Draft Prospect Watch: Two High School Players Making Late Jumps in the Rankings

Every Sunday, we are going to take a look at two top draft prospects in this upcoming June amateur draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates make their first selection with the 18th overall pick. They also have the 37th overall pick. Our players featured each week will be those who are ranked on prospect lists in the general area of the 18th pick, while also showing some players who could be available when the Pirates make their second pick. The first day of the draft is June 3rd, just eight days away. You can check out our draft preview here.

Here are links to the previous Draft Prospect Watch articles, covering a total of 30 players so far:

Matthew Allan and Zack Thompson

 Brett Baty and Will Holland

Daniel Espino and Jack Leiter

Will Wilson and Brandon Shewmake

Alek Manoah and George Kirby

Corbin Carroll and Maurice Hampton

Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan

Hunter Barco

Cameron Misner and Brennan Malone

Logan Davidson

Jackson Rutledge and Shea Langeliers

Seth Johnson and JJ Goss

Josh Jung

Michael Busch and Quinn Priester

Gunnar Henderson

Kody Hoese and Keoni Cavaco

Bryson Stott and Greg Jones

This week we are going with two players who were moving up the draft charts recently. As you see with all of those links above, we have covered 30 players. There’s a very good chance that the first pick for the Pirates is listed above. There’s also a pretty good chance that when they make the 37th overall selection on June 3rd, that player could be listed. I ignored the guys who were consistently in the top ten this year because they weren’t realistic options, so you’re getting some players here who will go in the 30’s, or possibly lower if we covered them early in the season and they slipped.

These two players today probably aren’t options at 18th overall, but they have made a lot of progress recently and could be strong picks at 37th.

In Baseball America’s latest mock draft, shortstop Anthony Volpe out of Delbarton HS in NJ went in the 26th spot. The Pirates have been connected to multiple shortstops, college and prep, so he is sort of a fit here, especially if he’s still available 37th overall. BA compared his hitting package to Corbin Carroll (see link above in previous reports), who will definitely be off the board before the 37th pick, and possibly before the 18th pick as well.

Volpe just turned 18 years old. He’s 5’11”, 180 pounds and bats from the right side. Scouts give him a lot of credit when it comes to the intangibles, such as hustle, work ethic, big game performance and baseball smarts according to MLB Pipeline. Volpe has a solid bat, with a good approach at the plate and ability to make hard contact. He’s not a power hitter, but could grow into a double digit home run guy down the line. His glovework makes him an above average middle infielder, with an arm to play shortstop and he has quick feet, with slightly above average speed on the bases. Volpe has a commitment to Vanderbilt.

Here are some videos, starting with 2080 Baseball

This is from last year, posted by Baseball Factory

Finally, one by Prospect Live

The second player is definitely more of a 37th pick option, but he’s moving up the ranks quickly and is very intriguing. Blake Walston from New Hanover HS in North Carolina will still be 17 years old on draft day, which is something that could help him move on the draft charts even more when teams think about future projection. He’s a 6’4″, 170 pound lefty, who obviously has lots of room to fill out.

Walston can already get his fastball up to 93 MPH early in starts, with a great chance to add to that in the coming years, both in terms of adding velocity and maintaining it longer in games. His best best is a low-70s curveball, which has the makings of a plus pitch. According to MLB Pipeline, he’s basically a two-pitcher pitcher, who has four pitches (slider and changeup as well) that he rarely uses. That’s not odd for a high school pitcher, who can usually get by without going to a weaker third pitch. He at least has them, so they won’t be something new to work on when he gets in pro ball.

Here are some videos, starting with this one from Perfect Game Baseball

and a second video from Nathan Rode, who works for Prep Baseball Report

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