2014 MLB draft: Five high school players on the rise — bonus edition
Last week, I posted my final high school risers article of the season. It was 30 players deep and it showcased players I have been following all year heading into the 2014 MLB draft. Since some teams are still playing, I decided to do one more edition and focus on some players who are finishing their season’s on a strong note — helping their teams to state titles, as well as improving their own draft stock. Here are five guys who have impressed as of late:
Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills (OH)
I know high school stats can be deceiving, and scouts don’t put a whole lot of stock into them. However, when you have struck out every batter you have faced over your last two starts like Varga has, you should take notice. The 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander has 31 K/0 BB over his last 10 innings without allowing a hit. In fact, over his last five starts, he has tossed four no-hitters with 68 K/1 BB over 25 innings. With a fastball that sits 91-95 mph and one of the best curveballs in his class — an upper-70s knee buckler that he has great command of, he has been one of the most dominant prep pitchers this spring. His change-up is still developing, but with his athleticism, most believe it will become a quality offering. He is one of the older players in his class but he has a fresh arm as he was a shortstop his first two years of high school in Florida. For the season, he has 110 K/4 BB over 44 innings, allowing one run on 10 hits. Getting a lot of first-round buzz, he is committed to North Carolina.
Jakson Reetz, C/OF, Norris HS (NE)
Reetz has a .711 OBP through 25 games. Again, I don’t care who you are facing, that is extremely impressive. The 6’-1”, 200 pound right-hander has excellent bat speed and can drive the ball to all fields with his strength. He shows a patient approach and can wait on his pitch due to that bat speed. A very good athlete, he has the tools to stick behind the plate, but his strong, accurate arm would play well in a corner outfield spot where the bat would play well, too. Through 25 games, he is hitting .552/.711/1.172 with 13 doubles, seven home runs, 11 stolen bases and 25 walks to just six strikeouts. He is committed to Nebraska and could be a tough sign as he has strong family ties to the University.
Chase Vallot, C, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
Vallot finished his season hitting .550/.656/1.107 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 62 RBI over 36 games, leading his team to a state championship. With some of the best raw power in his class, he puts on shows in the batting cages and has won his share of home run derbys. The power also shows up in games, however, as you can see from the stat line. The 6’-0”, 205 pound right-hander has a plus arm, but scouts are split on his ability to remain behind the plate. Either way, his bat is his calling card and he is a tireless worker. He should be gone on day one and he is committed to Mississippi State.
Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (GA)
I talk about Gettys a lot, but I just believe in the kid and his abilities. He has tweaked his mechanics at the plate and the results over the past 18 games have been stellar. Over those 18 games, he is hitting .455/.565/1.000 with six doubles, eight home runs and 16 stolen bases. More importantly, he has drawn 10 walks to just five strikeouts, showing a much better approach at the plate and better pitch selection. He is now hitting .406/.509/.833 through 32 games with eight doubles, 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases.With his plus/plus arm and plus speed, he should be able to stick at center field at the next level. Add in his raw power and you have one of the highest upside players in the 2014 MLB draft. Committed to Georgia.
Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (CA)
One of my favorite players coming into the season, Hill has been rocketing up draft boards all spring and some have him going in the top 25 picks. The 6’-0”, 185 pound right-hander has plus speed (6.33/60), a strong, accurate arm, and is an extremely gifted route runner who should be an elite defender at the next level. Offensively, he has an advanced approach at the plate and his bat speed allows him to spray the ball to all fields. He doesn’t have much home run power, but his speed should make him a headache on the base paths. Through 25 games, he is hitting .500/.585/.774 with nine doubles, seven triples and 18 stolen bases. Committed to Oregon.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, high school and college news, as well as Chicago Cubs ramblings.