Florida Gators skipper Kevin O’Sullivan coached under coach Jack Leggett at Clemson for a decade. So, it was only right that the two meet each other again. This is exactly what happened on November 11th in Port Charlotte, Florida. But this time, it would be as opponents. The perennial National Championship contenders took on the 18U USA National Team, comprised of the top-of-the-top high school players from around the nation in an exhibition at Charlotte Sports Park.
Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the standout 2019 draft prospects from both sides of the match.
Tyler Callihan, IF - Providence HS (Jacksonville, FL)
Callihan is a special hitter, making top college arms from UF look like coach pitch. He went 2-for-4 with a double off the base of the left field wall during the game. His two outs were rocket liners to left field and right field, respectively. Callihan is super polished for a prep hitter, with a simple stroke that sprays missiles to all fields. He also has a good approach with two strikes, taking away his leg kick and shortening his swing. Callihan already harnesses plus raw power. He has a physical, strong 5-foot-11, 210-pound build. Although he played at first base during the game, Callihan has played at all four infield positions in the past, though a corner spot looks inevitable. Wherever he ends up on the diamond, one thing is for sure - he will rake.
Jack Leiter, RHP - Delbarton School (Morristown, NJ)
Son of former 19-year Major League veteran Al Leiter, Jack looks to follow in his father’s footsteps. Leiter threw three innings, allowing one hit while striking out four. Showing fluid and repeatable mechanics, he sat 91-94 with his heater and in the upper 70’s with his curve. His hook is a 12-6 with hard downward bite and has the potential to be a true plus pitch. Leiter isn’t huge, standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, but with the success he has shown against top competition, he should be in contention for the top half of the first round come June.
Austin Langworthy, OF - University of Florida
Langworthy was an integral piece last Spring for the Gators, batting .290 and smacking an extra-inning walk-off homer in the Super Regionals to get them back to Omaha. Langworthy has hit only four homers in each of his first two years at Florida. However, this past Summer in the Cape, he had an unexpected power surge, bashing seven home runs in only 26 games with wood bats. He has continued this streak of power in the fall, hitting multiple bombs in exhibitions. Langworthy isn’t the biggest guy, listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, but he sure does pack a punch. The Gator outfielder will be a very interesting name to keep an eye on in the spring as he looks to show the power is no fluke.
Bobby Witt Jr., SS - Colleyville Heritage HS (Colleyville, TX)
All mock drafts at this point have Witt within the top two picks. And it will stay that way until he gives a reason to think otherwise. He is smooth as silk at short, records 6.4 60 times, and laces balls to all fields with exit velocities over 100 mph. The shortstop has a mature approach at the plate with good rhythm and plus bat speed. Like I said previously, Witt doesn’t have much else to prove other than why he shouldn’t be taken at the very top of the draft.
Riley Greene, OF - Hagerty HS (Oviedo, FL)
Riley Greene, in my opinion, is the best hitter in the high school class. This is my fourth viewing of Greene and he continues to impress me more and more each time. He impressed during batting practice, showing off effortless loft and power. He carries this into the game, accompanied by good plate discipline, and excellent bat-to-ball skills. I would not be surprised one bit to see him go 1:1 in June.
Wil Dalton, OF - University of Florida
A JUCO transfer, Dalton mashed 19 home runs as a sophomore at UF. He may be a tad shorter than his listed 6-foot-1, 195 pounds. However, his build is very athletic with strong forearms that contribute to much of his power. Dalton is not only a power threat, but also has the speed to swipe some bags. There definitely are some strikeout concerns, but the power-speed combo should be enough to put him up for top two round contention.
Corbin Carroll, OF - Lakeside HS (Seattle, WA)
I saw Carroll sparingly while down in Jupiter and was impressed by his smooth lefty stroke and plus speed. These two qualities were once again on display in Port Charlotte. Carroll has an advanced feel for hitting and contact. He beat out what looked to be a routine groundout to short with a blazing home-to-first time of 3.93 seconds. At the moment, his swing is geared more for hard line drives, but future power is definitely not out of the question with his wiry frame, bat speed, and quick-twitch skills.
C.J. Abrams, MIF - Blessed Trinity HS (Roswell, GA)
Abrams has been another name that has been thrown around for the first overall selection. The middle infielder from Georgia possesses game-changing speed. He showcases it in the video below, recording a 3.87 home-to-first time. He turns routine groundouts to hits and doubles into triples. Abrams has a slender body with room to add strength. At the plate, he has quick wrists and a stroke that is built for line drives but can get slappy at times. In the field, Abrams has the tools to stick at short. He has good footwork and plus range thanks to his speed. If Abrams continues to perform this Spring and a team really believes in his hit tool, expect him to be taken off the board within the first five selections.