High school pitchers are the highest variance asset class in the Major League Baseball draft. At the top of the draft this is even more true.
Teams continue to chase the dream of their selection being the one who avoids injury and develops as planned. The dream of drafting the next Clayton Kershaw, 1.7 pick in the 2006 draft, Madison Bumgarner, 1.10 pick in the 2007 draft, or Jose Fernandez, 1.14 pick in the 2011 draft.
The Rays have only taken a high school pitcher in the first round once in their history. In 2011 they selected Taylor Guerrieri with the 24th pick. Guerrieri was ranked #10 on the Baseball America Top 500. The ride through the minors has been a bumpy road for Guerrieri after succumbing to Tommy John Surgery.
A right handed, high school pitcher has never been selected number one overall, but this year could be the year it happens.
Hunter Greene is a right handed pitcher from Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, CA). Greene is 6’4” and weighs 195 pounds. He has the prototypical size for a pitcher and has room to add weight to hold up with a starters workload.
The fastball is the most explosive part of Greene’s kit. He generally works 95-99, but has hit 102 on the radar gun. His secondary pitches include the changeup, curveball, and slider. The slider is his best secondary that he throws in the low 80s and has slurvy movement.
His athleticism is a strong marker and one of his best assets leading to a repeatable delivery.
Hunter Greene is likely gone before the Rays make their first selection. Greene is ranked the number one draft prospect at Baseball America and MLB.com. Fangraphs ranks him number two. Keith Law wrote an extended piece on Greene earlier this week.
MacKenzie Gore is a left handed pitcher from Whiteville High School (Whiteville, NC). Gore is 6’2” and weighs in at 180 pounds.
Gore currently throw his fastball in the 89-93 range with the ability to touch 95-96. His curveball has plus potential with sharp break thrown in the mid 70s. He throws a low 80s slider. His fourth pitch is a changeup that could end up being his third plus pitch.
The big selling point with Gore is his elite control he’s shown as a high school pitcher while having a projectable frame from the left side.
The Rays could have the opportunity to take him at four and there have been reports that many of the Rays top decision makers have been frequently seen in his last few starts.
Gore ranks third at Fangraphs while coming in fourth at Baseball America and MLB.com.
Shane Baz is a right handed pitcher from Concordia Lutheran High School (Tomball, TX). Baz is 6’3” and weighs in at 190 pounds.
Baz shows big velocity in the 92-95 range and able to touch 98. He’s added a high 80s cutter. His two breaking pitches might be the best in the class. He has a mid 80s slider and a sharp curveball in the high 70s. Both breaking balls are projected to develop into plus pitches.
Shane Baz is ranked eleventh by Baseball America and Fangraphs. He comes in twelfth at MLB.com, and may be available for less money than other selections.
DL Hall is a left handed pitcher from Valdosta High School (Valdosta, GA). Hall doesn’t have the prototypical size at 6’0” 190 pounds.
Hall’s fastball sits at 92-95. He has a future plus to double plus curveball. His changeup could be above average. His fastball command is his weak spot right now.
Hall had one of the best performances on the showcase circuit last summer, but has had an up and down spring.
DL Hall ranks tenth at Fangraphs, fourteenth at MLB.com, and sixteenth by Baseball America.
Sam Carlson is a right handed pitcher from Burnsville High School (Burnsville, MN). Carlson is 6’4” and weighs 195 pounds. He is committed to the University of Florida.
Carlson is known for his fastball/changeup combination. Currently his fastball generally sits in the 90-92 range, but he has a projectable frame and has touched 96 at times this spring. He’s shown improved spin on a breaking ball that now looks like a slider.
Eric Longenhagen is the highest on Carlson ranking him 13th at Fangraphs. MLB.com ranks him 15th while Baseball America ranks him 21st.
Matt Sauer is a right handed pitcher from Righetti High School (Santa Maria, CA). Sauer is 6’4”, 205 pounds.
Last summer his fastball sat in the 89-91 range, but has exploded this spring. He now sits in the 91-94 range and can hit 97 which has seen his draft stock rise. His breaking ball of choice is a low-to-mid 80s slider that he can manipulate the shape. He throws a curveball and rarely throws his changeup.
Matt Sauer is ranked 28th by Baseball America and MLB.com. Fangraphs ranks him 30th.
Trevor Rogers is a left handed pitcher from Carlsbad High School (Carlsbad, NM). Rogers is listed at 6’6” 185 pounds.
Rogers stuff has been inconsistent all spring. He’s worked mostly in the 88-90 range with the fastball, but shown the ability to get to 93-95 when he needs it. His secondary pitch of choice is a sweeping slider. He occasionally throws a changeup.
Rogers is ranked 22nd by Fangraphs, 25th by MLB.com, and 31st by Baseball America.
Blayne Enlow is a right handed pitcher from St. Amant High School (St. Amant, LA). This is the same high school that produced Rays draftee Reid Brignac. Enlow is listed at 6’4” 180 pounds.
Enlow started his season with a 88-90 fastball, but has regained velocity in the low 90s and touched 94 by the end of his season. He throws a curveball that shows potential. His third pitch is a changeup that he doesn’t have feel for or throw often.
A team drafting Enlow believes in his projectable frame adding velocity down the line. He already shows good command.
MLB.com ranks Enlow 29th. Baseball America and Fangraphs rank him 33rd.
Hans Crouse is a right handed pitcher out of Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, CA). Crouse is 6’5” 190 pounds.
Crouse possesses the most electric arm in the draft. His fastball lives in the upper 90s. His breaking ball is inconsistent in shape as sometimes it has vertical movement while other times shows more sweeping action. He rarely throws a changeup, but will have to develop it remain a starter.
Crouse has an awkward, violent delivery that will be a project for the team that drafts him. Crouse ranks 31st at MLB.com, 33rd at Fangraphs, and 37th at Baseball America, and was mentioned on The Hit Show podcast last week.
Tanner Burns is a right handed pitcher from Decatur High School (Decatur, AL). Burns is listed at 6’0” 205 pounds.
Burns is shorter than scouts would prefer and reminds many scouts of University of North Carolina starter J.B. Bukauskas. His fastball sits 92-94 and reaches 96. He throws a power breaking ball in the low 80s that shows slurvy movement. This spring he has started to gain the feel of a changeup that will be necessary to stay a starter.
Burns possesses big stuff, but the concerns over short pitchers ability to handle a MLB workload remains. Burns ranks 38th at Baseball America, 39th at MLB.com, and 44th at Fangraphs.