Scouts will be busy looking at 2014 Draft talent
Summer seasons for collegians, high schoolers about to get underway
It would be acceptable if the scouting staffs of all 30 Major League organizations got to catch their collective breaths after last week's First-Year Player Draft. But there is no rest for the weary.
The summer scene is already upon us -- the elite wood-bat, college-level Cape Cod League opens on Wednesday -- as scouts ramp up for a busy few months of summer leagues, showcases and All-America games. Their evaluations will not be for show. Scouting work this summer will help determine priorities of who to watch next spring. If a player gets hurt or the weather doesn't cooperate, what scouts see now can weigh heavily into a decision next June.
Just how busy is the summer schedule? It gets going right away, with the Cape Cod League opener on the college side and the Perfect Game National Showcase, which begins Thursday, for high school players. It runs until late August with the Under Armour All-America Game in Chicago. A look at a very busy few months for scouts:
June 12: Cape Cod League begins
June 13-17: Perfect Game National Showcase, Minneapolis
June 19-23: USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, Cary, N.C.
July 23-25: USA Baseball Breakthrough Series, Cary/Durham, N.C.
July 27: Cape Cod League All-Star Game, South Yarmouth, Mass.
July 31-Aug. 3: East Coast Professional Showcase, Syracuse, N.Y.
Aug. 5-10: Area Code Games, Long Beach, Calif.
Aug. 11: Perfect Game All-American Classic, San Diego
Aug. 24: Under Armour All-America Game, Chicago
That's the when. How about the who? Obviously, summer performances will go a long way toward determining any kind of rankings for the Draft Class of 2014. But here's a quick look at an early top 20 in terms of potential high-end talent.
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State: The Wolfpack are headed to the College World Series, and Rodon is a big reason why. Even after starting slowly, the big lefty has gone 9-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings. There is almost universal consensus that Rodon is the early choice to be No. 1 in 2014.
2. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt: Beede, who didn't sign as a first-rounder in 2011, is a Golden Spikes Award finalist thanks to a 14-1 record, a 2.32 ERA and a .187 batting average against.
3. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, Calif.: A two-time participant in the Under Armour game, Jackson has some serious raw power from the right side and is a good leader with an accurate arm.
4. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS, Fla.: This Florida prepster is very athletic with a ton of arm strength, using a clean delivery to fire fastballs that can touch the mid-90s to go along with a hard downer curve.
5. Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State: What's a Draft class without a top LSU arm? Nola was LSU's Friday starter this year, going 12-0 with a 1.68 ERA, striking out nearly a batter per inning while holding hitters to a .187 BAA.
6. Trea Turner, SS, N.C. State: He's a shortstop who can stay there, a leadoff hitter extraordinaire with plus-plus speed that allowed him to steal 84 bases in his first two seasons of college ball.
7. Nick Gordon, RHP/SS, Olympia HS, Fla.: The son of Tom and brother of Dee, Gordon is a legitimate two-way guy who can play shortstop and hit from the left side. He's athletic on the mound, too, with a low-90s fastball and a big curve.
8. Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego State: The 6-foot-6 right-hander's numbers this year weren't outstanding, thanks largely to some command issues, but he did strike out 109 in 95 1/3 innings and sported an upper-90s fastball at times.
9. Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville: It's not often a college closer gets ranked this highly, but Burdi reportedly hit triple digits during the 2013 season, striking out 61 in 34 2/3 innings.
10. Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS, Ga.: This year's Draft was partly about the outfielders in Georgia. Cease will make 2014 about pitching, as the right-hander has a loose, electric arm that touched 97 mph this past spring to go along with a good breaking ball and a feel for a changeup.
The rest of the top 20:
11. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, Calif.
12. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, Calif.
13. Michael Gettys, OF/RHP, Gainesville HS, Ga.
14. Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
15. Kel Johnson, OF, Home schooled, Ga.
16. Michael Kopech, RHP, Mt. Pleasant HS, Texas
17. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS, Tenn.
18. Jack Flaherty, RHP/3B, Harvard Westlake HS, Calif.
19. Mike Conforto, OF, Oregon St.
20. Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State