Top Stories of 2015: #8 - PA Class of 2016 Prospects Emerge as Potential High-Round Picks

By Jacob Gill
Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Scouting

Two in-state senior prospects are drawing significant attention for selection in the early rounds of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Holy Ghost Prep shortstop Nolan Jones and Plum outfielder Alex Kirilloff both had standout summers against top competition and find themselves well-positioned in PBR National Supervisor Nathan Rode's Draft 100, at #14 and #18, respectively. We'll let Rode himself break them down:

+ Jones has been swinging a hot bat since the end of July. He took a good BP at East Coast Pro and went 4-for-12 before heading west to Long Beach. He started to heat up late in the Area Code Games and made loud contact, even on his outs. He went 5-for-11 there. During BP in Long Beach, he had a wide set-up with some length to his swing, but he stood taller in games and shortened up. He had a pull approach in BP as well, but showed the ability to go to the left side with authority in games. Scouts were all over his at-bats at the World Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, where he went 5-for-15 with a home run. He’s an average runner and will likely move off shortstop as he fills out his 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame, but he should have enough arm strength to fit at third base. [written 11/12/15]

+ Kirilloff has a long, projectable frame at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. His BP sessions have been inconsistent and uninspiring at times, but when the game starts, things seemingly click for the Liberty recruit. He has shown some swing-and-miss tendencies in the past, but his swing is loose, quick and produces good raw power. At the Area Code Games, he squared up some elite arms. In Jupiter, he was on time and controlled at the plate, going 5-for-16 with a double and a triple. While he does play a fair amount at first base, Kiriloff is at least an average runner and moves well enough to hold down a corner outfield spot. [written 11/11/15]

2016 could have been a truly banner draft year for the Keystone State, as two other highly-regarded prospects with Pennsylvania ties will not be representing the commonwealth. Council Rock North outfielder Brandon McIlwain (#32 in Rode's Draft 100) recently announced that he will forgo his final season of high school baseball in order to enroll early at South Carolina to compete on the diamond and participate in spring football practice. McIlwain is one of the top quarterback recruits in the country. Finally, Moseley (FL) outfielder/left-handed pitcher J.J. Bleday (#81), a Vanderbilt signee, spent his first two high school seasons at Titusville in western PA before moving to the Sunshine State.

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Previous Top 10 Stories of 2015

#9 - PBR Future Games Team PA Members Commit
#10 - Long-tenured Coaches Say Goodbye