Kissimmee, FL - The last day of FTB Mizuno's tryouts were just games. The games are a chance for FTB's staff to get an idea of the player's ability to translate what they can do in workouts to the field.
Over the next several days, I will publish the top 5 or more position player’s for each position regardless of grad year. I thought maybe it would make for good conversation over Thanksgiving dinner’s across the state of Florida.
Please keep in mind that I didn’t get to evaluate every single player at the tryouts. There were 4 games being played on 4 different fields at the same time. I can only report on the player’s I scouted.
Top 6 MIF’s
1. Milton Ramos – Ramos is a 2014 right handed hitting MIF from Florida Christian HS. Ramos comes from a great high school program that has produced plenty of draft picks over the years.
Ramos looks the part and definitely plays the part. Wiry, athletic, high waisted, long limbs, broad shoulders, effortless actions, and highly projectable are just a few terms I’d use to describe Ramos.
At shortstop, Ramos has range for days and can make all the plays. Ramos was the only shortstop at the tryout that rounded off a back hand and flipped the throw from a low angle on the run like it was nothing. The throw actually had some velocity on it as well. Ramos has an extremely quick release, quick feet, and plenty of arm strength to stay at shortstop. He attacks the baseball no matter where it is on the field.
Ramos showed enough with the bat during batting practice to convince me he’ll hit at the higher levels but it make take some time. Typically a wiry, quick-twitch, athletic player like Ramos will get better at the plate with at bats against better competition day in and day out.
The game seems to be slowed down and comes easy for Ramos, especially defensively. Combine that with a 6.72 60 yard dash time on a track that was slightly into the wind and you have a player that will get serious draft interest as his senior year approaches.
I think for Ramos’ bat will come along over the next couple of years. With good at bats against better competition and time in the weight room, Ramos can turn into a legitimate MLB prospect.
2. Keshawn Lynch – Lynch is a 2015 right handed hitting MIF from Haines City HS. Lynch might have the best overall tool set that I saw at FTB’s tryout. Lynch performed well at our Prospect Wire Underclass All-American games at USF and in our PW/WSL Fall National Championships this past summer and fall.
At shortstop, Lynch’s hands and feet are about as quick as any MIF I’ve seen this past summer and fall. Sometimes he relies too much on his quickness and struggles to make routine plays but Lynch can make the Sports Center highlight plays as well. Lynch has a knack for making the tougher plays look easy. I think he can stay at shortstop and compete at a very high level. If his arm strength doesn’t improve over time then a move to second base wouldn’t surprise me.
At the plate, Lynch has the ability to make adjustments from pitch to pitch which at his age is not easy to do. His hands and bat are quick enough to handle good fastballs and I think with more reps he’ll learn to be more patient with the off-speed pitches.
When you combine a very athletic player that has 6.76 speed and a love for the game, you have a player that can play at a high level for a long time.
Lynch needs to work on using his speed to his advantage at the plate. I’ve timed him as fast as a 4.15 down the line but I’ve gotten him in the 4.4-4.5 range as well. If he can become consistent with his speed it will help him generate some draft interest in the next couple of years. I think his legs are going to get stronger and that 6.76 60 time can become a 6.4-6.5 60 time if he works at it.
3. Brady McConnell – McConnell’s a 2017 MIF from American Heritage HS. That’s right a 2017 grad made my top 3. McConnell at a young age is already very advanced as a player. He doesn’t have the size or strength yet but that doesn’t worry me. McConnell show some arm strength from shortstop and great actions on his backhand and coming in on the ball. As impressive as his defensive actions were, I was even more impressed with McConnell’s BP.
McConnell is a quick twitch athlete that plays the game at 100%, 100% of the time. He showed very good bat speed for his age and had as fundamentally sound a swing as anyone at the tryout squaring up pitch after pitch consistently hitting baseballs hard.
The only thing McConnell lacks right now is physical strength and that will come over the next several years. McConnell is definitely a player to watch over the next few years, and could become one of the better players out there if he continues to grow and get stronger.
4. Johnny Prather – Prather’s a 2014 MIF/OF from Providence HS. Prather isn’t a player that will stand out with any particular tool but he does have solid tools across the board and is a “baseball” player.
Prather showed plenty of arm strength at shortstop and attacked the baseball which is instinctual. Prather is probably more suited to play second base at the next level but for now I think he’s ok at shortstop. I think down the road, left field might be the best spot for him. He makes all the plays but has somewhat limited range as a MIF.
Prather’s BP was one of the best I saw during the tryouts, squaring up just about every pitch from the left side during his two rounds. He was very short and direct to the baseball and stayed through the hitting zone with good extension. I think Prather has the potential to be a 2-3 hole hitter in college with the ability to hit to all fields.
The best thing I liked about Prather was his approach to the game. There’s a bounce in his step and a confidence that shows in his demeanor. I’ve learned that when you take a good player and add the intangibles that Prather has, you have something.
5. Carlos Ocasio - Ocasio’s a 2013 MIF from Heritage HS. Ocasio had one of the strongest and most accurate arms at the tryout. He showed decent range at shortstop but I don’t know if he’s a true shortstop. I’d like to see him play some third base. During BP Ocasio showed probably the best timing and rhythm. He squared every pitch up hitting everything hard. What makes Ocasio even more attractive as a player is that he’s a switch hitter and he was equally as good from both sides of the plate. Ocasio just needs somewhere to showcase his talents and a college will take notice, maybe even a pro team.
6. Jorge Ricardo – Ricardo’s a 2015 MIF from South Miami HS. Ricardo has the defensive tools already. His range both laterally and vertically was as good as any shortstop I scouted during the infield workouts. Ricardo has quick feet and quick hands which is why I think he can play shortstop at the next level. His arm strength isn’t quite as strong as the other’s in this report but he makes up for it with the way he attacks the baseball and gets rid of it quickly.
Ricardo’s bat is still a little bit of a question in my mind but it’s mainly because the strength isn’t there yet. He showed a quick short swing that was direct to the baseball and made consistent hard contact in BP. I think with some added strength Ricardo can become a legitimate next level shortstop.
After the first 3 MIF’s I ranked it became difficult because there were about six more that could almost be interchangeable for the last three spots.
There were also players at the tryout that I know are great players that I didn’t really get to see. Nick Gordon is one of the best prospects in the country for 2014 but I didn’t get a chance to bare down on Nick.
Other player’s I liked but didn’t see enough of that could easily be on a top 10 rankings were:
-Bo Bichette 2016 MIF The First Academy- I had a chance to see Dante Bichette Jr. play a couple times in high school as a sophomore and I think his younger brother might be a little more advanced as a hitter. Bichette’s approach and pitch recognition at the plate are very advanced for a player at any level. I think when Bo matures, he’ll show some serious power as well.
-Michael Campoamor 2014 MIF/RHP Wiregrass Ranch HS- Campoamor is a very wiry, athletic MIF that plays the game at 100 mph. During BP he showed consistent hard contact but there were a lot of moving parts to his swing and his head moved quite a bit laterally. Because Campoamor has good eye-hand coordination it allows him to stay behind the baseball even though he moves a lot laterally. He has the ability to hit to all fields as well. I’d consider Campoamor more of an outfielder right now considering that he ran a 6.80 60.
-Roberto Lopez 2015 MIF Lakeland Christian Academy- Lopez showed some range at shortstop and good arm strength. I think with added strength Lopez will continue to get better and open up more eyes. During BP Lopez displayed some of the better balance and extension through the baseball. It seemed like his bat stayed through the hitting zone forever.
-Gabriel Rodriguez 2014 MIF Melbourne HS- Rodriguez has the prototypical projectable shortstop’s body. The defensive actions were average, I think down the road Rodriguez may benefit from a move to third base. During BP he showed a good path to and through the baseball but the bat speed wasn’t quite there. If Rodriguez can get stronger and create more bat speed I think he can elevate himself into more of a prospect.
-Charlie Lopez 2016 MIF Colonial HS- Lopez might be the sleeper in the group of MIF’s I’ve ranked. Lopez has the complete package except for strength with the bat. Defensively the actions are there, quick hands, quick feet, a quick release, and a strong arm. During BP Lopez showed a quick bat but not a lot of bat speed. He stayed behind the ball consistently and made consistent contact. Keep an eye on Lopez over the next couple of years.
Other notable MIF’s in no particular order:
My next report will be on the top infield corner position players. Stay tuned!