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Top 10 2018 Grads – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament

At the 2015 Baseball Factory All-America Pre-Season Rookie Tournament, RHP Connor Noland ran his fastball up to 86 mph and recorded five strikeouts via his mid 70s breaking ball. He earned Top 10 honors with his performance in Auburndale last year, and rode that momentum all the way to the top spot this year in Mesa.

Noland’s fastball was comfortably in the 87-89 mph range, up three mph from this time last year, and he showed feel for an upper 70s changeup that wasn’t in the arsenal last year. His breaking ball was once again an effective pitch, giving him three legit weapons with which to attack hitters.

Right on Noland’s heels was SS Raynel Delgado, who followed up a strong performance at the Under Armour Futures East Showcase in September 2015 with an even better showing in Mesa. He trimmed two tenths off his 60 yard dash, and with more live competitive action (3 games at UA Pre-Season vs. 1 game at UA Futures Showcases) his advanced feel for the game was even more evident.

Below are the top ten prospects from the class of 2018, as selected by our scouts, with capsules written by Steve Bernhardt (Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee).


CONNOR NOLAND

RHP/OF — 6’2″/185 — R/R
Greenwood (AR) HS

Connor is a tremendous athlete who has a bright future both as a RHP and on the football field as a QB. On the mound in Arizona, the 6’2” right-hander flashed three quality pitches, all thrown for strikes. He has a clean, repeatable delivery and a very quick arm that allowed him to throw his fastball in the upper 80s and command it. His high ¾ slot gets good downhill plane to his stuff, and he always appears to be in control on the mound. Connor’s secondary offerings include a 2-plane curve that has depth and a change with fading action. His velocity differential for the 3 pitches is very good, adding to their effectiveness. Connor can also play all over the field as a defender. He played the OF at this event, and at his first Baseball Factory event back in 2012 we saw him catch. He also swings the bat with authority, as evidenced by his 90 mph exit velocity. Overall, this is a special prospect who is one of the top pitchers in the 2018 class, and also is a major football recruit. These are the guys that baseball needs to hold onto.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Fastball Velocities
Top Exit Velocities
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top FB Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
Top 10 2018 Grads: 2015 Baseball Factory All-America Pre-Season Rookie Tournament


RAYNEL DELGADO

SS — 6’0″/150 — S/R
Mater Academy — Hialeah, FL

Raynel is one of those talented young players possessing outstanding tools and the ability to use those tools in the game. He is an advanced defender who plays low and has soft, sure hands. Balls hit to him are outs and he is equally comfortable going to the forehand and backhand sides. He reads balls well off the bat, does a good job of picking the right hop and has an internal clock that allows him to properly gauge his pace. Offensively, Delgado has a simple, clean stroke from both sides of the plate. While he has a bit more power and loft from the left side, he finds the barrel both right and left-handed. This is really a complete player who is one of the top performers in the 2018 class.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Exit Velocities
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top 60 Yard Dashes – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 5 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament – 2018 Grads
2015 Under Armour Futures East Showcase


MIKO RODRIGUEZ

OF — 6’0″/190 — R/R
Forest Hills Central HS — Ada, MI

Miko is a strong, physical young prospect with an impressive array of tools. At the plate he stalks the pitch and then explodes through it, driving balls to all parts of the park (97 mph exit velocity). The stroke has rhythm and is simple, allowing him to handle velocity and adjust well to off-speed stuff. Rodriguez is a versatile defender who can play all of the OF spots and even can handle the IF, when necessary. He has plenty of arm for RF and has the range necessary to play CF. There are lots of ways that Miko can help you win, and he seems to be just scratching the surface. Expect lots of attention in the Michigan area as scouts and coaches check him out over the next few years.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Raw Velocities
Top Exit Velocities
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top 60 Yard Dashes – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 5 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament – 2018 Grads


JARRETT FORD

2B/OF — 5’10″/160 — R/R
Decatur (GA) HS

Jarrett oozes athleticism and quick twitch fibers. He has a lightning-quick bat from a compact right-handed stroke that delivers hard, loud contact. He has easy rhythm at the plate and can drive balls to both gaps. Adding to the impressive profile, Jarrett ran a 6.62 in Arizona and broad jumped 9 feet. This explosiveness is evident on the bases where he is aggressive and constantly pressuring the defense. Jarrett uses his quickness defensively as well, leading to plus range in the infield. He takes good angles and has very dependable hands. Overall, this is an impact prospect with the ability to change the game in multiple ways.

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


BRANDON BIRDSELL

RHP/OF — 6’2″/190 — R/R
Conroe HS — Willis, TX

Brandon is one of the top 2-way players in the 2018 class, showing his athleticism and feel for the game in multiple facets. On the mound, he flashed his impressive stuff in a cold, early game against a loaded line-up from the Georgia team. His coordinated delivery and quick arm led to upper 80s velocity – and he looked like he was just playing catch. He attacked hitters mainly with a mix of a tailing fastball and tight slider. As a position player Brandon used a short, quick stroke and a strong lower half to drive balls during his BP session. He has the ability to manipulate the barrel and squares up a lot of pitches. Defensively he showed clean actions, sure hands and a strong arm at 3B. He is versatile enough to play anywhere on the field, though his highest ceiling appears to be on the mound. He is an exciting prospect to follow.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Fastball Velocities
Top Raw Velocities
Top Exit Velocities
— Top FB Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— 5 Players To Watch During The Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament – 2018 Grads


DREW WILLIAMSON

OF/1B — 6’4″/195 — L/R
T.R. Miller HS — Brewton, AL

Drew can flat out hit! He has outstanding hand/eye coordination with a short, direct path to the ball, allowing him to find the barrel over and over again. His swing is well-coordinated and has a full finish through contact putting everything in place for future power as he matures physically. He has a very unique profile as a 6’4”, 195-pound outfielder who is athletic and has some explosive actions (7.0 in the 60 and 9’11” broad jump). Drew is a confident defender who glides to balls, has good hands and has an accurate arm. This young prospect looks to be a future run producer who should hit in the middle of a lineup at the next level.

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


BEAUX ESCOBAR

C — 5’11″/200 — S/R
Independence HS — Thompson’s Station, TN

Beaux has the unique profile of a switch-hitter who should be able to stay behind the plate. Offensively, he has a rhythmic, low-effort stroke with both sides that produces hard line drive contact. His LH stroke produces a bit more power, but he is advanced from both sides. As a catcher, Beaux has an ideal, durable build (5’11”/200) with a strong lower half that can handle lots of games back there. He receives well and his throws to 2B were as low as 1.98 in Arizona. Add in the mix a feel for the game and some leadership qualities and you have an exciting young prospect in Beaux.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
— Top Pop Times
— Top Exit Velocities
— Top Exit Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament
— Top Pop Times – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament


STERLING HAYES

SS — 6’1″/175 — R/R
Francis Parker HS — La Jolla, CA
Vanderbilt Univ. commit

With a high baseball IQ and useable skills to match, Sterling is an impressive prospect. He moves his tall, lean frame well in the infield, using his feet to get into position and using his sure hands to secure ground balls. His move through the ball, exchange and release are all very natural and fluid. He also is very good around the bag. At the plate, Sterling has a calm, confident demeanor. He employs a coil and go style that keeps him on time and allows him to consistently spray line drives throughout the field. He reacts well in games to quality pitching and this Vanderbilt commit is a very polished overall player for a 2018 grad.

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


MICHAEL BACICA

RHP — 6’4″/180 — R/R
Windermere (FL) Prep
Univ. of North Carolina commit

Michael is a tall, lean RHP with long levers and a very high ceiling. His delivery is balanced and in-line allowing him to repeat and throw strikes. The overall tempo of the game is outstanding with Michael on the mound as he gets the ball and is ready to attack the hitter with the next pitch. He mainly gets outs by climbing the ladder with his mid to upper 80s fastball and his curveball with bite and 11-5 shape. Michael is committed to the University of North Carolina and should follow the line of outstanding starting pitchers that come out of that program. All the elements are there for this to be one of the top arms in the 2018 class.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT:
Top Fastball Velocities
Top FB Velos – 2016 Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament


PAUL KOMISTEK

3B/OF — 6’2″/180 — R/R
Knoxville (TN) Christian HS
Univ. of Tennessee commit

With an athletic 6’2” frame and a well-coordinated swing, Paul has the look of a future impact bat at the next level. He accelerates the barrel through the zone and has intent in the box. There are flashes of present pull power with more to come as he matures physically. As a defender, Paul reacts and moves well at 3B showing the ability to read the speed of the ball and use his sure hands to secure the ball. He goes well to both sides and slings it across the diamond with some authority. Overall, this University of Tennessee commit is a prospect to follow closely over the next few years.

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


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