It’s been a very eventful week for draft hopefuls. A few more injuries to major players have impacted day-one action, while a few players really shined at the National High School Invitational, a four-day super-tournament that features some of the top teams and players in the country. Among those in attendance were 1B Joey Gallo, RHP/OF Courtney Hawkins, RHP Lucas Sims, and LHP Max Fried.
In college action, we saw some huge performances from Arizona State RHP Brady Rodgers and Duke’s RHP Marcus Stroman.
Without further ado, let’s get to who’s rising and who’s falling heading into the final two months before the draft.
Rising: Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona State
Rodgers will never have premium stuff, but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying a dominating season. In his most recent outing, Rodgers allowed just one run, on four hits against Oregon, who got the better of Arizona State, 1-0. Despite picking up his first loss, Rodgers sparkled, finishing off his second consecutive complete-game. He now has three on the season.
Despite the stingy effort, his ERA actually rose, to 1.29, which happens to be one of the best numbers in the Pac-12. His three strikeouts gave him 42 on the season, while he has issued just six free passes in 56 innings.
Rodgers has taken full advantage of Jake Barrett’s move to the bullpen, and has emerged as the staff ace of a very talented, but underachieving ASU squad.
Falling: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State
While Rodgers is enjoying a breakout campaign, his teammate Marrero is mired in a 2-for 17 slump that has dropped his average to a season-low .268.
That’s over 100 points lower than the .397 Marrero hit as a freshman. In addition, his struggles to hit for power have manifested once again. He has a mere six extra-base hits in 25 games, and only two of those are home runs. Last year many critics thought that Marrero was struggling to adjust to the new bats, but with one and a half seasons worth of play under his belt with them, he’s shown no progress. In fact, he’s appeared to regress.
Further complicating Marrero’s draft status is his defensive play. He’s already committed six errors, one season after being named the conference’s defensive player of the year.
Make no mistake, in terms of tools, Marrero is still one of the top players available this June, but in terms of production, he’s just not showing critics that anxiety over his hitting ability is needless.
Rising: Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS (GA)
Pitted against fellow draft prospect, RHP Ryan Burr, Sims shined and came out on top of Brookwood’s 7-0 victory over Highlands Ranch HS (CO).
Pitching consistently in the low 90s, Sims finished his outing with 11 strikeouts in six innings. He allowed just one hit and walked three. He showed two other offerings that have above-average potential, a curveball and a changeup. Both complemented his fastball incredibly well during Brookwood’s first outing at the National High School Invitational.
At 6-2 and 185 pounds, Sims could stand to put on some more weight, although he’s a phenomenal athlete at his current weight, and you wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.
Sims is committed to Clemson.
Falling: C.J. Hinojosa, SS, Klein Collins HS (TX)
Hinojosa already had a few cards stacked against him heading into this season, but a shoulder injury all but seals his fate heading into the final months before the draft.
He’s not going to be healed by the time the draft rolls around, which means he likely isn’t going to be drafted very high.
At shortstop, Hinojosa is the complete package. He has potential at the plate and a good shot to stick at the position. Neither seems to matter much anymore. Out of sight, out of mind.
Rising: Courtney Hawkins, OF/RHP, Carroll HS (TX)Hawkins had already built up some steam heading into the NHSI, but his performance at the super-team tournament all but sealed his fate as a likely first-round selection.
He dazzled both on the mound and at the plate. As the game’s starter, he tossed 5.1 innings of shutout ball and struck out nine batters. According to Baseball America, he was clocked in the low 90s and as high as 94 mph. He complemented his go-to pitch with a slider that looked devastating.
At the plate he was also a force. He slugged a solo home run that proved to be the game’s only run. The shot reportedly cleared the wall in left-center and traveled approximately 400 feet. He also showed off a rocket arm in the outfield and impressive wheels on the basepaths.
Hawkins could be a first-rounder at either position, but his stated preference is to play the outfield and hit, where his immense power could rocket him into the top-ten easily.
We’ll be hearing a lot more of Hawkins’ name leading up to draft day.