Draft : : Prospect Scouting Reports
Friday, May 17, 2013

Draft Focus: Thomas Milone

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Perfect Game
Every weekday leading up to the 2013 MLB Draft, Perfect Game will be providing a scouting profile on a notable draft-eligible prospect.  Stay tuned to Perfect Game and be sure to visit the Draft Page for all of the latest info and reports pertaining to the draft.

Thomas Milone Perfect Game profile

Position:  OF
Height:  6-0
Weight:  185
Bats/Throws:  L-L
Birthdate:  Jan. 26, 1995
High School:  Masuk
City, State:  Monroe, Conn.
Travel Team:  CT Gamers
Commitment: Connecticut
Projected Draft Round:  2-3

Mike Trout was famously picked 25th overall in the 2009 draft, the 12th high school player taken that year. Many who do not fully understand the draft process and what goes into evaluating a 17-18 year old high school player have wondered how such a prodigious talent as Trout could have lasted that deep into what is turning out to be a good but not great draft class.

As background, the 11 high school players selected before Trout, in order of selection, include Donovan Tate, Matt Hobgood, Zack Wheeler, Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, Bobby Borchering, Chad James, Shelby Miller, Jiovanni Mier and Randal Grichuk.

While everyone was talking about Tate down in sunny Georgia as the class’s five-tool player, the real five-tool future star was up in cold, wet New Jersey that spring. Trout also spent a limited time on the showcase and tournament circuit that summer.

If that scenario is going to repeat itself this spring, the player who is the potential Mike Trout, the player scouts and fans look back and say, “What were we/they thinking when we didn’t pick this guy when we had a chance?,” that player might be Connecticut high school outfielder Thomas Milone.

Three things have conspired to keep Milone from being scouted as much as most of his peers across the country. The first is simply being from Connecticut, where the high school baseball season doesn’t start until mid-April, a time of the year where players are starting to get fatigued from playing and practicing for three months in states such as Florida or California.

The second factor is that Milone has not traveled outside the Northeast playing in the travel team environment, and there has been no opportunity to see him match up against national level competition except at two showcases last summer, the East Coast Professional Showcase and the Area Code Games. His only exposure to national scouts was literally a 10-day window in early August.

The third factor was that Milone is an incredible football player, perhaps not on the same level nationally as a Kohl Stewart or a Cord Sandberg in the 2013 draft class, but in his own right one of the most dominant players in the country.

Consider this; playing for a 10-2 Masuk High School team that has gone 34-3 over the past three seasons, Milone ran for 1,033 yards on 60 carries (17.5 yard per carry) and 19 touchdowns, caught 40 passes for 1,094 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaged 48 yards on six punt returns, three of which were touchdowns, also threw a pair of touchdown passes on option plays, made 42 tackles and intercepted two passes as a safety, and also served as his team’s punter.

I happened to be at both the East Coast Pro and the Area Code Games during that 10-day window to see Milone last summer and below are my notes from those two events.

(East Coast Pro): Star of the event. Tightly wound quick-twitch athlete, very strong, crushes the ball, one piece swing with some stiffness but ball just explodes. Has all the characteristics of a speed player, steals bases aggressively, big OF range, makes plays and performs. Don't know where he's been hiding. Would have been an All-American if he did this at the National Showcase.

(Area Code Games): Had a great BP, hits some absolute bombs where balls usually aren't hit at Blair Field, didn't do much in the games, was often overanxious and got self out many times, center field tools on defense, arm fringy ave.

The first thing that stands out about Milone for me from those two events was how hard he hit the ball and the way it came off the bat. His left-handed swing, as noted, was a bit stiff and one-piece but his bat speed was simply outstanding. He hit one ball in BP over the right-center field scoreboard at Blair Field, which is the first time I’ve ever seen that done in my dozen or so trips to Long Beach. When Milone squares a ball up, it’s loud contact similar to when Clint Frazier squares up a ball.

But Milone’s speed and the way he uses it also stands out. He only ran a 6.68 60 at the East Coast Pro, but he plays much faster than that on the baseball field and has reportedly run a 4.38 in the 40 during football workouts, which translates better to what I’ve seen on the baseball field. Milone has a quick initial burst that will enable him to steal bases and track down balls in the outfield at a very high level. He also plays the game with an energy level that is typical of a football type mentality.

While it is possible to compare Milone’s overall draft scenario to Trout’s, the comparison between the players isn’t especially appropriate. The best comparison might have been made just above, with Milone assuming the role of the left handed hitting Clint Frazier. One has to wonder if you switched the two and moved Frazier to Connecticut and Milone to Georgia three years ago whether you might have the same situation, only reversed.

In a few years we should be able to answer that.

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