Thursday, November 12, 2009

AFLAC Top 15 Prospects

I was able to fly out to San Diego for three days of watching the 2009 Aflac All Americans. I was able to see them perform infield/outfield, batting practice, scrimmages, and finally the game that took place on Sunday. The pitchers are definitely ahead of the hitters at this point. This is how I ranked the top 15 players in attendance. This was a combination of the players performance during the week, and what their future performance will be.

1- Bryce Harper, C, Las Vegas High School, Las Vegas, NV Although he had a disappointing game at the plate, Harper still showed why he is the number one talent in high school, and possibly, the number one talent in the 2010 draft. He went 0-5 with three strikeouts in the game, including getting completely fooled by Cameron Bedrosian, on a nasty breaking ball. During the week he showcased his power in batting practice and it is truly amazing what he can do with the bat. Harper also showed off his power arm from behind the dish, and even if he struggled in the game, he is still the number one prospect from the game.

2- Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, TX This big right hander dominated in the game, striking out four, including striking out the side in the second. He is in a class by himself as far as pitchers go this year. He ran his fastball up to 97, and his breaking ball was also very sharp. In the second, he struck out Reggie Golden and Stetson Allie with the fastball, then got Connor Narron looking on his sharp breaking ball. For me, he is a definite top 5 pick in the draft at this point.

3- Yordy Cabrera, INF/RHP, Lakeland Senior High School, Lakeland, FL A physically imposing high schooler, Cabrera is listed at 6’4, 190 pounds. His body looks pro ready already, although he is much older than the other players at the event. Cabrera showed off his power all week long, including hitting eight homers during the first round of the home run derby at the University of San Diego, then hitting five out at PETCO. He hit some monster shots at USD and he makes it look easy. He was dead pull all week and it will be interesting to see how he handles the outside pitch, and if he is able to go the other way with it. He has good bloodlines, as his father is a coach in the Detroit Tigers system.

4- DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Tattnall Square Academy, Macon,GA To me, the next group of five right handers is relatively close at this point. It will be very interesting to see who separates themselves in the upcoming year as they all have first round arms. Smelter was the most impressive to me, striking out the side in the 8th inning. He made easy work of phenom Bryce Harper, Krey Bratsen, and Austin Wilson. His fastball ran up to 95 and sat in the low to mid 90’s the entire inning. His splitter was also very impressive, and this one could be a great one!

5- Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley High School, Chipley, FL Whitson was a personal favorite of mine, the way he handled himself on and off the mound. He has a good work ethic and a great arm to boot. His fastball was around 93-95 during the game, and his slider could be a great out pitch at the upper levels. Whitson struck out Harper with a nice fastball, and forced MVP Tony Wolters to ground into a double play. Look for Whitson to have a huge year and find himself in the middle of the first round.

6- AJ Cole, RHP, Oviedo High School, Winter Springs, FL Cole came into the weekend as my second ranked right hander, but struggled a bit on the mound. He was battling an eye problem the whole week but it was still easy to see why he is ranked so high. His fastball ran up to the mid 90’s and his breaking ball is up there with the best off speed pitches in the country. Cole struck out Stefan Sabol in the game, while letting up a double to outfielder Brian Ragira. Cole still fits himself in the middle of the first round

7- Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edward High School, Olmsted Falls,OH Allie has an outstanding arm, and is the hardest thrower in the 2010 class. He usually sits around 96-97 mph, and at this event touched 97 also. He is a big RHP, listed at 6’4, 225 and he showed why is ranked so high in the class. He allowed a walk to Kris Bryant, but struck out Bratsen, then recorded two straight groundouts to end the inning. Definite first round arm at this point!

8- Cameron Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta High School, Senoia, GA Bedrosian had a busy inning in the first, allowing two runs after allowing a single and walk, but also showed his plus stuff. His curveball is outstanding, and it made Bryce Harper look foolish. He also got power hitter Kris Bryant to strike out on the curve. Good bloodlines here, as his father is Cy Young Award Winner Steve Bedrosian. All five of these RHP have great stuff, and any one of them could emerge as the number two guy, behind Jameson Taillon.

9- Justin O’Conner, INF/RHP, Cowan Junior/Senior High School, Muncie IN O’Conner had a rough game, going 0-2 with 2 strikeouts, but I was able to see him all week and he is a great player with some pop in his bat. He had some great BP sessions and is able to generate a lot of power with his 6’1,190 pound frame. He has smooth actions in the middle infield and has a solid arm. He also threw an inning in the game, reaching the low 90’s. He is a great two-way talent, who to me is better as a position player.

10- Tony Wolters, SS, Rancho Buena Vista High School, Vista, CA Wolters was the game’s Most Valuable Player, going 2-4 with an RBI triple to tie the game late. He is a fun player to watch because he is very undersized at 5-10, 165. He does all the small things well, and he has a cannon for an arm across the diamond. Very solid defensive player and can handle the fastball well at the plate. It will be very interesting to see where he ends up in the draft, or if he heads to college next season. He is going to be a special player.

11- Kris Bryant, INF, Bonanza High School, Las Vegas, NV Power is his calling card. He is a giant at the plate, at 6’5,205 and he generates a ton of power in his swing. Bryant went 0-2 with a walk in the game, but the days before is where he shined. It was great to watch him during BP as he makes it look almost too easy to hit for that much power. He has a solid arm across the diamond and should be able to stay at third base as he moves up during his career.

12- Zach Alvord, INF, South Forsyth High School, Alpharetta, GA Alvord is a great shortstop prospect who can really hit the ball. During the week he put on some of the best BP sessions in San Diego. Alvord has a lot of pop in his bat and is one of the best power hitters in the country. He is also a smooth defensive shortstop and it was great to see him taking tips from Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith during the week. Alvord went 0-2 with a walk, but hit the ball hard and far in his second at bat against Peter Tago.

13- Stefan Sabol, C/OF, Aliso Niguel High School, Aliso Viejo, CA Sabol is an outstanding athlete who is a blast to see play. He is athletic enough to play almost anywhere on the diamond, but if he is able to stick at catcher, it will greatly improve his draft stock. He has blazing speed and is a very exciting player. Sabol went hitless in the game, but he is a fantastic athlete who has committed to play for Oregon.

14- Josh Sale, OF/1B, Bishop Blanchet High School, Seattle, WA Sale is one of the top hitters in the country. It is unsure where he will play defensively but his bat should play anywhere. He went 0-1 with a walk during the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if by draft time, he is the top high school hitter in the draft.

15- AJ Vanegas, RHP, Redwood Christian High School, Alameda, CA Vanegas was a pleasant surprise during the weekend. He was in the 91-92 range in the game, touching 93 and he coasted through an easy third inning. He has a good breaking ball, that will improve if he adds a little velocity to it. He struck out two in his inning. He could emerge as a top pitcher in the country and put himself in the upper class of RHP’s with a good year. Personal favorite of mine.

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