Written By: Zack Silverman
Follow Him on Twitter: @ZackMatt4
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
Today, I will be breaking down the Top 12 Undrafted High School Pitchers from the 2020 MLB Draft. An exciting and deep group more than ever before due to the shortened draft. College Baseball only will get stronger with it.
Personally, I love watching Friday night duels in college baseball. The shortened 2020 draft means we’ll have more pitching talent heading to a school than ever before. Carson Montgomery headlines the incoming freshman class as a fringe-first rounder who wanted to head to Florida State. While Miami managed to bring on not one but two of the top four, at least by my personal pre-draft rankings.
Other big programs like Vanderbilt, LSU, and Texas jumped on there. While San Diego State lost Ricky Tiedemann when he decided to switch it up to Long Beach Community College. Where he’ll once again be draft-eligible again in 2021.
Personally, my two “sleeper” picks from this list are Ryan Hagenow and Nick Griffin, the latter of which reminds me of Asa Lacy as a high schooler.
1. RHP Carson Montgomery
Windermere HS [FL] -> Florida State
The top player on my personal rankings to go undrafted, Carson Montgomery. Who is set to jump into a Florida State pitching staff that lost starters CJ Van Eyk (Blue Jays, second round) and Shane Drohan (Red Sox, fifth round). As well as reliever Antonio Velez (Marlins, undrafted). Van Eyk and Drohan were big draft names in their own right out of high school in 2017, ranking 107th and 118th on my draft personal list that year. So bringing on blue-chip recruits is nothing new for FSU.
Montgomery is a 6’2″ right-hander with plenty of room to grow into his frame, and his extremely loose right arm makes him even more projectable. For now, he has a low 90’s fastball that he can run up to 96. His best secondary pitch is an inconsistent slider that can flash plus at its best. And he also throws a sneaky good changeup that he doesn’t use as often. His command is fairly inconsistent as well. But he’s very young for an incoming freshman and won’t even turn 18 until August. Montgomery might need a little bit of refinement throughout his freshman year. I imagine that by the time he’s a sophomore, he’ll be a true ace for the Seminoles.
2. RHP Ryan Hagenow
Farragut HS [TN] -> Kentucky
I took a bit of a gamble on Ryan Hagenow. Who ranked 52nd on my personal list but 68th on MLB Pipeline and 194th on Baseball America. I really like his upside though, and I have a feeling he’s going to spend his three years in Lexington and turn into a monster.
Hagenow is an uber-projectable 6’5″ righty out of the Knoxville area who has a lot to work on, but has a lot going for him. His fastball velocity isn’t quite there yet, sitting around 90 for the most part and topping out around 93. But his loose arm puts nice movement on the pitch and portends to future velocity gains.
His slider is average, for now. Flattening out at times but also showing some nice depth down in the zone when he gets it right. Adding some power and consistency in college could make it a plus pitch. To me, his best pitch right now is his changeup, with great fading action to the arm side. He does a decent job of throwing strikes. But he needs to smoothen out his delivery a little bit, which I believe he will.
I love the way his arms and legs work in his delivery and he could easily add 20-30 pounds at school. Which in turn should help him add power to his fastball and slider. In a best-case scenario, I could really see him coming out for the 2023 draft with three plus pitches and a starter’s frame. Putting him on the 1st Roun map.
There’s a long way to go, and I don’t think he’ll slot directly into Kentucky’s weekend rotation right away. But he is relatively young for the class with a June birthday and just I have a good feeling about him.
3. RHP Victor Mederos
Westminster Christian HS [FL] -> Miami
Miami did a fantastic job of holding its talented recruiting class together. It’s a good thing they did because they lost their entire weekend rotation in Slade Cecconi (Diamondbacks, comp round), Chris McMahon (the Rockies, second round), and Brian Van Belle (Red Sox, undrafted), plus reliever Tyler Keysor (Reds, undrafted).
Headlining the incoming recruits, at least as far as my own list goes, is Victor Mederos, a Cuban-born pitcher who fled the country with his mother and brother when he was six years old and settled in Miami.
The big 6’4″ righty has as strong an arm as anyone in this class. Sitting in the low to mid 90’s with a fastball he can run up to 96. He has two breaking balls in a curveball and a slider that can flash plus. With the former showing great depth and power at times and the latter coming in with harder velocity.
There is a solid changeup as well, and Mederos aggressively attacks hitters with all four. Though the two breaking balls can blend into each other at times. That aggressiveness can hurt him more than it helps him at times. With a tendency to overthrow and lose his arm slot and therefore strike zone. He does have the innate strike-throwing ability to be successful in that area, and all he really needs to do is stay within himself more.
Miami is getting a really exciting, high-octane arm who could develop into an impact starter. Though with a June birthday that makes him old for the class, he’ll be eligible again for the 2022 draft as a sophomore.
4. RHP Alejandro Rosario
Miami Christian HS [FL] -> Miami
Joining Mederos in that future Hurricanes rotation will be fellow Miami native Alejandro Rosario, though he’s a very different pitcher. While Mederos is listed at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Rosario is a very slim 6’1″ and 165 pounds.
He lives off his fastball. Which sits in the mid-90s, has registered as high as 99, and gets good running action to the arm side. His secondary pitches are more of a work in progress. With a slider and a splitter that he’s still working to differentiate. Believe it or not, the splitter is actually ahead of the slider. An above-average pitch at its best, and he needs to refine his slider to look less like his splitter, not the other way around.
Because of his slight frame and unrefined arsenal, he faces significant reliever questions in pro ball. Although I think he’ll definitely be able to start at least in college.
Maybe not right off the bat. As I think Mederos has a better shot to crack the rotation as a freshman than Rosario does. He’s athletic, repeats his delivery well, and throws enough strikes to make it work. Throw in the easy gas and the splitter/slider thing, and he’ll miss tons of bats in the ACC.
During his time in Miami, if he can refine those secondary pitches and perhaps bulk up a little bit, his electric right arm could be really enticing for teams early in the 2023 draft.
5. RHP/SS/QB Cade Horton
Norman HS [OK] -> Oklahoma
A quarterback/baseball player heading to Oklahoma? Cade Horton is harkening back to Kyler Murray with that combination. However, he’s not quite the prospect Murray was in either sport. Horton won’t have to go far for school, staying in his hometown of Norman, just south of Oklahoma City. Not only is he a two-sport star, but he’s actually set to play both ways on the diamond as well. Most scouts prefer him as a pitcher, and I’d have to agree with that.
Horton is a 6’2″ righty that sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, adding an above-average slider that could end up a plus pitch if he adds some power to it. As with most high school pitchers, his changeup requires some imagination, but it’s there. As you might expect from a quarterback, he’s a good athlete with a durable frame that should lend itself well to starting.
There is a lot of baseline ability there to project on, and once (if) he gives up hitting and quarterbacking, he could take some big steps forward. Oklahoma lost its entire weekend rotation in Cade Cavalli (Nationals, first round), Levi Prater (Cardinals, third round), and Dane Acker (A’s, fourth round), plus reliever Zack Matthews (Astros, undrafted). So Horton should have every chance to jump into that rotation from day one.
6. LHP Ricky Tiedemann
Lakewood HS [CA] -> Long Beach CC
Ricky Tiedemann was previously committed to pitch at San Diego State. After effectively pricing himself out of the draft, he’ll head to Long Beach City College to be eligible right away for the 2021 draft. Personally, I think this could pay off big time for the Los Angeles-area native. Tiedemann has an extremely projectable, extremely athletic 6’4″ frame that screams future projection. A really loose left arm and easy, natural operation as well, giving his coaches at LBCC a lot to work with.
For now, the fastball sits around 90, but I could easily see him adding significant velocity in the future, perhaps even in his freshman year at LBCC after touching 95 this summer. His changeup is his best pitch for now with great fading action, giving him a reliable offspeed. He has a slider, but it’s below average at this point and will need significant refinement.
It’s really easy to envision Tiedemann getting a lot, a lot better, so even marginal improvement in 2021 could seriously help his draft stock.
If he adds a tick or two to his fastball or refines that slider to an average or above-average pitch, that should move him into Top 50 consideration. With a chance of making him a first-rounder. Another plus in Tiedemann’s profile is his age. Like Carson Montgomery, he won’t turn 18 until August, making him the age of a slightly old high school senior by the time the 2021 draft rolls around.
7. RHP Tanner Witt
Episcopal HS [TX] -> Texas
The University of Texas had a recruiting class filled with big draft names. Ultimately saw Carson Tucker (Indians, first round), Jared Jones (Pirates, second round), Jared Kelley (White Sox, second round), and Petey Halpin (Indians, third round) go in the top 100 picks. In losing four huge recruits to the draft, Longhorns fans can take solace in that they got one really good pitcher to price himself out. Like Tiedemann, he’s about projectability more than anything else, but there is a lot of present ability too.
Tanner Witt is a towering 6’6″ righty out of Houston. With a fastball that sits around 90 for the most part. This spring he added a tick of velocity and sat in the low 90’s, reaching back for as much as 95. While that increased velocity was only present for a short time before the shutdown. Tt was expected anyways and he has a chance to really tack it on in Austin.
His curve has some nice depth to it and is an average to above-average pitch at present. It’s easy to see him adding power as he fills out, which would make it a plus pitch.
He also throws a slider and a changeup, which are fairly raw for now but which show promise and could develop into above-average pitches in time. He throws strikes and repeats his delivery well, giving him plenty of starter traits to work on.
Witt is very much the kind of pitcher that can show up on campus a lanky freshman and come out a bona fide ace. He could make my #7 ranking on this list look silly three years from now. Additionally, he’s young for the class with a July birthday and will also be hitting at UT, where he could surprise some of us with his raw power.
Between Witt and rising sophomore Trey Faltine, the Longhorns have two legitimate two-way prospects. Though Faltine did not pitch as a freshman.
8. RHP Ty Floyd
Rockmart HS [GA] -> Louisiana State
Only the second player on this list, following Ryan Hagenow (Tennessee -> Kentucky), to leave his home state for college, Ty Floyd takes some imagination to project on. Growing up just past the Atlanta suburbs. Floyd is a 6’2″ righty with a really loose arm that can run his fastball up to 95. He sits more in the low 90’s during his starts, but he does have a tendency to dip a bit later on. He throws a curveball and a changeup that are both pretty raw. Though the curve shows promise with nice shape down in the zone.
Really, scouts are projecting on the looseness of Floyd’s operation and his innate athleticism more than his present ability. The LSU coaching staff will have some work to do when he arrives on campus. They’re returning most of their pitching staff after only losing Cole Henry (Nationals, second round) to the draft, so Floyd is more likely to be a bullpen arm as a freshman. But once guys like Jaden Hill, Landon Marceaux, and AJ Labas presumably get drafted next year, Floyd has a shot to jump into the rotation as a sophomore. By the time he’s a junior, if he refines his game into what scouts believe he’s capable of, we could have a really exciting arm.
There is probably more relief risk than most of the other names on this list. Though, Floyd has a pretty wide range of potential outcomes.
9. RHP Cam Brown
Flower Mound HS [TX] -> Texas Christian
Cam Brown had a great summer that put him firmly in top 50 conversations, and a strong spring could have further moved him up boards into first-round consideration. However, his spring moved him in the opposite direction, and he’ll make the short drive down I-35W to TCU to try to rebuild his stock. At his best over the summer, Brown showed a low to mid 90’s fastball that played up due to some crossfire in his delivery, in addition to an above-average slider and a solid changeup. However, this spring, the velocity ticked down closer to 90 and his slider looked like a below-average to average pitch, and overall he just didn’t look like a natural pitcher.
At TCU, he has a chance to prove that his brief spring was just a minor blip. And a strong freshman season in 2021 could be enough to completely erase the bad taste in scouts’ mouths.
As a 6’3″ righty with a durable frame and three potential above-average pitches. He has plenty of starter traits and could emerge as a first-round pick in 2023. At the same time, he still does have to go out and prove it. Scouts will be watching his Horned Frogs career closely to see his progression. As will I with TCU just down the road in Fort Worth.
10. LHP Mason Miller
Mitchell HS [FL] -> Florida Gulf Coast
Aside from the community college-bound Ricky Tiedemann. All of the previous names in this class are committed to premium baseball programs like Miami, Florida State, and Louisiana State, but Mason Miller is headed to a smaller program in Florida Gulf Coast. There, he’ll hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow lefty Chris Sale, the school’s biggest name ever. Miller teamed with Reds competitive balance pick Jackson Miller (no relation) at Mitchell High School just north of Tampa. Where he showed the stuff to go in the fourth or fifth round based on a really nice projection profile.
As a 6’3″ lefty, his name was already circled on scouts’ lists. A velocity bump this spring that pushed his fastball to around 90 MPH really put him on the map.
Aside from being a scout’s dream as a 6’3″ lefty, his best attribute is a potentially plus curveball that gets really high spin rates and can really bring tremendous bite. It’s inconsistent for now as he learns to harness its power, but the potential is there. Lastly, his changeup needs projection and could develop in any number of directions. Miller comes from a low three-quarters arm slot that puts some nice angle on the ball. He can occasionally yank the ball and it also makes it tougher for him to stay on top of his big curveball.
At FGCU, he’ll need to focus on adding more velocity. Which should come naturally given his frame, as well as getting more consistent with those secondary pitches. He has a chance to crack the Eagles’ rotation right out of the gate, and his game could grow pretty steadily during his time in Fort Myers.
11. LHP Nick Griffin
Monticello HS [AR] -> Arkansas
As with Texas, Arkansas’ fantastic recruiting class got looted during the draft. With Masyn Winn (Cardinals, second round), Markevian Hence (Cardinals, competitive balance round), and David Calabrese (Angels, third round) signing pro contracts. Nick Griffin (Monticello) will join fellow small-town Arkansan Cayden Wallace (Greenbrier) as major 2020 draft prospects to head to Fayetteville. where he will look to develop into a star.
He reminds me of another name as a high schooler, and Razorbacks fans will really like this one: Asa Lacy.
I really liked Lacy coming out of high school in Texas in 2017. If you read my work, you’re probably sick of me bragging about it, but I feel the same way about Griffin. He’s a 6’4″ lefty with a really loose, really athletic delivery that just screams projection. For now, his fastball sits around 90 but can bump up to 94 at times. He figures to continuously add velocity as he fills out that frame. There is a slider as well that can be an above-average pitch at times, and he adds a curveball and changeup that are pretty nascent. Everything about his game is pretty raw. But I think the Arkansas coaching staff is getting something really exciting to work with. In addition to the projectable frame, loose arm, and great body for pitching.
He’s relatively young for the class with a June birthday, and he’s trending in the right direction. Arkansas is so loaded with talent that he probably won’t crack the rotation right away. But he has a chance to follow an Asa Lacy-like rise to stardom. How’s that for a prospect?
*I’m not the only one here at Prospects Worldwide that loves Nick Griffin. You can read Danny Hacker’s article on him here.
12. RHP Patrick Reilly
Christian Brothers HS [NJ] -> Vanderbilt
How would this list be complete without a Vanderbilt arm? In each of the past two seasons, they’ve landed massive recruits on the mound in Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. And while they lost their top two incoming hitters this year in Robert Hassell (Padres, first round) and Pete Crow-Armstrong (Mets, first round), they did land their top pitcher in Patrick Reilly. A New Jersey private school product like Leiter, Reilly has much less of a track record than his Garden State counterpart. Instead of jumping onto the map with a huge showing at the WWBA tournament over the fall.
In his one start there, his previously fringy fastball sat easily in the low to mid 90’s and topped out at 96. With showing a true power curve that looked plus at its best.
Reilly packs a ton of strength into his 6’4″ frame that enabled his velocity gains. Though aside from that exciting start in the fall, scouts hadn’t seen enough of him at the increased velocity to buy him out of that Vanderbilt commitment. It will be really tough to work into that absolutely loaded rotation, especially as a freshman. Once Rocker and Leiter go in the top five picks in 2021, he’ll likely have his shot.
At Vanderbilt, competing for innings can be just as tough as proving yourself to evaluators. But there is no better place to go and refine your game. Period.
- RHP Jason Savacool, Baker HS [NY] -> Maryland
- LHP Timmy Manning, Cardinal Gibbons HS [FL] -> Florida
- RHP TJ Nichols, Oakmont HS [CA] -> Arizona
- RHP Marquis Grissom Jr., Counterpane HS [GA] -> Georgia Tech
- RHP Max Rajcic, Orange Lutheran HS [CA] -> UCLA
I will be covering the Undrafted Hitters from the 2020 Class in a similar way. Be sure to be on the lookout for that, this Undrafted Class is extremely deep. College Baseball has some great talent coming their way, very soon.