High School Hitters of Interest for the 2008 Draft

Here is my take on the top high school hitters of the 2008 draft. Note: I haven't seen these guys in person, so am relying on scouting reports, video, and intuition. High school stats are even more meaningless than college stats, so there isn't much that can be done with objective analysis.

I'm not overly impressed with high school hitting depth this year, though there are some interesting raw tools outfielders about. As I see it, the Elite Three are Beckham, Skipworth, and Hosmer, with the other guys a cut below.

1) Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS: Still rated as the best overall position player in the draft according to everything I've heard or read. Excellent tools, will be able to remain at shortstop, main question is present power but has plenty of projection, more polish than the other guys except perhaps Skipworth. 6-1, 180, righthanded hitter.

2) Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS: Best high school catcher since Joe Mauer, features power from the left side, strong arm, still needs to add some polish to his defense but he will remain at catcher and be a good one. I like him better than anyone else except Beckham, given that catchers who can both hit and field are hard to find. Won't make it out of the Top Ten on draft day and possibly not the Top Five. 6-3, 190, lefty hitter. My intuition loves him.

3) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS: Complete hitting package, features power and plate discipline, good glove at first base, should advance rapidly up the ladder. Main negative is Scott Boras, rumored to be asking for a $7 million package and a major league contract. I don't think I would give that to a high school first baseman unless his name was Lou Gehrig. 6-3, 210, lefty hitter.

4) Aaron Hicks, OF-RHP, California HS: Probably the best of the toolsy outfielders, speed, power, very strong arm, great range, etc. Has a measure of polish but not enough to make him a sure thing just yet, might have trouble with the strike zone or batting average if he has "long swing" problems. Would fit well in mid-first round and under consideration for my Shadow Twins at 14. 6-2, 175, switch-hitter. Has been really good as a pitcher lately.

5) Isaac Galloway, OF, California HS: Better-known than Collier pre-season, scouts have been following him for years, which in some ways may actually hurt him: he's not the shiny new toy that draws attention. Another power/speed player, a bit more polish than Hicks but not quite as athletic or projectable. Mid-to-late first round. 6-2, 190, righthanded hitter.

6) Casey Kelly, SS, Florida HS: Another toolsy guy, strong arm, should be able to remain at shortstop, athletic, major league bloodlines. Two big questions pre-season: would his bat hold up, and University of Tennessee football scholarship. He has had a good spring and most scouts think he'll hit, but the quarterback option remains in play and bonus demands are unclear. Could go anywhere from 12 to 30 at this point. 6-4, 190, hits right.

7) Zach Collier, OF, California HS: Another tools outfielder, excellent tools but has less experience than Hicks or Galloway and less polish. Stock has been rising as scouts want to see a guy who was not well-known before the last few months. 6-2, 185, hits left.

8) Robbie Grossman, OF, Texas HS: Another tools outfielder but hasn't received as much attention this spring as the California guys. Switch-hitter, with above average speed and power. 6-1, 195 pounds. I think he could end up being something of an overlooked bargain.

9) Zach Cox, 3B, Kentucky HS: Pure hitter from the left side, not as toolsy as the others and some question about how much power he will develop, but very polished. Should be able to remain at third base due to strong arm and adequate range.  Second round possiblity? 6-0, 205.

10) Cutter Dykstra, INF, California HS: Gets attention for being Lenny's son, athletic, relatively polished, grew up around the game. Undersized which will keep him out of the first round, but I bet someone pops him in the second. If his name was "Fred Jones" I doubt he'd get as much attention. 6-0, 185, right-handed hitter.

Two-way guys Ethan Martin and Andrew Gose will be in the pitching report.

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