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Five HS pitchers to look out for in this year’s draft

Which one of these kids will you own a shirsey of in three years?

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Being a high school senior is tough. You're worried about finals, about losing all of your friends when you head off to college, about adapting to change once you leave behind your comfort zone, and whether or not you’ll get drafted by the Mets and doomed to an endless cycle of arthroscopic surgeries.

Wait, what?

The draft is a fun beast because it offers us a highly concentrated mix of college guys ready to continue their baseball lives and high schoolers who’ve proven to be dominate enough to catch major league attention. These high school hurlers all bring someone different to the draft and whatever team they end up on. Look out for when draft day hits and beyond, because these names aren’t fading out any time soon.

Daniel Espino

Georgia Premier Academy | RHP

Like the second coming of Hunter Greene, Espino is a young arm that throws three-digit fire. The Panama native has a panache to steamroll hitters just with his velocity alone. Espino has room to improve his change up, which can be a rigid. His breaking pitches hit good depths, so the issue with his change up can be easily resolved as more of a lack of utilization issue than an actual command issue. On top of his velocity status, Espino has already filled out his 6-foot-2 frame and sports poise, calmness, and overall a lovely demeanor both on and off the mound.

Where could they go?

The Dodgers seem like the perfect landing spot, if Espino remains on the board at the 25th pick. I could also see him going as high as number 10 with the Giants, who have been impossible to read this draft season but wouldn’t be out of character is picking up a young pitcher. He has one of the best fastballs in the draft class, high school and college combined.

Matthew Allan

Seminole HS (FL) | RHP

Allan has the potential to be the first high schoolers drafted this year. With consistent and high velocity throughout all of his starts, Allan’s four seamer is consistently hitting 97. On top of that heater, he’s developed even more command over his changeup and curve, carrying his velocity the distance throughout starts. He has the perfect combination of athleticism and tenacity, challenging hitters with total command of pitches in and out of the strike zone.

Where could they go?

Seeing as Allan is the most developed high school pitcher in the draft this year, he stands a good chance of going in the mid-to-late-teens. The Phillies pick at number 14, and could scoop up the Florida commit and have him tearing up their farm system in no time.

Brennan Malone

IMG Academy (FL) | RHP

Out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the boarding high school that’s training program produced legends such as Josh Hamilton, Nomar Garciaparra, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Mauer (just to name a few...), the we have the hard throwing Malone, who keeps his fastball floating around 96mph. He showcases two breaking pitches along with a slider that has crazy movement. There’s so much raw power behind his arm, and it all feels very effortless. Malone’s Achilles’ heel is his consistency and command. He needs a little more polishing and mechanical tweaking—less throwing and more pitching, if you will. But you can’t teach power and grit, two things Malone comes equip with.

Where could they go?

The Braves very well could take Malone with their 21st pick (their second of Round One, also picking at number nine for compensation due to not signing Carter Stewart last draft). The team has been successful in developing young pitchers and Malone seems like a no brainer.

JJ Goss

Cypress Ranch HS (TX) | RHP

The Texas A&M commit has had a special type of dominance this season. He comes with a three pitch arsenal, the strongest being his slider.. Scouts have noted the funkiness of his mechanics—bring the ball very high behind him early in his windup with a wicked extension and high release point to follow, but the smoothness at which he does it leaves little cause for injury concern. Don’t sleep on his intangibles either—Goss has a mature outlook on the game and very developed baseball IQ already and would have little to no learning curve assimilating into a major league program.

Where could they go?

He’s a favorite for the Astros, who could scoop him at 32 if he’s still on the board.

Jimmy Lewis

Lake Travis HS (TX) | RHP

Standing at 6-foot-6, this powerhouse has an arm you could set a watch to. (This is a dependability joke, you guys.) Lewis has baseball in his blood—his father was drafted by the Astros in ‘91, but had a career ceiling of Triple-A. Lewis has a history of power at the plate and a defensive glove at first base, however teams are exclusively looking at him to pitch. What’s so exciting about him isn’t the tools he has, but his upward potential. Lewis has a lot of time to add addition strength to his large frame, helping him stay on top of his curveball that already ranges between 75-78mph. He uses his size as a large part of his delivery, so filling out a little more with a major club coupled with his tremendous downward plane on hitters could turn him into a dominant force to come.

Where could they go?

Lewis is a strong second rounder and could be the “aha” pick that comes out of the draft, as long as the franchise that drafts him is willing to put time into his development. I could see him ending up with the Red Sox