My Favorite High School Pitchers from the 2010 Draft
A reader asked me for a list of my favorite high school pitchers from the 2010 draft. "Favorite" is not necessarily the same thing as "best," so I decided to have some fun with this.
What I'm going to do here is look at all the high school arms in the first, supplemental, and second rounds, and then a few beyond that that have caught my interest. I'm only going to talk about guys who signed. Also note that just because a player is not listed as a "favorite" does not mean that I'm rooting against him. It is bad karma to root against a player on a personal level, in my view. There are lots of prospects I root for, but I don't root against anyone.
This is more impressionistic than analytical at this point, and there is a lot of "gut feeling" with this list.
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates: He's an outstanding prospect, but I'm sort of bored with the whole "big Texas fireballer" thing, so I don't count him as a personal favorite. I'm very interested to see how he'll develop of course, but I'm not emotionally invested either way.
1) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros: I usually root for the cold-weather high school guys, especially if they are from the Midwest, and Folty is no exception. For some reason I tend to like high school pitchers from Illinois, first Michael Bowden, then Jake Odorizzi, than Tanner Bushue, and now Folty.
1) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies: I love it when a local kid gets drafted by his hometown team, and usually root for these guys. His command failed in the NY-P, but potential power lefties intrigue me.
1) Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers: I like the two-sport athlete types and there is something about Lee that strikes me as very positive on an intuitive level. He wasn't cheap to sign obviously, and part of me thinks the Dodgers overpaid considering the risks in high school pitching. But I think this one has a decent chance to work out. I would rather have had A.J. Cole though.
1) Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Angels: I also find bloodline players interesting, and I also like rooting for shortish right-handers who overcome the prejudice of scouts, so Bedrosian intrigues me in both ways. Question: if Cam Bedrosian was named Cam Smith, would he have gone this high in the draft?
1S) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays: I like this one; love the K/IP and strong ground ball combination in rookie ball. 37 K in 25 innings, with a 2.60 GO/AO. And guys from places like Barstow, California, are more interesting to me than guys from heavily-scouted regions.
1S) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Blue Jays: First of all, "Noah Syndergaard" is a cool name, so right there he gets some extra points. He was a fast-riser before the draft, which I always find interesting, and it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up being more successful than some guys who got a lot more pre-draft coverage.
1S) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners: Raw, high-ceiling athlete type, put up some good numbers in seven rookie ball innings, 9/3 K/BB, just 2 hits, 1.75 GO/AO, sample is tiny of course. I like him intuitively but he will need some time to develop.
1S) Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers: Inconsistent command from this Florida high school kid, but stuff is very, very good and I have one very trusted source who insists Jackson is going to take the lower minors by storm next year. I'm not invested emotionally but he certainly sounds interesting.
1S) Peter Tago, RHP, Rockies: This is another one that many of my sources really like and feel got lost in the shuffle a little bit pre-draft. I have no strong feeling about him either way.
1S) Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals: Another one of the athlete types, another football guy turning his attention to baseball full time. I like him intuitively, impressed by his athleticism and projectability. He'll need time but I think he could develop into a number two starter if all goes well. Big if of course.
2) Stetson Allie, RHP, Pirates: I love Stetson Allie. I love his fastball, and I love the improved command and feel for pitching he showed this year. His upside is higher than anyone in this class except Taillon, As with any pitcher, Allie could get hurt or stagnate, but he has number one starter or overpowering closer stuff, and I like to see high school guys from non-Sun Belt states succeed.
2) J.R Bradley, RHP, Arizona: Got hit around a bit in rookie ball (5.93 ERA, 40/24 K/BB in 55 innings, 66 hits for Missoula), but the jump from West Virginia high school ranks to the Pioneer League is a big one. Very projectable, like him intuitively.
2) Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros: Did well in his pro debut, 3.07 ERA with 25/5 K/BB in 29 innings in the Appy League. Another good athlete with projectability, has some health problems in his past with a stress fracture in the elbow, but I do find him intriguing.
2) Griffin Murphy, LHP, Blue Jays: Polished prep lefty from California with strong command of decent stuff, good breaking ball in particular. I think he will do well but I'm not emotionally invested.
2) Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers: Smallish righthander but has a good fastball and excellent breaking stuff for a high school guy, makeup is well-regarded. He could advance very quickly for a prep arm if his command holds strong. I like him.
2) Ralston Cash, RHP, Dodgers: Typical high school arm of the kind that interests the Dodgers: he throws hard, has a great body, but is a bit raw and needs to refine his breaking ball and changeup. A Georgia prep, he didn't receive as much attention pre-draft as most of these guys. I don't know that much else about him at this point, but I tend to trust Logan White.
2) Justin Nicolino, LHP, Blue Jays: Florida prep with average velocity but chance to pick up more, best pitch is his changeup at this point. I don't have a feeling for him right now.
4) A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals: I like A.J. Cole a lot and I think there was some nitpicking going on with him in the weeks before the draft. He was expensive to sign in the fourth round for $2 million, but as high school guys go, I thought he was second only to Taillon and Allie in terms of pure talent.
4) Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates: Good fastball and changeup from this Nevada product, still working on the breaking ball but projectable. Scouts like his delivery and his size/frame. Sounds like a good combination of talents to me.
5) Jason Adam, RHP, Royals: The Royals have made an effort to sweep up local talent in recent drafts, wanting to avoid a repeat of the Albert Pujols "overlooked in his own backyard" debacle. This kid out of Overland Park, Kansas, needs to build up his strength to maintain his velocity through games, but his ceiling is high and I think there's a lot of potential here. It cost $800,000 to sign him but I think it is a good move.
6) John Barbato, RHP, Padres: Cost $1.4 million in the sixth round but I understand why: he throws strikes, has a clean delivery to go with his good command, and trusted sources are full of praise for him. He didn't get as much attention as some Florida prep products but he sounds really intriguing to me.
6) Drew Cisco, RHP, Reds: Could have gone four rounds higher but needed to be bought out of Georgia scholarship, which the Reds did for $975,000. Velocity is average and might not pick up much, but has superb pitching instincts and command, and great bloodlines. I think he could move very quickly.
6) Gabe Encinas, RHP, Yankees: California kid, has good breaking ball and an excellent changeup. He could move faster than most preps, and I like him intuitively. I have mixed reports on his velocity, some rate it as average, some above.
8) Tyler Green, RHP, Diamondbacks: Caught my attention because he's also a good hitter and fine overall athlete with excellent makeup, 90-94 MPH fastball, and promising curve. May need some extra development work, but has much more potential than the average 8th round pick. Cost $750,000 to sign.
9) Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles: Like Green, Bridwell is a Texas prep who was a multi-skilled athlete, in his case also playing basketball and football. Stuff is average right now but should get better as he concentrates on pitching. $625,000 to sign, like Green he has more upside than normal for his round.