Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Washington

Todd Gold        
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.

Washington State-by-State List

While not widely viewed as a hotbed for producing draft talent, the state of Washington has fared quite well at the top of the draft historically. Boasting 13 first round picks, the state of Washington has produced the sixth most first rounders all-time. This year the state place add at least one more first rounder, as high school catcher Reese McGuire seems firmly entrenched in the first round at this point in the draft process. Gonzaga lefty Marco Gonzales and high school right-hander Dustin Driver also have a shot at joining McGuire as top 50 picks, with Gonzales expected to join McGuire in the first round.

The high school ranks boast not only a first rounder in McGuire, but also a bit more depth than usual. Driver is easily the top pitching prospect in the state and provides a very respectable No. 2 high school prospect behind McGuire, and the group is rounded out by catcher Logan Ice, right handed pitcher John Pomeroy and left handed pitcher Layne Bruner. It's similar depth amongst the high school ranks as the past two drafts have featured, suggesting an improvement in the caliber of player development in recent years.

The college ranks are down however, with the exception of Gonzaga, which has ascended to become the top program in the state. The schools two Pac-12 conference representatives have both struggled this year both in terms of on-field performance and in developing high end draft prospects. But overall the high school depth and impact at the top make it a relatively strong year for a state that has historically outperformed both it's reputation and climate.

 High end prospects
WEAKNESS: College position prospects
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4

 Gonzaga University

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Elliot Morris, rhp, Pierce CC. 
While it took him awhile to figure it out, Morris put the pieces together at the right time and has elevated himself into a strong top five round candidate, with a chance to go as high as the third round, as a result. His fastball reaches the mid-90s at times and he pitches comfortably in the 91-93 range and has backed it with a good slider to carve up juco hitters this spring.

WILD CARD: Dustin Driver, rhp, Wenatchee HS. 
He showed plenty of promise last summer, with one of the top performances of the Area Code Games and a good outing at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in Petco Park. The hope was that extra reps and work on his secondary stuff would yield a putaway breaking ball to round out the profile. His fastball is a legitimate big league pitch right now, having been up to 95 and showing the ability to spot it up to both sides of the plate, and he's never been shy about using it to brush back hitters. He's still working on polishing his promising breaking ball.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Washington Connection:
 Matt Boyd, lhp, Oregon State
Top 2014 Prospect: Branden Kelliher, rhp, Lake Stevens HS
Top 2015 Prospect: Brendan Illies, c/rhp, Puyallup HS


Draft History: Mike Lentz, lhp, Juanita HS, Kirkland (1975, Padres/1st round, 2nd 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, 17th pick)
2011 Draft: Jeff Ames, rhp, Lower Columbia JC (Rays/1st round, 42nd pick)
2012 Draft: Clint Coulter, c/1b, Union HS, Camas (Brewers/1st round, 27th pick)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 6/4
High School Players Drafted/Signed:


Best Athlete: 
Reese McGuire, c, Kentwood HS
Best Hitter: Reese McGuire, c, Kentwood HS
Best Power: Kainol Ahsing-Kaahanui, 1b, Shoreline CC
Best Speed: Travis Slaybaugh, of, Washington State
Best Defender: Reese McGuire, c, Kentwood HS
Best Velocity: Dustin Driver, rhp, Wenatchee HS
Best Breaking Stuff: Marco Gonzales, lhp, Gonzaga
Best Pitchability: Marco Gonzales, lhp, Gonzaga


GROUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. REESE MCGUIRE, c, Kentwood HS, Covington

An elite defender behind the plate, McGuire is widely considered to be the best backstop to come through the draft since Austin Hedges earned $3 million as a second rounder of the Padres in 2011. While Hedges is McGuire's peer in terms of elite defensive prowess, what especially sets McGuire apart is the fact that he is also a high level hitting prospect. While the bat isn't quite up to the lofty standards of his highly athletic receiving and impressive catch-and-throw skills, McGuire has a loose swing with good bat speed and athletic swing actions from the left side. He can more than hold his own offensively in the professional ranks, with a chance to develop the kind of power that could make him an elite minor league prospect over the next few years, having already shown solid in-game power for a high school prospect to go with an advanced hit tool. The question isn't whether or not McGuire will hear his name called during the televised portion of the draft (first 50 picks), but how high.  Read more about McGuire in David Rawnsley's Draft Focus feature.

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