Handful of Arizona prep players on early MLB draft radar
Originally published: Jun 2, 2014 - 12:00 am
The 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft that opens Thursday (June 5) and continues through Saturday (June 7) isn't expected to be a gusty one for Arizona prep players. It's more likely going to be a light breeze.
However, if Baseball America is correct in its projections, the state may see three current prep players taken in the top 100. That would cover two-plus rounds with the second round concluding at pick No. 74.
Top concensus prospects from the state are Sahuaro pitcher Alex Verdugo, Brophy pitcher Ryan Castellani and Mountain Pointe shortstop Cole Tucker. Here's some background on them from the recently completed prep season:
Alex Verdugo (LHP-OF): Verdugo is projected No. 55 in its top 500 players by Baseball America. Verdugo is intriguing as a two-way player. He batted .532 this season and posted a 4-3 record with a 2.26 earned-run average.He struck out 93 batters in 52 2/3 innings and seems most scouts like him as a pitcher. That was on the heels of a 10-win season in 2013 with a 1.29 ERA. Most publications tout him as a second-round pick. There have been makeup issues that might give some teams pause, but he has a low-90's fastball and other pitches to go with it so if he does fall it may not be far. He has signed with ASU.
Cole Tucker (SS): Tucker is projected No. 83 by Baseball America. He's a switch-hitter, and scouts are impressed by has speed and above-average defense with the size at 6-3 to remain a shortstop as a pro with gap power. Tucker has signed with the University of Arizona.
Ryan Castellani (RHP): Castellani is projected No. 98 by Baseball America. He stands 6-foot-4 and features a fastball with sink the low 90s range. Scouts like his intangibles. Castellani has signed with ASU.
Spencer Moran (RHP): Moran, who played this season at Mesa Mountain View, is a bit farther down the list cracing Baseball America's top 200. At a lanky 6-3, he's No. 152 on BA's list. Has a fastball that touches 90 and is working on making other offerings plus-pitches. Has signed with the University of Utah.
Other former Arizona prep players listed in Baseball America's top 500 are Grand Canyon University pitcher Jorge Perez (La Joya Community HS) at No. 323; Arizona pitcher James Farris (Highland HS) #349; Arizona pitcher Tyler Parmenter (Cibola), a converted shortstop and outfielder at #417 and ASU infielder Drew Stankiewicz (Gilbert High) #442.
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