The Rule 4 Draft is only 4 days away, so it's time to take an in-depth look at prospects the Giants may be looking at in the first 10 to 20 rounds. In this, my first fanpost of the week on this topic, I'll focus just on guys that I like for the Giants in the first round - at #14 overall. Actually, this first fanpost is almost a verbatim copy of a fanpost that I had typed up and was ready to post way back in January, but I never got around to putting the finishing touches on before I took a much-needed hiatus. I thought it would be a good idea to look back and see who I liked for the Giants before the 2014 high school and college baseball seasons began. I'll post a revised and final "draft board" for the first round by Monday evening, and then I plan on doing a final fanpost with most of the prospects that I like for the Giants in rounds 2 through 20 sometime on Tuesday. So, without further ado, here's my early-season write-up from back in January (with a few minor corrections/clarifications added).
The 2014 draft appears right now (in January 2014) to be a pitching-heavy draft. This is true in each of the top 5 tiers of talent that I have initially identified (comprising what is approximately the top 200 draft prospects), but most especially of the top 2 tiers - 8 of the top 12 players BA's preseason college Top 100 list are pitchers. Depth-wise, 60 of BA's Top 100 college prospects are pitchers - this is the second-highest total in the last five years for BA (behind only last year’s list). The strength of the high school class also currently leans heavily towards pitching, as this year’s BA Preseason Top 100 High School prospects (posted in November) had the most pitchers (48 total) of any Top 100 list in the last four years.
With pitching quality and depth appearing to be well above average, my advice to the Giants would be to target a top position player with their 1st round pick (#14 overall). If the pool of talent of hitters is thin then I want to get 1 of the best ones while he's still on the board. If they so desire, the depth of this year's pitching class should allow the Giants to find a top pitching prospect with their 2hd round pick (which will end up being in the #52-56 overall range depending which teams the remaining 5 qualified free agents eventually sign with) - similar to how they found Kyle Crick still on the board when they drafted at #49 overall in the 2011 draft.
Keeping this strategy in mind, here is my current "Dandy Dozen" list of draft prospects that are my favorites for the Giants to draft with their 1st round pick (#14 overall as of now). Keep in mind that this is my Giants-centric list and not necessarily the same list that I would come up with for another team drafting in the same, or different, spot. Also keep in mind that I've left off several guys that I currently rank higher than some of the names listed below, because I currently see no chance for them to still be on the board at #14. These are ordered with my most favorites on top
1. Trea Turner: SS/CF, RHH, North Carolina State Univ. (6'1", 170) DOB=1993/6/30 (Draft Day Age=20.340)
2. Kyle Schwarber: 1B/LF, LHH (throws RH), Indiana Univ. (6', 235) DOB=1993/3/5 (Draft Day Age=21.092)
3. Michael Chavis: 2B/3B, RHH, Sprayberry HS, Marietta, GA (5'11", 190) DOB=1995/8/11 (Draft Day Age=18.298)
4. Grant Holmes: RHP, Conway HS, Conway, SC (6'2", 205) DOB=1996/3/22 (Draft Day Age=18.075)
5. Shane Benes: 3B/RHP, Westminster Academy, Town & Country, MO (6'3", 200) DOB=1996/2/16 (Draft Day Age=18.109)
6. Edward "Ti'quan" Forbes: SS, RHH, Columbia HS, Columbia, MISS (6'4", 185) DOB=1996/8/28 (Draft Day Age=17.281)
7. Derek Hill: CF, RHH, Elk Grove HS, Sacramento, CAL (6'1", 180) DOB=1995/12/1 (Draft Day Age=18.186)
8. Michael Cederoth: RHP, San Diego State Univ. (6'6", 205) DOB=1992/11/25 (Draft Day Age=21.192)
9. Dany "Touki" Toussaint: RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS, Coral Springs, FL (6'1", 200) DOB=1996/6/24 (Draft Day Age=17.346)
10. Michael Kopech: RHP, Mt. Pleasant HS, Mt. Pleasant, TEX (6'4", 190) DOB=1996/4/30 (Draft Day Age=18.036)
11. Braxton Davidson: 1B/LF, LHH, T.C. Roberson HS, Arden, NC (6'2", 220) DOB=1996/6/18 (Draft Day Age=17.352)
12. Carl Chester: CF, RHH, Lake Brantley HS, Longwood, FLA (6', 170) DOB=1995/12/14 (Draft Day Age=18.173)
Now let's take an in-depth look at the Dandy Dozen. I'll post video clip links and statistics on each of the 12 guys in the comment section of this post so that we all can get a better look and feel for what they offer in terms of upside and what they've done so far in their amateur careers.
Turner, Trea: SS/CF, RHH, North Carolina State Univ. (6'1", 170) (Draft Day Age=20.340)
Ranked #3 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 College draft prospects. At this point there's probably only no more than a 15% chance that Turner will still be on the board at #14, but I'm including him here because teams often will go for power bats and power pitchers with their top 10 picks. IMO, Turner has what is likely the highest potential to be an elite, major league game-changing offensive force both at the plate and on the basepaths of any college position player that has come out of the last 8 drafts. You have to go all the way back to the 2005 draft (when Troy Tulowitzki and Jacoby Ellsbury both were drafted in the first round) to find another college position player with Turner's combination of tools that projected to allow them to have such a major and multifaceted impact on the outcome of major league games. While his defensive game is not currently on the same level as his offense, it's not as if he isn't a well above average college defensive SS. I don't believe that he's likely to ever be more than a slightly above average defender at SS in the majors, but I do believe that there is a high probabity that he will be able to gain that level of play at SS. The only question mark in my mind is does he have the hands to be more than an average major league defensive SS. Even if he has to be moved off SS in the end, I still believe that he has the skills, speed, quickness, and work ethic to be at least a fringe-plus defender in CF or at 2B, so spending a high first round pick on him is a no-brainer for me. For me, though, if the Giants were lucky enough to get Turner at #14 overall, I'd want them to keep him at SS for as long as he can be at least an average defender there. On the basepaths, Turner is already a near-master of the art of stealing bases - and it's not that he's doing it only with his speed. He does a good job of studying the pitchers and getting excellent jumps on his SB attempts. He led the NCAA in steals as a freshman, going 57-for-61 (93% success) and recording more steals by himself than over half of all the Div. I colleges recorded as a team. Turner suffered a severe high ankle sprain that caused him to sit out the 3rd through 5th weeks of the 2013 college season. He probably returned too soon and his game-changing speed was noticeably diminished for the rest of the 2013 season. He ran much less frequently (22 steals in 41 remaining games) with a significantly reduced success rate (.785), despite reaching base more often (.455 on-base percentage) than his freshman year (.432). Turner’s ankle was fully healed and his speed was back in a big way this past fall. He ran the 60-yard dash in 6.32 seconds at NC State’s scout day during the end of October. Then, on a bunt during one of his ABs, the RHH made it from the batter's box to 1B in under 3.5 seconds, which easily clears the threshold for 80-grade speed.
Schwarber, Kyle: 1B/LF, LHH (throws RH), Indiana Univ. (6', 235) (Draft Day Age=21.092)
Ranked #16 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 College draft prospects. What's not to like about Schwarber? He's literally from Middletown, USA!! He's a powerfully-built hitting machine (for average and power) who has been pounding the ball ever since the day he first stepped into the batters box to start his college career back in February of 2012. That includes 2 summers against the advanced competition of the Cape Cod League, and half of the 2013 summer season starring for Team USA in their globetrotting play. Okay, Schwarber is unlikely to find any postion in the major leagues that he will be able to play at more than an average defensive level. His body type also looks like he could become susceptible to Pablo Sandoval-style weight gain issues in the future as he ages and thickens up even more. I don't see much hope that he'll ever develop into even an average defender at catcher in the majors, so I'd want the Giants to move him to 1B or LF right away to ensure that his defensive development at catcher wouldn't slow down his advancement due to his advanced bat. I do believe that he can end up beng an average major league defender at 1B or in LF, because he's got quick feet and he's very athletic despite his massive size and thick build. But his bat and ability to get on base should more than make up for any possible defensive liabilities he may develop at those 2 positions. Schwarber is a complete and advanced hitter who also has the plus power to hit the ball out of any park and anywhere from the LF foul pole to the RF foul pole. Not only does he make consistent contact at the plate, but it's consistently hard contact, but he also doesn't strike out very much (never more than 15% in any league or season since he started college) and he posted consistently outsized BB-rates (between 11.1% and 14.9%) in each of his first 2 seasons of college ball and in his 1 full season on the Cape during the summer of 2012. He does take a very healthy hack at the ball, but, like Pablo, he still is able to make consistent contact with that aggressive swing. It helps tremendously that he's not a dead-pull hitter so he's quite happy to go to LF when a pitcher is throwing the ball away from him.
Chavis, Michael: 2B/3B, RHH, Sprayberry HS, GA (5'11", 190) (Draft Day Age=18.298)
Ranked #17 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Chavis is much too old for his HS draft class, and should have been in the HS draft class of last June (along with Christian Arroyo) To give a point of easy comparison, Chavis is only a little over 2 months younger than Christian Arroyo (although he's 14 months younger than Ryder Jones). That should tell you how much I really like Chavis here, because 99 times out of 100 his advanced age would disqualify him from my considering him for this high of a 1st round pick. I'm giving Chavis somewhat of a pass on his advanced age, because I remember that as a junior in HS he was competing on an almost equal footing with elite Atlanta area HS prospects that ended up being drafted in the first round of last year's draft (like Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows, Travis Demeritte, and Josh Hart). In addition, I know that Chavis has been one of the most consistent elite performers in the summer showcases and the offseason national tournaments during 2012 (when he was competing mainly against 2013 HS draftees) and 2013. I read that prior to the PG World Wood Bat Association Championships held in Florida at the end of last October, Chavis had hit 18 total HRs in just the official Perfect Game tournaments games that he had participated in since June of 2011 - easily giving him the all-time unofficial record for HRs in PG tournament and showcase games. One more illustration of Chavis's surprisingly plus power was the fact that he won the HR Derby contest, held in the San Diego Padres' notoriously difficult home stadium, during the Perfect Game All-American Classic weekend last August - beating out bigger, seemingly stronger, and much more ballyhooed fellow HS power hitters like Jacob Gatewood, Mike Gettys, Kel Johnson, Braxton Davidson, Austin Jackson, and Justin Bellinger. So, his elite level of performance against the top competition in the nation since he was still 15 years old can't just be written off as an older guy fattening up against younger, less physically mature competition. To put things into more familiar terms for Giants fans, I see Chavis as being similar to what Christian Arroyo was entering his senior year of HS ball at this point exactly 1 year ago - although Chavis is more powerfully built and has more power potential than Arroyo. Chavis doesn't have the ideal height or big build that teams highly desire in a corner IF/OF prospect and he's not going to wow scouts with his off-the-charts raw athleticism, but he hits, and hits for power, everywhere he plays and he has more than enough arm, range and hands to stick at 3B in the pros. I would rate his hit tool to be a tiny bit below Arroyo's at the same age, but Chavis has much more present and raw power and should remain a better power hitter in the long run. Both offer well above average bat speed and plus contact ability at the plate to go with their well above average arm strength, but Chavis is a faster runner than Arroyo (rating out at above-average with a 60 yard time in the 6.68-6.82 range). Chavis shares the excellent intagible traits of Arroyo - high-energy, bulldog mentality, along with high baseball intellect and instincts at the bat, on the bases and in the field. Chavis shows soft hands, quick feet, well above average first step movement and outstanding defensive instincts at 3B. Word is that he worked very hard over the offseason to slim down and get a bit quicker so that he could start at SS for his HS team this spring. I don't believe that he has a future at SS in pro ball, but I do believe that he would be able to handle a move to 2B if he's able to keep trim and not thicken up in the future. While 3B should be his best, and most natural, defensive position in the pros, it would be such a tremendous plus for a major league team to be able to put a hitter of his high caliber at 2B. Even if he is only able to play an average level of defense at 2B in the majors, his offense should more than compensate for any defensive issues - and I believe that he would up being at least an above average defensive 2B in the majors if weight and physical spread aren't a roblem for him. With his advanced feel for hitting and defense, I fully expect him to quickly advance through the lower minors once he signs a pro contract and begins playing pro ball in June or July of 2014. With many teams likely to be turned off by his non-traditional size and the lack of projection in his frame, Chavis could possibly end up being still on the board when the Giants pick in round 2 of the draft (between 52 and 54 overall). I wouldn't want to take the chance of losing him, though, and would want him at #14 overall for the Giants if Trae Turner and Kyle Schwarber were off the board. Here's what BA wrote about Chavis after seeing him during the East Coast Pro showcase during the first week of August in 2013:
"Chavis stood out in many ways. Playing third base Saturday, Chavis made arguably the best defensive play of East Coast Pro on a diving backhand stop and nailing the runner at first with a strong throw. Aside from the highlight plays, his defensive prowess is considerable. Chavis has good quickness and rare explosiveness to his movements. His actions allow him to excel at charging on balls hit in front of him as he eats up ground quickly. He also has above-average straight line speed and ran a 6.8-second 60-yard-dash. The Clemson commit also has soft hands and an above-average arm. One of the most versatile players in the class, Chavis saw time at three infield positions and is also listed as a catcher. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Chavis from Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga., is a high-energy player with a grinder mentality. At the dish, Chavis has bat speed and a direct, line-drive swing path and made a lot of hard contact, most notably against a 93 mph Touki Toussaint fastball that he smoked back up the middle."
Holmes, Grant: RHP, Conway HS, SC (6'2", 205) (Draft Day Age=18.075)
Ranked #13 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Holmes reminds me more than a bit of what Matt Cain was coming out of HS - in terms of his physical build, the type of pitches he throws and the calm, mature, and workmanlike way he carries himself on and off the field. He's got that quiet, small-town southern boy understated confidence and a calm demeanor that somewhat hides a dogged competitive streak right below the surface. He's even got the Cain-style wild hair going on! Holmes has a very solid and strong frame - especially his lower body - but there's not much physical projection left for him. This lack of projection shouldn't be much of an issue, though, as he already has touched 96 mph and sat consistently in the low 90s as a starter during the summer of 2013. He also showed some of the best, smoothest and most consistent mechanics of the HS pitching class and had excellent command and control of what I view as the best power curveball in the entire class. Add in a promising, though inconsistent, changeup that he rarely threw in 2013 (he didn't really need it), and you can see why I have him as my #1 high school pitcher for the Giants to target at #14. Because of his solid mechanics, above average control of both a plus FB and a plus curveball, and his above average feel for pitching I expect Holmes to move quite quickly through the lower levels of the minor leagues - meaning he could easily be pitching in AA by the end of the 2016 season (at the age of 20).
Benes, Shane: 3B/RHP, Westminster Academy, Missouri (6'3", 200) (Draft Day Age=18.109)
Ranked #37 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Son of former major league RHP Andy Benes - the first overall pick in the 1988 draft. Benes has a well above average arm for the left side of the IF (clocked at 92 mph last summer) and is an above average runner (clocked as fast as 6.78 in the 60). He started at SS during his junior season of HS ball and he should be there again this spring, but he seems almost certain to grow off that position in the next few years. He should be more than fast enough with more than enough range to be at least an above average defender at 3B going forward. His biggest asset right now, though, is the bat speed he generates and the power he hits the ball with. He hit a ball with an exit velocity clocked at 108 mph during the WWBC last October in Florida. The ball jumps off his bat, even with a short and compact swing - as you can see for yourself when viewing the 4 HRs that he hit for his HS team in the 4 vid clips I've linked to below. Here's PG's scouting report on him from the PG National Showcase weekend back in June of 2013:
"Shane Benes is a 2014 MIF/RHP/3B with a 6-2 185 lb. frame from Town and Country, MO who attends Westminster Christian Academy. Lean athletic build, very good present strength. Quality two-way prospect. 6.78 runner, big time arm strength in the infield, charges the ball well, third base actions and build but tools and athleticism to stay at shortstop at the college level. Right handed hitter, spread stance, late pull pack load, long extended swing, strong hands at contact, flashes big pull power, will have to shorten up against velocity. May be better long-term prospect on the mound. Simple delivery mechanics with good lower half use, stays on line and balanced well, 3/4's arm slot, good extension out front with downhill plane. Fastball topped out at 91 mph, late sink and boring action when down. Hard spin on mid-70's breaking ball, flashed 12/6 shape with good depth, showed feel for pitching in a short look. Very interesting talent we'd like to see more of in the future."
Univ. of Missouri commit.
Forbes, Edward "Ti'quan": SS, RHH, Columbia HS, MISS (6'4", 185) (Draft Day Age=17.281)
Ranked #23 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Forbes seems very likely to me to end up as one of the better defensive SS in his HS draft class when all is said and done (my upside comp on him is Andrelton Simmons). I've read in several places that Forbes will likely end up at 3B, but I don't believe it at all. I saw him play SS on TV last August during the PG AA Classic held in San Diego and I've seen several video clips of him playing SS in live games and during infield practice. The times that I've seen him at SS, I've seen plus quickness, well above average speed, very athletic actions, soft and sure hands, and slightly above average arm strentgh (although his throwing mechanics need to be cleaned up). In short, all the tools he needs to be at least an above average defensive SS in the majors. I also look at his current skinny frame and don't see him as being likely to thicken up or adding much more than 15 pounds in the next 10 years. If you believe that he can stick at SS and you also beleive in his ability to be at least an average hitter for a SS (with surprising power) in the future, then he should be a no-brainer at #14 overall. Forbes;s hitting mechanics are far from ideal, but he has shown me very strong and quick hands and excellent hand-eye coordination at the plate. He's also quite patient and has shown a good eye for the strike zone during his junior season of HS ball back in 2013 (when he hit .391/.447/.758/1.149 with only 7 Ks in 103 PAs). It's also been reported that Forbes consistently showed plus bat speed and the ability to consistently square up balls against the best HS pitchers on the 2013 summer showcase circuit, so he's not merely an all-glove defensive bet at SS. Finally, I also like Forbes because he's very, very young for his draft class. He won't turn 18 years old until the final week of the 2014 minor league regular season. One small concern that I do have about Forbes is that he's ready to commit full-time to baseball. He's also an excellent prospect in football (at wide receiver and QB) and it's possible that he'll turn down an MLB club in the draft sot that he could accept his scholarship to Ole' Miss and continue his football career while also playing baseball for them in the spring (as Jameis Winstone has been doing for Florida State since he graduated from HS one state over from Forbes).
Ole Miss commit.
Hill, Derek: CF, RHH, Elk Grove HS, CAL (6'1", 180) (Draft Day Age=18.186)
Ranked #18 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Hill has plus plus speed and was easily the fastest runner in the 60 yard dash (6.34 seconds) during the 2013 Tournament of Stars held in North Carolina last June. He also has a plus arm for CFer - with throws clocked as high as 92 mph from the OF. Hill is already an excellent defender in CF who covers a ton of ground, gets great jumps on the ball, and makes highlight reel plays. He'll need very little development time to establish himself as an elite CF defender in the pros. His offensive game is behind his defense, but mostly because he's still growing into his lean, but projectable, frame. As he adds mass, muscle and strength in the coming years his solid hitting mechanics and plus athleticism should allow him to have easy doubles/triples power from gap-to-gap and to hit double-digit HRs on a regular basis. Hill knows the game well and shows good baseball instincts in every facet of the game due to his father having a 12 year minor league career (drafted by the Reds in the 1st round, 24th overall in 1982) and then being a long-time scout for the Dodgers. If that isn't good enough baseball bloodlines for you, then I'll also add that Hill has a cousin that you might have heard of - Darryl Strawberry. The point is that Hill has been around the game since he was a kid and he's spent a lot of time in major league camps and stadiums. Here's PG's scouting report on Chester after seeing him play and workout during the PG National Showcase weekend last June:
"Derek Hill is a 2014 OF with a 6-1 175 lb. frame from Sacramento, CA who attends Elk Grove HS. Lithe slender athletic build, good physical projection. 6.44 runner, outstanding jumps and range in centerfield, capable of spectacular catches, very good arm strength with accurate on line throws, top level defensive tools at a premium position. Right handed hitter, high hand start, fast hands with a simple direct path to the ball, still gaining bat speed with additional strength, has present gap power with more to come, gets the ball in the air and looks to hit it hard, very projectable bat. Son of former minor league player and current scout Orsino Hill."
Cederoth, Michael: RHP, San Diego State Univ. (6'6", 205) (Draft Day Age=21.192)
Ranked #11 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 College draft prospects. He would seem to perfectly fit the mold of the big, power-armed pitchers that Dick Tidrow loves to draft when the Giants get this high up in round 1. His size, build, arm-strength, velocity and questionable control remind me a lot of what Michael Wacha profiled out as during his junior year of college ball before being drafted by the Cards at #19 overall in 2012. A physical specimen, Cederoth was consistently throwing his FB in the 94-98 mph range during the college baseball season as a sophomore in 2013. He's already got the physical build, plus velocity, strength and stamina - to go with at least a 3-pitch repertoire - that we all want to see in a major league starting pitcher except consistent command and control of his pitches. I also don't see any major flaws in his mechanics (although a would like to see him bend his front leg a bit more at landing) or have any worries that he'll be injury-prone in the short- or long-term. The big question is, do the Giants feel that they can improve his command and control enough by getting him to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis and by teaching him to the art of pitchability? I think that they can, and that's why I have Cederoth as a Giants' target at #14. Cederoth definitely has the upside of an elite starting pitcher in the majors.
Toussaint, Dany "Touki": RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS, FL (6'1", 200) (Draft Day Age=17.346)
Ranked #5 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Toussaint has as much upside as any high school pitcher in the draft due to his plus athleticism, projectable frame, plus arm speed and loose arm. He's still a raw pitcher, though, with below average control of all his pitches, mechanics that aren't that repeatable and that can easily get out of sync, and very inconsistent secondary pitches. A lot of that can be explained a way, for the most part, by the fact that he didn't start to really play baseball - let alone pitch - until he was 11 years old. He definitely lacks the long-time muscle memory and in-game experience that that makes pitching almost 2nd nature to most of the other HS pitchers in his draft class. Just for the record, Toussaint was born in Florida, but his family moved back to Haiti when he was 3 months old and he didn't return to Florida until he was almost 7 years old. Haiti is the French-speaking half of the island of Hispaniola (the Domincican Republic is on the other side of the island). Not only is soccer the king of sports in Haiti, but nobody plays baseball there. Touussaint's stuff actually took a step backwards during the summer and fall of 2013. As a just-turned 16-year old in the summer of 2012, he had wowed the scouts on the showcase circuit by throwing a low- to mid-90s FB that touched 97 mph and a hard-spinning, hard-breaking curveball in the 76-79 mph range. However, at the same events in 2013 he was "only" sitting in the 91-94 mph range, and peaking at 95, with his FB while mixing in a curveball at 74-77. OTOH, He did show off a much better 85-86 mph changeup in 2013, and added a mid-80s slider. There's some conjecture that he dialed back on his velocity a bit in 2013 in an attempt to improve his control and smooth out his mechanics. Even with the lower velocity in 2013, Toussaint did record the 3rd highest spin rate on a curveball of any HS pitcher at the World Wood Bat Championship week held in October. His spin rate of 2788 rpm was well above the major league average spin rate of approximately 2450 rpm (Justin Verlander normally has the higest spin rate in the majors at just over 3000 rpm).
Kopech, Michael: RHP, Mt. Pleasant HS, Texas (6'4", 190) (Draft Day Age=18.036)
Ranked #35 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Lean, loose, and athletic - with an ultra-projectable frame - this Texan displays an unusually quick arm for a guy with his height and long limbs. Kopech is one of the HS seniors that showed very early in the 2014 preseason that he has developed a velocity jump during the offseason. His FB was clocked at up to 96 mph in early Feb. 2014 (after topping out at 94 mph at several showcase events in the summer of 2013), meaning he has already added at least 2 mph on his FB between September 2013 and the beginning of Feb. 2014. I think it's likely we'll see even higher readings as the 2014 season progresses and the weather heats up - and in the coming 2-4 years as he grows into his frame and smooths out the mechanical flaws in his delivery. His current mechanics are definitely far from ideal. He has a lot of wasted energy and movement away from the direct path to his target. OTOH, I do really like the extension he currently gets at release, the drive that he generates with his lower-body, and the torque that he generates with his quick and powerful hip rotation. A team that can smooth out his mechanical flaws, teach him to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis, and add some more pitchability to his game should be rewarded with an elite #1/#2 starting pitcher prospect.
Davidson, Braxton: 1B/LF, LHH, T.C. Roberson HS, NC (6'2", 220) (Draft Day Age=17.352)
Ranked #10 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Davidson's high esteem among the national evaluators is based purely on his excellent hit/power tool combo - possibly the best combo of those 2 skills in his HS draft class. Davidson isn't athletically impressive, nor does he have a wide set of tools, but he is one of the top 2 or 3 best pure hitters in his HS draft class and he can already hit for power to all fields in-game. He should develop into at least an above average defender at 1B, and may even be able to play an adequate LF if he really works at it and slims down a bit. Davidson also has a leg up by virtue of being young for his draft class. He won't turn 18 years old until 16 days after he gets drafted.
North Carolina commit.
Chester, Carl: CF, RHH, Lake Brantley HS, FLA (6', 170) (Draft Day Age=18.173)
Ranked #69 overall in BA's preseason Top 100 High School draft prospects. Chester is probably the fastest guy in his draft class - having been officially timed at a blindingly fast 6.28 seconds in the 60 yard dash in June of 2013. Chester also has a plus arm for CFer - with throws clocked as high as 93 mph from the OF. He shows above average feel for hitting in game situations, displays average gap power at the plate, keeps his hands inside the ball and hits hard to RF and RCF as often as he does to LF. His stance and mechanics are a bit unusual, but I'm not very worried about that because his super-quick hands and strong wrists override the swing defects. I would like to see him level out his swing, because I'd like to see him hit more line-drives and ground balls to take advantage of his blazing speed. Right now, he appears to have a bit of an uppercut as he attempts to loft the ball for more power. I think that Chester is very underrated heading into the spring and could really fly up the draft boards if he comes back from the offseason a little bigger and stronger and making consistent contact at the plate.Here's PG's scouting report on Chester after seeing him play and workout during the PG National Showcase weekend last June:
"Carl Chester is a 2014 OF with a 6-0 170 lb. frame from Longwood, FL who attends Lake Brantley HS. Slender medium athletic build, some present strength, lots of room to fill out. Quick twitch athlete, very light on his feet, may be fastest player in 2014 class, 6.28 in the 60. Easy outfield actions, very good arm strength with on line carry. Right handed hitter, unusual stance and approach, exaggerated back leg bend and inside the ball approach, fast hands and has present bat speed, whippy barrel with surprising gap power, tends to stay over back side, most contact hard to the opposite field but showed ability to turn on the ball as well, hitting talent stands out but will be a challenge to future hitting coaches. Very disruptive on the bases, plays the game with energy."