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Top 10 2016 Grads – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament

Though this group is heavy on left-handed pitches (with three), a right-hander was the easy choice for the top overall prospect among 2016 graduates at the 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament.

RHP Austin Franklin (Paxton, FL) pounded the zone with low 90s fastballs, and topped at 94 to mark a 14 mph improvement since we first saw him in February 2013.

Below are the top ten prospects from the class of 2016, as selected by our scouts, with capsules written by Steve Bernhardt (Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee).


AUSTIN FRANKLIN

RHP — 6’3″/215 — R/R
Paxton (FL) HS
Samford Univ. signee

When we first saw Austin as a high school freshman in 2013 he showed athleticism and a feel to pitch with his fastball that sat in the upper 70s and topped out at 80 mph. The progress since then has been steady and the body and fastball have both developed quite a bit. At this event, Austin was dominant showing a repeatable delivery with a clean, low-effort release. He sat comfortably in the low 90s and topped at 94 with his heavy fastball. He was aggressive – going right after hitters and working ahead in the count. His curve and change are very promising off-speed offerings as well. Austin continues to be more impressive each time we see him and the Samford commit now has the look and stuff of a solid draft come June.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Fastball Velocities
— Top FB Velos — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 10 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament– 2016 Grads
— 2016 Austin Franklin & 2018 Jeremiah Jackson Impress in Mobile, AL
— 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament: 2016 Grad Top 10


LUKE BANDY

SS — 6’1″/175 — R/R
Providence Academy Bentonville, AR
Dallas Baptist Univ. signee

A Dallas Baptist commit, Luke is a dynamic athlete with impressive tools across the board. He has a strong, lively frame that is quick-twitch throughout and oozes athleticism, as evidenced by his 6.68 time in the 60 and his explosive broad jump of 9’7”. He swings the bat with authority, generating bat speed and driving the ball with a simple, compact approach as he did on the triple he hit over the center fielders’ head at this event. Defensively, Luke’s feet work well and he has plenty of arm for the left side of the diamond. This is an impact prospect to watch closely this spring.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top 60 Yard Dashes
— Top 60 Yard Dashes– 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament


MICHAEL SLATEN

RHP/3B — 6’0″/170 — R/R
Homeschool — Nacogdoches, TX

Rarely have we seen players make the kind of velocity jumps that Michael has in the last few months. The athletic 2-way player has gone from 82 mph to 89 mph on the mound in a matter of months and has made our scouts take notice of his high upside as a pitcher. His arm is clean and accelerates well through release, giving his upper 80s fastball excellent life. Michael pounds the bottom of the strike zone and has a breaking ball that flashes swing-and-miss potential. As a position player, he has an intriguing set of tools as a 6.6 runner with the ability to impact the baseball (94 mph exit velo). We don’t expect Slaten to stay under-the-radar much longer as he had a breakout event in Arizona and still has much more potential.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Fastball Velocities
Top 60 Yard Dashes
Top Exit Velocities
— Top FB Velos — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top 60 Yard Dashes– 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
Top Exit Velos– 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament


AARON WESEMAN

LHP — 6’6″/190 — L/L
Heritage HS — Frisco, TX
Dallas Baptist Univ. signee

Aaron screams projection with his thin 6’6” frame and long levers and he has already made some big strides since he was a UA Pre-Season All-America selection last year. Despite the large frame, he is able to repeat his delivery well and command his fastball effectively. The velocity continues to increase each time we see him and he topped out at 88 during this event. His fastball is thrown to both sides of the plate against both RHH and LHH and he mixes in a promising change. Aaron also lands his curveball, that has ¾ tilt, on a consistent basis, using that as his primary out-pitch along with occasionally climbing the ladder with his fastball. Both were effective as he struck out 12 and only allowed 2 hits during his outing. Look for big things in the future from this Dallas Baptist commit.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
— Top FB Velos — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 10 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament– 2016 Grads


TY SAWKA

OF — 6’2″/185 — S/R
North HS — McKinney, TX
Univ. of Alabama signee

Committed to the University of Alabama, Sawka has a skill set that is extremely hard to find. He possesses a tall, wiry-strong frame with above-average speed, the ability to swing the bat from both sides of the plate, and instincts to play the game. The stroke is a clean, easy one that generates line drives to all fields with a weight shift approach. He is aggressive on the bases and pressures the defense with his ability to accelerate quickly and read the ball and situation. This same combination allows him to cover enough to play CF at the next level. With more physical maturity to come, the arrow is certainly pointing up for this young prospect.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top 60 Yard Dashes
— Top 60 Yard Dashes — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 10 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament– 2016 Grads
— Plano, TX: Three Over 90, Seven Under 7


KENNETH MENDOZA

LHP — 6’3″/225 — R/L
Clearview Regional HS — Mullica Hill, NJ
Campbell Univ. signee

Kenneth is what you want a LHP to look like. He has a proportioned, mature 6’3, 220-pound frame that looks to be able to handle a lot of innings. His delivery is coordinated and on-time and his arm action is extremely clean and easy. Overall, this is an advanced, smooth look throughout and the ability to replicate it leads to a high volume of strikes. In the UAPSAA event, Kenneth struck out 9 and allowed only 1 hit in his 4 innings of work. Look for him to take his upper 80s fastball, curve and change to Campbell and make an early impact.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
— Top FB Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
2015 Under Armour National East Showcase — Top Performers


BRANSON AUDETTE

C — 6’3″/200 — L/R
Obra D. Tompkins HS — Katy, TX
Wharton County JC commit

An impact LH bat at a premium position is always in demand, and that is what Branson brings to the table. This 3-time Under Armour Pre-Season All-American is a physical backstop with a short, quick left-handed stroke that has very few holes in it. His swing has rhythm, he reacts well to the ball out of the hand and he has an excellent knack for finding the barrel. At 6’3”, 200 pounds Branson also showed his athleticism with a 6.83 in the 60 and a broad jump of 9’1”. Add in that he was 1.90 down to 2B and has the receiving and blocking skills necessary to stay behind the plate, and you have a prospect that should make some noise this spring.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Pop Times
— Top Pop Times – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top 60 Yard Dashes – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 2015 Under Armour National East Showcase — Top Performers
— 2015 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament: 2016 Grad Honorable Mentions
— 2014 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament: 2016 Grad Honorable Mentions


HAYDEN FREEMAN

OF — 6’3″/215 — R/R
Spain Park HS — Hoover, AL

A rare 4-time Under Armour Pre-Season All-America selection, Hayden has made himself into an outstanding prospect. He now possesses the rare combination of speed and power on a Major League body (6’3”/215). In Arizona, Hayden’s 60 time was an impressive 6.68 (quite a change from the 8.04 he ran the first time we saw him as an 8th grader). He’s an explosive athlete (9’2” broad jump) and the ball jumps off his bat with present power to the pull side (99 mph exit velocity). Instincts are also present in Hayden which allows him to translate the tools into game play. Overall, this is a skill set that is hard to find and should garner Hayden quite a bit of attention this season.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top 60 Yard Dashes
— Top 60 Yard Dashes — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 10 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament — 2016 Grads


HECTOR DAVID COCO

3B/SS — 6’3″/205 — S/R
George Washington HS — Bronx, NY

The game comes easy for this young infielder who has a polished all-around approach. Hector is a natural, instinctual player who is a leader with a high baseball IQ and polished actions. In the infield he has soft, sure hands, a clean exchange/release, and gets the ball across the diamond from multiple arm angles. It is up for debate where he ends up at higher levels, but he has the versatility to play several IF spots well. At the plate his switch-hitting approach shows a quick bat from both sides of the plate and his present strength allows him to manipulate the bat head and square balls off the barrel. Playing for powerhouse George Washington HS in NY, Hector should be able to make an easy transition to the next level where he should have an impact.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
— Team Assignments – 2016 UA All-America Pre-Season Tournament


DRAKE DURHAM

LHP/1B — 6’3″/200 — L/L
New Richmond (IN) HS
Wichita State Univ. signee

Drake has really developed as a player over the last several years, and was excellent on the mound at this year’s UA Pre-Season All-America Tournament. The big lefty (6’3”/200), who is headed to Wichita State, showed an ability to fill up the strike zone with three quality offerings. His fastball sat comfortably in the mid 80s with late life as the ball seemed to get on hitters in a hurry. Drake’s breaking ball had 2-plane break and flashed late bite showing the look of a potential out-pitch. He complements those two with a change that has some late action. He used his stuff effectively in his outing, striking out 7 in 3 innings and should be poised for a big spring. He has a “fresh arm” being from Wisconsin, meaning the arrow is still pointing up for Durham.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Exit Velocities
— Top FB Velos — 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 10 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament — 2016 Grads


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