Draft Watch: Top prep hitters face off in Georgia
Scouts flock to see matchup between sluggers Meadows, Frazier
Draft Watch is back for Week 3 as MLB.com continues to look at amateur baseball action after each week, checking in with scouts around the country to find out who's doing what and when. There were some marquee matchups, both at the high school and college level, to keep everyone more than busy.
Top matchup: Meadows vs. Frazier
It's not often that one regular season high school game will draw a ton of scouts, especially cross-checkers and scouting directors. But when the top two prep bats face off in that game, that's a different story.
One scouting director in attendance estimated there were around 100 scouts in attendance when Austin Meadows and his Grayson High School team took on Clint Frazier and Loganville High School. Frazier won the battle, but who wins the war -- getting drafted first -- remains to be seen.
Frazier hit two homers in the game last Tuesday and scouts in attendance raved about his legitimate power and plus bat speed. In some ways, he almost reads like a college hitter because of his big bat and somewhat limited projection because of his size.
Meadows didn't get much to hit in the game, so it was definitely Frazier who "won" the day. But one game doesn't change things on Draft boards too much. The two Georgia outfielders are still the top two high school players on most lists and it seems like Meadows might still have an edge, however slight, because of his size and overall tools.
High school pitchers
The crop of prep arms doesn't have a 1-2 punch like Meadows and Frazier, with Texas right-hander Kohl Stewart believed to be the top arm (albeit with signability concerns). There is some depth, though, so in addition to discussing arms like Stewart in future weeks, Draft Watch will examine some of those other high schoolers who will generate plenty of interest, even if it's not at the top of the first round.
One such arm is Phil Bickford. The SoCal product from Oaks Christian High School threw very well his last time out. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has the kind of pitcher's frame scouts like and he was up to 94 mph with good secondary stuff.
While the state of Minnesota has produced some solid Draft talent over the years, it's rare when it hosts the best college pitching matchup of the weekend, especially in March.
But that's exactly what happened on Friday when Indiana State's Sean Manaea took the mound at the Metrodome against University of Minnesota ace Tom Windle. Both lefties threw complete games, with Windle a tough-luck loser after giving up two runs (only one earned). He yielded four hits and a walk while striking out just one. This came the week after throwing a no-hitter.
Manaea, for his part, gave up just one unearned run. The top lefty in the class gave up six hits and one walk while striking out nine. His stuff is much bigger than Windle's, with a plus fastball in the mid-90s and a hard slurve. He'll have to continue to show that he knows how to pitch with his excellent power repertoire.
Windle is more the typical college lefty with solid, albeit not eye-popping, stuff. He threw his fastball around 88-92 mph along with a solid slider and changeup. He has a better feel for pitching than Manaea, but because the stuff isn't as electric, he's not quite in the upper echelons of Draft prospects. While Manaea is looking like a top 10 type of pick, Windle looks more like the kind of college arm that could fit well closer to the back of the first round.
Three other college pitching performances to point out:
Braden Shipley, Nevada: The right-hander was up to 98 mph with his fastball and completely overmatched Air Force. His curve and changeup were more inconsistent but improved as the game went on.
Tony Rizzotti, Tulane: He was up to 89-92 mph with his fastball against Texas-San Antonio. He mixed in a slider, changeup and splitter over eight innings.
Andrew Thurman, UC Irvine: He tossed a complete game against Nebraska, striking out 11, using a fastball that touched 95 mph along with a plus curve.