By Kiley McDaniel
Inside this report we’ll also cover an intriguing, polished prep arm that may be Gainesville-bound, along with a second impression of emerging 2009 draft prep 3B Bobby Borchering (first here), a roundup of interesting prep prospects, potential first-rounders that could be headed to Sarasota, and more after the jump…
(Pictured right: Clearwater Central Catholic senior RHP Ryan Weber)
Casey Kelly, SS/RHP, Sarasota HS
We’ll get started with senior and top 2008 draft prospect Casey Kelly and his Sarasota Sailors, who also surprisingly lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Lakeland HS (ongoing theme from part two of the recap series with Mychal Gives’ Plant HS being upset in round two). I saw Kelly’s first round game versus Gaither HS, checking in to see Kelly one more time before his season ended.
As mentioned repeatedly here, here, and here Kelly has all the makings of a face-of-the-franchise shortstop that, at 6′3, can already play a near big-league caliber shortstop and has a full ride to Tennessee to play QB.
He has reached the mid-90s on the mound and flashes a consistent plus breaking ball as a first-round caliber prospect on the mound. The only question that remains is how his bat plays. With talk of an out-of-the-box deal to a big market team at the end of the first round and strong rumors of him going as high at #7 to Cincinnati, it appears many teams are buying.
For me, I buy the plus defense, plus arm, above-average wheels and plus-plus makeup; it’s hard no to. I think a power projection could be anywhere from average to plus, closer to plus on the raw power side, because he’s got great bat speed, body torque, and some loft. For reference, plus/60 converts to 20-23 HR power and the ability to take the ball out to dead centerfield in a big league park, with a wood bat.
The real question is on the ability to make contact and I’m still undecided to a degree. I’ll post a full scouting report once I finish with the part three of the News & Notes columns with an FSL recap. To tide you over until then, I made a compilation of some pitching and hitting clips I have taken of Kelly into one video. Sorry, no defensive clips since I didn’t feel like recording the entire game, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Ryan Weber, RHP, Clearwater Central Catholic
Weber is a senior and fringe 2009 draft prospect who, for me, is likely to go to Florida and pitch for the Gators.
He was dominating in this outing against Bishop Verot HS from Ft. Myers as his team also dominated in a 12-0 win in 5 innings (mercy rule) to move on. He worked from 88-91 with plus run and sink from an effortless motion. He also has a solid-average tight slider that is pretty maxed-out, and a changeup that doesn’t move any more than his fastball, which isn’t bad, but also isn’t more than just an average change of pace. His command is easily above-average, he knows how to pitch, and he had a great approach and feel to pitching.
That being said, he has three solid-average pitches and above-average to plus command, which is all very attractive, but not as much in a short high school righty.
A team may like him enough to pop him in the 3rd round this year, but given the lack of projection and out-pitch, he’s more of a 4th-5th round prospect that will have to prove himself at each level as he goes. I’ll bet a team won’t be willing to meet his price this year, but likely would three years from now with an SEC track record. I might be inclined to pay the price this year, but I’ll wait for a second look later in the playoffs.
In a related note, CCC is a powerhouse in the 3A classification with multiple D-1 prospects, and looking at the bracket, it appears that a clash between the two totally-loaded perennial powerhouses of the classification, Eric Hosmer’s American Heritage HS and Weber’s CCC squad is in order for the 3A state championship. Those two teams may combine for a dozen Division-1 prospects on one field.
Here’s a look at the video I took of Weber from CCC’s blowout win:
- The Florida state semifinals and finals for each of the 6 classifications will be in Sarasota at the Reds’ Ed Smith Stadium on May 14-20 (in driving distance) and there are still top prospects for the 2008 Draft that I haven’t been able to see due to distance, such as 1B Eric Hosmer, C Adrian Nieto, and LHP Brett DeVall.
- In the loss to CCC, Bishop Verot HS third baseman Bobby Borchering (pictured right) still impressed with his hit-ability. I saw him earlier in the Sarasota Classic (recap) where he hit 4 HR’s in 3 games and won hitter of the tournament. While he had more trouble than that with Ryan Weber’s stuff, he battled and showed he was able to handle high-level pitching as a junior.
Borchering is well-known for his hitting prowess on the showcase and travel team circuits and is a projectable 6′4 switch-hitting third baseman with serious power and a chance to stay at the hot corner. He’s still one of the top 5 juniors in the state for me and a potential top-two round pick in 2009. You’ll be seeing him on the 2009 Draft prospects list as well.
- Other solid prep prospects I saw this week included Middleton High SS/RHP Corey Thomas and Dunedin High’s SS/RHP Jacob Rogers and RHP Clay Kollenbaum.
Thomas is a very athletic shortstop with good defensive actions, some bat speed, and some wheels, but is a little rough around the edges. He also has been in the low 90s on the mound, but in Middleton’s last game of the year he was working at 86-89 with a below-average slurvy breaking ball. Thomas has signed with South Florida and it appears he’ll end up there.
Kollenbaum was the starter and pitched the first six innings for Dunedin against Givens’ Plant squad. He worked at 88-90 and touched 91 with a slurvy mid-70s three-quarter curveball that flashed average, and I didn’t see a changeup. His command was solid, and the 6′5, 210 righty’s deceptive two-part delivery will serve him well next year for Jacksonville U.
Rogers is a big 6′5 infielder who has signed with UCF for his hitting prowess, but he helped Dunedin to a big upset acting as it’s closer, working at 90-91 and showed feel for an 83 mph changeup that may make him a two-way player for the Knights.