Top 2004 Prospects

1.  1B-LHP Luke French:  French didnít do anything to define himself as a better hitting or pitching prospect in Peoria.  He pounded a 400+ foot home run with wood at the plate and struck out 11 in 4 innings on the mound with an 89 mph fastball and good curveball/change up combination.  He did appear looser than weíve seen him in the past, which is a good sign.

2.  RHP Collin Balester:  Balester has a drawing board pitcherís body at 6-5, 190 and quality present stuff for a projectable pitcher.  He threw 88-91 mph in Peoria with a sharp mid-70ís curveball and did a good job maintaining his stuff.  Balester has a very high ceiling.

3.  RHP Henry Barrera:  For pure velocity and arm strength, no one touched Barrera at the PCI.  For that matter, not many of the hitters did either.  Barrera threw 3 innings on consecutive days and touched 93 the second outing and threw far more pitches above 90 than below.  Barrera flashed some good spin on a mid-70ís breaking ball but will have to work on getting more extension on this pitch.  Heís a strong young man who may throw even harder in the future.

4.  RHP  Steve Salas:  Weíd seen Salas at the PG National in June and he impressed us with what we thought was one of the best curveballs in the country.  It still is; a hard 77-78 mph hammer with sharp bite and excellent downward plane.  What impressed us this time is that Salas bumped up his velocity, touching 91 mph and pitching consistently in the high 80ís.  Salas isnít very projectable, but with two average to plus pitches, he doesnít need to get much better.

5.  RHP Ben Krosschell:  Krossschell may have had the quickest arm in Peoria.  He throws 88-90 mph with a somewhat cross body delivery that hides the ball well.  Krosschellís secondary pitch is a 78-80 mph slider that had good bite and was made more effective by his delivery.  At 6-0, 170, Krosschell isnít the biggest pitcher around by any means, but he has a young body and plenty of room to fill out.

6.  RHP-3B James Simmons:  Simmons showed us prospect tools both on the mound and as a hitter/infielder.  He has a very athletic, projectable 6-3 frame and smooth, easy actions everywhere on the field.  On the mound, Simmons touched 89 mph with his fastball and showed a very advanced ability to use his quality change up and curveball.  Despite limited experience at shortstop, he showed excellent hands and arm strength at that position and itís easy to see him as above average defensively at the corner.  His bat plays, too, especially as he continues to add strength.

7.  C Bryce Massanari:  Massanari is an intense competitor with very good tools both offensively and defensively.  He faced some good pitching in Peoria and had no problem turning with power and a short swing on 90+ mph stuff.  Massanariís arm strength is above average and we caught him a couple of times in the high 1.90ís in game situations.  His leadership qualities for the position appear to be outstanding.

8.  RHP Rene Garcia:  Garcia is a strong, mature young man with a powerful right arm.  He threw 87-90 mph for 7 innings and used a 77-79 mph slider with hard downer bite for his strikeout pitch.  He also threw a pretty good change up.  Garcia doesnít project out much but heís a workhorse and an intense competitor with three solid present pitches.

9.  RHP Kevin Biringer:  Biringer is the #3 starter on the powerhouse LaCueva (NM) HS team, which is a scary thought for other teams in New Mexico.  The 6-5, 185 lb. Biringer would be the #1 starter on about 99% of the high school teams in the country.  He showed us a 86-87 mph fastball, a quality low 70ís curveball and a polished ability to throw strikes.  Biringer is one of the most projectable pitchers youíll see anywhere and it will be fun to watch him develop.

10.  3B-OF Nick Evans:  The 6-3 Evans projects plus power with his bat down the road.  He hit 3 home runs in Peoria on professional fields and when he adds some strength to his lanky frame, the ballís just going to go further.  He has a very sound, confident approach at the plate that is intimidating to pitchers.  Evans still needs some work on his defense and could end up at any of the infield or outfield corner positions.

11.  3B-RHP Chad Murray:  Murray is a legit two-way prospect who definitely has a chance to both hit and pitch at the college level.  On the mound he throws 85-87 mph with a nasty curveball that will be a strikeout pitch for him.  Murrayís a strong, mature athlete who has good bat speed and enough quickness and arm strength to excel at third base.

12.  SS Nick Sanders:  Sanders is a very athletic shortstop with excellent body life.  He has average speed underway and very good first step quickness at shortstop.  Sanders arm strength is solid average and heíll have no problem playing the position at the next level.  Sanders approach from the left side is very opposite field oriented, but he showed surprising pop, driving some balls deep to left field in the air and hitting some shots over the shortstopís head.  If he could learn to use the whole field with that kind of authority, he could become an offensive force.

13.  OF Braden Wells:  Wells impressed more and more as the tournament progressed.  Heís got good strength at 6-0, 185 and has above average speed.  We got him at 4.15 down the line from the right side.  Wellsí strength gives him good bat speed with wood and he showed a balanced, sound approach at the plate.

14.  OF Curt Miaso:   Miaso is a strong, well rounded athlete with a pro baseball body.  He has some pop in his bat and throws and runs well enough to be a very good defensive right fielder.  There really isnít a weakness in his overall game right now and he has the chance to get much stronger down the road.

15.  OF R.W. Smith:  Smith is a live bodied centerfielder with some serious quickness to his bat.  He showed us the ability to drive the ball against top level pitching and he could develop some home run power in the future despite his 5-11 frame.

16.  C Reese Gorman:  Gorman didnít have the big physical frame of some of the other catchers in Peoria but he probably had better present skills, especially on offense.  He has an aggressive, compact swing with wood that will produce more than his share of doubles.  Gormanís defense is polished, especially in receiving the ball and moving side to side.  His arm strength is a tick below average but very playable in light of his other defensive skills.

17.  1B-RHP Dan Kozloski:  Kozloski is a power/power player, befitting a 6-4, 215 lb. young man.  He has some juice in his bat when he gets hold of a ball and hit a long home run in Peoria.  Kozloski also showed the same type of arm strength, hitting 88 mph with his fastball with the makings of a good curveball. Weíve had reports of his throwing in the low 90ís before.  Kozloski is also a top student who is being recruited by some of the top academic schools in the country.

18.  1B Brendan Quon:  Quon is a backwards player; a left handed thrower and right handed hitter.  Heís a very strong athlete, with a barrel chest and great hand strength to hit with wood.  Quon consistently drove the ball hard to all fields against all types of pitching and was among the top hitters at the event.  His hands and footwork around first base are very good but Quon will be limited to that position by his lack of good quickness.

19.  RHP Scott Mueller:  Mueller is a projectable 6-4, 180 lb. pitcher with solid present skills.  He touched 88 mph for us with his fastball and was as high as 76 mph with a good downer curveball.  Mueller does a good job with his mechanics and maintains an excellent downward plane to the plate.

20.  OF Sam Thomas:  Thomas was one of the strongest players in Peoria.  He absolutely crushed some balls and when he learns how to loft the ball a little more consistently, the home runs will start to come, even with wood.  We especially liked Thomasís approach to the game.  Despite his 6-2, 210 lb. size, he plays the game like a scrappy second baseman, hustling everything out, diving for balls and pumping up his teammates.

21.  OF Ryan Tanton:  Tanton had one of the strongest bats at the PCI.  He consistently hammered the ball into the gaps to both sides with a quick, aggressive swing.  Even when he didnít get good results, he produced quality at bats.  Tanton is a good athlete whoíll be able to play either corner outfield position well.

22.  1B Tyler Waddell:  Waddell is a big, strong young man who consistently showed us above average power in Peoria.  He hit a couple of balls in the 380-400 foot range to the middle of the field and showed good hitting skills for a power guy.  Waddell throws 83-84 mph off the mound and runs well for a big guy, so moving him to a more athletically challenging position is a definite possibility.

23.  SS-RHP Jeremiah Luster:  Luster is a strong athlete who could play any number of positions at the next level.  He has plenty of arm strength to play anywhere on the field and was consistently 87-89 mph off the mound as a reliever.  He showed a quick bat at the plate and flashed some power potential.

24.  RHP Stephen Smith:  Smith maintained his velocity better than any pitcher in Peoria.  He was 86-87 mph in the first inning, 86-87 mph in the 6th inning and maintained good sinking and running live on his fastball throughout.  Smith also showed a consistent high 60ís curveball that had a sharp downward break to it.  Heís a good athlete with a chance to get much better down the road.

25.  1B-RHP Nick Buchta:  Buchta has very good two-way skills that will enable him to play at the next level either in the field or on the mound.  He has a quick bat with gap to gap power right now that could develop into more power in the future.  Although Buchta is an agile first baseman, thereís no reason why he shouldnít be able to play other positions on defense, especially with his arm strength.  Buchta threw 87 off the mound a slider that had the makings of being a strikeout pitch at the next level.

26.  C Jett Ruiz:  Ruiz is an impressive physical specimen; 6-2, 205 lbs of solid muscle.  He has one of the strongest throwing arms in the country from behind the plate and showed the same type of arm strength from third base in Peoria.  Ruiz has the chance to have big time power with a bat in his hand, too.

27.  SS Jimmy Kono:  Kono was one of the smoothest shortstops at the Pacific Coast Invitational.  He had quick and sure actions on defense and made a number of impressive plays.  He also showed a quick, compact stroke at the plate and good speed on the bases.

28.  1B-LHP James Scott:  Scott is a tall, angular good looking athlete with a variety of strong baseball skills.  He impressed us with his raw bat speed and hitting potential as a first baseman, but also flashed good arm strength and the ability to spin the ball as a left hander on the mound.  Scott has committed to San Diego State .

29.  2B Michael Miller:  Miller had to leave the Peoria early due to illness in his family, much to the dismay of his Perfect Game Royal teammates.  Heís a deceptively strong player with good pop in his bat and a great approach at the plate.  Miller also showed us the ability to make all the plays at second base and we wouldnít be surprised if he had enough arm strength to play shortstop at times at the next level.

30.  C Chris Brehm:  Brehm is a strong player with an aggressive approach to the game and good athletic ability for a catcher.  He had good bat speed with some potential to develop some loft power in the future.  Brehmís catching skills were a little raw but he has the arm strength and athleticism to develop into a solid defensive catcher.  Brehm has a commitment to West Point, which says something about his makeup.


Top 2005/2006 Prospects

1.  SS Danny Espinosa:  Espinosa played shortstop on the USA National 16 Under team and itís easy to see why.  He has exceptionally quick feet, smooth hands and plenty of arm strength for the position.  Espinosa pulls off the ball at the plate but generates good bat speed with wood and the ball jumps off his bat. 

2.  C Landon Hernandez:  Hernandez was also a member of the USA National 16 Under team.  He is a physically mature young man who will have to watch his conditioning some as he gets older, but he also has very advanced tools for his age both offensively and defensively.  Hernandez has a rifle arm behind the plate and plus power potential with a bat in his hands.

3.  RHP Andrew Smith:  Smith is a loose armed 6-2 right hander with a smooth, effortless delivery.  His fastball velocity was in the 86-89 mph range but heís just scratching the surface of what he might throw down the road.  Smithís fastball also gets impressive late sinking life to it.  Heíll need some work on his curveball, which is presently a big mid-60ís bender, but itís just a matter of time before Smith is a top pitching prospect.

4.  OF Reid Engle:  Engle is a smooth swinging left hander who could have a special bat when he matures.  He already has enough power to take it out of the park with wood and shows advanced hitting skills as well.  Engleís athletic ability and arm project him as a right fielder in the future.

5.  OF-RHP Ryan Hanlon:  Hanlon is a slender, wiry athlete who projects well both on the mound and in the field.  He was 87-89 mph as a pitcher with a loose, whippy arm but if anything, Hanlon impressed us more with his bat speed.  He drove the ball hard and consistently with wood.

6.  1B-LHP Ike Davis:  We didnít get to see Davis much in Peoria because of conflicts with his class schedule (he missed 10 days of school earlier playing with the USA National 16 Under team) but liked what we saw.  Davis has a tremendous baseball body and projects huge power down the road.  We didnít get to see him on the mound, but Davis is the son of former big league pitcher Ron Davis and weíre looking forward to watching him there.

7.  RHP-1B Brian Budrow:  Budrow is a physically imposing young man at 6-4, 210 lbs and is every bit as strong as he looks.  He threw one of the best games of the tournament, sitting at 86-87 mph for 7 innings with a solid curveball and good command.  Budrow can also swing the bat a bit and hit a grand slam in the championship game.

8.  OF Ryan Stevens:  The left handed swinging Stevens had some of the best bat speed of any hitter in Peoria despite his age and slender build.  The ball leaps off his bat and heís just going to get stronger.

9.  1B-OF Doug Blum:  Blum caught our attention with his powerful bat, but he also touches 86 mph off the mound.  Heís just a well rounded athlete with plenty of potential at multiple positions.

10.  RHP Cory Burns:  Burns is still on the raw side with his mechanics and command but he showed us a very live arm, pitching at 87-89 mph with a curveball that flashed plus spin and bite to it.

11.  OF Cameron Smith (í06):  The only 2006 player on the underclass top prospect list, Smith has a very smooth, projectable left handed swing thatís capable of driving the ball with wood right now.

12.  3B Josh Potter:  Potter showed us a very advanced bat with some pop in it and solid defensive skills.  He has a chance to play second base at the next level, which would just highlight his offensive skills.

13.  LHP Trevor York:  York is a very projectable southpaw at 6-2, 165 lbs. who already has advanced pitching skills.  He was 82-84 mph on his fastball and mixed in a 75 mph slider and 70 mph change up well.  York has that ability at a young age to make hitters swing and miss at any of his three pitches.

14.  2B Garrett Yoder:  Someone forgot to tell Yoder that 5-9, 155 lb. 16 year olds arenít supposed to driving the ball all over the park with wood.  Yoder generates surprising bat speed and hits with a ton of confidence.  He also runs well and took a turn on the mound and threw 83-85 mph.

15.  3B Cody Decker:  Decker was a hitting machine in Peoria, driving the ball consistently to all fields with a short, quick swing.  He projects better physically at second base but played third exclusively when we saw him.

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