2014 MLB draft: Top 50 high school players

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The 2014 MLB draft is now a mere six months away. With the summer/fall tournaments in the books, I thought it was a good time to put out my initial top-50 high school prospects list. This will no doubt change over the course of the next six months, but here is how I have it as of today:

Alex Jackson may have the best power in the entire 2014 MLB draft. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Alex Jackson may have the best power in the entire 2014 MLB draft.

1. Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)

While a couple of guys may have more overall potential, Jackson is more polished and less of a project. The power is immense and it explodes off his bat due to his excellent bat speed and strong wrists. He has a plus arm and most believe he is better suited for a corner outfield spot where his bat would more than play well. I watched him put on a power display at the Under Armour AA game at Wrigley this summer. Committed to Oregon.

2. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (CA)

At 6’-5”, the right-hander oozes potential due to his massive power potential. He is still raw in some areas, but he crushes baseballs with such little effort, it isn’t even fair. I saw him line a double off the wall at Wrigley that didn’t seem to go 10 feet off the ground. He likely won’t stick at short but has a canon for an arm, as well as the athletic abilities, which could allow him to stick at third base. Aside from winning the home run derby at the Under Armour AA Game at Wrigley, he won the Junior Home Run Derby at Citi Field, slugging 13 home runs — three of them reaching the third deck. Committed to USC.

3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)

Country strong at 6’-5” and 240 pounds, the right-hander can reach back for triple digits with his fastball, but he needs work on his secondaries and control. He does show a good feel for a slider that has plus potential and has been clocked at 4.8 in the 40, showing very good athleticism for his size. He may not have much projection left, but with his current velocity, not much more is needed. Committed to TCU.

4. Michael Gettys OF, Gainesville HS (GA)

The 6’-2”, 200-pound right-hander has all the tools, it’s just a matter of refining them a bit. His arm has been clocked at 100 mph from the outfield, he can run a 6.4/60, and I saw him crush a home run to dead center at Wrigley Field that went halfway up the bleachers, so the power is there. Focusing more on being a hitter this year than a pitcher should help his progress, and he could easily be the first prep player taken off the board. Committed to Georgia.

5. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Academy (FL)

Electric stuff but erratic command is the book on Toussaint right now. His fastball can touch 97 mph with explosive life and his curveball is already a plus pitch — a mid-70s hammer that some consider the best in the class. He adds a lot of deception to his delivery, and at 6’-2”, 195 pounds, there is still room for projection. His commitment to Vanderbilt has to be considered at least a little come draft time.

6. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)

Maybe the most polished prep pitcher available, the 6’-4” southpaw is an alumni of Team USA Baseball and was the winning pitcher in the gold medal game against Japan in the World Cup Championship in Taiwan, allowing just one run over seven innings, striking out 10. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and both his curveball and change-up are above-average offerings with still room for more. He has great control of his pitches and dominated at The Tournament of Stars, striking out seven over three scoreless innings. Still has projection left and room for more velocity. Committed to UCLA.

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

A two-way talent with great bloodlines (Tom “Flash“ Gordon is his dad and Dee Gordon is his brother), the 6’-2” right-hander may have a brighter future at short where his strong arm, instincts and athleticism could allow him to stick at a premium position. Offensively, he hits from the left side and projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with speed and a very good approach at the plate. Over 30 games as a junior, he hit .505 with 15 doubles, six triples and 12 stolen bases. Committed to Florida State.

8. Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS (FL)

At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, the right-hander has the ideal size for a frontline starter. His fastball has touched 93 mph, and he adds a solid curveball that could be a plus pitch. His change-up, like most prep pitchers, is still developing, but he shows a  good feel for pitching, and his athleticism will help with his progression. He has shown very good command of his stuff and had 103 K/14 BB over 71 innings as a junior. He also hit .426/.508/.703 over 30 games with 18 stolen bases. His velocity does drop off in later innings, but he should gain more stamina as he fills out his frame. He struck out three in one perfect inning at the PG Classic. Committed to Florida State.

9. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL)

The 6’-3”, 210-pound right-hander flashes a plus fastball that touches 94 mph with late life, thanks to his easy delivery and strong build. He also features a filthy, upper-70s curveball that may be one of the best in his class, as well as a slider that looked like a future plus pitch at The Tournament of Stars in North Carolina. He has put his name on the map over the last couple of months and has huge upside due to his size, easy delivery and stuff. Committed to Florida State.

10. Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)

One of the better performers over the summer, the 6’-2” right-hander wowed scouts with a plus fastball, plus curveball and great command. He sat in the mid-90s all summer with his fastball and showed an above-average change-up to round out a three-pitch mix. The one knock: Many believe he has maxed out physically and there isn’t much projection left. Still, he projects to a mid-rotation starter who should miss a lot of bats. Committed to Florida.

11. Braxton Davidson, 1B/OF, TC Roberson HS (NC)

Power from the left side is always in demand, and at 6’-3” and 215 pounds, Davidson has plenty of it. He may be relegated to first base, in which case a lot of pressure will be put on his bat to produce. He has excellent bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate, with good pitch recognition and the ability to wait on pitches. Over 31 games as a junior, he hit .403 with seven doubles, eight home runs, and drew 30 walks for a .600 OBP/.831 SLG. Committed to North Carolina.

12. Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS (GA)

With a fastball that sits in the 93-96 mph range, the 6’-2” right-hander is another hard-throwing prepster in a class deep on them. His secondary stuff is still developing, but with his athleticism and loose delivery, they should come along quickly. He was one of the best arms over the summer. Committed to Vanderbilt.

13. Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)

One of the better southpaws in the 2014 MLB draft, Marshall’s fastball sits in the low/mid-90s and he has worked hard on his delivery and command over the past year. He also flashed a potential plus curveball at the Perfect Game Nationals. At 6’-2” and 185 pounds, he is a great athlete who has been clocked at 6.7 in the 60. As a junior, he had 80 K/32 BB over 46 innings for one of the premiere programs in the country. Committed to LSU.

14. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (CA)

The 6’-3”, 220-pound right-hander will be almost 19 on draft day, making him one of the older players in his class. Because of this, his upside isn’t as high as others on this list. That said, his stuff is really good and his fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range. He adds a developing plus slider that sits in the mid-80s and his offspeed stuff is still in the developmental stages. He has great mound presence and feel for his pitches, and he also is a good athlete. Committed to Fresno State.

Kodi Medeiros has some of the filthiest stuff in the 2014 MLB draft.
Kodi Medeiros has some of the filthiest stuff in the 2014 MLB draft.

15. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS, (HI)

With two plus pitches already in his back pocket, the southpaw who throws from a low-three quarters slot has some of the filthiest stuff in the country — just ask anyone who faced him this year. His fastball can touch 96 mph with late movement and life and his slider is nasty and wipes out lefties. You don’t see many sidearm starters in the majors so it will be interesting to watch his development. Also, at 6’-0” and 185 pounds, his projection is limited. Still, he has established himself as one of best arms available in the 2014 MLB draft. Committed to Pepperdine.

16. Jakson Reetz, C/OF, Norris HS (NE)

A terrific athlete and two-way player who was a star for U18 Team USA, the 6’-1”, 200-pound right-hander’s ability to stick behind the plate make him a highly touted prospect. More of a line-drive hitter now, more power should come as he matures, and he has the bat speed to back it up. Can hit the low 90s on the mound so his arm plays well behind the plate and he makes for a big target. Some believe he may be better suited for the outfield where his strong arm, speed and developing power would play well. Committed to Nebraska.

17. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS (TN)

Much like his older brother Jordan, who was considered first-round material until Tommy John surgery all but made him honor his commitment to Vanderbilt, Justus has a plus fastball that can touch 94 mph. The 6’-0” southpaw is a great athlete and also adds an above-average, mid-70s change, as well as a mid-70s curve that still needs refining. Committed to Vanderbilt.

18. Scott Blewett, RHP, Baker HS (NY)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot about Blewett before Perfect Game’s WWBW held in Jupiter in October. The 6’-6” right-hander impressed everyone with a sound delivery and a fastball that touched 97 mph. His curveball is still developing but looks like a potential plus pitch down the line. Had a great showing in tournaments and I probably still have him ranked low. Committed to St. Johns.

19. Jack Flaherty, 3B/RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)

Flaherty is a 6’-4”, 200-pound right-hander with massive power potential. The ball jumps off his bat and his plus bat speed suggests he should hit for a high average, as well. His arm, instincts and power potential profile well at the hot corner. He has shown above-average speed but probably isn’t a guy who is going to steal many bases. Playing for a national powerhouse, he will get plenty of attention this year. He is a baseball player in every sense of the word. Committed to North Carolina.

20. Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)

The 6’-3” right-hander worked on his mechanics over the summer and it showed at the 2013 Under Armour Game at Wrigley Field. His fastball was popping the mitt, hitting the mid-90s with explosive life. He also showed his plus slider with hard bite as he worked a quick inning. There is still projection there and his frame suggests more velocity could still come. Had 129 K/33 BB over 80.1 innings as a junior.

21. Marcus Wilson, OF, Serra HS (CA)

At 6’-3” and 180 pounds, the right-hander is raw in areas but has a lot of upside based on his plus speed and ability to drive the ball to all fields. His size implies more power will come. He also has a plus arm and is one of those players that gets better every time out. One of the youngest players in the 2014 MLB draft and one of those quick-twitch athletes scouts love. Committed to Arizona State.

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

One of the better two-way talents available in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-1” left-hander has a tough decision on his hands as he excels as both a hitter and pitcher. He can touch 93 mph with his fastball and also adds solid secondaries in a mid-70s curveball and an upper-70s change-up. He has great bat speed and shows raw power. Over 93 at bats as a junior, he hit .484 with seven home runs, stole 24 bases and drew 25 walks to just three strikeouts. On the mound, he struck out 130 over 65 innings. Committed to Arizona State.

23. Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA)

The 5’-11” right-hander is one of the better hitters in the 2014 MLB draft. He has also shown some incredible power and won the home run derby at the PG Classic — his last a bomb that ended up in the trees over the left field wall. He runs a 6.68/60 and has the hands, arm and instincts to to stick at third. Should hear his name a lot in the next year. Committed to Clemson.

24. Milton Ramos, SS, American Heritage HS (FL)

A defensive whiz who should stick at shortstop, the 6’-1”, 160-pound right-hander showed great improvements at the plate during the tournament circuit. He has been clocked at 6.53 in the 60, showing above-average speed, as well. If he continues to improve offensively, he could be a first-round pick.

25. Monte Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit HS (MO)

A two-sport star, the 6’-2”, 200-pound right-hander may be a tough sign as he is one of the top wide receivers in the country and has a scholarship to play at Nebraska. On the diamond, he has plus speed (6.65/60), a plus arm (97 mph from the outfield) and has developed into a solid hitter, and his size suggests more power will come. Over 83 at-bats as a junior, he hit .457 with 12 doubles, three triples and six home runs. One of the more exciting players available with a ton of upside but football may get in the way.

26. Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (CA)

One of the better defensive outfielders in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-2” right-hander has been timed at 6.44 in the 60 and his arm has been clocked at 93 mph from the outfield. His instincts, route running and speed allow him to make highlight plays in center and he should stick at the premium position. At the plate, he shows good bat speed and developing power. Committed to Oregon.

27. Ti’Quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS (MS)

At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, the right-hander oozes potential due to his defensive abilities, strong arm, plus speed (6.4/60) and developing raw power. He has shown a patient approach at the plate, driving the ball to all fields, and his size suggests more power will come. He hit .391/.447/.758 as a junior with only seven strikeouts over 103 plate appearances. If teams believe he can stick at shortstop, he could shoot up draft boards. Committed to Mississippi.

28. Keaton McKinney, RHP, Ankeny HS (IA)

At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, the right-hander has the ideal size for a frontline starter. His fastball can touch 93 mph and he also shows the makings of a plus change-up that sits in the low 80s with good tilting action. He also is a very good athlete, which bodes well for future projection and mechanics. Another member of Team USA Baseball. Committed to Arkansas.

29. Scott Hurst, OF, Bishop Amat HS (CA)

A burner who has been clocked at 6.49 in the 60, the 6′-0″ right-hander projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with developing power. He also has one of the strongest arms in his class having been clocked at 99 mph from the outfield. Has a real chance to stick in center field, which would only help his draft stock. Committed to Cal State Fullerton.

30. Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy (FL)

At 6’-5” and 190 pounds, the southpaw has a lot of projection and already has a great feel for pitching. His fastball can touch 92 mph and he adds a mid-70s change-up with nice fade. He has a loose and lanky frame, which bodes well for added velocity and mechanics. His size alone makes him an intriguing prospect. Committed to Mississippi.

31. Chase Vallot, C/OF, St. Thomas More HS (LA)

One of the youngest players in the draft, the 6’-0”, 205-pound right-hander generates a ton of raw power due to his bat speed and strong wrists. His strong arm, size and footwork could allow him to stick at a premium position but many believe a move to a corner outfield position is likely. Another player I got to see at Wrigley, he hit a couple bombs out of the park with ease and showed a polished approach at the plate during the game. Committed to Mississippi State.

32. Greg Deichmann, SS, Brothers Martin HS (LA)

Left-handed hitting power shortstops are a nice commodity to have, and the 6’-2”, 190-pound Deichmann has a chance to stick at short due to his strong arm, speed and instincts in the field. He has excellent bat speed and can put on displays in the cage during batting practice. Even if he ends up at third, the power and arm will play well. Committed to USC.

33. J.J. Schwarz, C, Palm Beach HS (FL)

The 6′-2″ right-hander was a monster for U18 Team USA, hitting .429/.452/.536 to help the US win the gold medal in Taiwan. He shows big-time power potential due to his excellent bat speed and strong wrists. With good footwork and a strong arm, he has a legit shot to remain at catcher and scouts will be watching him closely this season. Committed to Florida.

34. Justin Smith, OF, Bartram Trails HS (FL)

The 6’-2”, 200-pound right-hander has all five tools, including a canon arm in the outfield (92 mph) and plus speed (6.6/60). He is still considered raw in some areas, but his excellent bat speed, along with his frame, make for a huge upside. He stood out at the East Coast pro tournament making several strong plays in the outfield and driving the ball to all fields. Many are expecting a huge senior season. Committed to Miami.

35. Alex Destino, LHP, North Buncombe HS (NC)

At 6′-3″ and 220 pounds, the southpaw can dial it up to 93 mph and shows a good feel for his secondary stuff. He still needs to refine his pitches, but with his size and easy delivery, there is a lot of upside. Committed to South Carolina.

36. Zach Shannon, 3B/RHP, Moeller HS (OH)

A two-way prospect who may have more upside as a hitter, the 6’-3”, 220-pound right-hander has a canon arm (95 mph) and his power bat would play well at the hot corner. He has shown the ability to hit to all fields and has good bat speed. On the mound, he also has an upper-70s curveball that shows plus potential to go along with his plus fastball that hit 95 mph at the PG Classic. He hails from the same school that produced Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin and Buddy Bell. Committed to Ohio State.

37. Grant Hockin, RHP, Damien HS (CA)

Hockin is an athletic 6’-2” right-hander whose fastball has touched 95 mph with late life and sits in the 89-92 mph range. He also adds two solid secondary offerings in a curveball and change-up, and he locates his pitches well. He repeats his delivery well and still has some projection left. He is the grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Committed to UCLA.

38. David Peterson, LHP, Regis Jesuit HS (CO)

Like Destino, Peterson is a big southpaw (6′-6″, 215 pounds) with an easy delivery. his fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range and his curveball has plus potential. He offers a classic three-pitch mix and has a good feel for pitching. Committed to Oregon.
39. Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (OH)

A converted shortstop, the 6’-3”, 205-pound right-hander has established himself as one of the top prep arms in the 2014 MLB draft in a short time, thanks in part to a fastball that sits at 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 scary. Committed to North Carolina.

40. Josh Morgan, SS, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)

A quick-twitch athlete, Morgan is a 6′-0″, 185-pound right-hander with great actions at shortstop. he has worked extremely hard to remain at the premium position, including dropping 10 pounds to become more fluid in the field. He also gained more speed in doing so. At the plate, he makes consistent, hard contact to all fields. One of those kids who just gets better every time out. Committed to UCLA.

41. Joe Gatto, RHP, St. Augustine Prep (NJ)

The 6’-5”, 210-pound right-hander turned heads by gaining nearly 10 mph on his fastball over the last year and now can sling it 95 mph with explosive, late life. He showed great command of his secondary stuff at the Perfect Game Nationals, and he still has a ton of projection due to his size and arm action. Scouts reportedly were raving about his efficiency and feel for his stuff. He hit 93 mph at the PG Classic. Committed to North Carolina.

42. Carl Chester, OF, Lake Brantley HS (FL)

A plus/plus runner who has been times at 6.28 in the 60, the right-hander can wreak havoc on the base paths, as well as in the outfield where you’d be hard pressed to hit anything over his head. At 6’-0” and 170 pounds, he also shows some raw power in his swing and excellent bat speed. A quick-twitch athlete with a lot of upside. He stole 18 of 20 bases as a junior and struck out just 11 times over 110 plate appearances. Committed to Miami.

43. Jacob Nix, RHP, Los Alamitos HS (CA)

Like a lot of players on this list, Nix is a big, hard throwing righty with a lot of upside to his size and easy delivery. At 6′-4″ and 205 pounds, he can dial his fastball up to 94 mph and shows the makings of a plus curveball. Committed to UCLA.

44. Jon Littell, OF, Stillwater HS (OK)

There is a ton of power in the draft class and Littell is right at the top of the list. At 6′-4″ and 200 pounds, he ha a balanced swing that allows him to drive the ball to all fields with ease. he has excellent bat speed and a sound approach at the plate, as well. he has decent speed (6.82/60) and a good enough arm (92 mph from OF) to hold down a corner outfield spot at the next level. Committed to Oklahoma State.

45. Cole Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)
A switch-hitting shortstop with crazy hair who does everything well on a baseball field, the 6′-3″, 175-pound Tucker is long and rangy with good actions to remain at a premium position. He was a leader for the gold-medal winning U18 USA Team. At the plate, he makes good contact with a loose swing and projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with decent speed (6.8/60). Committed to Arizona.

46. Carson Sands, LHP, N. Florida Christian HS (FL)

The 6’-3”, 215-pound southpaw has a low-90s fastball with arm-side run and there is still room for more velocity as he matures. He has great mound presence and looks like a polished pro. He also shows two solid secondaries in a change-up and curveball. His command gets him in trouble at times, but all of the ingredients are there. An alumni of Team USA Baseball, he has played against the best competition. Committed to Florida State.

47. Alex Lange, RHP, Lee’s Summit West HS (MO)

With three potential above-average pitches in his arsenal, the 6’-3” right-hander has that classic mix you look for in a starter. His fastball sits in the low 90s with room for more as he continues to refine his mechanics. His mid-80s split change-up already shows plus, and his upper-70s curveball could be a dominant pitch down the road. Committed to LSU.

48. Ryan Castellani, RHP, Brophy Prep HS (AZ)

The 6’-4”, 200-pound right-hander has an advanced feel for the mound and can dial his fastball up to 92 mph with late, downward life. He adds a mid-70s curve and a change-up that sits in the 79-83 mph range and both project to above-average pitches down the road. He has good command of his stuff and there is still room for projection due to his size and easy mechanics. Committed to Arizona State.

49. Shane Benes, SS, Westminster Christian Academy (MO)

The 6′-3″, 200-pound right-hander showed off his tremendous raw power in Jupiter by registering 108 mph on his exit velocity. His size may move him off short but he shows soft hands, enough range and an arm to at least make it interesting. Very good bloodlines as his dad, Andy Benes, was the first-overall pick by the Padres in the 1988 MLB draft and spent 14 seasons in the majors. Committed to Missouri.

50. Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Osceola HS (FL)

The 6′-4″ right-hander was sitting 91-96 mph with his fastball in Jupiter and was able to maintain velocity into the fourth inning, showing good stamina. His size suggest there is still room for added projection and velocity. He also features a tailing change-up that still needs some refining but he shows a good feel for it. Committed to Stanford.

Next Five: Luke Bonfield, Forrest Wall, D.J. Peters, Bryce Carter, Adam Haseley.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.


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