Draft : : State Preview
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Florida

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Jacksonville
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.

Florida State-by-State List

Florida scouts have high hopes for their state's crop every year, and with good reason, as the state can produce so many players that in some springs the area scouts are just scrambling to get everyone seen and evaluated. But if there was any word that could describe the collective scout's feeling towards the events of this spring, it would 'disappointing.'

The news started early when Florida right handed pitcher and 2009 PG All-American Karsten Whitson, thought to be a potential No. 1 overall pick for the 2013 draft two years ago, was lost for the spring with shoulder surgery. His teammate, Jonathon Crawford, a potential top five overall pick, mysteriously lost his dynamic stuff for much of the spring. A number of acclaimed high school bats suddenly went quiet, and no one really jumped out in the usually rich junior college ranks. One scout noted that Florida Gulf Coast has more projected top 10 draft picks than the Big Three (Florida, Florida State and Miami) combined.

Of course, Florida will still have an ample representation in the top 10 rounds of the draft and beyond. Jacksonville right handed pitcher Chris Anderson still looks like a potential top 15 pick, while high schoolers such as catcher Chris Okey, right-hander Tyler Danish and left-hander Sean Brady, among others, have had outstanding springs.

High school catching and power bats, college right handed pitchers
WEAKNESS: Lack of a standout/top of the 1st round prospect, underperforming high school bats
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 3

Florida State

Victor Caratini, c-3b, Miami Dade JC. This could have been a weekly award in the Florida prospect ranks, with a dozen potential award winners. No player has come further during the course of the spring than Caratini, who was undrafted out of Puerto Rico in 2011 and did not play college baseball last spring. The switch-hitter could even slip into the top three rounds for a team that feels comfortable with him defensively behind the plate and likes what they hear about his signability.

WILD CARD: Tucker Neuhaus, ss-3b, Wharton HS, Tampa.
Neuhaus has only played in a small handful of games this spring due to a bizarre series of illnesses and minor injuries, with the latest being a quad problem, but he has wowed scouts in workouts with his left-handed power potential. The problem will come with just how many scouting directors and high level cross-checkers have seen Neuhaus, a Louisville signee, and how secure they are in their evaluations. For the teams that know him the best, that could definitely mean top two round consideration.

Alex Gonzalez, rhp, Oral Roberts (Boca Raton High School)
Top 2014 Prospect: Nicholas Gordon, ss/rhp, Olympia HS, Windemere
Top 2015 Prospect: Thomas Szapucki, lhp, Dwyer HS, West Palm Beach


Draft History:
Chipper Jones, ss, The Bolles School, Jacksonville (1990, Braves/1st round, 1st pick); Alex Rodriguez, ss, Westminster Christian HS, Miami (1993, Mariners/1st round, 1st pick); Paul Wilson, rhp, Florida State U. (1994, Mets/1st round, 1st pick); Pat Burrell, 1b, U. of Miami (Phillies, 1998/1st round, 1st pick)
2008 Draft: Eric Hosmer, 1b, American Heritage HS, Plantation (Royals/1st round, 3rd pick)
2009 Draft: Bobby Borchering, 3b, Bishop Verot HS, Ft. Myers (Diamondbacks/1st round, 16th pick)
2010 Draft: Manny Machado, ss, Miami Brito HS (Orioles/1st round, 3rd pick)
2011 Draft: Francisco Lindor, ss, Montverde Academy (Cubs/1st round, 8th pick)
2012 Draft: Greg Zunino, c, U. of Florida (Mariners/1st round, 3rd pick)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 20/18
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 61/41


Best Athlete:
Cord Sandberg, of, Manatee HS
Best Hitter: Chris Okey, c, Eustis HS
Best Power: Zach Collins, c/1b, American Heritage HS
Best Speed: Josh Greene, of, Forest HS
Best Defender: Oscar Mercado, ss, Gaither HS
Best Velocity: Jonathon Crawford, rhp, Florida
Best Breaking Stuff: Chris Anderson, rhp, Jacksonville
Best Command: Tyler Danish, rhp, Durant HS


GROUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. CHRIS ANDERSON, rhp, Jacksonville University (Jr.)
Anderson was a virtual unknown coming out of a Minnesota high school in 2010 and hardly raised his profile during his first two years at Jacksonville. He began to attract scout’s attention last summer in the Cape Cod League and vaulted into first round status early this spring when his fastball was topping out at 96 mph to go with a present plus slider. Anderson’s past few starts have been a bit rough, taking a bit of the shine as a possible top half of the first round candidate off, but he seems like a secure bet to be the first Florida based player off the board. For his complete PG Draft Focus profile, click here

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