Showcase : : Top Prospect List
Updating Prospects from Last Year’s PG National
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Last week we mentioned Blake Beavan and his exploits this spring. Beavan was one of the stars from last year’s PG National. We will be running an ongoing series about the players from last June’s PG National Showcase held at the U of Arkansas. Many high level scouts have called it the most talent ever assembled at a high school event.
Chris Withrow, 6’3/185 RHP from Midland Christian HS in Odessa, TX., looked very good at the Perfect Game National Showcase last June. One of the PG scouts had him ranked the 9th best prospect there. The majority of the staff had him a bit lower than that. Now this spring it’s starting to look like Withrow has a possibility of being one of the prized gems of the upcoming June draft. It’s not only Withrow’s mid 90s fastball, but his athleticism and projection are above many other of the top ranked pitchers in this years draft. He has signed with Baylor.
Here is his report that we filed from the PG National Showcase last year.
Chris Withrow is a 2007 right hand pitcher from Midland Christian HS, residing in Odessa, TX. He has a strong, powerful build on his 6'3" 185 lb. frame, that still has some room to grow. He has a very good athletic pitcher's build. With raw stuff and a repertoire that was pretty complete, Withrow was ranked #34 among the PG National Top 85 pitchers. Withrow has an easy 88-92 mph fastball that came out of his high 3/4 slot. With an easy and fairly short arm action, his fastball can be classified as sneaky due to the excellent extension he gets with his arm on the front side of his delivery. Withrow did a nice job of repeating that delivery, demonstrating his athleticism on the mound. His arm stroke and arm speed are both very good, suggesting a bit more velocity in the coming years, perhaps 3-4 more mph. Even if he doesn't gain much more, he showed the ability to pitch to all parts of the strike zone with the fastball and on the arm side showed late life and good sink. His secondary pitches were a 73-75 mph breaking ball that he used well, changing its shape from traditional curveball to a slurvy two plane breaker. That pitch had good spin on it and can be an out pitch as he showed the ability to throw quality strikes with it. Withrow also showed good feel of his 81 mph change-up. He was aggressive to the zone with everything and at times may have thrown too many strikes. In time he will learn to go out of the zone when he wants or needs to. Withrow is a top end D1 caliber pitcher and should also get strong draft consideration next spring.
Nevin Griffith, 6’2/185 RHP from Middleton HS, Brandon, FL., was a raw but extremely talented pitcher at last June’s PG National Showcase. He topped out around 90, but looked a bit awkward in his delivery. Then we saw him at the WWBA Championship in Marietta, GA. where he looked about the same. Something happened over the summer because when we Saw Nevin Griffith at the WWBA Championship in Jupiter last October, his mechanics looked cleaner, his arm looked quicker and his velocity was up to 93. Then this winter we saw him at the PG World Showcase and he looked even better, now up to 94 with a much better breaking ball and improved command. Fast forward to this spring, Nevin Griffith is now a legitimate early round prospect and he just keeps getting better and better.
Here is his report that we filed from his appearance at the PG National Showcase, held last year in Fayetteville. AR.
Nevin Griffith is a 2007 right hand pitcher from Middleton HS, residing in Brandon, FL. Griffith has an athletic and lean body type on his 6'2" 185 lb. frame. He should continue to gain some size and strength in the coming years. Griffith did not just leap out as a top guy at PG National, but the more you watched him, the more he was appreciated. Ultimately Griffith was ranked #57 among PG National Top 85 pitchers, which again, was the deepest collection of arms ever at a showcase. Griffith has a good arm action that suggests more velocity and durability in the future. He is long on the backside and quite loose, with good arm speed. There is some effort in his stroke and some cross body stride in his delivery that are causes of concern. Griffith's delivery was mostly an upper body delivery, so he will need to incorporate more lower half as he develops. He touched up to 91 with his fastball and sat 87-89 with decent run. His best pitch was a 81 mph slider that was hard out of his hand and stayed that way into the zone. Griffith showed good feel for that pitch. He also threw his 68 mph curveball better and better as his outing went along. The action is a bit rolly, but his feel and confidence in that pitch make it quite usable. Griffith would appear to be a college bound right hander, but it is not out of the question to consider him getting attention from the area scouts.
Here is his report from the PG World Showcase, about 6 months later.
Nevin Griffith is a 2007 RHP with a 6'2'', 185 lb. frame from Brandon FL, who attends Middleton HS. He has an excellent young pitcher's body, with long arms and legs and loose actions. Griffith was one of the big surprises of the event and put himself high on the prospect lists as a result. He's made some adjustments to his mechanics since last summer that have really benefited his stuff. Griffith has a long and flowing arm action and does a good job staying back in his delivery and letting his arm get organized. His arm comes through quickly and the result was a 92 mph fastball that topped out at 94 mph and it looks like there's a lot more there. Griffith has the looseness and arm speed to envision as a mid-90's guy with no problem. Griffith's long arm action possess a problem for breaking ball; he threw both 72 mph curveball and 81 mph slider, with the slider showing the most potential. That will be the next step in his development is refining a breaking pitch. He's a high ceiling young pitcher who is coming on quickly. Griffith has signed with Florida International.
Kyle O’Campo a 6’3/185 RHP from Riverside Poly HS in Corona, CA., has come out of the blocks fast this spring. He was also very good at last years National.
Here is the report we filed from the PG National
Kyle O'Campo is a 2007 right hand pitcher from Riverside Poly HS, residing in Corona, CA. Ocampo has a lean, wiry, lanky build on his a 6'3" 185 lb. frame that is quite projectable. His stuff can be flat out electric at times and was good enough to have him ranked #26 among PG National Top 85 pitchers. Ocampo pitches from an over the top slot and has a very quick and loose arm. He cranks that arm up with a lot of leverage, starting with deep extension on the backside, gaining arm speed all the way throughout his arm arc. There is some head action as his arm come through to release, but for the most part, he is pretty free and easy. Perhaps a slight lowering of his slot would eliminate much of that head action, maybe even creating more life on his fastball. In any case, Ocampo's fastball was quite lively as it is, showing up to 93 mph with a range of 87-92. His fastball seemed hot at the plate with late life. Ocampo appeared to have more than one type of breaking ball, but in retrospect, all were likley curveballs, ranging from 70-79 mph with plus spin and hard downward bite. The thing that made all of them seem to be curveballs was that the shape did not really change, no matter the velocity. Ocampo also showed good feel of his 81 mph change-up that has nice fading action. All of his stuff has movement and late life, making Ocampo one of the more interesting pitchers in this high school draft class. He would appear to have more in his arm due to his pretty lithely built body and quick arm. He has committed to Cal State Fullerton but will also be a highly scouted pitcher by Southern California scouts, possibly even drawing some crosschecker attention.
Kyle Blair a 6’4/200 RHP from Los Gatos HS and Monte Sereno, CA., has been dominating high school hitters like no one else for the past two years. This spring he came out fast again and is creating some major interest.
Here is our report from the PG National last June.
Kyle Blair is a 2007 right hand pitcher from Los Gatos HS, residing in Monte Serrano, CA. He has a strong, powerful, durable body type on a 6'3" 200 lb. frame that still has room to fill out. Blair has long been regarded as one of the top prospects in the '07 class and earned a #15 ranking among PG National Top 85 pitchers. His signature pitch has been his power curveball and at PG National that was no different. He is now working on developing more fastball command and adding a third pitch, a change-up. Blair pitches from an over the top slot and gets plus extension on the front side. On the back side he has a long, deep extension type arm stroke that creates good leverage. His arm is quick and strong. His delivery is generally on time though he can get caught up in overthrowing the fastball at times. Blair's fastball topped at 92 and sat in the 88-91 range. When his delivery is on time Blair's fastball can be heavy and good down in the zone, particularly on the arm side. In some ways, his plus curveball has limited his development of better fastball usability. Blair can go to his 77-80 mph curveball at anytime, in any count. He can use it for outs or strikes. His curveball has power tilt and plus bite. It is a hammer and even better, he throws strikes with it. Hitters generally swing and miss at it or they gey locked up and can't swing. He did not throw many change-ups, but Blair is developing some feel for that pitch. Likely a pitcher only after high school, Blair can swing the bat and has good power to all fields. He makes hard barrel contact and has strong hands. He ran 7.25 in the 60. Blair committed to Univ. of San Diego but will likely have to make a decision in the spring, sign or go to school. Expect him to ratchet up his stuff into the 91-94 range by next spring with that big time breaking ball, which will put his name in consideration for the top few rounds.
Josh Smoker a 6’2/190 LHP from Calhoun HS and Sugar Valley, GA., might be the least talked about high profile prospect ever. All he ever does is win! He’s been doing that for years as the #1 pitcher in the East Cobb program. As a sophomore he was pretty much a finesse type guy who threw in the 86-87 range with great stuff and pin point control. It was fun watching him carve up the best hitters in high school baseball. Then last year as a junior, Smoker’s finesse was tossed aside as he started putting up some high numbers on the radar gun. It took him a month or so to harness this new found velocity, but by the end of the year, it was the same finesse lefty except now he was armed with a mid 90s fastball. Add his athletic ability and extreme competitiveness and you have a real big package. For sure, there is no one in the PG organization that will make the mistake of underestimating Josh Smoker. We’ve seen way too much of him to make that mistake.
Here is our report from the PG National last June
Joshua Smoker is a 2007 left hand pitcher/left hand hitting outfielder from Calhoun HS, residing in Sugar Valley, GA. Smoker has an athletic, strong build on his plus 6'2" 190 lb. frame. He is put together well now but will continue to physically develop. Smoker has long been recognized as one of the top pitchers in the '07 class and was ranked #10 among PG National Top 85 pitchers. What he did on the mound was impressive and what he did with the bat in BP was equally, if not more impressive. Smoker pitches from a high 3/4 slot with a long arm stroke. He creates excellent leverage on the backside of his arm arc and unfolds his delivery very well. He maintains good rhythm in his delivery and has a lower half that works to provide him with power, taking some pressure off his arm. Smoker's hips in particular really work for him. He has a classic delivery that will keep him healthy and performing consistently for a long time. His fastball was a tick or two up from what he was showing in a number of previous PG events, to the delight of the scouts. He was up to 92 and sat in the 88-91 mph range. Smoker's fastball has life in the zone and he keeps it on line. His arm stroke really gets Smoker on top of the ball and at the apex of that stroke his hand is in great position to pour his fastball downhill, which he does. He commands the bottom of the zone very well and also has the ability to work in and out. Smoker also has a tight, 74-75 mph curveball that is a plus pitch. That pitch has tight spin and he gets depth in the bottom of the zone, while being able to pitch with it to either side of the plate. Smoker's third pitch is a 79 mph change-up that has good arm side run. He has a plus three pitch mix and the savvy, moxie, and pitchability to use his repertoire effectively. Basically he is the most polished left hander in the '07 high school class. Though he is a primary pitcher, Smoker can really hit. His BP was one of top BPs at PG National. He made consistent plus contact with an easy swing. The ball was flying off his bat with spin and carry. He was fluid and hit with little effort. That BP alone would make him a prospect to follow with the bat. Smoker is an athletic pitcher, evident with his 6.90 60 yard dash. He has committed to play at Clemson and is going to enter the spring as one of the high school left handers on the list of the crosscheckers and scouting directors.
Coming soon, more reports on the players from last year’s Perfect Game National.
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