Top 2014 Prospects from the Northern Ohio Showcase

By Chris Valentine and Dan Machovina 

Today, we recap the top prospects from the Class of 2014 at the Northern Ohio Showcase in Westlake, Ohio. The group features a mixture of talented position players as well as pitchers from the northern part of the state. 

1. Marcus Gunter, OF/RHP, Keystone HS

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound two-way prospect is full of strength and athleticism. In the outfield, he is aggressive and plays through the baseball. He uses fluid footwork and a quick transfer while reaching a top velocity of 91 mph. On this occasion, he ran a 7.04 60, but we have seen him consistently at 6.8 in the past. At the plate, he is a line drive hitter. He still has room to improve mechanics, which will aid his swing path and timing. Still, he shows consistent line drive production and a top exit velocity of 82 mph. On the mound, he showed command of three good pitches from a repeatable delivery and a quick, high ¾ arm angle. His fastball ranged from 85-87 mph, topping out at 88MPH and one would think that he could be touching 90 mph at some point during the spring and summer. His breaking ball showed a sharp 11/5 break, ranging from 70-73 mph He also displayed a good tailing changeup with near fastball arm speed at 76-78 mph.

2. Jacob Csizmadia, OF/IF, Elyria HS

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect looks the part.  He is a switch-hitting prospect who showed best in the outfield, but also shows the actions to play the infield at the next level. He is aggressive to the ball and shows a quick transfer while reaching a top velocity of 87 mph on his throws. At the plate, he uses a similar swing from both sides. His hands work well into the zone with a slight uphill path. He recorded a top exit velocity of 90 from the right side and 82 from the left side. He seemed to show more power from the right side while being more compact and contact driven from the left. He recorded a 7.04 60 on a slow surface.

3. Butch Baird, LHP, West Holmes HS

West Holmes southpaw Butch Baird is considered one of the top pitching prospects in Ohio’s class of 2014. On this occasion, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound lefty showed a quick ¾ arm slot and sat 84-86 mph (he was 86-89 in December). His 68-70 mph curveball was sharp with good 12/6 downward movement. His changeup could use a decrease in velocity but showed good tailing action at 80-81 mph. He achieves good extension on his follow through.

4. Cody Callaway, IF/RHP, Midview HS

6-foot-2, 180-pound two-way prospect. The verdict is still out on his best position at the next level. On this occasion, he showed best as a position player, likely projecting as a third baseman at the next level. In the field, he took good routes to the ball and showed some softness in his hands. He uses a quick transfer and reached a top velocity of 79 mph across the infield. At the plate, he showed good balance and a simple rhythm to his swing. He consistently squared the ball up and showed good bat speed into the zone (87 mph exit velocity off the tee). On the mound, he throws from a loose ¾ arm slot. On the mound the two-way prospect showed a fastball ranging from 80-83. He used a solid 11/5 tight breaking ball at 71-73 mph and a changeup at 74 mph. It was clear Cody is not yet at full arm strength with the spring season still over a month away from beginning.

5. Eli Kraus, LHP, Buckeye HS

The recent Kent State commit showed the reason that he attracted Coach Birkbeck’s approval so early in the recruiting process. The left-handed pitcher possesses a long-lanky, projectable build. He throws from a loose, clean, and easy ¾ arm slot and displays four quality pitches that all show potential. His fastball sat 81-83 mph. He showed two breaking pitches one of which was a 10/4 gradual breaking curveball at 66-69 mph and also a slider with a sharper break at 69 mph. He also showed a tailing changeup at 75-76 mph.

6. Sam Vilk, 1B, Mentor HS

His body has continued to get stronger and leaner. The left-handed power hitting draws comparisons to Jeff Murray, a 2012 University of Cincinnati recruit. He uses an explosive lower half and quick bat speed (82 mph exit velocity) while hitting the ball to all fields. Definite follow this summer. 

7. David Lemasters, RHP, Lakeview HS

The 6-foot, 170-pound righty sat 83-86 mph with his fastball. At times, his delivery required some effort, but he located his pitches well. His curveball displayed sharp 10/4 movement. He also threw a cutter with near fastball arm speed at 77-80 mph which showed promise. His changeup is better when he throws it at fastball arm speed which ranged from 67-70 mph.

8. Chandler Stahl, RHP, Manchester HS

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound righty uses a quick, losse ¾ arm action to generate an 82-85 mph fastball. He also flashes a tight, hard 71-72 mph curveball. Also, he threw a changeup that was mostly straight and fluctuated between 70-75 mph. Chandler is an interesting follow because it looks like there is more in the tank.

9. Stuart Schley, IF/RHP, Orrville HS

A solid 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect. He will be an interesting following this summer as he showed well on the mound, in the field, and at the plate. In the field, he projects as a third baseman. He still needs to improve his glove work and footwork to take that next step, but he shows good present actions with a top velocity of 80 mph across the infield. The left-handed hitter produces solid contact and the ball jumps off his bat. On the mound, he sat 81-83 mph with good run to his fastball. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot with quick arm speed. His curveball is thrown near fastball arm speed with late 11/5 break at 71-73 mph and his changeup shows similar run to his fastball at 75-76 mph.

10. Nanak Saran, RHP, Hudson HS

Looks the part with a 6-foot-2, 170-pound athletic build. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot with quick arm speed. He throws a four seam and a two seam fastball, with both sitting at 82-83 mph. With improvement to his lower half mechanics, there is more to come. His curveball shows 11/5 break at 67-70 mph and his slider stays on one plan at 70 mph. His changeup, which lacks consistency, is thrown near fastball arm speed at 68-71 mph and show occasional fade.

11. Tyler Gullet, IF, Keystone HS

Recently transferred from St. Edwards to Keystone HS. Made his case for being one of the top corner infield prospects in the Class of 2014. He showed soft hands, a top velocity of 84 mph across the infield, and a 6.79 60-yard dash on a slow surface. At the plate, he squared the ball up and showed good potential for power in the future.

12. Austin Jackson, IF, IMG Academy (FL)

The talented infielder, who previously attended NDCL, showed improvements in his game with good routes to the ball, quick hands, and a quick release. He reached a top velocity of 79 mph on his throws and a 7.35 60 yard dash. At the plate, he shows line drive production with quick hands into the zone (86 mph bat speed). He will be playing his summer baseball in Ohio.

13. Mathew Seekins, C/RHP, Brookside HS

6-foot-2, 180-pound projectable bodied right-handed pitcher/catcher. Currently, projects better as a pitcher. Throws from a low 3/4 to 3/4 arm slot. Fastball is heavy and shows plenty of run at 83-85 mph. His breaking ball shows 10/4 break at 71-74 mph. Has a tendency to get on the side of it. Still plenty raw, but shows great potential on the mound. Ran an 8.05 60-yard dash. From the catching position, used a low ¾ arm slot to produce a velocity of 76 mph and a pop time ranging from 2.14-2.29. Would see improvement on throws if he shortened and brought up arm-angle. Has natural tail on throws to second base. The right-handed hitter shows pop in his bat and reached a top exit velocity of 87 mph. 

14. Kendle Stiner, SS/RHP, Keystone HS

6-foot, 190-pound infielder. Registered 7.48 60. Showed good arm strength with a velocity at 84 mph from the infield. Needs to keep moving feet through the baseball which would help soften up hands a bit more. More of a third baseman type. The right-handed hitter showed a top exit velocity of 83 mph. Starts with slightly open stance. Shows a strong lower half. Needs to improve hand positioning to maximize his potential. Starts stiff and away from the body. Creates a level path to the ball. With improved mechanics and present strength, he has a great deal of potential. On the mound, the righty shows good arm strength with an 84-85 mph fastball. Delivery requires some effort. Will improve command with better control of front side. Uses a hard 66-68 mph breaking ball with 11/5 movement.