Knott had two stints in the big leagues as a lefthanded
reliever with Arizona and Montreal in 2001 and 2003 respectively. He
is a volunteer assistant coach at South Florida CC in Sebring,
Florida, and worked at this past weekend’s Florida High School
All-Star Game. Below are his impressions of the top prospects at the
event. Knott’s work has also appeared on Baseball Prospectus.
Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game
35th Annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association was
played over the weekend in Sebring, Florida, in front of more than 60
scouts and player development personnel from the professional and
college ranks. It was the last chance for some of the state’s
top prospects to solidify their draft positions and/or make a final
positive impression for professional scouts before this year's MLB
draft on June 6-8. The event consisted of team workouts and the
60-yard dash on Thursday and two games on both Saturday and Sunday.
Eighty-two of the Florida’s top high school seniors participated in
commitment in parenthesis)
Christian Arroyo, R/R, 6-1/185 (Florida): Strong, physical
infielder with great hands and a quick bat. Ran a 6.97 60. Showed
good power during batting practice and carried that over into game
situations with a double and a homerun over the two days. .
Possesses a strong arm and soft hands in the field. Has good range
and footwork around the bag. Should be a top 10 round draft pick
and will contribute immediately if he attends Florida next year.
Jordan Austin, R/R, 6-0/190: Athletic outfielder with plus
speed. Displayed a nice, compact swing in both batting practice and
game situations. Showed the ability to hit the ball with power to
all fields. Has great body control and keeps the lateral movement in
his swing to a minimum. He gets good jumps on balls in the
outfield, has sufficient arm strength, and displayed plus speed on
the basepaths. Hit an opposite field home run to right-center on
Saturday and was the one of the most impressive players at the event.
Ben DeLuzio, R/R, 6-2/185 (Florida State): Tremendous athlete who
impressed scouts all three days of the tournament. Ran a 6.6 60, had
a solid BP, and showed above average range and arm strength during
defensive workouts. Possesses a quick bat with power. Homered to
left-center Saturday and hit the ball hard in other at bats. Good
instincts on the bases and stole frequently. Showed great range and
arm strength during game situations. Has good instincts and footwork
around the bag. Increased his draft stock at this event and has the
potential to be an impact player at Florida State.
Brandon Diaz, R/R, 5-11/180 (Florida International): Speedy
outfielder with good baseball instincts and tools. Ran a 6.60 60-yard
dash and ran the bases well during game situations. Hit the ball to all
fields during batting practice and showed some power to his pull
side. Gets good jumps on the ball off the bat and displays average/above
average arm strength. Possesses all the tools necessary to
contribute immediately at the college level and has the potential to
develop into a solid prospect in professional baseball.
Ian Hagenmiller, R/R, 6-1/215 (Palm Beach State): Strong,
athletic infielder that has the potential to develop plus power in the
future. Displays a compact swing with quick hands and good power to
all fields. Decent speed for size and build. Showed solid footwork
and good hands during infield/outfield drill sessions. Plus arm
strength. Could develop into premium prospect with one year at Palm
Beach State CC.
Michael Hernandez, R/R, 5-10/185 (Nova Southeastern): An
under-appreciated prospect who showed very well at the all-star
event. Displayed a quick, clean swing and gap to gap power during
BP. Has potential to add more power as he ages. His best skills are
from behind the plate. Has great footwork, quickness, and arm
strength. Easily threw out a couple of runners during the games
with a strong combination of plus arm strength and a quick release.
Will be one of the best players at Nova Southeastern next year and
has top 20-round potential in this year’s draft.
Nick Longhi, R/L, 6-0/208 (LSU): Powerful outfielder who plays
the game hard and has a great skill-set. Short, compact swing.
Displays power to all fields and swings the bat with authority.
Decent speed (7.18) and plus arm strength in the outfield. Can make an impact right away
at LSU and has the potential to be a solid player at the pro level. Also
touched 90 on the mound.
Oscar Mercado, R/R, 6-2/195 (Florida St.): Fastest player at the event. Ran a 6.46 60 and stole five bases in game situations. Plus
speed that forced pitchers to alter deliveries and shift focus on
him. Projectable pro body type that will add strength as he
physically develops. Displayed soft, quiet hands and tremendous arm
strength. Poor footwork affected his accuracy on throws to first base a couple of times. Footwork and hands are very solid on double
play balls. Nice, smooth swing that projects for more gap power as he develops. His speed and defense will allow him to make
an immediate impact at the college level but his best baseball is
still 5-6 years down the road. Has the potential to develop into
solid major league shortstop if his bat develops.
Brian Navarreto, R/R, 6-4/220 (Jacksonville): Tremendous athlete
who projects to add strength to his 6-foot-4 frame in the coming years.
Excellent arm strength with a quick release and great footwork on
throws to second and third base. Gets out quickly on bunts. Very
polished behind the plate. Compact, short swing with decent gap-to-gap power. Will add power as he matures. If he signs he has the
ability to develop into a top pro prospect. Will contribute
immediately at Jacksonville University and has All-American potential down the road.
Tucker Neuhaus, L/R, 6-3/190, (Louisville): On Thursday he
showed all the tools necessary to be a top five round pick in this
year's draft. He has nice, compact, and controlled swing that he
uses to hit line drives to all-fields. Has great range, good
footwork, and plus arm strength at third base. Due to limited
at-bats during the season because of illness and injury, he
struggled to adjust to top-quality pitching during game situations.
He projects to gain significant strength as he matures.
J.B. Woodman, L/R, 6-2/190, (Mississippi): Tall, rangy, athletic
outfielder with good speed and plenty of room to gain strength in the
future. Ran a 6.6 second 60-yard dash and showed above average arm
strength during drills. Smooth left-handed swing with a slight uppercut. Showed
good power in batting practice and had a few nice at bats in game
Taylor Blatch, 6-1/175 (Florida State): Athletic
pitcher that has a nice, compact delivery. Saw him get to 92 during
his two innings of work. Repeats his delivery well and has good feel
for pitching. Showed an ability to throw to both sides of plate and
threw a couple sharp breaking balls with depth. Should only continue
to improve and develop. Has the ability to pitch in high leverage
situations and should be able to continue to do so as a freshman for the Seminoles next year and is a solid pro-prospect
for this year's draft as well.
Sean Brady, 6-0/185 (Florida): Excellent
pitcher with a great feel for pitching and plus pitches in his
repertoire. Pitched at 89-92 and located his fastball to both sides
of the plate well. Did an excellent job of setting up hitters and
was not afraid to throw his breaking ball behind in the count.
Consistently showed a plus breaking ball with great depth and a
late, sharp break. Will compete for a weekend rotation spot and will
throw important innings for the Gators next year if he gets to
LHP Alec Byrd, 6-3/190
(Florida State): Polished
pitcher with a clean delivery, great body control, and an outstanding
feel for pitching. Set up his pitches very well and made quality
pitches ahead in the count to put hitters away. Fastball sat at 87-89 with
good movement. Worked both sides of the plate with his fastball very
well. Tall, athletic build and has plenty of room in frame to fill
out and add strength. Possesses a sharp breaking ball with depth and
a solid changeup. Potential to have a great college career and has
legitimate pro potential.
Tyler Danish, 6-0/170 (Florida): Extremely
polished pitcher who consistently makes quality pitches with plus
stuff. Showed a 90-92 MPH fastball with good movement and sink.
Tremendous ability to pitch on the corners and at or below the knees.
Plus breaking ball with sharp bite and good depth. Will continue to
mature physically and has the ability to make an impact at the pro
level. Will challenge for a weekend starter position from day one at
Florida, although speculation is that he could become the Gators
closer as well.
Dane Dunning, 6-3/200 (Florida): Projectable
pitcher’s body that will put on more weight as he matures. Pitched
at 89-91 mph. Throws across his body and has tendency to close
himself off sometimes. Has more velocity in arm as he continues to
grow and improve his line to home plate. Showed above average 11-to-7
curveball with good depth and sharp break. Was not hit hard in his
two innings of work. Potential to be a weekend starter down the road
and could develop into a solid pro prospect when he chooses to start
his pro career.
Nick Eicholtz 6-4/175 (Alabama): Projectable
pitcher with lanky body and long limbs. Good arm action and pitches
at 90-92 with minimal effort. Has a good feel for pitching and moves
the ball in and out with consistency. Pitched consistently at the
knees and shows a breaking ball with depth and bite. Has the frame
and skills to develop into a solid pro prospect with Major League
potential and has the talent to be a dominant pitcher down the road
in the SEC.
Brett Morales, 6-0/185 (Florida): Outstanding
athlete on the mound. Pitched at 90-92 during the event. Has a simple,
clean delivery that he repeats well. Effortless arm action. Pitches
with a low effort release. Showed a sharp breaking ball with depth
that will improve with more coaching. Induced a lot of weak contact. The third of three Perfect Game All-Americans (Navarreto, Mercado) listed here who also has a very high ceiling.
Scott Moss, 6-6/195 (Florida): Tall
left-hander that throws from a three-quarters arm slot with decent depth to his fastball. Pitches to both side of plate well. Reached 91 during two
innings of work. Sharp breaking ball that lacked the depth of some of the
other left handed pitchers mentioned in this group. Threw a couple of nice back door
breaking balls late in counts and displayed a good feel for pitching.
Left handed hitters had poor swings off of him. Has potential to
develop into a solid left handed pitching prospect with increased
physical development and the development of a more consistent