Who's the No. 1 pick for the 2016 Draft?
Scouts head right back out to find talent during summer showcase circuit season
All 40 rounds and 1,215 picks of the 2015 Draft are now in the books. Ready to dive into 2016?
Scouts for all 30 teams will be doing just that very shortly. The summer showcase circuit season is jam-packed with must-see events. The elite college wood bat Cape Cod League began play on Tuesday. On the high school side, the Perfect Game National Showcase starts next Wednesday. The pair of high school All-American Games ends the summer in mid-August.
The summer scene allows scouts to set up follow lists, setting priorities for who to watch for the following spring. The summer can be vitally important if a player gets hurt or weather doesn't allow for good looks in the spring, what scouts see against top competition over the summer can become vital in making Draft decisions next June.
Things will undoubtedly change several times as the summer wears on and, of course, between now and next spring. But here's a quick look at the top high school and college prospects who could end up being top-of-the-first-round-type talents in 2015.
Nick Banks, OF, Texas A&M: Banks has some tools to be excited about, with solid speed and a good left-handed swing. He hit .364/.450/.492 as a sophomore for the Aggies. Banks is playing for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League this summer.
Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-7, 235-pound right-hander has a fastball that he throws in the 94-98 mph range, a nasty slider, and he'll whip out a downer curve at times. He has the makings of a good changeup to boot. Hansen went 5-6 with a 3.95 ERA and struck out more than 10 batters per inning in 2015 as Oklahoma's Sunday starter.
Connor Jones, RHP, Virginia: Jones stepped up as Virginia's Friday starter when Nathan Kirby went down with an injury, helping the Cavaliers make it to the College World Series. The right-hander, who was a 21st-round pick in 2013 (because of signability), has gone 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA while striking out more than a batter an inning. Jones can touch the mid-90s with his heavy fastball, combining it with a very good changeup and a solid breaking ball. He's on the Orleans Firebirds roster this summer in the Cape.
Matt Krook, LHP, Oregon: Taken with the 35th overall pick in the Draft by the Marlins in 2014, Krook failed his physical and opted to head to the University of Oregon. He had Tommy John surgery in April 2014 and didn't come back to pitch in 2015, though he's slated to pitch for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape this summer. When healthy, Krook has shown a low-to-mid 90s fastball and an outstanding breaking ball.
A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida: The 6-foot-7 lefty went 9-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 16 appearances, 13 of them starts, for the Gators in 2015. Puk struck out 99 in 72 2/3 innings. He's been a bit uneven in his college career, but he can crank his fastball up into the upper-90s and misses a lot of bats. After Puk is done in Omaha, he's slated to join Jones on that Orleans Firebirds staff in the Cape.
Seth Beer, OF, Lambert HS (Suwanee, Ga.): It might be tough to find a better athlete than Beer in the 2016 Draft class, as he was a nationally renowned swimmer in the past, one who held the national record in the 50-meter backstroke for 11-12 year-olds. On the diamond, the Clemson commit, who played in the Under Armour All-America Game as an underclassman last summer, has a very good bat from the left side, with wiry strength and power. Beer could fit the profile in right field well. His summer will start at the Perfect Game National Showcase next week.
Austin Bergner, RHP, Windermere (Fla.) Prep: A very athletic right-hander who is a solid position player, Bergner's future will be on the mound. He can touch the mid-90s with his fastball now and shows flashes of an outstanding breaking ball. At 6-foot-4, Bergner has room to add strength, with a ton of projection. The North Carolina commit will be playing in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars later this month, and he played for the 18U National Team as an underclassman in 2014.
Jason Groome, LHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): Originally from New Jersey, Groome went to Florida to play for IMG Academy. A projectable 6-foot-6 left-hander, he has a clean arm and simple delivery he repeats well. Groome will throw his fastball in the 90-94 mph range, and he maintains his velocity, throws strikes and has a good feel for his secondary stuff. The Vandy commit will also be playing in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars.
Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Overland Park, Kan.): A 6-foot-4 athletic right-hander, Pint can run his fastball into the mid-90s and can reach back for more on occasion. The LSU commit has a power curve that could be a plus pitch in the future, and he shows a feel for a changeup. Pint is a basketball player who hasn't thrown a ton in summer events previously, but he will be at PG National with Beer.
Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep (Canoga Park, Calif.): As an underclassman, Rutherford played for USA Baseball's 18U National Team, and he will be joining Bergner and Groome in North Carolina to participate in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars again this year. He really knows how to hit, with a smooth swing from the left side of the plate. Committed to UCLA, Rutherford has some raw power and good speed to boot.
June 9 -- Cape Cod League Opening Day
June 17-22 -- Perfect Game National Showcase, Fort Myers, Fla.
June 23-28 -- USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, Cary, N.C.
June 29-30 -- Breakthrough Series, Cincinnati, Ohio
July 21-22 -- Breakthrough Series, Pirate City, Bradenton, Fla.
July 25 -- Cape Cod League All-Star Game, Wareham, Mass.
July 27-30 -- East Coast Professional Showcase, Tampa, Fla.
Aug. 2-3 -- Breakthrough Series, Compton, Calif.
Aug. 4-11 -- Area Code Games, Long Beach, Calif.
Aug. 15 -- Under Armour All-America Game, Chicago
Aug. 16 -- Perfect Game All-American Classic, San Diego