Luke Bartnicki (Perfect Game)


PG National: Top Prospects


The excitement of the 2017 MLB Draft may have just ended, but only days later the scouting world turned its attention to Fort Myers, where the Perfect Game National Showcase was held this week. A six day event showcasing the top high school players in the nation, the PG National once again acted as the unofficial kickoff to the 2018 MLB Draft scouting season.

There was a distinct theme to this year’s proceedings, and given the current landscape of baseball at its highest level, perhaps it should not come as a surprise. That theme was velocity. A total of 22 pitchers topped at 94 mph or better. Throughout the week, a parade of tall, projectable arms in the 6-foot-4 or more range were marched to the mound, and while it’s early it certainly looks like we are in for a potentially outstanding group of high school pitchers to look forward to in the 2018 draft.

In terms of position players, there are still a lot of questions to be answered, and as usual it takes a bit more time and more events for hitters to begin separating themselves from the pack. A strong group of bats still managed to stand out in Fort Myers, however.

While this was a very early glimpse, scouting departments around baseball use PG National as a way to begin compiling a “preference list” of players in events moving forward. There are likely players who will emerge as elite prospects at a later time who did not stand out at the event this week or did not attend it, but given the hundreds of elite players on display, PG National is an excellent jumping off point. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top prospects who stood out this week in Fort Myers.

(This list is based on small sample sizes and is of course not a complete picture of the 2018 high school draft class. We also are not listing every player with impressive showings in Fort Myers. This is one early opinion on some the top standouts to watch following the event.)

Top Pitchers

1. Luke Bartnicki, lhp, Marietta, Ga. (Georgia Tech) | H/W: 6-foot-3, 210

The true breakout pitching prospect of the event, Bartnicki was locked in from the moment he stepped on the mound at JetBlue Park. Using a slight back turn in his delivery, the big lefty hid the ball well and located an explosive 91-94 mph fastball on the corners. Hitters did not seem to pick up the ball well out of his hand, and his nasty 55 grade, future plus slider at 82-84 mph proved to be an excellent finishing pitch as well. Everything about Bartnicki was low effort and smooth.

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