LAS VEGAS- The 11th annual Team One National Showcase featured 33 of the best high school prospects for the 2003 Draft. It was a great weekend for all involved as 80+ scouts, including ten scouting directors were in attendance. With the Stratosphere and other Vegas landmarks visible in the distant horizon, UNLV made for a unique location.
We’d seen all of these players prior to the event with the exception of an Australian catcher (Kent Dixon). Still a lot changes, even over a few months. Lots more will change before June, but this event did allow another look.
When picking the Top-10, our staff (Jeff Spelman, Scott Zilmer, Stan Brzezicki, Carl Andrietta, and myself) struggled not so much with the very top, but the 6-10 range. Many other players were right on the fringe. And we’re sure that someone not in the Top-10 will end up a high draft and there could even be a future marquee big leaguer there.
Nevertheless, we settled on righty Jared Hughes as the #1 Prospect among five pitchers, four outfielders, and one shortstop in the Top-10. Six of the players, including Hughes, are from California.
TOP-10 PROSPECTS AT TEAM ONE NATIONAL 1. Jared Hughes, RHP, Santa Margarita (CA) HS
Hughes is 6-6 and will show a lot of mid-90s. He was throwing 93-95 MPH the first inning and still at 91-93 MPH by the third. His fastball is no straight job, either, Hughes gets a downward plane from his high altitude and can also make it “run”. It might be the best fastball in the nation. Hughes’ curveball is coming along and his change-up has all the makings. Refinement of his command will make him very interesting and a possible first-ten overall pick. Hughes is committed to Santa Clara.
2. John Danks, LHP, Round Rock (TX) HS
Danks has the whole package for a lefty. He has the size (6-2, 190), arm-strength (88-90 MPH), one of the nation’s best downer curveballs, and a polished change-up. On top of that, his pitchability and command is like a veteran’s while his delivery and arm-action are smooth and effortless. Danks showed a good left bat and ran a 6.9 60 yd making him a possible two-way player for Texas if he goes the collegiate route. It’s a loaded draft for high school lefties and Danks can pitch with any of them.
3. Asher Demme, RHP, South Lakes (VA) HS
Demme has a live arm and a lot of pitchability. He struggled with command on Saturday but came back strong on Sunday. Demme threw 89-91 MPH with his fastball, showing the ability to run, rise, or sink it. His curveball is a two-plane breaker with knockout punch potential. Few HS pitchers have as good command of their curve.
4. Alex Boston, OF, Bartow (FL) HS
A rare five-sport physical specimen, Boston won the 60 yd race-off against Colin Curtis and also showed a strong arm from right field. Though his technique is crude at the plate, he still managed to hit the elite level pitching. The 6-2, 230 Boston has tremendous upside and repetitions, hard work, and good coaching could bring it out.
5. Colin Curtis, OF, Issaquah (WA) HS
Boston won the race-off, but Curtis had the two fastest times, twice running the 60 yd in under 6.6 seconds. That’s just the beginning of his baseball skills; Curtis has a short lefthanded line-drive stroke and a rightfielder’s arm to go with center field range. Curtis is physically mature at 6-0, 190, and may not have a lot of natural projection, but his present-day tools are hard to top. Curtis is committed to Arizona State.
6. Ryan Muller, RHP, Live Oak (CA) HS
Muller might have the best arm-strength after Hughes, showing velocity in the low-90s at times. He also has a buckling two-plane curveball and a lot of competitiveness. Muller is slight physically (6-1, 160) which makes his velocity so surprising. With maturity and added strength down the road, he could be all the better. Muller’s signed with San Francisco.
7. Sean Henry, SS, Armijo (CA) HS
Henry showed slick defensive skills, a strong arm, “plus” speed and a quick bat. He has all the makings of a top-of-the-order shortstop, which is precious to find. Henry could be one of the first fistful of shortstops to be drafted next June.
8. Danny Perales, OF, Mater Dei (CA) HS
No one showed a sweeter swing than the lefthanded hitting Perales. But more than being a five o’clock hitter, Perales is polished and makes the adjustments. He showed an easy athleticism in all of his actions and will probably become a “plus” outfielder in time. Perales is committed to Southern California.
9. Josh Butler, RHP, San Ramon Valley (CA) HS
Committed to San Diego, Butler has an intriguing overall package with good size, arm-strength, and the makings of a “plus” slider. His mechanics are good as is his pitchability. Butler throws in the 88-90 MPH range and teases with more upside.
10. Jim Rapoport, OF, Chaminade (CA) HS
Rapoport has very steady tools across the board that defy his small frame. He has the intensity to flourish at Stanford, where he has signed early. Rapoport swings a quick lefthanded bat with line-drive power. He also has the run-and-throw skills to be a pro prospect at any outfield position.