Prep Baseball Report

Remember These Names For 2020

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

The book on the 2017 MLB Draft officially closed last week with the signing deadline. As has been par for the course under the current collective bargaining agreement, it came and went with very little drama. Just three picks in the top 10 rounds didn’t sign—RHP Drew Rasmussen (Oregon State), RHP Jack Conlon (Clements HS, TX) and RHP Joseph Booker (Miller HS, AL). Rasmussen was the 31st overall pick by the Rays while Conlon went in the fourth round to the Orioles and Booker was a fifth-round pick of the Angels. I was at Baseball America the last time there was late-night drama with a midnight signing deadline in August and large, overslot bonuses were delayed until the last minute. Those days I do not miss.

The focus has now shifted to the 2018 class and the early returns are looking pretty good. However, let’s take a look at some Class of 2017 names that are worth remembering for a few years down the road after they’ve gained some experience in college. Below are five players that caught my eye between last summer and the draft and should be watched closely as they head off to college. This list is meant to avoid the obvious prospects and give some attention to less heralded or even undrafted players. The highest-ranked player from the PBR Draft 100 not to sign was SS Brady McConnell (Merritt Island HS, FL) at No. 20. His upside is not unknown to anybody that follows the draft. Rather than being totally arbitrary with parameters, any player that appeared in the four versions of the PBR Draft 100 was automatically excluded from consideration.

Maybe, instead of saying “Where did this guy come from?” in three years, you’ll already know about him…

Reese Albert, OF, Jupiter HS, FL (Florida State)
Albert made the rounds on the summer circuit last year so he’s not completely unknown, but he was certainly overshadowed by his Florida counterparts. While watching Albert at the Metropolitan Baseball Classic, a scout I was sitting with said, “We’ll probably see him as a freshman in college and say ‘What were we thinking?’” That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. A Florida State recruit, Albert has a solid frame with room to add strength at 6 feet, 190 pounds. He doesn’t flash plus tools, but is solid across the board and plays hard. He shows average bat speed with a loose swing and hands, flashing a line-drive approach. He runs a 6.9-second 60 and shows a quick arm in the outfield that should be at least average at the next level.

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