Orlando, FL - Evaluating outfielders is tough because if they can’t run, they have to really hit and vice versa.
Here’s my top 5 outfielders from the tryout.
1.Roberto Gonzalez- Gonzalez is a 2014 OF from University HS. For me, Gonzalez has the chance to be a prototypical right fielder with a little bit better speed.
In the outfield Gonzalez showed good range and a big arm. His arm at least during the workout wasn’t very accurate but you can see the arm strength. I think Gonzalez just needs more reps and the proper outfield instruction to get better.
During BP, Gonzalez showed great bat speed and natural lift on the baseball. The athleticism, strength, and speed are all there for Gonzalez to be a 4-5 tool player. To reach that level though, he has to learn how to keep his front shoulder closed. His hips and shoulder flew open pretty bad during BP. If Gonzalez doesn’t make that adjustment, he’ll see a ton of off-speed pitches in college and definitely at the professional level. He needs to think backside more often and drive the ball to the left centerfield gap.
Gonzalez has a chance to be special, with the athleticism, 6.80 60 speed, and some power potential, he’ll get plenty of professional interest over the next couple of years.
2.Kevin Willams- Williams is a 2014 CF from American Senior HS. Williams ran the second fastest 60 time a 6.70 behind Ramos’ 6.63.
In the outfield, Williams uses his speed to show great range covering gap to gap. His arm strength is below average but getting to the ball quicker using his speed helps to keep runners at bay.
During BP Williams really attacks the baseball aggressively producing solid line drive after solid line drive. His head moves quite a bit laterally which is something that’s correctable. The head movement for now isn’t a factor with Williams because his bat is very short and quick to the baseball and he generates enough bat speed to show gap power.
He has a very level swing and his bat stays in the hitting zone forever and he keeps his hands inside the ball really well. Williams is a little raw right now but should get some draft interest in the next couple of years because of his speed and solid bat.
3.Johnny Prather- I wrote Prather up as an infielder as well. I think he was one of the better athletes I saw at the tryout but doesn’t have any stand out tools, he’s just a baseball player.
As an outfielder, Prather showed maybe the best arm in the outfield and attacks the baseball. His arm is accurate and he plays the game how it should be played. (For more on Prather read the Top 6 MIF article I wrote)
4.Zach McMullen- McMullen is a 2014 LHP/OF from Sarasota HS. Sarasota HS is one of the best programs in the state and produce college players and draft picks every year. McMullen is the next in line. McMullen won’t wow you with anything but the more I watched him during BP the more I grew to like him.
From the outfield McMullen throws like a pitcher really winding up. As a position player the outfield may be tough. I’d like to see how he can handle first base.
His bat will play in any lineup. McMullen has a very quick bat and strong wrists and generates hard consistent contact with one of the more direct to the baseball swings at the tryouts. I think McMullen may have a chance to really hit at a high level in his career.
5.Benjamin Andress- Andress is a 2015 OF from Lakeland Christian HS. Andress from the outfield showed some of the better carry on his throws with accuracy. He’s got an athletic wiry body and runs ok. Andress has the two words I like to describe baseball players and athletes in general, quick-twitch.
During BP Andress showed a very quick bat and hit balls consistently hard using the quick-twitch wiry strength he has. Andress should get a lot of attention from colleges over the next couple of years.
Best of the Rest:
Kennie Taylor is a 2015 CF/MIF from Tampa Jesuit HS. Taylor ran a 6.81 and was very productive in the games. He squared up a lot of pitches over the weekend and his speed plays faster than 6.81 on the bases. Righ now, Taylor is very raw and mechanically his swing needs work but his raw tools should get some college interest and maybe some pro interest down the road.
Zach Zientarski is a 2016 OF/P from Boca Raton Community HS. Zientarski is the definite sleeper of the 2016 class in the state of Florida. I’ve hear he can run it up in the mid 80’s on the mound but I love his bat. I think a move to first base will be in his future and I think his bat will play there. Right now Zientarski has some baby fat but and doesn’t get his backside through the baseball and still generates tremendous bat speed and squares pitches up. Zientarksi is definitely a college level player and if the bat keeps improving and the power comes like I think it will, he’ll get some looks from pro scouts.
Sebastian Rivera is a 2014 OF from Timber Creek HS. River is undersized and didn’t show much of an arm from the outfield but made consistent hard contact during BP. Rivera has great rhythm and timing as he uses a small leg kick for his timing. Rivera should get some college looks over the next year.
Hunter Moorman is a 2014 OF/RHP from Osceola HS. Moorman had one of the more athletic/physical bodies at the tryouts. He created a lot of wrist whip and bat speed but didn’t show any leverage in his swing for such a strong kid. If Moorman can make adjustments and learn to drive the ball, he’ll be one to watch in the next year.