"I don't think anyone has ever burst on the scene at the East Coast Showcase like Nick Plummer," a veteran area scout said. "He was the best player at the East Coast Showcase. He did everything you could want a player to do. He hit a home run off a guy throwing 94, he stole bases, he caught balls. The only thing he doesn't do well is throw. He might be the No. 1 player picked in the Draft if he were from Florida, California [or] Texas."
Plummer went from Syracuse to Long Beach, Calif., for the Area Code Games and stood out again. He blasted the second pitch of the event for another long home run and continued to look like one of the best high school hitters in the country. He earned a late invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field, where he struck out twice but still had scouts buzzing about his breakout summer.
Upper-level evaluators were excited to get another extended look at Plummer at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., last October. This time he didn't live up to expectations, going 2-for-18 with seven strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Opponents pitched around him as his Orlando Scorpions team reached the championship game, and he wound up drawing 11 walks.
That was the last chance to see Plummer against quality competition as he won't face pro-caliber pitching in the Michigan high school ranks. By contrast, the other top high school outfielders in the 2015 Draft -- Kyle Tucker (Plant High, Tampa, Fla.), Daz Cameron (Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Ga.) and Trenton Clark (Richland High, North Richland Hills, Texas) -- play in the three of the four biggest baseball hotbeds in the nation.
Scouting directors will mostly will judge Plummer based on the extremes he showed last summer. He's predictably dominating this spring, batting .517/.674/.965 with just two strikeouts in 57 plate appearances in his first 11 games.
"Michigan high school pitching is not good, so you need to have your mind made up," a second area scout said. "Is he the guy you saw for four days in Syracuse who lit the world on fire, or is he the guy who never should have gone to Jupiter? He wasn't ready. He had only been playing for one week before he went there and it was a bad decision.
"There's a lot of risk on Midwest high school bats, but all summer he was one of the best high school position players in the whole country. We've had guys do things at East Coast Pro, but not like that over the course of four days. If he had skipped Jupiter, no one would question him. He's still a mid-first-rounder for me."
A Kentucky recruit, Plummer ranked No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com's initial Draft Top 50 Prospects list in December, and he will move up slightly when our updated and expanded Top 100 is released next week. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has a rare combination of bat speed, pitch recognition and plate discipline for a high schooler, giving him the ability to hit for average and power from the left side of the plate. His biggest backers believe he has the instincts to remain in center field, while others think he's destined for left field.