An Early Look at the Right-Handed Pitchers in the 2017 Draft

This is a series of scouting thoughts on high-school prospects eligible for the 2017 MLB Draft based on observations from summer showcases. Today’s positional group is right-handed pitchers. Links to other positional groups appear below.

Previous editions: Catchers / Corner InfieldersMiddle Infielders / Center FieldersLeft-Handed Pitchers.

Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (CA)

Height: 6’4, Weight: 200, Commitment: UCLA

This kid might go 1-1 and he’d be the first high-school righty in the history of the draft to do so. His fastball is absolutely electric, sitting in the mid-90s and touching as high as 98 with good extension and movement that plays in the zone. I think Greene’s heater would be effective in the big leagues right now and, though the rest of his repertoire is middling, his body and athleticism make the entire package worthy of top-of-the-draft considertation.

Green’s slider tilts in anywhere between 77-83 mph. It has been inconsistent, mostly a 40 on the 20-80 scale for me, but occasionally flashing plus. The best I saw it was at Area Codes, where it was consistently average and playing above that because he was locating it so well. I think it’ll be an effective weapon down the line considering Greene’s makeup and athleticism, but of which are superlative.

Greene’s changeup is well behind his other offerings, as he barely has reason to throw the thing (why throw high-school hitters something at 88 mph when you can blow 98 past them at will?), but it too has significant projection because of his arm speed.

I’m buying into Greene as a candidate for the top pick in next year’s draft despite what are currently raw secondary offerings. Athletes like this are rare in baseball, let alone on the mound, and we’re likely to see progress in one or both of Greene’s offspeed pitches when he’s a senior next spring — and there’s a chance we see more velocity, as well.

Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)

Height: 6’3, Weight: 190, Commitment: TCU

A repertoire that’s as explosive as it is deep has Baz firmly in the first-round picture heading into the fall. He was consistently 90-93 and touched 94 this summer with an average slider in the 84-88 mph range that flashed plus several times at various events and projects there at maturity. I thought Baz’s low-80s changeup flashed plus, as well. His voluptuous repertoire is rounded out by a mid-70s curveball that has solid-average depth and bite.

I like that Baz’s four-pitch mix is not only robust for a teenager but also demarcated. There’s clear separation between the slider and curveball in both velocity and in movement, which I think highlights Baz’s advanced feel for both offerings.

Though Baz’s control is comfortably below average, he is an above-average athlete and two-way player who was slated to play third base for a bit in the Under Armour All-American game before rain squashed those plans. I think he’ll eventually have at least average command and, if he can surpass that projection, then we might be talking about No. 2/3 starter upside here.

Jeremiah Estrada, RHP, Palm Desert HS (CA)

Height: 6’1, Weight: 182, Commitment: UCLA

Though a bit undersized, Estrada is extremely loose, athletic and generates significantly more downhill plane than most pitchers his height because of his vertical arm slot. It can be difficult for pitchers with such an extreme slot to execute to both sides of the plate or generate any horizontal movement on their pitches. The ones who are often able to overcome this are often great athletes and I think Estrada is one. His fastball has been up to 94, he’s shown a plus changeup and has even flashed an above-average breaking ball with some two-plane movement despite that vertical slot. He has a chance for three plus pitches if that breaking ball keeps coming along, and I’m relatively unconcerned about his size.

Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS (MN)

Height: 6’4, Weight: 195, Commitment: Florida

Carlson has several traits that allow for significant projection of his stuff. He’s well-built, broad-shouldered and should add plenty of useful mass to his frame into his twenties. He’s also exceptionally athletic and hails from a cold-weather state. Not only is Carlson’s arm implicitly fresh because of his geographic location but he has also taken measured care of his arm since dealing with injuries as a 12-year old.

Projecting on Carlson’s stuff is especially enticing because he already has a solid foundation on which to build. He was 88-90 and touching 92 at Area Codes with good extension and movement in the zone and throwing a moving changeup (that flashed 55) to both left- and right-handed hitters. He also has an average, upper-70s curveball. It’s more control than command right now, but Carlson had among the best present strike-throwing ability of all the Area Code pitchers and I think he could have plus control at maturity.

Three potential above-average pitches and plenty of strikes from a big, athletic body and low-mileage arm is worthy of sandwich-round consideration in my opinion.

Alex Scherff, RHP, Grapevine HS (TX)

Height: 6’4, Weight: 205, Commitment: Texas A&M

Scherff has first-round stuff and elite physicality, but it remains to be seen whether or not he has first-round control. He struggled to harness hit 93-97 mph fastball at several events this summer, though the fact that he’s throwing that hard at all is pretty impressive considering he was sitting 86-88 as a rising junior. Scherff told Baseball America that he dropped about 40 pounds after that and, as the weight disappeared, the fastball velocity materialized. Physical evidence of good makeup is rare but it appears Scherff has it.

His curveball, an 11-5 offering in the 73-76 mph range, is average and, while he doesn’t have much feel for locating or moving his changeup, Scherff at least does an excellent job at maintaining his fastball’s arm speed when he throws it. There’s some stiffness in his delivery which makes it difficult to project on the changeup, but good-bodied prep arms who throw 97 are typically off the board by round three even if they have some warts.

Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (CA)

Height: 6’4, Weight: 185, Commitment: Southern California

Crouse has a projectable frame and impressive current fastball/curveball combination that some argue plays up because of the same funky delivery that cannibalizes his ability to throw strikes, while others think he shows the ball. Crouse was mostly 90-93 for me this summer and touched 95, though his fastball has touched higher than that in the past. It was at its best early in his start at Area Codes, missing bats in the zone with considerable arm-side run. Crouse lost his delivery in the second inning of that start and began to experience the same strike-throwing issues that he did a few weeks earlier in his start in Chicago.

Crouse’s curveball, 72-75, has good shape, depth and flashes plus while being consistently average. I saw no changeups from him this summer which, in concert with his strike-throwing issues, makes him more likely to end up as a reliever than the names ahead of him on the list.

Nick Storz, RHP, Poly Prep (NY)

Height: 6’6, Weight: 245, Commitment: LSU

We saw a dominant Storz at Area Codes where he was competing in the strike zone at 91-94, locating where he wanted to and locating an average breaking ball at will. Those were some of the cleanest, most dominant innings of the event and, despite considerable raw power with a bat in his hand, I prefer Storz on the mound. His velocity was down a bit at PG All-American, mostly in the upper 80s, but that can be explained away by late-summer fatigue. As you can probably tell from Storz’s measureables, he doesn’t exactly offer much physical projection, but one could argue his stuff does because he’s a fresh, northeastern arm.

Other High School Right Handers of Note: 

Jordon Adell, RHP, Ballard HS (KY) (Video) – Adell is an outfielder and a potential top-10 pick because of his bat, but it’s worth noting that he was up to 93 at Area Codes and missing a bunch of bats with an above-average slider in the 81-83 mph range. He also has a fringe-average curveball in the mid-70s that has more vertical depth than the slider. It’s a solid package but not nearly as explosive as Adell’s offensive talent.

Tylor Fischer, RHP, Langham Creek HS (TX) (Video) – Fischer sat 91-93 and has impressive arm acceleration but there’s no average secondary right now and he has a considerable head whack.

Ben Jordan, RHP, West Carter County HS (KY) (Video) – Jordan was up to 93 at Area Codes and then was 87-89 at PG All-American a few weeks later. His fastball has considerable downhill plane created mostly by Jordan’s extreme height (he’s 6-foot-9) and the pitch has some sink as well. He has issues repeating (not uncommon for a high -chool pitcher this size) and the secondaries are raw, but he’s an interesting body/velo follow for next spring.

D’mond Lafond, RHP, Refugio HS (TX) (Video) – Lafond already has a Tommy John under his belt and was just 84-89 in his first Area Codes appearance, but he did flash an above-average curveball, threw harder in his second AC outing and is a projectable 6-foot-3.

Brandon McCabe, RHP, Forest Hill HS (FL) – (Video) McCabe has a high-effort delivery punctuated by an audible grunt at release. He’s wild but was up to 93 at Area Codes while flashing an above-average 12-6 curveball from an overhand slot.

Griff McGarry, RHP, Menlo School (CA) (Video) – McGarry was flashing an above-average slider at Area Codes and a fastball up to 92. He’s a moderately projectable 6-foot-2.

Chris McMahon, RHP, Rustin HS (PA) (Video) – The movement on McMahon’s fastball elicited audible reactions from scouts on the first day of Area Codes and indeed, despite average velocity, it was quite explosive because of its movement. McMahon was up to 93 but has been up to 95 in the past. He has well below-average control, a fringe-average curveball and very little changeup feel, but I think there’s arm strength worth nurturing here.

Cole Quintanilla, RHP, Cedar Park HS (TX) (Video) – He was only up to 89 for me at Area Codes but has a very projectable frame, good feel for a changeup and will break off an average curveball here and there.

Caleb Sloan, RHP, Regis Jesuit HS (CO) (Video) – Sloan has a big, sturdy frame and a pretty quick arm that produces a low-90s fastball with considerable downhill plane. He was up to 94 this summer but is generally 90-93. His slider feel is poor and he threw several 30 and 40 grade breaking balls both at Area Codes and PG All-American.

John Stroman, RHP, La Cueva HS (NM) (Video) – Up to 92 just this past weekend, Stroman combines solid-average velocity with feel for spinning a sweeping curveball and a moving, low-80s changeup. Both hover around average and can be easy to identify out of Stroman’s hand because of arm deceleration.

Boyd Vander Kooi, RHP, Skyline HS (AZ) (Video) – Vander Kooi’s fastball only sits 86-91 but he’s a projectable 6-foot-5 and should add more velocity as he fills out, which will pair nicely with his delivery’s extension. He throws strikes, is a solid athlete (some scouts like him better as a third base) and already has an average changeup and fringe-average slider.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Francoeursteinmember
5 years ago

I want Vander Kooi to become a star just because of his name.