Kyle Isbel Headlines The Top MLB Draft Prospects In Nevada
1. Kyle Isbel, OF, Nevada-Las Vegas (BA Rank: 93)
4YR • 5-11 • 185 • L-R •
Isbel has been a key member of UNLV’s lineup since arriving on campus and has started all but three games during his career. He has managed to take a step forward this spring, as he has increased both his power and walk rate. Isbel had a .093 ISO last summer in the Cape Cod League, but this spring he’s hit double-digit home runs for the first time in his career and added about 200 points to his ISO. Scouts must determine how much of that power increase is driven by the hitter-friendly environments of the Mountain West Conference, but he does pack more of a punch into his lefthanded swing than his frame (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) suggests. He is an above-average runner and uses his speed well on the base paths. Isbel is a solid outfielder and handles center field well, but some evaluators believe he would profile better at second base, where he played early in his career. Isbel has a hard-nosed approach to the game and that helps his mostly average tools play up.
2. Austin Wells, C, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (BA Rank: 206)
HS • 6-2 • 195 • L-R •
Wells is a physical, lefthanded-hitting catcher with arm strength and obvious catch-and-throw talent. The only problem is that he hasn’t thrown much dating back to last summer. An Under Armour All-American, Wells was slated to catch at least part of the game, but couldn’t after dealing with an elbow injury. The issue has persisted into the spring and scouts haven’t been able to see him throw much at all. He’s tried to rest the arm and he also had a platelet rich plasma injection to try and sort out the issue. When healthy, Wells has previously shown above-average arm strength with accuracy to second base in the 2.00-second range—major league average for a pop time. He has a lot of strength in his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame with above-average power and a chance for even more. Scouts praise his baseball IQ and intelligence, and coaches who have been around him admire his professional approach to the game and confidence in all areas. He would have been significantly higher up the board if healthy, and teams might prefer to let him get campus at Arizona, where his father, Greg, also played college baseball. If he’s fully healthy and able to start throwing again, then he has all the tools you want to see out of a prep catcher.
3. Joey O'Brien, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: 499)
JC • So. • 6-2 • 205 • R-R •
O’Brien has a Division I commitment to Hawaii, is eligible for the MLB draft, and is also eligible for the Japanese pro baseball (NPB) draft. The son of a U.S. Marine who was stationed in Okinawa and stayed after marrying a local Japanese woman, O’Brien grew up in Japan and came to the U.S. last year in order to play baseball. His brother, Richard, was drafted in the third round of the NPB draft by Softbank last year. O’Brien plays both ways, but teams want him as a pitcher due to his premium arm strength. O’Brien stands 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and sits 93-94 mph, touching 96 with little effort. He throws strikes and has a fresh arm as someone relatively new to pitching. O’Brien is a good athlete who bats for himself and plays center field on days he doesn’t pitch, and he hit .330 with nine home runs batting in the middle of CSN’s order. His arm strength and athleticism have teams interested on the draft’s third day.
4. Ryan McDonald, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. •
A transfer from West Virginia, McDonald gets up to 95 mph with his fastball and also has a solid curveball, which he used to post a 1.62 ERA this spring. He fanned 45 batters in 39 innings, good for a 10.38 K/9 while walking 21. McDonald is a UNLV signee.
7. Alan Strong, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
8. Isiah Blaylock, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: N/A)
9. Bryan Menendez, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. •
10. Matt Mitchell, LHP, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: N/A)
11. Trevor Horn, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
12. Herbie Good, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: N/A)
13. Matt Wong, OF, JC of Southern Nevada (BA Rank: N/A)
Kyle Isbel Ends Season On High Note
Kyle Isbel missed three months with injuries, but he shined early in the Carolina League and late in the Arizona Fall League.
14. Chase Maddux, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • RS-So. •
16. Jack Sellinger, LHP, Spring Valley HS, Las Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
17. Jaret Godman, INF/OF/RHP, Palo Verda HS, Los Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)
18. Jacob Godman, C/RHP, Palo Verda HS, Los Vegas (BA Rank: N/A)