Aroldis Chapman set off a flood of speculation when he defected from the Cuban National team last week, with questions about whether he’ll break the international signing bonus record, when he will become eligible to sign and which club will end up landing him.
But nothing seems to have stuck more than Jack Curry’s report in the New York Times that Aroldis Chapman may be 26 years old, five years older than the 21 he’s listed at by the Cubans. That story said that "reports in March at the World Baseball Classic said he was 26."
That age is based on a New York Times story from the World Baseball Classic on March 13, when Dan Rosenheck listed Chapman’s age as 26. That report was erroneous. When reporting for our Top 10 Prospects from the World Baseball Classic , all of the scouts we talked to said they believed Chapman was 21.
With another showcase season upon us, we were once again reminded of our lucky we are to be located in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. Despite the sweltering heat and humidity we get to see some pretty good baseball. With USA Baseball’s offices located just down the road as well as the National Training Complex, summers bring players from across the country whether they be high school, college or even professional, as the Olympic team trained less than 20 minutes from our headquarters.
One of our favorite events is the USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars, an event used to select the trials roster for the 18U National Team. The tournament is made up of eight teams, representing seven youth leagues across the country as well as an at-large team put together by the USA Baseball staff. There are 144 players that participate and most of the top guys for the next draft make it out to the complex in Cary. A few graduates and underclassmen are sprinkled in as well. [...] Continue Reading »
The 16U Championships in Arizona and Florida, as well as the Tournament of Stars in North Carolina, have been played. From those events USA Baseball selected trials rosters for their 16U and 18U National Teams. At the respective trials, the National Team will be selected to participate in international tournaments.
The 18U National Trials will be held Sept. 12-18 in Cary and Durham, N.C. The final roster of 20 will then travel to Venezuela to participate in the COPABE Pan Am "AAA" (18U) Championships from Sept. 24-Oct. 4.
The 16U National Trials will be held the first week of August on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. Those that make the team will participate in the IBAF "AA" Youth (16U) World Championships in Taiwan.
We’ll have more on the Tournament of Stars and 18U players as we decipher our notes and hit the phones. In the meantime, here are the trials rosters for both teams:
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.
SAN DIEGO—Attending showcases and following the progress of amateur baseball players is not the only duty of a major league scout during the summer.
Most major league teams assign scouts to watch and evaluate minor league teams and/or big league teams in what is called “pro coverage.” This serves two purposes: It helps teams get an idea of the level of talent throughout professional baseball, and it gives the scouts to refresh their minds and see the skill levels of professional players.
During the lull in action between the end of the Area Code Games and the beginning of the Under Armour All-American Game festivities, I decided to do some pro coverage of my own. On Monday, I took a train from Union Station in Los Angeles to San Diego to catch a Padres game Tuesday evening. (If you ever get a chance, take this train as it rides along the Pacific coast and is a great way to see the countryside.) Like many Baseball America readers, it has always been a goal of mine to attend a game at all 30 current major league stadiums. Petco Park was a new one for me and brings my tally to 24.
The obsession with baseball stadiums is unlike that of any other sport. Most baseball games are played outdoors in nice weather, but even more is that every stadium is unique and has its own personality. While basketball arenas and football stadiums don’t vary much from one to the other, baseball parks are all different and have the edge in one huge category—scenery.
Take San Francisco’s park and the beautiful views of the bays and bridges, or Pittsburgh’s stadium with the city’s skyline and river prominent beyond the outfield. Petco Park has the same quality, with views of the bay from the grandstands and the downtown San Diego skyline visible from almost anywhere in the stadium. Petco was impressive, and it didn’t take long for it to make my top 10 list of new-age stadiums. Because we like to do rankings at BA, here are my top five new parks and top five classic parks. (I have not attended home games of the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Twins or White Sox.)
|Top Five New Parks||Top Five Classic Parks|
|1. PNC Park, Pittsburgh||1. Fenway Park, Boston|
|2. AT&T Park, San Francisco||2. Wrigley Field, Chicago|
|3. Comerica Park, Detroit||3. Yankee Stadium, New York|
|4. Petco Park, San Diego||4. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles|
|5. Safeco Field, Seattle||5. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City|
Enough of that, and on to the actual game. After watching amateurs for two straight weeks and attempting to evaluate and project their skill levels, it was exciting to see professional players who have the skills that form the basis of scouting grades. In many of my blog posts, I write about instances when amateurs make big league plays, and Tuesday night I saw a handful of those plays.
Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron put on a defensive clinic, making four plays difficult plays look routine. The most notable play was on a deep fly ball hit directly over his head. Cameron broke back on the ball immediately but drop-stepped to his left shoulder side. The ball was hit by a lefthander and was slicing, so Cameron made an adjustment midway through his route, completely turning to his other shoulder in mid-stride. He never lost sight of the ball or rhythm in his step and made the running catch against the wall in dead center field. Most of the amateurs I have watched in the past two weeks would have struggled to even get a glove on the ball in the same situation.
Also from the Brewers, J.J. Hardy showed the athleticism and arm strength needed in a major league shortstop. On a high line drive hit toward him, Hardy jumped and snared the ball. But what was most impressive was his ability to transfer the ball from glove to hand while still in the air. When he hit the ground, he made a quick, strong throw to first base, almost doubling the runner off.
I saw a few home runs, two of which were big-time shots. The Padres’ Kevin Kouzmanoff hit one to deep left-center field, and the Brewers’ Prince Fielder hit a shot down the right-field line. Both were over 400 feet and displayed true major league power.
The last thing that stood out was the way the Padres’ Jody Gerut made contact with a ball halfway through the game. Gerut, a lefthanded hitter, drove a pitch on the outer third of the plate to deep right-center field. This ball had real backspin on it and carried, almost rising, all the way to the wall. Instead of swinging up through the ball, Gerut made contact staying short and swinging down, keeping his bat head through the zone longer and in turn creating backspin.
Now it’s on to Chicago for the Under Armour All-American Game festivities. I’ll also knock out another stadium and attend a White Sox game Thursday, before the high school players arrive in Chicago on Friday. Saturday is a day full of workouts in advance of Sunday’s game.
The conclusion of the Aflac and Area Code events draws the curtain on the summer showcase season on the West Coast, as the action moves this weekend to Chicago for the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field this Sunday.
All the scouts and BA staffers have seen game after game and have filled out reports, compiled lists, and evaluated scores of players. After all the games and all the requisite paperwork, I was left with three primary impressions of the Southern California portion of the 2008 Showcase season.
LOS ANGELES—The date of the Aflac All-American Game has been circled on my calendar since the day it was officially announced, and on Saturday the event did not disappoint. My day started at 8 a.m. with a 35 minute drive through Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium which is just north of the city. In the morning, the teams took batting practice and then infield/outfield before giving way to the finals of the home run derby. Matt Davidson ended up taking home the derby crown, hitting three balls into the left field bleachers.
The game itself was a real treat. It is always exciting to watch the best players compete against each other, but today there was an added bonus as the contest was close and decided in the ninth inning. The first eight innings were fast paced and dominated by some impressive pitching. The West squad pushed across a run in the first inning on a RBI single from right fielder Slade Heathcott (Texas HS, Texarkana, Texas) and a run in the fourth inning on back-to-back doubles from Max Stassi (Yuba City (Calif.) HS) and Matt Davidson (Yucaipa (Calif.) HS).
The West pitchers completely dominated the East hitters for eight innings, allowing only one hit and striking out 12. However, the East had success on the mound as well and was able to keep it close for the rest of the game, setting up a dramatic four-run explosion from its offense in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs in the final frame, Brian Goodwin (Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS) drove in the tying and go ahead runs with a single to left field. Richie Shaffer (Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.) scored the winning run, and crossed the plate while letting out a burst of elation. Shaffer was pumping his fists, chest bumping and celebrating with teammates as if they had won the seventh game of the World Series. [...] Continue Reading »
LONG BEACH—Taking a two day hiatus from the Area Code games to switch focus to the Aflac All-American Game, on Friday I traveled 25 miles north from Long Beach to the campus of the University of Southern California. While the actual All-American game is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, the teams had workouts Friday at Dedeaux Field. Both teams took infield/outfield and batting practice before competing in the preliminary rounds of the homerun derby. All 35 players that will participate in the game on Saturday took their hacks in a 10-out derby style format, with the four players hitting the most homeruns moving on to the finals to be held in Dodger Stadium on Saturday before the actual game.
After keeping a close eye on the teams during Friday’s events, here is a breakdown of what to watch out for in the game on Saturday—which will be broadcast nationally on FSN. [...] Continue Reading »
LONG BEACH—It has been a week since I left comfortable Durham, N.C. for this journey across America, and the effects of travel are now starting to kick in. The days seem to be running together, the cash in my wallet needs to be refilled and I need to do laundry sometime soon. I know the scouts are feeling it too, as I have seen many familiar faces that have followed my same path from Lakeland straight to Long Beach immediately after the conclusion of the East Coast Pro Showcase.
The word I like to use to describe the summer showcase circuit is "relentless" as most of the events pack as much baseball into the multi-day timespan that encompasses the event. Thursday, the action began at 8:30 a.m. and finished at 7:30 p.m. Four games were played, one on top of the other, 30.5 innings total. Thus far, 71 different pitchers have taken the mound this week—31 of which pitched on Thursday alone. Sitting behind the plate, I have been able to get velocity readings on every prospect and will have a spreadsheet posted on our Prospects Plus website Monday, similar to the spreadsheets from PG National, the T.O.S. and ECPS, detailing all of the pitchers’ velocities from the Area Code Games.
Through three days at the Area Code Games, the highest velocity reading has been 94 mph, touched by three different pitchers: Stetson Allie a 2010 two-way prospect from St. Edward HS in Almsted Falls, Ohio, Matt Hobgood from Norco (Calif.) HS and Shelby Miller from Brownwood (Texas) HS.
While those three guys lit up the radar guns, these three lefthanders raised my eyebrows with their overall performances:
Colton Cain, lhp, Waxahachie (Texas) HS
Cain is a two-way prospect with power both on the mound and at the plate. At 6-feet-3, 225-pounds, Cain offers a high-80s fastball, topping out at 90 with good command. He delivers from a high 3/4 arm slot and also throws a mid-70s curve ball and changeup to complement his heater. On Thursday, Cain faced 10 hitters, allowing only one base hit and striking out three.
Ian Krol, lhp, Nequa Valley HS, Naperville Ill.
Krol was the very first pitcher to throw in the event and immediately set the bar high. Pitching two innings, Krol struck out four of the first five batters that he faced, mixing his upper-80s fastball with a hard breaking two-plane curve ball and advanced changeup. Krol pitches from a low 3/4 arm slot from which he is able to generate natural sink on his fastball. Krol threw 34 pitches on the day, eight of which were balls, three of which were taken for strikes, five of which were put in play, seven of which were fouled off and nine of which were swung on and missed. That means that 43% of the time a batter swung at Krol’s pitches, he completely missed—that’s pretty good.
Josh Turley, lhp, Texas HS, Texarkana, Texas
Turley is a 6-foot, 170-pound lefthander with a fastball that sits between 84 and 85 mph. However, this is the second time I have seen Turley pitch, and it’s the second time that he has absolutely dominated the nation’s top high school hitters. The first time I saw him was at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars in June where he pitched five perfect innings, striking out 10. At the Area Code Games on Tuesday, Turley pitched two innings, striking out five of the six batters that he faced. Even more impressive, Turley threw only 19 total pitches in those five strikeout at-bats. He struck out the side in the first inning, throwing nine total pitches. Turley complements his fastball with a very good curveball, changeup and slider—commanding all four pitches well.
Friday and Saturday I will take a break from the Area Code Games and attend the festivities involved with the Aflac All-American Game. The actual game is being held in Dodger Stadium Saturday afternoon.
LONG BEACH—With the East Coast Pro Showcase only a day in the past, the Area Code Games started up in Long Beach on Tuesday and will run through Sunday. The event is being at held at historic Blair Field—the home field for Long Beach State’s baseball team—which was built in 1958. The stadium has undergone renovations since 1958 but still has an old-time feel. The outfield wall is cinder block with an old layer of blue paint, the stands are half metal bleachers and the dugouts are for the most part uncovered. It is a place where many of the scouts in attendance have a lot of experience either watching games or even playing. While walking up the bleachers to get some shade, one scout stopped me and asked if I had ever been to Blair before. As this is my first time at the field, I responded with a “no”.
“You know, this is where the game was invented,” the scout said to me half jokingly.
Regardless of the actual validity of the statement, I can see why someone would want to invent a game such as baseball in Long Beach—solely based on the weather. The difference between the brutal heat at the East Coast Pro Showcase and the enjoyable mild and sunny weather at Blair Field is night and day. Imagine the most ideal climate for watching a baseball game, and you have a good idea of what I’m trying to say.
The action on Tuesday began with batting practice and was followed by two nine inning games. There was one more nine inning game played Wednesday morning, followed by two seven inning games. For the rest of the showcase, days will consist of four seven inning games per day, except for Sunday when there will only be three games played.
With five of the 20 games already in the books, I have had a chance to see every team play at least once. From a first look, here are a few position players (not necessarily the overall best prospects) from the 2009 class that have created some buzz thus far:
Jacob Marisnick, rf, Riverside (Calif.) Poly HS
Marisnick played in the second game of today’s action and wasted no time getting noticed as he drove a ball at-least 380 feet off the left-centerfield wall for a triple. The ball would have been long gone out of most ball parks, but at Blair the symmetrical fence reads 348 in left, 387 in left-center and 400 in centerfield. Marisnick is a 6-feet-4, 200 pound physical specimen with both strength and athleticism. He ran a 6.7-second 60-yard dash in the preliminary testing and also posted a vertical jump of almost 36 inches. Playing right field, Marisnick showed an above-average arm, possibly the best of any position on his team.
Mitchell Haniger, rf, Archbishop HS, Santa Clara, Calif.
Like Marisnick, Haniger showed plus-power potential at the plate and a strong arm in the outfield. He made solid contact in two of his at-bats, driving one ball off the very top of the left field wall for a triple. Haniger is listed at 6-feet-2, 180-pounds and showed off a powerful throwing arm from right field.
Randall Grichuk, of, Lamar HS, Rosenberg, Texas
The popular phrase to describe Grichuk is “wiry strong”. Listed at 6-feet, 195-pounds, the sound of the ball hitting Grichuk’s bat was distinct both Tuesday and Wednesday as he made solid contact in five of his seven at-bats. Grichuk runs well at 6.85 seconds but can not play centerfield. Offense will be what gets him to the next level.
Geno Escalanate, c, Ridriguez HS, Fairfield, Calif.
Escalante first grabbed my eye when I saw him throw a few times from behind the plate. He has a very strong arm, that at-times seems like it could be erratic, but during tonight’s game, he made several strong accurate throws chasing runers. I clocked him at 1.9-seconds to second base on two separate occasions as runners tried to steal. Then at the plate, Escalante singled up the middle in his first at-bat and stroked a fly to ball over 390 feet to deep centerfield in his second at-bat. I liked Escalante’s approach at the plate, his strong arm and physical body. He is listed at 5-10, 185 pounds.
Jacob Lamb, ss, Bishop Blanchet HS, Seattle
At 6-feet-3, 190 pounds, Lamb is a physically strong athlete that caught my eye during infield/outfield practice before his game today. He showed an above-average arm at the short stop position—possibly the best arm of all the position players on his team—and smooth actions. Then, at the plate, he hits from the left side and has bat speed and power potential in his stroke. The question is whether Lamb will be able to stay at the shortstop position throughout the next level of baseball. If he fills out anymore, he may outgrow the position, and he already is not a good runner as he ran the 60-yard dash in 7.28 seconds.
With only three games being played Wednesday, I was able to eat dinner and be back to my hotel by 7 p.m. It almost feels like I took a half day at work. With four games slated for tomorrow, beginning at 8:30 a.m., I’ll probably need the rest.
Now in its 22nd year, the Area Code Games have morphed into a blend of baseball showcase, job fair, gossip mill and industry convention.
Scouts, college coaches, agents, parents, press, players and various onlookers descended on Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. for Tuesday’s opening festivities, which featured wood bat batting practice and the lovable SPARQ physical skills testing. More on SPARQ tomorrow.
Several hitters stood out, including:
Randal Grichuk, of, Lamar HS, Rosenberg, Texas
Wiry and relatively short in stature, Grichuk out hit his taller and bulkier compatriots, hammering several balls out of Blair, a notorious hitters graveyard. His best effort was a rifle shot which clanged loudly off a light standard behind the left field fence.
Jonathan Walsh, c, Coppell (Texas) HS
A powerfully built switch-hitter, Walsh loves to turn on the inside offering and clobber it. Walsh hit well from both sides, but his righthanded swing appears to be more natural. [...] Continue Reading »
LAKELAND, Fla.—The heat was on today in Lakeland for the third day of action at the East Coast Pro Showcase. By far the hottest day of the weekend, most scouts sitting in the sun were drenched in sweat from head to toe for the duration of the first two games—and so was I. Luckily, the games today were played at a quick pace, leaving some time in-between to cool off. With my hotel just down the street from Joker Marchant Stadium, I utilized the swimming pool as a quick refresher, visiting it twice during the afternoon. I also used the opportunity to change clothes both times, and I noticed that some scouts did the same.
Getting to the on-field action, a pitcher’s performance in the first game brought up an interesting comparison of the difference between college coaches’ and major league scouts’ approach to evaluating talent. Listed at 6-feet, 185 pounds, C.C. Watson (Cleburne County HS, Heflin, Ala.) entered the game in the seventh inning and struck out the side—which included two considered to be top prospects in Bobby Borchering (Bishop Verot HS, Alva, Fla.) and Michael Zunino (Mariner HS, Cape Coral, Fla.). [...] Continue Reading »
LAKELAND, FLA—The second day of action at Joker Marchant Stadium for the East Coast Pro Showcase took place exactly according to the plan. Beginning at 9 a.m., the day was free of interruption and included 12 full hours of baseball. With no rain or sudden power surges, all three games were played on schedule in their entirety. Also, the teams that missed out on taking batting practice and running the 60-yard dash yesterday, were able to do so today.
Billy Hamilton of Taylorsville (Miss.) HS posted the events best time with a 6.53 second dash. Daniel Fields from the University of Detroit (Mich.) Jesuit HS followed closely behind with a time of 6.56 seconds. An interesting time to note is LeVon Washington of Buchholz HS, Gainesville, Fla., registered a time of 6.7 seconds. Washington is thought by many to be the fastest prospect in the 2009 class as he ran a 6.23 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase in June. To be fair, Washington’s team ran the 60’s at 9 a.m. this morning when the grass was still wet. If you ask me, this time isn’t indicative of the smooth-running Washington’s actual leg churning ability. [...] Continue Reading »
LAKELAND, Fla.—After beginning at 9 a.m., the first day of on-field activity at the East Coast Professional Showcase came to an end at 11:05 p.m. Friday night. In a day that was anything but smooth, the tournament staff managed to get all three games at least semi-completed.
I arrived at Joker Marchant Stadium at 8:15 this morning and bought a credential ($100) similar to what the college coaches buy that includes a scout book with player information. Since the event is being put on by the major league scouting community, admission for scouts affiliated with major league teams comes with a 25% discount, driving their fee down to a mere $75 for entry. That not only gains them access to the grounds and a scout book, but also a nice showcase t-shirt made by Nike. I also noticed that the fee for agents was $500. Ouch. [...] Continue Reading »
LAKELAND, Fla.—With the first day of August upon us, the high school summer showcase circuit gets back in full swing as the East Coast Pro Showcase begins today. The event is a four day, game-style showcase, featuring the top high school prospects from the 2009 class broken into six teams. Each day of the event includes three games, batting practices and infield-outfield sessions to give the nearly 300 scouts in attendance a chance to evaluate the players.
Held at the Detroit Tigers’ spring training and minor league headquarters at Joker Marchant Stadium, the event is headed up by the major league scouting community and serves as an opportunity for evaluation but also a chance to inform prospects on what to expect during the next year’s draft season, and also what it’s like in the minor leagues.
Last night, a banquet was held in which several members of the scouting community spoke to the prospects and their parents on topics such as the pros and cons of dealing with agents, the process of scouts making house visits in the spring and what to expect come draft time. Also, the players are housed, for the duration of the event, in the minor league housing (old army barracks—four to a room), building a setting of fellowship similar to that of players in Rookie ball after being drafted.
While the Perfect Game national showcase and USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars event in June are the first major summer events, introducing the newest crop of the next year’s draft talent, the East Coast Pro Showcase is the beginning of the stretch run of events at which these prospects have a chance to establish themselves at the top of teams’ follow lists heading into the spring. Last year, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2008 draft, Tim Beckham, was ranked by BA as the top prospect from the East Coast Pro event and continued his superb play up until this past June.
Following this event, many of the players will immediately travel from coast to coast, as the Area Code Games and the Aflac All-American game take place in the greater Los Angeles area Aug. 5-10. Following that, Baseball Factory’s Under Armour All-American game will take place at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Aug. 17.
For me, the next 19 days (July 31-Aug. 18, including stops in Lakeland, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago) will be a chance to experience a sample of the grind major league scouts must undergo. At the trip’s conclusion, the summer scene will be finished and scouts should have a firm grasp on the talent in the 2009 class.
Check back to the Draft Blog for daily reports on the events and my stories from the road.
I was sitting in the shady comfort ofthe Press Box at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton on Wednesday, watching the second game ofthe inaugural Breakthrough Series. In walked Frank Robinson, who promptly sat down next to me. Flummoxed, a flash flood of thoughts and questions ran through my head, foremost being: "What the hell do I say to Frank Robinson?"
The legendary slugger and managerial pioneer could not have been nicer. Nonetheless, Robinson may have mellowed in his 72nd year, but he still holds sharp opinions. A lively but friendly discussion erupted among the press box occupants over the issue of instant replay in baseball. Robinson argued his case, his massive hands jabbing the air for emphasis. [...] Continue Reading »
Hall of Famer Rod Carew invoked the name of Jackie Robinson last night when he discussed breaking the color barrier with 60 high school players gathered from around the country. A different kind of breakthrough is occurring this week at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA, where Major League Baseball and USA Baseball have teamed up to present its inaugural Breakthrough Series.
The Breakthrough Series is a major new initiative which provides urban youth with access to the types of scouting opportunities usually reserved for high school players with the financial wherewithal to travel to showcases. MLB and USA Baseball are providing all-expenses-paid trips for 60 prospects to the academy, where they will be evaluated by scouts from major league teams, participate in instructional clinics run by the Los Angeles Angels and experts in nutrition and body conditioning, attend an Angels-Indians game and participate in talks by guest speakers such as Carew.
Carew, an 18-time All-Star, whose illustrious career included AL Rookie of the Year, AL MVP and Roberto Clemente awards, played for the Angels from 1979-1985. The lifetime .328 hitter, who stole home 17 times in his career, spoke to prospects on topics ranging from respect for the game, using the mind (the "sixth tool"), hustle, character and steroids. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball has anounced the final 18-man roster that will represent the United States in the IBAF World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada July 25-Aug. 3.
The team was chosen from a field of 34 players that were picked in June at the Tournament of Stars showcase held in Cary, N.C. For a week, the trials invitees faced each other in five intra-squad scrimmages. Of the 18 players selected, 10 have previous USA Baseball international experience–Harold Martinez, Ryan Weber, Matthew Purke and Jeff Malm were all bronze medal winners on the 18U team last year at the Pan American Games, while Andrew Aplin, Colton Cain, Nolan Fontana, Nick Franklin, Austin Maddox and Max Stassi all competed for the 16U national team in Venezeula, winning the gold medal at the World Youth Championships.
This year’s team seems to loaded with quality pitching, catching and athleticism. With both Purke and Jacob Turner on the roster, the national team boasts what seems to be the top lefty and righty in the 2009 prep class. [...] Continue Reading »
Perhaps the most fascinating storyline of the 2009 Draft has begun to develop in Southern California, courtesy of the Stock brothers.
Robert Stock of USC, currently playing in the Cape Cod League, has long been one of the premier prospects in the country. A catcher (and occasional pitcher) blessed with a howitzer for an arm and a powerful lefthanded bat, Robert has spent his youth drawing raves from scouts and collecting an attic full of shiny gold-plated trophies. [...] Continue Reading »
Over the past couple weeks, Aflac announced another group of players that will attend the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game on Aug. 9th in Los Angeles, Calif. at Dodger Stadium. The committee is making a tour across the country, introducing players in on field presentations and presenting the prospects with their official game jerseys for the event.
In a presentation held at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, Aflac announced RHP Matthew Graham (Oak Ridge HS) of Spring; LHP Matthew Purke (Klein HS) of Spring; OF Everett Williams (McCallum HS) of Austin; OF/RHP Jacob Morris (Coppell HS) and C/IF Jonathan Walsh (Coppell HS), both of Coppell; and OF/LHP Slade Heathcott (Texas HS) of Texarkana have all been selected.
A few days later, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Aflac announced that OF/RHP Drew Steckenrider (Greater Atlanta Christian HS) of Lawrenceville, Ga.; OF Donovan Tate (Cartersville HS) of Cartersville, Ga.; C/3B Luke Bailey (Troup HS) of LaGrange, Ga.; RHP Zack Wheeler (East Paulding HS) of Dallas, Ga.; OF Braxton Lane (Sandy Creek HS) of Tyrone, Ga.; INF/RHP Richie Schaffer (Providence HS) of Charlotte; RHP/INF Daniel Tuttle (Randleman HS) of Randleman, N.C.; OF Brian Goodwin (Rocky Mount HS) of Rocky Mount, N.C.; RHP/OF Keyvius Sampson (Forest HS) of Ocala, Fla.; INF/OF Jacson Thompson (Germantown HS) of Germantown, Tenn.; and LHP Ian Krol (Neuqua Valley HS) of Naperville, Ill. will also be at the event.
Yesterday, righthander Christopher Jenkins (Westfield HS) of Westfield, N.J., was introduced, at a presentation at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J., as the newest selection.
"We are thrilled to have such a great group of future stars added to the Aflac All-American roster," said Al Johnson, Vice President for Marketing Services for Aflac. "I am certain the kids are as excited as we are to take this game to the next level by hosting it at historic Dodger Stadium."
The Aflac All-American Game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net at 3 p.m. EST.
The updated full roster for the game is as follows:
|Luke Bailey||c/3b||Troup HS, LaGrange, Ga.|
|Matt Davidson||3b/rhp||Yucaipa (Calif.) HS|
|Matthew Graham||rhp||Oak Ridge HS, Spring, Texas|
|Brian Goodwin||of||Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS|
|Slade Heathcott||of/lhp||Texas HS, Texarkana, Texas|
|Christopher Jenkins||rhp||Westfield (N.J.) HS|
|Ian Krol||lhp||Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.|
|Braxton Lane||of||Sandy Creek HS, Tyrone, Ga.|
|Tyler Matzek||lhp||Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.|
|Jiovanni Miller||inf/rhp||Bonita HS, Pomona, Calif.|
|Jacob Morris||of/rhp||Coppell (Texas) HS|
Cypress (Calif.) HS
|Brooks Pounders||rhp/inf||Temecula Valley HS, Temecula, Calif.|
|Matthew Purke||lhp||Klein HS, Spring, Texas|
|Keyvius Sampson||rhp/of||Forest HS, Ocala, Fla.|
|Richie Shaffer||if/rhp||Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.|
|Jonathan Singleton||1b||Millikan HS, Long Beach|
|Max Stassi||c/inf||Yuba City (Calif.) HS|
|Drew Steckenrider||of/rhp||Greater Atlanta Christian HS, Lawrenceville, Ga.|
|Andrew Susac||c||Jesuit HS, Roseville, Calif.|
|Donovan Tate||of||Cartersville (Ga.) HS|
|Chad Thompson||rhp||El Toro HS, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.|
|Jacson Thompson||if/of||Germantown (Tenn.) HS|
|Daniel Tuttle||rhp/if||Randleman (N.C.) HS|
|Jonathan Walsh||c/if||Coppell (Texas) HS|
|Zack Wheeler||rhp||East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.|
|Everett Williams||of||McCallum HS, Austin, Texas|
|Beau Wright||lhp||Los Alamitos (Calif.) HS|
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