Monday, September 24, 2012

PG Evoshield Underclass

Took in the PG Evoshield underclass over the weekend, which featured many top prospects for 2014 and 2015.

Below, is a breakdown of the prospects I saw (with video!) and they are listed in the order that Perfect Game ranks them (with the number being the ranking nationally).


RHP Ryan Castellani (PG # 14, UCLA Commit) - This was the 2nd time I have seen Castellani pitch.  Featuring an ideal pitchers frame, the 6'4", 190 pound righy is tall and athletic w/ a body that can get up to 230 w/ gd present strength.  He wasn't as good on this day as I had seen him previously, as he was 86-89 w/ gd run and a slurvy SL at 75-78 that flashed below avg.  He comes from a 3/4, SWU and throws a bit across his body.  For him, I think you are buying the body and the fact you think you can teach him to spin it.  I think this ranking is a little high, as I have some concerns with being able to teach a guy a breaking ball.  I think he will end up being a late 1st or early 2nd round pick in 2014.


2B Blake Wiggins (PG # 64, Arkansas Commit) - Wiggins is committed to his in state school of Arkansas and he jumped out to me based on his pure hitting ability.  The projectable middle infielder has a mdm, athletic build w/ a strong base and gd present strength.  He features avg bat speed, which projects above avg, and a knack for getting the barrel on the ball.  He doesn't top spin a lot of balls like some of the other players do, but he showed the ability to hit line drives to all fields.  He projects as a 10-12 HR guy when all is said and done and he isn't the special type of athlete to handle SS at the pro level.  He does feature gd defensive actions with soft hands and avg arm strength to go with what will be fringy speed.  He projects as a solid avg regular at 2B, which would make this rating correct.

OF Gerard Hernandez (PG # 70) - Hernandez had the best bat speed at this tournament.  The mdm, athletically built OF has gd present strength and some projection remaining, which will likely move him off the CF he is playing now to a corner, which his bat will have no problem handling.  He features above avg to plus bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing and projects to have plus bat speed.  He does generate his bat speed by hitting off of his front foot and that will be a concern moving forward.  However, he backspinned numerous balls and was a true presence in the lineup.  In a lineup featuring numerous highly rated players (2015 Chris Betts, 2015 Michael Hickman), Hernandez hit 3rd.  He is an aggressive hitter who looks for his pitch and will get himself out early in the count.  He is a below avg runner that projects to not be a clogger, but not an asset on the bases either.  He is a top 50 high schooler in my opinion.

1B/RHP Keaton McKinney (PG # 71, Arkansas Commit) - This was my 2nd look at McKinney both on the mound and in the batter's box in as many weeks.  He is still what I wrote up last week, but I think I prefer him as a hitter now.  On the mound, he was 88-90 w/ a 70-72 mdm downer CB that flashed gd spin and a 71-73 CH with fade and sink, though he noticeably slowed his arm down.  I am concerned with some mechanical aspects of him, as the arm continues to be late and doesn't appear to have the flexibility to repeat his delivery.  As a hitter, he continued to show avg bat speed that projects above avg with a big power ceiling (and right handed power is something a premium will be paid for), though he was swinging for the fences this week.  I think teaching him a little patience (not to get out on his front foot so much) will unlock the special hitter that he can be.  I think this ranking is about right, though I wouldn't be surprised to see him taken as early as the supplemental 1st round in his draft year.


OF Scott Hurst (PG # 72, Cal State Fullerton Commit) - Hurst did more to stand out then any other player at this tourney to me.  The small (5'11", 170 pounder) features ok present strength, but needs to add a lot of muscle.  His overall package as a hitter could be scary.  He backspinned almost every ball I saw him swing at.  Even on a pitch he got jammed, the ball found a second wind as it went over the infielders and almost got over the RF.  He showed avg bat speed which projects to plus w/ a very slight uppercut swing.  While he doesn't have the size of most big time hitters, Hurst projects as a potential .300 hitter w/ 10-15 homers and gap power.  He also should be an above avg runner.  His ultimate question, which I didn't see enough of to answer, will be if he profiles in CF or in a corner.  Big time prospect who is a top 30 high schooler for me.

C Tommy Pincin (PG # 77) - Pincin features a mdm, athletic build w/ some stockiness and gd present strength.  He is a solid defensive catcher, moving well behind the plate and setting up gd targets.  His throwing mechanics need some work, as he takes a giant step forward when throwing the ball to 2B.  He features a solid avg throwing arm to pair with reliable accuracy.  I believe he was battling a non throwing shoulder injury and it appeared to affect him at the plate.  While his timing was never right, he featured below avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing.  He has gap power now and projects to have power to LF and CF and should be able to hit for some average as well.  Right now, without seeing the bat play the way I think it should, he is rated a bit too high and would probably be out of my top 100.

3B/RHP Jordan Pearce (PG # 86, San Diego Commit) - This was my 2nd look at Pearce, as I got to see him take one swing last week before getting to focus on him for 2 games here.  The 2 way player, features a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and has some projection left to him.  Pearce is the rare type of player who could play both ways in college.  On the mound, he was 87-89 (and maintained deep into his outing) featuring some run and sink.  He featured the FB the first time through the order before working in his 2 off-speed pitches, both of which show avg or better potential.  His CB was 77-79 and featured a sharp, late 2 plane break to with a CH at 78-80 w/ gd armspeed that had life at times.  His delivery featured some effort, coming from a H 3/4 release.  As a hitter, he showed avg to above avg bat speed in a simple swing with a gd bat path.  He projects to hit for both avg and power as his frame fills out.  He worked counts well and stayed within himself.  For me, I will be surprised if he makes it to San Diego, as he profiles as top 5 rounder to me.  Based on the looks I have of him, I would recommend drafting him as a hitter with the mound being a backup option.

C Darren Miller (PG # 121, Florida State Commit) - Miller is a short, stocky catcher w/ a close to mature body and a thick lower half.  He is listed as both a SS and a C, but with his body, he will be a C at the next level (be it college or pro).  He has gd actions behinds the plate w/ quick feet and a plus arm.  He has all the tools to be a plus defender at least.  Offensively, he currently has below avg bat speed that projects to avg w/ a swing that is flat to a slight uppercut.  He is never going to be a big power guy and will instead look to hit gaps.  He worked quality at bats, which makes you think he will draw enough walks to have value.  At this point, I think the ranking is a little high and I think he will end up at Florida State.

OF Nate Alam (PG # 132) - The switch hitting OF didn't do much to stand out for me this week.  He showed below avg bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing in a mdm, athletic body w/ ok present strength and projection remaining.  He played a speed based game, but didn't have a lot of speed.  His ideal projection would be that of a 4th OF.  I think he will end up at college.

SS Ryan Day (PG # 188) - Day kind of jumped out to me, as he was not on my initial watch list.  The 6'0", 165 pounder w/ a lean, athletic build and projection remaining jumped out to me due to his glove.  He featured plus hands with a soft glove and should be able to handle SS at the next level, whether that is college or in pro ball.  What will stop him from getting to pro ball out of high school (besides the leanness of his frame) is his bat.  He features below avg bat speed and I never got to see him barrel any balls.  He was hitting third on the same team as Tommy Pincin, though that is likely because Day will never be much of a power threat, as he projects to be a line drive, gap to gap hitter.  I would say his ranking is correct and would expect him to attend college.

3B Sean Bouchard (PG # 210) - Bouchard plays for the prestigious San Diego Show travel team and was out here last week as well.  I was only able to get a chance to watch him play in one game and didn't get a great feel for him.  He is a tall, athletic kid w/ a body that should fit at 3B once it is filled out.  He showed a SL Uppercut w/ below avg bat speed and had a good path, although he appeared to lock himself up at times.  Had him as a slightly below avg runner.  Don't have any feel on him, so won't discuss the ranking.
C David Banuelos (PG # 216) - Banuelos is a mdm, stocky catcher w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  As a hitter, he showed below avg bat speed which projects to avg with a swing that didn't have as much loft as it could have, as his bat plane had a tendency to get flat and pound balls on the ground.  He projects to have some avg ability w/ gap power.  Defensively, he sets a good target w/ solid mobility and catch and throw skills.  Projects as an avg to slightly above defensive catcher.  He is probably a better fit to go to college then to be drafted out of high school.
OF Elijah Skipps (PG # 221) - Skipps is a monster and built like a LB.  The 6'3", 190 pounder is nowhere near that anymore and appears to be closer to 6'4", 220.  He is big and athletic with a current professional body w/ excellent present strength.  He is a plus athlete and a long strider, which helps be an avg runner.  Currently playing CF, he will be in a corner at the next level.  He features below avg bat speed in a swing that needs some work.  He is raw at the plate and it will show itself at times, though he has gd plate discipline and rarely expands the zone.  With his body, it is hard to not project at least avg power.  I think Skipps should be a top 150 player and has a chance to get drafted out of high school if he can continue to develop his swing.
1B Quinn Brodey (PG # 261) - Brodey is a big, sturdy corner OF w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  He featured a simple, repeatable swing w/ below avg to avg bat speed and a slight uppercut.  He projects to hit for power, as he hammered a ball down the RF line around 340 feet just foul.  Whether he hits for avg will determine what his ultimate role will be.  He is a below avg athlete who will be limited to LF or 1B, but he projects well as a potential org guy and draftee out of college.  I think his ranking is correct.
OF Marcus Wilson (PG # 268) - You want tools?  Marcus Wilson is your man.  The long, rangy, loose athlete features a projectable frame that you would typically see in a WR (6'4", 170).  He features near plus-plus speed, but that is his only tool that plays right now.  He is incredibly raw, showing below avg bat speed in a swing that can be cleaned up.  He is raw as a baserunner, not getting great secondaries or understanding how to use his speed.  And he is a raw OF, who takes very interesting routes which prevents his speed from playing there as well.  He probably needs college to develop, but it will be interesting to see how far he develops.
2B Brian Ginsberg (PG # 278) - Ginsberg is build like a potential utility IF who can play every position in the IF besides 1B.  The 6'2", 180 pounder still features projection in his athletic build.  He showed below avg bat speed in a slight uppercut with an aggressive approach.  Doesn't project for a lot of power, rather hitting doubles in the gap.  Should be a college guy.
2B Tristan Hildebrandt (PG # 326, Oklahoma Commit) - Hildebrandt is your classic small middle infielder.  Measuring at 5'11, 165, he appeared to be even shorter at this event, though that may have been because he was hitting after 6'4" Kyle Molnar.  He has little present strength in his small, athletic build and needs to build up his body a bit in the weight room.  He featured below avg speed in a flat swing and really struggled offensively this week.  He appeared to be out of rhythm and let prior bad at bats snowball.  While there are some questions with the bat, there is no question that he is a more then capable defensive infielder w/ soft reliable hands and gd body control.  He features avg range and a fringy throwing arm, which makes his likely position 2B as opposed to SS.  College guy with a chance to be drafted as a potential utility IF after 3 years.
2B Tyler Urbach (Unranked) - Urbach is a projectable athlete w/ a strong base.  He features a developing swing that needs to better sync up the lower and upper halves.  He shows enough bat speed to project to avg and should be able to hit for some average.  He has a pretty limited ceiling however, featuring below avg arm strength and projects to be just an avg runner.  Tools wise, he rates out as your typical utility IF without the ability to handle SS.  I think he will end up at college.
3B/RHP Daniel Slominski (High Follow, Oregon State Commit) - Slominski is a mdm, athletic projectable kid who should get taller and stronger, though he already features a strong lower half.  I prefer the 2 way player as a hitter, where he showed what will be avg bat speed in a simple swing and should hit for average with the potential for average power.  On the mound, he worked 82-84 with run in a rock and fire delivery that created a lot of deception.  He also featured 2 developing offspeed pitches in a late big breaking downer CB at 70 w/ a CH with gd armspeed at 77 w/ fade and sink.  He is likely a college guy, as he needs the time to develop the body.  While I prefer him as a hitter, it wouldn't surprise me to see him become an important cog of the Oregon State pitching staff.  I do think he is one of the Top 500 high school players in the nation and think the ranking is far too low.

RHP/OF Kyle Molnar (PG # 1) - Quite possibly the worst thing to happen at the Underclass Tourney was the Orange County Red Sox getting upset in Round 1 of the playoffs.  This meant that all I had to evaluate Molnar as a pitcher was a 1 inning look where he threw nothing but fastballs.  A tall, strong kid w/ a classic projectable pitchers build, he worked 88-90 and generated easy velo.  Coming from a H 3/4, SWU, he showed a little run on his pitches.  Without seeing a breaking ball, it is near impossible to get a feel for how advanced the offspeed stuff is.  As a hitter, he featured a long swing w/ below avg bat speed, but projects avg.  Currently features gap power, he projects to be a 12-17 HR guy.  There is length to his swing and he wouldn't be the top 2015 prospect as an OF.  Wish I could have seen him throw more then 1 inning.
RHP Joe De Mers (PG # 4) - De Mers is a big bodied pitcher with feel for 2 quality present pitches in his FB and CB.  A big strong kid w/ a thick lower half, he doesn't have a ton of projection remaining.  Coming from a H 3/4, SWU, he features an electric arm that worked 88-90 and can safely project into the 93-95 range as he moves forward and better learns to use his legs in his delivery.  His CB has good spin and is a big downer w/ a 2 plane break.  He didn't throw a change in this outing, as he threw only 2 innings, likely saving him for what Angels baseball thought would be a playoff game before they got bounced in the 1st round.  Based on those 2 pitches, which can both be projected as plus offerings, I think the ranking is appropriate and he is a very special pitching prospect.  He also hits, but the swing is pull heavy and long and he will be a pitching prospect.

C Lucas Herbert (PG # 6, UCLA Commit) - Herbert is a 6'0", 200 pounder with a bulldog build.  Mdm, athletic w/ a solid base and gd present strength, there is still some projection left.  He showed avg bat speed from a spread, no stride rotational swing.  He shows an ability to keep his hands back and should be able to hit to all fields, though he will never be a big avg guy.  He will hit for power, already possessing avg to above avg raw power and projects to be a 25+ HR guy when all is said and done.  Defensively, he has the tools to remain behind the plate, setting a good target w/ ok mobility and appears to just need a tweak of his catching stance to give himself more flexibility.  I would agree with this ranking and I will be surprised if he makes it to UCLA. 

C Michael Hickman (PG # 16) - Hickman is a 6'1", 185 pound catcher who projects to stay at the position.  Featuring a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and projection remaining, he showed avg bat speed in a pull oriented approach.  The swing path itself is good, but he has a tendency to fly open with his front shoulder, limiting his plate coverage.  He already features avg pull power and projects to plus pull power w/ avg overall power from the left side.  Adding even more value, he has the tools to remain behind the plate with an avg throwing arm (doesn't play avg due to struggles with footwork on throws) and he is a quality receiver who sets a good target and is a quiet mover.  He also features the agility to box balls.  A top end prospect who has a chance to go in the 1st round.
C Chris Betts (PG # 25) - Betts can flat out hit.  He is a tall, somewhat stocky prospect with excellent present strength and some projectability remaining, though he has a thick lower half.  He features avg bat speed, which projects above avg to plus, with a slight uppercut swing.  He backspins a lot of balls and already features above avg power, as he drove numerous balls 370 to 380 during this tournament.  The bat is not his question mark.  Defense will be a factor for him.  While he has the raw tools to be a plus C, he is still learning the position and I think he is going to outgrow it as his body fills out.  He features a plus arm (which allowed him to throw 87-88 off the mound) and gets pop times around 2.0 right now.  He can get stabby and loud with his target behind the plate and is still learning to box balls.  It would be a waste to put his arm at 1B, but I don't know that he will have the mobility to handle LF or 3B.  A big time bat that is ranked correctly thanks to defensive questions.
SS Brandon Perez (PG # 33, Oregon Commit) - Perez is an all around baseball player and while he doesn't do any one thing exceptionally, he does everything well.  Mdm, athletic loose body w/ ok present strength, he still has projection remaining.  Tools wise, he is a plus athlete w/ above avg speed, though he projects to be a solid avg runner once he is mature.  At the plate, he has avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing and the swing is repeatable (though he will get into times where he loads too deep).  He has all the tools you look for in a player and is a guy to monitor going forward.  I think the ranking is about right for now, but wouldn't be surprised to see him become a mid-1st rounder.
OF Tyler Williams (PG # 38) - This was my 2nd look at Tyler Williams in as many weeks and he continued to show a tremendously projectable body and a raw skillset all around.  His mechanics were a bit more out of whack this week and didn't really barrel a ball like he did last week of his at bats that I watched.  He does get good jumps in CF, which translates to a potential above avg defender in a corner once his body has matured.  A very intriguing guy who is probably ranked too high right now due to his rawness, but who can find his way into the Top 10 if he develops his swing and body.
RHP Jiovanni Orozco (PG # 43) - Orozco is a very intriguing 2015 righty.  Featuring a mdm, sturdy build w/ gd present strength and a solid lower half, he has a little projection left (though not as much as most 2015 kids do).  He has good present stuff, featuring a FB at 87-90, which dropped to 85-87 in the 4th and 2 developing offspeed pitches in his 65-69 mdm downer CB and his 69-70 CH w/ some fade.  He slows his arm down on both breaking pitches, which will hurt him as he advances.  He comes from a H 3/4 SWU with a slight hook in his delivery and appears to be a guy who will struggle to pitch in the bottom third of the zone, as he understrides a bit and struggles to get extension at times.  He pitches around the zone with the FB and has the feel to elevate it out of the zone to serve as his out pitch.  A very intriguing arm with good present stuff, I think the ranking is about right for him, as he needs to learn to throw his off-speed pitches at the same arm speed as his FB.
RHP Drew Finley (PG # 67) - Finley was fairly unimpressive here.  On the mound, the tall, projectable (6'2", 195 - place him closer to 6'4") righty worked 83-84 w/ a gd downhill plane.  Stuff wise, he showed ok armspeed for a CH at 79 and a CB at 67 that was a big downer.  He has the tools to eventually become a draft guy as a senior, but will need to continue to get stronger.  As a hitter, you can project for his power to come, but there is a lot going on his swing that will need to be tampered down to experience consistent success.  I think he is rated too high based off of this look and I am not sure if I prefer him as a pitcher or hitter.
3B Niko Navarro (PG # 97) - I admittedly didn't get a great feel for Navarro.  The 6'1", 170 pound lefty hitter featured a mdm, athletic build w/ gd present strength and projection remaining.  He seemed content to line balls to the left center gap and rarely looked to turn on the ball.  He showed avg bat speed in a slight uppercut swing that got flat a little too often.  Interesting bat.
OF Blake Brewster (Unranked, Oklahoma Commit) - Brewster will not be unranked for very long.  The Oklahoma product has already committed to the in state school and features a rare ability to backspin balls.  The projectable CF w/ a mdm athletic build and ok present strength has avg bat speed w/ a slight uppercut swing.  The swing is fairly unique, as he brings almost all his weight back and then hits while his weight is coming forward.  For the swing, the closest comp I can think of is Adam Kennedy.  Brewster profiles as a top of the order bat w/ avg ability, some pull power and above avg defense in CF, where he showed gd routes and just needs to learn to not drift with the ball.  A concern with him to being at the top of the order is his plate discipline, as he was an early count swinger on this day.  A very intriguing prospect who, IMO, should be a top 100 player for his class.


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