The 2013 draft class is loaded with catchers and Chris Okey from Eustis (Fla.) High is one of the best. Read or listen to the interview below to learn about his experiences with USA Baseball, the nastiest pitcher he ever caught and his father's days as a pro wrestler . . .
You guys are already playing now. How's the season going so far for you?
Oh, it's been going fantastic. We're out there having a good time. I'm enjoying my last year with my teammates, the kids I've grown up playing with. It's just awesome and we're all having a good time. We're winning ballgames and we'll lose a few, but you know, it's something we always work hard and try to fix every time we play.
In about a month here, you'll be coming up to North Carolina. Baseball America is based in Durham, North Carolina, and you're coming up for the USA Baseball National High School Invitational. How excited are you for that?
Oh, beyond words. Every year we've been trying to get into a bigger tournament like this because we feel we have the talent and the chemistry to go up there against some bigger teams with some great talent, like the ones we'll be facing. We're excited to go up there and show 'em what we have. Win, lose or draw, we'll have fun and play hard. We're looking forward to the experience.
I know what to expect out of you since I saw you play a lot this summer. But tell me a little bit about what I should expect to see from your team and your teammates?
You should expect to see a lot of kids who know each other with awesome chemistry. You're going to see a lot of dirty jerseys out there because all we do is try to see, when we leave the field, who has the dirtiest uniform. We like making plays for the guys next to us. We're going to make the plays and we're never going to give up, even if we're winning 12-nothing or losing 12-nothing. We're going to stay out there at the same pace of the game and keep playing hard until the final out. If we're up by then, then good job for us for the next game, and if we're down, we'll go out and get 'em the next game.
[...] Continue Reading »
Kentwood High catcher Reese McGuire ($) isn’t Washington’s only marquee talent for the 2013 draft. But that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Over the past 10 years, the only states to produce more high school picks from the top three rounds than Washington are California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Puerto Rico.
Righthander Dustin Driver from Wenatchee (Wash.) High first put his name on the map as a rising junior at the 2011 Area Code Games. With teams hand-picked by scouts, any time an underclassman makes one of the squads, it typically means they’re pretty special. Just consider some of the other rising juniors at the 2011 event and where they wound up on Baseball America’s High School Top 100 rankings more than a year later: outfielder/lefthander Trey Ball (3), shortstop J.P. Crawford (5), first baseman Dominic Smith (6), lefthander Rob Kaminsky (12) and first baseman Rowdy Tellez (16).
Driver checked in at No. 22 thanks to his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame as well as his fastball that sits in the 90-92 mph range and tops out at 94.
[...] Continue Reading »
The final game for this year's Prospect Classic ended in a 6-6 tie, but there were several standout performances. . .
• Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto went 3-for-4 in the game with a double.
"I'm seeing the ball really well right now, especially against some really good pitchers," Conforto said. "I couldn't ask for a better game today and I'm feeling really good."
Hitting well is nothing new for Conforto, who hit .349/.438/.601 as a freshman last season, while leading the Pacific 12 conference in home runs with 13.
"He's got a great swing and. . . when you drive in 76 runs or whatever it ended up being in the Northwest, that's legit," Oregon head coach and Team USA assistant coach George Horton said. "We're in the same state, so we follow each other closely and those RBIs were clutch RBIs, as well. He hit third against right and lefthanded pitchers and, unfortunately, we're going to have to figure out a way to get him out the next couple years, but it's good to have him in my dugout.
"He's a tremendous player who has a bright future."
[...] Continue Reading »
Three games into the 2012 Prospect Classic and the highlights are still about the Collegiate National Team. Aside from a couple lopsided innings in Game Two, the 18U National Team has held its own in the series, but the college players have stood out the most mostly because of their advanced experience and a crop of preps that scouts feel is down from recent years.
Game Three highlights belonged to infielder Trea Turner (North Carolina State) and righthander Bobby Wahl (Mississippi). Wahl was a known entity in high school and ranked 68th on the Preseason High School Top 100 in 2010—just four spots behind Monday starter Adam Plutko (UCLA). But he had a lackluster spring, admitting that he got caught up in the draft talk, and fell to the 39th round. He honored his commitment to Ole Miss and made 18 appearances (one start). He logged four saves and went 0-2, 4.80 with 26 strikeouts, 11 walks and 33 hits allowed in 30 innings. After his freshman season he went to the Cape Cod League and pitched out of the bullpen for Cotuit and went 1-1, 1.23 in 16 appearances with six saves. In 22 innings, he allowed 15 hits and 11 walks while striking out 38. That summer he learned some valuable lessons and took them back to Ole Miss. [...] Continue Reading »
UPDATED: July 1, 2012 at 4:09 p.m EST.
After the first game of the 2012 Prospect Classic ended in a 2-2 tie, the bats busted out in Game Two, but just for one side. Behind an eight-run second inning the Stars beat the Stripes 15-3 with 16 hits and seven walks. Oral Roberts infielder Jose Trevino led the barrage by going 2-for-3 with six RBIs and two runs scored. He doubled in the top of the second to open the scoring and followed with a grand slam in the fourth to make it 12-0.
Despite the outburst of offense, Arkansas righthander Ryne Stanek was one of the bigger highlights of the night. He pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. The only trouble he found was in the second inning when he allowed a leadoff single, got two outs and then loaded the bases with a walk and fielder's choice. But he got Kentucky outfielder Austin Cousino to fly out to end the inning. He cruised through the third inning and was taken out in the fourth with two outs after walking a batter. He had thrown 59 pitches.
"I felt like I competed pretty well," Stanek said. "I threw my fastball for a strike, which is the biggest thing. I was able to throw most everything for a strike. The second inning I ran into a little trouble. I tried to get a little too fine and make too good a pitch instead of just letting them put the ball in play and get a quick out." [...] Continue Reading »
For the second-annual Prospect Classic, USA Baseball decided to mix things up a little bit—literally.
Instead of having two games pitting the College National Team against the 18-and-under hopefuls, the event was expanded to four games—two games with the teams integrated followed by two games in the traditional format.
The first game took place June 29 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and ended with a 2-2 tie after seven innings. As usual, the pitching was ahead of the hitting—especially the college pitchers—and the most impressive arm was lefthanded starter Marco Gonzales from Gonzaga.
Gonzales has an athletic 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. He repeats his effortless delivery well, allowing him to fill up the strike zone. Last year at Gonzaga, he went 8-2, 1.55 with 92 strikeouts and 23 walks over 93 innings.
Gonzales gave up one hit over four shutout innings. He didn't allow a walk and stuck out three.
[...] Continue Reading »
Every young athlete dreams of being featured on SportsCenter.
As the countdown continued on a weekly edition of the Top Ten two Septembers ago, one high schooler got to live that dream.
Andy McGuire watched from James Madison High on his laptop at lunchtime as his own highlight was portrayed across the screen. Instead of being overjoyed, he was overcome with laughter.
The native of Vienna, VA was featured on ESPN’s Not Top Ten as a sophomore for a now-infamous play he made during a football game.
“It was a kick return,” McGuire said. “It carried a little and I ran back, turned around, caught it and there it was, the goalpost. I hit it pretty hard.”
McGuire made a fantastic catch before heading directly into the goalpost and dropping straight to the ground. For what it’s worth, he held onto the ball.
The talented young shortstop looks forward to making it onto ESPN once again in the future, though for something more prominent next time. He’s certainly on the right track, now immersing himself fully into baseball, his No. 1 sport.
He is the first player from Virginia to obtain a scholarship to Texas, an interesting choice considering the options closer to home.
“I visited four schools,” McGuire said. “Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas. I always wanted to go to Texas so when the offer was made, it wasn’t a tough decision. But my dad kind of made me slow down and look at the other schools.
“He wanted me to look at Virginia just because it’s in-state and it’s such a good school, so I looked at that. South Carolina I liked a lot and Florida I liked a lot but Texas was just where I wanted to go.”
Texas has been on the infielder’s mind ever since he went to the school as a young swimming prospect. Before focusing solely on baseball, McGuire was a nationally-ranked swimmer who ended up in the Lone Star State in the interest of college recruitment at age 11.
“My favorite color’s always been orange,” he said. “I went there on a swim camp and I liked it a lot, but not the swimming part…it was a college recruiting swimming camp for the kids and the USA coach was there and they had a lot of Olympic swimmers there. It was ridiculous.
“But I really liked the school after that. I figured that I had to reach out to them [for baseball] because I knew that they don’t really recruit that much out of state, but I guess it worked out for me.”
[...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball announced Wednesday afternoon that the Prospect Classic will return in 2012, but with some tweaks to the event. The event features Team USA's Collegiate and 18-and-under National Teams against each other and will expand from two to four games this year. The games will be held in late June and early July at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
Last year, the college players and the high school players faced off against each other, with the college team predictably winning both games by a combined score of 20-2. This year, the first two games (June 29-30) will feature Stars vs. Stripes, with each team being made up of a combination of Collegiate and 18U players. The rosters will have a total of 62 players and be announced the morning of June 29. The second half of the event will take place July 2-3 and pit the Collegiate National Team against the 18U squad, just like it did in 2011. The Prospect Classic will serve as part of the selection process for the 18U team and the roster will be trimmed from 40 to 28 players on July 1.
“The response from fans and scouts alike to last summer’s Prospect Classic was extremely positive, and we’re looking to build upon that in 2012,” USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler said. “This year’s event features more games, and by combining the teams for two of them, we’re once again providing followers of the MLB Draft a unique opportunity to catch amateur baseball’s top prospects in action.”
The first two games will be aired on a delay on MLB Network at 12 p.m. EST on July 2-3. The three games played in Durham will also be aired online at USABaseball.com and MLB.com.
USA Baseball's National High School Invitational is loaded with prospects. Watch the video below to learn a little more about the lighter side of Max Fried, Luke Sims, Joey Gallo, Courtney Hawkins, Ty Moore and Matt Olson. . .
By Mike Kanen
For the second consecutive summer, the Breakthrough Series was hosted by USA Baseball in Cary, N.C. after a two-year term at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. Once again, the event was a rousing success.
Since its inception in 2008, the Breakthrough Series has served as an opportunity for many kids in urban areas around the country to showcase their skills in front of college recruiters and major league scouts that may not get a chance to see them play otherwise. This year, 80 players were selected to compete in the event by the Urban Youth Academy, Major League Scouting Bureau, Mentoring Viable Prospects (MVP) and Chicago White Sox. The four organizations competed in a round-robin tournament from Monday through Thursday.
In the championship contest, MVP dominated the White Sox, 17-2, scoring 11 runs in the second inning. The game was played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park and will be aired on MLB Network at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. [...] Continue Reading »
Lighter international schedules created openings that USA Baseball needed to fill this summer, and one of its ideas was to pit its top college players against its top high school players.
The so-called Prospect Classic, a two-game series pitting the college national team against the 18-and-under national team trials roster, turned out to be such a hit, however, that it’s likely to become a fixture on the summer schedule.
"Necessity is the mother of invention sometimes," USA Baseball executive director/CEO Paul Seiler said. "So, it was just one of those things where we sat down and saw we may have a unique opportunity here to create something special." [...] Continue Reading »
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog