If you’re a Houston-based fan hungry to for some live baseball, there’s a strong crop of area kids with pro potential that are well worth the price of admission. Here’s a rundown of six players participating in prep or college ball in and around the H who currently project as day 1 or early day 2 selections in the upcoming draft:
Masyn Winn, IF/RHP, Kingwood HS - Winn is an explosively athletic 5’11” with serious potential on both sides of the ball. Broadly built with plenty of present strength, Winn already has plus velocity (94-97) on the mound along with a vicious curveball that dives away from righties and a changeup that is more impressive than most hurlers’ his age. He’s also a tooled up shortstop, with now power that could continue to improve, above average speed and a quick throwing release in the field. There’s a lot to work with here on both sides of the ball, and what he does in the pros will depend on who drafts him. Winn’s swing can get a little big and his strike throwing needs work, but It’s not impossible to imagine him continuing to play both ways into pro ball given how much potential he shows in both roles.
Drew Romo, C, The Woodlands HS - A dreamy defender behind the plate, Romo is perhaps the best prep catcher in a class with several strong ones. His defense draws rave reviews, and his pop times are already in JT Realmuto territory. With his strong, accurate arm and athletic receiving, Romo shows the potential to be an impact defender. His bat isn’t on the same level as the glove, but he nonetheless shows some real potential as a hitter, with pretty swings and line drive ability from both sides of the plate. He’s not the type of player who will get fantasy owners pumped, but he could end up being a very valuable asset for a big league club.
Trei Cruz, SS, Rice - A polished college infielder, Cruz’s father is MLB veteran Jose Cruz Jr., making Astros legend Jose Cruz Sr. his grandfather. Trei was eligible to sign in last year’s draft but didn’t get much early buzz and is back at Rice for his junior campaign. He’s in the midst of a strong NCAA tenure, having posted .390+ OBPs as both a freshman and sophomore while holding down a starting role both years, and plays a heady, all-around game typical of the sons of former big leaguers. He’s manned primarily shortstop for the Owls and has nice hands, but is a bit large for the position and his range may end up being best suited for second or third base, or a utility role, in pro ball. Cruz is a switch hitter with at least average pop that has trended up so far, and has appeal as an offensive-minded infielder.
Tanner Witt, 3B/RHP, Episcopal HS - Another two-way prospect, Witt, at least to me, appears to be much more likely to be selected as a pitcher than a position player. He has a huge 6’6” frame with an impressive physical makeup, and while his raw power is enticing, he simply oozes potential on the mound. Despite his length, Witt shows very impressive body control, easy arm action and feel for a high-spin curveball with plus potential. For now he works around 89-92, but with the projection remaining in his frame I’d expect he ends up gaining a few ticks at maturity. The ingredients are here for Witt to develop into a frontline starter type of prospect if things really click, and I’d be willing to offer him a hefty bonus as a pitcher to see where he goes from here.
Dylan Campbell, IF, Strake Jesuit HS - A two-sport star for Strake Jesuit, Campbell is also a running back and has the build to match at a strong 5’10”, 190 lbs. Campbell is a twitchy athlete with explosive bat speed and underway foot speed. He’s played both middle infield spots and got some outfield reps on the showcase circuit, and should end up on the positive end of the defensive spectrum at maturity. The lower half of his swing is a bit stiff but his hands work well at the plate and he has appealing tools across the board. With a commitment to Texas, Campbell could be a tough sign, but shows the potential to be worth it, with the upside of an every day player a few years down the line.
Justin Collins, C, Rice - A strong, 6’2” catcher with loose athleticism, Collins is a capable backstop who has already racked up well over 100 starts for the Owls while contributing on both sides of the ball. Collins has a busy, though controlled, swing that is oriented for power over hit, and is unlikely to be more than a below average hitter by pro standards. That said, his power is above average and he utilizes it in game action, which allows him to profile comfortably as a potential secondary catcher in the pros. In a strong catching class, Collins will have a hard time standing out, but many long term big league catchers have profiles than line up favorably with his.