JUPITER, Fla.—After about 60 hours at Roger Dean Stadium over the past five days, the 2009 World Wood Bat Association World Championship event is finally in the books. It was a long (and hot) five days, to be sure, but there was a lot of good baseball, a lot of good people and a lot of fun along the way.
With 85 teams and games being played on 13 fields simultaneously, the event is a well-oiled machine and a good opportunity for colleges and major league organizations to see many of the top players in the country. That’s why teams typically have 10 or more scouts on hand for the event, and if you don’t show up early for a prime pitching matchup, it can be difficult to even see the field through the mobs of scouts, coaches and their respective golf carts.
Of the teams we spotlighted before the tournament, none of them won its respective pool, but the finalists were in our "Others to Watch" section. The Texas Scout Team Yankees were without righthander Jameson Taillon but still went 3-1. East Cobb Baseball also went 3-1. Its only loss came to the Louisiana All-Stars, and ended up being the tiebreaker that sent Louisiana to the playoff bracket. [...] Continue Reading »
The Rangers became the fourth team in as many days to change scouting directors this week. Texas promoted scouting director Ron Hopkins into a role as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels, while A.J. Preller becomes Texas’ new top talent evaluator.
Preller, previously the team’s director of professional and international scouting, will now oversee the amateur scouting side as well. He’s been promoted to senior director of player personnel. Kip Fagg, previously the national crosschecker, becomes the new amateur scouting director, while Josh Boyd ascends to director of professional scouting (he was previously the assistant director). [...] Continue Reading »
The Nationals lost their scouting director when Dana Brown took a position with the Blue Jays, becoming a special assistant to new general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
The Nats added a scouting director Tuesday as well, but Roy Clark isn’t coming to Washington as a lateral move. He left his post as the Braves’ scouting director, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to become assistant general manager with the Nats under Mike Rizzo. The AJC reports Clark’s duties will include "overseeing player development and all scouting departments, including international scouting."
Industry sources indicated to BA that the Braves planned on promoting special assignment scout Tony DeMacio to replace Clark. DeMacio served as the Orioles’ scouting director from 1999-2004, and was a scout with the Braves from 1983-1991, signing such players as Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones.
Bud Selig doesn’t make the decision himself. But he said strongly Wednesday that when the next Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2011, he wants hard slots for the draft and an international draft to be part of the equation.
Speaking on ESPN Radio’s "Mike & Mike" show, co-hosted today by ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney, Selig answered a question about the international draft by saying he wants one, and threw in hard slotting—as opposed to the current system, where the commissioner’s office recommends slots but has no real enforcement mechanism—as part of the equation. [...] Continue Reading »
Heading into the gold-medal game versus Cuba, Team USA had outscored its opponents 93-13, rolling to a perfect 7-0 record in the COPABE Pan Am "AAA" 18U championships being played in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
The championship game remained scoreless through the first six innings, but the Americans rallied for six runs in the top of the seventh inning today, ultimately winning the final game, 6-1. All seven of Team USA’s hits were singles, but five of them came in the seventh when the team batted around and also took advantage of two walks, two hit batters, a wild pitch and a sac fly. The win gives the Team USA 18U team its first gold medal in the Pan Ams.
Starter Jameson Taillon dominated against the Cubans, going 7.1 innings while allowing four hits, no runs, one walk and 16 strikeouts, improving to 2-0 in the tournament.
Click here for cumulative statistics from the tournament.
Team USA’s 18U National squad continued its charge through the 2009 COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships this week. On Monday, the U.S. dispatched Colombia 19-0 and then took a day off before facing world rival Cuba. A six-run eighth inning highlighted a Team USA rally and capped a 9-5 victory over the Cubans. It also gave the team an automatic berth into the 2010 International Baseball Federation "AAA" World Junior Championships, to be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Team USA rounded out pool play with a 6-3 win over Venezuela and finished with a 6-0 record. The semi-finals will be played today with Team USA facing Panama at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The other game will feature Venezuela and Cuba. The gold medal game is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Shortstop Manny Machado (Brito HS, Miami) is leading the team in hitting with a .435/.536/.739 line. In six games he has two home runs, nine RBIs and nine runs scored.
An already-crowded field of top-notch Southern California high school righthanded pitchers welcomed a new member on Wednesday night. Taijuan Walker, a 6-foot-5 hurler from Yucaipa (Calif.) HS made a resounding bid to be considered for the top two rounds of the 2010 draft.
Taking the mound for the Los Angeles Angels Elite Squad in a scout ball game against Orange Coast College at Mt. San Antonio JC, Walker displayed the stuff, build and arm action of an early-round draftee.
Scout ball is traditionally informal, with BP and infield/outfield followed by a loosely-structured simulated game. Pitchers typically throw one or two innings at most, and generally face three to five batters. At that point (even if runners are on base), players are shuttled off the field and a new inning begins.
Fall scout ball has become an institution for Southern California area scouts. Elite clubs representing the Brewers and Angels play on Wednesday evenings. A dozen teams representing other major league teams play on Sundays, with sites ranging from Ventura County in the North to South Orange County.
As for Walker, on Wednesday night his raw stuff was sensational. He fires an explosive 91-94 mph fastball and adds a wicked 85 mph slider. Adding to a hitter’s misery, Walker flashed a nasty 77 mph curveball and experimented with what looked to be a cutter at 87 mph. His stuff can be correctly described as downright unfair.
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