The three-day MLB Draft gets underway Thursday, and a host of high school players residing in the Kansas City area could hear their names called. Headlined by highly publicized pitchers Riley Pint (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Joey Wentz (Shawnee Mission East), it’s shaping up to be one of the area’s deepest high school talent pools.
The Philadelphia Phillies own the first pick Thursday, which will cycle through the first two rounds of the draft. The second day will complete round 10. On Saturday, rounds 11-40 will be held.
Here is a look at the top high school prospects from the Kansas City metro area:
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School: St. Thomas Aquinas
Draft rankings: No. 2 (MLB.com), No. 2 (Baseball America)
Analysis: The Riley Pint Repertoire starts with the fastball. The pitch has been clocked north of 100 miles per hour, and he sits in the upper 90s on a consistent basis. A power arm gives Pint a chance to become the first right-handed high school pitcher to ever be selected No. 1 overall, though most draft boards have slotted him somewhere between No. 2 and No. 5. Last month, Pint, an LSU signee, helped St. Thomas Aquinas win the Kansas Class 5A state championship. His top impact came at the plate, where he hit the go-ahead double in the championship game. On the mound, he finished with a 0.43 ERA in his senior season, striking out 87 batters over 49 innings.
School: Shawnee Mission East
Draft rankings: No. 16 (MLB.com), No. 26 (Baseball America)
Analysis: A year ago, Wentz was projected as an early-round pick because of his bat. But over the past couple of months, he shot up draft boards with his development on the mound. He’s a power left-hander who can touch 95 mph on the radar gun. While leading Shawnee Mission East to the Kansas Class 6A state championship, Wentz had a truly dominant senior season. The Virginia signee was a perfect 9-0 and did not allow a run in 51 1/3 innings. He can still hit, too. He batted .392 with five home runs this spring.
Draft rankings: No. 60 (MLB.com), No. 106 (Baseball America)
Analysis: Williams was originally projected to be a top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, but he reclassified to this year’s draft instead. A home-schooled student, Williams played for Turner this spring, where he displayed five-tool talent. He is a switch-hitting shortstop who brings size to the position (6-2, 205). He batted .515 with five home runs, four triples and nine doubles at Turner this spring and has signed with LSU.
Draft rankings: No. 201 (Baseball America)
Analysis: An injury prevented Benninghoff from occupying the mound for Rockhurst in his senior season, and that’s where scouts project him to spend his time at the next level. But the Arkansas signee is a weapon at the plate, too. He batted .306 with eight extra-base hits while playing shortstop with the Hawklets this spring.
School: Blue Valley Northwest
Draft rankings: No. 381 (Baseball America)
Analysis: A tall, lanky right-hander, Duensing sits in the upper 80s or even occasionally the low 90s with his fastball, and he mixes in a change-up and curveball. In his senior season with the Huskies, he was 6-3 with a 1.33 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He has signed with Kansas State.
School: Mill Valley
Draft rankings: No. 453 (Baseball America)
Analysis: Krull brings an intimidating presence to the mound. He is a 6-7 left-hander with a three-quarters arm delivery who has added significant juice to his fastball over the past couple of seasons. The pitch reaches 90 mph. On Monday, he departed for the University of Arkansas.
Draft rankings: No. 477 (Baseball America)
Analysis: Barnhouse is a four-pitch thrower whose fastball hovers around 90 mph. He is described as having a fluid, easy motion that could lend to success at the next level. A Wichita State signee, he finished his senior season 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.