More Northeast High School Draft Prospects, College Sleepers To Watch
The northeast Area Code scout team continued its series of games in New England on July 27, when they played against in New Hampshire against the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
The rosters are selected by scouts with major league clubs and change around each game, with the final team going to the Area Code Games at LakePoint Baseball in Emerson, Georgia from Aug. 7-10 for one of the biggest scouting events of the year.
We went over some of the top northeast high school players to watch for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 drafts last time. Here are more reports on northeast prospects in the 2021 high school class, notable underclassmen and college prospects that have caught the attention of scouts this summer.
All high school players below are in the 2021 class, unless noted otherwise.
Jonathan Santucci, OF/LHP, Massachusetts (Phillips Andover Academy HS, Andover, Mass.)
Santucci didn't play in the first three games for the northeast scout team this summer because he was in Alabama for the Ultimate Baseball Championship, then went to Georgia for the Perfect Game 17U National Championship, but he played in Nashua and went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. After outfielder Joshua Baez, Santucci is the next best position prospect in Massachusetts for the 2021 high school class. He's 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, a 17-year-old lefthanded outfielder who doesn't have one plus tool but is steady across the board, with his hitting potential what stands out the most. He has performed well in games, using his hips well in his swing with good barrel awareness and a solid approach for his age. It's not plus power, but it has trended up, flashing over-the-fence power at times and driving the ball well to the middle of the field. He's not a burner, with speed that probably fits best on a corner and showed an average arm on Monday that should be enough for right field. A Duke commit, Santucci also came in to pitch against two batters at the end, throwing all fastballs from 89-91 mph.
Dominic Keegan, C/1B, Vanderbilt
Keegan is entering his junior year at Vanderbilt, but he's still just 19. Facing righthander Shane Panzini (who was up to 94 mph), Keegan pulled a fastball for a home run to left-center field. He also stood out in batting practice, with a calm, balanced swing coming from simple hitting mechanics to generate power from right-center over to his pull side without much effort. Keegan played in just nine games before the 2020 college season stopped, hitting .242/.324/.303 in 33 at-bats, but those games came after surgery on his right shoulder kept him out of action for the beginning of the season. When the season shut down, he was hitting in the cleanup spot behind Austin Martin and playing first base. He hasn't given up catching, but he hasn't been playing there for Nashua yet this summer, primarily playing first base. C.J. Rodriguez started 12 of Vanderbilt's 18 games in 2020 as a freshman catcher while hitting toward the top of the lineup, and with catcher Jack Bulger (No. 183 on the BA 500) also coming to campus, it's not clear where Keegan would get many opportunities to catch next season. The offensive bar at first base would be a tough one for Keegan to clear at the MLB level, but if scouts are able to see him behind the plate, that's what would make him the most interesting to major league clubs (though it would be intriguing to see at third base too). The Futures League competition is a step down from what Keegan sees in the SEC, but he's having a strong summer, hitting .348/.432/.681 with five home runs in 81 plate appearances.
Dennis Colleran, RHP, Massachusetts (North Attleboro HS)
Colleran is still 16 and doesn't turn 17 until Aug. 20, so he's one of the youngest high school players in the 2021 class and will still be 17 on draft day. A Northeastern commit, Colleran doesn't have as high of a profile as some of the other pitchers in the region, but he has been trending up. He pitched in Brockton on July 13, when in three innings he struck out three of the 11 batters he faced with no walks, with the one run he allowed coming on a solo homer to the first batter of his appearance. He threw one inning in Nashua, retiring all three hitters he faced with two strikeouts. Colleran has a large, sturdy build for his age (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) with a long, deep arm stroke and an 89-93 mph fastball. He attacked hitters with a fastball-heavy approach in Brockton, then sprinkled in more of his offspeed stuff in Nashua. His low-80s slider flashed the most promise, ahead of a firm mid-80s changeup that he showed some feel for as well. Given his age, Colleran is an intriguing pitcher to follow to see if he has a pop in his stuff over the spring. If he does go to school, he could also develop into one of the better starting pitchers in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Shane Panzini, RHP, New Jersey (Red Bank Catholic HS)
Panzini made a second appearance for the northeast scout team and this time threw three innings, facing 11 batters with three strikeouts, no walks and one hit by pitch, giving up a run on a solo homer to Vanderbilt's Dominic Keegan. Panzini, who turns 19 in October, is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with a strong lower half and a simple delivery that should be repeatable. His fastball ranged from 91-94 mph and his curveball was noticeably sharper than it was in his last outing. It's still inconsistent but flashed as at least an average pitch, often with three-quarters break from 74-79 mph. He mixed an occasional firm changeup as well that needs to catch up to the rest of his arsenal. Panzini is a Virginia commit.
Roman Kimball, RHP, New York (P27 Academy, Lexington, S.C.)
Kimball, who is from New Hartford, N.Y. but goes to school in South Carolina, is another young player for the class, 16 now and not turning 17 until Sept. 21, so he will also by 17 on draft day. A Notre Dame commit, Kimball threw two perfect innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Kimball isn't that big (5-foot-11, 160 pounds), pitching at 88-91 mph and generating empty swings up in the zone. His best pitch was a mid-70s curveball that generated swings and misses. It was an average pitch on Monday with a chance to be better, showing tight spin with the ability to keep it down and land it for strikes. He also flashed feel for changeup with good tailing life but couldn't get it in the strike zone, with some signs he might need to tighten his overall control going forward. Kimball might end up going to Notre Dame, but with his youth, curveball and a fastball touching the low-90s, he's going to be another priority arm for area scouts to monitor in the spring if his velocity pops.
Jack Penney, INF, Massachusetts (Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.)
A teammate of Santucci's at Phillips Academy, Penney looks better in games than he does in a workout environment. Penney, 17, has hit well in games including these ones, going 4-for-9 with two walks and a strikeout. At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Penney is a lefthanded hitter with quiet hands, good balance, an under control swing and a straightaway approach, with all of his hits going to the middle of the field. He has doubles power and doesn't have the bat speed to project for much home run sock, so his value will have to come from his on-base skills. Penney showed a reliable glove and made all the routine plays, with his range and quickness projecting best at second or third base in pro ball. Penney is a Notre Dame commit who more than likely ends up there with a chance to raise his profile if he produces as a high level there.
Adam Stone, RHP, Harvard
Stone, from Stamford, Conn., is coming off his freshman year at Harvard, though he didn't see any game action in 2020. Based on what he showed from one inning pitching for the northeast scout team last week, he's going to have some of the biggest stuff in the Ivy League. Still 18, Stone is 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and worked off a fastball that sat at 91-95 mph and touched 97, pairing it with a low-80s slider. That should put him on the radar for northeast area scouts to follow for the 2022 draft.
Jayden Hylton, 1B, New Jersey (Ridge HS, Basking Ridge, N.J.)
An uncommitted 2022, Hylton is a tall, lanky 6-foot-5, 190 pounds at 16. He gives his infielders a big target at first base and has a chance to hit for big power from the right side with room to pack on another 40-plus pounds, though like a lot of hitters his size, he's going to have to keep his long limbs in sync to be on time.
Ivan Arias, SS, Massachusetts (The English HS, Boston)
Another uncommitted 2022, Arias would have been a member of USA Baseball's 17U National Team Development Program roster this summer, but that event was cancelled to do the pandemic. Arias, 17, is 5-foot-8, 170 pounds with his glove looking ahead of his bat here, showing good hands and footwork with a quick release to play in the middle infield.