By Gareth Kwok
PHOENIX – Two of the most highly regarded high school baseball prospects in the Valley continue to showcase why they might be top picks in this year’s MLB Draft.
Desert Mountain infielder Wes Kath and Hamilton pitcher Brock Selvidge are both ranked one and two, respectively, in Prep Baseball Report Arizona’s Class of 2021 Player Rankings, updated on April 9.
⚡️Arizona- Class of 2021 player rankings have been updated.
— PBR Arizona (@PBRArizona) April 9, 2021
The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is scheduled to begin July 11.
Kath, an Arizona State commit, is hitting the cover off the baseball this spring. He is hitting over .500 with 10 home runs, which leads the state. The 6-3, 200 pound shortstop is viewed as a five-tool player and has increased his draft stock with every game and performance this season and scouts have rallied to attend any Desert Mountain games they can to see the sweet-swinging senior.
On April 15, Kath hit three home runs in a 14-13 win over Sunnyslope, including a walk-off home run to win the game for Desert Mountain in the seventh.
— DMWolvesBaseball (@DMWolvesBball) April 16, 2021
His coach Ryan Dyer believes that while Kath is above average at all five tools, his sixth tool is what separates him.
“What’s most special about Wes is that intangible tool, the sixth tool that you hear about. That’s his make up,” Dyer said. “He’s such a special person in the fact that he’s mature beyond his years. He’s humble. He works hard but he also has a great perspective on life and on the game of baseball.”
Earlier this year, Kath was named a first-team high school All-American by Baseball America along with middle infielders Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer, widely projected to be top 10 draft picks this summer.
— Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports (@sportscronkite) February 9, 2021
Handling all the national recognition and anticipation for a high schooler can be daunting for many but Dyer believes Kath has been composed throughout the entire process.
“He’s handled it as well as you could ever imagine a 17- or 18-year-old kid being put into a situation where day in and day out, 15 to 30 guys behind the stands are critiquing every move you make,” Dyer said. “I’m certainly proud of him.
“If I’m ever asked why I would draft Wes in the top round, it would not be because of the first five tools. It would be because of that sixth intangible tool, his makeup and his ability to handle challenging situations.”
Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo says Kath is one of the better third basemen in this year’s class, given that it’s a weaker year for corner infielders but that he very well could be a top-70 pick coming off the board.
“He’s an impressive power hitter who could wind up with 60-grade power at the big league level and be an average or above-average pure hitter,” Collazo said. “If those offensive tools are legit, his bat should carry him no matter what defensive position he winds up sticking at. Given the lack of impact bats in this year’s class, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team liked him enough to pop him in the top two rounds.”
Although no longer the number one overall prospect according to Prep Baseball Report Arizona, Hamilton pitcher Brock Selvidge is still highly ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the state and the LSU commit is continuing to perform at a high level.
The senior was named the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year in 2019-2020 despite COVID-19 canceling the remainder of the season but has returned to top form this season, continuing to hit the ball to all parts of the field, driving in baserunners while pitching deep into games.
2021 LHP Brock Selvidge (@hhsbaseball98)- strong athletic frame. Turn & go delivery, short arm. Allowed 1 ER on 1H & 7BB, striking out 9 batters in 4 innings of work.
— PBR Arizona (@PBRArizona) April 22, 2021
His coach Mike Woods said they have talked about staying grounded amidst all the buzz and attention.
“We try to keep it about the present,” Woods said. “If you’re doing your job every day, you show up and just try to be the best teammate and best ballplayer you can be and let your talent speak for itself. But if you get caught up in all the noise and get caught up with if you had a bad day, how that might affect your draft status, that’s a recipe for disaster.”
The 6-3, 205 pound left-hander is the No. 1 pitcher in the state of Arizona, according to Prep Baseball Report, and a Second-Team Preseason All-American by Baseball America.
“He’s a talented young man,” Woods said. “He’s a good worker so whether he goes to the college route or the pro route, he will play at the next level. There’s no doubt. He’s been working toward his goal for an awful long time. He’s put a lot of time in.
“It just depends on where he goes in the draft and everything else but there’s no doubt he’ll be playing baseball after high school and I think he’ll do just fine and I think he will do well.”
Collazo says this year’s crop of left-handed high school pitchers is deep but that Selvidge has the athleticism and stuff needed to succeed and be a high draft pick in July.
“(Selvidge) stands out with a strong frame that should be able to handle a professional starting role, and a fastball and slider that progressed last summer,” Collazo said. “Selvidge is athletic and has shown a good changeup in the past as well, giving him a three-pitch mix that could have plenty of teams interested, but he will still need to refine his control and command moving forward to get the most out of his pure stuff.
“There’s more competition for Selvidge at his position in this year’s class than Kath has to deal with, but he still has the talent and upside to go at some point in the top five rounds.”