clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Houston Area Draft Prospects in the 2023 Class

Now that the dust has settled on Major League and affiliated ball for 2022, amateur baseball is on deck. Here are some names to watch in and around Houston for those interested in the draft.

2022 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Neohmar Ochoa Acosta, OF/RHP, Galena Park HS

Ochoa Acosta is one of the closest prospects to the heart of Houston, and might also be the area’s best- plus, he’s a U of H commit to boot. He doesn’t offer as much projection as some, as he’s already tipping the scales at 208 lbs. as a 17 year old with a very lean build, but when you have the kind of present juice he does, that’s not a big problem. The 6’4” right hander has seen his stock rise during fall play with some big tourney performances on both sides of the ball. A true two-way prospect, scouts are still split on his future home, as he shows significant potential in both roles.

There’s some stiffness to his operation on the mound, but he has an appealing, vertical arm stroke and good present velocity sitting 90-93 and topping at 95 with the fastball. Despite his filled out frame, there should be room to add velocity by chaining his mound actions a bit more cleanly. The fastball does the heavy lifting for him now, but he also shows an ability to spin a nice curve in the upper-70s as well.

While there is obviously a lot of pitching talent here, Ochoa Acosta’s recent rise has had more to do with his exploits in the batter’s box. The raw power is as good as you’d expect, but what’s also interesting about his offensive game is how quick he’s able to be to the ball, as well as his ability to generate plenty of loft without an especially steep swing. The big pop obviously helps him to stand out, but this isn’t merely a physically advanced player who is beating up on less developed competition- there is real pure hitting talent here too.

Hayden Morris, RHP, Oak Ridge HS

We’re going to move quite a bit further from the heart of the city here to take a look at another recent riser here in the form of 6’8” righty Hayden Morris, a Longhorns commit out of Conroe with big swing and miss stuff. He uses his huge frame to his advantage, creating an uncomfortable angle for hitters with his release point, and shows some very good feel for spin as well. The heater plays up from its raw velo in the low-90s thanks to the angle and arm side life, and he has shown three different secondaries to back it up, though the slider has fallen away a bit in favor of his curveball and change as of late.

Morris is 255 lbs., but there’s still room for the body to develop in terms of composition, and he’s got more twitch than your typical hurler of this size. It’s an uptempo delivery with some head movement, but his arm action is conducive to strike throwing, so he’ll be viewed as a potential rotation arm early in his career, whether he ends up in Austin or pro ball for his next stop. He’s certainly a rare breed, and could be worth the trip north to take a peek before he’s pitching on the big stage.

Kendall George, CF, Atascocita HS

George has long been a standout in the scouting community thanks to his top of the scale speed. Dubious as their times can be, Perfect Game clocked George at a blazing 6.16 in the 60 yard dash this past summer, giving him easy 80 grade wheels. While there hasn’t been a lot of power in his game to date, he could have a chance to grow into more of a threat in the batter’s box with some added upper body strength and better use of his legs mechanically.

At present, he looks like more of a Chandler Simpson type, slapping the ball around while limiting swing and miss and letting his elite speed wreak havoc. He’s committed to Arkansas, which could be a great place for him to develop a bit more oomph with the bat and his arm, which would allow him to project more cleanly to center field and give him a more well rounded offensive game. He definitely requires some projection as far as pro potential is concerned, but should still be an exciting watch at the prep level this coming season thanks to the game breaking run tool.

Jakob Schultz, LHP, Memorial HS

Another prospect from Houston proper, Schultz appears ticketed for college ball with Vanderbilt, but a big senior year could always change things. A buttery smooth lefty, Schultz is very advanced mechanically and shows feel for spin. He’s not nearly as physically advanced as someone like Morris, and should throw harder than his current low-90s at maturity, though he’s more of a fluid mover than an explosive one, so he’s unlikely to turn into a true fireballer. While he still needs to learn to maximize the length of his tunnels, he has feel for three secondaries, and pitchers with his kind of smooth athleticism generally find one that pops at some point. There’s a lot of development to do as far as both his physicality and attack plan are concerned, but he checks just about every starter trait box you could come up with, and is headed to the right place to develop as a hurler- provided he can earn a big role on the perpetually stacked Commodores staff.

Brayden Sharp, OF/LHP, The Woodlands HS

Coming out of a Woodlands High program that has produced several pro players, Sharp has earned a coveted Tennessee commitment just a week ago with his wide range of tools. A two way prospect, Sharp could still go either way at the next level, having shown plenty to dream on on both sides of the ball. He’s very projectable at 6’2” 175 lbs, and moves very well for his size with at least above-average speed. He has experience around the outfield, including in center, as well as at 1st base, and shows an intriguing offensive package with a simple swing and feel for loft.

On the mound, he has improved rapidly, jumping from the mid-80s as a younger player to consistently touching the low 90s throughout 2022. He has a lot of twitch on the mound, but his delivery is herky-jerky and there’s a lot of head movement, giving him a relievery look at present. Coaching may be able to rein him in mechanically to allow for better strike throwing projection, but to my eyes his most promising future role is in the outfield, where he could have a nice blend of range and power at maturity with the contact skills to allow them both to shine.