In the weeks leading
up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview
of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as
well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the
state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as
well as providing mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
Washington State-by-State List
of Lefthanders Lead Impressive Crop of Washington Pitching Prospects
How much do the Tampa Bay
Rays like Washington high-school baseball players?
Obviously, quite a bit if
the 2010 draft is any indication. Washington had three premium prep
players a year ago and the Rays quickly scooped up all three of
them—Bishop Blanchet High outfielder Josh Sale in the first round,
Central Kitsap outfielder Drew Vettleson in the supplemental first
round and Highland High middle infielder Ryan Brett in the third
The Rays could make an
even bigger statement this year of their affinity for Washington
state talent as they own 10 of the first 60 selections in the draft.
But it may depend on their preference for position players or
pitchers. If they want to make another run on hitters, then they may
be barking up the wrong tree.
Like last year,
Washington has plenty of legitimate candidates for the early rounds,
but almost every top prospect this time around is a pitcher. In fact,
the first nine names listed below are all pitchers, if two-way
prospect Dylan Davis is included at that position.
especially, is in plentiful supply as the state’s three best
prospects overall—Adam Conley of Washington State, Blake Snell of
Shorewood High and Ryan Carpenter of Gonzaga—all throw from that
side. The lefthanded theme is particularly evident throughout the
Pacific Northwest this year as two of Oregon’s top three prospects
fall in that demographic.
Though two of the top
three prospects in Washington are college players, the strength of
this year’s draft class is clearly at the high-school level. A
talented Shorewood High team alone has three potential picks in the
top 10 rounds, led by Snell, who has emerged as the dominant prep arm
in the state. Through his first 56 innings this spring, Snell was
8-0, 1.00 with 118 strikeouts. In his most-dominant outing of the
season, he threw a two-hit shutout against Oak Harbor High, walking
none and striking out 19.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound
Snell has seen a significant spike in his velocity, up to 94 mph,
along with improved command of the pitch and a better breaking ball.
His changeup has always been considered a solid third pitch.
As dominant as Snell has
been on the mound for Shorewood High, he’s really been no more
dominant than his teammate, 6-foot-4, 225-pound first baseman Trevor
Mitsui, has been at the plate. Mitsui has mashed the ball at a lethal
.712 clip with 13 homers through 24 games. He had also drawn 42 walks
(many of them intentional), and struck out just once.
For all the progress that
Snell, in particular, and even Mitsui have made as a prospect this
spring, one of their pitching mates, projectable 6-foot-5 righthander
Kevin Moriarty, may have made more. Moriarty, Shorewood’s No. 3
starter, doesn’t have the dazzling results (3-0, 1.43, 29 IP/43 SO)
to show for it, but his fastball has been up to 93, and his breaking
stuff ranks with any pitcher in the state.
Together, Snell, Mitsui
and Moriarty led Shorewood High to 22 wins in its first 24 games, and
a spot in the state 3-A semi-finals. Snell and Mitsui are both
committed to Washington, but Snell’s obligation is considered much
more tentative than Mitsui’s, which should pave the way for him to
be the first prep player drafted.
Redmond High also has a
pair of high-end prospects in Davis and outfielder Michael Conforto,
but there is less buzz among Northwest scouts on them because both
have college offers from Oregon State, and appear to be among the
most-unsignable players in the elite group of Washington prospects.
They may end up becoming little more than courtesy picks in the later
Davis is a significant
two-way talent, and would continue to go both ways in college, but
scouts are divided whether he has a higher upside at the plate, or on
the mound. He has made greater strides as a hitter (.427-10-35) as he
has had ongoing difficulty throwing strikes consistently with his
mid-90s fastball, and scouts question his overall feel for pitching.
Davis walked 54 in 47 innings, while going 7-2, 3.40.
Conforto was scouted mostly for his bat this spring, but opened some
eyes as a possible pitching prospect as he had considerably more
success on the mound than even the more-established Davis did. As
Redmond High’s closer, Conforto posted four saves while striking
out 26 in 12 innings. He didn’t allow a run gave up just one hit.
Projectable Newport High
righthander Kole Wiper may be the most-established prep pitcher in
Washington, and he only solidified his status this spring as a
potential third- to fourth-rounder with a low-90s fastball and solid
While Wiper and most of
the state’s other top high-school players were on the radar of
scouts before the start of the 2011 season, two previously-unknown
players, Skyview High righthander Kody Watts and Edmonds-Woodway High
catcher/first baseman Austin Jones, made big strides this spring,
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound
Watts was actually held in higher regard for his skills as a
quarterback, especially with a fastball only at 86-88 mph last
summer. He then missed most of the football season last fall with a
knee injury, however, and when he came out this spring throwing up to
93-94 mph, his stock as a baseball prospect quickly took off. He has
surged up draft lists. Another late bloomer has been Jones, whose
impressive raw power from the left-hand side attracted significant
Almost all of the best
high-school talent in Washington is concentrated in the western half
of the state, especially in and around Seattle. Conley and Carpenter,
meanwhile, do most of their work in the extreme eastern portion of
the state, and drew heavy scouting traffic all spring. Despite their
lofty draft rankings, neither has been consistently dominant at
various stages of the season, and they have drawn mixed reviews. In
the process, the draft stock of both appears to have slipped
The 6-foot Conley has
been primarily a reliever to this point in his career, but was
stretched out this spring as a starter. While he didn’t flash the
mid-90s velocity as a starter that he routinely did in a closing
role, Conley may have become a more complete pitcher as he was forced
to use all his pitches. His fastball, both a four-seamer up to 95 and
a two-seamer with excellent sinking action, is still his best pitch,
and he has excellent command of it. He still profiles as a closer in
the long run, though, as his highly-competitive approach and somewhat
violent delivery seem better-suited for the role.
The 6-foot-5 Carpenter
has an ideal pitcher’s frame and has flashed a fastball as high as
97 mph in the past, but his velocity was often as low as the high-80s
this spring, causing some scouts to have second thoughts on his true
draft value. Carpenter’s fastball has resided mostly in the 88-92
mph range, and yet like Conley may have benefitted by becoming a more
complete pitcher. He sacrificed velocity for better, more polished
After Conley and
Carpenter, there is a significant drop in the Washington college
talent. WSU outfielder Derek Jones may have done the most to help
himself by consistently showcasing his raw power against some of the
better power arms in the Pac-10 Conference, often in front of large
numbers of scouts. Cougars first baseman Taylor Ard (.326-8-51)
posted better overall numbers than Jones (.274-8-30), but never
really heated up at the plate until near the end of the season.
Senior righthander Cody
Martin (2-1, 0.91, 11 SV, 49 IP/60) had a fine season as Gonzaga’s
closer, but as a mid-sized righthander with an average fastball he
may become only a moderately-higher pick this year than he was a year
ago (Twins/20th round).
University of Washington fell out of favor as a baseball presence in
the state after the departure of future two-time Cy Young Award
winner Tim Lincecum in 2006. The Huskies appeared to be making
impressive strides in re-tooling the program with a new coaching
staff in place for 2010, but much of that momentum was lost this year
when the team was hit with a couple of crippling injuries to
potential mid-round draft picks (OF Caleb Brown, broken femur; RHP
Tyson Schmitt, broken leg), and a notable academic suspension (RHP
Andrew Kittredge) to one of the team’s best arms.
Aaron West, though, proved a pleasant surprise after missing the 2010
season with Tommy John surgery, and could conceivably forge his way
into the top 10 rounds. The Huskies were only 17-34 entering the
final weekend of the 2011 season, and dead last in the Pac-10 at
6-18, just ahead of the Cougars (24-27, 8-16 in Pac-10).
colleges rarely get their due nationally, mainly because they are not
affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association, but
they continue to pump out their share of draftable talent, with both
6-foot-5, 210-pound Lower Columbia righthander Jeff Ames and 6-foot,
160-pound Green River righthander Cody Hebner candidates to go in the
top 10 rounds.
Though the pitchers
differ greatly in physical stature, both are capable of running their
fastballs into the mid-90s (Ames has peaked at 97). The two also had
remarkably similar records as starters this spring (Ames was 6-1,
2.34, 73 IP/20 BB/86 SO; Hebner was 6-1, 1.62, 74 IP/28 BB/88 SO),
but profile as relievers in pro ball.
Because of its somewhat
remote location, tucked away in the Northwest corner of the country,
Washington is rarely thought of as one of the nation’s best
But Washington high
schools are credited with producing 298 draft picks in the seven-year
period from 2004-10. That kind of production puts the state in elite
company. Only California (1,951), Florida (1,160), Texas (1,047) and
Georgia (452), all prominent Sun-Belt states, can claim a distinct
advantage. Overall, Washington ranks seventh among all states as a
high-profile high-school crop should only add to that impressive
Washington in a
(1-to-5 scale): 4.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM:
Shorewood HS, Shoreline.
PROSPECT ON THE RISE:
Kody Watts, rhp, Skyview HS, Vancouver. Better known as a
quarterback until injuring a knee playing football last fall, Watts
made a meteoric rise up draft boards this spring when he committed to
baseball and his fastball jumped from 86-88 mph to 90-94. His slider
also became a dominant second pitch.
PROSPECT ON THE
DECLINE: Spencer O’Neil, of, Southridge HS, Kennewick. As a
junior, O’Neil might have been Washington’s best high-school
prospect in the 2011 draft class. But he is still growing into his
lean, 6-foot-4 frame, and his power potential never evolved as
expected this spring. Having been passed by a number of his peers,
O’Neil is destined now to play in college at Oregon and could
emerge as legitimate prospect for the 2014 draft.
WILD CARD: Dylan
Davis, rhp/of, Redmond HS. Davis has excellent two-way potential,
but scouts remain as divided as ever on whether his greater upside is
on the mound or at the plate. With a 95-mph fastball, Davis is very
intriguing as a pitching prospect, but he has a long way to go to
improve his control after walking 54 in 47 innings. Another
complicating factor in establishing Davis’ draft worth is a strong
commitment to play in college at Oregon State.
PROSPECT, Washington Connection: Cal Towey, of, Baylor (attended
high school in Bellevue).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT:
Dylan LaVelle, 3b/rhp, Lake Stevens HS, Everett.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT:
Dustin Driver, rhp, Wenatchee HS.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Mike Lentz, lhp, Juanita HS, Kirkland (1975, Padres/1st round, 2nd pick).
2006 Draft: Tim
Lincecum, rhp, U. of Washington (Giants/1st round, 10th pick).
2007 Draft: Clay
Mortensen, rhp, Gonzaga U. (Cardinals/1st round, 36th pick).
2008 Draft: Christian
Scholl, rhp, Green River CC (Angels/8th round).
2009 Draft: Kyrell
Hudson, of, Evergreen HS, Vancouver (Phillies/3rd round).
2010 Draft: Josh
Sale, of, Bishop Blanchet HS, Seattle (Rays/1st round,
Trevor Mitsui, 1b/3b, Shorewood HS, Shoreline.
Best Power: Derek
Jones, of, Washington State University.
Best Speed: Dylan
Davis, of/rhp, Redmond HS.
Michael Conforto, if/of, Redmond HS.
Jeff Ames, rhp, Lower Columbia JC.
Best Breaking Stuff:
Kevin Moriarty, rhp, Shorewood HS, Shoreline.
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS
ONE and TWO
ONE (Projected ELITE-Round Draft /
ADAM CONLEY, lhp, Washington State University (Jr.)
as starter to become a complete pitcher, but stuff/makeup better
suited to close; + command of 95 FB.
BLAKE SNELL, lhp, Shorewood HS, Shoreline
6-4/190 LHP; + downhill angle, 89-91 FB/T-94, OK SL, CH best
off-speed; 8-0, 1.00, 56 IP/118 K’s.
RYAN CARPENTER, lhp, Gonzaga University (Jr.)
LHP (6-5/230), dominant arm; ++ when on his game, struggles with
mechanics, FB velo.
JEFF AMES, rhp, Lower Columbia JC (So.)
RHP, loose/power arm; FB routinely at 95-97 when used in short role,
power SL solid No. 2 pitch.
COLE WIPER, rhp, Newport HS, Bellevue
frame, fast/compact arm; 89-92 FB, but straight; +sharp/nasty SL at
83, also has big downer 78 CU.
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
KODY WATTS, rhp, Skyview HS, Vancouver
QB before 2010 knee injury, blossomed on mound with 89-93 FB, power
CU, split CH; has high ceiling.
KEVIN MORIARTY, rhp, Shorewood HS, Shoreline
6-5/175, long arm action; 87-90 FB/T-92, raw off-speed, No. 3 starter
on ++ HS team (3-0, 1.43).
DYLAN DAVIS, of/rhp, Redmond HS
prospect; + bat (.427-10-35), ++ OF arm, 6.8 in 60; FB at 96, limited
feel for pitching (47 IP/54 BB).
CODY HEBNER, rhp, Green River JC (So.)
arm in thin/wiry frame; very competitive, attacks zone with 91-93
FB/T-96, + SL/CH; profiles reliever.
MICHAEL CONFORTO, if/of, Redmond HS
strong at 6-1/200, LH bat with big swing, ball jumps, but doesn’t
square up enough; + versatile in field.
DEREK JONES, of, Washington State University (Jr.)
frame; + power to all fields, even with new college bats; LF type,
average speed, fringe arm.
SPENCER O’NEIL, of, Southridge HS, Kennewick
LH swing, projects + hit/+ power, just not strong enough yet; Oregon
signee, high 2014 draft.
TREVOR MITSUI, 1b/3b, Shorewood HS, Shoreline
RH bat, + swing mechanics, overpowers balls, + 2011 season
(.712-13-26, 42 BB/1 SO); 1B or 3B.
AUSTIN JONES, 1b, Edmonds-Woodway HS, Edmonds
bloomer; big raw power attracted wave of scouts; position is
uncertain, C in HS, 1B/OF at next level.