With the MLB draft fast approaching, let’s take a look at two more prospects that have been recently mocked to the Cardinals at pick 22. This week’s prospects are two high school arms.
Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS (TN) – BA Rank: 16
Mocked from: Pro Draft Central
I have to say that Norris is probably my favorite prospect in the draft. Which means that there is no way he drops to the Cardinals, but his bonus demands are reportedly very high.
He’s a lefty with a quick arm who can run it up to 94 mph, sitting comfortably at 93 mph. That’s enough to garner plenty of interest. He’s also got a curve that’s a work in progess, but he knows how to spin it. He’s got a changeup, though he doesn’t use it much. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, the lefty has some room to grow and add strength, which could make him even more interesting as he matures.
Pros: Norris has been moving up boards all spring with impressive showings in front of considerable heat. He tends to sit in the low 90s but has touched 96, and scouts believe that will become a more common occurrence once his skinny 6-foot-2 frame fills out. His curveball has plus potential, and he already has feel for a changeup.
Cons: He has been up and down this spring with the occasional clunker of a night, but he has been at his best in front of good scouting crowds
Last year, Baseball America ranked Norris the top high school junior in the nation, and ranked only Jameson Taillon ahead of him among all high schoolers. I have to say, I think BA is right on the money with this one.
Norris has the potential for a dominating repertoire. He throws easily in the low 90s with his fastball, bumping 94 in showcases, and there might be a bit more velocity in there as he matures. (Or at least more consistent velocity; see my note above about my opinions on projectability.) Just as impressive as the velocity is the heavy sink and running action on his fastball which make it a serious weapon for Norris. His changeup gives him a second plus pitch with solid deception and decent movement already. That fastball/change combo has allowed Norris to overwhelm hitters at his own level and made him one of the more sought after commodities in the upcoming draft.
Here’s his MLB.com draft video: (no idea why he’s wearing A’s stuff)
Also, here’s another video from Baseball America.
Dillon Howard, RHP, Search HS (AR) – BA Rank: 31 – KLaw Rank: 18
Mocked from: 85 Percent Sports
A 6-foot-3, 200 lb. right-hander, Howard has pitched consistently at 91-94 with a fastball that runs in on righties, and he’s gotten it up as high as 96 in the past. He could legitimately sit in the mid-90′s once he’s done growing. Howard’s breaking ball is inconsistent, resembling a curveball on some days and a slider on others, but he’s certainly shown the ability to make the ball spin. His changeup is very much a work in progress, as is his overall command despite a sound delivery.
And here is Howard’s MLB.com draft video: