Prep Baseball Report

Florida Draft Recap Day 1

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Here is a rundown of the Florida High School players drafted on day one of the 2015 MLB Draft with detailed scouting reports.

Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary
Rd. 1, No. 3, Colorado Rockies

Rodgers has been a high profile name for most of his high school career. He is an offensive shortstop with raw power to go along with his ability to hit for average. His explosive bat speed produces a lot of hard contact and he has an easy, fluid and smooth swing that creates a lot of lift. His defense has improved this spring as he has easy actions with softness in his hands. He has plenty of arm strength to stay at shortstop, but the question is whether or not he’ll have enough range. He has average range now, but if he slows down as his 6-foot, 190-pound frame fills out, he may shift to third base. Either way, he has the offensive profile to play anywhere on the field. For a player that that was under the microscope by scouts at every big event last summer and through this spring, he has handled it well and performed at every stop. He is committed to Florida State.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant
Rd. 1, No. 5, Houston Astros

Until recently, Tucker was probably known more as Preston Tucker’s younger brother—a star at Florida and current outfielder for the Astros. But the younger Tucker has made a name for himself this spring and could be drafted in the first 10 picks—possibly even by his brother’s organization. Tucker is tall, athletic and projectable with athletic actions and the arm strength to fit at any outfielder spot. He has above-average power from the left side with more to come. He is a slightly above average runner now, but will likely slow down as he fills out, prompting a shift to the corner outfield. Tucker has excellent bat speed and a good path to go with very good hitters’ hands. He also had a tremendous season and performed in front of a lot of high level scouts. He actually broke his brother’s career home run record. He is committed to Florida.

Ryan Mountcaslte, SS, Hagerty
Rd. 1, No. 36, Baltimore Orioles

Mountcastle has a strong frame with projection left at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. His defensive home is a major question and he lacks arm strength, but he has the one tool that plays the most—his bat. He stays inside the ball well and makes a lot of hard contact to all fields. He’s an aggressive hitter with tremendous hand-eye coordination. Right-handed power is hard to find in the big leagues right now and Mountcastle fits that mold. He also opened some eyes at the FACA All-Star Weekend by running a 6.6-second 60. If there’s a team willing to bet on his bat, it could happen in the top three or four rounds. He is committed to Central Florida.

Jake Woodford, RHP, Plant
CB A, No. 39, St. Louis Cardinals

Woodford, a teammate of Tucker, stands out for his strong, durable frame and power arm. He is 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and can run his fastball up to 94 with downhill angle from a high-3/4 slot. He has effort in his delivery, but has the frame to hold up at the next level. His fastball has good, heavy life to it and hitters have a hard time squaring him up. His slider has been anywhere from below average to above average, ranging from 77-83. He’ll need to stay back in his delivery and release more out front to stay over it and get depth on the pitch. He also shows feel for a low-80s changeup. He fits in the top five rounds on talent, but is committed to Florida and may be a tough sign.

Triston McKenzie, RHP, Royal Palm Beach
CB A, No. 42, Cleveland Indians

At 6-foot-5, 160 pounds, McKenzie has a tall, thin, loose and athletic frame. At times, his fastball has been up to 94 with sink and tilt and he commands it well. He’s advanced for his age and likes work down in the zone where you see his best life. His secondary stuff shows plus potential. He has an easy arm action with good arm speed and deception in his delivery. There are some concerns about his frame being lean with narrow shoulders, which is probably why his velocity and arsenal fluctuated this spring, but he has shown some now stuff. McKenzie would be a good fit for a club with a track record of developing young arms. If a team doesn’t go after him now in the top few rounds, he could end up commanding a bigger payday after three years at Vanderbilt.

Austin Smith, RHP, Park Vista
Rd. 2, No. 51, San Diego Padres

At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Smith has a big, athletic body to go with his power arm. He passes the eye test and looks like former major league closer Lee Smith. His frame is strong and durable now and he has been up to 93 with his fastball. His arm is loose and live and he has a fluid delivery with good rhythm. His breaking ball is usually a downer pitch that he mixes in with a get-me-over curveball that has more slurvy action to it. The breaking ball is a solid-average major league pitch and occasionally flashes above-average. Smith competes well and is aggressive in attacking hitters. He is committed to Florida Atlantic.

Desmond Lindsay, OF, Out-Of-Door Academy
Rd. 2, No. 53, New York Mets

 Lindsay has a live, athletic frame at 6 feet, 205 pounds, but has been tough to see this spring due to injuries. He pulled a hamstring and tried to come back from it a couple times, but was unsuccessful. He has good bat speed and strength, making the ball jump off his bat to all fields. He is a solid runner with 6.8-second 60. Where he fits defensively is to be determined, but his bat should play anywhere. Showed well in pre-draft workouts. He is committed to North Carolina.

Brady Singer, RHP, Eustis
Rd. 2, No. 56, Toronto Blue Jays

Singer is another arm with a tall, loose, lean and projectable frame at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds. He made a jump this spring with his velocity, going form sitting 88-91 to 90-94. He has been a favorite among scouts because he has intangibles to go along with his stuff and upside. He’s very aggressive on the bump and attacks hitters. He works quickly and throws a lot of strikes. His loose, live and quick arm produces a lot of life from a lower slot. Most pitchers with his arm slot have a tough time getting depth on a breaking ball, but his breaks two planes and is an above-average pitch at times. He throws a slider at 81-82 and a curveball at 74-76. He also has a changeup at 80-81 that is thrown with good arm speed and has the same action as his fastball. A Florida recruit, he should go in the top three rounds.

Juan Hillman, LHP, Olympia
Rd. 2, No. 59, Cleveland Indians

Hillman is likely to be the first Florida prep pitcher to be taken in this year’s draft. He stands at just 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, but he’s athletic, strong and put together. He pitches with and average fastball, but has touched 95 mph. He has good touch and feel with good control, pounding the zone with all of his pitches. His curveball comes and goes, but shows plus potential. His changeup is also a plus pitch. Hillman, whose guardian is former major leaguer Tom Gordon, has been very consistent and could slide up a bit in the draft because of injuries to other players. He isn’t likely to go in the first round, but should hear his name soon after that. He is committed to Central Florida.

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