Prep Baseball Report

Florida Diamond Club: MLB Draft Focus

Cayden Hatcher
East Florida Regional Director

Lakeland, FL — The Florida Diamond Club takes place each year in October and consists mostly of the top prospects for the current draft class in the state of Florida and Puerto Rico.

A three-day event, Diamond Club consists of four teams with each competing in two games. Two full batting practice rounds along with in-and-out provide an even closer glimpse at some of the country’s top prospects and budding MLB Draft names. 

The theme and consensus of the 2022 class in Florida is “power”, and that was clearly evident in the three days at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. Major League Baseball has placed a premium on hitters that can drive the ball with authority, and there was no shortage of that at the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers. Below, a look at some of the standouts, and especially some players that helped separate themselves in front of a plethora of MLB scouts.

The Star of the Show

2022 Brady Neal, C, IMG Academy 

5-foot-10, 177 lbs. The newest member of the 2022 class is left-handed hitting catcher Brady Neal. A Louisiana State recruit, Neal made the decision to jump up in class early in the summer, and it looks like he made the right one after what I saw this past weekend in Lakeland at The Florida Diamond Club. Mature and confident in his approach, Neal didn’t chase and waited for the pitches he wanted to drive. In one game alone, he faced three straight left-handed pitchers, all working in the upper 80’s to low 90’s, and it was hardly a problem. He went 2-3 off of them with one of the matchups finishing in a double down the left-field line after working deep into the count off a 90-94 mph fastball. Not only does Neal appear unphased by stepping up a year, but he has emphatically positioned himself towards the top of the class in Florida (and the country), and is still trending upwards. Enhancing his value as a prospect at a premium position, Neal does the little things correctly behind the plate. In-game, his catch and throw ability is advanced, and was on display at the event as he threw a runner out by three steps at second base. Overall, it was a stellar look at one of the nation’s top catching prospects, and Neal is sure to begin the spring towards the top of many follow-lists.

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