High-SchoolBaseball: Trey Williams

MLB Draft Stock Watch: Cole Irvin shines

May, 25, 2012
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Cole IrvinMike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesServite (Anaheim, Calif.) senior left-hander Cole Irvin has seen his stock go up heading into the June 4 MLB draft.
Each Friday from now until the end of May, Jason A. Churchill, who covers the MLB draft for ESPN Insider, will look at the high school prospects whose stock is up and whose stock is down heading into the draft, which begins on June 4.

With the 2012 MLB draft a little more than a week away, it’s coming down to the wire for top prospects to making one last impression on scouts in the hopes of raising their draft stock.

Two players from the Golden State -- left-hander Cole Irvin of Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) and Daniel Robertson of Upland (Calif.) -- have done just that. Irvin showcased a wide array of pitches during the spring, while Robertson hit .560 with six homers and 31 RBIs this season.

Check back next Friday for our final high school Stock Watch before the draft.

STOCK UP

Cole Irvin, LHP, Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
Irvin, who stands 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, battled all spring. He impressed scouts late in the season by showing consistent fastball command and a competitive approach to go with an improved set of secondary pitches, including the occasional changeup in a two-hitter tossed earlier this month. Irvin is committed to Oregon, but his arm speed and projectable frame could be enough for a late Day 1 or very early Day 2 selection.

Daniel Robertson, 3B, Upland (Calif.)
Robertson's season just ended, but the third baseman finished strong. He gathered six hits in his final seven at-bats and finished the year with a .560/.669/1.000 triple slash (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) that includes six home runs and a 29-6 BB/K ratio. He's strong, moves well laterally on defense and has a plus arm, suggesting he'll stick at the hot corner in pro ball. He's committed to UCLA but could go early enough to warrant signing a pro deal instead.

Kolby Copeland, OF, Parkway (Bossier City, La.)
Copeland's season was over last month, but his stock is rising as a result of his signability and the strong college commitments of others (see Stock Down). He's signed on with Baton Rouge Community College and could re-enter the draft next year if he feels he can improve his stock, but may go off the board as early as the second round this June. He's a bit raw at the plate, but he’s also a very good athlete who generates good bat speed.

Carson Fulmer, RHP, All Saints Academy (Winter Haven, Fla.)
Fulmer fits on both ends of the spectrum here. He's a Vanderbilt signee, and they tend to lose stock as the draft nears due to their strong commitment to playing college ball. Fulmer, however, has pitched his way into consideration for the sandwich round, and if he's among those that strikes a pre-draft deal, he could easily be a top 60 selection. He lacks projection at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, but is otherwise an advanced and polished prep arm.

Others Trending Up
Anthony Alford, OF, Petal (Miss.)
Walker Buehler, RHP, Henry Clay (Lexington, Ky.)
James Kaprielian, RHP, Beckman (Irvine, Calif.)
Kyle Twomey, LHP, El Dorado (Placerville, Calif.)

STOCK DOWN

Skye Bolt, OF, Holy Innocents’ (Atlanta)
Bolt's stock is sinking a bit due to signability concerns, as the speedy outfielder's commitment to North Carolina may be his ticket to the first round in three years. This could all change with a pre-draft agreement for a slot in the top few rounds, but the payoff appears too great for him to settle. Bolt, a switch hitter, profiles well in center field and has good present strength. His quick, smooth swing produces line drives and promises future power.

Daniel Starwalt, RHP, Granite Hills (El Cajon, Calif.)
Starwalt, not unlike fellow Stanford commit Freddy Avis, may be a tough sign unless he's a first-round pick, and Starwalt will not carry such a profile into draft day. There are clubs that have tossed a fourth-round grade on the right-hander, despite his low-90s velocity and 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame. Barring an overdraft or money-saving deal, Stalwart is probably headed for Day 2 and likely Palo Alto.

Austin Barr, C, Camas (Wash.)
Barr's stock hasn’t fallen because of his play -- most clubs are off him entirely because he's committed to Stanford, and the industry believes he'll pass on pro ball for now and re-enter the draft in 2015. Otherwise, Barr would have been a consideration in the top 100 picks, perhaps as high as the end of the sandwich round.

Others Trending Down
Tyler Gonzales, RHP, James Madison (San Antonio)
Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia (Calif.)

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.

Joey Gallo is nation’s top corner infielder

February, 10, 2012
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Joey GalloScott Kurtz/ESPNHSBishop Gorman (Las Vegas) senior Joey Gallo hit .471 last year with 25 homers and 78 RBIs to help lead the Gaels to their sixth straight state title.

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 corner infielders led by Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) slugger Joey Gallo.

Last season, Gallo tore up high school pitching, hitting .471 with 25 homers and 78 RBIs while leading the Gaels to their sixth straight state title. He also showcased his skills on the bump, going 3-1 with a 1.12 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 18.2 innings.

1. Joey Gallo, 1B, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Gallo, who’s also a bit of a prospect as a right-handed pitcher, is a big, strong left-handed hitter that stands 6-foot-5. He creates leverage and loft and has above-average present game power to support the projections of his raw-power grade. He's played some third base but likely ends up at first. At the Area Code Games last August, scouts likened him to Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in terms of potential. He's committed to LSU, but has a great chance to go in the first round if he can clean up his contact rates.

2. Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia (Calif.)
This former shortstop is a good athlete with strength and the ability to put a charge into a fastball. He has bat speed and bloodlines -- his father, Eddie, played parts of 10 seasons in the majors -- and simply has to trim off some of the problems he's had against better pitching to solidify an early selection come June. He's headed to Pepperdine if pro ball doesn't entice him to sign.

3. Rio Ruiz, 3B, Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.)
Ruiz is a solid hitter whose power is a bit raw, but he has strong hands and sees the ball well from the pitcher's hand to contact. He's committed to USC and has touched the low-90s on the mound, but his best chance at the big leagues is likely at the plate. There is a chance he ends up moving to first base or perhaps a corner outfield spot.

4. Carson Kelly, 3B, Westview (Portland, Ore.)
Kelly is a prospect at the plate and on the mound, sitting in the upper 80s and topping out at 92 mph with the fastball. The majority of area scouts appear to prefer him as a bat, where his swing is easy, consistent and should produce natural power. He can handle third base and could end up a candidate for left or right field if necessary. He's known to carry himself as a leader and brings plus makeup to the table. He'll head to the University of Oregon if the price isn't right on the professional front, but he could go in the top 100.

5. Corey Seager, 3B, Northwest Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.)
Seager, a shortstop in high school, is likely to slide over to third base, a move that should be smooth and seamless. He's the younger brother of Seattle Mariners infielder Kyle Seager, but is more physical with a higher ceiling. He's wiry strong and smart at the plate and keeps things simple, and as he gets stronger the power will develop. If he passes on the pro game for now, South Carolina will get a terrific player who could improve his draft stock. Like his brother, some time on Day 2 of the draft is most likely.

6. Daniel Robertson, 3B, Upland (Calif.)
Robertson doesn't look the part of a traditional, prototypical third baseman. The 6-foot, 180-pounder appears to try and compensate for the lack of natural power, which creates poor swing mechanics and an approach that needs refined. Scouts expect a more advanced plan this season and saw glimpses over the summer showcase circuit. One area scout opined that Robertson is "the new age third baseman if he can show he can hit first, hit for power second." He's signed on to play at UCLA and projects as a Day 2 selection.

7. Austin Dean, 3B, Klein Collins (Spring, Texas)
I liked Dean more than most at the Area Code Games. He showed no glaring weaknesses despite the lack of a standout tool, but the power potential is apparent and he stings the ball consistently in batting practice. He's adept at going the other way and reminds some of a young Casey Blake. If he shows he can stick at third, he's a Day 2 pick. Dean is committed to the University of Texas.

8. Keon Barnum, 1B, King (Tampa, Fla.)
Barnum is a man-child at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds and generates good bat speed and big power from the left side of the plate. The swing path, which creates good loft, is natural, suggesting he’ll hit for power, but he has problems making consistent contact. He's committed to Miami, but he has a chance to go in the first 100 selections to a team that believes they can teach him to hit for average.

9. Joe DeCarlo, 3B, Garnet Valley (Glen Mills, Pa.)
DeCarlo is a sturdy athlete with a decent swing and good arm strength. He signed to play at Georgia and may be better off proving himself in college as he starts the spring behind the 8-ball in terms of the draft. There's upside in the power department, however, and has does have good hands and natural instincts in the field.

10. Mitch Nay, 3B, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
Nay fits the physical profile of a third baseman as much as anyone on this list. An Arizona State commit, Nay isn't as known to scouts as some other talents, but the physical prowess is there and he'll get a chance to show off his power and arm strength all spring. The hit tool is generally the main concern with prep power bats and Nay falls into that category, too.

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.

Lucas Giolito leads loaded Cali senior class

November, 22, 2011
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Hunter Virant, Milwaukee Brewers, Area Code Baseball, Camarillo High SchoolScott Kurtz/ESPNHSCamarillo (Calif.) senior left-hander Hunter Virant went 6-1 last year with a 1.54 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 50 innings.

While the prep baseball season is months away, it's never too soon to evaluate what we'll be watching once the schedule gets under way. “The Golden State” is typically among the three hot spots for amateur baseball with Texas and Florida in terms of producing myriad elite prospects. But it’s California that often produces the most top prospects, and this year is no different.

Here’s a look at the Top 10 California high school prospects in the Class of 2012.

1. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
Giolito, a UCLA recruit, has the velocity — up to 97 mph — and projectability with his 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame to land in the top five in June’s MLB Draft. He sits in the 92 to 94 range with his fastball and also has a pair of promising secondary pitches with his changeup and two-gear breaking ball.

2. Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
Fried, who inked with UCLA along with his high school teammate Giolito, stands a projectable 6-foot-4 and combines consistent mechanics with above-average velocity that reaches 92 miles per hour. Fried, who will pitch in the same rotation as Giolito in 2012, stands a projectable 6-foot-4 and combines consistent mechanics with athleticism and above-average velocity that reaches 92 miles per hour. His changeup and curveball each figure to be average or better offerings, and when the smoke clears, Fried could hear his name called shortly after Giolito somewhere in the top half of the first round.

3. Freddy Avis, RHP, Menlo School (Atherton, Calif.)
Despite lacking the physical frame of some of his in-state rivals at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Avis has good arm speed and a fluid delivery, producing easy velocity in the 90 to 93 mph range and also holstering a curveball. He's believed to be a strong commit to Stanford, but is also likely to be considered in Round 1.

4. Trey Williams, 3B, Valencia (Valencia, Calif.)
Williams is a right-handed hitting prep shortstop who profiles defensively at third base. He's sturdy and strong with a plus arm and good athleticism. His setup needs work but with terrific hands and wrists generates well above-average bat speed that should result in plus power. Williams, a Pepperdine commit, is the son of former big league infielder Eddie Williams, who spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors after being the No. 4 overall selection in the 1983 Draft.

5. Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo (Camarillo, Calif.)
Virant, like Williams and Avis ahead of him, has the capability to soar to at least No. 2 on this list with a strong spring. He offers projection at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds and already boasts a solid to average fastball that has brushed 94 mph in the past. His arm action is somewhat short, but there's plenty of time to figure that out and it's not expected to negatively impact his draft status. The left-hander's mid-70s curveball and potential for added velocity suggest he's among the prep arms with the most upside in any state.

6. Rio Ruiz, 3B, Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.)
Ruiz is a two-sport star at Bishop Amat, where he’s a standout quarterback in the fall and an elite baseball talent in the spring. He handles multiple gigs on the diamond, including on the mound, where he’s touched 93 miles per hour. He runs well (7.1 in the 60), stands 6-foot-2 and about 200 pounds and offers left-handed power. He has good hands and may stick at third if he doesn’t outgrow the position. But if he can’t stick at third, he has good instincts and could transition to right field without any issues.

7. Cody Poteet, RHP, Christian (El Cajon, Calif.)
Packing a bigger fastball than his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame suggests, Poteet is also able to create some plane to his heater that sits at 90 to 93 mph. He throws from around a three-quarter arm slot, which creates some tilt to his curveball. He's a bulldog on the mound and I'm a little bullish on him here at No. 7, but his lack of projection doesn't bother me all that much.

8. Shane Watson, RHP, Lakewood (Lakewood, Calif.)
Watson's arsenal includes a fastball in the 88 to 92 mph range, showing sink and arm side ride, and his frame (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) may produce more velocity down the line. But it may have to come from improved mechanics, primarily better balance and use of his lower half. Watson is committed to USC and should be considered early on Day 1 of the draft.

9. Felipe Perez, RHP, Fairmont Prep (Anaheim, Calif.)
This 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander pitches at 88 to 91 mph but has touched 93 and throws two breaking balls — a 72 to 75 mph curveball and a 77 to 79 mph slider. His arm works well from a high, three-quarter slot and he's performed well in showcase events, something scouts remember throughout the spring.

10. Ryan McNeil, RHP, Nipomo (Nipomo, Calif.)
One could argue that McNeil belongs as high as No. 7 on this lists — the last four players on this are all worthy adversaries. He’s got an aggressive arm with upside, and he’s touched 94 mph with his fastball. He also employs a slider. McNeil has committed to Long Beach State, but he could perform his way into the top 50 of the draft come June. Marina (Marina, Calif.) pitcher Trevor Megill — all 6-foot-7 of him — would have ranked here, but he decided to enroll early at Loyola Marymount.


On the Brink
Corey Oswalt, 3B, James Madison High School (San Diego, Calif.)
Chase DeJong, RHP, Wilson (Long Beach, Calif.)
Nolan Gannon, RHP, Santa Fe Christian (San Diego, Calif.)
C.J. Saylor, C, South Hills (West Covina, Calif.)

NOTES
Right-handers Giolito, Perez and Poteet and southpaws Fried and Virant have all signed with UCLA, which could make for an intriguing class if any number of them pass on pro ball the first time around … Saylor is an elite defensive backstop recruited to San Diego State, where he could catch Gannon if they both ultimately honor their college commitments … Giolito could be the No. 1 overall pick if the Houston Astros buck the building trend of avoiding prep pitchers with the top overall selection. At this stage, only Appling County (Baxley, Ga.) outfielder Byron Buxton rivals Giolito among the country's top prep prospects … The new Collective Bargaining Agreement in Major League Baseball may impact how many high school talents put their professional aspirations on hold for college ball. The new tax that is expected to be introduced this week by the Major League Baseball Players Association and the league will incorporate penalties for clubs that exceed a set amount for signing bonuses in combination for the first 10 rounds. This may or may not abbreviate the bonuses for some top picks.

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.

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