Dave Perkin, a former scout and correspondent for Baseball America, was a major league scout for the New York Mets from 2003 to 2006 and also worked in the front office for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2000 to 2002. Here he breaks down the best prep stars in the United States.
1. Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy, Clermont, Fla.
Skinny: Quick and fast, Lindor is a sparkling defensive shortstop with surprising power at the plate. He's also lithe and wiry, meaning his build, tools and playing style are similar to those of the Mets' Jose Reyes.
2. Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
Skinny: Throws hard, but has touch and precision. Imposing size at 6'4" and 225 pounds with stuff to match. Bradley fires a heavy low-90s fastball that touches 94-95 mph and adds a nasty 80-81 breaking ball.
3. Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit College Prep, Dallas
Skinny: Tall, lanky corner outfield prospect, sort of a switch-hitting mirror image of Domonic Brown of the Phillies. Bell is athletic, has a decent arm and has displayed immense improvement as a wood bat hitter over the past year.
Skinny: Saddled with the unfortunate nickname "Bubba", Starling is a near clone of Dale Murphy. Starling runs and throws exceptionally well, but his hitting mechanics are unpolished. Considered a tough player to sign, Starling has a football commitment to Nebraska and a high Scott Boras inspired price tag.
5. Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.
Skinny: Young lefthanded pitchers are always a prime commodity in the draft. Norris has superlative raw stuff: 91-94 mph fastball, an 82 mph change and a 73 mph curve with what scouts refer to as excellent "shape". In the summer and fall of 2010, Norris' performances have been inconsistent due to spotty command and crude mechanics.
6. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS, Tampa
Skinny: Fernandez is a strong and heavy-set righty who flourished on the summer and fall showcase circuit. His raw velocity is as high octane as any pitcher in the 2011 draft. Fernandez' four seam fastball peaks in the mid to high 90s, but his so called "secondary" pitches -- curveball and change up -- will require development.
7. Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Skinny: Swihart is a versatile and well rounded catching prospect whose physical tools are solid but not overwhelming. He's a steady receiver whose arm strength and release times are slightly above major league average. A switch hitter, Swihart flashes promising bat speed but his swing technique requires substantial refinement.
8. Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy (Ark.) HS
Skinny: Howard pitched sparingly during the summer and fall showcase "silly" season, but when he did throw he was impressive. Tall and angular, his fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range and tops out at 95. Howard features advanced secondary pitches, which include a low 80s change and high 70s curve.
9. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS
Skinny: A personal friend and high school rival of Archie Bradley, Bundy is a well-constructed 6-1, 200-pounder with one of the best curveballs in the 2011 draft class. Bundy adds a low 90s fastball and a changeup to his repertoire and profiles as a middle of the rotation starting pitcher.
10. Johnny Eiermann, OF, Warsaw (Mo.) HS
Skinny: A sleeper for the 2011 draft, similar to Mike Trout, who went to the Angels in the first round in 2009. Eiermann could be a sensation but he also could be a bust. Eiermann has terrific speed and fascinating raw power but to reach his potential, he will need to switch from the infield to the outfield and vastly improve his throwing, fielding and hitting fundamentals.
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