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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/10/23 : Phillies Draft - Day Three

11th Round : C Kehden Hettiger - Sierra Canyon School (CA) - 19 years old

Sierra Canyon High School in California might best be known for being the school where Bronny James starred on the basketball court, but Hettiger is leaving his own mark as one of the better hitters on the California prep scene. He wasn’t seen a ton on the summer showcase circuit because of a minor knee issue, but he’s made up for it since, showing off some offensive potential in particular.

Hettiger is a switch-hitter who has swung the bat well pretty much everywhere he’s been. While there’s a little bit of a trigger in his swing, he has very natural timing and sees the ball well with an advanced approach that leads to a lot of walks. A switch hitter, has a lot of raw power, particularly from the left side.

While he’s fairly athletic and not a clogger on the basepaths, it’s unclear to evaluators where he might best fit defensively long-term. His best value would be if he can stick behind the plate, and he has enough arm for the spot, though there’s work to be done with his receiving. There would be more pressure on the bat if he ends up at a corner infield or outfield spot, but he might be intriguing enough to try to sign away from his commitment to Oregon.” - MLB Notes

“Hettiger is a switch-hitting catcher with a 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame and impressive raw power. He has filled out and added a significant amount of strength over the last year or so, and it’s translated into eye-popping home runs, particularly from the left side of the plate, this spring. Hettiger has a slightly wide stance from both sides of the plate, and does a nice job getting his foot down early and creating separation with his hips and shoulders, before shooting his hands to the ball with a quick, whippy and powerful swing. There’s a slight bat tip and hand hitch in his load that could create timing issues at the next level, but his bat speed and pitch recognition have been more than good enough against high school pitching to allow him to find the barrel and hit with authority. Scouts are impressed with his pure feel for hitting, particularly from the left side, and while he’s close to physically maxed out now, he should hit for solid power at the next level. There are more defensive questions with Hettiger. He has a solid arm that could be an asset if he’s able to stick behind the plate, but he’s a work-in-progress defender at the position now and might wind up at third base, first base or a corner outfield position. Hettiger is committed to Oregon and is old for the class. He will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2025 if he makes it to campus.” - Baseball America

12th Round :  RHP Brandon Beckel - Texas Tech University - 21 years old

“Beckel has been a full-time reliever for Texas Tech for three seasons, but his 2023 campaign was a bit of a breakout. After struggling with control, he improved significantly in that area and posted a 2.23 ERA over 48.1 innings, with a 31.9% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate. He’s a multi-inning reliever who pitched a single inning in just four of his 24 appearances. Beckel is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and attacks hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball that has been up to 95 and a low-to-mid-80s power breaking ball. The pitch has slider velocity, but top-down movement with more vertical bite than horizontal sweep. It’s been a pitch that he gets in the zone at a high rate and also generates whiffs at around a 50% rate.” - Baseball America

13th Round : RHP Marty Gair - Florida Southwestern State College - 19 years old

“Freshman (2022): Gair played his freshman season at UNC-Wilmington where he saw action in 16 contests.  He logged 17 innings and held opponents to just a .238 batting average while racking up 25 strikeouts.  High School: Gair was a team captain at Cox Mills High School in Concord, North Carolina where he was the Conference Pitcher of the Year and an All-State pick during his senior year, going 8-2 with 104 strikeouts in 47 innings.” - FSW college profile

“Marty Gair is FSW’s best pitcher this season and is seen as one of the best JUCO pitching prospects in the entire country. At 6’6″, 230 lbs Gair is huge for a baseball player. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s imposing on the mound,” FSW head coach Zac Cole said. Cole compared Gair to other large, powerful pitchers like Nolan Ryan. That comp is also fair when you consider Marty’s cannon of an arm. He has thrown as high as 100 MPH in a college baseball game before and got up to 98 MPH this season.

Thanks to his size, arm strength, and accuracy, Gair has been garnering a lot of attention from evaluators. - NBC2 News - Fort Myers, FL

14th Round : SS Zach Arnold - University of Houston - 22 years old

“2023 Season : Reached base in 32 consecutive games. Named American Player of the Week after batting .667 (10-for-15) with eight runs, eight RBI and recorded a hit in every game. Hit a career-high three home runs against UTA with a career-high seven RBI (3/26). Went a perfect 4-for-4 with 4 runs and 4 RBI against USF (4/16)” - University Profile

He initially played two years at LSU, transferred to Houston.  Was drafted out of high school in 2019 in the 34th round by the Orioles.  Is from Temecula, California.

15th Round : C Jared Thomas - Loyola Marymount University - 22 years old

Played first two seasons at University of Miami. Went to high school in Lakewood, California.

“Thomas was eligible in the 2022 draft and was expected to get some attention on the third day of the draft given his impressive offensive season, but that didn’t happen and he returned to Loyola Marymount for his fourth college season. After spending two years playing sporadically at Miami, Thomas has become an everyday player and shown a solid bat in the West Coast Conference. In 2023 he hit .299/.395/.428 with four home runs and 12 doubles, as well as strong plate discipline via a 12.1% strikeout rate and 11.2% walk rate. There are no carrying tools for the 6-foot, 185-pound backstop, but he is a solid defender who catches and throws fairly well and moves nicely behind the dish. He profiles as a backup, lefthanded-hitting catcher who has now turned in back-to-back strong offensive seasons and could be a strong senior sign target at a priority position.” - Baseball America

16th Round : RHP Luke Russo - Eastern Michigan University - 22 years old

“Academic All-MAC selection…Tied with EMU legend Bob Owchinko for the third most strikeouts in a single-season with 107 on the year…Set career-highs in wins (six), appearances (17), starts (11), saves (two), innings pitched (78), and strikeouts (107)…His 107 punch outs ranked first in the MAC…Finished the season ranked top five in the conference in opponent batting average (7th - .223), innings pitched (8th- 78), strikeouts (1st- 107), strikeouts looking (3rd – 34), wins (8th – 6), hits allowed (10th – 66), walks allowed (6th – 25), and doubles allowed (10th – 12)…Set a season-long career-high with seven putouts throughout the season…Also set a single-game career-best with three against Northern Illinois (May 19)…Struck out a career-high 12 batters at Niagara (April 29)…Went a career-long seven innings into his start against Kent State (May 13)…Eclipsed the double-digit strikeout mark twice (at Niagara, April 29, and Northern Illinois (May 19)...2022: Academic All-MAC selection...Named MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week (April 20), Russo had a perfect 2-0 week for the Green and White as he helped the Eagles to a pair of wins and earned his first two collegiate victories. Against Miami, April 11, he etched his name in the record book, racking up 11 strikeouts in just 5.0 innings of work, including a stretch of nine consecutive K's. His 11 strikeouts tied for the second-most in a single game at EMU since 1999...Made seven appearances, including three starts, on the bump for the Green and White...Of all EMU hurlers who threw significant innings, Russo led the Eagles with an ERA of 3.63 including 30 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched...2021: Appeared in nine games on the bump...Finished with a 7.20 ERA in 10.0 innings of work, including 10 strikeouts...2020: Did not appear in a game before the season was canceled due to COVID-19…HIGH SCHOOL: Three-time letterwinner and one-time captain as a member of the Howell High School baseball program...Was an all-district, all-region, and All-State Dream Team selection during his prep school career...Named the MVP of the 2019 MHSBCA All-Star game, an annual event that honors the best high school, players in the state of Michigan.” - College Profile

He’s entered the transfer portal to go to the University of North Carolina.

17th Round : OF A.J. Shaver - Florida Southwestern State College - 21 years old

“Shaver transfers to FSW after playing the past two seasons at Florida State University where he saw action in 29 games for the Seminoles last year. He collected his first collegiate hit against Bethune-Cookman and had his first multi-hit game as well as his first extra base hit and RBI in a win over North Carolina State two days later.   Freshman (2021): Shaver saw time in one game as a true freshman at Florida State in 2021.   High School: Shaver was the 8th ranked outfielder in the state of Florida coming out of South lake High School where he hit .329 with 7 home runs and 24 RBIs as a junior.  Personal: he is the son of Tricia and Tony Shaver who was himself a 25th round pick of the Houston Astros out of Jacksonville State University in 1994.  He’s from Clermont, Florida” - College profile

“Some of AJ Shaver’s most recent accomplishments include getting named to the All-American Second Team and getting named to the 1st Team All-State. In the 2023 season, Shaver, an outfielder for the Buccaneers, had an outrageous .403 batting average while smacking 19 home runs. Shaver also tied the FSW record with 24 doubles. Shaver started the season recovering from a broken bone in his wrist, inhibiting his bat speed. “I lost all my bat speed. I lost a lot of strength in my hand and all this stuff. It kind of like humbled me a little bit to where I knew that things aren’t always going to go your way, and I had to push through it and fight to just stay mentally locked in,” Shaver said.  Despite racking up the stats, Shaver said he never focused on that. Head Coach Zac Cole explained that Shaver is a team-first player. “When you’re only worried about yourself and what your stats are and how many runs you hit, it can be overwhelming, but when you’re worried about your team and winning baseball games and other guys around you getting better, it becomes easier, and AJ was a shining light for that in our program of building guys up around him,” head coach Cole said. “I’m just very thankful for everything, and you know, I’m proud of myself for fighting through it and hope that the story and the name All-American can continue throughout the program,” Shaver said.

Records are made to be broken, but for Shaver, these are the memories he will cherish forever. - winknews

Played for Frederick in the MLB Draft League and hit .270 in 63 AB’s with 3 HR and 7 RBIs.

18th Round : RHP Ethan Chenault - UNC Wilmington - 22 years old

“From Lynchburg, VA - Chenault stands six-foot-five and 200 pounds. He's thrown 115.2 career innings at UNCW over three seasons and struck out 136 batters. This season, he posted a 4.91 ERA over 26 relief appearances and 47.2 innings.  The right-hander struck out 59 batters and walked 24. Batters only hit .202 against him. Taking away an early season outing in which he allowed six runs in two innings, he had a 3.94 ERA in 45.2 innings.  He possesses a fastball that sits in the low-90s but can reach into the mid-90s. Chenault can really spin it and throws both a slider and curveball. He also has a changeup in his arsenal that he'll use sparingly. He plans on spending time at home this summer while going through pre-draft workouts.” 247 Sports

He’s entered the transfer portal to go to Florida State

19th Round : RHP Casey Steward - Washburn University (Kansas) - 21 years old

“In 2023: Named to the All-MIAA Second Team ... made 15 appearances and started 14 games, finishing with a record of 5-4 ... led the MIAA and finished ranked 12th in NCAA Division II with 110 strikeouts, which also tied Washburn's single-season strikeout record ... had a 4.25 ERA (fifth in MIAA) and held opponents to a .216 batting average (fourth in MIAA) after pitching a team-high 82.2 innings (third in MIAA) ... completed the year fourth in the MIAA rankings in batters struck out looking with 24 ... recorded 10 or more strikeouts in four games and limited opponents to three or fewer hits in five starts after going at least 5.2 innings ... carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Northeastern State (May 5) in the MIAA Tournament before leaving the game after allowing a leadoff walk ... pitched six no-hit innings against Rogers State (April 22) and struck out 10 ... struck out a career-high 12 in 5.2 innings at Barry (Feb. 9) ... earned MIAA Pitcher of the Week honors twice and was the NCBWA Central Region Pitcher of the Week once... named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and earned MIAA Scholar Athlete honors ... also named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Team.” - College Profile

“Steward certainly looks the part and possesses arm strength as well. The junior hurler’s velocity has improved with each start, most recently pitching in the 92-94 mph range, and he’ll use a sharp, downward breaking ball when ahead in counts. Steward does have feel for his 82-84 mph changeup that he will show mostly to lefties that generates late, downward fade when timed up. The big righty is punching out his fair share in 2023, with 75 strikeouts in 57.1 innings, though that has also come with 30 walks. With opposing batters hitting just .247 against him, look for Seward to become even more dominant as his overall command improves.” - Baseball America

20th Round : 2B Pierce Bennett - Wake Forest University - 22 years old

“Often the forgotten man in Wake Forest’s potent lineup, Bennett was a reliable contributor to the Demon Deacons’ pool play success– as he has been all season. The six-foot-one right-hander has a slightly open stance, employing a significant leg kick and a pretty big stride toward the pitcher. His swing is compact and geared for a gap-to-gap approach.  Bennett makes a ton of contact – he’s especially adept against offspeed – and though he sometimes gets out ahead of breaking balls, he does a good job of staying balanced and fouling them off. He doesn’t do as much damage as expected, with middling exit velocities and average over-the-fence power. Additionally, he rarely ever walks and adds little value on the bases. Bennett moved to the outfield after spending most of his redshirt sophomore season at second base but has not stood out as a great defender in right. He is not the most fluid runner, and his routes are subpar. Plus, his fringy arm strength means second base and left field are his best options. His upside is limited due to his age, quiet toolset, and profile as a utility guy, but Bennett’s bat may be enticing enough for a late Day 2 draft selection.” - Prospects Live

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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