With the college baseball season getting started, and high schools next month, ESPN's Keith Law has unveiled his preseason Future 50, ranking the top prospects for this year's upcoming Major League Baseball Draft. Law calls this year's draft class "as loaded as any I can remember. It shows great strength in college and high school pitching and has some depth in college outfielders, with athleticism on display all over the place."
Four New Englanders are on the list, among them Lawrence Academy righthander Tyler Beede and three Connecticut natives playing in the college ranks: Vanderbilt's Jason Esposito (Bethany, Conn./Amity); and UConn's Matt Barnes (Bethel, Conn./Bethel) and George Springer (New Britain, Conn./Avon Old Farms).
Here's what Law had to say on each of the locals:
2. George Springer, OF, 6-3, 220, UConn
Analysis: An athletic outfielder with an above-average arm who projects to hit and hit for power and just needs to refine his approach, especially with two strikes.
6. Matt Barnes, LHP, 6-4, 203, UConn
Analysis: Regularly 92-96 with a hard curveball and an average changeup and a delivery that's gotten a little cleaner since he entered UConn as an unheralded and undrafted freshman in 2008.
20. Jason Esposito, 3B, 6-2, 205, Vanderbilt
Analysis: Can hit and hit for power, with a refined approach last year that came from quieting his lower half. Could probably play second if asked but he's above average at third.
27. Tyler Beede, RHP, 6-4, 200, Lawrence Academy (Mass.)
Analysis: Will flash above-average velocity but it's the command, the feel, the off-speed stuff, even the two-seamer, that gets you excited here.