Prep Baseball Report

Top 10 Stories Countdown of the Year 2017: No. 6 Florida 2017 Rankings: Top 5

Mike Maerz
Director of Florida Operations/Area Scout

As we continue the countdown of the Top 10 Stories in 2017, the Florida 2017 Rankings: Top 5 article comes in at the sixth spot. 

In this article, the Top 5 players from the 2017 Class are highlighted through report and video by Scouting Director Doug Freeman. All five players mentioned were taken in the 2017 MLB Draft including three selected in the 2nd round: 3B/RHP Joe Perez (Archbishop McCarthy HS, FL) by the Houston Astros, C MJ Melendez (Westminster Academy, FL) by the Kansas City Royals, and SS Mark Vientos (American Heritage HS, FL) by the New York Mets.

Here is a re-post of that story that ran on Monday March 13th, 2017:

NO. 6 Florida 2017 rankings: top 5

Mon March 13, 2017 

By Doug Freeman

Florida Scouting Director

With the Florida high school season in full swing and the MLB Draft quickly approaching in June, it’s time to make an update to the Florida Class of 2017 Rankings. There has been some shuffling up top, most notably in the Top 5 with 3B/RHP Joe Perez (Archbishop McCarthy HS, FL) taking over the top spot. The two-way Miami recruit has been impressive so far this spring not only at the plate with multiple home-runs, but on the mound as well where he has been up to 98 mph with his fastball.

Below is the breakdown of the new Top 5 with video and reports:

No. 1
Joe Perez, 3B/RHP, Archbishop McCarthy (Miami)

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound 3B/RHP has consistently shown the ability to be an above average hitter with above average power potential. He is a solid defender with a plus arm at third. He has only gotten on the mound briefly in the past, and as more of a position player with a strong arm who would touch 96. This spring though, Perez has come in for the Mavericks quite a bit in relief and has been electric. There is still some effort, but he has shown the ability to pitch with an easy, electric arm. He works 93-95 mph touching 98 mph, with a quality down angle to the fastball. He has also shown an improved, hard slider at 78-80 mph. Overall, he can truly do it both ways, but the low mileage on the arm that continues to get better and better makes for a huge upside and the rise to the No. 1 player in the state.

No. 2

Mark Vientos, SS, American Heritage (Miami)
Vientos is one of the youngest players in the 2017 class with some of the most potential. He has a projectable frame, with athleticism and shows the ability to be a solid defender at short or fill out and be a plus defender at third. He has a line drive approach with a level swing thrive the zone with a present feel for the barrel. He projects to fill out and the present feel for the barrel coupled with the athleticism should lend to future power. He has a lot of present tools with a big ceiling going forward.

No. 3

MJ Melendez, C, Westminster Academy (FIU)

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound left handed hitting catcher has consistently proven to be one of the best defensive catchers in the class with even more potential.  Behind the plate, he shows a feel for the game, he calls his own game and handles the staff well. He has a flexible setup and consistently is in a quality position to receive the ball. He has soft hands and strong wrists, giving him the ability to handle any arm. He has a plus arm behind the plate. He has solid footwork and feet. The transfer is clean, but the arm action can get long. He still is consistently 1.90-2.0 pop times, that will continue to improve as the arm action shortens. At the plate, he has a feel for the strike zone. He shows a feel for the barrel and has shown some present power from a strong lower half. Overall, he has consistently improved and has a lot of potential both behind the plate and next to it.

No. 4

Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island (Florida)
Stands at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds with a lean, athletic, projectable build. Possesses high baseball IQ and shows athletic actions all over the field. At the plate he stays balanced with a confident approach and good hand eye coordination. Has loose hands with a short, quick stroke that results in line drives all over the field and into the gaps. Aggressive base runner who not only gets good jumps and makes good turns, but also looks to take advantage of mistakes in the field. Overall, McConnell has a ton of athleticism and upside.

No. 5

Hunter Ruth, RHP, Buchholz (Florida)

The right handed pitcher looks to have filled out and gained some strength over the offseason. The arm slot is still over-the-top, but a bit lower than before and much more fluid. The fastball came out of his hand extremely well, sitting 94-96 mph the first inning. He also showed a plus slider at 84-85 mph and a changeup at 87 mph. The velocity dropped off a bit in the third and fourth to 88-91 mph. The arm is extremely quick and the slider has turned into a plus pitch with sharp, late action. Overall one of the quickest arms with the best slider in the state.

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