15 Draft prospects who stood out at Tournament of Stars
By Jesse Burkhart
Special to MLB.com |
With USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars in the books, it's time to look back at some of the top prospects who showed why scouts will be tracking them closely from now until the 2017 Draft.
In lieu of a traditional top prospects ranking, this is an alphabetized list meant to recognize 15 players who stood out either because of their tools, performance or both. On top of the actual games, there were two scout evaluation days, consisting of positional workouts and batting practice, which gave evaluators a thorough look at the complete skill sets of each hitter. Most of the pitchers made two brief appearances.
Adell is a two-way prospect whose loud tools and fast-twitch athleticism jumped out on both sides of the ball at TOS. On the mound, his fastball peaked at 93 mph and he mixed in a power slider at 78-82 mph that flashed hard bite. At the plate, he displayed electric bat speed and plus raw power potential, though his pitch-tracking issues produced more than his share of empty swings. He also showcased near 80-grade speed, running the 60-yard dash in 6.40 seconds.
Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS (Calif.) 5-foot-8, 152 pounds; R/R; Committed to Southern California
Allen was the best up-the-middle defender at the event, exhibiting quick-twitch actions and sure hands at shortstop. He made routine plays with ease and made the difficult plays look routine, finishing instinctive routes with at least average arm strength. He wasn't too bad at the dish either, going 6-for-16 with just one strikeout on account of his advanced strike-zone awareness and feel for the barrel.
Baz is an athletic specimen with power stuff and a developing feel to pitch. His 91-94 mph fastball, 86-89 mph cutter and 76-79 mph slider proved daunting for opposing hitters in his first outing, though poor command was his undoing in the championship game, during which he allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings. He's a pitching prospect through and through, but he also brings intriguing right-handed juice to the plate, as demonstrated when he launched a mammoth home run to left.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (Calif.) 6-foot-5, 184 pounds; L/R; Committed to Southern California
Long and strong with a lightning-fast arm, Crouse showed explosive stuff in Cary, N.C., albeit with some effort in his delivery. He registered 97 mph on the gun in two separate outings, sitting 93-96 mph with running life and difficult angle on his way to striking out seven batters in six shutout innings. His upper-70s power curveball spun tightly and broke deep in varying shapes, giving the appearance of future plus pitch. Still with room for strength in his lean frame, he could take another step forward this spring.
Ricardo De la Torre, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (P.R.) 5-foot-10, 174 pounds; R/R; Committed to Auburn
De la Torre didn't play up to his talent level at TOS, but he still displayed the tools that make him one of the marquee shortstop prospects for the 2017 Draft. Offensively, he combined a line-drive swing path with good bat speed, hinting at above-average raw power. Mental lapses resulted in more than one defensive miscue, but his glove is softer than the mistakes suggested, and he also showed true actions with plus arm strength.
High-waisted with long levers and a zero-effort motion, Eder has a starter's look and projectable stuff. He created downhill plane on his 88-91 mph fastball that touched 92, and there's probably more in the tank as he fills out his physical frame. He paired the heater with a 70-72 mph curveball, which needs tightening, on his way to striking out nine in five scoreless frames.
Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant Hill HS (La.) 6-foot-4, 169 pounds; R/R; Committed to LSU
Enlow, a picture of projection, was the most dominant pitcher at the event, striking out 10 in six innings and allowing two hits with no walks. His loose arm really jumped out as it whipped around to his three-quarters slot, producing sink on his 88-92 mph fastball that topped out at 93. He also flashed the makings of a devastating slider at 79-83 mph that featured good vertical depth, sprinkling in a 77-79 mph changeup.
Though Greene struggled at the plate, the elite two-way prospect lit up radar guns once again and reinforced why most scouts prefer him on the mound. In his first outing, he worked in the 94-96 mph range and reached 97, combining the heater with a 79-81 mph slider and an advanced mid-80s changeup. At the dish, he went just 1-for-11 with four strikeouts and didn't appear to have the confidence he had while on the bump.
D.L. Hall, LHP, Houston County HS (Ga.) 6-foot-1, 179 punds; L/L; Committed to Florida State
Hall combined a quality three-pitch mix with an athletic delivery, showing why he's one of the top left-handers in the prep class. Allowing just one hit in five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, his fastball ranged between 88-92 mph, touching 93. He has a nice feel for his upper-70s hook, which took on a 1-to-7 shape and projects as an above-average offering. He also sold his changeup with good arm speed.
Sam Hall, INF/OF, Topsail HS (N.C.) 6-foot-1, 182 pounds; R/R; Committed to Clemson
Hall is an unassuming athlete whose feel to hit stood out in competition. He made hard contact in batting practice and demonstrated an ability to manipulate the barrel in games, striking out just once in 15 plate appearances. Despite his flat-footed running style, he has above-average speed that helped him steal five bases. There's some stiffness in his fielding actions, but his average arm strength gives him defensive versatility.
Quentin Holmes, CF, Messenger McClancy HS (N.Y.) 6-foot-0, 173 pounds; R/R; Committed to Mississippi State
Equipped with elite speed, Holmes has a true center field profile and an emerging feel to hit. His present bat-to-ball ability was noticeable throughout the event as he went 5-for-16, exhibiting gap power when he smacked an 88 mph fastball to the left-center alley, then turned on the jets for a triple. He ran the 60-yard dash in 6.45 seconds, and should maintain at least 70-grade speed as he fills out his athletic frame. His arm strength is fringy, but his throws have enough carry to keep runners honest.
Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island HS (Fla.) 6-foot-2, 169 pounds; R/R; Committed to Florida
With five tools that project to average or better, McConnell is an offensive shortstop with a chance to stick at the position long-term. His live bat stood out at the plate, as he showed an explosive, line-drive path that should enable him to hit for contact and above-average raw power once he reaches maturity. He has a shortstop's body that will add lean muscle instead of range-sapping bulk, and his solid actions and above-average arm are strengths.
Kier Meredith, OF, Robert B. Glenn HS (N.C.) 5-foot-10, 176 pounds; L/L; Committed to Clemson
Meredith had scouts comparing their stopwatches all tournament long as the speedy outfielder consistently put balls in play and raced to first base. Pairing a quick bat with a solid approach, he posted multiple sub-4.0 second home-to-first times in addition to a blazing 3.58 mark on a jail-break bunt. He's a center fielder at the next level, though he has below-average arm strength with a shotput arm action.
Mitchell's raw tools were hard to miss even though they didn't translate to his best performance at TOS. Still, he's a physical player who exhibited strength, athleticism and explosiveness in each phase of the game. His swing takes a flatter path, but he has exceptional bat speed that should one day produce plus raw power. He also ran a 6.45 in the 60-yard dash and showcased a strong arm from the outfield in positional workouts.
Alex Scherff, RHP, Prestonwood Christian HS (Texas) 6-foot-1, 205 pounds; R/R; Committed to Arizona State
Scherff combined power stuff with a feel for the offspeed as he struck out three in three shutout innings. His mid-90s fastball featured riding life as it peaked at 96 mph, and he mixed a promising 83-84 mph changeup with a 75-78 mph slider, both of which should become at least average pitches. With his rock-solid build and easy motion, he looks primed to shoulder a starting pitcher's volume.
Brice Turang, SS/CF, Santiago HS (Calif.) 6-foot-0, 168 pounds; L/R; Committed to LSU
Turang, a rising junior, was nothing less than outstanding while playing against older competition. He demonstrated the best pure hit tool at TOS, going 7-for-15 with a triple and a lone strikeout thanks to an ideal hand path and exceptional bat-to-ball skills. His athleticism, solid fielding actions and soft glove give him a chance to play shortstop, though his plus speed also makes him a fit in center field. He made a strong argument to be considered not just the best player in the 2018 prep class, but also the best high school player in the entire country.
Jesse Burkhart is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.