MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Florida has bumper crop of talent

Florida has bumper crop of talent

Areas where baseball can be played year-round typically are expected to have a good amount of high-level Draft talent every year. Florida often leads the way in terms of potential first-rounders.

That wasn't the case in 2013. While there were two college players from the state -- Chris Anderson from Jacksonville University and the University of Florida's Jonathon Crawford -- taken in the first round, Christian Arroyo was the lone high schooler from the Sunshine State to go in the top 33 picks. In contrast, the 2012 Draft's first round saw seven total Floridians, six from high school, selected.

If the early returns are any indication, the 2014 Draft should return Florida to its rightful place. There are five Florida-based players on the current Top 50 and a slew more right behind them. While Florida State's Luke Weaver, who faces Georgia on Friday, is the lone top collegian, it's the high school crop that has the scouting industry buzzing.

"It seems like every time I talk to our East Coast guy or one of our national guys they start a conversation with, 'I saw a guy in Florida last night and you have to see him,'" one scouting director said. "The stuff our guys have seen, it sounds like high school-wise, it's not even close."

No. 8 prospect Touki Toussaint has thrown well, though he's more of the raw, high-ceiling, high-reward type. Sean Reid-Foley (No. 31) has impressed over his first two outings, and one team that picks fairly high in the first round, and then again in the second, already feels as if he won't make it to that second selection.

Nick Gordon, son of former big leaguer Tom "Flash" Gordon and brother of Dee, is the top position player in the state. Gordon is actually a two-way player with some ability on the mound, but most teams prefer him as a shortstop (so does Gordon). Ranked No. 12 on the Top 50, he's gotten off to a good start and answered some questions about his physicality.

"I think he's a little stronger; it looks like he's added strength over the winter," a scouting director said. "I think most teams like him better as a player. The further he gets away from pitching, the more he's going to improve. I think he drove the ball a little bit better, and he has everyday tools as a shortstop."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.