LAKELAND, Fla.—The first day of the East Coast Pro Showcase is complete and the talent in attendance held its own. Many have warned me about the heat—in weather terms—during this event, but we were thankfully spared the excess today. The heat index sniffed triple digits, but an early afternoon rain cooled the temperatures and only set things back about 30-45 minutes. Given the length of the day, we'll stick to some highlights for tonight's blog, breaking them down by team.
Astros (Georgia and Florida, north of Orlando and the eastern time zone)
• There are some good runners on this squad with outfielders Skye Bolt (Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, Atlanta) and Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga.) each running a 6.5-second 60-yard dash. Neither jumped out in game play, but Buxton showed an easy swing in batting practice with the ball jumping off of his bat.
• First baseman Matt Olson (Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.) showed good power to the opposite field by lacing two doubles in the left-center field gap.
• Righthander Hayden Hurst (Bolles School, Jacksonville) had Tommy John surgery as a freshman in high school, but looked strong today. His fastball was 88-91 mph with some cut. His curveball sat 74-75. He has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds.
Athletics (Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania)
• The A's were overmatched in the event's first game, facing off against the Rockies, which has players from South Florida and Puerto Rico. Aside from a couple hit batters—that stayed in rather than taking a base—the A's didn't have a baserunner reach. However, infielder Nick Dawson continued to show his solid tools by hitting hard line drives to all fields in batting practice. Shortstop A.J. Simcox (Farragut HS, Knoxville) looked good defensively with a strong arm.
• Righthander Stephen Gant (Riverside HS, Parsons, Tenn.) seems to have toned down his delivery a little since USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars. It was Lincecum-esque, but is a little less exaggerated now. He sat 88-89 today with a rolling low-70s curveball.
Diamondbacks (Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina)
• Righthander Ty Buttrey (Providence HS, Charlotte) got the start and put on a jam session, breaking a couple of bats in the first inning and inducing weak contact against hitters. He sat 89-91, touching 92, with a 78 breaking ball that was slurvy.
• Righthander Tony Wales (Hanna HS, Anderson, S.C.) also sat 89-91 with a slurvy breaking ball that sat around 75. He also mixed in a high-70s changeup that he tended to slow his arm on. He has plenty of projection in his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame.
Rockies (Florida, south of Orlando, and Puerto Rico)
• Outfielder Albert Almora (Mater Academy, Hialeah, Fla.) got things to a quick start when he drilled the first pitch of the event to left for a home run. After a flyout in his second at-bat, he cranked a second home run in his third trip to the plate.
• Outfielder Lewis Brinson (Coral Springs, Fla., HS) passes the eye test with his long, wiry frame. He stands at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds and has plenty of tools. He ran a 6.57-second 60 and showed a good arm in the outfield and big, easy power in batting practice. He is raw at the plate, however, and is bailing on most pitches. He needs refinement, but the upside is very high.
• Three Rockies arms combined to throw the pseudo-perfect game. Lefthander Tyler Pike (Winter Haven, Fla., HS) sat 88-89 with a 69 curveball that had good bite. He also worked in a 79-80 changeup. His delivery is easy and he located his pitches well. Righthander Nick Travieso (Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) sat 91-93, touching 94. His ball was very heavy with some cut to it. He battled his command some, but worked in a 79 slider with short break.
Royals (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida panhandle—central time zone)
• Outfielder David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham, Ala.) collected a single and threw out a runner at home in the nightcap. He also ran a 6.7-second 60.
• Outfielder D'vone McClure (Jacksonville, Ark., HS) ran a 6.7-second 60 and then showed his speed off in the game by legging out a triple. He handled the bat well squaring up a couple of balls including the three-bagger.
Yankees (Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire)
• First baseman Chris Shaw (Lexington, Mass., HS) showed big power during BP, launching a few balls out to right field. He stands at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
• Rhett Wiseman (Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Cambridge, Mass.) has good tools, but he hasn't stood out in game play like he did at PG National in June. He has good speed (6.6-second 60) and excellent bat speed, but there is too much swing-and-miss right now. In BP, he did show very good raw power by crushing a couple home runs to right.
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