With the action-packed high school summer showcase circuit now over, with the new "States Play" event in Texas completed last weekend, it's time to look at what the 2019 Draft class has to offer in terms of high school talent.The following top 10, compiled based on the feedback of several
With the action-packed high school summer showcase circuit now over, with the new "States Play" event in Texas completed last weekend, it's time to look at what the 2019 Draft class has to offer in terms of high school talent.
The following top 10, compiled based on the feedback of several scouting directors and national crosscheckers, serves as a nice pairing with last week's top 10 college prospects list. It's a group with a blend of up-the-middle talent and some intriguing arms, though most feel it's not quite as good as the 2018 crop appeared to be at this time.
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"The class as a whole is solid, but lacking the depth that we saw a year ago," an American League scouting director said.
A scouting director in the National League agreed that, especially at the top, it's not as deep high school-wise as the 2018 class was. But he felt there's still plenty of talent to keep an eye on.
"There are few legitimate first-round talent arms with a good group that could put themselves into that consideration," one NL scouting director said. "There are some quality upside bats, but the amount of very athletic players that play up the middle is higher than it has been in the past few Drafts."
"I think the overall class features a nice mix of position players and pitching to go see in the spring," a different AL scouting director offered. "There is more depth in the position player group than the pitching group. I really like the athleticism of the top group of position players; many of these prospects are easy to envision staying in the middle of the diamond at premium positions.
"Over the summer I would say that Bobby Witt Jr. has started to separate himself from the rest of the high school hitter group. He has a shot to be a five-tool player in the middle of the diamond who can impact the game on both sides of the ball."
1. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS: The tools were on display, from the All-Star Home Run Derby in Washington, through the States Play event this past weekend. Even when Witt wasn't producing, he still stood out as the best player on the field.
2. Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): It was a bit of a split camp between Malone and the next name on this list, with many liking Malone's athletic and repeatable delivery a bit more. He's been up to 97 mph all summer with a solid breaking ball.
3. Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (Statesboro, Ga.): The right-hander consistently had the top velocity at events all summer, hitting 99 mph routinely to go along with a power breaking ball that allowed him to miss a ton of bats.
4. Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.): The best all-around hitter among the high school crop, he was up-and-down production-wise, but scouts love his approach and smooth left-handed swing, reminding some of Twins 2016 first-rounder Alex Kirilloff.
5. Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): With as much raw power as anyone in the class, Hinds showed off consistently in batting practice and home run derbies, but also proved it plays in games at events like USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars.
6. CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Roswell, Ga.): Abrams is the best of the up-the-middle athletic players mentioned above. He has a ton of raw tools with the chance to stay at shortstop, though some see a move to center field or a Dee Gordon -like career path.
7. Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside School (Seattle): While he doesn't fit the typical top pick profile because of his size (5-foot-11, 165 pounds), his stock rose as he hit pretty much wherever he was, especially during his MVP performance at the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
8. Matt Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch (Texas) HS Thompson was consistently solid on the mound all summer, then really opened some eyes when he tightened up his breaking ball to more of a mid-80s slider at the PG Game.
9. Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.): Barco is starting to look like a bit of a polarizing prospect, as some weren't in love with his arm slot, which seemed to lower as the summer progressed. But he was still up to 93 mph and throwing his breaking ball for strikes at the end of the showcase circuit.
10. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.): One of the top running back recruits in the country, Ealy is committed to Ole Miss for football and baseball and showed off his plus speed and athleticism at a series of events.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.