2015 Draft: Tech recruits in the @BaseballAmerica Top 500 Prospects

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From “The BA 500

15) Tyler Stephenson

Stephenson didn’t attend many of the big summer showcases last year, instead focusing on playing summer ball in the competitive East Cobb program (East Cobb Yankees). That kept him out of the spotlight, but not off of scouts’ radars, and he also was one of the stars of the WWBA World Championships last fall. He missed a few weeks this spring due to an oblique injury, but played well in his return and subsequently shot up draft boards, even generating some buzz as a potential first overall pick. In a class that is light on catching, the Georgia Tech commit stands out. Stephenson is big for a catcher (listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds), but he is an excellent defender. He is very quiet behind the plate and frames pitches well thanks to his strong, soft hands. He has plus arm strength and once he gets his footwork down has the potential to be an above-average defender. Offensively, he creates raw power thanks to his strength. There is some length to his swing and he didn’t hit all that well with a wood bat last summer. But his advanced skills behind the plate will allow a team to be patient has he figures things out offensively.

145) Tristin English

English came late to pitching, spending much of his early high school career as a catcher. He was again an imposing presence in Pike County’s lineup this spring and hit .632/.740/1.279 with seven home runs and didn’t strike out in 104 plate appearances, but his baseball future is on the mound. English throws his fastball in the low 90s and can get up to 95 mph with the pitch. His high three-quarters arm slot adds deception and sink to the ball. He throws a curveball and a slider, both of which have plus potential. He occasionally showed a nascent changeup last summer, but it needs more development. English was kept off the mound by a shoulder injury for a few weeks this spring, but returned to pitch before the season ended. He presents an intriguing set of raw tools for a team to develop if they’re able to sign him away from his Georgia Tech commitment.

183) Joey Bart

After handling a strong pitching staff and helping Buford High to a state championship this spring, Bart is now poised to become the first position player drafted in school history. He stands out most for his prowess at the plate. Bart generates easy bat speed that translates into above-average power potential. He also shows enough feel for the barrel to hit for average in addition to power. The bigger questions revolve around Bart’s defense. He called his own games in high school and has improved as a receiver. But he struggled at times this spring, especially early in the season, and many scouts think he’ll eventually move to first base. Bart is committed to Georgia Tech, as is fellow power-hitting Georgia prep catcher Tyler Stephenson, though it’s more likely Bart makes it to campus.

247) Brandt Stallings

Stallings won the home run derby last summer at the Perfect Game All-American Classic and then led King’s Ridge Christian to a state championship this spring. But scouts are emphatically divided on his professional potential, much as they were a year ago with Kel Johnson, another Atlanta-area slugger who was committed to Georgia Tech. Stallings has plus raw power, but a lot of swing-and-miss comes along with it. He’s listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and likely will end up at either left field or first base, though he’s played center field this spring. Stallings’ power will play no matter where he ends up defensively, as long as he’s able to tap into it consistently.

254) Jonathan Hughes

Hughes spent last summer pitching to catchers Tyler Stephenson and Joey Bart, who rank Nos. 15 and 183 on the BA 500, on the East Cobb Yankees and, like his summer teammates, is committed to Georgia Tech. Hughes is listed at 6-foot-2, 185, and can run his fastball up to 95 mph. He more typically pitches with a bit less velocity, but gets good life on the pitch when he keeps it down in the zone. He throws two breaking balls, with his slider slightly ahead of his curveball, and occasionally mixes in a changeup. Hughes earns praise for his athleticism and competitiveness.

448) Matt Gonzalez

Gonzalez was drafted by the A’s in the 11th round in 2012, but chose to attend Georgia Tech instead of signing. He’s had a solid college career, but hasn’t developed quite as much as scouts would have liked. Gonzalez is an aggressive hitter with above-average speed and some raw power, but hasn’t been able to consistently get to it in games. He’s been a versatile player for the Yellow Jackets, and could end up as a utility player or a corner outfielder as a professional. Gonzalez earns praise for his makeup and work ethic.

One Response

Doesn’t look promising for us to see Stephenson at Russ C. unless he just really, really wants to play college ball. The English kid sounds good.