Here is a look at the top high school pitchers for the 2008 draft. As with the hitters, I haven't seen these guys in person and my impressions are based on scouting reports, video, and intuition. Right now there doesn't seem to be any knockout Josh Beckett types in this draft; even the top arms have some question marks.
I am working on my draft board and will have an early version of it for you on Saturday. These reports have focused mostly on guys who could go in the first round or in the supplemental round, and as we get closer to draft day I will mix in more guys from later in the draft.
Here are high school pitchers who could go in the first round:
1) Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri HS: Opinion of him dipped a tad after an erratic start but he's been better lately and still rates as the best overall high school arm available according to virtually all sources. Big guy at 6-5, 200. Works in the low 90s and projects more velocity as he refines his mechanics. Shows a fine knuckle-curve, at times, but it needs more consistency. It would not surprise me to see Martin pass him on draft day.
2) Ethan Martin, RHP, Georgia HS: Also a prospect as a hitter, but his stock as a pitcher has really taken off this spring following a series of dominating performances. 6-3, 200, fine athlete, has shown a 92-96 MPH fastball this spring and more polish than anticipated. Under consideration for Shadow Twins at 14. It wouldn't surprise me to see him end up ahead of Melville when all is said and done.
3) Alex Meyer, RHP, Indiana HS: I admit, I have a slight bias in favor of colder-weather and/or Midwest pitchers. In theory they have less mileage on their arms. 6-7, 200 pounds, hits 94 MPH and projects more. Also has a good spike curveball. Size leads to worries about his mechanics and command and generally speaking I'm not obsessed with tall pitchers, but for some reason I like him intuitively. Mid-to-late first round pick.
4) Gerrit Cole, RHP, California HS: 6-3, 190 pounds, has been clocked as high as 97 MPH, also shows promising changeup and slider. Concerns: his mechanics aren't textbook, he can be emotionally volatile, and the Scott Boras Factor. Depending on what happens over the next two weeks, could go anywhere from 10 to 30.
5) Brett DeVall, LHP, Florida HS: Good size at 6-4, 215. Fastball average at 87-90, but could project more in time and he's the best high school pitcher in the tough Florida ranks. Mixes in a solid curveball and changeup. Mid-to-late first round pick depending on bonus demands.
6) Anthony Gose, LHP-OF, California HS: Very athletic, fast, good prospect as an outfielder but 95 MPH fastball from the left side and a promising curve have boosted his pitching stock this spring. Not big at 5-11, 175, but the athleticism is something I look for in a pitcher.
7) Dan Webb, RHP, Kentucky HS: Great arm, hits 94-96 MPH. 6-3, 205, good athlete. Secondary pitches and control are below average and he's somewhat raw overall. Seems like the kind of moldable pitcher with upside that would interest someone like the Braves or Dodgers. I don't see him lasting long enough to get to Atlanta, but what about the Dodgers at 15?
8) Kyle Lobstein, LHP, Arizona HS: 6-3, 185 pound lefty with 88-90 fastball, good curveball. I really like his smooth delivery, and he's a fine athlete who also plays basketball. Another guy my intuition really likes. Counts as a cold-weather pitcher since he's from Flagstaff, not the warmer Arizona climes. Late first round or supplemental pick.
9) Tyler Sample, RHP, Colorado HS: Big guy at 6-7, 220 pounds. Command and mechanics are erratic, not unusual for a tall high school pitcher, but high upside guy who can already hit 95 on a good day. Also has a very promising curveball. I see him in the supplemental round.
10) Zeke Spruill, RHP, Georgia HS: 6-4, 190, projectable, already works in the low 90s and has some promise with his curve and changeup. Like most of these guys he's fairly raw, but would fit late in the first round or the supplemental round. Seems like a logical fit for the Braves. The Braves don't pick until 40 however...will Spruill still be there? If not, another high school Georgia pitcher named Michael Palazzone has a very good arm and would slot in well for Atlanta there.