Right-hander Tyler Kolek (Shepherd, Texas, HS) and lefty Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego) have established themselves as the top high school pitchers in the 2014 Draft and potential No. 1 overall picks. In a deep year for prep arms, righty Grant Holmes (Conway, S.C., HS) is doing his best to separate himself from the rest of the pack.
Holmes hit 100 mph with his fastball during a preseason scrimmage and has delivered premium velocity in his first three starts of the season. Rained out on Monday, he'll pitch again on Tuesday.
Holmes consistently pitches at 92-95 mph and touches 97, pitching off two- and four-seam fastballs and showing improved ability to work both sides of the plate. His hard power curveball, which already was a weapon, has gotten better as well. His changeup shows promise as a third pitch.
"Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken are better, but he might be the third-best high school arm," a scouting director said. "Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs, Fla., Christian Academy) has similar stuff, but Holmes' command is better. I saw him throw 92-96."
Holmes' older brother Colby helped South Carolina win two College World Series and finish runner-up in a third before signing with the Braves as a non-drafted free agent last summer. Holmes, who has committed to Florida, will find his services in greater demand this June. Ranked No. 18 on MLBPipeline.com's initial First-Year Player Draft Top 50, he should go in the upper half of the first round.
If there was a knock on Holmes, it's that he's shorter and heavier than his listed 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. But while he's closer to 6-foot-1 and 215, his pair of potential well above-average pitches make up for what he may lack in projection. And he has the physical build to hold up as a starter.
"He looks like he's in very good shape," the director said. "It looks like he did a good job of conditioning himself this winter. He's really strong. You could wish he was bigger, but he's strong and you really don't have to project much. Every once in while he gets on the side of his breaking ball, but he's a starter."