High School : : General
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Florida HS All-Star Game notes

Eric Knott        
Photo: Perfect Game

Eric Knott had two stints in the big leagues as a lefthanded reliever with Arizona and Montreal in 2001 and 2003 respectively. He is a volunteer assistant coach at South Florida CC in Sebring, Florida, and worked at this past weekend’s Florida High School All-Star Game. Below are his impressions of the top prospects at the event. Knott’s work has also appeared on Baseball Prospectus.


Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game

The 35
th Annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association was played over the weekend in Sebring, Florida, in front of more than 60 scouts and player development personnel from the professional and college ranks. It was the last chance for some of the state’s top prospects to solidify their draft positions and/or make a final positive impression for professional scouts before this year's MLB draft on June 6-8. The event consisted of team workouts and the 60-yard dash on Thursday and two games on both Saturday and Sunday. Eighty-two of the Florida’s top high school seniors participated in the event.

(College commitment in parenthesis)

Position Players

SS Christian Arroyo, R/R, 6-1/185 (Florida):
Strong, physical infielder with great hands and a quick bat. Ran a 6.97 60. Showed good power during batting practice and carried that over into game situations with a double and a homerun over the two days. . Possesses a strong arm and soft hands in the field. Has good range and footwork around the bag. Should be a top 10 round draft pick and will contribute immediately if he attends Florida next year.

OF Jordan Austin, R/R, 6-0/190:
Athletic outfielder with plus speed. Displayed a nice, compact swing in both batting practice and game situations. Showed the ability to hit the ball with power to all fields. Has great body control and keeps the lateral movement in his swing to a minimum. He gets good jumps on balls in the outfield, has sufficient arm strength, and displayed plus speed on the basepaths. Hit an opposite field home run to right-center on Saturday and was the one of the most impressive players at the event.

SS Ben DeLuzio, R/R, 6-2/185 (Florida State):
Tremendous athlete who impressed scouts all three days of the tournament. Ran a 6.6 60, had a solid BP, and showed above average range and arm strength during defensive workouts. Possesses a quick bat with power. Homered to left-center Saturday and hit the ball hard in other at bats. Good instincts on the bases and stole frequently. Showed great range and arm strength during game situations. Has good instincts and footwork around the bag. Increased his draft stock at this event and has the potential to be an impact player at Florida State.

OF Brandon Diaz, R/R, 5-11/180 (Florida International):
Speedy outfielder with good baseball instincts and tools. Ran a 6.60 60-yard dash and ran the bases well during game situations. Hit the ball to all fields during batting practice and showed some power to his pull side. Gets good jumps on the ball off the bat and displays average/above average arm strength. Possesses all the tools necessary to contribute immediately at the college level and has the potential to develop into a solid prospect in professional baseball.

3B Ian Hagenmiller, R/R, 6-1/215 (Palm Beach State):
Strong, athletic infielder that has the potential to develop plus power in the future. Displays a compact swing with quick hands and good power to all fields. Decent speed for size and build. Showed solid footwork and good hands during infield/outfield drill sessions. Plus arm strength. Could develop into premium prospect with one year at Palm Beach State CC.

C Michael Hernandez, R/R, 5-10/185 (Nova Southeastern):
An under-appreciated prospect who showed very well at the all-star event. Displayed a quick, clean swing and gap to gap power during BP. Has potential to add more power as he ages. His best skills are from behind the plate. Has great footwork, quickness, and arm strength. Easily threw out a couple of runners during the games with a strong combination of plus arm strength and a quick release. Will be one of the best players at Nova Southeastern next year and has top 20-round potential in this year’s draft.

OF Nick Longhi, R/L, 6-0/208 (LSU):
Powerful outfielder who plays the game hard and has a great skill-set. Short, compact swing. Displays power to all fields and swings the bat with authority. Decent speed (7.18) and plus arm strength in the outfield.  Can make an impact right away at LSU and has the potential to be a solid player at the pro level. Also touched 90 on the mound.

SS Oscar Mercado, R/R, 6-2/195 (Florida St.):
Fastest player at the event. Ran a 6.46 60 and stole five bases in game situations. Plus speed that forced pitchers to alter deliveries and shift focus on him. Projectable pro body type that will add strength as he physically develops. Displayed soft, quiet hands and tremendous arm strength. Poor footwork affected his accuracy on throws to first base a couple of times. Footwork and hands are very solid on double play balls. Nice, smooth swing that projects for more gap power as he develops.  His speed and defense will allow him to make an immediate impact at the college level but his best baseball is still 5-6 years down the road. Has the potential to develop into solid major league shortstop if his bat develops.

C Brian Navarreto, R/R, 6-4/220 (Jacksonville):
Tremendous athlete who projects to add strength to his 6-foot-4 frame in the coming years. Excellent arm strength with a quick release and great footwork on throws to second and third base. Gets out quickly on bunts. Very polished behind the plate. Compact, short swing with decent gap-to-gap power. Will add power as he matures. If he signs he has the ability to develop into a top pro prospect. Will contribute immediately at Jacksonville University and has All-American potential down the road.

3B Tucker Neuhaus, L/R, 6-3/190, (Louisville):
On Thursday he showed all the tools necessary to be a top five round pick in this year's draft. He has nice, compact, and controlled swing that he uses to hit line drives to all-fields. Has great range, good footwork, and plus arm strength at third base. Due to limited at-bats during the season because of illness and injury, he struggled to adjust to top-quality pitching during game situations. He projects to gain significant strength as he matures.

OF J.B. Woodman, L/R, 6-2/190, (Mississippi):
Tall, rangy, athletic outfielder with good speed and plenty of room to gain strength in the future. Ran a 6.6 second 60-yard dash and showed above average arm strength during drills. Smooth left-handed swing with a slight uppercut. Showed good power in batting practice and had a few nice at bats in game situations.


RHP Taylor Blatch, 6-1/175 (Florida State):
Athletic pitcher that has a nice, compact delivery. Saw him get to 92 during his two innings of work. Repeats his delivery well and has good feel for pitching. Showed an ability to throw to both sides of plate and threw a couple sharp breaking balls with depth. Should only continue to improve and develop. Has the ability to pitch in high leverage situations and should be able to continue to do so as a freshman for the Seminoles next year and is a solid pro-prospect for this year's draft as well.

LHP Sean Brady, 6-0/185 (Florida): Excellent pitcher with a great feel for pitching and plus pitches in his repertoire. Pitched at 89-92 and located his fastball to both sides of the plate well. Did an excellent job of setting up hitters and was not afraid to throw his breaking ball behind in the count. Consistently showed a plus breaking ball with great depth and a late, sharp break. Will compete for a weekend rotation spot and will throw important innings for the Gators next year if he gets to campus.

LHP Alec Byrd, 6-3/190 (Florida State): Polished pitcher with a clean delivery, great body control, and an outstanding feel for pitching. Set up his pitches very well and made quality pitches ahead in the count to put hitters away. Fastball sat at 87-89 with good movement. Worked both sides of the plate with his fastball very well. Tall, athletic build and has plenty of room in frame to fill out and add strength. Possesses a sharp breaking ball with depth and a solid changeup. Potential to have a great college career and has legitimate pro potential.

RHP Tyler Danish, 6-0/170 (Florida): Extremely polished pitcher who consistently makes quality pitches with plus stuff. Showed a 90-92 MPH fastball with good movement and sink. Tremendous ability to pitch on the corners and at or below the knees. Plus breaking ball with sharp bite and good depth. Will continue to mature physically and has the ability to make an impact at the pro level. Will challenge for a weekend starter position from day one at Florida, although speculation is that he could become the Gators closer as well.

RHP Dane Dunning, 6-3/200 (Florida): Projectable pitcher’s body that will put on more weight as he matures. Pitched at 89-91 mph. Throws across his body and has tendency to close himself off sometimes. Has more velocity in arm as he continues to grow and improve his line to home plate. Showed above average 11-to-7 curveball with good depth and sharp break. Was not hit hard in his two innings of work. Potential to be a weekend starter down the road and could develop into a solid pro prospect when he chooses to start his pro career.

RHP Nick Eicholtz 6-4/175 (Alabama): Projectable pitcher with lanky body and long limbs. Good arm action and pitches at 90-92 with minimal effort. Has a good feel for pitching and moves the ball in and out with consistency. Pitched consistently at the knees and shows a breaking ball with depth and bite. Has the frame and skills to develop into a solid pro prospect with Major League potential and has the talent to be a dominant pitcher down the road in the SEC.

RHP Brett Morales, 6-0/185 (Florida): Outstanding athlete on the mound. Pitched at 90-92 during the event. Has a simple, clean delivery that he repeats well. Effortless arm action. Pitches with a low effort release. Showed a sharp breaking ball with depth that will improve with more coaching. Induced a lot of weak contact. The third of three Perfect Game All-Americans (Navarreto, Mercado) listed here who also has a very high ceiling.

LHP Scott Moss, 6-6/195 (Florida): Tall left-hander that throws from a three-quarters arm slot with decent depth to his fastball. Pitches to both side of plate well. Reached 91 during two innings of work. Sharp breaking ball that lacked the depth of some of the other left handed pitchers mentioned in this group. Threw a couple of nice back door breaking balls late in counts and displayed a good feel for pitching. Left handed hitters had poor swings off of him.  Has potential to develop into a solid left handed pitching prospect with increased physical development and the development of a more consistent delivery.

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