Some of you may remember a post I wrote earlier this summer where I explained that I would be working for a team’s minor league front office, well my project with them changed slightly, and I’ll go into what I actually did for them in more detail in another Fanpost, but one of the things I was able to do while working for their scouting department was go to the East Coast Pro Showcase in Lakeland, Florida.
For those of you who don’t know, the East Coast Pro Showcase is baseball’s equivalent to the NFL Scouting Combine for all of the top high school players from the East Coast. It is composed of six teams, each one sponsored by a Major League club, and each team contained players from a specific region of the country. The showcase is Scout Invite only, and each of the teams were coached by different scouts from various organizations around the league, so even if a team is sponsored by one team, other scouts from other organizations had input as to which players could play on the team, and help coach (i.e. the Rockies team, which represented Florida and Puerto Rico was coached by scouts from the Pirates, Red Sox, and a couple other that I can’t remember off the top of my head). The other teams that were there were the Yankees, representing the Northeast including New York, the New England Region, and P.A. (There was a Pittsburgher there a catcher from Norwin), the Astros sponsored a team representing Georgia and Northern Fl, the Athletics sponsored a team from MI, IN, KY, OH, TN, and one RHP from Seneca Valley HS, the Diamondbacks team was representing NC, VA, SC, and a Fleetwood Area HS SS, and finally the Royals sponsored a team from the deep South including AL, MS, LA, GA, and a couple FL players.
The Showcase was run in a very regimented way, the first day, the first two teams ran 60 yd dashes, with the scouts taking down official times, followed by live batting practice for both teams, they then did pro-style infield/outfield drills, and then played a seven inning game. I personally didn’t write down all of the 60 times but the faster player at the showcase was a small toolsy outfielder on the Royals team named DJ Davis who ran a 6.38 60 yd. After the first two teams completed that, they cycled in the next two teams, and then repeated for the last two teams. Then next three days of the showcase was run slightly differently, with the first two teams to play conducting live BP on a separate field, and the doing I/O on the main field, and then playing a 9 inning game.
I took notes on a lot of players but I’m only going to talk about some of the players who either stuck out to me or who I think are worth mentioning, there will be some guys I don’t talk about who performed well but you can ask about specific players in the comments and I’ll let you know what I thought and what the scouts from the team I was with thought about them.
First I’ll do the position players:
From the A’s:
Xavier Turner: The only position player on the A’s who stuck out at all (this was not a very good team in comparison to the others there), turner played a decent shortstop, and definitely profiles to stay up the middle with solid speed, decent hit tools, and a natural feel on the basepaths. He doesn’t have a lot of power and wasn’t in the elite class of players there but he played well and was the leader on this team. Not a first rounder but still a decent player.
From the Astros:
Zack Bowers: A good catcher who played pretty well throughout blocking pitches and showing good pop at the plate. It’s gap power right now but he smacked on off the left center field wall that traveled a solid 400 ft.
Byron Buxton: One of if not the best position player at the showcase. This kid has all the tools, squaring up on balls, hitting solid line drives and deep doubles consistently. He has great speed and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. He is a clear leader in the clubhouse and is a threat both at the plate and on the bases. He has a good arm and is the definition of a five-tool player. He looked like a younger BJ Upton. He will go in the first round.
Matt Olson: This guy created a lot of discussion among the scouts, with great power, in BP and in games, but both of the balls that he drove, he drove to the opposite field and he K’d a decent amount leading me to think he is mostly slow-twitch and doesn’t have the bat speed to make it in the pros. He is an interesting player at 6’4” 225 lbs and I think someone will take a chance on him in the first five rounds.
From the DBacks:
Steven Duggar: A 6’2” CF who only weighs 175. This kid is a ballplayer. He’s still a little raw but he has room to add good power and likely profiles as a corner outfielder. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
Corey Seager: A 6’4” SS who likely won’t stay there, has an older brother who was just called up to the pros in Seattle, has a good approach at the plate and is going to add some size as he’s only 195 lbs but looks more like 185. He plays solid defense making several good plays at third base and has the arm to play there, it’s all about how his bat develops but he has decent pitch selection and doesn’t chase much.
From the Rockies:
Albert Almora: A challenger for the title of best position player there, shows tremendous power at 6’2” 170. Has good range and a good arm in the outfield playing out of CF. The thing that really seperates Almora is his approach. This kid knows the game of baseball. He led off the first game, and knew the first pitch he was going to see was a fastball (as many of the pitchers were trying to display their velo), and he got one, and then deposited it 360 ft. away over the left field wall. He lined out in his next AB but then his third AB was the one that really impressed me. The pitcher on the mound was trying to rush the batters, and work quickly off the mound. He had retired the first two batters, and then Almora stepped in and worked I believe a 1-1 count. He then noticed the speed at which the pitcher was working and stepped out and called time, he then stood there wiping sweat out of his eye and taking a practice cut for a good 15 seconds while the pitcher grew restless on the mound, he then stepped back into the box, got a hanging curve and crushed it over the wall for his second home-run of the game. This kid is likely at top-15 pick next year.
Keon Barnum: A massive 6’4” 1B who is just straight up powerful, his biggest issue is his contact ability but he looks like a young Ryan Howard (and looks like Jason Heyward does now, this kid is BIG). Needs to work on his approach but he has the potential to be a power hitting pro player.
Lewis Brinson: This kid was the most frustrating player to watch during this showcase, he has incredible tools, speed in CF, an incredibly projectable 6’4” 185 lb body and covers a ton of ground with a good arm in CF. But he is incredibly incredibly raw and just doesn’t look comfortable at the plate against good competition. I spoke with an Area scout for his area and he told me that Brinson doesn’t do many high profile events and hasn’t played much baseball, so he is behind the curve in development against good competition playing only HS ball, but he has great potential, as his back to back to back home runs in BP demonstrated. He puts on a show, but has a lot of work to do.
Taylor Gushue: A switch hitting catcher with a 6’2 205 frame. He has a great approach from both sides of the plate, plays a decent catcher (not sure if he’ll stay there but we’ll see) and has a good swing. He could turn some heads as a mid/early round pickup.
From the Royals:
David Dahl: The definition of a projectable frame, at 6’2” 185 and all lean power (I saw him up close and the veins on his fore arm are straight up scary). He is a good CF with good speed and a feel for the outfield, he has a pretty good approach and has the potential to be a good player.
DJ Davis: Another very very raw player who is all about speed. He is pretty small at 5’11” 170 but if he can learn to improve his hit ability he could become a potential lead off bat.
Jalen Goree: A speedy middle infielder who is flashy in the field and devastating on the basepaths, this kid can run, but he needs to work on his approach and could be worth a look in the middle rounds.
D’Vone Mcclure: Another raw toolsy player (this sums up the royals team, raw and toolsy) with the potential for massive power. Doesn’t run very well (even though he legged out a triple) and projects as a corner guy (don’t remember much about his arm, I think it’s good but with so/so accuracy) but is a project with the tools to succeed.
Addison Russel: A fairly polished field who projects as a third baseman. Looks incredibly awkward with very broad shoulder but a skinny everything else, will add big power. Has a great approach at the plate and is a smooth, clean, fielder. Could go in the top three rounds.
Styker Trahan: a 6’1” 220 lb catcher with good power, who also FLYs on the bases. I don’t know how he moves as well as he does but he gets down the line at a 4.11 pace from home to first. Not sure what I make of him but he could be a special guy…or he could bust…I don’t even know what to think to be honest, he doesn’t look like he should be fast, but he does have power and is surprisingly athletic for his size. An interesting guy to follow.
From the Yankees:
Chris Harvey: A massive 6’5” 220 lb catcher with a good approach and a great bat. Shows power and can hit, but will be interesting to see if he can stay at catcher with his frame, I don’t think so, so he will have to prove his bat is good enough for 1B.
Nathan Mikolas: This kid is a very natural hitter, who showed good contact ability and the room to grow into some power, he is a solid ballplayer who I’m not sure I can project when it comes to the draft, another guy to follow as the year progresses.
Fernelys Sanchez: An impressive CF who goes out and just looks like he’s having fun. He’s slow out of the box because he puts a good swing in every time and has the potential to add good power, but once he’s on he’s a smart baserunner who is prone to mental errors (he got picked off a couple times b/c he wasn’t focused) but he’s a good baserunner stealing several bags and making smart plays when the ball was put in play.
Scott Williams: A catcher from Conestoga HS, has a laser arm behind the plate and plays a good catcher. He has a good approach and makes contact, but still needs work with the bat. I think he’ll become a pretty good catcher though.
This is really long so I’ll do the Pitchers in a separate FanPost as well.