2014 National Top 50

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

The 2014 Major League Baseball Draft is nearly upon us. Things will kick off Thursday, June 5, at 7 p.m. EST when commissioner Bud Selig announces that the Houston Astros are on the clock. The first night will consist of the first round and first two compensation rounds. The second to 10th rounds will then take place Friday, beginning at 1 p.m. EST and Rounds 11-40 will happen Saturday, also beginning at 1 p.m. EST.

Before that happens, make sure you’re familiar with the top high school prospects in the country. Below is the final National Top 50, ranking the top preps after nearly a year of watching games and workouts and engaging in many conversations with area scouts, crosscheckers and scouting directors.

This year’s class heavily leans on pitching with the crop of position players being very thin. Not all of these players are going to get drafted in the top five rounds, as signability is a major factor in selections. This ranking is a representation of how the prospects line up purely on talent. Each player has a brief scouting report and their college commitments are in parenthesis. The first five reports are viewable to all with the rest available to subscribers.

Get to know the players before your team picks them!

1. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, CA (UCLA)
Aiken has come a long way in the last two years. He pitched in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game as a junior with below-average velocity and a thick lower half. His fastball ticked up to 88-91 mph by the following spring at the National High School Invitational and he showed up to the Area Code Games with a much leaner frame. It has all culminated now with him taking a big step forward this spring and being considered as the first overall pick. He is sitting in the low 90s and touched 96-97 early in the season. He shows feel for a changeup and throws a power curveball with depth at 75-77.

2. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX (Texas Christian)
At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Kolek is about as big as they come and his fastball sounds like a tall tale. After sitting in the low to mid 90s last summer, he has reached the high 90s this spring, regularly hitting triple digits. His slider is his best secondary pitch, a power offering in the mid 80s. He also mixes in a curveball. He is across his body in his delivery, but has the athleticism to make the necessary adjustments in the future. His physical profile is unique for a high school prospect, which can lead to some concern about his risk, but it’s impossible to ignore his upside.

3. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA (Oregon)
Jackson jumped out as an underclassman at the 2012 Area Code Games, along with SS Jacob Gatewood (No. 16), and has long been considered the top position player in the 2014 class. He is physically mature with a strong, 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame. He has excellent bat speed that produces very good power. He hit 17 home runs as a sophomore in San Diego and currently has 47 in his career. There is debate over his feel for hitting, but it’s not a red flag and he can be short to the ball at times. He’s also not a lock to stay at catcher, but scouts wouldn’t be quick to move him. He is a solid athlete and has shown aptitude behind the plate with a strong arm.

4. Nicholas Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, FL
The son of Flash and younger brother to Dee, Gordon has obvious bloodlines. Scouts questioned his ability to hit last summer, but he added strength over the winter and has solidified himself as a top 10 pick. One of the best all-around players in the class, Gordon has the actions and arm strength to stay at shortstop. He pitched as an underclassman, but has seen little, if any, time on the mound in the last year. As a rising junior, he was up to 94 with a quick arm and sharp curveball, giving him a feasible fallback if things don’t work out as a position player.

5. Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC (Florida)
After last summer, there was a split camp on Holmes with some thinking he might be ticketed for the bullpen and him being a first-round pick would be a stretch. That is no longer the case. Holmes had previously struggled with holding his velocity, but he consistently sat 92-94 deep into games this spring and the development of his changeup has given him a third pitch. He already had an above-average arsenal with his fastball and breaking ball, which sits in the low 80s and has sharp, tight break. He throws his changeup with a Vulcan grip and it has late-diving action while sitting in the high 80s. His command can waver at times, but it’s not enough to detract from his offerings. Holmes doesn’t have the typical frame of a high school pitcher, but he has tremendous strength in his legs and upper body.

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