Prep Baseball Report

Remember These Names For 2018

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

The 2015 Draft had a bow tied on it with the passing of last week’s signing deadline so we now know who is a professional and who is going to college. There was some drama again this year, as six players in the top 10 rounds didn’t sign. Four of them were high school picks—RHP Brady Singer (Eustis HS, FL), RHP Jonathan Hughes (Flowery Branch HS, GA), SS Nick Shumpert (Highlands Ranch HS, CO) and OF Kep Brown (Wando HS, SC). Singer and Hughes were second-round picks and will head to Florida and Georgia Tech respectively while Shumpert, a seventh-round pick, will go to San Jacinto JC and Brown, a 10th-rounder, will head to Miami.

While the focus really shifts to the 2016 Draft, we can still look way ahead and think about who will be prospects after three years of college. I’ve listed five players below that I think should be watched closely. I avoided obvious prospects. RHP Donny Everett (Clarksville HS, TN) was drafted late and will honor his commitment to Vanderbilt, but he had early-round buzz before the draft. He’s an obvious guy and not on this list. Here, I’m going more for the undrafted or less-heralded types that you may look at in three years and say, “Where did he come from?”

Danny Blair, OF, IMG Academy, FL (South Carolina)
Blair is a grinder, but I would stop short of calling him undersized. He stands at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds and is put together with strength throughout his frame. He runs well and provides good defense in center field. Hitting from the left side, he has a short, compact stroke with good bat speed, though he showed a tendency to swing and miss too much. His strength gives him some pop for his size, but he’ll be most useful at the top of a lineup if he can wear out the gaps or put the ball on the ground, using his speed. Blair went undrafted, but it’s easy to envision him performing for three years with the Gamecocks and being a strong draft prospect in 2018.

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