Draft : : State Preview
Wednesday, May 08, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Virginia

Frankie Piliere        
Photo: Perfect Game
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 scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.

Virginia State-by-State List

While it’s not an overwhelming class, Virginia’s crop of talent this spring offers an interesting variety of choices for teams. There’s a chance that the state could have their first high school pitcher taken in the first round since the Brewers took Jeremy Jeffress 16th overall in 2006. And, the most recognizable schools in the state, like Virginia Tech, Virginia, Liberty, and Richmond, all have players that are drawing interest in the top five rounds.

What has boosted this crop, however, is the spring performances of many of the top players. Connor Jones entered the season as a highly touted arm, but has seen his stock skyrocket this spring as he’s turned in one impressive performance after another in front of large crowds of scouts. The same can be said for players like Chad Pinder and Josh Richardson, who have answered questions and seen their stock steadily rise through the spring. In a year where many touted players around the country have faded for one reason or another, Virginia has seemingly been the home of players improving their draft stock.

Virginia is also showing signs of being a state on the upswing, as programs like the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech both boast impressive underclass talent, and more high school talent appears to be on the horizon. Outfielder Derek Fisher at Virginia looks like one of the next year’s elite players, and prep arm Jacob Bukauskas is already making an impression as a top 2015 draft talent. And, No. 6 ranked Virginia in Perfect Game’s May 6th national rankings, is setting themselves up to be a powerhouse for years to come.

Prep pitchers
WEAKNESS: Group 1 College pitching
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Patrick Henry Community College
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Scott Silverstein, lhp, Virginia.
It’s been a long and winding road for Silverstein as a prospect. He was a Perfect Game All-American way back in 2007. After opting to go to Virginia, Silverstein did not pitch for the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons following shoulder surgery. Since then, he’s slowly made his way back and has had an outstanding year as a redshirt senior. His fastball has reached 94 mph, and when you couple that with his 6-foot-6 frame, it makes him an awfully intriguing commodity.

WILD CARD: Artie Lewicki, rhp, Virginia.
Lewicki seemingly made a rapid recovery from Tommy John surgery, returning this spring just eight months following his procedure. But, his elbow has acted up again somewhat and he’s seen limited action for Virginia. He was reportedly in the low-90s upon his return, and if that’s the case, it will be interesting to see just how scouts evaluate his talented arm.

Best Out-of-State Prospect, Virginia Connection:
Bobby Wahl (attended West Springfield HS
Top 2014 Prospect: Derek Fisher, of, University of Virginia
Top 2015 Prospect: Jacob Bukauskas, rhp, Stonebridge HS, Ashburn


Draft History:
Justin Upon, SS, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake (2005, Diamondbacks/1st round, 1st pick)
2008 Draft: David Adams (3rd round, New York Yankees)
2009 Draft: Andrew Carraway (12th round, Seattle Mariners)
2010 Draft: Jarrett Parker (2nd round, San Francisco Giants)
2011 Draft: Danny Hultzen (1st round, Seattle Mariners)
2012 Draft: Eddie Butler (Supplemental 1st round, Colorado Rockies)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 0/0
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 4/4


Best Athlete:
Ryan Cordell
Best Hitter: Chad Pinder
Best Power: Tyler Horan
Best Speed: Ryan Cordell
Best Defender: Ryan Cordell
Best Velocity: Connor Jones
Best Breaking Stuff: Eddie Campbell
Best Pitchability: Scott Silverstein


GROUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. CONNOR JONES, rhp, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake
Jones has been a known commodity for some time now and starred at last year’s Perfect Game National Showcase. But, the right-hander has taken another step forward this spring, reaching 96 mph with his fastball and showing a better feel for his off-speed pitches. In terms of performance, he’s been nearly flawless for Great Bridge High School. Over his first 31 innings of work, Jones did not surrender an earned run. He’s consistently worked at 90-94 mph and has placed himself firmly in contention for the back of the first round. For more on Jones, click here for David Rawnsley’s Perfect Game Draft Focus feature.

2. CHAD PINDER, 3b/ss, Virginia Tech (Jr.)
In a draft class full of high risk college players, Pinder makes a compelling case in the early rounds as a safe bet. The 6-foot-2, 192 pound infielder has been a consistent performer for Virginia Tech for three years now, and placed himself on the map as an elite draft pick last summer in Cape Cod. A third baseman with excellent hands and range, Pinder may profile better up the middle, specifically at second base, as a pro. He’s more of an average hitter than a player who is going to put up big power numbers, and he certainly has the skill set to play up the middle. His swing is short and quick to the ball, and he’s proven he can recognize and handle quality breaking pitches. He’s also shown scouts an excellent batting eye and a decent rate of contact. He’s a step above average speed-wise as well. That well rounded skill-set, plus another high quality spring in 2013, should keep Pinder inside the top two rounds in June.

3. ANDY MCGUIRE, 3b, James Madison HS, Oakton
McGuire has battled the injury bug, specifically a hip problem that lingered early last year. But, since last summer, McGuire has impressed scouts with his all-around polish and professional feel at the plate. As it turns out, however, McGuire’s hip problem required surgery last summer to repair a partial tear. A Texas commit, McGuire has been mentioned as high as a sandwich round pick this June, but most likely will be taken between the second and fourth rounds. He’s had an opportunity to show improved mobility this spring now that he’s fully healthy, and he’s showing the skill-set to potentially play shortstop at the next level. He has above average arm strength and the hands for the position, but his body type indicates that third base may be his eventual home. McGuire shows some pull side power, but is mostly a gap type hitter right now. But, his bat control and strength would indicate that he’s going to develop some additional power down the road. Another thing scouts have been drawn to is McGuire’s make-up, as he scores high marks for his game approach and attitude on the field.

4. ALEC GROSSER, rhp, T.C. Williams HS, Alexandria
Grosser's name has begun to come up more frequently this spring, as he’s impressed scouts with improved velocity and consistency. His fastball has been up a tick this spring to 89-93 mph and he has reached as high as 94. His projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame is also enticing to scouts, as he shows solid athleticism as well. He works out of a high three-quarters arm slot with outstanding arm speed and shows some consistency with his delivery. The secondary stuff is still going to need to come along, as the breaking ball is still somewhat slurvy at this point at 75-77 mph. He’s had a strong spring and has seen the presence of scouts steadily grow at his outings. There’s some disagreement among scouts as to where Grosser belongs in the draft, but there are many that believe he’s a candidate as high as the third round. Grosser is committed to George Mason.

GROUP 2 (rounds 4-10)

5. TYLER HORAN, of, Virginia Tech (RS Jr.)
Horan couldn’t have designed a better summer for himself than the one he enjoyed in 2012. He tied the Cape Cod League record for home runs with 16, hit .342, and led the Wareham Gatemen to the CCBL title. Given his huge performance, there was a lot of talk about Horan potentially signing as a non-drafted free agent. He was a redshirt sophomore coming off a spring in which he hit .282 with 15 home runs for the Hokies, but wasn’t selected in June. But, he opened a lot of eyes on the Cape, showing a calm approach and easy left-handed power. There’s some stiffness in his swing, and scouts point to his limited profile that may end up putting him at first base as a professional. Horan has a very strong, mature, 6-foot-2, 232-pound frame, and that strength is very apparent when he connects. The strikeouts are going to be an issue, however, as he went down on strikes 41 times in 152 at-bats last summer. He’s been better on that front this spring, but it’s still something of concern. His body type may limit him, but a left-handed bat with 25 home run potential still projects to go in the top ten rounds.

6. RYAN CORDELL, of, Liberty (Jr.)
When you talk to scouts about Cordell, they talk about him more like a high upside high school talent than a college player. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound outfielder has 70 or 80 speed on the 20-80 scale, depending on which scout you talk to, and his wheels are a crucial part of his game. He shows outstanding range in the outfield, and also shows solid arm strength. The only real remaining question in his game has been his bat. Following up a freshman year in which he hit just .255, Cordell hit .301 with four home runs in 2012. He impressed scouts in the Great Lakes League last summer, where hit hit six home runs and stole 15 bases in 31 games. And, it’s that combination of power and speed that has him in contention to go in the top five rounds this spring. His performance has been sporadic, but he has continued to show that improved power stroke and ability to steal bases for Liberty. He’s a favorite of area scouts in the region, and someone is going to roll the dice on him regardless of his performance the rest of the way.

7. ANDREW BROCKETT, rhp, University of Richmond (Jr.)
Brockett had a chance to shine in the Coastal Plains League last summer, and not just by facing other Coastal Plains opposition. He had the unique opportunity to face off against the USA Collegiate National Team during their exhibition tour last June, and he didn’t fail to impress. He worked at 92-94 mph out of the bullpen, reaching 95 routinely with his fastball. He has a stocky frame and a delivery that will keep him in the bullpen, but the combination of that fastball and his slider could make an interesting weapon in the late innings at the professional level. He throws his slider at 81-84 mph, showing late dot-and-drop action. Those two pitches allowed Brockett to consistently miss bats last summer, and showing that type of stuff in front of a backstop full of cross-checkers and scouting directors sure didn’t hurt his cause. The 6-foot, 185-pound righty went on to rack up 10 saves for the Wilmington Sharks last summer, posting a 1.47 ERA along the way. As a result, he entered the spring as a very well known commodity, and he’s done a solid job of maintaining that status this spring. The velocity has been there, as he’s reportedly reached 96 mph, but scouts have looked for his slider to be more consistent so he can miss more bats. There are times where he can become reliant on that plus fastball, and he can be successful as a one-pitch guy, but he’ll need that consistency in the slider he showed last summer to thrive at the professional level.

8. EDDIE CAMPBELL, lhp, Virginia Tech (Jr.)
Campbell is somewhat of a perplexing case. For those who saw his raw arsenal in the Cape Cod League last summer, and even into this spring, you’d expect him to be one of the top left-handed pitchers in the nation. As it turns out, however, Campbell has a 7.76 ERA through his first 10 appearances this spring. The 6-foot, 195-pound southpaw has worked primarily out of the bullpen, but has made a few starts, and continues to show a high quality arsenal. The results have just not been consistent. More than anything, it’s been a lack of control that has torpedoed his ability to pitch consistently, as he’s walked 20 batters over 26 2/3 innings of work. While he did run into command problems last summer, it was far less of a problem. He walked 12 batters over 36 innings, striking out 44 in the process. Despite his shaky spring, his arsenal keeps him in the picture in the first 10 rounds. Campbell throws his fastball at 90-92 mph and is capable of reaching 93-94 in shorter stints. He also flashes an above average curveball at 79-81 mph with late, sharp 11-to-5 action. It’s a swing-and-miss offering when his command is on. His fastball will also get him some swings and misses - he hides the ball very well in his delivery and his velocity plays up somewhat as a result. Most of Campbell’s problems look to be mechanical, as he tends to drift forwards out of his balance point, and he then misses consistently high and out of the zone. Because of his two above average offerings, he still may go as high as the fourth round. If he can show some performances a little closer to what he showed last summer down the stretch, his stuff would indicate he could go even higher.

9. BRYCE HARMAN, 1b/lhp, L.C. Bird HS, Chesterfield
In his young career, Harman has made a habit of defying expectations. When you first look at Harman, you see a 6-foot-6, extra long frame, and you wouldn’t expect his bat to be as polished as it is. Make no mistake, there’s some length to that swing and some mechanical adjustments he’ll need to make at the next level, but Harman has performed exceptionally well against top competition and proven that his hit tool is legitimate. His frame and plus arm also make him extremely interesting on the mound, where he works at 87-91 mph with his fastball. But, his powerful left-handed swing and ability to lift the ball probably make him a more intriguing offensive commodity at this point. He has solid bat speed and is only going to get stronger, so there’s a lot of projection involved as well. There is not a consensus among scouts on where Harman might be drafted, but anywhere between rounds 4-9 seems realistic at this stage. Harman is committed to East Carolina.

10. JACK ROBERTS, rhp, James River HS, Richmond
Roberts has seen his velocity rise a tick or two this spring, and with that his stock has also been on the rise. Working from a three-quarters slot, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound righty sits mostly around 89-91 mph, and has touched 92-93 consistently this spring. Given his athletic, projectable build, scouts project that Roberts should eventually be able to live in the low-90s. He has a long arm action, but manages to hide the ball fairly well as he dips his back shoulder in his delivery. He repeats his delivery very well, and has shown that he can provide a steady diet of strikes. His approach is an aggressive one and scouts have come away impressed with his mound demeanor and presence. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress, but the word is that his curveball has been more consistent this far. Thrown at 73-77 mph, he struggled at times to command it last summer. Roberts is a true projection case, not just because he has room to grow, but because of that athleticism and present ability to repeat and throw strikes. Roberts is committed to the University of Virginia.

11. AUSTIN NICELY, lhp, Spotswood HS, Grottoes
Nicely’s stock has been on somewhat of a roller-coaster ride this spring. Early on, scouts were seeing higher velocity numbers than we were used to seeing from the left-hander, as he was reaching 91-92 mph. Given his projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, that landed him some top three round buzz. Since then, he’s settled more around the 86-89 range, topping out at 90. But, as was the case last summer, Nicely has impressed with his advanced feel and command of his secondary pitches. He’s a legitimate three-pitch high school arm with a fairly consistent delivery. Without the present velocity, he will likely fall in the 4-6 round range, but, he could go as high as the third round if he flashes low-90s velocity again in the weeks leading up to the draft. Nicely is a Virginia commit.

12. SCOTT SILVERSTEIN, lhp, University of Virginia (RS Sr.)
The route to this point has been far from traditional for Silverstein. A once highly touted high school lefty out of St. John’s College High School, major shoulder surgery derailed his progress at Virginia for more than two years. But, now he’s back and looks better than ever. He’s worked at 89-93 mph with his fastball, topping out consistently at 94 mph. He produces a good downward plane with his 6-foot-6 frame, and he’s shown outstanding control throughout this spring. His feel for his secondary pitches is also advanced. Although Silverstein is going to be one of the oldest players to be drafted this year, he does not have a depth of experience given all the time he missed. So, there’s still some upside to work with. His powerful left-handed arm is going to be very alluring, and he’s likely to go off the board between rounds 4-6.

13. JOSH RICHARDSON, rhp, Liberty University (RS Jr.)
Armed with a fastball in the 90-93 mph range, Richardson has made quite an impression this spring for Liberty. With scouts in the house to check out Ryan Cordell, Richardson has made the most of his exposure. After making just one appearance on the mound in 2012, he has been a revelation from the Flames here in 2013. Over 18 appearances, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound righty has compiled a 1.85 ERA and struck out 35 batters in 39 innings of work. He’s an athletic, fastball first type of right-hander who is still gaining experience on the mound, but he has routinely hit 94 mph this spring. That should be enough to get him drafted between the rounds 7-10 in June.

14. CHRIS BATES, lhp, University of Richmond (RS So.)
With the presence of Brockett and Chris Bates, Richmond has become somewhat of a scouting destination this spring. A 15th round pick out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers, Bates has enticed scouts with his projectable 6-foot-5 left-handed frame for quite some time now. He’s added some strength since then, and added to his fastball that worked at 85-88 back then. He’s worked in relief and in a starting role for Richmond this spring, and has produced mixed results. But, he has struck out 39 batters through 35 1/3 innings pitched, and it’s that ability that has caught the eyes of scouts this year. He’s consistently gotten into the low-90s this spring, and has flashed the above average breaking ball that impressed evaluators out of high school as well. His command hasn’t been consistent, but someone will likely take a flier in the 7-10 round range.

15. KYLE CROCKETT, lhp, University of Virginia (Jr.)
A career reliever in his time at Virginia, Crockett has known nothing but success and dominance. In his three seasons as a Cavalier, he has compiled a stellar 1.76 ERA over 130 2/3 innings of work, allowing just 95 hits and 24 walks while striking out 136 in that span. And, his junior year has been his most dominant yet. He has a 47-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 38 2/3 innings pitched in 2013, holding hitters to a .178 batting average. He does all that not with power, but with command and mostly finesse. Crockett’s fastball typically tops out around 90 mph, but his outstanding extension does allow that fastball to play up a bit. He’ll typically work at 88-89 mph with that fastball, and he spots it down in the zone exceptionally well. His gangly, 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame also has plenty of room to add strength, so it’s possible we’ll see that velocity rise in time. He also relies heavily on his breaking ball, which he’ll throw at two different speeds. One will come in at 77-79 mph with late downward action, and he’ll also show a slower variation at 72-74 mph to keep hitters off balance. He does an excellent job of inducing groundballs, and his location of his breaking ball is what makes him so dominant at the collegiate level. He’ll need that location at the next level to advance to and succeed in a big league bullpen, but he just might be the pitcher to do it without plus velocity.


ARTIE LEWICKI, rhp, University of Virginia (Jr.)
Lewicki’s arm health certainly complicates his draft stocks. But, at the same time, most probably wouldn’t have expected him to be in action at all this spring, and yet he’s managed to make two appearances for Virginia. Lewicki starred in the NECBL last summer before going down with Tommy John surgery, and showed undoubtedly the best raw stuff in the league. He worked at 93-95 mph with his fastball, routinely topping out at 96, and flashed a plus slider at 82-84 mph. If scouts are convinced that the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Lewicki can regain that type of arsenal once he’s fully recovered, there’s no telling how high someone may be willing to take him this June. The more likely scenario would seem to be that he ends up back at Virginia for his senior year, when he should be ready to make all his starts, but he will be interesting wildcard to monitor as the draft approaches. He’s still less than ten months removed from surgery, so we may not know for awhile if he’s back at full strength.

ANDRE SCRUBBS, rhp, C.D. Hylton HS, Woodbridge
At 6-foot-5, 260-pounds, Scrubbs stands out on the pitcher’s mound. And, his fastball topping out at 94 mph has stood out as well. A High Point commit, Scrubbs was not heavily active on the summer showcase and tournament circuit in 2012, and there has been some differing opinions on him this spring. He might be a little raw for pro ball right now, but the right team might have interest in him somewhere in the top 10 rounds.
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