Lefthander Stephen Tarpley was one of the biggest recruits to wind up on campus last year. After being selected in the eighth round of the 2011 draft by the Indians, Tarpley honored his commitment to Southern California and ranked as the No. 37 college freshman in Baseball America’s 2012 College Preview issue.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound southpaw pitched well for the Trojans, going 5-3, 3.22 with 67 strikeouts and 29 walks over 78 innings, but returned closer to home to pitch for Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC for the 2013 season. The move to juco ball makes Tarpley eligible for the 2013 draft and he projects as a second- to fourth-round pick.
So far this season, Tarpley has helped the Fighting Artichokes to a 5-0 record by going 1-0, 1.23 with 10 strikeouts and three walks over 7.1 innings.
“The stuff has been really good,” Scottsdale head coach Alex Cherney said. “I was told his fastball was 91-94 (mph) the other day. His command has been OK. It could always get a little bit better, but he’s pitched well so far. Obvioulsy we expect him to get a little bit sharper as the season goes along, especially with his command, but so far he’s been as advertised.”
[...] Continue Reading »
A couple weeks ago South Mountain (Ariz.) Community College righthander Taylor Kaczmarek went in to see his doctor about swollen lymph nodes. Dealing with what appeared to be a case of mono, the 20-year-old Kaczmarek was sent home with antibiotics. When those antibiotics were ineffective, tests were done to see if Kaczmarek was facing something more serious.
“I had gotten a call and they said I had abnormal blood work and that I needed to go to the ER,” Kaczmarek said. “I just thought that something was faulty in the blood test and they were just having me go get tested again.”
On May 26 Kaczmarek and his family were told that he had leukemia. The sophomore from Mesa, Ariz. said that there were no warning signs about his illness.
“I really didn’t have any feeling about the cancer itself,” Kaczmarek said. “It was kind of a shock.”
In his second season at South Mountain this year Kaczmarek batted .343 and hit two home runs while playing first base. But it was his pitching that drew the attention of scouts, as Kaczmarek threw 81 innings and recorded 88 strikeouts while posting a 2.67 ERA. He was drafted in the 40th round by the Royals.. As a senior at Desert Ridge HS in 2010 Kaczmarek was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2010 in the 50th round before deciding to attend South Mountain.
[...] Continue Reading »
PEORIA, Ariz.–Fernando Perez will be moving schools again, but he's already proven he's up to the challenge.
The third baseman from Otay Ranch High in Chula Vista, Calif., said he has enough credits to graduate early and will be enrolling at Central Arizona JC in January.
"I really want to challenge myself," Perez said. "So I want to go there and play with older guys and wood bats and the longer season."
Perez will share the left side of the diamond with an old friend. Central Arizona's shortstop, Jorge Flores, is also from Mexico and he and Perez played together when they were younger.
Changing schools and challenging himself is nothing new for Perez.
Originally from Ensenada, Mexico, Perez first started playing baseball when he was 8 years old. He said he comes from a baseball family–his father and uncle played semi-pro baseball in Mexico.
Rest easy Washington. Bryce Harper has signed with the Nationals. The Las Vegas phenom, whose achievements have become more like folklore than baseball scouting reports, has been tracked closely by the national media for more than a year. And as expected, Harper signed moments before the midnight deadline for a major league deal that guarantees him $9.9 million.
As he did right before the draft, Harper gave a few minutes to Baseball America to answer some questions.
BA: Are you glad it's all over?
Harper: I'm really thankful for everything I have right now. My family being around me, the support I've gotten from them. I'm thankful for the Nationals and what they've brought me. I'm just really excited to get out there playing and show everyone what I can do. I'm excited. [...] Continue Reading »
Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci did the big feature on Bryce Harper last year, and Verducci has continued to follow the Harper story. Today, he writes that Harper, the No. 1 prospect for this year's draft, won't be playing catcher as a professional.
Verducci never says it that way, of course. But this part of the story and quote from Harper's adviser, Scott Boras, says it all:
Harper is looking at four years of minor league ball if he catches, and perhaps half of that if he plays the outfield. Boras doesn't want him catching. "No baseball person in his right mind will have the guy catch," says Boras, who believes that catching puts a valuable hitter at too great a risk of wear and tear.
Harper has played outfield and third base in addition to catching this spring, and scouts long have wondered if the Nationals, who figure to select Harper No. 1 overall, can afford to put Harper's powerful bat behind the plate. Scouts agree Harper has the tools to catch, but it's his bat that separates him from the pack. His tool-set marks him best as a right fielder in the future, and with Boras coming out so strongly against Harper catching, that should allow all of us to close the door on a Stephen Strasburg/Bryce Harper future battery.
A little over a year ago, righthander Chad Thompson was set to begin his senior season with El Toro (Calif.) High, the preseason No. 2 team in 2009. But after only four starts Thompson found out he needed Tommy John surgery, which was performed in early May. He's been on the long road back and has pitched in ABD Academy's spring league recently.
"The whole experience was grueling," Thompson said. "It was tempting to throw a ball. I couldn't do anything for four or five months. Couldn't put any stress on my elbow." [...] Continue Reading »
Baseball America summer intern Bubba Brown is making his way to Durham from Utah and stopped off in Grand Junction, Colo., for the opening night of the NJCAA World Series. Here's a quick report on how the top prospects fared.
By Bubba Brown
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.—The excitement that College of Southern Nevada catcher BryceHarper has brought with him wherever he has played this year was evident Saturday night, as 10, 339 fans packed the ballpark to see the presumptive first pick in the upcoming draft play in what could be the last week of his amateur career.
Harper grounded out sharply in his first at-bat, fouled off several pitches to work a walk in his second plate appearance and struck out swinging in his third trip to the plate. In his fourth plate appearance he finally got on the board with an infield hit before singling on a ground ball into right field in his final at-bat. After his eighth-inning base hit, Harper stole second base and came around to score what ended up being the run that cinched Southern Nevada’s run-rule victory.
Defensively, he showed off his terrific arm, easily throwing out a runner attempting to steal second, as well as making a nice tag on a runner at the plate. Harper’s performance was far from his heroics in the qualifiers where he went 15-for-22 with six homers and 21 RBI, but he contributed to a solid team win. [...] Continue Reading »
Bryce Harper just keeps growing his legend. With his Southern Nevada team facing elimination in its region 18 junior-college regional, Harper hit four home runs during a 6-for-6, 10 RBIs game and led the Coyotes to the NJCAA World Series.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has full details here, including winds gusting up to 45 mph out to center field. But Harper's the only one on either team hitting four homers, a double and a triple, the day after he hit for the cycle. Harper, the No. 1 prospect in the 2010 draft, entered regional play hitting .415/.504/.891 with 23 home runs, but those numbers (which haven't been updated at CSN's website) will look a bit more ridiculous after this weekend. More importantly, Harper and his team will keep playing.
"From the first day, all of us said we're going to Grand Junction," he told the Review-Journal. "That's our dream, and that's what we're going to do."
Harper actually came to the plate for his final at-bat needing a single to hit for the cycle for a second consecutive day. He hit a two-run home run instead.
"Some people said, 'He needs a single for cycle.' I said, 'I don't care. I want him to hit another home run,' " CSN coach Tim Chambers told the Review-Journal.
LOS ANGELES — MLB Network will televise the first and first supplemental rounds of the draft on Monday, June 7. Once the cameras have been switched off and the pundits depart, the final stages of the draft will take place on June 8 and 9.
In Southern California, playoffs are continuing for both Division-II and junior college programs. Over the past two weeks, Baseball America bird dog scout Dave Perkin has hit the road to get a peek at several talented but relatively unknown players who, if selected, will probably be chosen in the non glamour rounds: 7 through 50. Here are some reports on small-school players making some noise. Make sure to check out Baseball America's Draft Tracker on May 26 for a look at some under-the-radar high school and Division-I prospects from Southern California this year.
Josh Thompson, OF, El Camino JC
A lefthanded-hitting center fielder, Thompson has tremendous speed and is a wonderful defensive outfielder, tracking down drives from gap to gap. Thompson has swiped 28 bases this year, and his bat has shown marked signs of improvement. A late-round draft prospect, Thompson may not be ready for pro ball just yet, but his skills fit comfortably at the D-II, D-III, NAIA—and possibly D-I—levels.
[...] Continue Reading »
Canadian lefthander Jake Eliopoulos has left the Chipola (Fla.) JC baseball team. Indians coach Jeff Johnson confirmed that Eliopoulos, a freshman who was the Blue Jays' unsigned second-round pick a year ago, will not pitch for the team the rest of the season.
"I hate that the situation happened like this," coach Johnson said. "I wish the best for the kid is all I can really say."
Nothing clicked for Eliopoulos at Chipola, on or off the field. He went just 1-2, 8.44, though he did have 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. He also walked 21, and one opposing coach who saw Eliopoulos this season told BA today that while Elipoulos "kept us off-balance, he didn't look like a second-round arm. I heard he threw 92 (mph) in high school, but he didn't do that against us."
Sources told BA that Eliopoulos has returned to Chipola to complete the academic year, then expected to return to Ontario to play in Canada's Inter-County League, a senior semi-pro league where he's played in the past.
CERRITOS, Calif.—The predominant feature of junior college baseball in Southern California is eardrum-busting, mind-numbing, window-shattering pregame and between-innings music. Thundering from high-tech loudspeakers which possess thrust equal to a NASA launch, the artists responsible for these musical assaults share two characteristics: questionable taste and lack of talent.
Lack of talent is not a trait associated with Joe Terry, a 6-foot, 185 pound second baseman who plays for Cerritos CC. Drafted in the 17th round by the Mariners in 2009, Terry did not sign with Seattle and has returned to the Falcons for the 2010 campaign.
A Cal State Fullerton signee who bats left and throws right, Terry is perhaps the finest lefthanded hitting JC prospect in the nation whose initials are not BH. Terry enjoyed a spectacular 2009 season in which he hit .426/.490/.746 with four home runs and 14 triples.
A dozen major league scouts were in attendance Thursday as Cerritos opened its season with a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Fullerton CC. Terry’s performance, while a bit erratic, showcased the ability that makes him a top-five-round candidate for the 2010 draft.
[...] Continue Reading »
Last Friday night, an estimated 1,400 people—roughly 500 more than had ever seen a game at that particular ballpark before—showed up in Henderson, Nev., to watch a 17-year-old play his first game for the College of Southern Nevada.
"I thought it was closer to 17 or 18 hundred, but we don't know how much our ballpark holds," Southern Nevada coach and athletic director Tim Chambers said. "I just know we were pressing fire code, I'm sure."
However many people actually showed up, what's not in doubt is that just about all of them—particularly the 100 scouts in attendance—were there to see one man. Bryce Harper is still a kid, really, but he graduated from high school two years early in order to make himself eligible for this June's major league draft, in which he is widely expected to be the first player taken. Harper was such a legendary high school player in Nevada that last spring he landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated and inspired talk that he could be one of the best prospects ever. [...] Continue Reading »
Junior College baseball kicked off today and all eyes (and ears) were on Henderson, Nev., home of the College of Southern Nevada, where Bryce Harper is making his collegiate debut against Arizona Western JC.
The most interesting news about today is that Harper is in the lineup at third base. CSN coach Tim Chambers indicated in the fall that Harper would be splitting time 50-50 between outfield and catcher. But, he also took some groundballs in the infield during fall practice and the Coyotes have a lot of talented sophomores to squeeze into the lineup. For scouts that believe Harper will outgrow catcher or need to play a different position to get the bat to the big leagues more quickly, this will give them a look at Harper at another position in a live-game situation.
Harper drew a walk on five pitches in his first collegiate at-bat. In his second trip to the plate, he hit a groundball RBI single to right field. After the hit, Chambers walked out to the mound to take the baseball out of play, presumably to save it for Harper. Harper then stole second base. [...] Continue Reading »
College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper received his GED results in the mail yesterday and "passed with flying colors," according to CSN baseball coach and athletic director Tim Chambers. Passing the GED was required for Harper to play with the Coyotes this spring.
Harper took the test on Nov. 20, Chambers said—adding he wasn’t ever losing sleep over the results.
"I was one of the few people who weren’t worried," Chambers said. "He’s plenty intelligent."
Harper played well for Team USA and during CSN’s fall scrimmages. The Coyotes kick off their schedule in late January and February with some high-profile juco tournaments.
Playing at CSN should make Harper eligible for the 2010 draft, where he would be the top talent in the class.
This spring, all eyes will be on Las Vegas.
The last time the state of Nevada produced a first-round pick was in 2000 when the Brewers selected outfielder Dave Krynzel out of Green Valley High in Henderson. That was a great year for the state, with six picks in the top 10 rounds, but 2010 should be even better.
Of course the crown jewel for the Silver State will be catcher Bryce Harper, who skipped his final two years of high school to enroll at one of the nation’s top junior-college programs, the College of Southern Nevada, and become draft-eligible this season. He is the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick when the draft rolls around next June. The Nationals hold that pick, after going 59-103 in 2009.
It was a busy summer for Harper. He was with his new teammates for a couple weeks and then left for about six weeks to play for USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team, helping his country win a gold medal by hitting .294/.375/.588 with four doubles and two home runs over 34 at-bats. He also led the team with two stolen bases in as many attempts.
He continued to hit well when he returned to Southern Nevada for fall ball.
[...] Continue Reading »
Chipola (Fla.) JC coach Jeff Johnson confirmed via e-mail Wednesday that his program has added two of the top unsigned players from the 2009 draft. Outfielder LeVon Washington and lefthander Jake Eliopoulos will both attend the junior college and be eligible for the 2010 draft.
Washington didn’t sign as the 30th overall selection by the Rays. The Gainesville (Fla.) High product had committed to Florida but didn’t qualify academically. Scouts who like Washington consider him similar to Johnny Damon for his well above-average speed, hitting ability and lack of arm strength. He’s still coming off shoulder surgery to repair a labrum tear that reduced his arm strength considerably during his senior season in high school. Most scouts consider the class of college hitters for the 2010 draft to be fairly uninspiring, and Washington should be able to hit his way back into the first round with a healthy, productive season and improved throwing arm.
An unsigned second-rounder, Eliopoulos follows in the footsteps of many Canadians who have attended Chipola, a group that includes the likes of Adam Loewen, Russell Martin and 2009 Futures Game MVP Rene Tosoni (Twins). The 68th overall selection, Elipoulos is one of three Blue Jays draft picks in the first three rounds who didn’t sign. The lefthander out of Sacred Heart Catholic High in Newmarket, Ontario, has clean, easy throwing mechanics and average present stuff, with good life on his fastball to go with a curveball and changeup.
Bryce Harper, the top prospect for the 2011 draft and recent Sports Illustrated cover boy, has taken his first step toward being eligible in 2010. As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, Harper has enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada and plans on taking classes starting in August.
In order to be eligible to play for Southern Nevada, Harper must pass his G.E.D. which he intends on taking this fall. If he passes he will be eligible for the 2010 draft.
An interesting side note, Bryan Harper, Bryce’s older brother, is leaving Cal State Northridge to play at Southern Nevada so they can potentially play together for one more year. Bryce was a freshman at Las Vegas High when his brother was a senior, giving them one year on varsity together.
Bryce, a lefthanded hitting catcher, will be in Baseball America’s backyard at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars starting June 23. We will have more about Harper then.
Orange Coast College—without suspended coach John Altobelli in the dugout—won the California Junior College championship this past weekend at Fresno. It was an emotional season for OCC, as detailed in the above subscriber-only column, but they rallied in the postseason, Altobelli said Wednesday.
"I think we were 4-4 at one time after I got dumped," he said. "But we pulled the guys together and told them, if the coaches tell you to hit and run, you just have to trust them. It’s just like if I was there. I was able to do everything but coach during the games, which was difficult, but the guys pulled through. In the playoffs, we really got on a roll.
"It was very emotional. It was just a crazy, crazy year."
Several draft eligible pitchers were in action at the JC tournament. Our scout source had these insights on three of the JC hurlers, including two at OCC:
Brett Wallach, OCC: “He did himself a lot of favors—89-91 fastball, good curveball, nice frame. Could go three-to-four rounds.”
Calvin Drummond, OCC: “He sat around 91, but it was straight and he got hit. He looks a little stiff to me, a little complacent also.”
Brian Peacock, Santa Ana JC: Peacock is a highly projectable freshman lefthander who is a “real interesting guy. When his fastball is on it shows nice late sink. In this game it was 88, but it was up, straight and got hit. He doesn’t have a feel for the change, but he has a good tight breaking ball. There were some guys (scouts) out there who were paying real close attention to him.”
SEATTLE—With boating season set to kick off today, I made sure to leave extra early for yesterday’s University of Washington game against Southern California. A commute that normally takes about 20 minutes took an hour, as every car wanted to slow down and gawk at all the boats lining up in Lake Washington as they drove over the floating 520 bridge.
My foresight allowed me to still arrive in time for batting practice. Of course Huskies right fielder Kyle Conley was pulling balls over the wall, but sophomore first baseman Jacob Clem, who has been limited to just 22 at-bats this season with injuries, also looked impressive. Righthander Brian Pearl has been a position player his whole life, but has seen just one at-bat this year, as he’s primarily been the team’s closer. Still, he has a clean, line-drive stroke and the ball jumps off his bat, especially for a guy his size. He also takes balls at shortstop during batting practice. [...] Continue Reading »
Madras, Ore. has a population of just over 5,000. So when a player from there starts getting compared to Madras’ most famous resident—Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury—most coaches and scouts probably laughed to themselves and thought, "Yeah, right."
Center fielder Darrell Ceciliani will get the last laugh, though, because the comparisons hold up and he’s playing his way into the top five rounds as a freshman at Columbia Basin (Wash.) CC.
[...] Continue Reading »
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog