The summer showcase circuit continues to roll on, with the best high school players from the 2018 Draft class stopping at the East Coast Professional Showcase this week in Tampa, Fla.
Since 1994, the ECPS, run by Major League scouts, has brought in the best high school talent from the extended East Coast annually, with an alumni roster full of first-round picks. This year's event will undoubtedly be no different, with a number of standout performers maintaining or raising their profiles over the course of the event. Many of these high schoolers will go on to the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., the Perfect Game All-American Classic and/or USA Baseball's 18 and Under team trials to close out the summer's whirlwind of activities.
This year's ECPS was dominated by pitchers, but the following Top 10 evens things out, with five pitchers and five positions players getting the most mentions from evaluators polled to generate this list.
1. Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.): Hankins was rated the top performer at USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars as well. He was perfect in Tampa this week, striking out six straight and retiring all nine he faced. He did it with a mid-90s fastball that touched 97 mph and that he commanded well. He worked really fast and showed a few good breaking balls and even a decent changeup.
2. Mason Denaburg, RHP/C, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS: Denaburg is a two-way guy who also catches, but he stood out for his work on the mound. The right-hander was 92-95 mph with his fastball, and more like 94-95 over his first two innings. He worked in a 78-80 mph curve and a mid-80s changeup.
3. Nander de Sedas, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy: After finishing as the runner-up in the Under Armour All-America Game Home Run Derby, de Sedas continued to impress with the bat, showing easy power from both sides of the plate along with a good approach. His speed and range might mean he doesn't stay at shortstop long-term, but his defensive actions say he'll be an infielder for sure.
4. Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.): Banfield didn't swing the bat all that well this week, though he has looked better at other events this summer. But that didn't hurt his work behind the plate one iota. He continued to show outstanding catch-and-throw skills that make him the best backstop in the class.
5. Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS: David's son, who hadn't pitched much on the national stage, continues to look like one of the better high school lefties in the class. He operated in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball and folded in his 74-76 mph breaking ball effectively. He has a good low-80s changeup as well.
6. Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.): Rocker continues to elicit some mixed opinions, but there's definite arm strength there. He was 93-96 mph with his fastball early in his outing, then settled in closer to 92 mph for the remainder, but he was effective. He showed a solid 82-83 mph slider and even worked in a mid-80s changeup.
7. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Lukes Episcopal HS (Mobile, Ala.): Loose and athletic and with room to fill out, Jackson's fielding actions impressed scouts, and they think he can stay at shortstop long-term. At the plate, there's work to be done on recognizing breaking stuff, but he showed power to all fields and doesn't miss fastballs.
8. Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS (Pembroke Pines, Fla.): Casas didn't fare that well against all of the premium velocity, but he continues to show the kind of raw power teams want at first base. He also had a good two-strike approach and does find the barrel more often than not.
9. Landon Marceaux, RHP, Destrehan (Ga.) HS: He's a bit undersized at 6-feet, and he doesn't have the electric fastball others in this class have, but he might know how to pitch better than any of them. He's got solid stuff now too, with a 90-94 mph fastball and a mid-70s curve. Ultra-competitive, he goes right after hitters and fills up the strike zone.
10. Ryder Green, OF, Knoxville (Tenn.) Christian HS: Green has some tools to work with, most notably his raw power. The ball comes off his bat very well, as evidenced by a home run he crushed this week. He's strong and explosive with some quick-twitch athleticism, reminding some of A.J. Pollock.