Thursday, August 21, 2014

2015 MLB Draft: The Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American Games

The last three years, I have typically written up one of the Under Armour or Perfect Game All American Games. This year, I watched both and will combine the notes instead of focusing on one. Some played in both games and showed different things in each game but none showed completely different skills. These aren't in specific order but are generally how I prefer them. I didn't spend a lot of time on order. I'll do that later. I had a preliminary ranking in my 2014 Draft Book but much of it has changed with the games I have seen this summer. I still have a lot of prep work before I put out a new list but this should help satiate your appetite.
The Pitchers
Kolby Allard
Kolby Allard was so good, it was almost unfair and these are the best players in the country. He had an easy 92-94 MPH FB that he was spotting and it was just unfair. His breaking ball could get big leaguers out right now with that kind of command. He is a good athlete. He’s a smallish guy and won’t blow people away with physicality but the stuff and current polish makes him look like a top 5 pick in this and most classes. Comparing him and Brady Aiken at the same time a year ago, Allard is well ahead of him in velocity and on par with him in command and athleticism. Scott Kazmir would be a solid comp but Allard is so much more polished.


Ashe Russell

Ashe Russell has a really nasty breaking ball. He has a solid fastball at 91-94. He has a clean delivery but does have a little effort from his fast delivery. He has a loose whippy arm that makes him look like a high end draft pick. He looks like a guy who will get better in pro ball and develop into a #2-3 starter.
Justin Hooper

Justin Hooper is a really big kid. He’s 6’7", 230 and built like a football tight end. He has poise and confidence on the mound to go along with the stuff. His long arms and legs create deception and it’s like the ball is being delivered from 50’ instead of 60’. Hitting 97 from the left side is almost unheard of at the prep level. That is part of the reason Brady Aiken was picked 1st overall and will be why Hooper will be looked at early as well. His slider shows promise, as does his change. His size is rare and his athleticism is elite. We will be hearing a lot of his name in spring. The lazy comp here is CC Sabathia.
Beau Burrows

Beau Burrows is your next top of the line guy. He sat 94-95 with an excellent breaking ball. His fastball was fairly straight but it is heavy. His delivery is bit different than most contemporary pitchers in the way he leans back as he fires. He has a strong, durable build and will be an impact arm.
Mike Nikorak
Mike Nikorak was around 92 with his fastball. He clearly wasn’t at his best in San Diego. His control and command were off and he couldn’t get a breaking ball across.  His change was sick at Wrigley. He hit 94 with the fastball and his 76 MPH breaking ball was impressive for the most part. If decision makers see him like at Wrigley, he's a lock first round pick.
Kyle Molnar is a polished righty who knows how to pitch. His success plays above his stuff and his stuff is pretty damn good. He has a nasty breaking ball and a good low 90's fastball. I could see him being a Kyle Lohse kind of guy in the long run and that is very worthy of a 1st round pick.
Cole McKay is a typical texas fireballer. Where his velocity ends up in spring will decide his draft status. The delivery is clean and he has some solid secondary offerings. If he is sitting mid 90's, he could be a top 10 pick. If he's a little more raw and sitting low 90's he could be a supplemental or later pick.
Gray Fenter has some of the best stuff in the Wrigley game. He can hit 94 and has an excellent breaking ball. He will be a high pick unless something goes awry.
Joe DeMers- 90-94 FB. Bullpen build and delivery. Really opens up on delivery but has an excellent breaking ball giving him impact arm potential. He has a thick build but he's a guy I could see sitting upper 90's late in games in a few years.
Juan Hillman- His delivery has a bit of Dontrelle Willis too it, just cleaner. He fires strikes, knows how to pitch and has a good three pitch mix. While he only works 88-90 for the most part but he could be special if he adds a few ticks, like I expect him to.
Austin Smith – Easy 96 on occasion. Clean and easy delivery. 90-96 FB. Needs strength to gain consistency but could be an amazing arm.
Corey Zangari – Physically, he has a bullpen profile. Arm strength is there but he doesn’t offer projection. Hit 90-92 and I could see a few more ticks in there but I’m not holding my breath for upper 90’s like he has reportedly hit in the past. His delivery is erratic and is a project. He can spin a curveball in the low 80’s. 91 MPH FB has the look of a cutter. Once he settled down, he only worked low and away to righties and low and in to lefties. This offered good results but wouldn’t work against advanced hitters.

The Hitters
Brendan Rogers
Brendan Rogers has big power potential and solid hitting skills. He will likely stick at short and has good footwork and a strong arm. He hit a high fly in San Diego that showed his power potential but he just got under it. He has the potential to be a top prospect in the minors and will be a very high pick. It's easy to see he is an excellent player but he doesn't have the wow factor like some high end prospects have. The easy comp here is JJ Hardy.
Ryan Mountcastle

This isn't the first time I have seen Mountcastle. I have seen some of his play from Perfect Game National as well and was similarly impressed as I was in the AA games. Mountcastle doesn't get the love of Rodgers and Daz Cameron but he can flat out hit. He hits everything hard, has a good arm but I don't think he will stick at SS in the future. That hinders him some.
Chris Betts
Betts has a great approach. He is the owner of potentially plus power along with being a pure hitter. I don’t see him impacting defensively but I'm not saying he can't stick at catcher with time and work. I think the bat is good enough to make that a minor point. Betts hits everything hard and can go to the opposite field as well as pulling one out of the park.

Daz Cameron
Daz is clearly an athlete but the tools have not improved over the last year or so. He seems to have plateaued and that is never a good thing for draft stock. I don’t see any loud tools out of Daz, just smooth actions in the field and at the plate. He’s not going to be a superstar and will be in the Albert Almora class more than the Byron Buxton class. Solid all around tools will get him far.
Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker has a really unusual swing. He drops his hands and swings very flat almost like Ted Williams used to but he lacks the shortness and the wrist strength of Williams. It is a very unusual swing compared to his contemporaries but he generates a lot of power considering his extremely lean frame. He will struggle with the length of his swing at times but the raw potential is really impressive.
Luken Baker
Baker is a Hoss. He’s got tree trunk legs and is pure power at the plate and on the mound. He looks like an excellent prospect on the mound sitting 90-93 and has some feel for his secondaries but if I’m picking him, he’s a hitter with that leverage and bat speed. Stetson Allie seems like a fitting comp but I think he is a better hitter and pitcher than Allie. Allie was brute force with no control. Baker has a controlled swing at the plate and feel to pitch. He could be a 1strounder as a hitter or a pitcher.
Kyler Murray – For a guy who was practicing football in Texas and hitting in the AA game within 24 hours is impressive. I expected a raw, stiff athlete trying to hit but that was completely wrong. He put two good swings on the ball and that was enough to sell me on his potential. He likely won’t play baseball but in my honest opinion, he should give up football right now because he has the talent to make a lot of money without any 250 pound linebackers trying to decimate him. Anytime a great athlete is on a baseball field, I’m a fan. I wish he’d stay on it. He is the quick twitch type of athlete that the game needs.
Mitchell Hansen has excellent hand eye coordination at the plate and is one of the better hitters in this class. Has excellent speed and is also a high end WR on the football field.
Kep Brown- Nice swing for a big guy. Good speed/power combo. He could end up being one of the best players in this game. I really want to see him more to bear down on the swing. If he can hit for power with his short, quick swing from a guy his size, he could be a star.
Kyle Dean- Corner OF but the bat should play. Good power potential and clean swing. Good approach. I like this guy.
Josh Naylor- massive kid. I will not put the Prince Fielder comp on him like many but Dan Vogelbach is a good comp.  Pure hitter with big power potential. I'd really like to see him get in better shape but the swing is for real. The arm is for real.
Jahmai Jones is a short compact player that should stick up the middle and have an impact bat.
Devin Davis- Impressive hitter with great bat speed and power potential.
Jonathan India hits everything hard. He will have to learn to be a little more patient but I love the way he plays.
Demi Orimoloye- A very impressive physical presence. Impressive swing. Hits the ball hard. His overall skill set is really impressive and he is one guy from this game I would like to watch just because his skill set fascinates me.
Wyatt Cross- Defensively he is a bad ass. He will have his name in the class of Austin Hedges when he gets to pro ball. The amount he can hit is a question. I don't know that he can even hit .240 but the glove would be worth a shot.
Ke’Bryan Hayes – Good hitter. Solid D at 3B. Potential to be better than his dad. The bat could allow him to be an all-star if he refines his game.
Kody Clemens is the best hitter of the Clemens clan. Maybe the best athlete in the family. His contact ability is great and he has a slashing swing. There isn't much power but he stings the ball. Should be a solid average hitter with plenty of line drives.
Ryan Johnson didn't show me anything I was hoping for. I like the tools and the profile but I haven't seen him hit yet.
Alonzo Jones is really fast, has good bat speed and can hit from both sides of the plate. I want to see more of him but he could be special.
Nick Shumpert has a lightning fast bat and the skills to stick at SS. Bloodlines and tools go along way.
Isaiah Gilliam has excellent power potential and will likely be playing at a JuCo this spring after already graduating and being drafted. Interesting story.
Nick Fortes plays above his tools. I will rank him higher than his profile.


If you would like to check my previous work to see what my track record looks like:




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