Draft Combine: Who left their mark?
MLB staged its first-ever Draft Combine last week in Cary and Raleigh, N.C. More than 150 players attended and participated in their choice of on- and off-field activities, including pro-style workouts, games between high schoolers, interviews with pro teams and medical testing.
While the vast majority of the players have been scouted heavily for the last year, they had the opportunity to make another impression at the Combine. Below are eight players who stood out and may have helped themselves in regard to the Draft, which will be held July 11-13 in Denver.
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We discussed these prospects and much more on the latest edition of the Pipeline Podcast. Detailed scouting reports and grades are available for all of them at MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 250 list (rankings in parentheses).
Alex Binelas, 1B/3B, Louisville (No. 64)
One of the best college power bats in this year's crop, Binelas overcame a slow start to hit 18 homers this spring. He put on the best batting-practice show during Friday's workout that was televised live on MLB Network, knocking several balls over the fence at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and leading all hitters in maximum distance (446 feet) and average and maximum exit velocity (98.244 mph and 109.3 mph), as measured by Rapsodo.
Denzel Clarke, OF, Cal State Northridge (No. 119)
The son of Donna Clarke, a Canadian heptathlete on Canada's 1984 Summer Olympics squad, Clarke features plus raw power and speed and also shared Big West Conference defensive player of the year honors this spring. He led all batters on Friday in average distance (344 feet) and hard-hit percentage (82.4 percent of his swings produced exit velocities of at least 95 mph) while finishing a close second to Binelas in average exit velo (98.241 mph).
Mason Miller, RHP, Gardner-Webb (No. 159)
A graduate transfer from NCAA Division III Waynesburg (Pa.), Miller was the clear standout among the pitchers who took the mound for five-minute sessions on Friday. He threw seven fastballs and they ranked as seven of the eight fastest pitches recorded, averaging 98.2 mph and peaking at 99.1 mph. He worked with little effort in his delivery and also had the highest average spin rate on his heater at 2,503 rpm.
Caedmon Parker, RHP, The Woodlands (Texas) Christian Academy (No. 111)
A projectable, athletic right-hander, Parker missed time with back issues and saw the quality of his stuff fluctuate this spring. He looked healthy during live batting practice on Saturday, sitting at 91-93 mph and featuring one of the best curveballs any of the high schoolers threw all week.
Brock Selvidge, LHP, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz. (No. 176)
Several scouts mentioned that no one boosted his stock more than Selvidge, who entered the year as a top-two-rounds candidate before his stuff and control dipped in the spring. He spun three shutout innings on Wednesday, delivering 28 of his 42 pitches for strikes and fanning five of the 10 batters he faced, four on 92-95 mph fastballs and one on an 81-mph slider.
Ryan Spikes, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. (No. 197)
Part of a powerhouse Parkview program that has won three national championships in the last decade, Spikes consistently makes hard contact with wood bats and did so again with three hits in a Wednesday game. He also displayed solid speed and plus arm strength while continuing to improve at shortstop as he gets more experience at the position.
Jacob Steinmetz, RHP, Elev8 Academy, Delray Beach, Fla. (No. 120)
As with Parker, Steinmetz starred during live batting practice on Saturday, operating at 93-96 mph with his fastball and flashing a plus curveball. An Orthodox Jew, he also stood out during the interview process as he detailed his background and explained how he would deal with pitching on Fridays while observing Shabbat.
Tommy White, 3B, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 103)
When inclement weather limited the high schoolers to batting practice on Tuesday, White had more hard-hit balls (15 with exit velocities of at least 95 mph) and greatest average exit velo (98.2 mph) than any of them. He continued to pepper the ball during the Friday workout -- his average exit velocity of 98.1 mph trailed only Binelas and Clarke -- and live batting practice on Saturday.