Jacksonville - BP Standouts
Joey Bend 2015 3B/RHP Sandalwood HS - Bend ran and defended well but his #1 tool that stood out was his bat. Bend had one of the top 5 bp’s I think I’ve seen this year. He’s as direct and quick to the baseball as anyone I’ve seen this past year. Bend showed plus batspeed for a 2015 grad. His bat stayed through the hitting zone forever. He continued to hit rocket after rocket with a swing that repeated the same results every time. Bend might of been the only hitter after his first few swings that I noticed the professional scouts scrambling through their notes to figure out who he was.
Jordan Curtis 2015 OF Lincoln HS - Curtis had one of the better fundamentally sound swings at the showcase. He stayed inside the ball extremely well and had plenty of batspeed. He squared up most of the baseballs during his rounds of bp. I think Curtis has a chance to hit at a high level if his swing produces in games.
Josh Taylor 2014 OF Sneads HS - Taylor is a strong kid with an athletic body and quick twitch muscle. He looked a bit raw in bp but the tools are definitely there. Everyone knows he can run. I think the more Taylor learns how to hit ground balls, line drives and lay down bunts the more colleges and professional scouts will pay attention to him. I liked what I saw though, he’s got a lot of hand movement but seemed to have good eye-hand coordination, plenty of batspeed and the ability to make adjustments.
Adam Asker 2015 OF Lincoln HS - I’ve seen Asker probably as many times as anyone I’ve seen this past year. My opinion hasn’t changed, Asker continues to get better. I still think he can shorten his swing a bit but I’ve seen him take impressive bp’s that also translated in games. He launched a couple balls over the trees in left center during bp. The coaches, scouts and I figured if a player reached the second building behind the right field fence, that player had legitimate power. Asker did that a couple times with a wood bat.
Andrew Williamson 2015 C/INF Trinity Christian Academy - Williamson attacks the baseball which is something I've always liked out of hitters. He’s got some lateral movement but he’s strong enough with enough batspeed that his bat still catches up. Williamson is a strong kid that needs a few minor mechanical changes. If he can make the changes, I think he’ll be a more consistent hitter. He could have above average power if he can learn how to leverage his 6’4” frame better.
Brady Van Hook 2014 SS Trinity Christian Academy - Van Hook has quick hands and was quick to the baseball and very direct. He hit several balls hard during bp.
Rhett Aplin 2014 LHP/1B Fleming Island HS - Aplin was interesting. He’s a strong kid with a quick bat and gets pretty good extension through the ball. He keeps his hands inside the ball really well but he does have some length in his swing. If Aplin can shorten his swing, he’ll hit balls harder with more consistency.
Michael Dailey 2014 OF Mandarin HS - There’s more question marks I have on Dailey right now but the raw tools are there. He has a quick bat, very quick hips and a very projectable body. Dailey didn’t use his lower half at all but still hit rockets which tells me if he can learn to use his lower half he may have better than average power.
Wade Ledford 2016 MIF Bartram Trail HS - Ledford, only a sophomore has a very athletic projectable body and has some present strength. Fundamentally, his swing is there. He stays behind the ball well with little head movement. Ledford is definitely one to watch over the next couple of years as he gets stronger.
Ray Hernandez 2014 SS/RHP Colonial HS - Hernandez has a great body. He’s strong and has plenty of projectability. He has a great bat path and borderline plus batspeed for his grad year. He hit several balls as hard as anyone during bp but he has some things to work on. Hernandez has a tendency to get out on his front foot a bit and anything that’s a little up in the strike zone he has trouble making adjustments to. I think his hands start too low and he doesn't use his leverage and batspeed to work down towards the ball. He has trouble getting into a good hitting position with his hands as low as they are. With that said, I think if he can make that minor adjustment there’s no telling how much better of hitter he could become.
Other BP Notables
Top Pitching Prospects
Mike Cassala 2015 RHP/MIF/C Bartraim Trail HS - If Cassala dedicated more time to pitching I think he’d become a legitimate draft pick and have a chance to pitch at the highest level. He sat 85-87mph with plus run on his fastball. Cassala threw a couple fastballs that looked more like wiffle balls because of the movement. He has a very live arm and wiry body which tells me there’s more velocity to come. I’ve seen him up to 89mph before with that same plus movement. He’s athletic in general but as a pitcher he’s very athletic and can throw from a couple different arm angles. His slurve which at times can be an average to above average MLB pitch sat at 75-77mph. If Cassala can develop more arm strength and stamina by working more on pitching I think he’ll start to get serious attention from professional scouts. It’s just a matter of long tossing, running and a good arm care program in my opinion.
Andy Toelken 2014 RHP/3B Clay High School - This was the first time I really got to bear down on him as a pitcher. For the most part Toelken’s fastball sat 88mph-90mph and it was easy with life. He has the perfect pitchers frame at 6’2” 185 and plenty of projection. He rushes his delivery a bit which causes him to drift. You can really notice he drifts on his curveball. Toelken had a tough time having a consistent release point. His secondary pitches need quite a bit of work, but that can be taught. His curveball sat around 72mph and change-up around 77mph. He holds on to his change-up too long which results in the erratic control. I don’t know if his grip is too tight or he just doesn’t have a feel for it yet. I think Toelken has tremendous upside and if his secondary pitches get better he’ll begin to show up on a lot of MLB draft boards. I still think someone make take a shot at him late in the draft just because of his upside and easy arm strength. Toelken was one of the few players to come shake every coaches hand after he was done.
Christopher Gau 2015 RHP University Christian HS - Gau has a very projectable pitchers body at 6’2” 180lbs. His fastball sat 86-89mph with some late life and a little run. He had problems with his release point throwing his curveball and could not get a consistent feel for it. He did throw a couple good curveballs at 76mph that had decent spin and bite. Gau’s change-up is probably his second best pitch at 81-82mph with some tail. Gau also ran a 6.89 60 which leads me to believe he’s probably fairly athletic.
Ben Weaver 2015 RHP Tift County HS (GA) - This was the 4th time I’ve seen Weaver and the results were pretty similar. His fastball sat 84-87mph with good sink and run when it was down. He hides the ball well and has a thick build and potentially can be an innings eater. His arm action is clean but he could get a little bit better extension. His curveball was around 75mph and change-up around 81mph. When his change-up was down it fell off the table. I’ve seen Weaver compete at a high level and do well. I think once he gives his arm a break, gets on a good strength/conditioning and arm care program his velocity will start to jump.
Tyler Myrick 2016 C/P Columbia HS - I liked Myrick’s arm strength as a catcher and it translated to the mound. The sophomore topped out at 86mph with better than average run. His curveball could be a difference maker and he showed some feel for his change at 72-73mph.
Other Notable Pitchers with Velocities
Joey Bend - 89mph
Ray Hernandez - 86mph
Spencer Coleman - 86mph
Daniel Bizier - Nasty side arm angle
Matt Barrington - 85mph
Michael Dailey - 85mph