Cary, NC - It was a strong group as usual at the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and coming up with a Top-10 isn’t easy. A number of excluded players have the chance to become early-round picks next June but if the draft were held today, this is how I’d look at the 2011 crop in Cary.
There were a handful of 2010 and 2012-graduating players in the tournament, but I did not consider them for the Top-10 Prospects list.
Of note is that seven members of the Top-10 are primarily righthanded pitchers.
1. Dylan Davis, RHP, Redmond (WA) HS
Davis gets my vote for the best delivery. The 6’0”, 200 pounder is very strong in his core and lower-half, protecting his arm from punishment. Davis’s stuff includes a low-90s heavy fastball, a short downer slider in the mid-80s, and a quality change-up. Both off-speed pitches project to at least average and Davis has shown me precocious pitchability in two different events. He’s also a hitting prospect, but only pitched in Cary.
2. Chris McFarland, 2B/OF, Lufkin (TX) HS
A burner on the bases with plus athleticism, McFarland also showed a strong bat with line-drive power. He has holes in his swing, particularly covering the outer edge of the plate, but there’s a lot of bat-speed to work with. McFarland needs to “soften” his hands to stay on the infield and his speed makes him an intriguing center field prospect.
3. Mason Hope, RHP, Broken Arrow (OK) HS
A loose arm, a strong delivery, and a projectable plus curveball are Hope’s greatest assets. It may have been the best curveball in Cary this week. Hope also showed a consistent 90 MPH fastball and a good idea on pitching. The 6’2”, 180 lb righty is brimming with projection and it’s easy to see him as a high pick next June.
4. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra (Martinez, CA) HS
Stephenson’s outing wasn’t that impressive, but his stuff and his athleticism were. The 6’3”, 210 lb righty has lots of physical projection and a loose arm that threw 90-92 MPH consistently. Stephenson’s curveball has big league break right now and he showed a feel for his change. Stephenson needs to become more a pitcher than a thrower but his upside is as high as any pitcher in Cary.
5. Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA) HS
There’s loads of projection on this cold-weather righty, who stands a sturdy 6’4”, 210 pounds, and has an easy delivery with powerful hip rotation. Beede threw 88-90 MPH consistently and it’s easy to see him throwing much harder in the future. Beede’s two-plane curve and sinking change-up both have big league potential as well. Beede has committed to Vanderbilt.
6. Tyler Goeddell, OF, St. Francis (Hillsborough, CA) HS
Goedell showed athleticism that belies his long, lanky 6’3” build, with solid-average speed and an average major league arm for the outfield. Both tools project to “plus” as he fills out. Though his righthanded swing is on the long side, Goedell generated good bat-speed and showed he could make adjustments with his hands and hit to the opposite field. His hard line-drives indicate future over-the-fence power.
7. Carson Baranik, RHP, Parkway (LA) HS
Baranik was hit hard his first outing, but he threw well in the act. The 6’2”, 215 lb LSU signee will show an average MLB fastball and curveball right now and mix them like a pro. He’s quite athletic with his delivery and loose in his arm-action despite the blocky build. Baranik will get early-round consideration and should be an impact freshman in the SEC.
8. Christian Montgomery, RHP, Lawrence Central (IN) HS
His 6’1”, 250 lb frame is not considered prototypical for a pitcher, but Montgomery is tremendously strong with a powerful delivery. He threw 90-92 MPH consistently with the makings of a big league curveball. Montgomery is physically mature and lacks projection, but by refining his off-speed he can become a high pick and move through the minors.
9. Dillon Maples, RHP/3B, Pinecrest (NC) HS
Maples had a disastrous first outing on the mound Wednesday before coming back and shutting the door on Saturday. The strong-bodied 6’2”, 200 lb UNC commit throws in the low-90s with a sharp slider though his upright delivery does make him prone to control funks. Maples is also an intriguing prospect as a third baseman with a strong right bat and good defensive actions.
10. Dan Mengden, C/RHP, Houston Westside (TX) HS
Mengden is an athletic receiver with plus arm-strength and a chance to become an above-average catcher in the big leagues. The sculpted 6’0”, 190 pounder also swings the bat with authority and hits hard line-drives. His strong arm makes him a pitching prospect, too. Mengden is not as polished on the mound as from behind the plate, but he has low-90s arm-strength and a sound delivery.