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Witt Jr. has been famous for years, and not just because he’s the son of Bobby Witt, the No. 3 overall pick in the 1985 draft and a 16-year major league righthander. The younger Witt may equal or better where his father was picked, which would make them the highest-drafted father-son pairing ever. Witt has been expected near the top the 2019 draft class for years thanks to his size, speed and power. Last summer, he showed excellent power potential but also raised questions about his hit tool as he showed more swing-and-miss than evaluators would have liked. This spring, admittedly against lesser competition, Witt has shown a better approach and more bat-to-ball skills. He’s using the entire field more and staying more balanced at the plate, where in the past he showed a tendency to get a little pull happy and collapse his backside during his swing. Witt shows a solid awareness of the strike zone—when he got into trouble last summer it was because he was swinging and missing at pitches in the zone rather than expanding it. He has plus power that projects for 20-plus home runs at the big league level and potentially even more in the current overheated major league power environment. At shortstop, Witt is the top defender in the class and a future plus defender with elite hands, quick feet and a plus arm. He shows the ability to throw from multiple arm slots and make plays going to both his right and left with excellent throwing accuracy. He’s a plus runner who can impact the game on the bases. Scouts have long raved about his makeup and several said that his work ethic and drive will help him get the most out of his considerable tools. Witt will turn 19 years old right after the draft, so he is older for the class. He is seen as both a high-floor player as well as someone with one of the highest ceilings in the class because of his well-rounded toolset and strong odds of sticking at shortstop. If he is even a .230 or .240 hitter, he should have a lengthy big league career because of his defensive ability at shortstop, speed and power. If he proves to be an average or better hitter, he could become a franchise-caliber player.
Track Record: Royals scouts obviously liked what they saw from the University of Florida pitching staff in 2018 because they used their top two draft picks to grab the Gators' top two starters. They took Brady Singer at No. 18 and Kowar at No. 33. Like Singer, Kowar had a very storied Gators career. Kowar finished with the third-best winning percentage (.803) in Florida history. His final outing in the College World Series saw him strikeout 13 in 6.2 shutout innings. Scouting Report: Like Singer, Kowar already sports a pair of plus pitches. His wipeout plus-plus changeup is already regarded as the best in the organization. He has easy velocity, and his fastball touched 97 mph in his pro debut. He delivers his pitches with a clean arm action, and he should be able to improve his velocity as he adds strength to his tall, lean frame. Kowar generates fastball arm speed and screwball action on his 85-87 mph changeup, which has plenty of fading life. His breaking ball got slurvy at Florida before he settled into a mid-to-upper-70s curveball that projects to be an average pitch as he gets more consistency with it. That will be a key development focus for him as a pro because he's long struggled to find a breaking ball he is comfortable using regularly. Kowar pitches with a free-and-easy delivery, though he can get in trouble when he gets too quick with his delivery and leaves pitches up in the zone. The Future: Kowar will continue to pair with Singer as they advance to the big leagues. They will start the season together at high Class A Wilmington.
Track Record: Lynch shot up draft boards late in the spring of 2018 when he showed improved stuff and control in late-season outings, including an excellent Atlantic Coast Conference tournament start in front of many Royals front office officials. Based on an outstanding pro debut between Rookie-level Burlington and low Class A Lexington, Lynch has solidified the belief that his improvement is sustainable. Scouting Report: After sitting 88-92 mph for much for his college career, Lynch's velocity bumped up to 93-95 late in his college career. It got even better when he got on the mound as a pro. He continued to sit 93-95 and started touching 97. He commands his plus fastball to both sides of the plate and is able to front-door his two-seamer back over the plate against righthanded hitters. Lynch throws two 83-85 mph breaking balls, and he varies the shape between the two. Both pitches have sharp downward bite and generate swings and misses, with his wipeout slider being the better of the two. His 85 mph changeup flashes above-average potential but is currently his most inconsistent pitch. It's a good pitch when he sells it, but he too often tries to guide it. Lynch has embraced his new power-oriented approach as he has embraced attack hitters with his new-found power. The Future: Lynch will move up to high Class A Wilmington in 2019, along with fellow first-rounders Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, forming three-fifths of the Blue Rocks rotation. Lynch's rapid improvement gives him a shot of becoming one of the better lefthanded pitching prospects in the minors, but he needs to prove he can sustain his late-season 2018 form over a full season.
Track Record:Singer was another in the long line of highly-acclaimed starting pitchers coming out of the University of Florida. But the righthander's pedigree goes further back then his time in Gainesville. He was a Blue Jays second-round pick out of high school who opted not to sign. The decision to skip pro ball the first time around turned out to be a wise choice by Singer. He was a key member of the Gators' rotation as a sophomore and junior and was the Baseball America College Player of the Year in 2018. Coming into the season, Singer was seen as a potential top-five pick for the 2018 draft. He slid to the 18th pick, but his $4.25 million bonus was nearly $1 million above the slot for that pick and was the 11th richest bonus in the first round. After pitching deep into the College World Series, Singer waited until three days before the deadline to sign. Because of Singer's heavy college workload in addition to a minor hamstring problem after reporting to the Royals' complex this summer, he has yet to make his official pro debut. He did pitch in instructional league. Scouting Report: The Royals were thrilled to get a near major league-ready pitcher that far into the draft. They see Singer as a starter with a durable body and competitive makeup. He flashes two plus pitches--a fastball and slider--delivered from a lower arm slot. That arm slot concerned some scouts, and they said they felt it limited his ability to consistently throw his changeup. While still a bit rusty during instructional league, Singer looked the part. His fastball sat 91-94 mph, which was close to his college velocity, with good movement down in the zone. His lower arm slot helps him get plenty of run on his fastball. He has good feel for his sharp slider, which comes in around 83 mph. He didn't have to use a changeup much in college and the pitch still is inconsistent for him. Singer has yet to become comfortable throwing it frequently, but it has potential to give him another above-average offspeed weapon. His control grades as above-average. The Future: Singer will likely start his career in a loaded high Class A Wilmington rotation in 2019. His advanced control and competitiveness give him a chance to be a mid-rotation starter. With his big-game experience and arsenal, Singer will move quickly through the system and could reach Double-A before the end of his first pro season.
Track Record: Lee continued on the fast track through the Royals' system, making it to Double-A three days after his 20th birthday. The athletic outfielder took big strides forward in 2018, especially in cutting his strikeout rate from 32 percent in his first full season to 25 percent. He was one of the most productive players in the Carolina League before his midseason promotion to Double-A. He also improved his walk rate from 12 to 14 percent. He missed the last month of 2018 to back soreness but made up for lost time with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: The key to Lee's improvement at the plate resulted from cutting down on his swing with two strikes and using the whole field more often. The larger ballparks in the Carolina League helped to suppress his home run total, which dropped from 17 in 2017 to six in 2018. But Lee projects to hit for more power as he matures. He shows easy plus raw power in batting practice and scouts believe he has good feel to hit and keeps his hands back and works deep counts. While not a burner, Lee is a smart baserunner and has the above-average speed, athleticism and arm to stay in center field. The Future: Lee will return to Double-A Northwest Arkansas to start the 2019 season. In a system with a number of high-ceiling prospects in the lower levels of the minors, Lee stands out because he's not that far away from the big leagues. Lee should be starting in Kansas City by the end of 2020.
Track Record: Isbel went from a productive hitter to a middle-of-the-lineup masher as a junior at UNLV thanks to a big increase in his power--he hit 14 home runs as a junior after hitting seven in his first two seasons combined. Isbel's increased power came with increased selectivity at the plate that boosted his on-base percentage. That boosted Isbel up draft boards in 2018. The Royals grabbed the lefthanded hitter in the third round. He quickly showed he was too advanced for Rookie-level Idaho Falls in his pro debut and advanced to low Class A Lexington where he helped the Legends win the South Atlantic League title. Scouting Report: Isbel profiles as a top-of-the-order bat with very good plate discipline. He's better suited to get on-base and run around the bases than to drive people in. He projects as an above-average hitter who uses a compact swing to shoot balls to the gaps. He's more of a doubles hitter for now but has above-average raw power and should park 10-15 home runs over the fence eventually. He's also an aggressive baserunner with plus speed. Isbel is still relatively new to the outfield, having entered college as a second baseman, and his inexperience shows at times with some of the routes he takes. He should be able to stay in center field with his first-step quickness and an above-average arm. The Future: Isbel's advanced baseball instincts, raw tools and hard-nosed style of play should allow him to jump to what should be a stacked high Class A Wilmington club next year.
Track Record: Bubic capped his three-year career at Stanford with an outstanding junior season in which he went 8-1, 2.62. The Royals continued their run on college arms with the extra draft picks they had accumulated, selecting Bubic in the supplemental first round with the 40th overall pick. Scouting Report: Bubic profiles as a back-of-the-rotation innings-burner with a high floor and less ceiling than his fellow Royals first-rounders. His 90-94 mph fastball has good run and sink. It's a pitch that he can cut to his glove side and sink to his arm side. The gem of Bubic's arsenal is his plus changeup with late sink. His mid-to-high 70s curveball has medium depth and 12-to-6 movement. It projects as an average pitch. Bubic gets some deception from his low-effort delivery, which features a pause in the back that creates timing issues for opposing hitters. The Future: The Royals added a plethora of high-profile college pitchers to their system via the 2018 draft. That could create a logjam at the lower levels of the system in 2019. Bubic's most likely landing spot out of spring training will be low Class A Lexington.
Track Record: The son of Florida International head coach Mervyl Melendez, M.J. showed good aptitude at the plate and advanced skills behind it. Melendez shared catching duties at low Class A Lexington with Sebastian Rivero for the South Atlantic League champs. Both Melendez and Rivero earned spots in the SAL all-star game. Melendez's 19 home runs were fifth-most in the South Atlantic League and he finished second in the league with 54 extra-base hits. Amazingly for a catcher, he also finished third in the league with nine triples. Scouting Report: Melendez makes hard contact at the plate with a level swing and good hand-eye coordination that gives him power to all fields. Plus, he shows the aptitude to adjust during at-bats. Despite hitting .251, Melendez projects as an average hitter. He sells out for power at times, as evidenced by his 30 percent strikeout rate in 2018, but he gets to his plus power. Melendez is an average runner who runs much better than the average catcher. Behind the plate, he needs to continue working on the mechanics of his setup and receiving, but he works well with pitchers. He is bilingual and calls a good game. His plus arm helped him tie for the Sally league lead by throwing out 42 percent of basestealers. The Future: Young catchers don't typically hit like Melendez did in 2018. He projects as a first-division regular with a power bat behind the plate. He'll move on to high Class A Wilmington in 2019 where his power will likely be sapped by his home park. He needs to continue to improve his contact rate, but he has a ceiling few minor league catchers can match.
In 2017, McConnell was rated the No. 39 draft prospect out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High due to an elite set of tools, headlined by plus-plus running ability and defensive potential at shortstop. However, his inconsistencies throughout the summer and spring of his senior year allowed teams to pass on him until the Reds drafted him in the 33rd round. He reached campus at Florida, where he struggled (.136/.136/.273) and played in just nine games despite being the highest-ranked position player to make it to campus. In his draft-eligible sophomore season, McConnell has played much closer to what his pedigree and toolset would suggest, leading Florida batters in batting average (.354) and home runs (10) through his first 46 games. He’s added around 10-15 pounds of muscle since arriving to Gainesville and now has plus raw power to go along with his plus running ability and plus arm strength. However, scouts are still puzzled with McConnell, as they question his true hitting ability—he struck out 41 times and walked just 15 times through his first 170 at-bats—and cite the many mechanical tweaks that McConnell makes at the plate. Additionally, some scouts think he’ll be forced to move off of shortstop, as the game speeds up on him at times, and he still lacks the sort of consistency and focus that a shortstop needs to show at the next level. While he does have plus speed, his internal clock seems to be a bit off at the position, and he struggles to get his feet set properly at times. Still, his production in the SEC will leave lasting impression for evaluators, and there is no doubting the impact tools that he brings to the field every day.
Track Record: Pratto was the Royals' first-round pick in 2017 after an illustrious high school career in Southern California and with multiple Team USA clubs. He was also an effective pitcher in high school, but scouts were unanimous that his pro future was as a hitter. Pratto got off to a slow start in 2018 but finished strong by compiling a 1.106 OPS in his final 32 games and followed that with a .333/.474/.600 batting line in the South Atlantic League playoffs. He also was named the MVP of the league's all-star game. Scouting Report: Pratto's late-season improvement at the plate came after he shortened his swing and got more aggressive. Before that, he struggled to handle premium velocity, but his adjustments helped him fix that issue. His 28 percent strikeout rate was surprisingly high for a hitter with his advanced approach and batting eye--most scouts have seen him as a hit-first first baseman with developing power. While scouts question whether he'll develop the plus home run power desired from a first baseman, he has the potential to be a plus hitter who needs to figure out how to tap into his plus raw power. A fringe-average runner, Pratto is a heady baserunner. He's an above-average defender with good footwork, good hands and instincts. The Future: Pratto's strong finish helped allay some concerns about his bat. He'll have to continue to develop more power, but he has the potential to be an everyday first baseman with a plus bat and at least average power.
Track Record: Matias had a chance to break the South Atlantic League record for home runs, which was set by Russell Branyan with 40 in 1996. But a freak accident when he caught his thumb in the cargo door of the team bus caused him to miss the last month of the season. Even so, Matias finished with 31 homers as well as an impressive opposite-field shot in the Futures Game. Scouting Report: Despite projecting to be a below-average hitter, Matias has plenty of impact potential thanks to his plus-plus power and impressive set of tools. Matias is looking to drive the ball at every opportunity--all but one of his home runs was hit to left or center field. He made progress at the plate in his first full season, showing an ability to make adjustments, especially in the second half when he toned down his aggressiveness against breaking balls. Matias will need to cut down his strikeout rate from a lofty 35 percent, but his overall improvements indicate that he will improve his contact rate when he gains better control of his aggressive nature at the plate. Matias has prototype right field tools as an average defender with a plus-plus arm and above-average speed underway. The Future: Matias has a lofty ceiling but also carries more risk than any other Royals Top 10 Prospect. Few players with strikeout rates like Matias figure out how to make enough contact to get to their power at the major league level, but those who do can be impact players. He will jump to high Class A Wilmington in 2019.
Track Record: Drafted in the fifth round and signed for $447,500, Cox had an impressive pro debut in 2018. His pure stuff at Mercer was generally better than his results, with opponents hitting .284 despite him striking out 12.7 hitters per nine innings, which ranked in the top 10 among all Division I pitchers. Scouting Report: The source of Cox's issues in college was a quick delivery that he didn't always repeat. The Royals worked to get him to slow his delivery down, as well as learn how to pitch to the edges of the strike zone while keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate. Cox has an elite ability to miss bats, using an above-average fastball in the mid-90s with average or better movement and two good breaking balls that could be considered plus pitches in the future. Rounding out his pitch mix is an above-average changeup, while his control projects to be fringe-average. The Future: Cox could be either a starter or a multi-inning reliever. He should make it to full-season ball at low Class A Lexington.
Track Record: Hicklen was a two-sport athlete at Alabama-Birmingham, doubling as a wide receiver until the school dropped its football program in 2015. Drafted in the seventh round in 2017, Hicklen signed for $337,500. He was slowed by injuries in his first pro season, but had a solid 2018 that was split between low Class A Lexington and high Class A Wilmington. He was especially effective in Lexington, leading the team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Scouting Report: Pure strength and raw power are Hicklen's most noticeable attributes. He's not real loose athletically, with the athleticism coming from his strength. While he has above-average to plus raw power, Hicklen projects to hit for average more than power. He was good plate coverage and lays off secondary pitches out of the strike zone, but he has a tendency to chase fastballs up in the zone. As expected from a former wide receiver, Hicklen is a plus runner underway but closer to above-average out of the box. He's an average fielder with fringe-average range. While his arm is no more than fringe-average, he gets rid of balls quickly to make up for any shortage in arm strength. Hicklen is a vocal leader on the field, constantly inspiring his teammates. The Future: A potential power-speed threat, Hicklen is viewed by some scouts as a fourth outfielder. A future role as a starting outfielder isn't out of the question, however, especially as he continues to develop his baseball skills to go along with his raw athleticism. He'll head back to Wilmington in 2019.
Track Record: The Royals' fourth-round pick out of Lipscomb in 2017, Gigliotti had a solid debut season, ut his second pro season ended early when he tore his ACL after only six games. Scouting Report: Gigliotti profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter with elite plate discipline, using his advanced knowledge of the strike zone to work counts and focus on making contact. He has a strong frame and quick hands with an efficient bat path. His below-average power is balanced by the plus-plus speed he showed prior to his knee injury. Gigliotti gets good jumps and reads on fly balls, and his average arm is enough for center field. The Future: Assuming he's back to full strength in 2019, Gigliotti should move to high Class A Wilmington. That determination won't be made until he's back in action during spring training, however.
Track Record: Lovelady continued his rapid progress, spending all year in Triple-A in only his second full pro season. Scouting Report: With some funk in his delivery, Lovelady gives hitters uncomfortable at-bats. His 91-95 mph fastball with solid-average life was slightly down in terms of velocity this year, but it did not reduce his effectiveness as the life and movement of the pitch was still there. His fastball has hard tailing action with sink, and he locates it to both sides, but the biggest factor is the elite extension he gets from his drive off the mound. Lovelady's go-to offspeed offering is his 83-87 mph slider, a plus pitch that gets swings and misses. His fringe-average changeup is used infrequently. The Future: With his pure stuff and ability to get righthanded hitters out, Lovelady can function as more than just a lefty specialist. He should make it to Kansas City in 2019.
Track Record: Haake made a circuitous journey through the college ranks, spending one year each at Arkansas State, John A Logan (Ill.) JC, and finally at Kentucky where he split his Wildcats season between the bullpen and the rotation. The Royals continued loading their 2018 draft class with a smorgasbord of college pitchers by taking Haake in the sixth round, despite an ugly 8.37 ERA in his final college season. Scouting Report: Haake's difficulties at Kentucky stemmed from moving back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, as he didn't have the endurance to succeed the second time through a lineup. The first item of business when reporting to the Royals' complex was to start a throwing program to build up his endurance. He also worked on his delivery in order to stay on line and repeat his delivery and his finish more often. Haake's fastball sits 93-98 mph, pitching most often at 95-96 mph in instructional league, but it comes in fairly straight. His 85-86 mph changeup is a below-average offering but showed improvement in the fall, while his average, 84-87 mph slider is still a work in progress that could become above-average in the future. With a tall, slender frame, Haake has plenty of room to get stronger. Track Record: Haake's three-pitch mix in college indicates a future in the starting rotation, but Haake's track record could indicate a bullpen role is more likely, unless the Royals' conditioning program pays off. Haake will most likely begin 2019 with low Class A Lexington.
Track Record: With the big league team needing an extra catcher after the trade of Drew Butera, Viloria was called up to the majors and played in 10 games in September. Scouting Report: A defense-first backstop, Viloria has a plus arm with a quick release, throwing out 41 percent of would-be base stealers in 2018, consistent with his totals in previous seasons. He's bilingual and knows how to call games behind the plate. Offensively, Viloria has a good feel for hitting with good hands and solid bat speed. He has above-average raw power, but is more of a gap-to-gap, line-drive hitter because his swing is naturally geared to using all fields. Improving his walk rate from six percent in 2017 to 10 percent in 2018 is a positive sign. He is a tough kid who plays the game with passion.
Track Record: Del Rosario had originally signed with the Braves in 2016 for $1 million, but he was declared a free agent in 2017 as part of Major League Baseball's sanctions against Atlanta for circumvention of international signing rules. The Royals signed him for $665,000. The Braves' loss is the Royals' gain as Del Rosario's stock rose in parallel with an uptick in his fastball velocity. Scouting Report: Del Rosario was named the organization's pitcher of the month for August, when he posted a 5-0, 0.75 mark. He commands his 92-95 mph fastball with late life to both sides of the plate and is adept at pitching inside to hitters. His 79-80 mph curveball flashes as a plus pitch with good shape, and he gets swings and misses on it, but he misses up in the zone when he doesn't throw it from the same slot as his fastball. Del Rosario commands his 88-89 mph changeup, but it's too firm. His delivery is unique and gets a little funky, providing deception, but he gets in trouble when he throws across his body. The Future: Del Rosario will move up to high Class A Wilmington in 2019 as part of a prospect-packed rotation. The odds that he remains a starting pitcher have increased.
Track Record: Staumont has long struggled to improve his command and control. He continues to frustrate, with his electric stuff playing down because of his lack of control, although he slightly lowered his walk rate from 7.8 walks per nine innings in 2017 to 7.0 walks per nine in 2018. Staumont spent the entire 2018 season in Triple-A, pitching mostly out of the bullpen. The Royals worked him in relief, primarily to simplify things and have him pitch out of the stretch. Scouting Report: Staumont continually entices with an electric, 91-97 mph fastball that touches 100 mph. The ball jumps out his hand, regularly recording a high spin rate. The biggest issue is that Staumont's control is a 20 on the scouting scale. Staumont attacked hitters better in 2018. He struggles to land his fringe-average, 76-80 mph curveball, but it can be a plus offering with swing-and-miss potential on the rare ocassions when he does command it. His 82-84 mph changeup is a firm, below-average pitch. The Future: Staumont could be a high-leverage reliever using just his four-seam fastball and curveball if his control improves. If not, it's hard to envision him being able to contribute in a big league bullpen.
Track Record: The best-known of the three prospects acquired from the Nationals for Kelvin Herrera in June 2018, Gutierrez played all of 2018 in Double-A after seeing time in the Arizona Fall League the year before. His results at the plate with the two teams were practically identical, combining for a .275/.329/.400 slash line and a career-high 11 home runs. Scouting Report: Gutierrez has consistently shown the defensive skills to play third base at the big league level, but he's yet to prove he has the power needed for the position. He has a relatively simple inside-out, line-drive swing with quick hands at the plate, routinely producing hard contact to all fields. The Royals' hitting coaches had him adjust his swing to reduce the length, allowing him to get to pitches sooner. There's quickness in Gutierrez's bat, with power to right-center field and the ability to barrel good velocity. Defensively, Gutierrez is an above-average defender thanks to soft hands and good first-step quickness. His arm grades as plus-plus. He got a few games at shortstop this year just as a look to increase his versatility. Gutierrez has fringe-average speed but used his instincts to steal 20 bases in 24 attempts. The Future: Gutierrez will move to Triple-A. If the power emerges, he could be a regular, but otherwise, there are few big league roster spots for backup third basemen.
Track Record: Hernandez is the classic late bloomer, not signing with the Royals until he was 19 for $15,000 in 2016. His first full season with low Class A Lexington was interrupted twice, once early in the season when he returned home to Venezuela for a family emergency and then again when he was shut down for the last month of the season due to minor soreness. Scouting Report: Hernandez overpowers hitters with a 93-95 mph fastball that touches 97 mph with late life. His 80-82 mph, power curveball has the potential to be a plus pitch, and he's effective at selling his 80-84 mph, split-grip changeup, especially to lefthanded hitters. Hernandez throws all three pitches for strikes, and both secondary offerings have the potential to be plus pitches. There's still room for improvement with his delivery, as he gets late with his arm and misses up in the strike zone. The Future: Hernandez needs to smooth out his delivery and further refine his impressive arsenal. Some scouts view him as a future reliever with the potential to be a power arm in the back of a bullpen. He will battle to fit in a stacked starting rotation at high Class A Wilmington.
Track Record: Morel had barely started his career in the Nationals' organization, pitching just one game in the Dominican Summer League before being one of three prospects acquired by the Royals in exchange for major league reliever Kelvin Herrera in June 2018. He immediately headed west to make his Royals debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, pitching most of the summer at age 17. Scouting Report: Morel is not physically big, coincidentally drawing comparisons to Herrera at the same age because of the way his arm works and the potential for added velocity. He's a fierce competitor on the mound, delivering his pitches with an athletic, loose power arm. Morel's 90-93 mph fastball, which touches 95 mph, has late life and the chance to play up, but it gets flat at times resulting in hard contact. His slurvy breaking ball--a hard pitch with bigger shape--flashed plus at times but projects as more of an average pitch. Morel's changeup was an above-average pitch in the AZL but then flashed plus potential during instructional league. He improved his command in the fall by better repeating the finish and delivery of his pitches. Morel shows a good aptitude to learn. The Future: Most scouts in the Arizona League projected Morel as a future reliever because he commanded his pitches better in shorter bursts, but he has the arsenal to be a starting pitcher with plenty of developmental years ahead. He'll need another year of short-season ball in 2019.
The Sun Devils’ Friday Night starter has taken one of the biggest jumps forward of any Division I college pitcher in 2019, highlighted by a mid-April complete game victory over then-No. 3 Oregon State in front of a large contingent of scouts and scouting directors. Marsh has gotten stronger and consistently gets ahead of hitters by throwing his first pitch for strikes. His five-pitch mix all grade as average pitches, although his fastball flashes plus, especially when he dials up the velocity into the mid-90s in key situations. Marsh most often uses his two-seamer to get ground balls and his four-seamer for swings and misses, complementing both offerings with a changeup that he throws with good arm speed and natural sink. He also mixes in a 78-82 mph slider and 72-76 mph curveball. He repeats a clean delivery, with all pitches coming from the same slot. At times, Marsh can struggle when his four-seam fastball flattens out. Marsh’s improvement should allow him to go early on Day 2 of the draft.
Track Record: Blanco was regarded as Cuba's fastest player when he defected to the Dominican Republic. He came to terms with the Athletics in December 2017. Because of a two-year layoff from game action, Blanco began his U.S. career at high Class A Stockton in 2018 even though he turned 25 in April. Scouting Report: Blanco started slowly in the California League but redeemed his season. He hit .323/.360/.462 in his final 48 games with Stockton, appearing on track for a promotion to Double-A before a left hamate injury sidelined him for the season on July 4. He had surgery in August. Blanco is a top-of-the-scale runner who steals bases aggressively and efficiently. He will never have more than fringe power because he doesn't pull the ball well, but he has strength and an all-fields hitting approach, which could equate to a plus hit tool. He has the plus range and below-average arm to excel in left field. The Future: Blanco must keep developing his bat to profile as a major leaguer, but even in the absence of more power he could fill an extra outfielder role. Double-A is the next test.
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