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2011 MLB Draft Preview-High School Hitters

by Steve Garrity on Jul. 14, 2010
2010 featured plenty of solid high school bats, but other than Manny Machado, who was taken third overall by the Baltimore Orioles, the class lacked any real number two option behind him. However like every other group in the 2011 class, this high school class just looks to be much stronger. Along with featuring more power options, it also looks to feature more athletes with star power. The 2011 prep class also features several top notch catching options, that will look to excel and become more of a double threat, both behind the plate and at bat. Many things are likely to change between now and draft day in June 2011, but at this point this group looks to be extremely strong and deep.

Below is the fourth and final of the four top ten lists Draftsite.com will feature for our 2011 MLB draft preview.

TOP 10 HIGH SCHOOL HITTERS IN 2011



1) Travis Harrison 3B/OF, Tustin HS (CA)
Travis Harrison is one of those types of players that you look at, and automatically know he plays baseball. At 6’2" and 215 lbs, he is very solidly built, extremely strong and athletic- he runs a sub 6.9 60 yard dash. At this moment, Harrison is in the conversation for the most potent offensively-gifted player on the high school scene. Travis brings an advanced approach at the plate along with very good bat speed. Combined with his quick hands, and strength, it allows him to spray the ball to all fields; with power. In the field, Harrison is very smooth at the hot corner. He uses his quick feet, soft hands, and a very strong and accurate arm. He can more than handle himself, and makes it look easy. In the outfield Harrison has little trouble, though he could afford to polish his routes up. He has the build to play either position at the professional level, and combined with his top bat, Harrison could potentially be the top high school hitter off the board.

2) Phil Evans SS, LaCosta Canyon HS (CA)
Evans isn’t the biggest guy on the high school scene at 5’10", but he uses all of his 180 pound build to its fullest advantage. He is one of the most complete players at the prep level, with all of his tools being above average or better, although not the best in any one category. At the plate, Evans is very under control, balanced, and seems to go up with a plan. He uses his extremely quick hands and solid line drive stroke to hit the ball consistently, and has several people assuming he will produce some big time power down the road. In the field, Evans is one of the better defensive players in the country. At short, he has excellent lateral range, and uses his hands very well to make all the plays. He combines it with more than enough arm to stick at the position on the next level. Evans is the type of player you need to watch a lot to truly see how good he is, and the team that sees him the most will not be afraid to take him early in the draft.

3) Joshua Tobias IF, Southeast Guilford HS (NC)-
Josh Tobias is even shorter than Evans, at 5’9"-ish, but he is built like a running back at 190 lbs. In the case of Tobias, big things come in small packages, as he produces some of the biggest power in the class. He is a switch hitter, though that may come to an end at the professional level as he is much more comfortable from the right hand side. Tobias utilizes a very short and compact stroke, along an extremely quiet load (he turns his front foot in to transfer his weight back before exploding forward), and amazingly quick hands to make consistent contact. In the field, he plays the left side of the infield, and can handle himself on the high school level. Tobias has plus speed, and it is a huge help at short, as it allows him to make all the plays. However the game is faster at the professional level, and with his size, some are not ruling out a possible move to second base. Tobias is one of the most toolsy players on the prep scene, and he continues to improve. As draft time roles around, expect to hear his name a lot.

4) Christian Lopes SS, Edison HS (CA)
One word can describe Lopes; Smooth. He is someone who can make the game look easy. A natural shortstop, Lopes has outstanding range to go with a soft pair of hands, and a very strong arm- he can throw in the low 90’s off the pitching mound. He has an extremely athletic looking frame and build, that at 6’0" and 185 pounds offers plenty of projection for teams down the road. At the plate, Christian can look a little antsy waiting for the pitch. However once it is delivered, he utilizes his very quick hands to produce a nice, smooth, balanced, and level swing. His swing produces consistent contact, spraying line drives and power to all fields. Lopes also has plenty of speed to spare, and with his natural athleticism, it looks like he glides all over the place. If he can continue to improve and produce – he transferred to a new school this year to take advantage of a much high level of competition- Lopes should move up several teams’ draft boards, and shouldn’t have to wait too long come draft day.

5) Tyler Greene SS, Roswell HS (GA)
Like Lopes, Tyler Greene doesn’t have a problem slowing the game down and making it look easy. He is another player from this impressive high school class who seems to have all the tools, and has many teams and scouts considering him a potential five-tool talent down the road. Greene has a long, lean, wiry, and athletic looking 6’3" and 175 pound frame that offers plenty of room to grow into. For a player as tall as he is, it is impressive to see how smooth his actions are at all aspects of the game, especially at the plate. When Greene is up to bat he utilizes one of the smoothest, easiest, and prettiest swings. It is extremely balanced, short, and compact; it provides plenty of natural loft, which helps him produce some impressive big time power. He plays short, and utilizes his quick, soft hands, along with a very strong arm to make all the plays. To top things off Tyler Greene has plenty of speed to help him in every area of the game. Greene is obviously one of the top names on the prep scene, and it is not hard to see why.

6) Wallace Gonzalez OF, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
When you take a look at Wallace Gonzalez, you can see he is a physical specimen, and is built for athletic achievements. With an impressive 6’5" and 220 lb. build, Wallace is already extremely physically mature, especially for a high school player, and is commonly compared to Florida Marlins rookie outfielder Mike Stanton. With such an impressive build, it is no surprise that Gonzalez is one of the better power hitting prospects in the 2011 class, as he produces moon shots in batting practice with his impressive raw power. However at the plate, his swing is somewhat stiff and mechanical. He seems to tighten up as he is waiting for the pitch, instead of staying loose, and letting his strength take over. It is also no surprise that he struggles somewhat against showcase advanced pitching. However, for as big as he is, Gonzalez plays centerfield for his high school team and is more than solid, with a very strong and accurate arm. As he fills out more, a move to right field is probably in order. No doubt Wallace Gonzalez is raw and remains a work in progress, but it is easy to see why teams are impressed. If he can put it together, he could be special, and from a raw tools standpoint several teams will consider him a first round talent.

7) Blake Swihart C, Cleveland HS (NM)
Swihart is another player from the 2011 prep class that can make the game look easy. At 6’0" and 175 lbs, he has a solid frame with some projection, and has many people comparing him to Jason Kendall. Behind the plate, Swihart has one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the entire draft. He has produced several sub 1.9 pop times- even hitting 1.85. His foot work could use some small tweaking, but it should not affect his arm strength. At the plate he is another switch hitter who, like Josh Tobias, looks more comfortable from the right hand side. He is very under control at the plate and looks extremely balanced. Swihart utilizes a light and easy load, with quick hands and good bat speed to produce a short, compact stroke. It all allows Blake to make consistent contact and produce good power to all fields. Swihart’s confidence and smoothness is a huge advantage behind the plate and while up at bat. It also has him in the conversation to be the top catcher taken in the 2011 draft.

8) Chris McFarland SS, Lufkin HS (TX)
McFarland is one of those players, where the more you see him, the more you like him. He is an extremely good athlete, which no doubt he uses to his advantage at shortstop, as it helps to overcome some of his shortcomings. In the field, McFarland has decent lateral range and agility, with good hands. However he lacks the arm strength to stick with the shortstop position in the professional ranks. Making a move to second base is extremely likely for the team that drafts him. However teams know it is McFarland’s bat that will get him drafted early on. At the plate, he brings an advanced approach, as he lets the ball travel deep; giving him more time to recognize what the pitch is, before going after it. His balanced line drive stroke allows him to make consistent contact and spray the ball all over the field. On the bases, McFarland utilizes his above average speed and should be able to become a player that can swipe a few bags at the next level. At 6’1" and 195 lbs, he is solidly built and is the type of athlete that teams love to go after. If he can keep it up at the plate he should not be surprised to hear his name called early in that first day.

9) Dwight Smith OF, McIntosh HS (GA)
Smith has the blood lines teams drool over; his dad, also Dwight Smith, played in the major leagues. At 5’11" and 170 lbs, he is extremely lean and wiry, which gives teams some solid projection down the road. Smith is another player that falls into the toolsy category, as he is a very good athlete. At the plate, some people have shown some concern over his extremely high leg kick that can throw him off, and cause him to get out on his front foot from time to time. However concerned teams are about his lower half though, Smith stays in control with his upper half. At the timing from the kick, along with his insanely quick hands, Smith has one of the fastest bats in the entire 2011 draft. His long limbs allow him to cover the entire plate, and also help him produce some very good contact. When he gets on, he is also a very good runner who should be a base stealer at the next level. In the outfield, Smith can be somewhat of an adventure at times, as his routes could use some fine tuning. However Dwight has a lot of what teams love, and he should come around in the field.

10) Brandon Sedell C, American Heritage HS (FL)
Sedell is another one of the solid catchers from the 2011 high school class. Already committed to play for the University of Florida, Brandon Sedell has near major league ready throwing skills and footwork- he has very good transfer skills and gets rid of the ball in a hurry. Along with his strong arm, Sedell bring solid receiving skills behind the plate, with very soft hands. At the plate he utilizes very solid swing mechanics. Starting out with an open stance, similar to Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, he brings himself parallel using his quick hands to produce very good bat speed. His stroke is smooth and balanced and allows him to produce near major league average power; he has more power to his pull side, which is not surprising for a high schooler. It is unknown how strong Sedell’s commitment to Florida is, but as one of the better receivers in the 2011 draft, he should hear his name early on.