Aflac will announce later this afternoon, in an official press conference, that it will host the sixth annual Aflac All-American Game at 3 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 9 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The game will be nationally televised again on Fox Sports Net.
This will be the first time the game will be played at a major league stadium. The first events were at minor league ballparks, while the last two were played at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The event will feature 38 of the nation’s top high school players—split into an East versus West matchup—from the 2009 class. Last year’s showcase included four players players selected in the first round of the 2008 draft, headlined by the No. 1 overall selection Tim Beckham. Eric Hosmer (third overall), Kyle Skipworth (sixth) and Ethan Martin (15th) were the other three taken in the first round. Since the game debuted in 2003, 52 Aflac All-Americans have been selected in the first round of the draft.
The final rosters for each team have not been finalized, but Aflac did release the names of the first 10 players selected for the game. With the Dodger Stadium press conference, the first 10 players were all Southern California standouts who will play for the West:
|Matt Davidson||3b/rhp||Yucaipa (Calif.) HS|
|Tyler Matzek||lhp||Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.|
|Jiovanni Miller||inf/rhp||Bonita HS, Pomona, Calif.|
|David Nick||inf||Cypress (Calif.) HS|
|Brooks Pounders||rhp/inf||Temecula Valley HS, Temecula, Calif.|
|Jonathan Singleton||1b||Millikan HS, Long Beach|
|Max Stassi||c/inf||Yuba City (Calif.) HS|
|Andrew Susac||c||Jesuit HS, Roseville, Calif.|
|Chad Thompson||rhp||El Toro HS, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.|
|Beau Wright||lhp||Los Alamitos (Calif.) HS|
A common phrase heard in conversation amongst scouts and college coaches is the simple question, "Who do you like?" It is always interesting to hear an evaluator’s response to the dubious question as the answers are not necessarily a ranking of the top players but a description of personal favorites. The reasons for liking a player can vary between the way he looks, makeup or raw tools but almost always includes the words, "He’s a ball player."
Yesterday a scout put it more eloquently when he said, "I like those players that when we’re standing here talking, we stop and watch when they’re at the plate."
Some scouts are reluctant to reveal their answer to the question, but it’s my job to talk, and after a weekend in Minneapolis for the Perfect Game National Showcase and three and a half days in Cary, N.C. for the Tournament of Stars, here are five position players that I personally like and why:
(Note: This is not a ranking of players from the events, and none of these players were mentioned in my top 10 list from Minneapolis.) [...] Continue Reading »
Tim Beckham’s $6.15 million bonus deal with the Rays is now official. He’ll fly to Princeton, W.Va., on Sunday to join Tampa Bay’s Rookie-level Appalachian League affiliate, and he’ll probably work out for a few days before making his pro debut.
Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said the plan all along was to try get the five-tool shortstop from Griffin (Ga.) High signed quickly so he could get 200 or so pro at-bats this summer. [...] Continue Reading »
The Rays will announce today that they have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Tim Beckham to a draft-record $6.15 million bonus.
Beckham, a five-tool shortstop from Griffin (Ga.) High, eclipses the bonus record set by Justin Upton, who received $6.1 million from the Diamondbacks as the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. Both Beckham’s and Upton’s bonuses were spread over five years as part under MLB provisions for two-sport athletes. The highest up-front bonus ever is the $6 million the Orioles gave Matt Wieters as the fifth overall choice in 2007.
Tampa Bay, the first team ever to own the top pick in consecutive drafts, gave 2007 No. 1 overall choice David Price a $5.6 million bonus as part of a six-year, $8.5 million major league contract. But Price’s deal was heavily backloaded, and MLB calculated its present value at $4.8 million. [...] Continue Reading »
CARY, N.C.—USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars began Tuesday in Cary, N.C. and will run through Sunday and BA will be there in full force to cover it. The event is held with the purpose of selecting players for the 18-and-under Junior National Team trials and is an eight-team tournament, including many of the top high school players from across the country.
Naturally, when top prospects are brought together in one venue, so are the scouts. Representatives from almost every major college baseball program and all 30 major league teams were in attendance for what turned out to be a lackluster first day, especially on the mound.
And with the final pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft the Boston Red Sox select Kyle Stroup, righthanded pitcher from Grant Community High in Fox Lake, Illinois. The Northern Illinois and Chipola (Calif.) JC signee ranked as the 23rd best prospect in Illinois in our pre-draft state-by-state rankings. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound righthander has been a four-year starter at his high school, and will likely head to Chipola unless the Red Sox give him a larger-than-expected offer. According to this story, Stroup’s fastball has touched 95 mph.
After an entire year of scouting, 1504 players were drafted over the past 30 hours, and now it’s time to rest, right? Don’t count on it. There’s a high school showcase in Jupiter, Fla. this weekend. It’s time to get a jump on the 2009 class.
Tyler and Logan Thompson, twins from Jupiter (Fla.) High were both drafted in the 42nd round. Tyler was picked by San Francisco with the 1,257th pick. Logan went 24 picks later to Cleveland.
Tyler is a 6-foot, 175-pound center fielder that bats left and throws right. At the Anderson Bat National Classic in March, Baseball America scout Dave Perkin had this to say about the athletic outfielder:
Thompson is another player with a perfect build and decent non-hitting tools. At bat, he is far too spread out in his stance and flies his front side open too quickly. Concerns about his hitting will in all likelihood take him out of the first two rounds and place him in the three-to-five range. He is committed to Florida.
Tyler is thought to have slipped because of signability concerns. Logan is a shortstop and at 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, is significantly smaller than his brother. He’s committed Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College. They are also the sons of former major leaguer Robbie Thompson.
The Reds get versatile with its 49th round pick. Cincinatti selected Pat White from West Virginia. Yes, the same Pat White that quarterbacks the Mountaineers during football season. White was an unsigned 4th rounder of the Angels in 2004.
White has not played baseball since high school, but here’s his high school scouting report from our 2004 draft coverage:
An all-state football player as an option quarterback, White has a scholarship to West Virginia (he changed his mind on signing day, eschewing an oral commitment to Louisiana State) that complicates his signability. He has emerged this spring as the best athlete in the prep class. White is an explosive runner whose quick hands at the plate and power potential evoke Devon White comparisons, and his power/speed combination is unmatched in the state. He hit .487-12-48 with 26 stolen bases this spring. To see White’s power, scouts have to watch him take batting practice; his approach means it’s usually absent during games. He’s shown more polish than expected in center field, and may not make it out of the third round.
The 49th round is over, here comes the 50th and final round…
Two players from our Top 200 prospect list, finally were taken off the board in the 42nd and 43rd rounds. Taylor Hightower was selected by the Rockies with the 1277 pick and Maronde went to the A’s with the 1294 selection. Hightower performed last summer on the showcase circuit and was named an Aflac All-American. He is solid defensively behind the plate but lacks projection and a plus bat. Maronde is a lefthander who pitches between 88-92 mph with command. He is a Boras Corp. client as well. Both are high school players that are considered unsignable. Hightower was the number 165 prospect on our list and is committed to Ole Miss. Maronde is committed to Florida. Miles tall and athletic frame contains significant projection. His raw stuff is impressive. Miles tosses a fastball that ranges from 90 to 93, which he can throw with sharp cutting movement to the glove side. Reagan also delivers a 76 change and a hard 79 to 81 slurve type breaking pitch, both of which are promising. Miles profiles as a starting pitcher with 3 above average offerings. Reagan exhibits a series of minor mechanical flaws, which should be easily cleaned up when he reaches college or pro ball.
• More bloodlines at pick 1245 as the Padres select Zachary Dascenzo with their 41st round selection. Dascenzo is the son of former major leaguer and current minor league manager Doug Dascenzo. At 6-feet, 190 pounds, Dascenzo is a catcher out of Laurel Highlands HS in Pennslyvania.
Let’s back up to the 705th pick where the Padres selected righthander Nick Conaway. A righthander formerly for Oklahoma University, Conaway left the team over Christmas break due to a shoulder injury. Thus he was drafted and listed without a school. Conaway is a North Carolina native and was the high school teammate of North Carolina Tarheel standout Dustin Ackley (before Ackley trasferred his senior year).
The A’s decision to draft Sean Doolittle in the supplemental first round of the 2007 draft has worked out very well–he’s destroying the California League this season. This year the A’s have added his younger brother, as they took righthander Ryan Doolittle, out of Cumberland County (N.J.) CC in the 26rd round.
With its 36 round pick, the Rangers selected the son of a former Major Leaguer in Jack Armstrong Jr. An Aflac All-American last fall, Armstrong is 6-feet-7 and shows velocity up to 92 mph. Armstrong has been inconsistent this season but has shown flashes of above-average stuff and at other times has looked ordinary. Armstrong plans to join Sonny Gray and Navery Moore at Vanderbilt next year if he doesn’t sign with the Rangers.
Like Max Scherzer, Tim Bascom and Luke Hochevar before him, Jason Jarvis headed to independent baseball with the hopes that it would raise his draft stock.
But the former Arizona State righthander’s gambit didn’t work out as well, as the San Francisco Giants selected Jarvis in the 23rd round. The former Sun Devils closer had gone 0-1, 1.64 in 11 innings with the Saltdogs. He has shown off a new changeup he had picked up to go with his fastball this sits in the mid-90s at times.
According to Jarvis’ agent Oscar Suarez, the Giants haven’t scouted Jarvis since he signed with Lincoln, but they do have a connection to him, as Giants scout Chuck Hensley used to be the righthander’s advisor.
"I think what’s fair is for the Giants to go in and sit on him for a week and make their own evaluation. The question that they have to ask is, ‘Will this kid pitch in the big leagues?’ Once that gets answered, then be fair about the offer. If the Giants come in and make a good evaluation on him, then we’ll negotiate and offer that makes good sense," Suarez said.
And Sonny Gray arrives right on cue. The Cubs decided to take the standout righthander in the 27th-round. Gray has one of the best fastbal’s in this draft and one of the best curve balls in the draft, but his lack of size (he’s generously listed at 6-feet tall) and with a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, Gray slid 26 rounds from where he should have been drafted, judging on talent alone.
High school outfielder Brent Warren goes off the board to Oakland in the 27th round with the 814th pick. Warren, from Iowa, had a serious heart condition in the middle of high school, requiring major surgery. Once diagnosed, Warren wasn’t sure if he’d be able to play baseball again, but he has now made a full recovery and is committed to play for Oregon State next season. Warren is a plus runner in the outfield and will be an impact player for the Beavers right away.
An interesting pick for the Red Sox at the end of the 26th round. The Sox selected high school righthander Navery Moore from the state of Tennessee with the 602nd selection. However, Sonny Gray (who has yet to be drafted) told me two days ago that Moore had already enrolled in summer school at Vanderbilt where both Gray and Moore are committed to play next season. Gray also said that he was to enroll in July.
The Pirates spent two picks this year on players from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. After taking shortstop Benjie Gonzalez in the seventh round, the Pirates just grabbed center fielder Edwin Roman in the 27th. They’re both athletic players with good defensive tools, but both have questionable bats, particularly Roman with his undisciplined approach.
Being arrested hurt Nick Fuller’s draft stock significantly more than his former teammate.
Fuller was the teammate of first-rounder Lonnie Chisenhall at the University of South Carolina as a freshman, but both players were dismissed from the team following criminal prosecutions. Chisenhall seemed to right the ship and was selected by the Indians yesterday with the 29th overall pick. Fuller on the other hand, has not improved his draft stock since transferring to Walters (Tenn.) State CC, which explains why he slid all the way to 25th round where he was selected by the Braves.
A couple of issues ago I profiled Jaff Decker, the Arizona prep outfielder taken 42nd overall by the Padres, and his coach was sure to point out that he is quite the prankster. Decker enjoys hiding equipment and pulling fast ones on his teammates and even coaching staff. But he’s still an enjoyable athlete to talk to and he’s elated about his recent success.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Decker said. "It’s an awesome feeling and it’s finally here. I’m having a party and the house went crazy."
However, after our conversation, Decker was sure to get another joke in that can’t go untold. He didn’t think twice about zinging me for a previous mistake. For whatever reason, I had tabbed the Sunrise Mountain High coach as Mike Gardner in the article, when in reality his name is Eric. Call it an oversight or whatever you want, Gardner politely called me to point it out a couple of weeks ago and Decker continues to give him a hard time. Well, after I hung up the phone with Decker, I got a call from Gardner saying that Decker said to remind me that his name is Eric and not Mike.
So, Eric, congratulations on your season and having one of your players taken early in the draft. I apologize for renaming you.
Decker also set a state record by batting .565 this year and made it to the state finals, but came just short, losing 2-1 to Scottsdale’s Horizon High.
The nation’s number one ranked Miami Hurricane’s play game one of their Super Regional this evening against the Arizona Wildcats. (I’ll actually be at game two so look for a live update on the college blog from Coral Cables tomorrow night). If the series were to go three games, Enrique Garcia would be the Canes’ starter of the rubber match, and he was just selected by the Reds in the 24th round. Reds fans will obviously be watching to get a glimpse of the team’s first rounder, first baseman Yonder Alonso, but if the series goes until Sunday, they’ll have another reason to watch.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog