In the first two prospect profile reports we looked at some of the top college players in the country. This time the focus shifts to the high school game. While it will be hard for any class to live up to the impact talent produced from the high school ranks in 2005 with the likes of Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus, and many more, this year’s draft is pretty deep in prep bats with several very talented players at a variety of positions. In this report I will focus on the top 3 high school position players available, a group that includes a 5-tool shortstop, a mashing first baseman, and a do it all catcher.
Tim Beckham SS Griffin High School (GA) 6’2” 190 lbs. DOB: 1/27/90
Beckham is a premium athlete at a premium position and is widely considered the top 5-tool player in the draft. He combines silky smooth defensive actions with a strong arm, incredible speed, and improving power. His quick hands enable him to hit line drives to all fields, and he has the ability to become an elite base stealer with 6.33 speed in the 60 yard dash. There were some questions about his bat in the past, but those are going away now. Beckham was named the MVP of the Aflac All-American game last summer, and he is the best shortstop available since B.J. Upton in 2002. This is the type of player that makes scouts drool, and the only way he slips out of the top 5 is unreal bonus expectations. Beckham may not have the bat of Eric Hosmer, but his all around talent makes him the top prep position player available.
Eric Hosmer 1B American Heritage High School (FL) 6’4” 210 lbs. DOB: 10/24/89
Hosmer has the most power and is arguably the best pure hitter in the high school class. He possesses a classic lefty power stroke, but can also pepper line drives to any field. Hosmer combines his fantastic swing with very good plate discipline and the ability to recognize pitches early. He is also fairly athletic and plays a very good first base. Showing the type of all-around talent you see in the truly elite players, he has also been clocked at 92 mph across the diamond although he won’t get many opportunities to show off that arm in the future. Hosmer is the complete package, and if he played a more demanding position he would be in the argument with Pedro Alvarez as the top talent available in June. As is, he is the best high school first base prospect since Casey Kotchman in 2001, and that is the player he is most often compared to with the caveat that he has more power. The only question with Hosmer is how far his association with Scott Boras will cause him to fall.
Kyle Skipworth C Patriot High School (CA) 6’3” 195 lbs. DOB: 3/1/90
Skipworth is a tall, athletic catcher with power potential from the left side, and that alone makes him a potential first rounder. When you combine that with solid receiving skills and a 70 arm you get one of the best prospects in the draft. Skipworth has a smooth swing with a long finish and plenty of pull power, but he also has the ability to go the other way. In an early showcase in Compton, California Skipworth put on a show with an opposite field homer while gunning down three would be base stealers. He isn’t a finished product behind the plate, but most scouts believe there isn’t anything playing time and some minor adjustments can’t fix. Skipworth is already considered to have a better total package than last year’s top prep catcher and 15th overall pick Devin Mesoraco. His all-around game is very similar to Rangers’ catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and catchers with that type of ability don’t last long on draft day.