As the draft approaches on Monday night, we are going to be doing daily coverage each day leading up to the time when the Cincinnati Reds take the podium to announce their pick. Yesterday I shared some thoughts on the draft as well as links to scouting reports and thoughts on Hunter Greene, Kyle Wright and Brendan McKay – who seem to be the three options everyone believes the Reds will be choosing from.
Today I wanted to expand on some quick scouting reports on thoughts on a few more players that are ranked inside the Top 10 on every national draft ranking list. First we will start with MacKenzie Gore, a left handed pitcher out of Whiteville High School in North Carolina. Some evaluators have him as the #1 high school arm in the country, even ahead of Hunter Greene.
MacKenzie Gore Scouting Report
The left hander has solid size already, listed at 6′ 2″ and 180 lbs. There’s room for him to fill out that frame, too. He’s been pitching in the 90-94 MPH range most of the spring and has been able to flash up to 96 MPH. He throws both a curveball and a slider when it comes to breaking ball. His curveball flashes plus potential. It’s velocity is in the mid 70’s and shows 1-7 breaking action. His slider works in the low 80’s and flashes above-average at times. His change up also works in the low 80’s and can also flash itself as an above-average offering. He also pounds the strikezone, showing very good control for a high school pitcher.
Four pitches that all at least flash above-average with two of them that flash plus is a heck of a package to start out with. He’s a high school pitcher, so there’s risk involved in how long it will take him to reach the Majors, and how long his development will take to go along with making it through the gauntlet of staying injury free over that time. His mechanics aren’t exactly normal, but nothing jumps out at you as something that says there’s a reason to believe an injury is forthcoming because of them.
Personally, I’d rank MacKenzie Gore ahead of Hunter Greene, but will listen to both sides of the argument. Gore’s secondary pitches are all significantly more advanced than those of Hunter Greene and while he doesn’t throw as hard, the overall package as a pitcher is just better and it’s not as if he doesn’t have plenty of upside to go with the already advanced abilities he is showing.
Royce Lewis Scouting Report
Depending on exactly how you feel about Brendan McKay as a position player, Royce Lewis may be the top position player in the entire draft. The high schooler is listed at 6′ 2″ and 190 lbs. He’s currently a shortstop, though most scouts believe he’s going to wind up in center field as a professional, even if it takes a few years before he heads to the outfield. One of the best athletes in the class, he shows 5-tool potential that includes possible 80-grade, top of the scale speed. At the plate he shows very impressive bat speed and at least above-average raw power. While he was playing in California, where the competition level is high, he didn’t exactly dominate the competition like you would expect from someone that’s possibly the top position player in the entire draft.
The tools stand out for Lewis, but he was inconsistent at the plate during periods of time his senior season, too. If you can dream on the tools and believe that the lapses this spring were just a blip on the radar, then he’s a guy that could make sense at the #2 spot in the draft. He could be a shortstop of center fielder with 20+ home runs and elite speed who can hit for average.
Baseball America’s Updated Top 500
The guys at Baseball America have updated their Top 500 players in the draft. Scouting reports require a subscription to Baseball America, but the list itself is completely free. Not every player, or even half of the players have scouting reports yet, but many will have them added in over the next week. So be sure to bookmark the link if you want to check back in next week.