has an advanced batter eye at the plate and will happily take a walk, as evidenced by his consistently solid on-base numbers, but he became too passive at times and didn’t show the sort of consistent impact that scouts want to see from one of the first prep hitters off the board. He rolled over on balls to the left side and also flied out softly to the opposite field at times, and ultimately looked less locked in than scouts have seen him for years with SoCal powerhouse Orange Lutheran High. Adding more strength and taking a step forward with his supplemental tools will be a goal this offseason, but Curiel will have every opportunity to rebound—like Brice Turang in the 2018 draft class—with a strong spring against some of the best high school competition in the country.
Lance Davis, RHP/1B, Valley View HS, Jonesboro, Ark.
A 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander, Davis showed average control of a solid three-pitch mix at the Area Code Games, though his results at the event in terms of hits allowed weren’t quite what he was looking for. He allowed seven hits in three innings in this outing, but he showed some solid starter traits. He has further strength potential with a lean frame and throws from a three-quarters slot with a short arm action and solid arm speed, and he did a nice job landing an 89-92 mph fastball, an 81-85 mph slider and an 83-85 mph changeup. Davis didn’t pitch with his fastball at the top of the zone in this look, and the pitch got hit hard at times, but his slider played up from its solid-average shape and bite thanks to good command and was his best swing-and-miss offering. It’s a short, three-quarter breaking pitch with spin rates around 2,200 rpm, but he does a nice job keeping the pitch down and to his glove side—where it will occasionally flash a bit more sweeping life. Like his fastball and slider, Davis did a nice job spotting his changeup to the bottom of the zone and it looks like a solid weapon for lefthanded hitters. With more power, or perhaps greater willingness to change the eye level of hitters more frequently, he could add a bit more miss to his game.
JD Dix, SS, Whitefish Bay (Wis.) HS
An athletic switch-hitter with a lean, muscular frame at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Dix has flashed tools and twitchy hands in the box from both sides of the plate. He went just 2-for-11 (.182) at the Area Code Games, but he put together competitive at-bats and added three walks with a few bad luck balls that were well hit. He has good rhythm in the batter’s box and a clean swing, particularly from the left side, with an slightly uphill bat path which can get a bit long at times. Dix does a nice job battling when he’s behind in the count and has strong pure bat-to-ball skills and does a nice job staying within the strike zone on his swing decisions. A shortstop now, Dix’s arm strength looked a bit light for the position, which could make him a better fit for second in the long run.
Kade Durnin, RHP, Camdenton (Mo.) HS
A projectable righthander with a 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, Durnin attacked the zone with a solid three-pitch mix at the Area Code Games, where he touched 95 mph and struck out three batters in two innings. He pitched in the 91-95 mph range in this look and established his fastball nicely for strikes, while backing the pitch up with a low-80s power curveball that had tight-spinning, downer action and spin rates in the 2,500-2,600 rpm range. It’s a swing-and-miss pitch below the zone and has the sort of shape from a higher arm slot that should be effective against both righties and lefties. Durnin also mixed in an 83-84 mph changeup, though he showed less feel for this offering than his fastball or breaking ball. Durnin works with a quick tempo and has a direct stride to the plate with a hooking action in the back of his arm stroke.
Ryder Dykstra, OF, Centennial HS, Corona, Calif.
Commit: Southern California
A 6-foot, 190-pound lefthanded hitting outfielder, Dykastra showed an advanced hit tool at Perfect Game’s National showcase by putting together high-quality at-bats consistently in a pitcher-friendly showcase. He went 3-for-5 with two walks and one strikeout, including a home run and a double, and turned in exit velocities of 93, 96 and 97 on his batted balls. He employs a crouched stance at the plate and used the middle of the field consistently, with a direct bat path to the ball and solid bat speed. Dykstra has a long finish in his swing, which could impact his home-to-first times, but he’s a solid runner underway.
Jason Flores, RHP, Naaman Forest HS, Garland, Texas
A strongly-built righthander with a filled out, 6-foot, 190-pound frame, Flores was a standout pitcher at a number of events, including the Area Code Games and Perfect Game’s WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, where his outing was one of most heavily scouted of the event. He throws a fastball that sits in the low 90s and has been up to 95, and the pitch has solid sink and run. He shows flashes of locating the pitch nicely at the bottom of the zone, but doesn’t do it consistently throughout outings quite yet. Flores pitches out of the stretch and pairs a loose, early-spinning breaking ball in the 78-81 mph range that has slurve-like shape and decent movement but needs more bite and polish to become a consistently average pitch. He also has mixed in a low-80s changeup with soft fading action—mostly against lefties—but overwhelmingly pitches off his fastball, with his breaking ball a distant No. 2 option.
Theodore Gillen, SS, Westlake HS, Austin, Tex.
Gillen earned a reputation as one of the better hitters in the 2024 class as an underclassman despite some missed time in 2022 thanks to right shoulder surgery. He has a well-rounded toolset packed into a strong and muscular 6-foot-3, 198-pound frame with solid raw power to the pull side that comes with solid bat speed and plus running ability. Gillen has shown an advanced offensive approach and will use the opposite field, though at times his bat path has gotten too steep, which has caused him to get under balls elevated and towards the outer half for lazy fly outs instead of hard hit line drives to left.
Konnor Griffin, OF/SS/RHP, Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.
Commit: Louisiana State
Griffin entered the summer as the top-ranked high school player in the draft class thanks to tremendous athleticism, the best all-around package of tools in the prep ranks and legitimate upside as a shortstop, outfielder and righthanded pitcher at the next level. Like Curiel, Griffin went into the circuit with a target on his back and had an up-and-down showing, with some loud efforts and other times where the quality of his hit tool was more in question. With USA Baseball’s 18U national team, Griffin hit just .192/.241/.308 in nine games, but he looked much better during the team’s trials, where he made a lot of quality contact, including a loud home run to center field against a 90-mph fastball on the outer third. Griffin does have loud bat speed and plenty of raw power, but his righthanded swing isn’t always the most fluid and there’s a bit of a deep hand press in his load which can add timing issues and length to his bat path when he’s fully synced up and locked in at the plate. Still, Griffin’s physical tools, elite 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and relative youth in the class make for a high-upside package that’s hard to pass up.
Tyler Guerin, RHP, Mounds View HS, Arden Hills, Minn.
Guerin is an immensely projectable righthander with a lanky, 6-foot-7, 205-pound frame and long levers that make for an uncomfortable at-bat and should allow scouts to dream on the physicality that he could grow into in a few years. He throws from a low, three-quarters slot and pitches in the 88-92 mph range and has been up to 93 at peak velocity. For all of Guerin’s length, he did a nice job landing a low-80s slider consistently inside the zone, though the pitch has just OK spin and needs more bite to become a solid-average offering consistently. Right now he gets some swing-and-miss against righthanded hitters when he lands the pitch to his glove side, though it has a tendency to back up and hang over the middle of the plate or when thrown to his arm side. Guerin also throws a mid-80s changeup in the 1,900-2,100 rpm range that has some dropping action, but he spikes the pitch a decent amount and his usage is quite low.
Jack Haferkamp, OF, Sante Fe Christian HS, Solana Beach, Calif.
Commit: UC Santa Barbara
Haferkamp is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound outfielder with a great frame and some physical tools to go with it. An impressive straight-line runner, Haferkamp turned in one of the best 60-yard dash times at Perfect Game’s National showcase at the beginning of the summer, and he moves well when he gets to top spin, though he take a few steps to accelerate and his long swing might cause his speed to play down out of the box. He has solid raw power and his steep bat path leads to a lot of hard hit balls in the air to the deep parts of left field and center, though Haferkamp’s swing also comes with plenty of swing-and-miss tendencies. For now he looks like a power-over-hit offensive profile who should have above-average raw power, above-average speed and above-average arm strength, but as a right-right corner outfield profile a lot will come down to the evaluation of his hit tool.
Dylan Jordan, RHP, Viera HS, Melbourne, Fla.
Commit: Florida State
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound righthander, Jordan has a loud fastball/slider combination and used that two-pitch to dominate hitters at times this summer. He has a deliberate windup with a high leg lift and a bit of coil, as well as a slight pause as he stacks over the rubber, before firing to the plate with a lower, three-quarters arm slot and lengthy arm action in his takeback. Jordan pitches in the low 90s and has been up to 95 mph but he has the arm speed and physical projection remaining to assume he’ll be in the upper 90s before long. His slider is a low 80s breaking ball that he’s always spun well, but now he’s throwing the pitch with added power. It has lots of sweeping action and is a potential plus offering that should be effective against hitters of both sides, particularly if and when he’s able to command the pitch with more precision and consistency. Jordan has also mixed in a low-80s changeup but rarely does so.
Tegan Kuhns, RHP, Chambersburg Area (Pa.) HS
A skinny righthander with a 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame, Kuhns is one of the top-ranked arms in the class thanks to his physical projection, arm speed, low-90s fastball and high spin breaking ball. Kuhns is a solid mover on the mound who has an up-tempo delivery and throws from a higher, three-quarters slot with a bit of tilt in his arm stroke towards the first base side. This summer he pitched in the 90-93 mph range and has been up to 95, but his best pitch is an upper-70s/low-80s curveball that has spin rates near 3,000 rpm and features sharp, two-plane break. He generated whiffs on three of the three curveballs that were swung at against the pitch at Perfect Game’s All-American Classic and its late diving action should make it a miss pitch both in the zone and below it. Kuhns has thrown both a changeup and splitter as well. He is on the older side for the class and will be 19 on draft day.
Manny Marin, SS, Elite Squad Baseball Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Marin has a reputation as one of the better defensive shortstops in the 2024 class, though the 6-foot-1, 170-pound infielder got hot with the bat with USA Baseball’s 18U national team, where he was second on the team in hitting (behind PJ Morlando) with a .333/.417/.429 slash line including a pair of doubles in nine games. Marin is a smaller player without a ton of power now who might not ever have more than average pop and instead has a line-drive swing and some contact skills. He too frequently expands the strike zone and will need to become more selective at the plate, though his defensive profile should provide ample opportunity with a number of offensive outcomes. He has fluid actions in the dirt with reliable hands and deft footwork around the bag. He also gets the ball in and out of his glove quickly, which helps an already strong throwing arm play up further.
Michael Mullinax, OF, North Cobb Christian HS, Kennesaw, Ga.
Mullinax has some of the best tools in the prep class between his quick-twitch speed, arm strength and raw power, though the hitting track record he established as an underclassmen didn’t fully translate to this summer. In 18 logged games with Synergy, Mullinax hit .233/.340/.395 and showed more swing-and-miss than expected, perhaps in part to swing mechanics that have gotten a bit noisier than they previously were. A switch hitter, Mullinax has a lot of moving parts in his swing including a pronounced hitch and arm bar that is more apparent from the left side than the right. The movement in his hands is a bit different from the right side, where his swing seems a bit easier and his production was also better from that side in an extremely limited sample. Mullinax can impact the ball with authority to the pull side in games, but he might need to simplify his hitting setup in order to get in better launch positions and catch up to elevated velocity with more consistency.
Ethan Puig, 3B, Gulliver Prep, Pinecrest, Fla.
Puig is a hit-first third base prospect who makes a ton of contact and has a clean, direct swing from the right side. A filled out and strong, 6-foot, 185-pound third baseman, Puig starts with a slightly open stance and has quiet hands and good rhythm in the box before firing a level, line-drive oriented swing through the zone with solid bat speed. It’s the sort of swing that stands out when you see it, but Puig also has the track record as a standout performer who can cover all parts of the zone with above-average barrel accuracy. He doesn’t have big supplemental tools, as a below-average runner who doesn’t yet hit for huge power, but he does have a solid throwing arm with a clean arm action and should have every opportunity to stick at the hot corner at the next level
Samuel Richardson, 3B, Senatobia (Miss.) HS
Richardson is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound slugger with some of the best raw power in the 2024 prep class. He has the strength and power to hit the ball out from foul pole to foul pole, though that power comes with a hyper-aggressive approach and lots of contact questions. In 25 logged games in 2023, Richardson hit .286/.325/.629 with three home runs, four triples and seven doubles, but that extra-base production also came with a 21:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 60% contact rate. Richardson has tinkered with his setup in the box throughout the year, at times implementing a higher handset with some pre-pitch movement and later in the fall opting for a more stationary approach with a lower handset tucked in towards his chest, before pushing back and raising his hands with his toe tap and loading sequence. However Richardson has done it, his swing comes with a lot of moving parts, but also a lot of power through the zone. He’s an above-average runner in a straight line and also has above-average arm strength.
Schuyler Sandford, RHP, Bartram Trail HS, St. John’s, Fla.
A 6-foot-6, 210-pound righthander, Sandford has a big frame and a big fastball to go with it. He is regularly in the 90-95 mph range and has been up to 96, and his long arms, extension and the riding life on the pitch all help it play up and sneak over barrels at the top of the zone. In a 184-pitch sample in 2023, Sandford generated a 51% miss rate with his fastball, which is a great mark, and he used the pitch to generate five whiffs in one inning at Perfect Game’s All-American Classic. Sandford throws an upper-70s curveball most frequently after the fastball, though he will also mix in a mid-80s slider that has short, cutterish action and a low-80s changeup. Sandford has less feel for each of his secondaries compared to his fastball, but his long levers and lengthy arm action create some timing inconsistencies for him overall and lead to below-average control that he’ll need to refine moving forward.
Karsten Sweum, LHP, Glacier Peak HS, Snohomish, Wash.
A strong and muscular, 6-foot-4, 210-pound lefthander, Sweum showed a fastball up to 92 mph at the Area Code Games this summer. He pitched in the 88-91 mph range for the most part and was erratic with his fastball control, but he also mixed in two breaking balls that he had better feel to land. The first is a low-80s slider with spin rates in the 2,700-2,800 rpm range and the latter is a curveball in the 77-79 mph range. Both breaking balls have solid spin and decent depth, though the shape is inconsistent and can blend together at times. Regardless of the pitch identification, he has the makings of a solid-average or better breaking ball with a bit more consistency overall.
Luke Taylor, C, Olympus HS, Salt Lake City, Utah
Commit: Southern California
Taylor turned in a loud batting practice performance at the Area Code Games in San Diego. A 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthanded hitter, Taylor has a slightly wide setup with a small stride and an uphill bat path. He hit multiple home runs to left-center and drove the ball in the well with impact, and showed solid-average raw power. He showed a lot of swing-and-miss during games and struck out five times compared to one walk in eight plate appearances, but he did turn around one 89-mph fastball for a hard line drive to left field that came off his bat at 96 mph. It’s strength over bat speed for Taylor at the moment, but if he can add a bit more contact he’s got a solid base of power to be intrigued with.
Cooper Williams, LHP, Alvin (Tex.) HS
Commit: Texas A&M
Williams doesn’t have the biggest average fastball in the class, but he has an attacking mentality on the mound, goes right after hitters and struck out 37 batters compared to seven walks in seven logged games during the circuit this year. A lean and lanky lefthander with a 6-foot-4, 175-pound frame, Williams has been up to 94 mph, but he typically sits in the 88-92 mph range. He throws a slow breaking ball in the 75-78 mph range that has lots of depth but needs more power and his best secondary is a low-80s changeup that he spots at the bottom of the zone with excellent tumbling action. It’s a swing-and-miss pitch right now that ruins the timing of opposing hitters with consistency, and his quick-tempo and pitchability only help the offering play up. Williams struck out eight batters in four innings of work at the Area Code Games, where he generated six whiffs on six swings against the cambio. It’s a solid fastball/changeup combination and a body to dream on.