I was out in the Bay Area this weekend to catch a number of early-round draft prospects, including a handful at Stanford, University of San Francisco ace Kyle Zimmer (rhp), and a couple high follows at St. Mary's College. We'll dig into a bunch of these kids as the spring progesses, but for today we'll stick with the two players on our 1:4 watch list -- Stanford's Mark Appel (rhp) and San Fran's Kyle Zimmer. Appel solidified his place atop the pref list, and is increasingly looking like he will be a non-factor in Baltimore's decision-making. Appel was 93-96 mph throughout his complete game against USC, hitting 94 mph with the final pitch. Appel's power slurve hovered between 82 and 85 mph, at its best at 84-85 when he got extension out in front and was able to produce hard late bite. A "show me" pitch last summer, Appel's change-up was solid Major League average on Sunday, and flashed above-average to plus a number of times.
While Appel's scheduled Saturday start was called due to weather, Kyle Zimmer was asked to go the distance in upper-40s to low-50s temperatures and a constant light rain. Despite the environment, Zimmer put together an impressive outing against an overmatched UC-Santa Barbara squad, allowing 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 in the complete game win. Zimmer was 91-93 mph with his fastball, touching 94 mph (slightly down from his typical 92-95 mph, touching 96 mph), and working mostly at the knees. Zimmer's primary breaking ball was a hammer curve sitting 78-80 mph. He worked the pitch well as a bury pitch when ahead in the count, but also showed an ability to drop it into the zone early on. He mixed in both an upper-70s change-up and lower-80s slider, but primarily worked off his 1-2 fastball-curve combo.
I'll start our detailed scouting reports next week with Appel and Zimmer. As noted in the 2012 Draft introduction piece, the detailed reports will be complete with player video and scouting grades. Below is my updated preference list for 1:4 targets.
Current Preference List (March 27, 2012)
1. Mark Appel, rhp, Stanford Univ.
2. Byron Buxton, of, Appling County HS (Baxley, Ga.)
3. Kyle Zimmer, rhp, Univ. of San Francisco
4. Mike Zunino, c, Univ. of Florida
5. Gavin Cecchini, ss, Barbe HS (Lake Charles, La.)
6. Deven Marrero, ss, Arizona St. Univ.
7. Stryker Trahan, c, Acadiana HS (Lafayette, La.)
8. Albert Almora, of, Mater Acad. (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.)
9. Lucas Giolito, rhp, Harvard-Westlake HS (Studio City, Calif.)
10. Kevin Gausman, rhp, Louisiana St. Univ.
11. Max Fried, lhp, Harvard-Westlake HS (Studio City, Calif.)
12. Carlos Correa, ss, Puerto Rico Baseball Acad. (Gurabo, P.R.)
13. Matt Smoral, lhp, Solon HS (Solon, Ohio)
14. David Dahl, of, Oak Mountain HS (Birmingham, Ala.)
15. Walker Weickel, rhp/1b, Olympia HS (Fla.)
If there is reader interest, I can start charting the movement between picks each week, as well. More draft video for you from my scouting trips -- here is Deven Marrero with the USA Collegiate National Team, working out and then in action against the 18U squad during the Prospect Classic: