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Interesting High School Hitters for the 2010 Draft, Part One

With a name like "Reggie Golden," he has to be good. 

 Interesting High School Hitters for the 2010 Draft, Part One

   Here are high school hitters likely to go in the first round or supplemental round of the 2010 draft. This is the first eight names, alpabetically. Another eight high schoolers will follow later today. College hitters will follow in a separate report.

   In general, I think the hitting class, both high school and college, is weaker this year than the pitching. These players are listed alphabetically, NOT in order of my preference or ranking. I will put my draft list together after we finish the college hitters.

    THIS IS NOT A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT on all high school hitters, but rather my take on players likely to go early on the first day. Stay tuned for part two. 

Yordy Cabrera, SS-RHP, Lakeland High School, ,Lakeland, Florida
     Blessed with all-around tools, Cabrera is a prospect as both hitter and pitcher, but is a bit older than most preps and turns 20 in October. He has good size at 6-3, 220 pounds, with strong power potential and decent enough speed. Opinions were previously mixed on his ability to stay at shortstop, but a decline in range this spring makes it very likely he'll shift to third base or outfield. As a result, his stock has dropped slightly, though he remains a candidate for the later part of the first round. A team with extra picks and a liking for raw tools such as the Angels could be interested, as well as the homestate Rays at slot 31. He has a University of Miami commitment but should be signable in the first two rounds.

Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy High School, Davie, Florida  
     High school hitting is relatively thin this year, making the power-hitting Castellanos very attractive. He's a good fielder, too, and should be able to remain at the hot corner at higher levels. His arm is average, but his range and hands rate very well there. The 6-4, 210 pounder has some leverage with a Miami scholarship, and current rumors indicate he will use that leverage to demand top dollar. In a pitching-heavy year, he sometimes seems to get a bit overlooked when the high school players are discussed, but scouts are very familiar with him and he seems like the kind of player who would be "second choice" on a lot of draft boards, if deemed signable. He could go anywhere from the middle of the first round to the supplemental round to out of the first day altogether, depending on how much money he really wants.

Chevez Clarke, OF, Marietta High School, Marietta, Georgia
      A classic tools outfielder, Clarke features plus speed and good power potential in his 6-1, 190  frame. Signed to Georgia Tech, he's highly-regarded defensively but is still rather raw with the bat. Three years of college ball would probably be good for his stick, but given the relative lack of hitting in this class he could go early enough to stay away from college. His defense is potentially outstanding once he gets more experience. I see him as a target for the bottom of the first round, attractive to teams like the Angels, Yankees, and Rays. The Phillies, picking at 27, also like this type of player.

Reggie Golden, OF, Wetumpka High School, Wetumpka, Alabama    5-10   210   alabama
    Although undersized in a classic sense at 5-10, Golden carries 210 pounds of muscle on his body. He's also quite fast, giving him a potent power/speed combination. Like most high school hitters, he's somewhat raw and needs more repetitions, but it doesn't take much imagination to see him as a future 20/20 player. His glove is also well-regarded. Golden is committed to Alabama, but should be signable if taken early enough. His lack of classic height may keep him out of the first round, but I don't expect him to last past the supplemental stage. You also have to love the name "Reggie Golden."

JaCoby Jones, SS, Richton High School, Richton, Mississippi   
    Another toolsy athlete from the deep South, Jones has a Louisiana State scholarship in his back pocket. Very athletic at 6-3, 195, Jones has a very promising bat that should produce batting average and at least average power as he moves up. He has the range for shortstop but perhaps not the arm strength; there's some chance he could end up at second base or left field. Jones has been on the margins of the first round of various mocks, but is probably more of a supplemental round choice.

Marcus Littlewood, SS, Pinewood High School, St George, Utah
    Utah isn't exactly a baseball hot bed, but Littlewood draws plenty of notice and has been recruited to a top program at the University of San Diego. Listed at 6-3, 200, his tools are considered average to slightly above overall, but he's extremely polished and makes the most of what he has, which makes perfect sense since his dad is a college coach at Dixie State. Not everyone buys into his bat and there are enough doubts to keep him out of the first round, but as a supplemental or second round talent he will attract attention. If he falls much farther than that, he could go the college route and shoot for a premium slot in the '13 class after three years of exposure at San Diego.

Manny Machado, SS, Brito Private High School, Hialeah, Florida
    Machado has emerged as the top overall player in the high school class, growing from 6-2, 180 to 6-3, 190 over the last 12 months. Scouts are impressed with his glove and he has the range and hands to be a top-flight defensive shortstop. His arm is okay but is very accurate and has a quick release, so it shouldn't be a problem at higher levels. There were some questions about his bat pre-season, but he's shown much better offensive potential this year with a swing that should provide a high batting average with at least decent power as he matures. Pure running speed is his only average tool. Signed with Florida International University, Machado is now aligned with Scott Boras and may be a difficult sign. On talent alone, he would fit perfectly with the Orioles at number three or the Royals at number four. 

Justin O'Conner, SS-C, Cowan High School, Muncie, Indiana  
      If O'Conner went to high school in Florida, Texas, Georgia, or California, he'd get a lot more attention, but as it is he still has a chance to go in the first round. A multi-talented player, his best tools are excellent power and a strong throwing arm. Although a shortstop currently, pro teams see him as a future catcher, or maybe a right fielder if backstop work doesn't agree with him. Listed at 6-1, 190, O'Conner is also a good pitcher who can hit 95 MPH, but scouts want to get his bat in the everyday lineup. He is committed to the University of Arkansas, and could see more two-way duty if he takes the college route. He should be signable if drafted early enough. Two teams with first round interest could be the Twins at 21 and the Dodgers at 28, who have selected similar athletes in recent drafts.