With the 2017 Draft fast approaching (Monday to Wednesday on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.Name: Shane BazPosition: RHPSchool: Concordia Lutheran HS, Tomball, TexasRank on Draft Top 200: 12DOB: 6/17/1999Bats: R Throws: RHeight: 6' 3" Weight: 190 lbs.College commitment:
With the 2017 Draft fast approaching (Monday to Wednesday on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.
Name: Shane Baz
School: Concordia Lutheran HS, Tomball, Texas
Rank on Draft Top 200: 12
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 190 lbs.
College commitment: Texas Christian
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Baz can put on a show in batting practice, as evidenced by the 18 balls he smashed out of the park in the first round of the Area Code Games home run derby last August. He's an intriguing third-base prospect from the same Concordia Lutheran High (Tomball, Texas) program that produced a 2015 late first-round pick at that position in Ke'Bryan Hayes. Baz will be one of the first prepsters taken in the 2017 Draft -- but as a pitcher.
Baz may have the deepest arsenal in the 2017 high school class. His fastball has kicked up a notch to 92-96 mph with a peak of 98 this spring, and he has shown the ability to run and sink it while maintaining its velocity throughout a game. Baz's 84-88 mph cutter generates a lot of swings and misses, and he also can turn the cutter into more of a true slider, spin a curveball that's a distinctly different pitch and unveil a changeup that could develop into a solid offering.
Baz's athleticism and clean delivery should yield consistent strikes, though he sometimes has control issues when he falls in love with his secondary pitches and doesn't work off his fastball enough. Scouts rave about his makeup, as well as his stuff and physicality. Baz will play both ways if he attends Texas Christian, but his upside as a front-line starter should get him drafted high enough to turn pro.
MLB comp:Jacob deGrom
Fun fact: Earlier this year, Hall of Famer and Texas native Nolan Ryan watched Baz pitch. "Wow. Probably have the best pitcher of all-time come look at you was pretty awesome," Baz said to KHOU.com of the visit.
He said it: "It's just your approach. Keeping those blinders on, staying grounded and staying focused on what's next and not focusing on the future." -- Baz to the Houston Chronicle, on competing for a high school state championship with the Draft around the corner.
They said it: "It's a wonderful feeling, he's a great kid and I think this has just made us stronger. I know it has made us stronger. Brought us together closer than we were, and we were already close." -- Baz's mother, Tammy, to the Houston Chronicle after being declared cancer-free last November.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.