Boynton Beach, FL - The Prospect Wire Florida State Finals 16U kicked off Wednesday and we’ve just finished our second day. I spent both days running between the four fields at the Santaluces Sports Complex and wanted to mention some of the best prospects I’ve seen thus far.
A very intriguing 2013-graduating outfielder from Ocala Forest High School is Jordan Austin. He’s the #3 hitter for the Florida Hardballers and shows tools across the board. A highly athletic and strongly built 6’1”, 190 pounder, Austin generates bat-speed from the right side and Thursday hit an impressive line-drive rope for an opposite field single. He was one of only 17 of the 600+ 16U players to run under 7.0 in the 60 yard-dash (6.83) and I timed him at 4.2 going home-to-first. Austin also showed a near-average MLB throwing arm that may become plus in the future. Keep an eye on Austin for 2013! Word is, he’s also an exceptional football player with a chance to go far in that sport as well. In fact, I was told that football used to take all his time and that he’s relatively new to baseball. Quite remarkable when you see how far along Austin’s baseball skills are at age 15.
Shortstop John Sternagal is another intriguing 2013 prospect who has impressive tools for a rising sophomore and a projectable 6’3”, 180 lb frame. Sternagal is one of the event’s best hitters, I’ve seen him hit three balls hard, both tripling and doubling on Wednesday. Sternagal ran a 6.98 60 yard-dash and showed some actions and projectable arm-strength playing shortstop. He projects best as a third baseman, with his body, and has the athleticism to consider second base and the outfield as well. Sternagal plays his high school ball for Rockledge HS, about 170 miles up the Atlantic coast from here.
Maybe the best lefthanded power bat belongs to Zach Krider, a 6’2”, 215 lb third baseman for the Orlando Scorpions Black team. Krider is unusually strong for a rising sophomore and he has a compact stroke. The peripheral tools are question marks but with work over the next two years, he might be okay to enter pro ball defensively at one of the corner spots. Krider plays high school ball for Lake Brantley HS.
On the mound, lefty Carson Sands is probably the most advanced pitcher in the event. It’s especially surprising because Sands just finished eighth grade. Though he pitched for North Florida Christian High’s baseball team (in Tallahassee), he’s yet to start high school! Listed at 6’3”, Sands threw in the low-80s consistently and showed good feel for his curve and change-up. There’s a ways to go before he develops early-round type of stuff, but Sands has four years to fill out and quicken his arm by 2014.
One last pitcher I wanted to mention was Chris Williams, the Tampa Steinbrenner High righty who graduates in 2012. Williams doesn’t quite have high-draft velocity yet (82-84 MPH) but he’s very projectable and I’m sure he’ll throw much harder even in the next year. Williams appears about 6’4” or 6’5” and has the frame to add considerably more weight to his current 190 or so pounds. His arm works very well, with an easy, compact stroke, and Williams has a well-coordinated delivery. I consider him to have as high a ceiling as any pitcher I saw, even though he wasn’t nearly the hardest thrower.
Check back later this weekend as we have more updates on the teams and prospects of the Prospect Wire Florida State 16U Finals.