HS Draft prospects impress at 1st PDP showcase

Prospect Development Pipeline events give MLB teams greater exposure to elite prep players

HS Draft prospects impress at 1st PDP showcase

ATLANTA -- As Bubba Thompson soaked in the early portion of the Prospect Development Pipeline Premier event at suburban Atlanta's Coolray Field on Saturday, he quickly realized how this event differed from other showcases. Peering toward left field, he saw a fellow prospect running back and forth within a square while reacting to a digital image that appeared on one of four small monitors.

"Now that's different," said Thompson, a multisport Alabama prep athlete.

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Date PDP Premier Event
Jan. 14 Atlanta
Jan. 21 Houston
Jan. 28 Bradenton
Feb. 4 Southern California
Feb. 5

Phoenix

May 20 Atlanta
May 30 Phoenix
June 4 Kansas City
June 5 Tampa Bay
June 6 Denver
June 20 Cincinnati
June 21 Chicago
June 21 Houston
June 22 Pawtucket
June 22 Southern California
June 23 Seattle
June 25 Oakland
June 25 Cary
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Thompson was one of the high schoolers who was invited to participate in the first event staged by PDP, a joint venture between MLB and USA Baseball created to enhance exposure to 16- to 18-year-old prospects leading up to the MLB Draft

Further distancing themselves from traditional camps that focus on a players' speed, swing and arm, MLB and USA Baseball's invitation-only PDP events include drills that record players' bat speed, balance, agility and reaction time using advanced technology.

"It's kind of like a baseball combine," said Luis Campusano, a highly touted catcher from Augusta, Ga. "It's pretty interesting seeing these things I have never seen. You never know what you can do better than another guy. So it's always good to find out if you have an advantage in some areas."

Photo Gallery of Atlanta PDP event

Along with completing the PDP-specific drills, the 28 players invited to Saturday's event also took batting practice and completed fielding activities as scouts representing teams from throughout MLB made their own evaluations.

Campusano made the most of his opportunity, as he showed off his arm strength and impressed scouts with the professional manner in which he completed his batting-practice session. The 18-year-old catcher's stock has soared since the start of the summer, and with a strong high school season, he could give clubs reason to think about taking him in the first round.

While Campusano might have been the most polished performer on Saturday, Thompson appeared to be the most toolsy prospect. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound outfielder from McGill Toolen Catholic (Ala.) decommitted from Auburn to pursue an opportunity to play baseball and football elsewhere. Tennessee is among the schools that have talked to him about the possibility of playing quarterback in the fall, but he admits he'll lean toward baseball if he is taken high enough in this year's MLB Draft.

Terry Fuller drew everyone's attention when he stepped on the field on Saturday, and he continued to open scouts' eyes as he displayed his tremendous strength during batting practice. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound outfielder/first baseman from Griffin (Ga.) High School looks like a linebacker that would draw Nick Saban's attention. But as he took his cuts from the left side of the plate during the event, he had some scouts drawing similarities to a young David Ortiz.

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The highest-rated prospect at this event was left-handed pitcher Jacob Heatherly, who ranks 17th on MLBPipeline's 2017 Prospect Watch list. Heatherly, who is preparing for his senior season at Cullman (Ala.) High School, completed many of the drills and tests. But pitchers will not be permitted to throw in PDP events until the latter portion of January.

"They're very hands-on with their teaching and instruction here," Heatherly said. "I like it. The new technology is pretty cool to see."

There will be four more regionalized PDP Premier Events -- Houston (Jan. 21), Bradenton, Fla (Jan. 28), Southern California (Feb. 4) and Phoenix (Feb. 5). An additional 12 workouts will be held after most high school seasons have been completed, allowing both the clubs and 2018 Draft-eligible prospects nearly a full year to benefit from this new initiative.

Here is the full roster of participants:

Name, POS, Hometown, Class, Commitment
Tanner Allen, 2B/OF, Theodore, Ala., 2017, Mississippi St.
Jordan Anderson, OF, Madison, Ala., 2017, Mississippi St.
Jecorrah Arnold, 3B/OF, Athens, Ga., 2017, Lipscomb
Will Banfield, C/RHP, Lawrenceville, Ga., 2018, Vanderbilt
Ryan Bliss, SS/2B, LaGrange, Ga., 2018, Auburn
Bryce Bowen, 1B/LHP, Bowman, Ga., 2017, Clemson
Devo Brown, SS/2B, Newnan, Ga., 2017, Georgia Tech
Justin Bullock, RHP/3B, Creedmoor, N.C., 2017, North Carolina St.
Luis Campusano, C/1B, Augusta, Ga., 2017, South Carolina
Miles Christian, OF, Gambrills, Md., 2018, None
Zach Daniels, OF/SS, Stockbridge, Ga., 2017, Tennessee
Terry Fuller, OF/1B, Griffin, Ga., 2017, Chipola
Buddy Fultz, SS/2B, Johns Creek, Ga., 2017, Middle Tennessee State University
AJ Gardner, OF/RHP, Fayetteville, Ga., 2017, Alabama St.
Ward Hacklen II, OF, Irmo, S.C., 2017, Clemson
Ethan Hankins, RHP/1B, Cumming, Ga., 2018, Vanderbilt
Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman, Ala., 2017, Alabama
Ian Jenkins, OF, Lawrenceville, Ga., 2017, South Carolina
Ivan Johnson, SS/2B, Atlanta, Ga., 2017, University of Georgia
Parker Meadows, OF, Grayson, Ga., 2018, Clemson
Matt Oldham, C/3B, Pittsboro, N.C., 2017, none
DJ Poteet, SS/3B, Johns Creek, Ga., 2017, Wake Forest
Baron Radcliff, OF, Norcross, Ga., 2017, Georgia Tech
Jason Rooks, OF/RHP, Marietta, Ga., 2017, Georgia Tech
Oscar Serratos, SS/RHP, Lawrenceville, Ga., 2017, Georgia Tech
Logan Simmons, SS/3B, Macon, Ga., 2018, Georgia Tech
Bubba Thompson, OF, Theodore, Ala., 2017, none
Austin Weiermiller, LHP/OF, Milton, Ga., 2017, Stanford

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.