A year ago, Tanner Scheppers looked like a sure-fire first-rounder, a guy who had a lot of buzz coming out of Fresno State. Then he hurt his shoulder and was shut down, causing him to slip to the second round. The Pirates drafted him, but were unable to sign him. He didn't go back to school and instead signed with the independent St. Paul Saints and will be available to be redrafted this June. Along with Aaron Crow, who joined the Fort Worth Cats, another independent Minor League team, after not signing with the Nationals, Scheppers is one of the more intriguing arms in the Draft class.
It's early -- he'll still have to prove over and over to team decision-makers that he's 100 percent healthy. But if his work at some Golden West Community College scrimmages are any indication, he's answering those questions and then some. Stronger and with better mechanics, the right-hander was creating quite a buzz in California before reporting to the Saints. If the health issue is completely cleared up and he keeps throwing like that, rest assured he won't have to wait until the second round to hear his name called this year.
Speaking of California, The Draft Report ended up with several players performing in that state this week, courtesy of two big high school tournaments. There's a trio of prepsters who were on display at the Anaheim Lions Tournament and Anderson Bat National Classic earlier this month, each of whom brings something different to the table.
Every year, the class has late risers, players with serious "helium" as the Draft approaches. One of those who could fill that role this year is a college lefty with a big arm who seemed to have improved his overall pitchability by leaps and bounds early on the season, forcing his name up Draft boards.
Of course, it's not only college players who can have helium. TDR has a report on a Mississippi prep shortstop who some think is the best overall athlete in the class. Joining him in this week's report is a catching hopeful from North Carolina. And what Draft would be complete without some strong-armed Texas high school products. This week's Report has the best of that lot.
It's a lot of ground to cover, but let's check in first with the presumptive No. 1 overall pick. Stephen Strasburg actually looked "human" last week against Texas Christian, though he basically threw one bad pitch and still came away with the win.
Last outing: April 24
Result: 4-3 win
Game stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 14 K
Season stats: 9-0, 70 1/3 IP, 45 H, 12 ER, 13BB, 135 K, .182 BAA, 1.54 ERA
And now, onto the reports:
Second time around
Tanner Scheppers, RHP
St. Paul Saints
In order to tune up for his independent league starts with the St. Paul Saints, Scheppers pitched in an intrasquad game at Golden West Community College. He created some buzz by hitting the upper 90s, throwing free and easy and already working the pitch count up to 85. Complete Report
Rex Brothers, LHP
The southpaw has been creating a lot of buzz of late with performances like he had recently against North Florida. He was a tough-luck loser in that one but pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits and four walks while striking out 14. For the season, he's just 4-5 with a 3.01 ERA, but he's yielded only 51 hits in 68 2/3 innings while walking 35 and striking out 101. Complete Report
California High School Tournaments
Nolan Arenado, C/SS
El Toro HS, Lake Forest, Calif.
Arenado and El Toro made it to the championship game of the Anderson Bat National Classic, losing to Mater Dei, 2-1. Arenado did more than his part, going a combined 8-for-14 with a pair of homers, three doubles, five RBIs and five runs scored over four games. For the season, he's hit .529 over 21 games with three homers, 14 doubles and 19 RBIs in 68 at-bats. Complete Report
Anthony Hutting, OF
Tesoro HS, Santa Margarita, Calif.
Hutting helped his team go 4-1 in the Anaheim Lions Tournament by going 7-for-17 with seven RBIs and 11 runs scored. The left-handed-hitting outfielder has batted .479 in 21 games with eight doubles, three triples, four homers and 26 RBIs in 71 at-bats. Complete Report
Trayce Thompson, OF
Santa Margarita HS, Calif.
Thompson's Santa Margarita team only went 1-4 in the Anaheim Lions Tournament, but the toolsy son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson continued to open scouts' eyes with his tools and high ceiling. During the tournament, the outfielder went 4-for-14 with a double and an RBI. For the season, he's hit .339 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 22 games. Complete Report
The other prepsters
Billy Hamilton, SS
Taylorsville HS, Miss.
The high-risk, high-reward, athletic shortstop had his raw tools on display in a recent game against Sumrall High School in Mississippi. He went 2-for-4 with a double and single while playing error-less ball at short. For the season, he's hit .504 with four homers, 14 doubles and 20 steals. Complete Report
Shelby Miller, RHP
Brownwood HS, Texas
In a game against Graham High School, Miller tossed a three-hit shutout. This should come as no surprise as the strong-armed right-hander no-hit the same team earlier this year. Miller led his Brownwood High team to the district championship by going 5-0 in league games. Complete Report
Wil Myers, C
Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C.
Myers has a good combination of skills and athleticism, which would be even more valuable if he can stick behind the plate. He's moved around a lot, showing versatility, but he's got the skills to be a pretty good all-around backstop one day. His tools were on display in a recent game against North Davidson. Complete Report