Scouting Top MLB Draft Prospects At The Future Stars Series
The Future Stars Series International Week in Boston has become one of the top amateur events on the scouting calendar.
Last year's series included a 2020 first-round pick (Rockies outfielder Zac Veen), a supplemental first-rounder (Padres righthander Justin Lange) and three other top 100 picks in Cardinals righthander Tink Hence, Indians outfielder Petey Halpin and Angels outfielder David Calabrese. Twins righthander Marco Raya and Cubs righthander Koen Moreno also went in the five-round draft, while outfielder Dylan Crews was No. 54 on the BA 500 before he removed himself from the draft to attend LSU.
This year's event—held Sept. 25-26 at Fenway Park and in Manchester, N.H. at the home of Toronto's Double-A affiliate—had multiple players who could be in the mix to be day one picks in the 2021 draft. Several of Baseball America's top 100 prospects in the 2021 high school class were there, along with many others who will be in consideration for the BA 500.
These are reports and videos on some of the notable prospects that attended from the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes.
Anthony Solometo, LHP, New Jersey (Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, N.J.)
Solometo boosted his stock more than any player at the Future Stars Series, striking out nine of the 14 batters he faced, with all of his outs coming via strikeout in his three innings at Fenway Park. A North Carolina commit ranked as the No. 80 player in the 2021 high school class, Solometo's fastball and slider both had an extra gear from what he had shown earlier in the year, especially in an electric first inning when he sat at 93-94 mph and touched a 95 and a 96 once each. He settled in the next two innings at 89-93 mph, overall getting eight swings and misses on his fastball and five empty swings on a 79-84 mph slider, a weapon against both lefties and righties with deep lateral break. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Solometo starts his unconventional delivery with a big leg kick and moves into a long, Madison Bumgarner-type arm action, creating uncomfortable at-bats for hitters that led to an abundance of awkward swings.
Ian Moller, C, Iowa (Wahlert HS, Dubuque)
An LSU commit, Molller is the top-ranked 2021 high school catcher in the country and the highest-ranked player (No. 13) at the Future Stars Series. Moller bolstered his status this summer with loud showings at big events, though he didn't perform to that same level here, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a deep sacrifice fly to the center field warning track. His swing has plenty of bat speed to help him generate power, something he showed off at Fenway Park with multiple balls landing over the Green Monster in batting practice. It's a quick swing with good rhythm and a path geared to hit the ball in the air, though he chased a couple of high fastballs for strikeouts and had a few other 86-88 mph fastballs that he swung through in the strike zone. Defensively, Moller stood out for his athleticism, quickness, flexibility and agility behind the plate. He has earned high marks from scouts for his defense, though his hands and blocking were inconsistent here, with a strong arm but throws that tailed away and into center field on steal attempts.
Roc Riggio, 2B, California (Thousand Oaks HS)
The No. 67 player in the 2021 high school class, Riggio stood out from an early age, committing to UCLA when he was in eighth grade (he's now committed to Oklahoma State) and playing for USA Baseball national teams since he was 14. There are players with more size and louder raw tools, but Riggio is a polished player with easy actions on both sides of the ball. He's 5-foot-9, 180 pounds with a smooth, compact and tightly connected swing from the left side. He has quiet hands and takes a direct path to the ball, an adjustable swing that should lead to a lot of contact, especially with his mature offensive approach and good eye for the strike zone. Riggio showed the ability to put an occasional charge into the ball—he doubled off a Solometo slider in a particularly difficult left-on-left matchup—but his offensive value should come more from his on-base skills. He finished the series 2-for-6 with a double, one walk and one strikeout. Riggio has spent time in the outfield and the infield, though he played exclusively at second base at the Future Stars Series and impressed defensively. He's an instinctive, fundamentally sound defender with good footwork, soft hands, a quick release and smooth, efficient turns on the double play pivot. He showed quick reactions off the bat as well, ranging for a groundball to his right to steal a hit from Daylan Pena, though his pure arm strength may fit better at second base than shortstop. That type of skill set from a high school player is one that draws a split camp among scouts and organizations—and Riggio will be 19 in June—but he helped himself with a strong showing here.
Braden Montgomery, OF/RHP, Mississippi (Madison Central HS)
Montgomery (No. 21 in the 2021 high school class) was one of the top offensive performers at the event, going 3-for-9 with a double, four walks, one strikeout and a hit by pitch. That's consistent with what Montgomery has shown all summer. A Stanford commit, Montgomery is 6-foot-1, 196 pounds with a calm, balanced approach, putting together consistent, quality at-bats from both sides of the plate. He hit to all fields without much chase or swing and miss, including two walks against Solometo. Montgomery's best tool might be his arm, which is at least a plus tool, and he moved around well in center field. He's a fringe-average runner, though, so if he plays a corner that would put more demands on his power, but his feel for the barrel stood out here. Montgomery also pitched, touching the low 90s and showing good feel for a 74-77 mph curveball. The curve was his best pitch and he was able to land it for strikes, sprinkling in a low-80s changeup as well, but Montgomery's hitting ability is what impressed the most at this event.
Ryan Spikes, SS, Georgia (Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.)
Ranked No. 60 in the 2021 high school class, Spikes went 2-for-7 with a ground-rule double off Solometo, taking an 0-1 fastball on the outer third for a line drive the opposite way. A righthanded hitter, Spikes keeps things simple with his lower half and has quick hands that he uses well at the plate, with an approach geared for line drives. Spikes has a smaller, compact frame (5-foot-8, 185 pounds), and while he showed some swing and miss at this event, scouts highest on Spikes praise his plate coverage and knack for hitting with sneaky pop for his size. He's a high IQ player with plus speed underway, a good arm and is smooth on the double play turn. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, though some scouts think his range might fit better at second base. Spikes is a Tennessee commit.
Aidan Stewart, SS, Alabama (Next Level Academy, Wetumpka, Ala.)
A Missouri commit, Stewart was one of the top offensive performers at the event, going 4-for-7 with two strikeouts and a sacrifice fly. Stewart turns 19 in December, so he's old for the 2021 class, but he offers intriguing physical upside. He has a lot of space to still fill out his 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame, with surprising body control and nimbleness for his size at shortstop. Stewart might ultimately outgrow shortstop, but he can stay there for now with a strong arm for the left side of the diamond. He's a switch-hitter with length to a swing that can get too uphill, so he will have to work to keep everything in sync, and while he didn't show big power here, the physical projection suggests that could climb as he fills out and learns how to turn on the ball with more authority.
Christopher Bernal, C, Texas (McAllen HS)
Bernal helped his stock with a strong all-around showing at the Future Stars Series. A Texas State commit, Bernal went 5-for-12 with a double, one walk and two strikeouts, including a single off Solometo. Bernal is 5-foot-10, 190 pounds and projects to stick behind the plate, where he showed solid catch-and-throw skills. He blocked and received well with good footwork and a clean exchange for in-game pop times of 1.97 seconds.
Edwin Arroyo, SS, Puerto Rico (Arecibo Baseball Academy, Bajadero, P.R.)
Arroyo is the No. 30 high school player in the 2021 class, and while the Florida State commit struggled at the Future Stars Series, he did flash the tools to show his upside in the field. He's 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with an outstanding arm, plus speed and quick reactions off the bat. He's a smooth defender, and while he committed two errors (one fielding, one a wild throw), he also turned in one of the best defensive plays of the event, ranging from shortstop behind the second base bag on a grounder to slide, spin and turn to throw out the batter at first base. A switch-hitter, Arroyo's glove was ahead of his bat here, as he went 1-for-13 with a walk and four strikeouts. He also just turned 17 in August and will be 17 on draft day, so he's one of the youngest players in the 2021 class.
Grant Fontenot, RHP, Louisiana (Lafayette HS)
Fontenot, who turns 18 in June, is an intriguing arm trending up this summer who committed to Texas A&M in September. He pitched well at Fenway Park, striking out three of the 12 batters he faced with one walk, one hit batsman and only one hit allowed. He relied heavily on his fastball, which ranged from 88-93 mph, with the physical projection at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds for his velocity to climb. Fontenot showed confidence throwing an 82-85 mph changeup to both righties and lefties, with his changeup more effective than his 76-78 mph breaking ball.
Jonathan Santucci, OF/LHP, Massachusetts (Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.)
A Duke commit, Santucci showed promising two-way potential even if it didn't show in the results. Santucci went 0-for-2 with two walks, two strikeouts and was hit by two pitches. He took the mound and gave up five runs over two innings, with two strikeouts, two walks and five hits allowed against 13 batters. But Santucci is one of the top hitters in the Northeast and took one of the better BPs there, with power that's been trending up over the past year and room on his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame to grow into more. A fringe-average runner, Santucci has a strong arm that should fit in right field. On the mound, Santucci threw a fastball that sat at 88-92 mph and touched 93 once, with the physical projection for more, and used an effective upper-70s breaking ball with three-quarters action that was ahead of his low-80s changeup.
Caedmon Parker, RHP, Texas (The Woodlands HS)
A Texas Christian commit, Parker worked two quick, efficient innings at Fenway Park without allowing a run or a hit. He hit one batter, but otherwise retired the rest via strikeout (two) or groundout (four). Parker threw 88-92 mph in Boston and has reached 94 mph this summer. It's a good fastball already for 17, but he stood out for his physical upside, with a lot of space to fill out his 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame and add velocity once he adds weight. Parker showed good feel for a 79-83 mph changeup that got a swing and miss against hitters from both sides of the plate, using it to generate weak grounders as well, with his changeup more effective than his mid-70s curveball in this outing.
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Jacob Miller, RHP, Ohio (Liberty Union HS, Baltimore, Ohio)
Miller, 17, showed why he's one of the top high school pitchers in the 2022 class, striking out six of 11 batters faced with one walk in two scoreless innings. He's an athletic 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with a fast arm and room to project on a fastball that's already 89-93 mph. Miller's best pitch was his 76-80 mph curveball, which he threw around 40% of the time. It has sharp bite, tight spin and good depth with power behind it. Miller showed the ability to land it for a strike early in the count or use it as a putaway pitch, generating seven swings and misses on his curve. Miller has a chance for at least two plus pitches and has a simple delivery that should be conducive to throwing strikes. He's a Louisville commit.
Cam Collier, 3B, Georgia (Mount Paran Christian HS, Kennesaw, Ga.)
It sounds strange to say for a player who went 0-for-8 with a walk and two strikeouts, but Collier made a strong impression for his offensive ability as one of the top hitters in the 2023 class. Lou Collier, his father, spent eight seasons in the majors (mostly with the Pirates and Brewers) from 1997-2004 as a shortstop and outfielder, and those bloodlines show in Collier's feel for the game, especially in the batter's box. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Collier is a physically mature player for 15, with a mix of strength and bat speed that produces big power for his age. However, Collier is more of a talented hitter first who happens to also have considerable power. Despite being 2-3 years younger than the other players at the Future Stars Series, Collier stood out for his ability to manage his at-bats well, controlling the strike zone and consistently working himself into favorable counts. He tracks the ball well, letting it travel deep and driving the ball with impact to all fields. It's a tight, compact and powerful lefty swing with good path and bat control. Collier drove the ball with over-the-fence impact in BP, with the approach and juice that should give him all-fields power that should be plus or better down the road. At his size, Collier will have to stay on top of his agility and improve his footwork at third base, but he made a nice defensively play ranging far to his left on a ground ball and has an outstanding arm for his age. The upside is there for Collier, a Louisville commit, to develop into a first-round pick in 2023.