After looking at local prospects, as well as examining popular hotbeds, Georgia and North Carolina, it’s time to stretch out the search, from Hawaii to Florida. Here are five more prospects to take note of in advance of Thursday’s 2014 MLB Draft.
Kodi Medeiros, LHP, HI HS
Another somewhat polarizing prospect, Kodi Medeiros attends high school in Hawaii, which presents a real nightmare for scouts who have to go give him a look. The athletic lefty came to the states during the summer and showed some electric stuff at the Perfect Game All American Classic, where he displayed three pitches, two of which earned at least plus grades.
Medeiros generally sits in the low 90s with his fastball, but from his almost sidearm slot, it has excellent run and sink away from righties. He can touch 95 MPH with it and locates it fairly well. His slider is unfair at times, with Frisbee action in the high 70s. Medeiros can start it at a lefty batter’s hip and have it end up in the right-handed batter’s box. He also throws a changeup with some fade and sink and has added a cutter this spring.
Medeiros’ size, 6’1 and 180 pounds, and arm slot gives some scouts pause, thinking he’ll wind up a reliever as a pro since righties will be able to see his stuff so soon. However, the quality of his stuff and depth of his repertoire gives him the chance to be an effective starter after he’s drafted.
Cameron Varga, RHP, OH HS
Cameron Varga is another personal favorite, with an ideal pitcher’s frame, low to mid 90s fastball, plus curve and athleticism. The Dodgers took Chad Billingsley out of Defiance, Ohio in 2003, so there’s some history between the club and the state.
The main knock on Varga is his age. Because he changed schools when he was younger, he’s a year older than most high school seniors and will turn 20 shortly after the draft. There’s also some effort in his delivery that will have to be toned down. However, he’s got the athleticism, size, good stuff and bloodlines (his father was a professional basketball player in Europe) to have a chance to develop into a solid starter.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Tyler Beede was drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays in 2011 but couldn’t agree to a signing bonus and honored his commitment to Vanderbilt. Now a junior, Beede’s stuff is on par with most first rounders in this class, but he’s had problems harnessing it.
The 6’4 righty can sit in the low to mid 90s with his fastball, has a good changeup and a power curveball in the low 80s. His main problem, however, is throwing strikes. In a late May start, Beede walked five and left the game after hitting two batters.
The stuff is legit and has a chance to be plus across the board, but it’s not going to work if he can’t get it over the plate consistently. Beede could be a top-10 pick or fall to the back of the first round. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens come draft day.
Foster Griffin, LHP, FL HS
Foster Griffin doesn’t have the dominating now stuff that other pitchers on this list have, but his ability to command an average fastball and throw a good changeup, along with some projection left in his frame, is intriguing.
The southpaw will sit anywhere from 88-92 and it has good life on it. He throws it to both sides of the plate with ease and it comes in on a nice downhill plane. The changeup is his go-to secondary offering and he’s also shown an average curveball.
Not the typical power arm or repertoire that the Dodgers generally look for in the first round, but the present stuff, command and projection are good enough to warrant a long look.
Forrest Wall, 2B, FL HS
Another Floridian, Forrest Wall profiles as a second baseman due to the fact that he suffered a shoulder injury in his throwing arm three years ago that apparently hasn’t fully healed. He could be the highest drafted prep second baseman since 1987 if he goes in the first two rounds.
Wall is one of the best pure hitters in the draft, with a line drive stroke from the left side. He has some power, but a modest build at around six foot. Wall is also a very good runner and could move to center field if his shoulder ever fully heals, though keeping him at second would still retain his offensive value.
He reminds me of Blake DeWitt, whom the Dodgers selected 28th overall in 2004. Wall is a little bigger with better speed, so taking him six slots earlier 10 years later could make sense.
Yasiel Puig’s Top Five Plays