Draft | Prospect Scouting Reports | 5/25/2018

2018 MLB Draft Reports: 201-250

David Rawnsley         Jheremy Brown         Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Mateo Gil (Perfect Game)

2018 Perfect Game MLB Draft Preview Index

Top 500 Prospects (list/Insider): 1-100 | 101-200 | 201-300 | 301-400 | 401-500

Top 500 Prospect Reports
(Premium): 1-50 | 51-100 | 101-150 | 151-200 | 251-300 | 301-350 | 351-400 | 401-450 | 451-500

201. Richie Palacios
, ss, Towson (JR)
L-R, 5-11/180, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Previously Drafted: Never Drafted

Towson's shortstop, Richie Palacios has been on the radar for a while as a high-performing collegiate middle infielder, and he's hit over .300 every season of his college career. This year he sacrificed some average to add some power, and finished the season with a career-high OPS of .972 with career highs in doubles (18) and home runs (8) to go along with 25 stolen bases and a preposterous 52-to-16 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He's a lithely-built athlete with good speed and athleticism, and scouts are optimistic about his chances to hit in the future thanks to good balance through his stroke and good overall barrel feel. He's added power this year and still has some room to add strength on his frame, but he's unlikely to hit for much home run power at the professional level. He's athletic enough to play shortstop but his arm strength may push him to second base, or perhaps in a super-utility type of role at the next level. 

202. Dominic Pipkin
, rhp, Pinole Valley HS
R-R, 6-4/170, Pinole, Calif.
College Commitment: California

Pipkin has a chance to be one of the hardest throwers in the very hard throwing 2018 high school pitching class once he reaches physical maturity. Along with his long and slender 6-foot-4, 170-pound build, Pipkin has a very loose and tension-free arm action from a low effort delivery and the ball comes out of his hand very easily. He topped out at 96 mph last summer, although he wasn't able to hold that type of velocity for very long, generally pitching more in the 90-93 mph range. He's been much the same this spring, but few doubt there is a consistent plus fastball in his future. Aside from just getting stronger and more physically mature, there are two things that Pipkin will need to do to be successful at the next level. First is developing a solid and reliable secondary pitch. He currently throws a low-80s slider that tends to break early and flat at times. The second is to throw more consistently to spots with both his pitches instead of generally aiming for the middle of the plate. Pipkin’s performance this spring bears this out. He has gone 4-6 with a 2.12 ERA in 11 starts and 46 total innings. While he's struck out 88 hitters, mostly with his overpowering fastball, Pipkin has also allowed 43 hits and 21 walks, both very high numbers for an elite level high school pitcher.

203. Damon Casetta-Stubbs, rhp, Battle Ground HS (Wash.)
R-R, 6-4/195, Vancouver, Wash. 
College Commitment: Seattle

Casetta-Stubbs really burst onto the scene this spring as an athletic, projectable righthander whose stuff has taken a large step forward. He's done a very good job of adding mass and strength to his frame, and is now more physical than lean. He's worked into the mid-90s this spring, touching as high as 96 mph on scouts' guns, and has also sharpened up his slider to where now it's viewed as a potentially above average pitch. He's done a good job of throwing strikes as well, and has a chance to go well before where his ranking may reflect. 

204. Austin Cox, lhp, Mercer (JR)
L-L, 6-3/205, Forsyth, Ga.
Previously Drafted: Never Drafted

The Friday night ace for the Mercer Bears, Cox is a bit of a unique prospect as he has a full arsenal, but what stands out to scouts is his potential for two plus pitches in the future. Working up to 95 with a hammer curveball, Cox carries significant reliever risk due to strike-throwing concerns, however the stuff is legitimate and he could be a dominant reliever in professional baseball.

For more on Cox check out his College Player Database scouting report with video here.

205. RJ Freure, rhp, Pittsburgh
R-R, 6-1/205, Burlington, Ontario
Previously Drafted: Never Drafted

A draft-eligible sophomore this June, Freure has been a critical piece out of the Panthers’ bullpen as he has made a team-high 25 appearances which have spanned 55 innings, showing his durability and stamina. Freure, who is strongly built with a power reliever’s profile at 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, has been just that for Pitt in 2018 with a fastball/curveball combo that he has used to collect 90 punchouts on the year while limiting opponents to a .230 average. While Freure has been used almost exclusively out of the bullpen this spring, his delivery isn’t an up-tempo, high effort type often associated with power-armed relievers, and in fact he has just the opposite with a simple, balanced delivery that you’d be more likely to find in a starting arm. The velocity comes easy for Freure as he’ll work in the 92-95 mph range with his heater and he holds it well over his multiple inning stints. A separator for Freure from other hard throwing bullpen pieces in the ACC however is his plus curveball, a hammer of a pitch that offers 12-to-6 shape and late bite.

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