Showcase : : Top Prospect List
Friday, August 14, 2009

East Coast Professional Showcase - Top 10 SS/2B Prospects

Anup Sinha        

TOP-10 SS/2B PROSPECTS

LAKELAND, Fla.--Perhaps the most surprising aspect of our Top-10 Middle Infielders is that there is not a single Florida player listed. The Sunshine State usually dominates this list and in the past the city of Miami alone would have three or four shortstops in the Top-10.

It’s partly testimonial to the lack of true prep shortstops in Florida this year, but also to the increase in such talent along the rest of the east coast. Perhaps it’s encouraging that the top two prospects are from New York (Mike Antonio) and Indiana (Justin O’Conner) while #6 is from Iowa (Kellen Sweeney) and #10 from Illinois (Brock Stewart). That makes it four out of ten from cold weather climates at the most athletic and repetition-demanding position on the field.

The state of Georgia is going to have a banner year for prep drafts in 2010 and has three players on the list.

It seems that most of the best athletes at the ECPBS were outfielders this year, but Antonio and O’Conner are notable exceptions. Behind the top two are a series of decent athletes who stand out more for their polish and all-around skills. To our estimation, Antonio and O’Conner stand the best chance of staying at shortstop all the way to the big leagues but it is no guarantee for anyone.

The rankings are based on the evaluations of myself and fellow PG scout Cliff Pastornicky. Listed heights and weights are as measured by the Major League Scouting Bureau in Lakeland last week.

TOP-10 MIDDLE INFIELD PROSPECTS AT ECPBS

1. Mike Antonio, George Washington HS, NY 6-1, 168 R/R

The New Yorker showed athleticism and tools across the board. He generated good bat-speed with a free and easy swing plus had the arm and range of a shortstop. Antonio showed an ability to handle the bat and when he fills out his wiry frame, he should add power as well.

2. Justin O’Conner, Cowan HS, IN 6-0, 180 R/R

O’Conner displayed the best infield arm at the event as well as the feet and hands to play the diamond’s toughest position. A powerful, compact stroke gives him the potential to become a big league run producer as well.

3. Zach Alvord, South Forsyth HS, GA 5-10, 173 R/R

Alvord was a player scouts couldn’t ignore because he kept coming up with big hits and big plays. The sure-handed Alvord has an average infield arm and average speed, both enhanced by excellent energy and instincts for the game. Committed to Auburn, Alvord is likely to get early draft consideration as well.

4. Steve Wilkerson, Pope HS, GA 6-1, 169 S/R

The switch-hitting Wilkerson projects as a speedy, high-average hitting second baseman with good range if at all comes together. He had some troubles with footwork and the routine play, but the tools are there for a future plus defender. Wilkerson ran a 6.70 60 yd.

5. Dickie Thon, Academia Del Perpetuo Soccorro, PR 6-0, 180 R/R

Thon is an aggressive swinger with a leg-kick stride and plenty of bat-speed. He also has some arm-strength and foot quickness on defense, but takes too long to get rid of the ball.

6. Kellen Sweeney, Cedar Rapids Jefferson HS, IA 6-0, 179 L/R

A very polished player, Sweeney doesn’t have any knockout tools but seems to do everything well across the board. A sore arm kept him from throwing his best, but he made all the plays and projects as a solid defensive MLB second baseman. Sweeney showed a solid line-drive stroke from the left side.

7. Joel McKeithan, TC Roberson HS, NC 6-2, 173 S/R

The long, lanky McKeithan is an average runner (6.93 60 yd, 4.22H-1 as LHH) with decent actions defensively. He’s a stronger hitter from the right side. The bat-speed and arm-strength are shy of MLB average right now, but McKeithan has lots of projectability for scouts to dream on.

8. Ty McFarland, Turner Ashby HS, VA 6-1, 166 L/R

Don’t be fooled by McFarland’s lanky build, there’s good leverage and pop in his lefthanded swing. McFarland showed a sound approach and he’ll just get better when he physically fills out. Defensively, McFarland showed an average arm but will probably end up a second baseman in pro ball.

9. Chris Triplett, Sandy Creek HS, GA 5-10, 180 S/R

Triplett seemed to play better than his tools, hitting two opposite field triples (as a RHH) in one of the games. He’s a lot more field-fast than his 6.94 60 yd indicates. Triplett has the hands and feet to play a good second base and line-drive power from both sides of the plate.

10. Brock Stewart, Normal HS, IL 6-2, 167 L/R

Stewart showed good actions for an infielder and looks like he can become a solid defensive second or third baseman. His approach at the plate is advanced and he even showed the ability to hit a good curveball. The slope-shouldered Stewart looks the part of a ballplayer in uniform.

Check back later as we finish our rankings with the top outfield prospects at the ECPBS.

 

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