Top 10 draft prospects from MLB's California high school showcase
Dave Perkin was a scout and correspondent for Baseball America from 2007 through 2010. He scouted for the New York Mets from 2003 through 2006 and worked in the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2000 through 2002. Perkin is the author of the upcoming book, Five Plus Tools to be published online May 1, 2011.
1. Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Skinny: Of all the players on display in Compton, Owens is the safest bet to be a first- or first-supplemental round draft pick in June. At 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, he is rangy, projectable and most importantly, left-handed.
Owens is crafty, keeping the hitter off balance by changing locations and speeds. His fastball sits in the 88-90-mph range but will peak at 91-92. Owens adds a tantalizing slow curve at 67 and his 74-77 change may develop into his best pitch.
Committed to: Miami
2. Danny Keller, RHP, Newbury Park (Calif.) HS
Skinny: Keller was not as sharp Saturday as he was at an area All-Star Game in November, but he still rates as a top prospect. He tosses a 90-91-mph fastball and adds a promising 74 curve. Keller's arm action was a bit awkward Saturday.
Skinny: Shockingly fast, Henry raced to a 6.38 60-yard dash, easily the lowest timing of the day. Henry may be the fastest draft-eligible high school player in the nation. A superb fly chaser with a decent throwing arm, Henry has hitting ability but did not show it Saturday. Only 150-pounds, Henry will realize his hitting potential when he starts to try to hit 200-foot line drives instead of 500-foot fly balls.
Committed to: None
4. Brandon Martin, SS, Santiago HS, Corona, Calif.
Skinny: Martin is a fast (6.7-6.8 speed), athletic middle infield prospect with a nifty glove and a strong, accurate arm. To elevate his draft status he will need to improve at bat, which will entail shortening his stroke and adopting a line drive, all-fields approach.
Committed to: Oregon State
5. Jay Anderson, OF, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif.
Skinny: Anderson ripped off a 6.57 60 to begin the day. He bobbled a ball in the glaring sun Saturday, but actually is a fine defensive outfielder. Anderson does not throw well, but he does have a quick left-handed bat, which permits him to turn on and drive inside pitches. Like Henry and Martin, this spring Anderson must convince scouts he can hit in order to be selected in a single-digit round.
Committed to: None
6. Christian Lopes, SS, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Skinny: A phenom as a freshman, Lopes has matured into a solid prospect, not a superlative one. His speed is average but Lopes is a slick defender, with fine fielding skills and a powerful arm. As a pro, he will probably be shifted to third or second base. Lopes may have more hitting talent than any player in the local HS class, but his progress at the plate has been hampered by constant tinkering with his stance, stride and swing.
Committed to: USC
7. Trevor Gretzky, 1B, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, Calif.
Skinny: Wayne's son is fitter and leaner than last summer, when he was a regular on the showcase circuit. His speed has improved dramatically. Gretzky ran a 6.87 60 Saturday, months after clocking a sluggish 7.11 in August at the Area Code Games. The younger Great One is a sparkling defensive first baseman, but a shoulder injury suffered in football inhibits his throwing arm. Possessor of a sweet left-handed swing, Gretzky's draft stock will rise if he proves he can hit game pitching as well as he hits batting practice pitching.
Committed to: Arizona
8. Travis Harrison, 1B, Tustin (Calif.) HS
Skinny: Harrison does not run, throw or field particularly well, so the power potential in his bat must carry him. Given his shortcomings, Harrison's defensive home figures to be first base. In the offseason, Harrison has shortened his stride at the plate and refined his hitting mechanics. Still, something just seems to be missing. Prior to swinging, Harrison needs to achieve more "separation" (more space between his arms and body) and would benefit from cocking his wrists, which would allow him to generate more bat speed.
Committed to: USC
9. Billy Flamion, OF, Central Catholic HS, Modesto, Calif.
Skinny: Flamion appeared heavy legged at this event. In August, at Long Beach, he ran a 6.77 60; Saturday he ran a 7.16. Flamion flashes a terrific throwing arm and profiles as an above-average defensive outfielder. As a hitter, he exhibits power and bat speed. Flamion must learn to keep his front side closed to prevent pulling off the ball as he swings. Taking shots at the opposite field may help.
Committed to: Oregon
10. Dante Flores, SS, St. John Bosco HS, Bellflower, Calif.
Skinny: Long a favorite of area scouts and college coaches, Flores, as they say in the trade, "plays above" his ordinary tools. His 7.00 speed is average and Flores does not show a huge arm nor tape measure power. Flores is a smart and versatile middle infielder, who can play SS or 2B in college, 2B as a pro. A quality defensive player, Flores has advanced playmaking ability, soft hands and a quick release. His compact stroke provides line drives to all fields, and Flores wisely does not attempt to be a power hitter.
Committed to: USC
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