2014 MLB draft: 10 high school players on the rise — fourth edition

It’s time for another edition of prep players who have been rising with their performances as of late and moving up 2014 MLB draft boards. Here are 10 players who have been dealing on the mound and at the plate:

Cameron Varga is rising faster than his fastball.
Cameron Varga is rising faster than his fastball.

Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills HS (OH)

Varga’s season is just getting underway as the weather hasn’t been very nice in the Midwest this winter/spring. Over his first two starts, he is showing why he is considered one of the top prep arms in the 2014 MLB draft. Through seven innings, he has 18 K/2 BB and has yet to allow a hit. At 6’-3” and 205 pounds, he is a converted shortstop whose fastball sits 93-95 mph. With his lively arm and fluid delivery, there is still room for added velocity. He adds an upper-70s curveball with good depth and a solid upper-70s change-up. Considering he has only been pitching full time for two years, his progression has been silly, and he is getting a lot of first-round buzz. Committed to North Carolina.

Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)

Not sure what else there is to say about Kolek at this point. He can’t rise much higher, and this might be the last time he makes the list because of that. It is, however, fun to write about how dominant he is and how abusive he is to his fellow peers. In his last start, he finished with 14 K/0 BB over five innings, allowing a hit. His last pitch registered 98 mph on the radar gun of Kendall Rogers over at Perfect Game. For the season, he now has 62 K/1 BB over 27.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits. The 6’-5”, 240 pound right-hander has entered the talks for 1.1 even though a prep right-hander has never gone first overall, showing just how special a talent he is. Committed to TCU — or the Astros.

Nick Gordon, SS/RHP, Olympia HS (FL)

Gordon has established himself as, arguably, the top shortstop prospect in the 2014 MLB draft. Aside from his defensive prowess that will allow him to stick at the premium position, he has been showing all of the offensive tools that should make him a star at the next level. After gaining around 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, he has been showing more power while maintaining his advanced approach and speed. Through 20 games, he is hitting .490/.639/.863 with six doubles, two triples, three home runs and 14 stolen bases. He has drawn 16 walks to just two strikeouts and has been plunked five times. With his size, speed, athleticism, ability to rake from the left side and bloodlines, he could go in the top 10. Committed to Florida State.

Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)

In his last start, Holmes struck out 16 batters in a two-hit complete game. His stuff was outstanding, and he showed why he could go in the top 15 picks of the 2014 MLB draft. His fastball touched 96 mph and he sat 91-95 most of the game. He showed off his plus curveball that sits 79-81 with late bite and great depth. Frankie Piliere at Perfect Game scouted the game and also mentioned that Holmes’ change-up is already an above-average offering, sitting 84-86 mph, and he has pinpoint command of all three offerings. Just to show how strong he is, he added a 400-foot bomb to dead center field. At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, he doesn’t have the size of others in this incredibly deep class of prep arms, but his stuff is as good as anyone. Committed to Florida.

Jakson Reetz, INF/OF, Norris HS (NE)

A great athlete who can play everywhere and do anything on a baseball field, Reetz has been feasting on the inferior competition this season. Through his first seven games, he is hitting .526/.720/1.263 with three doubles, a triple, three home runs and six swiped bases. He has excellent bat speed and more power will come as he matures. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, he has all the tools to remain behind the plate, including a plus arm that he also uses on the mound. Some feel he is better suited for the outfield where his arm, speed and bat would play well. Starred for U18 Team USA Baseball. Committed to Nebraska.

Alex Verdugo, LHP/OF, Sahuaro HS (AZ)

Verdugo is showing why he is one of the best two-way players in his class. Through 14 games, he is hitting .625/.688/1.100 with nine doubles, two triples, two home runs and 11 stolen bases. He has drawn eight walks and has yet to strikeout this season. On the mound, he has 42 K/12 BB over 25 innings, allowing just six hits. The 6’-1”, 200 pound left-hander has one of the best curveballs in his class with late bite and power. His fastball sits 89-92 mph and he should add more velocity if he continues to work full time as a pitcher. He adds a solid change-up to round out a three-pitch mix. Offensively, he has an advanced approach at the plate and plus bat speed which generates a lot of power from the left side. A great athlete with above average speed, he has as much upside at the plate as he does on the mound — which is a ton. Committed to Arizona State.

Trey Supak, RHP, La Grange HS (TX)

He’s from Texas, stands 6’-5” and weighs 220 pounds. Sound familiar? While he doesn’t have quite the power arm as Kolek (few do), he is just as imposing on the hill and has been reaching the low-90s with his fastball. He adds solid secondary stuff and has been blowing away hitters this season with 64 strikeouts over 35 innings. He was having command issues early in the year, walking 16 over his first 23 innings, but has allowed just two over his last 12 innings with 20 strikeouts. A big arm who keeps getting better and has a lot of projection. Committed to Houston.

Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)

With three quality pitches, Marshall is considered one of the best southpaws in the 2014 MLB draft, and his stock keeps rising this season. He has been showing a plus change-up to go with a low-90s fastball with late life. He adds an above-average curveball, and he still has projection left at 6’-2” and 190 pounds. Over his last four starts, he has tossed 23 scoreless innings with 34 strikeouts to four walks. He’s another kid generating first-round buzz who keeps getting better each time out as he continues to be one of the more polished arms in his class. Committed to LSU.

Alex Faedo, RHP, Alonso HS (FL)

Over his last four starts, Faedo has 37 K/2 BB over 23 innings, including 13 in a complete game on March 28. At 6’-5” and 210 pounds, the right-hander has been rising ever since he was hitting 94 mph over the summer. He adds a potential swing-and-miss slider and a solid change-up. He has a low-effort delivery and should add more velocity as he matures. Lots of upside here. Committed to Florida.

Bobby Bradley, OF/1B, Harrison Central HS (MS)

Bradley hasn’t gotten a lot to swing at this season. When he has, however, he has taken advantage of it, displaying the huge power potential from his 6’-2”, 225 pound frame. Over 12 games, he has drawn 20 walks to just three strikeouts and has hit four home runs. He is hitting .391/.682/1.044. He has a patient approach and his quick wrists allow him to wait on his pitch and drive it to all fields. He is attempting to play behind the plate this season but most feel he is likely a first baseman at the next level where the pressure will be on his bat. Not much physical projection left but has upside as a left-handed power hitter. Committed to LSU.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, high school and college news, as well as Chicago Cubs ramblings.

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