Kolek Could Go Top 5
ESPN’s Keith Law recently had a chance to check out Texas high schooler Tyler Kolek. The Shepard H.S senior came into the season as a surefire first round pick, but his stock has been on the rise since. The fire-balling right-hander, who has been known to hit 100 MPH on the radar gun, now looks like a top-5 selection. Law broke down Kolek’s repertoire after seeing him live:
Kolek was 93-97, mostly sitting 95-96, showing good two-seam life on some of the pitches, with others straightening out because he overthrew them. He throws a hard, slurvy slider that is average to above-average when he’s pitching to a right-handed batter, 79-83 with sharp break and good tilt. However, it gets sloppy with a left-handed batter at the plate, as Kolek tries too hard to hit the outside corner and the pitch loses its sharpness and some of its angle. He has a changeup but barely uses it — at this level, it’s just doing hitters who can’t catch up to 94-plus velocity a favor.
There were some reservations on Law’s part, however, and most of them centered around Kolek’s gargantuan body.
Kolek is massive for a high school student — I’ve seen him listed at 6-foot-5 and anywhere from 230 to 250 pounds, but eyeballing it I’d guess he’s closer to 265-270. He looks like a late-20s Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan, with a strong trunk and legs to generate all that power. The other body comparison I might offer is Jeff Juden, who started out at 6-8, 240 pounds but peaked near 300 pounds in 1994. The challenge for Kolek will be maintaining his conditioning, and the challenge for scouts is to convince themselves he’s up to the task.
Toussaint Still Battling Command Issues
Nick Faleris of Baseball Prospectus got a look at prep right-hander Touki Toussaint recently at the National High School Invitational, and came away impressed with the improvement of his offspeed pitch.
Toussaint has already been written about plenty in this space, but his NHSI start was unique for him in that he brought to the table his best changeup to date. The off-speed was a deceptive offering that worked in various counts as both a freeze pitch and a swing-and-miss follow to his 89 to 92 mph fastball (he was in the low 90s, touching 94 early on).
The Vanderbilt commit jumped up draft boards at the end of last season, but has seen his stock slip a bit due to command issues that now have likely headed for the back end of the first round. It was more of the same in his NHSI start according to Faleris:
Control issues continue to plague the Vandy commit, as he issued five walks over his six innings pitched, but the Orange Lutheran (Orange, CA) lineup could not take advantage, and Toussaint ended up with a six inning shutout and a win, allowing just one hit and striking out 12.
Monte Harrison’s Stock Rising?
Baseball America’s Clint Longenecker is singing the praises of Missouri high school outfielder Monte Harrison. The 6’2, 201 pound Harrison is a physical specimen that oozes athleticism, which is backed up by his dual-sport commitment to Nebraska (he scored 28 touchdowns and gained over 1,500 yards in football for his high school).
A potential five tool player, Harrison has shown serious promise in baseball despite limited time to dedicate himself to the sport (he also plays basketball). Yet somehow, he’s still impressing scouts and especially Longenecker, who broke down Harrison’s tools:
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Harrison is a physical specimen with lean, powerful muscle on his frame. Harrison is a plus runner in the 60-yard dash, although his speed played closer to average on the showcase circuit with a swing that left him slower out of the box. But he has posted plus times this spring. He is a long-striding, gliding runner whose speed really plays underway and takes multiple bases.
His arm is one of the best in the class, consistently showing plus, if not plus-plus. His physical attributes and athleticism give the chance to be a plus defender.
Although he showed some swing and miss at Tournament of Stars last summer, Harrison made a surprising amount of contact on the showcase circuit given how many baseball reps he had compared to his showcase peers.
Harrison’s hit tool will be watched closely this spring by evaluators as the only remaining tool that is not confidently in the plus category.
Although his power was mostly to the gaps on the showcase circuit, Harrison has 70-grade raw power, according to one evaluator.
Longenecker isn’t alone either, he’s spoken to some scouts and evaluators who have been drooling over the toolsy outfielder.
“It’s hard not to dream on the premium athletes like Monte,” an American League scout said. “You never know what they are going to turn into but he could be a perennial All-Star if everything comes together. There’s almost nothing he can’t do on the baseball field.”
And if all of that wasn’t enough, Monte appears to be a great kid and a leader on and off the field, with great instincts for the game despite limited playing experience. The only question appears to be if a team can sign him away from a potential football career.
To read the rest of the articles by these draft guru’s, simply click the hyperlink in their respective blurbs.
(Photo credit: Scott Kurtz/Area Code Baseball and Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images)