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2011 MLB Draft Preview-High School Pitchers

by Steve Garrity on Jul. 7, 2010
It has been said over and over again, that 2011 is a stronger class than 2010. Well that includes high school pitching. 2011 features a crop that is deeper and overall more talented than this years draft class. Where 2010 featured Jameson Taillon, who was the top ranked arm in the class, and one of the better high school pitching prospects in the last couple of years, the rest of the group lacked his tools and upside. The 2010 high school crop also lacked any top notch left-handers, and had only one lefty taken in the first 50 selections, Jesse Biddle, who was selected 27th overall by his hometown Phillies, and three total selected in the top three rounds. That will not be the case next year with a class that features several left-handers with first round talent, including the top arm in the class in Daniel Norris.

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

TOP 10 HIGH SCHOOL PITCHERS IN 2011



1) Daniel Norris LHP, Science Hill HS (TN)
The top ranked arm in the 2011 class, Norris is commonly compared to Scott Kazmir for his stuff and build. At 6’1” and 170 lbs, he is lean and lanky, with a frame that has some nice projection to it. He has a tremendous three pitch repertoire that consists of a fastball that has reached 96 but usually sits consistently in the in 92-94 range, a high 70’s curve with sharp bite to it, and a low 80’s changeup with good movement. Norris also has an extremely smooth and fluid delivery (though he could afford to land better) with very solid arm action. He has everything you would like to see in a high school lefty, with his smooth mechanics, pitches, and sky is the limit upside. If Norris continues his progression, he has top 5 pick written all over him.

2) Dylan Bundy RHP, Owasso HS (OK)
Bundy is one of the more solidly built pitchers in the class. With a 6’1”, 200 pound frame, he is extremely muscular and put together well for the long professional seasons. A former football player who chose to concentrate strictly on baseball this past year, Bundy saw a big increase in his velocity. Where as before he was throwing in the 89-90 range, he is now up to 96 mph. He features a four pitch mix including the fastball that sits in the 92-94 range, along with a plus slider with tons of lateral movement, a solid change that sits in the low 80’s, and a tight 12-6 curve that comes in around 73-75 mph. Dylan Bundy also brings athleticism to the mound, not only because he a former two-sport star, but he has also played the field for his Owasso high school team and was able to hit for average with some pop. His brother, Bobby, is in the Orioles minor league system, giving him the professional pedigree teams love during draft time. He has also been named Oklahoma’s player of the year for two consecutive years. Even if he fails to win his senior season, Bundy can still expect to be one of the top names called in 2011.

3) Archie Bradley RHP, Muskogee HS (OK)
Another two-sport star from Oklahoma, Bradley continues to play football, and is a top quarterback prospect, with division I offers that include the University of Oklahoma and UCLA. He has the build teams love, with a very a long and sturdy 6’4”, 210 lb frame, that offers plenty of projection with room to grow. Having a top quarterback’s arm has translated well into baseball for Bradley, where he is an extreme power pitcher, tossing a mid 90’s fastball, to go with a very sharp mid 70’s breaking ball, and a decent change up that sits in the low 80’s. Like Bundy, Bradley has also played the field some for his high school, including some time behind the plate. Bradley mixes all this in with extremely solid mechanics, where he is balanced to the plate, with extremely quick arm action landing very well. He has already committed to play both baseball and football for the Sooners, but if a team is willing to pay, Bradley will no doubt be one of the top high school arms off the board.

4) Henry Owens LHP, Edison HS (CA)
Owens certainly does not have the strongest arm in the draft, sitting in the 88-91 range, but coming from the left hand side he doesn’t need one. His fastball is a plus pitch, with plenty of movement, late life, and a pitch Owens has very good command of. Along with his plus fastball, he also features a change-up that he can put where he wants. However his best offering may be his plus curveball that comes at hitters on a 1-7 tilt and clocks in the high 60’s – low 70’s range. Owens utilizes all these with a very deceptive delivery that allows him to hide the ball very well, even though it could afford to be more compact. With an extremely long and lanky 6’5”, 180 lb frame, there is room to grow and possibly increase his velocities. However, the best part of Owens is that he relies more on control and movement than velocity, which will be absolutely key as he moves on in his baseball career. Henry Owens already owns a pretty advanced feel for pitching at a young age, and if he can work on some of the negatives, like his tendency to overthrow at times and tightening up his delivery, he has first round talent.

5) Tyler Beede RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA)
If teams are looking for a pitcher with polish in this class, Beede fits the bill. He utilizes a very athletic, balanced and effortless delivery. Beebe also gets himself into a great fielding position on the mound after landing very well, although he could rotate his lower half more. His delivery allows him to be able to get his fastball up to 93 without maximum effort, and sits consistently in the 88-92 range. He also offers a curve and a change-up, which he calls his best pitch. Despite being the number one ranked player in his state and one of the country’s top prospects, Beede still has plenty to work on. There is still some untapped velocity that he can achieve once he fills out and makes some minor tweaks to his delivery. His father is a former minor league player and his pitching coach is a former major leaguer, so he has the pedigree teams like to see. However he has a very strong commitment to Vanderbilt, which could be reason for some teams to shy away from him.

6) Andrew Suarez LHP, Columbus HS (FL)
Andrew Suarez fits in the category of pitchers that may not blow you away when you watch him, but you also can not find a whole lot of fault in him either. At 6’2” and 200 lbs, he has a thick lower half and may not offer as much projection as some of the other arms in this group. His mechanics are pretty clean, with a nice athletic delivery and solid arm action. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement both physically and pitching wise. The main fault is he lands on a slightly stiff front leg with little flexion in the knee. Suarez’ pitching repertoire is also solid with a 4 and 2 seam fastball that sit in the 87-92 range, with a both a solid curve and change. To top it all off, he also has pretty solid command. Suarez has committed to the University of Miami, but if he is selected in the first round he may never step foot on the college campus.

7) Michael Kelly RHP, West Boca Raton HS (FL)
Kelly is one of the top right-handers in the 2011 draft, and he may also offer some of the best projection in the class as well. At 6’5” and 180 lbs, he has the ideal pitcher’s frame; He is extremely long limbed and lanky with tons of room to grow into. With his big body, Kelly also gets a very good down hill plane on his pitches which include a fastball in 89-92 range that has touched 94, a mid 70’s curveball, and a high 70’s change-up; all of which he can throw for strikes. His delivery is very fluid and loose, and the ball jumps out of his hand. His delivery also allows him to get into a pretty good fielding position on the mound. He does have a tendency to get a little long in the back for his wind up, but it is correctable. Michael Kelly is one of the more polished arms in the class and offers tremendous upside. He should bring plus pitchability and athleticism to any organization that takes him, and in his case that should be in the first round of the 2011 draft.

8) Deshorn Lake RHP, Menchville HS (VA)
Compared to the other pitchers in the group, Lake may be one of the most raw. He played in the more relaxed leagues of the Caribbean and stood out above his peers, before moving to Virginia in the summer of 2009. His move to the states paid off where he saw an increase in competition as well as exposure. He made a name for himself with an impressive tryout for the team USA U-16 team and has kept the momentum going. Deshorn is not the biggest guy, but he is extremely solidly built at 6’0” and 205 lbs. His delivery and mechanics are very easy, athletic, and balanced which allow the ball to explode out of his hand. His repertoire consists of a fastball in the 91-93 range that has touched 94, along with sharp high 70’s slider with good lateral movement, and a low 80’s change-up. Deshorn has also improved the command of his pitches, especially his off-speed offerings. The main problem Lake faces is that his velocity tends to dip with his pitches out of the stretch. However, with proper coaching and continued work, that is fixable. With his continued progression he should put himself in the first round conversation next June.

9) Robert Stephenson RHP, Alhambra HS (CA)
Robert Stephenson has the athleticism, stuff, and size that makes scouts drool. At 6’3” and 210 lbs, Stephenson has plenty of room to grow. His delivery is very balanced and smooth, with loose arm action- which allows him to throw 91-93 extremely easily. His repertoire consists of that 93 mph fastball, a curveball that has a major league break already, and like most high school pitchers, a developing feel for a change-up. Stephenson’s main problem is that he tends to turn into a thrower, rather than a pitcher. This is a problem that causes him to lose feel for his pitches and gets him into trouble at times during games, including his showcase appearances. However all the tools are in place for him to succeed, and if he continues on this track, Stephenson will not have to wait too long in the draft to hear his name called.

10) Daniel Camarena LHP/OF, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
Camarena is one of the more athletic pitchers in this group. He is a two-way player, playing the outfield and first base for his high school squad; although his future is clearly on the mound. He isn’t a giant out on the hill, at only 6’0” and 195 lbs, but he is very solidly built with a muscular frame. On the mound his repertoire consists of a mid-high 80’s fastball, a low 70’s curveball, and a high 70’s change-up with good movement. Camarena has an extremely simple, athletic delivery that he repeats well. His main problem is that he tends to slow his arm when throwing his off-speed pitches. Camarena also plays the corner outfield for his high school team, where he can cover plenty of ground and has run a 6.9 60-yard dash in several showcases. At the plate he utilizes an open stance, which tends to leave him susceptible to pitches on the outside corner. At the moment Camarena is not the most polished pitcher available, but his athleticism and stuff give him plenty of upside. The team that likes him best will take him off the board early.