20-80 Word Scouting Reports, 2017 MLB Draft Part 12

Previous entries in this series:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Now the twelfth installment in a series of scouting reports on players for the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. As always, observations are a mix of my own and various scouting services:

Hans Crouse – RHP
6’4, 185
B/T: L/R
Draft age: 18.8
Dana Hills HS, CA
Commitment: Southern California

The most entertaining player in the draft. Wacky mechanics and a wacky personality to match. Also happens to own one of the best fastballs, which sits at 94-97, among any player in the draft. Velocity is accentuated by the way he’s able to hide the ball. Even varies delivery ala Johnny Cueto. Slider and changeup both need work and there’s worry he’s a reliever due to delivery and work needed on offspeed.

Jacob Gonzalez – 1B/3B
6’4, 210
B/T: R/R
Draft age: 18.11
Chaparral HS, AZ
Commitment: TCU

Son of long time big leaguer Luis Gonzalez. Big right handed bat with big time pop to match. Has shown improved aptitude for making adjustments at the plate between last spring and this spring, but questions about hitting for average remain. His arm and glove at third are both lacking, though arm might play in left field. A move to first is more likely. He’s a below average runner as well.

Asa Lacy – LHP
6’4, 198
B/T: L/L
Draft age: 18.0
Tivy HS, TX
Commitment: Texas A&M

The type of kid that could well turn into a top college draft pick in a few years. Lacy throws in the high 80s, touching 91 with close to an overhand delivery that produces great plane on his fastball. Potential for plus command. His changeup already flashes above average. Key will be developing curveball, which given the nature of his mechanics, is an optimistic outcome.

Evan Skoug – C
5’11, 200
B/T: L/R
Draft age: 21.7
Junior at Texas Christian
Last drafted: 2014, 34th round (Washington)

Suffered through an awful slump to begin the season, which all but eliminated him from first round contention. Skoug packs a punch in his compact frame, flashing power to all fields with a short, quick stroke. His defense may or may not pass muster at the next level, though he’s on the short side for a first baseman if he has to move there.

Garrett Cave – RHP
6’4, 200
B/T: R/R
Draft age: 20.10
Junior at Tampa
Last drafted: 2015, 17th round (Yankees)

Overpowering fastball graded out at 65-75 on the scouting scale. He can run it up there in short bursts 97+ mph, with armside run and some dip. Maintains velocity as a starter in 93-95 range. Sweeping slider is also a plus pitch, and he throws a cutter variation as well. Looming question for Cave is command, which grades out poorly. Most see him as a reliever due to this and lack of changeup.

Taylor Walls – SS
5’10, 180
B/T: S/R
Draft age: 20.11
Junior at Florida State
Last drafted: Never

While he’s generally regarded as a utility player at the pro level, Walls does enough at the plate and as a shortstop that he could well have a future as a starter at the position. He lacks pop, but has a nice line drive swing with solid gap power. He also works the count very well, drawing walks by the dozen. Not a speedster, but runs well enough. Has the arm for shortstop, or anywhere else on the field.

Evan Steele – LHP
6’4, 210
B/T: R/L
Draft age: 20.6
Sophomore at Chipola JC
Last drafted: Never

Funky, near side-arm delivery thrown across his body gives Steele a ton of deception and his command isn’t as effected by it as you’d think. Fastball runs up 90-94, touching higher and exhibiting very good angle to the plate. Slider is a strikeout pitch right now, and he’s able to manipulate its shape. Changeup has made a lot of progress this year. Should absolutely be tried as a starter as a pro.

Tyler Freeman – SS/2B
6’0, 170
B/T: R/R
Draft age: 18.0
Etiwanda HS, CA
Commitment: TCU

If Freeman had any standout tool, he’d be a sure-fire first day prospect. He is solid across the board, arguably earning 50 scouting grades on each of the five major tools. He’s also shown consistent performance on the field and is regarded as having an outstanding baseball acumen. Might end up going to school to improve his draft stock, but if a team sees tools that have yet to break out, he’ll be popped in the first few rounds.

Joey Morgan – C
6’1, 205
B/T: R/R
Draft age: 20.9
Junior at Washington
Last drafted: Never

No worries about Morgan sticking behind the plate. He shows great lateral movement for blocking, and has above average pop times coupled with an above average arm. Also regarded as a good game caller. Morgan works the count well, but will need to continue working on offensive approach.

Jake Mangum – OF
6’4, 165
B/T: S/L
Draft age: 21.2
RS Sophomore at Mississippi State
Last drafted: Never

Pinball on the field, bouncing around everywhere exuding energy. Has all the tools to be a premium top of the order hitter, save for an aversion to walks. Mangum has superior bat to ball skills, which should at least keep his batting average afloat. Double plus speed, but still learning how to steal bases. Plus arm and range in center. Probably a tough sign as he looks to improve his draft stock for next year.

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