Saturday August 15th Under Armour hosted some of the best prospects in the 2016 draft class to play an exhibition contest at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Each summer Under Armour and The Baseball Factory collaborate to bring 36 of the best prep players together to showcase their talents against one another.
Although it is difficult to evaluate prospects in one single viewing, this contest gives scouts the opportunity to see many projected top major league draft picks prior to the beginning of their senior year in high school. This year’s event was surprisingly dominated by offense, as the National Team defeated the American team 11-6. These are my notes on several of the top prospects from the game.
Riley Pint RHP Overland Park, Kansas
Possessing a projectable but dreamy 6-4 192lbs body, Riley Pint looks the part when he toes the rubber. He was obviously excited to be selected as the starter for the game, as Pint was overthrowing his pitches and watching the ball sail high and arm-side much of the inning. Pint flashed a 95-98mph fastball with life and arm-side running movement along with one mid-80s curveball with sharp breaking action. Pint is committed to LSU but there is little chance he reaches Baton Rouge as he projects as a top-10 selection next June.
Alex Speas RHP Powder Springs, Georgia
Starting the game for the American team was Georgia right-handed pitcher Alex Speas, a long, lean, projectable 6-4 180lbs pitcher. Similarly to Pint, Speas looked anxious on the mound performing in a major league stadium and struggled to throw strikes. That said this Mississippi State commit has a lightning-quick arm and a fastball sitting 92-96mph with extreme life and some arm-side run. Speas has a relatively simple motion, which when coupled with his blazing velocity and excellent athleticism, gives him a strong chance of being a 1st round pick next summer.
Mitchell Miller LHP Loganville, Georgia
An extremely projectable 6-5 175lbs left-handed pitcher, Miller entered the game in the bottom of the 3rd and immediately impresses with his lean prototypical pitchers’ frame. Miller showed good command of a 90-91mph fastball, along with a 77mph changeup with arm-side fade and a big breaking low-70s curveball. Miller is raw and needs to grow into his lengthy body, but he has the potential that makes pitching coaches’ drool. Also a Mississippi State commit, it is unlikely he makes it to Starkville in 2016 as he should be a Day 1 selection.
Bo Bichette 2B St. Petersburg, Florida
Son of former Colorado Rockies slugger Dante Bichette, Bo Bichette served as the cleanup hitter for the National team. This Bichette is built much like his father, with a thick chest and well-defined legs, but while he lacks much physical projection, he still has reasonable foot speed. Listed at 6-0 200lbs with a babyface but little physical maturation remaining, I question Bichette’s long-term defensive position.
That said, Bichette is being drafted for his impressive raw power and the potential for an above-average hit tool, which should play most anywhere on the diamond. He has a unique swing with a slight arm-bar but he more than compensates with obvious plus bat speed. Due to his pedigree as the son of the major leaguer and his physical maturity, I would be surprised if he did not sign out of the draft next year.
Carter Kieboom SS/3B Marietta, Georgia
Brother of Washington Nationals catching prospect Spencer Kieboom, Carter Kieboom as one of the top infield prospects in the 2016 draft class. Kieboom’s first at-bat in the top of the 1st was quite noteworthy, taking a 98mph fastball from Riley Pint and driving it toward right field for a well-struck single. Then in his second at-bat Kieboom worked a full count before ripping a 94mph sinker to right-center field, showing impressive bat speed low in the strike zone. Kieboom profiles as a potential above-average power and average hitter, with a chance to play a quality third base as well. He projects as a Day 1 pick in the 2016 draft.