High-SchoolBaseball: Rhett Wiseman

Buxton headlines star-studded OF list

February, 24, 2012
Byron BuxtonMike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesAppling County (Baxley, Ga.) senior Byron Buxton is the nation's top outfielder and a potential top-five pick in June's draft.

Each week from now until early March, we’ll take a look at the elite Class of 2012 high school baseball prospects by ranking our Top 10 players by position. This week, we unveil our list of the Top 10 outfielders led by Appling County (Baxley, Ga.) standout Byron Buxton.

Last season, Buxton established himself as one of the nation’s top overall prospects by hitting .594 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs. And this week, he was named by Keith Law as the No. 1 prospect for this year's MLB draft.

1. Byron Buxton, Appling County (Baxley, Ga.)
Buxton is a two-sport star with plus speed and a steady setup and swing at the plate. He has the athleticism to play center field but scouts tend to believe he'll settle in right in a similar manner as Arizona Diamondbacks star Justin Upton. Buxton hits the low-90s off the mound, but his future is as an everyday talent, and he may hit for plus power down the road. He could be a top-five pick, but if he prefers college, the University of Georgia will welcome him with open arms.

2. David Dahl, Oak Mountain (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dahl is a multi-talented athlete, but his best asset may be his eye for the strike zone. He can throw and run, projects to hit for average and power and should get on base with regularity. He's likely to end up in right field but could play some center early in his career. Dahl is an Auburn commit, but is a good bet for the first round and is a possible top-10 pick.

3. Albert Almora, Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.)
Almora , a Miami commit, may be the best prep center fielder in the class and projects to hit for average with a chance to add 10 to 15 home runs. He's a 55 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and has tremendous instincts in the field and on the bases. Almora performs well in showcases and big games, which could get him selected in the top 20.

4. Courtney Hawkins, Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Hawkins, also a right-handed pitcher, is an enticing talent with plus power that he put on display at the Area Code Games, where he was one of just two players to leave the yard. Blair Field is rather cavernous, making the feat that much more impressive. He improved from the end of the spring into the showcase circuit, but scouts do show concern about his defensive instincts and how he handles soft stuff at the plate. Hawkins should hear his name called on Day 2, if not late on Day 1.

5. Lewis Brinson, Coral Springs (Fla.)
Brinson is quite the athlete, grading out above average across the board, including a 55 run grade and throwing arm. He has legit power that plays now, but he's raw in terms of plate discipline and pitch recognition. Florida could get a terrific corner outfielder with a bright future if Brinson passes on pro ball for the college game. Such a decision could put him in the first round conversation in 2015.

6. Billy “Nick” Williams, Ball (Galveston, Texas)
Williams could fit anywhere on this list and the argument for such a ranking would be legitimate and justified. He lacks polish and has big problems with offspeed stuff, which means his draft stock is based largely on his physical tools. He's a 70 runner with good raw power, but his mechanics at the plate need work and his defensive instincts are below average. If he maximizes his potential, he's a future star. Williams may benefit greatly from three years at the University of Texas.

7. Skye Bolt, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal (Atlanta)
Bolt has a chance to move up this list with some fundamental changes this spring. He's projectable at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, is a 60 runner and thrower and can handle center field. The switch hitter's swing (he’s better from the right side) mechanics are poor — he was mostly upper body in 2011 — but that’s not irreparable and big power could come as a result. If he spurns North Carolina and signs, he might be a sleeper to keep an eye on.

8. Jesse Winker, Olympia (Orlando, Fla.)
Winker is known for his sound swing and big power, but he may have to convert to first base down the line, erasing some of his value. He doesn’t run or throw all that well, but is a good worker who sets an example for teammates on and off the field. Winker is committed to Florida.

9. Rhett Wiseman, Buckingham Browne & Nichols (Cambridge, Mass.)
Wiseman brings a little of everything to the ballpark, including good feet, wrist strength and good bat speed. His swing is a mess, however, which keeps his stock down. He's a decent defender but lacks polish and does not make plays instinctually, but he's always played multiple sports, somewhat explaining the lack of natural baseball skills. He's a Vanderbilt commit, so he's not going to be easy to sign, and frankly he could use the time to develop anyway.

10. Anthony Alford, Petal (Miss.)
Alford may take his game to the gridiron — he's committed to Southern Mississippi to play quarterback as well as baseball — but he's a physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds to go with above-average speed. He may have to play left in pro ball, and is still unrefined at the plate, but there's plenty to like athletically.

Jason A. Churchill covers scouting, player development and the MLB Draft for ESPN Insider, as well as Prospect Insider, where he's the founder and executive editor. You can follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider and email him at churchill@prospectinsider.com.

New Balance Players of the Game: Day 6

August, 10, 2011
LONG BEACH, Calif. — As a freshman in high school, Rhett Wiseman set a goal to one day play in the Area Code Games. He checked that one off his to-do list in style this week. The center fielder from Buckingham Browne & Nichols (Cambridge, Mass.) was a sparkplug for the Yankees, stealing an event-high five bases and earning the New Balance Asdrubal Cabrera “Phenom” award as a player with game-changing talent.

“Speed’s a huge part of my game,” said Wiseman, a rising senior. “If I get on base I can steal second, steal third — turn a single into a triple. It gives me another way to make an impact.”

On Wednesday morning, he keyed the Yankees’ 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds with a pair of hits and a stolen base to help his team pick up its first win of the event.

Wiseman was one of five Massachusetts natives on the Yankees, and the Bay Staters actually outnumbered the New Yorkers by one. Wiseman said there wasn’t much Red Sox-Yankees trash-talking between the groups, but he did say there was one hard part about being a Yankee.

“Putting on that hat for the first time,” Wiseman said, “that was a little tough.”

Game 2: Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox

The White Sox also got into the win column for the first time in their last game. After losing their first two games and then tying the next pair, the Sox put up a six-spot in the fourth inning en route to a 6-2 win over the A’s.

As he has all week, rising senior outfielder Justin Burba out of Haysville Campus (Haysville, Kan.) was central to the White Sox offense. He reached base twice in three at-bats, raising his on-base percentage for the week to .636. Combine that great approach at the plate with his speed and defensive ability and Burba is an ideal candidate to take home the New Balance Asdrubal Cabrera “Phenom” award.

“I came out here excited to play against this competition,” Burba said. “I wanted to show how I could help a team win games.”

Burba was the White Sox’s best all-around player for the week. In his 11 plate appearances, he failed to reach base just four times. He also patrolled center field confidently, making the tough plays look routine in addition to making a couple spectacular catches.

Game 3: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers

As Courtney Hawkins walked to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with his Rangers team down a run, he could hear his teammates shouting for him to tie the game up with one swing. The power hitter happily obliged, drilling a big fly to left field to cap his week on a high note and keep his Rangers undefeated as they tied the Brewers, 4-4, in the final game of the Area Code Games.

Power isn’t all the Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas) rising senior brings to the table, and because of that he’s a winner of the New Balance Asdrubal Cabrera “Phenom” award.

“I heard them yelling, but all I was thinking about was making solid contact and not striking out again,” says Hawkins, who fanned in his first three at-bats of the game.

Hawkins only hit .231 for the week, but he was on-base at a .316 clip, swiped three bases, scored three runs and knocked in three more. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound outfielder was one of just two players to hit a ball out of Long Beach State’s Blair Field on the week, joining Lake Stevens (Wash.) rising senior Dylan LaVelle who played for the Royals.